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05.31.16

Links 31/5/2016: Linux Lite 3.0, Alpine 3.4.0, Krita 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • ownCloud Mail 0.5 released

    Following the release early, release often philosophy when working on ownCloud Mail, we do releases quite often. The most important enhancement of this release is our first step towards tight integration with more community apps. Additionally, it marks the beginning of Tahaa’s GSOC coding period.

  • OwnCloud Forms A Foundation

    Markus Rex of ownCloud announced this morning, “Today we announced the creation of the ownCloud Foundation which will guarantee the viability and availability of free ownCloud now and in the future. We have made a commitment to open development in a blog recently and want to extend that further to ensure that the community is providing the direction, planning and atmosphere that is best for the project. The ownCloud community has matured a lot over the last few years and is certainly to play a bigger part in its own destiny.”

  • Quantifying Benefits of Network Virtualization in the Data Center

    Modern data centers have increased significantly in scale and complexity as compute and storage resources become highly virtualized. The rise of the DevOps style of application deployment means that data center resources must be agile and respond rapidly to changing workload requirements. Data center network technologies have been challenged to keep up with these rapidly evolving application requirements.

  • Apache Zeppelin Joins Several Other Projects Gaining Top-Level Status

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Only a few days ago, the foundation announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale. Now, it has announced that Apache Zeppelin has graduated as well. Zeppelin is a web-based notebook that enables interactive data analytics.

  • 6 Open Source Operating Systems for the Internet of Things (IoT)

    Whether you are small to large enterprises, IoT is one of the useful technology that can help you to be connected on-the-go.

  • 6 open source architecture projects to check out

    The world of architecture doesn’t change as quickly as software, but architects are still finding new ways to share innovative designs and ideas.

    The open source architecture movement aims to make architectural designs, drawings, 3D renderings, and documentation freely available for integration into other projects under open source licenses. It owes much of its growth to the growing popularity of the maker movement, DIY culture, 3D printing, and CNC machines, as well as support from architects like Alejandro Aravana.

  • Yorubaname.com has gone opensource, codebase now on GitHub

    Online dictionary for yoruba names, YorubaName, has now made its backlog accessible to the public. In a post on their blog, the guys at YorubaName announced that the website codebase is now on GitHub.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet conference videos and slides online: Edward Snowden, Richard Stallman, Karen Sandler, and more

      Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announces that recordings and slides from its LibrePlanet 2016 free software conference are now available online.

      LibrePlanet 2016: Fork the System was held in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center on March 19 and 20, 2016. Video for the opening keynote with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and dozens more sessions from the conference – over 25 hours of free software ideas – are available on the FSF’s instance of GNU MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing platform that is a decentralized replacement to sites like YouTube and Flickr.

    • Women Dominate 2016’s O’Reilly Open Source Awards

      In an illustration of the value of diversity, four out of five of the recipients presented with O’Reilly Open Source Awards at this year’s OSCON were women.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Here’s how you can make a career in OpenStack

      OpenStack is one of the biggest open source movements. It is a free and open-source software platform for cloud computing, mostly deployed as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). The software platform consists of interrelated components that control hardware pools of processing, storage, and networking resources throughout a data centre.

      According to the official website, hundreds of the world’s largest brands rely on OpenStack to run their businesses every day, reducing costs and helping them move faster. OpenStack has a strong ecosystem globally.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • ZFS Fault Management Daemon Added To FreeBSD

      The latest FreeBSD development code has integrated the zfsd daemon.

      ZFSD is the ZFS Fault Management Daemon. ZFSD deals with situations like drive faults in ZFS pools with hot-spares and replacements. This comes as the ZFS file-system support in FreeBSD continues to mature and is in quite a good state for ZFS outside of Oracle.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Astronomy Utilities is released

      The first public release of the GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro, version 0.1) tarball is now available for download, see below for more details. Gnuastro is an official GNU package consisting of a set of utilities, or executable programs (listed below), for astronomical data manipulation and analysis directly from the command-line (no mini-environment) and satisfying the GNU Coding Standards.

    • Gnuastro: GNU Gets Into Astronomy

      Gnuastro is the latest GNU Project.

      Gnuastro v0.1 was released today as the first public release of this package, which stands for the GNU Astronomy Utilities. Gnuastro contains utilities for astronomical data manipulation and analysis via the command-line.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Oracle v. Google Suit is Still an Anti-Open Move That Shouldn’t Have Happened

      All the way back in 2010, when Oracle filed a complaint for patent and copyright infringement against Google regarding parts of the Java code found in Google’s Android mobile OS, I wrote a post calling the move “the anti-open move of the year.” Fast-forward to today, and in the Oracle v. Google trial that just concluded, a jury returned a verdict in Google’s favor. It basically concluded that Oracle’s suit against Google, claiming that the use of Java APIs in Android violated copyright law, was bunk.

      Now, in an op-ed piece for Ars Technica, Annette Hurst, an attorney who represented Oracle, equates the jury’s decision with the death of open source.

      [...]

      Hurst makes a good point that dual licensing models are increasing, with many open source projects available for free, while commercial versions, often including support, come at a cost. But the Oracle suit originated because Oracle essentially perceived itself as owning a moat around Java that didn’t really exist.

      [...]

      Indeed, one of the lasting images of this long running legal skirmish is going to be Oracle behaving in a decidedly anti-open fashion. It may have been wiser for Oracle to simply let this one go.

    • Here’s how to check if software license is open source

      The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

      According to the Initiative, the API will allow third parties to ‘become license-aware’, giving businesses everywhere means to determine if a license is Open Source or not.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Most Spanish cities fail to comply with law on transparency

      The survey, which covered 54 cities in Spain (including Málaga, Saragossa, La Corogne, Alicante, Lleida, Cantabria and Castilla la Mancha), analysed the website of city councils to see if essential data had been published, as required by the law. Those data include the remuneration of senior officials, the declaration of assets of the municipal councillor, budgets, inventory, property, contracts, agreements and grants.

    • Malta’s ICT agency reaches out to youth and NGOs

      Last Saturday, Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA) reached out to the country’s youth and non-governmental organisations. The agency organised a public workshop, demonstrating eGovernment services, to show how these can ‘revolutionise government interaction’.

    • Austria shares thoughts on citizen-centric government

      Citizens have strong ties with municipal administrations, the Bürgerzentriertes eGovernment (BUEGO) working group writes. They consult their administration’s websites expecting immediate answers to a range of questions, such as time tables for waste collection, and information about medical care. According to the working group, the way in which Austria’s municipalities offer this information is neither systematic nor universal.

    • Open Data

      • Luxembourg launches open data portal

        The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg officially launched its national open data portal data.public.lu on April 8th. This portal, supported by Digital Luxembourg, the government agency in charge of digital affairs in the country, was presented during the Game of Code hackathon.

      • Denmark to accelerate government digitisation

        Open standards

        The existing shared solutions are to be adopted by all authorities and public sector institutions where relevant, according to a presentation in English. “Shared solutions need to be stable, secure and user-friendly, they will also be easy to implement because the infrastructure is based on open standards.”

        The strategy, an agreement involving the government, regions and municipalities, was announced on 12 May. It includes 33 initiatives, which among other things deal with ease of use, reuse of data, IT architecture, growth, security and digital skills, DIGST says.

  • Programming/Development

    • 3 Things Infrastructure as Code is Not

      The role of the network engineer is changing. This is not a result of DevOps, although some would claim it is. As DevOps takes center stage in organizations, it can seem like network engineers are being asked to become developers.

      There have been a number of talks discussing this, some of which have surfaced at Interop Las Vegas. The shift has been Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which was fundamental to the start of the DevOps movement. So maybe you could say this is caused by DevOps.

    • Introducing Blue Ocean: a new user experience for Jenkins

      While this project is in the alpha stage of development, the intent is that Jenkins users can install Blue Ocean side-by-side with the Jenkins Classic UI via a plugin.

      Not all the features listed on this blog are complete but we will be hard at work over the next few months preparing Blue Ocean for general use. We intend to provide regular updates on this blog as progress is made.

      Blue Ocean is open source today and we invite you to give us feedback and to contribute to the project.

Leftovers

  • Samsung: Don’t install Windows 10. REALLY

    Samsung is advising customers against succumbing to Microsoft’s nagging and installing Windows 10.

    The consumer electronics giant’s support staff have admitted drivers for its PCs still don’t work with Microsoft’s newest operating system and told customers they should simply not make the upgrade.

    That’s nearly a year after Microsoft released Windows 10 and with a month to go until its successor – Windows 10 Anniversary Update – lands.

    Samsung’s customers have complained repeatedly during the last 12 months of being either unable to install Microsoft’s operating system on their machines or Windows 10 not working properly with components if they do succeed.

  • Hardware

    • ARM Cortex-A73 core and Mali-G71 GPU target mobile VR

      ARM announced a 10nm Cortex-A73 architecture with 30 percent better sustained performance and efficiency than the Cortex-A72, plus a 32-shader Mali-G71 GPU.

      ARM unveiled a follow-on to the high-end Cortex-A72 mobile architecture, which was announced in Feb. 2015, and also unveiled a high-end Mali-G71 GPU to work with it (see farther below). The Cortex-A73 supports a 10nm FinFET process, compared to 16nm FinFET+ for the Cortex-A72. Using this process, Cortex-A73 cores would measure 0.65 x 0.65mm, making it the “smallest and most efficient ‘big’ ARMv8-A core” to date, according to ARM.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dow-DuPont Merger Will Cripple Farmers and Food Sovereignty, Groups Warn

      Public interest groups urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the mega-merger of chemical corporations Dow and DuPont, which the organizations argue is part of a larger effort to put a “corporate cabal” in charge of the nation’s food system.

    • WHO Boosts Efforts For Plain Packaging

      “Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced,” according to the World Health Organization, and plain packaging of tobacco products can save lives, it said. The theme of this year’s no-tobacco day, today, is: Get ready for plain packaging, as the WHO is calling for countries to introduce plain packaging in their territories.

    • From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good

      In response, people are fighting back and resisting. From Ghana to India and from Europe to beyond, food sovereignty movements are demonstrating a deep-rooted resistance against neoliberal doctrine and its negative impacts on agriculture, health, communities and the environment. And they are armed with realistic alternatives to corporate dominated agriculture and the policies and framework which allows it to prosper at the expense of both people and the environment.

    • Zika and the Olympics

      Federal troops are spraying for mosquitoes, and neighborhood health inspectors have been tasked with eliminating standing bodies of water where they are known to breed, says the government. Do you really believe that the Brazilian government is capable of eradicating mosquitoes in Rio even temporarily?, asks anyone who has ever had contact with Brazilian bureaucracy. So the argument goes, back and forth, and it’s getting ugly.

    • Thousands Of Sexual Assault Victims In The Military Have Been Denied Veteran Health Care

      Liz Luras carried three American flags over her shoulder in a Memorial Day march this weekend. Each represented a veteran who committed suicide after leaving the military. To Luras, this honor is especially meaningful, since she knows it could easily be her flag waving beside theirs.

      Luras is one of the many soldiers featured in a new Human Rights Watch report who were “honorably discharged” from the military after being the victim of rape or other sexual assault.

    • These Women Stopped a Rape From Happening, and the Story Is Seriously Terrifying

      To make a long story short (although you really should read the whole post), Ulrich and her friends next told the woman’s server and the Fig’s manager what they’d seen. After 40 cringe-inducing minutes of the attempted rapist subtly trying to get her to drink by “chinking his glass to hers,” the two finished their dinner, the Fig staff checked security cameras to confirm that the man had, indeed, poured an unknown substance into the woman’s wine, and the Santa Monica police arrived.

    • The Battle Over Public Drinking Water Has Just Begun

      It’s easy to hate Nestle’s bottled water business.

      The multinational behemoth recently fought a case at the Maine Supreme Court to continue filling Poland Spring bottles — at the same rate the locals pay for tap water. Environmental groups and locals had challenged whether the water company had the authority to sign a 25-year, 603,000 gallon/day contract for public water. The groups lost.

    • A Shockingly Easy Way to Avoid Wasting Thousands of Gallons of Water a Year

      “Typically 20 percent of every shower, the duration, is essentially lost,” said Jonah Schein, technical coordinator for homes and buildings for the EPA’s WaterSense program. “The average shower is a little over eight minutes long, so that’s a good chunk of the shower that we’re not actually being able to utilize.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Security challenges for the Qubes build process

      Ultimately, we would like to introduce a multiple-signature scheme, in which several developers (from different countries, social circles, etc.) can sign Qubes-produced binaries and ISOs. Then, an adversary would have to compromise all the build locations in order to get backdoored versions signed. For this to happen, we need to make the build process deterministic (i.e. reproducible). Yet, this task still seems to be years ahead of us. Ideally, we would also somehow combine this with Intel SGX, but this might be trickier than it sounds.

    • Katy Perry’s Twitter Account With 90 Million Followers Hacked

      Notably, with 90 million followers, Katy Perry is the most followed person on the platform.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • NRA Tells Parents To Keep Guns In Kids’ Rooms For Safety

      During a seminar on “home defense concepts” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, an instructor encouraged gun owners to store firearms in their children’s bedrooms.

      Rob Pincus, who owns the popular firearm instruction company I.C.E. Training, paced across a conference room stage as he repeatedly warned against the threat of violent home invasions. After establishing that filling one’s home with weapons is the only solution, he then recommended that gun owners store firearms in their kids’ rooms for easy access.

    • Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day

      These points should be obvious, but please observe the following basic conventions in your reporting.

      * Always refer to U.S. soldiers using the possessive pronoun “our.”

      * Always refer to all of our U.S. troops as “heroes.”

      * Always refer to their actions in war as “service.”

      * Always refer to their actions in war as “sacrifice” and their deaths in war the “ultimate sacrifice.”

      * Always refer to their actions anywhere as “defending our country (or Homeland)” and fighting for “us.” Acknowledge our “debt” to them.

      * Always, no matter what the cause or war theater, aver that the soldiers are always “defending our freedoms.”

      *Always express gratitude and appreciation; always thank U.S. soldiers from commanders on down for their “service,” whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever.

    • Opinion: In Meme-Moriam

      This weekend, America will pause to honor the thousands of men and women who fought and died to preserve ExxonMobil’s First Amendment rights, and protect it from the tyranny of justice.

    • On Memorial Day, US Troops at War with ISIL near Mosul

      On Memorial Day, it is as well to remember that US troops are still at war. Afghanistan is our nation’s longest such military engagement.

    • Modern Mongols: Sunni Arabs outraged at Iran role in Iraqi Gov’t Fallujah Campaign

      BBC Monitoring surveyed the Arabic press on 27 May for the issue of the Iranian role in the Iraq government campaign to take Fallujah from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). Although Saudi and other newspapers say they want to see Daesh defeated, they are deeply critical of the Shiite militias or Popular Mobilization Forces, alleging that they use indiscriminate fire and create high numbers of civilian casualties when operating in Sunni Arab areas.

      Fallujah is a storied Iraqi Sunni stronghold of several hundreds of thousands of residents, the “city of minarets.” It fell to Daesh in January of 2014, and I think it is fair to say that there is much more angst in the Sunni Arab world about its liberation at the hands of Iran-backed Shiites than there has been about Daesh’s brutal occupation of the city.

    • Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?

      Ever since Neocons de facto took over American foreign policy, after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, rejecting the ‘Peace Dividend’ that many had expected, the cry in Washington D.C. has been to impose an America-centered New World Order by military means.

    • A fond farewell to New York’s Peace Pentagon

      Nearly 20 years ago, as I left the War Resisters League, or WRL, offices in lower Manhattan for the first time, I noticed that my fingertips were covered in black soot and ink. My hands were full of tracts and leaflets, and I had been looking through nonviolence training materials for the last hour. I tried to rub the dirt off onto my jeans, but it wouldn’t budge and later even soap and water had to work really hard.

      A few weeks ago, I went back to 339 Lafayette Street to say goodbye to the appropriately nicknamed Peace Pentagon. The visit reminded me of that sooty, inky afternoon, when the late great and gentle Karl Bissinger gave me a tour of the WRL workroom — teeter-towered floor to ceiling with books, pamphlets, leaflets, posters and signs from every demonstration of the last half century (almost).

    • Forgetting the Crimes of War

      In the U.S. political culture, Memorial Day has become one more chance to glorify American wars and to exploit U.S. soldiers’ deaths to generate sentiment for more wars, a troubling tactic addressed by Gary G. Kohls and S. Brian Willson.

    • A Veteran’s Perspective On Memorial Day

      For 31 years, Veterans For Peace has been the only veterans organization that has rejected war, violence, nuclear weapons, the destruction of the environment created by war, the steady erosion of our civil liberties, the corporate greed that drives our wars and the systemic injustice it produces, here at home and abroad, all in the name of advancing the American empire.

      As veterans, we refuse to accept the notion that, in order to protect the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, the Constitution that we swore to support and defend can be ignored, shredded and cast aside as an inconvenient nuisance standing in the way of American hegemony.

    • Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins

      Some 20,000 Iraqi soldiers, special forces, federal police and Shia paramilitaries are advancing on Fallujah, a Sunni Arab city held by Isis since early 2014. They are backed by the destructive might of the US-led coalition of air forces that have carried out 8,503 air strikes in Iraq and 3,450 in Syria over the last two years. Without such close air support, the anti-Isis forces in Iraq and Syria would not have had their recent successes.

    • Once Upon a Time, My Father Was a Soldier

      The rifle is a story in itself. It was a relic of the French war in Vietnam, the one we failed to learn from. When my father got the call to the “freedom bird” in 1970, he barely had time to pack his duffel and grab the rifle his friend had gifted him. He stepped off the plane to greet my mother at Dulles in his field greens, with the muddy tan and the mustache and the dirt of the war still stuck in the waffle of his boot. When they got to the baggage conveyor, down came the rifle, unboxed, the hard truth of the war right there in broad daylight.

    • Used & Betrayed – 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

      On Memorial Day, politicians will speak at ceremonies all over the country and repeat their favorite mantra: “Support the troops.”

    • Two Men, Two Legs, and Too Much Suffering

      It took nearly 40 years for word of Nguyen Van Tu’s hardships at the hands of the United States to filter back to America. Perhaps a few more Americans will feel remorse as a result. But who will come forward to take responsibility for all this suffering? And who will give Pham Van Chap a new leg?

    • White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942

      In June 1942, a pair of German university students formed The White Rose, a German resistance movement that used a series of leaflets to decry Nazi militarism and call for an end to the war. Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell wrote the first four leaflets between the end of June and beginning of July. In the fall, Hans’ sister, Sophie Scholl, discovered that her brother was one of the authors of the pamphlets, and joined the group. Shortly after, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and Kurt Huber became members.

    • The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored

      On this 2016 Memorial Day, much like all Memorial Day commemorations since 1968, no official recognition or memorial services will be held to honor the 34 dead and the 167 wounded US Navy Men.

      In what has to be one of the most cowardly and expedient political decisions made by a Commander in Chief, politicians, and top brass to uphold the constitution of the United States and to defend American citizens, Lyndon Johnson and his underlings orchestrated a cover up of epic proportions.

      Today no one will hear about the Israeli June 8, 1967 assault on the USS Liberty, an attack so cowardly and so heinous that it exposes Israel’s penchant for manufacturing facts and its ability to manipulate American leadership and the media to gloss over its dastardly deeds.

    • Peter Dale Scott Re-Edit

      Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff devote the hour to a conversation with author Peter Dale Scott about his latest book, “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy.” This wide-ranging discussion examines the “deep state,” an evolving level of secret government separate from the elected government.

    • As Patriotic As Ever

      Of course, primary among those mindlessly calling for carnage he has never seen is Drumpf, “the bog monster of the American id, rising out of the masturbatory muck of our military fantasies in which the manly man slays his enemies.” In a claim that would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying, he says he “will be so good at the military, your head will spin.” It already is. Perhaps he should read Ambrose Bierce on finding the grotesque bodies of the dead during the Civil War: “How repulsive they looked with their blood-smears, their blank, staring eyes, their teeth uncovered by contraction of the lips! The frost had begun already to whiten their deranged clothing. We were as patriotic as ever, but we did not wish to be that way.”

    • Memorial Day Should Make Us Rethink Platitudes About the US Military

      Since World War II, the US military has been used for imperial policing, not defending the country as the Constitution stipulates. Unfortunately, many of the recent military deaths that we are mourning have been unnecessary and even counterproductive – as new more radical groups are spawned from the ones US intervention helped create in the first place – al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq. Some would say that not running an activist foreign policy is naïve and dangerous. What is naïve is that many Americans seem to think that the 9/11 and other terror attacks just arise out of thin air, with no cause except perhaps pure evil in the perpetrators’ hearts. Terrorists are evil, but the ones that threaten the United States (and the ones that don’t should be left alone) are doing so for reasons that the American people and their politicians and media don’t care to examine – at their own peril.

    • Iraqi troops seize control of districts of Falluja from Isis

      Long-awaited assault backed by US-led coalition forces comes with fears militants might use civilians as human shields

    • Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima

      Here’s what he could have said to try to do so:

      Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, an American warplane unleashed the most horrific and inhuman weapon ever invented, immediately imperiling the survival of the entire human species. This act of terrorism was the ultimate crime: a crime of mass murder, a crime of war, and a crime against humanity.

      The victims, those who died incinerated in a flash, and those who died slowly and painfully over years from chemical poisoning, were never able to see justice served. Sadly, there is no way the criminals who carried out this heinous and barbaric act will ever face justice for their crimes.

    • This Is What Happens When You Make Trump Commander In Chief

      Former senior national security leaders from across the political spectrum have said they would “fear for the Republic” in a Trump presidency, that he is “crazy,” “a gamble for the future,” and would have “dangerous consequences for the United States.” The U.S. military is the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known and has hundreds of nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched in a matter of minutes.

    • Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima

      With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles: could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?

    • Milestones (Or What Passes for Them in Washington)

      Toward victory? Peace? Reconciliation? At the very least, toward the prospect of the violence abating? Merely posing the question is to imply that U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world serve some larger purpose.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Big Oil’s “Long Twilight”

      All eyes this morning will be on the half-yearly OPEC meeting in Vienna.

      Although pundits are not expecting a production freeze, the oil price is creeping towards $50, up 80 per cent since its slump of $30 in January.

    • Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta

      Flush with tens of millions of our tax dollars for “security assistance,” the Honduran army and national police have acted with impunity since U.S.-trained generals overthrew Manuel Zelaya, the elected president of Honduras, seven years ago. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton toed the White House line that this wasn’t really a “military coup” worthy of near unanimous condemnation by the Organization of American States. The United States was more concerned about maintaining its own military presence in Honduras than objecting to local human rights abuses that have increased ever since.

    • Heat recedes from wildfires fears

      Despite extremes of heat, extended drought and greater hazards from human carelessness, wildfire is not on the increase.

      Two separate studies, in two journals, using different ways to assess the evidence, conclude that the area of scrub, forest or grassland burned to cinders every year is more or less the same, or may even be getting smaller.

    • Malaysia just established a one million hectare marine park

      Malaysia has just established the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. The Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) occupies 1m hectares (2.47m acres) of seascape off the northern tip of Sabah province in Borneo, a region containing the second largest concentration of coral reefs in Malaysia as well as other important habitats like mangroves, sea grass beds and productive fishing grounds.

    • Scientists Say Canada’s Proposed LNG Port Threatens Paris Climate Accord

      Ninety climate change experts from around the world urged Canadian government officials to “take urgent action” and reject a proposed, “unjustified” liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be built on the British Columbia coast, joining with fierce local Indigenous opposition to the controversial project.

    • Brazil: Rules protecting Amazon under threat in new political fight

      Renewed attempts by top lawmakers to remove environmental licensing requirements for “strategic” development projects in Brazil have been stalled.

      The latest twist comes amidst rising concerns amongst environmentalists that that the new government in Brazil will move undermine environmental protections and may support the licensing move.

      Under a long-proposed constitutional amendment, PEC65/2012, environmental licensing would be “auto-approved” once an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been submitted.

    • Summer Break for Polluters: Congress Bows to the Chemical Lobby on Toxics Regulation

      To the applause of the chemical industry lobby, Congress is sending a new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) bill to President Obama. Anyone familiar with this law knows that it is the weakest of all U.S. environmental statutes, leaving the majority of the 85,000 chemicals in our toys, clothes, homes, schools, and workplaces unregulated and untested for their health effects.

      And if Congress and the chemical lobby have their way, none of that will change.

    • Memorial Day: Trump’s War On Climate Action Would Ensure A World Of Wars

      On Thursday, Donald Trump declared that if elected President, he would wage an all-out war against national and global climate action. On Friday, he went so far as to to deny the reality of California’s devastating drought.

    • Threatened By Climate Change, National Parks And World Heritage Sites Draw Millions

      With spring now in full gear throughout most of the United States, it’s a good bet that Memorial Day Weekend will again be the busiest of the whole year at many national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Utah’s Mount Zion. Last year, 305 million people visited National Park Service-administered sites, signifying the parks’ appeal to millions of Americans and world tourists.

    • How the Obama Administration Is Protecting America’s Wildlife

      Since taking office, President Obama has protected more land and water — over 265 million acres — than any President before him. But his conservation efforts have extended far beyond our natural landscape. In addition to protecting some of our nation’s most iconic and special places, President Obama’s conservation efforts have included wildlife from all across the country.

    • With Endangered Species Act Under Attack, Obama Manages to Score 99 Wildlife Wins

      As part of a final-year push to tackle major environmental challenges, the Obama Administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to slow and reverse the declines in American wildlife populations.

      Though the United States has enacted and implemented some of the world’s most effective wildlife conservation laws, one in five animal and plant species in the United States — nearly 1,300 total species — is at risk of extinction.

    • As One of Its Chief Sources of Water Dries Up, California Eases Restrictions on Use Nonetheless

      A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless.

    • ‘That Is Unbelievable’: Bernie Sanders Shocked by California’s Water Woes, Compares Crisis to Flint’s

      “I’ll tell you something I did not know before I came here,” Bernie Sanders told the crowd at a rally on Sunday in San Joaquin Valley, Calif.

      “I was in Flint, Michigan a few months ago and as all of you know, the children in Flint, Michigan were poisoned by the lead in the water they drank. And in Flint, Michigan, people cannot turn on their taps and use the water in their homes. Now, I thought that was Flint, Michigan. I did not know that there were thousands of homes right around here [in the same situation]. That is unbelievable … that people have got to go out and buy bottled water… is that the case?” Sanders asked incredulously. San Joaquin Valley’s water system is contaminated with nitrates from agriculture, and has been linked in studies to spina bifida, cleft palate and missing limbs.

    • Gold Mining Has Devastated The Peruvian Amazon

      When Meraldo Umiña moved to the Madre De Dios region of Peru in 1983, the toxic gold rush that’s destroyed swaths of Amazon rainforest there was in its infancy. There were no laws regulating informal or illegal mining, and artisanal miners like him were few.

      “Gold was cheap,” Umiña, 59, told ThinkProgress in Spanish — “a gram was about $12.” Using simple but still harmful chemical methods, miners worked just by the rivers then, and the gold was easy to get, he said. There was no need to encroach on the jungle, and no financial incentive to use machine-intensive techniques of extraction.

  • Finance

    • A new campaign to hold Wall Street accountable emerges

      Wall Street’s big banks remain too big to fail and its bankers apparently too big to jail. If Wall Street is ever once more to serve Main Street rather than sabotage it, citizens will have to do the heavy lifting. Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a verdict against Bank of America for falsely peddling lousy mortgage loans, showing yet again that the Justice Department and courts have offered no remedy for what the FBI once warned was an “epidemic of fraud.” At the same time, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out Wall Street lobbyists who were “swarming this place,” pressing Congress to slip bank-friendly riders into must-pass legislation.

    • Fighting for CA Workers, Sanders Slams NYT for Ignoring ‘Real Issues’

      In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on Sunday, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders had harsh words for media more interested in stoking candidates’ antagonism toward each other instead of focusing “on the real issues” of a shrinking middle class and rising wealth inequality in America.

    • Sanders, Brown Speak Out On Gunboat Diplomacy For Corporations

      Members of Congress are weighing in against the U.S. government’s use of “gunboat diplomacy”-style intimidation of Colombia against that country allowing a generic version of an ultraexpensive cancer drug named Gleevec in order to protect the public’s health.

    • Capitalists of the world, unite!

      Capitalism is not a form of government. It is a system of wealth management. It does not create wealth, but only allocates it. It is indifferent to the welfare of people. It has no social purpose. Private profit is everything.

      Over several decades, as millions in Asia and elsewhere have seen living standards rise, tens of millions of Americans have seen theirs fall dramatically – low wages, and lost jobs – in a massive re-allocation of wealth abroad from the once large and prosperous American middle class.

    • Michigan Lawmakers Target Homeless With Ban On “Aggressive” Panhandling

      In Michigan, people who continue begging for money from the same person after receiving a “no” could face up to $100 in fines—money they often simply don’t have. This week the Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee approved House Bill 5103, the “Aggressive Solicitation Prohibition Act.”

      The bill would forbid a variety of behaviors when people panhandle, such as making physical contact, blocking the path of the person they are soliciting, and “approaching or following a person in a manner intended to cause bodily harm.”

    • The Elites and the Rise of Donald Trump

      If you want to see “privilege,” look to the CEO making $20 million a year as they turn in a mediocre performance managing a major corporation. Or talk to a cardiologist, an occupation with a median annual salary of more than $420,000 a year.

    • Anthony Barnett in conversation with Yanis Varoufakis

      openDemocracy founder Anthony Barnett discusses DiEM25, Brexit and European democracy with Yanis Varoufakis. Recorded at the Another Europe is Possible event in London, 28 May 2016.

    • The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?

      A substantial number of Americans are interested in redistributing wealth and making government work for the 99 percent

    • The Sociology of War

      Mises had long struggled to intellectually combat the Marxist class warriors who sought to introduce Bolshevism to Austria. For example, his 1920 explication of the socialist calculation problem demonstrated the fatal flaw in Soviet-style planning. Soon Mises found himself also hounded by race warriors. As a Jewish liberal, he was compelled to flee the rise of the Nazis: first to Switzerland, and then to America.

      The events of World War II proved to Mises that warfare sociology had won the hearts and minds of the west.

    • Husbandry: a feminist reclamation of men’s responsibility to care

      But if you’re like me, you want to make the economy work in the service of the things that we care about, like human and planetary well-being. That’s tough if we imagine that people in their economic lives are solely self-interested and motivated by monetary rewards. It’s also problematic if people think that men, if they want to be caring, have to compromise their masculine gender identity.

      If you try to combine ‘economy’ and ‘care’ using images found on Google, no cogent narrative emerges. A man in a suit sitting on a pile of money…while holding a baby? A woman in nursing scrubs sitting with an elderly person…while engaged in a power handshake? Those images don’t work.

    • Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA

      The 18th round of negotiations on a secret deal to limit public oversight over the services economy starts this week at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, and negotiators will have a new item on their agenda: how to deal with the onslaught of leaks of proposals that were supposed to remain locked away in secret until five years after the deal was concluded or abandoned.

      That’s because WikiLeaks released draft texts on three previously unpublished cross-cutting annexes of the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) yesterday: disciplines on the way governments can regulate State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs); Professional Services, and New Provisions Applicable to All Services.

    • Billionaires Eager To Sue Outlets That Criticize Them Would Thrive In A Trump Presidency

      Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media was about more than Hogan’s payout from the beginning.

      Now, reporting from Forbes alleges that Silicon valley billionaire and pledged Trump delegate Peter Thiel — who has referred to Gawker writers as “terrorists” — has been secretly backing the suit. The New York Times also reports that Thiel is bankrolling the case. The revelation adds a twist to a case already tied up in questions over freedom of speech, and has big implications for how critical press functions in an age of billionaires.

    • Donald Trump in 2006: I ‘sort of hope’ real estate market tanks

      Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008 and millions of Americans lost their homes, Donald Trump said he was hoping for a crash.

      “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about “gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash.”

      The U.S. housing bubble burst two years later, triggering the stock market crash of 2008 that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession, leaving millions of Americans unemployed.

    • Elizabeth Warren Slams ‘Small, Insecure Money Grubber’ Trump For Profiting Off Housing Crisis

      In a 2006 Trump University audiobook, Trump was asked about “gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash.” He responded by saying the prospect was actually something he was looking forward to.

      “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said. “If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money… If you’re in a good cash position — which I’m in a good cash position today — then people like me would go in and buy like crazy.”

    • GOP Congressman Tries To Hijack Civil Rights Movement Language To Destroy Anti-Poverty Programs

      Conservatives who want to weaken anti-poverty programs are a lot like black civil rights protesters who put their lives and freedom on the line to defeat Jim Crow laws in the heart of Ku Klux Klan country, according to Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).

      Roskam made the comparison at a Ways and Means Committee hearing on Tuesday, moments after Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) had spoken of his own impoverished upbringing on farmland in rural Alabama.

    • World’s Low-Cost Economy Built on the Backs of 46 Million Modern Day Slaves

      Close to 46 million men, women, and children are enslaved across the world, according to a harrowing new report from the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.

      Many of them, the analysis notes, are in fact ensnared providing “the low-cost labor that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America, and Australia.”

      The organization’s 2016 Global Slavery Index—based on 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages, covering 44 percent of global population—found there to be 28 percent more “modern slaves” than previously estimated.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Rigged’ 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless, Unheard, and Ashamed

      The survey, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and published Tuesday, reported that a full 90 percent of voters lack confidence in the country’s political system while 40 percent went so far as to say that the two-party structure is “seriously broken.”

      Seventy percent of voters, including equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans, said they feel frustrated about the 2016 presidential election and 55 percent reported feeling “helpless.”

    • Democrats at a Clinton-Sanders Crossroad

      Please don’t commit suicide by nominating Hillary Clinton. Allow me to explain. I have been a Democrat since birth. My first political memory was Robert Kennedy’s assassination. I remember thinking that perhaps the best politician that ever was had died and being terribly sad from that thought.

    • How Democracies Are Subverted

      The repeated indicators of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies bring to mind that Erdogan once said, “Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off.”

    • Clinton Scrambles for California as Sanders Challenges for Nation’s Biggest Prize

      As Bernie Sanders launched a campaign blitz in California on Monday ahead of the state’s June 7 primary, his presidential rival Hillary Clinton found herself cancelling appearances in New Jersey to catch up with him.

      Clinton skipped out on plans to campaign in the Garden State on Wednesday and Thursday in favor of a five-day tour through California, where some recent polls have seen her lead on Sanders shrink to a dead heat—though others have put her a few points ahead.

      California will be the nation’s biggest primary, where 475 delegates are at stake.

    • Establishment Democrats Courting Disaster

      In the 1964 film classic, Dr. Strangelove, Slim Pickens is seen riding a nuclear bomb down to his certain death – and perhaps to the end of us all – while he calmly inventories his survival equipment.

      The Democratic Party Establishment’s commitment to Hillary Clinton is a lot like that.

      As Hillary falls behind Trump, the Establishment is doing all it can to to continue to discredit Sanders — who beats Trump handily — and chase him out of the race. Meanwhile, they comfort themselves with self-deluding lies to justify backing the only candidate Trump could beat.

    • No, I Won’t Work for Hillary Clinton: A Response to Robert Reich

      I don’t know Robert Reich personally, but I greatly respect and appreciate his work; his voice is an important one in the fight against inequality.

      He has, however, repeatedly come down on the wrong side of one crucial issue, an issue that has serious implications for the future of American politics broadly, and for the future of the American left in particular.

    • In Estonia, we should be careful not to overstate the impact of the information war

      The Baltic States are now seen as the next frontline in Russia’s hybrid war. But the political preferences of ethnic Russian communities are more complicated than meets the eye.

    • A pay-to-play pick for the Democratic Party platform committee

      In a rare move, both remaining contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination will pick some of the party’s platform drafting committee members, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, will choose the rest.

    • 58 Donald Trump Conspiracy Theories (And Counting!): The Definitive Trump Conspiracy Guide

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump not only surrounds himself with conspiracy theorists, he has spent years pushing conspiracy theories himself, much to the delight of his supporters.

      At times, Trump tries to remain evasive about whether he actually believes these conspiracy theories, insisting that he simply “heard” or “read” them somewhere or is just asking a question.

    • Another Big Lie From Trump: His Supporters Are the ‘Silent Majority’

      Unlike Nixon’s famous “silent majority,” Trump’s backers are loud—and growing in volume.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Is Still Standing

      One big reason, undoubtedly, is that Clinton is a weak candidate, damaged by her insider status, history of scandal (the email controversy is only the latest in a long line) and the public’s grave doubts about her honesty.

      Her unfavorability ratings—along with those of Donald Trump, her front-running GOP counterpart—sit at historic highs.

      But Clinton’s deficits are only part of the overall picture.

      Another reason Sanders remains in the fight is that the Red-baiting tactics directed against him largely have failed. Those tactics—which have been deployed in both overt, traditional forms and in coded, latter-day garb—have been continuous and unrelenting. They have come from Democrats and Republicans as well as from the mainstream media.

    • North Korean State Media Calls Trump A ‘Far-Sighted’ And ‘Wise Politician’

      In perhaps the most interesting praise of Donald Trump yet, North Korean state media has described the likely Republican presidential nominee as a “far-sighted” and “wise politician.”

      According to NK News, on Tuesday, an editorial in the state outlet DPRK Today noted that “there are many positive aspects to the Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies,’” like his proposal to stay out of the conflict between North and South Korea.

    • North Korea praises Trump and urges US voters to reject ‘dull Hillary’

      North Korean state media has praised US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, describing him as a “wise politician” and “far-sighted candidate” who could help unify the Korean peninsula.

      An editorial in DPRK Today, an official media outlet, welcomed the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal to hold direct talks with Kim Jong-un, saying he could help bring about Pyongyang’s “Yankee go home” policy.

    • Trump v. Clinton: Judging ‘the Lesser Evil’

      The mainstream U.S. media rightly criticizes Donald Trump for his bigoted remarks about Mexicans and Muslims – and his know-nothing-ism on global warming – but wrongly ignores Hillary Clinton’s role in futile and bloody wars, Gilbert Doctorow notes.

    • Lame Duck TPP Push Hands Trump A Powerful Issue Against Clinton

      More and more the word is getting out that President Obama, along with the giant multinational corporations and Wall Street, will launch a push in Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the “lame duck” legislative session following the election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Apple, Arbiters Of Art, Say Game About Surviving The Gaza Strip Isn’t A Game, Even Though It Is

      Search for stories about Apple’s App Store in the Techdirt archives and you will quickly notice a theme. That theme is that Apple routinely appoints itself as the arbiter of artistic quality and morality when it comes to content within the app store, particularly gaming content, and that its application of these standards swings like some kind of absurd pendulum. Ban a game over here for telling a bible story that includes violence against children, but allow the actual bible to be sold as well. React to the South Carolina massacre by pulling down games about the Civil War because they include images of the Confederate flag. Reject a wargaming simulation, then approve it, and nobody knows how the company might decide to react tomorrow. You often hear that stability breeds a good ground for business, whereas Apple runs its App Store like some kind of experiment in chaos.

      And in order to apply its standards in a way that apparently makes the folks at Apple feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it occasionally has to truly lower its explanations to absurd levels of outright lying. For instance, Apple recently disallowed a game about surviving on the Gaza Strip in its store, claiming it wasn’t a game at all, but a news publication, even though the briefest review of the app reveals that it’s obviously a game.

    • Court Says MuckRock Must Take Down Smart Grid Company’s Documents Because Judge Has ‘No Time’ To Review Case Properly

      Last week, we covered a multinational corporation’s attempt to force MuckRock to take down documents supplied by the city of Seattle to Phil Mocek. Landis+Gyr, which was awarded the contract to supply the city with “smart meters” in conjunction with the publicly-owned utility, claimed the documents released — along with documents the city was planning to release — would be a boon to competitors and terrorists, although it didn’t specify which of these it was more worried about.

    • Pakistani Newspaper Alters Readers Comments to make Censorship Point

      Pakistan’s Daily Times, an English-language newspaper, changed online commenters’ posts to make a point on press freedom, Ad Week reported.

      The newspaper and ad agency Grey Singapore created a “Free My Voice” campaign that included “an algorithm that automatically flipped the meaning of commenters’ posts, and applied it to comments beneath a controversial article about the Islamic country’s blasphemy law,” according to Ad Week.

    • Column: Shining light on campus censorship

      Something weird is happening in higher education. Although liberal ideology has controlled the campuses for generations, some liberals seem to be suffering a crisis of faith. In the New York Times (May 7), columnist Nicholas Kristoff, for instance, wonders about the campus’ rather peculiar view of diversity: “We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table – er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us as long as they think like us.”

    • Reject Censorship at Conference on Refugees. The “Dirty War on Syria” is the Cause of the Refugee Crisis [Ed: more context in the item below]

      Unfortunately the organizers have been pressured to censor discussion and debate. A campaign was launched to disinvite keynote speaker Dr. Tim Anderson (University of Sydney). His book “The Dirty War on Syria” exposes the role of the USA and its allies in destabilizing Syria, funding and promoting the conflict that has led to the current refugee crisis. As they have in the past, some groups and individuals who support the armed opposition in Syria are trying to prevent a broader discussion.

    • Video: The Dirty War on Syria – Prof. Tim Anderson on GRTV

      The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In this way Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a mild-mannered eye doctor, became the new evil in the world.

      The popular myths of this dirty war – that it is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or a sectarian conflict – hide a murderous spree of ‘regime change’ across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington’s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a ‘New Middle East’. After the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria was next in line.

    • China’s 50 Cent Party: The Other Side of Censorship

      Russia has its famed “troll factories” – shadowy organizations quietly supported by the Kremlin to flood Internet comment sections with vitriolic anti-U.S. posts intended to provoke the worst sorts of responses.

      Iran may boast of its “halal Internet,” a giant nationwide web only for those inside Iran supposedly being built to keep out “unclean” or anti-Islamic content, as well as critical comments about the government.

      But when it comes to altering or censoring the web, the worldwide leader by far is China. For decades, Beijing has celebrated what it calls the Golden Shield, what the rest of the world has come to know as the “Great Firewall of China.”

    • Minister backs SABC protest censorship
    • Cosatu rejects SABC “censorship”
    • Communications minister welcomes SABC protest ‘censorship’
    • SA editors slam SABC decision to ban coverage of violent protests
    • We Spoke With That Utah Mormon Republican Who Wants to Institute Porn Filters
    • Duo held for posting obscene images of Goddess Kali, PM on FB; may be tried under NSA
    • MP govt slaps NSA on duo for Facebook post
    • NSA invoked against two for ‘liking’ FB post on Kali
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Europe, This is Unbearable’: Deadly Crossings Drive Migrant Fatalities to New Heights

      Describing a heartbreaking and horrific scene of hundreds of bodies floating on the surface of the Mediterranean, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) confirmed Sunday that more than 700 asylum seekers drowned last week, capping off the deadliest period for those fleeing war and violence in over a year.

      “The casualties happened in three separate incidents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after more than 13,000 people set sail from Libya for Italy in an eight-day period,” the Guardian reported.

      UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said that with 700 dead, last week was the deadliest since April 2015, when roughly 1,300 refugees were killed in two fatal shipwrecks off the coast of Libya. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Sea, the Doctors without Borders’ Mediterranean migration team, estimated that as many as 900 might have drowned.

    • More than 700 migrants feared dead in three Mediterranean sinkings

      More than 700 people are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean last week, the deadliest seven days for Europe-bound asylum seekers in more than a year.

      The casualties happened in three separate incidents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after more than 13,000 people set sail from Libya for Italy in an eight-day period.

    • Surprise Ruling In Favor Of Labor Opens Up New Options For Workers Looking To Sue Their Employers

      Workers cannot be prohibited from bringing class-action lawsuits against their employers, an appeals court panel ruled Thursday, even if the boss makes them sign away that right in order to keep their job.

      The case involves Epic Systems, one of the largest medical software companies in America. Founded in the late 1970s, the billion-dollar business only recently began making workers agree to so-called “forced arbitration” clauses in which they forswear their rights to go to court either individually or collectively.

      By doing so, the judges found, Epic violated its workers’ federal labor rights to take collective action, making the clauses unenforceable.

    • Child abuse inquiry turns to Kincora home and claims of MI5 blackmail

      An inquiry into child abuse across a range of institutions in Northern Ireland will focus on Tuesday on the Kincora boys home scandal including allegations that MI5 blackmailed a paedophile ring which operated there in the 1970s.

      The historical institutional abuse inquiry will hear evidence from men who were abused at Kincora when they were children and their allegations that the perpetrators were protected because they were state agents spying on fellow Ulster loyalists.

      A number of Kincora abuse victims have tried through the courts to force the scandal to be included in the national investigation into allegations of establishment paedophile rings operating in Westminster.

    • The Center Doesn’t Hold

      That does not explain Lieberman, whose party consists of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, about a million and a half, generally called “Russians”. Why are so many of them extreme rightists, racists and Arab-haters?

      A class by themselves are young leftists, who refuse to support any party. Instead, they turn towards non-party activism, regularly founding new groups for civil rights and peace. They support the Palestinians in the occupied territories, fight for the “purity of our arms” in the army, and do wonderful work for similar causes.

    • Senate Republicans Further Complicate Obama’s Efforts To Close Guantanamo

      Senate Republicans put forward a bill Wednesday that would send ISIS fighters to prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The legislation, presented by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Steve Daines (R-MT), is the latest attempt by Republicans to derail President Obama’s attempts to fulfill a campaign promise to close the notorious prison.

      “Instead of closing the prison, the Administration should transfer detained ISIS fighters to Guantánamo Bay,” the senators said in a statement.

    • Time to begin to disarm more and more officers.

      Time to repeal the Stupid Second Amendment so the citizens of the US can slowly lose their lethal firearms and police will not have as much justification for packing guns everywhere they go, shooting everyone who might make them twitch.

      Time to retrain police to resolve conflict without violence.

      Time to begin to disarm more and more officers.

    • How We Decided to Test Racial Bias in Algorithms

      In 2014, former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to the U.S. Sentencing Commission asking them to study racial bias in risk scores. It never did the study. So ProPublica did. The team of reporters, led by Julia Angwin, found that an algorithm being used across the country to predict future criminals is biased against black defendants. And what’s more, the algorithm is not very good. Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually have actually been found to have done so. I spoke with Julia about the investigation and how her team is uncovering machine bias.

    • A Call to Reopen Investigation of Terror Campaign Against Journalists

      An advocacy group says ProPublica and Frontline’s reporting on the murders of Vietnamese-American reporters requires a renewed probe by the FBI.

    • The Bill Clinton-Era Law That Could Put The Charleston Shooter On Death Row

      That changed in 1994, when President Bill Clinton’s Federal Death Penalty Act greatly expanded the list of offenses for which federal defendants can face the death penalty. There are currently 54 people on federal death row, sentenced after Clinton’s expansive crime bill. Roof would bring that number up to 55 if convicted.

    • Congress Boosts Rehab but Gives Opioid Pushers a Pass

      The legislation focuses on treating addiction and does nothing to limit the role of pharmaceutical companies in fueling the opioid crisis. In fact, it instructs the federal government to review and potentially undo sweeping new guidelines that recommend less prescribing of highly addictive opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

    • What Big Pharma Does Not Want You to Know About the Opioid Epidemic

      The Pharma-driven opioid epidemic may be as big a con as the mortgage housing bubble collapse.

    • Democratic Leadership Is Missing In Action on Mass Incarceration

      Even though it now looks like Americans will be deprived the drama of a contested Republican convention, the gathering in Cleveland could hold at least one surprise.

      The Republicans are set to vote on an RNC resolution to reduce mass incarceration. The measure asks for “reforms for nonviolent offenders at the state and federal level” and urges “state legislators and Congress to…provide substance abuse treatment to addicts, emphasize work and education, and implement policies that cut costs while obtaining better outcomes.”

      Finally, Democrats may say, Republicans have woken up to mass incarceration as a 21st-century civil-rights struggle, joining what has for years been a progressive fight.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EDRi and Access Now withdraw from the EU Commission IT Forum discussions

      Today, on 31 May, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and Access Now delivered a joint statement on the EU Commission’s “EU Internet Forum”, announcing our decision not to take part in future discussions and confirming that we do not have confidence in the ill considered “code of conduct” that was agreed.

    • Bulgaria to complete plans for broadband expansion

      The government of Bulgaria aims to finalise its plans to connect its broadband networks to those in neighbouring Romania and Serbia. A meeting is set for June, and will involve experts from the three countries, the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Commission, announced Bulgaria’s Ministry for ICT.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Mahamedi IP v. Paradice & LI: DTSA Between Patent Lawyers

      With that in mind, a new Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) lawsuit has been filed by the patent attorney Zurvan (Van) Mahamedi against his former partner William (Trip) Paradice. The Mahamedi-Paradice firm split in April 2016 and both lawyers reached-out to firm clients (including Qualcomm) claiming to be the successor firm.

    • Copyrights

      • German Constitutional Court sends sampling saga into another loop

        In 1997, German music producer Moses Pelham took a two second sample from Kraftwerk’s 1977 song “Metall auf Metall” and used it as a continuous loop for the song “Nur mir” performed by Sabrina Setlur. In 2004, Kraftwerk sued Pelham for violation of their phonogram producers’ rights and obtained an injunction against the distribution of “Nur mir”. The case went all the way to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), which held in 2008 that even sampling the “tiniest sliver” (“kleinste Tonfetzen”) of a record infringed the record producer’s right (§ 85(1) German Copyright Act). The defence of Article 24 Copyright Act (Freie Benutzung) was in principle applicable, but required that it was not possible to recreate the sampled sound without copying from the original recording. The BGH sent the case back to the lower court for the factual determination whether it was possible to recreate the sampled sound in the specific case.

      • European Commission Consultation: More Panorama, Less Neighbouring Rights

        On 23 March, the European Commission launched a consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the ‘panorama exception’. While this consultation reflects the will of the Commission to tackle possible exemptions to copyright, it is far less progressive than the recommendations made by the European Parliament through the Reda report. Even worse, the questionnaire is directed towards creating a new kind of “editor’s right”, at the expense of authors and users, a path that the Parliament rejected at the time.

      • Sorry not sorry – Justin Bieber and Skrillex deny copying vocal loop to produce ‘Sorry’

        Justin Bieber and Skrillex have been accused of copyright infringement by artist Casey Dienel, aka White Hinterland. The suit probably does not come as a complete surprise to the duo as Dienel claimed that she contacted Bieber’s lawyers when “Sorry” was initially released, but did not receive a response.

        Dienel alleged that Bieber and Skrillex, whose 2015 hit single ‘Sorry’ has received 1.4 billion hits on YouTube, copied her vocal loop from her 2014 song ‘Ring the Bell’. The allegedly copied segment can be heard in the first five seconds of each song. Skrillex and Bieber have both denied the claims on their Twitter accounts.

      • Independent Musician Sues Justin Bieber & Skrillex For Copyright Infringement… Over A Sample They Didn’t Use

        Late last week, the press had a bit of a frenzy with the news that indie musician Casey Dienel, who releases music as White Hinterland, had sued Justin Bieber and Skrillex (along with some others) for copyright infringement, claiming that the pair used a sample from her song “Ring the Bell” that was released in 2014. The accusation is that Bieber’s 2015 hit “Sorry” uses the same sample of a female musical riff. You can read the lawsuit here, which might be useful since most of the rest of the media didn’t link to it.

Data Mining Company: EPO is Like Suicide

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Suicide

Summary: LinkedIn, one of several giants that spy on people to determine what’s on their mind and what’s similar to them, has yielded the above (for EPO)

Patents Roundup: When the Patent Systems Turn Against People and Adjust According to Patent Lawyers and Their Largest Clients

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSummary: A look at the Singaporean, US, and Chinese patent systems, which are all becoming more aggressive and more disconnected from public interests, in favour of large multinational corporations

THE following article is an outline of various bits of patent news that are too short to merit an article of their own.

Singapore as Hub for Patent Trolls

We recently wrote about Creative (what’s left of it) staging a patent war against Android and by extension against Linux [1, 2]. What was interesting about it might be the role of Singapore, not Texas. Singapore is increasingly becoming a venue of patent trolls, not just notorious tyrants, tax evaders, and exploited labour from south Asia (I know about this having studied the country for about 4 years and visited the country as well). Based on IAM, a proponent of patent trolls, Singapore’s role as a litigation and/or trolling hub is on the rise. Here is the part about Creative:

There are, though, exceptions to this broad trend. Creative Technology is one clear example. The company was a pathfinder in the field of MP3 and audio products, and as its device business has declined, it has turned to its patent portfolio to shore up its balance sheet. In March it launched US patent litigation against Samsung, LG, Lenovo and others over an MP3 player patent that has previously yielded a $100 million settlement with Apple. Nevertheless, the amount of legal and transactional IP expertise in Singapore probably exceeds the ability of local companies to put it to use.

Appeals

Putting aside various pieces that are less relevant to us, Lexology published “Pending Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) Final Written Decision Does Not Require Stay and Does Not Justify Rule 60 Relief: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp.”

“This is basically about tilting the system against defendants/challengers and in favour of patenters (as usual), by giving them an opportunity to change their patent (or application) after it had been granted.”PTAB increasingly creeps in or enters the debate because it helps demolish software patents, albeit not at a pace high enough to undo the USPTO's terrible work (not doing quality assessment or prior art search, just granting almost everything that arrives as an application, sooner or later).

Writing about Inter Partes Reviews at PTAB, Patently-O recently noted that: “In a short opinion, the Federal Circuit has reaffirmed the USPTO’s tightly restrictive approach to amendment practice in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings. Under the rules, a patentee has one opportunity to propose amendments or substitute claims. However, the motion to amend will only be granted if the patentee also demonstrates in the motion that the proposed amendments would make the claims patentable over the known prior art. See Idle Free Sys., Inc. v. Bergstrom, Inc., IPR2012–00027, 2013 WL 5947697 (PTAB June 11, 2013).”

This is basically about tilting the system against defendants/challengers and in favour of patenters (as usual), by giving them an opportunity to change their patent (or application) after it had been granted. Are any rules at all capable of passing which seek to restore sanity and fix this system, except when Congress or the Supreme Court get involved (the former gave us PTAB and the latter gave us Alice)? Shearman & Sterling LLP writes in favour of secrecy in “The Patent Agent Privilege” (more on secrecy later) and judging by some of the upcoming major patent cases, claim construction at the PTAB may be under attack already (as part of Cuozzo Speed v Lee, which we wrote about before).

“When will patent applications not be presumed eligible by default, even when challenged by PTAB (whereupon the patenter gets a rather bizarre right to alter the patent)?”Speaking of Congress, remember that PTAB only came after the America Invents Act (AIA) and some patent lawyers treat it as an obstacle which they want to get rid of rather than respect or honour (the same goes for Alice). A guest post in Patently-O, composed by a person who “received a (gratis) copy of this text” to write a review about it, isn’t particularly positive about it. Jason Rantanen says about this book, “Patents After the AIA,” that “the authors were under significant time pressure in getting this project out the door” and he points out many problems with the book. Well, this is what one ought to expect from political and self-serving ‘books’.

How far will this terrible system go? When will patent applications not be presumed eligible by default, even when challenged by PTAB (whereupon the patenter gets a rather bizarre right to alter the patent)?

First They Went After Your Software (Abstract), Now After Your Life

Any patents on life at the USPTO should be seriously considered the pinnacle of institutional failure. Some companies now claim to ‘own’ the food chain (usually through GMO monopolies) and some claim to ‘own’ health treatment, DNA/genome, etc. Such privatisation or looting of the Commons is turning what’s public (and abundant in nature) into private property of few who are extremely affluent.

“Such privatisation or looting of the Commons is turning what’s public (and abundant in nature) into private property of few who are extremely affluent.”Nevertheless, ethics thrown aside, patent lawyers love these; the more, the merrier (more income). “Elena S. Polovnikova is an attorney with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP,” says her biography, and here she is promoting patents on life at the site which is most notorious for software patents advocacy. Patents on life now exist at EPO (most controversial such patents) and at the USPTO. Companies like Monsanto want to own everything in nature using patents, which they themselves ‘interject’ into fields by what many call GMO ‘contamination’. Watch IAM ([1] below) playing a role in pressuring India, a large victim of Monsanto (where many farmers commit suicide due to it), into this massive scam which is patents on life/biology. Watch IAM running sponsored ‘analyses’ (paid-for ads) [1, 2] to that effect. Shame on IAM. There’s an evil aspect to it and it is now a wholly parasitic business (associated with bureaucracy around this). No wonder groups march to the EPO sites to protest such patents. It’s just about as unethical as it can get, probably even worse than software patents.

Openwashing the USPTO

Speaking of IAM with its endless propaganda, watch it serving as the USPTO’s megaphone (de facto marketing) while the USPTO itself is openwashing (with “Open Data”) the whole operation (“Patent and Trademark Office Uses Open Data to Bring Patent Info to the Masses”).

“When will sanity be restored and when will the USPTO recognise that its role should be to promote innovation, not grant and promote monopolies?”Bringing monopolies to “the masses” is more like inducing willful patent infringement, thereby making “the masses” more legally liable and thus indebted. When will sanity be restored and when will the USPTO recognise that its role should be to promote innovation, not grant and promote monopolies?

China and SEPs

The USPTO, as we explained earlier this month, had amended its guidelines in lieu with a pro-software patents decision (involving Microsoft, which seems rather happy about it). The SIPO in China did something similar before that. The USITO woke up to it a long time later and wrote:

The guidelines for infringement have two major changes:
1) It deleted the clause about standard-essential patents (SEPs)
2) It deleted the clause about joint infringement

These “standard-essential patents” are basically a weapon against FOSS, very much like FRAND. These are patent thickets which deny entrance by FOSS contenders — the same sorts of thickets which IAM keeps promoting (it's all about patent conglomerates that use patents to perpetuate and guard their dominance).

Secrecy in the Eastern District of Texas

In other news of interest, the EFF recently managed, after a huge endevaour and some repeated failures, to unseal details of a patent case. Watch how Blue Spike, a parasite which we covered here before [1, 2] (it had won the EFF's Stupid Patent Of The Month award two years ago), sought to keep itself immune/safe from criticism:

In a victory for the First Amendment and public access to court proceedings, a magistrate judge ruled in favor of EFF’s motion to unseal documents in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas. This means that the patent owner in that case, Blue Spike, will no longer be able to shield from the public its arguments about how the defendant infringes its patents. Also, the court has indicated that it will publish public versions of important rulings that, until now, had been completely hidden from the public.

[...]

In its response, Blue Spike did not dispute that the First Amendment applied. Instead, it argued that because EFF wanted to write more blog posts about Blue Spike—posts Blue Spike felt were disparaging—the public should not be allowed to examine Blue Spike’s claims of infringement. In other words, because Blue Spike does not agree with EFF’s commentary about its litigation, it contends that we (and the public at large) should not see the relevant court records at all.

We are not hoping to abolish the patent system but to see a system which actually promotes innovation, transparency, sharing of information and so on, not extortion, secrecy, protectionism, and deception.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Political pressure on examiners is no way to reform India’s patent system

    The battle over the Indian patent sought by Gilead Sciences for its Hepatitis C drug Sofosbuvir (branded Sovaldi) seemingly came to a conclusion last week when the country’s patent office reversed course to grant the US drug maker protection for the compound. It’s another reminder that while India is well-known to be a difficult jurisdiction for pharmaceutical innovators, things don’t always play out according to that script. But last week also saw the public airing of troubling accusations of political pressure brought to bear on patent examiners in this high profile case. As the country mulls reforms to its IP system, it’s important that these questions be addressed.

Microsoft’s Former Chief Patent Counsel Praises Elevation of Software Patents in Microsoft Case, Adds to Cherry-Picking and Lobbying by Patent Lawyers

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Shelston IP continues to lie and grossly misrepresent for software patents

Shook, Hardy and Bacon L.L.P.
Steve Ballmer’s people are still doing Ballmer’s dirty work

Summary: Microsoft, which is renowned (or notorious) for patent extortion against Linux, is still a big contributor to software patenting policy and Shelston IP — much like Microsoft’s front groups — pretends to speak for small businesses in an effort to spread software patents outside the US (in spite of Alice)

EVER since the Enfish v Microsoft decision we have written nearly half a dozen posts to demonstrate how patent lawyers and other self-serving proponents of software patents came out of the woodwork to mislead the public about Alice even though as of days ago [1, 2] “US Pat 8,336,772, Data storage; Smartflash; Claims 1,5,8,10 killed @ PTAB w/101/ Alice [...] Four claims of ’772 Smartflash Patent Asserted Against Apple Killed at the PTAB w/ Alice 101: https://dlbjbjzgnk95t.cloudfront.net/0801000/801293/cbm2015-00031_final_decision_45.pdf …” (in other words, Alice continues to crush patents).

Joff Wild, a proponent of software patents, spoke to Microsoft’s former ‘patent Mafia’ chief (remember that Microsoft still engages in software patents-based extortion against Linux) and much as we hypothesised at first (and wrote about it), it was a happy loss for Microsoft because software patents gained from it. Watch him celebrating a legal loss for Microsoft because it’s a win for software patents that patent lawyers and the USPTO exploited to open the door to new propaganda. To quote Wild (who misspelled Enfish everywhere including the headline): “The US Court of Appeals recently handed down its decision in Entfish [sic] v Microsoft, a case which concerned issues connected to the patentability of software. Unlike many other post-Alice judgments CAFC and lower courts have issued, the Entfish [sic] decision looked to be good news for software patent owners. But the extent of that goods news was less clear. In a recent IAM blog, the opinion was mixed. However, Bart Eppenauer – managing partner of the Seattle office of Shook Hardy & Bacon and the former chief patent counsel at Microsoft – is in no doubt.”

“Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. is not exactly an objective observer and it is worth noting that Bart Eppenauer came from a company that ran front groups which pretended to speak for small businesses (i.e. hijacked their voices) to promote software patents all around the world.”It’s rather interesting how to see just how often Wild speaks to people from Microsoft (past and present). Both are leading proponents of software patents, so this probably makes sense. Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. is not exactly an objective observer and it is worth noting that Bart Eppenauer came from a company that ran front groups which pretended to speak for small businesses (i.e. hijacked their voices) to promote software patents all around the world.

In other news, having mentioned how Shelston IP lobbies for software patents in Australia and asks other firms to do the same thing (while falsely pretending to be spokespeople for innovation), we now find another such call from Shelston IP, this time titled “A call to action: save software patents from regulatory obliteration!”

“Shelston IP pretends that it speaks for startups and SMEs — those who actually get harmed the most from software patents.”To quote the outline: “The Productivity Commission has recently released a draft report recommending software and business methods be specifically excluded from being patented. Shelston IP believes that such action would be harmful to Australia’s technology start-up sector, in particular to SMEs whose competitive advantage resides in innovative software interfaces and processes.”

That’s a lie. Shelston IP are terrible liars. Shelston IP pretends that it speaks for startups and SMEs — those who actually get harmed the most from software patents. In reality, those who pursue software patents in Australia are companies like Microsoft and IBM. But nice lobbying effort, Shelston IP; thanks for reaffirming the view that many lawyers are liars.

For a change (not propaganda), a new article by Ante Wessels (FFII) warns about CETA, one of those atrocious deals that threaten to introduce software patents in more and more places. Wessels explains the similarities w.r.t. ACTA:

But, I do not see what was footnote 2 in ACTA, and is footnote 33 in the EU – Singapore agreement, the right to exclude patents from the scope of the civil enforcement section.

All the strong enforcement measures (damages, injunctions, provisional measures) will be available for software patent trolls.

The strong enforcement measures further create problems for access to knowledge and taking part in culture, for remix artists, and for inventors involved in sequential invention – like software developers.

This is reminiscent of some of the effects the UPC would have. It’s all about empowering large corporations and trolls (not even European ones) at the expense of small European businesses.

Extremely Dodgy Dealings at the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WELLKOM LIMITED DEBT

Summary: Yet another dodgy contract between Battistelli’s EPO and private contractors overseas, this time in an effort to whitewash or cleanse the image of the EPO’s current regime

“The dude behind the OHSRA [Occupational Health Survey],” explains to us a reader, is someone that’s now the subject of gossip and rumours.

“Although the EPO systematically brushed aside all risks’ warnings issued by SUEPO/staff reps for the past years,” this reader continues, “5 suicides later something had to be done ASAP: the EPO is currently organising a white-washing exercise to story-tell the public that it cares for its staff whereas the production pressure has never ever been so high and the level of psychological stress explodes, according to some insider information.

“Whilst on the one hand the EPO shoots big time at messengers (e.g. SUEPO officials alerting staff and reporting that the HR policies implemented by “Mrs-spouse-from-Battistelli’s-right-arm” are known to be dangerous) on the other hand the EPO hired a weird very structure (see below) to perform an Occupational Health Survey office-wide (as you may expect with no genuine involvement of staff representation and after a non-public selection procedure whilst pretending otherwise.

“Here the information about this “serious provider”.

First company:
WELLKOM LIMITED
Check filing history and the first PDFs.
The company is registered in a private house, has two owners (Mr Phillips and his presumed wife, 2nd PDF), had massive assets: GBP 2 (just over 2 euros).
It looks like an empty shell.

Second company:
WELLKOM CORPORATE SERVICES LIMITED
Check the first PDF:
Same postal address as above. In 2014, went from GBP 87,000 assets… to GBP 190,000 debts.

“…the EPO is currently organising a white-washing exercise to story-tell the public that it cares for its staff whereas the production pressure has never ever been so high and the level of psychological stress explodes, according to some insider information.”
      –Anonymous
“But no worries,” our reader said, “now the EPO is here to help.” This isn’t the only such ongoing ‘study’ or ‘survey’ whose so-called ‘findings’, based on information we have received, were more or less decided in advance. We gave examples of these before. If there’s no open tender or procurement process, then there’s lots of room for folly, e.g. staff getting an old friend (or worse — family) a fat contract. Recall the story about Questel's deal with the EPO and its relation to Jacques Michel, who now receives sensitive data from the EPO, under the umbrella of Europatis [1, 2, 3, 4]. As people here in Britain say, “it’s as dodgy as f%$#.”

As we pointed out several weeks ago, Battistelli made such private contracts virtually invisible to anyone (so much for “transparency”!), unless they get leaked.

We now know that the EPO (not a private entity) is paying a fortune for six bodyguards to march around Battistelli, paying a fortune (almost a million dollars) to a PR company based in the US, and paying for military-connected Control Risks (we don’t know the amount paid, as no leaks relating to this ever reached us). The EPO is so rotten in fact that even the police is now disregarded and the premises are policed by a Croatian thug who faces many criminal charges in his home country. To quote a comment from yesterday:

If there ever was any foul play (something which I mightily doubt) then the President ought to call in the police to conduct a proper investigation at the EPO, and not take matters in his own hands, or trust one of his creatures to spin some conspiracy theory.

IIRC, there are precedents where the national police was allowed to enter the EPO offices for cases of petty theft. But on the other hand, from my own experience, it is nearly impossible to get a German policeman to lift his derrière from his chair for a case of theft or vandalism involving a mere bicycle.

What does the President have to fear, if his allegations are true? He could hardly invoke his personal impunity, sorry, the EPOrg’s immunity, to justify his barricading.

A version of this sordid affair could become in a few years the canvas for an episode of the dreadful “Tatort” series…

How many dodgy dealings does the EPO need to be involved in (never mind many suicides and human rights abuses) before the German authorities send independent investigators on-site? It cannot go on like this. As a reminder, tomorrow in the afternoon this subject will be discussed in the Bavarian Parliament (covering Munich), and not for the first time either. Based on a recent program from Bavarian television, at least some of the suicides at the EPO were the fault of the management (we had to remove copies of this program). Wellkom’s job is apparently to lie about it or make up a false narrative with which Team Battistelli can lobby or alter the record.

As a side note, over the past 2 years we have received alarming messages about panicky doctors who are extremely concerned about suicidal tendencies among EPO staff, caused directly because of the workplace (expectations, intimidation, workload and so on). We were kindly asked not to quote these directly (as these messages can reveal identities), but such relatively old messages sure help substantiate what was said above. To pretend otherwise is to mislead, or to produce propaganda for personal gain. Is Wellkom that desperate? Given its grim financial situation, it might be.

05.30.16

The EPO’s Media Partners Like Les Echos Already Produce EPO Puff Pieces (Marketing/Stenography)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Topićanda style

Old newspaper

Summary: EPO promotion disguised as reporting or journalism, as seen in the media partners of the EPO well before these partnerships even begin

THE EPO‘s technical department seems to be infatuated with Microsoft and it’s not going to do the EPO any favours. Has the brain drain taken its toll? Maybe that’s why there’s so much outside help for media, security, investigation etc. Neoliberalism and privatisation using secret contracts.

Meanwhile, looking at the daily nonsense from the EPO over at Twitter, the PR people are ever more desperate to create a distraction from the EPO’s horrible track record. They ask: “Which of this year’s finalists deserves the Popular Prize?”

“Has the brain drain taken its toll?”“You have until tomorrow to decide,” they say, but don’t forget the tactics (like multiple vote castings per person and spammy promotion [1, 2]) employed by them over the past month.

Earlier today the EPO promoted this link to a new puff piece from the French media about this event. The EPO’s “media partner”, Les Echos (which censored itself for Battistelli and his goons), already does puff pieces, even before the propagandistic event took place. What’s next? How much does this whole charade cost? It’s a secret as usual; that’s the Battistelli tradition.

Unitary Microsoft: EPO Excludes People Who Are Not Microsoft Customers From UPC Participation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The pattern of Microsoft bed-sharing continues at the EPO

Microsoft UPC

Summary: The EPO just can’t help providing special treatment to Microsoft, not only when it comes to patent applications but also when it comes to rejecting stakeholders/applicants who dare not become Microsoft customers

THE EPO just doesn’t seem capable of shaking off the impression that it is in bed with Microsoft — an impression that led the EPO to repeatedly make threats against me (it was always about Microsoft and the leak which got them upset made it into Italian television earlier this month). We previously gave examples in articles such as:

“Unitary Patent court filing software will be for Microsoft customers only,” noted Benjamin Henrion (FFII) this afternoon, as the “EPO is spreading good old .exe [in] http://www.epo.org/applying/online-services/online-filing/download.html#more”

Is anybody surprised by this? The above 4 examples are some among many. The EPO doesn’t seem to care about people who avoid back doors and choose a brand other than Microsoft.

Links 30/5/2016: Linux 4.7 RC1, Best Linux Distros

Posted in News Roundup at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Lexicon: Getting Started With Linux

    Be it the smallest Android smartphone or the biggest of servers, Linux has become the very foundation of our digital lives, something Linus Torvalds could have hardly fathomed.

  • Desktop

    • Best Linux Distro: Linux for old laptops, privacy and USB sticks

      The best Linux distro is a matter of personal taste and use case. On the following pages, we take you through four potential Linux use cases and select the best for each. We’ll look at the best overall OS for general computing, the best for an old laptop, a lightweight distro for USB drives and a privacy-focused option.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment’s EFL Getting New DRM Library

      Chris Michael of Samsung has been working on a new DRM library for the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) with a number of improvements.

      The initial implementation of this new library, Ecore_Drm2, has been added to EFL Git.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Partition Manager Now Lets Users Resize Encrypted Filesystems with LUKS

        Andrius Štikonas announced the release of the KDE Partition Manager 2.2.0 open-source partition editor software designed specifically for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, as well as the KPMcore 2.2.0 utility.

        KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore 2.2.0 are two major release, finally bringing proper LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) support, in the way that the software is now capable of creating LUKS volumes on disk drivers, as well as to format the inner file system, besides detecting the LUKS container.

      • KDE Partition Manager 2.2 Brings Proper LUKS Support

        The KDE Partition Manager, the promising disk partitioning application that’s become a viable alternative to GParted, is up to version 2.2.

        KDE Partition Manager 2.2 was released this week by Andrius Štikonas and its big feature is proper LUKS support. The KDE Partition Manager can now properly handle LUKS encrypted volumes with support for creating them and formatting the inner file-system, opening/closing LUKS volumes, resizing support, and more.

      • I have a problem…

        Every day, a sizable number of people posts problems on the KDE Community Forums and the ever-helpful staff does their best to solve whatever issues they’re facing. But what exactly does one do when this happens? This post provides more insights on the process.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kicking the Tires on Arch Based Antergos

        We decided to take the Arch Linux based distribution Antergos out for a test drive. Here’s how it handled, out in traffic and on the track.

        A few months back, a fellow tech writer mentioned in an email exchange that I might try using the Arch Linux based Antergos distro as a way to grab the latest and greatest versions of popular software titles for review. Mainly because of Arch’s community repositories, in which users suggest and vote on packages to be included, many popular software titles are available within days after a new release. And since Antergos is a simple install compared to Arch, it would be easy to quickly throw up an installation on a test machine just to look at the latest and greatest from LibreOffice, GIMP and the like.

      • Antergos 2016.05.28 Screenshot Tour
    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon ARM 16.06 Linux Gets Kodi-Based Media Center Edition for Raspberry Pi 3

        Today, May 29, 2016, Sabayon ARM developer Ettore Di Giacinto announced the release of Sabayon ARM 16.06 Media Center Edition for Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 2 SBCs.

        We were expecting to see today the release of Sabayon 16.06 for computers, which is the monthly update to the Gentoo-based GNU/Linux operating system for July 2016, because the Sabayon people are always announcing a new monthly release on the 29th of each month, but this time, things were a bit different.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Building ProudCity as an open organization

        Open is at the core of ProudCity, a web platform that “lets municipalities easily launch and manage government digital services all in one place.”

        As government service providers, it is our duty to ensure cities get the most sustainable, flexible technology available, so that they can best serve their residents, businesses, and visitors. We will do this by following the ethos of what Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst calls the “open organization.”

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora loves PyCon 2016

          Will you be attending the annual Python Conference in Portland, Oregon this year? Then you should totally come and find us at the Development Sprints! Check out our PyCon 2016 Wiki page for details.

        • PHP Tour 2016 Clermont-Ferrand

          I gave a talk about “Forget mod_php”. It is about this PHP installation method, the most documented, the simplest, but which have given a bad image about Apache HTTPD Server, and encourage user, needing performance, to migrate to nginx and its threaded mode and so with FPM. But, it is also possible to use Apache in thread mode, using the worker or event MPM, also with FPM.

        • Fedora 24 alpha – Whatsie.
        • Pravin Satpute: How do you Fedora?

          Pravin Satpute started using Linux in 2004 when he was working with Dr. Nagarjuna Gadiraju of the Free Software Foundation of India. He was working on a project to develop libre fonts for Indian languages. At that time, he was using Knoppix with the KDE desktop. In 2006, he became interested in Fedora and starting using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in 2007 when he was given a laptop with RHEL 5. Quickly after receiving the laptop, he switched to Fedora 8. His childhood heroes were Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata and Sachin Tendulkar. His favorite movies are Inception and The Mummy.

    • Debian Family

      • OpenPHT 1.5.2 for Debian/sid

        I have updated the openpht repository with builds of OpenPHT 1.5.2 for Debian/sid for both amd64 and i386 architecture. For those who have forgotten it, OpenPHT is the open source fork of Plex Home Theater that is used on RasPlex, see my last post concerning OpenPHT for details.

      • vcswatch is now looking for tags

        About a week ago, I extended vcswatch to also look at tags in git repositories.

        Previously, it was solely paying attention to the version number in the top paragraph in debian/changelog, and would alert if that version didn’t match the package version in Debian unstable or experimental. The idea is that “UNRELEASED” versions will keep nagging the maintainer (via DDPO) not to forget that some day this package needs an upload. This works for git, svn, bzr, hg, cvs, mtn, and darcs repositories (in decreasing order of actual usage numbers in Debian. I had actually tried to add arch support as well, but that VCS is so weird that it wasn’t worth the trouble).

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 and 8.5 Receive the Latest Security Fixes, Update Now

          A lot of good things are happening lately for the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system, and the distribution’s maintainers announced a few hours ago, May 29, 2016, the availability of new security fixes for supported releases.

          Both the stable Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” and the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” operating system have received important security fixes for various core components, including expat, libgd2, libndp, ImageMagick, libidn, jansson, IceDove, libarchive, QEMU, Wireshark, librsvg, WebSVN, libxstream-java, xerces-c, swift-plugin-s3, and atheme-services.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • QNAP and Canonical Optimize Ubuntu For IoT Purposes

            The Internet Of Things movement has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Not just enthusiasts, but also major firms in the technology sector are working on developing new IoT initiatives. A Partnership between QNAP and Canonical will help optimize Ubuntu on NAS systems for Internet of Things applications.

          • Ubuntu bq Aquaris M10 Review Part 2: Software

            In part one of our rather lengthy review, we took a look at the bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet’s hardware. Suffice it to say, it perfectly played the role of a mid-range tablet. While the device had a few ups, like its lightweight design, bright display, and substantial battery, it would have been easily passed for a mediocre slab if not for the software running on it. In this round, we take a deeper look into what makes this tablet truly one of a kind, and almost literally too. This time, we take a dive into the alien world of Ubuntu Touch.

          • Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition review

            IT’S NOT EVERY DAY that a smartphone crosses our desk running Canonical’s open source Ubuntu operating system.

            The Linux-based OS already commands millions of installations across desktops and tablets the world over, and makes a welcome change from the endless run of Android-based devices. Anticipation levels were therefore high and, on first impressions, we believed we were in the presence of a truly desirable smartphone.

          • Ubuntu Touch’s Web Browser to Improve the Google Hangouts Experience in OTA-11

            The long-anticipated OTA-11 update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices is just around the corner, and today we’ll have a quick look at what’s coming in the Web Browser app.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Program Improves IoT Connection Security with Unikernels

    Developers can find UniK on Github.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla turns Firefox OS into IoT hub

        As an operating system, Firefox OS has undergone a massive transformation in the past 24 months – it’s far more than just a web browser nowadays. But now Mozilla is looking to take Firefox to the next level by using it as a hub for a plethora of Internet of Things projects.

        Mozilla is currently working on four IoT projects behind the scenes: Project Smart Home, Project Link, Project Sensor Web and Vaani. Each of the projects will deal with IoT technology in different ways, but all are aimed at making the end consumer’s home and devices smarter. In a blog post, Mozilla’s SVP of Connected Devices, Ari Jaaksi, posted: “Everything is connected around us. This revolution has already started and it will be bigger than previous technology revolutions, including the mobile smartphone revolution. Internet of Things, as many call it today, will fundamentally affect all of us.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Supercomputers, a global community, and more OpenStack news

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Hovalin: An open source 3D printed violin

        A recent message on Twitter about an open source 3D printed violin sent me in search of more information about Hovalin. Much of the 3D printed universe is about robots and drones, so seeing a violin in the mix caused me to pause and wonder more about this unique project. I reached out to husband and wife team, Kaitlyn and Matt Hova.

  • Programming/Development

    • The Quiet Crisis unfolding in Software Development

      The reason I’m sharing this is because over the last ten to fifteen years I’ve noticed a quiet crisis unfolding in software development leading to low quality applications, unhappy employees and unhappy users. Silver bullet solutions keep creeping into our awareness (Scrum, anyone?) and predictably keep letting us down.

Leftovers

  • More flight delays hit Swedish airport

    Travellers at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport were beset again with delays on Saturday afternoon after technical problems with flightplan management software.

    “The flightplan management system is not working as it should,” Per Fröberg of Swedish air traffic control told Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet.

  • Microsoft Surface line hit by Sleep of Death bug

    Microsoft’s Surface line, reported as one of its better earners in its most recent quarterly results, suffers from a bug which has come to be referred to as Sleep of Death.

    When the Surface Pro 4 or the Surface tablet are put into sleep mode for a few hours or more, they are unlikely to wake up.

    The devices have to be powered back on and this means there is a risk of data corruption.

    This means that anyone who has left the system with files on which they are working open, has to shift through auto-saved versions, hoping against hope that one of those will mean that work is not lost.

  • Fearing forced Windows 10 upgrades, users are disabling critical updates instead

    Microsoft stepped on the gas in its quest to drive Windows 7 and 8 users to Windows 10 over the past couple of weeks, rolling the upgrade out as a Recommended update. Watch out! The only behavior that could deny the Windows 10 upgrade before—closing the pop-up by pressing the X in the upper-right corner—now counts as consent for the upgrade, and worse, the upgrade installation can automatically begin even if you take no action whatsoever.

    It’s nasty business, and it’s tricking legions of happy Windows 7 and 8 users into Windows 10. Over the past week, I’ve received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I’ve written over the rest of my career combined. But beyond merely burning bridges with consumers, these forced, non-consensual upgrades could have more insidious consequences.

  • Science

    • The 10 commandments for influencing policymakers

      Persuading politicians and officials to ingest the fruits of new research and then to regurgitate them in the form of sensible policy is a frustrating process at the best of times. Policymaking is intangible, diffuse and shapeshifting. One result is that too little research with lessons for policymakers hits the target.

      The government has recently performed a U‑turn on a policy that could have banned publicly funded academic researchers from campaigning for changes to the law. So this is a good moment to consider how to manage academics’ expectations while ensuring that their research has the biggest possible impact. Bearing in mind these 10 commandments – based on my own experience of policymaking – will help.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness

      What can we do about the powerful transnational agribusiness companies that have captured or at the very least heavily influence regulatory bodies, research institutes, trade agreements and governments? How can we assess the safety and efficacy of GMOs or their other technologies and products when narratives and decision-making processes have become distorted by these companies?

      Through the ‘green revolution’ chemical-intensive model of agriculture these corporations and their powerful backers promoted and instituted, they have been able to determine what seeds are to be used by farmers, what is to be grown and what inputs are to be applied. This, in turn, has adversely affected the nutritional content of food, led to the over-exploitation of water and diminished drought resistance, degraded soil, undermined biodiversity, polluted the environment, destroyed farmers’ livelihoods and so much more: with 60 years’ farming experience behind him, Bhaskar Save outlined many of these impacts in his open letter to Indian officials some years back.

      These powerful corporations increasingly hold sway over a globalised system of food and agriculture from seed to plate. And with major mergers within the agribusiness sector in the pipeline, power will be further consolidated and the situation is likely to worsen. While scientific innovation has a role to play in improving agriculture, the narrative about farming has been shaped to benefit the interests of this handful of wealthy, politically influential corporations whereby commercial interest trumps any notion of the public good.

    • GMOs As A Corporate Control Tactic

      It’s impossible to talk about GMO ethics without considering how corporations like Monsanto use GMOs as means of control.

      [...]

      But safety issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Consumer rights, state rights and the overuse of “probably carcinogenic” pesticides like Roundup are all crucial aspects in this debate. They go hand in hand with the massive consolidation within the food industry and a lack of choice at the grocery store.

      When biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta create GMO seeds, they’re also creating entire systems of food production. By creating a suite of products designed to work together – seeds for crops engineered to withstand Roundup, a probably human carcinogen, for example – they’re able to control the entire farming cycle and block out competition. Not only that, but the explosion of herbicide-resistant seeds has given way to herbicide-resistant weeds, fueling the growth of “superweeds” and ensuring that farmers must continue to buy increasingly harsh chemicals, often from the same company, to compensate.

    • NHA issues warning about selling NHS blood plasma supplier to Chinese company Creat

      The National Health Action Party issued warnings in 2013 about the potentially dangerous consequences of selling the NHS’ state owned blood plasma supplier, Plasma Resources UK (PRUK) to US private equity firm Bain Capital. Now we are issuing a warning again as it has been sold on.

      PRUK was specifically brought into public ownership in 1975, by Dr David Owen, because of the risks associated with contaminated blood under for-profit conditions.

    • Portland Students Will Drink Bottled Water For The Rest Of The School Year To Avoid Lead

      Portland, Oregon is the latest place in the country gripped by unsafe levels of lead exposure. On Friday, Portland officials announced that the school district will shut off all drinking water for the rest of the school year following reports of high levels of lead in water samples from two schools.

      Elevated levels of lead were found in six of the 56 drinking fountains and other water sources at the Creston School and eight of the 36 fountains and sinks at the Rose City Park campus, according to a local NBC news affiliate.

    • Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA

      Piecemeal, and at long last, chemical manufacturers have begun removing the endocrine-disrupting plastic bisphenol-A (BPA) from products they sell.

      Sunoco no longer sells BPA for products that might be used by children under three. France has a national ban on BPA food packaging. The EU has banned BPA from baby bottles.

      These bans and associated product withdrawals are the result of epic scientific research and some intensive environmental campaigning. But in truth these restrictions are not victories for human health. Nor are they even losses for the chemical industry.

  • Security

    • Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” Is a Linux Distro for Cryptography & Anonymity

      A few days ago, Parrot Security OS developer Frozenbox Network teased users on Twitter with the upcoming release of the long anticipated Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” distribution.

      Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux technologies and borrowing many of the packages from the Debian 8 “Jessie” stable repositories, Parrot Security OS 3.0 just received new Release Candidate (RC) ISO builds that users can now download and install on their personal computer if they want to get an early taste of what’s coming.

    • Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” — Best Kali Linux Alternative Coming With New Features

      The Release Candidate of Parrot Security OS 3.0 ‘Lithium’ is now available for download. The much-anticipated final release will come in six different editions with the addition of Libre, LXDE, and Studio editions. The version 3.0 of this Kali Linux alternative is based on Debian Jessie and powered by custom hardened Linux 4.5 kernel.

    • Regulation can fix security, except you can’t regulate security

      Every time I start a discussion about how we can solve some of our security problems it seems like the topics of professional organizations and regulation are where things end up. I think regulations and professional organizations can fix a lot of problems in an industry, I’m not sure they work for security. First let’s talk about why regulation usually works, then, why it won’t work for security.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Geopolitics versus the political marketplace: the origins of the war in Ukraine

      The United States and the European Union poured millions into democracy promotion in Ukraine, which fed what Sakwa calls a monist (ethnically purist and pro-Western) conception of the Ukrainian nation, and this directly threatened the Russian geo-political position. As evidence., he quotes Putin’s remarks on May 24 2014 when he said that: “some of the events in Ukraine directly threaten our interests, first of all with regard to security. I”m talking about Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO. As I said earlier, such an accession could be followed by the deployment of a missile strike system in Ukraine, including Crimea. Should this happen it would have serious geopolitical consequences for our country. In fact, Russia would be forced out of the Black Sea territory, a region for legitimate presence in which Russia has fought for centuries.”

    • To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

      Pellegrino’s book is a moving and grueling close-up look at the horrors experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both on the day of the bombing and in the days and years afterward. I have the heart of a dried-up raisin but even I got a little teary in places.

    • A cycle of permanent intervention in Libya

      In the aftermath of NATO’s destruction of Libya, official rhetoric fluctuated between transition and reports of violence which were swiftly brushed aside as mere consequences of a country struggling to embrace a democratic framework.

    • Obama in Hiroshima, Memorial Day and the Iran Deal

      Although it is true that Obama has been the least successful president in some time in reducing nuclear stockpiles, there is one area where he has had success in reducing world tensions, and that is with regard to Iran. Moreover, the Iran breakthrough has implications for both nonproliferation and for conventional warfare. A war on Iran was one of the central objectives of the Cheney/ Neoconservative faction in the George W. Bush White House, and had their war of aggression on Iraq not gone sour, the would have likely gone on to Tehran.

      The standing War Party in Washington has figured out how to pursue conventional wars of aggression in the face of public skittishness: They simply hype a country they want to plunder as an unconventional threat– i.e. as a country that could have nuclear weapons or even chemical and biological weapons.

    • Burn Pits: US Government Ignores 60,000 Suffering US War Vets

      There are over 60,000 U.S. veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are now sick and dying. But the Pentagon denies there is such a health crisis, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is denying these suffering men and women the benefits they desperately need and deserve.

      These veterans are not the victims of enemy fire. They are suffering from medical ailments associated with the open-air burn pits that were constructed on over 230 military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. These fiery pits, which were hastily dug in violation of the military’s own health and environmental regulations, were used to dispose of the mountains of trash created by war. Every type of refuse imaginable was thrown into these burn pits, including such toxic materials as plastics, metals, medical waste, batteries, tires, old ordnance and even human body parts.

    • The Defense Department Is Ruining America: Big Budgets, Militarization and the Real Story Behind Our Asia Pivot

      “Our defense contractors await your business.” That was the message behind Obama and Carter’s visits to Asia.

    • Obama in Hiroshima Paints a Peace Sign on a Bomb

      President Obama went to Hiroshima, did not apologize, did not state the facts of the matter (that there was no justification for the bombings there and in Nagasaki), and did not announce any steps to reverse his pro-nuke policies (building more nukes, putting more nukes in Europe, defying the nonproliferation treaty, opposing a ban treaty, upholding a first-strike policy, spreading nuclear energy far and wide, demonizing Iran and North Korea, antagonizing Russia, etc.).

      Where Obama is usually credited — and the reason he’s usually given a pass on his actual actions — is in the area of rhetoric. But in Hiroshima, as in Prague, his rhetoric did more harm than good. He claimed to want to eliminate nukes, but he declared that such a thing could not happen for decades (probably not in his lifetime) and he announced that humanity has always waged war (before later quietly claiming that this need not continue).

      “Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind,” said Obama.

      “We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves,” he added, leaping from a false claim about the past to a necessity to continue dumping our resources into the weapons that produce rather than avoid more wars.

      After much in this higly damaging vein, Obama added: “But among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them. We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe.” He even said: “We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story. …” That’s right, but the U.S. President had already told a really bad one.

    • Pat Buchanan, Dick Cheney, and American Exceptionalism

      America has a Donald Trump problem — one that its diversity will probably defeat, at least in the short term. But underlying that Donald Trump problem is a desperate insistence on clinging to the myth of American exceptionalism, with its more offensive parts even embraced in the mainstream. For the sake of the white men who’ve relied on those myths for their sense of dignity, but also to prevent future Trumps, it is time to start replacing that exceptionalist myth with something else.

    • Tragic Valor of Marines at Con Thien

      Memorial Day is exploited by politicians glorifying war and armed services recruiting new soldiers, but it should be a time to reflect on the ugly reality of warfare and the tragic valor of the combatants, says war correspondent Don North.

    • As Chilcot Inquiry Nears, Tony Blair Hints He May Fight Verdict

      Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hinted that he would refuse to accept the verdict of the highly anticipated Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq if it concludes that he privately signed the country up for war while publicly claiming a final decision had not yet been made.

      In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Blair rejected the idea that the growth of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was fueled by the Iraq War, stating, “I understand all the issues and we’ll debate them when we get to Chilcot, but this idea that all of this comes from the decision to remove Saddam [Hussein], you’ve got to go back into this and look at the roots of it.”

      Marr then asked, “The big problem that people still think is that you planned and thought you were going to war, but didn’t tell us…. Will you accept Chilcot’s verdict on this as a fair assessment after all this time, all this evidence?”

    • Samantha Power to Receive Prize From Henry Kissinger, Whom She Once Harshly Criticized

      Samantha Power built her journalistic and academic career around human rights, criticizing powerful nations for their complicity in abuses and failure to stop acts of genocide.

      Then she joined the Obama administration, where she currently serves as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

      Early next month, Power will be receiving an award named for a man used to criticize quite harshly: former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has been implicated in a significant number of war crimes across the globe.

      And she’ll be getting it from Kissinger himself.

      The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize is awarded annually to a European or American diplomat.

    • There Has Been A Coup In Brazil

      In Brazil the country’s largest newspaper has published a transcript of a secret recording leaked to the newspaper. The words recorded are the plot by the rich Brazilian elite, involving both the US-corrupted Brazilian military and Supreme Court, to remove the democratically elected president of Brazil under false charges in order to stop the investigations of the corrupt elites who inhabit Brazil’s senate and bring to an end Brazil’s membership in BRICS. The Russian-Chinese attempt to organize an economic bloc independent of Washington has now lost 20% of its membership.

    • Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink

      Michael Fallon is British Defence Secretary. He is adept at making the types of statements that epitomise the pro-neoliberal, militaristic rhetoric that people in the UK have become tired of.

    • Abolish Memorial Day

      Never mind remembering the lessons of Vietnam – we’ve repressed even the bitter lessons of our most recent “past” conflict, the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. No sooner had we fallen into that quicksand then we promptly forgot who pushed us in – which is why the authors of that disaster continue to function as foreign policy mavens and political seers whose reputations are considered sterling. The neocon clique, and any number of politicians of both parties who fulsomely supported that war, today act as if they have nothing to apologize for, and nothing to regret: far from being repentant, they are, if anything, proud of their advocacy, secure in the knowledge that “everyone” believed Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” and smug in the certainty that no one of any consequence has anything to gain by raising the subject.

    • This Memorial Day, Remember the Victims of Democide

      The late and lamented Rudy Rummel, a professor at the University of Hawaii and the acknowledged expert on the phenomenon of “democide,” estimated that governments murdered more than 260 million human beings in the 20th century alone. That figure excludes – and is six times as large as – military casualties in the century’s wars.

    • Can Hillary Clinton Renounce Henry Kissinger?

      In one of the defining moments in this year’s long contest for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton cited admiration of Henry Kissinger, one of her predecessors as secretary of state, renowned for opening relations with communist China and for his Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War.

    • Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms

      On May 27, President Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where at the end of World War II the U.S. became the first and only country to drop an atomic bomb. The president will use the occasion to revive attention on the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

      Immediately, the critics assailed the president for going on an “apology tour.” The White House sought to calm the furor, assuring reporters that the president would not use the word “sorry.”

      “We said that this is not about issuing an apology,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on Thursday.

      Why not apologize? The president will visit the 30-acre Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, located directly under the spot where the bomb exploded, with a museum displaying the charred belongings of the 100,000 people who perished, as everything with one mile of the bomb blast was entirely wiped out. The short inscription on the park’s memorial arch reads, in part: “We shall not repeat the evil.”

      [...]

      But now informed observers argue that the risks of a nuclear disaster are getting worse. Tensions are rising with both Russia and China, with the U.S. deploying forces near their borders. Nuclear stockpiles contain more than 15,000 warheads. As many as 1,000 remain on hair-trigger alert. U.S. security strategy still claims the right to use nuclear weapons first, a dangerous and dumb refusal to limit their use to actual deterrence. The U.S. just activated anti-ballistic missile system in Romania that the Russians say violates the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Agreement. President Obama has signed off on a modernization of both nuclear weapons and their delivery systems with a projected cost of $1 trillion over three decades that could very likely to trigger a new arms race.

    • The Paradox Of Congo: How The World’s Wealthiest Country Became Home To The World’s Poorest People

      Foreign companies have made large investments in eastern Congo’s mines, buying from suppliers funding armed groups within the country. This type of foreign investment in the Congo’s extraction industry has led to a loss of at least $1 billion in resource revenue that could otherwise be used to reform the country’s security, health, and education sectors.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Obama promised transparency. But his administration is one of the most secretive

      Some things just aren’t cool. One of those, according to our no-drama president, is ignorance.

      “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about,” President Obama said during his recent Rutgers University commencement address. It was a swipe clearly intended for he-who-didn’t-need-to-be-named: Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for president.

      Okay, no argument there.

      But the Obama administration itself has been part of a different know-nothing problem. It has kept the news media — and therefore the public — in the dark far too much over the past 7 1/2 years.

    • Clinton email headache is about to get worse

      A scathing inspector general’s report this week was just the first in what is likely to be a series of official actions related to her private server stemming from the FBI, a federal courthouse and Capitol Hill.

      Clinton’s presidential campaign has failed to quiet the furor over the issue, which has dogged her for more than a year.

      In the next few weeks — just as the likely Democratic presidential nominee hopes to pivot towards a general election — it will face its toughest scrutiny yet.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Singapore raises concerns over haze at UN meeting in Africa

      Singapore has raised concerns over transboundary air pollution at a United Nations (UN) meeting involving some 120 environment ministers in Africa last week, the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said on Sunday (May 29).

      During the meeting, called the 2nd session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), Singapore’s Dr Amy Khor said air pollution stunts economic development and has adverse impacts on human health.

    • WHO: Finland’s air third-cleanest in world

      According to a fresh report from the World Health Organisation, the air in Finland is the third cleanest in the world, and one of the very cleanest parts of the world can be found in Finnish Lapland.

    • Answer given by Mr Stylianides on behalf of the Commission

      A summary report of the initial findings will soon be provided to Indonesian authorities. The report is intended for the Indonesian authorities and therefore will not be made public. Upon further request of Indonesian authorities the Commission is ready to deploy a full advisory mission providing expertise and recommendations on the topics identified in the initial findings which recommend that the advisory mission focuses on advising the Government on improving the governance practices and modern fire surveillance. In addition, a small EU Civil Protection Team (2-3 experts) could be deployed upon invitation of the Indonesian authorities during the forest fires season to assist in coordinating activities during fire response operations.

    • Reef spending spree welcome: Branson
    • Bleaching kills third of coral in Great Barrier Reef’s north
    • Mass coral bleaching cast shadow over future of Great Barrier Reef
    • Reef needs $10bn Murray Darling Basin package: conservationists
    • Climate change action vital to reef
    • Australia’s censorship of Unesco climate report is like a Shakespearean tragedy
    • Homeowners kept in dark about climate change risk to houses, says report

      The risk that houses in some areas of Australia are likely to become uninsurable, dilapidated and uninhabitable due to climate change is kept hidden from those building and buying property along Australia’s coasts and in bushfire zones, a Climate Institute report says.

      The report says there is untapped and unshared data held by regulators, state and local governments, insurers and banks on the level of risk, but that most homebuyers and developers are not told about the data and do not have access to it.

    • Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten

      Ten years ago this Sunday, one of the weirdest and most controversial disasters of the 2000s struck a densely populated area just outside the city of Sidoarjo in East Java, Indonesia. At 5:00 that morning, a slurry of dark gray mud burst from the soil and began oozing slowly across the landscape. Since that day, the flow of mud has never stopped or even paused.

      Now, a decade into the eruption, an area of almost three square miles has been buried in mud up to sixty feet deep. At the center of a vast gray mudscape, the volcano continues to spew. More than forty thousand people have lost their houses, businesses, and land, and they can never go home.

      In the wake of most volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, or other phenomena that are typically lumped under the contested “natural disaster” label, a tenth anniversary can be a good time to look back at how the recovery and healing happened.

    • Lightning strikes kill man in Poland and injure dozens across Europe

      One man has died and scores of people been injured, including children, as lightning strikes hit several parts of Europe, including a park in Paris and a football pitch in Germany.

      A bolt of lightning killed a man hiking in mountains in south-west Poland on Saturday. Storm lightning injured three others in the same region, and a 61-year-old man drowned in flash flooding.

      In Germany, more than 30 people were taken to hospital in the western village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck at the end of a junior football match. Three adults were seriously injured, including the referee who was hit directly and had to be resuscitated before being airlifted to hospital.

    • Donald Trump Tells Drought-Stricken Californians There Is No Drought

      Speaking to an audience in California on Friday, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump told the crowd “there is no drought” in their state.

      Trump claimed there isn’t a real water shortage. Instead, he said, state officials are intentionally denying water to farmers in the middle of the state — choosing to reroute the water to the ocean to protect an endangered California fish called the delta smelt.

    • The Trouble with Fracking Fiction

      The best storytelling about the fracking boom has come mostly from newspaper reporters who decided to write nonfiction books about real people and real events. Tom Wilber’s “Under the Surface,” Russell Gold’s “The Boom,” and Seamus McGraw’s “The End of Country,” present nonfiction accounts of the shale gas revolution and offer deep insights into the minds of people impacted by the industry.

      Based on her research, Haugh believes the debate over shale gas drilling is about class. The ban on fracking in New York was the result of a concerted effort by “highly educated, politically liberal environmental activists,” she says in the Q&A. “In Pennsylvania, the conversation is completely different. … The environmental arguments that won over New York voters don’t fly there. For working class people with no economic security, that kind of idealism is an unaffordable luxury.”

    • Duke Energy Flexes Political Muscle on Fracked Gas, Coal Ash

      Duke Energy is facing serious regulatory battles in its home state of North Carolina, with climate-action groups doggedly trying to block the company’s planned fracked gas plant in Asheville and the state’s environmental agency recently deciding — at least temporarily — that all of the company’s coal ash impoundments must be excavated and the waste moved to safer dry storage.

      But the power giant is fighting back with the help of friends in high places.

      On the gas plant front, Duke Energy earlier this month asked the N.C. Utilities Commission to order NC WARN and The Climate Times to post a $50 million bond to continue their appeal of the commission’s approval of the company’s proposed $1 billion gas plant on the site of a shuttered coal plant near Asheville, citing a never-before-used provision of a 1963 state law allowing the utility to seek a bond from critics challenging a power plant approval. Though the bond is supposed to offset costs stemming from a delay in starting construction, Duke Energy has not shown any evidence that the appeal would lead to delays.

    • What Happens When Kids Ask A Climate Scientist Questions

      Recently a Portland, Oregon school board voted to throw out textbooks that cast doubt on climate change. With an eye to making students more “climate literate,” schools are ditching materials that hem and haw about the human causes of global warming.

    • Unstoppable Force or Immovable Object: Which Do You Want to Be?

      What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? In the case of the fossil fuel industry meeting the growing force of the climate movement, the answer is “change!”

      [...]

      From the Gulf Coast, to Colorado, Alaska, to Albany, communities are uniting to demand that fossil fuels stay in the ground, where they belong.

    • This is What Insurgency Looks Like

      A week before the action the Albany Break Free steering committee defined their basic message. Potentially explosive crude oil “bomb trains” roll through Albany and surrounding communities, polluting the air and contributing to the climate crisis. Primarily low-income communities of color are put at risk. The urgent need to address climate change means that fossil fuels have to be left in the ground and a transition made to a “twenty-first century renewable energy economy.” They called for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, compressor stations, and storage tanks. And they called for a just transition away from fossil fuel energy with training and jobs for affected workers, so “no worker is left behind.”

    • Environmentalists, First Nations Vow Summer of Action Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

      Environment and Indigenous rights organizations are indicating it’s going to be a long, hot summer of civil disobedience in British Columbia following a National Energy Board report released last week recommending conditional approval of Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project that allow for the transport of nearly a million barrels of bitumen per day from Alberta’s tar sands oil mines.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • DNC rejects Sanders’s request to remove committee chairs

      Senior Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials have rejected a request from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s campaign to change the leadership of two crucial committees at the national convention this summer.

      Jim Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller, co-chairs of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, dismissed a request to remove Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank as co-chairmen of the convention’s platform and rules committees, respectively.

      The campaign’s complaint, they wrote in a letter to Sanders lawyer Brad Deutsch, failed to allege a violation of the convention’s rules governing the conduct of elections or delegate selection.

    • 538 Sacrifices Integrity to Go After Sanders on Independents

      As this campaign has gone along, it seems to me that the 538 crew have at times gone beyond the realm of punditry into the realm of hackery—that is, not just treating their own opinions as though they were objective data, but spinning the data so that it conforms to their opinions.

      [...]

      So from the beginning, 538 argued, Sanders had very little chance of getting the Democratic nomination, because if he showed any signs of winning, a Democratic establishment united against him would step in to “squash” him. If that’s not the definition of a “rigged” system, what is it?

    • Memo to the President Regarding the Hillary Clinton Email Server

      The following memo was written by a group of U.S. intelligence, diplomatic, and military veterans, calling on President Obama to expedite the FBI review of former Secretary of State Clinton’s alleged email security violations so the public can assess this issue in a timely fashion.

      Clinton’s judgement — never mind the significant question of legality — is an important criterion which Americans must consider in choosing their next president.

      Yeah, it is long, but sometimes important things are complex, and need to be explained clearly. That is especially true in the case of the Clinton Emails, where the media has failed in its job of explaining how classification works, and the significance of exposing classified material.

    • With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers

      Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, and while she’s slippery, she’s no dummy. She may have played dumb when asked earlier by reporters about her server’s hard drive being wiped clean of data before she turned it over to the FBI, saying, “What, like with a cloth or something? I don’t know how it works at all,” but she surely was involved in the deletion of her private emails — over 30,000 of which were reportedly erased.

      And those erasures were made without any involvement of State Department security or legal officials. The decision, according to Clinton, on which emails were “private communications,” was made by her personal attorney, whose interest, by definition, was her and not the public or even national security for that matter.

      As the Washington Post has reported, the Clintons went from being, as Hillary Clinton has said, “dead broke” upon leaving the White House in January 2000, to earning some $230 million by this year — a staggering sum of money even in a new Gilded Age of obscene wealth. Most of this money has been little more than influence buying by corporations and wealthy people trying to curry favor with a woman who was already Secretary of State, perhaps the second-most powerful position in the US government and whom many expected to become the next president after Obama.

      The power couple’s two foundations, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, now together reportedly worth more than $2 billion, both function effectively as money-laundering operations providing salaries to Clinton family members and friends. And Hillary Clinton, particularly while serving as President Obama’s secretary of state, was in a perfect position to do favors for unsavory foreign leaders seeking to have their countries kept off of State Department lists of human rights violators, and for US businesses seeking lucrative business deals abroad. It’s those kinds of email conversations that would have benefitted from a private server, since US State Department official computers have dedicated back-up systems that would be hard or impossible to wipe, and are also by law subject to Freedom of Information inquiries from journalists and the public.

      It beggars belief to think that Hillary Clinton wasn’t hiding such conversations when she had her private emails deleted from her server.

      The FBI is known to be investigating Clinton’s private emails, with as many as 100 FBI personnel assigned to the investigation. Already, one key privately hired tech assistant who worked on Clinton’s private server, Bryan Pagliano, has become a cooperating witness, granted immunity from prosecution by the US Justice Department in that investigation (usually an indication that the FBI is expecting to indict someone else). Key Clinton aides, notably her top aide Huma Abedin, have also been interviewed by FBI agents, with the expectation that Clinton will be interviewed herself soon by federal agents. But there is no indication from the Justice Department or the FBI as to when, if ever, the results of that investigation will be released.

    • Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief

      Candidates must be able to glamorize war, rally the masses to believe war is necessary, rally the young to enlist in the military, promote nationalism, and jackboot countries to join war coalitions.

      Candidates must be proficient in pandering to fear, using the words “terror” and “terrorism” at precisely the right moments and especially when a majority of people expresses war weariness.

    • Democracy after Sanders

      The Sanders’ campaign has remained on the whole anchored on key policy issues – free university education, free universal healthcare, redistribution of wealth by taxing the rich and financial capital, among others. The tone between the two Democratic contenders has become increasingly bitter, but Sanders made it clear that, despite the big differences, he would support Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee. But will his supporters follow him? Various polls show that in November a significant section of Sanders’ electorate will not vote for Clinton – and a smaller proportion might even vote for Trump.

    • Socialism vs. barbarism: Only social democracy can defeat the right-wing radicalism of Donald Trump

      About a year after the launch of both Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, it’s easy to conclude that the anti-establishment backlash of 2016 was somewhat inevitable. The incredulity that many in the establishment felt when these two candidates first climbed the polls and took their respective primaries by storm has passed, and now that Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, nothing seems beyond the realm of possibility (including, terrifyingly enough, a Donald Trump presidency).

    • Did This Chinese Billionaire Try to Buy Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe?

      Virginia’s party boy-turned-governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and confidant of the Clintons, is being investigated by the FBI and Department of Justice for potentially taking illegal campaign contributions.

      The governor’s office told CNN, which broke the story, that it was not aware the investigation was under way and that it would cooperate if asked. Details are vague, but the investigation involves Chinese billionaire businessman Wang Wenliang, who now has the rare distinction of causing problems for both McAuliffe and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. It’s complicated—and it highlights just how much Clinton and McAuliffe’s questionable shared connections haunt their political dreams.

    • Revealed: The State Department’s Hidden Hillary Donors

      Hillary Clinton may have suspended her political career temporarily when she became secretary of state. But the Clinton fundraising machine was in full swing and raising millions of dollars for the State Department under her watch, an analysis by The Daily Beast has found.

    • Sub sailor’s photo case draws comparisons to Clinton emails

      A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

      Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.

    • How Donald Trump Destroyed the Interview

      What of Trump’s reputation for being a liar? “I don’t lie, I mean I don’t lie. In fact, if anything, I’m so truthful that it gets me in trouble, OK? They say I’m too truthful. And, no I don’t lie,” he told Greta Van Susteren in February. As my colleagues Michael Kruse and Noah Weiland documented earlier this month in a lengthy piece, almost everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth is provisional. Give him a few minutes, a couple hours, or even several years, and he’ll reverse most of what he has previously said.

    • The Impeachment of Donald Trump

      Pollsters and pundits have lately begun to discuss the possibility that Donald Trump could best Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. But they haven’t yet said that if that happens, Trump would soon face impeachment, or that his choice of a vice-president the most important decision in this scenario of gathering nightmares.

    • Thousands Call on DNC to Oust ‘Corporatist Tool’ Wasserman Schultz

      More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to remove embattled chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has faced increasing criticism over her leadership of the party in the 2016 election cycle.

      The petition, organized by the grassroots group RootsAction.org, castigates Wasserman Schultz for what the group describes as an attempt to “minimize competition for her candidate Hillary Clinton” and for her actions in U.S. Congress as “a pro-militarist and corporatist tool of the high bidders.”

    • 12 Fringe Conspiracy Theories Embraced By A Man Who Might Be The Next President

      There are mountains of scientific evidence that asbestos is extremely dangerous to humans. It causes cancer and kills more than 12,000 people every year.

      [...]

      Donald Trump told an audience in Fresno that “there is no drought” in California. According to Trump, the state has plenty of water but it’s being held hostage by environmentalists in government. The idea that the government is engineering the drought was popularized by professional conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.

      [...]

      Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, often implicating the Chinese.

      [...]

      Trump spent much of 2011 and 2012 raising questions about the legitimacy of Obama’s birthplace, feeding into conspiracy theories that he was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

    • Trump Exposes the GOP’s Dirty Secret: They Build Everything by Nurturing White Rage

      Paul Ryan is angry with Donald Trump, not so much for failing to espouse conservative values, as for exposing America’s dirty little secret—white rage: that deep-seated determination to block black progress in this country. For years, conservative politicians have relied upon the cover of high-minded principles and slogans—“protecting the integrity of the ballot box,” or waging a “war on drugs” — in order to cloak their determination to restrict African Americans’ citizenship rights. The racism fueling Trump’s campaign and his followers, however, is so overt, that it is undoing decades of hard covert work by the GOP.

    • Trump Attacks Judge Overseeing The Case Against His Fake University: ‘He’s A Hater’

      Trump told his supporters he believes Judge Curiel should be removed from the case, citing the fact that Curiel was appointed to the bench by President Obama. Trump also said he believes Curiel is “Mexican.” The crowd — which had previously shouted “build that wall” — booed loudly.

    • 5 Insane Right-Wing Moments This Week: Sarah Palin Invents Bizarre Nickname for Trump

      Where does one begin when a major party nominee comes out and tells Californians that the drought they have been experiencing for several years does not exist? One place is with the woman who, if she did not start the march toward our current idiocracy, greatly accelerated it and continues to pour gasoline on its tinder pile. Sarah Palin was making the rounds for Trump this week, warming up the crowds, spewing what can only be described as some of the most moronic batsh*t the world has ever heard, with the possible exception of words uttered by the man himself.

    • Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?

      At a news conference on Tuesday, I asked Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) about Hillary Clinton’s having returned money from Muslims and refusing to meet with Arab and Muslim groups in her 2000 Senate run.

    • Why the Libertarians Might Help Tilt the Election to Hillary

      Polls are notoriously unreliable on third-party campaigns, especially this early in an election year, when low name recognition understates appeal. But it looks as if the Libertarians could easily take 5 to 10 percent of the total vote and more in key states. Almost all of this will come at the expense of Donald Trump.

    • Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity

      Last summer when I began pointing out the parallels between white supremacist tactics, fascist movements and the rhetoric of Donald Trump I felt like a lone voice in the wind. Now the concern that Trump is bringing a populist form of fascism to America is bouncing around the mainstream, from the Village Voice to the Brookings Institute. Of course, last summer I thought the Trump crazy-train would derail by Thanksgiving as Bush or Rubio became the rational choice of the Republican Party. I have never been so wrong in my life. I completely underestimated the number of deluded people willing to dive into a cult of personality. They aren’t a silent majority, they are a very noisy minority. A very noisy white minority.

    • Cornwall’s chief constable Shaun Sawyer confirms investigation into alleged Conservative election fraud

      Devon and Cornwall Police has said it will hand the investigation of alleged electoral fraud by the Conservative Party over to another force.

      The police were called on to investigate whether the party had committed fraud by failing to disclose expenses related to its election battle bus in constituencies including Camborne and Redruth, where Tory MP George Eustice was re-elected, and North Cornwall where Scott Mann won the seat for the party.

      The newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, has also been caught up in the scandal, as last year she was the election agent Torbay MP Kevin Foster, and signed the campaign’s spending return which did not include the expenses.

      Devon and Cornwall’s Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, said: “Following a programme aired by Channel 4 on 20 and 21 April, the force received allegations relating to improper electoral campaign spending returns in Devon and Cornwall in the 2015 general election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The hidden horrors in poultry plants

      THOUSANDS OF workers stand for up to 12 hours straight in freezing-cold, foul-smelling factories–aching, hurting, gasping for air, struggling to go on until their next bathroom break–while they relentlessly pull, cut and jab at dozens of chickens churning down the line every minute at dangerous speeds, repeating the same, intensive body-motions more than 20,000 times a day.

    • A New Memorial Day Tradition — Burning The Confederate Flag

      Well, I started working on the Confederate over 15 years ago, as an art project, first by recoloring it red, black and green for the black nationalism colors.

    • The Republic of Fear

      Why are so many Americans gripped by fear? Fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of the deficit, fear that the government will take away guns, fear of socialism, gay rights, and women’s rights. Despite, the Boston Marathon bombings and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, America has not been attacked by foreign terrorists in fourteen years, yet the right is deathly afraid of terrorists. It’s their number one concern. Number two is the problem of immigrants even though America is a country of immigrants. Meanwhile, the deficit has shrunk to less than 3% of GDP yet Republicans claim the deficit is bankrupting the country. The right to own a gun is written into the Constitution, yet gun-owners are afraid background checks are a step down a slippery slope to government seizing their weapons. Trump claims Hillary will repeal the Second Amendment.

    • Toppling the Status Quo
    • Amos Yee is attacked in Jurong Point

      “I witnessed the entire incident. When attacked, Amos ran all the way to the Fairprice supermarket. The man who assaulted him and his girlfriend waited outside the supermarket for him, and when he came out they grabbed him by the neck and dragged him all the way to a Japanese restaurant. Many people witnessed the incident but none came forward to help, except a Caucasian man. He asked the aggressor to let Amos go, but the aggressor just ignored him. Amos managed to get free when the aggressor held him with one hand and used the other to call his gang members on the phone.”

      The 17-year-old blogger is facing trial in Court and faces six charges of intending to wound the feelings of Muslims or Christians – via five videos and a photo – and two counts of failing to report to the Jurong Police Division for investigations. He is out on a $5000 bail.

    • Israel Police Recommend Indicting Sara Netanyahu Over Irregularities at PM’s Residence

      Netanyahu was questioned under caution – as someone who might be charged with a crime – in December 2015 by Israel Police’s Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit.

    • Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum

      Hungary’s Viktor Orbán got there first, beating the drums of fear at the prospect of reincarnated Ottoman hordes streaming through Europe in an Islamic remake of a modern continent. With the British referendum on the EU fast approaching, the demonic Turk is again taking the centre stage in terms of terrifying metaphor.

    • The ILO report on ‘decent work in global supply chains’ – much ado about nothing?

      Given that labour conditions in global supply chains have been in the public spotlight for over two decades, it is no surprise that the topic ‘decent work in global supply chains’ is on the agenda of this month’s 105th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC). However, it can be argued that the accompanying report is a missed opportunity. Whilst it is a thorough assessment of the status quo regarding labour rights and working conditions in global supply chains, it does little to move the debate forward.

      It is a well-known fact that western companies at the top of the global supply chain tree (called ‘lead firms’) not only outsource their production through global supply chains, but also their potential legal liability. They therefore reduce both their costs and their responsibilities.

    • Inquest jury finds failures in detainee healthcare

      Dr Cocco said that the brain scan appointment could have led to life-saving treatment.

    • Former NSA head on Trump: ‘He’s feeding their recruitment video’
    • Facebook posing greater privacy risks than governments: Hayden
    • UK people more tolerant of ‘aggressive intelligence actions’ than Americans says former CIA chief Michael Hayden
    • CIA ex-boss: secretive spooks tolerated in UK more than in US

      British people are not demanding more transparency from the intelligence services as loudly as Americans, the former director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA has said.

      Michael Hayden played a pivotal, leading role in American intelligence until he was replaced as director of the CIA shortly into the presidency of Barack Obama.

      In a wide-ranging talk on the fourth day of the Hay festival, Hayden addressed CIA torture, targeted killings, what he thinks about Edward Snowden and how Facebook is perhaps a greater threat to privacy than government.

    • Thousands Held in Federal Prisons for Too Long, Report Finds

      More than 4,300 federal inmates were kept in prison beyond their scheduled release dates from 2009 to 2014 — some of them for an extra year or more, according to a report released on Tuesday that highlighted wide confusion in the prison system.

      The findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general are a potential embarrassment for the United States Bureau of Prisons at a time when the Obama administration has assailed what it says are unfair and unduly harsh sentences for many inmates, particularly minorities and nonviolent offenders.

      While it is unusual for an inmate to be held past his sentence, the consequences “can be extraordinarily serious,” the report said. The delayed releases “deprive inmates of their liberty,” and have led to millions of dollars in added prison costs and legal settlements with former inmates, it concluded.

    • Lock Up the Men, Evict the Women and Children

      We have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prison population. More than 60 percent of the 2.2 million incarcerated are people of color. If these poor people were not locked in cages for decades, if they were not given probationary status once they were freed, if they had stable communities, there would be massive unrest in the streets. Mass incarceration, along with debt peonage, evictions, police violence and a judicial system that holds up property rights, rather than justice, as the highest good and that denies nearly all of the poor a trial, forcing them to accept plea bargains, is one of the many tools of corporate oppression.

    • Woman Treated Like A Criminal For Refusing To Testify Against Her Abusive Boyfriend

      A federal court has sided with a domestic violence victim who was treated like a criminal after a prosecutor threw her in jail for refusing to testify that her abusive boyfriend hit her in the face, according to court documents filed Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

      Plaintiff Kristin Loupe was called as a witness to testify against her then-boyfriend David Adams during a bond hearing in January 2014. She said that during a domestic fight, he hurt her arm “in a dispute that went too far.” When Robin O’Bannon, the Ascension Parish Assistant District Attorney, pushed for more details about the abuse and repeatedly asked whether Loupe was hit in the face, Loupe would not confirm whether that had happened.

    • BTS explainer: what is the International Labour Conference?

      This will be the 105th session of the International Labour Conference, but how many people know what it is and why it’s important?

    • The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party

      The wave of revolutionary politics that Bernie Sanders and his supporters are riding can be traced back to George W. Bush. When Bush decided to Invade Iraq in 2003 he ignited a counter protest movement of young activists that the country had not seen since the Vietnam War. The activism continued through the second Bush election when many felt inspired by Senator John Kerry’s run for president as a well-known anti-war advocate. A presidential run that failed for many reasons, one of which being Kerry positioned himself as anti-war, yet voted in favor of the Iraq invasion.

    • It’s not their fault, it’s yours! Swedish GIRLS blamed for rise in migrant sex attacks

      SWEDISH police have blamed Scandinavian teenage girls’ “Nordic alcohol culture” and Western behaviour for a steep rise in sex attacks carried out by migrants.

    • Cincinnati zoo: Parents of boy blamed as anger mounts over shooting dead of gorilla

      Visitors to Cincinnati Zoo have blamed the parents of a boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure – forcing staff to shoot and kill the rare 400-lb animals.

      As zoo officials explained that they had no alternative but to take the reluctant decision to kill the animal, a wave of outrage and anger began to focus on the as yet unidentified parents of the four-year-old, who was captured on video in the ape’s enclosure.

    • Governments Turn to Commercial Spyware to Intimidate Dissidents

      In the last five years, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates, has been jailed and fired from his job, along with having his passport confiscated, his car stolen, his email hacked, his location tracked and his bank account robbed of $140,000. He has also been beaten, twice, in the same week.

      Mr. Mansoor’s experience has become a cautionary tale for dissidents, journalists and human rights activists. It used to be that only a handful of countries had access to sophisticated hacking and spying tools. But these days, nearly all kinds of countries, be they small, oil-rich nations like the Emirates, or poor but populous countries like Ethiopia, are buying commercial spyware or hiring and training programmers to develop their own hacking and surveillance tools.

      The barriers to join the global surveillance apparatus have never been lower. Dozens of companies, ranging from NSO Group and Cellebrite in Israel to Finfisher in Germany and Hacking Team in Italy, sell digital spy tools to governments.

      A number of companies in the United States are training foreign law enforcement and intelligence officials to code their own surveillance tools. In many cases these tools are able to circumvent security measures like encryption. Some countries are using them to watch dissidents. Others are using them to aggressively silence and punish their critics, inside and outside their borders.

    • Keep Calm and (Don’t) Enable Macros: A New Threat Actor Targets UAE Dissidents

      This report describes a campaign of targeted spyware attacks carried out by a sophisticated operator, which we call Stealth Falcon. The attacks have been conducted from 2012 until the present, against Emirati journalists, activists, and dissidents. We discovered this campaign when an individual purporting to be from an apparently fictitious organization called “The Right to Fight” contacted Rori Donaghy. Donaghy, a UK-based journalist and founder of the Emirates Center for Human Rights, received a spyware-laden email in November 2015, purporting to offer him a position on a human rights panel. Donaghy has written critically of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government in the past,1 and had recently published a series of articles based on leaked emails involving members of the UAE government.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • House Republicans Move To Eliminate Net Neutrality

      A new proposal by House Republicans would effectively put an end to net neutrality while slashing funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation would reduce the agency’s funding by more than 17 percent, likely leaving the agency crippled and incapable of enforcing its regulations.

      [...]

      Over the past two years, Rogers has received more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from the telecom industry, according to OpenSecrets.org, a resource for federal campaign contributions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHA Gets First UN Framework Managing Non-State Actors; Countries Satisfied, Actors Concerned

      The first agreement on how to manage relationships between a United Nations organisation and non-governmental actors, such as industry, philanthropic organisations and public interest groups, was adopted on 28 May by the World Health Assembly. The framework, which had been discussed for several years, was hailed as historic by many countries, but met a mixed reaction from those primarily concerned.

    • Trademarks

      • The Nominative Fair Use “Defense” in Trademark Law: Confusion in the US Circuit Courts of Appeal

        Chief Judge Kozinski, the well-known libertarian, is the author of the excellent “Trademarks Unplugged” article. Nominative fair use is different from the classic descriptive fair use defense because the alleged infringer is essentially using the trademark of another to refer to the trademark owner. The classic descriptive fair use defense is ordinarily utilized when an alleged infringer is using the trademark of another to fairly describe the alleged infringer’s goods or services. However, nominative fair use could even apply to a fanciful mark because the alleged infringer is trying to directly refer to the trademark owner itself.

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