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07.26.16

Links 26/7/2016: Microsoft Growing Desperate, Linux 4.8 Visions

Posted in News Roundup at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Last gasp: Microsoft updates Get Windows 10 nagster, KB 3035583, yet again

      With nine days to go, Microsoft really, really wants you to claim your free upgrade to Windows 10. Come to think of it, Microsoft has really, really wanted you to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC to Windows 10 for more than a year, and backed it with the GWX subsystem — first installed by KB 3035583 in March 2015, 15 months ago.

  • Server

    • Open Source Docker Monitoring & Logging

      Docker is growing by leaps and bounds, and along with it, its ecosystem. Being light, the predominant container deployment involves running just a single app or service inside each container. Most software products and services are made up of at least several such apps/services. We all want all our apps/services to be highly available and fault tolerant. Thus, Docker containers in an organization quickly start popping up like mushrooms after the rain. They multiply faster than rabbits.While, in the beginning, we play with them like cute little pets, as their numbers quickly grow we realize we are dealing with a herd of cattle, implying we’ve become cowboys. Managing a herd with your two hands, a horse, and a lasso will only get you so far. You won’t be able to ride after each and every calf that wonders in the wrong direction. To get back to containers from this zoological analogy—operating so many moving pieces at scale is impossible without orchestration—this is why we’ve seen the rise of Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, Mesos, CoreOS, RancherOS, and so on.

    • DevOps: A Pillar of Modern IT Infrastructure

      A massive transformation is underway in the way we manage IT infrastructure. More companies are looking for improved agility and flexibility. They are moving from traditional server stacks to cloudy infrastructure to support a new array of applications and services that must be delivered at breakneck pace in order to remain competitive.

    • The one big change in IT

      Yet Bob does not believe the devops hammer should be used on anything that looks remotely like a nail. Accounting systems, supply chain management systems, warehouse management systems, and so on do not benefit from the constant modification enabled by devops. Those are bound by precise, interlocking processes along with granular permissions and regulations. Here, continuous change invites disaster of the type that ITIL-huggers and OCM (organizational change management) proponents fear most.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Conversation With Jonathan Thomas of OpenShot

      I think my initial fascination with Linux was based on rebuilding all my old, broken computers laying around my office/garage. I was having a ton of fun, pulling components out of old computers, installing various distros and seeing what worked/didn’t work. And then there was the 3D desktop cube, which was pretty awesome! Pretty soon I had built my kids their own computer, with “safe” web-browsing, education games, etc. It was many months of playing around with Linux before I learned about Python and started slowly getting more into the programming side of things.

    • OpenVZ 7.0 Becomes A Complete Linux Distribution, Based On VzLinux

      OpenVZ, a long-standing Linux virtualization technology and similar to LXC and Solaris Containers, is out with their major 7.0 release.

      OpenVZ 7.0 has focused on merging the OpenVZ and Virtuozzo code-bases along with replacing their own hypervisor with that of Linux’s KVM. Under OpenVZ 7.0, it has become a complete Linux distribution based upon VzLinux.

    • OpenVZ 7.0 released

      I’m pleased to announce the release of OpenVZ 7.0. The new release focuses on merging OpenVZ and Virtuozzo source codebase, replacing our own hypervisor with KVM.

    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.4.0 beta 2

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • FreeIPA Lightweight CA internals

      In the preceding post, I explained the use cases for the FreeIPA lightweight sub-CAs feature, how to manage CAs and use them to issue certificates, and current limitations. In this post I detail some of the internals of how the feature works, including how signing keys are distributed to replicas, and how sub-CA certificate renewal works. I conclude with a brief retrospective on delivering the feature.

    • Lightweight Sub-CAs in FreeIPA 4.4

      Last year FreeIPA 4.2 brought us some great new certificate management features, including custom certificate profiles and user certificates. The upcoming FreeIPA 4.4 release builds upon this groundwork and introduces lightweight sub-CAs, a feature that lets admins to mint new CAs under the main FreeIPA CA and allows certificates for different purposes to be issued in different certificate domains. In this post I will review the use cases and demonstrate the process of creating, managing and issuing certificates from sub-CAs. (A follow-up post will detail some of the mechanisms that operate behind the scenes to make the feature work.)

    • RcppArmadillo 0.7.200.2.0

      The second Armadillo release of the 7.* series came out a few weeks ago: version 7.200.2. And RcppArmadillo version 0.7.200.2.0 is now on CRAN and uploaded to Debian. This followed the usual thorough reverse-dependecy checking of by now over 240 packages using it.

      For once, I let it simmer a little preparing only a package update via the GitHub repo without preparing a CRAN upload to lower the update frequency a little. Seeing that Conrad has started to release 7.300.0 tarballs, the time for a (final) 7.200.2 upload was now right.

      Just like the previous, it now requires a recent enough compiler. As g++ is so common, we explicitly test for version 4.6 or newer. So if you happen to be on an older RHEL or CentOS release, you may need to get yourself a more modern compiler. R on Windows is now at 4.9.3 which is decent (yet stable) choice; the 4.8 series of g++ will also do. For reference, the current LTS of Ubuntu is at 5.4.0, and we have g++ 6.1 available in Debian testing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Stardew Valley is now in beta for Linux

        The Stardew Valley developer tweeted out a password for a beta, but after discussing it with them on their forum I was able to show them that we can’t actually access it yet.

        While what I was telling them may not have been entirely correct (SteamDB is confusing), the main point I made was correct. Normal keys are not able to access the beta yet, but beta/developer keys can, as it’s not currently set for Linux/Mac as a platform for us.

      • Physics-based 3D puzzler Human: Fall Flat released on Steam for Linux

        Human: Fall Flat is an open-ended physics puzzler with an optional local co-op mode, developed by No Brakes Games, and available now on Steam for Linux.

      • 7 Mages brings a touch more of traditional dungeon crawling to Linux

        Controlling a party of adventurers, exploring dungeons and fighting weird magical creatures is an RPG tradition as old as the genre. Expect all that and more in this modern iteration of the classical dungeon crawler.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • NWM: An X11 Window Manager Written In Node.js

      In case you ever wanted to have a Node.js window manager, there’s now one that works for X11 environments that works on Chrome OS, Debian, and friends.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Bringing your kids to GUADEC 2016
      • GNOME Keysign – Report #2 GSoC 2016

        More than a week ago I blogged about the new GUI made with GtkBuilder and Glade [1]. Now, I will talk about what has changed since then with the GUI and also the new functionality that has been added to it.

        I will start with the new “transition” page which I’ve added for the key download phase. Before going more in depth, I have to say that the app knows at each moment in what state it is, which really helps in adding more functionality.

  • Distributions

    • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.7.2, Qt 5.7 and KDE Applications 16.04.3

      Chakra GNU/Linux developer Neofytos Kolokotronis today, July 25, 2016, announced the release of the latest KDE and Qt technologies, along with new software versions in the main repositories of the Linux kernel-based operating system.

    • Reviews

      • Point Linux 3.2

        Point Linux released their newest version, 3.2, in June 2016. Their goal is, “To combine the power of Debian GNU/Linux with the productivity of MATE, the GNOME 2 desktop environment fork. Point Linux provides an easy-to-set-up-and-use distribution for users looking for a fast, stable and predictable desktop.”

        Point Linux aims to use MATE as their primary desktop environment, but also offers Xfce as an option. The Point Linux website is simple and professional. The download page is full of fresh and very nice options that allow the user to download the exact distro they require to fit their needs. Some of the options include 32- or 64-bit, torrent or direct download, and the location of the download server. I found using the website was effortless and the options available cut down on the download time (by giving the option to torrent or the location of the server) and lowered the install time by giving the consumer options before retrieving the whole file.

        The MATE desktop environment (DE) is available in the standard Debian installation media, but the full Debian installer image is 4.7GB, overwhelmingly large, and has too many DE options to make the disc any smaller. This is the small void that Point Linux fills. They provide the MATE desktop environment (or Xfce) and a significantly smaller live OS / installation media. Even when selecting the full featured desktop from the options on their website, the Point Linux installer is only 1.00GB. The “Desktop with core components” option lowers this installation media size further to 772MB.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Introducing: openSUSE heroes

        During the last weeks, the openSUSE board and others expressed their concern about the current state of some openSUSE infrastructure: especially the reaction times to change something in the setup were mentioned multiple times. Looks like we lost some administrators and/or contact points at SUSE who helped out in the past to eliminate problems or work together with the community.

        As result, there was a meeting held during the openSUSE Conference 2016, including some SUSE employees and openSUSE community members to discuss the current situation and search for some possible solutions. The discussion was very fruitful and we’d like to share some of the results here to inform everyone and actively ask for help. If you want to join us, the openSUSE heroes, do not hesitate to contact us and join an incredible team!

    • Slackware Family

      • The saga continues with Slackware 14.2

        Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution and has been maintained since its birth by Patrick Volkerding. Slackware has a well deserved reputation for being stable, consistent and conservative. Slackware is released when it is ready, rather than on a set schedule, and fans of the distribution praise its no-frills and no-fuss design. Slackware adheres to a “keep it simple” philosophy similar to Arch Linux, in that the operating system does not do a lot of hand holding or automatic configuration. The user is expected to know what they are doing and the operating system generally stays out of the way. The latest release of Slackware, version 14.2, mostly offers software updates and accompanying hardware support. A few new features offer improved plug-n-play support for removable devices and this release of Slackware ships with the PulseAudio software. PulseAudio has been commonly found in the audio stack of most Linux distributions for several years, but that is a signature of Slackware: adding new features when they are needed, not when they become available. In this case PulseAudio was required as a dependency for another package.

        Slackware 14.2 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. There is also an ARM build. While the main edition of Slackware is available as an installation disc only, there is a live edition of Slackware where we can explore a Slackware-powered desktop environment without installing the distribution. The live edition can be found on the Alien Base website. Both the live edition and the main installation media are approximately 2.6GB in size. For the purposes of this review I will be focusing on the main, installation-only edition.

        Booting from the install media brings us to a text screen where we are invited to type in any required kernel parameters. We can press the Enter key to take the default settings or wait two minutes for the media to continue booting. A text prompt then offers to let us load an alternative keyboard layout or use the default “US” layout. We are then brought to a text console where a brief blurb offers us tips for setting up disk partitions and swap space. The helpful text says we can create partitions and then run the system installer by typing “setup”.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24: systemd-analyze

          I am still searching for an explanation, but Google searches are not turning up much that is useful. In the end it is curiosity more than something that is actually impacting me as I am able to start working long before systemd-analyze is capable of giving me results and certainly it is not taking 1 minute and 30 seconds for the computer to boot. In fact, when I timed the boot it only took 18.5 seconds for me to get to the desktop.

        • It’s Time to Upgrade to Fedora 24 Linux If You’re Still Using Fedora 22

          Fedora Program Manager Jan Kurik announced that the Fedora 22 Linux operating system officially reached end of life on July 19, 2016, urging users to upgrade to either the Fedora 23 or Fedora 24.

          Of course, this is not the first time we inform our readers about the end of life (EOL) support for the Fedora 22 GNU/Linux distribution, but just in case you haven’t noticed our previous story, and you’re still using Fedora 22 on your personal computers or servers, it’s time to upgrade to a newer release immediately.

        • Blivet-gui 2.0
        • FISL17

          Ana Mativi, Rino (@Villadalmine), Itamar Jp, Ezequiel (QliXed) Brizuela, Bruno R. Zanuzzo, Eduardo Echeverria, Junior Wolnei e Daniel Lara. I personally knew only two of those people so it’s nice to see new faces behind the nicknames.

        • Looking forward to flock 2016

          Just over one week until flock ( https://flocktofedora.org ), Fedora’s main yearly conference. This time it’s in Kraków, Poland. This of course means a long time traveling for myself and other North American Fedorans, but it’s always well worth it.

        • PreLinuxDay: Talk about Fedora QA and L10N

          Linux Day is a global celebration of Linux. According to the event site, there is currently 9 teams in 5 countries. One of these teams is from my country, Panama. The responsible of doing this is Jose Reyes, our newest Panamanian Fedora Ambassador.

        • Final phase

          Last week I finished up the prototype for the release widget fully and started coding the calendar widget monthly view and weekly view. So far the implementation consists of the main view and weekly view (link). I am hoping to finish this by Monday evening and concentrate on prototyping the empty state widget.

        • Reworking Docs

          In May of this year the docs team, with the help of some great folks from Red Hat and the CentOS project held a Documentation FAD. During that event we discussed a lot of important topics including the docs team’s publishing toolchain, and the barrier to entry that is docbook.

        • Korora 23 – is it an alternative to Linux Mint?

          Cinnamon is a desktop environment that is widely promoted by the Linux Mint team. Linux Mint Cinnamon is their flagship distribution. In its turn, Linux Mint is a leader in the world of Linux distributions, especially for the newbie-oriented part of it. Unfortunately, the recent release of Linux Mint 18 made things worse, and many Linux bloggers wrote about this.

          There was a comment on my recent post about Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon that asked me to look into the Korora distribution.

        • Check out these Korora Wallpapers
        • Slack 14.2 & Korora 23 Reviewed, Distros for Average Joe

          Jesse Smith reviewed Slackware 14.2 in today’s Distrowatch Weekly, saying it was stable as always if a bit dated topping Monday’s Linux news. Elsewhere, The Everyday Linux User listed his top five distributions for the “everyday Linux user” and DarkDuck test drove Korora 23 Live. Christine Hall gave Mint 18 a solid meh and OpenBSD kicked Linux to the curb.

        • Korora 24 “Sheldon” Linux Is Available Only for 64-bit PCs, Based on Fedora 24

          After a long wait, the Korora 24 GNU/Linux distribution has been released, based, as its version number suggests, on many of the technologies included in the popular Fedora 24 operating system.

        • Dale Raby: How do you Fedora?

          Dale started using Linux around 1999 when he became disconcerted with his Windows 95 computer and a young clerk in an office supply store told him about Linux. “I started reading some of the magazines, most notably Maximum Linux and eventually got to know their senior editor, Woody Hughes and Show Me the Code columnist Mae Ling Mak,” said Raby. His first distribution was Mandrake 6.5 which came in a box with a boot floppy.

          Raby manages a small gun shop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is also an author with four published books: The Post-Apocalyptic Blacksmith, 777 Bon Mots for Gunslighers and Other Real Men, The Wives of Jacob I, and In the Beginning.

        • Lennart Poettering Announces systemd 231 Init System for GNU/Linux Distributions

          Today, July 25, 2016, systemd creator Lennart Poettering has proudly announced the release and general availability of the systemd 231 init system for major GNU/Linux OSes.

          Bringing lots of fixes and numerous additions, systemd 231 is now the most advanced version of the modern and controversial init system that has been adopted in the last few years by more and more Linux kernel-based operating systems, including Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, openSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and many others.

        • Systemd 231 Officially Released
        • systemd 231
        • New Taskotron Tasks

          For a while now, we, Fedora QA, have been busy with building Taskotron core features and didn’t have much resources for additions to the tasks that Taskotron runs. That changed a few weeks back when we started running task-dockerautotest, task-abicheck and task-rpmgrill tasks in our dev environment. Since we have been happy with the results of having run those tasks, we deployed them to the production instance as well last week. Please note that the results of those tasks are informative only. Lets introduce the tasks briefly:

    • Debian Family

      • Debian LGBTIQA+

        I have a long overdue blog entry about what happened in recent times. People that follow my tweets did catch some things. Most noteworthy there was the Trans*Inter*Congress in Munich at the start of May. It was an absolute blast. I met so many nice and great people, talked and experienced so many great things there that I’m still having a great motivational push from it every time I think back. It was also the time when I realized that I in fact do have body dysphoria even though I thought I’m fine with my body in general: Being tall is a huge issue for me. Realizing that I have a huge issue (yes, pun intended) with my length was quite relieving, even though it doesn’t make it go away. It’s something that makes passing and transitioning for me harder. I’m well aware that there are tall women, and that there are dedicated shops for lengthy women, but that’s not the only thing that I have trouble with. What bothers me most is what people read into tall people: that they are always someone they can lean on for comfort, that tall people are always considered to be self confident and standing up for themselves (another pun, I know … my bad).

      • [GSOC] Week 8&9 Report

        This particular week has been tiresome as I did catch a cold ;). I did come back from Cape Town where debconf taking place. My arrival at Montreal was in the middle of the week, so this week is not plenty of news…

      • Debian on Jetson TK1

        I became interested in running Debian on NVIDIA’s Tegra platform recently. NVIDIA is doing a great job getting support for Tegra upstream (u-boot, kernel, X.org and other projects). As part of ensuring good Debian support for Tegra, I wanted to install Debian on a Jetson TK1, a development board from NVIDIA based on the Tegra K1 chip (Tegra 124), a 32-bit ARM chip.

      • RC bugs 2016/01-29
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Women In Tech: Jane Silber, CEO Of Canonical

            When I sat down to interview Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical, I don’t think it was lost on either of us that our ability to chat freely even though I was in my office in the middle of the U.S. and she was in her office in London, England had everything to do with cloud computing, an area in which her company does brisk business.

            Silber has been running Canonical (maker of Ubuntu, among a great many other software products) in one form or another for well over a decade at this point, first as COO and now CEO. She answers questions thoughtfully, with carefully chosen words; even though I’m sure I’m not the first journalist to ask her some of the below questions (maybe not even the first one this week), she had no canned responses, and she never veered off course to discuss her own agenda. There were no preset talking points; simply, I asked questions, and she answered them.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wal-Mart Proves Open Source Is Big Business
  • Keeping the FCC and Open Source Happy

    The FCC is worried. You and they spend all this time and energy getting your radio certified, and then some bozo hacks in, changes how the radio works, and puts you out of spec.

    And so, back in early 2015, the FCC issued some guidelines or questions regarding WiFi devices – particularly home routers – in an effort to ensure that your radio isn’t hackable.

    The result has been that some router makers have simply locked down the platform so that it’s no longer possible to do after-market modifications, and this has caused an outcry by after-market modifiers. The reason why it’s an issue is that these open-source developers have used the platform for adding apps or other software that, presumably, have nothing to do with the radio.

    In an attempt to find the magic middle way, the prpl organization, headed by Imagination Technologies (IMG) and featuring the MIPS architecture, recently put out a proof of concept that they say gives both assurance to the FCC and freedom to open-source developers.

    Questions from the FCC

  • Wire open-sources messaging client, woos developers

    Communications startup Wire has open-sourced the full codebase for its Wire app, so it’s easier for developers to build their own encrypted messaging clients.

    Wire open-sourced the rest of the client base that wasn’t initially publicly available, including components related to the user interface, the web and native clients, and some internal developer tools. The company always planned to open-source the codebase, but didn’t start out that way initially “because we were still working on other features,” Alan Duric, co-founder and CTO of Wire, wrote in a Medium post.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Servo Is Planning For More GPU-Accelerated WebRender Improvements

        As mentioned in today’s This Week in Servo newsletter, their Q3 roadmap plans have been published.

        Among the work to be tackled by Mozilla developers working on the next-generation Servo layout engine this quarter includes finishing the development of WebRender, experiments around WebRender 2, Stylo as the sryle system in Gecko integration work, and continuing with the Servo nightly builds support. There’s also work around Promise API, Autolander migration, Android work, auto-updating, JavaScript error reporting, Web Font loading, performance improvements, correcting more layout bugs, etc. You can see the current road-map via this GitHub page.

      • What Happens to Mozilla and its Deal with Yahoo?

        In late 2014, many observers were flummoxed to see that Yahoo and Mozilla had announced a “strategic five-year partnership” agreement which would make Yahoo the primary search option for Firefox. Mozilla was up for renewal negotiations for its deal with Google, which had historically subsidized more than 90 percent of Mozilla’s revenues, to the tune of more than $300 million per year at times. In return, for lots of money, Google got primary search placement in the Firefox browser over the years.

        Last week, though, Verizon,announced its intention to purchase Yahoo for $4.8 billion. What are the implications for Mozilla and its deal? Here are the details.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Austria awards ‘Open Data Oscars’

        Last month, the Austrian State Secretary Muna Duzdar handed out the ‘Oscars of the Open Data Community’. The awards were part of the ‘open4data.at challenge 2016′ organised earlier this year. The annual challenge aims to bring open data and ideas together in innovative and creative solutions.

      • Open data platform on Emilia-Romagna reconstruction

        After the two earthquakes that caused multiple casualties and widespread damage in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna in 2012, multiple programmes were launched to reconstruct the affected areas. To make these efforts more transparent, a team from the Gran Sasso Science Institute last week presented an Open Data platform that will provide all information on who is responsible, which company is doing what, and how the money is being spent.

        The ‘Open Data Ricostruzione’ initiative was presented last week at the Italian Festival of Participation. The platform will bring together all the numbers, figures and information on the reconstruction, and allow visitors to visualise, filter, track and map the available data. All information will be made available as open data, in the original database format as well as JSON.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open is the solution to improving 21st century education

        Much of the Internet runs Linux and open source software, yet in most of our schools—whether PK-12 or higher education—Linux and open source software are given short shrift.

        Linux has made serious inroads on hand-held devices, the desktop, and the Internet of things (IoT) that use platforms such as Raspberry Pi, Galileo, and Arduino. Despite this astounding growth, a relatively small number of secondary and post-secondary schools offer technology training that prepares students for increasingly in-demand technical skills. The growth of the maker movement and the concurrent interest in STEM skills, which include coding and ethical hacking, may provide a much-needed impetus to change this trend.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • AArch64 desktop hardware?

        Soon there will be four years since I started working on AArch64 architecture. Lot of software things changed during that time. Lot in a hardware too. But machines availability still sucks badly.

        In 2012 all we had was software model. It was slow, terribly slow. Common joke was AArch64 developers standing in a queue for 10GHz x86-64 cpus. So I was generating working binaries by using cross compilation. But many distributions only do native builds. In models. Imagine Qt4 building for 3-4 days…

        In 2013 I got access to first server hardware. With first silicon version of CPU. Highly unstable, we could use just one core etc. GCC was crashing like hell but we managed to get stable build results from it. Qt4 was building in few hours now.

      • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 1

        Last year I had open source instruction set RISC-V running Linux emulated in qemu. However to really get into the architecture, and restore my very rusty FPGA skills, wouldn’t it be fun to have RISC-V working in real hardware.

        The world of RISC-V is pretty confusing for outsiders. There are a bunch of affiliated companies, researchers who are producing actual silicon (nothing you can buy of course), and the affiliated(?) lowRISC project which is trying to produce a fully open source chip. I’m starting with lowRISC since they have three iterations of a design that you can install on reasonably cheap FPGA development boards like the one above. (I’m going to try to install “Untether 0.2” which is the second iteration of their FPGA design.)

      • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 2
      • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 3
      • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 4
      • RISC-V on an FPGA, pt. 5

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • In Memoriam: The VCR, 1956 – 2016

      The future was closer than ever with the hip-sounding Sony U-matic, which came on the market in 1971. It could fast-forward and rewind! Then the Philips VCR, made available to consumers in 1972, changed the game with its first model, the N1500, that incorporated all the best qualities of recorders that came before it. There were basic controls — the play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind buttons — plus a clock with a timer, so you could record shows when you weren’t even home.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Porn ‘Public Health Crisis’ Has Competition

      With all the protests, plagiarism allegations, and literal smoke that swirled around the Republican National Convention, it’s easy to forget about the drier parts—like approving the 2016 GOP platform. But you should probably read it, because more than any word salad Duck Dynasty dude or Scott Baio might have to offer, the Republican platform indicates the GOP grownup’s actual priorities. Same deal with the Democratic platform, passed on the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

      One of the Republican platform’s buzziest stances is that pornography “has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.” Not that porn can’t be sleazy and problematic. But a crisis of public health? Like, say, Zika? Or opioid addiction? Or, you know, cancer?

    • Swift Decision On Plain Packaging At WTO Unlikely; Ukraine Drops Out

      As the list of countries adopting legislation making the packaging of tobacco products a lot less sexy is growing, the long-awaited decision of a World Trade Organization panel on Australia’s decision to enforce such legislation might not be coming before the end of the year. Meanwhile, one of the countries complaining about Australia’s legislation has left the fight.

    • Officials Discuss Meeting Global Fund Target Of US$13B

      As the fund to help the world’s most suffering prepares for a conference hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the government of Canada in September to raise US$13 billion for its 2017-2019 period, the prospect of failing to meet the target is unsettling for the civil society and the health community.

    • The U.S. Blew $1.4 Billion on Abstinence Education in Africa

      That is the amount of money the U.S. spent over a 10-year period from 2004 through 2013 promoting abstinence before marriage as a way of preventing HIV in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, according to the most comprehensive independent study conducted to date of the effort, the money was more or less wasted. A rigorous comparison of national data from countries that received abstinence funding under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with those that got none of the funding showed no difference in the age of first sexual experience or in the number of sexual partners or teenage pregnancies—all aspects of behaviors that have been linked to a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV.

    • Abortion and contraception in India: the role of men

      The callous attitude of Indian men that ‘she can always abort’ in cases of an unwanted pregnancy caused by failure to use a condom needs to be tackled at the root.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • EU to Give Free Security Audits to Apache HTTP Server and Keepass

      The European Commission announced on Wednesday that its IT engineers would provide a free security audit for the Apache HTTP Server and KeePass projects.

      The EC selected the two projects following a public survey that took place between June 17 and July 8 and that received 3,282 answers.

      The survey and security audit are part of the EU-FOSSA (EU-Free and Open Source Software Auditing) project, a test pilot program that received funding of €1 million until the end of the year.

    • What is your browser really doing?

      While Microsoft would prefer you use its Edge browser on Windows 10 as part of its ecosystem, the most popular Windows browser is Google’s Chrome. But there is a downside to Chrome – spying and battery life.

      It all started when Microsoft recently announced that its Edge browser used less battery power than Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera on Windows 10 devices. It also measured telemetry – what the Windows 10 device was doing when using different browsers.

      What it found was that the other browsers had a significantly higher central processing unit (CPU), and graphics processing unit (GPU) overhead when viewing the same Web pages. It also proved that using Edge resulted in 36-53% more battery life when performing the same tasks as the others.

      Let’s not get into semantics about which search engine — Google or Bing — is better; this was about simple Web browsing, opening new tabs and watching videos. But it started a discussion as to why CPU and GPU usage was far higher. And it relates to spying and ad serving.

    • Is Computer Security Becoming a Hardware Problem?

      In December of 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. The cause was determined to be a single 2.5 millimeter defect in a single steel bar—some credit the Mothman for the disaster, but to most it was an avoidable engineering failure and a rebuttal to the design philosophy of substituting high-strength non-redundant building materials for lower-strength albeit layered and redundant materials. A partial failure is much better than a complete failure.

      [...]

      In 1996, Kocher co-authored the SSL v3.0 protocol, which would become the basis for the TLS standard. TLS is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and is responsible for much of the security that allows for the modern internet. He argues that, barring some abrupt and unexpected advance in quantum computing or something yet unforeseen, TLS will continue to safeguard the web and do a very good job of it. What he’s worried about is hardware: untested linkages in digital bridges.

    • Your Smart Robot Is Coming in Five Years, But It Might Get Hacked and Kill You

      A new report commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security forecasts that autonomous artificially intelligent robots are just five to 10 years away from hitting the mainstream—but there’s a catch.

      The new breed of smart robots will be eminently hackable. To the point that they might be re-programmed to kill you.

      The study, published in April, attempted to assess which emerging technology trends are most likely to go mainstream, while simultaneously posing serious “cybersecurity” problems.

      The good news is that the near future is going to see some rapid, revolutionary changes that could dramatically enhance our lives. The bad news is that the technologies pitched to “become successful and transformative” in the next decade or so are extremely vulnerable to all sorts of back-door, front-door, and side-door compromises.

    • Trump, DNC, RNC Flunk Email Security Test

      At issue is a fairly technical proposed standard called DMARC. Short for “domain-based messaging authentication reporting and conformance,” DMARC tries to solve a problem that has plagued email since its inception: It’s surprisingly difficult for email providers and end users alike to tell whether a given email is real – i.e. that it really was sent by the person or organization identified in the “from:” portion of the missive.

    • NIST Prepares to Ban SMS-Based Two-Factor Authentication

      The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the latest draft version of the Digital Authentication Guideline that contains language hinting at a future ban on SMS-based Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

      The Digital Authentication Guideline (DAG) is a set of rules used by software makers to build secure services, and by governments and private agencies to assess the security of their services and software.

      NIST experts are constantly updating the guideline, in an effort to keep pace with the rapid change in the IT sector.

    • 1.6m Clash of Kings forum accounts ‘stolen’

      Details about 1.6 million users on the Clash of Kings online forum have been hacked, claims a breach notification site.

      The user data from the popular mobile game’s discussion forum were allegedly targeted by a hacker on 14 July.

      Tech site ZDNet has reported the leaked data includes email addresses, IP addresses and usernames.

    • Hacker steals 1.6 million accounts from top mobile game’s forum [Ed: vBulletin is proprietary software -- the same crap Canonical used for Ubuntu forums]
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Oops: Bounty-hunter found Vine’s source code in plain sight

      A bounty-hunter has gone public with a complete howler made by Vine, the six-second-video-loop app Twitter acquired in 2012.

      According to this post by @avicoder (Vjex at GitHub), Vine’s source code was for a while available on what was supposed to be a private Docker registry.

      While docker.vineapp.com, hosted at Amazon, wasn’t meant to be available, @avicoder found he was able to download images with a simple pull request.

    • US standards lab says SMS is no good for authentication

      America’s National Institute for Standards and Technology has advised abandonment of SMS-based two-factor authentication.

      That’s the gist of the latest draft of its Digital Authentication Guideline, here. Down in section 5.1.3.2, the document says out-of-band verification using SMS is deprecated and won’t appear in future releases of NIST’s guidance.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Exclusive: MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Flight

      New York has obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances. The revelation, which Malaysia withheld from a lengthy public report on the investigation, is the strongest evidence yet that Zaharie made off with the plane in a premeditated act of mass murder-suicide.

    • Japan Knife Attack Kills 19 at Center for Disabled

      A former employee of a center for the disabled in a Tokyo suburb broke into the building and killed 19 people with a knife early Tuesday, local officials said.

      The suspect, Satoshi Uematsu, 26, went on a rampage around 2:20 a.m. in Sagamihara, a town an hour west of Tokyo, according to the authorities in Kanagawa Prefecture. Twenty-five people were reported wounded, all but one of them seriously.

      Just half an hour after the attack, Mr. Uematsu turned himself in at a nearby police station and was charged with attempted murder. Additional charges were expected. The attack was the worst mass killing in Japan in decades. The country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

    • Defeating Islamic Terrorism. Here’s How…

      As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor.

      Trump was short on specifics but very clear he would take the strategies of the post-9/11 era into a presidency. Clinton, for her part, intends on “intensifying the current air campaign [and] stepping up support for local forces on the ground.” Their French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, declared “We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.”

    • Doctors in Danger: How the Assad Regime is Targeting Syrian Physicians

      In Syria’s civil war, it’s dangerous to even treat the wounded. Since the beginning of the civil war, the Syrian government has killed hundreds of medical personnel, and dozens of doctors have been assassinated by ISIS. The few doctors who dare to treat the casualties have been forced to work in secret.

      In his piece for the New Yorker, journalist Ben Taub profiles some of the underground community of health providers, documenting how they’re keeping clinics open and preserving medical knowledge, despite the risk of violence from both President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and ISIS.

    • The Atlantic Council: The Marketing Arm of the Military/Security Complex

      The sales pitch is titled “Arming For Deterrence.” The Kremlin is unpredictable, say the arms salesmen, and could at any moment decide to attack Poland. However the Russian regime “respects a show of force” and would back down if Poland has a sufficient inventory of US weapons.

      The sales pitch encourages Poland to take many aggressive and dangerous steps toward Russia, such as targeting Russia cities and facilities including RT. But before provoking the Bear like this, Poland needs “to join the tactical nuclear capability scheme within NATO, so enabling its F-16s to be carriers of tactical nuclear ordnance.”

    • French officer claims interior ministry made her alter Nice attack report

      A senior French police officer has claimed that the interior ministry “harassed” her into altering a security report from the deadly terrorist attack in Nice.

      Sandra Bertin, the officer in charge of Nice’s CCTV control room, told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday that an unnamed interior ministry official contacted her after the attack and pressured her into altering her report for the night of the incident.

      On July 14, a truck driver plowed through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, killing 84 people and wounding 200 others.

      Bertin claims that she was “harassed for an hour” by the official who wanted her to detail the presence of local and national police at the fireworks event where the carnage took place.

    • How US Propaganda Fuels New Cold War

      The anti-Russian propaganda across the U.S. political/media system is so pervasive that even members of Congress know little about the events that launched a new Cold War, as Elizabeth Murray learned and David Swanson reported.

    • Israel/Palestine: Bad Policy, Bad Politics

      To understand why the United States fails so miserably in efforts to achieve an Israeli/Palestinian peace, all you need to do is take a look at the mix of bad policy and bad politics found in the Israel/Palestine sections of platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

    • The Secret US-UK Airwar Against Iraq

      The Chilcot Inquiry, set up to look into the British role in the war in Iraq, reported on July 6, and although it was overshadowed by the political fallout from the Brexit vote to leave the European Union, received a largely favorable reception from the media and commentators. It is unclear why those commentators judged it to be “hard-hitting” because in terms of its conclusions all it did was tell us what we already knew.

      Then British Prime Minister Tony Blair pursued a war that was arguably illegal has had disastrous consequences, not least for the 179 British servicemen and women killed and their loved ones, but also for Iraq, its people and the fight against terrorism.

      I was staggered by the rush to say the report was hard hitting. It wasn’t. It simply laid out the facts in a narrative format and let the reader decide. Those facts were of course damning but I struggle to find anything in the report that a well informed reader of British newspapers wouldn’t already know.

      It was a very workmanlike narrative of what happened taken from secret documents and witness testimony and therefore providing far more detail than had been previously available but it was not anything like a proper inquiry in the real sense. It was more like a neutral court report than the solid analysis which was required, and what we actually got from the curiously much derided Butler report.

    • There’s No Business Like the Arms Business

      When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade. It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

      It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrous dispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft. And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, U.S. arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks Leak Of Turkish Emails Reveals Private Details; Raises Ethical Questions

      Last week, we (like many others) reported on the news that Turkey was blocking access to Wikileaks, after the site released approximately 300,000 emails, supposedly from the Turkish government. We’ve long been defenders of Wikileaks as a media organization, and its right to publish various leaks that it gets. However, Zeynep Tufekci, who has long been a vocal critic of the Turkish government (and deeply engaged in issues involving the internet as a platform for speech) is noting that the leak wasn’t quite what Wikileaks claimed it was — and, in fact appears to have revealed a ton of private info on Turkish citizens.

    • WikiLeaks Put Women in Turkey in Danger, for No Reason

      Just days after a bloody coup attempt shook Turkey, WikiLeaks dumped some 300,000 emails they chose to call “Erdogan emails.” In response, Turkey’s internet governance body swiftly blocked access to WikiLeaks.

      For many, blocking WikiLeaks was confirmation that the emails were damaging to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government, revealing corruption or other wrongdoing. There was a stream of articles about “censorship.” Even U.S. National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden tweeted the news of the WikiLeaks block with the comment: “How to authenticate a leak.”

      But Snowden couldn’t have been more wrong about an act that was irresponsible, of no public interest and of potential danger to millions of ordinary, innocent people, especially millions of women in Turkey.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Crisis on high

      At the top of the world a climate disaster is unfolding that will impact the lives of more than 1 billion people.

      Deep in the Himalayas sits a remote research station that is tracking an alarming trend in climate change, with implications that could disrupt the lives of more than 1 billion people and pitch the most populated region of the world into chaos.

      The station lies in the heart of a region called the Third Pole, an area that contains the largest area of frozen water outside of the North Pole and South Pole.

      Despite its relative anonymity, the Third Pole is vitally important; it is the source of Asia’s 10 largest rivers including the Yellow, the Yangzi, the Mekong, the Irrawaddy and the Ganges — and their fertile deltas.

    • Peru Scrambles to Drive Out Illegal Gold Mining and Save Precious Land

      The miners use so much mercury to process the gold that the government declared a health emergency in much of the Madre de Dios region in May. Tests in 97 villages found that more than 40 percent of the people had absorbed dangerous levels of the heavy metal. Mercury poisoning affects people in many ways, from chronic headaches to kidney damage, but it is most harmful to children, who are likely to suffer permanent brain damage.

    • The global environmental impact of air conditioning is big and will get even bigger

      With a heat wave pushing the heat index well above 100° F (38 °C) through much of the US, most of us are happy to stay indoors and crank the air conditioning. And if you think it’s hot here, try 124 °F in India. Globally, 2016 is poised to be another record-breaking year for average temperatures. This means more air conditioning. Much more.

      In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), Paul Gertler and I examine the enormous global potential for air conditioning. As incomes rise around the world and global temperatures go up, people are buying air conditioners at alarming rates. In China, for example, sales of air conditioners have nearly doubled over the last five years. Each year now more than 60 million air conditioners are sold in China, more than eight times as many as are sold annually in the United States.

    • EPA Admits Airplane Pollution’s Climate Danger But Drags Feet on Emissions Rules

      After nine years of delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today officially acknowledged in a so-called “endangerment finding” that planet-warming pollution from airplanes disrupts the climate and endangers human welfare. But the agency failed to move forward on rules to actually reduce aircraft emissions.

      “EPA officials finally acknowledged airplane pollution’s obvious climate threat, but they’re still not actually cutting the airline industry’s skyrocketing emissions,” said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “After nearly a decade of denial and delay, we need fast, effective EPA action. The Obama administration must quickly devise ambitious aircraft pollution rules that dramatically reduce this high-flying hazard to our climate.”

    • British badgers are more afraid of the BBC than of bears — and that’s very bad

      Armed with a speaker system and a bucket full of peanuts, wildlife ecologist Liana Zanette hiked into the Wytham Woods with just one mission: to terrorize some woodland creatures with recordings of the BBC.

      For five nights, she broadcast snippets of BBC documentaries and news programs — as well as clips from the Canadian radio show “Quirks and Quarks” and the audiobook of “The Wind in the Willows” — to a forest full of unsuspecting English badgers. She and her colleagues then monitored the animals’ response to the sounds in order to measure how much they feared humans.

      “Oh, I don’t want to be dissing public radio and television,” Zanette hurriedly insisted when I asked whether she thought the BBC was frightening. She laughed, “I had all these clips on hand because it’s what I love to listen to.”

      Zanette, a professor at Western University in Ontario, has spent much of her career studying “the landscape of fear,” how animals’ anxiety about getting eaten by predators shapes their behavior and in turn, shapes the ecosystem in which they live. She’s used a similar methodology — playing predator sounds through a speaker system, then watching to see how animals respond — at least a dozen times before. Then, last year, she read a study in Science claiming that humans had become a “superpredator,” killing mesocarnivores like badgers four times as much as non-human predators do.

    • Planned Gas Pipeline Construction on East Coast Puts Climate at Risk: Report

      Nineteen now-pending pipeline projects, if constructed, would let enough natural gas flow out of the Appalachian basin to cause the entire US to blow through its climate pledges, ushering the world into more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, a newly released report by Oil Change International concludes.

      Even if the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently-announced methane rules manage to slash leaks from new natural gas infrastructure as planned, building those pipelines would be catastrophic for the climate, the researchers warn.

      “All together, these 19 pending pipeline projects would enable 116 trillion cubic feet of additional gas production by 2050,” the report, entitled A Bridge Too Far: How Appalachian Basin Gas Pipeline Expansion Will Undermine U.S. Climate Goals, says. “The currently planned gas production expansion in Appalachia would make meeting U.S. climate goals impossible, even if the [Obama] Administration’s newly proposed methane rules are successful in reducing methane leakage by 45 percent.”

    • The Remarkable Inconsistency Of Climate Denial

      This is a year of politics. That means everyone has opinions about where the world should be headed and how we should get there.

      No matter how weird this political season has been, however, there remains a key difference between opinions and facts. That difference comes into the starkest relief when people must face their own inconsistencies in reconciling the two domains.

      And nowhere is the gap between opinions and facts more apparent than the subject of climate change. As a recent action by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) demonstrates, for climate deniers there is a chasm between what is said and what is done.

  • Finance

    • UK suspended payments from £3bn EU development fund days after Brexit vote

      Payments from a £3bn European development fund were suspended indefinitely by the UK Government, just days after the vote to leave the EU, The Independent can reveal.

      In a move that exposes the almost immediate impact of Brexit on the UK economy, businesses say they have been told they will not now receive money that was due to be paid out under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

    • Panama Papers Reveal Wide Use of Shell Companies by African Officials

      Entrepreneurs and corrupt officials across Africa have used shell companies to hide profits from the sale of natural resources and the bribes paid to gain access to them, according to records leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

      Owners of the hidden companies include, from Nigeria alone, three oil ministers, several senior employees of the national oil company and two former state governors who were convicted of laundering ill-gotten money from the oil industry, new reports about Africa based on the Panama Papers show. The owners of diamond mines in Sierra Leone and safari companies in Kenya and Zimbabwe also created shell companies.

      Some of the assets cycled through the shell companies were used to buy yachts, private jets, Manhattan penthouses and luxury homes in Beverly Hills, Calif., the law firm documents show.

      Articles posted on Monday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and reports being published this week by news media organizations in 17 African countries, underscore the critical role that secret shell companies can play in facilitating tax evasion, bribery and other crimes. In Africa, offshore finance often underlies the exploitation of mineral wealth, with the benefits bypassing the public and going largely to wealthy executives and the government officials they pay off.

    • Brexit rewrites UK budget rules as borrowing set for first big rise since 2010

      Britain could borrow nearly 65 billion pounds more than planned in the next couple of years as new Chancellor Philip Hammond seeks to ‘reset’ government budget policy to ease the shock of last month’s vote to leave the European Union.

      Ratings agencies and economists widely expect borrowing to rise materially next year for the first time since 2010, as Hammond has to call time – temporarily – on the austerity which dominated his predecessor George Osborne’s six years in office.

      After taking office two weeks ago, Hammond said the darker post-Brexit outlook meant policies the Conservative government had pursued since 2010 needed to change – and economists are now starting to put numbers on what this might mean.

      Hammond told reporters on Sunday the scale of any stimulus would hinge on how rapidly the economy was slowing by the time of the Autumn Statement, the half-yearly budget update that usually comes in late November or early December.

    • Vicenza: dark heart of Italy’s banking crisis where locals have lost millions

      From a distance, Vicenza does not look like a city engulfed in turmoil. On the elegant Corso Andrea Palladio, named after the Renaissance architect whose work defines this city, a finely dressed woman clutches a Chanel handbag during her evening passeggiata. Locals sit back and enjoy their Campari spritz cocktails in the July heat. A black Maserati rolls slowly down the street.

    • Father of EU divorce clause demands tough stance on British exit

      A former Italian premier who wrote the European Union divorce clause that Britain is poised to trigger said on Thursday that Brussels should offer no concessions to London in looming negotiations to quit the trading bloc.

      “When it comes to the economy they have to lose,” said Giuliano Amato, explaining that only then might the British reconsider abandoning the world’s largest single market.

      Britain voted in a referendum on June 23 to leave the EU. To do so, London will have to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which starts a two-year countdown to a formal exit from the 28-nation bloc.

      “I wrote Article 50, so I know it well,” Amato told a conference in Rome, saying he had inserted it specifically to prevent the British from complaining that there was no clear cut, official way for them to bail out of the Union.

      “My intention was that it should be a classic safety valve that was there, but never used. It is like having a fire extinguisher that should never have to be used. Instead, the fire happened.”

    • First Brexit, now this: British companies could be forced to pay to put their money in the bank

      In yet another sign the financial world is being turned on its head, one of the UK’s biggest banks has warned customers that it may saddle them with negative interest rates. That is, depositors would be charged for putting their money in the bank.

      Royal Bank of Scotland, one of Britain’s largest banks, and Natwest, one of its subsidiaries, sent letters to 1.3 million business customers warning them of the change, citing low interest rates. The letter announcing the changes said: “Global interest rates remain at very low levels and in some markets are currently negative. Dependent on future market conditions, this could result in us charging interest on credit balances.”

      Some central banks already charge commercial lenders for their deposits, and interbank lending markets have also featured negative interest rates. A third of government bonds globally now have yields below zero, meaning investors won’t get all their money back if they hold the securities to maturity.

    • Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine

      By picking Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true preferences and shown that her move to the left on policy issues during the primaries was simply a tactical move to defeat Bernie Sanders. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

      Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric. The two politicians to whom she gave serious consideration to choosing as her running mates were Kaine and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. What both men share in common is, like the Clintons, being leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street – funded by Wall Street.

    • Clinton Running Mate Tim Kaine Supported TPP, Offshore Drilling & Anti-Union Right-to-Work Measures

      As the Democratic National Convention begins in Philadelphia, tension is rising between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The Democratic National Committee chair, Florida Congressmember Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned Sunday following WikiLeaks’ release of nearly 20,000 emails revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. When Sanders speaks tonight at the Democratic convention, he is expected to praise the Democrats for agreeing to what he describes as the most progressive platform in Democratic Party history. But he lost a major battle with the platform when the Democratic National Committee defeated an amendment brought by his delegates to abolish superdelegates. We speak with Zaid Jilani of The Intercept, who reported on how the “DNC Votes to Keep Superdelegates, But Sets Some Conditions.”

    • Brexit supporters hit with record £935bn pension deficit because of the EU referendum

      The UK pension deficit hit a record level of £935 billion following UK’s vote to leave the EU, likely hitting pro-Brexit voters the hardest.

      Support for the UK to leave the EU bloc grew with each age category, peaking at 60 per cent among those aged 65 and over, according to a survey of 12,356 referendum voters by Lord Ashcroft.

      Ironically, the same voters are reliant on defined benefit pension to deliver their retirement income.

    • One Woman’s 10-Year Fight to Save Her Family From Foreclosure

      Many people are responsible for the financial disaster of 2008, and the economic hardship that has continued to unravel since. We still have not seen one criminal prosecution among the CEOs who were – and many still are – at the frontlines where everything started to crumble. Those people are hiding behind corporate protection, always blaming the next in line behind them, never accepting responsibility, and very often putting the blame on the very people they have ruined with their fraudulent dealings.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The influence diaries: Dispatches from the Democratic National Convention
    • Susan Sarandon: DNC email leak confirms Sanders backers’ fears weren’t “paranoia”

      Actress Susan Sarandon was feeling the Bern during the Democratic primary-and on Monday blasted the Democratic National Committee for its bias against Bernie Sanders, saying the DNC email leak is proof Sanders supporters’ concerns about a rigged system weren’t “paranoia.”

      “I mean, it’s not surprising. It’s great that everyone finally understands that this wasn’t some kind of paranoia,” she said in an interview with Democracy Now. “But every little thing, from not allowing Bernie’s table with his information into the dinners in some of the states I went to and what I saw at caucuses, and I know what happened in New York, where all of that information, the wall went down, and then 137,000 people were just disappeared out of Brooklyn, and I know other people that went and were registered as–I mean, it was clear in California what happened, in Puerto Rico what happened.”

      She added that Sanders supporters are disappointed in the results of the primary, but that it’s important that Sanders gets to speak directly to those people from the convention stage Monday night.

    • WikiLeaks founder: DNC emails show ‘collusion’ by Clinton, Wasserman Schultz

      The founder of WikiLeaks told NBC News on Monday there is no evidence Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email server.

      Julian Assange told “Nightly News” correspondent Richard Engel the issue is not who stole the information, but what is in the emails.

      “Well, there is no proof of that whatsoever. We have not disclosed our source, and of course, this is a diversion that’s being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign. That’s a meta-story. The real story is what these emails contain and they show collusion,” Assange said in the pre-taped interview that aired Monday night.

      Assange pointed to the effect of the scandal. He said even though the emails were leaked three days ago, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has already resigned for her role in “subverting” the nomination process to ensure Hillary Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign

      As is sadly the case with most political stories these days, whether or not you care about the so-called “DNC leak” probably depends on which candidate you supported in the primaries.

    • Randy Quaid Screams He Is ‘Glad As Hell’ About the DNC Email Leak

      Randy Quaid hasn’t acted in years, but he’s still making movies. The difference is that the 65-year-old who played roles in such films as National Lampoon’s Vacation and Independence Day is now making them for social media instead of the multiplex.

      On Monday, Quaid posted a series of clips that featured him, with his signature Santa Claus-like beard, screaming directly at the camera about the email leak plaguing the Democratic Party, which kicked off its convention in Philadelphia on Monday. While the vids are certainly entertaining, we’re not sure whether we should laugh or cry. What happened to Cousin Eddie?

    • DNC emails: Behind the scenes look at care of big donors
    • Former Dem faith director condemns plot to attack Sanders’ religion

      The former director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic Party “absolutely” condemns an alleged plot by a Democratic operative to undermine Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion.

      “I can certainly say from first-hand experience that I was part of a campaign where it was a solemn vow in no way, shape or form to use faith as a wedge issue,” Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, who also served as an adviser to President Obama, told the Washington Examiner.

      His remarks, which came as he spoke Monday on a “Faith Council” panel hosted as part of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, were made in reference to his role campaigning in 2012 against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

    • Leaked DNC Email Mocks Past Accusations Of Weak Cybersecurity
    • What We Know So Far About WikiLeaks’ #DNCLeaks

      Commonly asked questions and answers about WikiLeaks’ #DNCLeaks as the Democratic National Convention kicks off.

    • Facebook Admits It Blocked Links To Wikileaks DNC Emails

      Facebook Chief Security Officer says the company has fixed the error, after receiving heavy criticism from WikiLeaks.

      This isn’t the first time Facebook has accidentally blocked high profile news events on the platform. Earlier this month, Facebook briefly removed video showing Philando Castile dying, covered in blood, moments after being shot by a police officer. Prior to that, the company admitted to removing a meme circulating about convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner.

    • WikiLeaks fires off warning to MSNBC host

      WikiLeaks made waves on Friday by releasing a huge trove of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

      The hacked emails included what appears to be evidence of a concerted effort by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other party officials to thwart the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the primary season. Wasserman Schultz resigned Sunday and will serve as an honorary chair on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign instead.

      According to CNN, U.S. officials briefed on the investigation into the compromised DNC emails now suspect Russian hackers are part of a bigger effort targeting political organizations and Washington, D.C., think tanks.

      On ABC’s “This Week,” Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said the emails were leaked right before the Democratic National Convention “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump,” citing “experts.” Mook could not offer any evidence for the claim.

    • The Good TPP

      So Baby DonDon was reading all these stories about how Russia hacked the email system of the Democratic National Committee and this led to the ouster of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And I got nervous.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: ‘No proof’ Russian intelligence responsible for DNC hack

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says “there is no proof whatsoever” that Russian intelligence is behind the thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee that WikiLeaks released.

      “The real story is what these emails contain and they show collusion,” Assange said during an interview with NBC News that will air Monday night on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.”

      While three cybersecurity experts told NBC that the DNC emails were hacked by Russian intelligence, Assange stressed that Wikileaks has not disclosed the source of the leak.

    • Julian Assange: Choosing Between Trump or Clinton is Like Picking Between Cholera or Gonorrhea

      Following the end of the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump has received a surge in his popularity. He’s now leading Hillary Clinton 44 to 39 percent in a four-way match-up, according to the most recent CNN poll. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson received 9 percent, and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein received 3 percent. But for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the threat of a Donald Trump presidency doesn’t inspire him to back Hillary Clinton. When asked, Assange said: “You’re asking me, do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea?”

    • Leaked DNC emails reveal the inner workings of the party’s finance operation

      In the rush for big donations to pay for this week’s Democratic convention, a party staffer reached out to Tennessee donor Roy Cockrum in May with a special offer: the chance to attend a roundtable discussion with President Obama.

      Cockrum, already a major Democratic contributor, was in. He gave an additional $33,400. And eight days later, he was assigned a place across the table from Obama at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, according to a seating chart sent to the White House.

    • WikiLeaks emails: Pro-Clinton CNN political commentator pre-checked op-ed with DNC

      On May 18, CNN.com published a pro-Hillary Clinton op-ed by Maria Cardona, a CNN political commentator. Titled “Why Sanders must take the high road,” the piece was published in the aftermath of an out-of-control Nevada Democratic state party convention.

    • WikiLeaks blows up Clinton’s shot at smooth convention

      Before WikiLeaks struck, Hillary Clinton already had work to do at this week’s Democratic National Convention to unify her party.

      Now that task has become a lot more difficult. The weekend release by WikiLeaks of more than 19,000 hacked emails from Democratic National Committee staffers has provided embarrassing evidence of DNC favoritism toward Mrs. Clinton during the primaries – a bias long suspected by Bernie Sanders, the runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination.

      The scandal led to the forced resignation Sunday of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who will step down after the convention.

    • Assange Slams Clinton Campaign, Says There Is No Evidence Putin Behind Wikileaks

      If the Russian government is behind the theft and release of embarrassing emails from the Democratic Party, as U.S. officials have suggested, it may reflect less a love of Donald Trump or enmity for Hillary Clinton than a desire to discredit the U.S. political system.

      A U.S. official who is taking part in the investigation said that intelligence collected on the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails released by Wikileaks on Friday “indicates beyond a reasonable doubt that it originated in Russia.”

    • Leaked DNC Memo Complains Gay Donor Is ‘Extremely High Maintenance’

      In an internal DNC memo published by WikiLeaks, one party staffer complained to colleagues that one of the party’s gay donors was just too high maintenance for her to handle.

      The leaked memo, which is titled “Close out memo” and dated April 22, 2016, was authored by DNC staffer Julia Lahl, who recaps much of the work done with the party’s LGBT Leadership Council. The memo contains information on dozens of donors — not all of which is positive.

    • Let’s Be Honest: The DNC Asked To Be Hacked With Passwords This Dumb

      Perhaps these passwords had been changed, but if they were anything remotely close to the above, they were no good.

    • Hillary’s Name Booed At Democratic Convention [VIDEO]

      At the start of the Democratic National Convention on Monday when chair Marcia Fudge mentioned Hillary Clinton’s name, the crowd promptly booed.

    • Leaked DNC Email Mocks Past Accusations Of Weak Cybersecurity

      A leaked email from a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer ridiculed reports from experts that the DNC and Republican National Convention had glaring cybersecurity issues.

      DNC staffer Eric Walker called a Buzzfeed article detailing the security weaknesses of the DNC “The dumbest thing I’ve ever read.” The email is dated May 5, 2016, just over two months before the Wikileak release of over 20,000 DNC emails.

    • [Satire] ‘Fear Not—She Means You No Harm,’ Says Elizabeth Warren, Revealing Docile Hillary Clinton To Crowd

      Sending terrified gasps through the audience as she pulled back a thick velvet curtain onstage to reveal the formidable politician, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren assured the thousands of progressive onlookers at the Democratic National Convention Monday night that the docile Hillary Clinton standing before them meant them no harm. “Ladies and gentlemen, there is no need to fear this candidate, for despite her menacing reputation, she will not attack you or your progressive movement,” said Warren, who then wowed those in attendance by signaling for the compliant Clinton to repeat a series of talking points about regulating financial institutions in an effort to prove that the presumptive Democratic nominee could easily be trained and was not roused into a horrible frenzy by the presence of radical reforms. “Despite the tales you may have heard, she is nothing but a tame, pragmatic Democrat. The terror she stirs inside you belies her true gentle nature. I assure you she is no threat to the policies you hold most dear.” At press time, Clinton had broken free from her iron restraints, ripped off both of Warren’s arms, and tossed the senator’s body into the crowd.

    • DNC sought to hide details of Clinton funding deal

      Leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee scrambled this spring to conceal the details of a joint fundraising arrangement with Hillary Clinton that funneled money through state Democratic parties.

      During the three-month period when the DNC was working to spin the situation, state parties kept less than one half of one percent of the $82 million raised through the arrangement — validating concerns raised by campaign finance watchdogs, state party allies and Bernie Sanders supporters.

      The arrangement, called the Hillary Victory Fund, allowed the Clinton campaign to seek contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John. That’s resulted in criticism for Clinton, who has made opposition to big money in politics a key plank in her campaign platform.

    • In Hacked D.N.C. Emails, a Glimpse of How Big Money Works

      Last October, a leading Democratic donor named Shefali Razdan Duggal emailed a sweetly worded but insistent list of demands to a staff member at the Democratic National Committee.

      Ms. Duggal wanted a reminder of how much she had raised for President Obama and the Democrats (the answer: $679,650) and whether it qualified her for the premium package of hotel rooms and V.I.P. invitations at the party’s convention in Philadelphia. She asked whether she could have an extra ticket to Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s holiday party, so she could bring her children. But most on her mind, it seemed, was getting access to an exclusive November gathering at the White House.

      “Not assuming I am invited…just mentioning/asking, if in case, I am invited :),” wrote Ms. Duggal, who was appointed by Mr. Obama to oversee the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and is married to a San Francisco financial executive. “Might you have an intel?”

    • Democratic National Committee chief resigns after hacked e-mails show anti-Sanders tone

      Late Friday, WikiLeaks published 20,000 internal e-mails from the Democratic National Committee acquired in a hacking attack last month. The dumped messages, including some that had a derisive tone toward primary candidate Bernie Sanders, roiled the Democratic Party on the eve of its convention and led to the resignation yesterday of DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      The DNC hack was discovered on June 14, and soon after, some evidence of a Russian connection was found. Now, the belief that the hack was sponsored by the Russian government on some level has been explicitly endorsed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Yesterday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said Russian hackers are explicitly trying to get Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, elected in November.

      “I don’t think it’s coincidental that these e-mails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that’s disturbing,” Mook told program host Jake Tapper. The leak took place just after the Republican Party changed its platform “to make it more pro-Russian,” Mook added.

    • Clinton and Kaine, #SoProgressive!

      Barack Obama will be the last President of the Democratic party. Hillary Clinton with her choice for Tim Kaine as VP has declared war to the Progressive side of her own party. Donald Trump could benefit from this situation by using a “divide and conquer” strategy. Clinton just made a Trump presidency more likely, because she choose to divide her party instead of trying to unite blue. Progressives are wise enough not to let Trump exploit this situation. Progressives are also wise enough to hold Clinton accountable for her decisions at the right time.

      It is up to Progressives to first defeat Trump, and then Clinton. This means with all the pain in their hearts Progressives will have to vote for Clinton. And not forget this declaration of war of Clinton, but wait with fighting Centrist Democrats until 2017. In a militant non-violent way; in the good tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Is the DNC Hack an Act of War?

      But the truth is that there is no public evidence whatsoever tying Russia to the hack. Attribution for cyberoperations of this sort is very tricky and tends to take some time.

    • DNC Emails Published by WikiLeaks Show Links to AFT and Common-Core Anxiety

      By now you’ve probably heard about the trove of emails to and from the Democratic National Committee that were released last week by WikiLeaks, an organization that publishes leaked documents to expose what it says is corruption and malfeasance by governments, as well as corporations.

      So what if any links do these emails reveal between the DNC and teachers’ unions in particular?

    • Will The FTC Investigate People & Companies Paid By Facebook To Use Facebook Live?

      In the last few months, Facebook Live has certainly become “a thing.” Launched just recently, it was suddenly everywhere — from the pure (but very viral) joy of Candace Payne and her Chewbacca mask to the live streaming of the tragic aftermath of Philando Castile being shot by a police officer in Minnesota. Of course, it appears that part of the reason why Facebook Live is getting so much usage isn’t necessarily that it’s a better product than its competitors, but rather that Facebook has been generously throwing around cash to all sorts of people and companies to get them to use the platform.

    • Emergency Censorship: Schultz Has Speaking Privilege Revoked by Clinton

      Just hours after the breaking news regarding the DNC’s hacked e-mail servers, it has been announced that chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been removed from the position of party chair and will now be revoked from participating at the convention.

    • The Democrats’ Second Email Problem
    • Heckled offstage, Wasserman Schultz now seeks re-election
    • Florida congresswoman faces harsh reception at Democratic National Convention
    • Sanders Delegates Slam Clinton For Hiring Wasserman Schultz
    • Clinton, Wasserman Schultz and the Wheezing Corpse of the Democratic Process Revealed

      Wikileaks over the last few days dumped tens of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.

      The disclosures of dirty tricks directed against Bernie Sanders contained in those emails are startling, and only add to the whirlpool of corruption and sleaze surrounding Hillary Clinton and the wheezing corpse of the democratic process.

    • Robert Kagan and Other Neocons Are Backing Hillary Clinton

      As Hillary Clinton puts together what she hopes will be a winning coalition in November, many progressives remain wary — but she has the war-hawks firmly behind her.

      “I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told a group gathered around him, groupie-style, at a “foreign policy professionals for Hillary” fundraiser I attended last week. “I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary.”

      As the co-founder of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, Kagan played a leading role in pushing for America’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, and insisted for years afterwards that it had turned out great.

    • Group of Bernie Sanders Delegates Object to Tim Kaine VP Pick — May Protest on Floor

      A group of Bernie Sanders delegates to the Democratic National Convention announced their discontent with the selection of Tim Kaine as the vice presidential nominee on Monday and signaled they might protest that decision on the convention floor.

      Calling themselves the Independent Bernie Delegates Network, the group includes 1,250 Sanders delegates — about two-thirds of the total Sanders delegate count — who have been organized by RootsAction.org and Progressive Democrats of America. The group is holding snap straw polls among its members to help inform options for its actions at the convention.

      In a survey of the delegates taken 10 days ago, just 3 percent said that Tim Kaine was an “acceptable” vice presidential choice for presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, with 9 percent saying they were undecided, and 88 percent said the choice would not be acceptable.

    • “The Real Revolution Is Down the Street, to Your Left” — The Green Party Rallies at the Democratic Convention

      For many Bernie Sanders supporters, the move to the Green Party’s Jill Stein was easily laid out. On Monday afternoon, hours before their candidate took the Democratic convention stage to reiterate his support for Hillary Clinton to the boos of some of his own delegates, a young man with a loudspeaker directed protesters to a park down the road from the Wells Fargo Center.

      “The real revolution is down the street, to your left,” he told them, as others handed out “Jill 2016” posters to people still wearing their “Bernie 2016” shirts.

      As several hundred people sat on a grass field waiting for Stein, the vibe was as much Coachella as it was leftist political rally. The crowd — as with Sanders rallies, largely white — lit up joints and hung out under trees, as speakers called attendees comrades, shouted out indigenous movements in Central America and the boycott movement in Palestine, and spoke in Spanish about Jill being “the only revolutionary.”

      Stein, who took the stage in a sleeveless top and green scarf, introduced by Cornel West and hailed by a roaring crowd chanting “Jill not Hill,” welcomed Sanders supporters to her party, calling the move a “marriage made in heaven.”

    • The Two Intelligence Agency Theory of Handing Trump the Election

      Now, again, I’m not saying the Russians didn’t do this hack, nor am I dismissing the idea that they’d prefer Trump to Hillary. By far the most interesting piece of this is the way those with the documents — both the hackers and Wikileaks — held documents until a really awkward time for some awkward disclosures, with what may be worse to come.

      But discussions that want to make the case should explain several things: Which of the two agencies alleged to have hacked DNC are behind the operation — or are they both, even though they weren’t, at least according to eh report that everyone is relying on without question, apparently cooperating? How certain can they be that the GRU is Guccifer, and if Guccifer is supposed to be a false flag why was it so incompetently done? What explains Guccifer’s sort of bizarre strategy along the way, encompassing both Wikileaks (an obvious one) and The Hill?

      Again, I absolutely don’t put this kind of thing beyond Putin. Russia has used hacking to influence outcomes of elections and authority in various countries in the past and the only thing new here is that 1) we wouldn’t already be playing the other side and 2) we’re big and can fight back. But the story, thus far, is more complex than being laid out.

    • Bernie Sanders Left Delegates With No Way to Fight But Boo

      The first night of the Democratic National Convention featured rousing tributes to Hillary Clinton, blistering critiques of Donald Trump – and a chorus of boos from Bernie Sanders delegates at invocations to vote for Clinton, even when it came from Sanders himself.

      Many commentators wondered why the Sanders delegates persisted in their protest, weeks after their nominee had conceded the election to presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

      The answer may rest in a step that Sanders himself took.

      In the lead-up to the convention, the Sanders campaign worked with both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to help write the party’s platform. Those meetings featured debates between the Sanders and Clinton teams, and while there was progress on many issues, there were many more where Team Sanders suffered defeats – including opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians, banning fracking, and enacting a carbon tax.

    • “The People Want Bernie” — Sanders Supporters Protest Hillary Clinton Nomination at DNC

      If the Democratic nominee were chosen by those who showed up in the streets of Philadelphia to protest the convention, there would be one uncontested winner. “The people want Bernie,” read a sign at a rally Sunday that drew the same enamored crowds that turned out for the Vermont senator along the primary trail. The sign summed up the general sentiment of the crowd, as the rally grew into the thousands and began marching from City Hall in 93-degree weather. As the DNC kicked off, downtown Philadelphia was all about Bernie.

      Hillary Clinton’s name and image showed up mostly in signs and chants saying “Never Hillary,” “Warlord,” and “Hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary.” Last week’s DNC email leaks and the ensuing party scandal spilled into the streets, leaving Bernie supporters bitter and upset, and prompting calls for a “DemExit” from the party. Using the same slogans seen at the Republican convention in Cleveland, some Bernie supporters sported “Hillary for Prison” shirts.

    • On Day One of the Democratic Convention, the Boos Have It

      Sanders backers got some of the concessions they wanted from the Democratic National Committee. This year, 700 superdelegates, who are not bound by state voters, helped give Clinton a decisive edge over Sanders in the primary campaign. In the 2020 election, that number will be reduced to 250. The DNC also agreed to appoint a commission to study the possibility of opening up the party’s primaries to Republican and independent voters, another one of Sanders’s complaints.

    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wasserman Schultz

      WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange joins us from London about their release of nearly 20,000 emails revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders. This comes as the Democratic National Convention is opening today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, amid massive party turmoil. The DNC chair, Florida Congressmember Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has resigned following the leak. The emails also reveal a close relationship between mainstream media outlets and the DNC.

    • If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says

      As my colleague Glenn Greenwald told WNYC on Monday, while there may never be conclusive evidence that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russian intelligence operatives to extract the trove of embarrassing emails published by WikiLeaks, it would hardly be shocking if that was what happened.

    • Sanders Delegates Push DNC to Reform Anti-Democratic Superdelegates
    • Florida Town Proposes a Ban on Super PACs—What Could Happen?

      It could have seemed like a singular act of defiance to abolish super PACs in one Florida town. Members of the City Council in St. Petersburg approved 6-1 today a motion to consider an ordinance that would limit the amount donors can give to groups that support or oppose candidates in local elections.

      The ordinance, if passed later this year, would directly affect only elections in St. Petersburg. But it’s part of a far-reaching legal strategy to reduce the influence of money in politics by abolishing super PACs—groups that can take unlimited amounts of money from donors to spend in political campaigns—at the national level.

      “This is a serious issue in our country and it has a corrosive effect on our elections and in our democratic process,” said Darden Rice, vice chair of the City Council. “But we are going to have to tackle it on all levels—from our city halls all the way up to the Supreme Court.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Internet Of Things Is a Security And Privacy Dumpster Fire And The Check Is About To Come Due

      If you’re a long-standing reader of Techdirt, you know we’ve well documented the shitshow that is the “internet of things.” It’s a sector where countless companies were so excited to develop, market and sell new “smart” appliances, they couldn’t be bothered to embrace even the most rudimentary security and privacy standards once these devices were brought online. The result is an endless stream of stories about refrigerators, TVs, thermostats or other “smart” devices that are busy hemorrhaging personal data, inadvertently advertising that sometimes the smart option — is actually the dumb one.

      This systemic incompetence has now fused with a cultural disdain for more modern consumer privacy protections. The end result has been an obvious uptick in concern about how much data is now being collected by even childrens’ toys like Barbie dolls, something that last year’s Vtech hack illustrated isn’t just empty fear mongering. Convincing parents who already find technology alienating has proven to be difficult, as is attempting to craft intelligent regulation that protects kids’ playtime babbling from being aggressively monetized, without hindering emerging sector innovation and profits.

      To that end, the Family Online Safety Institute and the Future of Privacy Forum held a presentation last week (you can find the full video here) where analysts and experts argued, among other things, that privacy policies need to be significantly simplified and modernized for an era where a child’s doll can profoundly impact the privacy of countless people. It has been, needless to say, an uphill climb.

    • Malicious computers caught snooping on Tor-anonymized Dark Web sites

      The trust of the Tor anonymity network is in many cases only as strong as the individual volunteers whose computers form its building blocks. On Friday, researchers said they found at least 110 such machines actively snooping on Dark Web sites that use Tor to mask their operators’ identities.

      All of the 110 malicious relays were designated as hidden services directories, which store information that end users need to reach the “.onion” addresses that rely on Tor for anonymity. Over a 72-day period that started on February 12, computer scientists at Northeastern University tracked the rogue machines using honeypot .onion addresses they dubbed “honions.” The honions operated like normal hidden services, but their addresses were kept confidential. By tracking the traffic sent to the honions, the researchers were able to identify directories that were behaving in a manner that’s well outside of Tor rules.

    • Privacy – why is it mostly a buzzword?

      Nowadays even mainstream media is full with privacy related concerns. Ever since the Snowden leaks, people are aware that they are watched by different governmental agencies in the US and around the world. We give up our privacy for cheap / free on-line services, like Gmail. Facebook knows more about us than our own parents. Pokemon Go is a location-based game, therefore its creators know the location of about a hundred million players around the world. Lenovo has installed privacy-threatening bloatware to Windows machines using the BIOS.

      [...]

      The use of open hardware can help to avoid ugly surprises, for example in case of Lenovo. There are many definitions of open hardware. The simplest definition is that it does not require a binary blob loaded under Linux to run. I find this definition a bit too broad, however, such hardware is still difficult to find. Many x86 PC hardware belongs to this category.

      Hardware can be open by having all information to rebuild the same hardware or to perform some modifications to the design on our own available. For example, Novena has all of its design sources online. It can also be open on the firmware side, like u-boot on most ARM developer boards.

      While most open hardware efforts involve underpowered older parts, there are some notable exceptions. The Librem 2-in-1 tablets from Purism are blob-free and have a privacy-oriented Linux-based operating system. Raptor Engineering with its POWER-8-based Talos Secure Workstation goes even further with its schematics and firmware being fully open and auditable. In addition to this, its performance beats anything running on an x86 CPU.

    • Privacy International releases new tranche of previously secret documents shedding further light on Government mass surveillance

      Previously secret official documents, containing new revelations about the Government’s mass surveillance regime, have today been disclosed as a result of litigation brought by Privacy International against the Intelligence Agencies (MI5, MI6, GCHQ). These documents shed further light on the secretive bulk data collection regime operating under section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the Bulk Personal Data-set regime.

    • Nonagenarian model citizen wants secret surveillance data on him deleted

      A 91-year-old civil liberties campaigner, John Catt, is taking his fight to have police surveillance records of his peaceful participation in protests deleted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

      Catt is classified by UK police as a “domestic extremist,” even though he has no criminal record. His name was added to a secret national database run by the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit. It contains details of his attendance at over 80 lawful demonstrations with his daughter, including their appearance and slogans on their T-shirts.

    • Researchers discover 110 snooping Tor nodes

      In a period spanning 72 days, two researchers from Northeastern University have discovered at least 110 “misbehaving” and potentially malicious hidden services directories (HSDirs) on the Tor anonymity network.

    • Police seek to unlock murder victim’s phone using 3D replica of fingertips

      Computer science professor Anil Jain spends most of his time researching and improving biometric systems, like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software. Last month, however, law enforcement agents approached the Michigan State University academic with an unusual request: to create a 3D-printed replica of a dead man’s finger.

      Police needed the prosthetic digit to try and unlock a murder victim’s smartphone, protected by a fingerprint scanner instead of a password.

      “The authorities think that unlocking the phone could give them the identity of the murderer,” Jain said. “We are doing our social duty to assist in a criminal investigation.”

      Law enforcement agents had seen a YouTube demonstration of a technique developed by Jain’s lab which could transform fingerprint scans into fake fingertips that could fool the sensors on smartphones.

    • Suspect required to unlock iPhone using Touch ID in second federal case

      A second federal judge has ruled that a suspect can be compelled to unlock their iPhone using their fingerprint in order to give investigators access to data which can be used as evidence against them. The first time this ever happened in a federal case was back in May, following a District Court ruling in 2014.

    • Canadian Teens Cause an International Incident Playing Pokémon Go

      Two Canadian youngsters distracted by playing Pokémon Go accidentally crossed the border into the U.S. and had to be apprehended in Montana by federal agents, officials said Friday.

      The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents found the pair of juveniles illegally entering the U.S. last Thursday by foot. The two were “unaware of their surroundings” while playing the popular game on their cellphones.

      “Both juveniles were so captivated by their Pokémon Go games that they lost track of where they were,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Rappold said in a statement.

    • Yahoo Ordered to Show How It Recovered ‘Deleted’ Emails

      Just what kind of email retentions powers does Yahoo have? According to a policy guide from the company, Yahoo cannot recover emails that have been deleted from a user’s account—simple as that. If the email is in a user’s account, it’s fair game, and Yahoo can even give law enforcement the IP address of whatever computer is being used to send said email.

      Or, at least, that’s what Yahoo has said. A magistrate judge from the Northern District of California has ordered Yahoo to produce documents, as well as a witness for deposition, related to the company’s ability to recover seemingly deleted emails in a UK drug case.

      As Motherboard reports, a UK defendant was convicted—and is currently serving an extra 20-year prison sentence—as part of a conspiracy to import drugs into the United Kingdom. He’s currently appealing the conviction, in part because the means by which Yahoo recovered the emails in question allegedly violate British law.

    • Commission plans export controls for surveillance technology

      Technology companies may face stricter licensing requirements to export products that could be used to violate human rights, as part of a change to EU rules.

      The European Commission is set to propose controversial measures in September that may force firms to go through lengthy approval processes when they export technologies including location tracking devices, biometrics and surveillance equipment.

      A draft proposal, obtained by EurActiv.com, would require export controls for cyber-surveillance technologies under a revised EU law that covers so-called dual-use goods that can either be used as weapons or for civil purposes.

      Technology firms are worried the change will make it harder to export a broad range of common products like smartphones because they can track users’ locations.

      “You can’t make suspects out of the whole branch for items that are harmless. It will overwhelm the licensing authorities,” one industry source said.

    • Feds try to forcefully search Wall Street Journal reporter’s phone

      A Wall Street Journal reporter was detained by federal agents at the Los Angeles airport who demanded to confiscate her two cell phones — and was surprised to find that border agents have the authority to do that.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Thousands of Turkish soldiers ‘RAPED and STARVED’ as punishment for failed Turkey coup

      The human rights group said it has “credible evidence” that around 10,000 Turkish soldiers face the severe punishments for their part of the failed military coup against president Erdogan.

      Victims are being held in makeshift cells, such as stables and sports halls, and are being tortured and held in stress positions for 48 hours, the group said.

    • Turkey Cracks Down on Journalists, Its Next Target After Crushing Coup
    • teleSUR Host Abby Martin Released After Violent Arrest at DNC

      Martin and her producer, Mike Prysner, got into an Uber transport to try to get to the location and were dropped off by the Uber driver at the DNC site where only those with credentials are allowed.

      The police stopped them and told them to leave the area. As they were complying and leaving the area, another police officer grabbed Martin, tore her dress and arrested her for “disorderly conduct.”

    • 40 HOUSE DEMOCRATS URGE SECRETARY KERRY TO CALL FOR DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL

      U.S. Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and more than thirty other members of the House of Representatives sent a letter today to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to refrain from gestures that could be interpreted as supportive of Brazil’s interim government and to instead “express strong concern” regarding the impeachment process targeting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and to “call for the protection of constitutional democracy and the rule of law in Brazil.” The letter is the first Congressional letter expressing concern over Brazil’s democracy in more than two decades.

      The letter notes that the legal basis for the ongoing impeachment of Brazil’s first female elected president has been widely contested and that there is compelling evidence showing that key promoters of the impeachment campaign are seeking to remove Rousseff in order to contain the investigation of corruption cases and impose a far-right policy agenda that was rejected by Brazilian voters in the country’s most recent elections.

    • Hate crime levels are rising in England and Wales. How bad is it where you live?

      The Bureau sent Freedom of Information Requests to every police force in England and Wales, asking them to provide complete outcome data for all hate crimes recorded in 2014/15 and, separately, 2015/16.

      Forty police forces responded to our request. Because of discrepancies in their recording systems, particularly among smaller forces, we weren’t able to perform detailed comparisons of each of them. However, we are able to map changes in recorded hate crime at a regional level.

      There are significant regional difference, but the vast majority have seen increases in recorded hate crime. West Yorkshire, which has a large Muslim population, has seen the greatest rise, with recorded hate crimes up 69% from the previous year. Out of the 40 respondents, six forces have seen a fall. To see how your region compares, hover your mouse over the map and click for the data.

      The data obtained by the Bureau revealed that the chances of police or prosecutors taking action against hate crime offenders have plummeted over the last year. Victims of hate crime now have only a one in four chance of seeing a perpetrator charged, cautioned or dealt with in some other way by the police – down from one in three in the previous year.

    • Turkey’s president is using the failed coup as an excuse to snuff out secular democracy

      In the immediate aftermath of the Turkish military’s attempted coup on July 15, the international community responded with relief. While many people within Turkey and outside of it are no fans of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime, the bloodshed and chaos that would have resulted from a government overthrow seemed like the worse of two options.

      But a little more than a week after the failed coup, it’s clear that the Turkish president is taking advantage of it in an attempt to gain absolute power in Turkey, enacting draconian measures and targeting any person or institution who might act as a voice of dissent. As Turkey moves toward dictatorial rule, here’s what the international community needs to know.

    • Non-Spanish-Speaking Teacher Sues Miami-Dade After She’s Denied Job Teaching Spanish

      An English-speaking teacher says the Miami-Dade County School Board discriminated against her by not hiring her for a job. The position? Teaching an hour of Spanish per day.

      Tracy Rosner, a third-grade teacher at Coral Reef Elementary, filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida last week claiming employment discrimination on the basis of her race — which is white.

      Miami-Dade School Board attorneys have not filed a formal response in court and did not return calls for comment Thursday. We’ll update this post if they provide one.

    • Yavuz Baydar: The largest clampdown in modern Turkey’s history
    • The internet saved Turkey’s president from a coup. Now he’s doubling down on censorship.
    • Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey

      We, the undersigned, condemn the actions taken by the Turkish government in violation of human rights and the rule of law. The principle of independence and impartiality of the judiciary—together with freedom of the media—is at the foundation of the rule of law and democracy. The political independence and the academic freedom of the educational profession is essential for free societies.

    • Arab Street Shocked as Saudi Delegation Visits Israel

      The Egyptian news site the Arab Observer Network reports that the visit to Israel of a former Saudi military intelligence officer, Gen. Anwar Eshki, came as a body blow to the Arab in the street. He conducted several meetings with Israeli officials last week, along with a “high level” Saudi delegation.

      Saudi Arabia and Israel, the old hegemons in the Middle East, are increasingly coordinating to confront a rising Iran.

      Eshki met with Dore Gold, the general director of the Israeli foreign ministry, as well as Israeli members of parliament. On his agenda was restarting the Israel-Palestine peace process on the basis of the 2002 Saudi/ Arab League plan, which calls for a two-state solution on the basis of 1967 borders.

    • Robot-Delivered Death in Dallas

      The Dallas police decision to use a robot-delivered bomb to kill the cornered shooter blamed for murdering five police officers raises troubling legal, technological and public-safety questions, writes Marjorie Cohn.

    • Do Black Kids Matter in Memphis?

      PREA is the Prison Rape Elimination Act, sweeping federal legislation targeting the nation’s prisons and jails. Passed in 2003, the law was aimed in part at places like this — facilities for youth who present a danger to others or themselves. But while PREA has proven hard to implement, that’s not why I was there that day. Less than a year after Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham took over the detention center that sits directly above juvenile court, officials were running dangerously afoul of a different federal intervention — one designed specifically for Shelby County.

    • NSA and CIA Hacked Enrique Peña Nieto before the 2012 Election

      Part of the frenzied discussion about the possibility that Russia hacked the DNC includes claims that the US would never do something so dastardly.

      Except that the Foreign Government Section 702 Certificate makes it clear the NSA is authorized to spy on foreign based political organizations even within the US (and would have far more liberty under EO 12333). Among the parties specifically authorized for targeting in 2010 was Pakistan’s People Party, the incumbent party in a nominal ally.

    • Israel’s Tightening But Weakening Grip

      Zionism’s range of influence is shrinking. One can see this progression worldwide. At a popular level the Israelis have lost control of the historical storyline of Israel-Palestine. They may teach their own citizens their version of the story, the one wherein the Jews have a divine and/or historical right to all of Palestine’s territory. But beyond their fellow Zionists and the loony Christian Right, no one else believes this story. Significantly, an increasing number of Jews no longer accept it either.

      None of this means that the Zionists are not still influential. Yet their influence no longer has a broad popular base. It is now largely restricted to Western government circles. Of course, that is still impressive, and such lobby power does a lot of damage in the West through the corruption of elites and the perversion of state policies. We are seeing examples of this in the many stories of American police officers being trained by Israelis while (coincidently?) episodes of police brutality in the U.S. multiply.

    • Federal “Blue Lives Matter” Legislation Picks up Steam, Advances Myth that Cops are Under Threat

      If Donald Trump’s “Law and Order” convention is any indication, Republicans in Congress could soon try to amend federal law to equate violence against police officers to assaults fueled by bigotry.

      The Blue Lives Matter Act of 2016, which was introduced to the House in April, gained two co-sponsors in the two weeks prior to the Republican Convention. The bill would amend Chapter 13 of Title 10 of the US Code to “make an attack on a police officer a hate crime.”

      Trump’s convention focused heavily on the idea that crime is out of control, in part, because police are on the receiving end of unfair criticism.

      “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police,” Trump said during his speech on Thursday. “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order our country.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EC approves EUR 4 billion Italian broadband plan

      In June, the European Commission approved Italy’s high-speed broadband plan to deliver fast Internet access to 7300 of the country’s 8000 municipalities. The EUR 4 billion plan will build a country-wide network infrastructure, improving Internet access for citizens, businesses, and public administrations – including schools and hospitals.

    • Poland studies ways to improve broadband for SMEs

      Poland’s Ministry of Digitisation is studying how it can best help the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that wish to offer broadband Internet access. Recently, the ministry met with banking organisations and SME telecom trade groups, to discuss options for financing infrastructure upgrades, including possibilities for European co-financing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How A Supreme Court Case On Cheerleader Costumes & Copyright Could Impact Prosthetic Hands And Much, Much More

      Every time this case has come up (and it’s been bouncing around the courts for a while now), I’ve been meaning to write about it, but am only just getting around to it now that organizations are filing amici briefs with the Supreme Court. The case is Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, and it sounds kind of stupid: the issue is that both companies make cheerleading uniforms, and Varsity Brands accused Star of copying its uniform designs. Star argued that as a “useful article” a cheerleading uniform is not subject to copyright protection, and it won at the district court level. The 6th Circuit, however, reversed that ruling about a year ago, saying that while the uniform design may not be copyrightable, elements within the design (stripes, zigzags, chevrons, etc.) could be.

      This is problematic for a variety of reasons. Clothing and fashion have never been considered covered by copyright for many good reasons, and it’s actually helped create a more innovative, more competitive, thriving market for fashion. There’s a reason why copyright is not allowed on “useful articles,” and it’s worked. We shouldn’t suddenly be changing those rules now.

      The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, and various amici have begun filing their briefs. You can also see Star Athletica’s own filing as well, which focuses (as it should) on the narrow technical question regarding “separability” and whether or not you can “separate” the design that’s being claimed for copyright from the article itself. That is, you could argue that a square painting done on a T-shirt could be “separable” from the T-shirt and thus get a copyright, while the T-shirt itself could not. Here, however, we’re talking about basic elements of a cheerleading uniform such as stripes and color patterns that help identify it as a cheerleading uniform.

    • Copyrights

      • New Piracy Kings And KickassTorrents Alternatives — The Pirate Bay And ExtraTorrent

        After the demise of KickassTorrents, internet pirates are looking for alternatives.

      • Katcr.co: Original KickassTorrents Community Is Back, Without Torrents

        Some KickassTorrents employees have grouped to form a KickassTorrents community website that has become a home to the loyal users. Named Katcr.co, this website doesn’t offer any torrent links. Many original staffers and team members are present on the website that are acting as moderators and admins of the forum.

      • IsoHunt Settles The Last Of Its Lawsuits, Laughably Agrees To ‘Pay’ Recording Industry $66 Million

        You may recall that almost three years ago, the BitTorrent search engine IsoHunt agreed to shut down and to “pay” Hollywood studios $110 million. The number was a joke, because IsoHunt and its creator didn’t have $110 million. It’s just that the legacy copyright players always like to end these lawsuits with a giant headline grabbing number, while they’ve quietly agreed to accept very little, if any, actual money (and whatever money they do receive is not then distributed to any artists). The Sony email hack a few years back revealed that the industry does this frequently in closing out its lawsuits against search engines. IsoHunt was more or less forced into that settlement after the MPAA misled the court about IsoHunt’s actions. But the court bought it, and the IsoHunt court rulings have created some really unfortunate precedents. It’s the case that the legacy players always point to, because it’s the only case to find that a search engine platform has “red flag knowledge” of copyright infringement without having specific knowledge of infringing files.

        The case against Hollywood, however, wasn’t the only case IsoHunt was fighting. It also was fighting the recording industry up in Canada in a case that began with IsoHunt filing for declaratory judgment that it didn’t infringe in Canada, all the way back in 2008. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), then sued back — but did everything it could to keep the case out of the news because it was also fighting for new copyright laws in Canada… and part of its argument was that the existing Canadian copyright laws were inadequate to go after IsoHunt and similar sites.

      • 20th Century Fox Accuses Kim Dotcom of Asset Freeze Breach

        20th Century Fox has accused Kim Dotcom of breaching a freeze on his assets imposed following his arrest in 2012. According to claims made by the studio in the New Zealand High Court, Dotcom took a US$154,000 loan from his lawyers on behalf of a trust for his children.

      • KAT Takedown Triggers Traffic Spike at Torrent Sites

        Earlier this week KickassTorrents was taken down following a criminal investigation into the site’s alleged owner. Since then, millions of frequent users have taken refuge elsewhere. The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent are among the major beneficiaries, with the latter reporting an instant traffic spike of more than 300%.

07.25.16

Links 25/7/2016: Linux 4.7 Final, PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Internet of Things Web Editor Open Source Project Started

    The StackSavings Web Editor has recently been launched as an open source project. The aim of the project is to be a Web Editor for the Internet of Things.

  • Fluxday: A no-fuss open source productivity tracker

    It would have been easier if we already had an open source platform we could build on. Although we did manage to build it quickly without disrupting our main projects, other companies might find it easier to adopt an existing platform rather than allocate extra time towards building an in-house productivity management application. For that reason, we’ve made Fluxday an open source project.

  • Reasons Organizations Opt Not to Use Open Source Software

    Black Duck’s latest open source survey shows that a majority of companies are now using open source. So what’s stopping the rest? Here’s a look at the reasons why businesses might choose not to use open source, or avoid partnering with companies that do.

  • Virtuozzo’s new Kernel-based Virtual Machine for ISPs is a ‘huge thing,’ years in the making
  • Virtuozzo debuts hyper-converged offering based on open source technology and optimized KVM

    Virtuozzo announced on Monday general availability of Virtuozzo 7. With this new version, the platform ushers in a new level of portability, reliability, and performance, especially for customers in large data center environments where vendor flexibility, as well as low latency, is critical.

  • Wire private messenger goes open source, invites users to build compatible clients

    Wire is one in a growing number of messaging services that promise to keep their users’ correspondence private. In this case, the service offers encrypted text, voice, and video calls. And now it’s open source.

  • Messaging Service ‘Wire’ Goes Open-Source, Invites Devs to Build Clients

    Encrypted text, voice and audio calling service Wire has gone open-source, releasing the code for everything devs need to build their own apps that interface with the service.

  • Apache Kudu is the Latest Open Source Big Data Project to Reach Top-Level Status

    For the past year, we’ve taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support and more.

    Continuing the trend, the foundation has announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines.

    “Under the Apache Incubator, the Kudu community has grown to more than 45 developers and hundreds of users,” said Todd Lipcon, Vice President of Apache Kudu and Software Engineer at Cloudera. “We are excited to be recognized for our strong Open Source community and are looking forward to our upcoming 1.0 release.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Susan Chen, Promoted to Vice President of Business Development

        Susan joined Mozilla in 2011 as Head of Strategic Development. During her five years at Mozilla, Susan has worked with the Mozilla team to conceive and execute multiple complex negotiations and concluded hundreds of millions dollar revenue and partnership deals for Mozilla products and services.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 Released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group announces today that the third beta release of PostgreSQL 9.6 is available for download. This release contains previews of all of the features which will be available in the final release of version 9.6, including fixes to many of the issues found in the first and second betas. Users are encouraged to continue testing their applications against 9.6 beta 3.

    • PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 Released This Week

      PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 was released on Thursday as this major database update gets closer to its general availability release later this year.

      PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3 brings a number of fixes to the parallel query support and fixes many other items throughout the PostgreSQL server code. The official 9.6 release isn’t expected until “late 2016.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 6.0 tightens security by losing Linux compatibility

      OpenBSD, one of the more prominent variants of the BSD family of Unix-like operating systems, will be released at the beginning of September, according to a note on the official OpenBSD website.

      Often touted as an alternative to Linux. OpenBSD is known for the lack of proprietary influence on its software and has garnered a reputation for shipping with better default security than other OSes and for being highly vigilant (some might say strident) about the safety of its users. Many software router/firewall projects are based on OpenBSD because of its security-conscious development process.

    • Google’s “Lanai” Backend In LLVM Seeks Non-Experimental Status
    • DragonFlyBSD 4.6 Up To Release Candidate Stage

      DragonFlyBSD 4.6 is up to the release candidate stage and the official release of this next feature version is coming in just a few days.

      The release candidate to DragonFlyBSD 4.6 is now available for testing.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • OpenKnit: Open Source Digital Knitting

      OpenKnit is an open-source, low cost, digital fabrication tool that affords the user the opportunity to create her/his own bespoke clothing from digital files. Starting from the raw material, the yarn, and straight to its end use, a sweater for example, in about an hour. Designing and producing clothes digitally and wearing them can now happen in the very same place, rewarding the user with the ability to make decisions regarding creativity and responsibility. (homepage) (full instructions for a Wally120 open-source knitting)

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Open Patient: Advocating for open access to medical data

        Steven Keating had always been interested in data and learning about things, which is why he volunteered to do a research scan when he was a student. The scan revealed an abnormality. In 2014, the abnormality had grown into a massive tumor. Soon he learned that there were many barriers keeping him from accessing his own data. “And that’s what I’ve been sharing, which is this question: How come as a patient we’re last in line for our own data? How come my doctors and my university researchers can see my tumor genome and I can’t?”

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sports Federations, Not IOC, Will Decide Which Russian Athletes Can Play In Rio

      On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee decided not to call for a blanket ban on Russia for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games after reports of doping scandals endangered the country’s chances of competing.

      Instead, individual international sports federations will make the call on whether or not Russian athletes can compete in the games — which means they will review them all, one by one. Athletes who have been served suspensions for doping will not be allowed in the games. That includes athletes who already completed their suspensions, according to The Wall Street Journal. The findings must be upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to be final.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Afghanistan: President Obama’s Vietnam

      President Obama is keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting an unwinnable war for fear of the political consequences if he faces reality and admits defeat, an echo of Vietnam, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Islamophobia Kills: German Munich shooter admired Breivik, Killed Turks

      The shooter at a Munich mall last week who killed 9 and left 27 wounded was an admirer of far right wing Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and appears to have hated Muslims.

      Although David Sonboly was of Iranian heritage, he does not seem to have been a Muslim and appears to have felt no connection to that community.

      Iranians are mostly Shiite Muslims who are often victimized by ISIL, so it wasn’t ever very likely that his rampage was inspired by that organization.

      The current insistence by politicians and journalists on treating anyone with a drop of Middle Eastern blood as a “Muslim” is frankly racist. After all, millions of people of Christian heritage would now insist that they are not Christians. Why can’t people from Muslim families convert to other things, too? Sonboly appears to have considered himself a Christian or at least a Westerner.

      As with many mass killers, the 18-year-old likely had mental problems. But to the extent that he was driven by ideology, it was the that of the Islamophobia Network. Sonboly was part of a far-right anti-Muslim tendency that now haunts Europe .

      As many attacks in Europe are carried out by the white far right as by Muslims.

      The ambiguities of identity were on display in this case, since Sonboly shouted “I am German!” at the Turkish-Germans he targeted, whom he called ‘Fucking Turks.’ He seems to have blamed practicing Muslims for creating the conditions of prejudice toward people who looked like him in Germany.

    • Crimes Against the Future/The World After Me: Eternal ‘Wartime’ in America

      I wonder, too – how could I not with my future life as a “refugee” in mind? – about the 65 million human beings uprooted from their homes in 2015 alone, largely in places where we Americans have been fighting our wars for this last decade and a half. And it’s hard not to notice how many more have followed in their path this year, including at least 80,000 of the Sunni inhabitants of Iraq’s recently “liberated” and partially destroyed city of Fallujah. In the process, tens of millions of them have remained internal exiles in their own country (or what is left of it), while tens of millions have officially become refugees by crossing borders into Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan, by taking to the seas in flimsy, overcrowded craft heading for Greece (from Turkey) or Italy (from Libya) moving onward in waves of desperation, hope, and despair, and drowning in alarming numbers. At the end of their journeys, they have sometimes found help and succor, but often enough only hostility and loathing, as if they were the ones who had committed a crime, done something wrong.

    • Political Correctness: Handle with Care

      Racial, gender, and ethnic diversity matters, of course, but political correctness (PC) tied to bourgeois identity politics can be deadly to Left thinkers and activists and to the causes of peace and social justice. Part of what made the deeply conservative Barack Obama attractive to the U.S. corporate and imperial establishment during the long run up to the 2008 presidential election was the American power elite’s reasonable, born-out expectation that Obama’s skin color and status as a First Black President (FBP) would help make progressives, leftists, and serious liberals reluctant to forthrightly protest his coming service to the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class, empire, and (curiously and stealthily enough) white privilege. Smart power brokers calculated correctly that political correctness around race – and the related fear of being considered racist because one dared to criticize a FBP – would help keep the left in check on Obama’s corporatist, Wall Street-pleasing, and imperial policies.

    • Ansbach explosion: Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up in Germany

      A failed Syrian asylum seeker has blown himself up and injured 12 other people with a backpack bomb near a festival in the south German town of Ansbach.

      The state of Bavaria’s interior minister said the 27-year-old man had detonated the device after being refused entry to the music festival.

      About 2,500 people were evacuated from the venue after the explosion.

      Bavaria has been on edge since a knife rampage on a train claimed by so-called Islamic State last Monday.

      The Ansbach blast is reported to have happened at about 22:10 (20:10 GMT) outside the Eugens Weinstube bar in the centre of the town, which has a population of 40,000 and is home to a US military base.

    • Two dead, 14 wounded in shooting at Florida nightclub: U.S. media

      The shooting comes the month after a massacre at a nightclub in the Florida city of Orlando, in which a lone gunman killed 49 people in the deadliest mass shooting in U.s. history.

    • In troubled times, Germans embrace ‘Mommy’ Merkel

      Nothing erodes public confidence in the ruling class like political upheaval, violence and economic uncertainty. Yet in Germany these days, that combustible mix is fueling a quiet revival of Angela Merkel’s political fortunes.

      The weekend violence in Germany, which began with the deadly rampage by a bloodthirsty teen in Munich and ended with a suicide bombing in a small Bavarian city, marked the latest in a series of events, from the U.K. referendum to an ISIL-inspired hatchet attack on a German commuter train, that have unnerved the Merkel Republic.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Clean Energy Revolution Starts Now

      This weekend, we’re bringing the call for clean energy to Philadelphia in a big way, and if you want a ban on fracking, you won’t want to miss this.

    • Mass killing of elephants: Will the EU go on turning a blind eye?

      However, the EU continues to turn a deaf ear to the calls for a total ivory trade ban. On 1 July 2016, the European Commission decided that a global ivory trade ban did “not seem justified” and encouraged the Council to take a position against “a general closure of domestic ivory markets.”

      This recommendation comes ahead of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the 1976 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which will take place in South Africa from 24 September- 5 October and in which 182 member states of CITES will participate.

    • How Utah coal interests helped push a secret plan to export coal from California

      One by one, the seven council members present voted to uphold the ban on transporting coal. The decision was finalized by a second vote on July 19, leaving the proposed $250 million project in limbo. Without coal as one of the terminal’s possible bulk commodities, proponents warned, it would be at risk of losing critical funding — depriving an economically struggling neighborhood of job opportunities. Critics of the plan, however, worried that transporting millions of tons of coal by rail — even in covered cars — through West Oakland poses a public health and safety risk to local residents, who already experience high levels of air pollution.

    • Northwest Tribes Band Together to Stop Oil-by-Rail

      There’s no such thing as a good place for an oil-train derailment, but this year’s June 3 spill outside Mosier, Oregon, could have been worse if the 16 oil cars had derailed and caught fire even a few hundred feet in either direction. The derailment was just far enough away from populated areas, including a nearby school and mobile home park, that no injuries resulted, and the amount of oil that spilled into the river was limited. If it had happened another mile-and-a-half down the tracks, the damaged tank cars would have tumbled directly into the Columbia river during the peak of the spring Chinook salmon run.

    • Demonstrators Demand ‘Clean Energy Revolution’ on Eve of Dem Convention

      With plenty of overlap between them, both climate justice campaigners and supporters of Bernie Sanders held marches and rallies in downtown Philadelphia on Sunday, making their presence and political demands heard a day before the Democratic National Convention officially kicks off.

      Under a banner calling for a “Clean Energy Revolution,” the climate march put a focus on key shortcomings when it comes to the Democratic Party’s commitment to addressing an increasingly hot planet.

      Mark Schlosberg, national campaign director for Food & Water Watch, which spearheaded the protest with the backing of nearly 900 other local and national organizations, said neither party has shown the necessary urgency when it comes to dealing with the crisis. “Together,” Schlosberg explained in a blog post ahead of the march, “we are sending a clear message to our elected officials: we demand a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not one that depends on dirty, polluting fossil fuels.”

  • Finance

    • Long queues at Dover may be the first sign of what it means to live outside the European Union

      Perhaps Britain will find, in the uncertain new world it has chosen to live in, that it cannot implement Boris Johnson’s policy on cake – ‘pro having it and pro eating it’. Easy as a backbencher, or even mayor of London; not so easy as Foreign Secretary

    • Buddhism and economic transformation

      Economies have no essential nature. Once this is recognized, many more opportunities for change present themselves.

    • Sir Philip Green responsible for ‘systematic plunder’ of BHS, say MPs in scathing report

      ‘What kind of man is it who can count his fortune in billions but does not know what decent behavior is?’ – Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee

    • Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Brexit, weak pound. A price hike is coming

      Hewlett Packard Enterprise is to bump up the price of its infrastructure gear in Blighty from today, 25 July, blaming the crash in the value of UK sterling currency for the hike.

      According to sources close to the matter, the cost of servers will go up between six to seven per cent, and storage and legacy networking by circa 10 per cent.

    • Theresa May visits Northern Ireland to insist border controls will not be erected after Brexit

      Theresa May will today insist that peace and stability in Northern Ireland is her “highest priority” as she pledges to ensure that border controls will not be erected after Brexit.

      The Prime Minister will travel to Belfast today to hold talks with First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, to discuss delivering stability in Northern Ireland in the wake of the EU referendum.

    • We Must Reject Economic Cannibalism

      “What can I do to fix a broken global economy?” It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot these past few months as I’ve crisscrossed the US speaking at TED venues, music concerts, the World Affairs Council, bookstores, on radio and TV shows, and at a variety of other forums.

      During this election year it is important to recognize that corporations pretty much run the world. Despite the outcome of the elections, they will continue to do so — at least until we organize and change the rules that have created the dominant neoliberal system.

    • Fighting for Seats at the Table: A Poor People’s Movement in a Rustbelt Town

      The Think Tank is an organization started in 2014 that is modelling a new approach for addressing poverty. Based in Newark, Ohio, the town where Wills lives, the group is made up of people currently struggling with poverty, or who have struggled in the past. The group’s goal is to have their voices heard by people who make decisions.

    • Thought we’d escaped TTIP by leaving the EU? Think again – it’s setting the terrifying blueprint for our future trade deals

      Despite being without national trade policy for four decades, we can predict a lot about the UK’s future trade deals outside of the EU from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and what we know gives great cause for concern.

      If and when Brexit is completed, TTIP will not directly apply to a UK outside the single market. But with the US knocking on the door to create a trade deal with the UK we know its interests are the same as expressed in TTIP. All the warning signs from TTIP suggest that under the current government vested interests will be satisfied ahead of the wider public interest.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Does Hillary Get It?

      Does Hillary Clinton understand that the biggest divide in American politics is no longer between the right and the left, but between the anti-establishment and the establishment?

      I worry she doesn’t – at least not yet.

      A Democratic operative I’ve known since the Bill Clinton administration told me “now that she’s won the nomination, Hillary is moving to the middle. She’s going after moderate swing voters.”

      Presumably that’s why she tapped Tim Kaine to be her vice president. Kaine is as vanilla middle as you can get.

      In fairness, Hillary is only doing what she knows best. Moving to the putative center is what Bill Clinton did after the Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1994 – signing legislation on welfare reform, crime, trade, and financial deregulation that enabled him to win reelection in 1996 and declare “the era of big government” over.

    • Mission Accomplished at DNC, Clinton Hires Wasserman Schultz for Top Post

      Clinton responds to party chair’s resignation on Sunday by thanking “longtime friend” for her service at DNC and immediately naming her as honorary chair of her own campaign

    • Wasserman Schultz to Have a New Role in Clinton Campaign

      Hillary Clinton is thanking her “longtime friend” Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the Florida congresswoman’s decision to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Clinton says that Wasserman Schultz will serve as honorary chair of her campaign’s 50-state program to help elect Democrats around the country.

    • Leaked DNC emails reveal the inner workings of the party’s finance operation

      In the rush for big donations to pay for this week’s Democratic convention, a party staffer reached out to Tennessee donor Roy Cockrum in May with a special offer: the chance to attend a roundtable discussion with President Obama.

      Cockrum, already a major Democratic contributor, was in. He gave an additional $33,400. And eight days later, he was assigned a place across the table from Obama at the Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, according to a seating chart sent to the White House.

    • The Far Right Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform

      Here are 50 excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.

      1. Tax cuts for the rich: “Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed… We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations.”

      2. Deregulate the banks: “The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions. Unfortunately, in response to the financial institutions crisis of 2008-2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, otherwise known as Dodd-Frank.”

    • At RNC, Media Put a Happy Face on Suppression of Speech

      “News media could either be our ally or our enemy—we wanted them as an ally,” Laurie Pritchett said in a 1985 interview about his strategy as police chief in Albany, Georgia, during Martin Luther King, Jr.’s desegregation efforts in 1962.

      Pritchett famously ordered his officers to enforce the city’s segregation laws nonviolently and arrest as few protesters as possible. He knew that if he had acted as other police departments had—like Bull Connor’s dogs and firehoses in Birmingham (1963) and Jim Clark’s Bloody Sunday in Selma (1965)—news media would show the country how brutally oppressive police were, inspiring greater public support for King’s cause. In short, he beat nonviolent protesters at their own game by exploiting the media.

    • With DNC Leaks, Former ‘Conspiracy Theory’ Is Now True––and No Big Deal

      While it’s impossible to know whether systemic pro-Hillary Clinton bias at the DNC was decisive in the 2016 Democratic primary race, we now know beyond any doubt that such a bias not only existed, but was endemic and widespread. DNC officials worked to plant pro-Clinton stories, floated the idea of using Sanders’ secular Judaism against him in the South, and routinely ran PR spin for Clinton, even as the DNC claimed over and over it was neutral in the primary. The evidence in the leaks was so clear that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned her role as DNC chair—after her speaking role at the Democratic National Convention this week was scrapped—while DNC co-chair Donna Brazile, who is replacing Wasserman Schultz in the top role, has apologized to the Sanders camp.

    • Trump Doesn’t Totally Rule Out Supporting A David Duke Candidacy

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t completely rule out the possibility that he would support a Democrat running against David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, who announced he is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.

      When asked by Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd whether he would support a Democrat if it meant defeating Duke, Trump waffled, saying, “I guess, depending on who the Democrat, but the answer would be yes.”

    • [Older] Faith-based Attribution

      Every network attack against a company like Sony Entertainment, an organization like the DNC, or a government agency like OPM, comes with a series of questions to be answered, including the obvious ones like when did it begin? What was taken? Who was responsible? Are the attackers out of my network?

      Attribution, simply put, purports to answer the question of who is responsible. For example, CrowdStrike investigated the DNC network breach and determined that the Russian government was responsible. FireEye investigated the Sony Entertainment network attack and determined that the North Korean government was responsible.

      It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.

      Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).

      The closest analogy for a cybersecurity company’s assignment of attribution is an intelligence estimate, however intelligence analysts who write those estimates are held accountable for their hits and misses. If the miss is big enough (No WMDs in Iraq, missed India’s five nuclear bomb tests in ’98, missed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, etc.), there are consequences, and perhaps a Congressional investigation.

    • Kshama Sawant Shows Up at the DNC to Tell Bernie Sanders Supporters to Vote for Jill Stein

      On the heels of a law-and-order-obsessed Republican National Convention, Democrats are meeting this week in Philadelphia to do their thing. The protests are already more impressive than anything on the streets of Cleveland.

    • Let’s debate! Who will be the first woman president?

      On October 16, 2012, my vice presidential running mate and I were arrested. Our crime? Daring to try to attend a presidential debate.

      This year, I hope the American people will demand that Libertarian Gary Johnson and I take our rightful places in the presidential debates. Because Americans not only have a right to vote. We have a right to know who we can vote for.

    • In political turnabout, Democrats play soft-on-Russia card by linking Trump to Putin

      For decades, Republicans were the fiercest of Cold Warriors, fighting the spread of communism and, not incidentally, winning elections by painting Democrats as the party of the frail and feckless.

    • The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald on What’s Wrong (and Right) With the Media

      First of all, I think that a lot of coverage decisions are often made subconsciously. Most journalists think that they don’t actually make decisions about what’s newsworthy and what isn’t and their media outlets cover anything that’s newsworthy. And this is plainly not the case; there’s huge numbers of obviously newsworthy stories that are routinely, systemically ignored by large media outlets. And sometimes it’s just a by-product of the news-cycle rhythms, but a lot of times there are clear patterns to it. One major pattern is that the political media in particular views everything through a partisan lens. So if there’s some sort of dispute between the two parties, where the Democrats think one thing and the Republicans think another, that tends to get covered, because that’s viewed as an important political debate. But on the issues where there’s bipartisan consensus, where the two parties essentially agree, which is far more common than disagreeing, those tend to get completely ignored. So you look at U.S. support for Israel, or for Saudi Arabia in a foreign-policy context, or the idea that the U.S. should have the largest military in the world, or that we should continue with our state of mass incarceration, or just the general neoliberal economic policies that both parties believe in and support — those tend to be completely excluded from any kind of media discussion or coverage, because it just doesn’t get onto the radar of what matters. So these kinds of choices get made all the time.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein: Trump’s a ‘Racist’ and Clinton’s Not a True Progressive

      Jill Stein believes the American people deserve another choice between “a racist billionaire and a proponent of the billionaire club.”

      As the presumptive presidential nominee for the far-Left Green Party, Stein wants Donald Trump to be stopped. But she doesn’t think Hillary Clinton is the best alternative.

      “Donald Trump, he is a racist, a xenophobic, anti-woman, just anti-working people and it’s very important that that movement, that right wing extremism needs to be stopped,” Stein said in an interview with ABC News at the Democratic National Convention today.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Offers Glimpse of Hope for Bernie Sanders Supporters

      Protesters in Philadelphia have found a new glimpse of hope: Dr. Jill Stein.

      Though Stein has been running as the Green Party’s presumptive presidential candidate for 13 months now, here in the City of Brotherly Love she’s had something of a bump in public opinion.

      At a protest with a few hundred people today near City Hall, there were several rounds of chants for “Jill Not Hill” and signs lining Stein up with Sanders as the progressive alternative to Clinton.

    • Whether Or Not Russians Hacked DNC Means Nothing Concerning How Newsworthy The Details Are

      As you almost certainly know by now, on Friday Wikileaks released a bunch of hacked DNC emails just before the Democratic Presidential convention kicked off. While Wikileaks hasn’t quite said where it got the emails, speculation among many quickly pointed to Russian state sponsored hackers. That’s because of the revelation last month of two sets of hackers breaching the DNC’s computer system and swiping (at the very least) opposition research on Donald Trump. Various cybersecurity research firms, starting with CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate, pointed the finger at the Russians.

      Of course, whether or not you believe that may depend on how credible you find the big cybersecurity firms like CrowdStrike, FireEye and Mandiant (the big names that always pop up in situations like this). For what it’s worth, these guys have something of a vested interest in playing up the threat of big hacks from nation-state level hackers. For a good analysis of why this finger-pointing may be less than credible, I recommend two articles by Jeffrey Carr, one noting that these firms come from a history of “faith-based attribution” whereby they are never held accountable for being wrong — and another highlighting serious questions about the designation of Russia as being responsible for this particular hack (he notes that some of the research appeared to come pre-arrived at that conclusion, and then ignored any evidence to the contrary).

      Still, the claim that the data came from the Russians has become something of a story itself. And, of course, who did the hack and got the info is absolutely a news story. But it’s an entirely separate one from whether or not the leaked emails contain anything useful or newsworthy. And yet, because this is the peak of political silly season, some are freaking out and claiming that anyone reporting on these emails “has been played” by Putin and Russia. Leaving aside the fact that people like to claim that Russia’s behind all sorts of politicians that some don’t like, that should be entirely unrelated to whether or not the story is worth covering.

    • DNC Comms Guy Mocked Story Saying DNC Is Bad At Cybersecurity; Revealed Because DNC Is Bad At Cybersecurity

      Protip: maybe don’t laugh off accusations that you’re bad at cybersecurity in emails on a network that has already been infiltrated by hackers. That message did not make it through to one Eric Walker, deputy communications director for the Democratic National Committee. As you’ve heard by now, the DNC got hacked and all the emails were posted on Wikileaks. An anonymous user in our comments pointed us to a now revealed email from Walker brushing off a story in BuzzFeed, quoting cybersecurity professionals arguing that both the RNC and the DNC are bad at cybersecurity, mainly because they’re handing out USB keys at their conventions.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants To Be ‘Plan B’ For Bernie Sanders Supporter

      Third parties are not new to American politics. The Anti-Masonic Party emerged in the 1820s to campaign against the Freemasons, which its members viewed as a corrupt. The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery in the years before the Civil War. Others throughout history have emerged to champion various causes, like the Know-Nothings, the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party and many others.

    • teleSUR Host Abby Martin Arrested at DNC

      Martin was covering the DNC protests in Philadelphia for teleSUR.

      Abby Martin, host of “Empire Files,” was covering the DNC protests in Philadelphia for teleSUR when she was arrested by police.

      Martin was on her way to a “Democracy Spring” event where there were reports of civil disobedience and arrests being made. The police had closed off all streets surrounding the action.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Should Facebook And The Rest Of Silicon Valley Invoke More Paranoia Than The NSA?
    • Drug Dealer’s Lawyers Want To Know How Yahoo Is Recovering Communications It Previously Said Were Unrecoverable

      Russell Knaggs, the accused drug dealer, apparently utilized a Yahoo email account to hook up suppliers in Colombia with buyers in Europe. To add to the difficulty level, Knaggs did this while serving time for another drug bust. The method used was not all that uncommon. Everyone shared a single email account and composed draft messages. Each party would log into the account, read the draft message left for them, and compose a draft of their own in response. No emails were sent. All drafts were then deleted from both the “Draft” folder and the “Trash.”

    • Encryption backdoors appear on EU data chief’s ban wishlist

      Revised ePrivacy laws should guarantee confidentiality of communications and encourage encryption, the European Union’s data watchdog has said.

      European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli published his official opinion on the review of the ePrivacy Directive on Monday.

      An overhaul to the so-called Cookie Law is currently be worked on by officials at the European Commission, with the completion date expected before the end of the year to bring it into line with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

      “The EU rules designed to protect privacy in electronic communications need to reflect the world that exists today,” said Buttarelli.

    • We Can Stay Safe Without Creating a Surveillance State

      The new Prime Minister spent six years as Home Secretary but Theresa May’s legacy at the Home Office is not one to be proud of. She cut front line police services relentlessly and her record on civil liberties was appalling.

      Two years ago, at the height of summer, she rushed through legislation that gave GCHQ the power to force companies to hand over their customers’ personal data, including phone records and information about emails and browsing history.

      She used the spectre of terrorism to justify the legislation, called the Data Retention and Investigator Powers Act (DRIPA), but it was poorly drafted and deeply flawed. Among other things, it effectively gave the Government the right to monitor mobile phone data and internet browsing history without the approval of a judge. That’s why I took the unusual step of joining forces with my Conservative party adversary David Davis to sue the Government in the High Court.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Donald Trump’s War on Islam, Beheld Live from the Cleveland Floor, Part Two

      The Floor might have been a prop for TV, but it was beautiful. Spotlights danced off the red, white and blue bunting, off the tall, triangular signs spelling out the names of the states and the territories, off the delegates themselves, equal and unruly, a republic made flesh. To stand on it gave one a feeling of chaos and joy.

      The states were defined by red carpets running between them, and by their costumes. The Guam wore tropical-print shirts. Texas had Lone Star flag shirts and cowboy hats and supersized enamel pins. North Carolina seemed patrician and a slightly aloof in their seersucker suits. West Virginia wore hardhats and pinstripes waving “Trump Digs Coal” signs. Chunks of Colorado displayed a mutinous, die-hard love for Ted Cruz by walking out of the convention on Monday afternoon. The many-footed whip was walking up and down the aisles, handing out Trump/Pence signs, whipping up cheers of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” often settling for “USA! USA! USA!”

    • Rough handling and restraint: UK forced removals, still a nasty business

      The charter flight on Titan Airways departed Stansted for Nigeria and Ghana on May 24. It was staffed for the UK Home Office by the private security company Tascor, a subsidiary of Capita, who claim to achieve the “safe and secure escorting and removal of more than 18,000 individuals from the UK each year”.

    • 9/11 defense lawyers: Judge let U.S. secretly destroy CIA ‘black site’ evidence

      Defense lawyers for the alleged 9/11 plotters said for the first time Sunday that the government destroyed a secret CIA prison with secret permission of the trial judge, and they learned of it only after the fact.

      Defense attorneys have been complaining about a mysterious destruction of evidence episode in a cloaked manner since May. Prosecutors have said they did nothing wrong but declined to explain with any specificity. After a closed session Friday, during which the judge apparently agreed some details were no longer classified, the defense lawyers laid out what they knew in a Sunday roundtable.

    • History tells us what may happen next with Brexit & Trump

      It seems we’re entering another of those stupid seasons humans impose on themselves at fairly regular intervals. I am sketching out here opinions based on information, they may prove right, or may prove wrong, and they’re intended just to challenge and be part of a wider dialogue.

      My background is archaeology, so also history and anthropology. It leads me to look at big historical patterns. My theory is that most peoples’ perspective of history is limited to the experience communicated by their parents and grandparents, so 50–100 years. To go beyond that you have to read, study, and learn to untangle the propaganda that is inevitable in all telling of history. In a nutshell, at university I would fail a paper if I didn’t compare at least two, if not three opposing views on a topic. Taking one telling of events as gospel doesn’t wash in the comparative analytical method of research that forms the core of British academia. (I can’t speak for other systems, but they’re definitely not all alike in this way).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UNDP Initiative Seeks Impact-Driven Entrepreneurs From 10 Developing Countries

      The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a joint initiative with Impact Hub, an international community of social entrepreneurs. The initiative is a platform named “#Accelerate2030,” aiming at supporting and promoting the most promising impact-driven ventures focusing on the UN Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).

    • Verizon Buys Yahoo In $4.8 Billion Attempt To Bore The Internet To Death
    • Copyrights

      • John Oliver’s Story On Campaign Music And Copyright Is… Wrong

        This is flat out wrong in most situations. As we’ve pointed out again and again and again and again, in nearly all cases, politicians using music at an event have the proper licenses. They don’t need to get permission from the musicians so long as either the campaign or the venue have ASCAP or BMI blanket licenses, which they almost always do. The whole point of ASCAP/BMI licenses is that you don’t need to get individual permission from the artists or their publishers.

        There are instances, occasionally, where politicians ridiculously don’t have such a license, but it’s pretty rare. And there may be a few other narrow exceptions, such as if there’s an implied endorsement by the musicians, but that’s rarely the case.

        Unfortunately, the song from John Oliver and friends ignores all of that, even stating directly at one point that for a politician to use music, you first have to call the publisher. That’s wrong. ASCAP and BMI already have taken care of that.

        Perhaps this isn’t a huge deal, but one would hope that Oliver would actually get the basic facts right on this too, because every election season this issue comes up and spreading more misinformation about it doesn’t help.

      • MPAA Front Group, Pretending To Represent Consumer Interests, Slams CloudFlare For Not Censoring The Internet

        So you may have seen reports last week charging CloudFlare and some other tech companies with “aiding” internet malware pushers. The “report,” called “Enabling Malware” was announced in a press release last week from the Digital Citizens Alliance — a group that describes itself as representing consumer interests online:

        Digital Citizens is a consumer-oriented coalition focused on educating the public and policy makers on the threats that consumers face on the internet and the importance for internet stakeholders – individuals, government and industry – to make the Web a safer place.

        And while the story wasn’t picked up that widely, a few news sources did pick it up and repeated the false claim that DCA is a consumer advocacy group. TorrentFreak, FedScoop and Can-India also picked up the story, and all simply repeated DCA’s claim to represent the interests of “digital citizens.”

        But that leaves out the reality: DCA is a group mostly funded by Hollywood, but also with support from the pharmaceutical industry, to systematically attack the internet and internet companies, for failing to censor the internet and block the sites and services that Hollywood and Big Pharma dislike. DCA has been instrumental in pushing false narratives about all the “evil” things online — “counterfeit fire detectors! fake drugs!” — in order to push policy makers to institute new laws to censor the internet. DCA buries this basic fact in its own description, merely noting that it “counts among its supporters… the health, pharmaceutical and creative industries.”

        The organization was formed in late 2012, partly as a response to the MPAA’s big loss around SOPA. Recognizing that it needed to change tactics, the MPAA basically helped get DCA off the ground to push scare stories about horrible internet companies enabling “bad things” online, and how new laws and policies had to be created to stop those evil internet companies. Much of this was merely speculation for a while, based on the fact that every DCA report seemed to wrongly blame internet companies for other people using those tools to do bad things online. However, it became explicit thanks to the Sony Hack, which revealed that a key part of the MPAA’s anti-Google plan, dubbed Project Goliath, involved having the DCA pay Mississippi’s former Attorney General Mike Moore (who mentored its current AG, Jim Hood), to lobby Jim Hood to attack Google.

07.24.16

Leaked: Boards of Appeal Face ‘Exile’ or ‘Extradition’ in Haar After Standing up to Battistelli

Posted in Site News at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Martial Law?

Jean-Baptiste Deprecq

Summary: A look at some of the latest moves at the European Patent Office (EPO), following Battistelli’s successful coup d’état which brought the EPO into a perpetual state of emergency that perpetuates Battistelli’s totalitarian powers

THE EPO is in a state of deepening crisis and the other day we mentioned Haar as the likely location for the new site of the Boards of Appeal, following the exile/purge. Shortly thereafter the staff of the Boards of Appeal received the following confirmatory message:

To all members of DG3

Following a decision taken by the Administrative Council in June, the President has instructed PD44 to implement the relocation of the Board of Appeals.

PD44 has visited eleven locations in order to find a building that would best suit the requirements of staff and business partners of the BoA. The principles for the search were:

· Modern building with highly professional accommodation standards
· In the area of the European School
· Very good access to public transport
· Short distance to the city centre and Munich airport

Having considered the above factors, the relocation will take place to Richard-Reitzner-Allee 8 in Haar in the South-East of Munich.

“It is no longer a rumour,” one person told us, as “DG3 was sent an email on Friday.” Another person wrote: “It is no longer simply a rumour that the Boards of Appeal will be sent to Haar. A note was sent to all DG3 staff yesterday late afternoon, informing them that the Boards will move to the office building at Richard-Reitzner-Allee 8 in Haar. The rent contract will be signed after the Budget and Finance Committee approves the plan in October. The goal is to start the move in July 2017. It should be stressed that neither the Boards nor the stakeholders were consulted or even informed beforehand, just like no meaningful consultation took place on any other part of the reform proposal that was submitted to the Administrative Council. Being in DG3 myself, I can say that the current atmosphere is not very positive.”

Around the same time as the Munich shootings (which no doubt Battistelli will exploit to the fullest tomorrow) somebody responded with: “I wonder if any attention has been paid to the security aspects of the proposed new site …”

Quite a few people have mentioned this to us. Another asked, “did you hear the latest about Haar?”

“The building reserved for the BoA is supposed to be in Vaterstetten, which is near Haar (just a bit farther),” told us another person. “If they are really going to move there I would regard it as a total waste of EPO money. A sign of further erdoganization of what was once a respectable European organization fallen prey today to the megalomaniac ambitions of a ruthless president.”

That note about “erdoganization” of the EPO is timely as we have made this kind of comparison for about a year now.

“Interesting article about Erdoğan,” one reader told us about this one from the time of the coup. “Same problem with Battistelli…”

To quote: “You’d be wrong. Instead, the order came down from Erdogan’s thousand room palace that one Binali Yildirim — and only Yildarim — would replace Davutoglu as leader of the AKP and as Turkey’s new prime minister. Yildirim has been part of Erdogan’s inner circle for decades, an absolute loyalist certain to do his bidding. In a display of party discipline that would have made Lenin proud, more than 1,400 AKP delegates thereupon saluted smartly, sang paeans of praise and obedience to their great “chief” Erdogan, and voted unanimously to confirm his chosen candidate.”

“Sounds like the AC,” told us this reader, referring to the Administrative Council that has been reduced into a bunch of Battistelli lapdogs — those who recently helped him send the Boards of Appeal to exile near Haar.

Speaking of Erdoğan, coups and sovereignty/security (in light of Friday’s shootings), there is further militarisation going on at the EPO where the coup plotter is actually Battistelli and his ‘troops’ (so he is, in some sense, on the opposite side of Erdoğan, who was actually elected unlike the Turkish military).

“To better understand why people are treated so badly inside the EPO (and even outside of it, e.g. bloggers who are critics) look closely to what happened in Turkey over the past 10 days or less.”Writing about “who is who [at the] EPO,” one reader told us: “I know we both ***love*** FB. Here an interesting page of one recently-promoted BB’s [Battistelli] pet. Even more interesting [is] one of her “friends”: Perhaps a next director?”

This alludes to Jean-Baptiste Deprecq (photo above is from his account), who is connected to the recently-promoted Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre.

“This give a lot to think about the saying “you chose your friends not you family”,” added our reader.

To better understand why people are treated so badly inside the EPO (and even outside of it, e.g. bloggers who are critics) look closely to what happened in Turkey over the past 10 days or less. Collective punishment at the hands of a megalomaniac isn’t so extraordinary. One might call it Martial Law.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GAO logo

Summary: Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents

Regarding the “EPO and USPTO,” one reader told us over the weekend, there is some curious text which is worth examining/scrutinising further. Just before the weekend we wrote about GAO's input, which mostly chastised the USPTO over patent quality. A closer look reveals even more about the subject.

“This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this.”Here are direct links to the report/s [1, 2]. One reader asked us, “did you get these documents?” These were mentioned very quickly by good blogs like Patently-O, so we noticed them very promptly and commented on these based on concise coverage, not based on a thorough reading of the entire text. “The EPO had no comments on the draft,” our reader told us. “In GAO-16-490,” for example “see e.g. p.25-28 on quality / time, effect of “corridors” (high grades -> higher production), also GAO-16-479: see p.21-22…”

To quote from the text: “The Government Accountability Office has released two reports: one suggesting the USPTO should define quality, reassess incentives and improve clarity; the other suggesting the USPTO should strengthen search capabilities and better monitor examiners’ work…”

This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this. To quote one new comment about the EPO: “Some weeks ago the Central Staff Committee [CSC] published a paper about overcapacity and reducing stocks, they also mentioned the contracts for examiners. I heard that a director in The Hague sent a mail to his examiners in which he disproved all the numbers as given by the CSC, showing that their publication was misleading. Does anyone have a copy of this mail? Some facts would be useful for this discussion!”

If anyone has a copy, please send it to us. There is a growing (and legitimate) concern about patent quality at the EPO, especially after Battistelli took over and derailed various processes, not just oversight, appeals, etc.

“With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive.”Based on WIPR‘s coverage of the GAO report, “most patent cases involve software-related inventions [...] that are easy to “unintentionally infringe” (this does not surprise us as we have been arguing this for years).

IAM too (an EPO mouthpiece) responded to these findings regarding USPTO patent quality being so low, reaffirming what we have said for a decade or more.

To quote IAM: “The recent report on USPTO patent quality by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would not have made for easy reading at the agency. That said, its leadership presumably knew what was coming long before they saw a draft of the report prior to its general release. The office knows it has a problem with quality – raising the standard of grants wouldn’t have become such a banner issue of Director Michelle Lee’s time in charge if it didn’t.”

“They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.”With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive. Watch this new article by Ricardo Ochoa of PretiFlaherty. Weeks later, well after the Bascom case, patent law firms still exploit an exceptional case for software patents promotion. If they wish to be honest, they will admit that software patents are neither justified nor easy to defend in a court, as per evidence which exists everywhere.

WatchTroll, the most vocal proponent of software patents out there, wrote today about Alice. Here is a key sentence: “Those who have been involved in patent prosecution going back 12-15 years will recall that after the initial rush of business method patents began, in about 2002, the Patent Office instituted what they referred to as “second pair of eyes” review. Under no circumstances could a patent be issued on anything that related to a computer-implemented invention unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners. It certainly sounds like that is what is happening once again.”

It’s about time too. They would not grant a “computer-implemented invention [CII is another term or euphemism for software patents] unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners,” but still, what guidelines would these examiners follow? The USPTO has not been exactly enthusiastic about altering the rules in lieu with Alice. We wrote about the latest changes a week ago and these probably give too much weight to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which is where software patents came from in the first place.

As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) put it earlier today, “why should programmers respect patent law? we should benefit from free speech, not patent censorship.”

As Deb Nicholson from the Open Invention Network (OIN) put it not too long ago, as per this report about her talk (“The state of software patents after the Alice decision”):

Combating software patents—and other abuses of the patent system, like design patents—is a long-term process, Nicholson reminded the audience. OIN runs several programs it hopes will protect free-software developers from the ills of bad patents, such as its Linux patent pool, the License On Transfer Network, and Defensive Publications.

But Nicholson told the crowd there are other ways they can help improve the patent landscape in the long term, too. They can contribute to the campaigns run by non-profit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation, she said. Both are working to oppose the software-oriented provisions in the TPP, for example, among their other activities.

Individuals can also be powerful advocates for change within their own companies, pushing them to embrace a defensive, rather than offensive, approach to patents. And they can support the pending patent-reform legislation to lawmakers. Finally, they can continue to advocate for free and open-source software. The more we collaborate together, Nicholson said, the less we’ll want to sue each other.

The problem is though, as we last noted just over week ago, OIN does virtually nothing to stop software patents. Given the companies that formed it and steer this massive aggregate, it’s not hard to see why. They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.

In the US, Patent Trolls Engage in Patent Wars and Shakedowns, Whereas in China/Korea Large Android OEMs Sue One Another

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Europe, Patents, Samsung at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

Summary: Highlighting some of the differences between the US patent system and other patent systems

THE most notable deficiency at the USPTO right now pertains to overly broad patent scope and poor patent quality (the same direction which the EPO takes under Battistelli) and this leads to a lot of litigation by patent trolls. Startups (sometimes known here as SMEs) suffer the most and we rarely hear their stories because they must settle in secret and pay ‘protection money’ to non-practising entities. This clearly does not promote innovation. A lot of this activity, perhaps more than 90% of it (on a global scale), happens in the United States.

“It says a lot about what the USPTO fosters and why the EPO must not follow the same footsteps.”As of days ago, Ericsson’s case (via a patent troll it increasing uses inside Europe) against Apple found momentum at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), home of software patents, according to this short report and BlackBerry has just beaten Mobile Telecommunications LLC, after this apparent troll (whose whole public existence revolves around this lawsuit) started a high-profile patent case in the US (BlackBerry is Canadian, but it can be dragged down south).

Leading Android OEMs are also embroiled in a patent war in the far east (Asia) and there are lots of articles about it [1, 2, 3, 4] (many hundreds in English alone, so they should not be hard to find even several years down the line).

What’s worth noting here is that in Asia, where a lot of the world’s phones are actually being made, patent trolls are hardly even a topic, whereas in the US patent trolls have become an epidemic. They are sometimes proxies of large companies such as Ericsson. In the case of Nokia, Microsoft has already created or armed trolls using its patents.

It is important to realise the difference between two manufacturing Android giants like Samsung (Kroea’s domain leader) and Huawei (China’s domain leader) having patent disputes and some random LLC du jour trying to tax large companies as well as small ones (these latter cases rarely make any headlines). It says a lot about what the USPTO fosters and why the EPO must not follow the same footsteps.

Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps

Posted in News Roundup at 3:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux in the Mainstream. What Will it Take?

      If you Google “Why Linux is Better Than Windows,” you’ll be able to go 20 pages deep and still find articles from tech blogs and news sites alike proclaiming reasons for Linux’s superiority. While most of these articles are just rehashing the same points, they are valid points nevertheless. And with all this ruckus over Linux, it begs the question: if Linux is so much better, why is it not competing for users at the same level that Windows is?

  • Server

    • Docker adds orchestration and more at DockerCon 2016

      DockerCon 2016, held in Seattle in June, included many new feature and product announcements from Docker Inc. and the Docker project. The main keynote of DockerCon [YouTube] featured Docker Inc. staff announcing and demonstrating the features of Docker 1.12, currently in its release-candidate phase. As with the prior 1.11 release, the new version includes major changes in the Docker architecture and tooling. Among the new features are an integrated orchestration stack, new encryption support, integrated cluster networking, and better Mac support.

      The conference hosted 4000 attendees, including vendors like Microsoft, CoreOS, HashiCorp, and Red Hat, as well as staff from Docker-using companies like Capital One, ADP, and Cisco. While there were many technical and marketing sessions at DockerCon, the main feature announcements were given in the keynotes.

      As with other articles on Docker, the project and product are referred to as “Docker,” while the company is “Docker Inc.”

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • MATE Dock Applet 0.73 Released With Redesigned Window List, Drag And Drop Support

      MATE Dock Applet was updated to version 0.73 recently, getting support for rearranging dock icons via drag and drop (only for the GTK3 version), updated window list design and more.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Double Post – Lakademy and Randa 2016

        I Have a few favorites kde conventions that I really love to participate.

        Randa and Lakademy are always awesome, both are focused on hacking, and I surely do love to hack.

        On LaKademy I spend my days working on subsurface, reworking on the interface, trying to make it more pleasant to the eye,

        In Randa I worked on KDevelop and Marble, but oh my…

      • Plasma’s Publictransport applet’s porting status

        You might remember that I spoke about Plasma’s Publictransport applet getting some reworking during the summer. It’s been over a month since I made that announcement on my blog and while ideally, I’d have liked to have blogged every week about my work, I haven’t really been able to. This is largely down to the fact that I was occupied with work on a project back at my university and I shifted back to home from my hostel as well, after finishing four years of undergraduate studies.

      • KDE Community Working Group 2016
      • KDE Brasil Telegram group and IRC United

        That’s why the KDE Irc channel now has a bot that will forward all messages to our Telegram Channel and vice-versa, this way all the new cool kids can talk to all the old geeks around and continue to make the KDE awesome in their platform of choice.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 7)

        Tears followed by joy and happiness, discussions followed by great moments all together, problems followed by their solution and enthusiasm. Am I talking about my family? More or less, because actually I am talking about a family: the WikiToLearn community!

      • Kubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Update Out

        The first point release update to our LTS release 16.04 is out now. This contains all the bugfixes added to 16.04 since its first release in April. Users of 16.04 can run the normal update procedure to get these bugfixes.

      • Kubuntu Podcast #14 – UbPorts interview with Marius Gripsgard
      • KDStateMachineEditor 1.1.0 released

        KDStateMachineEditor is a Qt-based framework for creating Qt State Machine metacode using a graphical user interface. It works on all major platforms and is now available as part of the Qt Auto suite.

      • KDAB contributions to Qt 5.7

        The star of Qt 5.7 is the first stable release of Qt 3D 2.0. The new version of Qt 3D is a total redesign of its architecture into a modern and streamlined 3D engine, exploiting modern design patterns such as entity-component systems, and capable to scale due to the heavily threaded design. This important milestone was the result of a massive effort done by KDAB in coordination with The Qt Company.

      • Krita 3.0.1 Development Builds

        Because of unforeseen circumstances, we had to rejig our release schedule, there was no release last week. Still, we wanted to bring you a foretaste of some of the goodies that are going to be in the 3.0.1 release, which is now planned for September 5th. There’s lots to play with, here, from bug fixes (the double dot in file names is gone, the crash with cheap tablets is gone, a big issue with memory leaks in the graphics card is solved), to features (soft-proofing, among others). There may also be new bugs, and not all new features may be working correctly. Export to animated gif or video clips is still in development, and probably will not work well outside the developers’ computer.

      • KDE blowing out candles on FISL 17!

        My talk was the next. Its title was “20 anos de KDE: de Desktop a Guarda-Chuva de Projetos” (20 years of KDE: From Desktop to Project Umbrella). I presented the evolution process of our community, which led it from a desktop project to a incubator community. For those who did not attend the event the talk was recorded and it is available here. Below I also make available the slides of my presentation:

      • LabPlot 2.3.0 released

        Less then four months after the last release and after a lot of activity in our repository during this time, we’re happy to announce the next release of LabPlot with a lot of new features. So, be prepared for a long post.

      • Core improvements in digiKam 5.0

        Version 5.0.0 of the digiKam image-management application was released on July 5. In many respects, the road from the 4.x series to the new 5.0 release consisted of patches and rewrites to internal components that users are not likely to notice at first glance. But the effort places digiKam in a better position for future development, and despite the lack of glamorous new features, some of the changes will make users’ lives easier as well.

        For context, digiKam 4.0 was released in May of 2014, meaning it has been over two full years since the last major version-number bump. While every free-software project is different, it was a long development cycle for digiKam, which (for example) had released 4.0 just one year after 3.0.

        The big hurdle for the 5.0 development cycle was porting the code to Qt5. While migrating to a new release of a toolkit always poses challenges, the digiKam team decided to take the opportunity to move away from dependencies on KDE libraries. In many cases, that effort meant refactoring the code or changing internal APIs to directly use Qt interfaces rather than their KDE equivalents. But, in a few instances, it meant reimplementing functionality directly in digiKam.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Hamster-GTK 0.10.0 Released

        Just a few seconds ago the initial release of Hamster-GTK, version 0.10.0, has been uploaded to the cheese shop. That means that after the rewritten backend codebase hamster-lib has been out in the wild for a few days by now you can now have a first look at a reimplementation of the original hamster 2.0 GUI. It will come as no surprise that this current early version is rather unpolished and leaves a lot to be desired. However, if you are familiar with legacy hamster 2.0 aka hamster-time-tracker you will surely see some major resemblance.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2016/29

        Week 29 brought us, as usual, 4 snapshots. Those were 0715, 0716, 0718 and 0720. The most spectacular update was in 0715, but the entire week is noteworthy as Tumbleweed brought you those updates:

        Plasma 5.7.0
        KDE Framework 5.24.0
        KDE Applications 16.04.3
        Freetype 2.6.5
        Kernel 4.6.4
        The Live images again contain an installer option – now based on NET install

    • Slackware Family

      • KDE 5_16.07 for Slackware 14.2 and -current

        I released a Slackware Live ISO containing Plasma 5.7.0 a few weeks ago, but did not make a fuss out of it – in other words, I did not write any communication about it on this blog. The Live ISO was made upon request of the KDE developers who wanted to show off the new Plasma 5.7 on Live Editions of as many distro’s as possible.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Elive 2.7.1 beta released

        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.7.1
        This new version includes:

        Audacity (audio wave editor) included by default
        Timezone detection improved
        Detector of systems improved and updated to detect last windows installed systems
        Linux Kernel updated with a lot of new patches for new hardware, bugfixes and improvements
        Google Voice search on internet using your microphone

      • Ubuntu & Debian Abandon Intel X.Org Driver For Most Hardware, Moves To Modesetting DDX

        Ubuntu and Debian (and thus other Debian-based distributions too) have abandoned the xf86-video-intel X.Org driver for all recent generations of Intel graphics hardware and instead makes use of the xf86-video-modesetting generic driver in its place.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu tablet and smartphone: a personal “mini” review

            So when Ubuntu and Canonical revealed they were partnering with actual, big manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile devices, a spark of hope was rekindled in my heart. Let it be clear, I am by no means an Ubuntu user, not even a fan. I left the fold nearly a decade ago, after having spent quite some time using and contributing to Kubuntu (to the point of becoming a certified “member” even, though I never ascended to the Council). In terms of loyalties and usage, I am a KDE user (and “helper”) foremost. I use Fedora because it just works for me, for now. So, yes, an Ubuntu Touch device would be another compromise for me, but it would be the smallest one. Or so I hoped.

          • Ubuntu tablet and smartphone: a personal “mini” review

            So when Ubuntu and Canonical revealed they were partnering with actual, big manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile devices, a spark of hope was rekindled in my heart. Let it be clear, I am by no means an Ubuntu user, not even a fan. I left the fold nearly a decade ago, after having spent quite some time using and contributing to Kubuntu (to the point of becoming a certified “member” even, though I never ascended to the Council). In terms of loyalties and usage, I am a KDE user (and “helper”) foremost. I use Fedora because it just works for me, for now. So, yes, an Ubuntu Touch device would be another compromise for me, but it would be the smallest one. Or so I hoped.

          • Using snap with confinement on Arch Linux

            This week I was a guest on the Snappy Sprint in Heidelberg, hosted by Canonical, because I’m the maintainer of snaps packages on Arch Linux.

            Actually with official packages on Arch Linux, you can only use snaps without confinement (aka you can only install packages in devmode) and this is bad for security since any snap is not confined and it can do (almost) anything it want.

            The reason is that snap for confinement uses the ubuntu-patched version of apparmor not available in mainline kernel yet.

          • Get Pitivi directly from us with Flatpak

            Distributing apps as packages (deb, rpm, etc) is problematic. For example, the Pitivi package depends on the GTK package and Pitivi 0.95 broke in the distributions which updated to GTK version 3.20, because of the incorrect way we were using a virtual method. This is not the first time something like this happens. To avoid the slippery dependencies problem, two years ago we started making universal daily builds. They allowed everybody to run the latest Pitivi easily by downloading a large binary containing the app and all the dependencies.

          • LibreOffice 5.2.0.2 available in the snap store

            The latest release candidate of the upcoming LibreOffice 5.2.0 feature release is available for installation from the snap store. This makes it very easy to install this prerelease of LibreOffice for testing out new features (an incomplete glimpse on what to look forward for can be found on the LibreOffice 5.2 release notes page, which is still under construction, go on #libreoffice-qa if you want to help with testing).

          • Lunduke & Whatnot – Ubuntu 10-inch Tablet
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Supertux2 on Unity 7 vs Unity 8
          • Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS Released for Desktop, Server, and Cloud with All Flavors

            Canonical has announced the first point release of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, finally allowing users of Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS (Trusty Tahr) to upgrade their installations.

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 45 Finally Lands in the Main Ubuntu Linux Repositories

            After a long wait, Canonical has finally decided that it was time to upgrade the Mozilla Thunderbird software on all of its supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, where it is used as the default email and news client.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The fall of Open Source

    Once upon a time FOSS was about Freedom. It was about exposing equality within source code. It allowed everyone equal rights and equal access to the technology they were using. An idea that if you were capable, you could fix code or pay someone to fix code. An ideology that there was something greater than yourself and that there was an inherent right built into what it is to be human with software.

  • Why Open Source is gaining momentum in Digital Transformation?

    Once upon a time in IT, using open source simply meant Linux instead of Windows, or maybe MySQL instead of Oracle.

    Now, there is such a huge diversity of open source tools, and almost every leading digital business and tech startup is making extensive use of them. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for open source over the last 10 years, placing the trend firmly at the heart of the digital revolution.

    The explosive growth of e-commerce, mobile and social media has completely altered the customer’s lifestyle and buying habits. Today, organizations are expected to engage with customers in Omni-channel environment. They need to create a customer journey. This is the driver of digital transformation.

  • Building an Open Source Company: Interview with GitLab’s CEO

    Please note that while we think of ourselves as an open source company it would be more accurate to call it an open core company since we ship both the open source GitLab Community Edition and the close source GitLab Enterprise Edition. Thanks to paxcoder for pointing this out on Hacker News.

    GitLab began as a labor of love from Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov, who built the first version together in 2011. Like many open source authors, they were only able to work on the project part time. Sid Sijbrandij joined forces a year later and created GitLab.com, the first SaaS offering and first experiment with monetization.

    Today GitLab is a model for open source sustainability and stewardship. It is being used in over 100,000 organizations including RedHat, NASA, Intel, Uber, and VMWare, to name just a few. Large organizations buy enterprise licenses, sustaining and growing both the company and the free open source project. GitLab now has over 90 employees, including Sid and Dmitriy who serve as CEO and CTO, respectively.

  • You can now build your own Wire client

    Interview with Wire CTO and co-founder Alan Duric about open source.

  • 50 Top Open Source Marketing Applications

    Clearly, open source marketing apps have their place. These days, marketing departments are responsible for a sizable percentage of enterprise application purchases and deployment decisions. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2017 chief marketing officers (CMOs) will spend more on IT than chief information officers (CIOs) do.

    While the accuracy of that forecast is open to debate, marketing teams are certainly becoming more involved in the selection of software. The marketing automation industry alone is now worth an estimated $1.62 billion per year, and many marketing teams are also involved in choosing content management systems, customer relationship management, ecommerce software and other solutions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox to start blocking Flash content in August

        In Firefox 48, Mozilla will enable a new Firefox plug-in blocklist by default. Initially the blocklist will be small, mostly containing URLs of Flash SWF files that have been identified by Mozilla as supercookies (i.e. cookies that are very hard to shake off) or fingerprinting files (i.e. they scan your system and create a unique fingerprint, again usually for tracking purposes).

      • Firefox sets kill-Flash schedule

        Mozilla yesterday said it will follow other browser markers by curtailing use of Flash in Firefox next month.

        The open-source developer added that in 2017 it will dramatically expand the anti-Flash restrictions: Firefox will require users to explicitly approve the use of Flash for any reason by any website.

        As have its rivals, Mozilla cast the limitations (this year) and elimination (next year) as victories for Firefox users, citing improved security, longer battery life on laptops and faster web page rendering.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • PSPP 0.10.2 has been released

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Super-hard metal ‘four times tougher than titanium’

      A super-hard metal has been made in the laboratory by melting together titanium and gold.

      The alloy is the hardest known metallic substance compatible with living tissues, say US physicists.

      The material is four times harder than pure titanium and has applications in making longer-lasting medical implants, they say.

    • Dolly the sheep’s clones are perfectly healthy, which could be huge for the future of cloning

      When Dolly the sheep died of lung disease and severe arthritis in 2003 after a relatively short seven year life, many scientists speculated that perhaps cloning had something to do with it. Could cloning an adult mammal, they wondered, make the clone adult-like right from birth. Maybe clones were not meant to live very long.

      It appears that is not the case.

      Scientists at the UK’s University of Nottingham just released a study showing that clones can lead long, healthy lives after all. It is the first long-term study of the health effects of cloning in a large animal. As the video above shows, the scientists followed the lives of 13 cloned sheep, four of which were actually cloned from the very same cells that Dolly came from.

    • How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology

      In 1995, if you had told Toby Spribille that he’d eventually overthrow a scientific idea that’s been the stuff of textbooks for 150 years, he would have laughed at you. Back then, his life seemed constrained to a very different path. He was raised in a Montana trailer park, and home-schooled by what he now describes as a “fundamentalist cult.” At a young age, he fell in love with science, but had no way of feeding that love. He longed to break away from his roots and get a proper education.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How average income earners will be pushed into private health insurance by 2020

      By 2020 average income earners will be forced to buy private health insurance or pay extra tax after the government quietly extended a freeze in the threshold for the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

    • Rio Olympics 2016: Russia not given blanket Games ban by IOC

      Russia will not receive a blanket ban from Rio 2016 following the country’s doping scandal.

      The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will leave it up to individual sports’ governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.

    • Male circumcision: the issue that ended my marriage

      I was in my kitchen getting my children ready for the school run when my phone pinged. I glanced at my friend’s message: “Maybe of interest…!” I paused on seeing the news report she’d sent – a High Court ruling against a Muslim father’s wish that his two young sons be circumcised. The children in the case were to decide for themselves when they were old enough to do so. I felt stunned. Like the mother in the case, I’m from the UK, with a background in which male circumcision is no longer routine. Like the father, my ex-partner is Muslim and wished to have our sons circumcised according to his cultural and religious beliefs. The boys in the High Court case were a similar age to our sons, too – mine are now seven and five. The court’s decision felt extremely close to home.

      I took the children to school. On returning home, I sat down to re-read the all-too-brief news report. I cried tears of sadness, relief and remaining fears. While our family has managed to avoid taking our conflict over circumcision to court, the issue has been a major factor in the break-up of our marriage. It also remains alive for us as we negotiate the upbringing of our children. It is something I never imagined would affect me – I’m not Jewish or Muslim and think most parents in the UK don’t for a moment consider circumcising their sons. When you know it is not medically necessary, that it is painful and that there is no other reason to, why would you?

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Situation in Aleppo “devastating and overwhelming” says ICRC’s most senior official in Syria
    • US Media Find European Terror Deaths 19 Times More Interesting Than Mideast Terror Deaths

      A survey conducted by FAIR of US media coverage of ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks in Europe and the Middle East reveals a disparity of coverage, showing that European deaths are roughly 1,800 percent more newsworthy than deaths in the Middle East.

      For the purposes of this survey, both articles and video reports were included. We chose the three most-circulated “traditional media” newspapers and Buzzfeed, one of the most popular newsites for “Millennials,” to get another perspective. The list was compiled using a combination of the Nexis news database and Google.

    • Study Says Drones Generate More Terrorism

      The idea of using lethal drones to kill “bad guys” on the other side of the planet is offensive to many people on moral grounds, but a new study suggests that it is also ineffective in reducing terrorism, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The Right Way to Defeat Terrorism

      The recent attacks on Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are just the most recent examples of the horrific terrorist acts taking place around the world. The Islamic State’s recent bombing in Baghdad killed 250 people and wounded hundreds. The uptick of ISIS murderous attacks is likely due to the would-be caliphate’s loss of territories in Iraq and Syria.

    • Behind Turkey’s Post-Coup Crisis

      The political crisis in Turkey, after a failed coup and mass arrests, sees President Erdogan consolidating his power and blaming his troubles on a Turkish exile living in Pennsylvania, as ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller explains.

    • Horrific Suicide Bombing Targets Minority Group In Afghanistan

      ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in the Afghan capital, calling it a planned attack on a “gathering of Shi’ites,” though it can be difficult to independently verify ISIS’ level of involvement. If the bombing was carried out by ISIS, it could “signal its first deliberate effort to target Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, which it views as infidel,” according to the Washington Post’s reporting.

    • At Least 80 Dead in Kabul After Massive Attack on Peaceful March

      At least 80 people were killed, and more than 230 wounded, in Kabul on Saturday by suicide bombers who targeted a peaceful protest march by ethnic Hazaras, a minority Shia group in Afghanistan.

      “We were holding a peaceful demonstration when I heard a bang and then everyone was escaping and yelling,” Sabira Jan, a protestor who witnessed the attack and saw bloodied bodies strewn across the ground, told Reuters. “There was no one to help.”

    • Syrians Use Pokemon Go to Depict Their Plight

      The war in Syria, now in its sixth year with no end in sight, has killed more than 280,000 people. It is as if the only real question to be decided is if the West will run out of ammunition, or Syria out of people, first

    • The Appalling Violence of the World’s Three Superpowers

      Certainly none has a peaceful past. The United States, Russia, and China have a long history of expansion at the expense of neighboring countries and territories, often through military conquest. Those nations on their borders today, including some that have wrenched themselves free from their imperial control, continue to fear and distrust them. Just ask Latin Americans, East Europeans, or Asians what they think of their powerful neighbors.

    • Failed Turkish Coup Accelerated a Purge Years in the Making
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How climate change is rapidly taking the planet apart

      Writing up articles on climate change is difficult these days. Last week alone, 46 new papers and reports were published. I am certain that there are many more. The figure only refers to the sources I usually consult. I try to read all abstracts and all articles I find interesting, but sometimes I shy away from it: it is just too depressing. According to Naomi Oreskes, a great number of climate change scientists (she interviewed most of the top 200 climate change scientists in the US) suffer from some sort of mood imbalance or mild or serious depression. It is easy to understand why: we see the climate change taking the planet apart right in front of our eyes. We also clearly see, right in front of us, what urgently needs to done to stave off global disaster on an unprecedented scale. We need carbon taxes and the reconversion of industry and energy towards zero CO2 emissions systems. This route is without any doubt technically and economically feasible, but politically it seems to be permanently locked. If we do not unlock it, the future looks bleak, not to say hopeless, for humankind.

    • Rise in plunder of Earth’s natural resources

      Humans’ appetite for gnawing away at the fabric of the Earth itself is growing prodigiously. According to a new UN report, the amount of the planet’s natural resources extracted for human use has tripled in 40 years.

      A report produced by the International Resource Panel (IRP), part of the UN Environment Programme, says rising consumption driven by a growing middle class has seen resources extraction increase from 22 billion tonnes in 1970 to 70 billon tonnes in 2010.

      It refers to natural resources as primary materials, and includes under this heading biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

    • US Failing Dismally on Sustainable Development, Despite Vast Wealth

      The United States is far behind other wealthy countries when it comes to sustainable development, a new report found this week, meaning the country is “seriously far” from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ratified by United Nations member states in September 2015.

    • Australia Appoints “Mr Coal” As New Climate Change Minister

      Australia’s new climate change minister is an MP once dubbed “Mr Coal” who believes the climate polluting fossil fuel is the secret to lifting the world’s poorest countries out of poverty.

      Re-elected conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put Liberal Party MP Josh Frydenberg, the former resources minister, in charge of the country’s climate policy.

      Frydenberg replaces MP Greg Hunt who, as environment and climate change minister, was responsible for approving the largest coal mine in Australian history — the giant Adani Carmichael mine in the country’s Galilee Basin.

      The burning of coal is the world’s single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump: EU was formed ‘to beat the US at making money’

      Donald Trump has claimed that the European Union was created to “beat the United States when it comes to making money” in an interview with NBC News.

      Speaking to Chuck Todd, whom the Republican nominee has repeatedly berated as “sleepy-eyed”, Trump also said of the EU “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States”.

      The European Union was founded as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 in an effort to promote strong cross-border ties in Europe and avoid future wars. It has since evolved to a customs union and eventually to the transnational entity devoted to removing internal trade barriers, building a common market and a fiscal union. Its development and growth has been repeatedly supported by the United States under presidents of both parties.

    • Britain just got its first concrete sign that Brexit will destroy the economy

      Britain just got its first concrete sign that the British exit from the European Union, or Brexit, will crush the nation’s economy after a grim set of PMI data released by Markit on Friday morning showed a “dramatic deterioration” in the economy since the UK voted to leave the EU.

      Markit’s flash PMI readings for the UK’s economy showed that composite output fell to its lowest level since March 2009, during the tail end of the global financial crisis.

      Here is the scoreboard:

      Services PMI — 47.4, down from 52.3 in June and at an 87-month low. The figure was well below the 49.2 forecast.

      Manufacturing PMI — 49.1, a 44-month low, and well below the expected 50 reading.

      Composite PMI — 47.7, a drop from 52.4 in June, and at an 87-month low.

      The PMI, or purchasing managers index, figures from Markit are given as a number between 0 and 100.

    • Tim Kaine Has a Troubling Record on Labor Issues

      Hillary Clinton’s VP pick is a well-regarded senior Democrat, but he has split with labor on the TPP, banking regulation, and even “right-to-work” laws.

    • UK heading for recession post-Brexit, finance minister promises response

      With word that Britain’s economy is shrinking following the Brexit vote, the UK’s finance minister Philip Hammond is promising a “reset” of government policy if the weakness continues.

      Hammond – in China for a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 top economies – tried to counter business surveys indicating Britain is heading for recession.

      He said they show businesses’ confidence had been “dented”, but it is the government’s job to restore confidence by progressing trade talks with the European Union and other countries, including China.

      Also in Beijing, the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde repeated her call for Europe to quickly resolve questions over Brexit: “Our first and immediate recommendation is for this uncertainty surrounding the terms of Brexit to be removed as quickly as possible.

    • Bitter Brussels bloc ‘to BAN British students from foreign exchange study after Brexit’

      Ruth Sinclair-Jones said: “We face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives.”

      Worryingly, the end to British participation in the scheme could hit the wallets of UK universities.

    • Brexit Blues

      British politics has never seen a purer example of the Overton window than the referendum on membership of the EU. In 1994, the billionaire James Goldsmith founded a political party whose sole purpose was to advocate a referendum. The Referendum Party was a long, long way outside the political mainstream, and a significant number of its members were openly mad. The party’s one moment of – ‘success’ is the wrong word – mainstream attention came when Goldsmith himself stood in the 1997 general election in Putney against David Mellor, the cabinet minister who had been caught having an affair with an actress. Her fuck-and-tell story ran in the tabloids and included the fictional detail that (to quote the front page of the Sun) ‘Mellor Made Love in Chelsea Strip’. In a better-ordered society, making up things like that wins you the Prix Goncourt. Goldsmith did poorly, coming fourth with 1518 votes, but Mellor lost anyway. At the declaration of the result, Goldsmith and his supporters chanted ‘Out! Out! Out!’ while Mellor was making his concession speech, the words sounding a lot like ‘Raus! Raus! Raus!’ and providing one of the 1997 election’s most memorably ugly moments. The Referendum Party contested 547 seats and lost all of them.

    • How Individualist Economics Are Causing Planetary Eco-Collapse

      Lester Thurow, almost alone among mainstream economists as near as I can tell, recognizes this potentially fatal contradiction of capitalism — even though he is no anti-capitalist and wrote the book from which this excerpt is drawn in the hopes of finding a future for capitalism. Until very recently the standard economics textbooks ignored the problem of the environment altogether. Even today, the standard Econ 101 textbooks of Barro, Mankiv and so on, contain almost no mention of environment or ecology and virtually no serious consideration of the problem. This reflects the increasingly rightward drift of the discipline since the seventies. The American economics profession has long-since abandoned the practice of critical scientific thought to seriously dissenting views. Today, a neo-totalitarian “neoliberal” religious dogma rules the discipline. Keynesianism, liberalism, to say nothing of Marxism, are all dismissed as hopelessly antiquated, ecological economics is suspect, and the prudent graduate student would be well advised to steer clear of such interests if he or she wants to find a job. As Francis Fukuyama put it back in the 90s after communism collapsed, history has reached its apogee in free-market capitalism and liberal democracy. The science of economics, Fukuyama pronounced, was “settled” with Adam Smith’s accomplishment. The future would bring no more than “endless technical adjustments” and no further theoretical thought is required or need be solicited.

    • Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce an exclusive $5 billion deal

      Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce that they are striking an acquisition deal, according to sources close to the situation. The news is expected by Monday, although it could come earlier or later.

      But Yahoo told other bidders this afternoon — those interested in buying Yahoo have included private equity firm TPG and a group led by Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert — that the telco giant was the winner of the four-month process, said sources.

    • What the Close Decision on Philip Morris Tells Us About ISDS

      Sometimes corporations don’t get what they want. That was the case earlier this month when a World Bank arbitration tribunal ruled against tobacco giant Philip Morris in its suit against Uruguay. In a split decision, a majority of two arbitrators sided with the Latin American sovereign’s right to regulate, while a dissenting arbitrator sided partly with the corporation (which had appointed him to the panel).

      Philip Morris launched the case in 2010, after Uruguay introduced a set of cigarette labeling policies to deter smoking. First, all cigarette packages were required to have graphic warning labels on 80 percent of their surface area. Second, each cigarette brand family could have only one design presentation. (Uruguay argued that tobacco companies used different color and design schemes to suggest certain variants were healthier than others.) These policies were driven by the administration of Tabaré Vázquez, a left-leaning oncologist first elected president in 2005. Although Philip Morris is headquartered in the U.S.—and although the U.S. and Uruguay have a bilateral investment treaty, or BIT—the tobacco company used its Swiss subsidiary and a Switzerland-Uruguay BIT to bring the case, as it is permitted to do.

    • EU Prosecutions and American Ignorance of The Criminal Trangressions of Multi-National Corporations and Bankers

      Perhaps the fact that the people of Europe endured the loss of more than 150 million people in World War II is what causes them to be so suspicious and fearful of oligarchs and super-powerful corporations, banks and entities, that they insist that their governments indeed do something about the multiple transgressions of these multinational companies and organizations whenever they engage in any activity which the people find to be oppressive, repulsive, impinging on their freedoms, or in any other way threatening them with the yoke of financial debt slavery and austerity programs.

      It appears that the same fervor that Americans have for their Second Amendment rights and guns, is emulated and mirrored in their European counterparts in trusting that their government (in this case the European Union, hitherto ‘EC’ or ‘EU’ in this article) will aggressively go after those super-rich entities to bring them down a notch or two, or perhaps three.

      But ironically, Americans, even though they are armed to the teeth, and bray constantly about the constant criminal transgressions of multi-national corporations and banks, are remarkably sedate when it comes to demanding that their federal, state and local governments, in the forms of the 3 branches (legislature, executive, and judicial) go after these international monied scoundrels, choosing instead to complain about it vociferously on FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media outlets, with the practical effect that nothing ever changes.

    • After Brexit, a game plan for the EU: unleash Project Pain

      A prospect far more threatening than Brexit is emerging: a reasonable deal for the UK. Reports from Brussels suggest a compromise is doing the rounds under which it would be given continued access to the single market plus concessions on freedom of movement. This would be a grave mistake. If Britain comes out of this looking anything less than severely diminished it will be devastating for the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants To Be ‘Plan B’ For Bernie Sanders Supporters

      Third parties are not new to American politics. The Anti-Masonic Party emerged in the 1820s to campaign against the Freemasons, which its members viewed as a corrupt. The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery in the years before the Civil War. Others throughout history have emerged to champion various causes, like the Know-Nothings, the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party and many others.

    • Democrats Need to Stop Insisting That Everything Is Going Well

      Among members of the liberal press, the reaction to Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech has been almost unanimous. It was, they say, “grim,” “angry,” and “dark.” Trump painted a “Mad Max” picture of the United States, as a nation is crisis, beset by crime, terrorism, unemployment, and despair.

    • Green candidate: Sanders should leave party that ‘betrayed’ him

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein once again welcomed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into her party, suggesting in a series of tweets that he could leave the party that “betrayed” him.

    • DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz under pressure to resign

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will not speak at or preside over the party’s convention this week, a decision reached by party officials Saturday after emails surfaced that raised questions about the committee’s impartiality during the Democratic primary.

      The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as permanent chair of the convention, according to a DNC source. She will gavel each session to order and will gavel each session closed.

      “She’s been quarantined,” another top Democrat said of Wasserman Schultz, following a meeting Saturday night.

      Wasserman Schultz faced intense pressure Sunday to resign her post as head of the Democratic National Committee, several party leaders told CNN, urging her to quell a growing controversy threatening to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s nominating convention.

    • Leaked DNC email: Sanders’ attempt to moderate Israel stance “disturbing,” Clinton campaign used it to “marginalize Bernie”

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, called the attempt by the Bernie Sanders campaign to moderate the party’s stance on Israel “disturbing.”

      A top DNC official also noted that the Hillary Clinton campaign used Israel “to marginalize Bernie.”

      This is according to an email released by Wikileaks. The whistleblowing journalism organization released approximately 20,000 DNC emails on Friday.

    • Debbie Wasserman Schultz Out As Democratic Convention Chair After Email Leak

      Amid furor over an email leak that revealed a bias against Bernie Sanders inside the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out as chair of the convention.

      In an email to NPR, the office of Rep. Marcia Fudge said she “has been named permanent chair of the Democratic National Convention.”

    • Sanders says leaked DNC emails don’t change his support for Clinton

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he will still support Hillary Clinton for president, despite leaked emails that showed Democratic Party leaders privately planned to undermine his presidential campaign.

    • Bernie Sanders called for the resignation of the head of the DNC, and there are signs it’s sort of working

      Bernie Sanders may be out of the running in the race to the White House, but he’s just shown he can still pack a punch when it comes to fighting the establishment.

      Debbie Wassermann Schultz will not speak or preside over daily functions at the Democratic Convention next week, CNN reports. It is a move that comes directly after Sanders called for her to step down as Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Sanders’ call was a response to a Wikileaks hack late last week that made tens of thousands of DNC emails public and gave weight to his longtime accusation that the party establishment was helping to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign while undermining his own.

    • Clinton VP Favorite Just Gave the Left Two More Reasons to Distrust Him

      Over the past two days, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press have all reported that Tim Kaine is emerging as a (if not the) favorite to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. On Wednesday night, the Times reported that Bill Clinton is privately lobbying for the Virginia senator’s selection.

      It’s not hard to see why the Clintons’ might be feeling the Kaine: The former governor of Virginia and current member of the Senate Armed Services Committee boasts both executive and foreign-policy experience, speaks fluent Spanish, has ties to a swing state, and is a known quantity, having been vetted by Democratic nominees in cycles past. In a race where most polls show Clinton with a solid lead, picking a moderate, experienced white man makes some tactical sense.

      [...]

      This week, Kaine provided left Democrats with two fresh reasons to see his selection as a repudiation of their agenda. On Monday, the senator added his name to two letters urging the federal government to scale back regulations on community and regional banks.

      In a letter co-signed by 15 other Senate Democrats — and every Senate Republican — Kaine asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to exempt community banks and credit unions from many of its regulatory requirements. In justifying these exemptions, the letter suggests that these regulations would make it more difficult for these small banks to continue “spurring economic growth” and that such rules are unnecessary, anyhow, since community banks “were not the primary cause of the financial crisis.”

    • Released Emails Suggest the D.N.C. Derided the Sanders Campaign

      Top officials at the Democratic National Committee criticized and mocked Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the primary campaign, even though the organization publicly insisted that it was neutral in the race, according to committee emails made public on Friday by WikiLeaks.

      WikiLeaks posted almost 20,000 emails sent or received by a handful of top committee officials and provided an online tool to search through them. While WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leak, the committee said last month that Russian hackers had penetrated its computer system.

      Among the emails released on Friday were several embarrassing messages that suggest the committee’s chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, and other officials favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Sanders — a claim the senator made repeatedly during the primaries.

    • Jeremy Corbyn has more than double the support of Owen Smith, poll shows

      The online poll finds that among those who say they back Labour, 54% support Corbyn against just 22% who would prefer Smith. Some 20% say they are undecided and 4% say they do not intend to vote.

    • Everyone Creeped Out By Donald Trump Touching His Daughter

      Twitter noticed how Donald Trump patted his daughter Ivanka last night. Not in a good way.

    • From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland

      The 2016 Republican National Convention began in the immediate shadow of a highly publicized death spiral involving police and black civilians in Dallas, Falcon Heights, and Baton Rouge. Against this backdrop, the Trump campaign seemed to choose the legacy of Richard Nixon rather than Ronald Reagan as the party’s patron saint. Indeed, 1968 has functioned as myth and symbol throughout the Trump campaign, as they have leaned on racially-charged Nixonian phrases like ‘law and order’, ‘Silent Majority’ and ‘forgotten Americans.’ It might be more accurate to say that Trump has bundled Nixon together with George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor whose independent campaign for president that year was more openly racist and confrontational, but who with Nixon defined the Republican Party’s white populist turn.

    • Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour leadership campaign in Salford to rapturous reception

      The last time I saw Jeremy Corbyn address Labour members here was a year ago.

      It was the start of July and he was speaking at a Unison hustings at the Renaissance hotel in Manchester city centre , near the start of the leadership campaign. The audience was, as you would expect, appreciative of his standpoint.

      So he got a warm reception, certainly warmer than Liz Kendall and from recollection warmer than the others too, but there were no fireworks. He ended on a Tony Benn quote.

    • How technology disrupted the truth

      Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism

    • 1998: Trump Comments On The Lewinsky Scandal
    • WikiLeaks Email Dump Raises Questions About How The DNC Treated Bernie Sanders

      A WikiLeaks release of nearly 20,000 emails from top Democratic National Committee staffers is sparking controversy just days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia.

    • Set for Convention Floor Fight, Push to End Superdelegates ‘Catching Fire’

      The push to abolish the “antidemocratic superdelegate system” within the Democratic National Committee is at its apex ahead of a DNC Rules Committee meeting on Saturday, at which an amendment to minimize the influence of those party insiders will be considered.

      Superdelegates, which only exist within the Democratic Party, are unpledged elected officials or party elites who may back the candidate of their choosing at the convention, regardless of how their state voted in a presidential primary or caucus. The vast majority lined up behind Hillary Clinton before the 2016 primary race even began.

    • DNC Votes to Keep Superdelegates, But Sets Some Conditions

      The rule-making body of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday defeated an amendment brought by Bernie Sanders delegates to abolish superdelegates — the unelected party elites who make up 15 percent of all delegates and are allowed to cast a vote for the presidential candidate of their choice, unbound by the popular vote. But the rules committee did approve a compromise measure that binds some superdelegates to the results of their state primaries.

    • Establishment Wins Again as DNC Rules Committee Rejects Proposal to Abolish Superdelegates

      After several rounds of voting Saturday afternoon, an effort by progressive Democrats to abolish what they see as the anti-democratic superdelegate process was defeated.

      The amendment, co-sponsored by 52 members of the Democratic Party Rules Committee, was defeated when 108 members voted against and just 58 voted in favor.

      Though a stinging defeat for those who campaigned in favor of the rule change, spearheaded largely by Bernie Sanders delegates and progressive advocacy groups, supporters took solace that because more than one-quarter of the committee voted ‘yes’ they will able to introduce a minority report during the full convention next week and demand a floor vote.

    • Donald Trump’s United States of #MAGA, Beheld Live at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, Part One
    • Clinton’s F-You to Progressives: This is How Trump Could Become President

      Before we explore these issues, let’s get some perspective here. Tim Kaine is not a right wing zealot. He’s backed expanding payroll taxes to cover a broader range of income to increase Social Security’s solvency. He’s supported some limited expansion of gun control in a state that loves its guns. He’s got a reasonably good record on LGBT rights (after “evolving” a bit). He’s got a mixed record on climate and energy, banning some but not all fracking when governor of Virginia, and supporting the use of fossil fuels as a “bridge” to clean energy (including support for clean coal); but at least he acknowledges the science on climate change. He’s suggested that waging war against ISIL requires congressional authorization, and he called for withdrawing from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

    • In Reality, This Was a Media Convention

      More than 15,000 journalists descended on Cleveland to cover the Republican National Convention. But it was an unemployed TV reporter sitting in a Starbucks in Los Angeles, 2,345 miles away, who broke the biggest story of the week.

    • Why Donald Trump Could Be the Next President of the United States

      So as we move on to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, let’s be clear: The great tragedy of the moment is not rooted in the Republican Party’s self-cannibalization. It’s with a Democratic Party that “successfully” suffocated responsible answers to the crises consuming our world. Indeed, as Hillary Clinton’s selection of the milquetoast Tim Kaine as her vice president shows, the Dems have put forward a candidate who embodies an establishment widely recognized as having betrayed the majority of the American public.

    • 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win

      Let’s face it: Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage. Young women are among her biggest detractors, which has to hurt considering it’s the sacrifices and the battles that Hillary and other women of her generation endured so that this younger generation would never have to be told by the Barbara Bushes of the world that they should just shut up and go bake some cookies. But the kids don’t like her, and not a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t voting for her. No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.

    • Hillary-Kaine: Back to the Center

      By picking Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true preferences and shown that her move to the left on policy issues during the primaries was simply a tactical move to defeat Bernie Sanders. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric.

    • Bernie Revolutionaries, Give Your Love to Jill Stein

      If Bernie Sanders sounded one of the very few authentic notes in recent U.S. politics, it was in his call for political revolution. We need a political revolution not just against Donald Trump but also against the repulsively corrupt likes of Hillary Clinton. Because of the former secretary of state’s veiled but solid-as-granite lackey service to the 1 percent, she is probably just as responsible for sustaining Trump’s thuggish, scapegoating brand of populism as is the real estate mogul himself.

    • Donald Trump’s Strategy for Victory Is Clear, but Are Democrats Able to See It?

      There is an adage, based on Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: “Know your enemy.” After watching Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, I wonder just how well Democrats really know Trump and his strategy.

      It is easy to paint the businessman-turned-politician as a “racist” and “misogynist.” He is all those things and more. In fact, those descriptors are part of his political strategy. Pointing them out without seeing the larger picture of how he is planning on winning the November election is a recipe for failure.

      I knew that if I watched Trump give his speech, I would be so enraged by his loathsome manner and disgusting rhetoric that it might blind me to his bigger plan. When I read the transcript later, I still felt rage, but the topics appeared to be a confusing mess, with Trump jumping from domestic to foreign policy with no apparent coherence. But then a pattern emerged.

    • What the Roger Ailes’ Drama Says About Sexual Harassment in 2016

      When New York Magazine broke the news two weeks ago that Gretchen Carlson was suing her former boss, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment, Kellie Boyle knew what she had to do. She had to speak up. The Virginia communications consultant called Carlson’s lawyer to share her story of how, in 1989, Ailes had sexually harassed her, then retaliated against her.

      “I just couldn’t not come forward. I knew what kind of abuse Gretchen was going to get,” Boyle said. “I wanted to support her.”

      But then a funny thing happened. Unlike the public trashing that other women have gotten when accusing powerful men in the past—think Anita Hill, called “nutty” and “slutty” in 1991 or the long line of Bill Cosby accusers who, until very recently, were dismissed as gold diggers—Carlson’s claims that Ailes ogled her and forced her out when she rebuffed him were taken seriously, listened to, and investigated.

    • Jon Stewart to Donald Trump and His Supporters in the Media: America Isn’t Yours

      Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show,” briefly took over Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” on Thursday to expose the hypocrisy of conservative pundits who support Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who embodies much of what they claimed to despise about President Obama.

      “Here’s where we are,” Stewart said after reviewing a number of the pundits’ statements. “Either Lumpy [Fox News host Sean Hannity] and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompter being president, or they don’t care, as long as it’s their thin-skinned, prompter, authoritarian, tyrant narcissist.”

      “You just want that person to give you your country back because you feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that: This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no real American. You don’t own it. You don’t own patriotism. You don’t own Christianity. You sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military, police and firefighters.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Oliver Stone Says Corporate Censorship Led To ‘Snowden’ Movie Rejection

      Director Oliver Stone told fans at Comic-Con that every major movie studio turned down his narrative film about Edward Snowden because of censorship from their corporate leaders.

    • Snowden film ‘almost killed’ by self-censorship

      It was the largest data leak in United States history, fueling a firestorm over the issue of mass surveillance that resonated with Americans and ignited around the world.

      Oliver Stone’s hotly-anticipated “Snowden” tells the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in dramatic form for the first time — but the movie almost never made it to theaters.

      “Frankly, it was turned down by every major studio. The script was good, the budget was good, the cast was good. It was definitely… self-censorship,” Stone, 69, told San Diego fan convention Comic-Con International on Thursday.

    • Snowden has been cleared to appear at a theatre near you

      No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year. He made that accusation at Comic-Con International, the annual four-day celebration of comics and other arts and culture.

      The biographical drama, which was produced by Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff and Philip Schulz-Deyle, is set to be released in theaters nationwide on September 16. (“I’m not an actor”, reminded Snowden, who appeared at the sci-fi convention via Google Hangout; Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays him in the film). At the very least, Snowden, who is reportedly hiding out in an undisclosed location in Russian Federation, would prefer not to have his location tracked. Stone met with him a number of times in Moscow, trying to gain his trust and decide whether to take on the project. Written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald and based on recent books about the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • #DNCLeaks disappears from trending news as WikiLeaks emails released

      Conservative Twitter users erupted on Friday after the social media platform torpedoed #DNCLeaks from its trending-news feed after Wikileaks released 20,000 emails by Democratic National Committee staff members.

      Embarrassing emails sent and received by DNC members had enough momentum to propel the story to Twitter’s top “trending” news feed on Friday afternoon. The #DNCLeaks entry vanished in the evening, but returned 20 minutes later after users cried foul.

      The story had 250,000 tweets at the time it was pulled. The Washington Examiner then aggregated a stream of angry feedback.

    • Twitter accused of shutting down #DNCLeaks of damaging email release by Wikileaks

      Nearly every time someone wants attention from social media they accuse Twitter of shutting down their cause, both left and right, but in this case there seems to be some real evidence that they’re suppressing info from a release by Wikileaks that can damage the Democrats.

    • Will the banning of @nero mark the »Peak Twitter« moment?

      Twitter banning Milo Yiannopolous is a story with interesting dimensions.

      Yiannopolous is very entertaining. He’s got some points. And he often provokes some interesting reactions.

      Yiannopolous also is a loudmouth and a troll. He doesn’t really give a shit. And sometimes his opinions are rather disturbing.

      The banning might very well have marked a »Peak Twitter« moment.

      The party is over. I think this might cause immense damage to Twitters image and trademark. Twitter just isn’t as exciting anymore.

    • Fans furious as Rajinikanth starrer Kabali ‘censored’, climax changed in Malaysia

      The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia said Rajinikanth’s ‘Kabali’ will have a different ending in that country simply to spread this particular message to the wider public: ‘crime does not pay’. The authorities have ordered these words to be superimposed at the very climax. However, for all intents and purposes, original climax scene in Kabali has given way to a final conclusive one that may spoil the storyline for many fans. The censor board had effected several cuts in the film of about five minutes duration, but insisted the storyline was intact.

      [...]

      Malay Mail Online quotes Abdul Halim as saying, “We asked the producer to put in a caption…. This was to send a message that the law cannot be taken into your own hands.” What may have swung the authorities into action so late in the day after the release of the movie is the extreme popularity of the film with thousands of people lining up since early morning to watch it – Rajni mania has gripped Malaysia as much as it did in Tamil Nadu or Kerala.

    • Tamil movie will have Malaysia-only ending thanks to film censors
    • Viewers surprised why Rajinikanth’s ‘Kabali’ given ‘U’ certificate by censor board
    • ‘Kabali’ to have different ending in Malaysia
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Pokémon Go is “new level of invasion,” says stony-faced Oliver Stone

      Pokémon Go heralds a new dystopian age that we should all be fretting about, film director Oliver Stone has warned.

      Speaking at Comic Con on Thursday to promote his new movie about US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Stone described the data-slurping tactics of the freakishly successful game as “a new level of invasion.”

      The panel—also featuring Snowden stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, and Zachary Quinto—was asked about the surveillance potential of the game.

      Quinto, of Star Trek and Heroes fame, replied: “I feel as long as you can find a balance in that, and limit your Pokémon Go time, then I’m all for it. Have at it.” He joked that Comic Con was probably “crawling with Pokémon,” but a stony-faced Stone cut in: “It’s not really funny.”

    • NSA construction project expected to impact traffic, environment, historic buildings

      The project, according to the draft statement, calls for the construction of approximately 2.9 million square feet of new operations and headquarters space in five buildings and the demolition of 1.9 million square feet of buildings and infrastructure.

    • Windows 10 collects too much user data, lacks security says watchdog

      Microsoft has been told to reduce the data Windows 10 collects about users and tighten up the OS security or risk facing sanction for breaching data protection rules.

    • Oliver Stone concerned about Pokemon

      Film director Oliver Stone has branded the popular gaming app Pokemon Go a new level of invasion of privacy that could lead to totalitarianism and “robot society”.

      The American reportedly voiced concerns over the game as he promoted his new movie about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden at Comic Con International.

    • Oliver Stone Calls Pokémon Go “Totalitarian”

      And they have invested a huge amount of money into, what surveillance is, data mining. They’re data mining every single person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what you like, above all, your behavior.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘The Impact That It Had on People Was Not Really Covered’

      Coming amid a number of other high-profile decisions, the Supreme Court’s 4-to-4 deadlock blocking Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration may not have gotten the attention it deserved. The measures would have expanded eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, programs that shield people from deportation, at least temporarily. Who is affected by the ruling, and where does it fit on the bigger road to truly humane immigration policy?

    • Ralph Nader, Omar Barghouti to Receive Gandhi Peace Award in 2017

      Promoting Enduring Peace, founded in 1952 with the goal of promoting world peace and environmental sustainability, announced the recipients of next year’s Gandhi Peace Award on Friday. It will be presented jointly to consumer activist Ralph Nader and to Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender.

      The award, given since 1960, “comes with a cash prize and a medallion made of ‘peace bronze,’ metal fashioned from recycled copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems,” according to the organization’s news release.

    • Other erratic nations of our time

      While the US and the Soviet Union were in a proxy war, Americans were also fighting an internal ideological war, believing themselves defenders of liberal American thought in the face of communist evils.

    • Williams: Censorship is not the answer

      A national study found that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in grades 7-12 were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. The numbers for transgender youth are believed to be even higher, with one study finding that out of 55 transgender young people, 25 percent reported suicide attempts.

    • As Courts Strike Down Discriminatory Voter ID Laws, RNC Delegates Cry ‘Voter Fraud’

      As the Republican National Convention unfolded in Cleveland this week with the Republican Party officially calling for measures to make it harder for people to vote, two different courts across the country issued rulings easing those restrictions.

      Federal judges this week ruled against voter identification laws in Wisconsin and then Texas, finding that they disproportionately impact minority voters and violate the Voting Rights Act. Those photo ID laws, which have become more prevalent across the country in the years since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the VRA in 2013, are formally included in the GOP platform.

    • Indiana Drops Murder Charge Against Woman For Her Abortion

      An Indiana appeals court dropped feticide charges Friday against a woman who used abortion medication to induce her own abortion. The court unanimously ruled that Indiana’s feticide law was not intended to apply to abortions, and that 35-year-old Purvi Patel was not an exception to the rule.

      Patel’s case, the first of its kind in the United States, was initially based on contradicting claims.

    • Is Obama’s Recent Ban on Military Gear to Police Already Coming to an End?

      When President Barack Obama last year banned the federal government from selling certain military equipment to police departments, civil liberties advocates cautiously welcomed the move as a positive development in curtailing militarized police forces.

      In announcing the step on May 18, 2015, Obama said, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people the feeling like there’s an occupied force, as opposed to a force that is part of that community it is protecting and serving.”

      But according to two of the law enforcement leaders who met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden days after a gunman shot dead five Dallas police officers, the welcome may be short-lived, as Obama has “agreed to review each banned item,” Reuters exclusively reported Thursday.

    • RNC Protesters “Wall Off Trump” and Confront Police Violence

      Throughout the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, protesters have kept issues of poverty, racism and systemic police violence in the spotlight, even as Republicans attending the convention attempted to swerve the national debate on these issues toward the right.

      On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrants’ rights protesters from across the US erected a wall with several fence- and wall-like banners that stretched for several blocks outside the Quicken Loans Arena, where the RNC is taking place. The “Wall Off Trump” action was an effort to rebuff the Republican nominee’s promise to build a wall along the Mexican border, as well as his many bigoted comments against Mexican immigrants and other marginalized groups. The protesters first demonstrated at Cleveland’s Public Square, and then marched from the square to the inside of the secure perimeter just outside the convention center.

    • The American Dream Moved to Canada

      We’re witnessing accelerating advantages for the affluent and compounding disadvantages for everyone else.

    • A Brief History of the “War on Cops”: The False Allegation That Enables Police Violence

      As part of a global action proclaiming “Freedom Now,” Black Lives Matter groups shut down police operations around the country on July 20. From Oakland to Washington, DC, New York City to Chicago and Detroit, these bold and creative acts of civil disobedience issued a demand to “Fund Black Futures.” Protests in New York shut down the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association while those in DC closed the National Fraternal Order of Police office for the day.

    • Make America Straight Again? A Debate on What Could Be the Most Anti-LGBT Republican Platform Ever

      As the new Republican platform has been described as “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history,” we get reaction from Charles Moran, board member with the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents LGBT conservatives and allies. He is a delegate to the Republican National Convention from California. We also speak with Alana Jochum, executive director of Equality Ohio, about how the platform opposes same-sex marriage, appears to endorse so-called conversion therapy and criticizes the Department of Education’s recommendation that schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

    • Trumpism Is a Scam — You’re Actually Voting for Mike Pence

      When he officially accepts the 2016 Republican nomination for president Thursday night, Donald Trump will do so as a different kind of Republican.

      Or so the thinking goes.

      A Trump presidency would be just like every other Republican presidency, arguably even worse.

      We now know this for fact.

      According to a story out today in the New York Times Magazine, when Donald Trump was looking for a running mate, he initially offered the job to one of his former opponents, Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    • Pastor on Tamir Rice Shooting: Ohio is an Open-Carry State Except If You’re an African-American Male

      The Republican National Convention is underway just a few miles from the park where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police in November of 2014 while he was playing with a toy pellet gun. We speak with Rev. Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin, the pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, which is one of the largest African-American congregations in Cleveland, about how city officials and activists responded to the killing. He was recently profiled in a Politico report titled “The Preacher Who Took on the Police.”

    • Facing Down Trump’s Demagoguery: Lessons From Weimar Germany

      Donald Trump is not the first authoritarian demagogue who could take power and undermine constitutional government in the US or Europe. Right-wing authoritarian populists have often grabbed power during economic crises, particularly in Western societies suffering national decline and severe racial divisions or culture wars.

      The classic example is Weimar Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. The Nazis were one of many far-right movements in Weimar — and Hitler was only one of many hyper-nationalist demagogues stoking the flames of economic discontent and promising to restore Aryan racial supremacy and make Germany great again.

    • “I Alone”: Trump’s Megalomania on Cold Display

      How did Trump respond? He became Thor in the wasteland of an imagined apocalypse, vowing to wield his mighty hammer and smash anyone who did not eat at Arby’s or protested police violence. “Law and Order” went the refrain, over and over in a lightning-bright flashback to authoritarian, racially coded Republican campaign tactics of old.

    • Cleveland: a historical perspective

      The rhetoric that surrounds Donald Trump’s convention triumph signals a new phase in the intertwined history of fascism and populism.

    • Abolish Long-Term Solitary Confinement: It’s a Threat to the Public

      For nearly the first three years, I was denied a television or radio. Thus, I spent every waking hour reading, writing, cleaning, or working out in order to try to maintain my sanity. Still, by year five, I was experiencing auditory hallucinations (thinking I heard someone calling my name), extreme anxiety, erratic heart palpitations, and severe bouts of depression. All of these conditions were a direct consequence of long-term solitary confinement, and would become worse as the years wore on.

    • Turkey: Independent monitors must be allowed to access detainees amid torture allegations

      Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres in the country.

      The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centres and courthouses. More than 10,000 people have been detained since the failed coup.

      Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them. In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.

    • Islam and the Free World: What Should be done as an Imperative Survival (A)

      It is the duty of the Muslims to propagate the only one true faith, Islam, throughout the world. It is the duty of the Muslim to invade, by force, to the lands of the infidels. Should the infidels refuse to embrace Islam, jihad is the means to vanquish them. These are the three main arms of Islam, the Muslims use at will and according to the circumstances.

    • CIA and State Dept Documents on Jack Valenti

      It was announced in April 1966 that Valenti would be leaving his White House position to take up the vacant job as head of the MPAA, so why was he simultaneously being granted a Top Secret security clearance? Valenti began his new job in June so he was a consultant to the State Department in the early months of his new job at the MPAA.

  • DRM

    • Microsoft Edge and Netflix — testing new restrictions by locking out competing browsers?

      Microsoft made the news last week when it announced that its Edge Web browser could deliver a better Netflix streaming experience than the other three most popular browsers. On Windows 10, Edge is the only one that can play Netflix’s video streams — which are encumbered with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) — in 1080p high definition. A PCWorld article confirmed the claim, but no one writing online has been able to give a clear explanation for the discrepancy. Following the tone of Microsoft’s announcement, most writers seem content to imply that Edge’s “edge” in Netflix playback on Windows derives from technical superiority, and that intelligent Netflix users should switch to Edge.

    • EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA’s DRM provisions

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the “Digital Rights Management” provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The utter futility of the legal attack on KickassTorrents

        The operator of the torrent site KickassTorrents has been arrested in Poland on an extradition request from Hollywood, and the domains seized. This action, while deplorable, shows that the copyright industry is still some fifty years behind reality in its thinking: there are no central chokepoints you can control on the Internet, and the net reacts to any censorship like this with antifragility – hardening and decentralizing the damaged part.

        The old monopolized copyright industry is thinking in terms of central chokepoints, just like the Catholic Church was 500 years ago when trying to crush the printing press and its users. But just like the printing press, the Internet is decentralized, so it’s easy to circumvent chokepoints – and this has been predictable for a long time.

07.23.16

Links 23/7/2016: Leo Laporte on GNU/Linux, Dolphin Emulator’s Vulkan Completion

Posted in News Roundup at 7:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Tries to Build a Society of GMO and Pesticide Devotees, One Child at a Time

      On October 14, 2015, the International Food Information Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation released a free, 38-page, downloadable lesson plan called “Bringing Biotechnology to Life: An Educational Resource for Grades 7-10.”

      The International Food Information Council is a front group funded by some of biggest names in biotech and junk food: Bayer, Dow, DuPont, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Nestle and more. The American Farm Bureau Federation, according to SourceWatch, is a “right-wing lobbying front for big agribusiness and agribusiness-related industries that works to defeat labor and environmental initiatives, including climate change legislation.” The organization is adamantly against GMO labels, and even spoke out against Roberts’ and Stabenow’s deal for being too lenient.

      The lesson plan created by the International Food Information Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation is deceptively innocuous until Lesson 7, which includes the theme, “Where would we be without ‘GMOs’?” In the “discussion prompt” section, students are asked to choose between planting magical, problem-solving GMOs or allow people to get sick, go hungry or exploit the environment by not planting GMOs.

    • Indigenous Villages in Honduras Overcome Hunger at Schools

      A 2012 report by the World Food Programmme (WFP) indicated that in Central America, Honduras had the second worst child malnutrition levels, after Guatemala. According to the WFP, one in four children suffers from chronic malnutrition, with the worst problems seen in the south and west of the country.

    • Commentary: Identifying the “bad actors”— new challenges for the evaluation of endocrine disrupting chemicals

      The European Commission has proposed new criteria to identify and classify endocrine disrupting chemicals.

    • Rio 2016: Sympathy for clean Russian athletes – Mo Farah

      Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah says he feels sympathy for the clean Russian athletes unable to compete at the Rio Olympics but says countries have to follow the rules.

      Russian track and field athletes will remain banned from the Olympics following claims the country ran a state-sponsored doping programme.

  • Security

    • Ransomware Gang Claims Fortune 500 Company Hired Them to Hack the Competition

      Ransomware—computer viruses that lock a victim’s files and demand a payment to get them back—has become so common that experts believe it’s now an “epidemic.”

      Security experts have always assumed that ransomware hackers are in it for the ransom. But a shocking claim made by one ransomware agent suggests there may be another motive: corporate sabotage.

      In an exchange with a security researcher pretending to be a victim, one ransomware agent claimed they were working for a Fortune 500 company.

      “We are hired by [a] corporation to cyber disrupt day-to-day business of their competition,” the customer support agent of a ransomware known as Jigsaw said, according to a new report by security firm F-Secure.

    • How and why to verify your Twitter account
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Munich gunman acted alone, say police

      A gun attack at a Munich shopping centre which left nine people dead was carried out by one gunman who then killed himself, police have said.

      A huge manhunt was launched following reports that up to three gunmen had been involved in the attack at the Olympia centre.

      The body of the suspect was found about 1km (0.6 miles) from the shopping centre in the Moosach district.

      The motive for the attack, in which 10 people were wounded, is unclear.

    • Shooting rampage in Munich: At least 10 dead in shopping center attack

      Police treat the incident as a terrorist attack.

    • Nice – 14th July – Lie Propaganda in Overdrive – Murder Is the New Normal

      TeleSur reported that MLB’s brother in Tunisia was surprised having received a sudden transfer of € 100,000 from his brother, as compared to the former small transfers corresponding to MLB’s previously reported poverty and debt. Is this a hint to make us believe that he got paid a lot of money to carry out this mass-murder on behalf of Daesh?

      France as a country and through NATO is supporting ISIS-Daesh with training, weapons and money, along with Washington and Washington’s other European and Mid-Eastern vassals. Why would Daesh attack France?

    • Nice Attacks, Destroying Evidence at Crime Scene: French Government Orders Destruction of CCTV Video Footage

      The explanation given by the French Ministry of Justice is that they don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ and ‘non-authorised (non maîtrisée) diffusion of the images of the terrorist attacks. The Judicial Police have noted that 140 videos of the attacks in their possession show ‘important pieces of the inquiry’ (éléments d’enquête intéressants). The French government claims it wants to prevent ISIS from gaining access to videos of the attacks for the purposes of propaganda. They also claim that the destruction of evidence is intended to protect the families of the victims. The comments section of the Le Figaro article is replete with outrage and disgust by the fact that the French government, instead of preserving evidence for the purposes of a thorough, independent investigation, is in fact behaving rather more like the chief suspect in the attack – ordering the destruction of vital evidence.

    • Germany Preparing for War Against Russia

      According to a report issued on June 6th in German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or DWN), the German government is preparing to go to war against Russia, and has in draft-form a Bundeswehr report declaring Russia to be an enemy nation. DWN says: “The Russian secret services have apparently thoroughly studied the paper. In advance of the paper’s publication, a harsh note of protest has been sent to Berlin: The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, Alexei Puschkow, has posted the Twitter message: ‘The decision of the German government declaring Russia to be an enemy shows Merkel’s subservience to the Obama administration.’”

    • It’s all connected

      Anger and fear drove Brexit just as Donald Trump fans the flames of a disenfranchised America, which as Baton Rouge proves, is as racially and ethnically divided as Europe, which is dealing with mass immigration, an attempted coup in Turkey and seemingly relentless terrorism borne out civil war-torn Syria. Mark MacKinnon reports on the relationship between seemingly unconnected events across the globe

    • Nice authorities turn down police request to delete footage of fatal truck attack

      The request was sent by Anti-Terrorist Sub-Directorate (SDAT), a special police division battling extremism, to the mayor of Nice’s office on Wednesday, according to the paper.

      Le Figaro managed to obtain the copy of the document in which SDAT, citing articles of the criminal and penal codes, demands the city authorities delete “completely” nearly 24 hours of the attack captured on cameras on the Promenade des Anglais.

      “Delete the recordings between July 14, 2016 22:30 and July 15, 2016 18:00,” the documents demands.

      The anti-terrorist police named six cameras which recordings should be “particularly” deleted. Plus the city authorities should delete any footage from any camera “that captured the crime scene”, the paper added.

    • Will NYT Retract Latest Anti-Russian ‘Fraud’?

      In covering the new Cold War, The New York Times has lost its journalistic bearings, serving as a crude propaganda outlet publishing outlandish anti-Russian claims that may cross the line into fraud, reports Robert Parry.

    • Trump Blasts Clinton in a Foreign-Policy Fight Where Both Have Strayed From Their Parties

      Thursday night, Americans were treated to the longest Republican National Convention acceptance speech in decades when Donald Trump spoke for an hour and 15 minutes. The tone of his speech was dark and warlike as he focused on threats both domestically and abroad.

      Declaring that he would “defeat the barbarians of ISIS,” he used his time on stage to attack Hillary Clinton’s legacy as secretary of state. “America is far less safe—and the world is far less stable—than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy,” Trump said. “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

    • We May Be at a Greater Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe Than During the Cold War

      “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War,” warns William Perry [former U.S. defense secretary], “and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”

    • The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO

      Perry has been an inside player in the business of nuclear weapons for over 60 years and his book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a sober read. It is also a powerful counterpoint to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) current European strategy that envisions nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war: “Their [nuclear weapons] role is to prevent major war, not to wage wars,” argues the Alliance’s magazine, NATO Review.

      But, as Perry points out, it is only by chance that the world has avoided a nuclear war—sometimes by nothing more than dumb luck—and, rather than enhancing our security, nukes “now endanger it.”

      The 1962 Cuban missile crisis is generally represented as a dangerous standoff resolved by sober diplomacy. In fact, it was a single man—Russian submarine commander Vasili Arkhipov—who countermanded orders to launch a nuclear torpedo at an American destroyer that could have set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the USSR and the U.S.

      There were numerous other incidents that brought the world to the brink. On a quiet morning in November 1979, a NORAD computer reported a full-scale Russian sneak attack with land and sea-based missiles, which led to scrambling U.S. bombers and alerting U.S. missile silos to prepare to launch. There was no attack, just an errant test tape.

    • Indonesia’s Mass Killings of 1965 Were Crimes Against Humanity, International Judges Say

      An international panel of judges has declared that Indonesia committed crimes against humanity during the 1965–66 mass killings and that the U.S., the U.K. and Australia were complicit in the crimes.

      Eight months after the International People’s Tribunal on 1965 Crimes Against Humanity in Indonesia (IPT 1965) held November in the Hague, presiding head judge Zak Yacoob — a former South African Constitutional Court Justice — read its findings on Wednesday.

      “The state of Indonesia is responsible for and guilty of crimes against humanity … particularly by the military of that state through its chain of command, of the inhumane acts detailed below,” Yacoob said via video link from South Africa that was broadcast to Indonesia, Australia, the Netherlands, Cambodia and Germany. He listed the brutal murder of an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 people; inhumane imprisonment of around 600,000 people; enslavement in labor camps; torture; forced disappearance; sexual violence; and depriving hundreds of thousands of citizenship.

    • Munich Shooting: Lone Gunman Reportedly Obsessed with Mass Killings

      Perpetrator may have lured some of victims to their deaths by enticing them with free meal

    • US says airstrikes on Syrian city Manbij to continue despite civilian deaths

      The US will not pause airstrikes in Syria despite appeals from opposition activists after what appears to be the worst US-caused civilian casualty disaster of the war against the Islamic State.

      Anas Alabdah, president of the Syrian National Coalition, has called on the US to suspend its airstrikes until it performs a thorough investigation into the attack near the contested northern city of Manbij on Tuesday that Syrian activists say killed at least 73 civilians – and possibly more than 125.

      Alabdah, in a statement, insisted on “accountability” for those responsible for the devastating airstrike, “revised rules of procedure” for future strikes, and warned that continuing the aerial bombardment would deliver the hard-fought region back into the hands of Isis.

      More strikes at the moment will drive Syrians “further into a spiral of despair and, more importantly, will prove to be a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations,” Alabdah said.

    • UNICEF on Syria: “Absolutely nothing justifies attacks on children”

      “This week in Syria, more than 20 children were reportedly killed in air strikes in Manbij and a 12-year-old boy was brutally murdered on-camera in Aleppo.

      “Such horrific incidents confront parties to this conflict with their shared responsibility to respect international humanitarian laws that protect children in war.

      “According to UN partners on the ground, families in the village of al-Tukhar near Manbij, 80 kilometres to the east of Aleppo, were preparing to flee the village when the air strikes hit.

      “UNICEF estimates that 35,000 children are trapped in and around Manbij with nowhere safe to go. In the past six weeks, and as violence has intensified, over 2,300 people were reportedly killed in the area, among them dozens of children.

    • US to Keep Bombing Syria Despite Civilian Deaths and Humanitarian Pleas
    • 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

      First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING.

      Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

    • Backlash Against Turkey’s Coup Plotters Takes a Toll: Chart

      The backlash against Turkey’s alleged coup plotters has been swift and severe. More than 53,000 people have been either suspended, fired or stripped of their professional accreditation in the past week, the vast majority of them even before the country declared a state of emergency. That doesn’t include the 246 people killed in fighting related to the coup, the almost 15,000 detained or arrested in the counter-coup operations or the 3.4 million public employees who face travel restrictions.

    • Government quietly admits it was wrong to say Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes

      Ministers have quietly issued reams of corrections to previous ministerial statements in which they claimed that Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes

      The autocratic petro-state is currently engaged in a bombing campaign in Yemen where it has blown up hospitals, schools, and weddings as part of its intervention against Houthi rebels.

      Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, has said that “carnage” caused by certain Saudi coalition airstrikes against civilian targets appear to be war crimes.

    • Isis claims responsibility for Kabul fatal bomb attack on Hazara protesters

      At least 80 people have been killed and hundreds injured after two suicide bombers struck a peaceful protest in Kabul by a Shia minority group.

      Responsibility for the attack, which appears to have targeted a demonstration by the Hazara minority, was claimed by Islamic State via the group’s news agency, Amaq. If true, it would mark the first attack by Isis in Kabul, and its largest ever in Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Huge toxic algae bloom sickens more than 100 in Utah amid heatwave

      A huge toxic algae bloom in Utah has closed one of the largest freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi river, sickening more than 100 people and leaving farmers scrambling for clean water during some of the hottest days of the year.

      The bacteria commonly known as blue-green algae has spread rapidly to cover almost all of 150-square-mile Utah Lake, turning the water bright, anti-freeze green with a pea soup texture and leaving scummy foam along the shore.

    • Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

      At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

      Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’s “cocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

    • U.S., Mexico, Announce Climate Collaboration The Day After Trump Becomes GOP Nominee

      A man who openly vilifies Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday in Cleveland. He has said that “Mexico is not our friend” and promised to make Mexico pay for a border wall. His supporters chanted “build that wall” during his acceptance speech.

      He also has claimed that climate change — which threatens the communities and integrated economies and ecosystems of North America — is a hoax.

      The next day, President Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a moment to show what is possible when allies work shoulder-to-shoulder to address the common problem of climate change.

    • Scorching Middle East Beats All-Time Heat Records for Eastern Hemisphere

      Thermometers in Kuwait and Iraq reached record-shattering temperatures this week, with Weather Underground reporting that the measurements could be the hottest ever seen in the Eastern Hemisphere.

      According to Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait climbed to an “astonishing” 54°C (129.2°F) on Thursday. And on Friday, Basrah, Iraq International Airport reported a high temperature of 53.9°C (129°F).

    • Increased Asthma Attacks Tied to Exposure to Natural Gas Production

      New study in the heart of Pennsylvania’s fracking region shows increase in severity of asthma among residents exposed to most active wells.

    • Mary Bottari: Koch brothers’ fingerprints can be found all over GOP convention

      Though the Kochs have indicated they are staying out of the presidential election and Charles Koch has even had kind words for the Clintons, their fingerprints are all over the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week in the form of candidates and the extreme RNC platform.

    • A Bridge Too Far: How Appalachian Basin Gas Pipeline Expansion Will Undermine U.S. Climate Goals

      Oil Change International; Appalachian Voices; Bold Alliance; Chesapeake Climate Action Network; Earthworks; Environmental Action; Sierra Club (national); 350.org; Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (Virginia & West Virginia); Sierra Club West Virginia Chapter; Friends of Water (West Virginia)

    • As Major Parties Embrace Fracking, Report Shows Natural Gas ‘Bridge to Climate Disaster’
    • Now the proof: permafrost ‘bubbles’ are leaking methane 200 times above the norm

      The swelling pockets in the permafrost – revealed this week by The Siberian Times – are leaking ‘alarming’ levels of ecologically dangerous gases, according to scientists who have observed this ‘unique’ phenomenon. Some 15 pockets have been found on the Arctic island, around one metre in diameter.

      Measurements taken by researchers on expeditions to the island found that after removing grass and soil from the ‘bubbling’ ground, the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration released was 20 times above the norm, while the methane(CH4) level was 200 times higher.

      One account said: ‘As we took off a layer of grass and soil, a fountain of gas erupted.’

    • Scorching Temperatures Just Set the Middle East’s Heat Records on Fire

      Unless you’ve been catatonic for the past seven months, you know that temperatures in 2016 have continuously skyrocketed. And now, I’m terrified to report that our planet is well on its way to becoming an actual inferno, as record-breaking heat records seem to indicate.

      Yesterday, temperatures in Mitribah, Kuwait smashed through the Middle East’s already scorching heat records. As Weather Underground meteorologists note, Mitribah got as hot as 129.2°F (54°C) on Thursday, according to the weather information service OGIMET. If confirmed, this would be the hottest-ever temperature on Earth documented outside of Death Valley, California, which reached an astonishing 129.2°F (54°C) on July 10, 1913.

      Earlier this week, Motherboard editor Kate Lunau wrote about the unprecedented climate anomalies that have been plaguing 2016. According to NASA, “in 2016, every month from January through June has set a record for the warmest month, globally, in modern recordkeeping—stretching back to 1880.” And as the climate in Kuwait underscores, we’ve reached an atmospheric tipping point. If you haven’t already, now would be a reasonable time to panic.

  • Finance

    • Brexit and the phenomenon of intra-European bigotry

      Nigel Farage, the face of Brexit victory, has been responsible for fuelling a strong anti-Eastern European sentiment for many years in the UK.

    • Erasmus scheme may exclude British students after Brexit

      Under the Erasmus scheme, British students can study at European universities for up to a year, and European students in the UK. But after Brexit, says the scheme’s UK director, Ruth Sinclair-Jones, “we face a sad moment of uncertainty, after 30 years of this enrichment of so many lives”.

      The potential end of British participation in the scheme would be “a devastating tragedy”, according to those who founded and administer it.

      Exclusion from Erasmus would also have what one vice-chancellor called “a stunning impact” on university finances, alongside the crisis facing funds for science, research and other grants. There are 120,000 students from EU countries at UK universities, of which 27,401 are through Erasmus, fees paid by the EU.

    • Kaine praised TPP as recently as Thursday

      Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) reportedly told Hillary Clinton he would oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership before she selected him as her running mate – but as recently as Thursday, the Virginia senator was praising the massive trade deal.

    • From Occupy Protests to the Platforms

      A lawyer-activist reflects on the significance of the Occupy Wall Street call for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall appearing in both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms.

    • Kaine comes out against Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal

      Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, has gone on record saying he cannot support the Trans-Pacific Partnership in its current form— a stance calculated to make him more appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders who revile the deal.

    • As Trump backers praise Brexit, UK and US are nations united in rage

      Donald Trump’s noisy, shambolic and furious convention in Cleveland broke every rule in the US campaigners’ handbook – including the relatively esoteric one that says British politics never, ever gets a mention. Deemed both obscure and irrelevant, the affairs of the UK have been reliably invisible in the US political argument since 1945.

    • Shell takes Malampaya tax dispute vs PH to int’l arbitration body

      The local unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC wants an international arbitration body to settle its tax dispute with the Philippine government involving the former’s Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project.

      Data from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) showed that on July 20, Shell Philippines Exploration BV filed a request for an arbitration case against the Philippine government over “taxation [on] hydrocarbon concession].”

      The request is still pending before ICSID.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy
    • Leaked Democratic Party Emails Show Members Tried To Undercut Sanders
    • DNC treatment of Sanders at issue in emails leaked to Wikileaks

      Nearly 20,000 emails sent and received by Democratic National Committee staff members were released Friday by Wikileaks, and some messages are raising questions about the committee’s impartiality during the Democratic primary.

      One email appears to show DNC staffers asking how they can reference Sanders’ faith to weaken him in the eyes of Southern voters. Another seems to depict an attorney advising the committee on how to defend Clinton against an accusation by the Sanders campaign of not living up to a joint fundraising agreement.

      The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Clinton and Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democratic convention kicks off next week.

    • Sanders Camp Says Someone Must Be ‘Accountable’ for What DNC Emails Show

      Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said his team was “disappointed” by the emails from the Democratic National Committee leaked through WikiLeaks, which seemed to reveal staff in the party working to support Hillary Clinton.

      “Someone does have to be held accountable,” Weaver said during an interview with ABC News. “We spent 48 hours of public attention worrying about who in the [Donald] Trump campaign was going to be held responsible for the fact that some lines of Mrs. Obama’s speech were taken by Mrs. Trump. Someone in the DNC needs to be held at least as accountable as the Trump campaign.”

      Weaver said the emails showed misconduct at the highest level of the staff within the party and that he believed there would be more emails leaked, which would “reinforce” that the party had “its fingers on the scale.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn has more than double the support of Owen Smith, poll shows

      Jeremy Corbyn is the overwhelming favourite to win the Labour leadership contest, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll, which shows he has more than twice the level of support among party supporters as his challenger, Owen Smith.

    • Emails Released by WikiLeaks Appear to Show DNC Trying to Aid Hillary Clinton

      Just days before the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks has released emails from top DNC officials that appear to show the inner workings of the Democratic Party and what seems to be them attempting to aid the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries.

      Several of the emails released indicate that the officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Clinton’s rival, Bernie Sanders, and his campaign as the primary season advanced, in one instance even floating bringing up Sanders’ religion to try and minimize his support.

      “It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps woudl draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

      Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded “AMEN,” according to the emails.

      During the primary battle, Sanders and his supporters accused both the party and Wasserman Schultz of putting their thumb on the scale for Clinton and these emails may indicate support for those allegations.

    • Hillary and Bill Clinton: Specialists in Black Misery, Foreign and Domestic

      In Haiti, the Clintons rigged elections and preached that poverty is a competitive advantage.

    • Yes, The Democratic National Committee Flat Out Lied In Claiming No Donor Financial Info Leaked

      You may recall, from last month, that a hacker (who many have accused of working for the Russian government) got into the Democratic National Committee’s computers and copied a ton of stuff. All of the emails that were obtained (a little over 19,000, from seven top DNC officials) are now searchable on Wikileaks, so there are tons of stories popping up covering what’s been found. The Intercept, for example, appears to be having a field day exposing sketchy behavior by the DNC.

    • DNC email leaks, explained [Ed: watch how Goldman Sachs-funded and pro-Clinton site just blames only Russia. It says “journalists digging into the emails have not uncovered any smoking guns,” but lots of smoking guns are in there.]

      Perhaps as important as the email’s contents is who may have leaked them. The leak is believed to be the fruit of a network intrusion that was discovered last month by the DNC. According to security firms who spoke to the Washington Post, that was the work of hackers associated with the Russian government, raising the possibility that a foreign government is trying to manipulate the US election.

    • Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street

      Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders warned that Hillary Clinton’s eventual vice presidential pick must not be someone from the milieu of Wall Street and Corporate America. And while Sanders is still fighting to win the Democratic Party nomination in what many have argued is a rigged system with a foregone conclusion, it appears that Sanders is also intent on influencing the course of the Clinton campaign and the party itself.

      In a thinly veiled demand that Clinton embrace the core principles of the Sanders campaign in order to secure the support of Sanders’s political base, the insurgent Democratic candidate hoped aloud “that the vice-presidential candidate will not be from Wall Street, will be somebody who has a history of standing up and fighting for working families, taking on the drug companies…taking on Wall Street, taking on corporate America, and fighting for a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%.”

      And while that description may sound positive for its sheer idealism, it does not seem to account for the fact that banks and corporations effectively own both major parties, and that nearly every top Democrat is in various ways connected to the very same entities. In any event, it is useful still to examine a few of the potential Clinton running mates in order to assess just what sort of forces are going to be put in motion to help deliver a Clinton presidency.

    • Clinton Inflames Progressive Base with Choice of Tim f as Vice President

      Reporting in recent days increasingly signaled that Kaine was Clinton’s top choice, but the official announcement confirmed the worst fears of progressives who warned such a pick would be taken as “a pronounced middle finger” to the millions who voted for Sanders during the primary season. At stake, many critics of the choice indicate, are pressing issues—including reproductive rights, climate change, financial regulation, and corporate-friendly trade agreements—where Kaine holds positions far to the right of where they think the party, and the country, should be headed.

    • If Trump’s Speech Sounded Familiar, That’s Because Nixon Gave It First

      Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president on a Thursday night in the long hot summer of 2016 with a speech that signaled his determination to exploit fears of violence as part of crusade to seize the White House from the Democrats.

    • Trump/Nixon: the parallels are startling

      As Donald Trump’s own advisers said this week that Trump would use Richard Nixon’s famous “law and order” rhetoric during his 1968 campaign as his inspiration for his Republican nomination speech on Thursday, many have begun comparing Trump to the disgraced former president. The parallels with a man who presided over another era in which there were widespread allegations of police brutality and killings of unarmed African Americans seem compelling.

    • CNN’s Revolving Door of Political Hackery

      Widespread outrage erupted in late June over CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski, just four days after he was fired as Donald Trump’s chief of staff. Lewandowski is a controversial figure, and not merely because he was heading up a campaign fueled by bigotry and fear. In March he was charged with simple battery for making physical contact with a reporter (though these charges were later dropped). Moreover, his utility as a CNN contributor is clearly limited — if not worthless — since he is reported to have signed a non-disclosure agreement that bars him from saying anything disparaging about Trump or discussing anything he did during the campaign.

      CNN staffers were said to be enraged — but within a week, CNN’s newest contributor was on television using his soapbox to explain away another one of Trump’s very public and obvious appeals to bigotry. That CNN felt it needed to hire an election commentator who can’t say anything critical about Trump may seem strange, but it corresponds with CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker’s stated desire to push CNN to the right. Even Fox News has taken the moral “high ground” in this situation: It has blasted CNN and the decision at least twice.

    • Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers

      Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence should have workers worried.

    • Trump and the Enablers of American Authoritarianism (2/2)

      Scholar Henry Giroux in conversation with Paul Jay says ‘lesser evilism’ is the wrong way to frame the elections – it’s about what’s better for the strategic interests of an independent people’s struggle

    • What’s on Display in Cleveland? The Republican Id

      The triumph of Trump has demonstrated the cost of the devil’s bargain that party elites — and the media — have accepted over the years.

      What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress — on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager. They would compare gays to Satan, progressive taxation to Naziism and people of color to criminals at best, animals at worst — but the more polite, polished folks who spoke for the party would always regretfully shake their well-coiffed heads and explain that wasn’t what the party was really about.

    • How Can This Be Happening in America? International Journalists Reflect on Rise of Donald Trump

      On Wednesday, Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder and Hany Massoud spoke to members of the international press covering the Republican National Convention to find out how other countries view Donald Trump.

    • Leaked Docs Reveal DNC Determined to Undermine Sanders Campaign

      WikiLeaks on Friday published roughly 20,000 leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

      The whistleblowing organization describes the trove, which includes over 8,000 attachments, as “part one of our new Hillary Leaks series,” and is just the latest in a series of document dumps that show the DNC—which, as the The Intercept notes, “isn’t supposed to favor one Democratic candidate over another until they receive a nomination”—seeking to bolster the candidacy of the former secretary of state and working against that of rival Bernie Sanders.

      It is unclear at this point whether the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility for two previous leaks from the DNC servers, provided the latest documents to WikiLeaks.

      The new leaks span from January 2015 to May 2016, and come from what WikiLeaks describes as “the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails).”

    • “Build Bridges, Not Walls”: Medea Benjamin on How She Disrupted Donald Trump’s Speech

      CodePink’s Medea Benjamin disrupted Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention by holding up a banner reading “Build bridges, not walls!” Her protest diverted cameras away from Trump’s speech. Benjamin was removed after the disruption and says she was later interviewed by the Secret Service. Democracy Now! spoke to her on the street afterwards.

    • Stewart To the Ugly Madman In the Castle: This Country Isn’t Yours

      Where to begin with the GOP’s upstart vulgarian and his portrait of an apocalyptic hellscape of America, all fear and lies and venom? Maybe start with revisiting Norman Mailer and his prescient 1968 view of that “psychic island” of “an insane Republican minority with vast powers of negation and control.” Then to Jon Stewart, briefly back in his glorious righteous rage to remind Trumpsters, “This country isn’t yours. It never was.”

    • We Finally Have A Candidate That Speaks To ‘White Males,’ GOP Congressman Says

      The Trump campaign made efforts to broaden the GOP presidential nominee’s appeal last night. As unmoored from reality as it was, Ivanka made a case her father would be a champion for women. During his own speech, Trump made an appeal to the LGBT community, despite providing little indication to date he’d actually do anything on their behalf.

      Trump’s base, however, continues to be white men. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released early last month showed Trump with a huge 60 percent to 26 percent advantage among that demographic. It might not be enough for Trump to secure a general election victory — thanks to his unpopularity with others groups, Trump trailed Clinton overall in that same ABC poll — but it was enough to secure the Republican nomination.

      During a CNN interview this morning, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) acknowledged the Trump phenomenon for what it is — identity politics for white men.

    • Leaked DNC emails reveal secret plans to take on Sanders

      Top officials at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) privately planned how to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, according to a trove of emails released by WikiLeaks on Friday.

      The Sanders campaign had long claimed the DNC and Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had tipped the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton during the party’s presidential primary.

      The email release will reignite that controversy just days before Democrats gather in Philadelphia for their convention to officially nominate Clinton for president.

      Guccifer 2.0 told The Hill he leaked the documents to Wikileaks.

      In one May 21 email, DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach writes to communications director Luis Miranda about planting a narrative to the media that Sanders’s “campaign was a mess.”

    • WikiLeaks trove plunges Democrats into crisis on eve of Convention

      On the eve of the convention at which Hillary Clinton is to be confirmed as presidential candidate, the Democratic Party has been plunged into crisis – the US media is brimful of ugly and embarrassing stories from within the party’s head office, all based on 20,000 emails dropped on Friday evening by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

    • Understanding Trump

      Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

    • WikiLeaks: Democratic Party officials appear to discuss using Sanders’s faith against him

      Internal Democratic National Committee emails appear to show officials discussing using Sen. Bernie Sanders’s faith against him with voters, with one saying “my Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” The emails were published by WikiLeaks.

      Someone who answered the media line at the DNC on Friday afternoon said they weren’t available to comment immediately.

    • DNC Official Mulls “Fuck You Emoji” in Response to Fox News

      A new leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee includes one in which communications personnel share their considerable fury over a reporter’s question about Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct.

      In May, Fred Lucas, a freelance reporter who said he was working for FoxNews.com, emailed the DNC press office with a question. Donald Trump had called Hillary Clinton an enabler of Bill Clinton’s alleged misconduct with women, and Lucas wanted to know what the Committee thought of the attack strategy.

    • The Best Reporting on Tim Kaine Through the Years

      But Kaine also has been criticized as insufficiently progressive on banking and global trade issues by some in the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, which Clinton needs to energize this fall.

    • Trump’s Midnight in America

      “Thanks for joining our live coverage of the RNC. This concludes democracy.”

    • Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?

      Anyone who paid close attention in 2008 knew that Wall Street and corporate America vetted Barack Obama thoroughly, and that he passed their tests with flying colors.

      For everyone else, he was, for all practical purposes, a Rorschach inkblot upon whom the hopeful, the desperate, and the gullible projected their dreams.

    • On Watching Donald Trump’s Acceptance Speech

      I watched the Republican convention last night.

      Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was light-hearted, loves her father, and gave a good introduction to a man whom few know well.

      Watching Trump give his speech was an out of body experience.

      I suddenly felt fearful. I felt fearful for myself, my community, my family, my country. Only he has the strength to save and protect us. Only he knows how to fix everything that is broken. Only he can bring back the happiness and prosperity that was once there for everyone. Remember the Good Old Days? Only he has the tenacity and courage to restore the American dream. Everyone else is too weak, too politically correct, too timid. He can do it. He said so.

    • The Lopsided Political Dialogue With the Working Class

      Democrats need to get comfortable with using the term “working class,” or risk losing those voters to Trump, who at least gives voice to their anxiety.

    • Donald Trump’s Dark and Scary Night

      The GOP presidential nominee’s acceptance speech was a litany of fear and resentment, a dog whistle to disaffected white Americans.

    • Melania’s Plagiarism Caps Really Weird Day One at RNC

      It was the perfect capper to a day that failed to disappoint, kicked off with talk of pee-pee and false flag operations at the pro-Trump America First Unity rally convened by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who told rally-goers that he was “Italian from the waist down.” He also apparently mistook himself for Hillary Clinton when he described her as “a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, greedy, bipolar, mentally unbalanced criminal.” The rally from Planet Out There was followed by a bit of verbal mayhem on the convention floor when anti-Trump delegates were denied a roll call vote for an amendment they had put forward that would have unbound delegates from their pledges to vote for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee when that formality takes place on Thursday night. That’s one way to unify the party.

    • RNC Descends into Chaos as “Never Trump” Movement Attempts Revolt on Convention Floor

      Thousands of Republican Party delegates are here in Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2016 Republican National Convention, where the party is expected to formally nominate Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee. But not all delegates are happy about Donald Trump, and on Monday the RNC briefly descended into chaos as members of the Never Trump movement launched a revolt by demanding for a roll call vote—a lengthy process that would allow every state to have their vote count. However, when the time came to present the proposed rules to the full convention, the Trump campaign and Republican Party leadership quashed the rebellious faction by instead opting for a voice vote—quickly declaring the opponents lacked enough votes. Pandemonium erupted on the floor, with shouts for a roll call vote being drowned out by Trump supporters chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder filed this report.

    • Trump and the Fascistization of America (1/2)

      Scholar Henry Giroux tells Paul Jay that Donald Trump is not an eccentric populist, but the representative of a neofascist politics that ignores evidence, believes truth is merely an opinion, and says dissent is unpatriotic

    • Russian journalism’s double white lines

      A recent leak from a leading Russian media outlet has sparked a bitter debate about censorship and professional ethics, exposing how fragmented Russia’s journalist community truly is.

    • Exclusive: Hillary Clinton exchanged top secret emails on her private server with three aides

      Hillary Clinton exchanged nearly two-dozen top secret emails from her private server with three senior aides, the State Department revealed in documents released to VICE News late Friday.

      The 22 emails were sent and received by Clinton in 2011 and 2012. Clinton discussed classified information with her deputy chief of staff, Jacob Sullivan, her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. A majority of the top secret emails are email chains between Sullivan and Clinton.

      This is the first time the State Department has revealed the identities of the officials who exchanged classified information with Clinton through her private email server.

      The new disclosure by the State Department comes three days before the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia, where Clinton will formally accept her party’s nomination for president, and minutes before Clinton announced her vice presidential pick, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Mapping Media Freedom: A disastrous week for Turkish journalism

      Turkey has faced severe turmoil since last Friday’s attempted military coup. While it was ultimately thwarted, 290 people were left dead as of 18 July with many more injured. In response, the government has since cracked down on dissent and suspended the European Convention on Human Rights, with more than 50,000 people rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs.

      In addition, the country has seen an increase in violations against media workers, with journalists murdered, held hostage, arrested and physically attacked, as well as having equipment confiscated or destroyed. These violations have raised concerns from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatović, has said: “Fully recognising the difficult times that Turkey is going through, the authorities need to ensure media freedom offline and online in line with their international commitments.”

    • Jersey City, Censorship and ‘Hypersensitivity’: An Interview With Monopoly Mural Artist Mr. AbiLLity

      In May, the Jersey City Mural Arts Program commissioned local artist Gary Wynans, aka Mr. AbiLLity, to create a 33-foot floor mural on the busy pedestrian plaza at Newark Avenue. A creative riff on the traditional Monopoly board game, Wynans’ mural uses Jersey City street names and local icons, harnassing the game’s focus on money and real estate to bring attention to income disparities and gentrification in real-life Jersey City.

    • We are far from powerless against the quiet horror of censorship at the SABC

      I WAS in Hong Kong when I first felt the quiet horror of media censorship.

      It was 2012 and I had just returned from the Canton Fair in Guangzhou-China’s industrious import and export mecca on the mainland. A friend of my father asked for my opinion on Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese human rights activist who had lit a diplomatic firestorm by escaping his house arrest and fleeing to the US embassy in Beijing. At the time it was a prominent, unfolding story covered by most of the major media outlets available in Hong Kong. But on the mainland, where the Communist Party of China (CPC) controls the media far more tightly, I saw nothing on any news station. I had no idea what my father’s friend was talking about.

      The chilling realisation that governments can use the media to manipulate their citizens is a driving force behind the constitutional freedoms afforded to the press. In many progressive constitutions, ours included, these rights are made explicit. A tragic irony is that China does in fact have a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, and of the press. Many Chinese are not even aware that in 1982, all previous constitutions were superseded by 138 articles designed to protect the civil rights of individuals and lay the groundwork for state governance.

    • Publisher of Shuttered Liberal Magazine Says Censorship Not Work of Xi Jinping
    • Court Rejects Lawsuit From Besieged Liberal Journal
    • Chinese court rejects lawsuit filed by outspoken journal over sackings
    • ‘Political censorship’: Gov’t sends email asking for election candidate’s stance on HK independence
    • Pro-independence Hong Kong candidate pleads for more time to explain stance
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Spotify will play ads based on your playlists

      Your age, gender and song picks will determine the commercials you hear.

    • Obama Wants To Give The British Permission To Read American Emails

      According to the Wall Street Journal, the plan, proposed by the Obama administration, would allow the US government to search corporate computers in the UK while allowing the UK to do the same in the US. The major caveat being that searches could only be related citizens of the country doing the searching. So the UK could not peer into Trump’s private missives and the US could not take a gander at whatever was spewed forth from Boris Johnson’s keyboard.

      There are quite a few barriers to the Obama administration’s plans, however. First is the aforementioned ruling. In April, Microsoft sued the Department of Justice to keep the US government from serving secret search warrants to retrieve data held overseas. It won the case last Thursday, and the Department of Justice is now considering filing an appeal to appear before the Supreme Court.

      Beyond clearing that hurdle, the DoJ will also need the approval of the US legislature (the UK will need approval from its legislature as well). And things could get tricky there. The tech lobby, including Microsoft, Apple and Google, are opposed to expanded abilities by governments to search computer data overseas. When a powerful lobby is that opposed to a plan, it makes passing said plan difficult.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘The Public Is Viewed Not as Someone to Be Helped, but as an Enemy to Be Contained’

      Had the US gotten serious about racist police violence every time media have announced we were, we presumably would no longer wake to stories and images of black or brown men, women and children killed by police officers who will not face punishment. Certainly there has been strong critical reporting on the issue, but for all the supposed soul-searching, media’s conversation about what to do about racist law enforcement doesn’t stray far from a few general ideas about “reform.” Activists and others say we have to go deeper, and ask bigger questions about the role law enforcement plays in the country.

    • Bipartisan Caucus Launches in the House to Defend Fourth Amendment

      On matters implicating privacy, such as mass surveillance or the powers of investigatory agencies, Congress has too often failed to fulfill its responsibilities. By neglecting to examine basic facts, and deferring to executive agencies whose secrets preclude meaningful debate, the body has allowed proposals that undermine constitutional rights to repeatedly become enshrined in law. In last week’s launch of a new bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus in the House, however, the Constitution has gained a formidable ally.

      Every Member of Congress swears an oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Yet the most significant threats to our Constitution include the powers of U.S. intelligence agencies, enabled by Congress’ faith in the agencies’ willingness to respect legal limits on their powers.

    • A Young Woman Seeking an Abortion Needs Compassionate Care, not Unnecessary Hurdles

      Today, the Alaska Supreme Court found unconstitutional a law requiring physicians to notify a parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor seeking an abortion. In its decision, the court found the law unjustifiably burdens only minors seeking an abortion – violating the equal protection guarantees of the Alaska Constitution.

      The decision comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt–the most significant abortion-related ruling from the Court in more than two decades.

    • Senate Bill Would End Tax Breaks for Private Prison Companies

      Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced legislation last week that would make it tougher for private prison companies to take advantage of federal rules that provide massive tax breaks for special real estate firms, a move that racial justice and prison divestment activists say is an important step toward confronting the corporations that control around 8 percent of the nation’s prisons and immigrant jails.

      As Truthout has reported, the nation’s two largest prison firms, GEO Group and Corrections Corporations of America (CCA), avoided a combined $113 million in federal taxes in 2015 alone. Large portions of the companies are allowed to file with the IRS as Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, which enjoy a special tax status designed to encourage real estate investment.

    • Trump Promises Law and Order for an America He Says Is in Crisis

      The $60 million display of police force, which resulted in only a dozen or so arrests over three days, fit right into the night’s proceedings, which ended with a remarkable speech by the Republican nominee for president, who painted a dark picture of America in crisis and pledged to be America’s “law and order candidate.”

    • Turkey’s Erdogan, using emergency decree, shuts private schools, charities, unions

      President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup.

      A restructuring of Turkey’s once untouchable military also drew closer, with a planned meeting between Erdogan and the already purged top brass brought forward.

      In the decree, published by the Anadolu state news agency, Erdogan extended to a maximum of 30 days from four days the period in which some suspects can be detained. It said this was to facilitate a full investigation into the coup attempt.

      Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the July 15 coup attempt, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday he would restructure the armed forces and bring in “fresh blood”.

    • Appeals Court Says DOJ Can Keep Its Evidence-Production Guidelines To Itself

      Brady evidence — possibly exonerating evidence that prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense — is far too frequently withheld and/or buried. The punishments for violating this requirement are almost nonexistent. The prosecution hates to see wins become losses. And the government in general — despite declaring fair trials to be the right of its citizens — hates to play on a level field.

      A federal judge withdrew from a forensic evidence committee because the government told him it wasn’t his job to point out the severely-flawed pre-trial forensic evidence discovery procedures deployed by prosecutors. Judge Rakoff called the government out in his resignation letter.

    • Administration’s One-Year Experimentation With Reining In Police Militarization Apparently Over

      The administration’s brief flirtation with converting occupying forces back into police departments is apparently over. In the wake of the Ferguson protests, the administration announced its plan to rein in police departments which had been availing themselves of used military gear via the Defense Department’s 1033 program. This itself was short-lived. A year later, the administration mustered up enough enthusiasm for another run at scaling back the 1033 program, but it has seemingly lost some steam as Obama heads for the exit.

      The images of police greeting protesters with assault rifles, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and officers who appeared to mistake the Midwest for downtown Kabul apparently was a bit too much. It looked more like an occupation than community-oriented policing — something every administration has paid lip service (and tax dollars) to over the past few decades while simultaneously handing out grants that turned police officers into warfighters.

    • Exclusive: White House to review ban on military gear for police – police leaders

      The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the U.S. armed forces, two police organization directors told Reuters on Thursday.

      Shortly after the recent shooting deaths of police officers, President Barack Obama agreed to review each banned item, the two law enforcement leaders said.

      That could result in changes to the ban imposed in May 2015 on the transfer of some equipment from the military to police, said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.

    • Killer Robots Pose Potential Problems for Future Policing

      What if you got pulled over while driving and a humanoid robot walked up to your car and asked for your license and registration? That may be the future of American policing.

      When the Dallas police used a “killer robot” to kill Micah Johnson after he fatally shot five police officers earlier this month, many felt it was an alarm, suggesting the takeover of police departments by lethal robots.

      However, we’re not quite at that point yet.

      “What happened in Dallas was the use of an explosive affixed to a remotely controlled drone, but it was called a robot because in their inventory the Dallas police were calling it a bomb robot,” Mary Wareham, who works for the arms division of Human Rights Watch and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, told Truthdig.

    • Black Activists Occupy Police Union Offices in NYC & D.C., Demand End to Protection for Brutal Cops

      Activists in several cities are attempting to shut down the offices of two major police unions: the Fraternal Order of Police and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. In Washington, D.C., activists with Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter have locked themselves to the steps of the Fraternal Order of Police with chains. In New York City, activists with Million Hoodies and BYP 100 have locked themselves to each other using PVC pipes at the entrance to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. The activists are demanding police officers stop paying dues to the private unions, which they accuse of defending officers accused of brutality. We go to Washington, D.C., for a live update from the scene with Samantha Master, member of BYP 100.

    • Young Black Protesters Blockade Police Facilities Across the Country

      During a week when political coverage has been dominated by the absurd spectacles of the Republican National Convention (RNC), the movement for Black lives raged on in the streets, with young Black people shutting down and disrupting police facilities in multiple cities on Wednesday. Individual cases of police violence and abuse were highlighted in some cities, while other protests zeroed in on the role of police unions in preventing accountability for police violence.

    • Feminism Slowly Gaining Support at United Nations

      “Being a feminist is a complete no-brainer. It’s like having to explain to people that you’re not racist. But clearly the word is still controversial so we have to keep using it until people get it,” she said.

    • Ailes Resigns—With $40M—But Will Fox’s “Cesspool of Sexism” Change?

      Rupert Murdoch, who owns 21st Century Fox, the news network’s parent company, will step in as acting chairman and CEO.

    • Pakistan burned teacher’s death was ‘not suicide’, investigation says

      A female Pakistani teacher who died of severe burns last month did not take her own life, as local police had claimed, a fact finding mission says.

      Maria Sadaqat’s family say she was attacked and set on fire at her home in Murree after turning down a suitor.

      Local police arrested four men – but later said the case was a suicide and released the men on bail.

      The investigation was “flawed” and the death had been painted “as suicide rather than murder”, the mission said.

      Ms Sadaqat, 19, suffered severe burns on 29 May, with local media reporting she had sustained 85% burns.

    • TSA agent took upskirt photos of women at Seattle airport, prosecutors say

      A Transportation Security Administration agent was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of taking upskirt photos of female passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

      Nicholas James Fernandez, 29, was detained as part of a voyeurism investigation. He’s been suspended indefinitely without pay pending the outcome of the case.

      King County, Wash., prosecutors say Fernandez left a TSA checkpoint during a break at 11:15 a.m. and rode an escalator to a lower level of the airport where he stood behind a woman wearing a skirt and began videotaping beneath it with his mobile phone, according to a probable cause statement.

    • Police Officers are Creating 3D Printed Finger Dummy Of A Murder Victim’s Finger

      An MSU professor Anil Jain has been approached by the law enforcement officers for the creation of 3D-printed fingerprint moulds of the victim of a murder case. The finger dummies will be used to unlock the smartphone of the victim for any traces of the murderer.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Lawsuit Claims Frontier Misused Millions In Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds

      If you want to see what the U.S. broadband market really looks like, you should take a close look at West Virginia. Historically ranked close to dead last for broadband access and quality, the state has been a perfect example of what happens when you let the incumbent telecom monopoly incestuously fuse with state regulators and politicians. For years now the state has been plagued by news reports of unaccountable broadband subsidies, money repeatedly wasted on unnecessary hardware, duplicate consultants overpaid to do nothing, and state leaders focused exclusively on ensuring nobody is held accountable.

      Frontier acquired Verizon’s phone and broadband networks in the state back in 2010, and while jumping from an entirely apathetic incumbent monopoly ISP to a barely competent one netted some slight improvements initially for users, the lack of competition continues to keep serious advancement at bay. In an attempt to improve access to neglected areas of the state, Frontier that same year received $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to provide high-speed Internet to such areas, including 1,064 public facilities such as schools, courthouses and first responders.

      Roughly $40 million of that money was supposed to be used to build an “open-access middle-mile network” intended to help multiple, competing West Virginia ISPs improve last-mile connectivity to roughly 700,000 homes and 110,000 businesses. But it didn’t take long for allegations to surface that Frontier had used that money solely to shore up its broadband monopoly in the state, building fiber connections that only benefited itself. Allegations also surfaced that Frontier had manipulated just how much fiber was actually laid, with state investigations and audits, as they’re wont to do, going nowhere fast.

    • Verizon will cut off unlimited data users who use too much unlimited data

      Verizon’s continuing its ongoing mission to pare down the number of customers on unlimited data plans by migrating them to ones with hard limits. Recently, the company came up with a way to get rid of its biggest data hogs.

    • Verizon to Disconnect Unlimited Data Users Who Use “Extraordinary” Amounts of Data

      Verizon Wireless customers who have held on to unlimited data plans and use significantly more than 100GB a month will be disconnected from the network on August 31 unless they agree to move to limited data packages that require payment of overage fees.

  • DRM

    • EFF to DMCA: ‘Drop Dead’ & More…

      EFF’s sue you sue me blues: On Thursday the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against several U.S. government agencies to address First Amendment issues around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Being questioned is Section 1201 which contains the so-called “anti-circumvention” clause that makes it a crime to circumvent DRM.

      One of the major points the organization will make is that the section is a road block to “fair use,” which the Supreme Court has ruled is necessary for copyright protections to be constitutional.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • KickassTorrents Comes Back, Again! This Time As KAT.am

        KickassTorrents is back, again. This time, as KAT.am.

      • Digital Citizens Slam Cloudflare For Enabling Piracy & Malware

        Consumer interest group Digital Citizens Alliance has published a new report highlighting the connection between pirate sites and malware delivery. The group says that as many as one in three pirate sites are engaged in the practice, assisted by US-based companies including Cloudflare.

      • The KickassTorrents Case Could Be Huge

        Authorities arrested Vaulin, who is Ukrainian, in Poland, where he now awaits extradition. The Department of Justice seized seven domains affiliated with KAT, all of which are currently down. Law enforcement used a warrant to obtain an email and IP address associated with Vaulin that showed up in multiple iTunes purchases, and was used to log into the official KAT Facebook account. That, combined with a Whois and GoDaddy search, a financial trail, and messages that identified Vaulin’s known alias as “KAT’s purported ‘Owner,’” left investigators with little doubt as to his role in the site.

      • How Apple and Facebook helped to take down KickassTorrents

        It turns out that a couple of purchases on iTunes helped to bring down the mastermind behind KickassTorrents, one of the most popular websites for illegal file sharing.

        Apple and Facebook were among the companies that handed over data to the U.S. in its investigation of 30-year-old Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of the torrent directory service. Vaulin was arrested in Poland on Wednesday, and U.S. authorities seized seven of the site’s domains, all of which are now offline.

        KickassTorrents was accused of enabling digital piracy for years, and investigators said it was the 69th most visited website on the entire Internet. It offered a list of torrent files for downloading bootleg movies, music, computer games and more, even as governments across the world tried to shut it down.

      • Best KickassTorrents Alternatives — Top 10 Torrent Websites Of 2016

        We have been regular in publishing the lists of best torrent websites on the internet for the last two years. The year 2016 reached has its second half, so we thought to update the list with any latest additions. Continuing the legacy further, we are now writing about the top 10 most popular torrent websites of 2016 which are also the alternatives to the dead KAT.

07.22.16

Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

Posted in News Roundup at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads

      Computer science graduates continue to top the UK’s higher education unemployment rankings, according to the latest figures compiled by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

      Ten per cent of computer science graduates failed to find a job six months after graduation in the academic year 2014/2015 – a figure higher than students who had studied Mass Communications and documentation, Physical sciences, or Engineering and technology (all 7.7 per cent).

      But the percentage is improving, albeit slowly. Last year’s statistics by HESA revealed 11.3 per cent of computer science graduates in 2013/2014 were unemployed.

  • Hardware

    • Digitimes Research: SoftBank chairman overoptimistic about benefits from acquiring ARM

      For Japan-based SoftBank’s plan to acquire a 100% stake in UK-based ARM at GBP24.3 billion (US$32.0 billion), SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son indicated that the acquisition is motivated by the large business potential for IoT (Internet of Things). However, Son overestimated real benefits from the acquisition and underestimated difficulties in vertical and horizontal integration of industries for IoT application, according to Digitimes Research.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Civil Society Calls On India To Backtrack On Policy Threatening Global HIV Response

      The International AIDS Society made a statement today at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, voicing concerns about India’s recent policy which, according to the group, is threatening access to HIV treatment in India and around the world.

      The International AIDS Conference is taking place from 18-22 July.

      The statement co-signed by a number of civil society groups, said civil society is concerned “about the closing space both for the civil society groups that have been critical in the AIDS response nationally and internationally and for the public health-supporting policies that ensure quality, affordable generic drugs for the world.”

    • Emails reveal role of Monsanto in Séralini study retraction

      In September 2012 the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published the research of a team led by the French biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found liver and kidney toxicity and hormonal disturbances in rats fed Monsanto’s GM maize NK603 and very small doses of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, over a long-term period. An additional observation was a trend of increased tumours in most treatment groups.

      In November 2013 the study was retracted by the journal’s editor, A. Wallace Hayes, after the appointment of a former Monsanto scientist, Richard E. Goodman, to the editorial board and a non-transparent review process by nameless people that took several months.

      Did Monsanto pressure the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) to retract the study? French journalist Stéphane Foucart addresses this question in an article for Le Monde.

    • The U.S. Lags Far Behind Other Developed Countries In Access To Affordable Abortion

      Seventy-four percent of countries with liberal abortion laws cover abortion costs. Why doesn’t the U.S.?

    • New French Law Opens Market For Non-Profits Selling Public Domain Seeds

      New legislation on biodiversity has been adopted by the French National Assembly, opening doors for the sharing and selling of seeds in the public domain to amateur gardeners. For some associations that had been illegally trading public domain seeds, this is seen as a major victory.

      Prior to the newly adopted legislation, only seeds listed in the national catalogue could be commercialised in France. The new law allows non-governmental organisations to transfer, share or sell seeds that are in the public domain to non-commercial users (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 7 July 2016).

  • Security

    • As a blockchain-based project teeters, questions about the technology’s security

      There’s no shortage of futurists, industry analysts, entrepreneurs and IT columnists who in the past year have churned out reports, articles and books touting blockchain-based ledgers as the next technology that will run the world.

    • Fix Bugs, Go Fast, and Update: 3 Approaches to Container Security

      Containers are becoming the central piece of the future of IT. Linux has had containers for ages, but they are still maturing as a technology to be used in production or mission-critical enterprise scenarios. With that, security is becoming a central theme around containers. There are many proposed solutions to the problem, including identifying exactly what technology is in place, fixing known bugs, restricting change, and generally implementing sound security policies. This article looks at these issues and how organizations can adapt their approach to security to keep pace with the rapid evolution of containers.

    • Preventing the next Heartbleed and making FOSS more secure [Ed: Preventing the next Microsoft-connected trademarked bug for FOSS and making FOSS more secure from Microsoft FUD]

      David Wheeler is a long-time leader in advising and working with the U.S. government on issues related to open source software. His personal webpage is a frequently cited source on open standards, open source software, and computer security. David is leading a new project, the CII Best Practices Badging project, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) for strengthening the security of open source software. In this interview he talks about what it means for both government and other users.

    • Container Image Signing
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Protecting the open source software supply chain [Ed: FUD for marketing of Sonatype]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The President of Turkey has launched a bloody coup against his own people, and it’s happening right now

      After a brutal military coup in Turkey against Erdogan’s presidency failed over the weekend, the Turkish president has responded in kind: with his own brutal coup against the Turkish people.

      In the name of defending democracy from the original coup plotters, Erdogan is literally targeting tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. And standing in the firing line are not just his political opponents, but Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, the Kurds.

    • Britain’s nuclear-weapons future: no done deal

      The warheads are developed and assembled at the Aldermaston/Burghfield complex which has annual running costs of at least £1bn a year. The missile submarines need protection by nuclear-powered (but not nuclear-armed) attack submarines, and are also given support from surface warships. One of the functions of the fleet of nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime-patrol aircraft, also just ordered at a cost of a further £3 million, is to provide further protection.

    • State Department Worried About “Backsliding” in Turkey Following Failed Coup, Mass Arrests

      Secretary of State John Kerry said that he and his European counterparts will be paying close attention to developments in Turkey, after thousands of Turkish officials were punished in the wake of a failed coup attempt.

      “Obviously a lot of people have been arrested and arrested very quickly,” Kerry said Monday, in Brussels. “The level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead. Hopefully we can work in a constructive way that prevents a backsliding.”

      Kerry made the statements from a previously scheduled meeting held by the European Council, an EU executive branch organ. The Washington Post described the gathering as having morphed into “crisis management,” in response to developments in Turkey.

    • Wikileaks: Email says AK Party provided Barzani with $200 million in March

      The Wikileaks website released a cache of nearly 300,000 emails allegedly sent by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), some of which were related to the Kurdistan Region, four days after an attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

      One of the leaked emails dating back to March 12, 2016 stated the AKP gave an unspecified member of the Barzani family $200 million in “financial aid” after a temporary halt in oil exports via the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline – a major financial lifeline for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

      The KRG is not specifically mentioned in the email and the Kurdistan Region is referred to as “areas under the hand of Peshmerga.”

    • [Older] Jeremy Corbyn may have been proved right on Iraq – but he’s hopeless on the important matter of doing up his tie

      Like Tony Blair, we were all duped by the intelligence on Saddam Hussein – except for the millions that went on marches, and Nelson Mandela, and France, and the Pope, and the chief weapons inspector, and Robin Cook

    • Turkey’s Baffling Coup

      This time, it was very different. Thanks to a series of sham trials targeting secularist officers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had managed to reconfigure the military hierarchy and place his own people at the top. While the country has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks and faces a souring economy, there was no inkling of unrest in the military or opposition to Erdogan. On the contrary, Erdogan’s recent reconciliation with Russia and Israel, together with his apparent desire to pull back from an active role in the Syrian civil war, must have been a relief to Turkey’s top brass.

    • Donald Trump Crams Two Errors Into One Statement on Turkey

      In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, after suggesting that he might not defend another member of the NATO alliance in the event of a Russian attack, Donald Trump was asked if he was paying close attention to what was happening in Turkey, following the failed coup attempt last week.

      Trump replied that he had been impressed by the efforts of the Turkish people, who took to the streets to prevent the military from seizing power — but did so in a way that demonstrated his ignorance about a central facet of what took place last Friday night.

    • Erdogan Suspects US Sympathy for Coup

      Reports that Russian President Putin may have tipped off Turkish President Erdogan about last week’s coup attempt – while the U.S. apparently stayed silent – suggest a possible reordering of regional relationships, says John Chuckman.

    • Live updates: Several reported killed in Munich mall shooting

      Police believe three gunmen opened fire on Friday evening at and near a shopping mall in the German city of Munich, killing several people, authorities said. The shooting at Olympia shopping mall “looks like a terror attack,” a police representative said.

    • ‘Boom boom boom – he’s killing the kids’: Gunman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ executed children in Munich McDonald’s before rampaging through mall killing NINE with police now hunting three attackers
    • Munich shooting: ‘Multiple deaths’ after shots fired at OEZ German shopping centre
    • Nice attack: City refuses police call to delete CCTV images

      The local authorities in Nice have refused a request by French anti-terror police to destroy CCTV images of last week’s lorry attack.
      The Paris prosecutor’s office said the request had been made to avoid the “uncontrolled dissemination” of images.

      But officials in Nice have responded by filing a legal document, arguing the footage could constitute evidence.

      It is the latest evidence of a growing dispute between the local and national authorities in the wake of the attack.

    • Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly stifle whistleblowers, auditors say

      At laboratories and factories where American nuclear weapons are designed and built, and at the sites still being cleansed of the toxic wastes created by such work, contractor employees outnumber federal workers six to one. That makes them key sentinels when something goes awry, a circumstance that officials say explains why they get legal protections when whistleblowing.

      That’s the theory. It turns out that the Energy Department has actually handed most of the oversight over these protections to the contractors themselves, robbing workers at key nuclear weapons sites of confidence that pointing out security and safety dangers or other mistakes won’t bring retaliation, according to an audit released by the Government Accountability Office on July 14.

      The Energy Department’s decision to embrace contractor self-regulation of its whistleblowing protection system means in many cases that those overseeing it work for the contractors’ top lawyers, who must defend the contractor against employee claims of wrongdoing, or for those officials responsible for deciding about job cuts, the report disclosed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Big Oil, Not Big Tobacco, Wrote the Public Skepticism Playbook: Report

      The playbook on sowing public skepticism about health and climate issues originated not with Big Tobacco—as long believed—but with Big Oil, a new investigation reveals.

      Documents published Wednesday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) show that the tobacco and fossil fuel industries used the same public relations firms, the same think tanks, and in many cases, the very same researchers, to foment doubt about public interest issues—starting with climate change. The documents show that the “direct connections” between the industries go back even earlier than previously believed, CIEL says.

      “Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco. It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized, and sought out,” said the center’s president, Carroll Muffett.

    • Greenland Is Still Melting Away

      A new paper just published by scientists in Geophysical Research Letters presents results of their investigation into the ice sheet covering Greenland. They found that over the four-year period from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice.

    • The “Denial Playbook”: An Original Product Of The Oil Industry

      New documents reveal that the oil and tobacco industries took pages from the same book to engineer their decade long campaigns on denying the existence of climate change and smoking-related cancer. The playbook also appears to have originated not with tobacco, but with the oil industry itself, and the two even appeared to share patents.

      In their research, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), found that the two industries collaborated from the 1950s onwards, more closely and earlier than previously thought. Both industries had used the same PR firms, research institutes and researchers, many of whom began working for first the oil industry, and then tobacco.

  • Finance

    • Success! Leader Pelosi Stands Up for Users and Opposes the TPP

      Thank you, Leader Pelosi, for standing up for users to block this undemocratic, anti-user deal. Combined with the stated opposition to the TPP of both presidential candidates, and the likelihood that other House Democrats will follow Leader Pelosi’s courageous lead, it is now significantly less likely that the TPP will be introduced during the lame duck session, or if introduced, that it will pass the House.

    • HSBC’s Johnson Out on Bond After Airport Arrest in Currency Case

      Federal agents surprised an HSBC Holdings Plc executive as he prepared to fly out of New York’s Kennedy airport, arresting him for an alleged front-running scheme involving a $3.5 billion currency transaction in 2011.

    • Hours Before Hillary Clinton’s VP Decision, Likely Pick Tim Kaine Praises the TPP

      Hillary Clinton’s rumored vice presidential pick Sen. Tim Kaine defended his vote for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Thursday.

      Kaine, who spoke to The Intercept after an event at a Northern Virginia mosque, praised the agreement as an improvement of the status quo, but maintained that he had not yet decided how to vote on final approval of the agreement. By contrast, Hillary Clinton has qualified her previous encouragement of the agreement, and now says she opposes it.

      Kaine’s measured praise of the agreement could signal one of two things. Either he is out of the running for the vice presidential spot, as his position on this major issue stands in opposition to hers. Or, by picking him, Clinton is signaling that her newly declared opposition to the agreement is not sincere. The latter explanation would confirm the theory offered by U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, among others, who has said that Clinton is campaigning against the TPP for political reasons but would ultimately implement the deal.

    • Brexit, Austerity and the Future of the European Union

      Many commentators have focused on racism and xenophobia as major factors in the move to leave the EU. Undoubtedly these were important considerations. Many people in England, especially older ones, are uncomfortable with the country becoming more diverse. They fear and resent the people coming in from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.

      But racism and xenophobia are not new for the United Kingdom. What is new is that these forces are powerful enough to force the country to break with a political union it joined more than four decades ago. Needless to say, there have been other situations where such forces came to dominate politics and they have not ended well.

      The issue in the UK and elsewhere is that there are real grievances which demagogues have been able to exploit. First and foremost is the austerity that had curbed growth in the U.K. and cut back funding for important programs. While austerity has not been as severe in the U.K. as in the euro zone (the U.K. is not in the euro), the conservative government sharply cut government spending in 2010, ostensibly out of concern that deficits and debt were harming the economy.

    • Lori Wallach, Peter Maybarduk and Karen Hansen-Kuhn on Corporate Globalization

      This week on CounterSpin: Few ideas are as hard-wired into current corporate media as the notion that so-called “free trade” agreements of the sort we have are, despite concerns, best for everyone. Given that the deals are not primarily about trade, and that what freedom they entail accrues to corporations and not people, you could say the very use of the term “free trade” implies a bias, against clarity if nothing else. This week, CounterSpin will revisit three interviews we’ve done on this issue.

    • #CETA #TTIP The next generation trade deals – We need to ask who benefits and why?

      The EU on behalf of the member states is current negotiating an EU US trade deal called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Talks around another trade deal between the EU and Canada have concluded – this deal is called The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

      Aside from the lack of coverage in the Irish media of the actual substance of these very critical trade talks, there are a number of concerns being expressed by campaign and civil society groups – in particular that a special court system will be incorporated into CETA & TTIP to allow corporations to sue EU member states who wish to introduce strong legislation to protect public health, food safety and environmental legislation for example.

    • Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street

      Nothing seems to rattle Hillary Clinton quite so much as pointed questions about her personal finances. How much she’s made. How she made it. Where it all came from. From her miraculous adventures in the cattle futures market to the Whitewater real estate scam, many of the most venal Clinton scandals down the decades have involved Hillary’s financial entanglements and the serpentine measures she has taken to conceal them from public scrutiny.

      Hillary is both driven to acquire money and emits a faint whiff of guilt about having hoarded so much of it. One might be tempted to ascribe her squeamishness about wealth to her rigid Methodism, but her friends say that Hillary’s covetousness derives from a deep obsession with feeling secure, which makes a kind of sense given Bill’s free-wheeling proclivities. She’s not, after all, a child of the Depression, but a baby boomer. Hillary was raised in comfortable circumstances in the Chicago suburbs and, unlike her husband, has never in her life felt the sting of want.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Leaked emails reveal Politico reporter made ‘agreement’ to send advanced Clinton story to DNC

      An influential reporter at Politico made an apparent “agreement” with the Democratic National Committee to let it review a story about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising machine before it was submitted to his editors, leaked emails published by WikiLeaks on Friday revealed.

    • DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show

      A new trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails, stretching back to April 2016, released by Wikileaks show that the organization’s senior staff chafed at Bernie Sanders’s continued presence in the presidential primary. Staffers were also irritated by criticism that they were biased towards Hillary Clinton.

      In May, chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (DWS) reacted to an MSNBC anchor criticizing her treatment of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary by trying to force her to apologize.

      On May 18th, DNC staffer Kate Houghton forwarded to Wasserman-Schultz a Breitbart News story highlighting remarks by MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski in which she called for the chairwoman to step down over perceived bias against Sanders during the presidential primary.

      Wasserman-Schultz reacted angrily, writing that this was the “LAST straw” and instructing communications director Luis Miranda to call MSNBC president Phil Griffin to demand an apology from Brzezinski.

    • Wikileaks emails: Democratic officials ‘plotted to expose Bernie Sanders’ as an atheist

      The Democratic National Committee – a supposedly neutral organisation – apparently hatched a plan to try and undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign against Hillary Clinton by getting someone to claim he was an atheist.

      The Sanders campaign for months complained that people in the DNC were biased in favour of the establishment candidate, Ms Clinton. The campaign even sued the DNC to allow it access to its voter database.

    • New Leak: Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

      Among the nearly 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, released Friday by Wikileaks and presumably provided by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” is a May 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall. In it, he suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs.

    • Major Errors In Reporting On Polling Data Must Be Corrected By International And Brazilian Media – OpEd

      A report on polling data first published on Saturday by Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest-circulation newspaper, contained errors that were so “huge and fundamentally important to the current political crisis that they require much more than the usual correction,” according to CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot.

      “Bad polling happens quite often, but these are errors in both polling and reporting of a whole different magnitude,” said Weisbrot.

      As noted by The Intercept yesterday, Folha de São Paulo had reported that according to a poll conducted by the firm Datafolha, 50 percent of Brazilians wanted the interim president Michel Temer to serve through 2018; 32 percent wanted the elected president Dilma Rousseff to do this (the end of her current term of office); 4 percent wanted neither of the two; and just 3 percent wanted new elections.

    • Donald Trump’s Long Rant Thrilled David Duke, But Alienated Many Others

      As Donald Trump shouted for 76 minutes on Thursday night about how horrible everything is in the dystopian fiction he’s confused for America, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan found himself nodding along in agreement.

      So the white supremacist David Duke, who was nearly elected governor of Louisiana in 1991 by channeling white resentment, posted a rave review of the address on Twitter.

    • In Cleveland, Lonely Protesters Marched Through Empty Streets

      In total, 24 people were arrested in convention-related incidents as of Friday morning, most at a flag burning protest on Wednesday. But while legal observers denounced those arrests, and delays in the processing of arrestees, as “troubling,” the final count was significantly lower than what most expected, with the city having announced ahead of the convention that it was prepared to “handle upwards of 1,000 arrests per day.”

    • Republican Leaders Choose Their Own Future Over Donald Trump’s

      Republicans have nominated the least popular presidential nominee in recent history — and it showed. Throughout the week, the biggest names on the convention schedule consciously avoided lavishing too much praise on the nominee himself, for fear of their own political futures.

      House Speaker Paul Ryan mentioned Trump just twice in his address. Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, locked in a tough re-election race, mentioned the nominee just once. Ted Cruz, the second-place finisher in the primary, refused to endorse Trump at all, telling attendees instead to “vote your conscience.”

      And these were the Republicans who showed up to speak. Many major party figures didn’t attend at all. Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told the press he wasn’t attending because he had to mow his lawn. None of the Bushes showed up.

    • Ivanka Said Her Dad Cares About Child Care. Here’s What Happened When A Woman Asked Him About It.

      Ivanka Trump tried to portray her father as a champion of women while introducing him on the last night of the RNC. But not only is there no evidence that the man who has a reputation for demeaning women is actually a champion for them — an examination of his platform and history indicates quite the opposite.

      [...]

      Trump Organization’s salaries are not public, but that claim doesn’t hold up on his campaign. Trump pays his male campaign staffers 35 percent more money than female staffers. That’s partly because he has only two women among his senior-level staff, and just 28 percent of his staff is made up of women. One former staffer filed a complaint earlier this year saying she was paid $2,000 a month — about half what several men with the same title make.

      She also talked about how Trump would help families. “As president, my father will change the labor laws,” she said, suggested he’d make “child care affordable and accessible for all” and provide support for working mothers.

      While affordable child care is a cornerstone of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Trump has not released any plan for child care. The candidate has also shown zero interest in thinking about the issue. When an organizer asked him for his thoughts on child care back in December, he replied, “I love children” but refused to engage further, saying, “It’s a big subject, darling.”

    • Robert Scheer: Americans Shouldn’t Settle for Candidates ‘Who Have Created This Tremendous Mess’

      In a recent interview on The Real News Network, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sat down with Paul Jay, senior editor of The Real News Network, to discuss the current election and the future of the American democratic system. The interview begins with Scheer talking about the Republican National Convention and neofascist rhetoric. “You don’t get fascist movements taking over, rising to power, without people being in pain,” Scheer says. “And we have a situation now in the United States that is increasingly resembling a kind of post-Weimar Germany.”

      Jay then brings the conversation around to new movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, which Scheer says save “a reasonable established order” by forcing those in power to respond to the needs of the people. “It’s only when the established order is failing to respond to the real needs of people that you get madness and chaos, and that’s what I think you’re hearing at the Republican convention.”

    • Never Mind the RNC — This Is What Voters Care About This Election

      Despite their absence from the Republican National Convention, voters prioritize campaign finance reform and action on climate change.

    • Donald Trump’s Convention Speech Rings Terrifying Historical Alarm Bells

      Donald Trump’s speech tonight accepting the Republican nomination for president will probably go down as one of the most frightening pieces of political rhetoric in U.S. history.

      Even for people who believe the danger of genuine authoritarianism on the U.S. right is often exaggerated, it’s impossible not to hear in Trump’s speech echoes of the words and strategies of the world’s worst leaders.

      Trump had just one message for Americans: Be afraid. You are under terrible threats from forces inside and outside your country, and he’s the only person who can save us.

    • Volatile America

      Then the headlines shifted and, for the moment, “normalcy” returned. It’s a Trump-sated normalcy that’s anything but, of course, and the most recent heavily reported violence (at least as I write these words) — the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge — blends into the endlessly simmering turmoil known as the United States of America.

      And the civil war, in fact, started long ago. But until recently, only one side has been armed and organized. That’s why the two latest police killings, by disciplined, heavily armed former military men, loose a terrifying despair. The victims are fighting back — in the worst way possible, but in a way sure to inspire replication.

      When people are armed and outraged, the world so easily collapses into us vs. them. All complexity vanishes. People’s life purpose clarifies into a simplistic certainty: Kill the enemy. Indeed, sacrifice your life to do so, if necessary. I fear this is still the nation’s dominant attitude toward its troubles. We’re eating ourselves alive.

      One way this is happening was described in a recent New York Times story, headlined: “Philando Castile Was Pulled Over 49 Times in 13 Years, Often for Minor Infractions.” Castile, who as the world knows was shot and killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop on July 6, was a young man caught in a carnivorous system pretty much all his adult life. Every time he started his car, he risked arrest for “driving while black.” The Times quotes a Minneapolis public defender, who described Castile as “typical of low-income drivers who lose their licenses, then become overwhelmed by snowballing fines and fees.” They “just start to feel hopeless.”

      The story goes on: “The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police. . . . The killings have helped fuel a growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.”

      A growing national “debate”? Oh, the politeness! How much racism should we allow the police to show before we censure them? It’s like talking about the “debate” we used to have over the moral legitimacy of lynching.

    • Ted Cruz Booed and Heckled for Refusing to Endorse Donald Trump

      In a remarkable show of disunity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Sen. Ted Cruz was booed and heckled by many delegates on Wednesday night as it became clear that he had no intention of endorsing Donald Trump for the presidency.

      Cruz, who called Trump “a pathological liar” and “utterly amoral” when he dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in May, refused to follow the lead of two of the other defeated candidates, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio, who did endorse the billionaire in their speeches.

      Watching Cruz give what seemed like a campaign speech for himself, Trump’s children sat in silence. Then there were cheers and a ripple of applause from the delegates as Cruz looked into the camera and said, “to those listening, please don’t stay home in November.”

    • Donald Trump is the Loneliest Man in America

      Donald Trump may well be the loneliest man in America. And I’m only 45%-60% kidding. This belief springs from his use of one single word—a word that every native speaker of the English language other than Trump knows does not, in fact, exist: the word “bigly.”

      Consider this: Donald Trump is so rich, so insulated–and so truly bereft of friends—that he’s managed to walk around on this planet for more than 70 years without ever realizing that “bigly” is not an actual word.

    • Chamber of Commerce May Prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump

      The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday signaled that the big-business community is still undecided between newly minted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Chamber President Tom Donohue’s statements to Fox Business News on Wednesday morning represented an astonishing break from the organization’s nearly invariable support for Republican candidates.

      “Trump talks about some important things in energy and taxes and financial areas,” Donohue said. “Hillary perhaps has more experience and businessmen like that — businessmen and women like that — but I don’t think that’ll be decided until you hear the speeches here and next week and you see the first debate, and I think people will start to move more clearly to where they’re going to vote.”

    • On violence, neoliberalism and the hallucinatory anti-politics of the Trump era.

      “If we can’t change consciousness, if we can’t get people to identify with the issues in a way that make them appear very real to their lives, then all of a sudden anger gets distorted and rerouted into something worse – it becomes racism, it becomes a movement mobilized by the need for saviors, it becomes a movement that embodies the worst possible political alternative.”

    • Roger Ailes leaves Fox News in wake of sexual harassment claims

      Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman who helped found the network and build it into a cable ratings behemoth, has been forced out of the company following allegations that he sexually harassed numerous subordinates, including former host Gretchen Carlson and star anchor Megyn Kelly.

    • Black Cleveland Residents Tell Tale of Two Cities in the Shadow of Republican Convention

      A day after Republican National Convention speakers discussed how to “make America safe again,” a group of young Clevelanders held their own “make America safe again” event at a downtown park.

      As police officers on horseback and bikes fended off a small rally down the block and helicopters buzzed overhead, the group of mostly black and Latino college students huddled around a picnic table Tuesday and talked about how irrelevant and offensive the Republican event is to many residents of its host city.

    • 9 Lies In Donald Trump’s Big Speech To The Republican Convention

      At the beginning of his big RNC-closing speech, Trump called for “a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation,” and said he would “present the facts plainly and honestly.” He didn’t follow through on that promise.

      Trump’s speech was much more scripted than his typically ad-libbed rally performances, which are riddled with falsehoods. But his formal acceptance of the nomination was also full of deception. Here’s a rundown of some of the misleading claims made by the man whose campaign statements were named the “lie of the year” by Politifact.

    • Trump Spent A Lot Of His Speech Fear-Mongering About Crime. These 3 Charts Prove Him Wrong.

      Donald Trump wants you to think that America is a scary, scary place. In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump claims that “decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.” He unleashes a blizzard of cherry-picked statistics all directed at one purpose — convincing you that crime has run amok and that he is the only thing that can save you.

      Don’t believe him. The reality is that crime isn’t just on a downward trend, but it has been for a very long time.

    • Trump Campaign Manager Makes Astonishingly Sexist Argument For Why Women Should Vote For Trump

      “Many women feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” Manafort said. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They will hear the message. As they hear the message, that’s how we will appeal to them.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The CIA, NSA and Pokémon Go

      Before heading out to capture Pokémon, you might want to consider the data the game has access to and the history of the company that created the game

    • Snowden: ‘I never thought I’d be saved’ after NSA leaks

      When Edward Snowden leaked highly classified secrets about government spying in 2013, the undertaking took meticulous coordination.

      Snowden, a former NSA contractor, chatted with Guardian reporters Glenn Greenwald and documentary maker Laura Poitras over encrypted email exchanges. Their first meeting hinged on code words and a secret signal involving a Rubik’s cube.

      But when the first article revealing hush-hush surveillance programs went live that June while he was in a Hong Kong hotel room, that’s as far as Snowden had thought things through, he said over a live internet feed from Russia, where he’s been living in exile since the leaks.

    • China To Ban Ad Blockers As Part Of New Regulations For Online Advertising

      Since it’s hard to see the Chinese government really caring too much about the problems that ad-blocking software causes for online publishers, there is presumably another motivation behind this particular move. One possibility is that the Chinese authorities use the tracking capabilities of online ads for surveillance purposes, and the increasing use of ad blockers in China is making that harder. That clearly runs against the current policy of keeping an eye on everything that online users do in China, which is perhaps why the authorities want ad blockers banned in the country, despite the inconvenience and risks for users of doing so.

      It remains to be seen how successful the Chinese government will be in stamping out such popular software, or whether this will be another regulation that is largely ignored.

    • Former Homeland Security Advisor: Tech Companies Have The Burden Of Proving Harm Of Backdoored Encryption

      Last week’s one-sided “hearing” on encryption — hosted by an irritated John McCain, who kept interrupting things to complain that Apple hadn’t showed up to field false accusations and his general disdain — presented three sides of the same coin. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance again argued that the only way through this supposed impasse was legislation forcing companies to decrypt communications for the government. The other two offering testimony were former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein and former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis.

      Not much was said in defense of protections for cellphone users. Much was made of the supposed wrongness of law enforcement not being able to access content and communications presumed to be full of culpatory evidence.

      But one of the more surprising assertions was delivered by a former government official. Wainstein’s testimony [PDF] — like Vance’s — suggested the government and phone makers start “working together.” “Working together” is nothing more than a euphemism for “make heavy concessions to the government and prepare to deliver the impossible,” as Patrick Tucker of Defense One points out. Wainstein says phone manufacturers must do more than theorize that weakened encryption would harm them or their companies. They must hand over “hard data” on things that haven’t happened yet.

    • Wall Street Journal Reporter Hassled At LA Airport; Successfully Prevents DHS From Searching Her Phones

      Welcome to Bordertown, USA. Population: 200 million. Expect occasional temporary population increases from travelers arriving from other countries. Your rights as a US citizen are indeterminate within 100 miles of US borders. They may be respected. They may be ignored. But courts have decided that the “right” to do national security stuff — as useless as most its efforts are — trumps the rights of US citizens.

      Wall Street Journal reporter Maria Abi-Habib – a US-born citizen traveling into the States with her valid passport — discovered this at the Los Angeles International Airport. Her Facebook post describes her interaction with DHS agents who suddenly decided they needed to detain her and seize her electronics.

    • France calls end to Microsoft’s ‘excessive’ user data collection

      France is not happy about the amount of data collection and lack of security in Windows 10 and has given the firm three months to sort it out.

    • Microsoft responds to allegations that Windows 10 collects ‘excessive personal data’

      Yesterday France’s National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) slapped a formal order on Microsoft to comply with data protection laws after it found Windows 10 was collecting “excessive data” about users. The company has been given three months to meet the demands or it will face fines.

      Microsoft has now responded, saying it is happy to work with the CNIL to work towards an acceptable solution. Interestingly, while not denying the allegations set against it, the company does nothing to defend the amount of data collected by Windows 10, and also fails to address the privacy concerns it raises.

      Microsoft does address concerns about the transfer of data between Europe and the US, saying that while the Safe Harbor agreement is no longer valid, the company still complied with it up until the adoption of Privacy Shield.

    • Cloud Encryption Threat Map

      The Cloud has gained quite a bit of popularity within the past decade such that many companies can roll out their own or one hosted by a cloud provider with relative ease. However with this new world come new threats and it is important that organizations adequately model their networks, data and possible threats to ensure sensitive data is kept secure. Kenn White was kind enough to create this threat scenarios mind map and I thought it was worth sharing as it does a great job of showing scenarios that different security technologies help protect against.

    • Tor Could Protect Your Smart Fridge From Spies and Hackers

      There’s a growing fear that the exploding internet of things — from baby cams to pacemakers — could be a goldmine for spies and criminal hackers, allowing them access to all kinds of personal photos, videos, audio recordings, and other data. It’s a concern bolstered by remarks from top national security officials.

    • Opera browser sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million

      After a $1.2 billion deal fell through, Opera has sold most of itself to a Chinese consortium for $600 million. The buyers, led by search and security firm Qihoo 360, are purchasing Opera’s browser business, its privacy and performance apps, its tech licensing and, most importantly, its name. The Norwegian company will keep its consumer division, including Opera Apps & Games and Opera TV. The consumer arm has 560 workers, but the company hasn’t said what will happen to its other 1,109 employees.

    • Maxthon browser is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

      You may have installed the Maxthon browser on your mobile devices. If so, here’s why you should remove it. Immediately.

      [...]

      What exactly has been discovered that could be so damaging to this underdog browser? Fidelis Cybersecurity reported that Poland-based Exatel uncovered the Maxthon browser regularly sends a file, via HTTP, named ueipdata.zip, to a server in Beijing, China. The ueipdata.zip contains a file called dat.txt which stores information about the following:

      Operating system
      CPU
      Ad blocker status
      Homepage URL
      Browser history
      Installed applications (and their version number)

    • French State of Emergency: Overbidding Mass Surveillance

      Once again. The State of Emergency in France has been extended until January. In reaction to violence shaking the country and with the presidential election of 2017 only a few months away, political leaders are indulging an ignominious orgy of security-driven policy. Not satisfied with merely prolonging the state of emergency, lawmakers have also amended the 2015 Intelligence Act passed last year to legalize domestic mass surveillance.

      It is hard to believe that only 48 hours have passed since the bill was sent to the French National Assembly. With incredible speed, in the middle of summer, the Committee on Legal Affairs of the French Senate has given carte blanche to rapporteur Michel Mercier (UDI – centre-right wing and former Minister of Justice) to erase so-called “rigidities” in the Surveillance Law adopted last year.

      The provision, much criticised during the parliamentary debates at that time, provides for real-time scanning the connection data of individuals suspected of terrorist activities.

    • Snowden director Oliver Stone calls Pokemon Go new level of ‘surveillance capitalism’

      Filmmaker Oliver Stone tore into the Pokemon Go smartphone phenomenon on Thursday, describing it as “a new level of invasion” that could lead to totalitarianism.

      During a panel for his new movie Snowden on the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the director said the app was part of a larger culture of “surveillance capitalism.”

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden collaborates on ultra-secure iPhone case
    • Marines, NSA to Bring Combat-Adapted Smartphone Tech to the Battlefield

      The program will mirror a similar approach adopted by the US Army that will provide soldiers with the ability to transmit strike coordinates, access visual maps, and potentially engage weapon systems using a heavily-modified consumer-level smartphone.

    • WSJ Reporter: Homeland Security Tried to Take My Phones at the Border

      On Thursday, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter claimed that the Department of Homeland Security demanded access to her mobile phones when she was crossing the border at the Los Angeles airport.

    • Edward Snowden’s New Research Aims to Keep Smartphones From Betraying Their Owners

      In early 2012, Marie Colvin, an acclaimed international journalist from New York, entered the besieged city of Homs, Syria, while reporting for London’s Sunday Times. She wrote of a difficult journey involving “a smugglers’ route, which I promised not to reveal, climbing over walls in the dark and slipping into muddy trenches.” Despite the covert approach, Syrian forces still managed to get to Colvin; under orders to “kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil,” they bombed the makeshift media center she was working in, killing her and one other journalist and injuring two others.

    • Against the Law: Countering Lawful Abuses of Digital Surveillance

      Front-line journalists risk their lives to report from conflict regions. Casting a spotlight on atrocities, their updates can alter the tides of war and outcomes of elections. As a result, front-line journalists are high-value targets, and their enemies will spare no expense to silence them. In the past decade, hundreds of journalists have been captured, tortured and killed. These journalists have been reporting in conflict zones, such as Iraq and Syria, or in regions of political instability, such as the Philippines, Mexico, and Somalia.

    • Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching

      When Edward Snowden met with reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room to spill the NSA’s secrets, he famously asked them put their phones in the fridge to block any radio signals that might be used to silently activate the devices’ microphones or cameras. So it’s fitting that three years later, he’s returned to that smartphone radio surveillance problem. Now Snowden’s attempting to build a solution that’s far more compact than a hotel mini-bar.

    • New Snowden-Developed Smartphone Device Aims to Shield Journalists
    • Edward Snowden Makes An Open Source Anti-NSA Battery Case For iPhone 6
    • Snowden designs device to warn when an iPhone is ratting out users [iophk: "aside from the iphone problem, the real need is for an OSS baseband OS"]
    • Ed Snowden And Bunnie Huang Design Phone Case To Warn You If Your Phone Is Compromised

      Bunnie Huang is having quite a day — and it’s a day the US government perhaps isn’t too happy about. Huang has worked on a number of interesting projects over the years from hacking the Xbox over a dozen years ago to highlighting innovation happening without patents in China. This morning we wrote about him suing the US government over Section 1201 of the DMCA. And now he’s teamed up with Ed Snowden (you’ve heard of him) to design a device to warn you if your phone’s radios are broadcasting without your consent. Basically, they’re noting that your standard software based controls (i.e., turning on “airplane mode”) can be circumvented by, say, spies or hackers.

    • Edward Snowden designed an iPhone attachment that detects unwanted radio transmissions

      Edward Snowden thinks about phone security a lot more than the average person. And with good reason, as the world-famous whistleblower revealed methods of government data collection on phone calls, and even from his exile in Russia, still remains a major advocate for digital privacy.

    • Elon Musk’s Master Plan Includes Turning Tesla Into An Autonomous Uber

      Tesla’s Elon Musk is not afraid to think big and then go for it. He famously published the Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan ten years ago, and has pretty much stuck to that plan.

    • Data ruling should kill off the investigatory powers bill

      The European court of justice ruling that bulk data collection is only lawful if it is used to tackle serious crime (Report, 20 July) makes it clearer than ever that the monstrous (in size and aims) investigatory powers bill currently passing through the House of Lords is simply not fit for purpose.

      The proposed legislation sanctions the mass collection of citizens’ telephone and email data – something that is both ineffective and, as we now know, unlawful – and fails to put in place sufficient safeguards against the misuse of the powers granted to the intelligence services.

      The US last year ended the bulk collection of data from telephone calls when a report found that its counter-terrorism benefits were few or none. Firsthand evidence suggests that mass surveillance makes the security services’ jobs harder, not easier; you don’t look for a needle in a haystack more efficiently by making the haystack bigger.

    • Ed Snowden and Andrew “bunnie” Huang announce a malware-detecting smartphone case

      Exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and legendary hardware hacker Andrew bunnie” Huang have published a paper detailing their new “introspection engine” for the Iphone, an external hardware case that clips over the phone and probes its internal components with a miniature oscilloscope that reads all the radio traffic in and out of the device to see whether malicious software is secretly keeping the radio on after you put it in airplane mode.

    • Film director Oliver Stone thinks Pokemon Go could lead to ‘totalitarianism’
    • ‘Snowden’ director Stone talks NSA, Pokemon GO at Comic Con
    • Oliver Stone Calls Pokemon Go a ‘New Level of Invasion’ at Comic-Con ‘Snowden’ Panel
    • Why Oliver Stone Thinks ‘Pokemon Go’ Could Create Totalitarianism
    • Edward Snowden On Oliver Stone, A Society Of Surveillance & Seeing His Story Onscreen – Comic-Con
    • 35 Years after Saint Reagan’s Order, Treasury Still Dawdles

      The other day, I Con the Record released an updated index of the procedures intelligence components use to comply with Executive Order 12333’s rules on sharing information about US persons. As is typical of I Con the Record, it didn’t admit that this new “transparency” really just incorporates information demanded under FOIA. In this case, the index released three newly available documents liberated by ACLU in their 12333 FOIA. I Con the Record also misrepresented how long the renewed effort to make sure agencies have such procedures in place has gone on; as I’ve noted, PCLOB has been pursuing this issue since 2013.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Foreign embassy staff accused of human trafficking and child sex offences

      Diplomatic staff with immunity, working in embassies in the UK, have been accused of child sex offences and human trafficking, the Foreign Office says.

      A total of 11 “serious and significant” offences were allegedly committed by such people in the past year.

      Diplomatic missions and international organisations ran up nearly £500,000 in unpaid parking fines in London last year, it was also revealed.

      Diplomats and some embassy staff are entitled to diplomatic immunity.

      This means they can be exempt from being tried for crimes.

      The allegations, contained a written ministerial statement by new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, include someone at the Mexican embassy allegedly causing a child aged 13 to 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.

    • Public servant says Australian Bureau of Statistics forced him out because he was blind

      Ex-Bureau of Statistics worker Matthew Artis says he was unfairly moved around different sections of the ABS, treated as a liability and once told he was a “fish out of water” by one of his bosses.

      Mr Artis is suing his former employer in the Federal Circuit Court where he is alleging he was the victim of serious and blatant disability discrimination by the Commonwealth.

    • Can the British monarchy last forever?

      Increasing awareness of the shady dealings of the monarchy – and the institutions that protect it – are leading to a growing republican movement in the UK.

    • If the Risk Is Low, Let Them Go

      How a man who served 33 years on a 15-to-life sentence is pushing New York’s intransigent parole board to release violent offenders who have aged out of crime, the fastest growing segment of the prison population.

    • Court Says Cop Calling 911 With Suspect’s Phone To Obtain Owner Info Is Not A Search

      The background is this: James Brandon Hill exited a taxi cab without paying, leaving his phone behind. The cab driver reported this to the police and an officer dialed 911 to obtain the owner’s info. The court doesn’t touch the issue of abandonment — which would likely have made the search legal. But its decision that the method used to obtain this info isn’t a search seems to be a bit off.

      While the information received may have had no expectation of privacy, an officer accessing a cell phone without a warrant is questionable under the Supreme Court’s Riley decision. As noted above, the warrantless search still likely would have survived a motion to suppress as the phone was abandoned in the cab. In fact, Hill does not challenge the seizure of the phone — only the search.

    • Police brutality: Is America teetering on edge of sectarian violence?

      The tragic shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile occured because soldiers and police officers alike view themselves on the frontline and dangerous edge of preventing terrorist and criminal attacks.

    • May gets Hollande ultimatum: free trade depends on free movement

      Theresa May was warned by the French president, François Hollande, at their first meeting in Paris that the UK cannot expect access to the single market if it wants to put immigration controls on EU citizens.

      At a joint press conference in the Élysée Palace, Hollande made it clear that the new British prime minister was facing a choice about whether to accept free movement of people in return for free trade.

    • Chinese anti-graft protest leader arrested for taking bribes: Xinhua

      A former leader of a Chinese village who was democratically elected five years ago after taking a stand against corruption has been arrested for taking bribes, said Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

      Lin Zuluan, one of the Wukan village protest leaders in 2011 whose calls for an uprising attracted global attention, had called for fresh protests in June against new land grabs and graft in the fishing village in Guangdong province.

      His arrest is the latest move on the core group of Wukan village protest leaders from 2011.

    • From yurt-dwellers to bankers, Mongolians worn out by ‘corrupt’ politics

      Mongolia is known for the nomadic lifestyle of many of its citizens, its mines of global importance and for being an unlikely – if troubled – democracy landlocked by Russia and China. On 29 June, amid deep economic problems Mongolians showed their discontent by voting opposition Mongolian People’s Party into the State Grand Khural (parliament) in a landslide victory.

      The party took 85% of the seats in the parliament, defeating main rival the Democratic Party, which led a coalition from 2012-2016; about half of the elected candidates are first timers in the Khural. Voter turnout was above 72%, indicative of the electorate’s overwhelming discontent, and its apetite for change. The election period raised questions that stretch beyond the immediate economic crisis, making many reflect on the state of democracy, trust and public ethics.

    • ACLU of Florida Statement on the Police Shooting of an Unarmed Man in North Miami

      “We are extremely disturbed by the police shooting of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed caretaker helping a patient with autism outside a group home facility in North Miami. Thankfully, Mr. Kinsey is alive and not more gravely injured – but had the officer’s weapon been pointed just a few degrees differently, this senseless incident could have been a much greater tragedy.

      “This is the latest in what seems like an endless litany of police shootings of individuals who should not have been shot. Philando Castile in Minnesota, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Vernell Bing in Jacksonville: there are too many to name them all here. Of the 598 people killed by U.S. police this year, 88 were unarmed. Mr. Kinsey or his patient could very easily have become number 89.

      “We have to stem the tide of violence, both nationwide and here in Florida. It starts with holding people accountable for their actions. There must be a thorough and independent investigation into this shooting that covers both whether officers violated internal use of deadly force policies and whether criminal charges should be brought.

    • With Arms in Air, Unarmed Black Caregiver Shot by Police

      Charles Kinsey, a black man and caregiver at a group home, was shot by police on Monday in North Miami, Florida.

    • Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ student leaders found guilty

      It’s a dark day for the student leaders of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2014 that came to be known as the “Umbrella Movement.”

      On Thursday, a court convicted Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow for unlawful assembly, for their role in starting the protests.

    • Want police reform? Charge rich people more for speeding tickets

      Soon after the horrific video of Minneapolis-St Paul resident Philando Castile being killed by a cop during a routine traffic stop was broadcast live over Facebook, evidence of just how “routine” the stop actually was also became public.

      Castile, it turned out, had been pulled over at least 52 times in 13 years for a variety of minor infractions – a broken seat belt, an unlit license plate, tinted windows, a missing muffler – or what his mother called “driving while black”.

    • Immigrants Told To ‘Get In Line’ Are Waiting For Years Because Of Court Case Backlog

      Critics often tell immigrants to “get in line” to legally stay in the United States — but the only line in place spans years, as there are now more than half a million cases backlogged in the federal immigration court system.

      Based on new Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) findings by the Associated Press, the total number of immigration cases still pending has reached 500,051 — a number driven by Central American mothers and children who began arriving at the southern U.S. border beginning in late 2013.

      Immigration courts have been inundated with cases after the Obama administration prioritized and expedited court hearings for Central Americans in a process critically called a “rocket docket,” which gives lawyers and immigrants little time to gather evidence to support their claims for humanitarian relief.

    • Texas Governor Latest To Ask For A ‘Hate Crime’ Law That Covers Attacks On Cops

      Yet another politician can be added to the list of people who think police officers just don’t have enough protections as is. Following in the footsteps of legislators in New Jersey and Minnesota — along with Rep. Ken Buck (CO) — Texas governor Greg Abbott has decided it’s time to treat attacking officers as a “hate crime.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • I wanna go fast: HTTPS’ massive speed advantage

      In fact, a bunch of the internet was pretty upset. “It’s not fair!”, they cried. “You’re comparing apples and oranges!”, they raged.

    • CenturyLink Claims Broadband Caps Improve The ‘Internet Experience’ And Empower Consumers

      Broadband ISP CenturyLink this week confirmed it’s following on Comcast’s heels and starting to impose usage caps and overage fees on the company’s already pricey DSL services. As we’ve long noted, there’s no reasonable defense for what’s effectively a glorified rate hike on uncompetitive markets, but watching ISP PR departments try to justify these hikes has traditionally been a great source of entertainment (at least until you get the bill).

  • DRM

    • Statement on DMCA lawsuit

      My name is Matthew Green. I am a professor of computer science and a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I focus on computer security and applied cryptography.

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, to strike down Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law violates my First Amendment right to gather information and speak about an urgent matter of public concern: computer security. I am asking a federal judge to strike down key parts of this law so they cannot be enforced against me or anyone else.

    • Why I’m Suing the US Government

      Today I filed a lawsuit against the US government, challenging Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 means that you can be sued or prosecuted for accessing, speaking about, and tinkering with digital media and technologies that you have paid for. This violates our First Amendment rights, and I am asking the court to order the federal government to stop enforcing Section 1201.

    • America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the US government over ‘unconstitutional’ use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    • EFF Lawsuit Challenges DMCA’s Digital Locks Provision As First Amendment Violation

      Computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang have teamed up with the EFF to sue the US government, challenging the constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, also known as the “anti-circumvention” clause. As we’ve discussed for many years, 1201 makes it against the law to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” There are all sorts of problems with this part of the law, including the fact that it doesn’t matter why you have that tool or why you’re circumventing the DRM. For example, it would still be considered infringement if you cracked DRM on a public domain work. That’s… insane.

      The only “safety valve” on this is the ridiculous triennial review process, whereby people can beg and plead with the Librarian of Congress to “exempt” certain scenarios from being covered by 1201. The process is something of a joke, and even if you get an exemption one time, it automatically expires after three years, and the Library of Congress might not renew it.

    • Ever Buy Music From Apple? Use Linux? You Need This Tool

      Sure, you’re a hardcore superuser, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the finer things in life — like shiny squircles and getting every new app first. But, what’s an OS-indiscriminate person like yourself going to do when it comes time to purchase music? That’s where the recover_itunes tool shines, and if you’re a Linux user with an iPhone, it might just be your new best friend.

      iPhones and other Apple products work great when you’ve purchased music from iTunes, but can be a headache when your music comes from other sources. On the other hand, music purchased from iTunes is notoriously difficult to listen to on anything other than an Apple product. One major reason for the difficulty with the latter is in the way that iTunes handles metadata.

    • EFF sues US government, saying copyright rules on DRM are unconstitutional

      Since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became law in 1998, it has been a federal crime to copy a DVD or do anything else that subverts digital copy-protection schemes.

      Soon, government lawyers will have to show up in court to defend those rules. Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit (PDF) claiming the parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that deal with copy protection and digital locks are unconstitutional.

      Under the DMCA, any hacking or breaking of digital locks, often referred to as digital rights management or DRM, is a criminal act. That means modding a game console, hacking a car’s software, and copying a DVD are all acts that violate the law, no matter what the purpose. Those rules are encapsulated in Section 1201 of the DMCA, which was lobbied for by the entertainment industry and some large tech companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Report: Lifesaving New AIDS Drugs Remain Costly; Older Versions Get Cheaper

      The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has found that prices of older HIV drugs continue to decline, but newer drugs largely remain expensive.

      The results were released on 21 July in Untangling the Web, the 18th edition of MSF’s report on HIV drug pricing and access, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban.

    • Commitment On Investment In Access To Essential Medicines Signed At UNCTAD14

      A commitment signed this week to facilitate investment in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to boost the sector’s production and make available essential medicines for millions of needy people.

      UNAIDS and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union (AU), and the Kenyan and South African governments signed the pledge on 21 July, on the sidelines of the fourteen session of UNCTAD (UNCTAD-14), which is convening in Nairobi from July 17-22.

    • Trademarks

      • Running Out Of Puns: Get Ready For The Damn To Burst On Craft Beer Trademark Disputes

        With all the trademark actions we’ve seen taken these past few years that have revolved around the craft beer and distilling industries, it seems like some of the other folks in the mass media are finally picking up on what I’ve been saying for at least three years: the trademark apocalypse is coming for the liquor industries. It’s sort of a strange study in how an industry can evolve, starting as something artisan built on friendly competition and morphing into exactly the kind of legal-heavy, protectionist profit-beast that seems like the very antithesis of the craft brewing concept. And it should also be instructive as to how trademark law, something of the darling of intellectual properties in its intent if not application, can quickly become a major speed bump for what is an otherwise quickly growing market.

      • Dear US Olympic Committee: Tweeting About The Olympics Is Never Trademark Infringement

        It seems the USOC is just getting started with its bullying bullshit this Olympic season. Fresh off the heels of threatening Oiselle, a corporate sponsor of an Olympic athlete (but not a sponsor of the Olympics themselves), over trademark concerns because the company posted a congratulatory tweet for its sponsored athlete that included the Olympic bib she was wearing, the USOC is now sending out a helpful little reminder to other companies that have sponsored athletes but not the games. And by helpful, I mean that it’s helpful in seeing just how blatantly the USOC will outright lie in order to continue its bullying ways.

    • Copyrights

      • Kickass Torrents Gets The Megaupload Treatment: Site Seized, Owner Arrested And Charged With Criminal Infringement

        So just as the US government itself is accused of being engaged in massive copyright infringement itself, the Justice Department proudly announces that it has charged the owner of Kickass Torrents with criminal copyright infringement claims. The site has also been seized and the owner, Artem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland. As with the original Kim Dotcom/Megaupload indictment, the full criminal complaint against Vaulin is worth reading.

        As with the case against Dotcom/Megaupload, the DOJ seems to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as secondary liability in criminal infringement. That’s a big concern. Even though Kickass Torrents does not host the actual infringing files at all, the complaint argues that Vaulin is still legally responsible for others doing so. But that’s not actually how criminal copyright infringement works. The complaint barely even shows how Vaulin could be liable for the infringement conducted via Kickass Torrents.

        But, of course, that doesn’t matter because the guy at Homeland Security Investigations (formerly: ICE: Immigrations & Customs Enforcement) just spoke to the MPAA and the MPAA said that Kickass Torrents had no permission to link to their content. Yes, link.

      • Amazon, Cable Industry Molest The Definition Of Copyright In Ongoing Scuff Up Over Cable Box Reform

        Last week we noted how copyright has once again become a straw man, this time as part of an attempt to kill the FCC’s plan to bring competition to the cable box. Under the FCC’s plan, cable providers would have to provide their programming to third-party hardware vendors — using any copy protection of their choice — without forcing consumers to pay for a CableCARD. The plan has little to actually do with copyright, but cable providers have tried to scuttle the effort by trying to claim more cable box competition will magically result in a piracy apocalypse (stop me if you’ve heard this sort of thing before somewhere).

        The cable industry’s attack on the FCC’s plan has been threefold: hire sock puppets to make violently misleading claims in newspapers and websites nationwide; push industry-loyal politicians (who have no real clue what the plan does) to derail the plan publicly as the worst sort of villainy, and present a counter proposal packed with caveats that makes it all but useless. This counter proposal involves the cable industry delivering its programming via apps (much like it already does), but forces consumers to continue renting a cable box if they want to record programs via DVR.

        Given the cable industry’s plan is little more than a press release, that’s only the caveat we know of. But anybody thinking the cable industry’s going to just give up $21 billion in set top rental fees and their walled garden control over the user experience is utterly adorable.

      • Following KickassTorrents Death, Streaming Website Solarmovie Disappears
      • IsoHunt Launches A Working KickassTorrent Mirror — kickasstorrents.website

        Shortly after the U.S. Government seized the domains of KickassTorrents, IsoHunt is here with a working mirror of the world’s largest torrent website. The mirror can be accessed by visiting a URL similar to KAT’s domains i.e. kickasstorrents.website. The new website also displays a manifesto, demanding KAT founder’s freedom.

      • How Apple And Facebook Got KickassTorrents Founder Arrested

        The founder of the world’s largest torrent hosting website KickassTorrents is now behind the bars. The cause of his arrest are the legal purchases he made on Apple’s iTunes Store which helped the homeland security department to track him down.

      • Trump campaign admits Melania’s speech plagiarized Michelle Obama

        Donald Trump’s campaign has acknowledged that Melania Trump’s speech on Monday at the Republican National Convention used identical phrasing as a speech from Michelle Obama in 2008.

        The admission came in a written statement (viewable below in its entirety) on Wednesday from Meredith McIver, the writer who worked with Melania on the speech. McIver identified herself as an “in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization” and a friend of the Trump family.

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