02.19.21

Links 19/2/2021: Linux on Mars and Tumbleweed Gets Newest KDE Frameworks

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Has Landed On Mars

      NASA has landed a new rover called Perseverance on Mars. It has it’s own miniature helicopter named Ingenuity that can take off, navigate, and land on Mars without human intervention. Ingenuity runs a custom Linux-based operating system, Linux has now reached Mars.

    • The Perseverance Mars rover just took Linux to another planet

      The landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars was not just a victory for science, but also for open source software, the team behind the project has revealed.

      In its bid to use software that was “safe and proven”, NASA turned to Linux and open source. “This the first time we’ll be flying Linux on Mars,” said Tim Canham, Mars Helicopter Operations Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in a discussion with IEEE Spectrum.

      Without going into too much detail, Canham mentioned that the flight software framework NASA is using on the tiny helicopter dubbed Ingenuity, that’s tucked under the Perseverance Mars rover, was originally developed for miniature satellites called CubeSats.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Release Roundup #21.08: Linux Kernel 5.11, KDE Plasma 5.21, OpenMandriva Lx 4.2 and More New Releases – It’s FOSS News

        The much awaited Linux Kernel 5.11 was released to the public recently with many changes and new features, it is a non-LTS release and this year’s first major kernel release.

        For a more detailed outlook of the changes, have a look at our coverage of the same.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Roman Gilg: Window Kindergarten

          In the last post about KWinFT’s Windowing Revolution I promised follow-up articles with detailed explorations of two elements of that revolution, which due to their complexity deserve such.

          One of them was a new way how Wayland subsurfaces are managed inside KWinFT. Accompanying the 5.21 release of KWinFT this week, which was made available in sync with the KDE Plasma release, let me live up to my promise and start with an exploration of that.

          But since even this topic alone is overly complex with a lot of windowing history behind it, we will split it up further and in this first article only look at subsurfaces and related concepts from a high level but without yet looking at the new and improved implementation in KWinFT.

          On a high level the notions we are dealing with can always be interpreted as some form of parent-child relation between windows, on Wayland just as much as on X11. We will see that this is a very powerful mental model.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • What are the process states in Unix/Linux? – JAXenter

        In this article, learn about the following process states in Unix/Linux: RUNNING & RUNNABLE, INTERRRUPTABLE_SLEEP, UNINTERRRUPTABLE_SLEEP, STOPPED, and ZOMBIE. Find out how to find them, how to kill the SLEEPING process, the ZOMBIE process, and more.

      • Different OpenGPG DNS entries for the same email | Miroslav Suchý

        In previous blogpost, I wrote How to generate OpenPGP record for DNS (TYPE61). You may get puzzled what to do when you have different GPG keys with the same email.

      • Lukas “lzap” Zapletal: Helper script for easy cherry picks with git

        After many, many manual cherry picks, I’ve decided to put together a short script. It’s fully interactive and hopefully self-explanatory.

      • Steps to install PHP 8 on Debian Server – Linux Shout

        PHP is a widely used server-side programming language that means it can perform actions on servers such as establishing connections to a database, generate dynamic webpages on user requests, or delete files on the server.

        It is open-source and distributed as free software. Today, the abbreviation PHP stands for HyperText Process, however, originally it was known as Personal Home Page Tools. The programs coded with this scripting language stored as simple text files which later converted into machine code by the web server when they are called up. Thus, PHP programs are largely platform-independent and can be executed on different hardware systems.

        Embedded in HTML files, the PHP code supplemented static websites with dynamic information such as date and time or, for example, mixed in the input of users from order forms in order confirmation pages.

      • How to install Lubuntu 20.10 on Windows 10 Hyper-V – Webleit.info

        Lubuntu is a fast and lightweight operating system with a clean and easy-to-use user interface. It is a Linux system, that uses the minimal desktop LXDE/LXQT, and a selection of light applications. Because of this, Lubuntu has very low hardware requirements. Lubuntu was founded by Mario Behling and has been grown for many years by Julien Lavergne.

      • How to Disable USB ports, CD-ROM and Floppy drives in Ubuntu – Webleit.info

        In the company where I work, the employees often had to work from their homes during the pandemic. This necessitated the need to encrypt these laptops, and then to the question of how to stop all USB ports and CDs. In this article, we will look at some simple but effective methods to disable USB ports, CD drives and floppies.

        But in the end, why do we need all this?
        Well, often people, without even realizing it, can forget their laptop unlocked in a cafe and a conscientious person can quickly download a few key files or do a bunch of other nonsense. Therefore, in some cases, locking all communication ports on the laptop would increase your corporate security.

      • Linux Essentials – The Arch User Repository (AUR) – YouTube

        In my “Linux Essentials” series, I go over the basic details of one Linux command or service in each episode in order to teach you the basics. In this episode, we’ll explore the Arch User Repository (AUR).

      • Move your Linux from legacy BIOS to UEFI in place with minimal downtime | Enable Sysadmin

        This article describes a complete procedure for moving to UEFI.

      • APT Command in Linux [A to Z Guide]

        If you have used Debian or Debian-based distributions such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint, then the APT command-line tool needs no introduction. APT, short for Advanced Package Tool is a package management tool for Debian systems. The APT utility helps users to perform a variety of tasks including installing, updating, upgrading, and removing software packages. The APT utility is used interactively, often requiring the user to type ‘Y’ to proceed with the operation such as installing or removing a package.

      • Create NodeJS Virtual Environments Using Conda In Linux – OSTechNix

        Anaconda distribution ships with a package and environment management system called Conda. It is used to manage and deploy applications, environments and packages. Conda is written in Python and it was initially created for Python programs only, but it can be used for any languages, for example R, Nodejs etc. In this guide, we will see how to create Nodejs virtual environments using conda in Linux.

      • Linux 101: How to block users from setting up their own cron jobs – TechRepublic

        You’re a new Linux admin and you’re familiar with how cron works. You’ve been tasked with hardening your Linux servers and one thing you’d like to do is prevent users from setting up their own cron jobs. After all, shouldn’t that task fall into your hands?

        You certainly don’t want users creating regularly scheduled jobs that could compromise the integrity of your server. What do you do? You block users from creating cron jobs. Believe it or not, this is surprisingly easy to take care of.

        Let me show you how.

      • How to Install Express.js and Write a Hello World App on Ubuntu

        For this tutorial, you’ll only need access to an Ubuntu system. We wrote this tutorial for an Ubuntu 20.04 server, but the instructions will work on the desktop version too, or any other Ubuntu-based distro. You can get a cheap Ubuntu server at Vultr.

        You’ll need the root user for this tutorial, or run sudo where necessary.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Collabora Adds New Features to Their Wayland Driver for Wine

        First unveiled in mid-December 2020, the Wayland driver for Wine enables you to run Windows applications and games via the Wine compatibility layer on GNU/Linux distributions that use the Wayland display system, as a drop-in replacement for XWayland.

        During these past two months, Collabora’s engineers worked hard on improving the Wayland driver for Wine by adding a handful of new features like copy and paste support from both Wine and Wayland apps, the ability to drag and drop items from native Wayland apps to Wine apps, and support for changing the display mode.

      • Wayland on Wine: An exciting first update

        Two months ago we announced a first proposal for a Wayland driver for Wine, the compatibility layer for Windows applications.

        The goal of this driver is to allow Windows applications to run directly on Wayland compositors, eventually removing the need for XWayland for many use cases. XWayland, like X11 in general, is receiving less and less developer attention and is unlikely to support modern features like improved fence synchronization or HDR. In addition, since it’s yet another layer to go through it’s a source of complexity and potentially of inefficiency. Some more details and thoughts about XWayland vs direct Wayland in the context of Wine can be found here.

        We are now excited to announce a first update for this effort, proposed on the upstream mailing list as a new RFC (Request for Comment), which contains more details and instructions for building and running the Wayland driver.

        The focus of this update is to support a number of new features that are useful for applications and games, and which have also been considered potential integration pain points for the Wayland driver. These are copy/paste, drag-and-drop and support for changing the display mode.

        Copy/paste support works well in both directions (native Wayland apps <=> Wine apps) with many common formats already supported. Drag and drop works in the direction of native Wayland apps to Wine apps for many common formats.

    • Games

      • There’s no stopping the Viking invasion as Valheim hits 3 million sales | GamingOnLinux

        Valheim has truly become an absolute runaway hit. A survival game about Vikings running around in co-op chopping down trees and facing off against big bosses.

        Less than three weeks since the Early Access release, Iron Gate announced today that it’s now sold three million copies. This is just absurd but it’s genuinely well deserved. This isn’t some AAA or even AA team with a huge budget, Iron Gate is a tiny team backed up by Coffee Stain Publishing.

        The team shared some other records they’ve managed to hit recently too including over 60,000 user reviews with an Overwhelmingly Positive rating, they’re now doing so well they’re rising up the Steam Top 250 and it has been one of the most popular games on Twitch lately too. There’s just no stopping it.

        [...]

        Seems to have caused a surge for LinuxGSM too, the really great tool for managing game servers. Going by their stats we can see Valheim is now the most popular game being hosted with their kit with over 750 servers live.

      • Crusader Kings II gets a monthly subscription for all the DLC | GamingOnLinux

        Paradox Interactive are branching out with revenue models and they’re now doing a subscription for Crusader Kings II, which itself is free to play. Even though Crusader Kings III is out now, the classic Crusader Kings II is tried and tested with multiple thousands of people still playing it regularly. It being free also makes it a good entry point for Paradox strategy titles.

      • It’s officially game over for Rochard with studio Recoil Games shutting

        Recoil Games appear to have filed for bankruptcy a while ago and sadly a casualty of that is their game Rochard, which has now been removed for sale.

        Rochard was an award-winning side-scroller puzzle-platformer, originally released in 2011. It was also part of the early indie game push for Linux, thanks to it being part of the Humble Indie Bundle 6 back in 2012 it was ported to Linux especially for the bundle. Not only that, it was also one of the first commercial Unity games (possibly the actual first) to be built for Linux too, so it holds something of a special place in our history.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Gets Newest KDE Frameworks, Plasma

          Updates of both KDE’s Plasma and Frameworks landed in openSUSE Tumbleweed as part of three snapshots released this week.

          The rolling Tumbleweed distribution began the week with Linux Kernel 5.10.12 and has ended it with version 5.10.16, which was the latest stable Kernel when the 20210215 snapshot was released.

          The newest Frameworks 5.79.0 version arrived in snapshot 20210217. As part of the release, Kholidays package updated holidays for Mauritius and Taiwan. The Kirigami user interface framework had fixes to the controls and enhanced some vertical alignments. Removal of the usage of non-UTF-8 string literals were made with Framework’s kcodecs package update. GNOME had some updates with gnome-builder updating to version 3.38.2, which provided support for an –add-policy for Flatpak, and gnome-software updating to version 3.38.1, which updated translations and ignores harmless warnings when using unusual fwupd versions. Three areas of focus were emphasized for the update of dhcp 4.4.2 with changes for dynamic DNS additions, dhclient improvements and support for dynamic shared libraries; the package is now licensed under the Mozilla Public License, MPL 2.0. Multiple PyPI packages were updated including python-greenlet 1.0.0, which requires setuptools to build from source, and python-numpy 1.20.1, which fixed a random.shuffle regression. A major update of perl-Mojolicious 9.01 added an experimental color attribute and an experimental color log environment variable. Other packages to update in the snapshot were Long-Term Support package subversion 1.14.1, filesystem mounter fuse3 3.10.2, pipewire 0.3.21 and git 2.30.1.

      • Arch Family

        • Moving to Zstandard images by default on mkinitcpio

          As linux-lts moved to the 5.10 version, all official kernels of Arch Linux now support zstd compressed initramfs images, so mkinitcpio is switching to zstd compressed images by default with version 30, which is currently on [testing].

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Two new Call for Code for Racial Justice projects just went open source [Ed: IBM has the audacity to claim to combat the very thing it has long contributed to]

          In response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, Call for Code for Racial Justice launched in October of 2020. The initiative provides developers with the opportunity to build open source solutions to address three focus areas: Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability, Diverse Representation, and Policy & Legislation Reform. The initiative builds upon Call for Code, which was created in 2018 and has grown to over 400,000 developers and problem-solvers across 179 countries, in partnership with Creator David Clark Cause, Founding Partner IBM, Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, and the Linux Foundation.

        • New Open Source Projects to Confront Racial Justice [Ed: Jason Perlow from IBM and Microsoft is trying to help IBM hide its highly racist practices, which it profited from]

          Today the Linux Foundation announced that it would be hosting seven projects that originated at Call for Code for Racial Justice, an initiative driven by IBM and Creator David Clark Cause to urge the global developer ecosystem and open source community to contribute to solutions that can help confront racial inequalities.

          Launched by IBM in October 2020, Call for Code for Racial Justice facilitates the adoption and innovation of open source projects by developers, ecosystem partners, and communities across the world to promote racial justice across three distinct focus areas: Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability; Diverse Representation; and Policy & Legislation Reform.

          The initiative builds upon Call for Code, created by IBM in 2018 and has grown to over 400,000 developers and problem solvers in 179 countries, in partnership with Creator David Clark Cause, Founding Partner IBM, Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, and the Linux Foundation.

        • The Linux Foundation and IBM Announce New Open Source Projects to Promote Racial Justice
        • The Linux Foundation and IBM Announce New Open Source Projects to Promote Racial Justice

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host seven projects from Call for Code for Racial Justice, an initiative driven by IBM and Creator David Clark Cause to urge the global developer ecosystem and open source community to contribute to solutions that can help confront racial inequalities.

          Call for Code for Racial Justice launched in October 2020, and facilitates the adoption and innovation of open source projects by developers, ecosystem partners, and communities across the world to promote racial justice across three focus areas: Police & Judicial Reform and Accountability; Diverse Representation; and Policy & Legislation Reform. The initiative builds upon Call for Code, which was created in 2018 and has grown to over 400,000 developers and problem solvers across 179 countries, in partnership with Creator David Clark Cause, Founding Partner IBM, Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, and the Linux Foundation.

          “Open source technology has an important role to play in addressing the greatest challenges of our time, and that includes racial justice,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president and GM of Projects at the Linux Foundation. “We are excited to host and support these projects at the Linux Foundation, and look forward to how they will develop and deploy through contributions from the open source community.”

        • Technically Speaking (S1E01): Edge computing covered and diced – YouTube

          What is edge computing, and what does it mean for data workloads, latency, and our precious, precious bandwidth? Red Hat CTO Chris Wright reboots Technically Speaking in this first episode where we explore edge computing.

        • Virtualization’s role in next-generation infrastructure

          Enterprises have always used multiple generations of technology simultaneously. Enterprise applications need to be deployed into both VMs and containers, and enterprises need a converged platform to support both. So the question IT people have to answer is, “How can we manage existing applications running on virtual machines and new applications running on containers together in an unified platform?”

          That is the mission of the open source project, KubeVirt. Downstream of that, Red Hat introduced OpenShift Virtualization (a.k.a. Container Native Virtualization) within the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a Kubernetes based platform.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • The State of Robotics – January 2021

          A new start? 2020 came and went, and in the process, it left a mark in history and our lives that won’t be erased. Together, as a community, we all struggled, we all faced new challenges, we all united and did our best to help each other. We are grateful for the effort of our nurses, doctors, carers, scientific, essential workers, and innovators that have led this fight. We also take a moment to remember those that we have lost and those who have been affected the most.

          We have started a new year, and while some of us might be still in lockdown, working from home and unable to visit our loved ones, we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

          It will take some time. But it is definitely a new start.

          Thank you to all of you that have followed this monthly blog. We are committed to our robotics community and to our innovators. We will keep working for you.

          Thank you to all of you that have contributed to this blog. We want this to keep growing, so if you are working on (or know of) something that you think would be interesting to our audience, let us know. Send a summary of the work to robotics.community@canonical.com.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • NeoPixel fireflies jar with Raspberry Pi | HackSpace 39
      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Best Free Android Apps: Skywave Schedules – listen to shortwave radio

          There’s a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series. See the Eligibility Criteria section below.

          Are you interested in shortwave radio? Radio waves in the shortwave band can be reflected or refracted from a layer of electrically charged atoms in the atmosphere called the ionosphere over extremely long distances. Skywave Schedules is just the ticket for anyone wanting to listen and identify stations broadcasting on shortwave.

          It’s true that the days of shortwave radio have long sailed with many broadcasters deserting the airwaves and providing their schedule on the internet. But there’s still lots of broadcasters who maintain a presence. And listening to shortwave remains extremely valuable if you need to access news and information from a different perspective and your remote location doesn’t offer (unrestricted) internet access.

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | Let Them Melt Snow
    • “Pages 9-14,” an excerpt from The Ferguson Report: An Erasure
    • A Teenaged Tech CEO Tries To Sneak In After Curfew And Finds His Mom Waited Up For Him

      With Congress spending a lot of time these days demanding answers from big tech firms, you may have noticed a notable similarity in style regarding how they respond to these kinds of inquiries.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Why Politicians and Doctors Keep Ignoring the Medical Research on Vitamin D and Covid

        It is time to speak out forcefully now that a new, large-scale Spanish study demonstrates not a just a correlation but a causal relationship between high-dose Vitamin D treatment of hospitalised Covid patients and significantly improved outcomes for their health.

        The pre-print paper in the Lancet shows there was an 80 per cent reduction in admission to intensive care units among hospitalised patients who were treated with large doses of Vitamin D, and a 64 per cent reduction in death. The possibility of these being chance findings are infinitesimally small, note the researchers. And to boot, the study found no side-effects even when these mega-doses were given short term to the hospitalised patients.

      • Ten People Died After Chicago Refused To Stop Jailing People During COVID-19 Pandemic

        This article has been published in partnership with South Side Weekly and was supported by Shadowproof’s Marvel Cooke Reporting Fellowship.

        A few days before Easter, Karl Battiste called his daughter Karla with a headache. He wasn’t feeling well and was worried about the spread of COVID-19 in Chicago’s Cook County Jail, where he was incarcerated at the time. 

      • More Than Half of All Inmates in Wisconsin Prisons Have Tested Positive for Covid

        One year into the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, everyone in the United States should be familiar with the Centers for Disease Control’s coronavirus guidelines: Wear a mask, stay six feet apart, avoid crowds. There remains, however, one setting in which these guidelines are disregarded by the authorities themselves: prisons. In Wisconsin, for example, nearly 20,000 prisoners are held in facilities where, as the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) admits, they cannot socially distance. Unsurprising, then, that the Wisconsin DOC reports that more than half of all prisoners in its custody have tested positive for Covid.

      • ‘Wildly Uneven and Unfair’: As Richest Gobble Up Vaccine Supply, 130 Poorest Nations Have Yet to Receive Single Dose

        “Unless production is significantly increased, many people in developing countries won’t get vaccines until 2024. The pandemic cannot be stopped anywhere unless people are vaccinated everywhere.”

      • Appeals Court Says Handing Out A Free Sample Of Drugs Isn’t A ‘Conspiracy’

        Our nation’s preeminent drug warriors rolled the dice on turning less than a half-gram of drugs into a lengthy prison sentence. They lost. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals isn’t amused by the machinations of DEA agents (and federal prosecutors) who tried to turn a freebie sample into a drug trafficking conspiracy.

      • What Popular Culture Misunderstands About Addiction

        You might already know the story of Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance’s memoir that argues that a variety of social ills in Appalachia—low birth rates, declining religious affiliation, domestic violence—can be attributed to “hillbilly culture.” At the end of last year, Hollywood ran the book through a few spin cycles, bleaching its film adaptation of Vance’s virulent right-wing commentary, which places blame on government welfare programs for incentivizing perverse behaviors that tear families and society apart. Naturally, most critics scanned Elegy for its politics. However sanitized the movie is of Vance’s beliefs, it was still destined for the front lines of the culture war.

      • ‘Congress Must End This National Embarrassment,’ Says Sanders After CBO Reveals High Drug Prices for Medicare Part D

        “There is no rational reason why Medicare pays nearly three times more than Medicaid and about twice as much as the VA for the same exact medicine.”

      • How to Wear a Mask & When to Wear Two to Reduce COVID Transmission & Increase Vaccine Effectiveness

        While COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations appear to be waning, the United States has a long way to go before people can safely return to everyday life without masks. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says it’s vital to stay vigilant even as vaccinations ramp up. “If we can get our transmission down as low as possible, that is actually going to make the vaccines more effective.”

      • COVID Deaths in the US Lead to Biggest Drop in Life Expectancy Since WWII
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • PTV Vissim traffic simulation software made available to Linux users

          Traffic and transportation solutions developer PTV has extended the capability and benefits offered by its traffic simulation software PTV Vissim Kernel by making the program available to Linux users within the automotive industry.

          PTV Group says the software is capable of reproducing realistic simulations of entire traffic environments, including the interactions and movement of different road users using a multitude of vehicles. Within the virtual environment an array of concepts can be reproduced including autonomous driving, shared mobility and Mobility as a Service.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (bind9, libbsd, openssl1.0, php-horde-text-filter, qemu, and unrar-free), Fedora (kiwix-desktop and libntlm), Mageia (coturn, mediawiki, privoxy, and veracrypt), openSUSE (buildah, libcontainers-common, podman), Oracle (kernel, nss, and perl), Red Hat (xterm), SUSE (java-1_7_1-ibm, php74, python-urllib3, and qemu), and Ubuntu (libjackson-json-java and shiro).

          • SecureCRT 9.0 and SecureFX 9.0 from VanDyke Software Adds Built-in Support for RDP and Platform Support for Ubuntu 20.04 [Ed: RDP is, by default, not secure, so this is proprietary software non-solution in search of a problem GNU/Linux users do not have and should not bother with]

            VanDyke Software®, a developer of multi-platform secure terminal emulation and secure­ file transfer software, today announced the official releases of SecureCRT® 9.0 and SecureFX® 9.0.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Leaving Aside’ International Law: Democrats are as Dangerous as Republicans to Peace in Palestine

        There are obvious differences in the Democrats’ approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but only in semantics and political jingoism, not policy. This assertion can be justified if the Democratic administration’s official language on Palestine and Israel is examined, and such language considered within the context of practical policies on the ground.

      • Opinion | The American Century Ends Early

        How the USS Enterprise was transformed into the USS Roach.

      • If It Were a Narco Lab, It Would be Working

        Obstacles left by Trump still stand in their way. Agreements he made with Honduras and Guatemala led to police attacking and dispersing the refugees. Scattered groups are still heading towards the Mexican frontier at Chiapas – according to one Trump-era official, ‘now our southern border’ – where they will face Mexican troops. If they eventually reach the Rio Grande, they’ll join 25,000 asylum seekers in camps, waiting to be processed by US border officials. Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s official charged with forming his new ‘secure, managed and humane’ migration policy, has asked them to be patient and pleaded for no new arrivals.

        Why do people take these risks? The truth is that Honduras is a failed state and, unless US policy towards it changes radically, many thousands more will head north. Since the military coup in 2009 there have been three corrupt elections. The last, in 2017, which saw Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) re-elected when he had clearly lost, led to even more repression. Persecution of human rights defenders is unceasing, even after international condemnation of the murder of Berta Cáceres five years ago. Seven were killed in 2020, and four young leaders from Garifuna communities, abducted in a single night seven months ago, are still missing.

      • Lawfare Threatens to Derail the Presidential Election in Ecuador

        This election will have enormous consequences for Ecuador as well as the entire region. After four years of President Lenin Moreno’s neoliberal turn, which reversed the economic and social gains of former President Rafael Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution, the majority of Ecuadorians have opted for a change of course. An Arauz victory would once again prioritize social investment over IMF imposed austerity and resume Ecuador’s leadership in the movement towards regional integration. If the ultra right in Ecuador and Colombia have their way, however, Arauz will not make it to the run-off election.

        Just a week prior to the first round, with Arauz ahead in most polls, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who is a fierce opponent of the UNES candidate, met with the notoriously interventionist Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, in Washington. This meeting raised suspicions that efforts were underway to prevent a return of the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador.  On February 12th,  the Attorney General of Colombia, Francisco Barbosa arrived in Quito to meet with his Ecuadorian counterpart, Diana Salazar, armed with a dossier that allegedly shows the campaign of Arauz had received funding from the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerillas in Colombia. Although no independent corroboration of such charges have been presented to back these allegations, the echo chamber of right wing fake news is already urging election authorities in Ecuador to disqualify UNES in a bid to prevent Arauz from participating in the second round of the presidential election.

      • Politico’s Defense News, Brought to You by Northrop Grumman

        Since its inception 14 years ago, Politico has risen to become an internet news giant. Now employing over 700 people and reaching 50 million people per month, the website and newspaper has become one of the most trusted sources of information on political issues in the United States. Key to this is its range of influential newsletters, which reach millions every day.

      • Leader of Neo-Nazi Group Previously Worked for Department of Homeland Security
      • US State Department accusation of China ‘genocide’ relied on data abuse and baseless claims by far-right ideologue
      • ‘No to Dictatorship’: Why Haitians are protesting US-backed Moïse
    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Biden Has the Power to Cancel Student Loan Debt Now. What’s Stopping Him?
      • “Let Them Eat Ice Cream”

        I “know” things I’d rather not consciously acknowledge. We all do. To be a human being is to implicate oneself in some degree of hypocrisy; existence is acquiescence to imperfection. If we want to live with a minimum of contentment, we have no alternative. But there is a difference between unavoidable, low-grade inconsistency—an inescapable element of the human condition—and eminently escapable hypocrisy. Avoidable hypocrisy comes in two flavors: hypocrisy which is structural, forced upon individuals by systems largely beyond any given individual’s control, and the chosen, flagrant hypocrisy of powerful people, so lulled by complacency and ideology that they fail to see how their behavior appears to an outside observer. Powerful people who are nonchalant upon being confronted with evidence of hypocritical behavior aren’t hypocrites: they’ve foresworn the claim to any modicum of consistency, opting for the stolid impenetrability of power. With them, the logic of hypocrisy does not obtain.

        Trump, Mitch McConnell, and congressional Republicans fall into this latter category: they subscribe to the simple, age-old premise that might makes right. The strong do what they can; the weak suffer what they must. Republican pseudo-populist politicians make only token efforts to deny swift 180-degree shifts in rhetoric—and they largely get away with it. If pushed, they will shrug, give an aw-shucks grin, and drop the pretext altogether. This abrupt jettisoning of pretense allows them to provide the cynical, weary masses—rightly embittered, hopeless, angry, tired of pious platitudes—the illusion of “telling it how it is.”

      • Rising Inequality: the ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ That Doomed the U.S. COVID Response

        The panel’s 33 commissioners — medical professionals of all sorts, along with assorted notables in legal and economic circles — have just delivered their final report, and media outlets worldwide are taking notice. They’re headlining the commission’s most stunning stat: that some 200,000 fewer Americans would have diedfrom the coronavirus if the United States had treated Covid with the same level of public health competence that its peer developed nations have demonstrated.

        “President Trump’s time in office,” the Lancet commission charges, “brought misfortune to the USA and the planet.”

      • “Not Doing This Is a Choice”: Biden Drags His Feet on Canceling Student Debt Despite Campaign Pledge

        Students, campaigners and top Democrats have been pushing President Joe Biden to use executive authority to cancel at least $50,000 in student loan debt per person. Student loan debt in the U.S. stands at $1.7 trillion, with some 45 million people owing money. Filmmaker and organizer Astra Taylor, an author, documentary director and organizer with the Debt Collective, says Biden has clear legal authority to cancel student debt. “Not doing this is a choice,” she says. We also speak with Braxton Brewington, a digital strategist with the Debt Collective, who says student debt cancellation is also politically smart. “President Biden has a unique opportunity to bring together a broad coalition of individuals who otherwise would be unlikely to come together around a policy,” he says.

      • New Economic Study ‘Demolishes’ Myth About Student Debt Parroted by Joe Biden

        “The vast majority of borrowers that benefit from forgiveness hail from low- and lower-income communities,” the study’s authors affirmed.

      • Over 200 Small Business Restaurant Owners and Employers Pen Letter Endorsing Raise the Wage Act

        The new letter coincides with a report debunking the claim that boosting tipped workers’ wages will cause business closures.

      • Ayanna Pressley Unveils Jobs Guarantee Resolution
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Failure of the Media in Responding to the Lying Right

        I saw this Thomas Edsall piece in the NYT that includes a variety of genuflections about social media and democracy. What the piece never addresses is the responsibility of the mainstream media (thread)

        It is one thing for random individuals to spew nonsense on social media sites. That is a real problem with no comprehensive solution.

      • As Macron Courts the Far-Right, France Launches Crackdown on “Islamo-Leftism”

        PARIS — France’s Minister for Higher Education, Frederique Vidal, has sparked a nationwide controversy with her announcement that the government is attempting to stop the spread of what she called “Islamo-leftism” in universities. Part of the process, she said, would be for the state to decide “what is academic research and what is activism and opinion,” implying that academics would need government permission to research and write on topics deemed too politically sensitive.

      • Sexual Assault in Canberra

        Parliaments present a paradox. Encrusted with surveillance, crawling with security, safety would surely be guaranteed for all who work within their walls. But the environment of power, ambition and conspiracy lends itself to hierarchies, asymmetries, and inequalities. Politicians find themselves with access to budgets, forums and staffers. There are receptions and meetings to attend, liquor to consume in abundance, deceptions to cultivate. The risk of wandering hands is ever present.

        The staffers, in turn, are mindful of their careers, insecure about their futures to the point of neuroses. They are expected to be unconditionally loyal to politician and party. Nikki Savva, herself a former staffer turned scribe, remembers the time: “The hours were long, the demands never-ending, the stress phenomenal and the fear of stuffing up overwhelming.” The staffer is permanently vulnerable and precariously positioned. Reasons for terminating employment are broad and susceptible to abuse. The parliamentarian can, for instance, do so for having “lost trust or confidence in the employee”. When politicians become arbiters of trust, the condition of the absurd has been affirmed.

      • Limbaugh: the Crash of the Dirigible

        I worked as a truck driver for years for Roadway (RPS), UPS and FedEx (a job I really enjoyed btw-people of all stripes are genuinely very respectful to package delivery folk, and I loved the uniform, particularly the shorts), but I digress. My truck always had Wisconsin Public Radio on but most trucks, and at most loading docks, Rush Limbaugh was the noise of choice.

        I was a full-on leftoid by the early 90’s and his brand of shock jockery and “conservatism” were viscerally repulsive to my core. But I thought about him a lot because in the white male working class of south-central Wisconsin, he was king.

      • Cuomo and Newsom Symbolize the Rot of Corporate Democrats and the Dire Need for Progressive Populism

        After 10 years as New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo is facing an uproar over revelations that his administration intentionally and drastically undercounted the deaths from COVID in nursing homes. Meanwhile, in California, the once-bright political glow of Gavin Newsom has dimmed, in large part because of personally hypocritical elitism and a zig-zag “middle ground” approach to public-health safeguards during the pandemic, unduly deferring to business interests.

        The political circumstances differ: Cuomo has been in conflict with New York progressives for many years over key policy matters, whereas Newsom was somewhat of a golden boy for Golden State progressives — if they didn’t look too closely at his corporate-friendly policies. But some underlying patterns are similar.

      • Absurd Journalism: The Washington Post on California Wildfires

        The Feb. 9 Washington Post article, “California’s rainy season now starts nearly a month later, increasing wildfire risk,” by Diane Leonard, “a science writer covering natural hazards,” quotes a Serbian climatologist in the third graph:

        The other expert in the article was Daniel Swain, a climate scientist from UCLA. He offered this modestly accurate insight: “When you get to Thanksgiving, it’s pretty wet in Northern California – at least it used to be.”

      • As Biden Returns “Civilization” to Washington, It’s More Obvious Than Ever That Capitalism Cannot Be Reformed

        The day was conceived by the ruling class as a declaration that U.S. capitalism would not be bullied or besieged by the likes of the Jan. 6 Trump-inspired mob of several hundred white supremacist, fascist wannabes, small groups of self-described paramilitary neo-Nazis, including the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, some off duty police, off duty or retired military personnel, a sprinkling of fanatic Republican elected officials, and some 100 Proud Boy Hitlerites.

        These political hucksters had combined two weeks earlier to violently push aside a handful of Capitol Police to occupy the Capitol building, unimpeded for several hours. More than a few noted that the violent invaders, partially armed and explicitly organized to nullify the Nov. 3 elections results, were allowed to peacefully exit the Capitol – no names taken or ID requested. A few heads rolled instantly at the top echelons of the federally-funded D.C. Capitol Police and House and Senate officials, who had made near zero security preparations. Embarrassed officials, vulnerable to having handled this internationally-viewed “insurrection” spectacle with kid gloves to say the least, subsequently organized a Justice Department and FBI-led national “manhunt” to round up some 250 Trumpers to date to face a variety of initially lesser charges – “unlawful entry and obstructing official proceedings.” These have now been expanded to include more serious felony charges of conspiracy to violently storm the Capitol building to disrupt the proceedings of Congress.

      • Kremlin denies reports connecting Putin aide to persecution of historian Yuri Dmitriev

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed as a false report from the investigative outlet Proekt connecting Putin’s aide Anatoly Seryshev to the persecution of 64-year-old historian and activist Yuri Dmitriev, who previously led the Karelian chapter of the human rights group Memorial.

      • The Putin riviera ‘Open Media’ publishes guide to the area surrounding the Russian president’s ‘palace’ on the Black Sea

        “Navalny’s film said nothing about the fact that around ‘Putin’s palace’ no less luxurious and guarded estates have already sprung up like mushrooms,” writes the news outlet Open Media in its newly published investigation into the area surrounding the luxury residence on the Black Sea supposedly built for the Russian President. According to this “travel guide,” these ritzy properties belong to people from the president’s inner circle. Meduza sums up Open Media’s guide to “the Putin riviera,” in brief.

      • Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza seeks investigation into FSB involvement in poisoning attacks

        Oppositionist Vladimir Kara-Murza has appealed to Russia’s Investigative Committee seeking an investigation into reports implicating FSB agents in two apparent attempts on his life.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Is Section 230 Just For Start-ups? History Says Nope

        One of the arguments for changing Section 230 is that even if we needed it a long time ago when the Internet was new, now that the Internet has been around for a while and some of the companies providing Internet services are quite big, we don’t need it anymore. This view is simply untrue: Internet service providers of every size still need it, including and perhaps even especially the big ones because they are the ones handling the greatest volume of user expression.

      • Opinion | On the Sacking of Nathan J. Robinson: An Open Letter to Guardian US Editor John Mulholland

        Regardless of one’s opinions on the Middle East, everyone should be distressed by The Guardian’s act of blatant censorship.

      • Open Letter to John Mulholland, US editor of The Guardian
      • ‘Immediately Reverse This Decision’: Amnesty Rebukes Facebook for Blocking Australian News Outlets

        “When Big Tech’s gatekeeper power is unchecked or a handful of dominant publishers can influence legislation, we get caught in a battle where users always lose.”

      • The Bizarre Reaction To Facebook’s Decision To Get Out Of The News Business In Australia

        None of this should have been a surprise. Back in September we wrote about Facebook publicly saying that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it. So, yesterday, when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.

      • What is Digital Fascism?

        Compared to the classical type, digital fascism may well be furnished with the greatest propaganda machine the world has ever seen – the Internet. Unlike, classical fascism which used printed newspapers and radio, digital fascism transmits its hate messages through the Internet. These so-called social media are in fact anti-social media. They aren’t socially organised. Instead, a few monopoly corporations run Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and all the rest.

        What allows digital fascism to thrive is the space these electronic platforms grant to right-wing extremism. Online platform corporations like Facebook, for example, hold on to the delusional idée fixe that their platform is not – and, in fact, should not – be an independent empire judging what is to be posted. So too the other gigantic monopolies. Their platforms, according to their self-serving ideology, are simply technical instruments that allow people to connect.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • What black law students want from IP firms [Ed: Monopoly advocates who use those monopolies to impoverish and enslave blacks resort to misleading, cheeky identity politics with propaganda terms such as "IP"]

        Intellectual property firms have steadily come around to the idea that they need to hire more attorneys from diverse backgrounds, including black and African-American attorneys – partly because of ethical considerations and partly because clients are increasingly demanding more diverse legal teams.

      • Patents

        • New Study Shows That IPR Delivers An Economic Benefit, Even If The District Court Doesn’t Stay Litigation [Ed: Disappointing to see CCIA using propaganda terms like "IPR" even if the intention in this case if to confront patent extremists]

          New research from the Perryman Group shows that inter partes review (IPR) is economically beneficial, even if co-pending district court litigation isn’t stayed. The Perryman study, commissioned by Unified Patents, examines IPR’s economic impact, including the difference between staying or continuing on with a co-pending district court case. There are two important findings in this study.

          First, when IPR is conducted in parallel with district court litigation, it still has a positive impact on the overall efficiency of the patent system and the economy. This means that in any analysis focused on the overall efficiency of the patent system or the overall impact on the economy, institution of IPR is favored even when there is co-pending district court litigation. And since those are the precise factors that the Director of the USPTO is required to consider in prescribing regulations, this study is a signal that regulations that would deny IPR on the basis of co-pending litigation may well contravene the statutory factors which Congress directed the USPTO to use in rulemaking.

          And second, the grant of a stay is associated with significantly greater savings and more positive impact. Over the 2014-2019 period of the Perryman study, around two thirds of requests for stay were granted. But while there were twice as many stayed cases as non-stayed, the Perryman study finds that stayed cases represented nearly fourteen times as much positive economic impact. That means that, for a given case, the positive economic impact of an IPR is multiplied approximately sevenfold if a stay is granted. That is a strong signal that there should, as many courts believe, be “‘a liberal policy in favor of granting motions to stay’ pending IPR.”

      • Trademarks

        • Random Jackass Attempts To Trademark ‘Mayor Of Mar-A-Lago’ In The Most Hilarious Way

          For years now, I have railed on the USPTO for its overly permissive posture when it comes to granting trademarks. The whole thing is far too easy, with far too little concern shown by examiners as to how distinct or useful proposed marks actually are. All of that being said, there are still some hoops you have to jump through to get a trademark. And there are some rules governing how to get through those hoops.

        • Peloton Seeks To Invalidate ‘Spinning’ Trademark Held By Trademark Bully

          Back in 2010, we discussed that the at-the-time “spin class” craze in the fitness world was encountering the fact that one company, Mad Dogg Athletics, held a trademark on the term “spinning” for use in the fitness industry. Mad Dogg had taken to going around the world and threatening anyone else using the term with trademark infringement as a result. And, to be clear, they had a lot of targets for these threats, which factored into the argument that term was now generic and hadn’t been properly enforced as a trademark for years.

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