02.20.21

Links 20/2/2021: Kodi 19.0 “Matrix”, Gleam 0.14

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.12 Adds Instruction Latency Reporting To Perf – Phoronix

        An exciting new capability with perf in Linux 5.12 is the ability to collect instruction latency metrics as part of the performance reports, but relies on hardware capabilities for now only found in next-generation Intel Xeon “Sapphire Rapids” processors.

        Linux 5.12 adds the ability to support instruction latency metrics as part of perf report collections. The instruction latency metrics paired with the memory latency data can help developers understand expensive instructions and the time being spent in the different CPU stages. It will be fun when this ability is more widespread across processors and interesting if it can end up being used for helping to generate more accurate cost tables for compiler targets among other use-cases.

      • Sound Updates For Linux 5.12 Include Intel Alder Lake P, Other New Hardware – Phoronix

        The sound subsystem changes were submitted on Friday by maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE for the in-development Linux 5.12 kernel.

        The sound/audio highlights for the Linux 5.12 kernel include:

        - Support for software jack injection for testing/debugging purposes.

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenGL vs. Vulkan Performance For Portal 2 With Radeon Linux Graphics

        With Valve’s Portal 2 having added a Vulkan renderer by way of DXVK for converting Direct3D calls to Vulkan, here are some initial benchmarks with several different AMD Radeon graphics cards for seeing the performance of this nearly decade old game on Linux with the existing OpenGL rendering path compared to that of the new Vulkan rendering option.

        This weekend article is just offering an initial look at the Portal 2 OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance on Linux using the initial update that introduced this new option. More benchmarks will be coming after Portal 2′s next imminent update coming out next week. Likewise, NVIDIA GeForce Linux benchmarks should be coming at that point too barring any issues.

    • Applications

      • HPLIP 3.21.2 Released with Fedora 33 and Lots of New Printers Support

        HPLIP, HP developed printer and scanner drivers for Linux, released version 3.21.2 with new Linux distributions and devices support.

        [...]

        Due to Pyqt5 dependency issue, the package does not install in Ubuntu 20.04.
        As a workaround, choose “custom” as the installation mode, answer “no” to disable ‘Graphical User Interfaces (Qt5)’, and say “no” when installing the python-reportlab package.

      • Scanning Frustration

        “Printers are devices for causing pain and frustration. They also sometimes print stuff out.” – Me, many times over the years.

        I have an HP LaserJet 100 MFP M175nw networked laser printer / scanner / copier. I’ve had it since 2013 where it’s generally worked okay most of the time. We don’t print a ton of things in this house, but when we do, it’s typically urgently required for work or school. It can drop off the network now and then, or just refuse to print sometimes. It’s always useful when it works, and frequently frustrating when it doesn’t.

        I had cause today to scan some documents. We don’t scan things in very often at all, maybe a couple of times a year. But as always, when you need to, you need to. I launched the “Document Scan…” application on my Ubuntu Hirsute Hippo which starts searching for scanners.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Decrypting GSM SMS traffic

        In this post, I’ll go over how to decrypt your own 2G GSM SMS messages by pulling encryption keys off your SIM card and processing the data with gr-gsm.

        In a previous post, I looked at how to decode and start analyzing GSM traffic. If you haven’t read that yet, I suggest you start there. I’m going to assume you have your environment set up to that point.

      • An Interactive Guide to CSS Transitions

        The world of web animations has become a sprawling jungle of tools and technologies. Libraries like GSAP and Framer Motion and React Spring have sprung up to help us add motion to the DOM.

        The most fundamental and critical piece, though, is the humble CSS transition. It’s the first animation tool that most front-end devs learn, and it’s a workhorse. Even the most grizzled, weathered animation veterans still reach for this tool often.

        There’s a surprising amount of depth to this topic. In this tutorial, we’ll dig in and learn a bit more about CSS transitions, and how we can use them to create lush, polished animations.

      • SSH Certificates Security

        SSH certificates, when deployed properly, improve security. A half-baked access system using certs is more vulnerable than a public-key-based one if a user or host gets [cracked].

      • cut & tr

        This is not tutorial but here’s an example of where I used these two today. I have a bunch of docker volumes I want to list just the names of. The default output is thus: [...]

      • Attributes of configuration languages

        Software, particularly server software or the software running on network equipment, frequently requires configuration, often provided in the form of a configuration file. No particular standard for a configuration language has ever come to dominate, so the number of configuration file formats is almost as large as the number of pieces of software needing configuration.

        Many of these configuration formats lack a formal specification of their syntax or semantics and are implemented as ad-hoc parsers inside the software that consumes them. Many of these formats also appear similar to other formats but with slight differences, as inspiration for how to design configuration languages flows from one influential piece of software to another. For example, no formal specification exists for INI files, but many applications have adopted an INI-like syntax, sometimes with notable application-specific variations. The BIND nameserver’s configuration format seems also to have influenced many configuration formats now used by *nix server software, again with much subtle variation.

        Herein, I attempt to analyse a large number of configuration languages and discern the properties and patterns that seem to pervade all of them. Rather than focusing on syntax, which is ultimately superficial, I will focus on the semantics and data model of a given language.

      • It’s now easy to bypass MediaTek’s SP Flash Tool authentication

        If you remember, MediaTek chipsets were previously found to be susceptible to a dangerous rootkit nearly a year ago, and it was actively exploited by hackers to gain root access. Considering that, it is unknown why the Taiwanese chip design company still hasn’t patched the flaw in its chipsets that allows defeating the chain of trust while flashing. Although we have only seen the good side of the situation, it is even worse from a security perspective when you consider the hundreds of lesser-known device models using these MediaTek chips.

        There is another aspect of the situation from the standpoint of the custom development community, whose interests we represent. A majority of MediaTek devices find themselves in an unsustainable combination of easy-to-brick and difficult-to-revive. On top of that, the forced authorization requirement really limits the potential of aftermarket development on them. The bypass method is nothing but a glimmer of hope for MediaTek device owners, who just want to take the hassle related to unbricking out of the modding scene.

      • How To Install Ultimate PI – Raspberry PI OS with The Cinnamon Desktop – Raspberry PI User

        Ultimate PI is a re-spin of the Raspberry PI OS with the Cinnamon desktop environment as the desktop environment.

        You will find a complete set of desktop applications including the Chromium web browser, Evolution email client, Rhythmbox audio player, VLC media player, Shotwell photo manager, LibreOffice office suite and the GIMP image editor.

        This guide shows how to install Ultimate PI to an SD Card.

      • Ultimate PI – Raspberry PI OS With Cinnamon Desktop – Raspberry PI User

        Raspberry PI OS is the best operating system for the Raspberry PI because it was built specifically for the Raspberry PI.

        I have created a number of guides on this site showing how to make the Raspberry PI OS more useful for every day daily tasks.

        For instance this guide shows how to view Netflix and Amazon Prime using Raspberry PI OS and this guide shows how to customise the Raspberry PI desktop.

      • How to verify your Linux Mint ISO image file – Real Linux User

        Security and being conscious about your actions and decisions that could hamper or strengthen your Linux environment to be secure, is becoming more and more important. When you download a Linux ISO image file to create a bootable live environment to test a Linux distribution and eventually installing it on your production machine, it is important to be sure about its authenticity and integrity. In this article, as part of my Linux Mint tutorial series, I want to explain how to verify your Linux Mint ISO image file to start your secure Linux journey.

      • How To Install Docker on Manjaro 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Docker on Manjaro 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Docker is an open-source project that automates the deployment of the application inside the software container. The container allows the developer to package up all project resources such as libraries, dependencies, assets, etc. Docker is written in a Go Programming language and is developed by Dot cloud. It is basically a container engine that uses the Linux Kernel features like namespaces and control groups to create containers on top of an operating system and automates the application deployment on the container.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of Docker on a Manjaro 20 (Nibia).

      • Format your USB drive with GParted – PragmaticLinux

        USB drives typically come preformatted as FAT32 or NTFS file systems. Although Linux can handle this, the EXT4 file system offers advantage: EXT4 gives you far better control over file permissions and ownership. As whip-cream on top, you can stop worrying about data fragmentation as well. In this article you learn how to format your USB drive with the help of GParted. GParted is a graphical user interface program, available on pretty much all popular Linux distributions.

      • How to fix unzip error “End-of-central-directory signature not found”

        If you are unable to extract files from a zip file and instead getting the error “End-of-central-directory signature not found”, here is what you can do.

        Foremost, you want to check that the archive is indeed a zip file, not generated by other similar archive programs such as gzip. So try uncompressing it with gunzip to eliminate this possibility.

        If this does not help, changes are that the zip file was incompletely downloaded or got corrupted on your disk somehow. In the rest of the tutorial, let’s find out how to fix, or at least get round, the unzip error when a zip file is corrupted or end of the file is truncated.

      • How to Add Ubuntu Host to Nagios Server using NRPE Plugin

        In our previous guide, we touched base on how to install the Nagios Monitoring Server on Ubuntu 20.04. For this second part, we will show you how to add a Ubuntu host to Nagios server for monitoring using NRPE plugin.

        NRPE, short for Nagios Remote Plugin Executor, is an agent that allows remote execution of scripts located on the remote host. It allows the gathering of metrics such as system load, disk utilization, and uptime, etc.

        NRPE Server (agent) and Plugins are installed on the remote host. The agent will wait for check_nrpe request from Nagios Core Server. Once the agent receives the check request it will execute a plugin on the remote host and send back the request to Nagios server.

      • How to Reverse Lines in a File Character-Wise in Linux

        There are some string manipulation or alternation tasks that can be programmed in scripting or a programming language quite easily. For example, changing the case of a text in a file.

        There are some tasks that are very commonly required when it comes to text manipulation. One such task is reversing lines in a file. When we say reversing the lines, it can mean two things: reversing the order of lines in a file or reversing each line in the file character-wise.

        In this article, we will learn about the command ‘rev’ which deals with reversing lines in a file character-wise in place.

      • Enable Conda-forge Channel For Conda Package Manager – OSTechNix

        This guide explains what is conda-forge channel, how to install packages from conda-forge and finally how to permanently enable conda-forge channel for conda package manager from commandline as well as from Anaconda Navigator GUI in Linux.

      • Attempt to reproduce “Django 3 Tutorial & CRUD Example with MySQL and Bootstrap” on Fedora 33 KVM Guest
      • Run your favorite Windows applications on Linux | Opensource.com

        In 2021, there are more reasons why people love Linux than ever before. In this series, I’ll share 21 different reasons to use Linux. Here’s how switching from Windows to Linux can be made seamless with WINE.

        Do you have an application that only runs on Windows? Is that one application the one and only thing holding you back from switching to Linux? If so, you’ll be happy to know about WINE, an open source project that has all but reinvented key Windows libraries so that applications compiled for Windows can run on Linux.

        WINE stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator,” which references the code driving this technology. Open source developers have worked since 1993 to translate any incoming Windows API calls an application makes to POSIX calls.

    • Games

      • 0 A.D. Real -Time Strategy Game Sees First Release In Nearly Three Years – Phoronix

        When it comes to original, open-source computer games the 0 A.D. real-time strategy game is among the best. The game has been developed as open-source for more than a decade for this ancient warfare themed game. The prior 0 A.D. Alpha 23 release happened back in May 2018 while now it’s finally been succeeded by 0 A.D. Alpha 24.

        0 A.D. Alpha 24 is out today as the latest major release for this open-source RTS game. With this release are renderer improvements, a hotkey editor, balancing adjustments, lobby improvements, the in-game UI has been enhanced, new art models, and a number of other in-game improvements.

      • Open source RTS 0 A.D. Alpha 24 is out now with plenty of new features | GamingOnLinux

        After a few years of waiting, Wildfire Games have released a big upgrade for the free and open source real-time strategy game 0 A.D. with Alpha 24 now available. Still one of the most impressive open source games around, their attention to detail on it is impressive.

        This latest version is named Xšayāršā, after Xerxes the Great, ruler of the Achaemenid Empire from 485 to 465 BC.

        Quite a feature-filled upgrade with highlights including building snapping, improvements to the renderer, a hotkey editor, unit formation improvements, status effects, improvements to the online Lobby system, new models, new skirmish maps, unit behaviour improvements and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Top 10 Free Software Communities On The Internet

          First time encountering Free Libre Open Source Software? First time using GNU plus Linux computers? Want to get friends and supports? want to know more about software freedom? Join our community — the Free Software community. In this list you will see biggest discussion forums in form or web forums, mailing lists, etc. Once again, I don’t make distinction whether each forum is official or not. This is a short version of my old longer list (see here, see here) so you can immediately see and join!

    • Distributions

      • MX Linux Fluxbox Respin Officially Released for Raspberry Pi

        Initially announced in January 2021, the MX-Fluxbox Raspberry Pi respin is MX Linux’s first release for the tiny Raspberry Pi devices. As its name suggests, it uses the ultra-lightweight Fluxbox window manager by default and, just like MX Linux, it’s based on the stable Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” software repositories.

        The Fluxbox environment is includes elements from the GNOME, Xfce and LXDE desktop environments, and comes pre-loaded with some popular apps like the Palemoon web browser, Claws Mail email client, VLC media player, Thunar file manager, FeatherPad text editor, as well as Geany and Thonny IDEs.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Texstudio 3.1.0 » PCLinuxOS

          Texstudio is a fork of the LaTeX IDE TexMaker and gives you an environment where you can easily create and manage LaTeX documents. It provides modern writing support, like interactive spell checking, code folding and syntax highlighting. Also it serves as a starting point from where you can easily run all necessary LaTeX tools.

        • Microsoft Edge 90.0.796.0 » PCLinuxOS

          The Microsoft Edge browser based on Google Chrome technology has been updated to 90.0.796.0 and shipped to the software repository.

        • Opera 74.0.3911.154 » PCLinuxOS

          The Opera Web browser based on Google Chrome technology has been updated to version 74.0.3911.154 and shipped to the software repository.

        • Vivaldi 3.6.2165.40 » PCLinuxOS

          The awesome Vivaldi web browser based on Google Chrome technology has been updated to 3.6.2165.40 and shipped to go to the software repository.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Kodi 19 (Matrix) Released With Major Improvements on Playback, PVR And Security

        Kodi is an open-source cross-platform media player for organizing your media files or streaming online media. It is one of the best open-source media server software for Linux and other platforms.

        After the final update of Kodi 18.9 back in October last year, the developers are bringing version 19.0 labeled Kodi Matrix. This release comes with a refreshed user interface, improvements on Playback, PVR, Security, and more.

        Let’s see the major changes in this release of Kodi media player.

      • Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” – Release

        … yes, it’s here! After several iterations of alpha, beta and RC, Team Kodi is pleased to announce that Kodi 19.0 “Matrix” has just been formally released on all supported platforms. Dare you take the red pill, and find out how deep the rabbit-hole goes?

        [...]

        The broad list of new features is below, but – before we get to that – I’d just like to take a moment to say “thank you” to the huge amounts of work put in by the broadest team behind this release. Whether you submitted a few lines of code or a major new feature; whether you worked on video, audio, gaming, or a skin; whether you tested in pre-release and helped identify a problem, debugged an issue or updated a translation; whether you fixed some documentation, looked after the various systems that keep kodi.tv running, or helped to moderate the forum – thank you, one and all. Kodi is a community, and, without all of you, we would all lose something.

        So, onward – what have we got. If you’ve been following the release cycle, you’ll have seen these already, but for people who only take final releases… hold on, it’s a long list!

      • Kodi 19 Released With Python 3 Transition Complete, AV1 Software Decode

        Kodi 19.0 is represented by nearly five thousand commits since Kodi 18 and represents some big changes like finishing off the migration from Python 2 to Python 3. Kodi 19.0 also has many audio/video playback related improvements, AV1 software decoding is now supported, integer scaling is supported for those playing game emulators within Kodi, various theme/skin improvements, metadata scraper improvements, and new security improvements.

      • Kodi 19 “Matrix” released with AV1, HDR, tvOS support

        Kodi is an open-source media center that was initially designed for the XBOX game console, but was quickly ported to other platforms such as Windows and Linux, and eventually to low-cost Android TV boxes and single board computers such as Raspberry Pi.

        A new stable release of the software comes out every couple of years, and the developers have just announced the release of Kodi 19 “Matrix” a little over two years after Kodi 18 “Leia” release.

      • Blast Radius

        This is a remarkable argument for infrastructure based on open source software, but that isn’t what this post is about. Below the fold is a meditation on the concept of “blast radius”, the architectural dilemma it poses, and its relevance to recent outages and compromises.

      • Education

        • The 20th Annual Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS 2021)

          The Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS) is the leading forum for interdisciplinary scholarship on information security and privacy, combining expertise from the fields of economics, social science, business, law, policy, and computer science. Prior workshops have explored the role of incentives between attackers and defenders of information systems, identified market failures surrounding internet security, quantified risks of personal data disclosure, and assessed investments in cyber-defense. The 2021 workshop will build on past efforts using empirical and analytic tools not only to understand threats, but also to strengthen security and privacy through novel evaluations of available solutions.

      • Programming/Development

        • From the rooftops shout it out: Go 1.16 ready to go (onto more 64-bit architectures)

          Go 1.16, the latest iteration of the programming language used in infrastructure projects like Docker and Kubernetes, has been released, and adds support for 64-bit ARM architecture on macOS as well as packages to facilitate file bundling and accessing metrics.

          With no language changes present in the release, the embed package which is now part of the core library is amongst the more stand-out features of Go 1.16. Once imported, a program can use the package via the //go:embed directive followed by a variable declaration (string type, or a slice of a byte type, or FS) to embed files and work with their contents.

          Another useful addition is the metrics package, which was introduced to provide a more general way to “access implementation-defined metrics exported by the Go runtime”. The runtime was also reworked to emit for each package init a line featuring execution time and memory allocation to standard error when the GODEBUG environment variable is set to inittrace=1. This can help to find bottlenecks and optimise code amongst other things.

        • Gleam v0.14 released!

          Many dynamically typed BEAM languages support Erlang’s typespecs, type annotations that can be analysed with the Dialyzer tool. While not as powerful or reliable as Gleam’s type system it can be a useful tool for finding problems with your Erlang or Elixir code. Dialyzer doesn’t require typespecs but it can work better if they are added to the code.

          Starting with this release Gleam will generate typespecs for all functions and Erlang type definitions for all declared types within a Gleam program, giving you one extra tool to help you write robust and reliable code when using Gleam alongside Elixir or Erlang.

        • A year of Rails

          This was a really fun experience. There’s a lot to love about Rails. Other communities could learn a bit from the Ruby & Rails culture and wisdom. I won’t implement everything in Rails, but it’ll be part of the toolbox.

          Before this, I hadn’t touched the stuff. And I bet a lot of people are like that – they came of age in the world of React and Go, and haven’t tried anything even remotely similar to Rails. For their benefit, and to debrief from 2020, here are some notes on the experience. Plus, Rails-like projects in JavaScript are ramping up quickly, and it’s fun to know the origins.

        • Why is it so hard to see code from 5 minutes ago?

          A study found that Java developers backtracked every 6 minutes, meaning they reverted their code to a previous state (e.g., by clicking undo or pressing Ctrl-Z).1 These undo actions come in bursts and are often followed by successive redo actions. In fact, one participant in a different study used undo/redo 40 times in 5 minutes!2 When asked why they did this, they revealed they were trying to view some intermediate state of the code in the middle of a change.

          Why is it so hard to see code from 5 minutes ago while in the middle of a change?

        • Cybersecurity Is Like Food Safety: Digital HACCP

          There are lots of calls to invest in improving cybersecurity.

          But it struck me that it doesn’t work like that. Not getting [cracked] is not so much a question of buying the right stuff. It is a question of doing the right things and understanding what you are doing.

          It is easy to demand that people ‘invest’ in something. You can even supply them with the money to do so. But that doesn’t mean that it will help. You can’t just apply more armor and be ‘cyber secure’.

          A very useful analogy is food safety. We’re all aware how handling chicken badly can seriously imperil the health of the people you cook for.

          In fact, we’re so aware that we created stringent rules for professional kitchens, including inspections and investigations after incidents.

          Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot better at food safety, and it now extends down the entire supply chain, “from farm to fork”.

        • The 10 Best AI and Machine Learning Programming Languages

          The world saw some big and remarkable discoveries in the 20th century. Artificial Intelligence is one of them. There was a time when AI and Machine Learning(ML) could not be applied due to a lack of computing power. But today’s computers are robust enough to handle Machine Learning algorithms. That’s why AI and ML are ruling in almost every field. Machine Learning and AI is a valuable skill now. However, to use it, you have to learn a specific programming language from various Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning programming languages. Today we will assist you in picking an appropriate programming language to work in this field.

  • Leftovers

    • Common Vulnerabilities
    • Praetorius 400

      The earliest biographical accounts of Praetorius, both written a hundred years after his death and both of questionable accuracy, claimed that he died on his fiftieth birthday, thus neatly folding future century and half-century commemorations of his birth and death into a single date. Whatever the chronology, his is a life and legacy worth celebrating.

      (Celebrations in the small German city of Wolfenbüttel where he produced most of his vast corpus of music have been deferred until April, by which time it is hoped that the pandemic will have waned.)

    • Idiocy in Theory and Practice

      Ermanno Cavazzoni, agent of OpLePo, the Italian Oulipo division, has thoughtfully composed a Brief Lives of Idiots for the edification of the mediocre class. Spoofing Lives of the Saints, as well as Vasari and Who’s Who, this hilarious 1994 tome has been rendered into English—the lingua franca of Idiots—at a very opportune time in history. One set of idiots has recently been replaced with another (we call this an ‘election’ in the American Republic, the divine raising of the Elect over the masses, apparently by our own consent). The panorama of idiotic conspiracies like Russiagate, QAnon, and the endless War on Terror has become an idiot-producing machine par excellence, elevating all kinds of fools to areas of tremendous influence. However, Cavazzoni harkens back to an earlier time when the solely-produced complot or the proud self-generated scientific rationale stood alone, willfully and cretinously with clenched fist, in an awesome rejection of a world it strains to explain. The idiot gives up on thought early, due to fatigue, eccentricity or angelic revelation; his mode is total action, always in the immediate. Yet the question why even try has never been satisfactorily answered and we all still do… So perhaps the idiot is correct. ‘We make reality’, as Karl Rove said. But Reality has other ideas. Reality produces idiots.

      There is certainly something aristocratic and noble about the idiot’s stark refusal. The cheap ideologies of the information czars and the intelligence networks could never bear such solitude. The State’s delusions, sly and premeditated in the cunning services of power, are the work of professional bourgeois idiots who drape their decades-long failures and woeful mistakes in managerialism and thinktanks. A very different species, Cavazzoni’s idiots are terrified of the speed of the world’s revolutions, agonized by Satan’s control of automobiles and the malignant powers of slang, dazed by the efficacy of fake noses and the god-visions of giddy children. They are possessed by inanimate objects; they see devious patterns in traffic. Too avant garde for their own health, their observations-cum-manias always ignore one crucial element which would save them from doom and perhaps even enshrine them in the alternate halls of Genius.

    • Celine McNicholas and Joanne Doroshow on Forced Arbitration, Kate Bronfrenbrenner on NLRB

      This week on CounterSpin: One of the more hopeful things you might not have heard about is the revival in the House of Representatives of the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal, or FAIR, Act, that would ban those ubiquitous small-print “agreements” that annul critical worker and consumer rights, like the ability to bring class action lawsuits. Prominent proponents include Google employees and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson; but as bill sponsor Hank Johnson of Georgia explained, it’s really about narrowing the “massive power differential between soulless corporations and individuals just trying to get by.” We get some background on forced arbitration and why it matters from previous CounterSpin conversations with Celine McNicholas from the Economic Policy Institute and Joanne Doroshow from the Center for Justice and Democracy.

    • Science

      • Politics & Science: Rahm Emanuel, Mike Pence, Homosexuality, Pandemics, Masks, Vaccines

        I’ll get back to Rahm Emanuel and Mike Pence, but first, the reality that politics routinely dictates scientific proclamations—this reality embarrassingly obvious to me because I have seen it repeatedly occur in my own mental health profession. When people embrace a war mentality—whether the war is on communism, terrorism, heroin, or schizophrenia—they become terrified of the enemy; they fantasize that authorities are honest and competent in securing victory; and they are highly vulnerable to propaganda. War goes hand in hand with fear, and fearful people don’t think critically; and so, as it has often been observed: “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

        Science, Politics, and Homosexuality

    • Education

      • My Selective High School Looks Nothing Like America

        Many assume that I, an Asian American student, am in favor of preserving the status quo at my predominantly white and Asian school. I’m not.

      • Why Education Won’t Stop Conspiracy Theories

        Some say it’s a lack of education. “They can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) said about Republicans. “They cannot do both.”

        I disagree. As Osita Nwanevu argued recently, the belief that QAnon’s followers are uneducated “is based in classism, not reality.”

      • West Coast States’ Failure to Reopen Schools Is a Disaster
      • How Public Schools Became America’s Social Safety Net

        When the pandemic forced schools to close their doors almost a year ago, families and districts scrambled. There was the rush to shift to online learning, a massive, underfunded task that immediately revealed the scope of the country’s digital divide. There was heightened concern over child abuse, as kids lost access to not only a daily reprieve from violent homes but also a critical support network. And then, as the public health crisis became an economic crisis, there was widespread hunger—especially among kids.

    • Hardware

      • Almost wrote about my Commodore 128

        Over the coming months I’m going to pick up and write what I should have done from the start, and write about this fun old computer. It’s unique dual-CPU, quad-OS architecture, surprisingly contemporary design, and the interesting moment in history it occupied between the 64 and the Amiga. I’ll write about the hardware upgrades I’ve given it, how I’ve transferred current software to it and added it to my home network, what it’s meant for a guy who grew up in the 16bit DOS era, how it relates to the Commodore Plus/4 and 16 that I also have, how I built an IKEA desk around it, and potentially more.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Opinion | American Social and Medical Disorder: The ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ That Doomed the U.S. Covid Response?

        The answer from a blue-ribbon medical commission on the Trump years: decades of rising inequality.

      • ‘Dirty and Dangerous’: New Data Show Higher Rates of Contamination in Pork Plants Using New Slaughter System

        Plants adopting the Trump-approved New Swine Inspection System had, on average, nearly double the rate of fecal and digestive matter contamination of other facilities. 

      • US Farmers and Food Justice Groups Declare ‘Solidarity’ With Indian Farmer Protests

        “We stand with India’s farmers! Now let’s connect the dots between the forces of neoliberalism that stifle farmers, from India to the U.S.”

      • Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal Vindicates His Critics in the Press

        New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s moment as the “hero” of the Covid-19 crisis is fading, with revelations (New York Times, 2/12/21) that his administration covered up the scope of the coronavirus death toll in the state’s nursing homes, as one Cuomo aide “admitted that the state had withheld data because it feared an investigation by the Trump Justice Department.” The anger at the governor is bipartisan; legislators on both sides of the aisle are discussing curtailing his powers, and even impeachment (City and State, 2/12/21).

      • How the Drug War Succeeded: Dr. Carl Hart Comes Out… Swinging

        My heart leaped up as if I’d beheld a rainbow. The War on Drugs is not a Failure is a point a few under-the-radar journalists have been trying to make for years; it took Professor Hart to make it in the New York Times. (No news achieves “critical mass” in the US until it appears in the Times, Alex Cockburn observed. Even in this twittery era, it’s still the elite’s newspaper of record.)

        Gone are the days when a hack writer could request and get review copies from book publishers. Begrudgingly, I paid online for “Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear” (Penguin, $28). While waiting for it, I emailed the Review a letter I knew they wouldn’t run:

      • Look at Pharma’s Recent Record Before Bestowing a Crown

        Lest drug makers become Covid heroes let us remember:

        * Opioid makers deliberately created the opioid addiction epidemic for profit, assuring patients and clinicians the narcotics weren’t “addictive.” In 2020, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to a three-count felony charge which included a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and $2 billion in criminal forfeiture.

      • The Culture Wars Continue: Biden Takes on Abortion

        The culture wars long anchored the Christian right and, while contained under the Obama administration, they were fiercely renewed and reinvigorated under Trump. Most troubling, conservative culture values were once championed by a minority of religious activists but, during Trump’s presidency, they became a cornerstone value of the larger white nationalist and rightwing movement.

        During his first few days in office, Biden issued a slew of Executive Orders, many of then addressing cultural issues. Among the issues targeted were attacks on undocumented immigrants, ending the boarder wall and ending the Muslim travel bans.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Probe of Cuomo’s Disastrous Handling of Covid-19 Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

        “Thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers lost their lives in nursing homes throughout the pandemic,” she said. “Their loved ones and the public deserve answers and transparency from their elected leadership.”

      • Oxford University Study Shows Small Correlation Between Playing Video Games And ‘Well Being’

        For the first few decades after video games became a serious medium of entertainment among the public, they were also blamed for all manner of ills. Violence in children was chief among the concerns, of course, but so too were claims that video games made kids anti-social, apathetic, and fat slobs stuck in their parents’ basements. It was only part of the way into the 2010s when the studies on the topic of video games started making a notable turn away from these dire warnings. Oxford University’s Andrew Przybylski had his hands on many of these new studies, such as the one indicating games only made people violent if they were too shitty or difficult, or his study decoupling social media from any causation of unhappiness in children.

      • Why We Can’t Make Vaccine Doses Any Faster

        President Joe Biden has ordered enough vaccines to immunize every American against COVID-19, and his administration says it’s using the full force of the federal government to get the doses by July. There’s a reason he can’t promise them sooner.

        Vaccine supply chains are extremely specialized and sensitive, relying on expensive machinery, highly trained staff and finicky ingredients. Manufacturers have run into intermittent shortages of key materials, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office; the combination of surging demand and workforce disruptions from the pandemic has caused delays of four to 12 weeks for items that used to ship within a week, much like what happened when consumers were sent scrambling for household staples like flour, chicken wings and toilet paper.

      • Über-quack Joe Mercola falsely claims that “legally” the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines

        Earlier this week, I discussed one of the latest bits of antivaccine propaganda about COVID-19 vaccines. It goes like this. Because the two COVID-19 vaccine being distributed under an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA, the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, are based on messenger RNA (mRNA) enclosed in lipid nanoparticles, antivaxxers have taken to claiming that they are not “really” vaccines at all, but rather gene therapy. One particularly brain dead iteration of this conspiracy theory claims that Moderna and Pfizer had their products labeled as “vaccines” in order to escape the more rigorous regulatory requirement that a gene therapy would require. An even more brain dead version claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines are in reality “medical devices” and that they were classified as vaccines to avoid the supposedly more onerous regulatory hurdles that medical devices must clear. (Never mind that medical device regulation is much more lax than regulation of drugs, gene therapy, or biologics and that it’s a major problem.) Somehow, though, when I was discussing this “COVID-19 mRNA vaccines aren’t really vaccines” bit of antivaccine disinformation, I forgot one, and that’s the claim that these vaccines aren’t “legally” vaccines at all. I now aim to rectify that oversight by examining an article by über-quack Joe Mercola entitled, appropriately enough, COVID-19 mRNA Shots Are Legally Not Vaccines.

      • What’s In Tattoo Ink? Why Scientists Want To Know

        A search of a European consumer safety website shows that dozens of tattoo inks have been pulled from markets there in the last few years, because of violations like excessive amounts of copper, nickel, lead, cobalt, and arsenic.

        In the U. S., “ink manufacturers aren’t even required to disclose what they put into the inks,” says Swierk. “Within the U. S., there really hasn’t been a lot of effort placed into understanding what goes into these inks.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • A look at GSM

        There are well documented security flaws in GSM, and publicly available tools to exploit them. At the same time, it has become considerably cheaper and easier to analyze GSM traffic over the past few years. Open source tools such as gr-gsm have matured, and the community has developed methods for capturing the GSM spectrum without the need for expensive SDR radios.

        With less than $100 and a weekend it’s possible to capture and analyze GSM traffic. With some extra effort it’s possible to decrypt your own traffic, and depending on how your mobile provider has set up their network it may even be possible for somebody else to illegally decrypt traffic they don’t own.

      • Proprietary

        • Security/Proprietary

          • 10 years of Chromebooks and people still don’t know what they’re capable of

            They’ve been around for a decade and have always focused on speed, simplicity, and security. Plus, Chromebooks have continuously improved from a basic browser-only device to something far more capable than many people realize.

          • Google might have quietly teased the OS that will replace Android

            We’ve been talking about Fuchsia for years now, and Google has confirmed its existence without revealing what it can do or when it’ll be here. Fuchsia would run on any device, no matter its size or display type — it would also run on gadgets that don’t have screens. Fuchsia would support instant software updates just like iOS and macOS, as well as better privacy and security protections, again, like what’s available on iPhone and Mac. And Fuchsia will still run all of the existing Android apps so that transitioning from Android (and Chrome) to Fuchsia shouldn’t be a hassle. That’s the gist of Fuchsia rumors, although it’s unclear what Google’s vision is for Fuchsia.

          • Margaret Mitchell: Google fires AI ethics founder

            Google has fired the founder and co-head of its artificial intelligence ethics unit, claiming she violated the company’s code of conduct.

            In a statement, Google said an investigation found Margaret Mitchell had moved files outside the company.

          • IBM is said to consider sale of Watson Health amid cloud focus

            Deliberations are at a very early stage and the company may opt not to pursue a deal, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private talks. IBM is exploring a range of alternatives, from a sale to a private equity firm or a merger with a blank-check company, according to The Wall Street Journal, which earlier Thursday reported the possibility of a deal.

            IBM has been trying to boost its share of revenue from hybrid-cloud software and services, which lets customers store data in private servers and on multiple public clouds, including those of rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. IBM bought RedHat for $34 billion in 2018 to boost this effort.

          • Mexican Politician Removed Over Alleged Ties to Romanian ATM Skimmer Gang

            The leader of Mexico’s Green Party has been removed from office following allegations that he received money from a Romanian ATM skimmer gang that stole hundreds of millions of dollars from tourists visiting Mexico’s top tourist destinations over the past five years. The scandal is the latest fallout stemming from a three-part investigation into the organized crime group by KrebsOnSecurity in 2015.

          • How secure boot and trusted boot can be owner-controlled

            Implementing owner-controlled secure boot. Moreover, it should also be noted that you don’t actually need to use keyfusing to implement (1). For example, the “secure boot” functionality on x86 PCs allows users to change their own trust roots at any time. The way this is implemented is by having a region of a nonvolatile storage device reserved for boot firmware and trust configuration, which can be locked against mutation after boot. The only way to make this region writeable again is by resetting the system, restoring execution to said boot firmware.3 Thus, absent physical intervention, any mutation to the boot firmware or configuration must be approved by said boot firmware.

            Although most SoC vendors design their SoCs to support keyfusing as their officially supported means of “secure boot”, it is actually possible to implement this owner-controlled secure boot design on most SoCs via only a small amount of additional board components. This takes advantage of the fact that

            1. SoC-class devices almost never have onboard flash, and instead boot from an external flash device;
            2. external flash devices usually have a “Write Protect” pin; and
            3. many classes of flash device allow the “Write Protect” pin to be configured to write-protect some, but not all, of the device’s memory.

          • Exploit Details Emerge for Unpatched Microsoft Bug

            New details have emerged about an unpatched security vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that was recently used in a complex campaign against security researchers. A fresh analysis from 0patch offers further insight into where the bug exists and how it can be triggered in real-world attacks — notably, by just visiting a website.

            In early February, cybersecurity researchers at South Korean consultancy ENKI identified a zero-day exploit that it said was used in the researcher attack. The vulnerability in question exists in Microsoft Internet Explorer, and at the time of writing remains unpatched, though Microsoft said it was looking into the bug report.

          • Masslogger Swipes Microsoft Outlook, Google Chrome Credentials

            Masslogger is a spyware program, which is written in .NET and steals browser, email and instant-messaging credentials. The trojan was released in April and has since been sold on underground forums.

            “Masslogger is a commodity malware that has been in development and circulation for almost a year now,” Svajcer told Threatpost. “It is sold on underground forums for relatively modest amount of money and it can be used by any malicious actor. We wanted to emphasize that these campaigns with these particular spreading techniques can likely be linked to a single actor, based on the exfiltration server domain used in all campaign for exfiltrating credentials.”

          • Serving up zero-knowledge proofs

            Zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs are gaining popularity, and exciting new applications for this technology are emerging, particularly in the blockchain space. So we’d like to shine a spotlight on an interesting source of implementation bugs that we’ve seen—the Fiat Shamir transformation.

            A ZK proof can be either interactive, where the prover and verifier communicate via challenges in a multi-step process, or non-interactive, where a prover computes a proof once and sends it to the verifier. The non-interactive ZK proof is preferred over the multi-step interactive process, but most ZK schemes are interactive by default.

            Enter the Fiat-Shamir transformation. It transforms interactive ZK proofs into non-interactive ones. Easier said than done. This can be a tricky implementation and has led to several bugs, including one discovered in a Swiss voting system.

          • Update your computer!

            Security updates patch vulnerabilities in your computer. They protect you from local attacks (people with physical access to your computer and people who have an account on it) but also remote ones (attackers targeting your computer through your Internet connection).

            Other than directed attacks security updates also protect you from malicious software. When you ask your computer to execute external content (software you downloaded, email attachments, a link you click or even just a webpage you visit in your Web browser) you also take the risk to open a door into your computer and invite attackers in.

            When a vulnerability is found developers fix it as soon as possible and distributions ship it as an update so you can apply it in a timely fashion. These vulnerabilities then become public and known by potential attackers. This means an outdated system isn’t just vulnerable, it is known to be vulnerable.

          • Linux Mint Finds Many Of Its Users Are Running Behind On Security Updates – Phoronix

            The issue of having a beginner/easy-to-use focused desktop Linux distribution but not installing new security updates by default without user intervention is that for many users they fall behind in applying often important security fixes.

            The Linux Mint blog posted a notice today encouraging its users to install security updates as they are “very important” while the internal statistics indicate significant numbers of users are not doing so. “Apply updates right now!” the notice reads and also warning users to not run end-of-life (EOL) versions of the Ubuntu/Debian-based distribution.

          • The modern packager’s security nightmare

            One of the most important tasks of the distribution packager is to ensure that the software shipped to our users is free of security vulnerabilities. While finding and fixing the vulnerable code is usually considered upstream’s responsibility, the packager needs to ensure that all these fixes reach the end users ASAP. With the aid of central package management and dynamic linking, the Linux distributions have pretty much perfected the deployment of security fixes. Ideally, fixing a vulnerable dependency is as simple as patching a single shared library via the distribution’s automated update system.

            Of course, this works only if the package in question is actually following good security practices. Over the years, many Linux distributions (at the very least, Debian, Fedora and Gentoo) have been fighting these bad practices with some success. However, today the times have changed. Today, for every 10 packages fixed, a completely new ecosystem emerges with the bad security practices at its central point. Go, Rust and to some extent Python are just a few examples of programming languages that have integrated the bad security practices into the very fabric of their existence, and recreated the same old problems in entirely new ways.

            The root issue of bundling dependencies has been discussed many times before. The Gentoo Wiki explains why you should not bundle dependencies, and links to more material about it. I would like to take a bit wider approach, and discuss not only bundling (or vendoring) dependencies but also two closely relevant problems: static linking and pinning dependencies.

            [...]

            Now, for the worst of all — one that combines all the aforementioned issues, and adds even more. Bundling (often called vendoring in newspeak) means including the dependencies of your program along with it. The exact consequences of bundling vary depending on the method used.

            In open source software, bundling usually means either including the sources of your dependencies along with your program or making the build system fetch them automatically, and then building them along with the program. In closed source software, it usually means linking the program to its dependencies statically or including the dependency libraries along with the program.

            The baseline problem is the same as with pinned dependencies — if one of them turns out to be buggy or vulnerable, the users need to wait for a new release to update the bundled dependency. In open source software or closed source software using dynamic libraries, the packager has at least a reasonable chance of replacing the problematic dependency or unbundling it entirely (i.e. forcing the system library). In statically linked closed source software, it is often impossible to even reliably determine what libraries were actually used, not to mention their exact versions. Your distribution can no longer reliably monitor security vulnerabilities; the trust is shifted to software vendors.

            However, modern software sometimes takes a step further — and vendor modified dependencies. The horror of it! Now not only the packager needs to work to replace the library but often has to actually figure out what was changed compared to the original version, and rebase the changes. In worst cases, the code becomes disconnected from upstream to the point that the program author is no longer capable of updating the vendored dependency properly.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Racial and Immigrant Justice Groups Sue Government for Records of COVID-19 Data Surveillance

              The four groups all filed FOIA requests for information about COVID-related surveillance and data analysis last year. In particular, the groups are worried about HHS Protect, a vast secretive data platform designed by controversial data software company Palantir. Palantir has a long history of building surveillance systems for the Department of Homeland Security that facilitate criminal prosecutions, family separation, and raids that lead to detention and deportation. In July of last year, the government required all hospitals to report COVID-19 infection data to HHS Protect, instead of the system operated by the Centers for Disease Control.

              However, the public has little to no information about COVID-19 data collection and tracking, including on the more than 200 data sources included in HHS Protect. The plaintiffs in this case asked both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services for any records describing the data sources, as well as limits on the use of data collected and the duration of retention, but have yet to receive anything responsive to their requests. Without this information, the public cannot evaluate either the efficacy of these invasive technologies now or the risks they might pose in the future.

              “Secrecy from the government is not helping us fight this pandemic. We’ve already seen how privacy fears have deterred some from getting important medical care for COVID,” said Steven Renderos, Executive Director of MediaJustice. “Yet the government is still withholding this information. If we can’t say with confidence what the government is doing, we have an uphill battle to protect public health. Immediate answers are essential.”

            • Clubhouse users are teaching each other how to stay private from Instagram

              Theories on what Instagram is doing with the information that it gets from Clubhouse vary a lot. What is clear is that Instagram knows that you’re on Clubhouse and that Instagram logs whatever Clubhouse gives them for use by Facebook’s algorithms – but what info is that? Some believe that Instagram is additionally able to listen in on the mic and is therefore listening in on Clubhouse conversations and feeding it to their ad algorithm. Others have even warned that Instagram is shadow banning accounts that mention the keyword “Clubhouse” or even the club or house emojis in DMs. What is clear is that there is a sharp mistrust between Clubhouse users and Instagram. It is reported that Facebook is working on its own Clubhouse clone as we speak.

            • Australia’s ABC News shot to the top of the App Store charts following Facebook’s news ban

              The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC News app shot to the top of Apple’s App Store charts in Australia over the course of the last few days, not long after Facebook banned Australian news sources on its platform. As Financial Times’ Uma Patel suggests in a tweet thread, that’s possibly because ABC capitalized on Facebook’s news ban with an ad sending users to its app.

              ABC News currently sits at No. 2 in the App Store’s overall app rankings in Australia, according to the analytics firm App Annie, and No. 1 in the news app charts. When Patel noticed the change, the app was also briefly No. 1 overall, ahead of Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and the Facebook app itself.

            • ‘Mainly using cctv, open-source videos’: Face recognition software used in 137 of 1,800 arrests in Northeast Delhi riots, says Police

              “Our teams retrieved deleted data from electronic devices of people present in the riots. We also used geo-location to ascertain the presence of the accused (at a particular place),” the Commissioner said.

              Police also deployed teams to reconstruct crime scenes using drone mapping and AI tools. The Special Cell and Cyber Unit used, apart from facial recognition, DNA fingerprinting, e-Vahan database, and ballistic analyses, police said.

            • Who’s Afraid of Facebook? Maybe We Should All Be More Wary

              But here’s something that many sources miss: Facebook is not acting on its own. Big corporations are actually demanding that Facebook do more censorship. Bloomberg noted that companies such as Coca-Cola, Hershey, Unilever, and Verizon dropped ads recently, causing Facebook shares to fall by 8.3% ($56 billion in market value) and CEO Mark Zuckerberg just became $7.2 billion poorer. Their issue was that Facebook does not do enough to police “hate speech.” Zuckerberg promised to work harder to comply.

            • Thailand’s Creeping Digital Authoritarianism

              Taking into account the developments outlined in this article, it can be seen that Thailand has experienced an incremental evolution into a sophisticated surveillance state since 2014 and that overall these developments bode ill for pro-democracy or pro-reform activists in the kingdom.

              Digital authoritarianism is not a phenomenon that is unique to Thailand and the possibility of Thailand’s authoritarian neighbors following the Chinese and Thai examples would not be surprising, especially considering the recent history of cooperation between Thailand and other illiberal regimes in the region.

            • Roku Streaming Sticks

              Roku is the streaming TV device company that focuses solely on streaming TV–and selling your personal data. It give you lots of “channels” in its app store–everything from standards like Netflix and Hulu, to YuppTV for those can’t miss south Asian channels and FunimationNow for the anime lovers. News, weather, sports, classic cartoons, Bollywood HD and Pokémon TV. Truly something for everyone. Just know that their privacy policy scared the researchers who worked on this guide a whole lot.

            • Complaint Blasts TikTok’s ‘Misleading’ Privacy Policies

              According to the complaint, TikTok’s lack of data-collection transparency — particularly as it affects the platform’s large juvenile userbase — is potentially in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data privacy regulations. The complaint was filed with the European Commission (the executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation and implementing decisions) and a “network of consumer protection authorities.”

            • Location tracking apps and privacy implications

              How much personal information can our phone apps gather through location tracking? To answer this question, two researchers – Mirco Musolesi (University of Bologna, Italy) and Benjamin Baron (University College London, UK) – carried out a field study using an app specifically developed for this research. Through the app employed in the study – published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies – researchers were able to identify which kind of personal information the app extracted and its privacy sensitivity according to users.

              “Users are largely unaware of the privacy implications of some permissions they grant to apps and services, in particular when it comes to location-tracking information”, explains Mirco Musolesi. “Thanks to machine learning techniques, these data provide sensitive information such as the place where users live, their habits, interests, demographics, and information about users’ personalities”.

              This is the first extensive study shedding light on the range of personal information that can be inferred from location-tracking data. Consequently, the study also shows how collecting such information can represent a violation of the users’ privacy. To this end, the researchers developed a mobile application – TrackingAdvisor – that continuously collects user location. From the location data, the app can extract personal information and asks users to give feedback on the correctness of such information as well as to rate its relevance in terms of privacy sensitivity.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Opinion | President Biden Needs to Step Up Efforts to Stop the War in Yemen by Ending All Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

        Mothers are helplessly lowering their toddlers to graves next to the remnants of American-made bombs used by Saudi Arabian forces.

      • Opinion | An Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Regarding Haiti

        It’s time for the Canadian government to stop propping up a repressive and corrupt dictatorship in Haiti.

      • The Human-Rightsization of the Anti-Imperialist Revolutionaries’ Massacre in Iran

        The editor of Voices of a Massacre covers the chapters mostly with secondary literature and recorded oral history interviews. This is a valuable collection of primary sources for non-Persian speaking scholars to extend their knowledge on the most crucial events/tragedies of the post-1979 Revolution in Iran throughout the survivors’ voices.  The politics of memory, “no to forgetting!” is at the heart of this book. As the editor argues, “the absence of Iran from discussions of more or less similar tragedies” is one of the reasons why this project was undertaken. (p.28.) Angela Davis who wrote a foreword to this book, compared the great massacre to other crimes against humanity in the twentieth century, such as the massacre in the Latin America, or those part of European’s settler colonialism projects like the native American genocide.

        “Voices of Survivors,” begins with the testimonies of women prisoners. The moving narratives of the female Marxist prisoners describing the situation inside the prison give the readers an account of the deeply embedded nature of their agency and subjective experience in one of the darkest periods of contemporary Iranian history. The daily namaz(Salah/prayer) torture (consistent of five lashes at each of the 5 prescribed times for namaz) pictures the heroic resistance of these female prisoners is at the heart of this book.

      • Belarus refuses to investigate death of protester killed by law enforcement officers

        The Belarusian Investigative Committee has refused to launch a criminal investigation into the death of 34-year-old Alexander Taraikovsky, the first demonstrator killed amid the opposition protests in Belarus that began in August 2020.

      • A Framework to Defeat the White Power Movement: Organizing vs. Punditry, State Power, and How the Left Relates to the Police and Military

        In this piece,  I emphasize the importance and necessity of organizing and how the left should generally relate to specific portions of the state, i.e., military and police. In my view, the left must spend more time organizing and less time critiquing, writing, and podcasting — none of which will change the world on their own. In fact, I argue that too much punditry has, in fact, hurt the left. Lastly, and most importantly, the left must develop a coherent position concerning the police and military. Doing so would greatly benefit future left-wing political efforts.

        In Part Three, we’ll survey why the left must immediately support statist demands that would challenge capital and usher in a period of social democracy in the U.S. We’ll also discuss why the left must articulate a serious and principled vision for how to use the rule of law (the state) to corral, dismantle, charge, arrest, convict, and sentence members of the white power movement who advocate or participate in various forms of political terrorism.

      • Anti-Corruption Foundation member pleads guilty to extremism charges

        Pavel Zelensky, a member of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has pleaded guilty to extremism charges and refused legal representation. This was announced by FBK director Ivan Zhdanov in a YouTube video uploaded on Thursday, February 18. 

      • Vision for a Next Generation Security Approach

        The next generation of practitioners in geopolitics and global security is set to inherit some serious challenges from the current one. Major power relations have significantly deteriorated over the past decade with attendant reinvigoration of competitive tendencies. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review bluntly proclaims the “return of great power competition,” but this time in a security environment which the 2018 National Security Strategy (NSS) describes as “more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory.”

        China now prominently features in the mix, displacing the simplicity of Cold War bipolarity, as do new military capabilities, which the NSS notes are “changing [the] character of war” – not to mention, frustrating outdated and unravelling arms control infrastructures. Together with renewed competition in the traditional nuclear domain, an accelerating race in the militarization of a range of emerging technologies threatens to destabilize already tenuous major power strategic stability. While some of these technologies, like hypersonic missiles, might be encompassed by existing nonproliferation agreements (which only constrain technology transfers and not development or use), many, like weaponized artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities, remain outside any arms control framework.

      • ‘Leaving Aside’ International Law: Why Democrats are as Dangerous as Republicans to a Just 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.

        Take recent remarks, made by the new US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during a CNN interview on February 8. Blinken’s comments reminded us of the clever – albeit disingenuous – US foreign policy under previous Democratic administrations. His select words may seem as a complete departure from the belligerent, yet direct, approach of former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

      • When Rush Limbaugh Was Too Racist for The NFL

        In 2010, Rush Limbaugh had a bright idea: The right-wing shock jock would buy an NFL team, specifically the St. Louis Rams, bringing him a new level of power and respectability. The response by players in the league—even in those pre-Kaepernick times—was pretty unequivocal. “I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of,” then New York Giant Mathias Kiwanuka said to the New York Daily News “He can do whatever he wants; it is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play.”

      • Limbaugh and the Echoes of Hatred

        Of course, I was leftwing, antiwar, antiracist, anti-capitalist and queer. I wasn’t exactly his demographic. But the tone was unmistakable. It was one of cruelty. Of ridicule. Of dehumanization. Of hatred. And it felt like a battering. That it appealed to many self-professed American Christians at the school I attended was telling. Rush was, to them, a “culture warrior.” Battling “the gays, the blacks and the godless, anti-American communists.”

        Fast forward from then to now. Fast forward through the Clinton years and his expansion of the racist carceral state. Fast forward through the Bush years and his murderous war based on lies against a country that never attacked the US. Fast forward through the revelations of war crimes leaked to the public thanks to the courage of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Fast forward through the relentless attacks on civil liberties. Fast forward through the photographs of horror from the US gulag of Abu Ghraib. Fast forward through Obama’s drone wars, attacks on whistleblowers, and record deportations. And arrive just four years ago at the so-called “Trump era.”

      • Limbaugh’s Legacy: Normalizing Hate for Profit

        Reflecting on Limbaugh’s legacy, The New York Times described the “rightwing” “megastar” by his “slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance,” which “reshaped American conservatism.” CNN remembered him as a “conservative media icon who for decades used his perch as the king of talk-radio to shape the politics of both the Republican Party and nation.” MSNBC reported that Limbaugh was a “powerful and controversial voice in American politics” who was known for pushing a “conservative slant.”

        One might have plausibly characterized Limbaugh as a conservative in the 1990s and 2000s, despite his conspiratorial paranoia against the Bill Clinton administration, and his long history of sexist and racist rants. But for those following his career over the last decade, it should be clear that Limbaugh had crossed over from conservative to neofascist in his politics. The racist and conspiratorial “birther” nonsense Limbaugh trafficked in during the late 2000s and early 2010s, his reference to liberal activist Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute,” his labeling of feminists as “Feminazis,” and his incessant race-baiting by trafficking in anti-black stereotypes and rhetoric, all reinforced his profile as a rightwing ideologue who had long straddled the line between conservative and far-right reactionary. But during the Trump years and in the run-up to them, Limbaugh’s politics became noticeably more extreme, as the Republican Party itself moved further and further toward embracing neofascistic politics.

      • Venezuela: Interpol stops dissemination of German arrest warrant

        For 27 years, the German police have been using dubious means to arrest three people from the left-wing spectrum in the case of the so-called K.O.M.I.T.E.E. But the crimes they are accused of have long since become time-barred. However, the police is still pursuing the idea.

      • Ecuador’s Election Was a Massive Repudiation of Neoliberalism

        But the post-election data also show a different reality — a defeat for traditional conservative parties and the emergence of new centrist and liberal forces that seek to inherit the anti-Correa mantle. Indeed, even this result represents the return of the Citizens’ Revolution movement as the country’s main political force, despite the most intense campaign of legal persecution and repression since the authoritarian governments of the 1980s.

      • Arabs, Islam and Nigeria

        In many places, including Nigeria, that which is Arabic, Islamic and northern have been conflated and even combined to mear the thing – the clothes and robes, the hijab, purdah, etc. in a way that is not common to combine religion and every day aspects of life in other parts of the world and with different religion. In Europe Islamic schools have been established in an aggressive display of what it is to be Islamic or Arabic – exhibiting these differences in culture, clothes etc. Even so the Islamic schools have to conform to the laws and regulations covering the education institutions and systems. In short you may, in the United Kingdom or Germany have your charter educational Islamic schools but the students still do the same examination and learn from the same syllabuses as all other schools in order to get state recognized educational standards e.g. GCSE, A – Levels etc. which are requirements for entering universities and tertiary institutions.

      • Man sentenced to death in Algeria for beheading of French mountaineer

        The trial opened on Thursday with 14 defendants, eight of whom were accused of being jihadists and were charged with Gourdel’s kidnapping and murder.

        However, only one of the eight, Abdelmalek Hamzaoui, is in custody. The other seven were tried and sentenced to death in absentia.

      • Six Capitol Police suspended, 29 others under investigation for alleged roles in [insurrection]

        A spokesman for the Capitol Police told WTTG that 35 officers in total are under investigation in connection to the [attack], which killed five people and injured dozens of Capitol and Washington, D.C., police officers.

      • Are migrants being influenced to enter the EU by vlogs?

        The BBC’s population correspondent Stephanie Hegarty went to meet two of these people to find out more and found people lurking in the comments sections of their videos preying on other potential migrants.

      • US Arrests 6 More Linked to Oath Keepers in Capitol Attack

        Five of the six were part a group of militia members who used a military-style “stack” formation to breach the Capitol, along with hundreds of others, in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the election victory of Trump rival Joe Biden, prosecutors said.

        In a statement, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said the [insurrectionists] donned paramilitary gear, “marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top and then stormed the building.”

      • Misinformation flooded Parler around Capitol insurrection, research finds

        In all, 87% of news links shared on Parler around the Jan. 6 riots contained misinformation, the analysis published Wednesday concluded.

      • Neoliberalism in Chile and the cost of human life

        Neoliberalism in Chile has a long history of failed promises, repressive policies, and authoritarian ideologies that cost the lives of thousands of Chilean citizens. Chile was praised for its new reforms and adoption of neoliberalism that promised more equality for everyone. In reality, an oppressive regime was born on the back of these promises that terrorized the people of Chile for seventeen years. Neoliberalism was born in Chile in 1973 and it died the same day, when human rights and human dignity were sacrificed in the name of economy and for the ideas of a few people that decided to overlook the terrorizing situation in Chile, just to prove a point about their economic thoughts. There is no miracle in Chile, and the thousands that died and suffered in Chile are the proof.

      • Facebook: Genocide is Cool but Don’t Threaten our Profits

        Australia’s 18 million Facebook users woke up yesterday to find that, without warning, local and global news sites were unavailable, meaning that they could not view or share news at all. Facebook users across the world were also unable to read or access any Australian news publications. The tech giant had taken the step of essentially shutting down its site and “unfriending” an entire nation in response to the government’s proposals to tax them.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Cops Using Music to Try to Stop Being Filmed Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

        The timing of music being played when a cop saw he was being filmed was not lost on people. It seemed likely that the goal was to trigger Instagram’s over-zealous copyright filter, which would shut down the stream based on the background music and not the actual content. It’s not an unfamiliar tactic, and it’s unfortunately one based on the reality of how copyright filters work.

        Copyright filters are generally more sensitive to audio content than audiovisual content. That sensitivity causes real problems for people performing, discussing, or reviewing music online. It’s a problem of mechanics. It is easier for filters to find a match just on a piece of audio material compared to a full audiovisual clip. And then there is the likelihood that a filter is merely checking to see if a few seconds of a video file seems to contain a few seconds of an audio file.

        It’s part of why playing music is a better way of getting a video stream you don’t want seen shut down. (The other part is that playing music is easier than walking around with a screen playing a Disney film in its entirety. Much fun as that would be.)

    • Environment

      • Plundering Our Natural Resources
      • The US Returns to the Paris Agreement Today—With Lots of Work Ahead for the World

        Today, the United States formally reenters the Paris Agreement. Signed in December of 2015 by the Obama administration and abandoned in 2017 by then-President Trump, the accord was and remains a landmark achievement in global climate diplomacy. Heads of government, business leaders, and climate activists the world over have welcomed the US return. President Biden will host world leaders at a virtual climate summit at the White House on Earth Day, April 22, to prepare for the next big UN climate meeting, in November in Glasgow, Scotland. And there’s a lot to be done before then if the Paris goal of preserving a livable climate is to be achieved.

      • How to rebuild a forest in a growing climate crisis

        A global energy company’s mistake renewed debate on how to slow the climate crisis. Trees can help − but where, and how?

      • The Global Cry for Change

        Repeated often enough, and the men and women in suits are nothing if not repetitive, such slogans become totally devoid of meaning. The word becomes the thing to which it refers, without ‘the thing’ – ‘peace’, ‘brotherhood’, ‘equality’ – ever being realized, or any meaningful action undertaken to bring it about.

        A cluster of interconnected crises confronts humanity, the most urgent of which is the environmental emergency. The natural world with its sublime beauty and intricate systems, has been vandalized, mutilated, poisoned. Hunger and malnourishment soil the lives of almost a billion people, billions more are economically insecure. Societies are fractured, divided, some more some less; there’s armed conflict, modern-day slavery, displacement of persons; anxiety, stress and depression are everywhere. It’s a mess, but it’s a mess from which a small number of very rich and politically powerful people benefit enormously. A tiny coterie of humanity, complacent and greedy, who are quite happy with the current order and do not want things to change, certainly not in any radical substantive way.

      • Opinion | Smithfield Claims To Be ‘Sustainable’ While Remaining One of the Biggest Industrial Polluters in the US

        Smithfield is pushing a massive greenwashing campaign to dupe consumers into thinking its products are environmentally friendly.

      • Energy

        • The Real Reasons Texas’s Power Grid Is So Vulnerable

          Millions of people across Texas have now spent as many as five days without electricity and water, thanks to a blast of Arctic air that plunged much of the Southern Plains into bone-chilling temperatures and overwhelmed the state’s power grid. The reasons the system failed are complex, though that’s not the impression you’d get from Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and other conservative politicians and media personalities, who’ve spent the week blaming one particular scapegoat: wind turbines.

        • Fossil Fuel Exec Brags of ‘Hitting the Jackpot’ as Natural Gas Prices Surge Amid Deadly Crisis in Texas

          The GOP is erroneously blaming frozen wind turbines for power outages because the Green New Deal is “the biggest legislative threat against the corrupt powers responsible for (and benefiting from) the suffering unfolding now,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

        • Texas Power Crisis: Three Causes, What We Can Learn
        • In Contrast to ‘Useless Republican Leaders,’ AOC Helps Raise $2 Million in Direct Relief for Texans in Crisis

          “AOC helped raise $1 million for Texas relief as Ted Cruz made his way back home from Cancún.”

        • Texas’ blackouts may come at a steep cost

          And this isn’t limited to Texas. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 3 households in the US struggled to pay their energy bills, according to the US Energy Information Administration. As people lost incomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem grew: 4.8 million Americans were unable to pay at least one energy bill last year and received a disconnection notice from their utility company, a recent study from Indiana University Bloomington found. Black and Hispanic households were more likely to have their service disconnected than white households. People who need electronic medical devices and people living in inefficient homes with poor insulation were also more likely to struggle to pay their utility bills.

        • Vertical farming does not save space

          Urban agriculture in vertical, indoor “farms” is on the rise. Electric lights allow the crops to be grown in layers above each other year-round. Proponents argue that growers can save a lot of agricultural land in this way. Additional advantages are that less energy is needed to transport food (most people live in a city) and that less water and pesticides are required.

        • Texas, Land of Wind and Lies

          This isn’t normal political malfeasance. It’s the energy-policy equivalent of claiming that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a false-flag Antifa operation — raw denial of reality, not just to escape accountability, but to demonize one’s opponents. And it’s another indicator of the moral and intellectual collapse of American conservatism.

          The underlying story of what happened in Texas appears to be fairly clear. Like many states, Texas has a partly deregulated electricity market, but deregulation has gone further there than elsewhere. In particular, unlike other states, Texas chose not to provide power companies with incentives to install reserve capacity to deal with possible emergencies. This made power cheaper in normal times, but left the system vulnerable when things went wrong.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The 30 x 30 Protection Plan and the George Washington National Forest Ark

          The gold-standards of real “protection” in the US are Congressionally designated Wilderness Areas and National Parks. Already, there is talk of establishing new National Parks. There are many lands across the US that would certainly qualify, such as the proposed three-million acre Maine Woods National Park and Preserve or lands and waters in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp. True, even such so-protected areas can have their problems, such as inappropriate recreation and over-use, grazing, and predator killing. Nonetheless, new Parks would be a conservation boon and beneficial to Americans in countless ways. 

          But there are lands already in the public domain that are crucially important for real and lasting biodiversity conservation. These lands deserving of conservation attention are still relatively intact, and therefore in many cases do not require costly conservation interventions. Unfortunately, most of this acreage is not truly protected. Some valid restoration is called for, but what they need above all are retention policies, i.e. mandating avoidance of impacts so that these places can remain intact and healthy. 

        • Opinion | Transforming to an Ecological Civilization: The Alternative Is Unthinkable

          A society based on natural ecology might seem like a far-off utopia—yet communities everywhere are already creating it. We need to forge a new era for humanity—one that is defined, at its deepest level, by a transformation in the way we make sense of the world, and a concomitant revolution in our values, goals, and collective behavior.

        • How Oregon’s Top Wildlife Official Got Sued Over His State’s Hunting App

          What if you could get a patent on a new government program? Then, you could ask for the government to pay you royalties just for running that program. Nice work, if you can get it.

        • Ecocide!

          That destruction of “large areas” has grown so conspicuously large, so threatening to all species, including human existence, that a group of international legal experts is working to submit a draft of a new law “Ecocide” to the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) at The Hague.

          Stop Ecocide is the group supporting this initiative. The Stop Ecocide website mission statement says: “Protecting the future of life on Earth means stopping the mass damage and destruction of ecosystems taking place globally. We call this serious harm to nature ‘ecocide’. And right now, in most of the world, it is legally permitted. It’s time to change the rules. We’re working to make it an international crime at the International Criminal Court.”

    • Finance

      • Sherrod Brown Demands Biden Immediately Remove Two ‘Key Agents’ of Trump Agenda to Destroy Social Security

        “No one has been safe from their path of destruction.”

      • By 17-Point Margin, Voters Want Biden to Cancel $50k in Student Debt: Poll

        “It’s almost like the American people want government to meet the scale of the crisis,” said New York Congressman Mondaire Jones.

      • Crediting Xenophobia—Rather Than Organizing—With Raising Workers’ Wages

        The Economist (2/15/20) ran a brief article last year with a startling headline: “Immigration to America Is Down. Wages Are Up. Are the Two Related?” Maybe, the article’s anonymous author answered, at least for the short term.

      • America’s Future: Trillionaire Trust Fund Babies?

        Take this year’s Forbes 400. If you listen close enough, you can hear echoes of the first Forbes list back in 1982 — you just have to turn it up about 100 notches.

        Back in 1982, with Reaganomics in its infancy, the first Forbes list of America’s ultra-wealthy had just 13 billionaires on top. The two richest of these billionaires, Daniel Ludwig and Gordon Getty, held personal fortunes estimated in the $2 billion range. The other 11 billionaires on that first annual Forbes list clustered together at the $1 billion level.

      • How Will Our Children Know They Face a Crushing Debt Burden?

        But let’s imagine a world where our children weren’t constantly being told that they face a crushing debt burden, how would they know? It might be hard if the latest budget projects are close to the mark. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)just released new projections for the budget and the economy. They show in 2031, the last year in their budget horizon, the interest burden on our debt will be 2.4 percent of GDP. That’s up from current interest costs of 1.4 percent of GDP.[1] That implies an increase in the debt burden, measured by interest costs, of 1.0 percentage points of GDP.

        Will an interest burden of 2.4 percent of GDP crush our children? On the face of it, the deficit hawks have a hard case here. The interest burden was over 3.0 percent of GDP for most the early and mid-1990s. And for those who were not around or have forgotten, the 1990s, or at least the second half, was a very prosperous decade. It’s a bit hard to see how an interest burden of 2.4 percent of GDP can be crushing, if burdens of more than 3.0 percent of GDP were not a big problem.

      • ‘Landmark’ Victory as UK Supreme Court Rules Uber Drivers Are Workers Entitled to Minimum Wage, Benefits

        “This has been a grueling four-year legal battle for our members—but it’s ended in a historic win.”

      • “Interesting” Times: Capitalism Kills Everything

        We could also remember that we are part of Nature and cannot survive much longer in a state of capitalist war on the web of life.

        Shocking, Yes; Surprising, No

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • New Profiles in Courage

        During one of the breaks in the second impeachment trial of the trump, Ted Cruz, was seen entering the room in which the trump defense counsel was gathered.  He was apparently unaware of the fact that during trials, jurors do not interact with the prosecution or the defense, the idea being that the jurors are to keep open minds until all the evidence has been heard.  In ordinary circumstances the Cruz behavior would have been inappropriate but in the impeachment proceedings it was simply frosting on the cake of non-impartiality.  That is because before the trial even began, Juror Cruz met with the trump defense team and told its members that they’d already won their case.  In his weekly podcast that aired on the Friday before the Senate voted, Cruz told listeners that he met with the defense team and: “I said, look, you’ve gotta remember you’ve already won.” Since he’d already let them know how he intended to vote there was, of course, nothing inappropriate in his going into their conference room during the trial itself.

        Cruz’s confessed lack of impartiality was nothing compared to two profiles in courage that were in full display during,  and following the conclusion of the trial.  The first was presented by Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader.

      • Calls to Disqualify Trump Using the 14th Amendment Grow Louder

        The most compelling argument for the conviction of Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection came when Representative Jamie Raskin recalled during the former president’s second Senate impeachment trial that Trump had “declared after the insurrection that his conduct in the affair was totally appropriate.”

      • Why Democrats Need to Encourage Trump to Run Again

        Simply put, Trump is the most unpopular  politician in America. In one term, he managed to lose the presidency, the House and the Senate. No one-term president in American history other than Trump has ever done this. In 2020, he not only ran 7+ million votes behind Biden, he ran 7+ million votes behind the Republican ticket. Behind Republican House and Senate candidates. In 2020, the Republican Party was not repudiated, but Trump was.

        For four years, Trump struggled to poll more than 45%, and currently is polling under 40%. By contrast, Biden currently is polling 62%. Trump is toxic and Democrats should welcome another Trump run for the White House. He’s the weakest candidate they could ever face.

      • The Usual Culprit

        This is less a problem with psychoanalytical thought than it is political. Well, it’s both psychoanalytical and political, and their bothness is related.

        A major flaw in psychoanalytic ontology—and therefore the language and moral vocabulary of that flawed ontology—shapes, or is at a minimum consistent with, the up/down binary moral escalator of orthodox religious and conventional political discourse. The id of orthodoxy conforms to the Western view of what’s right and what’s wrong, of who’s inclined to sin and who’s not.

      • The Legacy of Baek Ki Wan: a South Korean Icon for Democracy and Reunification

        While other politicians took the limelight or the applause, Baek continued working selflessly and fluidly in and out of the shadows; both on center stage and from the sidelines, dedicating his whole life in struggle for worker’s rights, people’s rights against Capital and Empire, and for Korean reunification.  He was a key pillar in the struggle against the US-installed  South Korean military dictatorships, which imprisoned and tortured him multiple times–almost to the point of death. He participated in the 1960 April 19 student protests that overthrew the genocidal dictatorship of Syngman Rhee, and the anti-Japan normalization protests in 1964, where he opposed the Park Chung Hee dictatorship’s collusion and “normalization” of relations with Japan which absolved Japan of all responsibility for crimes committed during colonization (this is agreement, among other things, unilaterally threw South Korean slave laborers and comfort women under the bus).  Opposition to this agreement, pushed by a US eager to consolidate South Korea as a capitalist neo-colony, resulted in his arrest and torture.  In the 70’s he was arrested and tortured again for leading protests against the “Yushin Constitution”, the constitutional self-coup by the military dictatorship that gave the US-propped dictator Park Chung Hee powers comparable to the Meiji Emperor.  He was imprisoned and tortured again in 1979 for organizing a mass protest for democracy, and then imprisoned again in 1986 for protesting the sexual torture of a student activist.  In 1987, he urged the two leading progressive politicians (Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung) to unify to defeat the military candidate running for president. (They did not, and a former general held the presidency for 5 more years).  He also opposed South Korean participation in the Iraq war, and was an important elder and leader in the Candlelight Protests that brought down the regime of Park Geun Hye, the daughter of the dictator who had imprisoned him in 2017.  Although he was the director of the Unification Research Institute in his later years, he never relinquished his role as a revolutionary in action: even as he became sick and frail, he implored his daughter, not to put him into institutional care, “Please let me die fighting at labor sites”.

        An autodidact raised in abject poverty but with dignity–his mother told him “chew sand [to stave off hunger] if you have to, but never kneel because of your poverty”–he was also an accomplished artist, writer, and poet.  He penned the words to the protest song that became the anthem of the people’s movement that took down the Military dictatorship in 1989.  The song itself grew out of the martyrdom of protestors at the US-enabled-and-abetted massacre in the city of Gwangju in 1980. It  later became a pan-Asian protest anthem.   If a single poem can be considered to have helped bring down a dictatorship, Baek’s poem is a prime candidate:

      • Opinion | How the National Guard Became the Go-to Military Force for Riots and Civil Disturbances

        The modern National Guard evolved from Colonial-era militias.

      • After Series of Democratic Victories, Rights Advocates Blast Georgia GOP for ‘Brazenly Trying to Silence Voters’

        “This bill is Jim Crow with a suit and tie,” warns one local critic.

      • What Joe Biden Gets Totally Wrong About Student Debt

        At a CNN town hall held earlier this week, President Joe Biden once again came out against student debt forgiveness. Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have been pushing Biden to use executive action to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt from all borrowers, but when asked at the town hall, Biden said, “I will not make that happen.” Instead, he proposed canceling $10,000 of debt.

      • Canuck Cruz Cuts and Runs to Cancún

        One of the most deliciously despicable characters in literature is Kenneth Widmerpool, the social-climbing anti-hero who wheedles and worms his way through the twelve volumes of Anthony Powell’s roman-fleuve A Dance to the Music of Time (published from 1951 to 1975). To fans of Powell’s novels, Widmerpool is a byword for spiritual grubbiness, a mean-spirited and small-minded man whose remorseless self-promotion combines obsequiousness toward anyone of higher social standing and sniffy disdain for those of lower status, whom he treats as stepping stones for his worldly rise.

      • ‘Words Are Not Enough’: Biden Pushed to Take Bold Climate Action as US Returns to Paris Agreement

        “The livelihoods and dignity of billions of people who didn’t create the climate crisis require that the Biden administration takes immediate and far-reaching climate action driven by justice, equity, and science.”

      • America I Can’t Breathe: the Extinction of Our Humanity Under Enlightened Liberalism

        I must stay true to the soul that is my “other,” that speaks the things that nobody – including me – wants to hear, the “other” that is my inferior, my unwanted reminder of my vulnerability, my Gloomy Gus who just can’t walk the sunny side of the street today, can’t do her part to reassure me and others that the daytime shared version of reality the media presents us with, and that we mostly defer to, is real. Thus, though my words recall the murder of George Floyd and other black men and women at the hands of police, my soul testifies that people such as me, white and middle class, are being suffocated, too. We must – now! – stop “innocently” colluding with our own murder.

        Earlier on my birthday eve, chatting outside the Cafe with a 75-year-old man I’d just met, we touched upon the topic – so popular among our peers – of vaccinations. He told me almost confessionally, “My daughter got my vaccine appointment.” Familiar words! These loyal daughters with their screen at-homeness and great patience are huge blessings for those in my generation who have them. Some daughters, I understand, sat for periods of hours, refreshing the screen over and over until they scored an appointment. No one shifts the blame to the obvious – the hastily prepared websites aren’t working! And beyond that, why are we forced to rely on websites that clearly work better for younger people who’ve grown up with computers when it’s old people who are most vulnerable to the virus?

      • Right Back at You: Tribes Fight Back Against the Rightwing Assaults on Deb Haaland

        Beginning in Daines’ home state of Montana, the Global Indigenous Council (GIC) and Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC) have billboards highlighting Haaland’s historic nomination being raised in two of the state’s main population centers, Billings and Great Falls.

        Under the headline “The First People of this land. The last to receive the vote” the billboards proclaim “Our first Secretary of Interior” with a striking image of Haaland shot by nationally renowned photographer, Joseph Kayne.

      • Vulnerability in the Moment

        I’m in the human stew right now, you might say: drowning in politics, technology, the weather and my own crazy ego. I’m trying to write a column.

        What makes this one different . . .well, I’ve been forced today to set aside my certainties, norms and expectations — virtually all of them. Certainty number one: that my computer will keep functioning as I write.

      • Indian Farmers’ Protest: A Strong Democratic Test?

        Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Father of the Nation, gave great importance to identifying himself with the then common Indian while leading the freedom struggle against British Empire. He chose to dress like them, eat and live as they did, and succeeded in ensuring their support. This page from Indian history is being referred to as it clearly signals that when people’s support is won over for any struggle, prospects of the same succeeding increase strongly. Leadership at any level cannot succeed without people extending support to the same.

        In this context, what can be said about the scenario reflected by the ongoing farmers’ protest in India and the attitude of the central government towards the same? Interestingly, the farmers’ protest is marked by various farmers’ unions’ support from most parts of the country. The attempt made by certain elements to create a rift within the same has interestingly not succeeded. In fact, farmers appear to be displaying no communal division along religious, regional and/or any social barrier. This point is marked by their paying special attention to act as security guards when Muslims among them offer prayers.

      • ‘A Clear Back-Track’: Rights Groups Warn New Biden Guidelines Not Enough to Curb ICE Abuses

        The organizations said the guidelines flew in the face of promises “to fully break from the harmful deportation policies of both the Trump and Obama presidencies.”

      • Trump Should be Indicted

        Trump was acquitted. But the Senate hardly absolved him: A 57-to-43 majority concluded he had incited a riot.

        Few if any of those who voted to acquit did so because they considered Trump innocent of the charge. Rather, after refusing to hold the trial while he was still in office, they relied on the technicality that Donald Trump is now “a private citizen.”

      • Should Iran Even Take Us Back?

        Donald Trump may have been a B-movie monster but Joe Biden’s jacket makes him look like a goddamn pacifist. With over half a century of enthusiastically engaging in every illegal war that ever crossed his desk, I would count myself lucky that the twisted old fuck appears to be deep in the throws of full-blown dementia if he hadn’t picked a young neoliberal death squad to run his cabinet. Aside from the Obama era Tarantino post-feminists in black aka Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Victoria ‘fuck the EU’ Nuland, Biden’s bloodthirsty grey-care advisors also include lesser-known monsters like Director of Intelligence Avril Haines and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who have had their fingers in every other corpse going back to the Clinton years. These kids are the architects of the Clintonian school of Humanitarian Intervention aka Smart Power, Hillary’s neocolonialist gift to the third world.

        Humanitarian Intervention is essentially neoconservatism in an NPR tote bag. It’s warmongering carefully packaged and sold to peace-loving liberals as human rights. It usually involves funding some token oppressed minority like, say, the Albanians of Kosovo, highlighting and all too often exaggerating crimes committed against them by the target, and then selling war crimes to the international community as the only cure for more war crimes. It’s the school of imperialist meddling hip in most European nations who’ve outworn their stay as colonialist rapists, even among their own citizens, and it is with this school of thoughtful, PR savvy, skullduggery that Biden’s foreign policy can be predicted to likely be a series of politically correct nightmares like the obliteration of Libya.

      • Ukraine sanctions pro-Kremlin oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife

        Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) has imposed sanctions on Ukrainian oligarch and lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk. 

      • Levada Center: Russian attitudes towards the U.S. show improvement for the first time in a year

        Forty percent of Russians have a positive attitude towards the United States, while 43 percent feel negatively, says a new survey from the independent Levada Center.

      • What Happened to “We The People?”

        At some point on that same day, Biden’s incoming administration shut down “We The People,” a section of the White House web site launched by the Obama administration.

        “We The People” brought the First Amendment’s right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” into the digital age, with the promise of official responses to petitions receiving 100,000 or more signatures within 30 days.

      • Opinion | Stop Manchin and Sinema From Imitating Jim Crow Dixiecrats and Letting the Filibuster Block Civil Rights and Voting Rights

        Sinema’s and Manchin’s decisions may well determine whether America remains a democracy or whether it’s indefinitely distorted by minority rule.

      • Democracy Now! Turns 25: Celebrating a Quarter-Century of Independent News on the Frontlines

        Democracy Now! first aired on nine community radio stations on February 19, 1996, on the eve of the New Hampshire presidential primary. In the 25 years since that initial broadcast, the program has greatly expanded, airing today on more than 1,500 television and radio stations around the globe and reaching millions of people online. We celebrate 25 years of the War and Peace Report with an hour-long retrospective, including highlights from the show’s early years, some of the most controversial interviews, and groundbreaking reports from East Timor, Standing Rock, Western Sahara and more.

      • Déjà Vu All Over Again: Trump Impeachment and Swiss Burqa/Niqab Vote

        In the famous quote attributed to the baseball star Yogi Berra known for his malapropos: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

        The United States House of Representatives has twice charged Donald Trump. The first time concerned his pressuring Ukraine officials to investigate a presidential opponent’s son’s activities in Ukraine. The Senate acquitted him with only one Republican voting guilty on one of the articles of impeachment.

      • Biden Offers Moderate Solutions to Radical Problems

        There is a time and a place for tweaks and minor adjustments. You don’t amputate a leg to cure a sprained ankle. Extreme situations require going big; if your oncologist suggests removing half your tumor and then waiting to see how it goes, fire her.

        Our planet has cancer. Exponentially growing and increasing temperatures have killed most of the world’s reefs and threaten widespread food shortages and thus political stability. Garbage, toxins and other pollution are clogging the oceans and poisoning the air. We can debate the specifics but when studies predict the possible collapse of human civilization within 30 years and “a ghastly future of mass extinction,” environmental degradation has obviously become a radical problem.

      • The Nepal Street

        Last Friday, partisan rallies were eclipsed by more earnest protests from another quarter. These were women-led marches over negligence, insults and threats to their personal and legal status.

        Whatever gains her women made in framing Nepal’s 2015 democratic constitution, whatever pressure they exert on authorities to solve the murder of girls and members of marginal castes, however many women fill posts in the party and government, despite having a female president—Nepal’s women find that in the end, they have to pour into the streets to cry for equity and justice.

      • Roaming Charges: Notes From the Ice House

        + Here’s a photo of Ridgeway and Alexander Cockburn in 1980 from the jacket of their novel, Smoke.

        + The photo was taken at the 1980 GOP convention and you can see that they’re got something in the works, like the plan to prank Phil Crane by telling him he was the VV’s preferred candidate for president. The Cranes (there were three brothers, one more pious and hypocritical than the next) were the harbingers of what was to come from the moralizing right. I’ll write about my 25 years of knowing and working with Jim when my fingers thaw out and my brain defrosts next week.

      • Britain’s Double Standards in International Affairs

        This is one example of the British government flouting international law when it considers such codes to be awkward, and an illustration of its inconsistent and even hypocritical approach to world developments.

        ***

      • Who Won the Impeachment?
      • Trump campaign enlisted influencer marketing firm

        Why it matters: The payments bought promotion from prominent conservative brands and social media personalities, showing how campaigns are exploring new, often more opaque digital advertising channels as large social media companies crack down on political ads.

        What’s new: Filings with the Federal Election Commission show the Trump campaign paid nearly $1.8 million during the second half of 2020 to Legendary Campaigns LLC for “online advertising.”

      • Rashida Tlaib Speaks at Kashmir Event Featuring Jihad Supporters

        Tlaib’s comments fit into a broader campaign to misrepresent and exaggerate the situation in J&K. Although India imposed political detentions, Internet and media restrictions, and other measures after the status change to maintain order, many of those restrictions have since been lifted and mainstream political figures released. Local-level elections were successfully conducted in the union territory in December.

      • Biden’s First Month Marked by Broken Promises

        One month into his presidential career and Joe Biden has already left a trail of broken promises on progressive legislation. Yesterday, it was reported that the president held a closed-door meeting with a group of mayors and governors. At the first sign of pushback from Republicans in the room, he immediately dropped his support for the $15 minimum wage on the basis that he needed bipartisan support to pass it. Given that Democrats control the House, Senate, and the White House, this position seems surprising. “I really want this in there but it just doesn’t look like we can do it because of reconciliation,” the 78-year-old Delawarean said, according to those present. “Right now, we have to prepare for this not making it,” he added. As Politico noted, there was no further negotiation on the minimum wage after that; the topic was simply dropped.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Reminder: Just A Few Days Left Before Our ’230 Matters’ Conversation With Section 230 Authors Ron Wyden & Chris Cox
      • Content Moderation Case Study: Senator Asks YouTube To Block Al Qaeda Videos (2008)

        Summary: In 2008, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, chaired by then Senator Joe Lieberman, produced a report entitled: “Violent Islamist Extremism: The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat.” The report mentions a rap video called “Dirty Kuffar” (Kuffar meaning “nonbeliever”) that, according to the report, praises Osama bin Laden and the attacks of 9/11.

      • North Dakota’s New Anti-230 Bill Would Let Nazis Sue You For Reporting Their Content To Twitter

        Earlier this month, we wrote about how various Republicans in state legislatures were introducing blatantly unconstitutional bills that tried to do away with Section 230 and which all attempted to block the ability of websites to do any content moderation. Many of the bills were nearly identical (and may have come from Chris Sevier, the profoundly troubled individual, who somehow keeps convincing state legislators to introduce blatantly unconstitutional bills that attack speech online). One of the bills we mentioned was from North Dakota. Lawyer Akiva Cohen points out that the North Dakota bill has been updated… and (incredibly) made even more blatantly unconstitutional.

      • China steps up online controls with new rule for blogger

        “It is a big deal, it’s a massive campaign,” said Xiao Qiang, an expert on digital censorship at the University of California at Berkeley. “And these are people who didn’t write something sharp. They are intentionally not being edgy about things.” A notice on Sohu in January, which also hosts microblogs, said public accounts without credentials must not issue or republish current affairs news. Banned topics include “articles and commentary on politics, economics, military affairs, diplomatic and public affairs; Taking out of context and distorting the content of the Party and country’s history; breaking news and commentary.” Internet giant Baidu, which also has a publishing platform, issued a similar notice.

        It is unclear to what extent bloggers will be punished if they publish commentary without the credentials.

      • China steps up online controls with new rule for bloggers

        Beginning next week, the Cyberspace Administration of China will require bloggers and influencers to have a government-approved credential before they can publish on a wide range of subjects. Some fear that only state media and official propaganda accounts will get permission. While permits have been needed since at least 2017 to write about topics such as political and military affairs, enforcement has not been widespread. The new rules expand that requirement to health, economics, education and judicial matters.

        “The regulators want to control the entire procedure of information production,” said Titus Chen, an expert in Chinese social media policy at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan.

      • Democrats split over plan to require greater censorship of ads in Section 230 overhaul

        Senate Democrats are split on new legislation that could force tech companies to censor online ads in the hopes of curbing misinformation and fraudulent claims. The bill is part of an effort to reform legal protections for online platforms such as Facebook and Google, which carry a majority of the ads online.

        The bill, the SAFE TECH Act, led by Sens. Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar, and Mazie Hirono, is one of the first steps at the federal level under the Biden administration toward reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that protects social media companies from liability for content posted by their users.

      • Pundits weigh in on Facebook’s Australian news outage

        There have been varying opinions about the matter, with some pundits blasting Facebook for bullying and causing the downfall of journalism. Inside Australia, the media expressed its disappointment at Facebook, while the public is the biggest loser.

      • Spain’s freedom of speech put to the test

        Hasel’s lyrics and tweets abound with harsh language full of rage and anger, peppered with threats of violence and black-and-white images. He attacks the monarchy and the state, and lashes out at what he regards to be evil — social inequality, capitalism, the USA. That radical approach has made him a star in the Spanish rap scene. For his supporters, Hasel is an icon in terms of freedom of expression.

        Amnesty International also condemned Hasel’s imprisonment, posting on Twitter: “No one should face criminal prosecution only for expressing themselves on social media or for singing something that may be distasteful or shocking.”

      • Protesters clash with Spanish police at rallies over rapper’s arrest

        At issue was a series of tweets calling former king Juan Carlos I a mafia boss and accusing police of torturing and killing demonstrators and migrants.

        s Hasel is known for his hard-left views, but his case has become a cause celebre among campaigners who say that prosecuting him is a dangerous assault on free speech.

        His sentence caused outrage in Spain, with stars including the film-maker Pedro Almodovar and the Hollywood actor Javier Bardem expressing support for his cause.

        Amnesty International denounced the move saying jailing the rapper for song lyrics and tweets was “unjust and disproportionate”.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘Collapse and chaos’: Independent journalist Sergey Smirnov on serving time in a Russian ‘special’ detention center

        Mediazona editor and prominent independent journalist Sergey Smirnov was released from custody on Thursday February 18, after serving 15 days in jail for a joke he shared on Twitter. Following his release, Smirnov described his time in detention in an interview with journalist Elizaveta Nesterova that was streamed on YouTube. Here’s what Sergey Smirnov said about the conditions at the “special” detention center, in a nutshell.

      • The Atrocious Prosecution of Julian Assange

        Make no mistake, this case is a frontal assault on the first amendment. It is also one of the worst attacks on a free press in centuries. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and Biden. With a pusillanimous press quiescent about Assange and unless Biden reverses course, these two presidents will have trashed the ability of journalists to report on military and government abuses. A sword of Damocles hangs over reporters’ heads: reveal leaked material about the U.S. government and you could get slapped into prison, probably in solitary, for 175 years. Trump, now Biden, put that sword there.

        Surprising everyone, the very biased, anti-Assange British judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on January 4 against the U.S. government’s extradition request. This was a rare win for Assange. The U.S. had until February 12 to appeal. Everyone waited with baited breath: would Biden’s justice department drop the case? On February 9 we got the answer – no. The U.S. will continue to try to extradite Assange.

      • Assange has until 29 March to respond to US appeal over extradition

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given time until 29 March to respond to the US appeal to revoke a British judge’s decision not to extradite him to America to face trial on espionage charges.

      • Iranian journalist Nooshin Jafari begins 4-year jail term on propaganda and insult charges

        Police initially arrested Jafari, then a cinema and theater photographer covering cultural issues for several Iranian magazines, in August 2019 after pro-government social media accounts accused her of running a Twitter account that opposed the Iranian government, as CPJ documented at the time.

        She was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading anti-establishment propaganda” and four years for “insulting sanctities,” in a case that remained in appeal until February 13, 2021, when a Tehran appeals court upheld that conviction and imposed a four-year total sentence, according to IranWire and Emtedad News, a news outlet run by the reformist Union of Islamic Iran People Party. CPJ was not able to determine the date of her initial conviction and sentence.

      • Internet Gateway Will Further Curb Free Speech in Cambodia, Rights Groups Say

        Rights groups, however, said vaguely worded clauses in the subdecree would restrict rights including access to information, privacy and free speech. The plan could also hamper Cambodia’s fledgling IT sector by reducing competitiveness and affecting investments if the government routinely interfered in internet service provider operations, rights groups and local internet service providers said. 

        The subdecree “empowers the authorities to easily take action to restrict access to information online, or to block websites or social media networks that authorities label as dissenting or critical, even if those websites and social media networks provide independent news or information to the public,” a statement issued by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and more than 60 other groups said.

        Cambodia has a poor record on media freedom, ranking 144 out of 180 countries, where 1 is the most free, on the Reporters Without Borders annual index. Authorities have all but stamped out independent media, often using laws against harming security or national stability to detain journalists and critics, or bringing charges based on comments and information shared online. 

      • Decree on Internet Controls in Cambodia Threat to Freedom of Expression: Journalists

        Internet service providers will be given a year to connect to the gateway, or else face suspension of their operating licenses and the freezing of bank accounts, although no date was announced for its launch. Users will be required to provide their true identities, according to the decree.

      • Turkmen Journalist Posts Rare Public Rebuke Of President On YouTube

        Achilova added that the heating system in her apartment had been switched off several times in recent days, which she called an intentional warning over her journalistic activities.

        Last month, Achilova was named as one of three finalists for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders for her reports from Turkmenistan, one of the most repressive countries in the world.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • How Can We Revive Herd Immunity to Fascism?

        The concept of “herd immunity,” that is, the immunization of a whole population as a result of a high percentage acquiring resistance to a disease, has gained a lot of currency since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has long been a tradition of social sciences to borrow terms and concepts from the medical sciences, and the current global situation induces more of that. Thus, there are reasonable grounds to describe metaphorically as a pandemic the worldwide spread of far-right movements in recent years, including governments run or co-run by political forces that reproduce some of the key ideological tenets of fascism in countries as varied as Brazil, Hungary, India, Italy, the Philippines, Russia, and the United States.

      • The FBI, Fred Hampton and the Mythology of the Panthers

        They have made a well-researched, by-the-numbers biopic that will help many young people understand the depravity of the FBI, just as Aaron Sorkin’s “Trial of the Chicago 7” helped expose the city’s cops and judicial system. Unlike Sorkin, Berson and King did not twist the story to suit their own political agenda. However, by relying on the unfortunate mythology that has arisen around the Black Panther Party in the past half-century, some further analysis will be necessary for a deeper understanding of the period and how the ruling class was able to murder a promising young leader.

        As should not come as a big surprise, this unheralded, debut film had major players bootstrapping it. Ryan Coogler, the black director of “Black Panther”, was one benefactor. His Panthers were not activists but African demigods originating in Marvel Comic books that unaccountably was hailed by Jamelle Bouie as “the most political movie ever produced by Marvel Studios”. As producer, he raised millions as did Charles D. King, a black former super-agent who founded MACRO Media so that such films could be made (he is no relation to the director.)

      • Opinion | Toward a Shared Liberation: Our Interconnected Struggles Are Built on Asian and Black Solidarity

        We must train our eyes on the true enemy: white supremacy in all its forms.

      • Illusion Geopolitical Unmasked– The Metastasis Global of ‘New Normal’

        – George Orwell at his most perspicacious(?) concerning ‘Totalitarianism’

        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is lost The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.

      • Go St. Pauli! Beat Fascism!

        Like most port cities, Hamburg is known for its night life and the availability of pretty much anything human desires might crave. Bars seedy and not, sex workers of all kinds, hashish, heroin, methamphetamine and other modifiers of the human reality—the reputation of Hamburg is deserved, even though the city fathers and mothers might wish it were otherwise. The Reeperbahn is one of Hamburg’s districts where the aforementioned vices have on occasion abounded in between police sweeps and attempts to gentrify the area. It is also the home of the St. Pauli football club and the site of one of the longest running squats in Europe. The residents of that and other squats comprise a number of the football team’s world-(in)famous fan base. Anarchist, leftist and antifascist, the renegade element of the St. Pauli fan base has expanded from the streets and squats of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn to almost every city in Germany and into the world beyond.

        This expansion of the fan base had little to do with the club’s win-loss record. Indeed, the club has mostly bounced between the second and third tiers of the German Bundesliga since the 1960s, sometimes slipping even lower. Nor was the increase of the team’s popularity originally due to any effort by the club’s management. Instead, it was the adoption of the team by football-loving leftists, anarchists and the lumpen of the Reeperbahn. These fans, waving the skull and crossbones flags that represent the team, made the St. Pauli FC their own and the stadium’s standing room sections a place to gather, cheer on their team and make political statements. Sometimes those statements were related to efforts by more conservative fans to control the fan base and sometimes the protests were against efforts by the club ownership to commercialize the stadium and the team. More often, though it seems the protests and political displays were responses to fascist football fans, sexist behavior and advertising demeaning women, and against racism in football. When squats were attacked by police working for the bankers and developers hoping to gentrify Hamburg, the stands would often end up as one more venue in the battle against the police and their employers.

      • Organizing White Workers When the Klan is in the Shop

        As a young organizer in the mid-1970s, I went to work for District 65, an independent radical union. Martin Luther King called District 65 “The Conscience of the Labor Movement” after their early and staunch support for the civil rights movement.

        Our dress pin was a black hand and a white hand working both ends of an old fashioned two-man tree- saw cutting through the chain of oppression. 

      • Will my daughter still love me tomorrow? A reflection on leaving Salafism

        Last weekend, I celebrated my youngest daughter’s birthday for the first time since I left Salafism (a branch of Islam that believes in a literal approach to the faith). Now that I am no longer bound by ridiculous religious rules, I am free to explore and celebrate the world around me, without giving two fucks about what anyone thinks or is brave enough to say to me.

      • Uber drivers are entitled to worker benefits, a British court rules.

        The court ruled that although Uber said it was only a technology platform that connected drivers with passengers, it behaves more like an employer by setting rates, assigning rides, requiring drivers to follow certain routes and using a rating system to discipline drivers.

      • Tibetan Protester Dies From Prison Torture After Being Released to Hospital

        A Tibetan protester serving a 21-year prison term for sharing news of Tibetan protests with foreign news media died this month in a hospital in Lhasa after being transferred from his prison in critical condition, Tibetan sources and rights groups say.

        Kunchok Jinpa, aged 51 and a resident of Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county in Tibet’s Nagchu (Naqu) municipality, had vanished in custody after being detained on Nov. 8, 2013, and died on Feb. 6, three months after being admitted to hospital suffering from paralysis and a brain hemorrhage, according to local sources

      • Uber Shuts Down App That Told Drivers If Uber Underpaid Them

        UberCheats was a Chrome extension that helped drivers figure out if they’d been underpaid by for Uber. Underpaying drivers is de rigueur for the rideshare app. In 2017, Uber admitted it had been underpaying drivers in the NYC area for two years and promised to pay drivers $900 each in compensation. It’s a problem compounded by the fact that Uber offsets its operation costs by making drivers pay for them, which often makes it hard for Uber’s drivers to make money at all.

        Samii’s app helped keep Uber accountable, kept drivers informed, and was incredibly simple. “Sometimes Uber calculates the distance from point A to point B incorrectly,” he told Motherboard in an email. “My guess is that they use the ‘straight line’ distance rather than the actual distance traveled. In my area, that has led to a ‘6 minute trip’ taking 50 minutes, since they thought I could…fly, I guess? Technically, the app is quite simple. It looks at the start/end destination of the trip, plugs it into google maps, and checks to see if the distance you were paid for matches the distance Google says.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Pressured To Let Libraries Bridge Broadband Access During The Pandemic

        An estimated 42 million Americans lack access to broadband, nearly double official FCC estimates. That’s kind of a problem during a pandemic when your education, employment, family connection, healthcare and very survival depend on being tethered to the internet. And it’s a particular problem for the tens of millions more Americans who can’t afford access because we’ve happily allowed the US telecom sector to become monopolized by a handful of providers.

      • New Bill Tries To Ban Community Broadband. During A Pandemic.

        Having covered telecom for twenty years, I’ve found there’s a good shortcut to determining if somebody’s really serious about fixing US broadband issues: can they admit that (1) monopolies exist, and (2) that this results in a lack of competition. The data is indisputable on this point. US broadband is heavily monopolized, and as a result is mediocre on nearly every metric that matters, whether we’re talking about availability, speed, price, or customer service.

      • The Internet Is Splintering

        The “splinternet” is here: The utopian idea of the [internet] was that it would help tear down national boundaries, but technology watchers have been warning for decades that it could instead build those barriers even higher. That vision, often called the “splinternet,” is real, said Mishi Choudhary, a lawyer who started an organization in India representing the rights of [internet] users and software developers. She told me that there was a period until about a decade ago when governments didn’t fully grasp the power of the [internet], but then slowly the authorities wanted more control — for reasons both good and bad.

      • Australian law could make [Internet] ‘unworkable’, says World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee

        Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee has said Australia’s plan to make tech giants pay for journalism could render the [Internet] as we know it “unworkable”.

        The inventor of the World Wide Web claimed that proposed laws could disrupt the established order of the [Internet].

        “Specifically, I am concerned that that code risks breaching a fundamental principle of the web by requiring payment for linking between certain content online,” Berners-Lee told a Senate committee scrutinizing a bill that would create the New Media Bargaining Code.

        If the code is deployed globally, it could “make the web unworkable around the world”, he said.

      • Facebook: should Scomo take the issue to the UN Security Council?

        Primacy must go to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who dug his heels in and reiterated his determination to pass the news media code into law. Scomo was big on Facebook lingo in some of his statements, saying: “It is not OK to unfriend Australia because Australia is very friendly. We would like to remain very friendly and it is time for them to friend us again.” Truly, a man of the times.

        And in a report that just came online, Australian politicians have said they are halting their ads on Facebook because of the ban. Now, that should make Mark Zuckerberg really worried about how he will meet next month’s payroll.

        He also said he had the support of “world leaders” on the matter, citing Canada, the UK and India. So what do these leaders plan to do – send their armies to invade Facebook’s offices in the US and arrest Mark Zuckerberg?

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Federal Court of Justice of Germany issues prenatal death certificate for patent injunction reform: change is NOT coming

          Earlier ths month I reported on an academic write-up by Judge Dr. Klaus Grabinski of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany, according to which third-party interests are not going to be more relevant to patent injunction decisions after the envisioned reform than they have been so far. Judge Dr. Grabinski has been traditionally opposed to any softening of Germany’s near-automatic patent injunction regime. But yesterday, the German legislature published a broader statement on reform that was written by a different (and more balanced) judge of the same court, Judge Fabian Hoffmann. The context makes it pretty certain that it is not just the opinion of one judge, but a “per curiam” in terms of the court’s submission to the legislature.

      • Trademarks

        • FyreTV Porn Service Asks 11th Circuit Panel To Resurrect Dumb Trademark Suit Against Amazon Over FireTV

          Somehow we missed covering this in 2019, but in those much more innocent times the company behind FyreTV, which bills itself as a service that is “the Netflix of porn”, sued Amazon over its Fire TV product. The claim by FyreTV’s Wreal LLC ownership was that the public would be confused into thinking that Amazon was somehow behind its pornographic offerings, or that some affiliation between the two entities was in place. The claims rested on exactly what you’d expect, essentially that the two product names are phonetically identical and that both involve providing video-based entertainment. That the types of that entertainment are as wildly different as could possibly be apparently didn’t concern Wreal LLC. Instead, they came to court with a couple of social media posts essentially poking fun at the similar names as though it were some kind of proof of confusion.

      • Copyrights

        • How Do Copyright Rules Affect Internet Creators? And What Can They Do About It?

          The end of last year was a flurry of copyright news, from the mess with Twitch to the “#StopDMCA” campaign that took off as new copyright proposals became law. The new year has proven that this issue is not going away, as a story emerged about cops using music in what looked like an attempt to trigger copyright filters to take videos of them offline. And throughout the pandemic, people stuck at home have tried to move their creativity online, only to find filters standing in their way. Enough is enough.

          Next Friday, February 26th, at 10 AM Pacific, EFF will be hosting a town hall for Internet creators. There’s been a lot of actual and proposed changes to copyright law that you should know about and be able to ask questions about.

          We will go over the copyright laws that got snuck into the omnibus spending package at the end of last year and what they mean for you. We will also use what we learned in writing our whitepaper on Content ID to help creators understand how it works and what to do with it. Finally, we will talk about the latest copyright proposal, the Digital Copyright Act, and how dangerous it is for online creativity. Most importantly, we will give you a way to stay informed and fight back.

        • Beware the Unintended Consequences: Some Warning Signs for Canada from the Australian Government Battle With Facebook

          It is remarkable to see a government minister suggest that Canada needs to legislate licences for linking because an Internet company might not voluntarily enter into a licence agreement sometime in the future. That kind of “government knows best” may seem like a political winner today, but as this week’s events remind us, it also brings the prospect of content over-blocking, harm to independent media, and Canadians losing access to services they value because a government prioritized scoring political points over good policy.

        • Announcing Our New Podcast: “Open Minds … from Creative Commons”

          It’s CC’s 20th anniversary this year. And to celebrate, we decided to launch this show, a series of conversations with people working on the issues we’re involved with and excited about. Expect Open Minds to feature folks from the worlds of open culture, open education, open science, open technology, and more. Expect interesting people with interesting ideas to share about sharing.

        • Bulgaria Asks United States to Help Shut Down Torrent Tracker Zamunda

          After being called out by the US, Bulgaria has intensified its copyright enforcement in recent years. The Eastern European country is determined to shut down Zamunda.net, which is the most popular piracy site in the country by far. To achieve this goal the local prosecutor has asked the US Department of Justice for help, as several of Zamunda’s servers are presumably located in America.

        • UK Govt. Parodies “You Wouldn’t Steal” Anti-Piracy Ad to Deter COVID Spreaders

          To discourage people from meeting up illegally during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has put out a new PSA. Created by the Home Office, the video is a parody of the 2004 anti-piracy ad “Piracy is a crime”, with people advised not to “start their own pubs” or go to raves. While the message is deadly serious, unintentional comedy is the end result.

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