The EPO Bundestagate — Part 5: The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 1: How the Bundestag Was (and Continues to be) Misled About EPO Affairs
  2. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 2: Lack of Parliamentary Oversight, Many Questions and Few Answers…
  3. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 3: A “Minor Interpellation” in the German Bundestag
  4. The EPO Bundestagate — Part 4: Parroting the GDPR-Compliance Myth
  5. You are here ☞ The Federal Eagle’s Disconcerting Metamorphosis

EPO 3 monkeys

Summary: How the German Federal Eagle metamorphosed into an EPO Management Parrot

In the last part we saw how the Federal Government’s response to a parliamentary question about the EPO’s data protection framework seemed to come straight from the EPO’s internal echo chamber.

A clue to understanding how the mighty and sovereign Federal Eagle could be reduced to the subservient role of an EPO Management Parrot can be found in the footnotes of Bundestag Printed Paper no. 19/15072 [PDF] where the following is stated (in translation):

The answer was sent on behalf of the Federal Government in a letter from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection dated 8 November 2019.

Readers may recall that the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection did a lot of manipulative and highly questionable things for the notorious UPC, which was stopped due to constitutional issues [1, 2, 3].

The above passage confirms that the German government entrusted the Federal Ministry of Justice with the task of preparing its response to the FDP’s interpellation.

As we shall see from the later parts of this series, close personal connections and secretive back-channels can be shown to exist between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and the EPO’s Directorate of Legal and International Affairs (known internally at the EPO as DG5).

It is likely that these connections and back-channels played a key role in ensuring that any attempts to conduct an impartial and critical examination of the issues raised by the FDP were nipped in the bud.

“As we shall see from the later parts of this series, close personal connections and secretive back-channels can be shown to exist between the German Federal Ministry of Justice and the EPO’s Directorate of Legal and International Affairs (known internally at the EPO as DG5).”The rubber-stamped approval of the EPO’s data protection framework by officials of the Justice Ministry – under the apparent influence of their “controllers” at the EPO’s DG5 – resulted in the Federal Government, the Bundestag and the German public being seriously misled about the true state of affairs at the EPO.

In its response to the FDP’s interpellation, the government concluded by noting the following (in translation):

With regard to the assessment of the lawfulness of data processing in detail, it should be noted that this is not the responsibility of the Federal Government, but of the independent supervisory authorities.

This statement is quite remarkable.

“On that occasion Dr Petri noted that the EPO lacked any independent supervisory authority which could investigate alleged data protection breaches.”Why? Because if the Federal Government had done its homework properly then it should have known that a couple of years previously – in 2014 to be precise – the Bavarian State Data Protection Commissioner, Dr Thomas Petri, had concluded that the EPO’s data protection framework was not compliant with EU data protection standards.

On that occasion Dr Petri noted that the EPO lacked any independent supervisory authority which could investigate alleged data protection breaches. He recommended that urgent action be taken to remedy this deficiency.

“From the available evidence it would appear that this unfortunate outcome was the result of a nefarious act of collusion between the official of the Federal Justice Ministry entrusted with preparing the government’s submission for the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the EPO’s senior management team.”The Federal Data Protection Commissioner at the time in question, Ms Andrea Voßhoff, endorsed the concerns and findings of Dr Petri.
In July 2015 Ms Voßhoff brought the matter to the attention of the Legal Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag.

However, the efforts of Dr Petri and Ms Voßhoff to push for a reform of the EPO’s manifestly deficient data protection framework ultimately came to naught.

From the available evidence it would appear that this unfortunate outcome was the result of a nefarious act of collusion between the official of the Federal Justice Ministry entrusted with preparing the government’s submission for the Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the EPO’s senior management team.

In the coming instalments we intend to retrace the associated train of events in detail and present relevant facts concerning the main protagonists so that readers can form their own opinion about this matter.

It’s Hard to Remove a Man Based on a Lie

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or a whole bunch of distortions inciting hate

Board of Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Tell me again how dozens of companies and their front groups failed to remove one man

Summary: 5,319+ have signed in support of the FSF‘s decision to reinstate RMS (inside the Board, still), showing great durability and perseverance at the FSF

THE man with that beard

The man we all feared

He spoke of the freedoms
Threatening our kingdoms

“People said I should accept the world. Bullshit! I don’t accept the world.”
      –Richard Stallman
Petition created
For people who hated
Reaction underrated
The board we berated

He’s still there on the board
Our petition has bored
Take out a sword
More media hacks we can’t afford

Bring out a tank
Equip Bully de Blanc
He’s still on that board, FUCK!
Whatchu looking at, PUNK?

Links 3/4/2021: KHamburgerMenu and FreeBSD 13.0 RC5

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • PeerTube 3.1 Is Released With Advanced Transcoding Options And A More Polished User-Interface

        PeerTube is a free video hosting platform you can use to create your own YouTube-like video hosting platform. The latest version has better and much more configurable video encoding capabilities and a slightly more polished user-interface with new trending features and a new subscribe button that makes it easier to remotely subscribe to users on your local PeerTube instance.


        PeerTube uses WebTorrent technology to reduce the bandwidth load, but don’t expect that to be a magic fix for a slow shoe-string Internet connection if your PeerTube instance gets lots and lots of users. It helps if 10 people watch the same video, but it does nothing for you if 10 people are watching 10 different videos. There will be a lot of videos with just 1 person watching if you host a large number of videos.

      • OBS Studio 27.0-rc1 Released With Wayland Support, Undo/Redo

        For those making use of OBS Studio for screen capturing or streaming from your desktop, the OBS Studio 27.0 release is on the way and it’s a big one.

        OBS Studio 27.0-rc1 is out this weekend as a great Easter surprise. One of the new features of interest to many of you will be the recently covered OBS Studio Wayland capture support. This Wayland support makes use of PipeWire and is tested to work on Ubuntu 20.10 or newer.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • FreeDOS commands you need to know | Opensource.com

        FreeDOS, the open source implementation of DOS, provides a lightweight operating system for running legacy applications on modern hardware (or in an emulator) and for updating hardware vendor fails with a Linux-compatible firmware flasher. Getting familiar with FreeDOS is not only a fun throwback to the computing days of the past, it’s an investment into gaining useful computing skills. In this article, I’ll look at some of the essential commands you need to know to work on a FreeDOS system.

      • How to Install Gnome 40 in Ubuntu 21.04 (For Testing Only) | UbuntuHandbook

        Want to try out the new Gnome 40 Desktop? You can install it in Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo via PPA.

        Gnome 40 was released more than a week ago with new features including new design for the overview screen, a horizontal workspace switcher, Dock at the bottom, new gestures, and more.

        While Ubuntu 21.04 includes Gnome 3.38.x with some Gnome 40 core applications, you can get the new desktop environment via this third-party PPA.

      • How to install Samba on any ArcoLinux system | ArcoLinux

        Use the scripts in your home directory provided by arcolinux-bin-git.

        Run script 1, 2 and 3.

        Evaluate what happens to your system and change it if needed.

        This smb.conf is different as the one in the arcolinux-meta-plasma.
        There are also other examples in /etc/samba folder.
        Compare and create your own.

      • Converting Multiple Markdown Files into HTML or Other Formats in Linux

        Many times, when I use Markdown, I work on one file and when I’m done with it, I convert it to HTML or some other format. Occasionally, I have to create a few files. When I do work with more than one Markdown file, I usually wait until I have finished them before I convert them.

        I use pandoc to convert files, and it’s possible convert all the Markdown files in one shot.

        Markdown can convert its files to .html, but if there’s a chance that I will have to convert to other formats like epub, pandoc is the tool to use. I prefer to use the command line, so I will cover that first, but you can also do this in VSCodium without the command line. I’ll cover that too.

      • GNU Linux Debian 10 MATE as Virtualbox VM – VBoxClient Failed to register resizing support rc VERR INVALID FUNCTION

        the error message basically means: the VM’s screen can not be auto-resized because the VBoxGuestAdditions kernel module drivers software was not properly build & installed.

      • Quick and dirty hardware summary

        Quick and dirty hardware summary where lshw is not available. Requires util-linux, procps, pciutils, usbutils and net-tools, which should be preinstalled on most systems.

      • Things to do after installing Fedora Workstation

        A new Fedora release is always around the corner approximately every six months. Every new release gives you, a Fedora enthusiast or a new Fedora user, the latest software, utilities, and technologies. A new installation will always require some tweaks, configurations, and Apps to get the most out of your Fedora.

      • How to Remove CloudFront Cache – TecAdmin

        CloudFront is an popular caching and content delivery network service provided by the Amazon Web Services. It delivers data to users though its global data centers. CloudFront also make a local cache of content on its servers, which is further uses to quickie fulfill users requests.

        The Invalidation allows us to remove object(s) from the Cloudfront cache before it expires. It allows you to remove a specific object from cache as well use supported wildcard character to remove multiple objects. You can also remove all the objects from cache by using “/*” parameters to invalidation requests.

        In this tutorial, you will learn how to remove cloudfront cache using AWS CLI or management console. Use one of the blelow methods to create CloudFront invalidations and remove object from cache.

      • Commands to install Pantheon Desktop on Debian Buster and Stretch

        Although Debian is available with multiple desktop environments, yet if you want to install the beautiful Pantheon Linux Desktop environment on Debian Stretch or Buster then here are the steps to follow…

        Elementary OS comes default with Pantheon Desktop, however, it is not limited to that only, we can install it on other Linux such as Debian and Ubuntu as well. In this tutorial, we will see how to install and use Pantheon on a Debian Stable (Buster) or (Stretch) system. Here, I am using the Cinnamon installed Debian Buster.

      • cpufetch – awesome CPU architecture info tool for Linux and macOS

        ypically we use the lscpu command or /proc/cpuinfo command on Linux to check CPU information. I recently found another simplistic yet fancier CPU architecture fetching tool inspired by neofetch, pfetch or screenfetch. Let us see how to install cpufetch on Linux, macOS, Android, and Windows to fetch CPU details.

      • pinfo – Read Linux Info Documentation in Colors – nixCraft

        ou can display man pages in colors. Similarly, you can display info pages in colors. The info command is used under Linux or Unix to read multipage documentation and act as help viewer working on a command line interface, useful when there is no GUI available on the server. The info command processes info files. All info files are are in Texinfo format. You get the documentation tree. pinfo is a little known tool that can display info pages in colors.

      • LibreOffice Writer: The Ultimate Keyboard Shortcuts Keys

        LibreOffice is the most popular free and open-source word document processing software and has been compared to the likes of MS Office Word and Open Office thanks to its familiar navigation, templating system, toolbars, custom styles, and efficiency, among other features.

        The last time we published a comprehensive list of shortcuts was in the Most Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know. If LibreOffice Writer is your go-to document for writing and editing office documents then read on.

        Today’s article focuses on the shortcut list that you can familiarize yourself with in order to write and navigate LibreOffice writer with ease. The key commands listed below are the most on-demand shortcuts among users which makes us certain there is more than a handful for everyone.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: KHamburgerMenu and some good bugfixes

          Today I’d like to introduce an interesting new component that will eventually be rolled out in many KDE apps with menubars: KHamburgerMenu. This re-usable component allows QWidgets-based apps to show a custom hamburger menu when the main menubar is hidden, like Dolphin already does. In fact we are in the process of porting Dolphin’s custom implementation to use KHamburgerMenu.

        • KDE Starts April By Landing KHamburgerMenu – Phoronix

          The pandemic is still not showing any signs of slowing down KDE development but with the new month brings more changes and improvements to this open-source desktop.

          This week KDE saw the “KHamburgerMenu” work land as well as a number of other enhancements:

          - The introduction of KHamburgerMenu as a component for QWidgets-based apps to show custom hamburger menus when the main menubar is hidden. This is similar to Dolphin’s existing hamburger menu. This is helpful for those wanting to hide the main menubar for conserving vertical space, is easily applied to KDE applications, and other possibilities. This work has been ongoing for several months but finally merged this week via this MR with video demo too.

    • Distributions

      • Void: A Systemd-Free Lightning Fast Linux Distribution

        Void Linux is s a Linux distribution built from scratch, which means that it is not based on any of the principal distros that we know. Like Arch Linux it is a distro suitable for advanced users who want to configure their OS as they see fit.

        Void is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. It is available for a lot of architectures like x86, x86_64, arm, and more. Void also offers different installation images, from network / CLI install to live images with different flavors like Xfce, Cinnamon, Enlightenment, Mate, LXDE and LXQT.

        Void Linux is developed entirely by volunteers cooperating on GitHub. It was created in 2008 by Juan Romero Pardines, a former developer of NetBSD.

        There is one particular feature that sets Void apart from other distributions and that is its speed and responsiveness. It’s faster than anything else. Certainly everything from the boot process to starting applications is lightening quick. Void is also rock solid and unusually light on system resources.

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19.4 Released with Latest Kernel and More. Download and Upgrade steps.

          The MX Linux team announced that MX Linux 19.4 is immediately available for download and update. This fourth point release brings mostly version upgrades of packages and updates to the MX Linux native apps.

        • EasyOS Dunfell-series 2.6.2

          EasyOS was created in 2017, derived from Quirky Linux, which in turn was derived from Puppy Linux in 2013. Easy is built in woofQ, which takes as input binary packages from any distribution, and uses them on top of the unique EasyOS infrastructure.
          Throughout 2020, the official release for x86_64 PCs was the Buster-series, built with Debian 10.x Buster DEBs.
          EasyOS has also been built with packages compiled from source, using a fork of OpenEmbedded (OE). Currently, the Dunfell release of OE has been used, to compile two sets of binary packages, for x86_64 and aarch64.
          The latter have been used to build EasyOS for the Raspberry Pi4, and first official release, 2.6.1, was in January 2021.
          The page that you are reading now has the release notes for EasyOS Dunfell-series on x86_64 PCs, also debuting in 2021.
          To try and keep things simple, all three, the Dunfell-series on Pi4 and the Dunfell-series and Buster-series on the PC, all are sync’ed at the same version number.
          However, there are differences in the maturity of each. In the case of the Pi4, the hardware still has some issues. For Dunfell-series on the PC, as the packages are all compiled from source, they are not as tested as those in the Buster-series.
          The “2.6.2″ is for EasyOS itself, the infrastructure, support-glue, system scripts and system management and configuration applications.
          Version 2.6.2 is becoming mature, though is an experimental distribution and some parts are under development and are still considered as beta-quality. However, you will find this distro to be a very pleasant surprise, or so we hope.

        • EasyOS Dunfell-series version 2.6.2 released
      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 13.0-RC5 Now Available
          The fifth RC build of the 13.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
          Installation images are available for:
          o 13.0-RC5 amd64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC5 i386 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC5 powerpc GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC5 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 13.0-RC5 powerpc64le GENERIC64LE
          o 13.0-RC5 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 13.0-RC5 armv6 RPI-B
          o 13.0-RC5 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 RPI
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 PINE64
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 PINEBOOK
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 ROCK64
          o 13.0-RC5 aarch64 ROCKPRO64
          o 13.0-RC5 riscv64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC5 riscv64 GENERICSD
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          If you would like to use Git to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/13.0" branch.
          A summary of changes since 13.0-RC4 includes:
          o COMPAT_FREEBSD32 fill/set dbregs/fpregs has been implemented for
          o Miscellaneous DTrace updates.
          o An issue that could potentially affect some services to properly
            restart, notably Nginx, has been addressed.
          o Miscellaneous networking fixes.
          A list of changes since 12.2-RELEASE is available in the releng/13.0
          release notes:
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 13.0-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          The partition layout is:
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          To boot the VM image, run:
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          BASIC-CI images can be found at:
        • FreeBSD 13.0-RC5 Released Due To Lingering Bugs

          FreeBSD 13.0 was supposed to be out by the end of March but a bumpy past few weeks has led to extra release candidates. Out this weekend is FreeBSD 13.0-RC5 for what might now be the final test release.


          Overall with this big BSD operating system update there is an freebsd-update utility, a new Linux-compatible copy_file_range system call for efficient file copies, a much improved cryptographic framework within the kernel, AES-NI and armv8crypto are now included by default for the generic kernel builds to improve crypto performance, several new network drivers, efibootmgr EFI boot loader improvements, continued work on better supporting ARM/ARM64 hardware, the default CPU support for the i386 architecture is now i686 rather than i486, and plenty of other hardware improvements especially for newer components. Intel users should also be able to find much better performance on recent hardware generations.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint will inform users about important security updates but not enforce them

          Last month, the Linux Mint team announced that it wanted to do something about systems not being upgraded to newer versions. Systems that were not supported anymore were vulnerable to attacks, and the same was true for systems that had not the latest security updates installed.

          This week, the team announced that it found a solution to the problem. Good news is, that it does not involve enforcing updates on user systems. Instead, the team created a notification system for updates that informs users about them.

          Unlike Microsoft on Windows 10, which pushes updates and notifications hard on users, the team decided to create a solution that gives users a lot of flexibility when it comes to updates and is not annoying.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Do you really want Linux phones

        The community around Linux phones is interesting. The phones do sell to a lot of people, but it seems a lot of those people come back to complain that Linux phones isn’t what they expected it is.

        For some reason all the distributions for the PinePhone are bending over backwards to provide an android or ios experience on the phone. The operating systems are judged on the amount of apps preinstalled and every tiny issue labels the distribution as completely unusable.

        Stability doesn’t matter at all, as long as there are features! more features! Doesn’t matter there are 20 patches on top of every package and things aren’t upstreamed. Doesn’t matter if the kernel is full of hacks with no upstream in sight for most things.

      • This is a Free Elgato Stream Deck Alternative

        StreamPi is an open-source alternative to the immensely popular Elgato Stream Deck, it enables the user to create their own cross-platform customizable control pad in a very cost-effective manner.

        It has been developed by a team of two developers, Samuel Quinones and Debayan Sutradhar, they intend to add more features down the line. You can check the project on GitHub to know more about how it works.

      • Top 5 most powerful Arm SBCs & Devkits in 2021

        While companies like Hardkernel, Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, and FriendlyArm offers affordable, great little Arm Linux development boards that are suitable for many projects, in some cases, your requirements may lead you to spend a bit more for either extra CPU power, more memory, AI processing power, faster I/Os and so on.

        That’s why I did a list of the most powerful Arm single board computers in late 2017, but with over three years passed since then an update is warranted. The boards from the list must be easily purchasable from individuals (with the cash to spare) or small companies, so we’ll exclude hard-to-source hardware, as well as Arm server boards like Ampere eMAG motherboard, that do not really qualify as single board computers.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • SeaMonkey 2.53.7 Is Released

          SeaMonkey is a cross-platform web browser with a mail client, IRC chat client and a HTML editor built-in. The latest release is based on the web browser backend from Firefox 60.8 and the e-mail backend from Thunderbird 60.0. This release drops support for the in other browsers long-deprecated NPAPI plugins used by things like the Adobe Flash Plugin. The graphical interface is now rendered using GTK3 on Linux. SeaMonkey 2.53.7 is otherwise mostly the same product as it was 10+ years ago.

      • FSF

        • Liberty or Death

          March 23, 2021 – a day which will live in infamy – the Free and Open Source community was attacked by Silicon Valley.

          This day marks the hostile occupation of our community: a blockade against Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation, and any other user who stands in their way.

          Silicon Valley threatens to ban any user who dissents and to strip them of their digital rights. They show no tolerance for disagreement and no mercy for dissenters, and they intend to starve all opposition into submission.

          This is nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery.

          We have shut our eyes for long enough against a painful truth. Silicon Valley uses free licenses, you say! They are open source, you claim! But we must know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to prepare for it.

          These organizations do not represent us. Look at the signatures and you will see the same representatives of Big Tech, the very corporate monopolies that have always been the archenemies of user freedom.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Parallel can do anything, but is too complicated to be useful

            GNU Parallel is a utility that lets you run command jobs in parallel; on local and on remote hosts over the network. It’s incredibly powerful when you need something more flexible than xargs, and it’s especially useful with small computer clusters.

            You don’t need to set up and configure anything. There is no long-lived daemon process or central scheduler, as is customary in distributed compilers. You only need to set up key-based authentication for each remote host (so parallel can log in automatically), and install Perl and Parallel on each system. That’s it.

            You can configure it to transfer files from anywhere on your local system to a remote host. However, it can’t transfer files back to any directory other than the current working directory. For whatever reason, my odd jobs often involve moving files between different directories, and GNU Parallel complicates that tremendously. You’ll need to introduce more complications in the form of another tool to move files elsewhere on your system.

            GNU Parallel can help you get jobs done quicker, but you need to do a cost-benefit analysis before you use it. Its command syntax is unique and non-intuitive for command-line users, and getting it up and running can be a real head-scratcher. I spend hours in the command line every week, but I can’t make heads or tails of Parallel’s unique syntax. Intuitively, I always expect it to be quick to set it up, but I always run into unique problems that I’ve never experienced before. Its manual page is excellently written, but also practically incomprehensible.

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel oneDNN 2.2 Released With More Optimizations For Alder Lake, Sapphire Rapids

          This week Intel’s open-source developers released version 2.2 of oneDNN, their deep neural network library that is part of their oneAPI offering after previously being developed under the names MKL-DNN and the Deep Neural Network Library (DNNL).

          The oneDNN library provides the “building blocks” for deep learning applications not only for Intel CPUs/GPUs/XPUs but also for AMD / AArch64 / POWER / s390x processors and initial support for NVIDIA GPUs. With oneDNN 2.2, more work has gone into this deep learning library in preparing for future Intel products.

        • Rust

          • Core Team updates

            Niko Matsakis is stepping back from the Core Team, focusing his energy on leading the Language Team. Amongst the many things he has done for the Rust project over the years, Niko has been part of the Core Team since the beginning, and had a key role in shaping Rust’s governance. We’re all excited to see what his new focus is going to bring!

  • Leftovers

    • Drawing a Line in a Time of Moral Decay: the Mission of William Alberts

      Americans want to be loved, yet are feared almost everywhere in the world. Americans see themselves as just and righteous, yet daily countenance harrowing transgressions of international law and basic human rights.

      We believe ourselves to be agents of freedom, yet most of us refuse to reflect on the ethical consequences of our imperial aggressions. We prefer not to know what is done in our name, not to see the mounds of corpses that litter the distant rims of the world from American missile and drone strikes. We don’t want to know, because such an inquiry threatens the essential tenets of our self-identity, undermines the comforting fabric of our beliefs, shatters the spectral illusion of our national psyche.

    • Letters From Minsk: Echoes of Munich Over Wroclaw, Poland

      My Wroclaw train dropped me at the main station just outside the downtown in the middle of the afternoon, when chilly winds off the central European plains were whipping around the cobblestoned squares of the old city.

      I had directions to my guest house but found it difficult to navigate around Wroclaw, as neither the GPS on my phone nor the printed map in my saddle bag seemed up to the task of finding the exact street number, which turned out to be a side door inside a courtyard that itself was locked behind a main gate.

    • Demented Thinking on Joe Biden

      I’m a cartoonist and a writer and I am most assuredly not a gerontologist. I did not go to medical school. If I am not an expert in aging and cognitive decline, how do I know Biden has dementia? The same way I and you and everyone else know things to be true despite our lack of credentials: experience and pattern recognition.

      I don’t need to be an ornithologist in order to identify a blue jay.

    • Choosing Our Future
    • News in the 21st Century

      If there would be a choice between having a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, many would not hesitate for a moment to take the latter option. Yet, we are rapidly moving in the opposite direction: government without newspapers or quality news. Today, there are already huge geographical areas in the USA that have no longer any newspaper at all. These are News Deserts which has become so bad, there is a special website on the issue.

      Yet much of the news we might eventually miss isn’t much to talk about. Far from enlightening the public, much of the news pushes the sexy, dramatic and trivial aspects of society and politics. It features lascivious affairs and poll results that check the effectiveness of propaganda (now sold as public relations). News often focuses on idle speculation about this or that political horse race filled with endless political celebrity gossip. Much is produced and transmitted with an eye to capturing attention.

    • Living for the City: Considering a Reparations Of Joy
    • As Private Equity Comes to Dominate Autism Services…

      Today, April 2—Autism Awareness Day—let’s unfix our gaze from persons with the disorder. Instead, let’s look in the mirror, and reflect on the systems we have made to serve and surround them. How have we allowed autism to turn into a profit generator?

      In a flurry of legislative acts passed between 2010 and 2015, Massachusetts, where I live, became the 22nd state to mandate insurance coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as a behavioral health benefit for autism. The state’s market for ABA services has been booming ever since.

    • Bach in Spring

      Just before Easter, winter returned right when the magnolias trees had begun to flower, the tips of not-yet-opened white petals burned by the cold. This Good Friday morning there is snow on the ground.

      As you might expect from someone apparently born on—or maybe just near—the vernal equinox, Johann Sebastian Bach had memorable things to say on the subject of spring, though you have to look quite hard for them among the vast stores of music he bequeathed to posterity across all seasons and time zones.

    • Selective Service Registration Deserves a Full Hearing in Congress

      The choice is not between continuing male-only draft registration (which is likely to be found unconstitutional) and expanding registration to women. The real choice is whether to expand registration to women or to end it entirely. Bills for each of those options were introduced in the last session of Congress, and are likely to be reintroduced within the next few months as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

      This is a choice about militarism, not a choice about gender equality. Expanding draft registration to women would bring about a semblance of equality in war (although women in the military would likely still be subject to disproportionate sexual harassment and abuse). Ending draft registration would bring about real equality in peace and freedom.

    • The Inalienable Right to be a Bitch

      All those inflicted with the spirit of femininity are mothers, whether we have or even can have children or not. It is in our nature to nurture and care for life. This includes transwomen and third genders who have traditionally been seen as caregivers and medicine women in the old tribes and continue to be community builders in our new ones. This archetype goes beyond anything scientific and bleeds into that inky realm of the spiritual. Women are also a marginalized class defined by a deep rooted sense of sisterhood that binds us not only to each other but to notions of tribe and community and the earth itself. And in our modern age, when all of these notions exist under threat of extermination while feminine voices remain constricted, mama has little choice but to interrupt the toxic party of modern civilization and become a fucking bitch.

      To be a woman is to be marginalized. To be ignored unless you fit some man’s fetish. Women who refuse to remain silent and complicit are bitches. We are irrational harping killjoys. Shrill, opinionated, bossy, incorrigible, nagging, angry, hormonal, for lack of another thousand adjectives, we’re crazy, and in any truly sick society, crazy is nothing but a social construct designed to delegitimize the inconveniently enlightened. Women have endured generations of savage domestication that has sought to remove us from our natural place as nurturers in our communities and now we’re left to watch these communities annihilate themselves with endless wars, bottomless prisons, and environmental genocide with our tits tied behind our backs, and you really have to wonder why today’s woman’s last defense is to be a bitch? To scream and yell and carry on and piss on the rug like a bad dog? We have to do something, anything, to be fucking heard by a society lurching towards oblivion while we enjoy only token representation anywhere that actually fucking counts. Fuck yes, I’m a fucking bitch, and fuck no, I wont shut the fuck up, be a ‘lady’, or mind my fucking manners.

    • The US-China Dialogue of the Deaf in Alaska

      Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he knew, going into the first face-to-face meetings with China’s top two foreign affairs officials on March 17, that “we are fundamentally at odds.” Bad omen. The opening session was evidently just below a shouting match, lacking both mutual respect and a commitment to seek the positives. “This really is a one-off meeting,” one US official said. “This is not the resumption of a particular dialogue mechanism or the beginning of a dialogue process.” Really? Why not? I should think a dialogue process is needed right now, before US-China tensions get completely out of hand.

      Blinken and his partner, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, seemed to think they had home field advantage. But they were sitting opposite two seasoned diplomats, Yang Jiechi, a communist party politburo member and former foreign minister, and the current foreign minister, Wang Yi. These guys have been around the block, so to speak, and were not about to be lectured to or put on the defensive, least of all when the Biden administration had just placed sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong.

    • Education

      • Leading Chinese universities axe publication requirement for PhDs

        It has already been dropped from graduation requirements at the country’s pre-eminent institutions, Tsinghua and Peking universities, as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences. And now there is pressure for campuses across the board to drop it.


        Other academics agreed that closer supervision and more holistic assessment were a better option than effectively outsourcing a key graduation requirement to journal editors.

    • Hardware

      • What’s Causing the Global Chip Shortage and How Does It Affect You

        As the US economy rebounds from its pandemic slump, a vital cog is in short supply: the computer chips that power a wide range of products that connect, transport, and entertain us in a world increasingly dependent on technology.

        The shortage has already been rippling through various markets since last summer. It has made it difficult for schools to buy enough laptops for students forced to learn from home, delayed the release of popular products such as the iPhone 12, and created mad scrambles to find the latest video game consoles such as the PlayStation 5.

        But things have been getting even worse in recent weeks, particularly in the auto industry, where factories are shutting down because there aren’t enough chips to finish building vehicles that are starting to look like computers on wheels. The problem was recently compounded by a grounded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, choking off chips headed from Asia to Europe.

      • Go read Bloomberg’s interactive and educational breakdown of the semiconductor shortage

        One of the most interesting features of the article is an interactive graphic that shows the customers and industries that make use of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which gives a great idea of the scale and potential downstream effects of the manufacturing bottleneck when one company becomes a dominant force in the consumer electronics component pipeline. You’ll probably learn something new from playing around with it — like the possibly surprising size of Texas Instruments, a company many mostly associate with calculators.

      • How a Chip Shortage Snarled Everything From Phones to Cars

        In February, lead times—the duration between when an order for a chip is placed and when it actually gets filled—stretched to 15 weeks on average for the first time since data collection started in 2017, according to industry distributor data from Susquehanna Financial Group. Lead times for Broadcom Inc.—a barometer for the industry because of its involvement across the supply chain—extended to 22.2 weeks, up from 12.2 weeks in February 2020.

      • Why you may not be getting the SSD you paid for

        The SSD you’ve bought may not be exactly the SSD you think it is. That’s because of a common vendor practice of swapping out internal parts due to supply, pricing pressure, or other reasons.

        Usually this practice has focused on the NAND flash storage modules on SSDs, and the vendor has met or exceeded the promised specification. If the change is significant, the vendors have usually changed the SKU. But as Sean Webster of Tom’s Hardware discovered in his investigation of the Adata XPG 8200 Pro, the company changed the SSD controller without changing the name—except the performance changed, for the worse. There was no way of knowing the difference from the outside.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • COVID Is Surging in Brazil — and So Is Bolsonaro’s Quest to Consolidate Power

        As the number of COVID-19 cases surges in Brazil, the country is also facing a major crisis on the political front. The heads of Brazil’s Army, Navy and Air Force all quit in an unprecedented move, a day after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro ousted his defense minister as part of a broader Cabinet shake-up. The developments have alarmed many in Brazil who believe Bolsonaro, who is a former Army captain, will install ultra-loyalists to the military posts to consolidate his power ahead of next year’s election, when he is expected to be challenged by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro is trying to “show his authority” as his popularity dwindles, says Celso Amorim, former Brazilian foreign minister. “As he becomes smaller in terms of support … he becomes more dangerous.”

      • Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Latest Bill Seeks to Remove Fauci From His Post

        Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), who often promotes unfounded conspiracy theories and has been supportive of ideas espoused by the QAnon movement , has introduced a pair of bills in the House related to the COVID-19 pandemic this week, one of which targets Dr. Anthony Fauci, current director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

      • New Mexico, New York Join 14 Other States to Pass Legal Recreational Marijuana

        Legislators in New Mexico passed a bill this week legalizing recreational marijuana use and expunging the criminal records of people who have possessed the drug for personal recreational purposes. The law now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-New Mexico), who has promised to sign the bill into law.

      • Woke-Except For My Beef Bowl

        Doesn’t speciesism–believing that humans rule over other species and have the right to use them however they wish–showcase the nexus of all power relationships–exploitation and opportunism? Isn’t “I think you would make a nice meal so I am killing you” the ultimate inequity?

        Animal agriculture’s carbon footprint and farmland misuse, its worker and animal abuse, its economic absurdity and human health consequences should make it the first step on a Woke journey. Certainly early Woke leaders like Alice Walker and Angela Davis embrace it.

      • Beyond Covid The Essential Building Blocks of a Just World

        As well as providing a stage for social goodness and acts of community kindness, the pandemic has functioned as a mirror to a range of social horrors and abuses, failed structures, inept politicians and corrupt methodologies. Nothing new, nothing previously unknown; old issues rooted in divisive attitudes, broken systemic practices and organized methods of conditioning and control made loud. Racism and abuse, inequality, exploitation, and mistreatment of migrant workers, are some of the habitual issues being washed up.

        Inequality in its many forms, has proven to be, not simply abhorrent and socially divisive, but a killer, literally. Abuse in a number of areas has increased: against women, both inside (with women trapped indoors with their abusers) and outside the home, and racial abuse including violence against people of Asian appearance, which is through the roof, particularly in the US. Mental health illness has also dramatically increased worldwide. Anxiety and depression are rampant in many countries; grief, anger, economic uncertainty and a lack of hope about the future are common conditions. The WHO say that, “The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis [Covid-19] and are a priority to be addressed urgently.”

      • Opinion | Strong Job Growth in March as Vaccine Distribution Expands and the American Rescue Plan Ramps Up

        Even at this pace, it could take more than a year to dig out of the total jobs shortfall. However, today’s number is certainly a promising sign for the recovery.

        A solid 916,000 jobs were added in March, the strongest job growth we’ve seen since the initial bounceback faded last summer. Even with these gains, the labor market is still down 8.4 million jobs from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. In addition, thousands of jobs would have been added each month over the last year without the pandemic recession. If we count how many jobs may have been created if the recession hadn’t hit—consider average job growth (202,000) over the 12 months before the recession—we are now short 11.0 million jobs since February.

      • Live Animal Markets Should Be Closed to Prevent the Next Pandemic

        “Evidence from surveys and targeted studies so far have shown that the coronaviruses most highly related to SARS-CoV-2 are found in bats and pangolins, suggesting that these mammals may be the reservoir of the virus that causes COVID-19,” the WHO report states. “In addition to these findings, the high susceptibility of mink and cats to SARS-CoV- 2 suggests that additional species of animals may act as a potential reservoir. … Several samples from patients with exposure to the Huanan market had identical virus genomes, suggesting that they may have been part of a cluster.”

        Virologists believe that these sites, which bring together a variety of live animals into close contact with humans, are ideal places for this sort of interspecies viral transmission. In 2002, for example, scientists identified the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in Himalayan palm civets, a small mammal, in wet markets in Shenzhen in southern China. SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of SARS.

      • CDC Says Vaccinated People Safe to Travel, But Urges Against It as Covid-19 Cases Again Surge

        The agency’s new guidance came the same day Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s something akin to “a race between the potential for a surge and our ability to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can.”

        The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that Americans who’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can travel safely—properly masked—within the country, but cautioned against taking trips in light of a growing number of coronavirus cases.

      • What’s Behind Vaccine Shaming?

        For the center, the right’s skepticism of vaccines is a nice foil. Coronavirus has entrenched inequality in many ways. For working people, there was no way to safely stay away from the virus, and calls to shut down the economy created more problems for the working class. What the stay-at-home orders exposed was how financialized the labor of the upper class has become.

        For the poor, the labor, now largely “outsourced” in poor countries, could not “go home”. The rich, incapable of producing anything for the material world they are rapidly destroying, could simply go home, play on their computers, made by slaves, make up some numbers, get richer, while the poor worked for a living, exposed to the virus with real work, without a financial safety net without work. For women, the most real of the working class, their labor, in the home and on the frontlines, became even more dangerous, as financial squeezes at home left them vulnerable to an epidemic of domestic violence.

      • With Nicaragua, Scary Covid Projections Are More Newsworthy Than Hopeful Results

        One year ago, as both the Trump administration in the US and the Johnson government in the UK responded fitfully to the growing pandemic, the international media were looking for whipping boys: other countries whose response to the virus was even worse.

      • My Kids’ School Closed Again. So I Started Calling Experts.

        Here is the minute I finally lost it: Sunday, March 21, at 9:34 p.m.

        That’s when my wife and I got an email saying our kids’ New York City public elementary school would be closed yet again. Testing had found two positive COVID-19 cases among nearly 700 students and staff.

      • Peter Maybarduk on Global Vaccination, Jane Chung on Big Tech Lobbying
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft says an outage with Microsoft 365 services mitigated

          Microsoft says an outage with Microsoft 365 services mitigatedMicrosoft Corp said on Thursday it has mitigated an issue with its Microsoft 365 services and features, including workplace messaging app Teams and Azure, after many users were unable to access them.

        • UC Among Targets in Nationwide Cyberattack

          UC has learned that it, along with other universities, government agencies and private companies throughout the country, was recently subject to a cybersecurity attack. The attack involves the use of Accellion, a vendor used by many organizations for secure file transfer, in which an unauthorized individual appears to have copied and transferred UC files by exploiting a vulnerability in Accellion’s file transfer service.

        • [Old] Accellion’s data breach left clients in tough position: pay extortion to criminals, or have their data dumped (with updates)

          A breach involving Accellion‘s older file transfer application has left a number of its customers in the unenviable position of not only having a data breach to deal with, but with the added threat that their data and their clients’ data will be dumped by threat actors if they do not pay extortion demands. At least some of them have decided not to give in to extortion demands.

        • Threat actors leak files with protected health information from U. Miami

          In December and January, threat actors successfully exploited multiple vulnerabilities in an older file transfer system by Accellion. A number of Accellion’s clients subsequently found themselves on the receiving end of extortion demands to either pay the threat actors, or have their data dumped publicly. A number of firms apparently refused to pay, and their files have been dumped on a dark web leak site known to many by now.

          On Tuesday, the threat actors added the University of Miami to their leak site. As is their routine, they posted a few screencaps of files to increase pressure on their victim to pay up.

        • Nationwide cyberattack targets personal information of some in UC community

          Some University of California community members were victims of a nationwide cyberattack that compromised their personal information, UC officials announced Wednesday.

          The attack affected several universities, government agencies and private companies, a UCnet press release said. An unidentified individual received the information by exploiting a weakness in the file transfer service of Accellion, a file transfer company used by the UC, the press release said.

        • Nationwide cybersecurity attack compromises UC employee data

          The personal information was accessed through a cyberattack involving a vulnerability in a file transfer service from security provider Accellion, according to a UCOP press release. Multiple other universities, government agencies and private companies were involved in the attack, the press release added.

          UCOP immediately reported the incident to law enforcement and will notify any individuals whose information may be compromised, according to the press release.

        • UC part of nationwide cyber attack

          UC has learned that it, along with other universities, government agencies, and private companies throughout the country, was recently subject to a cybersecurity attack. The attack involves the use of Accellion, a vendor used by many organizations for secure file transfer, in which an unauthorized individual appears to have copied and transferred UC files by exploiting a vulnerability in Accellion’s file transfer service.

        • University of Miami investigates data breach

          Medical records from the university’s health system were reportedly leaked online, according to BleepingComputer, a cybersecurity news website. Accellion’s software was used by a “small number” of individuals at the university and no other servers were accessed, UM says.

          A growing number of companies and organizations have announced their own data breach investigations after [attackers] gained access to Accellion’s file transfer servers.

        • [Attackers] leak Social Security numbers, student data in massive data breach

          The leaked Stanford data is part of a massive data breach affecting numerous businesses and universities that targeted a widely-used file transfer service, Accellion, used by the University.

          A University employee confirmed the leak to an individual whose data was included in the breach.

        • [Attackers] hit University of Miami, posted patients’ private info. School won’t discuss details

          The scope of the data breach at UM isn’t clear. The university disclosed the attack in a web posting Tuesday — weeks after several other universities — but refused to provide details. The post downplayed impact: “Accellion had been used by a small number of individuals at UM to transfer files too large for email. The University has since discontinued use of Accellion file transfer services.”

        • [Old] Potential Accellion File Transfer Appliance compromise

          Since 12 January 2021, the ACSC has been working with cyber security partners to assist Australian organisations in relation to an SQL injection vulnerability in the Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA). If exploited, this vulnerability may provide an attacker with access to content stored on, and accessible by, the FTA instance.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Maine Should Take this Chance to Defund the Local Intelligence Fusion Center

              Fusion centers are yet another unnecessary cog in the surveillance state—and one that serves the intrusive function of coordinating surveillance activities and sharing information between federal law enforcement, the national security surveillance apparatus, and local and state police. Across the United States, there are at least 78 fusion centers that were formed by the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the war on terror and the rise of post-9/11 mass surveillance. Since their creation, fusion centers have been hammered by politicians, academics, and civil society groups for their ineffectiveness, dysfunction, mission creep, and unregulated tendency to veer into political policing. As scholar Brendan McQuade wrote in his book Pacifying the Homeland: Intelligence Fusion and Mass Supervision ,

              But in recent months, the dysfunction of fusion centers and the ease with which they sink into policing First Amendment-protected activities have been on full display. After a series of leaks that revealed communications from inside police departments, fusion centers, and law enforcement agencies across the country, MIAC came under particular scrutiny for sharing dubious intelligence generated by far-right wing social media accounts with local law enforcement. Specifically, the Maine fusion center helped perpetuate disinformation that stacks of bricks and stones had been strategically placed throughout a Black Lives Matter protest as part of a larger plan for destruction, and caused police to plan and act accordingly. This was, to put it plainly, a government intelligence agency spreading fake news that could have deliberately gotten people exercising their First Amendment rights hurt. This is in addition to a whistleblower lawsuit from a state trooper that alleged the fusion center routinely violated civil rights.  

              The first decade of the twenty-first century is characterized by a blank check to grow and expand the infrastructure that props up mass surveillance. Fusion centers are at the very heart of that excess. They have proven themselves to be unreliable and even harmful to the people the national security apparatus claims to want to protect. Why do states continue to fund intelligence fusion when, at its best, it enacts political policing that poses an existential threat to immigrants, activists, and protestors—and at worst, it actively disseminates false information to police? 

            • New Info About Encrypted Messaging Service Bust Shows Signal Protocol Is Still Secure, Law Enforcement Can Still Bypass Encryption

              Last month, the DOJ announced it had secured indictments against an encrypted device maker, claiming the company had violated all sorts of laws by selling these to criminals. This closely mirrored the DOJ’s earlier prosecution of Phantom Secure, another encrypted device maker it accused of aiding and abetting criminal enterprises.

            • Opinion | Key Principles for Creation of Any ‘Vaccine Passport’ System

              Any proposal for vaccine credentials must be primarily paper-based, decentralized, and protect privacy.

              With COVID-19 vaccination rates accelerating, governments around the world have begun to consider implementing a standardized credential or “vaccine passport” that would let people prove that they’ve been vaccinated. And the idea became more real when the Washington Post reported on Sunday that the Biden administration was working with companies to develop such a structure.

            • UK Legislators Are Using Encrypted Messaging Services To Possibly Dodge Records Requests

              Sure, we all love secure communications. And government officials shouldn’t be afraid of using encrypted communication options. But they need to remember their obligations to the public. Security can often be converted to obscurity. And yet, government officials migrate towards encrypted messaging options, but not for security reasons. Instead, they choose the same options they decry in public. Encryption is for criminals they claim, even as they avail themselves of the “criminal” option to “protect” themselves from the public they serve.

            • Call Them ‘Right to Life” or ‘Freedom’ Passports! If They Are Vaccine Passports, Conservatives Will Freak Out

              And that includes rightwing media. The headline in The Washington Post sums up today’s health crisis: “The Dangerous Game [Fox News’] Tucker Carlson is Playing on Vaccines.”

              If our country is going to “open up” again in a way that preserves the lives and liberty of millions of Americans who’ve stayed virus-free so far, we’re going to have to confront the GOP death cult, head-on. “Freedom” shouldn’t mean the right to force other people to die all alone in a hospital ICU hooked up to breathing tubes.

            • Facebook now lets users control who can comment on posts

              Additionally, the California-based social network will now also enable users to choose what content appears in the News Feed. They can select up to 30 friends and pages to include in the favourites section and these posts will appear higher in the news feed.

            • Apple switches off the ‘open web’ by making it better

              The idea is that app users have the chance to deny permission to track them across other apps and websites. Instead, they are shown a message that asks for permission to do so, states that permitting it may enable a better experience, but still allows them to ask the app not to track them.

            • Facebook removes Capitol attack suspect’s page

              The platform confirmed to The Hill that it is scrapping the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Noah Green, the 25-year-old suspect in Friday’s attack, and scrubbing any content from him that violates its policies.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Big Red Book

        In chapter one of  The Sympathizer, the narrator drops the names of Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, Chairman Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and mentions the  Little Red Book and  The Communist Manifesto. In chapter one of  The Committed, he explains that he was “a communist spy inserted into the shabby ranks of the exiled South Vietnamese army” and that he sent “encoded messages about the machinations of some elements of this army who hoped to take back our homeland from communist rule.” Communism and anti-communism run like a river of blood through both novels, which are published by Grove, and available in bookstores and public libraries everywhere. Oddly enough, most reviewers in major U.S. newspapers have either ignored Nguyen’s exploration of communism and its foe, anti-communism, or didn’t see it at all. Perhaps communism is still too hot a topic to handle even in a review of a book.

        Anti-war protesters who once poured into the streets of New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, as well as other cities and towns all over the nation—and chanted “Ho Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna win”—would benefit greatly from reading these mind-boggling, mind altering books. Even demonstrators who heeded the call of the pacifist-leaning National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, (better known as “the Mobe”) will likely find Nguyen’s mythic works of fiction nearly as Rabelaisian as François Rabelais’  Gargantua and Pantagruel, as Melvillian as Herman Melville’s  Moby-Dick and as Joycean as James Joyce’s  Ulysses.

      • Is the Long War Finally Ending?

        The percentages on the piece of paper referred to the amount of influence that the Soviet Union and the West would wield in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, with the first three countries falling in the Soviet sphere, control divided evenly in Yugoslavia, and Greece staying in the Western camp. It was the first major articulation of the geopolitical “spheres of influence” that would characterize the Cold War era.

        During the first post-war elections in Eastern Europe, Communist and non-Communist parties vied for power, eventually cobbling together different versions of coalition governments. Ultimately, however, the Communist parties seized control, except in Greece, where the West intervened in a civil war to help defeat leftist insurgents. By 1948, the region looked very much like the agreement that Churchill and Stalin had drawn up.

      • Could the U.S. and China Face an Unintended Blowup in the Western Pacific in the Biden Years?

        History tells us that conflicts don’t always begin due to planning and intent. Some, of course, start that way, as was the case, for instance, with Hitler’s June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union and Japan’s December 1941 attacks on the Dutch East Indies and Pearl Harbor. More commonly, though, countries have historically found themselves embroiled in wars they had hoped to avoid.

        This was the case in June 1914, when the major European powers — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire — all stumbled into World War I. Following an extremist act of terror (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie by Serbian nationalists in Sarajevo), they mobilizedtheir forces and issued ultimatums in the expectation that their rivals would back off. None did. Instead, a continent-wide conflict erupted with catastrophic consequences.

      • The Liberal Contempt for Martin Luther King’s Final Year

        You could call it evasion by omission.

        The standard liberal canon waxes fondly nostalgic about King’s “I have a dream” speech in 1963 and his efforts against racial segregation. But in memory lane, the Dr. King who lived his last year is persona non grata.

      • Opinion | Disastrous US Drug War Is Key Driver of Displacement in Central America

        Why are desperate refugees turning up on the U.S. border? Because we have offloaded the costs of the drug war on Latin America.

        We are torn by images of unaccompanied minors and overcrowded facilities at our southern border, but few in the United States are asking why so many Central American families are so desperate to escape their own countries that they are willing to risk everything—including family separation.

      • Why Biden’s Choice to Bomb Outer Space Is So Damn Exciting

        Before you ask — Yes, Space Force is exactly what humanity desperately needs right now. Having spent millions of years killing and conquering and torturing each other here on the terra firma, I think we’re all feeling kinda claustrophobic and bored. I think we all want to get out into the wide open infinite territory of the great and awesome cosmos and murder our fellow humans  there, for a change. (If anyone’s wondering, the answer to the  Fermi Paradox — Where are all the aliens? — is that all intelligent civilizations eventually develop the technology to kill themselves at the push of a button. Eventually someone, well, pushes the button. … His name is usually Tony.)

        Space Force is also just the thing Americans need right now because our infrastructure is collapsing, our environment is struggling, our political system is only a half goose-step away from fascism, and our spiritual health is blinking red “ALERT.” Most of us can’t figure out a purpose for life other than just cleaning out the industrial pork-smasher in the back of Taco Bell. So considering how well things are going in this—the  number one country on the planet—it’s time to expand to greener pastures (which are mostly pitch black). It’s time to expand into the Milky Way in order to grow our parasitic, deadly socioeconomic system. (I’m pretty sure MLK Jr. said something similar, not in a speech but in a diner in Tennessee.)

      • Are the US and China Stumbling Into War?

        The leaders of China and the United States certainly don’t seek a war with each another. Both the Biden administration and the regime of Chinese President Xi Jinping view economic renewal and growth as their principal objectives. Both are aware that any conflict arising between them, even if restricted to Asia and conducted with non-nuclear weapons—no sure bet—would produce catastrophic regional damage and potentially bring the global economy to its knees. So, neither group has any intention of deliberately starting a war. Each, however, is fully determined to prove its willingness to go to war if provoked and so is willing to play a game of military chicken in the waters (and aispace) off China’s coast. In the process, each is making the outbreak of war, however unintended, increasingly likely.

        History tells us that conflicts don’t always begin due to planning and intent. Some, of course, start that way, as was the case, for instance, with Hitler’s June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union and Japan’s December 1941 attacks on the Dutch East Indies and Pearl Harbor. More commonly, though, countries have historically found themselves embroiled in wars they had hoped to avoid.

      • ‘The Breakthrough We’ve Been Hoping For’: Iran, EU Announce Talks to Bring US Back to Nuclear Deal

        “The American people, and the Iranian-American community in particular, want the Biden administration to resolve our ongoing disputes with Iran through diplomacy.”

        In a development hailed as a key “breakthrough” that the Biden administration must not squander, parties to the Iran nuclear accord announced Friday morning that American officials will join talks next week to bring the U.S. back into compliance with the deal that former President Donald Trump violated in 2018.

      • ‘We’ve Been Attacked’: Suspect Dead, Officer Killed After Vehicle Rams Security Barrier on Capitol Hill

        The Capitol has been on high alert since the January 6 attack by a mob of Trump supporters.

        This is a developing news story… Check back for possible updates…

      • As Biden Ramps Up Detention Capacity, Group Warns Contaminated Military Bases ‘Are No Place’ for Kids

        “Immigrant children under the care of the federal government should not be in cages, let alone toxic sites in military bases,” an Earthjustice attorney said.

        In a move that was condemned by environmental justice advocates on Friday, President Joe Biden’s administration earlier this week sent 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors to Fort Bliss—a highly contaminated and potentially hazardous military base in El Paso, Texas—and is reportedly considering using additional toxic military sites as detention centers for migrant children in U.S. custody.

      • ‘Critical First Step’ But ‘Long Overdue’: Biden Repeals Trump Sanctions on the ICC

        “Trump’s sanctions set a dangerous precedent for attacks on victims, lawyers, human rights advocates, and courts.”

        Progressives in Congress and human rights organizations on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s repeal of sanctions on the International Criminal Court imposed under former President Donald Trump in a bid to pressure the Hague-based tribunal to not investigate alleged U.S. and Israeli crimes.

      • Some Standard Cynical CIA-Style Cuba Covid Reporting at The Washington Post

        Cuba has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates and one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the Western world. The relatively small island nation is the only Latin American country to have developed its own vaccine. We can expect Cuba to export its vaccine, as it has long exported its surplus medical workers, to other nations within and beyond Latin America. By the end of the year, the island nation of 11 million should be able to produce 100 million doses.

        The Cuban accomplishment, achieved despite the United States’ draconian blockade, is remarkable. As Jaffe notes, it’s all about the socialism, the creation of a society outside and against the rule of imperialist capitalism. “Cuba,” Yaffe writes: “has become a world-leader in biotechnology because it has a socialist state with a centrally planned economy, that has invested in science and technology and puts human welfare before …capitalism and greed…. it is the absence of the capitalist profit motive which underlies the outstanding domestic and international response to Covid-19 by socialist Cuba…”

      • “Global Britain”: Flying Flags, Banging War Drums and Going Down the Nuclear Plughole

        The United Kingdom is in a dire condition, socially and economically, and as with other countries has a major crisis on its hands in having to fight to counter the Covid 19 epidemic which has  caused some 126,000 recorded deaths.  This is the highest  number per capita in the world.  With a population of about 66 million the UK is fifth on the global list, with the US (population 330 million) in top place followed by Brazil (212 million), Mexico (128 million) and India (1.3 billion).  Certainly the UK has been energetic and indeed successful in arranging for virus vaccination, but that is an example of closing the door too late, as the grieving relatives and friends of 126 thousand dead people would testify. Unfortunately, however, the tragedy has not affected the government campaign to whip up nationalist fervour which has persuaded many voters that the death record is the fault of everyone except the UK.

        In this new  era of “Global Britain”, which has sparked unhealthy and markedly immature displays of artificial national pride, the government’s emphasis is on endeavouring to rouse and inflame patriotic enthusiasm for as many causes as it can dream up.  It all brings to mind the saying of the English author, essayist and  littérateur Doctor Samuel Johnson who observed some 250 years ago that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” by which his intention was to criticise “false patriots” who acted hypocritically in pursuit of their dubious objectives.  And it would be fascinating to know what he would make of the vulgar fandangos of today’s pseudo-patriots who appear to be breeding quickly.

      • Sidewalk Terror and the Logistical Hauntings of the Flâneur

        Each of these mundane acts could easily be part of the “sidewalk ballet” that the urban thinker and activist Jane Jacobs once praised as the definitive marker of vibrant stranger sociality.

        But then you get knocked down in front of your bus stop. Some random person punches you in the face at the crosswalk. You get doused with burning acid on the curb in front of your house. You get kidnapped and killed before you can reach home.

      • The Biden Administration and the Middle East with Noam Chomsky
      • Dissenter Weekly: Biden Justice Department Wields Espionage Act To Coerce Drone Whistleblower’s Guilty Plea

        In this edition of “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola shares his reporting on drone whistleblower Daniel Hale, who was charged under the Espionage Act and pled guilty on March 31. Although Hale was charged under President Donald Trump, the plea made Hale the first whistleblower prosecuted with the Espionage Act to be convicted by President Joe Biden’s Justice Department.

      • As Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Pleads Guilty, Advocates Warn of ‘Profound Threat’ to Free Press

        “Using the Espionage Act in this way to prosecute journalists’ sources as spies chills newsgathering and discourages sources from coming forward with information in the public interest.”

        Press freedom, peace, and human rights advocates are rallying behind Daniel Hale, the former intelligence analyst who blew the whistle on the U.S. government’s drone assassination program, and who pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to violating the Espionage Act.

      • China Isn’t the Problem, Neoliberalism Is

        Bi-partisan claims that China is a growing economic and military threat to the U.S. places economic competition within the national frame that American capitalists have spent the last five decades arguing is no longer relevant because of globalization. This posture of a unified national interest follows several decades of American industrialists cum financiers doing everything they can to concentrate wealth and power for themselves. Now, having done so, the frame of ‘nation’ is being opportunistically reasserted to claim a unified national interest to oppose ‘foreign’ competition. However, China didn’t pass NAFTA and China didn’t bail out Wall Street.

        The contours of current U.S. political divisions can be seen in the graph above. The top three sectors in terms of contribution to GDP by industry are finance, professional services and government. Manufacturing has declined as a relative contributor just as the neoliberal program intended. Unionized industrial jobs have been replaced with non-unionized service jobs. The PMC is the functionary class facilitating this shift as it assumes roles as, and managing, service sector workers. It is the representative face of capital as manufacturing has been migrated abroad. The ‘anti-labor left’ that has emerged in the U.S. since the 1990s is concentrated within the PMC.

      • Chinese Border Villages in Disputed Territory Put India on Alert

        A Chinese push to create civilian settlements along disputed borders in the Himalayan region has emerged as a major new concern for India as, analysts in India say, it replicates Beijing’s strategy to consolidate claims in the South China Sea.

        The latest red flag has been raised by a new village built by China in an area disputed by the two countries along the border in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

        The construction of the village in territory also claimed by India is a strategy to reinforce China’s claim to the area by altering facts on the ground, analysts say.

      • New Niger president lashes out at jihadist ‘war crimes’

        But the Sahel country’s problems were deeply underscored in the run-up to Friday’s ceremony, after a string of jihadist massacres and an alleged attempted coup just two days before the handover.

        In his inauguration speech, Bazoum hit out at “terrorist groups whose barbarity has exceeded every limit.”

    • Environment

      • Haaland Announces New Missing and Murdered Indigenous Unit at Interior

        The department said the new unit will “put the full weight of the federal government into investigating these cases and marshal law enforcement resources across federal agencies and throughout Indian country.”

        Human rights defenders on Friday applauded the announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland that the Bureau of Indian Affairs will establish a unit tasked with investigating missing and murdered Indigenous people. 

      • Progressive Leader to Biden: Don’t ‘Water Down Bill for a Party Not Actually Interested in Bipartisanship’

        The country can’t afford to “wait for Republicans to have some awakening on climate change,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

        Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal late Thursday argued that President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers should forge ahead with an ambitious infrastructure package without attempting to cater to the minority GOP, a party the Washington Democrat said has no interest in good-faith negotiations or combating the climate crisis.

      • Energy

        • Appalachian Pipeline Blockade Ends With Arrests After 932 Days

          Mike Ludwig speaks with Max and Caroline, two activists who have been supporting the Yellow Finch blockade of the embattled Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry massive amounts fracked gas across the Appalachian mountains. The multiyear direct action ended last week after two protesters were arrested and jailed without bail.

        • “Build Back Fossil Free!” Indigenous Youth Rally to Demand Biden Stop Pipelines

          On Thursday, the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Sacred Stone Camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), frontline Indigenous youth and organizers held several actions in Washington, D.C. The activists called on President Joe Biden to end DAPL and the Line 3 pipeline and to “Build Back Fossil Free.”

        • Dozens of Democrats Urge Biden to Immediately Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline

          A bicameral group of more than 30 Democratic lawmakers and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday called on President Joe Biden to immediately order a shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline as it undergoes a court-ordered environmental impact review.

        • Dozens of Democrats Urge Biden to Take ‘Critical Step’ of Shutting Down Dakota Access Pipeline

          “By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries.”

          A bicameral group of more than 30 Democratic lawmakers and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday called on President Joe Biden to immediately order a shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline as it undergoes a court-ordered environmental impact review.

        • Fossil Fuel Companies Got $8.2 Billion in Tax Bailouts—Then Fired Over 58,000 Workers

          “It’s time to stop subsidizing them and start facing the climate crisis,” says a BailoutWatch analyst.

          Bolstering arguments against providing further public benefits to the fossil fuel industry, a BailoutWatch analysis published Friday reveals that 77 companies got a collective $8.24 billion tax bailout last year, then laid off tens of thousands of employees.

        • NAACP Report: Fossil Fuel Industry Uses Deception to Conceal Damage to BIPOC Communities

          That’s the top finding of a newly released NAACP report titled “Fossil Fuel Foolery.” The report identifies 10 tactics that polluters, industry lobbyists, and politicians often deploy to deflect accountability for the impacts of fossil fuel production and pollution on the environment and human health.

        • Father of Teen Killed in Oil Tank Explosion Pushing for New Louisiana Safety Measures

          Zalee lived with her mother, sister, and twin brother about a hundred feet from the oil field site owned by Urban Oil and Gas LLC, a Texas-based company that holds numerous oil and gas leases in Louisiana and several western states. 

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Help for Asian Horseshoe Crabs Could Start With a Substitute for Their Blood
        • Despite Declining U.S. Pesticide Use, Toxicity to Bees Doubled in a Decade: Study

          The findings, said the study’s lead researcher, “call for action to reduce the pesticide toxicity applied in agriculture worldwide.”

          Despite lower applied amounts of pesticides in U.S. agriculture, their toxicity to non-target species including honeybees more than doubled in a decade, according to a new study.

        • The 99-Year Old Grandmother Argument and the Bias of Forestry Advocates

          The forester continuously told our audience that our forests were unhealthy and needed to be “restored,” by “active forest management” so they had “resilience.” As some of you know, “active forest management” is a euphemism for logging and manipulating our forest ecosystems.

          Of course, the unspoken underlying assumption is that foresters “know” what constitutes a “healthy” forest. Not surprisingly, the timber industry, forestry schools, and foresters tend to define forest health in terms of tree mortality. High tree mortality from any natural agent–whether drought, wildfire, bark beetles, mistletoe, fungi, or other sources– is to many foresters evidence of an “unhealthy” forest. By happy coincidence, the solution to all these health issues is to log the forest.

    • Finance

      • Economy Adds 916,000 Jobs in March, But Long-Term Unemployment Remains High

        The March employment reports show the economy bouncing back sharply due to the spread of vaccines and the first effects of the Biden recovery package. The establishment survey showed the economy adding 916,000 jobs in the month. The household survey was also encouraging, with the unemployment rate dropping 0.2 percentage points to 6.0 percent, a level not reached in the recovery from the Great Recession until September of 2014. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) also edged up 0.2 percentage points to 57.8 percent.

      • Opinion | Religious Groups Support Worker-Protecting PRO Act

        “The PRO Act is essential in strengthening workers’ basic right to organize: as such it is a covenant, a sacred trust among workers to improve their lives and working conditions. It deserves the support of all people of faith.”

        Multiple religious groups from different faith traditions last month co-authored a letter to members of Congress urging swift passage of the PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act, which would ensure workers’ rights to organize into unions and collectively bargain for fair pay and working conditions.

      • 55 US Corporate Giants Paid $0 in Federal Taxes in 2020 Thanks to ‘Gaping’ Loopholes

        “If you paid $120 for a pair of Nike Air Force 1 shoes, you paid more to Nike than it paid in federal income taxes over the past 3 years,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

        For millions of ordinary people in the U.S., 2020 was a painful year in which loved ones and jobs were lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating economic repercussions. But for many of the country’s major corporations, last year was a lucrative one—particularly if they were among the 55 companies that paid $0 in federal income taxes on a combined $40.5 billion in profits, as a new study shows.

      • Suez Highlights the Fragility of Globalization

        Last week the ballet turned into a mosh pit, when a character named MV Ever Given stepped out of its choreographed role to disrupt the entire dance. It blocked the world’s most critical trade chokepoint, the Suez Canal, an artery carrying 30% of the world’s container traffic. Effects radiated across the planet. Oil prices ticked upwards. Ships were held up at major ports from Rotterdam to Newark. Store and e-commerce deliveries were delayed. Both  Amazon and Ikea had shipments on the Ever Given itself.

        In our just-in-time world, where ships act as precisely scheduled floating warehouses, a week’s interruption creates a backlog that lasts a lot longer. It may only take days to relieve the maritime traffic jam and restore normal canal operations. But leading container shippers predict it could take weeks or even months to sort it all out, as off-schedule ships pile into congested ports. The shipping industry was already struggling with impacts of the pandemic on operations and the way it has shifted consumer purchases from restaurants and entertainment to consumer goods. Containers were short in Asia where much shipping emerges, and costs were way up.  Then the canal blockage piled on. It is “going to result in  one of the biggest disruptions to global trade in recent years,” reported MSC, the world’s second leading container shipper.

      • GOP Unites in Opposition to Biden’s Popular Infrastructure Plan

        The massive infrastructure plan announced by President Joe Biden earlier this week includes widely popular components such as a plan to replace every lead pipe in the country, but Republicans are already announcing their intention to unite in opposition to the entirety of it.

      • Opinion | Tax the Rich. Here’s How

        These 7 ways of taxing the rich would generate more than $6 trillion over 10 years.

        Income and wealth are now more concentrated at the top than at any time over the last 80 years, and our unjust tax system is a big reason why. The tax code is rigged for the rich, enabling a handful of wealthy individuals to exert undue influence over our economy and democracy. 

      • Quick, How Much is $2 Trillion?

        The spending is supposed to take place over eight years which means that it would be equal to just over 0.8 percent of projected GDP over this period. At $250 billion a year, it comes to about $750 per person each year over this period. It is less than 40 percent of what we are projected to spend on prescription drugs over this period and less than half of the higher prices that we will be paying as a result of government-granted patent and related monopolies. (For some reason, the money transferred to the drug companies and other beneficiaries of these government-granted monopolies never gets called “big government.”)

        Anyhow, instead of reporting $2 trillion as some big scary number, often not even telling people the time period involved, it would be helpful if news outlets tried to put the number in contexts that would make it meaningful to their readers. We get that reporting big numbers is a cool fraternity ritual among budget reporters, but making these numbers meaningful is actually supposed to be their job.

      • What if We Actually Taxed the Rich?

        It’s not radical to rein in this irresponsibility. It’s radical to let it continue.

      • Tens of Millions in Florida Properties Linked to Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Guillermo Lasso
      • Global Billionaire Wealth Surges $4 Trillion Over Pandemic, While the Cost of Vaccinating the World is Estimated at $141.2 Billion

        The planet’s 2,365 billionaires have seen their wealth increase $4 trillion, or 54 percent, during the pandemic year. Their combined wealth rose from $8.04 trillion to $12.39 trillion between March 18, 2020 and March 18, 2021.

        Thirteen billionaires saw their wealth increase over 500 percent (see the “500 Percent Club” below).  Many of them are connected to companies that benefited enormously from the conditions of the pandemic, including having their competition shut down or diminished.

      • The Increasing Economic Value of Digital Capital

        A firm’s financial statement comprises two distinct types of assets. Tangible assets are mostly physical in nature, and include vehicles, land, plants, equipment, and furniture, as well as financial assets like stocks, bonds, account receivables, and cash which have a concrete contractual value. On the other hand, intangible assets aren’t physical. They include patents, copyrights, trademarks, goodwill, brand value, human capital, R&D, software, and data. Intangibles do have a monetary value since they represent future potential revenue, but they’re more difficult to value because, unlike tangibles, their costs and market values are hard to determine.

        The economic value of intangible assets has truly exploded over the past several decades. According to a 2019 research report , the overall value of the S&P 500 in 1975 was $715 billion, of which 17% was intangible. By 1995, intangibles had risen to 68% of a $4.6 trillion S&P value. The value of intangibles continued to climb in our 21st century digital economy, reaching 84% of the $25 trillion overall S&P value in 2018. The reason for this fast rising valuations is that intangible capabilities are a major source of a company’s long-term competitive strengths, and are generally quite complex to build and replicate. Yet, conventional accounting treats these capabilities not as company investments but as expenses, which means that their funding isn’t reflected as capital on balance sheets.


        The reason is that is that the life cycle of such historically transformative technologies is composed of two distinct periods, investment and harvesting. Since these technologies are general purpose in nature, they require massive complementary investments, such as business process redesign, co-invention of new products and business models, and the re-skilling of the workforce. Moreover, the more transformative the technologies, the longer it takes for them to reach the harvesting phase when they are widely embraced by companies and industries across the economy. The decades-long time lags between the investment and harvesting periods has led to a kind of productivity paradox that’s puzzled economists seeking to reconcile exciting technological breakthroughs with slow near- and mid-term productivity growth.

        For example, US labor productivity grew at only 1.5% between 1973 and 1995. This period of slow productivity coincided with the rapid growth in the use of IT in business, giving rise to the Solow productivity paradox, a reference to Nobel Prize MIT economist Robert Solow’s 1987 quip: “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” But, starting in the mid 1990s, US labor productivity surged to over 2.5%, as Internet-based applications and business process re-engineering helped to spread productivity-enhancing digital capital across firms and the economy. Similarly, productivity growth did not increase until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s, because It took until the 1920s for companies to figure out how to restructure their factories to take advantage of electric power with new manufacturing innovations like the assembly line.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Texas GOP Moves to “Gerrymander” State Courts After Democratic Judicial Wins

        Texas Republicans are pushing legislation that advocates say will “gerrymander” the state’s appeals courts after Democrats swept judicial races in districts serving Dallas, Houston and Austin.

      • An Unannounced Rupture in Venezuelan Politics

        Iturriza’s claims about disaffiliation resulting from a lack of political polarization are very interesting, especially if combined with an interpretation of the developments that have led to an emptying of Venezuelan politics of real content, its loss of “polarization.” Here, a complete account requires us to take distance from capitalist and neoliberal normality. That is, we must contrive to understand the nature of normal capitalist politics, rather than take it for granted. This is because, unless we distance ourselves from capitalist normality, we will not perceive what happened some five years ago in Venezuela. In effect, there was a silent, unannounced rupture then that left half of Chavismo reeling.

        Capitalist normality involves a basic separation between politics and economics. The separation is not, of course, absolute. However, in contrast to earlier social formations, capitalism brings an important degree of autonomy to the economy, now operating under spontaneous laws (it is precisely this autonomy that free-market enthusiasts unceasingly tell us to respect). Under neoliberalism, this separation between economy and politics continues, with the paradoxical complexity that even while neoliberal politicians rail constantly about the evils of economic intervention, they ceaselessly intervene on behalf of capitalist private property (but never in favor of the people).

      • Republicans Intent on Destroying Democracy

        As for the conservative Republican Party, it seems to have abandoned the needs of the people in favor of the needs of the party.

        To do that, the party has turned unashamedly to subverting democracy, taking a jackhammer to the very bedrock on which this country stands — one person, one vote. It is following Trump, swallowing his Big Lie that he won re-election, as if he were still sitting behind the Resolute desk.

      • Are You a “Low Quality” Voter?

        That’s a stupid, shameful, and ultimately self-defeating political message, yet it’s being pushed as the official anti-voter electoral strategy of Republicans. Admitting that they can’t get majorities to vote for their collection of corporate lackeys, conspiracy theorists, and bigoted old white guys, the GOP hierarchy’s great hope is to shove as many Democratic voters as possible out of our elections.

        They’re banking on a blitz of bureaucratic bills they’re now trying to ram through nearly every state legislature to intimidate, divert, and otherwise deny eligible voters their most fundamental democratic right. Their main targets are people of color, but they’re also pushing to keep students, senior citizens, union households, and poor communities of any color from voting.

      • Oregon Governor Kate Brown Pushes Expanding Vote-by-Mail to Counter GOP Voter Suppression Efforts

        As Republican lawmakers across the U.S. move to make it harder for voters to cast ballots by mail, we look at Oregon’s long history of vote-by-mail. Oregon, where 92% of residents are now registered to vote, was the first state in the country to institute voting by mail and to establish automatic voter registration in an effort to “ensure access to this very fundamental right,” says Oregon’s Democratic Governor Kate Brown, who is also the national chair of Vote from Home. The nationwide crackdown on voting rights is taking place because “Republicans don’t want to hear voices” of Black, Brown, Indigenous people and women, Brown says. “We have to hold these legislators who voted for these racist policies … accountable.”

      • Brazil Diplomat Celso Amorim on Bolsonaro, Lula & Why Biden’s Foreign Policy Is So “Disappointing”

        As the number of COVID-19 cases surges in Brazil, the country is also facing a major crisis on the political front. The heads of Brazil’s Army, Navy and Air Force all quit in an unprecedented move, a day after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro ousted his defense minister as part of a broader Cabinet shake-up. The developments have alarmed many in Brazil who believe Bolsonaro, who is a former Army captain, will install ultra-loyalists to the military posts to consolidate his power ahead of next year’s election, when he is expected to be challenged by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro is trying to “show his authority” as his popularity dwindles, says Celso Amorim, former Brazilian foreign minister. “As he becomes smaller in terms of support … he becomes more dangerous.”

      • “Abhorrent”: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Trump’s Treatment of Portland Protesters vs. Insurrectionists

        Protesters in Portland, Oregon, took to the streets for more than three straight months following the police killing of George Floyd. In July, former President Donald Trump threatened to jail protesters for 10 years for damaging federal buildings in Portland. But months later he praised right-wing insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol. Trump’s actions were “absolutely abhorrent,” says Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “We are continuing to work to hold federal officials accountable.”

      • Opinion | Nina Turner Hopes to Bring Radical Change to Ohio

        The “daughter of Cleveland” and former Bernie Sanders surrogate is running for Congress on a platform that includes a $15 minimum wage, recurring stimulus checks and free public college. 

        Former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner calls into a virtual fundraiser February 24, hosted by Our Revolution, the grassroots political advocacy group that used to call Turner its president. The event is one of dozens as her run for Congress ramps up in Ohio’s 11 th Congressional District, around Cleveland and Akron. 

      • Opinion | The GOP Has No Interest in Actual Governing

        Will the GOP reform itself, or must it die? 

        You can tell when Republicans are in trouble: they start throwing gunpowder on the fires of the culture wars. 

      • As Republicans Fume, Georgia Dems Have Mixed Reactions to MLB’s All-Star Game Relocation

        “Businesses and organizations have great power in their voices and ability to push for change, and I respect the decision of the players to speak out against this unjust law,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock.

        As Republicans predictably cried foul over Major League Baseball’s Friday decision to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s restrictive new voting law, prominent Democrats blamed the GOP for the economic toll the move will take on the Peach State.

      • Will Georgia’s Voting Law Be Repealed as Big Business Joins Critics Opposing “Jim Crow” Suppression?

        Activists are demanding accountability from Georgia-based companies in opposing a law that heavily restricts voting rights in the state, which many are calling the worst voter suppression legislation since the Jim Crow era. While some companies, including Coca-Cola and Delta, have weighed in on the Republican-backed crackdown on voting rights, Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, says voicing opposition is not enough. “We’re calling for a repeal of this voter suppression law, and we’re asking these companies to divest future support that they’ve given,” Albright says. “Stand by the words that you said in the midst of the summer of protest about Black Lives Matter when you had all these glowing statements about racial justice and racial equity. If you said it back in the summer, now is the time for you to actually put some actions behind it.”

      • Georgia’s Racist Citizen’s Arrest Law Moves Closer to Repeal

        Lawmakers in Georgia overwhelmingly passed new legislation that will repeal the state’s provision on citizen’s arrests, a move that came in response to public outcry over the 2020 killing of Ahmaud Arbery , a 25-year-old Black man who was shot and murdered while jogging by two white men in Georgia.

      • Georgia Republicans Try To Punish Delta For CEO’s Statement About Voting Rights Law

        Punishing people or companies for their speech is never something any politician should ever be engaged in. It’s why we called out Elizabeth Warren recently. And now we’ll call out Republican legislators in Georgia, who tried (but failed) to punish Delta in direct response to its CEO’s comments. The details honestly don’t matter here, because all that matters is “politicians looking to punish speech” but we’ll give the basic background.

      • Invasive Species: Trump in Florida and Other News From the Sunshine State

        I’ve learned a lot from her about the news business, especially local news. One thing I learned is that, like fiction, there are genres in news stories. The theft of a sentimental object is one. The classic version of that is when someone steals the Baby Jesus from the town’s Nativity scene. That always yields a great MOS byte—MOS is ‘man on the street,’ a random person you interview. She did one of those stories and the MOS guy said, “What kind of a pervert steals the baby Jesus?” Then there’s the porch collapse. That’s when the whole family gathers to celebrate the graduation of the first person in the family to go to college. They all get together on the front porch of an old house and—boom. At a porch collapse she covered the grandpa said to her as he dusted himself off, “I survived World War Two and I’ll survive this.”

        One of the most important genres in local news is animal stories. These range from the slow-news-day story of the cat trapped in the tree rescued by the fire department to the more interesting versions—golfers chased by alligators, a man half-swallowed by an anaconda rescued by illegal aliens with their faces pixelated out.

      • Trump as Antichrist: A Way Out for the Disillusioned Cultist

        But there are all those legal cases. Trump is being investigated for financial crimes, payment of illegal hush money, tax evasion, abuse of office, incitement to riot. He is going to be dogged by reports that show him an incompetent, failed, dishonest businessman whose most successful project was his 14-year stint on The Apprentice. It will become clear why all the major banks including Deutsche Bank have come to shun him. Sordid details of his relations with the women he tried to shut up will come out, or if repeated gain new attention. The threatening phone calls to Georgia demanding a vote recount will be replayed again and again. And the incitement to insurrection charge, supported as it is by so much empirical evidence, is going to damage his brand (even if it’s been so far a brand of contempt for all norms).

        Perhaps Trump will retain the hard-core and dumbest element in his base, that which believes any criticism of their man comes from Satan. But that’s not a given. And the 70% will be even more disgusted with Trump than before.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • After UN Envoy Warns of ‘Bloodbath,’ Junta Imposes Internet Blackout Across Myanmar

        The move came as Human Rights Watch said authorities have forcibly disappeared hundreds of politicians, election officials, journalists, activists, and protesters.

        The military junta that seized control of Myanmar in February shut off wireless broadband internet services across the country on Friday in the face of ongoing demonstrations demanding a return to democratic rule and international alarm over the deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters.

      • As Steven Biss Continues Filing Bogus SLAPP Suits, He Finally Gets Sanctioned In Case Involving Devin Nunes’ Aide

        Lawyer Steven Biss has built up quite a reputation for himself over the past few years, especially in filing highly questionable, obviously bogus SLAPP suits on behalf of Rep. Devin Nunes and a rotating cast of characters in and around Trumpist orbits. For example, he just recently was the lawyer for Jack Flynn, the brother of disgraced (briefly) former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, in suing CNN for pointing out that the Flynns had repeated some standard QAnon conspiracy nonsense in a video recorded at a family barbecue, and posted online with some QAnon hashtags. Jack was in the video which was then featured in a CNN story about QAnon. The crux of the defamation claim is this:

      • Ethos Capital Is Grabbing Power Over Domain Names Again, Risking Censorship-For-Profit. Will ICANN Intervene?

        Donuts is big. It operates about 240 top-level domains, including .charity, .community, .fund, .healthcare, .news, .republican, and .university. And last year it bought Afilias, another registry company that also runs the technical operations of the .ORG domain. Donuts already has questionable practices when it comes to safeguarding its users’ speech rights. Its contracts with ICANN contain unusual provisions that give Donuts an unreviewable and effectively unlimited right to suspend domain names—causing websites and other internet services to disappear.

        Relying on those contracts, Donuts has cozied up to powerful corporate interests at the expense of its users. In 2016, Donuts made an agreement with the Motion Picture Association to suspend domain names of websites that MPA accused of copyright infringement, without any court process or right of appeal. These suspensions happen without transparency: Donuts and MPA haven’t even disclosed the number of domains that have been suspended through their agreement since 2017.

        Donuts also gives trademark holders the ability to pay to block the registration of domain names across all of Donuts’ top-level domains. In effect, this lets trademark holders “own” words and prevent others from using them as domain names, even in top-level domains that have nothing to do with the products or services for which a trademark is used. It’s a legal entitlement that isn’t part of any country’s trademark law, and it was considered and rejected by ICANN’s multistakeholder policy-making community.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Briefly Bans Russian Parody Accounts (2016)

        Summary: Twitter allows parody accounts to remain live (often over the protests of those parodied), provided they follow a narrow set of rules — rules apparently intended to make sure everyone’s in on the joke.

      • State Lawmakers are Cracking Down on Speech

        As a sociologist currently lecturing a college course entitled “Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice,” I have some opinions.

        To start, I teach at a public university. Political campaigning while on the job as a state employee is already a no-no. People I work with (including myself) all tend to err on the side of caution to avoid violating that law.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Feminist Revolt

        The story of this female struggle to preserve their neighborhood is told in a newly published graphic history, Crossroads, I Live Where I Like by Koni Benson (the title echoes Steve Biko’s newspaper column, “I Write What I Like”). The book “narrates the successful campaign to save this community of shack dwellers from imminent destruction,” according to the forward.  “Women have been on the front lines of modern enclosure.” This community, which still exists, was known in the 1970s and ‘80s as a place full of Transkei women. It grew from 20 shacks housing 100 people in February 1975 to between 4000 and 7000 people in 1017 shacks in April of that year. Despite eviction notices, progressive lawyers won a victory notable in a country where “apartheid bulldozers…forcibly ‘removed’ and relocated 3.8 million black people from their homes and neighborhoods between the 1960s and 1980s.”

        Apartheid’s goal at that time was to keep black labor cheap and the cities white. As a result, by 1978, Crossroads was the “only remaining informal settlement for African people in the cape peninsula.” When the state moved to demolish it, the women’s committee defied the apartheid regime and defended Crossroads. These women literally had nowhere else to go. They had come there because “they fled the bulldozing of their homes in squatters’ camps; they were tired of concealing their illegal status in bachelor hotels; they were tired of being arrested for pass violations; they were evicted from ‘coloured neighborhoods;’ they came directly from the eastern cape; or because they had lost children to starvation in the Bantustans and had no intention of returning.”

      • Tangled Up In Blue: Lessons for Police Reform?

        My pre-law school interaction with the MPD, during protests against the Vietnam War, had not been friendly. In 1969, I was nearly trampled by a mounted police officer at President Richard Nixon’s inauguration. Later that same year, along with hundreds of others paying a call on the South Vietnamese embassy, I was blasted with CS gas and chased down Wisconsin Avenue. During the 1971 Mayday protests, I was among 12,000 people unlawfully detained by DC cops—after being tear-gassed again. One of my arresting officers took obvious pleasure in packing the patrol wagon that hauled us away with as many people as possible. The resulting rough ride was both claustrophobic and nearly suffocating, due to everyone’s CS-saturated clothes.

        My first night out, riding in the back of a patrol car, just a few years later, left a lasting and different impression of police work. An older African-American officer was breaking in a much younger white cop, recently arrived from the police academy. Our route included DC’s “U-Street corridor,” still looking bleak, burned-out, and rubble-strewn four years after rioting over Martin Luther King’s assassination. The neighborhood, still many decades away from gentrification, had been invaded by drug dealers. Throughout the evening, the older partner provided the younger one with street survival tips—coaching him about how to approach a parked car, without getting shot or runover by the driver or intervene in a domestic dispute, without one or both combatants turning on the first responders.

      • Police Benevolence
      • Migrant Massage Workers Don’t Need to Be Rescued

        On March 16, a white man walked into several massage parlors in Atlanta operated by people of Asian descent, and he shot and killed eight people. Six were Asian women, some immigrants, most of whom were workers at these parlors. Predictably, the shooting set off a frenzy of news and speculation: Was the killer motivated by his religious fervor? Were these killings a harbinger for even more horrific anti-Asian violence yet to come?

        Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian sex workers, massage workers, and allies, quickly mobilized in the wake of the shooting. They organized an online vigil that nearly 3,000 people attended, released a statement cosigned by many grassroots organizations that rejected policing as response to the violence, diverted an outpouring of donations back to local sex work advocacy organizations in Atlanta, and went on panels and news programs to help the nation understand how we got here. The collective began in 2017 after Yang Song, a Chinese migrant massage worker, fell to her death during a police raid; since then, Red Canary Song has been building worker power in these highly stigmatized industries and doing outreach in Flushing, Queens, where there is a substantial Asian immigrant population.

      • How the Elmhurst Three Finally Won Their Freedom

        One day in 2012, a year into my first real job, at the Innocence Project, my phone rang. It wasn’t uncommon for intake calls to accidentally find their way to my line. For desperate family members advocating for a loved one in prison, it didn’t always matter whom they spoke to—they just needed someone to hear them. On this day, it was a far more unlikely caller: a retired New York Police Department detective from Long Island named Pete Fiorillo.

        Fiorillo told me at length about a case in Queens that he was certain had resulted in a wrongful conviction—and not just of one man but of three: George Bell, Gary Johnson, and Rohan Bolt. All three were Black; all three had been convicted of a botched robbery and murder at a check-cashing facility in Queens. The year was 1996, at the height of New York’s anti-crime crusades. The victims were the owner of the check-cashing facility and the off-duty NYPD officer providing security.

      • Rebelling for a Cause

        Spoiler alert: teen angst also shapes the film. It is set at a high school in the USA.

        In the beginning, Vivian is an introvert. She prefers to get along by going along. We know folks like that, right?

      • Speaking Out for Women of Color Nominees

        For women of color, the obstacles are even greater. And so, as the Biden-Harris administration makes a groundbreaking effort to nominate more women of color to high-level positions, the backlash has been swift and vicious.

        Anyone watching cable news will know this already, having seen the strident ad campaigns against an early Justice Department nominee, Vanita Gupta. Gupta is in the vanguard of what we hope will be an historic wave of women of color nominated by the new administration to positions in the executive branch and — importantly — on the federal bench, too.

      • Rhode Island Labor Will Not Be Defeated

        This disaster capitalist mode of operations, outlined by Naomi Klein’s classic The Shock Doctrine , is militantly and viciously anti- labor . Infante-Green and Peters are using a particularly cynical form of liberal identity politics to manipulate the public perception. They claim that the Providence Teacher Union (PTU) is a top-heavy, calcified organization that shelters racist wind-bag white ladies. Neither seems cognizant of the fact that, despite this contradiction, the AFL-CIO’s largest membership constituency is Black women. The public sector is the biggest Black employer in America. A defeat for any union in RI with such a large membership would have a detrimental impact on a systemic level that rolls out in waves to harm Black unionized employees. So there is their notion of equity.

        The AFL-CIO of RI really needs to step up to the plate and do some serious work. For instance, in every Providence school building, there are three unions operating, one for the clerical staff, one for the teacher assistants (TAs) that support special needs students, and one for the faculty. I’ve been an undercover journalist in the schools and never once have seen these three unions hold a combined union meeting. Why not? School secretaries are often the important ambassadors between the school and the student families and they could play an essential role in building a united front to oppose this abomination.

      • California Supreme Court Says Keeping People Locked Up Just Because They Can’t Make Bail Is Unconstitutional

        Bail can no longer be used to keep still-presumed-innocent people locked up in California. In a unanimous decision [PDF], the state’s Supreme Court has declared keeping people locked up just because they can’t afford bail is unconstitutional.

      • Why Kindness is Not Enough

        With the advent of technologically advanced societies that by their nature are highly interdependent on one another, capitalisms survival, now more than ever, relies upon our division: hence the need for ruling-class propagandists to relentlessly emphasise our brutal natures to the exclusion of our caring habits. Elites repeat ad Infinium that there is no alternative to their preferred capitalist system – a bankrupt political and economic system that asserts the dominion of profit making over all other human priorities. And to justify this nonsense they need to assert that their preferred system is well adapted to harnessing humanities true biological inclinations which they characterise as being dominated by aggression and competition.

        This is by no means a new debate and remains a perennial topic for discussion by those seeking to promote socialist change. Therefore, the publication of Rutger Bregman’s 2020 book Humankind: A Hopeful History provides us with a welcome opportunity to take a fresh look at ways of overcoming the daily violence that we all face because of capitalisms deeply pessimistic and ill-informed view of human nature.

      • Contempt of Court
      • Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism

        It isn’t just that 45,000 Black Americans die of tobacco-related diseases every year; it isn’t just that tobacco use is the main risk factor for the leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, stroke—among Black Americans; it isn’t just that lung cancer, caused mainly by smoking, is the form of cancer that kills most Black Americans; it isn’t just that Black smokers suffer higher rates of death from causes related to smoking. It’s worse than that.

        What’s worse is that much of this toll of death and disease is not an incidental result of the fact that about 15% of African Americans are smokers (most of whom want to quit). It’s a result of the tobacco industry’s sixty-year history of targeted marketing of menthol cigarettes to the Black community. This is institutional racism operating in the plain light of day.

      • The Derek Chauvin Trial Is One Battle in a Wider War

        Minneapolis, Minn.—A tall gray fence snakes around the Hennepin County Government Center, which looms over the surrounding brick plaza like a 21st century obelisk. Inside, the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former member of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), has begun. Chauvin, a white man, is one of four MPD officers facing charges for the death of George Floyd, a Black man, last year.

        On May 25, 2020, a video of Chauvin fatally pinning Floyd to the ground outside a corner store in south Minneapolis spurred global protests. In the Twin Cities, thousands took to the streets, and MPD’s Third Precinct station, which the officers involved worked out of, was set ablaze and left in ashes.

      • The trial of Derek Chauvin and the epidemic of police murder in America

        While the protests were sparked by the killing of Floyd, deeper issues were driving them. In late May, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the US reached 100,000. Millions were out of work and without income while Congress provided trillions to Wall Street, only offering scraps to workers. The ruling class, led by the Trump administration, had initiated its homicidal back-to-work campaign, a policy which has been continued by President Joe Biden, driving the death toll above 560,000 today.

        The ruling class responded to the protests by sending police on a militarized campaign of repression. Both Democrats and Republicans called on police and National Guard forces to terrorize the population. More than 14,000 people were arrested during the protests, charged with petty offenses such as violating curfews or blocking roadways. Police routinely violated the democratic rights of journalists, arresting 128 in 2020, a record for a single year. At least 19 people died during the police crackdown.

      • New Bills Could Stop Private Prisons From Cutting Deals With ICE

        From January 2017 onward, as Donald Trump expanded his harsh anti-immigrant policies, private prison companies rushed into what they saw as an open market. Many signed contracts either directly with ICE or with local and state governments that ICE had contracted with for new holding facilities for undocumented immigrants. In state after state, requests for proposals went out, soliciting bids from companies such as Immigration Centers of America (ICA) to build new privately run immigration detention sites.

        In response, a handful of states—California, Washington, and Illinois in particular—passed legislation designed to rein in private prisons and make it harder for local governments in their jurisdictions to sign contracts with the for-profit companies that run these prisons. Illinois passed a bill in 2019 prohibiting local governments from entering into contracts directly with ICE or with private prison companies. That same year, legislators in Washington barred state and local governments from signing private prison contracts.

      • Most senior Minneapolis officer testifies Chauvin’s actions ‘totally unnecessary’ in George Floyd death

        Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the supervisor of the department’s homicide unit, testified in Chauvin’s murder trial Friday morning that he saw no reason why the four officers who arrested Floyd “felt they were in danger.”

        “Pulling him down to the ground face down and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for,” Zimmerman said.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Biden Broadband Plan Embraces Community Broadband In Stark Contrast To Trump

        Some 750 US communities have built some kind of locally owned and operated broadband network, usually in response to broadband market failure. Data has repeatedly shown that these networks usually not only offer faster, better service than the private sector, they frequently prompt apathetic local monopolies to actually try harder. That’s not to say community broadband is a panacea for all US markets, but it’s certainly an important part of the puzzle that is fixing the US’ mediocre and expensive broadband access problem.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • What Netflix’s Seaspiracy Gets Wrong

        Don’t let the title of this review fool you. The new (awfully named) polemical documentary Seaspiracy, now streaming on Netflix, gets a lot right, but its shortcomings undermine its potential positive influence.

        Following the journey of 27-year-old director Ali Tabrizi as he explores what the hell is going on with our oceans, we are informed, for instance, that while plastic nanoparticles are destructive and illegal whaling and Japanese dolphin hunts are bad, it’s commercial fishing that is the real threat to the world’s oceans. Tabrizi is not entirely wrong in his assessment. When the apex predators like sharks disappear, the oceans will eventually die off and take humans along with them. Yet the answer as to how we deal with the destruction caused by fisheries, and other contributing factors that are not examined, is where the documentary drowns in its own polluted waters.

      • How Netflix is creating a common European culture

        Moments when Europeans sit down and watch the same thing at roughly the same time used to be rare. They included the Eurovision Song Contest and the Champions League football, with not much in between. Now they are more common, thanks to the growth of streaming platforms such as Netflix, which has 58m subscribers on the continent. For most of its existence, television was a national affair. Broadcasters stuck rigidly to national borders, pumping out French programmes for the French and Danish ones for the Danes. Streaming services, however, treat Europe as one large market rather than 27 individual ones, with the same content available in each. Jean Monnet, one of the EU’s founding fathers, who came up with the idea of mangling together national economies to stop Europeans from killing each other, was once reputed to have said: “If I were to do it again from scratch, I would start with culture.” Seven decades on from the era of Monnet, cultural integration is beginning to happen.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • In response to Samsung’s Federal Circuit appeal, Ericsson points to Munich anti-antisuit case law

          Those 80 pages from Ericsson are probably just the tip of the iceberg. Come Friday, the Federal Circuit may very well be inundated with amicus curiae briefs in support of Ericsson’s position, as there will be no shortage of U.S. companies and academics with an interest in maximizing the number of patent lawsuits brought in the U.S., including in the Eastern District of Texas, which has lately been eclipsed by the Western District.

          I believe it makes more sense to go into detail when not only Ericsson’s brief but also the anticipated slew of amicus briefs are on the table. But I wanted to be of service and make the document available immediately.

        • KOL328 | Heterodorx Ep. 10 with Nina Paley: I.P. Everywhere!

          Get ready for some hardcore Libertarian nerd-talk, as Corinna goes head-to-head with Stephan Kinsella, author of Against Intellectual Property, and Libertarianism’s foremost critic of copyright and patents.

      • Copyrights

        • MangaDex Resorts to Filing Github DMCA Notice To Mitigate Hacking Fallout

          Last month, the operators of scanlation site MangaDex revealed that the platform had been hacked. Showing an abundance of caution, MangaDex advised its users to expect the worst while it carried out a clean-up operation. As part of that, MangaDex is now using the DMCA in an effort to prevent the spread of its code, which was placed on Github following a ransom demand.

        • ‘The Office’ Piracy Skyrocketed in the US After Leaving Netflix

          The Office is one of the most iconic sitcoms and still draws a massive audience, years after the last episode aired. In the US, the series was available through Netflix but that changed on January 1st when it moved to Peacock, which has a much smaller subscriber base. This exodus is clearly visible in the US piracy numbers which more than doubled for a while.

        • A New Era of Open? COVID-19 and the Pursuit for Equitable Solutions
        • Sega DMCAs SteamDB Despite That Site Not Hosting Any Pirated Material

          Sega has something of a flip-floppy history when it comes to how restrictive the company chooses to be with intellectual property generally and DMCA takedowns more specifically. The company notably went DMCA happy back in 2012, for instance, over a bunch of fan videos on YouTube for Shining Force, all because it had a planned release for a PSP version of the title. In 2013, the company actually half-apologized for doing so, promising to be more lenient with what it allows, though there were caveats expressed as well. Fast forward to 2016 and Sega quite gleefully poked some fun at its rival, Nintendo, for its DMCA blitzes, instead encouraging fans to make and create cool and fun stuff with some of its IP.

Milking the EPO and Lying for the EPO

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: There seems to be no oversight at all from the German government, which is milking the EPO without bothering to check that the rule of law even exists in the EPO

THE German government isn’t the subject of much scrutiny (in the press), especially not outside Germany. Are German politicians honest? We’re asked to assumed they’re mostly transparent and sincere. The “bunker politics” are 80 years in the past, right?

Well, no. What an ‘apfelstrudel’ of lawfare…

Part 4 dealt with the response given by the Government of Germany, in effect lying on behalf of EPO management (António Campinos a year after he took over from Benoît Battistelli). Putting aside issues with the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), consider what’s discussed in the video above. They’re basically relaying everyone to some words on paper (basically lies) from the unaccountable EPO, which enjoys and exploits immunity. Nobody bothers to check what’s actually happening.

Previously in this series

Deals with the following two documents: (shown in the video)

Fedora Council is Just a Mouthpiece and Instrument of IBM Management, It Doesn’t Speak For (What Used to Be) Fedora Project/Community

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Fedora is quickly distancing itself from the notion that it’s really a community, as opposed to a pet project of IBM (which IBM barely cares about; or less and less over time)

THE situation at Red Hat isn’t pretty, but that’s what happens when you join the total catastrophe that is IBM (see what insiders are saying). Many prominent people have left Red Hat, including GNU’s Alex Oliva; he was part of a trend — part of the exodus away from IBM and into companies that actually have somewhat of a future. We’ve noticed some IBM insiders citing Techrights when expressing concerns about their employer’s action and IBM employees have long attempted to bury links to Techrights (a couple of weeks ago half a dozen of them ganged up in Hacker News to spike a trending story, which was factual, because in it we showed inconvenient facts about IBM). For those who are in doubt, IBM is no friend of software freedom and one reader of ours pointed out to us IBM’s despotic role at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Days ago he sent a letter*.

“We’ve noticed some IBM insiders citing Techrights when expressing concerns about their employer’s action and IBM employees have long attempted to bury links to Techrights…”At IBM, for a fact, there were many layoffs and still many departures (resignations), including part of the above-mentioned Council. We’ve refrained from focusing on names, but we’ve already given examples of Fedora ostracising longtime community members and contributors while outsourcing code to Microsoft/GitHub and hosting to AWS. It’s as if IBM really doesn’t care and the other day a key person from Fedora (shown above) made excuses in his personal blog for outsourcing to Microsoft, as if giving the code to the NSA is “security” (Canonical's incidents refute such a talking point).

I myself am a former Fedora user, so it saddens me to see the project reduced to de facto mouthpiece of IBM — to the point of censoring Fedora contributors and attacking software freedom by joining hands with Bully de Blanc. I suppose that’s what people would do for a salary. Even in defiance of the views of volunteers. In a sense, Fedora Council is to Fedora what GNOME Foundation is to GNOME; it doesn’t speak for GNOME developers.
* “Attached is the Report About the USPTO that I prepared,” he told us. “Don’t know if it will do any good, but I’ll start sending it out next week, once I manage to get it printed, so I can mail it out to people in DC who I can’t contact by e-mail.” There’s a lot there about David Kappos (IBM/USPTO, also a lobbyist for Microsoft now) and USPTO blocking/neglecting/excluding GNU/Linux users. It’s a PDF file 3.3 MB in size (“REPORT ABOUT THE USPTO – PDF VERSION”).

IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 02, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:18 am by Needs Sunlight

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