05.14.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 14/05/2022: Builder GTK 4 Porting and Raspberry Pi Matrix Dashboard

Posted in News Roundup at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • HackadayRetrotechtacular: The IBM System/360 Remembered

        Before IBM was synonymous with personal computers, they were synonymous with large computers. If you didn’t live it, it was hard to realize just how ubiquitous IBM computers were in most industries. And the flagship of the mainframe world was the IBM System/360. For a whole generation that grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a 360 was probably what you thought of when someone said computer. [Computer History Archive Project] has a loving recollection of the machine with a lot of beautiful footage from places like NASA and IBM itself. You can see the video below.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • HackadayHackaday Podcast 168: Math Flattens Spheres, FPGAs Emulate Arcades, And We Can’t Shake Polaroid Pictures

        Join Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney as they review the top hacks for the week. It was a real retro-fest this time, with a C64 built from (mostly) new parts, an Altoids Altair, and learning FPGAs via classic video games. We also looked at LCD sniffing to capture data from old devices, reimagined the resistor color code, revisited the magic of Polaroid instant cameras, and took a trip down television’s memory lane. But it wasn’t all old stuff — there’s flat-packing a sphere with math, spraying a fine finish on 3D printed parts, a DRM-free label printer, and a look at what’s inside that smartphone in your pocket — including some really weird optics.

    • Graphics Stack

      • HackadayNVIDIA Releases Drivers With Openness Flavor

        This year, we’ve already seen sizeable leaks of NVIDIA source code, and a release of open-source drivers for NVIDIA Tegra. It seems NVIDIA decided to amp it up, and just released open-source GPU kernel modules for Linux. The GitHub link named open-gpu-kernel-modules has people rejoice, and we are already testing the code out, making memes and speculating about the future. This driver is currently claimed to be experimental, only “production-ready” for datacenter cards – but you can already try it out!

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • APNICReducing bias of networking A/B tests

        My colleagues and I at Stanford University and Netflix, recently published a paper at the Internet Measurement Conference 2021 (and which was one of the recipients of this year’s Applied Networking Research Prize) that showed how A/B tests can have extremely biased results when run over congested networks. We showed experiments where even the direction of the result is switched — a treatment that performs poorly in an A/B test could perform well when deployed, and vice versa.

      • APNICThe future (and history) of IPSec

        These can be used to either protect IP directly or in a ‘tunnelled’ mode. Tunnelled mode is most like the virtual private network widely used by enterprises in the global Internet.

      • APNICOpen DNS resolvers, from bad to worse

        This prompted my colleagues and me at the University of Twente to think of how to further shrink the surface for abuse of open resolvers during DDoS attacks, specifically the amplification power. We recently experimented with open resolvers to identify amplification power diversities that we intuitively expected among open resolvers in the IPv4 address space. Among our findings, we found that we can reduce the overall potential of such attacks by 80% if we patch around 20% of the most potent amplifiers.

      • ScribeLinux Accessibility: an unmaintained Mess

        This article was written so that focus can be brought to the accessibility of the Linux desktop. As Raspberry Pi computers become more prevalent in schools, I want blind students to be able to enjoy learning to code, manage systems, and explore computing. I want blind people to be able to grow up learning about computers to the point that, when they’re in their early 20s, they can build apps, make emulation layers for older systems, or automate their jobs. I want blind kids to have the opportunities I didn’t have. Furthermore, I want them to be able to learn Python, not Quorum. I want them to learn the innards of Linux, not to have to fight Windows for every advanced setting or change. And if a blind person is tired of their blind-specific job, I want them to be able to easily learn to be a system administrator by administering their own Linux system.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Builder GTK 4 Porting, Part IV

          I spent a little time this week triaging some incoming Text Editor issues and feature requests. I’d really like this application to get into maintenance mode soon because I have plenty of other projects to maintain.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • desperately seeking seclusion (i.e. working from home)

        You wanna know what’s way more difficult than I thought it would be?

        Doing real work after over a couple decades of writing software remotely.

        But, wow, could I get hired again? “Agism” does seem to be a thing in my somewhat recent experience. And I’m not completely opposed to it, for surely younger people need such jobs way more than I do.

        But I’d really love to setting into a software “generalist” position, and use those earnings to hire others to do what’s become too backbreaking and/or exhausting for me – at least at the pace my wife was hoping I could sustain (especially as outdoor temperatures rise).

      • Perl / Raku

        • Relativism

          Like marginalia, I don’t know how to build software. Not only that, I also don’t know how to live my life.

    • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • The NationThe New York Times Has Badly Lost Its Bearings

      Joe Kahn, the next executive editor of The New York Times, will inherit a great news organization that has lost its bearings when it comes to national and political coverage.

    • The NationFarewell to Midge Decter, the Bigot on the Beach

      It was Midge Decter’s misfortune to, like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley before her, become a target of the Olympian ire of Gore Vidal. Decter, who died at age 94 earlier this week, is rarely regarded as in the same league as these three men, although she was, at different points in her life, a close friend of both Mailer and Buckley. Indeed, as an editor at Harper’s Magazine, she helped midwife one of Mailer’s best books, The Armies of the Night (1967). And Vidal himself was a kind of friendly enemy to Decter in the 1960s, before becoming an outright enemy when they quarreled about gay rights.

    • The NationThe American Justice System Has Failed Us All

      If you watched TV in the 1960s and 1970s as I did, you would undoubtedly have come away with the idea that this country’s courts, law enforcement agencies, and the laws they aimed to honor added up to a system in which justice was always served.

    • Counter PunchPowerful Untold Stories

      It occurs to me that a similar untold story of power happening all around us in younger generations involves the “right” demonstrated capacities – and “left” incapacity – to learn from our mistakes and from our adversaries’ victories. From the 30,000 foot level where Dems are “left” and the rightwing looks even more united than (tho just as white as) it actually is, let me try to explain with generations of examples drawn for simplicity from that broad D/R binary tendency as expressed crudely in decades of presidential leadership:

    • Counter Punch“Something to Do with Paying Attention”: David Foster Wallace’s Final Work, the Public Good, and a “Wastoid” Nation

      His appraisal of the emotional utility of literature has become a cliché, quoted endlessly in essays about Wallace (like this one), and articles about literature more broadly. Even though this will also traverse into cliché territory, it seems that the “less alone” function of literature is impossible to actually achieve as a social mechanism. Instead, literature can offer the cold comfort of allowing a person to feel that his or her own sense of separation from the dominant community or culture is not unique. It sounds simple, but when reading David Foster Wallace, I often think, “Someone else gets/got it” – the “it” being a feeling that I cannot fully describe.

      Wallace was not a preacher or politician, even if the borderline worshipful community of admirers that has developed since his 2008 suicide has turned him into a guru. He was an artist. Like most great artists, he made it impossible to separate the substance from the form of his work.

    • Counter PunchLawrence O’Donnell is Worried About Senate Apportionment

      Having recently returned to an apartment equipped with cable television, putting me back in touch with the great pearls of wisdom tossed on the airwaves by the imperialist likes of Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow, I am struck by O’Donnell’s recent discovery that the U.S. Senate – wherein every US state gets two representatives (US Senators) – is absurdly malapportioned in ways that vastly over-represent the most rural, white, and reactionary states and regions of the United States and that Republicans are using to crush “American democracy.” O’Donnell recently observed that California is home to nearly 40 million people and gets two US Senators while “the Dakotas” – the two right-wing states North and South Dakota – have four US Senators between them despite a combined population “less than [bright blue and progressive] Brooklyn.” This, O’Donnell feels, is a gross “minority rule” violation of “American democracy,” which is based on the egalitarian notions of one person, one vote and majority rule.

      Ya don’t say.

    • Andre Alves GarziaHow this blog works, or, embracing chaos

      Once I decided to get back into blogging, I first went on a deep rabbit hole of researching what to use. It is not as if I didn’t had a website, it is just that I treated my websites as temporary. I would every couple years burn it all down and create a new one in the same domain. I wish I kept the old data, but at the moment that trashing usually involved migrating to new servers or services, but that is a story for another time. What I ended up finding was all the IndieWeb stuff, and it made me fall in love with blogging again. I was ready to be in control of my own platform and what is best than to be in control of your own CMS source-code, am I right? no.

    • The Shark Pen Is a Great Pen

      Many consider the Lamy Safari to be a good example of good design that’s based on true understanding of the user’s needs, but with cost in mind. I agree and the Safari is a great workhorse pen for me, but I like Jinhao 993 (the “shark pen”) more, and I think it’s a better pen. I think it’s amazing to see how much Jinhao has achieved, within much lower price constraints.

      Although it’s a light pen with good length, the ergonomic grip section of the Safari is thin and tapered. It works best when you put the fingers on the flat sides of the grip section, and rest the fingers on the two “wings”. After a while, my hand gets tired. In contrast, the shark pen has a wide grip section, which isn’t tapered. My hand is relaxed when I hold this pen. It has two curved indents on the sides, allowing you to hold the pen higher, if that’s what works for you, or if your hand is tired and you must switch to a more relaxed grip if you want to keep up with the lecture.

    • Science

      • HackadayWhat’s In A Wattmeter?

        The idea behind watts seems deceptively simple. By definition, a watt is the amount of work done when one ampere of current flows between a potential of one volt. If you think about it, a watt is basically how much work is done by a 1V source across a 1Ω resistor. That’s easy to say, but how do you measure it in the real world? [DiodeGoneWild] has the answer in a recent video where he tears a few wattmeters open.

    • Education

      • New York TimesMy College Students Are Not OK

        I also feel compassion for my students, but the learning breakdown has convinced me that continuing to relax standards would be a mistake. Looser standards are contributing to the problem, because they make it too easy for students to disengage from classes.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayAbsolute Encoder Teardown

        According to [Lee Teschler], the classic representation of encoders showing code rings is out of date. His post says that most industrial absolute encoders use a special magnetic sensor known as a Wiegand wire to control costs. To demonstrate he does a teardown of an encoder made by Nidec Avtron Automation, and if you’ve ever wondered what’s inside something like this, you enjoy the post.

      • HackadayBig Audio Visualizer Pumps With The Music

        A spectrum analyzer is a great way to create exciting visuals that pulse in time with music. [pyrograf] wanted a big one as a display piece, so set about whipping up something of their very own.

      • HackadayRound LCDs Put To Work In Rack Mount Gauge Cluster

        Like many of you, we’re intrigued by the possibilities offered by the availability of affordable round LCD panels. But beyond the smartwatches they were designed for, it’s not always easy to come up with an appropriate application for such non-traditional displays. Digital “steam gauges” are one of the first ideas that come to mind, so it’s perhaps no surprise that’s the direction [Tom Dowad] took his project. But rather than just one or two gauges, he decided to go all out and put eight of them in a 1U rack mountable unit.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Counter PunchDid the Long Pandemic Spawn a New Kind of Repression?

        I’ve traveled domestically and internationally many times since the start of the pandemic and I hate the mask as much as anyone. It makes me sneeze and it tickles. After 10 hours on long hauls, I can indeed feel like I’m suffocating. It can be almost unbearable. But after two years of obediently masking up to enter airports and planes around the world, I found my first unmasked travel experience jarring indeed, even though I kept mine on. I was not the only masked person on that American Airlines flight, but I was definitely in the minority.

        Writing a book, Virus: Vaccinations, the CDC, and the Hijacking of America’s Response to the Pandemic, about the politics and science of our Covid-19 experience, I came to know and trust public-health policy experts and vaccine scientists. I learned enough about the mRNA vaccines so many (but not enough) of us have received that I regard them as a major medical milestone well worth celebrating. I also accept that scientific understanding is based on uncertainty and the advice of our health authorities is only as good as the latest peer-reviewed article.

      • Common Dreams‘Flatly Incomprehensible’: White House Prepares to Ration Vaccines as GOP Obstructs Covid Aid

        The Biden White House is reportedly preparing to ration coronavirus vaccines as Senate Republicans continue to obstruct a multibillion-dollar Covid-19 aid package, sparking outcry from public health experts who say GOP obstruction is hampering the nation’s pandemic response as infections rise.

        Politico reported late Thursday that the Biden administration “may soon need to run its sprawling pandemic response on a shoestring budget” as Republicans in Congress hold up a $10 billion aid package that a bipartisan group of senators agreed to in late March.

      • TruthOutOverdose Deaths Are Higher Than Ever, and the GOP Is Exploiting the Crisis
      • Pro PublicaThe Plot to Keep Meatpacking Plants Open During COVID-19

        As hundreds of meatpacking workers fell sick from the coronavirus that was spreading through their plants and into their communities in April 2020, the CEO of Tyson Foods reached out to the head of another major meatpacker, Smithfield Foods, with a proposal.

        Smithfield’s pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had been hit particularly hard, and state and local officials were pressuring the company to shut it down.

      • Counter PunchRussia’s Hunger Games

        The latest developments, including: – Russia’s war on Ukrainian agriculture – Echoes of Holodomor? – Why is Russia attacking farms and grain warehouses? – Biden limits intelligence sharing with Ukraine – Why Biden is right to do so – How we learned the details on the Butchers of Bucha – The importance of antiwar voices not losing their humanity – German neo-Nazis trained in Russia to fight in Donbas

    • Proprietary

      • SANSOctopus Backdoor is Back with a New Embedded Obfuscated Bat File

        Last week, I found another interesting Word document that delivered an interesting malicious script to potential victims. Usually, Office documents carry VBA macros that are activated using a bit of social engineering (the classic yellow ribbon) but this time, the document did not contain any malicious code: [...]

      • Computer WorldApple’s Mac shortage is a big red flag for enterprise IT

        Enterprise purchasers should expect to become frustrated when purchasing new hardware in the coming months, as supply chain logistics continue to deteriorate. When it comes to Apple kit, you may have the budget, but Macs are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

      • MacworldAs WWDC looms, Apple is quickly running out of Macs

        In fact, the only Macs that don’t appear to be in short supply in the U.S. are the older M1 Macs: the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and 24-inch iMac, all of which are mostly available for shipping immediately.

        While Apple shipping delays are hardly a new phenomenon, particularly with newer products, just last month, many of these products were being shipped within 2-3 weeks. with the M1 Max MacBook Pros having a six-weeks backlog. So it’s getting bad out there. Here’s when you can expect to get your Mac if you order from the Apple Store today: [...]

    • Pseudo-Open Source

      • Openwashing

        • Silicon AngleRed Hat Summit marks the triumph of open source

          “It’s not enough to just say, ‘Hey, we’ve got APIs.’ We have API Sprawl today, so it’s mainly about building that ecosystem. We are very active in the community and trying to do things that can lift up the community, help the developers, help that cloud-native ecosystem, and help our customers move faster,” he concluded.

          Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Red Hat Summit event: [...]

        • SDx CentralCisco: Community Is Key for Open Source Security

          The intersection of software and security “is an onion,” he said. To that point, Augustus doesn’t believe open source security can ever be fully trusted in terms of security. “The final answer that I like to give for any sufficiently complex problem is: it depends.”

    • Security

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • PIAMental Health Apps Are Not As Private As You Think

          However, these apps aren’t as trustworthy as you think. Mental health apps secretly pass on your data to their business partners behind your back. It’s not just a few basic facts either: the shared data often contains your address, full name, occupation, marital status, symptoms you’re experiencing, daily moods, and a lot more.

        • The VergeAnonymous bulletin board app Yik Yak is revealing its users’ exact locations

          Yik Yak, an app that acts as a local anonymous message board, makes it possible to find users’ precise locations and unique IDs, Motherboard reports. A researcher who analyzed Yik Yak data was able to access precise GPS coordinates of where posts and comments came from, accurate within 10 to 15 feet, and says he brought his findings to the company in April.

        • Malwarebytes LabsClient side scanning may cost more than it delivers

          Privacy advocates argue it brings the EU closer to the surveillance state that many see in other countries and that is a frightful image. It is also a step back when it comes to cybersecurity. What do we call software that eavesdrops on what we are doing on our devices and sends it to a third party? Spyware! And what happens to servers that accumulate large amounts of private data? They become targets for cybercriminals.

          [...]

          In this case, it means that the EU wants to force all providers of email, messaging, and chat services to comprehensively search all private messages, even in the absence of any suspicion. That makes the contents of messages no longer private between the sender and receiver, and client-side scanning breaks the E2E encryption trust model.

        • MIT Technology ReviewGoogle is failing to enforce its own ban on ads for stalkerware

          Stalkerware, also referred to as spyware, is software designed to secretly monitor another person, tracking their location, phone calls, private messages, web searches, and keystrokes. Such apps, some of which are free but most of which are paid-for, typically run undetected in the background on a phone, or masquerade as harmless-seeming calculators, calendars, or system maintenance apps.

        • The MarkupFacebook Promised to Remove “Sensitive” Ads. Here’s What It Left Behind

          As far back as 2018, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress the company had “removed the ability to exclude ethnic groups and other sensitive categories from ad targeting. So that just isn’t a feature that’s even available anymore.”

          The Markup found, however, that while “Hispanic culture” was removed, for example, “Spanish language” was not. “Tea Party Patriots” was removed, but “Tea party” and “The Tea Party” were still available. “Social equality” and “Social justice” are gone, but advertisers could still target “Social movement” and “Social change.”

          Starbucks, for example, was still able to use existing options after the change to place an ad for its pistachio latte focused on users interested in “Contemporary R&B,” “telenovela,” “Spanish language,” and “K-pop,” all proxies for Black, Latino, and Asian audiences on Facebook.

        • Malwarebytes LabsClearview AI banned from selling facial recognition data in the US

          Clearview AI, a facial recognition software and surveillance company, is permanently banned from selling its faceprint database within the United States. The company also cannot sell its database to state and law enforcement entities in Illinois for five years.

          This is a historic win for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit against Clearview in 2020, alleging the company has built its business around secretly taking facial recognition data from people without consent.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Common DreamsOpinion | To End the Horror in Ukraine, Go Big, and Go Broad

        The tragic, illegal war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine should end now, with a ceasefire and then a comprehensive peace agreement. It could be based on the previously negotiated 2015 Minsk II agreement, which is quite detailed and balanced in seeking to resolve territorial, political, cultural, and linguistic disputes. What makes this war so ghastly is the eventual outcome was widely known and achievable before Russia invaded, namely Ukrainian neutrality, no NATO membership, and territorial, legal and political accommodations over Crimea and the Donbas region.

      • Democracy NowGerman Peace Activist Warns Finland Joining NATO Could Be Step Toward Nuclear War with Russia

        Finland’s president and prime minister say they plan to end decades of neutrality and join NATO. Sweden is also expected to seek NATO membership. The Kremlin says Russia sees the expansion of NATO on its borders as a threat. “People on both sides will suffer,” says Reiner Braun, executive director of the International Peace Bureau, who warns Russia will escalate in response and move more nuclear weapons near the 830-mile-long Finland-Russia border.

      • TechdirtEU, UK, US Directly Accuse Russia Of Hacking ViaSat Satellites

        For literally more than a decade researchers warned that global satellite telecommunications networks were vulnerable to attack. These attacks vary in nature but several allowed an intruder miles away to both intercept and disrupt satellite communications. In 2020 hackers again clearly demonstrated how these perpetually unresolved vulnerabilities were putting millions of people at risk.

      • TechdirtThe Rich And Powerful Are Abusing ‘Privacy’ Laws To Silence Journalists And Authors

        At a time when Russia and Russian oligarchs should be facing more scrutiny and careful work by investigative reporters, it is actually becoming that much more difficult to do so. And the main reason is that EU and UK “data protection” laws, passed in a flurry with promises of protecting your privacy from the greedy Silicon Valley Zuckerbergian overlords, is actually serving as a potent weapon in the hands of Russian oligarchs seeking to avoid scrutiny.

      • Counter PunchThe Ukraine War is Accelerating the New Space Race

        These decisions have naturally generated concern across the space industry and political landscape. For decades, Russian and Western countries have collaborated in space despite flare-ups in tensions on Earth. In 1975, the U.S. Apollo capsule linked up with the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft briefly as a symbol of cooperation amid the Cold War. In 1995, the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir.

        And in 1998, the International Space Station (ISS) was launched, featuring a Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and a United States Orbital Segment (USOS), the latter being operated by NASA, the ESA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

      • Common DreamsAthens Declaration Calls for End to Ukraine War and Creation of ‘Lasting Peace’

        A group of international progressives on Friday released a declaration demanding an urgent withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, a global end to “rampant militarism,” and the forging of a collaborative movement to ensure lasting peace and a planet safe from climate catastrophe.

        The Athens Declaration was unveiled at a press conference in the Greek capital by Turkish author Ece Temelkuran; British Member of Parliament and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; and former Greek finance minister and leader of the MeRA25 party Yanis Varoufakis. The three are all Progressive International council members.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | We Have More in Common With Cuba Than We Think

        A week ago I returned to the United States from Cuba where I got to spend International Workers’ Day with 100 other young organizers from the U.S. alongside over 700,000 other people who celebrated in Havana that day. With the International People’s Assembly of North America, we spent a week learning about the Cuban socialist project and how the blockade imposed by the United States impacts life in Cuba.

      • TruthOutZelenskyy Calls for Direct Talks With Putin as Russia Pulls Back From Kharkiv
      • Common Dreams‘We Must Find an Agreement’: Zelenskyy Calls for Direct Talks With Putin

        Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that he is prepared to hold direct talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin amid mounting fears that Moscow’s invasion and the West’s response have spiraled into a dangerous proxy war between nuclear-armed powers.

        “We must find an agreement,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with an Italian media outlet as deadly ground fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continues to intensify.

    • Counter PunchUkraine in Vain: Fuck Putin but Let the Donbass Go

      It’s tempting to chock this upset up to the fact that Ukraine is the heavily armed quisling state of a massive empire but if Afghanistan taught us a goddamn thing it’s that all the money in the universe can’t buy you a victory in someone else’s country. Kabul collapsed like a trillion-dollar lawn chair because the people there wanted the Taliban to stay and Kyiv withstood a brutal siege from one of the biggest armies on earth because the people there wanted Putin to go fuck himself, and good on them for that.

      I despise Volodymyr Zelensky and his grotesque coalition of neoliberal gangsters and barely closeted neo-fascists, but they didn’t kick Russia’s ass until it broke. This war wasn’t won by NATO, it was won by some working-class, Russian-speaking, Vlad Jerkoff lobbing Stinger missiles at T-72s for running over his fucking mailbox. Saddam Hussein was a gutless dirtbag too but that didn’t make the rooftop Sadrists who spoiled Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” any less legit. Provoked or not, Putin invaded somebody else’s neighborhood and somebody else made him pay a heavy price for his hubris, leaving Vlad with no other choice but to limp from the front lines back to Donbas and declare his retreat Phase Two as if he had planned it all along.

    • TruthOutIndian Boarding Schools Were Part of “Genocidal Process” Carried Out by the US
    • Craig MurrayWhat Might A Ukraine Peace Agreement Look Like?

      Currently nobody in power wants peace. Both sides believe they might yet improve their position on the ground. Thousands are needlessly dying horrible deaths in Europe. But the West now has a proxy war with Russia itself that is weakening Russia militarily, economically and diplomatically. Putin has to keep going, hoping to show something he can portray as victory and worth all the pain. Meantime the arms manufacturers and related interests are profiting enormously – and never forget that applies to both sides.

    • Counter PunchTaking Aim At US Follies and Media Malpractices 2016: Stephen Cohen Takes on the Hawks

      War with Russia: from Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate (2022) provides lots of critical insights, pearls brought up from the deep diving of Cohen. Our focus in the first article was on the demonization of Vladimir Putin; this one puts the spotlight on US follies and media malpractices in 2016. Reminding us in the  January 20th commentary that Barach Obama had vowed to “isolate” Putin in international relations, Cohen observes that in early January there was a flurry of nervous diplomatic activity in Washington, Paris, Germany, Moscow, and Kiev to discuss two “essential elements” of the Minsk Accords.

      The rebel regions in eastern Ukraine were to receive constitutionally legislated home rule. But Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko feared a “violent backlash by armed ultranationalist forces” (p. 33). Russia had its own problems and issues – ranging from Europe and Syria to economic woes. But the US media-political narrative misunderstood what Putin wanted in Ukraine: “not a permanently destabilized country, as is incessantly reported, but a peaceful neighbour that does not threaten Russia’s vital economic or security interests – or permanently divide millions of inter-married Russian-Ukrainian families (p. 34). Most of us don’t have a clue about the ethnic-historical composition of Ukraine (about 30% of Ukrainians are of Russian origin). Cohen considered this “secret diplomacy” a hopeful “fork in the road.” However, as we now know more completely, Washington and NATO were opposed to Russia’s security demands.

    • Counter PunchMali’s Military Ejects France, But Faces Serious Challenges

      Colonel Maïga said that there were three reasons why Mali’s military had taken this dramatic decision. The first was that they were reacting to France’s “unilateral attitude,” reflected in the way France’s military operated in Mali and in the June 2021 decision by French President Emmanuel Macron to withdraw French forces from the country “without consulting Mali.” France’s military forces moved to nearby Niger thereafter and continued to fly French military planes over Malian airspace. These violations of Malian airspace “despite the establishment of a temporary no-fly zone by the Malian military authorities” constituted the second reason for the new declaration, according to the statement. Thirdly, Mali’s military had asked the French in December 2021 to revise the France-Mali Defense Cooperation treaty. Apparently, France’s answer to relatively minor revisions from Mali on April 29 displeased the military, which then issued its statement a few days later.

      ‘Neither Peace, Nor Security, Nor Reconciliation’

    • Counter PunchFresh Off Russia, the U.S. Just Can’t Stop Provoking China

      In addition, are the hundreds if not thousands of rulers in human history who invaded foreign countries – are they all Hitler? And I guess we’ve just forgotten about the part where Hitler exterminated six million Jews along with millions of Slavs, Roma, communists and other so-called undesirables. That apparently is no longer considered a defining characteristic of Hitler’s unique evil. How else to explain that accusations of being Hitler are a dime a dozen these days? Such cheap rhetoric does nothing to help ordinary, suffering Ukrainian people. But it sure helps corporate war-mongers get richer. That’s the point.

      “But, but,” Washington’s power-drunk denizens stammer, as defense company stocks soar through the roof, over 60 percent since Russia’s invasion, “the rules-based order!” That’s the humbug by which the U.S. empire evades international law to claim its “rules” apply to everybody else but Washington. Except lately, the civilized world, namely the Global South, doesn’t buy this baloney. The trick ain’t working anyplace outside of Europe.

    • ScheerpostPatrick Cockburn: Will the Ukraine War End Without Destroying All Life on the Planet?

      Veteran award-winning journalists Patrick Cockburn and Robert Scheer, who met in Moscow in 1987 when Mikhail Gorbachev optimistically promised peace, now fear a descent into nuclear war hell.

    • ScheerpostUS Air Force’s British Expansion

      Only Japan and Germany, countries occupied by the US military after World War 2, host more US airmen than Britain. Nuclear-capable American B-52 bombers were recently deployed in Gloucestershire amid Ukraine tensions.

    • Counter PunchThe War on Youth in the Age of Fascist Politics

      One of the most important registers in measuring the democratic health of a society can be found in how it treats its youth. By any current standard, which includes the quality of public schools to laws that protect the health and well-being of young people, the United States is failing miserably. Youth, especially youth of color, are not only viewed as a liability, much of their behavior is also being increasingly criminalized.  When young people are relentlessly and ruthlessly subject to forces that commodify them, criminalize, punish them, and deem them unworthy of receiving a critical and meaningful education, it bodes ill for the nation as a whole.  Of course, this attack on youth is not new.

      In the 1970s youth were viewed as both predatory and dangerous and in succeeding generations they were increasingly marginalized, terrorized, and written out of the social contract.[1] The United States is one of the few countries in the world that puts children in supermax prisons, tries them as adults, incarcerates them for exceptionally long periods of time, defines them as “super predators,” pepper sprays them for engaging in peaceful protests, and describes them as “teenage time bombs.”[2] More recently, it has been reported that hundreds of Native American children in the United States and even more Indigenous children in Canada in government and reservation schools were not only separated from their families but also abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. Many others died in these genocidal factories and were buried in unmarked graves. The legacy of violence against children of color runs deep in the United States.[3]   Viewed as a long-term investment, they are defined under neoliberalism as both an economic liability and a drain on the resources needed to concentrate wealth in the hands of the ruling classes and financial elite.

    • HungaryThe town that blew up its own bridge and chased away the Russians

      Voznesensk is a quiet little town near one of South-Eastern Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. Its name became well-known when they became the first to fight off the Russians. We visited the town and met the mayor who thought it best to blow up their own bridge, and spoke with the angry local who – along with his wife – chased away the armed Russian soldiers with his bare hands. (English subtitles available)

    • Counter PunchIdeological Silos of Left and Right: Missing the Point in Ukraine

      In light of this mélange of considerations how can we hope to achieve a clearer understanding of what is happening, what are the relative risks, and what could yet be done to end the killing to avoid any further massacre of innocents and safeguard humanity from present risks of escalation to a wider war, possibly fought with nuclear weapons? A first step in the right direction is to pronounce that the ideological silos of both extreme left and right slant policy advocacy toward extremism, cause confusion, and to the extent influence is exerted, the effect is confound the search for viable and humane modes of deescalation. Extremist policy vectors are unsatisfactory cognitively, normatively, and prudentially.

      The extreme left explains the Ukraine Crisis as essentially an outcome of inflated post-Cold War global imperial overreach orchestrated by the U.S., manifesting itself by way of neoliberal globalization in close conjunction with the projection of military dominance on a planetary scale. The extreme right, which enjoys far greater access to elite circles of government and media than the left, explains the Ukraine Crisis as an essentially evil plot by a Russian autocrat to destroy sanctity of the territorial rights of a sovereign state, violating the most basic rule of a state-centric world order, and mounting an unacceptable challenge to the exclusive global responsibilities of the West, led by the U.S., to uphold security throughout the world in accord with democratic values and humanitarian principles. These ideological silos of explanation have different impacts in the West, leaving those on the left frustrated by their political irrelevance, while those on the right are currently riding a high wave of influence almost oblivious to the geopolitical storm clouds of a wider war that unleashes nuclear weapons. So far the gray zone that operates in between these silos of clarity and formally holds governmental power in the United States has given up ground to the rightest pressures, but still has been prudent enough to avoid an outright military confrontation with Russia yet as the clock ticks the risks of wider war rise.

    • MeduzaRussians, meet your new heroes The Kremlin is renaming streets across the country in honor of Donbas combatants, hoping to ‘prime public opinion’ for another annexation

      On May 9, when Russia celebrates the USSR’s victory against Nazi Germany, several regions across the country announced that they were renaming local streets in honor of soldiers and political figures from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). For example, the cities of Grozny, Yakutsk, and Omsk dedicated streets to Alexander Zakharchenko, the DNR’s leader until his assassination in August 2018. Other cities announced streets named after Vladimir Zhoga, also known by his nom de guerre “Vokha,” who commanded the Sparta Battalion, a pro-Russian separatist force in Donetsk, until his death in March 2022 in combat with the Ukrainian military. Also on May 9, Zhoga’s father met personally with Russia’s president. Meduza has learned that these dedications and Vladimir Putin’s sit-down with Artem Zhoga are parts of a strategy developed by the Kremlin to “prime public opinion” for Russia’s annexation of the separatist “republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk.

    • Meduza‘We comforted the kids, crossed ourselves, and bid our lives farewell’: Three Azovstal steel plant workers tell the story of their escape

      The Azovstal steel plant remains the sole point of resistance against the Russian invaders in Mariupol. Though fighting has been ongoing outside of the plant for almost two months, none of the civilians hiding inside were evacuated until April 30. Azovstal workers Ilya and Pavlo (names changed) were some of the first civilians to escape the plant; they’re now safe in Zaporozhye. They spoke to Meduza along with Azovstal HR director Ivan Goltvenko, who left the city on March 9 and has been helping others escape ever since.

    • MeduzaDeadlock in the Donbas Ukraine and Russia are facing the same two problems on the eastern front: enemy fire and the Siverskyi Donets river

      In early May, both Russian and Ukrainian troops launched offensives on eastern Ukraine across different parts of the less-than-mighty Siverskyi Donets river (which crosses from Russia into Ukraine before flowing parallel to the Ukrainian-Russian border). Since then, it’s been the same story over and over again: one side’s troops try to cross the river to launch an attack, but enemy artillery thwarts their attempts, destroying whatever bridge they’ve built and their forward guard. Every kilometer gained is paid for in blood, and the key question right now is whether the Russian army will manage to use the advantage it has before Ukrainian forces begin widely applying precision weapons obtained from the West.

    • Meduza‘Ukro-Nazi enablers’: Police officers and anonymous bloggers harass Russian volunteers who helped Ukrainian refugees reach Estonia

      Up until the end of April, a group of volunteers were working in Penza to help Ukrainian refugees get to St. Petersburg and, from there, to Estonia. However, threats from anonymous Telegram channels and direct pressure from unknown parties — graffitied doors, slashed tires — forced the Penza volunteers to shut down their efforts. Journalist Vladimir Sevrinovsky spent several days with the last group of refugees from Mariupol whom the Penza group was able to help get out of Russia. 

    • MeduzaThe collective Zelensky Amid Russia’s war, Ukraine’s president is more popular than ever. Here’s how his team rallied a nation — and the West.

      On the eve of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s rating was less than 25 percent. Moscow waging an all-out war turned Zelensky into a national hero — one who now enjoys more than 90 percent support among Ukrainians. For Meduza, journalist Konstantin Skorkin breaks down how Zelensky and his team are running the country, managing Ukraine’s defense, and cultivating the president’s image as a wartime leader.

    • SalonHouse coup plotters stand firm — but DOJ and the Jan. 6 committee are closing in

      According to the interim report on the Jan. 6 insurrection by the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was Scott Perry — who was involved in strategy meetings at the White House, along with other members of the House Freedom Caucus — who introduced Jeffrey Clark to Trump. He also took it upon himself to call Donohue, the no. 2 official at the Department of Justice, and demand that he investigate debunked election fraud allegations in Pennsylvania, effectively reading him the riot act for not pursuing all these ludicrous claims. (I can’t imagine it’s common for congressmen to harangue leading law enforcement officials and importune them to lie. Maybe under the Trump administration it happened all the time.)

    • MIT Technology ReviewRussia [cracked] an American satellite company one hour before the Ukraine invasion

      The operation resulted in an immediate and significant loss of communication in the earliest days of the war for the Ukrainian military, which relied on Viasat’s services for command and control of the country’s armed forces.

    • Rolling StoneThe Feds Are Now Investigating Whether Trump Tampered With Classified Documents

      The federal grand jury investigation will reportedly focus on the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. The Times notes that the Justice Department recently issued a subpoena for the material, and that it has requested interviews with people who worked in the White House before Trump left office. It’s unlikely that any charges will be brought, however, as the Justice Department would need evidence that Trump was personally involved in bringing the records to the White House residence and then to Mar-a-Lago, and that he did so knowing that it was in violation of federal law.

    • New York TimesProsecutors Pursue Inquiry Into Trump’s Handling of Classified Material

      In recent days, the Justice Department has taken a series of steps showing that its investigation has progressed beyond the preliminary stages. Prosecutors issued a subpoena to the National Archives and Records Administration to obtain the boxes of classified documents, according to the two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

    • The HillHouse Democrats urge social media platforms to preserve potential evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

      Top House Democrats wrote letters to the chief executives of four major social media platforms on Wednesday, urging them to preserve and archive content related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that could be potential evidence of war crimes.

      The lawmakers asked Meta, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok to preserve and archive posts related to the conflict “that may provide evidence of war crimes or human rights violations,” establish a mechanism with human rights-specific organizations to share that content and create a way for content depicting a possible war crime to be flagged by the platforms’ users.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • TechdirtNYPD Lawyer Forged Emails, Lied To Courts, Withheld Information From Lawsuit Plaintiffs

      The NYPD has long been a stalwart opponent of transparency and accountability. It has spent years trying to rebrand as a national security agency, drafting on former mayor Rudy Giuliani’s unearned reputation as the post-9/11 savior of New York City.

    • uni StanfordStanford law professor calls for digital platform transparency legislation in senate testimony

      Recently, Persily has focused his research on social media platforms, which he warned during the hearing have become too central to the sociopolitical system to operate with minimal transparency.

      “We cannot live in a world where Facebook and Google know everything about us and we know next to nothing about them,” Persily testified before the Senate. “These large platforms have lost their right to secrecy. Their power over the information ecosystem is unrivaled in world history.”

      In a 2021 Washington Post opinion article, Persily argued that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s use of the platform to uncover documentation detailing executive knowledge of drug cartels and human trafficking rings, as well as details of Instagram exacerbating a societal body acceptance crisis, showed that the U.S. government needed to intervene — particularly because a company like Facebook is too large to suffer market repercussions.

    • NBC911 tapes released after 12 years in case of missing woman that led to finding 10 other bodies on Long Island

      After a dozen years, police on Long Island Friday released 911 audio of a New Jersey woman whose mysterious disappearance in 2010 led authorities to discover 10 other bodies.

  • Environment

    • Copenhagen PostSAS cancels thousands of flights this summer

      The airline revealed this week that it has cancelled 4,000 flights from May to August – roughly 5 percent of the airline’s total summer flight schedule.

    • The NationIce Scream
    • DeSmogAs California Considers Dropping Fossil Fuels from Major Pension Funds, New Report Calls Out ‘Misinformation’ on Costs

      A newly published report by Fossil Free California finds California’s pension fund managers are circulating divestment “misinformation” by exaggerating the costs involved in shedding their fossil fuel investments in documents prepared for state lawmakers.

      California lawmakers are currently considering Senate Bill 1173 (SB-1173), California’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, which would require the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), to stop investing in fossil fuels before the decade is out. The move would impact billions of dollars currently invested in oil, gas, or coal on behalf of California’s teachers, firefighters, and other public employees.

    • Counter PunchA Picturesque Tour of Toxic Waste Sites in Georgia and Alabama

      April 22 (Earth Day): Jekyll Island and Brunswick, Georgia

      As we headed north on Highway 41 from Micanopy, Florida, I thought about the first Earth Day. I was a freshman at Forest Hills High School in Queens, and the world seemed, at last, to be calming down. Though assassination, riot and war still darkened my dreams, there appeared to be, as the Vietnam War planners liked to say, “light at the end of the tunnel.” On April 20, 1970, Nixon announced the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 U.S. troops, accelerating “Vietnamization” — the handoff of fighting from American to South Vietnamese troops — and hastening the end of the war.

    • Counter PunchClimate Hegemony: Now is the Time of Monsters

      Recently, it was the 85th anniversary of Italian Marxist philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci’s death in fascist Italy. Starting from humble beginnings on Sardinia, Gramsci went from student to communist partisan in the streets of Turin and the Italian parliament. During the 1920’s he quickly became a thorn in the side of Benito Mussolini’s regime. In 1926, Mussolini had Gramsci arrested. At the show trial, the prosecution proclaimed, “For twenty years, we must stop this brain from functioning.” He spent most of the rest of his life in prison. But his time in prison transformed him into one of the most important political theorists of the 20th century.

    • Counter PunchSlippery Slope

      Snowflakes had been falling two weeks ago, but Wednesday brought blue skies and temperatures in the 80s to Upstate New York. Classes had just ended at Cornell University, and after two years of pandemic restrictions and angst the undergrads were ready for their long-deferred spring bacchanal of booze and music: Slope Day.

    • Common DreamsHot Planet Made Deadly South African Floods Twice as Likely: Climate Scientists

      Intense rainfall that led to deadly flooding and landslides in South Africa last month was made twice as likely by the human-caused climate crisis, a team of scientists revealed Friday, pointing to the findings as proof of the need to swiftly and significantly curb planet-heating emissions.

      “If we do not reduce emissions and keep global temperatures below 1.5°C, many extreme weather events will become increasingly destructive.”

    • Energy

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Why Are Americans Subsidizing Our Own Extinction?

        Each American—man, woman and child—paid around $2000 last year to subsidize the fossil fuel industry, according to an analysis this year by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

      • The VergeMajor exchanges delist Terra stablecoin as price collapse continues

        As the Terra crisis draws on, some of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world have begun to delist Terra’s UST stablecoin and its linked Luna token, citing a need to protect users from risk.

      • ABCEmirates Air lost $1 billion, but that’s an 80% improvement

        One of the world’s biggest airlines and the Mideast’s top carrier, Emirates Air, said Friday it lost $1.1 billion over the past fiscal year, but that figure still marks an 80% improvement from the year before. The airline said revenue was up 91%, reaching $16.1 billion.

      • NPRCalifornia just ran on 100% renewable energy, but fossil fuels aren’t fading away yet

        Springtime is an ideal time of year for renewable energy in California. The days are getting longer, so solar energy is on the rise. Wind power and hydropower from dams is humming along and mild temperatures mean air conditioners aren’t turned up, so electricity demand is still relatively low.

        For about an hour on April 30th, grid operators at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which serves about 80% of the state, had enough electricity from solar, wind, geothermal and small hydropower dams to meet all of the demand in their area More power was being generated than was needed at that moment, so some was exported to other Western states.

        “That’s quite an accomplishment because it demonstrates if you can do it for one instantaneous hour, you can do it for longer periods of time,” says Mark Rothleder, senior vice president at the California ISO.

      • BBCRussian operator to suspend electricity supply to Finland

        Neither Rao Nordic nor the grid operator in Finland, Fingrid, explained what was behind the payment difficulties.

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • Counter PunchMaking Hay: National Park Service Drains “Critical Habitat” From Bull Trout River

        Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent trying to restore life to this embattled river by removing toxic tailings from its banks. It is absolutely necessary to ensure the river contains enough water to support the aquatic ecosystem, dilute what heavy metals still leach into it, and provide the clean, cold, and connected river system that bull trout require to exist.

        Yet every year a massive amount of the Upper Clark Fork’s scarce water is diverted into the West Side irrigation ditch to grow hay to feed cattle and horses on the Grant-Kohrs ranch, which is owned and operated by the National Park Service as a historic site and “cultural display” of a working ranch from the late 19th century. In most years, the West Side Ditch takes 50% or more of the entire flow of the Upper Clark Fork in mid-to-late summer. In drought years, which are ever more frequent in the West, the diversion takes upwards of 90% of the river’s flow.

      • The RevelatorBiodiversity Solutions Also Fight Climate Change
      • Counter PunchThe Art of Building a Human-Hawk Relationship

        All birds’ eyes are huge in proportion to their bodies. A human being’s eyes take up only 2 percent of the face; a European starling’s account for 15. A great horned owl’s eyes are so enormous relative to its head that if human eyes were comparable, they would be the size of oranges. Birds’ eyes are so important to them that, like various reptiles, sharks, and amphibians, they have a transparent or translucent third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, to protect and moisten the eyes while retaining visibility. Vision literally sculpts birds’ every movement: one reason birds seem to move in such a jerky manner, as cassowary expert Andy Mack explained to me, is that the bird is actually keeping its head remarkably still, thanks to an extremely supple neck, while the rest of its body is in motion, in order to allow it to focus on what it sees in exceptional detail.

        In birds of prey, the eyes weigh more than the brain. The two eyes are twice as large as the brain itself. They need to be huge. They are packed with receptors, some types of which humans don’t have at all. Raptors have not merely two (as we do) but six types of photoreceptors in each eye. Because of this, birds are thought to be able to experience colors that humans cannot even describe. Their retinas, unlike ours, contain few blood vessels. Instead, a thin, folded tissue called pecten, unique to birds, brings blood and nutrients to the eye without casting shadows or scattering light in the eye as blood vessels do.

      • Counter PunchNew York Court of Appeals to Consider Animal Personhood as COVID-19 Cases Rise

        As it happens, Wuhan’s caged pangolins are conceptually related to a Big Apple pachyderm, since the legal battle centered on Happy, a 52-year-old elephant in the Bronx Zoo, points in the direction of such structural transformation. Though her case has received significant media attention, it has not yet been placed it in the context of the incarceration of “food” animals that led to COVID-19 and Roy’s persuasive admonition that “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past.”

        The Nonhuman Rights Project has been advocating on behalf of Happy since 2019. On February 18, 2020, they argued before the Bronx Supreme Court that she is a person, not a thing, invoking the writ of habeas corpus to achieve her release to a sanctuary. Happy’s bio belies her name: following capture in Thailand along with six other calves, an event that almost certainly entailed killing her mother and other herd adults who would have fought to protect her, she has spent nearly her entire life either in a one-acre enclosure with an indoor holding area, or a barren, cemented, walled outdoor elephant yard, miniscule fragments of the natural home range for Asian elephants that can reach up to 600 square kilometers. Whereas elephants normally live in complex societies, forming strong, lifelong social bonds, Happy has lived in isolation since 2006. She spends much of her time standing in place, swinging her trunk and raising and lowering her feet, standard examples of “zoochosis,” defined by ethologist Marc Bekoff as the “repetitive, functionless behavior caused by the frustration of living in a highly unnatural and impoverished environment,” itself akin to “psychological torture.” While Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alice Truitt did not accede to the NhRP’s plea, she declared that she was sympathetic with their mission on Happy’s behalf and referenced New York Court of Appeals Judge Eugene Fahey’s 2018 statements that “the issue whether a nonhuman animal has a fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus is profound and far-reaching” and that “Ultimately, we will not be able to ignore it.” Happy’s attorneys will appeal Tuitt’s decision on May 18, 2022, marking the first time that the highest court of any U.S. jurisdiction will hear a habeas corpus case brought on behalf of someone other than a human being.

    • Overpopulation

      • Counter PunchThe Enduring Land Question

        That disconnect has defined the modern age, and while it remains with us, it has been notoriously difficult to quantify its social, economic, and environmental impacts. In particular, the causal relationship between land monopoly and present-day environmental conditions has not been sufficiently studied. Exploring this relationship reveals that a comprehensive critique of land monopoly entails a program for the more responsible and sustainable use of land and natural resources.[1] In order to make those who use the land accountable, planning strategically for the long term and internalizing their costs to the extent possible, it must be owned by small groups of people who live on it. When decisions are made by large, distant corporate bodies that are not answerable in any robust way to local communities, we cannot be surprised to find them depleting and draining the life from the land.

        The ability of the land to sustain life begins with the soil, which, when it is strong and healthy, is a world of irreducible beauty and complexity. This world is full of life forms and the relationships between them, from bacteria and fungi, to plants and animals, both living and dead, of various sizes and scales. Soil is a living thing—an infinitely complex network of them, more precisely—and human civilization has been phenomenally good at killing it, at making dead, dry deserts of dynamic living networks. As observed from space, we might regard humans as a desert-making species.

  • Finance

    • Common DreamsOpinion | No Half Measures—Biden Needs to Cancel All Student Loan Debt

      On September 1, 2021, Hurricane Ida hit Southeast Louisiana, temporarily displacing thousands of New Orleans residents, including myself and most of my family. Residents who had the means evacuated early, leaving others to fight for limited resources while simultaneously seeking refuge in neighboring cities. On top of their pre-existing bills, evacuees were forced to front the costs of hotels, food, gas and repairs or even replacement of their own homes. Natural disasters produce an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety—you simply don’t know if you will have a house to live in until you are able to return home. 

    • The NationDon’t Boycott Amazon

      After years of dominating American capitalism by grinding workers into the dust, Amazon is on a hot losing streak, and it’s absolutely invigorating to watch. If the Amazon Labor Union had only organized workers in a blowout vote on Staten Island, it would’ve been enough. And if Amazon had only spent $4.3 million fighting them just to fail, it would’ve been enough. But, dayenu! A judge also just threw out the company’s motion to dismiss a case of race- and gender-based discrimination filed by a corporate worker, too!

    • Common Dreams‘Reprehensible’: Biden Slammed for Urging States to Spend Untapped Covid Funds on Cops

      News that President Joe Biden is planning to urge states and cities to use unspent money from last year’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to further increase police funding elicited furious responses on social media Friday.

      “Incredibly bleak and symptomatic. Money allocated to care for humans will be used to cage and kill them instead.”

    • Common DreamsGreen Groups Push DeJoy to Hand Over Secret Documents From Polluting Truck Deal

      A pair of green groups on Thursday appealed the U.S. Postal Service’s rejection of a Freedom of Information Act request seeking to uncover details about the mail agency’s contract to purchase more than 160,000 new delivery trucks, 90% of which are expected to be gas-powered.

      “As the USPS forges ahead with its ill-conceived and controversial decision to pollute communities across the nation instead of electrifying their delivery trucks, we demand to see the details surrounding the agency’s decision,” said Elena Saxonhouse, managing attorney with the Sierra Club, which joined Elders Climate Action in filing the administrative appeal.

    • Counter PunchLimits to Growth: Where We Stand Today

      Fifty years ago this spring the Club published a book called The Limits to Growth, based on a study using complex computer models by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Donnella Meadows and her husband Dennis, with a couple of MIT graduate students. It used advanced computers to chart out different scenarios, including one in which nothing is done and we continue heedless growth. Its conclusion was stark and simple:

      The book was a worldwide best-seller, but its conclusions were widely challenged and, in centers of political and economic power, mostly ignored.  Growth is, after all, the lifeblood and raison d’etre of capitalism and the idea that there should be limits to it was so repugnant as to be essentially incomprehensible. A lot of people are making a lot of money, and a very few a very lot, so what would be the point in imagining that there would ever be an end to it?

    • TruthOutActivists Have Gathered Enough Signatures to Put $18 Wage on California Ballot
    • ScheerpostGreat Disorder and Extravagant Lies

      For an agenda of compassion that gives hope in the possibilities of a world not rooted in private profit, Vijay Prashad turns to the public-health program of Kerala, India.

    • Unemployment Agency Hassle

      In Sweden there’s a sort of unemployment fund you can opt in to paying to if you’re in a labour union. If and when you lose your employment you will be entitled to payouts from this fund in lieu of a salary. The payout is a percentage of what your salary was. If you’re not in a union you may still be entitled to (much lower, standardised) payouts from a government fund. I don’t actually remember if you have to invest in that before hand.

      As people whom I communicate often with know I lost my employment early April. I was given a very generous severance and will not suffer economically for quite some time. I certainly don’t need any payouts from any of those funds even if I’m eligible, which I haven’t really checked. I’ve not been in a union for a couple of years though.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The NationSo You Want to Reduce Crime?

      Republicans are trying to terrify the public with stories of rising crime, sending Democrats scrambling to prove that they’re tough on the issue. In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, he promised to do something about people killed by guns. The solution, he said, is not to defund the police—a rallying cry from the racial justice protests of summer 2020 calling to move resources from police departments to other social investments. “The answer is to fund the police,” he declared.

    • Common Dreams‘Bought and Paid for by You!’: Fetterman Celebrates 200K Individual Donors in PA Primary

      Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has surpassed 200,000 individual donors since he launched his bid for the key battleground state’s open U.S. Senate seat, his campaign announced Friday.

      “Our campaign will always be funded the right way. No dirty money. No corporate PACs.”

    • The NationGoing Beyond Inclusion in Independent Media

      The Nation’s editor in chief D.D. Guttenplan and senior editor Lizzy Ratner sat with journalists Laura Flanders, Sara Lomax-Reese, and S. Mitra Kalita as part of the magazine’s Conversations series to speak about the critical importance, and challenges, of independent media. The cofounders of URL media, Lomax-Reese is the CEO of WURD Radio, one of the few remaining Black-owned talk radio stations in the nation, and Kalita is a veteran journalist and author, most recently senior vice president at CNN Digital.

    • The NationSummer Lee Is Exactly What a Democrat Should Be

      Summer Lee, a Democratic legislator with a track record of winning tough elections and backing fellow Democrats in critical races, faces a supremely cynical assault as she seeks her party’s nomination for an open US House seat in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary. A multimillion-dollar media campaign against Lee, paid for by donors that frequently back Republicans, is smearing the 34-year-old state representative as a threat to the Democratic Party who doesn’t merit a place on its ballot line.

    • Counter PunchA Look Back at Bigger Than Bernie: Can the Democratic Party Be Reformed From Within?

      * * *

      The progressive movement  laid all its eggs in one basket, the Democratic Party, rather than looking to create any alternative means of translating ideas into action. Or rather, not the progressive movement but a small band of self-proclaimed “socialists,” often young and urban and hip, many of them offspring of the Occupy movement, who found a convenient sheltering place in Bernie Sanders’s latest campaign, which they succeeded in reshaping toward their own ideological ends, utilizing forms of flattery and hero-worship the wily old campaigner from Vermont should have been more wary of. Anyway, the inevitable denouement—i.e., the crashing and burning of Sanders’s second Quixotic charge—has already transpired, the encouragement of the Sanders faithful to get in line behind the neoliberal candidate of the moment is in full flourish, and the question that begs to be answered, in the wake of the catastrophe, is this: Can the Democratic Party be reformed? Can it serve as an agency for “socialist” (read progressive) policy changes? Should activists and thought leaders spend time and energy working to reinvent the party, or should they look for new outlets?

    • Counter Punch$40 Billion War Fever Grips Congress as U.S. Escalates Ukraine War

      Previously antiwar Democrats like Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Jim McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Pramila Jayapal, who should know better, have uncritically embraced the Administration’s escalating war against Russia to the tune of $40 billion.

      Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must be condemned. But the Administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine. President Biden said that President Putin cannot remain in power. Secretary of Defense Austin said the U.S. seeks to weaken Russia. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that we are fighting until “victory”.

    • TruthOutSanders Slams AIPAC and Billionaires for Spending Millions Against Progressives
    • Common DreamsRallying for Summer Lee, Sanders Rips AIPAC for Trying to ‘Buy Elections’

      During a rally in support of U.S. House candidate Summer Lee on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders called out super PACs bankrolled by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and billionaire donors for spending big to crush progressives in Pennsylvania and elsewhere across the country, efforts that the Vermont senator decried as “pathetic” and corrosive to democracy.

      “If they are successful, they will carry this into November,” Sanders warned at the event in Pittsburgh, which was held days before the May 17 Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. “They have billions of dollars at their disposal.”

    • TruthOutJan. 6 Committee Subpoenas 5 GOP Members of Congress — Including Kevin McCarthy
    • TruthOut“Pro-Life” Republicans Complain Biden Isn’t Starving Babies at the Border
    • TruthOutHow Did Biden Not Notice the Far Right Lurch of the Republican Party Until Now?
    • HungaryThe Hungarian government’s objections could delay EU sanctions on Russian oil
    • Counter PunchRoaming Charges: Caught in a Classic Trap

      + According to the Washington Post, Republicans are getting more and more confident that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will not seriously harm their chances of regaining House and Senate majorities come November. This seems to me  like a pretty solid bet for the GOP. How stupid do you have to be to vote for the same people who said they’d defend abortion rights and didn’t, expecting them to reinstate the very rights that were lost on their watch.

      + There have been 11 murders of abortion clinic workers since 1990 and 41 bombings and 173 arsons at abortion clinics since 1977.

    • FAIRJulie Hollar on Roe Reversal, Tesnim Zekeria on Baby Formula Shortage
    • The VergeA court just blew up internet law because it thinks YouTube isn’t a website

      But the hearing went fully off the rails when Judge Jones began discussing Section 230, the law that shields people who use and operate “interactive computer services” from lawsuits involving third-party content. Courts have applied the term “interactive computer service” to all kinds of things, including old-school web forums, email listservs, and even gossip sites. But as NetChoice’s attorney was arguing that websites should receive First Amendment protections, Judge Jones seemed baffled by the terminology.

      “It’s not a website. Your clients are internet providers. They are not websites,” Jones asserted of websites including Facebook, YouTube, and Google. “They are defined in the law as interactive computer services.” To mangle the term a little further, she asked if the sites were “interactive service providers” that she defined as fundamentally different from media websites like Axios and Breitbart. (Newspaper and blog comment sections have been repeatedly defined as interactive computer services, too.)

      The idea that YouTube is an “internet provider” and not a “website” is nonsense in a literal sense since it’s demonstrably a website that you must access via a separate internet service provider. (Try it from home!) It’s unclear whether Jones was confusing “interactive computer services” with ISPs. But the real problem isn’t a judge that doesn’t understand technology. It’s that she apparently thinks relying on Section 230 strips website operators of First Amendment rights. Around the weird waffling over “internet providers,” Jones laid out a line of thinking that seemingly boils down to this: [...]

    • TechdirtBoiling Elon Musk – Jumping Out Of The Pot Of Platform Law?

      The boiling frog syndrome suggests that if a frog jumps into a pot of boiling water, it immediately jumps out — but if a frog jumps into a slowly heating pot, it senses no danger and gets cooked. Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has been gradually coming to a boil of dysfunction for a decade – some are horrified, but many fail to see any serious problem. Now Elon Musk has jumped into a Twitter that he may quickly bring to a boil. Many expect either him – or hordes of non-extremist Twitter users – to jump out.

    • DeadlineElon Musk Says “Committed” To Twitter Deal Just After He Announced It Was “On Hold” – Update

      Elon Musk now says he’s “still committed to acquisition” of Twitter, hours after he tweeted that the $44 billion deal is “temporarily on hold,” sending Twitter stock into a tailspin and contributing to the circus-show quality of this deal.

    • India TimesMusk puts on hold $44-billion deal for Twitter, shares slump

      Elon Musk on Friday put his $44-billion deal for Twitter Inc temporarily on hold, citing pending details in support of calculation that spam and fake accounts indeed represent less than 5% of users.

    • Hollywood ReporterElon Musk: “Twitter Deal Temporarily on Hold”

      “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” he said, providing a link to an early May Reuters article citing a Twitter regulatory filing. In that filing, the company estimated how many of its “monetizable daily active users” were false or spam accounts, the report noted.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • FAIRMedia Ignore Criticism of DHS’s New ‘Disinformation’ Board—Unless it’s from the Right

        Testifying in front of a House committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently announced DHS’s formation of a “Disinformation Governance Board.” The board’s stated mission would be to address “disinformation spread by foreign states such as Russia, China and Iran,” as well as “transnational criminal organizations and human-smuggling organizations.”

      • Rolling StoneMarjorie Taylor Greene’s Latest Conspiracy Theory Is That the Left Is Torching Food Facilities

        There’s no “Jewish space laser,” but conspiracy theorists are circling around the idea that Democrats are trying to cause a food shortage by setting fire to processing plants

      • NBCYouTube creators are pivoting their videos to Depp v. Heard content and raking in millions of views

        Jacob, who spoke on the condition that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, said he noticed that the video had millions of views but that the channel it came from had “barely any subscribers.” Jacob’s own videos were getting only a few hundred views at the time, so he decided to try to make a video about the celebrity defamation case, instead.

        Within a week, Jacob’s new content — often short compilations of clips from the trial set to royalty-free music — had over 10 million views.

      • NBCWhat the memes about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial reveal

        We don’t know the truth in this situation. Both sides have made upsetting accusations. The problem is the reflexive assumption that Depp is being wronged, along with the gleeful way social media is harassing the woman who accused him of violence. Social media users even harassed a clinical psychologist testifying on behalf of Heard, filling her professional Google profile with one-star reviews calling her a “liar” and “evil.”

        It’s disheartening and sickening to see the meme-ification and commodification. Domestic violence is not funny. It shouldn’t spur popularity contests. It shouldn’t create an industry in which people are vending merchandise on Etsy, in which Rolling Stone reports that sellers are making items such as pins, T-shirts and coffee mugs featuring the phrase “Justice For Johnny.” It shouldn’t be a spectacle in which a woman shows up bringing two emotional support alpacas to the courthouse to cheer Depp up. It shouldn’t prompt writers to publish articles with lines like “The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial is the entertainment we didn’t know we needed in 2022.”

        And then there are the memes. So many memes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Counter Punch21 Fallacies Feeding ‘Cancel Culture’ and Holding Back the Contemporary U.S. Left

      Perhaps cancel culture is mostly mirage: the social media shadow of American celebrity obsession, distracting us from the overall healthy left culture on the ground?

      Maybe left-wing cancel culture is real, but marginal. Just a crazy niche of fringe folks—better to ignore?

    • Frontpage MagazineTurkey: Freedom of Religion Only for Islam

      A 2022 report by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Freedom of Belief Initiative, entitled “An Appeal to Move Forward from Aspirations to Actions: Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey,” reveals Turkey’s decades-long abuses against non-Muslim communities across the country.

      The Committee lists some of the violations of the rights of non-Muslims: [...]

    • [Old] BBCTurkey guilty verdict for depicting Erdogan as Gollum

      Article 299 of the Turkish penal code states that anybody who insults Turkey’s president can face a prison term of up to four years.

      However, Cetin said he would appeal because Mr Erdogan was not president at the time the pictures were published, Turkish media report.

    • [Old] VerfassungsblogThe Curious Case of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code: Insulting the Turkish President

      What is striking at first glance is that the crime of insulting an ordinary person is punishable by imprisonment from 3 months to 2 years according to Article 125 of the Penal Code, whereas if the same crime is committed against the President the imprisonment is from 1 year to 4 years. This appears to be unconstitutional prima facie: Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution explicitly states that international treaties to which Turkey is a party have the force of law. What is more, according to the same Article 90 of the Constitution, in the event of conflict between treaties relating to fundamental rights & freedoms and ordinary Turkish laws, the former prevail over the latter. Thus it is clear that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prevails over Turkish law, in the event of conflict. The fact that the Turkish Penal Code provides for more protection for state officials, namely the Turkish President, than it does to ordinary citizens, against the crime of insulting is plainly contradictory to the ECHR as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

  • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Democracy NowMexican Journalists Protest “Staggering” Toll of Journalists Murdered with Impunity; 11 Slain in 2022

      Three journalists were killed within a three-day span this week in Mexico, bringing the toll to 11 so far this year and making Mexico the deadliest country in the world for journalists, behind Ukraine. Most of the murders have gone unsolved. This week journalists across Mexico took to the streets protesting the murder of their colleagues and called for accountability. “A crime against a reporter is a crime against the entire country,” says Jan-Albert Hootsen, Mexico correspondent at the Committee to Protect Journalists, who calls the numbers staggering and unprecedented.

    • Common DreamsOpinion | Beloved Palestinian-American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Killed in Israeli Raid

      On Wednesday, Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was reporting for Al Jazeera on Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, as she had for over 25 years. On that morning, she was covering an Israeli army assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Shireen and another reporter were against a stone wall, wearing blue helmets and blue flak jackets clearly emblazoned with the word “PRESS.” Shireen was killed by a single shot to the head. A videographer immediately turned a camera towards Shireen’s body, slumped forward on the ground. Witnesses said she was killed by Israeli fire, likely a sniper who specifically targeted the space between her protective vest and helmet.

    • Common DreamsOpinion | How the US Will Ignore Israel’s War Crime of Killing Shireen Abu Akleh

      On Thursday, I appeared on Al Jazeera English to talk about the killing of the network’s iconic correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh.

    • Common Dreams‘Horrific’: Israeli Forces Attack Mourners Carrying Casket of Shireen Abu Akleh

      Israeli soldiers on Friday brutally beat Palestinian mourners carrying the coffin of longtime Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed earlier this week while covering an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

      London-based artist Khadijah Said shared Al Jazeera’s footage of the assault by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), describing it as “one of the most horrifying things I’ve seen.”

    • ABCUN condemns killing of Palestinian-American journalist

      A press statement was approved by the 15 council members after language was removed emphasizing the importance of media freedom and the need for journalists working in dangerous areas to be protected at the insistence of China and Russia, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private.

    • Counter PunchPalestinians are always the target

      As soon as the Israeli state apparatus started to speak about the event, everyone sensible was able to conclude there were lies being told. The fellow Palestinian journalists with Shireen, who are corroborating eyewitnesses, one of whom was also shot, Producer Ali Al-Samoudi, clearly explained what had happened to them. They had been targeted by clearly visible Israeli soldiers, who identified themselves, to which the Palestinian journalists identified themselves back, and the Israeli soldiers continued to shoot at them anyway, shot Shireen in the head and then at anyone who came to her aide. There is tragic and upsetting video footage of this from just after Shireen is shot dead. Shatha Hanaysha is the fellow Palestinian journalist pinned down by the gunfire in the video, as her friend, mentor and colleague lay maimed next to her. B’Tselem, and Bellingcat, have already concluded in the preliminary that Palestinian gunfire directed against the Israeli security forces raid in Jenin, as initially claimed by the Israeli government as the cause of Shireen’s death, did not have line of sight on Shireen and her team and was very unlikely to have been the cause of her death.

      Was she targeted because she was a journalist? Without doubt. Dozens of Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli security forces since 2000. It is policy. Was Shireen targeted because she was a Palestinian? Always. Thousands of Palestinians, children, women, men, the elderly and infirm have been killed and murdered by Israeli security forces in the same time period. It. Is. The. Policy. Of. An. Apartheid. State.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Common DreamsOpinion | Climate Activists Slam UK Government’s Latest Attempt to Silence Them

      New laws designed to crack down on protesters will not deter environmental activists from taking action, campaign groups have warned the UK government.

    • Democracy NowNick Estes: Leonard Peltier’s Continued Imprisonment Is an “Open Wound for Indian Country”

      Calls are growing for President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier, the 77-year-old imprisoned Native American activist who has spent 46 years behind bars for a crime he says he did not commit. Amnesty International considers Peltier a political prisoner, and numerous legal observers say his 1977 conviction for alleged involvement in killing two FBI agents in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation was riddled with irregularities and prosecutorial misconduct. “At this point, there’s no reason other than vindictive revenge for him to be in prison,” says writer and activist Nick Estes, co-founder of the Indigenous resistance group The Red Nation. “He survived COVID, he’s in poor health, and the man deserves to be with his people,” says Estes, who calls for a full congressional investigation into the deaths of Indigenous activists on Pine Ridge Reservation, where the shootout that led to Peltier’s arrest occurred.

    • The NationCalifornia’s Undocumented Children Are Going Hungry
    • Democracy NowNick Estes: Indian Boarding Schools Were Part of “Horrific Genocidal Process” Carried Out by the U.S.

      The Interior Department has documented the deaths of more than 500 Indigenous children at Indian boarding schools run or supported by the federal government in the United States which operated from 1819 to 1969. The actual death toll is believed to be far higher, and the report located 53 burial sites at former schools. The report was ordered by the first Indigenous cabinet member, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose grandparents were forced to attend boarding school at the age of 8. “It’s kind of a misnomer to actually call these educational institutions or schools themselves when you didn’t have very many people graduating, let alone surviving the dire conditions of those schools,” says Nick Estes, historian and co-founder of The Red Nation. Estes says the institutions were part of a “genocidal process” of “dispossession and theft of Indigenous people’s lands and resources.”

    • EFFGeofence Warrants and Reverse Keyword Warrants are So Invasive, Even Big Tech Wants to Ban Them

      Under the Fourth Amendment, if police can demonstrate probable cause that searching a particular person or place will reveal evidence of a crime, they can obtain a warrant from a court authorizing a limited search for this evidence. In cases involving digital evidence stored with a tech company, this typically involves sending the warrant to the company and demanding they  turn over the suspect’s digital data.

      Geofence and reverse keyword warrants completely circumvent the limits set by the Fourth Amendment. If police are investigating a crime–anything from vandalism to arson–they instead submit requests that do not identify a single suspect or particular user account. Instead, with geofence warrants, they draw a box on a map, and compel the company to identify every digital device within that drawn boundary during a given time period. Similarly, with a “keyword” warrant, police compel the company to hand over the identities of anyone who may have searched for a specific term, such as a victim’s name or a particular address where a crime has occurred.

      These reverse warrants have serious implications for civil liberties. Their increasingly common use means that anyone whose commute takes them goes by the scene of a crime might suddenly become vulnerable to suspicion, surveillance, and harassment by police. It means that an idle Google search for an address that corresponds to the scene of a robbery could make you a suspect. It also means that with one document, companies would be compelled to turn over identifying information on every phone that appeared in the vicinity of a protest, as happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin during a protest against police violence. And, as EFF has argued in amicus briefs, it violates the Fourth Amendment because it results in an overbroad fishing-expedition against unspecified targets, the majority of whom have no connection to any crime.

    • Counter Punch“Privacy”: Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

      While sponsor John Cornyn (R-TX) justified the action on alleged “threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families,” the real reason for the bill is no secret. In the wake of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, ordinary Americans started showing up to protest outside the justices’ homes, cueing immediate howls about the sanctity of their “privacy.”

      Wait, what?

    • Counter PunchAmerican Politics and the Lost Art of Toleration

      There is something troubling about this statement. It exemplifies the demise of the art of toleration that once was a hallmark of a liberal society. And in large part that is what is wrong with the Dobbs majority opinion and efforts by others to ban abortion or restrict the personal freedoms or ideas of others. It is also a symbol of the larger problem with the conservative and religious right in America.

      The United States is supposed to be a liberal society.  A liberal society is indebted to political ideas and values that trace back to the seventeenth century British political philosopher John Locke as well as Thomas Jefferson, and the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  It is a secular view of society where the government must respect individual moral choices, opting to be neutral regarding how its citizens define their vision of a good life for themselves.  It is also a tradition committed to the idea of toleration—the idea that I cannot impose my personal moral choices on to others and that I must allow ideas and choices to be made by others, even if I detest them.

    • Counter PunchAn Artist Not in Uniform: How Walter Richter Defied Nazi Homophobia

      These thoughts went through my mind as I was trying to come to terms with a recent visit to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp north of Berlin, where—apart from Jews, political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war—the Nazis also held hundreds of gay men, the 175ers, as they were called, since they were arrested under paragraph 175 of the German criminal code. Recognizable by their pink triangles, they were the victims to regular bullying by the guards and sometimes also by fellow inmates. Hundreds of them died, some of them as the result of medical experiments, in which they were injected with hormones or castrated. Between 5,000 and 15,000 homosexuals,mostly forgotten today, died in Nazi camps.

      I had traveled to Berlin during spring break, in the grim shadow of the coronavirus, with a group of undergraduates from Indiana University, where I teach. To get to Sachsenhausen, you take the S-Bahn from Berlin to Oranienburg, a flat, mostly charmless German city that saw heavy bombing during the war. The camp, or the small portion that’s left, is a short walk away. For the last few minutes, before you get to the visitors center, you’ll pass by a tidy array of brick houses once built for the SS guards and their families, laid out neatly as if on a Lego baseplate. Whatever nightmares they may have once contained are now permanently held at bay by grinning garden gnomes and cheerful signs announcing that “here live the Müllers.” In 1992, the visionary American architect Daniel Libeskind proposed flooding a vast swath of the campsite, creating a “sunken architectural zone” to be viewed from a network of dikes and, on a remaining piece of land, a building that would accommodate a library, a chapel, mental health clinics, and other public services (but no residential spaces). His proposal went nowhere.

    • Pro PublicaIllinois Will Stop Helping Cities Collect Some School Ticket Debt From Students

      Illinois’ top financial official has banned local governments from using a state program to collect debt from students who have been ticketed for truancy, eliminating a burden for families struggling to pay steep fines.

      A number of school districts around the state, meanwhile, have begun to scale back and reevaluate when to involve law enforcement in student discipline, among them a suburban Chicago high school where Black students have been disproportionately ticketed. That school, Bloom Trail High School in Steger, said Thursday that it will stop asking police to ticket students and move to other methods of discipline.

    • BBCKenyan fighting FGM crowned world’s best nurse

      Ms Qabale says she was the only university-educated girl from Torbi village, and the only girl educated past primary school level in her family of 19 children.

      The 31-year-old now holds a Masters in Epidemiology and has set up a foundation aimed at empowering young girls and mothers.

    • The AtlanticI Invented Gilead. The Supreme Court Is Making It Real.

      Although I eventually completed this novel and called it The Handmaid’s Tale, I stopped writing it several times, because I considered it too far-fetched. Silly me. Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them?

    • Common DreamsNationwide ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ Rallies Planned for Saturday

      People across the United States are planning to take to the streets on Saturday, May 14 to protest right-wing attacks on abortion rights, including the looming reversal of Roe v. Wade.

      Pro-choice groups—including Planned Parenthood organizations, Liberate Abortion, MoveOn, Service Employees International Union, UltraViolet, and Women’s March—are putting together marches, rallies, and other events for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action.

    • Common DreamsBillie Eilish, Ariana Grande, and More Vow Young People ‘Will Not Back Down’ on Abortion Rights

      Ahead of nationwide pro-choice rallies planned for the weekend, Grammy-winning pop stars Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande were among more than 160 artists, actors, and other famous figures who declared in a full-page New York Times advertisement on Friday that young people intend to fight for abortion rights.

      “Our power to plan our own futures and control our own bodies depends on our ability to access sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion.”

    • Counter PunchThe GOP’s “Pro-Life” Victory Will Mean More Dead Mothers

      Some Republican abortion foes have called for a federal law along the same lines, criminalizing abortions nationally as homicide.

      Most of the new wave of anti-abortion statutes include no exceptions for incest or rape. A 14-year-old girl who does not want to give birth to her father’s child could be imprisoned for 10 or 15 years. So could a mother who refuses to add a rapist’s child to her family.

    • Counter PunchOverthrowing Manufactured Inevitability, or, No Safe Way to Be Safe

      Many of us can hear her message only as, “Oh, Rev. Warren is right – the good and right and healthy thing for me to do is to slow down, smell the lilacs, hike in the Adirondacks or walk in the city park, dig in the soil, go out and join with people in church or social cause, etc.” But then, when doing the good thing provides no permanent relief from anxiety, we will blame ourselves or something else and return to the substitute sources of relief we know and trust.

      It would be a harder essay to write, and less “NY Times-ogenic,” but what has to be addressed if we’re to get anywhere in bringing people back to relationships embedded in the material, embodied, interdependent world, is how profoundly, existentially unsafe people feel. Partly this is because we live in objectively Apocalyptic times. But, moreover and crucially, this is because most of us never felt emotionally safe in the first place and continue on untreated for our existential anxiety. We’ve lived with that deeper fear for so long it has become indelibly “in charge,” forming the unspoken basis for many of our most important decisions. Decisions based in fear not in strength (i.e., “vote for a Democrat!”), are mainly conforming; the main object being to assuage that dread without ever actually looking at it, like the way you handle a Medusa.

    • Frontpage MagazineRamadan Sees Spike in ‘Disappearance’ of Coptic Christian Women and Girls

      The only thing uncommon about these two stories, which have played out repeatedly in Egypt, is that both the woman and the teenager actually made it back to their families, though, no doubt, only after being permanently scarred by their ordeals.

      The fact is, Coptic Christian girls have been and increasingly continue to be abducted, sexually abused, and forced to convert to Islam and marry their kidnappers—and the majority of them are never seen again.

    • MedforthGermany: Because “certain cultures” are offended by it, a school forbids pupils to wear miniskirts

      An uproar at a secondary school in Bavaria: Despite summer temperatures, schoolgirls are forbidden to wear short dresses or shorts. This clothing is not appropriate out of consideration for other cultures and religions. The school management says that the school stands for a “cosmopolitan society”.

    • BBCPolygamy: Muslim women in India fight ‘abhorrent’ practice

      A 28-year-old Muslim woman’s petition to a court, seeking to prevent her husband from taking another wife without her written consent, has put the spotlight on the practice of polygamy among Indian Muslims.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • TechdirtBiden Broadband Event Showcases Why U.S. Telecom Policy, Press Coverage Is So Broken

      Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced a “new” broadband plan that wasn’t actually new. The rose garden event featured executives from twenty ISPs who all got a pat on the back in front of the cameras for voluntarily and temporarily participating in a Biden plan to provide a $30 discount off of the broadband bills of low-income Americans.

    • TechdirtThe Internet Has Opened Up The Creator Economy To New Heights

      One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratization that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection can spread the word about their work and make money from it. In effect, everyone who is online, to a greater or lesser degree, is a digital creator – even with the most ephemeral of posts on social media. Although it is clear the creative field has been opened up enormously, details are hard to come by. That makes a new “Creator Report” from Linktree particularly useful. Linktree describes itself as:

    • offline and limited bandwidth

      It was interesting to hear about the Internet experience in the country of Tajikistan where unlimited high speed data is not something that can be taken for granted. I was happy to hear that Ben was able to get a better deal by being persistant. I had not heard of Internet data being charged based on the time of usage. My parents many years ago tried to save money by switching to an electric plan that charged a higher rate overall but was much cheaper at night. This resulted in them putting timers on appliances so that they would only run during certain hours.

    • dear big internet, why so negative

      There’s a question that I ask myself very frequently, which sounds somewhat like this: “What on Earth did the Internet do to people to make them so full of their negative opinions?”

      And like, don’t get me wrong, opinions are cool, and people are allowed to dislike things (stars know I have a lot of those), but I feel like for years it’s been, you know. Say, you see a movie and you didn’t like it. You can tell your friends and family that the movie was trash in your opinion. Maybe your movie club if you attend one. If your colleague at work mentions said movie, that may be an opportunity for a discussion, too.
      On the other hand, though, if your colleague or your friend is excited to see that movie or liked it already, and instead of having a discussion and seeing their point of view or simply agreeing to disagree you loudly proclaim that their opinion is invalid because you said so… You’re probably going to look like a major ass, aren’t you.

  • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Hollywood ReporterStreaming TV’s Next Battlefront: Free Services Seize Their Moment

      Could Netflix’s pain be someone else’s gain? A number of entertainment companies are counting on exactly that. As consumers grapple with higher subscription costs, and with more subscription video offerings than ever, those companies in the free, ad-supported streaming space (usually referred to as FAST, in industry jargon) think their time is now.

      In fact, many of the biggest players in the FAST space will be familiar to close followers of the entertainment business. There’s Pluto TV, owned by Paramount; there’s Tubi, owned by Fox Corp.; there’s Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), owned by Amazon; there’s Peacock’s free tier, owned by NBCUniversal; and there’s Roku Channel, owned by, well, Roku.

    • Hollywood ReporterNetflix Tells Employees to “Spend Our Members’ Money Wisely” in New Memo

      Netflix is advising its employees to be fiscally responsible, while facing a loss of subscribers that has sparked fears about the viability of streaming services.

  • Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • CNNHow your photo could end up in the public domain — and used in ads around the world

        In 24 states, the person in the photo may have a “right of publicity” — which prevents the unauthorized commercial use of someone’s name or likeness, Sedlik said.

        That protects the person if their photo is used to appear as if they’re endorsing something.

        A person may have a right in some states, under certain circumstances, to restrict a photographer’s ability to commercially exploit their likeness, Sedlik said. In some states only celebrities have this right, he added.

        But right of publicity is not the same as copyright protection.

      • Torrent FreakRussia’s Forced Licensing Plan For ‘Enemy’ Content “Legalizes Piracy”

        After entertainment companies announced suspensions of new business in Russia, the government faced key questions: What happens when the supply of new movies and music runs dry and existing licensing agreements for older content expire? It appears that the Kremlin has a plan for ‘enemy’ content but according to legal video platforms in Russia, it will effectively legalize piracy.

      • Torrent FreakElon Musk: “Overzealous DMCA Is a Plague On Humanity”

        The richest man on the planet has just shared some controversial takes on copyright and the DMCA. Elon Musk, who might take over Twitter, believes that the current copyright term goes “absurdly far” in protecting creators. In addition, he characterizes the “overzealous” DMCA as a “plague on humanity.”

      • TechdirtBecause Of Course: Rightsholders Pushing To Turn Digital Services Act Into Another Anti-Piracy Tool

        It never fails. We’ve been talking about the EU’s Digital Services Act for a few years now, looking at how the EU’s technocratic desire to overregulate the internet is going to cause real problems. And while at least they took a more systematic process to figuring out how to write the law, the end result still struck us as a disaster in waiting. And, because this is how any internet regulation attempt always turns out, after all the back and forth discussions and careful weighing of different ideas, someone always has to come in at the very end and seek to make everything much worse. In this case, the issue is that the EU Parliament, which gave us the terrible and broken Copyright Directive, is now trying to sneak more bad copyright ideas into the DSA.

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    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  15. Linux Foundation Almost Never uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  16. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  17. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  18. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  19. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  20. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  21. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  23. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  24. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  25. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  26. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  27. Jim Zemlin: Chief Revenue Officer in 'Linux' Seat-Selling Foundation

    Board seats in the Linux Foundation are basically a product on sale, based internal documents



  28. Reminder: Linux Foundation's Last IRS Filing is Very Old (Same Year the CFO Left)

    People really need to ask the Linux Foundation, directly, why its filings are years behind; this seems like a sensitive subject



  29. Linux Foundation Does Not Speak for GNU/Linux Users

    There's a serious problem in the "Linux" world as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation claims to speak for us (the GNU/Linux community) while in fact speaking against us (on the payroll of those looking to extinguish us)



  30. IBM's Lennart Poettering on Breaking Software for Pseudo Novelty

    Recently-uploaded ELCE 2011 clip shows a panel with Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas Gleixner, Paul McKenney, and Lennart Poettering (relevant to novelty or perceived novelty that mostly degrades the experience of longtime users, e.g. Wayland and systemd)


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