01.16.21

Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

Posted in News Roundup at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Hackability Matters

      The Unix Way™ provides extreme hackability. The idea is that software should be written as tools to accomplish discrete tasks, and that it should be modular, extensible, and play well with others. It’s like software as a LEGO set — you can put the blocks together however you want, within limits, and make stuff that’s significantly cooler than any of the individual blocks alone.

      Clearly this doesn’t work for all applications — things like graphics editors and web browsers don’t really lend themselves to being elegant tools that integrate well with others, right? It’s only natural that they’re bloaty walled gardens. What happens in the browser must stay in the browser, right?

      But how sad is it that the one piece of software you use all day, your window into cyberspace, doesn’t play well with the rest of your system? I’d honestly never really been bothered by that fact until stumbling on TabFS. It’s an extension to Chrome that represents the tabs on your browser as if they were files on your local system — The Unix Way™. And what this means is that any other program that can read from or write to a file can open tabs, collect them, change webpages on the fly, and so on. It opens up the browser to you.

      [...]

      So please, if you’re working on a big software package, or even just writing a plug-in for one, do think about how you can make more of its abilities available to the casual scripter. Otherwise, it’s just plastic blocks that don’t fit with the rest of the set.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Beast of a Linux Gaming Machine! Slimbook Titan Launched With AMD Ryzen 7 5800H and Nvidia RTX 3070

        The Slimbook Titan is powered by an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor running at 3.2 GHz, the processor is based on AMD’s latest Zen 3 architecture which is a significant improvement over the previous generation.

        For gaming and other graphics intensive tasks the laptop comes equipped with a dedicated GPU, the Nvidia RTX 3070 with 8 GB of GDDR6 memory.

        The GPU is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture which brought in significant performance gains compared to the Turing architecture that came earlier, and in some cases even doubled the performance gain.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • “Studio” Tour Of An Australian Linux Zoomer

        Ever wondered what my “studio” actually looks like outside of the normal shot, well today you can find out and I use the term studio very loosly, this is my bedroom with some lights set up but none the less it’s a make shift studio and it’s what I use to make 15+ videos a week.

      • DistroToot Is Now Accepting New Members

        DistroToot is my own personal Mastodon instance. Mastodon is a decentralized, federated micro-blogging platform. Essentially, it is a free and open source Twitter. People have asked me if I would open up DistroToot to accept other members (not just myself).

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds Decides To Land NVIDIA RTX 30 “Ampere” Support In Linux 5.11

        While new feature code is normally not allowed in past the end of the merge window for a given Linux kernel release cycle, Linus Torvalds has decided to merge the newly-published open-source driver code for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 “Ampere” graphics cards for the Linux 5.11 kernel that will debut as stable in February.

        Ahead of this weekend’s Linux 5.11-rc4 release, Linus Torvalds has merged the new initial open-source code for the NVIDIA RTX 30 / Ampere GPUs via the Nouveau driver. He was fine with allowing this late addition to Linux 5.11 as the new hardware support is all self-contained and doesn’t risk regressing the existing NVIDIA GPU support within the Nouveau driver. Thus it’s one of the rare times he permits new code to be added after a merge window since there is minimal risk of it regressing the status quo of hardware support.

      • How one hacker’s push to secure the internet became a crucial part of Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems [Was: “How Jason A. Donenfeld created secure VPN WireGuard, included in Linux”
    • Applications

      • Scorewriter MuseScore 3.6 Released with New Fonts, Improvements

        MuseScore, free open-source sheet music player and editor, released the new major version 3.6 with many new features, improvements and bug-fixes.

      • duf – Disk Usage/Free Utility for Linux, BSD, macOS & Windows – nixCraft

        We use the df command to show how much disk space is free on mounted file systems in Linux, macOS, and Unix-like systems. We also have the du command to estimate file space usage. We now have another fancy and fantastic looking tool called duf to display statistics on free disk space in Unix, Linux, macOS, *BSD, Android, and Windows written in Golang.

      • Systemd Applet Release – Michael Jansen, Drive By Coding

        Given no one seems to be interested in working on the applet (boo) I decided to tackle the bug myself. Apparently the fact it worked previously was the result of happenstance.

        The systemd manager processes only send out signals after at least one process told them to do so. It seems that some process did that on my computer before but no more.

      • 5 Best free PDF editors for Ubuntu Linux in 2021 [Ed: Some of these are proprietary software, which GNU/Linux users do not need for any practical reason]

        PDF readers and editors are a popular part of our day-to-day work related to documents, ebooks, presentations, whitePaper, and more because of PDF’s portability and security. However, when it comes to reader application for PDF files, you will generally find a one on Linux desktop systems, easily. However, PDF editors may still need to be installed, which are available only a handful.

        Adobe developed the PDF (portable document format) in such a way that it can present the layout in the final document as it is, anywhere, regardless of the OS system or software in which you are going to use it later. Therefore, editing PDF files afterward is not an easy task- apart from the standard note and comment functions. However, Adobe offers a professional PDF editor for Mac and Windows but that also has limited capabilities. This means we can edit all PDF files not thoroughly like we do Word documents.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Wildcards in Linux explained with 10 examples | FOSS Linux

        Wildcards, a.k.a. meta characters, are a godsend when it comes to searching for particular filenames from a heap of similarly named files. For example, by using Wildcards in Linux, you can use the ls command, rm command, or any other Linux command for that matter, on multiple files as long as they match the defined criteria.

      • Set Raspberry PI Swap Memory – peppe8o

        Beside CPU, RAM is the most valuable resource in every computer. It is where data are stored for running programs and it is one the most important resource for applications managing a big amount of data. Raspberry PI Swap Memory, like other linux systems, can reduce small RAM impact avoiding Out of Memory errors

      • Install and Configure a Multi-Master HA Kubernetes Cluster with kubeadm, HAProxy and Keepalived on CentOS 7

        The kubeadm tool is great if you need a simple way to deploy Kubernetes, and integrate it into provisioning systems such as Ansible. I use Ansible a lot nowadays, but before I got to the point of automating my Kubernetes homelab, I had to do it by hand. You can’t automate what you don’t understand.

        As we will be deploying three Kubernetes control plane nodes, we need to deploy a kube-apiserver load balancer in front of them. The load balancer distributes traffic to all healthy control plane nodes in its target list. HAProxy is my homelab load balancer of choice, and we will configure it with Keepalived to provide node redundancy. If one of the HAProxy servers becomes unavailable, the other one will serve traffic.

        We will use three KVM hosts to deploy resources. The goal is to sustain data and maintain service in the event of a loss of a (single) hypervisor host.

      • How to Find a Directory in Linux

        Looking for a specific directory in your Linux file system? Fortunately, you have many search tools at your disposal. We’ll look at several easy-to-use options, and how to use them to search for folders efficiently.

      • How to Install and Use Terraform on Ubuntu 20.04 – LinuxBuz

        Terraform is an open-source software tool created by Hashicorp. It is used to automate and manage your infrastructure, your platform and services that run on that platform. It uses a declarative language that means you don’t have to define every step of how this automation and management is done. With Terraform, you can create a VPS, AWS users and permissions, spin up servers and install the application on servers.

      • Transition from Thunderbird to Mutt

        I was going OK with Thunderbird and enigmail(though it have many problems). Normally I go through changelogs before updating packages and rarely do a complete upgrage of my machine. Couple of days ago I did a complete upgrade of system which updated my Thunderbird to latest version and throwing of enigmail plugin for using their native openPGP support. There is a blog from Mozilla which I should’ve read earlier. Thunderbird’s builtin openPGP functionality is still in experimental, atleast not ready for my workflow. I could’ve downgrade to version 68. But I chose to move to my secondary MUA, mutt. I was using mutt for emails and newsletters that I check twice in a year a so.

        So I started configuring mutt to handle my big mailboxes. It took three evenings to configure mutt to my workflow. Though the basic setup can be done in less than an hour it is the small nitpicks consumed much of my time. Currently I have isync to pull and keep mails offline. Mutt to read, msmtp to send, abook as the email address book and urlview to see the links in mail. I am still learning notmuch and virtual mailbox ways to filter.

      • Setting up Tomcat 9.0.41 && mariadb-server 10.5 on Debian Bullseye/sid

        Setup Tomcat via original tar.gz ball and JDK 11 allow to deploy “war” archive been built for Web Servlet Application from http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/295844/index.html . Thus CRUD Server side Java Apps might be moved on Debian Bullseye/sid in 3-5 minutes .

      • How to Install Garuda KDE Dragonized

        Garuda Linux is based on Arch Linux. It is provided with all major Desktop environments like KDE, GNOME, Xfce, Cinnamon, MATE, LXQt-kwin, Wayfire, Qtile, BSPWM, and i3wm.

        On a short period, Garuda Linux is the most preferable distribution on Linux community.

        So, we will walk through the Garuda KDE Installation process and feel the Garuda KDE’s Beast.

      • My ISP Is Killing My Idle SSH Sessions. Yours Might Be Too.

        We found the culprit! The connection tested after waiting slightly more than 60 minutes didn’t work, meaning they dropped the connection from their NAT table. 1 hour is too short time for them to wait – they should wait at least 2 hours and 4 minutes. I documented my findings, and sent an email to my ISP. I quickly got a response back acknowledging that this is a bug on their side, and thanking me for my research. They still haven’t fixed the problem though.

        The tcp-keepalive-test gave the same result, but strangely enough the tcp-recv-test reported all connections as working. I assume this is because I pay my ISP to have a static public IPv4 mapped to my CGN address. But then why did the server’s keepalive packages get dropped in the SSH example? I speculate that my ISP drops those because they don’t refer to a valid TCP session anymore.

        Actually they shouldn’t track my connections at all – they should just forward all packages, and only translate the source or destination IP. But that’s a problem for another day.

      • Converting from CentOS Linux 8 to CentOS Stream – YouTube
      • How to Install V Lang on Ubuntu 20.04 – Cloudbooklet

        How to Install V Lang on Ubuntu 20.04. V is a simple language to build maintainable programs. You can learn V language within 1 hour using the documentation. It is similar to Go language and improved upon some things like no null, no global state, no undefined values and many more.

        In this guide you are going to learn how to install V language on Ubuntu 20.04. This installation is tested on Google Cloud platform. So these steps will work well on other cloud hosting or VPS or dedicated servers running Ubuntu or Debian.

      • How to upgrade Alpine Linux 3.12 to 3.13

        Alpine Linux version 3.13 has been released. Here is how to upgrade Alpine Linux from 3.11/3.12 to the latest stable version, 3.13 using CLI.

      • How to find if a website using gzip / deflate compression using curl on Linux and Unix
      • OpenSUSE install Brotli module for Nginx

        How do I install or add Brotli compression support to Nginx on OpenSUSE Linux to speed up my webpages and apps?

        Brotli is a free and open-source generic-purpose lossless compression algorithm that compresses data using various methods. It is similar in speed to deflate or gzip but offers more dense compression for Apache or Nginx web server.

        Nginx does not support Brotli, but we can install a module developed by Google called ngx_brotli to add support to Nginx. This page explains how to add or install Brotli support to Nginx on an OpenSUSE Linux server 15.2 to speed up webpages.

      • How To List Disk Partitions In Linux – OSTechNix

        In this brief guide, we will see all the possible ways to find and list disk partitions in Linux and Unix-like operating systems. Before getting into the topic, let us take a quick look at what is disk partitioning and how disk partitions are named in Linux.

      • How to browse the internet using Debian Terminal

        Today, we are going to talk about text-based web browsers. But you might be wondering that what’s the need for a text-based browser in today’s graphical age. There might be several reasons for it. one reason might be because some people are more Terminal savvy and they want to perform everything from their command line. Another reason might be the slow internet connection and annoying advertisements of GUI browser. So text-based browsers are the best tool that can help them enjoy a faster browser experience without any distractions.

      • How to Setup and use Google Drive on Ubuntu 20.04 – Linux Shout

        Unlike Windows on Ubuntu’s latest versions such as 20.04 LTS, we don’t need to install any extra software to connect and use Google Drive account. Everything there and we just need to login to Ubuntu using a Google account.

        One of the popular public cloud services to store data is Google Drives because of free 15 GB storage. Most of the time to use that we visit Google Drive’s website to upload and download files, however, you can save your time by access G – Drive storage directly on your machine like any other network drive. However, there is no official client from Google for Linux systems, well, still we can use it using the default GNOME Online Accounts feature available on Ubuntu and other Linux systems.

      • Create Bootable USB Using Etcher in Linux – Download and Usage Guide

        Etcher is a utility created by Balena, that makes your life easy with its unique take on creating bootable USB and SD cards with a .iso file. In this guide, I will show you the steps to download and install Etcher. Although it is a bit trivial for some, may be difficult for others. Hence this guide.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 6.0 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 20.04, 20.10

        Wine 6.0 stable was released 2 days ago as the new major release to run Windows applications in Linux, Mac OS, and BSD. Now you can install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Ubuntu 20.10 via the official apt repository.

      • Cheers! Wine 6.0 Released with Improved Support for Windows Games and Software on Linux

        If you are a Linux user, you should be familiar with Wine. It’s a Windows compatibility layer that allows executables for Microsoft Windows to execute on Linux, BSD, Android and, macOS.

        Wine translates Windows system calls into POSIX-compliant system calls, recreates the Windows directory structure, provides alternative implementations of Windows system libraries, system services and various other components.

        At the moment of writing 27,690 Windows games and applications including Final Fantasy XI Online, Adobe Photoshop, StarCraft, and Team Fortress 2 are compatible with Wine.

      • Wine pops cork on version 6.0 of the Windows compatibility layer for *nix systems

        The compatibility layer for Windows applications, Wine, has celebrated the start of 2021 in the traditional manner – with a substantial update.

        After spending December and the early part of January going through six release candidates, the stable Wine 6.0 has been rolled out, replete with over 8,300 individual changes and a year of effort from the team.

        While the developers were keen to draw attention to the major changes, namely core modules (including the likes of NTDLL and KERNEL32) now being in Portable Executable (PE) format, DirectShow support and Vulkan backend for WineD3D, a considerable number of other tweaks should serve to improve compatibility for those who have that one weird Windows app that they really can’t do without in Linux.

    • Games

      • Familiars.io is a MMO monster catching game where the creatures have permadeath

        Well this is quite unusual. You’ve played monster catching games before but not like this. Familiars.io put a fresh spin on it all and it’s quite ingenious.

        Developed as a pixel-art retro-looking browser game, it’s super accessible since you can play it on pretty much anything that can run some simple graphics in a browser window. It’s an MMO too, so you can join up with others and chill out. When you want to, go off and catch some monsters, engage is some PvP and perhaps find a new favourite game waiting for you.

      • What we expect to come from Valve to help Linux gaming in 2021 | GamingOnLinux

        By now you’ve probably heard either through us in our previous article or elsewhere that Valve are cooking something up to help Linux gaming even further. We have an idea on what one part of it is.

        Valve already do quite a lot. There’s the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer, the new container runtime feature to have Linux games both natively supported and Windows games in Proton run through a contained system to ensure compatibility, their work on Mesa drivers and much more.

        In Valve’s review of Steam in 2020 that we covered in the link above, one thing caught our eye and has been gaining attention. Valve mentioned for 2021 they will be “putting together new ways for prospective users to get into Linux gaming and experience these improvements” so what exactly does that mean? Well, a big part of that might have already been suggested directly.

      • Godot Engine – Dev snapshot: Godot 3.2.4 beta 6

        While our main focus stays on the 4.0 branch, the current stable 3.2 branch is receiving a lot of great improvements, and the upcoming 3.2.4 release is going to be packed with many new features.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • How to use KDE’s productivity suite, Kontact

          In prior years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 6 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.

          In the long, long ago, when compiling a kernel was the only way to get wifi drivers, a graphical environment was mainly for running a web browser and opening lots of terminal windows. The look and feel was a mishmash of whatever toolkit the author of the program chose to use. And then, in 1996 Matthias Ettrich proposed and later released the first version of KDE. It was based on the then proprietary Qt toolkit (since made Free and Open Source). This release sparked what can only be called a desktop revolution on Linux, with the creation of the GNOME Desktop using the at-that-time FOSS GTK Toolkit. Between KDE and GNOME, Linux went from a only computer people use Linux operating system to a robust desktop environment for everyone.

        • This week in KDE: text reflow in Konsole!

          This week a huge new feature landed in Konsole: it now reflows the text when you resize the window! This feature can be turned off if you don’t like it, but comes on by default. It works really well. Thanks very much to Carlos Alves and Tomaz Canabrava for this work! It will be released in Konsole 21.04.

        • KDE Will Reflow Text In Konsole On Window Resizing, Kirigami Icons Now Use Less RAM – Phoronix

          KDE developers have remained very busy in the new year working to improve their open-source desktop stack.

          Following last week’s near total rewrite of the KWin compositing code there has been an interesting batch of new improvements this week. Some of this week’s highlights include:

          - KDE’s Konsole now re-flows text when resizing the window. The functionality is enabled by default (but there is an option to disable it).

        • KDE e.V. board meeting January 2021 | [bobulate]

          A few times per year, the board of KDE e.V. gets together for a board meeting. While we also meet once a week for an hour to keep track of what is happening within the organization, the longer meetings are when big tasks are undertaken and the dusty corners are tidied up.

        • KDE OSM Indoor Map Demo App

          Last year KDE Itinerary got an indoor map view for airports and train stations, using a specialized map renderer and using raw OSM data as source. Improving that by contributing to upstream OSM data as well as our MapCSS styles now got a bit easier.

        • Season Of KDE – The Beginning

          Hello KDE Community I am Manav Sethi an engineering student from India and I got selected for Sok this year .

          I will be working on creating an app for the Promo Team which will be used to post to multiple social media platforms at once. Since the Promo team Members spend time posting the same thing on multiple platforms this will definitely help in increasing their efficiency.

        • The new beginnings- Season Of KDE

          Hello KDE community! I am Sai Moukthik Konduru, an undergrad from India. This pandemic gave me a chance to explore my interest in programming, and it has been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least. Recently I got to know about the concept of Open-source projects. The idea of collaborating and learning from the best and brightest minds across the globe has pumped me up so much that I started looking for organizations to work with. I found the KDE community thanks to a youtube video and got to know about the Season of KDE. I was not sure if I was good enough to be a part of Sok. But thanks to Devin Lin (who helped me make my first open-source contribution and is also my mentor for SoK), I am confident that I can complete this project as long as there is this huge community behind me.

    • Distributions

      • Meet the New Linux Distro Inspired by the iPad

        I’ve seen a tonne of Linux distros come and go in the 12 years I’ve been blogging about Ubuntu, but precious few have been designed exclusively for tablet use.

        So when I came across JingOS, a new Ubuntu-based distro touting a touch-centric UI, I was naturally intrigued. Tablet-based Linux distros aren’t exactly common.

        JingOS’s developers say it is “the world’s first iPadOS-style Linux distro”. I don’t imagine anyone is going to take issue with that statement, especially once they’ve seen how it looks!

      • New Releases

        • Zeroshell 3.9.5 Released

          Zeroshell 3.9.5 is ready. In this release TLS 1.0 has been disabled and TLS 1.2 enabled for HTTPS. This improves security and compatibility with new browser releases.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD October-December 2020 Status Report

          This report covers FreeBSD related projects for the period between October and December, and is the fourth of four planned reports for 2020.

          This quarter had quite a lot of work done, including but certainly not limited to, in areas relating to everything from multiple architectures such as x86, aarch64, riscv, and ppc64 for both base and ports, over kernel changes such as vectored aio, routing lookups and multipathing, an alternative random(4) implementation, zstd integration for kernel dumps, log compression, zfs and preparations for pkg(8), along with wifi changes, changes to the toolchain like the new elfctl utility, and all the way to big changes like the git migration and moving the documentation from DocBook to Hugo/AsciiDoctor, as well as many other things too numerous to mention in an introduction.

          This report with 42 entries, which don’t hold the answer to life, the universe and everything, couldn’t have happened without all the people doing the work also writing an entry for the report, so the quarterly team would like to thank them, as otherwise, we wouldn’t have anything to do.

          Please note that the deadline for submissions covering the period between January and March is March 31st.

          We hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as we enjoyed compiling it.
          Daniel Ebdrup Jensen, on behalf of the quarterly team.

        • FreeBSD Continues Work On Ridding Its Base Of GPL-Licensed Software – Phoronix

          The FreeBSD project today published its Q4-2020 status report concerning all the interesting happenings for this open-source BSD operating system.

        • GhostBSD 21.01.15 Release Notes

          I am happy to announce the availability of the new ISO 21.01.15. This new ISO comes with a clean-up of packages that include removing LibreOffice and Telegram from the default selection. We did this to bring the zfs RW live file systems to run without problem on 4GB of ram machine. We also removed the UFS full disk option from the installer. Users can still use custom partitions to setup UFS partition, but we discourage it. We also fixed the Next button’s restriction in the custom partition related to some bug that people reported. We also fix the missing default locale setup and added the default setup for Linux Steam, not to forget this ISO includes kernel, userland and numerous application updates.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Gentoo 2020 in retrospect & happy new year 2021!

          2020 has featured a major increase in commits to the ::gentoo repository, and especially commits from non-developers. The overall number of commits has grown from 73400 to 104500 (by 42%), while the number of commits made by non-developers has grown from 5700 (8% of total) to 11000 (10.5% of total). The latter group has featured 333 unique authors in 2019, and 391 in 2020.

          The ::guru repository has thrived in 2020. While 2019 left it with merely 7 contributors and a total of 86 commits, 2020 has featured 55 different contributors and 2725 commits. GURU is a user-curated repository with a trusted user model. Come join us!

          There was also a major increase in Bugzilla activity. 2020 featured almost 25500 bugs reported, compared to 15000 in 2019. This is probably largely thanks to Agostino Sarubbo’s new tinderboxing effort. The total number of bugs closed in 2020 was 23500, compared to 15000 in 2019.

        • Distribution Kernels: module rebuilds, better ZFS support and UEFI executables

          The primary goal of the Distribution Kernel project is provide a seamless kernel upgrade experience to Gentoo users. Initially, this meant configuring, building and installing the kernel during the @world upgrade. However, you had to manually rebuild the installed kernel modules (and @module-rebuild is still broken), and sometimes additionally rebuild the initramfs after doing that.

          To address this, we have introduced a new dist-kernel USE flag. This flag is automatically added to all ebuilds installing kernel modules. When it is enabled, the linux-mod eclass adds a dependency on virtual/dist-kernel package. This virtual, in turn, is bound to the newest version of dist-kernel installed. As a result, whenever you upgrade your dist-kernel all the module packages will also be rebuilt via slot rebuilds. The manual @module-rebuild should no longer be necessary!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora program update: 2021-02

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Self-Contained Change proposals for Fedora 34 are due by Tuesday 19 January. The mass rebuild begins on 20 January.

          Not next week, but normally I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • Christian Kastner: Keeping your Workstation Silent

          I’ve tried numerous coolers in the past, some of monstrous proportions (always thinking that more mass must be better, and reputable brands are equally good), but I was never really satisfied; hence, I was doubtful that trying yet another cooler would make a difference. I’m glad I tried the Noctua NH-D15 anyway. With some tweaking to the fan profile in the BIOS, it’s totally inaudible at normal to medium workloads, and just a very gentle hum at full load—subtle enough to disappear in the background.

          For the past decade, I’ve also regularly purchased sound-proofed cases, but this habit appears anachronistic now. Years ago, sound-proofed cases helped contain the noise of a few HDDs. However, all of my boxes now contain NVMe drives (which, to me, are the biggest improvement to computing since CPUs going multi-core).

          On the other hand, some of my boxes now contain powerful GPUs used for GPGPU computing, and with the recent higher-end Nvidia and AMD cards all pulling in over 300W, there is a lot of heat to manage. The best way to quickly dump heat is with good airflow. Sound-proofing works against that. Its insulation restricts airflow, which ultimately causes even more noise, as the GPU’s fans need to spin at very high RPMs. This is, of course, totally obvious in hindsight.

        • Junichi Uekawa: It’s been 20 years since I became a Debian Developer.

          It’s been 20 years since I became a Debian Developer. Lots of fun things happened, and I think fondly of the team. I am no longer active for the past 10 years due to family reasons, and it’s surprising that I have been inactive for that long. I still use Debian, and I still participate in the local Debian meetings.

        • Michael Prokop: Revisiting 2020

          Mainly to recall what happened last year and to give thoughts and plan for the upcoming year(s) I’m once again revisiting my previous year (previous editions: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 + 2012).

          Due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 2020 was special™ for several reasons, but overall I consider myself and my family privileged and am very grateful for that.

          In terms of IT events, I planned to attend Grazer Linuxdays and DebConf in Haifa/Israel. Sadly Grazer Linuxdays didn’t take place at all, and DebConf took place online instead (which I didn’t really participate in for several reasons). I took part in the well organized DENOG12 + ATNOG 2020/1 online meetings. I still organize our monthly Security Treff Graz (STG) meetups, and for half of the year, those meetings took place online (which worked OK-ish overall IMO).

          Only at the beginning of 2020, I managed to play Badminton (still playing in the highest available training class (in german: “Kader”) at the University of Graz / Universitäts-Sportinstitut, USI). For the rest of the year – except for ~2 weeks in October or so – the sessions couldn’t occur.

          Plenty of concerts I planned to attend were cancelled for obvious reasons, including the ones I would have played myself. But I managed to attend Jazz Redoute 2020 – Dom im Berg, Martin Grubinger in Musikverein Graz and Emiliano Sampaio’s Mega Mereneu Project at WIST Moserhofgasse (all before the corona situation kicked in). The concert from Tonč Feinig & RTV Slovenia Big Band occurred under strict regulations in Summer. At the beginning of 2020, I also visited Literaturshow “Roboter mit Senf” at Literaturhaus Graz.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • What Can We Learn From SQL’s 50 Year Reign? A Story of 2 Turing Awards

          Many of the programming languages we use today were not introduced until the 90s (Java was introduced in 1996). However, there is one programming language that is still as popular today as it was when it was introduced nearly 50 years ago: SQL.

          This article will discuss the events that led to the introduction of relational databases, why SQL grew in popularity, and what we can learn from its success.

        • ScyllaDB NoSQL database to improve with Project Circe

          The open source SycllaDB NoSQL database continues to gain new features and users as it ramps up its plans for 2021.

          At the Scylla Summit 2021 virtual event which ran from Jan. 12-14, ScyllaDB CEO Dor Laor shared new features and the roadmap for the NoSQL database’s future.

          A key part of ScyllaDB’s roadmap is Project Circe, a yearlong initiative that aims to bring new performance and consistency to the database. The Summit was also highlighted by multiple users that outlined their ScyllaDB deployments, including Ticketmaster, Expedia Group, Zillow and GE Healthcare.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate Ready for Testing Ahead of the Early February Release

          LibreOffice 7.1 is the next major release of the beloved and free office suite used by millions of computer users worldwide, and it’s been in development for more than five months. Now, two months after the beta release, the RC (Release Candidate) milestone is ready for public testing.

          So if you want to help shape the future of the open source LibreOffice office suite and give The Document Foundation’s QA (Quality Assurance) community a helping hand to make sure LibreOffice 7.1 is a rock-solid release, go ahead and download the Release Candidate (RC1) installers for DEB- or RPM-based distros, as well as the source tarball, from the official website.

      • CMS

        • 20 years of Drupal: Founder Dries Buytaert on API first, the end of breaking compatibility, and JavaScript bloat

          Content management system Drupal is 20 years old, prompting its founder to talk to about its evolving role, why it shifted from a policy of breaking compatibility with each release, and concerns about JavaScript bloat causing issues for those with poor connectivity.

          “When I started Drupal 20 years ago I built it for myself, for me with my friends,” Buytaert told us. That was at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2000. He wrote a small message board. When he graduated he put it on the web, intending to call it dorp, which is Dutch for village. He mistyped it as drop, creating drop.org. Drupal is derived from the English pronunciation of druppel, Dutch for drop.

          Buytaert is now project lead for Drupal and CTO of Acquia, a cloud platform for marketing sites.

      • FSF

        • Celebrating the FSF’s 35th anniversary: Stories from the Licensing and Compliance Lab

          Since 2001, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) Licensing and Compliance Lab has provided the legal muscle to defend free software, and has supported software users, programmers, legal professionals, and activists who want their software to remain free. FSF representatives had done copyleft enforcement before this, but the founding of the Lab was a big step toward formalizing and organizing this work. You may have already read licensing and compliance manager Donald Robertson’s comprehensive accounting of the current functions of the team, but today, following our thirty-fifth anniversary celebration, we’re taking a look back at the role this team has played over the course of the FSF’s thirty-five year-long history, and some milestones along the way.

          Like the other accounts written for this series, which focused on the campaigns team and the tech team’s histories, this is far from a complete story of the FSF’s licensing work: there are important milestones that we were barely able to touch upon, and important people involved whose stories and voices aren’t represented here. It’s also possible that some details may have been missed or lost to time.

      • Programming/Development

        • 12 Useful Free and Open Source Git Tools

          Git is an open source distributed version control system which was originally designed by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in 2005 for Linux kernel development. This control system is widely used by the open source community, handling small to extremely large projects with an emphasis on speed and efficiency, but maintaining flexibility, scalability, and guaranteeing data integrity.

          Git is one of a number of open source revision control systems available for Linux. Git is frequently regarded by many developers to be the finest version control tool available.

          Most Linux distributions offer lots of secondary tools that add additional functionality. Like many things in Linux, the choice can be bamboozling. This article seeks to help identify tools which we’ve found to be very useful. They should be a good addition to maximise the benefits of using Git.

        • Better Fujitsu A64FX Support Arrives For GCC, LLVM Clang Compilers – Phoronix

          The high performance Fujitsu A64FX ARM processor now has the possibility of performing even better if relying upon the upstream open-source compilers from GCC and LLVM.

          The Fujitsu A64FX, which powers the “Fugaku” supercomputer among other accomplishments, has seen open-source compiler work going back a year while now the latest upstream GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) and LLVM Clang are seeing more complete support.

        • 4 DevOps books to read this year | Opensource.com

          We have just entered 2021, and DevOps will become much more relevant. It is smack dab in the spotlight given that the world is experiencing a pandemic and businesses are fighting to stay digitally relevant and competitive.

        • Vger security analysis

          I would like to share about Vger internals in regards to how the security was thought to protect vger users and host systems.

        • After years of dithering companies are embracing automation

          Bosses have boasted of automating their operations for years without an awful lot to show for it. Covid-19 has spurred them to put their money where their mouths are. Hernan Saenz of Bain, a consultancy, reckons that between now and 2030 American firms will invest $10trn in automation. Nigel Vaz, chief executive of Publicis Sapient, a big digital consultancy, says that the downturn offers bosses the perfect cover. “The unrelenting pressure for short-term financial results from investors has temporarily been suspended,” he says. “Firms are not just going back pre-pandemic, but completely reimagining how they work,” says Susan Lund, co-author of a forthcoming report from the McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank. A recent survey by the institute’s sister consultancy found that two-thirds of global firms are doubling down on automation.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: Rcpp 1.0.6: Some Updates

          The Rcpp team is proud to announce release 1.0.6 of Rcpp which arrived at CRAN earlier today, and has been uploaded to Debian too. Windows and macOS builds should appear at CRAN in the next few days. This marks the first release on the new six-months cycle announced with release 1.0.5 in July. As reminder, interim ‘dev’ or ‘rc’ releases will often be available in the Rcpp drat repo; this cycle there were four.

          Rcpp has become the most popular way of enhancing R with C or C++ code. As of today, 2174 packages on CRAN depend on Rcpp for making analytical code go faster and further (which is an 8.5% increase just since the last release), along with 207 in BioConductor.

        • Python

          • Python PIP Complete guide

            Python is a trendy programming language that comes with tons of libraries and modules. To install these libraries, you can install them using their wheel file or use any library manager.

            PIP is a python library that stands for PHP Install Packages or Preferred Installer Program that helps you install, remove, and upgrade all other libraries without reinventing wheel files every time when you install new packages.

            Today, we guide you on using PIP to install, reinstall, remove, and manage all other libraries with this single library.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Use Bash Strict Mode (Unless You Love Debugging)

            Let’s start with the punchline. Your bash scripts will be more robust, reliable and maintainable if you start them like this:

            	#!/bin/bash
            	set -euo pipefail
            	IFS=$'\n\t'
             

            I call this the unofficial bash strict mode. This causes bash to behave in a way that makes many classes of subtle bugs impossible. You’ll spend much less time debugging, and also avoid having unexpected complications in production.

            There is a short-term downside: these settings make certain common bash idioms harder to work with. Most have simple workarounds, detailed below: jump to Issues & Solutions. But first, let’s look at what these obscure lines actually do.

        • Java

  • Leftovers

    • A Thief and the Guru: A 2021 New Year’s Tale

      Garry once said to me, “One guru is worth a hundred thieves.”

      I said, “What do you mean? Why would you compare a guru to a thief?”

    • Esports’ Wild 2020 Ride Culminates In 69 Percent Growth And A Continuing Rising Trend

      While we had covered the rise and growth of esports for several years now, readers here will recognize that 2020 became something of an inflection point for the industry. The reasons for this are fairly obvious: the cultural shutdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — one that shuttered nearly all IRL athletic competition — left a vacuum for viewership of competition that esports was almost perfectly situated to gobble up. Viewership exploded, as did the number of esports events. Meanwhile, the trend for IRL sports leagues, teams, and associated industries investing in esports ramped up considerably.

    • San Francisco Sees Budget Gaps as Highly-Paid Workers Flee City

      San Francisco officials expect to see budget shortfalls reaching $503 million in five years and said it’s unclear if high-wage workers will return to the technology hub after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

      In a report released Friday by the city’s fiscal analysts, San Francisco projected a $411 million gap in the next fiscal year. Through June 2026 from June 2021, expenditures, driven by increases in salary and compensation costs, will rise by 24% with revenue growing only by 15.5% over the same period. Meanwhile, city officials have largely exhausted one-time sources to close the previous two-year budget gap of $1.5 billion, the report said.

    • They Can’t Leave the Bay Area Fast Enough

      That’s where the story of the Bay Area’s latest tech era is ending for a growing crowd of tech workers and their companies. They have suddenly movable jobs and money in the bank — money that will go plenty further somewhere else.

      But where? The No. 1 pick for people leaving San Francisco is Austin, Texas, with other winners including Seattle, New York and Chicago, according to moveBuddha, a site that compiles data on moving. Some cities have even set up recruiting programs to lure them to new homes. Miami’s mayor has even been inviting tech people to move there in his Twitter posts.

      I talked to more than two dozen tech executives and workers who have left San Francisco for other parts of the country over the last year, like a young entrepreneur who moved home to Georgia and another who has created a community in Puerto Rico. Here are some of their stories.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Fact check: As Wikipedia turns 20, how credible is it?

        Rulsch said quality must be gauged by individual indicators. He said a large number of contributors alone did not necessarily translate to quality content. An article that was initially “researched in detail” and factually sound would not always benefit from several changes and addenda. Moreover, it is not easy to rapidly call up the number of authors in every language version, he said. So, it is not easy to measure the quality of Wikipedia according to a formula.

      • Australia warns universities’ foreign ties may be ‘lobbying’

        Australian universities’ international partnerships face pressure from yet another quarter, after the federal attorney-general’s department signalled that any links with foreign governments or their agencies could be interpreted as lobbying on their behalf.

        The department has warned that universities could be flouting a legal obligation to declare activities that they perform on behalf of “foreign principals” by logging those activities on a government register. In a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, the department flagged a potential crackdown.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Would You Patent the Sun? Polio Vaccine Inventor Jonas Salk’s Son Urges More Access to COVID Vaccine

        The total number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. is set to top 400,000 before Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, but rollout of coronavirus vaccines has been slow, with many describing a vexing amount of red tape standing between them and the shot. We look at the development and distribution of another vaccine during the polio epidemic in the 1950s with Dr. Peter Salk, a physician and professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh, whose father, Dr. Jonas Salk, developed the first polio vaccine and famously declined to patent his invention. “The rest of the world and the countries that are less able to afford vaccines need consideration, as well,” says Dr. Salk. “There needs to be a creative cooperation among all of us, including the businesses, in order to find ways to satisfy the needs of these other countries.”

      • Promised Vaccine Stockpile Doesn’t Even Exist? Governors Demand Trump ‘Answer Immediately for This Deception’

        States “thought they were getting more doses and they planned for more doses and opened up to 65 and up, thinking they were getting more.”

      • Trump Accused of Trying to ‘Inflict as Much Harm as Possible’ With Billions in Global Health Funding Cuts During Pandemic

        “These rescissions are filled with damaging and irrational cuts to programs critical in the fight against Covid-19.”

      • In Face of Trump Failures, Health Experts Welcome Biden’s Choice to Take Over Covid-19 Vaccine Effort

        “The nation and the world need someone of Dr. Kessler’s caliber to deal with the remaining, colossal challenges with coronavirus vaccines,” said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman. 

      • Have Covid, Will Travel

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • The Trump Administration Promised States a Vaccine Reserve That Doesn’t Exist
      • Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ?

        Why is Peter Doshi still an associate editor for The BMJ? I keep asking that question, but no one seems able to answer it.

      • Biden Urged to Ramp Up Vaccination Effort as CDC Warns New, More Contagious Coronavirus Variant Could Soon Become Dominant in US

        “We’ve got to accelerate vaccine rollout STAT,” stressed one physician on Biden’s Covid-19 task force. 

      • Keri Leigh Merritt on the New Lost Cause, Elisabeth Rosenthal on Troubled Vaccine Rollout
      • Memphis-Area Residents Without Internet Must Wait Days for Vaccination Appointments, While Others Go to the Front of the Line

        MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Last Friday afternoon’s email had good news: The state of Tennessee confirmed it would send the Shelby County Health Department an allotment of the vaccine each week in January. Eligible residents, including a range of health care workers and people 75 and older, could schedule an appointment online starting immediately, the SCHD said.

        But those who needed to register by phone would have to wait two and a half days, until Monday morning, to call a designated number.

      • Polio Vaccine Inventor Jonas Salk’s Son Urges More Access to COVID Vaccination
      • Why Are People Going Hungry in India Despite a Massive Grain Surplus?

        One of their arguments is that the kisans from the states of Punjab and Haryana are caught in a ‘cereal trap’ where they keep producing cereals that are not very profitable for them and of which the country now has a surplus because they are lured by the provision of a minimum support price (MSP) that reduces their risk. Sometimes the argument is put differently: the Punjab and Haryana kisans have to move away from MSP-supported activities to other more lucrative ones, for which Modi, perhaps precipitately, is providing a way through his three agriculture laws.

        This entire position, apart from echoing the demand of advanced countries, and supporting the Modi government implicitly or explicitly, also shows the same contempt for kisans as shown by the government; these intellectuals are of the view that a bunch of ignoramuses cannot see what is good for them, but Modi can. But let us ignore the motives and prejudices of these intellectuals and just examine their argument.

      • Here We Go Again: Botching the Vaccine Rollout

        For anyone who thought this was going to be a snap, all I can say is that was the triumph of hope over experience, and we got our experience with covid testing. The Trump regime thoroughly flubbed that. It was catastrophic and heavily contributed to the nearly 400,000 Americans dead from this pandemic and the over 22 million infected. So now you think the same officials (some implicated in fascist insurrection) who brought us that calamity are going to vaccinate us with dispatch? The Trump regime already proved it’s the modern-day keystone cops. Now it just made the same point – again.

        After 2.1 million Americans got a first injection, “more than 9.3 million doses lay waiting to be shot into American arms,” wrote Brian Kahn in earther last month. “The administration promised to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of December.” Surprise! They didn’t. Nowhere close. Why not? Well, for one obvious reason – somebody has to pay for vaccine delivery. That somebody is the states. But the Trump regime and the Scrooges in the GOP object ON PRINCIPLE to giving money to the states – evidently even for vaccinations. You never know how those profligate governors might squander federal funds…they might even, um, vaccinate lots of people! Then where would we be?

      • Twitter Suspends Account of Russian COVID Vaccine Citing Attempted US Hack

        The Twitter account of the Russian COVID-19 “Sputnik V” vaccine was suspended yesterday after the Silicon Valley-based platform detected suspicious attempts to log into it. Raising more eyebrows was the stated location of the attempted hack: not Russia, but Virginia, U.S.A. 

      • The Shortage of Black Physicians is a Legacy of Racism and Class-Based Discrimination

        The basketball legend pointed out that, “Black babies survive more often under the care of Black doctors than white …  Black people have a reasonable trust issue with the medical profession dating back to the Tuskegee Experiment.” He explained that U.S. government physicians, studying the natural progression of syphilis, administered inert material to Black men rather than actually treat them.

        He regards U.S. healthcare as a “more insidious and damaging threat to the health, lives, and economic well-being of Black Americans” than police brutality. He indicates that, “Black men have the lowest life expectancy of any demographic group, living an average of 4.5 years less than white men.”

      • Massachusetts City Moves to Decriminalize Natural Psychedelics

        While the resolution makes enforcing psychedelic use among adults a low priority, it does not call for the commercial sale of psychedelics. It also does not authorize possession or distribution near schools, nor driving while under the influence. Additionally, any city-wide decriminalization law would ultimately be superseded by state and federal rules regarding psychedelics.

      • The government spent £63,000 on influencer marketing for Test and Trace

        In August of last year, media outlets reported that a number of social media influencers had been paid to post about the government’s Test and Trace service.

        Full Fact asked the Cabinet Office how much was spent on this type of marketing, via a Freedom of Information Request. It told us that £63,000 was spent paying 42 social media influencers to post about Test and Trace. This amounts to £1,500 per influencer on average, although their payment is likely to vary depending on how large their following is.

      • Former Michigan governor and other officials charged over Flint water crisis

        However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is safe to wash hands and bathe with unfiltered water, but urges against cooking or brushing teeth with it.

      • Throw the Book at Rick Snyder for Poisoning Flint’s Water

        For the duration of his two terms in office, Snyder was hell-bent on selling off public wealth for private profit, a reckless and deeply unpopular program that was only possible because he effectively suspended democratic government for the majority of the state’s black residents.

        Specifically, he used a Michigan law allowing the governor to appoint “emergency managers” over school districts and cities. Emergency managers were legally accountable only to Snyder and had essentially dictatorial powers to overrule democratically elected officials, cancel contracts, and sell public goods to private capitalists.

        Under Snyder, the cities of Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Flint, and Detroit — which together comprise the majority of the state’s black population — were all under emergency management, along with some of their school districts.

      • Ice cream reportedly ‘tests positive’ for COVID-19
    • Integrity/Availability

      • How I hijacked the top-level domain of a sovereign state

        Note: This issue has been resolved and the .cd ccTLD no longer sends NS delegations to the compromised domain.

        TL;DR: Imagine what could happen if the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) of a sovereign state fell into the wrong hands. Here’s how I (@Almroot) bought the domain name used in the NS delegations for the ccTLD of the Democratic Republic of Congo (.cd) and temporarily took over 50% of all DNS traffic for the TLD that could have been exploited for MITM or other abuse.

      • Proprietary

        • GitHub still won’t explain if it fired someone for saying ‘Nazi,’ and employees are pissed

          The current conflict began the day of the riots in Washington, DC when a Jewish employee told co-workers: “stay safe homies, nazis are about.” Some colleagues took offense to the language, although neo-Nazi organizations were, in fact, present at the riots. One engineer responded: “This is untasteful conduct for workplace [in my opinion], people have the right to protest period.”

        • Amazon Web Services opens first office in Greece

          It said services covered areas from big data analytics and mobile, web and social media applications to enterprise business applications and the internet of things.

        • Critical Microsoft Defender Bug Actively Exploited; Patch Tuesday Offers 83 Fixes

          Researchers believe the vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2021-1647, has been exploited for the past three months and was leveraged by hackers as part of the massive SolarWinds attack. Last month, Microsoft said state-sponsored hackers had compromised its internal network and leveraged additional Microsoft products to conduct further attacks.

          Affected versions of Microsoft Malware Protection Engine range from 1.1.17600.5 to 1.1.17700.4 running on Windows 10, Windows 7 and 2004 Windows Server, according to the security bulletin.

        • Making Clouds Rain :: Remote Code Execution in Microsoft Office 365

          TL;DR; This post is a story on how I found and exploited CVE-2020-168751, a remote code execution vulnerability in Exchange Online and bypassed two different patches for the vulnerability. Exchange Online is part of the Office 365 suite that impacted multiple cloud servers operated by Microsoft that could have resulted in the access to millions of corporate email accounts.

        • Dropbox lays off 11% of its workforce as COO departs

          Dropbox in November provided revenue guidance of $497 million to $499 million for the fourth quarter. The company said at the time that it’s aiming to achieve margins of 28% to 30% in the long term.

        • Technical Error ‘Saw 150,000 U.K. Police Records Wiped’ From Databases

          Police have been asked to assess if there is a threat to public safety after it was revealed that thousands of police records were deleted in error, including data on fingerprints, DNA, and arrest histories.

          The error, first reported in the Times, saw 150,000 files lost, with fears it could mean offenders go free. A coding error is thought to have caused the earmarking of the files for deletion.

          The U.K. Home Office said the lost entries related to people who were arrested and then released without further action and no records of criminal or dangerous people had been deleted. Home secretary Priti Patel is now under pressure to explain the mistake, which the opposition Labour party said “presents huge dangers” for public safety.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Another Day, Another Location Data Privacy Scandal We’ll Probably Do Nothing About

              Another day, another location data scandal we probably won’t do anything about.

            • ‘Nationalize’ Facebook and Twitter as public goods

              Clearly, social media platforms have outgrown their initial mission due to their sheer size and the fact that they now constitute the “public square.” Indeed, as Barack Obama noted in 2017, social media platforms needed “to have a conversation about their business model that recognizes they are a public good as well as a commercial enterprise.”

              That conversation never got started until it was too late, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal made it abundantly clear that they are purely a commercial enterprise even as they provide a public service — but entirely on their terms. They operate in a twilight zone, protected by Section 230 against any liability. They exercise complete control over how to maximize revenues from their network even if it creates serious negative “externalities” such as polarization, inciting normal people into doing things such as riot that they might not otherwise do.

            • How to delete your Facebook account

              The company notes that it delays termination for a few days after it’s requested. If you log back in during that period, your deletion request will be canceled. So don’t sign on, or you’ll be forced to start the process over again. Certain things, like comments you’ve made on a friend’s post, may still appear even after you delete your account. Facebook also says that copies of certain items like log records will remain in its database, but it notes that those are disassociated with personal identifiers.

              If you’re really serious about quitting Facebook, remember that the company owns several other popular services as well, like Instagram and WhatsApp, so you should delete your accounts there, too.

            • Facebook is blocking events near the White House through Inauguration Day

              Facebook won’t let people create events that take place “in close proximity” to the White House, the US Capitol building, or any state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day, the company announced on Friday. The move builds upon Facebook’s previously announced Inauguration Day preparations aiming to prevent the platform from being used to organize a violent event like the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.

              Facebook is also doing a “secondary review” of all inauguration-related events and will remove those that violate the platform’s rules. The company is also continuing a policy that blocks pages and accounts based outside the US from creating events located in the US. That policy was first put in place for the US presidential election.

            • NZ central bank governor apologises after cyberattack resulted in serious data breach

              The head of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) apologised on Friday after a recent cyberattack led to a serious data breach at the central bank, and brought in an independent investigator to review the incident.

              The breach was first announced on Sunday and later in the week the RBNZ said a file sharing service provided by California-based Accellion was illegally accessed.

              The breach comes just months after New Zealand’s stock exchange operator was targeted in a series of distributed denial of service attacks that overwhelmed its website, preventing trading for several days.

            • Over 22 billion records exposed in data breaches in 2020: Report

              New Delhi: Over 22 billion records were exposed worldwide amid 730 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2020, a new report revealed on Friday.

              Thirty five percent of breaches were linked to ransomware attacks, resulting in tremendous financial cost, while 14 per cent of breaches were the result of email compromises, according to an analysis of breach data by cyber exposure company Tenable’s Security Response Team (SRT) from January through October last year.

            • App privacy labels show stark contrasts among messaging apps

              Forbes compared Signal, Apple’s own iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

            • Irish DPC settles Judicial Review and agrees to decide swiftly on Facebook’s EU-US transfers.

              The DPC has agreed with Max Schrems’ demand to swiftly end a 7.5 year battle over EU-US data transfers by Facebook and come to a decision on Facebook’s EU-US data flows. This only came after a Judicial Review against the DPC was filed by Mr Schrems. The case would have been heard by the Irish High Court today.

            • The Capitol Riot Was Bad Enough. New Domestic Terrorism Legislation Would Make It Even Worse

              One thing is certain: the failure to prevent the Capitol attack is not because of a lack of police powers or anti-terrorism measures. Still, some people have wasted no time hijacking the moment to advocate new domestic terrorism legislation. A lawmaker in the solidly Democratic state of Maryland has proposed a state domestic terrorism statute, and others are sure to follow.

              This is not the first time in recent memory that far-right violence has sparked calls for new domestic terrorism legislation. The general uptick in violence that has plagued the Trump years, including the horrific white supremacist shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, has produced a steady drumbeat of demands for a new domestic terrorism law. Joe Biden’s campaign website put him on record as backing a new domestic terrorism law, though it’s unclear where he currently stands.

              Some of these calls for new laws will come from well-meaning people aghast at the rising tide of right-wing political violence; others will come from power-hungry officials who know to never let a good crisis go to waste. Regardless of the intent, a new domestic terrorism law is a disastrous proposal. There is no shortage of criminal statutes covering domestic terrorism in the United States. And any such law would clearly hit groups far beyond the far right — particularly those on the Left.

            • Signal outage is keeping messages from sending

              Signal allows for secure and encrypted video, voice, and text communication, but users were greeted this morning with messages that failed to send. Signal confirmed the issue on its official [sic] Twitter account with the promise that it would “restore service as quickly as possible.”

            • 4 Best Alternatives to WhatsApp that Actually Respect Your Privacy – Make Tech Easier

              Signal is the open source chat client that’s the most supported and backed, based on the raving endorsement from notable, albeit somewhat controversial, privacy advocate Edward Snowden. He uses it every day, and it’s where many of the Internet’s private conversations take place. Signal strikes the perfect balance of private and still fun to use. If you’re looking for the alternative to WhatsApp that I’d personally most highly recommend, it would be Signal.

              In this age of Internet privacy, it’s becoming more and more clear that if there is no product, you and your data are the product. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take your privacy back into your own hands, starting with apps like these. If you enjoyed out list of the best WhatsApp alternatives, make sure you check out some other privacy related writeups, like I Have Nothing to Hide, So Why Should I Care About Privacy? and the best privacy focused browsers for Android.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Steve Talbot’s Cinematic Anti-War Hymns: Leave it to Beaver Actor Goes Behind the Camera

        Now, nearly 50 years after the end of the War in Vietnam, anti-war activists and organizers are reliving it, rethinking it, and experiencing it virtually all over again. In December 2020, radicals both old and young, gathered on Zoom to discuss The War at Home, a documentary by Glenn Silber that focuses on the decade-long protests that took place in Madison, Wisconsin and that targeted the Dow Chemical Company, which manufactured the napalm used against the Vietnamese.

        The Madison movement, which aimed to “make war” against the war makers themselves, culminated in August 1970 with the bombing at the Army Mathematics Research Center that led to the accidental death of Robert Fassnacht, a physicist. Karleton Armstrong, one of the bombers, appears on camera in The War at Home, as does former Madison mayor and anti-war activist, Paul Soglin who provides commentary and continuity.

      • The Political Class: At War with Each Other and on the Rest of Us

        Nearly 60 years later, two warring groups within the American political class seem resolutely determined to make “peaceful revolution” — by which JFK seems to have meant orderly democratic decision-making — impossible.

        Supporters of Donald Trump rejected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and, with his active if  deniably worded encouragement, rioted in a tantrum intended to overturn that election’s results.

      • From Charlottesville to the Capitol: Trump Fueled Right-Wing Violence. It May Soon Get Even Worse

        As security is ramped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S., the FBI is warning of more potential violence in the lead-up to Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Federal authorities have arrested over 100 people who took part in last week’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol, and The Washington Post reports that dozens of people on a terrorist watch list — including many white supremacists — were in Washington on the day of the insurrection. “This was something that had been coming for a long time,” ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who covers right-wing extremism, says of the January 6 riot. “If you looked at the rhetoric online … it was all about revolution, it was all about death to tyrants, it was all about civil war.”

      • A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation

        I’ve delayed writing deeper thoughts on the total deplatforming of Parler, in part because there was so much else happening (including some more timely posts about Parler’s lawsuit regarding it), but more importantly because for years I’ve been calling for people to think more deeply about content moderation at the infrastructure layer, rather than at the edge. Because those issues are much more complicated than the usual content moderation debates.

      • The Sahrawi Nakba in an Age of Insurrection

        The wild heart of this movement wasn’t in Washington or Moscow or even San Francisco. The tribal heartbeat came straight from the belly of the imperial beast in the Third World. White kids burned dollar bills beneath Vietcong flags as Victor Charlie offered to send choppers to Attica. Japanese punks jacked jetliners for Palestine and received a heroes welcome in the streets of Bethlehem when the PFLP added their release from Israeli custody to their list of demands. Algiers became the new San Francisco as Eldridge Cleaver turned skyjacking into a cottage industry and weird sugar daddies like Fidel Castro and Muamar Gaddafi spread the love to the darkest corners of the earth.

        One of these dark corners was Western Sahara, the last African colony. And this tiny piece of desert’s renegade Polisario Front comes from this era of revolutionary opportunity. Unlike many of their brethren, the Polisario Front neither burned out nor faded away. They simply kept up the good fight and built a nation out of sand and grit. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, founded in 1976, has kept up the good fight for the Sahrawi people and even earned the recognition of 84 UN member states, all while defending their very right of existence from an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing from their northern neighbors in the Kingdom of Morocco. All this hard work, blood, sweat and tears has recently been thrown into question however by a far less legitimate regime in Washington.

      • Opinion | Here We Go Again, But Now the Target Is Iran

        Two decades after invading Iraq for alleged links to al-Qaeda, the US now says Iran is the armed group’s ‘new home.’

      • Joe Biden Can Reverse Trump’s Warpath With China

        Soon-to-be President Joe Biden will instantly face a set of extraordinary domestic crises—a runaway pandemic, a stalled economy, and raw political wounds, especially from the recent Trumpian assault on the Capitol—but few challenges are likely to prove more severe than managing US relations with China. While generally viewed as a distant foreign-policy concern, that relationship actually looms over nearly everything, including the economy, the coronavirus, climate change, science and technology, popular culture, and cyberspace. If the new administration follows the course set by the preceding one, you can count on one thing: The United States will be drawn into an insidious new Cold War with that country, impeding progress in almost every significant field. To achieve any true breakthroughs in the present global mess, the Biden team must, above all else, avert that future conflict and find ways to collaborate with its powerful challenger. Count on one thing: Discovering a way to navigate this already mine-laden path will prove demanding beyond words for the most experienced policymakers in Biden’s leadership ensemble.

      • The 6th of January (The Battle of New Old Beans)
      • Russian prosecutors warn against gathering illegally at Moscow airport for Navalny’s arrival

        Moscow prosecutors have issued a warning on their website urging people not to take part in an “unauthorized mass event” at Vnukovo International Airport on the day opposition figure Alexey Navalny is set to return to Russia from Germany.

      • Moscow airport refuses journalists permission to cover Navalny’s arrival on Sunday

        Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport, where opposition figure Alexey Navalny is set to land on Sunday, January 17, will not be allowing journalists on its property to cover his arrival.

      • How CENTCOM Chief McKenzie manufactured an Iran crisis to increase his power
      • ‘Use your weapon’ Leaked recording implicates Lukashenko in authorizing use of lethal force against Belarusian protesters

        President Alexander Lukashenko authorized the Belarusian security forces to use lethal force against opposition protesters, according to an alleged recording of the country’s deputy interior minister obtained and published by the organization “By_Pol.” A self-described “union of the security forces of Belarus,” By_Pol is made up of ex-security officers who have defected to the opposition. In addition to disclosing Lukashenko’s alleged instructions to police officials, the newest recording leaked by the group reveals plans to build “resettlement” camps and apparently confirms that the special forces mortally wounded a protester in Minsk on the day after 2020 presidential elections.

      • Anti-Corruption Foundation member arrested on extremism charges

        Pavel Zelensky, a member of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has been remanded in custody on extremism charges until February 28.

      • Artificial intelligence: Frontex improves its maritime surveillance

        Frontex wants to use a new platform to automatically detect and assess „risks“ on the seas of the European Union. Suspected irregular activities are to be displayed in a constantly updated „threat map“ with the help of self-learning software.

      • Biden’s China Conundrum

        Even without the corrosive impacts of Donald Trump’s hostile diplomacy of recent years, China would pose an enormous challenge to any new administration. It boasts the world’s second-largest economy and, some analysts say, will soon overtake the United States to become number one. Though there are many reasons to condemn Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus, its tough nationwide clampdown (following its initial failure to acknowledge the very existence of the virus, no less the extent of its spread) allowed the country to recover from Covid-19 faster than most other nations.  As a result, Beijing has already reported strong economic growth in the second half of the year, the only major economy on the planet to do so. This means that China is in a more powerful position than ever to dictate the rules of the world economy, a situation confirmed by the European Union’s recent decision to sign a major trade and investment deal with Beijing, symbolically sidelining the United States just before the Biden administration enters office.

        After years of increasing its defense expenditures, China now also possesses the second most powerful military in the world, replete with modern weaponry of every sort. Although not capable of confronting the United States on the high seas or in far-flung locales, its military — the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA — is now in a position to challenge America’s longstanding supremacy in areas closer to home like the far western Pacific. Not since Japan’s imperial expansion in the 1930s and early 1940s has Washington faced such a formidable foe in that part of the world.

      • QAnon Trump Supporter Jacob Chansley Seeks Pardon From Trump for Capitol Breach
      • Libya and Russia: NATO spy drones fly first missions

        Western military forces have stationed seven GLOBAL HAWK on Sicily. Unlike US Air Force drones, NATO switches off their transponders during missions

      • Court Rules Palestinian Filmmaker Must Pay Damages To Israeli Soldier Who Took Part in Massacre

        In a particularly draconian decision, an Israeli court has ruled that the documentary film “Jenin, Jenin” will be banned from screening in Israel. Additionally, all copies of the film must be collected and destroyed. The court went even further and ordered producer, director, and actor Mohammad Bakri, the man behind the film which documents the Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp, must pay damages to an Israeli officer who participated in the massacre and appears in the film for about five seconds. 

      • Heightening Risk of Accidental Nuclear War, Russia Follows Trump’s Lead and Withdraws From Open Skies Treaty

        Moscow is reportedly willing to reverse its decision to pull out if the U.S. rejoins the pact credited with helping to prevent nuclear war.

      • Will the Senate Confirm Coup Plotter Nuland?

        Nor do they know that from 2003-2005, during the hostile U.S. military occupation of Iraq, Nuland was a foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney, the Darth Vader of the Bush administration.

        You can bet, however, that the people of Ukraine have heard of neocon Nuland. Many have even heard the leaked four-minute audio of her saying “Fuck the EU” during a 2014 phone call with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

      • A (Not-So-New) Profile of the American Right: On the Authoritarian-Fascist Crisis

        Social scientists have long warned about the problem of “asymmetric polarization” in the United States, with the bulk of growing political extremism happening on the American right, rather than on the left. This one-sided polarization is observed in numerous academic studies, documenting the concentration of authoritarianism on the American right, via rising extremism in Republican Party politics, and related to the growing propensity of the right to use violence. My own research utilizing public opinion surveys reinforces the asymmetric polarization finding, as consumption of right-wing media is far more strongly associated with pulling Americans news consumers to the right than consumption of liberal media content is in pulling Americans to the left.

        The large majority of mainstream journalists, public intellectuals, and scholars working in the field of fascism studies, have all been careful over the years to avoid characterizing Trump or U.S. politics as fascistic. Only a handful of scholars and other intellectuals, for example Henry Giroux, Jason Stanley, Carl Boggs, Paul Street, and a few others, have been sounding the fascism alarm bell for the last few years. These people were largely ignored by mainstream public intellectuals and scholars, despite recognizing the dangers of what’s been happening in real time.

      • Roaming Charges: Do Me Two Times, I’m Goin’ Away

        + After all, Rome wasn’t sacked in a day…

        + There are increasing calls for Nuremberg-like trials against the leaders of the coup plot. And why not? Just remember that the US ended up hiring more Nazis than they prosecuted. (See Operation Paperclip, et al.) And that will almost certainly be the case with this lot of cosplaying insurrectionists…

      • QAnon’s Afterlife: A Holy Civil War

        Meantime, their enigmatic prophet/insider Q hasn’t posted in over a month, and only the fourth dropping since Election Day (compare that to the average of over 130 per month over the three-year run). How do we reconcile this silence with its mob prominence? I would venture to say that QAnon goes on because it has disappeared into and become the crowd. QAnon’s mission is over and it has been a successful one at that. But what comes in its wake could be much worse.

        To put it simply, QAnon provided Trump loyalists with a transcendent narrative, moral certitude, hostile enemy, and unit cohesion. QAnon sought to mobilize a mass to “change the narrative” in accordance with a putative military operation. Its redpilling phase (The Great Awakening) is now over, as it successfully won over a sufficient number of hearts and minds. The Storm is here now, and that phase of the mission is different, as we’ll see below.

      • Why There Was No People’s Rebellion Against a Fascist U.S. President: Nine Reasons

        Last Friday’s New York Times included Paul Krugman’s elementarily accurate editorial observation that “Donald Trump…is indeed a fascist – an authoritarian willing to use violence to achieve his racial nationalist goals. So are many of his supporters. If you had any doubts,” Krugman rightly argued, the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol (by a frenzied mob of fascists directly instigated by Donald Trump and his Big fascist Lie that the 2020 election was stolen!) “should have ended them.”

        Some of us lost our doubts about that long ago. In May of 2016, the liberal New Yorker commentator Adam Gopnik issued what turned out to be a prophetic warning seven months before Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton:

      • A Yemeni Famine Made in Washington and Riyadh

        Branding the Houthis as terrorists will make it vastly more difficult for humanitarian groups to deliver desperately needed food, fuel, and medicine to 24 million Yemenis, 80% of the country’s population.  Most of the Yemenis who need aid, including 12 million children, live in Houthi-controlled areas.  Aid agencies, which are forced to coordinate their activity with the Houthis, must now fear being subject to legal sanctions.

        The UN has called Yemen the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” and rightly so.  A cholera epidemic and the coronavirus have added to the suffering caused by the war.  Even before the Houthi insurgency against the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which began in 2014, Yemen was the Arab world’s poorest country.  Six years of war have intensified Yemen’s suffering.  Ten million Yemenis are “at risk” of famine, according to Human Rights Watch.  UN Secretary General António Guterres declares that “Yemen is now in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen in decades.”  This could happen within “a few short months,” David Beasley, UN World Food Programme Executive Director, said in November.

      • One big mystery remains unsolved: Why was the Capitol left unguarded?

        I have tried to consider the possibility that it was just gross incompetence. But no one could really be that incompetent.

        So at this point, in the absence of any other plausible explanations, it is more than reasonable to assume that the people making decisions about Capitol Police deployment that day felt kinship with the Trump mob, and either were too racist to see the threat posed by Trump supporters or looked the other way on purpose.

      • Social media is new superpower

        By banning the most powerful man in the world, Twitter has essentially conducted a world coup! Only world leaders are feeling this already, and they have basically now been put on notice that Social media, born as “New Media” at the dawn of the new millennium, is now the “New Power.” And Twitter might have just initiated the collapse of the house of cards of the Old World Order.

      • The Giant Corporate Giant Slush Fund Bankrolling the Extremist GOP

        Halting PAC donations while doing nothing to stop corporate titans’ bigger super PAC donations is a head fake: The maneuver lets companies clean their reputations by pretending they are taking decisive actions to punish insurrectionist Republicans, even though they will not stop corporate officials from recapitalizing the slush fund that those lawmakers will rely on for reelection. And the vast majority of these companies do not publicly disclose if and when they make donations to dark money groups that also spend on elections.

        The bait and switch is underscored by the data: SLF and CLF together raised more than $578 million to support Republican lawmakers in the 2020 election, while their affiliated dark money nonprofits, One Nation and American Action Network, spent another $50 million on unregulated TV ads, according to OpenSecrets.

      • The Massacre in Dersim Still Haunts Kurds in Turkey

        A reporter for Jacobin traveled to the Kurdish province of Dersim to investigate the recent discovery of a mass grave from a 1937 massacre. But far from being forgotten, it’s an atrocity that still haunts the region today, with millions of Kurds in Turkey struggling for freedom against Erdoğan’s latest crackdown.

      • ‘Thoughts and Prayers to the NRA’: Reviled Gun Lobby Group Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

        “The world will be a better place when the NRA is finally destroyed. Looks like that day is closer.”

      • NRA files for bankruptcy
      • ‘Major violations’ of international law at Tigray refugee camps
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • What’s Happening to ‘The Chicago Reporter’?

        You may never have heard of The Chicago Reporter.

      • Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Australia’s Complicity

        Payne insists on objective distance from the proceedings. “Australia is not a party to the case and will continue to respect the ongoing legal process, including the UK justice system’s consideration of applications for release, or any appeals.” Superficial regard for due process is thereby preserved and acknowledged.

        What follows from the statement is a cover excusing the feeble efforts by Australian governments over the years of all stripes to assist Assange in his monumental battle against the US imperium and the proxy torments inflicted by Britain and Sweden. “We have made 19 offers of consular assistance to Mr Assange since 2019 that have gone unanswered. We will continue to offer consular support.”

      • Mueller Found No ‘Conspiracy’ Between WikiLeaks, Trump and Russia. So Why Didn’t We Hear About it?

        Despite the flurry of reporting from the mainstream press suggesting that WikiLeaks and its publisher conspired with foreign actors to ‘interfere’ in the 2016 US presidential elections, unredacted pages of the Mueller Report revealed that officials never found sufficient evidence to even charge Julian Assange.

      • America’s Biggest Owner Of Farmland Is Now Bill Gates

        After years of reports that he was purchasing agricultural land in places like Florida and Washington, The Land Report revealed that Gates, who has a net worth of nearly $121 billion according to Forbes, has built up a massive farmland portfolio spanning 18 states. His largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). Additionally, he has a stake in 25,750 acres of transitional land on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, which is being developed as a new suburb.

        According to The Land Report’s research, the land is held directly and through third-party entities by Cascade Investments, Gates’ personal investment vehicle. Cascade’s other investments include food-safety company Ecolab, used-car retailer Vroom and Canadian National Railway.

        While it may be surprising that a tech billionaire would also be the biggest farmland owner in the country, this is not Gates’ only foray into agriculture. In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $306 million in grants to promote high-yield, sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The foundation has further invested in the development and proliferation of “super crops” resistant to climate change and higher-yield dairy cows. Last year, the organization announced Gates Ag One, a nonprofit to advance those efforts.

      • Bill Gates: America’s Top Farmland Owner

        Yet farmland assets aren’t the sole component of the Gateses’ landholdings. In 2017, Cascade Investment bought a “significant stake” in 24,800 acres of transitional land on the western edge of Phoenix, the most populous city in Arizona and the 10th largest metropolitan area in the country. The acreage sits off Interstate 10, and it is poised to be accessible by Interstate 11, a proposed highway that would traverse 5 miles of the 40-square-mile holding. At buildout, the Belmont development will create a brand-new metropolis, one similar in size to the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, home to Arizona State University and almost 200,000 residents. According to The Arizona Republic, Belmont is projected to include up to 80,000 homes; 3,800 acres of industrial, office, and retail space; 3,400 acres of open space; and 470 acres for public schools.

    • Environment

      • Opinion | Impeached Twice, Trump’s Presidency Was a Climate Disaster

        The world burned on Trump’s watch, leaving behind a horrendous lasting environmental legacy.

      • 2020 Is Tied for the Hottest Year on Record, NASA Says
      • Opinion | How the Biden-Harris Administration Can Fight Climate Change and Structural Racism

        Addressing the root causes of climate change and structural racism means equity must be core to the framework for action.

      • Overheated Earth can slow plants’ carbon storage

        For vast tracts of forest and savannah, the heat could rise too far for plants’ carbon storage abilities to go on working.

      • Opinion | Questions “Too Puny” for Our Dire Circumstances

        The unanswered question is whether we have the political will to do what is required to prevent Earth’s climate from spiraling out of control.

      • Energy

        • Total Quits Fossil Fuel Lobby Group the American Petroleum Institute Over Climate Change

          “We are committed to ensuring, in a transparent manner, that the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the Group in the fight against climate change,” Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s chief executive, said in a statement.

        • Oil Industry’s Public Climate Denial Campaign Dates Back to at Least 1980, Nearly a Decade Earlier Than Previously Thought

          API “was promulgating false and misleading information about climate change in 1980, nearly a decade earlier than previously known,” wrote Benjamin Franta, a JD/PhD candidate at Stanford University’s Law School and Department of History, in a new peer-reviewed paper published this month in Environmental Politics.

        • Last Trump Sale of Public Lands for Fracking Prompts Outrage and Hope

          That’s because today marks the last federal oil and gas lease sale to be held under the Trump administration. The sale involves nearly 7,000 acres of public lands in New Mexico, where the oil and gas industry has aggressively demanded the right to frack the sacred Greater Chaco region and pushed to drill at unprecedented levels in the Permian Basin.

          Under Trump, these sales of public lands for fracking in New Mexico have drawn widespread and persistent condemnationfrom elected officials, Tribes, youth, communities, and many others. In fact, throughout the American West, the administration’s attempts to liquidate public lands to the oil and gas industry have spurred intense pushback and numerous court rebukes.

        • The Line in Saudi Arabia is an urbanist’s dream

          The proposed city within Neom, a high-tech development planned for Saudi Arabia’s north-west coast, would carve a 170km-long (106-mile) ribbon across the desert (see map). There would be no fights over congestion charges or parking regulations because there would be no cars, nor even streets for cars to drive on.

          Instead it would be an urbanist’s dream, with residents able to reach whatever they need within a five-minute walk. For the average person that is a distance of around 400 metres, shorter than two blocks in Manhattan but apparently long enough for everything from schools to clinics and parks. The brochure is silent on the weather: summer temperatures in the region hover around a not-so-walkable 40°C.

        • Saudi Crown Prince Plans Car-Free City for Future Beyond Oil

          Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced his latest plan for Saudi Arabia’s future beyond oil: a linear city with no cars, roads or carbon emissions.

          The 170 kilometer-long (106 miles) development called “The Line” will be part of the $500 billion Neom project, the crown prince said in a televised speech on Sunday. Construction is planned to start in the first quarter.

        • Saudi crown prince says kingdom offers $6 trillion investment opportunities over next decade – state news agency

          PIF will finance 85% of these opportunities along with the Saudi private sector, while the remaining financing will come from capital investments from investors in the Gulf and globally, Saudi Press Agency said, quoting the prince’s speech.

          The PIF is the cornerstone investor in a number of mega projects including a high-tech economic zone dubbed NEOM planned for an area close to the size of Belgium, an entertainment park outside Riyadh called Qiddiya being built on a site 2-1/2 times larger than Disney World, and a luxury tourist resort off the Red Sea coast that will span 50 islands.

          This week, Prince Mohammed unveiled plans to build a zero-carbon city at NEOM, with infrastructure costs of $100 billion to $200 billion.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Public Lands Restoration Apocalypse

          BLM’s falsely named “restoration” focuses on woody plant destruction projects that turn beautiful wild places into dirt, grass and often flammable weeds. The beneficiaries of this mammoth taxpayer-funded wildlife habitat destruction scheme will be the 18,000 public lands Welfare Ranchers who have the revocable privilege of holding federal grazing permits. The EIS is a surefire way for cattlemen to maneuver for increased grazing, especially if the “restored” sites become infested with flammable cheatgrass or other weeds. After BLM smashes sagebrush or grinds pine nut forests into wood chips under its new EIS, the agency can turn right around and intensify livestock use in a “targeted grazing treatment” by claiming cows will reduce flammable weeds generated by the project.

          Targeted Grazing – A Cattlemen Con from the Get-go, Tied to the Public Land Grab Effort

        • Offshore Wind Power Is Ready to Boom. Here’s What That Means for Wildlife
        • Mismanagement and the Domestication of Yellowstone Bison

          Members of Congress must join us in ending the taxpayer-funded and government-driven slaughter of bison and direct the National Park and National Forest to permit bison the freedom to roam the ecosystem as the wildlife they are. Montana, via Montana Code Annotated § 81-2-120, has been the driving force hindering wild bison restoration beyond Yellowstone National Park on millions of acres of National Forest lands. For decades Montana has held bison management captive under the control of the state’s livestock department.

          Today, federal and state agencies are seemingly trapped in a paradigm that there is no room for our National Mammal on our public lands. Under existing management priorities, Americans are witnessing the annual slaughter and quarantine of the only continuously-wild herd of bison in the lower 48 states. That is a travesty we must halt. Of the hundreds of thousands of bison across the country, only the few thousand bison living in and around Yellowstone National Park are true wildlife. Americans are being led to believe bison can only survive as a remnant population belonging within national park boundaries, behind a fence, or dead. This notion is not founded in science or fact.

        • Globe at Night 2021: Can You See the Stars?

          Globe at Night will be collecting observations all twelve months of the year. This large set of measurements will be compared to measurements from prior years in the same month to provide a comprehensive view of the changes to the night sky quality worldwide. See all of the dates below: [...]

    • Finance

      • AOC Criticizes Biden’s Stimulus Plan, Says $1,400 Payments Should Be Full $2,000
      • Homeless Encampment Evictions Highlight the Cruelty of Capitalism Amid COVID
      • Capital, the US Two-Party System and the Chicken Coup

        Compromise was possible in this context.  But as the settlement of the West continued, the issue of slavery became THE divisive issue in the country.  Ironically, American expansionism that has been a part of our history since its inception resulted in the Mexican War, which was supported overwhelmingly by Democrats, and opened vast new territories for settlement that was accelerated by the California gold rush. Along with this westward movement came the question of what system would be established in these new territories – slavery or “free labor.” Southern slaveowners wanted access to the new lands (cotton exhausted the soil) and protection for their “peculiar” property.  Northern workers and farmers desired these lands and did not want them taken up by huge plantations; nor did they wish to compete with slave labor there or in the gold fields (where they were more than willing to slaughter the Native Americans who had lived on these coveted lands for millennia.)

        Slavery in the West divided the elites and ended in the formation of a new, almost exclusively sectional party, the Republicans, whose aim was to forbid slavery in the Mexican cession territories (while leaving it alone where it already existed) and as Lincoln said, “put it on the course of ultimate extinction.” Lincoln’s Republicans won the 1860 election and the South seceded. No more compromise! The easy conquest and detachment of Mexican territory led to an unintended consequence: the most destructive conflict in our history, the Civil War!

      • US Fast Food Workers Strike, Demanding Congress #RaiseTheWage to $15 an Hour and Union Rights

        “As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office,” said one McDonald’s worker, “we’re urging the nation’s leaders to pass a $15 minimum wage in the first 100 days of the new administration.”

      • Sunrise Movement to Rally in NYC, Chicago, Calling on Senate Dems to Tackle Pandemic and Unemployment Crises

        The youth-led climate action group called on Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin to use their new majority “to deliver on the needs of the people who backed their victory.”

      • CEOs Should Pay for Their Own Three Martini Lunches

        Their work paid off in the 11th-hour COVID-19 relief deal Congress passed late last year. Buried in the details of this modest aid plan is a provision to give executives unlimited tax deductions for their business meals for two years.

        That’s how it worked back in the 1970s, when presidential candidate George McGovern had this to say about it: “There’s something fundamentally wrong with the tax system,” he said, “when it allows a corporate executive to deduct his $20 martini lunch while a working man cannot deduct the price of his bologna sandwich.”

      • Obama Didn’t Close the Racial Wealth Divide, Will Biden?

        This year, as Obama’s former vice president Joe Biden takes office amid a surge in far-right violence, it’s clear we have a long way to go — not just to build a safer country for all of us, but to close the vast racial wealth divide.

        Despite Obama’s historic victory, his administration made little to no progress in bridging this divide.

      • Oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin offers to finance memorial to Russian journalists murdered in Central African Republic

        Kremlin-linked catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin has offered to pay to build a memorial at the site where Russian journalists Alexander Rastorguyev, Orkhan Dzhemal, and Kirill Radchenko were murdered in the Central African Republic (CAR). 

      • Capitalism’s Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

        This is the essence of journalist Martin Lukacs’ 2019 book The Trudeau Formula: Seduction and Betrayal in an Age of Discontent. It is also the essence of every liberal (and most social democratic) parties in the world. These parties and politicians tend to be so entwined in the web of modern capitalism; their imagination does not allow them to invent—much less consider—remedies to the current ills of the world that do not make profit the centerpiece of their agenda. This is what is called a contradiction. Since capitalism is the fundamental cause of these ills, there is no way a capitalist solution exists. Yet, political parties and their governments continue to pretend that there is. Many, if not most, of their subjects seem to agree. Those that don’t are pushed to the margins, denied a forum, attacked or ignored by the mainstream media and occasionally brutalized and jailed by the law enforcement agents of the state.

        Most readers will remember when Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada in 2015. Mainstream media fawned over him like he was Prince Harry of England. Like his father Pierre, who served as Canadian Prime Minister for all but two years between 1968 and 1984, Justin’s attractive features and easygoing media-friendly approach took precedent over the substance of his politics. As Lukacs makes clear, the difference between what Trudeau said during his campaigns and what he actually did in office was stark. Those US residents who were politically aware during the Obama presidency can certainly relate. In other words, campaigns filled with hope dissolved into years of disappointment. Unless, of course, one is a member of the capitalist class.

      • Biden Calls for $15 Federal Minimum Wage With Pandemic Relief Package
      • Neoliberalism is Fascism with Better Manners

        Considered along with his contribution to the Patriot Act— the national security and surveillance state wish list passed in the aftermath of 9/11; Mr. Biden appears to be the central protagonist linking domestic political repression to the neoliberal project. Ava DuVernay’s film 13th does a good job giving political and economic context to the American conception and political utility of ‘crime.’ The 1994 Crime Bill written by Mr. Biden created the means by which to force conformity to the dictates of capital. That Mr. Biden appears to have seen law enforcement as a moral endeavor speaks to the hiddenness of its basis in economic production.

        This tie of neoliberalism to fascism and political repression comes courtesy of Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. Mr. Mussolini defined fascism, following from Giovanni Gentile, as ‘as merger of corporate and state power.’ The Patriot Act gives the Federal government— not just the FBI as is generally reported, access to all of the information being gathered by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and social media platforms. Whatever else it is, social media is an information warehouse for political repression. And the tie of state to corporate power defines the relationship as fascism.

      • ‘$2,000 Means $2,000′: Ocasio-Cortez Says $1,400 Payments in Biden Plan Fall Short of Promised Relief

        “$2,000 does not mean $1,400.”

      • China Tech Ban Mirrors 1980s Attempts To Destroy Japanese Competition

        With just days left in office, the Trump administration has blacklisted an additional nine Chinese companies, adding them to a long list of firms on the U.S. military blacklist and escalating the trade war on Beijing as the U.S. attempts to suppress China’s economic rise. 

      • An End to Austerity Economics with Mark Blyth
      • Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Plan: $400 Unemployment Boost, $1,400 Checks, and Billions in Additional Aid

        “Congress should immediately move to pass President-elect Biden’s plan,” said Claire Guzdar of the Groundwork Collaborative. “And we can’t stop there.”

      • The Intangible Asset Revolution

        “Take all the physical assets owned by all the companies in the S&P 500, all the cars and office buildings and factories and merchandise, then sell them all at cost in one giant sale, and they would generate a net sum that doesn’t even come out to 20% of the index’s $28 trillion value,” said Epic S&P 500 Rally Is Powered by Assets You Can’t See or Touch, an article in Bloomberg published on October 21, 2020, – a day when intangible assets made up more than 84% of the S&P value.

        “The rise of intangibles helps explain why many American workers have recently had it so rough, with wages stagnating and benefits disappearing,” adds the article. And, given our increasingly digital post-pandemic new normal, we can expect the share of intangibles to go higher, “a source of deep concern for those who worry about things like employment and inequality.”

        Intangible assets are easier to define as the opposite of tangible assets. Tangible assets are generally physical in nature, including vehicles, land, plants, equipment, and furniture, but they also include financial assets like stocks, bonds, account receivables, and cash which have a concrete contractual value. On the other hand, intangible assets are neither physical nor have a concretely specified financial value. Intangibles include patents, copyrights, trademarks, goodwill, brand value, human capital, R&D, software, and data. Despite having no physical existence, intangibles have a monetary value since they represent potential revenue, but that value must be established based on accounting principles. And, unlike tangible assets, intangibles are difficult to value and insure.

        According to a 2019 research report by the Ponemon Institute, the value of intangible assets has truly exploded over the past several decades, right along with our increasingly digital economy. In 1975, the overall value of the S&P 500 was $715 billion, of which 17% was intangible. In 1985, out of a total value of $1.5 trillion, 32%, or around one third was intangible. By 1995, the percentages had switched, with intangibles now being 68% of $4.6 trillion. Intangible values continued to climb to 80% out of $11.6 trillion in 2005; and to 84% of $25 trillion in 2018.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Modern Street Conservatism

        Conservatism used to descend from the king’s court, its laity, writers, bureaucrats, and jesters. Locating its origin was a little simpler for historians.

        When the excluded (landless whites, blacks, women, and others) pushed for greater democracy and equality and sought to gain more power, they made important arguments about their humanity. They did this over and over again despite the endless confusing counterarguments offered by the protectors of the status quo.

      • Don’t Trivialize J6

        The question is troubling as one considers the wide diversity of takes (on the left) in the aftermath of last week’s events in DC. To some, the Trump-incited mob’s entry into the Capitol was an attempted coup, or an insurrection—intentionally conveying all weightiness inherent in those terms.

        To others, not so much. They suggest Wednesday’s event was more akin to a flash mob of Q-addled lunatics effectively coalescing in a momentary action; this collective did not so much “storm the US Capitol” as haphazardly loot, wandering aimlessly through that building until they got bored. It was spectacle. If perhaps somewhat alarming as a discrete event, the mob represented no significant threat—certainly less than that posed by a technocratic Biden administration, whose neoliberalism, amplified by whatever draconian legislation results from the January 6 riot, remains the more severe danger—if not, effectively, the only reality.

      • Address the Stagnation That Paved the Way for Trump

        For one thing, the nearly 150 congressional Republicans who supported his attempted coup will probably remain in office, even though the 14th Amendment bans anyone “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [the United States]” from office.

        For another, Trump’s attempts to discredit the results of the election — which began before the 2016 election and have continued ever since — have convinced a significant portion of Republicans to doubt President-elect Biden’s legitimacy. Sixty court rulings to the contrary, including many by Trump-appointed judges, have done little to change their minds.

      • Now Is Not the Time for Unity

        Barring a successful far-right coup, Joe Biden will take the oath of office on Wednesday at noon, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The theme of the inauguration will be “America United,” and the ties that bind the country together will doubtless make up the core of his remarks. Yet if Biden leans too hard on that message of unity, if he mistakes aspiration for reality, if he fails to adapt his political instincts to present-day conditions, then his presidency will be over before it begins.

      • The Ever-Changing Shape of Love

        Love is the only force strong enough to be the unifying energy that ties our broken country back together. Hate can’t do it. Hate and fear have polarized us. We need to choose: we can’t love and hate at the same time.

        Love is difficult and takes effort. It is easy to love our children, because that is built into us, just as the fear which can lead to hate is built into us. But the consistent, firm love that gives us the patience to set limits on children that will help them grow into good citizens and good parents in their turn—and learn in their turn not to give into hate and fear and exasperated impatience—is not instinctive. It must be learned as we go.

      • Celestial Seasonings
      • Opinion | We Should Learn From Georgia to Show Us the Way Forward

        Over slow generations, they built a broad enough “we” and an effective bottom up force that formed not just a victorious voting block this year, but a caring community dedicated explicitly to dismantling white supremacy.

      • Learn From Georgia

        The answer to the yell and the noose of white macho supremacy is the slow, hard labor of making society democratic.

        The debate over Amazon dropping Parler and Twitter and Facebook dropping Donald Trump misses the point.  Megaphones for snake oil salesmen will exist for as long our media runs off snake oil sales. The answer to the mobster who riles up the lynch mob is media that’s moral, which ours is not. Our media is motivated by money, and money, as we also saw this week, has no morals.

      • Congress Votes to Arm Violent Mobs That Storm through Capitols around the World

        Political elites deplored the physical appearance and comportment of the protesters. “I’d like to believe and hope that the actions of a mob high on narcotic substances will not totally destabilize this republic,” remarked a top official of a neighboring country.

        This scene didn’t take place at the Capitol. It occurred in at the “White House,” the seat of parliament and the presidential staff in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

      • A Tale of Two Mobs

        That, of course, was not the end of Adolf Hitler. America needs to remember that history if we want to preserve our democracy from the right-wing forces rallied by Donald Trump today.

        As Congress gathered to formalize Trump’s election defeat, he and his extremist followers launched their own beer hall putsch. “We will not take it anymore,” Trump told them. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.”

      • Is It Curtains for Donald Trump?
      • These Progressives Helped Keep Hope Alive in 2020—and Prepare Us for 2021

        Covid-19, mass unemployment, police violence, a burning planet, and a defeated president refusing to concede made 2020 the year Americans couldn’t wait to end. Yet 2020 also saw a heroic pandemic response by frontline workers, mass protests against systemic racism, and a growing recognition of the necessity for big agendas: cash payments to the unemployed, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal. The most valuable progressives of 2020 kept hope alive with activism, ideas, and music to inspire transformational change in 2021.1

      • The Strange Case of Andrew Roberts and the Liberal Anglosphere

        According to Roberts’ obit of the recently deceased Soviet spy, George Blake was ‘profoundly evil’, ‘an evil traitor’. It is as if Blake killed off some 80,000 citizens of the United Kingdom by purposefully ignoring Covid and gutting the health care system over the last forty years, assisted by that infamous Marxian Khan, Vladimir Putin—who is Totally Evil. Liberals also believe in Evil, but on their lips it retains a certain colloquial irony[1]. Roberts’ Evil is Mordred, the mutant offspring of Arthur, sired by incest and Magian splendor. That is—Russia and China.

        Andrew Roberts is a bad-boy Victorian apologist, obscure here in the States and probably also at home beyond the war-buffs and hero-worshippers. He combines a soft David Irving-like approach of glossing over corpses with the drunken rascality of the late Christopher Hitchens. As well as dashing off Op-eds for old Tory mouthpieces like The Telegraph (to be fair, the paper is now slightly to the left of The Guardian), he has been fraternizing with more outré elements of the Far Right. A staunch defender of Apartheid like his friend David ‘Hang Nelson Mandela!’ Cameron, he was detected in 2001 giving an ‘historical’ speech to a group of mostly expat South Africans called the Springbok Club[2]. The group’s secretary is Alan Harvey, a former member of the avowedly fascist National Front; the ‘club’ is also connected to a Far Right Tory pressure group called the Swinton Circle, where Harvey also played a major role, until a sectarian war erupted in 2008 and he declared his own faction. Subscription lists for Harvey’s racist SA Patriot publication give Thomas Mair as one of the earliest subscribers. Mair is infamous for shooting and stabbing Labour MP Jo Cox on the street in 2016, which gives some idea of this rag’s readership. The Springbok Club brazenly flies the old apartheid-era flag and yearns for a time when the darkies knew their place (Here the flag flies, next to former Tory MP/UKIP ‘guest of honor’ Neil Hamilton). They exemplify a conservative theory of time: the reactionary past sits and waits for the present to return, wagging its tail like an obedient spaniel that has brought a juicy pheasant to the feet of its Purdey-bearing master.

      • TV Daze

        Was it a failed coup? That seems right, but how can a government overthrow itself? This is why some fastidious political scientists and many South Americans would more likely call it an “autogolpe,” literally a “self-coup.” In the Weimar Republic, they would have called it a “putsch.”

        Just as Eskimos have words that denote different types of “snow,” peoples living in places where coups happen often have words that denote different kinds.

      • Resistance is not Futile: A Brief History of Lebanon’s Hezbollah

        From its birth as an armed resistance to Israeli attacks on Lebanon over 35 years ago, Hezbollah developed into an institution that provided health and education services to the country’s neediest. After defeating the Zionist state in successive conflicts, it rode great mass support into the electoral sphere and now constitutes the key political force in Lebanon, and “arguably the most powerful nonstate military group in the world.”[1]

        As a result, Hezbollah has been named a terrorist organization by 25 countries including Canada, US, UK, Germany, and the GCC coalition of Arab Gulf states including Saudi Arabia. France and the EU designate Hezbollah’s military operations but not its political operations as a terror organization. The mere mention of Hezbollah or its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is enough to get users banned from social media platforms.

      • Opinion | Lynching Political Correctness

        Are we in a state of national emergency?

      • America Condemns One Violent Mob While Celebrating Another

        BUT – why don’t we see an equal amount of disgust and condemnation for the violence done by our ruling class, the courtesans of corporate destruction?

        Is allowing people to die or fall ill due to lead pipes in Flint, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and hundreds of other cities not violence?

      • With US on Edge and Trump Still in Power, State Capitals on Guard Against Far-Right ‘Shock Troops’

        “The Capitol siege has provided far-right extremists with significant momentum,” warned one expert.

      • Rape of the Capitol

        To give it some perspective: On July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Frenchmen stormed the Bastille to depose their King. On January 6, 2021, a mob of angry Americans stormed the Capitol to try to impose their wannabe King.

        The French mob lynched the Governor. The American mob set out to lynch various government officials. One of them even brought their own gallows for the occasion.

      • Cruzification

        One of the most impressive things about Ted Cruz is that his background belies his idiocy.  He graduated with honors from Princeton, went on to Oxford and Harvard Law School,  and then clerked in the United States Supreme Court. None of those, we now know, provides insurance that as life progresses you will not make a fool of yourself.  One of the easiest ways to effect that is by serving in the United States Senate at the time the president of the United States is the trump.  Not only does the trump provide you with the opportunity to make a fool of yourself.  He provides you the opportunity to prove that political opportunism is more important than principle.  If you have no principles to start with, however, that is not as difficult as it might at first appear.  Ted Cruz is a good example of that.

        When in 2016  the trump and Ted Cruz were competing to win the assorted primary elections that would help determine who the Republican candidate for president would be,  there was considerable tension between the Republican candidates, and nowhere was it more pronounced than in the competition that took place between Mr. Cruz and the trump.

      • Republican AGs Cannot Shake Ties to Violent Trump Coup Attempt
      • Omar and Ocasio-Cortez Tell Josh Hawley to ‘Resign’—And Poll Shows Majority of Missouri Voters Agree

        “While you may politically regret what you’ve revealed about yourself, you still have no place in public office,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Hawley.

      • Conan and the Vandals

        Schwarzenegger remained at his post—an executive desk bigger than DC itself with a mighty sword tilted across its pigskin top. Behind him the American and Californian standards—the very colors of Empire—brightened the somber tones of his lair and its hoard of trinkets and trophies accumulated from hard-bitten campaigns in motion pictures and politics. In his break-out feature film of 1982 Conan the Barbarian—scripted by Oliver Stone and therefore rich in political allegory—the eponymous hero gnaws thoughtfully on a haunch of hare then turns to his sidekick and asks him what gods he prays to. When asked the same question in turn, Conan responds that his deity is Crom, God of the Earth. Our hero’s religious affiliations have evolved in the intervening four decades. Peering out from behind the flags is a painted image of a big-backed muscle man flexing in profile: Conan now prays to himself.

        The staging of Schwarzenegger’s YouTube speech made me think of another crowded tableau from a different era of riots, wars, and unrest: Thelonius Monk’s Underground of 1968. The High Priest of Bop sits at an upright piano. Instead of a sword, he has a machine gun slung over his shoulder. A Nazi soldier is tied up in the background next to a Swastika flag as General de Gaulle looks down from the wall. Amidst grenades, dynamite and other military gadgets, we see wine, cheese, grapes, and bread. This Resistance doesn’t lack for simple but excellent fare.

      • Nixon’s Ghost Haunts the Impeachment—and American Culture

        If you want to annoy Donald Trump, one simple trick is to mention his disgraced predecessor Richard Nixon. On Thursday, CNN reported that Trump has banned any mention of Nixon in the White House. “He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again,” the cable news network noted. “During the passing mention of resigning this week, Trump told people he couldn’t count on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him like Gerald Ford did Nixon, anyway.”

      • Is Trump Worse Than Nixon?

        Eric, Here is how I remember it.

        I lived through the Nixon Administration…

      • Enabling a Fascist Putsch and Empowering a Big Lie

        There was, of course, no realistic possibility that this dramatic and diabolical last ditch effort would succeed. Over 50 failed lawsuits and negative rulings by some 80 different judges have secured the legitimacy and integrity of the November election results in the eyes of the law, but not in the polluted minds of Trump’s enablers in Congress and his rabid followers in the public. In fact, with each successive filed and failed lawsuit, the conviction of a stolen, not lost, election took greater hold of greater numbers of those 70 million citizens who voted for Trump. According to a nationwide survey conducted just prior to the November election, about 65% of the registered voters (whether Republican, Democrat or Independent) all agreed that they trusted the US election system. By late December that trust had risen to 80% among Democrats, but plummeted to 45% and 30% among Independents and Republicans, respectively. Similarly, by year’s end, 90% of Democrats said the 2020 presidential election was free and fair, while only 28% of Republicans agreed. In mid-November 27% of Republican voters said Trump should never concede, whereas by late December 36% held that position. In other words, there is a direct positive correlation between the number of lawsuits filed challenging the election results and the number of Americans, primarily Republicans, who firmly believe that the election was stolen.

        So. what was the real purpose of this bizarre parade of DOA lawsuits? It was not to overturn the election results. It was to convince increasing number of Trump supporters to embrace the Big Lie that the election was stolen and that a Biden presidency is illegitimate. The manifest function of these frivolous lawsuits was an abysmal failure, but their latent and real function proved to be a resounding success.

      • Amid Trump Killing Spree, Family of Martin Luther King Jr Joins Chorus Demanding: ‘Abolish the Death Penalty’

        Corey Johnson—who was Black, Covid-19 positive, and had an intellectual disability—was executed Thursday. Dustin Higgs, also Black and infected with the virus, is now set to be the 13th person put to death since Trump resumed federal killings.

      • Opinion | Republican State Officials Are Already Using Trump’s Big Lie as Cover To Pursue New Laws To Make It Harder To Vote

        Congress must move quickly to enact H.R. 1, the For The People Act, and H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

      • “Where They Countin’ the Votes?!”: New Video Details Tense Moments as Capitol Mob Sought Out Lawmakers

        More than 10 million people have seen the video shot by HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic showing a Black Capitol Police officer leading pro-Trump rioters away from where senators were holed up in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

        Now, ProPublica has uncovered new footage — amid a trove of content archived from the now-shuttered social platform Parler — that reveals the raw moments before Officer Eugene Goodman’s actions. The clip, recorded minutes after crowds breached a barrier outside, allows the public to see and hear new details from a turbulent day that ultimately led to President Donald Trump’s second impeachment.

      • Ten Theses on Trump

        (Recall that Trump had promoted a wacko racist “theory” that Obama had been born in Kenya and was faking his citizenship, that Obama had refuted the charge and—worse—ridiculed Trump for leveling it, causing people to laugh at him at that Correspondents’ Dinner in 2014. This public humiliation occasioned Trump’s desire to destroy the Paris Agreement, Iran Deal, normalized Cuba ties, etc. Not to express any philosophy of international relations, because he doesn’t have one or the mind to create one—but to vent spleen.)

        Why did he talk to Kim Jung-Un after threatening to annihilate North Korea (which has nukes), but join Israel in attacking Iran (which has no nukes)? Because (1) he expected the Korea meet to win him the Nobel Peace Prize, one-upping Obama, and (2) he wanted to show his Christian Evangelicals that he loves Israel and hates its enemies and hopes for Christian Zionist votes. There was no pretense of consistency in dealing with supposed nuclear threats.

      • Poll Shows 56% of Americans Want Senate to Remove Trump and Bar Him From Office
      • After Biden Unveils Covid-19 Relief Plan, Tlaib Doubles Down on Demand for $2,000 Monthly Payments

        “Stop compromising the working class, and our most vulnerable neighbors,” said the Michigan congresswoman.

      • The Radicalization of Kevin Greeson

        In 2009, Kevin Greeson traveled from Alabama to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, at the time one of his political heroes. Twelve years later, a stone’s throw from where Obama had been sworn in, Greeson died of a heart attack while demonstrating in support of President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol.

        Greeson had undergone a stark political transformation in those intervening years. A longtime Democrat who once championed unions and supported progressive politicians, Greeson had become a staunch Trump supporter by the time he died outside the Capitol at the age of 55.

      • The Irony of Calling America a “Banana Republic”

        “This is banana republic crap,” asserted Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a Republican, in demanding, during the violence, that President Trump call off efforts to overturn the election. Explaining the concerns of fellow CEOs outraged at what had occurred, Richard Edelman, head of a major public relations firm, said, “They don’t like the idea America is a banana republic.” And former President George W. Bush, after calling the rioting “sickening and heartbreaking,” described it as “how elections are disputed in a banana republic.”

        Both invoking and rejecting the image of a banana republic — a pejorative term that broadly refers to undemocratic developing nations — reflects how many Americans perceive much of the world. It also reveals how they understand the United States: at least in normal times, as the banana republic’s antithesis.

      • The Breakdown: January 6, 2021

        While the debacle of January 6th was still in progress at the Capitol, people were also asking two other questions. How did we get here? And where do we go from here? The answers to those questions will be discussed for a long time.

        From my vantage point, when Covid-19 arrived in this country it exposed a number of problems in American society that explain how we got here. Bigotry, ignorance, the deficiencies of its schools and health care—one could go on. Some of these have been endemic in the country since its beginnings, but all of them have been aggravated by its socio-economic system and by its leadership, especially of late. If you missed the lessons that COVID-19 offered in its course the past year, then Trump and his mob of knaves and fools offered a one-day crash course on January the 6th.

      • 54% of Americans Want Trump to Face Criminal Charges for Inciting Deadly Mob Attack on US Capitol: Poll

        The new survey also found that 56% of Americans want the Senate to remove Trump and bar him from holding office again in the future.

      • ‘Dangerous and Delusional’: Biden Warned Against Compromising With Insurrectionist GOP on Covid Relief

        “We have the majority, and we have a mandate. We need to bring immediate, comprehensive relief to people without compromising with the same party that just encouraged and excused an insurrection.”

      • Opinion | If Lawmakers Really Care About “Unity” They Should Support Policies Voters Actually Want

        Americans largely support progressive policies—despite objections from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Now is the time to pass them.   

      • Birth of the Digital Oligarchy: The Trump Ban and the Social Media Ruse

        On January 6, as the events unfolding at the U.S. Capitol were discussed on Twitter, the barrage of opinions predictably accumulated on one side of the political spectrum. Outrage over what mainstream pundits characterized as the desecration of the symbols of democracy and similar bleeding heart liberal rhetoric was far more prevalent than the opposing camp’s tendency to side with the so-called “insurrectionists” or tweets in support of the made-for-social media putsch.

      • Dating app says it removed political filter following Capitol riots

        The online dating app Bumble said that it had temporarily removed its political filter for users following the Capitol riots after the company saw an increase in people using the app “to spread insurrectionist content.”

        The filter was removed on Jan. 13 due to “a noticeable uptick in people using the politics filter in a manner contrary to our terms and conditions” that occurred after the Capitol riots, a Bumble representative told The Hill.

        The company said that people were using the platform “to spread insurrectionist content” and organize and incite violence.

      • Media suddenly shifts its tone on Trump — but that’s not courage, it’s cowardice

        When the Trump-inspired coup plot was put into action last Wednesday, those same voices in the mainstream news media suddenly shifted their language and tone, emulating those writers, thinkers and activists they had previously — and in some instances very recently — mocked, marginalized, denounced and sought to silence.

        Watching this happen is like hearing a movie soundtrack being changed, without interruption, from the wistful chords of a romantic comedy to the thunderous crescendos of an action spectacle.

      • Online far-right movements fracture in wake of Capitol riot

        Users on forums that openly helped coordinate the Jan. 6 riot and called for insurrection, including 4chan and TheDonald, have become increasingly agitated with QAnon supporters, who are largely still in denial that President Donald Trump will no longer be in the Oval Office after Jan. 20.

      • Who Voted for Hitler?

        Three-quarters of a century have passed now since Hitler came to power in Germany, leaving in place two enduring myths about how it happened. One claims that Hitler’s rise was born of the frustrations of the middle class in post-WWI Germany. The other holds that Hitler’s support came from the disenfranchised and uneducated working and out-of-work poor. But neither myth is accurate, and both are based on hearsay—half-truths people are comfortable with, rather than hard truths that emerge from the data.

      • The Alternate Reality of Fringe Apps

        After last week’s mob at the Capitol, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit shut down accounts where people spread false narratives of voter fraud or plotted the attack. Some of the discussions of conspiracy theories and potential violence have moved to lesser-known fringe websites and apps including Gab, Telegram and 4chan.

        I spoke with my colleague Sheera Frenkel about the risk of driving people away from the mainstream internet, and what she’s seeing from online conversations about possible further violence.

      • Twitter Removed 70,000 Accounts Linked To the QAnon Movement

        The social network began a purge of messages that could incite political violence with the permanent suspension of Trump’s account on Friday, after he posted tweets encouraging the delegitimization of the presidential election. Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitch also decided to suspend Trump’s account indefinitely.

      • The Greens in the 2020 Elections and Beyond

        Greens knew from the start that 2020 would be a tough year for their presidential ticket. The election would be a referendum on Trump. For most progressives, Anybody But Trump would do.

        Our campaign believed that an ecosocialist program is needed for real solutions to the life-or-death issues of climate, inequality, racism, and war. We believed that the way to defeat the Trump Republicans was for the left to put forward its own program and not rely on the Democrats’ pallid centrism, which would not speak to the economic and social anxieties that the Trump far-right has been mobilizing around with racist and conspiracy scapegoating.

        Bernie Sanders did advance a set of popular progressive reforms in the Democratic primaries, but once the corporate Democrats closed ranks to defeat him, he too lined up behind Biden’s vapid incrementalism. The progressive left stopped raising its demands in order to unconditionally support Biden, who repeatedly boasted that he beat the socialists and their demands like Medicare for All. “Biden stiff-arms the left — which holds its fire” is how the headline of the Washington Post article on the first Trump-Biden debate aptly characterized Biden’s relationship to progressive Democrats. Instead of campaigning for progressive demands, prominent progressive personalities focused their efforts on attacking the Green campaign as “spoilers” in a series of open letters (e.g., safe states, environmentalists, no states) in progressive online publications, very few of which would print our responses (safe states, environmentalists, no states).

        Despite this unfavorable dynamic, we ran to build an independent ecosocialist alternative and for the same practical reasons Greens have run presidential tickets since 1996: to win state ballot lines, advance policy demands, and recruit new Greens.

        The Green vote is coming it at something over 400,000 votes, or 0.3%, once the write-in votes in the states that report them are counted in. Though the prevailing lesser-evil dynamic was the biggest factor, the Green vote was also suppressed by limited ballot access. The Greens were on only 30 state ballots, down from 45 in 2016, due to the difficulties of petitioning during the pandemic and successful Democratic legal challenges to Green ballot access in Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

      • Stephen Michael Kellat: Things Are Changing Fast

        Following me on Twitter leads to a lack of scintillating insights. If anything you see plenty of retweets. I still miss the old social bookmarking service del.icio.us which is what I end up using Twitter like.

        My timeline recently would show that I’ve been trying to keep up to speed with developments in the attack on the United States Capitol earlier this month. There have been plenty of consequences from that. Right now the various state National Guard elements have contributed enough troops to where there is a rainbow unit in the capital at heavy division strength. There are essentially five heavy brigades of troops to protect the capital. The Ohio National Guard is contributing a wee bit to the overall security situation.

        [...]

        USA TODAY notes a large cry on the part of both Trump supporters and far-right extremists claiming that censorship is taking place with so many online services pulling back like they have in the past nine days or so.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Dealing With Demands From Foreign Governments (January 2016)

        Summary: US companies obviously need to obey US laws, but dealing with demands from foreign governments can present challenging dilemmas. The Sarawak Report, a London-based investigative journalism operation that reports on issues and corruption in Malaysia, was banned by the Malaysian government in the summer of 2015. The publication chose to republish its own articles on the US-based Medium.com website (beyond its own website) in an effort to get around the Malaysian ban.

      • Ridiculous: Yale Law Prof Argues That Because Some In Congress Want More Moderation, That Makes Twitter A State Actor

        I’m beginning to see where Josh Hawley got his totally nutty ideas about the 1st Amendment. The Wall Street Journal has an utterly insane piece by Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld — currently suspended due to sexual harassment claims, and who was infamously quoted telling prospective law clerks for then Judge Brett Kavanaugh, that Kavanugh “hires women with a certain look” — and a… um… biotech executive named Vivek Ramaswami who is mad about “woke” companies, insisting (wrongly) that the big internet companies are actually part of the US government and therefore have to abide by the 1st Amendment in their content moderation practices.

      • YouTube blocks Kadyrov’s soccer club following U.S. sanctions

        YouTube has blocked the channel of FC Akhmat Grozny, a Russian professional soccer club linked to Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov (the club is named after his father, former Chechen leader Akhmat Kadyrov).

      • Social Media Giants Ban Trump, but the Real Censorship is of Palestinians

        In the wake of the Capitol Hill insurrection, Facebook and Twitter finally took a principled stand against President Donald Trump by suspending his accounts. While Trump lashed out at the tech giants, media analysts condoned the move—noting stronger moderation of his and other inflammatory posts are long overdue.

      • Apple CEO Tim Cook Defends Parler App Suspension: ‘We Don’t Consider That Free Speech’

        Asked by Wallace whether Apple’s booting of Parler, which had become popular among Trump loyalists as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook, would only serve to drive the app’s users “underground,” Cook responded, “Well, we’ve only suspended them, Chris. And so, if they get their moderation together, they would be back on there.”

        For now, Parler’s return to any [Internet] platform looks highly unlikely.

      • The Moderation War Is Coming to Spotify, Substack, and Clubhouse

        The CJR article’s stance, and Greenwald’s fiery pushback, felt familiar to those who’ve watched similar arguments regarding Facebook, Twitter, and Google in recent years. Some have criticized these platforms for leaving up too much objectionable content. Others have called the platforms censors, arguing they take down too much. The difference with Substack, of course, is the medium. It wasn’t Big Tech. It was an email platform.

        Though the big social networks have been the main focus in the debate over how — and whether — online platforms should moderate user content, the fight is migrating toward smaller platforms devoid of rollicking social feeds. They include email providers like Substack, podcast platforms like Spotify (hello Joe Rogan), and nascent startups like Clubhouse.

        These smaller services are coming under scrutiny now that the big platforms have warmed to aggressive moderation, culminating with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube’s suspension of President Donald Trump following the Capitol riot. The battle will only heat up now that Amazon pushed “free speech” social network Parler off the internet. Attention will move to smaller, mainstream services still figuring out their policies, as the precedent they set today could determine how they handle content moving forward.

      • Social media and messaging restricted, internet shut down for Uganda elections

        Network data from the NetBlocks Internet Observatory confirm Uganda is in the midst of an internet blackout, following widespread restrictions to social media and online communication platforms on major internet providers in Uganda as of Tuesday 12 January 2021. Findings reveal the extent of restrictions issued by order of the Uganda Communications Commission ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on the 14th.

      • Internet access cut, social media banned during Uganda elections

        Yesterday, the Uganda Communications Commission, the country’s broadcasting and telecommunication regulator, ordered telecommunications providers to suspend internet services in the country until further notice, according to a statement posted on Facebook by one of the providers, Africell, a separate statement by another company, MTN Uganda, which CPJ reviewed, and a copy of a letter from the commission to Simbanet, which was posted on social media by the NBS Television broadcaster.

        Today, Ugandan internet traffic plummeted, according to news reports and data analyses by the Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis and Google.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Families Hold Out Hope for Eritrea’s Disappeared Journalists

        They haven’t heard from their loved ones in nearly two decades, but the families of imprisoned journalists in Eritrea still hold out hope after authorities freed several prisoners after 26 years.

        One of the journalists held incommunicado for nearly 20 years is Amanuel Asrat. The editor of Zemen, a newspaper that covered the arts and literature, has been detained since September 2001, without any contact with the outside world. No charges have been made public against him or other journalists jailed at the same time.

        His brother, Robel Asrat, said the family has demanded answers from Eritrean officials about Amanuel’s whereabouts but have heard nothing concrete.

      • Reporter Nidhi Razdan claims she was victim of ‘phishing attack’ that led her to believe she’d been hired as a journalism professor at Harvard

        After months of delays that she attributed to the pandemic, Razdan had a jarring realization: the faculty position, it turns out, doesn’t exist. The offer she thought she had accepted was nothing more than an elaborate ploy to access her personal information, she said.

      • [Old] Report: Trump Bragged About Protecting Saudi Prince Whose Goons Dismembered a Journalist via Bone Saw

        [...] While you’re recollecting, also remember that Trump continued to defend the de facto Saudi leader even after Saudi Arabia admitted the killing was premeditated and the CIA separately concluded the prince directed the murder. (The prince, naturally, denies the whole thing.) All in all, it was a pretty messed up situation, even for a guy who muses about dating his own daughter. Also messed up? That Trump apparently boasted about helping bin Salman get away with the whole thing, according to—what else?— Bob Woodward’s new book. Per Business Insider: [...]

      • [Old] ‘I saved his a–’: Trump boasted that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Woodward’s new book says
      • China Jails Two Journalists Over Tweets, Comments to US Official

        The case against him was built on allegations that he had retweeted or liked tweets critical of the government on Twitter, including tweets about the Hong Kong protest movement, the overseas-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said in a report on its website.

        Zhang had been a journalist with Tencent until 2014, when he met with then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and asked him to help “tear down” the Great Firewall, a complex system of blocks, filters, and human censorship that limits what Chinese internet users and do and see online. He was fired following that meeting and later detained.

      • CPJ urges US court to reverse Khashoggi ruling, order US intelligence community to disclose information on documents related to duty to warn

        Following Saudi government agents’ murder of Khashoggi in October 2018, CPJ filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act with members of the intelligence community seeking any documents related to their awareness of threats to Khashoggi and their duty to warn him. After those requests were ignored, CPJ joined a lawsuit, which it now leads, asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to order the release of such documents.

        The defendants—the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence—have argued that to even confirm or deny the existence of relevant records would compromise national security and intelligence information, in what is commonly known as a Glomar response. CPJ rejected that argument, citing that the State Department, also a member of the intelligence community, previously stated that the U.S. government had no advance knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance. In an initial ruling, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with the intelligence community defendants, and granted a summary judgement, which CPJ appealed.

        In arguments before a panel of three judges today, Alexandra Swain of Debevoise & Plimpton L.L.P., representing CPJ, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse the District Court’s decision, and order the defendants to confirm or deny the existence of those documents, or further explain their refusal to do so.

      • Whistleblowers Demand VOA Director Resign Over Pompeo Speech, Staff Moves

        Twenty-six journalists have demanded that Voice of America’s director resign after a series of alleged retaliatory measures and firewall violations culminated in the reassignment of one of VOA’s most high-profile reporters.

        A statement shared publicly Thursday accuses director Robert Reilly and his deputy director, Elizabeth Robbins, of violating VOA’s journalistic code by giving a senior government official “a free platform to speak live on our channels” by arranging a live broadcast of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then removing VOA’s White House correspondent after she tried to question the outgoing secretary.

      • Iran Gives Director 3-Year Prison Term for Film About Journalist-Turned-Activist

        Iran has sentenced a film director to an effective three-year prison term for alleged national security offenses, including his work on a decade-old documentary about an Iranian journalist who later became a prominent anti-government activist, according to the director’s sister.

        Speaking to VOA Persian from her home in Canada on Tuesday, Neda Mihandoust said Iranian authorities had sent a notification of the prison sentence to a lawyer for her Tehran-based brother Reza Mihandoust, also known as Navid, two days earlier.

        She said a Revolutionary Court in the Iranian capital sentenced Reza Mihandoust to a three-year prison term for a charge of membership in a group seeking to overthrow the government and a six-month prison term for a charge of spreading anti-government propaganda. The court had conducted a one-day trial for her brother, who remains free on bail, on Dec. 28, she said.

      • Russian Watchdog Takes First Step Toward Punishing RFE/RL Under ‘Foreign Agents’ Law

        Russia’s telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor has drawn up its first eight administrative protocols — all against Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty — for violating the country’s controversial foreign agents law.

        Roskomnadzor said in a statement on its website on January 12 that the offenses are “for noncompliance by the media performing the functions of a foreign agent with the requirements of the law on labeling information disseminated by them.”

        The protocols involve RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Current Time, Sibir.Realii, and Idel.Realii.

      • Julian Assange avoiding extradition is right, but do not construe this as a victory for press freedom

        Yet highly reputable human rights and press freedom organisations have asserted that Assange has been subjected to a politically motivated prosecution in order to punish him for exposing the human rights abuses and criminal behaviour of the US government. Reporters Without Borders stated the prosecution was “clearly politically motivated and intended to make an example of Assange and create a chilling effect on media around the world”. Human Rights Watch said the prosecution threatened “basic elements of modern journalism and democratic accountability”, and Amnesty International asserted the prosecution was a “politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial”.

      • Amid WhatsApp controversy, Chomsky quotes Assange to explain how Facebook’s Zuckerberg becomes ‘man of the year’

        As millions leave Facebook-owned WhatsApp across the globe due to privacy concerns, the noted American philosopher, linguist, and writer, Noam Chomsky Friday shared WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s quote explaining the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and him.

        “What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? I give private information on corporations to you for free, and I’m a villain. Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year. Julian Assange,” tweeted Chomsky from an unverified handle which has nearly three hundred thousand followers and is widely considered to be his real one.

        The quote is from 2010 when Assange took a dig at Time Magazine selecting the Facebook CEO as its person of the year.

        If one talks about Chomsky’s own words explaining the world of social media and how it controls people’s lives, this would be the quote to aptly define the dependence: “He who controls the media controls the minds of the public.”

      • Dissenter Weekly: Pompeo’s Political Propaganda, Plus Pardon Push In Australia For Assange

        For this edition of “Dissenter Weekly” in 2021, host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights complaints from whistleblowers at Voice of America over Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech, which they described as a “publicity stunt.”

        Later in the show, Kevin covers some whistleblower stories at the state level: Texas attorney general scandal, COVID-19 data whistleblower in Florida, and the lack of protections for whistleblowers after the Flint water crisis in Michigan.The show concludes with an update on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case.At the end, there is a lengthy take down of former NSA lawyer April Doss, who was invited on to Al Jazeera English’s The Stream to participate in a panel on Assange. Yet she knows very little about the case.

      • Julian Assange, WikiLeaks And Australia’s Complicity

        What follows from the statement is a cover excusing the feeble efforts by Australian governments over the years of all stripes to assist Assange in his monumental battle against the US imperium and the proxy torments inflicted by Britain and Sweden. “We have made 19 offers of consular assistance to Mr Assange since 2019 that have gone unanswered. We will continue to offer consular support.”

        Such a statement sticks to the steady line that Australian officials have always been there, always ready and eager to assist a citizen beleaguered, persecuted and haunted by the agencies and instruments of an ally. But the position is sacredly supine: do not rock the alliance with either the US or the UK; do not disturb the good offices of Washington or raise hackles in Downing Street.

      • Assange: Momentary reprieve opens way for more torture and US extradition on appeal

        So, what the British judge has effectively done is indicated to the US that its arguments for extradition are sound, but, on appeal, it needs to make clear to the UK justice system just how it intends to guard against the Townsville-born Australian committing suicide whilst in its custody.

        And this suggests that Britain is quite happy for the US to reach across international borders to arrest and convict a noncitizen over crimes committed on foreign soils, just as long as Washington ensures that the inmate stays present for the entire duration of their extended sentence.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Damning” New IG Report Finds Proof of Trump Team Cruelty to Asylum Seekers
      • A Reminder: Black Lives Matter and Woodrow Wilson in Geneva

        The horrendous video of George Floyd being choked to death for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis in May set off some 8,500 demonstrations throughout the world. There was one in Geneva. On June 9, 2020, an estimated 10,000 people peacefully marched in the City of Calvin, many under banners of Black Lives Matter.

        Did the marchers miss something specific to Geneva?

      • Thousands of Illinois Drivers Would Get Their Licenses Back Under a Criminal Justice Reform Bill

        Illinois lawmakers voted to end the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid red-light and speed camera tickets, part of a broader criminal justice reform package passed this week.

        If signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the legislation would restore the driving privileges of some 11,000 people by July and eliminate a significant trigger for personal bankruptcies in Chicago.

      • South Carolina’s Governor Addresses Magistrate Judge Controversy by Urging Changes

        Gov. Henry McMaster is urging sweeping changes to the qualifications and oversight of South Carolina magistrates after a joint investigation by The Post and Courier and ProPublica exposed abuse and incompetence among the state’s front-line judges.

        The governor pointed to that reporting in his annual State of the State address Wednesday, calling for what he described as needed reforms to fend off further corruption and misapplication of the law by the state’s cadre of more than 300 magistrates.

      • Absence of Abortion Rights is Depriving Latin America of Agency and the Right to Thrive

        After she was raped – the man attacking her in broad daylight as she walked down the street of her barrio – Vannesa Rosales-Gautier, a fellow teacher and a women’s rights defender in Merida Venezuela, helped her end the consequent pregnancy. While the rapist is still free, Rosales was sent to prison.

        On 12 October last year, security agents raided her home and arrested her. She is being accused of assisting a third party with an abortion without their consent, and of criminal association, due to her activism. Her case hasn’t yet been tried (in violation of due process) and the extra charges on top of assisting an abortion mean she could be facing 25 years in prison. The single mother of the child, was also imprisoned for a period, meaning the fetus took precedence over her caring for her eight children.

      • Capitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot

        “Due to the tense political environment following the 2020 election, the threat of disruptive actions or violence cannot be ruled out,” the 12-page report reads.

        Instead of counterprotesters being the target of the rioters like in past presidential election protests that occurred in D.C., this time the Capitol would likely be the target, the report warned.

      • California man faces prison time after hitting police helicopter with a drone

        A California man is facing jail time for hitting a police helicopter with his drone. Andrew Hernandez pleaded guilty yesterday to unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, a charge that carries up to one year in federal prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000.

        According to a plea agreement, Hernandez launched a small drone to see a crime scene near his Hollywood home in September. The drone flew into the path of a police helicopter that was responding to a burglary, hitting its fuselage and forcing an emergency landing. While the officers weren’t harmed, an affidavit said that this was a lucky outcome — Hernandez’s drone could have accidentally struck the aircraft’s rotor and brought it down.

      • Ethiopia’s Oromia conflict: Why a teacher was killed ‘execution-style’

        Her brother had only been politically active in the OLF, having served on a committee to welcome leaders who had returned from exile in 2018, she said.

      • US Coordinator For Tibetan Issues Speaks With Dalai Lama in a Virtual Meeting

        Authorities in Tibetan areas of China “continue to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly,” New York-based Human Rights Watch said in an annual report released on Wednesday.

        “[They also] fail to redress popular concerns about mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involve intimidation and unlawful use of force by security forces,” HRW said.

      • News of Tibetan Self-Immolation Protest Surfaces After Five-Year Delay

        News of a Tibetan self-immolation protest in 2015 has surfaced after going unreported for five years, the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan exile government the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said this week, citing unnamed sources in Tibet.

        According to CTA, a young man named Shurmo, 26, set himself ablaze at around 1:00 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2015 outside a bus station in Shagchukha village in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Nagchu (Chinese, Naqu) county, dying later that day in a hospital where he had been taken by police.

      • Capitol assault: Why did police show up on both sides of ‘thin blue line’?

        Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia that boasts of having military and police among its members, were also on hand last week. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Oath Keepers aim much of their propaganda at military and police, reminding them that their oath to the Constitution includes defending it “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Their propaganda is of a global order that must be resisted by patriots, lest they are disarmed and sent to concentration camps.

      • Andrew Yang Proposes Basic Income For New York City

        Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is officially running for mayor of New York City, The Washington Post reports.

        At the front of his campaign’s platform is a promise to bring universal basic income to the country’s most populous city.

      • Indonesia’s Repression Hasn’t Broken the West Papuan Freedom Struggle

        Since 1963, the Indonesian state has occupied West Papua against the will of its people with the full backing of Australia and the US. Despite decades of brutal repression, Papuans are still rising up to demand their national liberation, at home, in Indonesia and internationally.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Former FCC Boss Tom Wheeler Continues To Misunderstand And Misrepresent Section 230 And The Challenges Of Content Moderation

        It’s not just Ajit Pai who is an FCC chair who misunderstands Section 230. His predecessor, Tom Wheeler continues to get it totally wrong as well. A year ago, we highlighted Wheeler’s complete confusion over Section 230, that blamed Section 230 for all sorts of things… that had nothing at all to do with Section 230. I was told by some people that they had talked to Wheeler and explained to him some of the mistakes in his original piece, but it appears that they did not stick.

      • Broadband Market Failure Keeps Forcing Americans To Build Their Own ISPs

        For decades now a growing number of US towns and cities have been forced into the broadband business thanks to US telecom market failure. Frustrated by high prices, lack of competition, spotty coverage, and terrible customer service, some 750 US towns and cities have explored some kind of community broadband option. And while the telecom industry routinely likes to insist these efforts always end in disaster, that’s never actually been true. While there certainly are bad business plans and bad leaders, studies routinely show that such services not only see the kind of customer satisfaction scores that are alien to large private ISPs, they frequently offer better service at lower, more transparent pricing than many private providers.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Apple begins blocking M1 Mac users from side loading iPhone and iPad applications

        As a refresher, Apple Silicon Macs allow users to run iOS and iPad applications on their Mac, but developers can opt out of allowing their apps to be installed on the Mac. This is the path that many developers have taken, making the necessary change in App Store Connect to remove their app from the Mac App Store.

        But with that being said, until today, you could manually install iOS apps like Netflix, Instagram, and Facebook on an M1 Mac by using their respective IPA files downloaded under a valid Apple ID. Many people were using tools such as iMazing to complete this process.

        9to5Mac has now confirmed that, starting today, this is no longer possible unless the application is available on the Mac App Store. Apple has flipped the necessary sever-side switch to block iPhone and iPad applications from being installed on Apple Silicon Macs.

      • Apple is blocking Apple Silicon Mac users from sideloading iPhone apps

        Apple has turned off users’ ability to unofficially install iOS apps onto their M1 Macs (via 9to5Mac). While iOS apps are still available in the Mac App Store, many apps, such as Dark Sky and Netflix, don’t have their developer’s approval to be run on macOS. Up until now, there was a workaround that allowed the use of third-party software to install the apps without having to use the Mac App Store, but it seems like Apple has remotely disabled it.

        When we tried to install an unsupported app on an M1 Mac running macOS 11.1, we got an error message saying that we couldn’t install it and should “try again later”. You can see a screenshot at the top of this article.

      • Apple TV Plus Free Subscriptions Extended Again, This Time Through July 2021

        The tech giant is extending the free-access period for Apple TV Plus customers who have signed up through its 12-month free subscription offer through July 2021. That’s after it had previously pushed that gratis period to February. So if you were among the first to take the one-year-free deal back in November 2019, that’s turned into 21 months free of Apple TV Plus.

      • Spotify Enters Settlement Talks With PRO Music Rights Founder Jake P. Noch

        But a new legal filing, shared with DMN this afternoon, reveals that Spotify and Noch have officially entered settlement talks. The involved parties “jointly” moved for a 60-day stay, “including discovery and all deadlines,” so that they can “attempt to negotiate a resolution of this matter,” the three-page-long document (dated January 13th, 2021) indicates.

        Furthermore, the filing specifies that Sosa Entertainment, Jake P. Noch, and Spotify “have recently made progress towards a potential resolution of the litigation.” The joint motion doesn’t elaborate upon the terms of this possible agreement – though Noch said in a statement that he’s eager to begin working towards an “excellent resolution” in earnest.

      • The FSF fights for your right to repair

        It is this example of automated vehicles that served as inspiration for the FSF’s animated video Fight to Repair.

        However, any technology we use could potentially be co-opted by the proprietary, DRM-controlled subscription model Tesla and the tractor manufacturers are proposing. Imagine your “smart home” having a broken lock, or worse, being broken into, and not having the control, or the simple right to repair the bug. Countless other examples can be found showing us that the key to a free future is the right to repair. We need to fight for a future in which the software used is free in order to maintain ownership and control not only over our technology, but over our lives.

    • Monopolies

      • Trump’s Twitter Ban May Be Justified, but That Doesn’t Mean Tech Giants’ Power Isn’t Scary

        In the wake of the dramatic storming of the Capitol last week, a host of big media companies, including Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitch, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, have all taken measures against Donald Trump. Making the most headlines, however, was the decision of the president’s favorite medium, Twitter (1/8/21), to permanently suspend him “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

      • Google, Alibaba, Global Antitrust Standard

        Instead of wasting more energy “looking for” him, what’s perhaps more worthwhile to look into is China’s new antitrust regulatory framework. The most important document to understand is the “Antitrust Guidelines for the Platform Economy”, a draft policy released by the State Administration for Market Regulations. (The public commenting period is now over and the policies are in effect. I have put the official Chinese document in this Google Doc for easy reading and referencing.)

        Antitrust investigations in the air everywhere, so it’s no longer strictly a national issue. Examining Google’s antitrust experience with what’s in the “Antitrust Guidelines for the Platform Economy” document, projecting what may happen to Alibaba, and thinking about whether a global antitrust standard can (or should) emerge is what I’ll focus on in this post today.

      • The Public Should Regulate Silicon Valley — Not the Other Way Around

        But beneath the aesthetics lie the politics. Twitter birthed Trump, giving him a platform that incentivized his every behavior. A format where 280-character zingers replace serious debate, conflict is rewarded, and attack mobs form and dissipate at light speed was always fertile ground for the hard right. A blank-slate AI became a neo-Nazi within twenty-four hours of Twitter exposure.

        Trump and Twitter both offer the promise of popular power and participation whilst strengthening existing social relations and ordering them to extract further profit. Facebook is less theatrical and more intimate, but equally prone to rapid poisoning, as anyone who has witnessed the conversion of a mild-mannered local history forum into an explosion of nativist racism can attest.

        The problem for the tech giants is that after Trump, such criticism went mainstream. Until the post-recession unravelling of politics, the “Californian Ideology’s combination of the free-wheeling spirit of hippies and the entrepreneurial zeal of yuppies” had positioned Big Tech benignly. They were in deep with the deep state, undoubtedly knowing more about information warfare than Pentagon generals. And yet they were simultaneously championing libertarian free expression; creating democratized spaces where if enough of you yelled at your leaders from your bedrooms, those leaders may even be compelled to respond.

      • Patents

        • Best outcome of impeachment for development of law: Supreme Court clarifies meaning of “high” in “high crimes and misdemeanors”

          After years of making pro-Trump comments (except in connection with patent policy, where a couple of his appointees did terrible things), I was shocked by the absurd positions he took on SARS-CoV-2 last year–even by utterances that weren’t nearly as crazy as suggesting that one might inject disinfectants. Those who have read my comments on other issues know that I view COVID-19 as the moment of truth. Politicians who failed to do their job in that most critical context in a long time don’t deserve to be supported or trusted, but I found myself in agreement with politicians I fundamentally disagreed with on other issues. Only a minority of Trump supporters has a similar set of priorities, but apparently enough for him to lose the election. While some conspiracy theorists portrayed the outcome of the mail-in vote in various places as a statistical anomaly, there actually is a simple explanation: people so afraid of COVID they’d rather vote by mail were extremely unlikely to have faith in Donald Trump. What might have been a statistical anomaly under “all other things being equal” circumstances just doesn’t apply here.

          Similarly, the fact that Trump held huge rallies, unlike the President-elect, doesn’t tell us anything about the fairness of the election. Even under normal circumstances, rallies aren’t tallies. But they do normally indicate the enthusiasm of a party base. The 2020 U.S. presidential campaign was totally different, mostly because of COVID, and secondarily because many people didn’t have to be huge Biden fans in order to vote for him: this time around, even Hillary would most likely have won. And I almost feel like predicting that four years of the Biden Administration, unless his waning physical fitness requires him to step down too early, will be followed by one or two Harris terms, and I’d even predict she’ll win Texas, considering some overall trends and developments, including some relocation decisions by tech companies.

          The GOP will have to reinvent itself and probably won’t even start that process anytime soon. A tectonic shift comparable to the one under FDR–who broadened the appeal of the Democratic Party–would be needed for a GOP candidate to be elected POTUS again. Without the Electoral College, the GOP would already have had to reposition itself on a lot of issues, as they won the popular vote in only one out of the last eight presidential elections, and who knows whether that one exception would even have happened without 9/11.

          It’s obviously hard to strike the right balance between giving everyone, including minorities, fair access to an election and making an election secure. Congressman Dan Crenshaw and his guests, one of whom is a University of Texas law professor, made great points about that in this podcast. Shortcomings should be addressed and I hope Democrats will be principled enough to do that in certain states. That said, there’s really no reason not to assume Trump’s covidiocies–and not a multi-state conspiracy to commit election fraud–cost Trump the election.

          There have been credible reports of Trump being “entranced” by watching the Capitol riots on TV, a state of mind that prevented him from saying the right things in the right away-and sooner. The American system of government wasn’t under serious threat for even one second, but if those reports are indeed true (all I can say is they sound credible and they’re consistent with everything that is known, including the timeline), then it would even have been warranted to invoke the 25th Amendment.

        • FOSS Patents: Samsung appeals Ericsson’s anti-antisuit injunction from Texas to the Federal Circuit

          On Monday, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted Ericsson an anti-antisuit preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Chinese antisuit action, but backtracked a bit by narrowing the scope as compared to the temporary restraining order (TRO) in the same matter. I had criticized several aspects of the TRO and the PI-related case management. It was almost impossible to imagine that an appeals court would have upheld the extremely overreaching parts Judge Gilstrap has jettisoned, but what about the rest?

        • Constitutional Complaints In Germany Cast Doubt Over Fate Of UPC

          The UK’s withdrawal from the EU could upset the Unitary Patent Court project.

        • Software Patents

          • Tetris is no longer just a game, but an algorithm that ensures maximum hotel room occupancy

            The software was developed by the Lion Laboratory (Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN) of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento. The research team, led by Roberto Battiti and Mauro Brunato, collaborated with Filippo Battiti’s local start-up Ciaomanager Srl which provided first-hand knowledge of everyday hotel management.

            After the patent application, the procedure has also been the subject of an article in the international Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.

      • Trademarks

        • General Court says that ‘ALMEA’ and ’MEA’ are confusingly similar

          How far does likelihood of confusion go, within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001 (the EU Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR)), when it comes to the comparison between two signs? In an interesting decision from last month, the General Court considered that – despite the generally high level of attention of the target public for the Class 5 goods – the figurative sign (depicted below) was confusingly similar to the German word mark ‘MEA’.

          [...]

          In relation to the visual and phonetic similarity between the signs, the General Court first considered the Applicant’s claim that the Board had not taken sufficient account of the importance of the beginning of the sign applied for and of the length of the signs.

          It reasoned that the relevant public – on account of the shared element ‘mea’ in both signs – would perceive a certain low visual and phonetic similarity between the marks. Even if the Applicant’s sign contained the additional letters ‘a’ and ‘i’, this did not prevent consumers from perceiving the common element ‘mea’ in both signs. In this sense, the letters ‘a’ and ‘i’ did not attract the attention of the relevant public more than the element ‘mea’ which followed it. This was also reinforced by the fact that, phonetically, the initial element ‘ai’ was the first syllable and the two other syllables were found in the common element ‘mea’.

          The Court then moved to consider the applicant’s claim that the shorter a sign is, the more easily the public is able to perceive all of its single elements. It reasoned that, while it was true that the signs at issue are short and that consumers will perceive the differences between them more easily, such a rule is not always applicable. While acknowledging the existence of differences between the signs, the Board had found that it was also relevant to consider the fact that the earlier sign was completely included in the Applicant’s sign. In the General Court’s view, the Board could not be criticized for having reasoned in that way because, even if the signs were considered short, that element was not decisive, since the earlier sign was completely included in the Applicant’s sign.

      • Copyrights

        • Nintendo Hates You: Gaming Giant Lobs A DMCA Nuke At Hundreds Of Fan Games

          Nintendo has built quite a reputation for itself as an intellectual property protectionist, going much further than most other game publishers to exert strict control over all of its IP. While this control is deployed in a wide-ranging manner, one of the most visible, common, and consequential avenues for this protectionism comes in the form of Nintendo getting all manner of fan-made creations taken down. These games, almost universally created by huge Nintendo fans as labors of love, are nearly always the subject of DMCA takedowns. Think for just a moment what that means: Nintendo is disallowing, on the regular, the expression of fandom by its own customers.

        • Unsung Florence Foster Jenkins screenwriter is entitled to joint authorship share

          The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) has just handed down judgment in the retrial of a dispute concerning the authorship of the screenplay of the film Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant. The film tells the story of a New York socialite who loved to sing and became a musical cult figure in the 1940s, despite her lack of musical talent.

          The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial following an initial IPEC decision that found the screenplay to be a work of sole authorship. (A previous GuestKat post provides detailed expert analysis of the appeal case.) The Court of Appeal provided welcome clarification of copyright law’s joint authorship test. We now have a chance to see the refined joint authorship test in action!

        • YouTube-DL Fallout: Google Rejects RIAA MP3 Ripper Takedown Notices

          There has been an interesting development in the way that Google handles DMCA anti-circumvention notices sent by the RIAA. These have been used dozens of times by the music industry group to have YouTube-ripping platforms removed from Google search. Since the controversy over youtube-dl, however, Google appears to be rejecting similar complaints.

        • RIAA Defeats False DMCA Takedown Notice Claims in Court

          Popular mixtape platform Spinrilla has failed in its legal quest to hold the RIAA liable for willingly sending inaccurate takedown notices after a federal court in Georgia dismissed the case. While the notices may have been false, Spinrilla has no grounds to request damages as the service didn’t remove or disable any files.

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  18. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, March 02, 2021



  19. Links 3/3/2021: IPFire 2.25 Core Update 154, Red Hat Satellite 6.8.4, Kiwi TCMS 10.0

    Links for the day



  20. Links 2/3/2021: KDE Plasma 5.21.2, Qt 6.1 Beta, Refund of Pre-installed Windows

    Links for the day



  21. 'GatoKeeper'/IP Kat (AstraZeneca) Still Suppressing and Censoring the Public Views or Internal EPO Talks About EPO Corruption

    The suppression of comments critical of the EPO‘s administration (especially corruption scandals surrounding António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli) is a real problem; those ought not be a taboo subject in comments (where bloggers used to speak about those issues openly and regularly)



  22. Pocock on Removing Cognitive Bias Around Consent

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  23. IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, March 01, 2021



  24. Links 2/3/2021: Maui 1.2.1, RSS Guard 3.9.0

    Links for the day



  25. ZDNet Really Hates Golang (Maybe Because Microsoft Does)

    The Golang programming language seems to be the target of intense FUD campaigns from sites connected to Microsoft, so it’s likely a bit of a Nemesis/endgame to Microsoft monoculture (unlike Rust, which Microsoft has already pocketed and is actively besieging to promote Microsoft monopoly and hardware monoculture)



  26. Links 1/3/2021: KStars 3.5.2, ET: Legacy 2.77, Flameshot 0.9

    Links for the day



  27. Five Years of António Campinos Coverage in Techrights (We Correctly Predicted His Presidency in March 2016)

    We've warned about António Campinos since March of 2016; well, António Campinos isn't just EPO President right now but he's also an oppressor who demonises the union of the EPO's staff



  28. In 2021 the EPO Works for Parasites Instead of Scientists (and It Cannot Even Hide That Anymore)

    Europe's second-largest institution is working for those who attack instead of create (or those who attack actual creators, with lousy and sketchy patents as ammunition)



  29. Links 1/3/2021: Manjaro ARM 21.02 and First Linux 5.12 RC Released

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 28, 2021


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