01.04.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 4/1/2022: KDE Plasma 5.23.5 and New Future for GnuPG

Posted in News Roundup at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Cinema verite: Bork will find you, wherever you are • The Register

      Our scribe was off to see the latest Denis Villeneuve effort rather than the delightfully barking mad David Lynch film of 1984. Although we’d have to recommend a viewing of Jodorowsky’s Dune to get a real feeling for what might have been, 1970s-style.

      As for the bork, well, it seems the animated screens in Dabbs’ flick palace are running Linux (Ubuntu, we’d wager). Almost invisible is the unmistakable tab of TeamViewer. The near ubiquitous VLC player is dealing with MP4 playback and could that be Xfce taking care of the desktop duties?

      Either way, the Status Notifier Plugin is clearly not happy about something, having endured a few restarts before the prompt to either restart once more or get rid of the thing entirely.

      Sadly, there is no device attached for the user to put the component out of its misery, meaning that IMAX triptych will remain partially obscured.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Fixing stutters in Papers Please on Linux

        Looking at ProtonDB, people are complaining about stutters. Some are reporting that the 64-bit version stutters, whereas the 32-bit version works. Unlucky for me, GOG only has a download for 64-bit on Linux. One comment says there is “a half a second freeze every few seconds”, which seems similar to my experience.

        There has to be an answer why the client stutters, the developers must have tested this configuration! As a side note, I am wondering if the 64-bit version worked at some point, but without a good starting point it is hard to test. So let’s investigate where the pauses are coming from. Linux features a whole suite of tools to debug many different aspects from performance to correctness. And here I am assuming that the stutters are not inherent in the game logic, because the 32-bit version works correctly.

      • Converting a VRChat Avatar to VRM Format for VTubing

        So you want to be a VTuber, but you already have a custom avatar that you really like in VRChat. Surely there’s a way to make it work, right? This tutorial is going to cover the problem, how I do it and everything I learned along the way.

        To say that VR is in its infancy is an understatement. This early on in the game, there are many different ecosystems and each of them really came up with their own avatar format out of necessity. As such, there’s a lot of vastly different and incompatible ecosystems for this kind of avatar data. However, a common avatar data interchange format is starting to crop up organically: VRM. This format mostly came from the efforts of Japanese VTubers, and as such most 3d VTubing software supports it.

        However, you still have your avatar stuck in VRChat format, thus this article exists.

      • Using Redis with docker and docker-compose for local development a step-by-step tutorial

        Redis is an open-source in-memory datastore used as a database, cache, and even a message broker. Redis can be used easily with docker and docker-compose for local development as a cache to a web application. In this post, we will set up Redis with docker and docker-compose, where Redis will be used as a cache for a Node.js/Express.js REST API with PostgreSQL as the main database, let’s get started!

      • secret military telephone buttons

        It’s the first of the new year, which means we ought to do something momentous to mark the occasion, like a short piece about telephones. Why so much on telephones lately? I think I’m just a little burned out on software at the moment and I need a vacation before I’m excited to write about failed Microsoft ventures again, but the time will surely come. Actually I just thought of a good one I haven’t mentioned before, so maybe that’ll be next time.

        Anyway, let’s talk a little bit about phones, but not quite about long distance carriers this time. Something you may or may not have noticed about the carriers we’ve discussed, perhaps depending on how interesting you find data communications, is that we have covered only the physical layer. So far, there has been no consideration of how switches communicated in order to set up and tear down connections across multiple switches (i.e. long distance calls). Don’t worry, we will definitely get to this topic eventually and there’s plenty to be said about it. For the moment, though, I want to take a look at just one little corner of the topic, and that’s multifrequency tone systems.

      • How to Install and Configure Elasticsearch on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this guide, we will learn how to install and configure Elasticsearch on Ubuntu 20.04

        Elasticsearch is a distributed search and analytics engine built on Apache Lucene. It provides a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON documents. Elasticsearch has quickly become the most popular search engine and is commonly used for log analytics, full-text search, security intelligence, business analytics, and operational intelligence use cases.

      • How to create a flatpak package

        We already talked about using flatpak packages in a previous tutorial: with this technology we universally distribute applications, which are packaged together with their dependencies and run inside a sandbox, isolated from the rest of the system. In this tutorial we see how to build and distribute an application inside a flatpak.

      • How to install the NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 22.04

        The objective is to install the NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish) Linux and switch from a default opensource Nouveau driver to the proprietary Nvidia driver.

        To install Nvidia driver on other Linux distributions, follow our Nvidia Linux Driver guide.

      • How to Install KDE Plasma on Debian 11 Bullseye – LinuxCapable

        The name KDE comes from “K Desktop Environment.” For those not familiar with KDE Desktop, it is a free, open-source desktop environment. It provides Linux users with an alternative graphical interface to customize their desktop environment and applications for everyday use enhancement.

        In Debian’s case, this is GNOME. Besides the graphical enhancements and changes, it is also a lightweight, fast, smooth environment with superior performance compared to native shipped desktops with some Linux Distributions.

        In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install KDE Desktop Environment on your Debian 11 Bullseye Desktop.

      • How to Install Rust Programming Language on Debian 11

        Rust has been adopted by hundreds of big companies in production environments. From applications like Dropbox, Firefox, and Cloudflare, to embedded devices and scalable web services, Rust can be used on all those types of applications and deployments.

        rustup is a tool part of the Rust project that allows you to install Rust programming language to your system. Using rustup allows developers easily to manage and maintain Rust. Also, it enables you to switch between stable, beta, and nightly compilers and makes the cross-compiling process easier.

        In this guide, you will learn how to install Rust programming language on the Debian 11 Bullseye. We will be using the rustup toolchain for installing and managing Rust on the Debian system.

      • How to Install Gitea with PostgreSQL on Debian 11

        Gitea is a free, open-source, and self-hosted solution for Git servers. Gitea has written in the Go programming language, a lightweight application, available as the binary package that can be installed on most of the platforms including Windows, Linux, and macOS. It is one of the robust, scalable, fast, easy to use and alternatives to GitLab.

        Gitea offers many features including a repository file editor, bug and time tracking, repository branching, file locking, built-in wiki, merging, Multiple database support, Easy upgrade process, Built-in Container Registry, and much more.

        In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Gitea from binary with PostgreSQL on Debian 11.

      • How to Install Ruby on Rails with PostgreSQL on Rocky Linux 8.4

        Ruby on Rails or RoR or Rails is a free and open-source web application framework written in Ruby with the MIT License. It is a full-stack web framework that uses the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern.
        The Rails web framework provides structures for a database, web service, and web pages. Also, Rails includes some important tools such as scaffolding, Puma, Gems, etc.

      • Pacman Commands Cheat Sheet for Arch Linux

        One uniqueness or key identifier of different Linux distributions is in the package manager they use to update, install, configure, and uninstall various targeted software packages. In Arch Linux, the package manager is called Pacman.

        This tutorial seeks to walk you through some commonly used and unique Pacman commands that will make your Arch Linux interaction and experience easier and much more memorable.

        It is highly advisable to be a root user or have Sudoer user privileges on your Arch Linux system to fully benefit from what the Pacman command has to offer.

      • 10 Git tutorials to level up your open source skills in 2022 | Opensource.com

        Git is an indispensable part of the code-sharing development workflow. Be you a beginner or an expert, this powerful version control system is the first thing you are expected to learn when working with open source code. You don’t need to know everything under the sun when it comes to Git, but knowing specific hacks makes sharing your code a lot easier on platforms like GitLab, so you can collaborate with developers far and near. If there’s something you’re not sure about, git –help can come to your rescue.

        I’m amazed every day by the amount of control that knowing Git provides. There is not a single instance when you can’t revert to an earlier version, however impossible or sticky the situation you may be in.

        Opensource.com had a great set of articles regarding Git in 2021; I’m summarizing just the top 10. All the articles contain hacks, lesser-known facts, and tips and tricks that can come in handy while working with Git.

      • Install Cinelerra and Natron, Professional Video Editor and Compositing/VFX on Ubuntu

        This tutorial explains how you can install Cinelerra-GG and Natron on Ubuntu version 16.04 LTS up to 21.10. Cinelerra’s a professional video editor and Natron’s a compositing + special effects software available for GNU/Linux. Both are Free Software, Libre and Open Source. Now let’s start it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.23.5 Released as the Last Update in the Series, Further Improves Plasma Wayland

          KDE Plasma 5.23.5 is here about five weeks after the KDE Plasma 5.23.4 update and it’s the last bugfix release for the KDE Plasma 5.23 “25th Anniversary Edition” desktop environment, further improving various components, such as the Plasma Wayland session, which received improvements to the advanced keyboard options, as well as to mouse and touchpad settings to let you toggle between Flat and Adaptive acceleration profiles.

    • Distributions

      • What is CloudReady? Is it a Viable Alternative to Chrome OS?

        CloudReady is an operating system based on Google’s open source Chromium OS code-base. Neverware, the organization behind CloudReady, developed the CloudReady OS to be deployed on already existing PC and Mac hardware and guarantees performance uplift on said hardware due to its minimal hardware requirements. Basically, CloudReady turns your older computer into Chromebooks. Neverware was acquired by Google itself in late 2020.

        Before I share my experience and opinion on it, let me tell you a bit more about it.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS 8 Is An Ex-Distro (But AlmaLinux Is Not)

          Among the many bad things that happened in 2021 was the official end of CentOS 8, which hit EOL at the end of the calendar year (but if you were running on CentOS 7, which is POWER9-compatible, you’re golden until June 2024). CentOS Stream is a thing, though, and for those of you who want something a little less, uh, bubbly than Fedora but more current than RHEL, it’s an option.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Deploy and maintain applications with Charmed Operators

          A complex application usually consists of several elements – for example, a common setup includes a Web server front-end and a database server or logging facilities. For each self-contained software element of server applications, operator software covers the required operational tasks, including updating. If the update routine for each application element is implemented as software, as operator, the obvious advantage is less total effort and more reuse. Whenever a Web server for example is being used for an application setup, the same update procedure in a Charmed Operator will ensure proven and reusable update runs.

          [...]

          The risk element can have the values stable, candidate, beta, or edge. A deployed Charm from the channel with risk value stable will accordingly see updates from the stable channel.

          The risk element helps the developer to stage updates (candidates) or to safely continuously release Charmed Operators from CI-based builds in a devops automation environment (edge). The developer can set the track value for denoting a version of the charm, which could reference the application version. Last but not least, the branch is a field for denoting a special variant.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 Hot Free and Open Source Ruby Application Servers

        An application server is computer software which provides the business logic for an application program. It offers services such as management of large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, transaction support, and network security. The application server is one part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical interface server, an application (business logic) server, and a database / transaction server.

        There are good reasons to deploy an application server in a corporate environment. At a high level, an application server enables updates and upgrades to applications to be distributed to all users. System administrators also benefit from the fact that changes to application configuration can take place centrally, which greatly simplifies technical support and ultimately the end user experience. Application servers also simplify user management, avoiding the need to set up and maintain user-management systems for applications. This type of software also enhances scalability and resource usage, and exposes business components via different deployment wrappers.

      • Programming/Development

        • Increasing Bus Factor

          How many software developers would have to leave a project to make development come to a halt? That number is the bus factor. The macabre meaning behind the bus factor is the number of developers that would need to get hit by a bus to halt development (but it’s often lighter to think about members winning the lottery, not that anyone who knows about statistics would actually play the lottery).s

        • Redundancy in IT isn’t

          If we consider redundancy to be an essential requirement of a system then, is the existence of said redundant data not redundant? Anyone who claims backups are redundant in the traditional English use of the term isn’t qualified to design or operate computer systems!

          Much as my old boss said that anything that isn’t documented doesn’t exist, I’d argue any data without redundancy is ephemeral. If your system can’t tolerate that, redundancy is therefore a requirement.

  • Leftovers

    • “We Have It in Our Power to Begin the World Over Again”

      For 2022 to be the year that it can and must be, no ordinary New Year’s resolution will do. So let us turn to the radical catechism of America’s founding: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

    • Sorking the Ricardos: the Real Story of Lucy and J. Edgar

      In Sorkin’s script, several crises that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz dealt with during their marriage all come to a head in one week of September ’52. I prefer the literal truth, but I guess a screenwriter is entitled to compress the chronology.

      Sorkin deftly provides relevant background with pseudo-documentary interviews of I Love Lucy’s executive producer and staff writers. They reminisce about the phenomenal popularity of their show. Nowadays a hit TV show attracts 10 to 15 million viewers. I Love Lucy drew 60 million in the USA with exactly half the population (156 million in ’52, 333 million in 2021.)

    • Bell Hooks Interview (1999)
    • Liz Truss and the Booze

      UPDATE It appears that the Guardian article on which this comment is based is factually incorrect on the price of the wine (the Guardian said the price was per bottle, which now seems to be untrue) and on the amount of gin (the Guardian says 2 bottles – as had the Sunday Times – when in fact it was two measures). So much of what I said did not make sense to me, does now in fact make sense. Frankly I should know better than to follow the Guardian uncritically, and what was always a minor piece by me now looks foolish. I leave it up with this update and explanation, if only as a reminder of my own fallibility…

    • Science

    • Education

      • Qatar, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but unlike Kuwait, cleanses its textbooks

        The revision of textbooks in the final year leading up to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup is designed to keep the Gulf state in the beauty pageant for the beacon of moderate Islam. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia are Qatar’s major competitors.

        The UAE and Saudi Arabia, in contrast to other competitors for religious soft power and leadership of the Muslim world, like Turkey and Iran, have already significantly revised their school textbooks, although analysts suggest that issues remain.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Omicron Threat Looms
      • Opinion | Making a Killing: The US Opioid Epidemic

        The other day in Mexico, I fell into conversation with an older gentleman from Virginia who had recently lost a brother to cancer. Choking up as he recalled how, as a child, his brother would approach parents on the street to compliment them on the beauty of their offspring, the gentleman added that cancer had not been his brother’s only affliction. He had also, he said, been a victim of “the other epidemic”—meaning the opioid crisis that caused some 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2019, while destroying countless more lives through addiction.

      • Radioactive Contamination Is Seeping Into Drinking Water Around the U.S.
      • Hawaii’s Water Protectors Lead Movement to Close Navy Fuel Site After Leak
      • Teachers Unions Call for Remote Learning, Increased Safety Measures as Covid Surges

        Teachers in cities across the U.S. are warning that school districts are not prepared to welcome students back to in-person education safely, saying the risks are simply too high given the ferocious spread of the Omicron variant.

        According to WBEZ, more than 25,000 members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will vote Tuesday over whether teachers will refuse to report to school buildings this week, choosing to teach remotely instead without district approval.

      • ‘Enough Is Enough’: Outrage as Big Pharma Hikes Prices on 442 Drugs

        Patient advocates on Monday condemned the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for ushering in the new year with price hikes on more than 440 medications, a move that came as congressional Democrats’ plan to lower prescription drug costs remained stuck due to Sen. Joe Manchin’s persistent obstruction.

        “Clearly, the need for drug pricing reform is as urgent as ever.”

      • Meet the Scientist Who Built a Cheap Rapid Test in March 2020. The FDA Never Approved It

        The United States faces a shortage of rapid COVID-19 tests amid the Omicron surge even as many inexpensive at-home rapid testing models have been ready for distribution — but refused approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One scientist, Harvard-trained Irene Bosch, submitted a rapid test to the FDA for emergency approval in March 2020 and even had a factory ready to produce it. Bosch describes how the FDA’s rejection came from unclear standards set by the administration early on in the pandemic, and says earlier approval of testing like hers could have saved lives.

      • Steve Kirsch reveals “secret plan to end the vaccine madness”

        It’s a new year, and my vacation is over. I won’t tell you much about what I was doing during my week off other than to say that this was a pretty lousy vacation, and Orac’s tarial cells are not nearly as recharged as he’d hoped they’d be by the time this day rolled around. (Don’t ask. That’s all I’ll say for now.) Be that as it may, before disappearing for ten days, I had made what appears to have been my first mention of a COVID-19 crank and antivaxxer whom I hadn’t really discussed before, a fact that I now find surprising given how prolific a source of misinformation that he’s been. I’m referring to tech bro turned incompetent conspiracy-mongering epidemiologist and scientist, Steve Kirsch.

      • [Old] Doctors investigate mystery brain disease in Canada

        Doctors in Canada have been coming across patients showing symptoms similar to that of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare fatal condition that attacks the brain. But when they took a closer look, what they found left them stumped.

      • New Brunswick’s Mystery Disease: Why Did the Province Shut Out Federal Experts?

        As with most matters related to health, outbreak response in Canada falls under provincial jurisdiction, but in this case, New Brunswick asked the PHAC for help. Federal colleagues began assembling a nationwide working group, which eventually numbered about two dozen. It included Michael Coulthart, head of the CJDSS, as well as Neil Cashman, a University of British Columbia neurologist, and Strong. Across the country, consultations began with experts in prion disease, environmental neurotoxins, and food- and water-borne illness. According to documents obtained by a freedom of information request, the CIHR and the PHAC were meeting weekly, and a clinic was being put together in Moncton as a clearing house for patients, which would be partly headed by Marrero. By then, a posting on the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases—a global outbreak-monitoring system that publicized the first cases of SARS and Ebola—had brought the illness to global attention. Experts from Johns Hopkins University, the Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic reached out. As rapidly as the cluster had appeared, so did the expertise to combat it.

        Then, on June 3, New Brunswick abruptly changed tack. The province told the emerging national working group to stand down. The investigation “was pulled up to the highest levels of the New Brunswick government, and they took control,” says the senior scientist, who is intimately familiar with the workings of the PHAC investigation and has asked for anonymity, claiming federal scientists have been “muzzled” by federal health authorities at the request of the province. Cashman declined to speak for this story, indicating that he needed clearance from the New Brunswick government. Strong was permitted by the CIHR to speak only if the conversation avoided New Brunswick and instead focused on cluster epidemiology in general.

      • A third of Ohio deer test positive for COVID-19 virus

        The investigators said the prevalence of infection varied from 13.5% to 70% across the nine sites, with the highest prevalence observed in four sites that were surrounded by more densely populated neighborhoods.

      • Deer may be reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, study finds

        More than 80% percent of the white-tailed deer sampled in different parts of Iowa between December 2020 and January 2021 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The percentage of SARS-CoV-2 positive deer increased throughout the study, with 33% of all deer testing positive. The findings suggest that white-tailed deer may be a reservoir for the virus to continually circulate and raise concerns of emergence of new strains that may prove a threat to wildlife and, possibly, to humans.

      • [Old] Managing Overabundant White-tailed Deer

        White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are one of the most recognizable and charismatic species of wildlife, but they are the cause of a growing urban wildlife management problem in many metropolitan areas throughout the United States. As urban sprawl increases, the natural habitat required by many wildlife species disappears, but white-tailed deer are able to adapt to urban environments and human activity. White-tailed deer populations grow rapidly in these areas due to the lack of natural predators, patchy habitats, abundant food resources, and increased offspring survival.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Cloud misconfiguration a growing cause of security incidents
        • YYMMDDHHMM just overflowed a signed 32 bit int

          The first value for this year is January 1, 2022 at 00:00, which turns into 2201010000, and that does not fit!

          So, if you’re using Microsoft Exchange and stopped getting your mail in the past couple of hours, this is why!

          Really! No joke!

        • Netgear thinks you’ll pay extra for ad blocking on its Orbi routers

          The Game Booster service for Orbi devices will cost $50 annually, and while this isn’t a massive sum of money, it certainly raises some questions about why Netgear is charging for a service that was previously offered for free on other devices. This decision is made all the more puzzling when you consider how expensive an Orbi system is, with some larger systems costing as much as $1,500.

        • Security

          • A New Future for GnuPG

            For many years our work was mainly financed by donations and smaller projects. Now we have reached a point where we can benefit from a continuous revenue stream to maintain and extend the software without asking for donations or grants. This is quite a new experience to us and I am actually a bit proud to lead one of the few self-sustaining free software projects who had not to sacrifice the goals of the movement.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How to Hide from Facial Recognition Software with Fawkes

              You want to be able to live a normal life — to hang out on social media with your friends and family and occasionally post photos of trips to the beach, social gatherings (when they resume), and other life events — without the images being scraped and added to a facial recognition database.

            • How to Delete Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok

              Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.

            • Turns Out People Really Are Using Apple AirTags to Track and Steal Cars

              This follows previous accounts of five vehicles being identified in Canada with AirTags surreptitiously attached to them, which lead the local police department to put out an advisory about the phenomenon. And, in a twist that will surprise precisely nobody, all of the vehicles identified in Canada were of the “high end” variety. That said, there’s more to it than just sticking a tag under someone’s car and then finding it later. This appears to be a tactic used by a sophisticated group of thieves, as they have the resources to reprogram a car’s key once they locate it. As the previous police advisory notes, “Once inside, an electronic device, typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting, is connected to the onboard diagnostics port below the dashboard and programs the vehicle to accept a key the thieves have brought with them. Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle will start and the thieves drive it away.”

            • [Old] Another Driver Finds An Apple AirTag Tracking His Car’s Location

              For anyone who isn’t already familiar, AirTags are small tracking devices intended to help people find easily misplaced items such as car keys using Apple’s Find My app. And even if your hypothetical lost keys are too far away for your personal phone to connect to the AirTag, it can use other Apple devices nearby to let you know where they are.

              That last feature is the one that allows people to use AirTags for more nefarious purposes. You know, like tracking cars to steal later or possibly to stalk someone.

            • The (appropriately) quantified self

              When I launched the Health app, I was surprised to see that it had been counting my steps since I became an iPhone user 18 months ago. Really? I don’t recall opting into that feature.

            • A Former Facebook Executive Pushes to Open Social Media’s ‘Black Boxes’

              While Mr. Silverman no longer works at Facebook, he hasn’t quite left the company behind. Instead, he has spent the weeks since his exit working with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators on legislation that would, among other things, force the giant social media platforms to provide the sort of transparency that got him marginalized at Facebook.

              “What’s happening right now, though, is that a few private companies are disseminating a massive amount of the world’s news and it’s largely happening inside black boxes,” Mr. Silverman told me last week, in his first interview since leaving the company. “I think figuring out ways to both help and, in some cases, force, large platforms to be more transparent with news and civic content as it’s in the process of being disseminated can ultimately help make social platforms better homes for public discourse — and in a lot of ways, help them live up to a lot of their original promise.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Over 200 ‘Vigils for Democracy’ Planned Across US to Commemorate January 6

        To mark the one-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and demand free and fair elections, more than 200 grassroots-organized candlelit vigils are planned for Thursday in cities and towns across the United States.

        The vigils will be held in nearly every state in the country, with some gatherings including voter registration drives and voter outreach events to counteract what organizers say is an effort by “the same faction that attacked our country on January 6″ to restrict voting rights and attack fair voting districts all while “quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections and with [them] our democracy.”

      • Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn’t Covered By The First Amendment

        A handful of Proud Boys members charged with crimes related to the January 6th raid on the Capitol building are arguing their actions are protected by the First Amendment. According to the defendants, the raid they participated in was nothing more than a protest. Alternatively, they’re arguing one of the laws being used against them is unconstitutionally overbroad, turning otherwise legal activity into illegal activity.

      • ‘No Winners in a Nuclear War’: US, Russia, China, UK, and France Issue Rare Joint Statement

        As the leaders of five of the world’s nine nuclear powers on Monday released a rare joint statement acknowledging that there can be no victors of a nuclear war, disarmament campaigners called on them to “walk the talk” and pursue meaningful action to reduce the risk of thermonuclear armageddon by reducing—and ultimately eliminating—their own atomic stockpiles.

        “As Greta Thunberg said, ‘blah, blah, blah.’ They write this ‘nice’ statement but [are] doing exactly the opposite in reality.”

      • Why is Israel Amending Its Open-Fire Policy: Three Possible Answers

        The military’s new rules now allow Israeli soldiers to shoot, even kill, fleeing Palestinian youngsters with live ammunition for allegedly throwing rocks at Israeli ‘civilian’ cars. This also applies to situations where the alleged Palestinian ‘attackers’ are not holding rocks at the time of the shooting.

        The reference to ‘civilians’ in the revised army manual applies to armed Israeli Jewish settlers who have colonized the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in defiance of international law and Palestinian sovereignty. These settlers, who often operate as paramilitary forces in direct coordination with the Israeli army, endanger the lives of their own families by residing on occupied Palestinian land. Per Israel’s twisted standards, these violent Israelis, who have killed and wounded numerous Palestinians throughout the years, are ‘civilians’ in need of protection from rock-throwing Palestinian ‘assailants’.

      • ‘No Military Solution’ to Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Say Expert Voices

        As President Joe Biden ratchets up tensions with Moscow by assuring Ukraine that “the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively” to a Russian invasion, experts warned Monday that there is no military solution to the seven-year war between neighbors with so much shared history and culture.

        “What is essentially a civil war has become a proxy war, a site of dangerous geopolitical focus.”

      • Major Corporations Have ‘Broken Promises and Funded Seditionists’ Since Jan. 6, Reports Reveal

        A pair of watchdog groups on Monday called out companies and trade groups that continued to financially support the 147 congressional Republicans who voted last year to overturn the 2020 presidential election results even after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

        “Major corporations were quick to condemn the insurrection and tout their support for democracy—and almost as quickly, many ditched those purported values.”

      • ‘Threat to Our Democracy Could Not Be Clearer,’ Says Sanders After Trump Endorses Far-Right Orbán

        U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders rebuked former President Donald Trump Monday after the frequent admirer of dictators endorsed the reelection of Hungarian President Viktor Orbán, under whose administration Hungary’s generation-old democracy has been severely eroded.

        “Trump wants to do here what Orbán has done in Hungary: weaken democratic institutions, curb press freedom, and rewrite election laws to entrench his own party’s power,” Sanders (I-Vt.)  tweeted. “The threat to our democracy could not be clearer, and we must act boldly to protect it.”

      • Bloomberg says U.S. officials were just handed ‘highest-level Kremlin insider in recent memory’

        American officials secured Vladislav Klyushin’s extradition from Switzerland last month on charges of insider trading, but journalists at Bloomberg say the Russian tech tycoon might also have access to documents relating to the Russian military’s operations abroad, including Moscow’s campaign to hack Democratic Party servers during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the attempted chemical poisoning assassination of former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018. According to the U.S. indictment, Klyushin’s I.T. firm, M13, worked for the Russian presidency and federal government. Bloomberg’s sources described Klyushin as “the highest-level Kremlin insider handed to U.S. law enforcement in recent memory.”

      • Cross-Border Access to User Data by Law Enforcement: 2021 Year in Review

        It was approved on November 17, 2021—a major disappointment that can endanger technology users, journalists, activists, and vulnerable populations in countries with flimsy privacy protections and weaken everyone’s right to privacy and free expression across the globe. Following the decision by the CoE’s Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Protocol will open for signatures to countries that have ratified the Budapest Convention (currently 66 countries) around May 2022. 

        It’s been a long fight and a very busy year. EFF, along with CIPPIC, European Digital Rights (EDRi), and other allies, fought to let the CoE and the world know that the Protocol was being pushed through without adequate human rights protections. We sounded warnings in February about the problem and noted that draft meetings to finalize the text were held in closed session, excluding civil society and even privacy regulators. After the draft protocol was approved in May by the CoE’s Cybercrime Committee, EFF and 40 organizations urged the Committee of Ministers, which also reviews the draft, to allow more time for suggestions and recommendations so that human rights are adequately protected in the protocol.

        In August, we submitted 20 solid, comprehensive recommendations to strengthen the Protocol, including requiring law enforcement to garner independent judicial authorization as a condition for cross border requests for user data, prohibiting police investigative teams from bypassing privacy safeguards in secret data transfer deals, and deleting provisions mandating that internet providers directly cooperate with foreign law enforcement orders for user data, even where local laws require them to have independent judicial authorization for such disclosures. We then defended our position at a virtual hearing before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which suggested amendments to the Protocol text. 

      • Insurrection

        While Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch and Trump’s January 6 coup attempt bore a striking resemblance in terms of the size of the insurrections and the resulting violence, the most notable similarity is the nature of the lies that led to the buildup of political tensions: Hitler’s lies about Germany’s defeat in World War I and Trump’s lies about voter fraud driving his loss in the 2020 election. Both were big lies that undermined faith in government institutions and gained credibility from frequent repetition.

      • China replaces ‘soldiers with robots’ in Tibet as soldiers ‘fleeing’ in harsh winters

        As the unsolved India-China border dispute brews tensions, new media reports allege that China is sending machine gun-wielding robots to the frontier to exacerbate the situation.

        According to Indian media reports, dozens of autonomous vehicles capable of transporting both weapons and supplies are being dispatched to Tibet, with the bulk being deployed in border regions where Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff with Indian troops.

      • Dalai Lama’s last escort on 1959 escape from Tibet dies

        The last surviving member of a small troop of Indian soldiers who escorted the Dalai Lama as he fled from Tibet in 1959 has died aged 85, his former regiment said on Friday.

        The Tibetan spiritual leader arrived in India as a young monk after a 13-day trek through the Himalayas disguised as a soldier to evade detection by Chinese troops.

        Naren Chandra Das, who died on Monday at his residence in the northeastern state of Assam, was 22 at the time and had just completed his training with the Assam Rifles, the Indian Army’s oldest paramilitary force.

      • Chinese Embassy Writes to MPs Who Attended Meeting to Revive All-Party Group on Tibet

        Following the escape of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan government-in-exile, known as the Central Tibet Administration, had been set up in Dharamshala. The largest section of the Tibetan diaspora is based in the Indian sub-continent.

      • [Old] Chinese Authorities Double Down on Tibetan Reincarnations

        In recent years, Chinese officials have announced meetings where selected senior monks are required to “study” these policies and promise their support. Since 2018, all monastics, particularly those with teaching or official duties, have been required to meet “Four Standards,” including “political reliability” and “being dependable at critical moments.” Both are believed to involve support for the Chinese government’s choice of the next Dalai Lama and any other reincarnate lama.

      • China intimidated by support for Tibet, says ‘Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile’

        “By sending the letters to honourable members of the Indian Parliament, it becomes evident that China is intimidated by the growing support for the Tibet movement around the world. The leaders of free countries have all their rights and responsibilities to support the just cause of Tibet and we vehemently condemn this move by China,” said the statement issued on Friday.

      • The Magic Letter

        Numerous sad and tragic events that we did not see, experience, or encounter directly most likely occurred as well. The decision my family and I made after receiving the magic letter from Kent State University was complicated for multiple reasons, but it enabled our family to stay whole, pursue a better life, and remain far away from the chaotic situation in our home country. At the same time, we cannot fully enjoy the result of the magic letter because hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people in Turkey still suffer under Erdogan’s oppressive rule. I wish I had the power to send all of them a magic letter of their own.

      • Afghan Shops Remove Heads of Mannequins in Line With Taliban Order

        Taliban authorities reportedly have also increased monitoring of public taxis in the capital, Kabul, to see if drivers are abiding by the ministry’s instructions related to women’s right to travel.

        The decree requires drivers to carry only those female passengers who wear a headscarf or Islamic hijab and are accompanied by a male relative if they travel more than 72 kilometers. It also instructs cabdrivers to grow beards, stop their vehicles at prayer times and stop playing music while driving.

        The ministry reportedly has also banned Afghan women from driving. It has also ordered local channels to stop showing dramas and soap operas featuring actresses, and female news anchors to wear hijabs while on the air.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump’s Texas “audit” falls apart: “Forensic” probe finds no substantial evidence of voter fraud

        Texas Republicans have failed to find any substantial evidence of outcome-altering fraud in the 2020 presidential election after leading a months-long recount at Donald Trump’s behest.

        The findings, reported by the secretary of state’s office on New Year’s Eve, are part of the first phase of the audit, which targets the four largest counties in the Lone Star State: Collin, Dallas, Harris, and Tarrant. According to The Texas Tribune, the initial findings bore “few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots in a sample of voting precincts.”

    • Environment

      • 6 Big Environmental Stories to Watch in 2022
      • Winter Wildfire Fueled by Climate Crisis Destroys 1,000 Homes in Colorado
      • Opinion | Shifting Wasteful Consumption

        In San Mateo County California, where I live, advocates worked hard to create a new public electricity supplier that would provide everyone electricity from renewable sources at no extra cost. I turn off the light when I leave a room, but my personal carefulness does not come close to the impact of the work people did together to bring us the new electricity supplier.  

      • Climate Change-Fueled Blaze Destroys 1,000 Homes in Colorado in Rare Winter Wildfire

        A devastating climate change-fueled wildfire destroyed nearly 1,000 homes outside of Boulder and Denver, Colorado, with little notice last Thursday. The fire was fanned by winds that gusted up to 110 miles per hour, and came after a year of drought across the western U.S. and amid an unusually warm December. We speak with Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who says the climate crisis is extending the scale and scope of wildfire season in the state. “We’ve known that there’s a link between climate change and wildfires for over a decade, and it takes just a little bit of warming to lead to a lot more burning,” says Balch.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • California’s Forever Fire

          Early in my two-writer marriage, my husband and I joked that we should add a silent third spouse who worked in venture capital or practiced corporate law. But really, we already had a bonus partner: California. The state was dramatic and a handful. But she was gorgeous, and she brought into our lives, through the natural world, all the treasure and magic we’d need. The beaches. The mountains. The clean waves at Malibu. The seal pups at Año Nuevo State Park. This was not just our relationship to California; this was everyone here. The implicit bargain was that California would protect and deliver to her residents the earth’s own splendor. In return, we’d spend a stupid amount of money on housing and tolerate a few hazards. We stowed an earthquake kit in the basement of our tiny house and, even prepandemic, cached boxes of N95 masks under the sink. Why live anywhere else? My human spouse hung photos of El Capitan in the entrance hall. We propped a bright red surfboard against the living-room wall.

        • Paradise Lost in Greater Yellowstone?

          Grazing allotments are outlined in red. The lowest two  Six Mile allotments are near Chico Hot Springs and Emigrant Peak.

          Although the Forest Service considered a no-grazing alternative, it chose Alternative 3, which EXPANDS total acres open to livestock grazing over the present situation, requires costly “range improvements” like pipelines, fencing, and other taxpayer-funded development to mitigate livestock impacts—all to permit the continued use of public lands for the private profit of local ranchers.

    • Finance

      • Opinion | Democrats Should Run on Defending Social Security—and Win

        The nation is facing a retirement income crisis. Social Security is unquestionably the nation’s most important source of retirement income. But the last time Congress expanded Social Security was when Richard Nixon was president. Unless this Congress addresses the crisis by expanding Social Security, too many Americans will be unable to retire without a drastic and precipitous drop in their standards of living.

      • 700,000 US Teens Navigate School Without Family Support or Permanent Housing
      • “Tax the Rich:” 10 Billionaires Added $402 Billion to Their Fortunes in 2021
      • ‘In 2022, Let’s Tax the Rich’: 10 Billionaires Added $402 Billion to Their Fortunes in 2021

        The world’s 10 richest billionaires added roughly $402 billion to their collective wealth in 2021, a year marked by continued suffering and economic dislocation fueled by the global coronavirus pandemic.

        “Heading into 2022, the 10 wealthiest individuals in the world are all worth more than $100 billion,” CNBC noted, citing the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks and ranks the fortunes of the planet’s richest people.

      • Apple briefly crossed a $3 trillion market cap

        Apple’s huge success is due in large part to the iPhone, which revolutionized the smartphone industry and remains a cash cow for the company. But Apple continues to see strong momentum in its other businesses as well, with its services and Mac divisions reporting all-time highs in its Q4 2021 earnings.

      • [Old] Tech Innovation vs. Legislative Reform: Apple’s Response to the TCJA

        After taxes, Apple is faced with over $200 billion in repatriated cash.[129] While Apple has allocated portions of this stockpile to various uses, the majority remains untouched.[130] Additionally, as it is widely believed that the TCJA will lead to reduced offshoring of overseas income in years to come, domestic cash reserves attributable to TCJA reforms are likely to increase further.[131] As Apple had more than sufficient cash to meet its operational needs prior to 2018, it has significant leeway in the allocation of these new cash flows.[132] Apple can (1) allow cash to sit in reserve, (2) allocate funds to new capital expenditures, or (3) alter its capital structure by paying off debts or distributing funds to shareholders in buybacks or dividends.

      • Apple Becomes First Company to Hit $3 Trillion Market Value

        Apple now accounts for nearly 7 percent of the total value of the S&P 500, breaking IBM’s record of 6.4 percent in 1984, according to Howard Silverblatt, an analyst who tracks valuations at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Apple alone is about 3.3 percent of the value of all global stock markets, he said.

        Behind Apple’s ascent is its tight grip on consumers, an economy that has especially favored its business and its stock, and its shrewd use of an enormous pile of cash.

        [...]

        Yet instead of making a major acquisition, or even trying something ambitious and expensive like building multiple factories in the United States, Apple has decided to largely give its cash back to its investors by buying its own stock.

        Over the past decade, Apple has purchased $488 billion of its own shares, by far the most of any company, according to an analysis by Mr. Silverblatt. Much of that spending came after Apple used a 2017 tax law to move most of the $252 billion it had held abroad back to the United States. Apple is now responsible for 14 of the 15 largest stock buybacks in any single financial quarter, Mr. Silverblatt said. “They are the poster child,” he said.

      • [Old] How Fortune 500 Companies Avoid Paying Income Tax

        Now that the corporate tax rate is reduced to 21%, corporations have found a way to pay even less. The ITEP published an updated report on corporate taxes in December 2019. Per their findings, 379 companies paid an average tax rate of 11% for the tax year.

        Ninety-one of those companies, including DowDuPont and Avis Budget Group no federal income tax in 2018. Tax subsidies for the 379 companies totaled $73.9 billion, with Bank of America receiving the largest amount of subsidies at $5.5 billion.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Media Watchdogs Warn Networks Against Uncritical Airing of ‘Big Lie’ Trump Event

        In the lead-up to the first anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol later this week, media watchdogs are warning news networks and journalists against uncritical live coverage of Donald Trump’s planned press conference and the lies the disgraced former president is expected to spew.

        “It is critical that news networks do the right thing—refuse to carry it live, so they do not uncritically promote the lies and disinformation that is generated from Trump’s speech in real time.”

      • Opinion | Georgia’s New Racially Discriminatory Electoral Maps
      • Schumer Vows to Change Senate Rules to Protect US Democracy by January 17

        Just days before the first anniversary of a right-wing attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday announced a new deadline for Democrats to change the upper chamber’s rules to end Republican obstruction of pro-democracy legislation.

        “January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness—an effort to delegitimize our election process.”

      • 60 Groups to Senate Dems: Jettison Filibuster to ‘Safeguard Our Democracy’

        Dozens of progressive advocacy groups on Monday kicked off the New Year by reiterating with fresh urgency a demand they made to Senate Democrats throughout 2021: Reform the legislative filibuster to shield U.S. democracy from the increasingly authoritarian GOP.

        In a new letter to members of the Senate Democratic caucus, 60 organizations led by Fix Our Senate implored the majority party to recognize the “need to pass federal democracy and voting legislation to safeguard our democracy,” just as it acted in December to “extend the debt limit to avoid economic calamity.”

      • Opinion | 2022 Should Be Seen as the Year for Democracy

        One hundred and fifteen years ago, on Jan. 1, 1907, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife, Clara:

      • Opinion | Make No Mistake, Fascism Is on the Ballot in 2022

        When fascism reared its ugly head in Europe and Japan in the 1920s, it signaled a coming war. As a newer and slicker form of that despotism rises here in America, it may well bring the same type of crisis.

      • GOP’s 2022 Candidates Could Push the Party Even Further Into Extremism
      • Calling Trump ‘Just a Warm-Up Act,’ Professor Warns of Democratic Collapse in US

        In a matter of years, the United States’ deeply flawed and increasingly fragile democratic system could collapse under the weight of a long-running reactionary onslaught and be replaced by a right-wing dictatorship—one for which former President Donald Trump was “just a warm-up act.”

        “Willingness to publicly endorse the Big Lie has become a litmus test of Republican loyalty to Mr. Trump.”

      • How the Philippines’ President Dutuerte Weaponized a Filipino Custom During COVID-19

        Historically, bayanihan refers to the Filipino tradition of a community coming together to help families physically lift their wooden houses from one location to another. Now the term refers more to volunteering.

        But amid a global pandemic, when gathering is the main source of infection, historian Greg Bankoff argues that bayanihan no longer works to help Filipinos overcome challenges. Instead, the traditional practices of bayanihan put people at risk of infection. So it was surprising when Duterte announced the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, a legislation granting him additional authority to combat COVID-19 in the Philippines.

      • Reclaiming Moral High Ground

        For example, the words of my hero, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are regularly twisted to advocate positions antithetical to the spiritual guidance he offers. They use his dream that children be judged by the content of their character to justify not more affirmative action, but less; not more accurate history, but less; not more economic equity, but less. We will not be surprised if the US Navy names a warship the USS Martin Luther King.

        I (Wim) teach the power of nonviolence in my classes and I make sure that I distinguish between the two lanes—principled and pragmatic.

      • Opinion | Hopefully 2022 Is the Year the Two-State Solution Finally Dies in Washington

        Maybe you remember this photo that went round the world four years ago. A Palestinian boy was accused of stonethrowing and marched away blindfolded by a dozen soldiers in Hebron. Fawzi al-Junaidi was 16 and spent three weeks in detention. You can imagine how that experience scarred him.

      • Deepening Schism: Trump Lectures American Jews

        It should come as no surprise that Trump’s support for Israel has nothing to do with the country’s increasingly suspect claim to being “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Instead, Trump adopted Israel’s discriminatory domestic policies and aggressive foreign goals as causes to sponsor. But then, because those same practices have alienated many Jews, Trump has periodically taken it upon himself to lecture and castigate Jewish Americans—he does this even though he now holds no official office and has been reduced to the “president” of a community sowing lies and harvesting hate.

        In mid-December, Trump declared that U.S. Jews “don’t like Israel or don’t care about Israel.” This reiterated earlier claims such as “Jews don’t love Israel enough” and “Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are being disloyal to Israel.” Oddly, Trump’s complaints imply that U.S. Jews are at fault because they do not exhibit sufficient dual loyalty.

      • Decay in the UK

        The British nation has just gone through a most painful separation from its nearest neighbors with its exit from Europe on the basis that Britain wanted to be free of the influence of other countries, wanted not to be beholden to any other jurisdictions but its own. It is supremely ironic that in doing so it has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, landing in the welcome embrace of the United States. There is no clearer evidence of this than the looting of the Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England. [1]

        The Bank of England, an institution that, up to now, has been considered a pillar of probity, indeed a symbol of the economic order, astonishingly has taken it upon itself to appropriate 31 tons of Venezuelan gold entrusted to their vaults by the Venezuelan Central Bank many years ago. Even more surprising, this suspension of the customary contractual arrangements between two central banks, has been validated by British courts by their refusal to recognise that Nicolás Maduro is the duly elected President of Venezuela. Mr. Maduro’s credentials have been formally recognized by the Assembly of the United Nations and specifically by 177 of its 193 members.  He is not some self-declared, unelected pretender with no legitimate claim to the presidency.[2] This was purely political expediency on the part of the courts, not international law nor contractual law. It smacks of sheer piracy, one of the less savory features of British history.

      • Putin removes top investigator who oversaw major cases against anti-Kremlin opposition

        Vladimir Putin has dismissed a Federal Investigative Committee senior official who was responsible for several major cases over the past decade, including multiple probes into Russia’s anti-Kremlin opposition. The presidential order releasing 40-year-old Major General Rustam Gabdulin is dated December 28, 2021, but it wasn’t reported by the news media until a few days later.

      • Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Personal Twitter Suspended Over COVID Disinformation

        Greene was temporarily suspended by the platform multiple times in 2021 for similar infractions, after posting false information on COVID-19 and voter fraud. Greene’s congressional account, which at the time of this writing has over 395,000 followers, is still active; the suspended account, @mtgreenee, had over 465,000 followers before its deletion.

      • Marjorie Taylor Greene Permanently Banned by Twitter

        Greene is the first member of Congress to be kicked off Twitter for violating its rules. Twitter booted Donald Trump a year ago after he praised the rioters attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

        Greene’s official accounts on Facebook and Instagram remain active. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether she has violated those services’ policies.

      • Twitter Permanently Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Account

        Twitter said that Ms. Greene had a fifth “strike,” which meant that her account will not be restored. The company had issued her a fourth strike in August after she falsely posted that the vaccines were “failing.” Ms. Greene was given a third strike less than a month before that when she had tweeted that Covid-19 was not dangerous and that vaccines should not be mandated.

      • Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account permanently suspended for COVID misinformation

        Of note: While the Georgia Republican primarily uses her personal account (@mtgreenee), she does retain access to her official congressional account (@RepMTG).

      • Twitter blocks Republican congresswoman’s account for Covid claims

        The Georgia Republican’s account was permanently suspended under the “strike” system Twitter launched in March, which uses artificial intelligence to identify posts about the coronavirus that are misleading enough to cause harm to people.

        Two or three strikes earn a 12-hour account lock. Four strikes prompt a weeklong suspension. Five or more strikes can get someone permanently removed from Twitter.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Fact check: How do I spot fake news?

        What do these examples have in common? They are fake news — also known as disinformation, which is information that is partially or even completely false and deliberately disseminated to influence political views or generate as many clicks as possible.

        Fake news often spreads rapidly and has become a huge problem in the digital world. Many users find it difficult to separate from credible information.

        Here are some pointers on how you can counter the flood of false information. This article is primarily about fake news in written form — but DW will be publishing further articles about fake images and videos.

      • Peter Navarro: Trump Distributed Bogus Election Fraud Research to ‘Every’ Congressional Republican

        Navarro’s reports include debunked allegations of “outright voter fraud” across six battleground states, including “the large-scale manufacturing of fake ballots, bribery, and dead voters” as well as roundly discredited conspiracy theories alleging sordid connections between voting machine companies, a former Venezuelan dictator, the Clinton Foundation, and George Soros.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas

        We’ve joked in the past about how Republicans hate Section 230 for letting websites moderate too much content, while Democrats hate it for letting websites not moderate enough content. Of course, the reality is they both are mad about content moderation (at different extremes) because they both want to control the internet in a manner that helps “their team.” But both approaches involve unconstitutional desires to interfere with 1st Amendment rights. For Republicans, it’s often the compelled hosting of speech, and for Democrats, it’s often the compelled deletion of speech. Both of those are unconstitutional.

      • France removes EU flag from Arc de Triomphe after right-wing outrage

        Officials took down a temporary European Union flag at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris after it drew fury from conservatives and the far right. The flag was intended to mark the start of France’s six-month EU presidency.

      • Independent TV journalist sentenced to five years in prison in Vietnam

        Le Trong Hung, a Vietnamese journalist who often covered corruption for the independent social media TV news channel he helped to found, was sentenced today to five years in prison on a charge of “anti-state propaganda.” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demands his immediate release and insists that his conviction is overturned.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Extraditing Julian Assange Threatens Journalists Worldwide

        Which returns us to the case of Assange, who is being punished for publishing documents that prove that the United States committed war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific director of Reporters Without Borders, says, “The way the US has been treating Julian Assange is clearly giving a blank cheque to authoritarian governments around the world to crack down on press freedom and force into silence journalists and information providers who displease them.” His view is shared by his colleague Rebecca Vincent, who argues that the persecution of Assange will undermine US efforts to promote the cause of press freedom internationally. “If the Biden administration is serious about its commitment to media freedom, they would lead by example and end this more than decade-long persecution now.”

      • Moscow uses ‘foreign agent’ status to harass and persecute opponents

        In addition to Tolokonnikova, four other people – including well-known Russian satirical writer Victor Shenderovich and art collector and op-ed columnist Marat Gelman – were also added to the list by the Russian justice ministry.

        None of the other new “foreign agents” responded with quite the same sense of provocation as Tolokonnikova, a 32-year-old activist who was already sentenced to prison in 2012 for her participation in an anti-Putin performance at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

      • Contempt proceedings against Pakistani journalists who investigated judicial collusion

        “I verified my sources,” Ansar Abbasi, an investigative reporter with The News International newspaper, told RSF. But his insistence that he acted professionally did not suffice to deter High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah from initiating contempt of court proceedings yesterday against him, against the newspaper’s editor, Aamir Ghauri, and against Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jang Group, which owns the newspaper.

        The proceedings were prompted by an article by Abbasi on 15 November reporting that Rana Shamim, the former chief justice of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, had signed an affidavit stating that, shortly before the July 2018 general elections, he heard Pakistan’s then chief justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, pressure an Islamabad High Court judge to deny bail to leaders of the conservative opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who had just been jailed.

      • Nigerian journalist to appear before judge after being held arbitrarily for two months

        Two requests for his release were denied twice by a judge in November after prosecutors, on each occasion, asked for more time to prepare their case. The hearing that was scheduled for 6 December was postponed for three weeks because of the judge’s absence.

        “This journalist is being persecuted just for doing his job,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “We call on the Nigerian judicial authorities to release this journalist at once and to stop trying to silence those denouncing the reality of the massacres in Kaduna.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Repealing Section 230: Giving Mark Zuckerberg What He Wants?

        I will directly respond to Mike’s column, but first I should probably outline again what I am proposing. I somewhat foolishly assumed that people had read myearlier pieces, and probably even more foolishly assumed anyone remembered them. So, I will first give the highlights of how I would like to see the law restructured and then respond to some of the points made by Mike and others.

        Narrowing the Scope of 230

      • Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests

        We’ve noted repeatedly that despite a lot of breathless rhetoric about America’s “quest to bridge the digital divide,” U.S. government leaders still don’t actually know where broadband is or isn’t available. Shoddy broadband mapping has generally been a good thing for regional U.S. telecom monopolies, who not only have been allowed to obscure competition gaps (and the high prices and poor service that result), but hoover up an endless gravy train of subsidies and tax breaks for networks that…mysteriously…always wind up half deployed. Our failure to measure deployment success has been painfully, repeatedly exploited.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Just how big in media does Apple want to be?

        Old-media firms have been puzzled by Apple’s on-off sorties into their territory, which sometimes seem half-hearted. Winning at streaming depends mainly on splurging on content. But deep-pocketed Apple spent just over $2bn on film and tv in 2021, against Amazon’s $9bn and Netflix’s $14bn, estimates Ampere Analysis, a research company. It doesn’t bother to market its efforts much. And although medialand has cooed at the executives that Apple has poached, such as Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg from Sony and Richard Plepler from HBO, Silicon Valley insiders say that Apple keeps its own top tech people on other projects.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • “A Vaccine for the World”: U.S. Scientists Develop Low-Cost Shot to Inoculate Global South

          As COVID cases skyrocket, we speak to Dr. Peter Hotez at Texas Children’s Hospital about the Omicron surge, as well as his groundbreaking work developing an affordable patent-free coronavirus vaccine. Last week the Indian government gave emergency approval to the new low-cost, patent-free vaccine called Corbevax, which Hotez co-created. He says it could reach billions of people across the globe who have lacked access to the more expensive mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna. “We can really make a vaccine for the world,” says Hotez. Hotez also addresses problems stemming from ongoing vaccine hesitancy.

        • US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco

          We’ve written a bit about Judge Alan Albright, the only judge in the US district court in Waco, Texas. Judge Albright, a former patent litigator, decided that, upon taking the bench, he’d become the friendliest court for patent cases in the entire country. He even went around advertising that patent plaintiff’s should file there and they’ve taken him up on it in droves. Since he’s the only judge in the district, all the cases get assigned to him and, at last count, more than 25% of new patent cases are all going to him. He’s so busy with patent cases he had to hire a former patent troll lawyer as a magistrate judge to help him out.

      • Copyrights

        • David Bowie’s Estate Sells His Publishing Catalog to Warner Chappell (EXCLUSIVE)

          The agreement comprises songs from the 26 David Bowie studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release, “Toy,” which comes out on Friday. It also includes the two studio albums from Tin Machine, along with tracks released as singles from soundtracks and other projects.

          The deal brings nearly all of Bowie’s music into the Warner system. Last September, the estate announced a global partnership with Warner Music that will bring the late artist’s vast recorded-music catalog from 1968 through 2016 under the company’s umbrella; the deal includes Bowie’s albums from 2000 through 2016, which were originally released via Sony Music. News that Bowie’s estate was in negotiations to sell his publishing was broken by Financial Times in October.

        • David Bowie: Singer’s estate sells rights to his entire body of work to WCM

          Bowie had already predicted the decline in traditional music sales, telling the New York Times in 2002 that music would become “like running water or electricity”.

        • David Bowie’s Estate Sells ‘Entire Body of Work’ in Massive Publishing Deal

          In 1997, Bowie attempted to disperse his future royalties to his fans with the advent of “Bowie Bonds,” which raised $55 million and allowed Bowie to repurchase the rights of his master recordings back from a former manager; however, Napster’s arrival and its effect on the music industry impacted the earning potential of the 10-year Bowie Bonds, which were ultimately liquidated in 2007.

        • Huge New Global Anti-Piracy Coalition Will Tackle Manga & Anime Piracy

          Japan-based anti-piracy group CODA is building a huge coalition dedicated to tackling illegal online distribution of anime, manga and similar copyrighted content. The International Anti-Piracy Organisation will be compromised of 32 local companies including publisher Kodansha, Hollywood studios plus Netflix, and around 450 companies in China.

        • Sci-Hub’s Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: ‘Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust’

          A year ago, Techdirt wrote about an important lawsuit in India, brought by the academic publishers Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society against Sci-Hub and the similar Libgen. A couple of factors make this particular legal action different from previous attempts to shut down these sites. First, an Indian court ruled in 2016 that photocopying textbooks for educational purposes is fair use; the parallels with SciHub, which provides free access to copies of academic papers for students and researchers who might not otherwise be able to afford the high subscription fees, are clear. Secondly, the person behind Sci-Hub, Alexandra Elbakyan, is fighting, rather than ignoring, the case, as she has done on previous occasions.

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  1. Links 26/05/2022: Plex Finally on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  2. The General Consultative Committee of the EPO Exposes a Disaster and a Lack of Genuine Dialogue

    The General Consultative Committee (GCC) at the EPO deals with unlawful proposals from António Campinos (he’s happy to violate laws, constitutions, protocols, conventions, just like Benoît Battistelli did) and once again the abuses by managers is covered up; it’s as if the Office is run by unaccountable gangsters who arrogantly curse at everyone whilst insisting they’re the nicest people ever



  3. The Latest Letter to Josef Kratochvìl and the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

    A week-old letter from the Central Staff Committee (CSC) to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation highlights the nature of a crisis; there's no genuine dialogue and staff of the EPO (i.e. the scientists who do all the actual work) is constantly under attack



  4. [Meme] The Recordings Must Have Accidentally Been Lost While Breaking the Rules

    The EPO‘s “nicest” chief, Monopoly Tony, won’t even mention the recordings…



  5. Links 25/05/2022: ‘V Rising’ on GNU/Linux and Pearl Linux OS 11

    Links for the day



  6. Links 25/05/2022: Librem Tries Another Approach

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 24, 2022



  8. Links 24/05/2022: nginx-1.22.0 and WordPress 6.0

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] Divine Protection

    You won’t find Monopoly Tony (António Campinos) wearing a mask at the EPO because the rules of the Office do not apply to him



  10. António Campinos and the Alicante Clique (EPO Management, Appointed Based on Nepotism Despite Lack of Qualifications) Nowadays Exploiting Kids for PR Charades

    The sick old habit of exploiting kids for Public Relations (PR) and marketing purposes is all too common at the EPO (they’re constantly exploiting “the children” to associate criticism of the EPO with demeaning the young and innocent), but the management — which enjoys nepotism and immunity rather than relevant skills — carries on today and it’s being called “inaugural”



  11. [Meme] Snake on a Plane

    The EPO‘s President ‘Monopoly Tony’ (António Campinos), whom you never see wearing a mask (none of the photo ops; he does not even socially distance himself from peers, he wears sneakers instead of masks) during the height of a pandemic, is the "f***ing president"; don’t tell him to wear one…



  12. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XX — Entering Phase II

    We're about to resume the long-running series about the sick clique which ran GitHub until the assault on women became too much of a liability (among other wrongdoings and PR blunders)



  13. Links 24/05/2022: Fedora 37 Test Days and Tor Browser 11.0.13

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Vidal, as USPTO Director, Already Plays 'Political Cards' to Disguise and Deflect Away From the Corporate Agenda

    Microsoft Vidal, another corporate pawn in charge of the world’s most dangerous patent system, is using soft-spoken defle



  15. Links 24/05/2022: WAL-G 2.0

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 23, 2022



  17. Unethical Advertising, Published as So-called 'Articles', in CNX Software

    As we noted earlier this year, the CNX team is looking for money in the wrong places



  18. Links 23/05/2022: Broadcom to Buy VMware?

    Links for the day



  19. LibreOffice Conference 2022, As Before, Puts the Keynotes on Sale (the Rich Buy Influence, the Price Doubles)

    Discrimination against the community; talks and mentions are based on money, not merit ($2000 has become $4000 in just one year)



  20. Links 23/05/2022: Kdenlive 22.04.1 and New Alpine Linux Released

    Links for the day



  21. António Campinos Promotes Software Patents Using Buzzwords and Sketchy Loopholes With Dubious Legal Basis

    ‘Monopoly Tony’ (António Campinos) is shamelessly manipulating EPO processes at both ends (sender and receiver) to facilitate the illegal granting of invalid European software patents; we’re meant to think this former EU official and imposter (banker) is some guru in the sciences because he reads a lousy speech crafted for him with lots of meaningless buzzwords peppered all over it (he’s not good at reading it, either)



  22. [Meme] Jorgotta Be Kidding Us, Campinos!

    Monopoly Tony (António Campinos) runs the EPO by attacking the very legal basis of the EPO’s existence



  23. Unified Patent Court (UPC) Relies Too Much on Lies and Mischief Without Any Basis in Law

    Today’s video runs through the typical (weekly) lies from Team UPC — lies that are very easy to debunk; Team UPC not only drafted the thing but also looks to profit from it while misleading politicians and bribing publishers to spread intentionally misleading statements (lies)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 22, 2022



  25. Links 23/05/2022: Fedora 36 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  26. [Meme] It's My Working Party... And I'll Cry If I Want to!

    EPO President António Campinos is still not being held accountable for his Code of Conduct violations



  27. Links 22/05/2022: The 5.18 Kernel is Out

    Links for the day



  28. Gemini is Bigger Than Most People Care to Realise

    Geminispace has gotten to the point where it's too computationally expensive (or outright pricey) to study, let alone keep abreast of, Gemini capsules or the domain space as a whole



  29. Links 22/05/2022: Rock64 and Peppermint OS Release

    Links for the day



  30. [Meme] UPC is Always Next Year (and Next Year It'll Surely be the Year After That)

    The UPC will come “next year”, just like every year (since almost a decade ago) just because the lunatic promises so and crushes the law, quite frankly as usual, cusioned and protected by the UPC lobby


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