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06.25.19

Links 25/6/2019: Mesa Releases, Less Microsoft in Apache

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Five Linux Server Administration Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

      In 2017, an employee at GitLab, the version control hosting platform, was asked to replicate a database of production data. Because of a configuration error, the replication did not work as expected, so the employee decided to remove the data that had been transferred and try again. He ran a command to delete the unwanted data, only to realize with mounting horror that he had entered the command into an SSH session connected to a production server, deleting hundreds of gigabytes of user data. Every seasoned system administrator can tell you a similar story.

      The Linux command line gives server admins control of their servers and the data stored on them, but it does little to stop them running destructive commands with consequences that can’t be undone. Accidental data deletion is just one type of mistake that new server administrators make.

    • Skytap Announces General Availability of IBM i in the Public Cloud, Leads Ecosystem to New Opportunities

      Skytap, a global, purpose-built cloud service, announces that its support for the IBM i operating system is now available in US-West, US-Central and EMEA-UK. Available for purchase in hourly, monthly and annual consumption models, this release broadens Skytap’s support for IBM Power Systems-based applications that can be developed, tested and run in production.

      In the 2017/2018 Logicalis Global CIO Survey, most CIOs indicated they are focused on digital transformation, with 44 percent citing complex legacy infrastructure as a main barrier in this transformation.

    • Instaclustr Releases Service Broker to Seamlessly Integrate Customers’ Kubernetes Applications within the Instaclustr Open-Source-as-a-Service Platform
    • MariaDB 10.3 now available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

      Red Hat Software Collections supplies the latest, stable versions of development tools and components for Red Hat Enterprise Linux via two release trains per year. As part of the Red Hat Software Collections 3.3 release, we are pleased to announce that MariaDB 10.3 is now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

    • Quarkus 0.17.0 now available

      Quarkus continues its cadence of delivering a release every 2-3 weeks. This latest release (0.17.0) contains 125+ changes that include new features, bug fixes, and documentation updates.

    • Recap of Kubernetes Contributor Summit Barcelona 2019

      First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who made the Kubernetes Contributor Summit in Barcelona possible. We had an amazing team of volunteers tasked with planning and executing the event, and it was so much fun meeting and talking to all new and current contributors during the main event and the pre-event celebration.

      Contributor Summit in Barcelona kicked off KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in a big way as it was the largest contributor summit to date with 331 people signed up, and only 9 didn’t pick up their badges!

    • The innovation delusion

      If traditional planning is dead, then why do so many organizations still invest in planning techniques optimized for the Industrial Revolution?

      One reason might be that we trick ourselves into thinking innovation is the kind of thing we can accomplish with a structured, linear process. When we do this, I think we’re confusing our stories about innovation with the process of innovation itself—and the two are very different.

    • Top Web Based Docker Monitoring Tools

      It is an open source platform and enables administrations to manage and run Docker in creation. It offers the whole program stack that is desired to achieve containers in production and it can be simply installed on any engine that can run Docker. After installation, all nodes can be easily configured and organized through the UI Web. You can get complex functions such as load and manage balancing out of the box after a few clicks.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.15

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.15 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:

      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y

      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 4.19.56
    • Linux 4.14.130
    • Introducing people.kernel.org

      Ever since the demise of Google+, many developers have expressed a desire to have a service that would provide a way to create and manage content in a format that would be more rich and easier to access than email messages sent to LKML.

      Today, we would like to introduce people.kernel.org, which is an ActivityPub-enabled federated platform powered by WriteFreely and hosted by very nice and accommodating folks at write.as.

    • Deprecating a.out Binaries

      Remember a.out binaries? They were the file format of the Linux kernel till around 1995 when ELF took over. ELF is better. It allows you to load shared libraries anywhere in memory, while a.out binaries need you to register shared library locations. That’s fine at small scales, but it gets to be more and more of a headache as you have more and more shared libraries to deal with. But a.out is still supported in the Linux source tree, 25 years after ELF became the standard default format.

      Recently, Borislav Petkov recommended deprecating it in the source tree, with the idea of removing it if it turned out there were no remaining users. He posted a patch to implement the deprecation. Alan Cox also remarked that “in the unlikely event that someone actually has an a.out binary they can’t live with, they can also just write an a.out loader as an ELF program entirely in userspace.”

    • Intel UMWAIT Support Queued For Linux 5.3 – New Feature For Tremont Cores

      Adding to the growing list of features for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel is now Intel UMWAIT support for better power-savings.

      UMWAIT is a new feature for Intel Tremont CPUs cores. UMWAIT can help enhance power savings during idle periods with “user mode wait” functionality. UMWAIT allows for monitoring a range of addresses in a lightweight power/performance state or an enhanced mode that can still help with conserving power but less so in order to offer lower latencies. UMWAIT is intended to be used as an alternative to kernel spinloops when needing to wait/sleep for short periods of time when the system is idle.

    • Linux 5.3 Kernel To Bring Ingenic KMS Driver, Rockchip RK3328 Support

      A final set of drm-misc-next Direct Rendering Manager driver changes were sent out at the end of last week as the remaining feature work now queued up for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel merge window.

      A new DRM/KMS driver coming with Linux 5.3 is the Ingenic KMS/DRM driver for supporting the Ingenic JZ47xx SoC hardware. This is intended to replace the existing Linux frame-buffer driver for the same hardware.

      For Linux 5.3 the driver is quite basic but there are plans by its developer to support multiple planes, IPU integration for colorspace conversion, up/down scaling, support for DSI displays, and TV-out / HDMI outputs.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linus Torvalds Sees Lots of Hardware Headaches Ahead

        Linux founder Linus Torvalds, today at the KubeCon + CloudNative + Open Source Summit China conference, warned attendees that managing software is about to become a lot more challenging, largely because of two hardware issues that are beyond the control of DevOps teams.

        [...]

        In the meantime, Torvalds noted updates to the Linux kernel are still coming at a rate of every three months, and the Linux team is basically working on a six-month planning cycle—there is no master five-year plan the Linux team is working from. Roughly 1,500 developers work on contributions to the Linux kernel, with 100 maintainers overseeing the implementation of those contributions.

        Naturally, cybersecurity patches at the kernel level have significant implications for all of DevOps. Changes to the kernel need to be absorbed by all the various distributions of Linux, which in turn impacts all the stacks of software that depend on Linux. Jim Zemlin, executive director for The Linux Foundation, said that in the wake of the rise of these hardware issues and previous cybersecurity issues involving open source software such as the Heartbleed vulnerability, cybersecurity is the top priority for The Linux Foundation. As part of that effort, The Linux Foundation is researching various DevSecOps approaches to better securing the global open source supply chain, he said.

      • Linux Foundation to become home of WeBank’s FATE

        The Linux Foundation announced the inclusion of federated learning framework FATE into the organisation.

        The project has been contributed by Chinese digital bank WeBank, with organisations such as AI computing platform provider Clustar, e-commerce company JD.com’s subsidiary JD Intelligent Cities Research, and WeBank initiator Tencent already committed to the cause.

        Linux Foundation’s executive director Jim Zemlin explained the move in a canned statement, saying “A secure computing framework is critical for developers who are using data and models to build the latest applications across financial services, manufacturing, healthcare and more.”

      • MATRIXX Software Joins Linux Foundation Networking to Advance Next Generation of Telco Services

        MATRIXX Software, an innovation powerhouse committed to transforming global commerce, today announced it has joined Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) as a silver member. MATRIXX is participating in the foundation’s programs to provide guidance related to advancing a new generation of services inspired by web-scale best practices.

    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 19.0.7
        Hi List,
        
        I'd like to announce the availability of mesa 19.0.7. This is the last release
        of the mesa 19.0 series, and all users are encouraged to migrate 19.1.x instead.
        
        I'd like to apologize for the lateness of this release, in my defence I was on
        vacation most of the 19.0.7 cycle and there were several patches that needed
        backport.
        
        There's nothing too crazy here for the final release of the series. It's pretty
        spread across the system except for radv which had a number of small bug fixes.
        
        Thanks again for the smooth sailing 19.0.x series, I'll see y'all again as
        release manager in October for the 19.3 cycle.
        
        Dylan
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (5):
              radv: Prevent out of bound shift on 32-bit builds.
              radv: Decompress DCC when the image format is not allowed for buffers.
              radv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              anv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              meson: Allow building radeonsi with just the android platform.
        
        Charmaine Lee (1):
              svga: Remove unnecessary check for the pre flush bit for setting vertex buffers
        
        Deepak Rawat (1):
              winsys/svga/drm: Fix 32-bit RPCI send message
        
        Dylan Baker (4):
              docs: Add SHA256 sums for 19.0.6
              cherry-ignore: add additional 19.1 only patches
              Bump version for 19.0.7 release
              Docs add 19.0.7 release notes
        
        Emil Velikov (1):
              mapi: correctly handle the full offset table
        
        Gert Wollny (2):
              virgl: Add a caps feature check version
              virgl: Assume sRGB write control for older guest kernels or virglrenderer hosts
        
        Haihao Xiang (1):
              i965: support UYVY for external import only
        
        Jason Ekstrand (2):
              nir/propagate_invariant: Don't add NULL vars to the hash table
              anv: Set STATE_BASE_ADDRESS upper bounds on gen7
        
        Kenneth Graunke (1):
              glsl: Fix out of bounds read in shader_cache_read_program_metadata
        
        Kevin Strasser (2):
              gallium/winsys/kms: Fix dumb buffer bpp
              st/mesa: Add rgbx handling for fp formats
        
        Lionel Landwerlin (2):
              intel/perf: fix EuThreadsCount value in performance equations
              intel/perf: improve dynamic loading config detection
        
        Mathias Fröhlich (1):
              egl: Don't add hardware device if there is no render node v2.
        
        Nanley Chery (1):
              anv/cmd_buffer: Initalize the clear color struct for CNL+
        
        Nataraj Deshpande (1):
              anv: Fix check for isl_fmt in assert
        
        Samuel Pitoiset (5):
              radv: fix alpha-to-coverage when there is unused color attachments
              radv: fix setting CB_SHADER_MASK for dual source blending
              radv: fix occlusion queries on VegaM
              radv: fix VK_EXT_memory_budget if one heap isn't available
              radv: fix FMASK expand with SRGB formats
        
        
        
        git tag: mesa-19.0.7
        
      • Mesa 19.0.7 Now Available As The Last Of The Series

        Mesa 19.0.7 was released on Monday as the last Mesa 19.0 stable release, ending this quarterly update series from Q1.

        Mesa 19.0.7 is the end of the line and users are encouraged to move to Mesa 19.1 stable, which has been out since earlier this month. Mesa 19.2 is where all feature development is happening and it should be released around the end of August or more likely will end up being September due to blocker bugs often ending up delaying the releases.

      • Mesa 19.1.1
        Mesa 19.1.1 is now available.
        
        In this release we have:
        
        Mostly in fixes for different drivers (RADV, ANV,
        Nouveau, Virgl, V3D, R300g, ...)
        
        Also different fixes for different parts (Meson build, GLX,
        etc).
        
        
        Alejandro Piñeiro (1):
              v3d: fix checking twice auf flag
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (5):
              radv: Skip transitions coming from external queue.
              radv: Decompress DCC when the image format is not allowed for buffers.
              radv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              anv: Fix vulkan build in meson.
              meson: Allow building radeonsi with just the android platform.
        
        Dave Airlie (1):
              nouveau: fix frees in unsupported IR error paths.
        
        Eduardo Lima Mitev (1):
              freedreno/a5xx: Fix indirect draw max_indices calculation
        
        Eric Engestrom (3):
              util/futex: fix dangling pointer use
              glx: fix glvnd pointer types
              util/os_file: resize buffer to what was actually needed
        
        Gert Wollny (1):
              virgl: Assume sRGB write control for older guest kernels or virglrenderer hosts
        
        Haihao Xiang (1):
              i965: support UYVY for external import only
        
        Jason Ekstrand (1):
              anv: Set STATE_BASE_ADDRESS upper bounds on gen7
        
        Juan A. Suarez Romero (3):
              docs: Add SHA256 sums for 19.1.0
              Update version to 19.1.1
              docs: add release notes for 19.1.1
        
        Kenneth Graunke (2):
              glsl: Fix out of bounds read in shader_cache_read_program_metadata
              iris: Fix iris_flush_and_dirty_history to actually dirty history.
        
        Kevin Strasser (2):
              gallium/winsys/kms: Fix dumb buffer bpp
              st/mesa: Add rgbx handling for fp formats
        
        Lionel Landwerlin (2):
              anv: do not parse genxml data without INTEL_DEBUG=bat
              intel/dump: fix segfault when the app hasn't accessed the device
        
        Mathias Fröhlich (1):
              egl: Don't add hardware device if there is no render node v2.
        
        Richard Thier (1):
              r300g: restore performance after RADEON_FLAG_NO_INTERPROCESS_SHARING was added
        
        Rob Clark (1):
              freedreno/a6xx: un-swap X24S8_UINT
        
        Samuel Pitoiset (4):
              radv: fix occlusion queries on VegaM
              radv: fix VK_EXT_memory_budget if one heap isn't available
              radv: fix FMASK expand with SRGB formats
              radv: disable viewport clamping even if FS doesn't write Z
        
        git tag: mesa-19.1.1
        
      • Mesa 19.1.1 Released – Led By RADV & Intel Driver Fixes

        Mesa 19.1.1 is out as the first point release to this quarter’s Mesa 19.1 series that was christened earlier this month.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The Experimental Bcachefs File-System Against Btrfs, EXT4, F2FS, XFS & ZFS

        Bcachefs is the file-system born out of the Linux kernel’s block cache code and has been worked on the past several years by developer Kent Overstreet. Our most recent benchmarking of Bcachefs was last year, so with the prospects of Bcachefs potentially being staged soon in the mainline Linux kernel, I ran some benchmarks using the latest kernel code for this next-generation file-system.
        Those unfamiliar with this copy-on-write file-system can learn more at Bcachefs.org. The design features of this file-system are similar to ZFS/Btrfs and include native encryption, snapshots, compression, caching, multi-device/RAID support, and more. But even with all of its features, it aims to offer XFS/EXT4-like performance, which is something that can’t generally be said for Btrfs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.16.2 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 30 Bug Fixes

        Coming just one week after the first point release, the KDE Plasma 5.16.2 maintenance update is here to add yet another layer of bug fixes with the ultimate goal to make the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment more stable and reliable for users. In particular, this second point release introduces a total of 34 changes across various core components and apps.

        “Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.16.2. Plasma 5.16 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds a week’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important,” reads today’s announcement.

      • Plasma 5.16.2
      • An easier way to test Plasma

        Having the Plasma and Usability & Productivity sprints held at the same time and place had an unexpected benefit: we were able to come up with a way to make it easier to test a custom-compiled version of Plasma!

        Previously, we had some documentation that asked people to create a shell script on their computers, copy files to various locations, and perform a few other steps. Unfortunately, many of the details were out of date, and the whole process was quite error-prone. It turned out that almost none of the Plasma developers at the sprint were actually using this method, and each had cobbled together something for themselves. Some (including myself) had given up on it and were doing Plasma development in a virtual machine.

        So we put some time into easing this pain by making Plasma itself produce all the right pieces automatically when compiled from source. Then, we created a simple script to install everything properly.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell 3.33.3

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • GNOME Shell & Mutter See Their 3.33.3 Releases With Notable X11/Wayland Changes

        Arriving late, a few days after the GNOME 3.33.3 development snapshot, the Mutter and GNOME Shell updates are now available.

        The Mutter 3.33.3 window manager / compositor update is notable with preparations for running XWayland on-demand — a.k.a. just when needed for X11 client usage and not constantly. The Mutter update also now honors the startup sequence workspace on Wayland, fixes around fractional scaling, adds the new Sysprof-based profiling support, adds mouse and locate-pointer accessibility, consolidates the frame throttling code, improves screencasting support on multi-monitor systems, fixes running X11 applications with sudo under Wayland, adds initial KMS transactional support, and there are many bug fixes.

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.14.0 release

        Apart from updating to GStreamer 1.16, this release is mostly focussed on adding more bindings for various APIs and general API cleanup and bugfixes.

        The most notable API additions in this release are bindings for gst::Memory and gst::Allocator as well as bindings for gst_base::BaseParse and gst_video::VideoDecoder and VideoEncoder. The latter also come with support for implementing subclasses and the gst-plugins-rs module contains an video decoder and parser (for CDG), and a video encoder (for AV1) based on this.

      • Sysprof design work

        Since my last post, I’ve been working on a redesign of Sysprof (among other things) to make it a bit more useful and friendly to newcomers.

        Many years ago, I worked on a small profiler project called “Perfkit” that never really went anywhere. I had already done most of my UI research for this years ago, so it was pretty much just a matter of applying that design to the Sysprof code-base.

  • Distributions

    • 5 tiny Linux distros to try before you die

      There are plenty of Linux distributions out there to choose from when you’re deciding what to run on a daily basis, yet some are so small that they get little notice. But tiny Linux distributions are powerful innovations: having an entire operating system drive a computer with less than 1GB of storage and half as much RAM is the ultimate software hack.

      Tiny distros have many uses, such as…

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS 15 Released – Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Introduce Zorin Connect

        Zorin OS 15 is the latest release of Zorin OS, based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS with the HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel and graphics stack from Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish). using GNOME 3.30 as default desktop environment with refreshed and refined the look and feel of the Zorin OS desktop with a new, more welcoming desktop theme.

        A new and refreshed look was given to Zorin OS 15 with a beautiful and welcoming desktop theme that adapts throughout the day, switching automatically between the Light and Dark modes, while also offering users no less than six color variants. The new desktop theme also comes with new animations for a complete experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        SUSE has announced the general availability of the first Service Pack (SP1) release for their latest and most advanced SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system series.
        Released a year ago, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system brought numerous new features and enhancements, along with an updated application delivery solution and software-defined infrastructure to help enterprises better adapt and transform their IT departments for their business models. Now, the first Service Pack release is here to further refine the world’s first multimodal operating system.

        “SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of Engineering, Product and Innovation. “As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across their core on-premise and public cloud environments.”

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed vs leap: What is the Difference?

        Before talking about the differences between these versions of openSUSE, let’s have a brief look at its background and features. Earlier it was known as SUSE Linux but after a software company Novell acquired SUSE Linux in February 2004, Novell decided to release SUSE Linux Professional with 100% open source products, and as an open source project, this Linux got its prefix i.e Open. Later it split from Novell and became a separate brand.

        openSUSE inherits its properties from SUSE Linux Professional and the successor of the same. SUSE also offers open source-based enterprise-class OS known as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

        openSUSE Linux community is backed by the SUSE for further research and developments. It uses the easy-to-use YaST package management system and has great advantages for a small and medium-sized enterprise server. Using YaST2 can make the configuration of the server simpler and faster. SuSE Enterprise Linux can be used for large server systems too. When it comes to Linux, everyone knows that Linux is a very secure OS, and openSUSE is not an exception. Apart from the YaST Package manager, it also supports self-developed Zypper (ZYpp) and RPM. It uses KDE5 as the default desktop environment and also provides the GNOME, MATE, LXQt, Xfce…

        Now come to the main agenda of the article which is the difference between openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap?

      • SUSE provides platform for cloud-native
      • SUSE Refines its Platform for Cloud-Native, Containerized Applications as Enterprises Move to Hybrid and Multi-Cloud
    • Fedora

      • Fedora 31 Looking At No Longer Building i686 Linux Kernel Packages

        Not to be confused with Ubuntu’s varying stance on dropping 32-bit packages beginning with their next release later this year, Fedora 31 now has a proposal pending to discontinue their i686 kernel builds but they will still be keeping with their 32-bit packaging.

        This Fedora 31 change proposal by Justin Forbes, one of Fedora’s kernel hackers, is just about ending i686 kernel builds beginning with this Fedora release due out in October. The i686 kernel-headers package would still be offered in order to satisfy necessary dependencies for 32-bit programs needing those headers. Of course, users will have to be running off a 64-bit kernel. All 32-bit programs should continue to work on Fedora 31.

      • Fedora Workstation 31 Is Looking Great With Many Original Features Being Worked On

        Fedora Workstation 31 is shaping up to be another exciting release for this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. As usual, a ton of original upstream features are being worked on for this innovative desktop/workstation Linux spin.

        Christian Schaller of Red Hat has once again written an in-depth blog post outlining the different improvements being pursued this cycle by various Red Hat developers.

      • Fedora booth at Red Hat Summit

        Red Hat Summit — the annual conference for Red Hat customers, partners, and open source contributors — took place last month in Boston, Massachusetts. Fedora had space in the Community Central booth on the expo floor and we had a lot of great conversations with our community.

        As you might expect, the attendees were familiar with open source and Fedora specifically. We got a lot of questions about Fedora Silverblue. Some people were enthusiastic users who have adopted it as their main desktop. Others had heard of it, but didn’t know the details. Fortunately, we were happy to share with them.

      • GNOME Classic Mode is Getting Some Overdue Improvements in Fedora 31

        Red Hat’s Christian F.K. Schaller shares word of several changes to the session in a summary of work that’s underway ahead of the next major release of Fedora.

        Now, at this point you might be trying to remember what the GNOME Classic session is. When I first read about these improvements I thought “Oh neat, he means GNOME Flashback!”.

        Nope.

        GNOME Classic is its own thing. While similarly minded it’s technically different to the GNOME Flashback session that’s readily available in most distros’ repos (including Ubuntu’s).

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Give Ubuntu an Electric-Blue Look with StarLabs’ Theme

            Fancy giving your Ubuntu desktop a dark, electric-blue makeover? If so, then Linux laptop seller StarLabs has you covered.

            The company (who I’l admit I hadn’t heard of until recently) joins a surfeit of British-based Linux laptop vendors, with StationX and the (fabulous) Entroware being the best known.

            But we’re not here to talk about systems, we’re here to talk themes!

            See, aside from selling a small range of (seemingly decent) laptops preloaded with a selection of Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, StarLabs also maintain their own theme.

            And i’m going to show you how to install it Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu Has Started Work On A New Desktop Snap Store

            Ubuntu’s software stores / software centers have gone through several revisions over the years and now a new Snap Store is in development.

            Developers at Canonical have begun committing to a new Snap Desktop Store. The first code commits were only last week, so it’s not yet something for end-users to get all excited about but presumably they’ll be aiming for it to be in good shape by next year’s Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          • Ubuntu 19.10 drops 32-bit images, pledges to maintain some packages after user outcry

            Ubuntu 19.10 is scheduled for release in October, though controversy is already brewing following Canonical’s abjectly poorly-communicated plans to stop providing new 32-bit x86 (i386) packages in new Ubuntu releases. This move will prevent users from installing Ubuntu on older computers, and using certain applications only provided in 32-bit versions.

            In fairness to Canonical, the first x86-64 processors will be 16 years old when Ubuntu 19.10 is released, and this is a reckoning that other Linux distributions—as well as Windows and Mac OS—will eventually face, as the amount of engineering time needed to protract legacy platform support is approaching the negative end of a cost-benefit analysis.

          • Ubuntu Will Provide Select 32-bit Packages For Ubuntu 19.10 And 20.04 LTS

            As a result of constant feedback from the open source community — specifically gamers, WINE users, and Ubuntu Studio users — Canonical has decided to change its plans regarding ditching the 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

            For those who don’t know, last week, Canonical announced that it’s going to completely abandon the support for i386 architectures in the Ubuntu 19.10 release. Due to the same reason, Canonical restricted the users from upgrading their 18.04 LTS installations to 18.10, so that they don’t end up running 32-bit applications on an interim release with just nine months of support.

          • The future of mobile connectivity

            Mobile operators face a range of challenges today from saturation, competition and regulation – all of which are having a negative impact on revenues. The introduction of 5G offers new customer segments and services to offset this decline. However, unlike the introduction of 4G which was dominated by consumer benefits, 5G is expected to be driven by enterprise use. According to IDC, enterprises will generate 60 percent of the world’s data by 2025.

            Rather than rely on costly proprietary hardware and operating models, the use of open source technologies offers the ability to commoditise and democratise the wireless network infrastructure. Major operators such as Vodafone, Telefonica and China Mobile have already adopted such practices.

            Shifting to open source technology and taking a software defined approach enables mobile operators to differentiate based on the services they offer, rather than network coverage or subscription costs.

          • Design and Web team summary – 25 June 2019

            This was a fairly busy two weeks for the Web & design team at Canonical. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Statement by The Apache Software Foundation Board of Directors

    It is with a mix of sadness and appreciation that the ASF Board accepted the resignations of Board Member Jim Jagielski, Chairman Phil Steitz, and Executive Vice President Ross Gardler last month.

    As an ASF co-founder, Jim has held every officer position since the Foundation’s incorporation, with the exception of a one-year break in 2018. He has played a substantial role in the development and success of the organization and is a recognized advocate of Open Source at the developer and corporate levels.

    An ASF Member since 2005, Phil was instrumental in the adoption, growth, and ubiquity of Apache Java projects across many industries, most visibly financial services. He served as Vice President Apache Commons for four years, and as ASF Chairman August 2017 – May 2019.

    Ross has been championing The Apache Way to governments, corporations, and educational institutions for nearly two decades. Since becoming an ASF Member in 2005, he served as Vice President of Community Development (2009-2012), ASF Director and President (2015-2016), and ASF Executive Vice President October 2016 – May 2019.

    We laud their contributions to many of the ASF’s achievements over the past two decades [1]. Their motivation, vision, and passion is truly inspiring. Whilst we will greatly miss their day-to-day leadership at the executive level, we are heartened that the Foundation will continue to benefit through their participation as ASF Members.

  • Don’t make a FOSS: Apache Software Foundation Board bids farewell to co-founder and two big hitters [Ed: Richard Speed misses the point that those leaving were Microsoft employees and boosters inside Apache]

    To lose one board member may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness, but to lose three?

    The nature of the Board of Directors of open source foundations means churn is a normal part of life, indeed many open source board members can be swapped out at the whim of a community vote, as they should.

    However, the Apache Software Foundation saw three members of its board hand in their resignations last month: chairman Phil Steitz, executive vice president Ross Gardler and, perhaps most significantly, co-founder of the whole show Jim Jagielski.

    Jagielski had been approaching his quarter century of service and had enjoyed roles on the board including chairman and president over the years. He also laid claim to being the first new member after the original eight-member Apache Group.

    Gardler, who signed up to Apache way back in 2000, spent just over two-and-a-half years as executive vice president, is currently toiling away at Microsoft on the Azure Container Service, while Steitz, a veteran of American Express in the early part of the century, is vacating the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Chairman’s chair after less than two years in the post.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Hitting the Reset Button on Hadoop

      Hadoop has seen better days. The recent struggles of Cloudera and MapR – the two remaining independent distributors of Hadoop software — are proof of.

  • LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 ready for testing

      The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 is ready for testing!

      LibreOffice 6.3 will be released as final in mid August, 2019, being LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 the third pre-release since the development of version 6.3 started in mid November, 2018 ( See the release plan ). Since LibreOffice 6.3 Beta1, 226 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 106 bugs have been set to FIXED in Bugzilla. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

      LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 can be downloaded from here, it’s available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. Besides, and it can be installed along with your actual installation.

  • Programming/Development

    • Fedora Update Week 23–24

      It’s been another two weeks, so time for another update. Package updates have been rather calm since the last post. I continue to work on adding R packages, and some new things, like glava, the OpenGL audio spectrum analyzer, which can produce cool things like…

    • util-linux v2.34 — what’s new?

      The code of the popular command lsblk(8) has been completely rewritten. The result is more extendible and readable code. Now lsblk(8) keeps all block devices tree in memory before it’s printed. It allows to modify and reorder the tree independently on the way how kernel (/sys filesystem) exports the tree to userspace.

    • libredwg-0.8 released

      This is a major release, adding the new dynamic API, read and write all header and object fields by name. Many of the old dwg_api.h field accessors are deprecated.

    • Reuven Lerner: Announcing: Python standard library, video explainer

      A month or two ago, I saw an online quiz that caught my eye: How much of the Python standard library do you know?

      Now, the “standard library” is the collection of modules and packages that come with Python. It constitutes the “batteries” that “batteries included” refers to in the Python world. And the standard library is big, with about 300 modules, each of which contains functions, classes, and values. Knowing the standard library, and how to use it, is essential to productive use of Python.

      And yet, a large number of the people responding indicated that they knew very little of the standard library. Which makes sense, given that each of us tends to focus on what’s important to our jobs.

    • Generating Random Data in Python

      In this course, you’ll cover several options for generating random data in Python, and then build up to a comparison of each in terms of its level of security, versatility, purpose, and speed.

    • New “-O1g” Optimization Level Proposed For The GCC Compiler

      A new “-O1g” optimization level has been proposed for the GNU Compiler Collection that would allow better performance but still relative ease for debugging the generated binaries.

    • Python: Vectors, Matrices and Arrays with NumPy

      In this lesson, we will look at some neat tips and tricks to play with vectors, matrices and arrays using NumPy library in Python. This lesson is a very good starting point if you are getting started into Data Science and need some introductory mathematical overview of these components and how we can play with them using NumPy in code.
      NumPy library allows us to perform various operations which needs to be done on data structures often used in Machine Learning and Data Science like vectors, matrices and arrays. We will only show most common operations with NumPy which are used in a lot of Machine Learning pipelines. Finally, please note that NumPy is just a way to perform the operations, so, the mathematical operations we show are the main focus of this lesson and not the NumPy package itself. Let’s get started.

    • KDAB at SIGGRAPH – 2019

      KDAB is sharing the Qt booth at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. We’ll be showing some of our profiling and debugging tools as well as our latest QiTissue demo, a desktop Application developed for Quantitative Imaging Systems (Qi) to help cancer researchers efficiently handle gigabytes of data (see more about that here),

    • Jinja 2 Templates

      JInja2 is a widely-used and fully featured template engine for Python. Being modern it is hence also design-friendly language for Python, modelled after Django’s templates. Ansible uses Jinja2 templating to enable dynamic expressions and access to variables. Ansible controller, where JInja2 comes in picture, is where all the templating takes place before the command is sent and implemented on the target machine. Now, let us look at some syntax that will be helpful with Ansible.

    • Christopher Allan Webber: Let’s Just Be Weird Together

      Approximately a month ago was Morgan and I’s 10 year wedding anniversary. To commemorate that, and as a surprise gift, I made the above ascii art and animation.

      Actually, it’s not just an animation, it’s a program, and one you can run. As a side note, I originally thought I’d write up how I made it, but I kept procrastinating on that and it lead me to putting off writing this post for about a month. Oh well, all I’ll say for now is that it lead to a major rewrite of one of the main components of Spritely. But that’s something to speak of for another time, I suppose.

      Back to the imagery! Morgan was surprised to see the animation, and yet the image itself wasn’t a surprise. That’s because the design is actually built off of one we collaborated on together:

    • RcppTOML 0.1.6: Tinytest support and more robustification

      A new RcppTOML release is now on CRAN. RcppTOML brings TOML to R.

      TOML is a file format that is most suitable for configurations, as it is meant to be edited by humans but read by computers. It emphasizes strong readability for humans while at the same time supporting strong typing as well as immediate and clear error reports. On small typos you get parse errors, rather than silently corrupted garbage. Much preferable to any and all of XML, JSON or YAML – though sadly these may be too ubiquitous now. TOML has been making inroads with projects such as the Hugo static blog compiler, or the Cargo system of Crates (aka “packages”) for the Rust language.

      Václav Hausenblas sent a number of excellent and very focused PRs helping with some input format corner cases, as well as with one test. We added support for the wonderful new tinytest package. The detailed list of changes in this incremental version is below.

    • Things we learned about programming languages working on season three of Command Line Heroes

      One of the best things about working on a project like Command Line Heroes is that you get to learn a lot in the process. For example, while working on season three of Command Line Heroes (launching today!) we discovered a number of fun facts about programming languages that even we didn’t know before.

    • Explore the past, present, and future of Python on Command-Line Heroes

      A new season of the podcast Command Line Heroes launched today. I’ve grown to enjoy this series for both its deep storytelling and its excellent host, Saron Yitbarek. They also dive into fantastic themes, and this year is all about programming languages.

      The first episode of the new season explores Python, the language I’ve been spending more time on for data sciencey reasons. As a newer convert, I’ve wondered where the language, which is approaching its 30th anniversary, is headed.

    • Find Your Off-Ramp | Coder Radio 363

      We take on the issues of burnout, work communication culture, and keeping everything in balance.

      Plus Wes asks ‘Why Not Kotlin’ and breaks down where it fits in his toolbox.

    • Collections In Python | Introduction To Python Collections

      Python programming language has four collection data types- list, tuple, sets and dictionary. But python also comes with a built-in module known as collections which has specialized data structures which basically covers for the shortcomings of the four data types. In this blog, we will go through each of those specialized data structures in detail.

    • Swiss Perl Workshop 2019

      We are looking for speakers, if you have an idea for a talk or presentation then please submit a talk proposal. Because the venue has a few rooms we are also very open to any workshop-like ideas. This could be anything that 2-10 people can attend.

    • PerlCon 2019: Rīga, Latvia, 7–9 August

      PerlCon 2019 is the 20th edition of the annual European Perl Conference also known as YAPC::Europe and TPCiR.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Russian political scientist Valery Solovey says he lost his prestigious job in Moscow academia ‘for political reasons’

      Political scientist and historian Valery Solovey has left his position as the chair of the Public Relations Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Solovey says he stepped down “for political reasons.” Though the decision was reached unofficially in late May, Solovey only announced it on June 19 in a Facebook post. Spokespeople for MGIMO have been guarded about the scholar’s departure. In his many lectures and public appearances, Valery Solovey has repeatedly predicted radical changes coming to Russia, such as Vladimir Putin leaving the presidency early, nationwide mass protests, and restrictions on Russians traveling abroad. Meduza’s Vladislav Gorin spoke to Solovey about being forced from MGIMO and his various prognostications, including his latest about a revolution coming next year to Russia.

      [...]

      Who was behind this meddling into academia? Solovey says he doesn’t know. It may have been the Foreign Ministry or it may have been the Kremlin, but he says he didn’t dig into the matter, in order to avoid “a messy trench war.” Solovey ties his ouster to the recent news that Moscow’s Higher School of Economics is disbanding its Political Science Department, which employs Alexander Kynev. Whoever has been orchestrating this academic purge, Solovey says, the “pressure” is never a direct order, but “happens in the form of persistent advice, opinions, and wishes.”

    • Universal solution will help grow tomatoes in the north and Arctic

      Staff of the TSU Biological Institute have developed a new solution concentrate for growing tomatoes without soil. This is optimal for critical farming areas—the northern regions and the Arctic. The biologists’ development differs from the many other compounds used for growing crops with the hydroponics method in that tap water rather than distilled water can be used in the preparation of the solution and aeration is not required, which simplifies cultivation and reduces the cost.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Insulin Racket

      In June 22, 2017, Alec Raeshawn Smith, a recently promoted restaurant manager with Type 1 diabetes, left his local pharmacy empty-handed. He’d gone in to pick up a month’s worth of insulin supplies, which he assumed would set him back around $1000—the amount he and his mother Nicole Smith-Holt had budgeted the month before when he turned 26 and, under Obamacare rules, had to drop off her insurance coverage.

      For Alec, that price was already steep: Even with his promotion, he was making $35,000 a year with no benefits. He and Smith-Holt had combed through Minnesota’s Obamacare marketplace for months in search of a decent plan, but the affordable ones all had sky-high deductibles. That meant that he’d be paying full price for his insulin for months before his junk insurance kicked in, on top of hundreds of dollars in monthly premiums—sucking up some 80 percent of his take-home pay once he paid the rent. So he made a rational decision: He’d go uninsured, save the cost of the premium, and just pay for his meds out of pocket, while racking up work experience that could serve as a springboard to a better position with health insurance.

      As it turned out, it wouldn’t have made a difference if Alec had been insured or not: The price of his insulin had apparently gone up again to $1300, which was more than he had in his bank account. Perhaps he felt embarrassed, too proud to borrow money so soon after finally moving out of his parents’ place. Perhaps he didn’t want anyone to worry about him, and figured he could keep his blood sugar down until payday.

      So he left. He never told his mother and he never told his girlfriend. Five days later, he was dead.

    • ‘Modified’: A Film About GMOs and the Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit

      Parts of the documentary Modified are spent at the kitchen table. But it’s not really a tale about wonderful recipes or the preparation of food. Ultimately, it’s a story of capitalism, money and power and how our most basic rights are being eroded by unscrupulous commercial interests.

      The film centres on its maker, Aube Giroux, who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her interest in food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was inspired by her mother, Jali, who also appears throughout. Aube says that when her parents bought their first house her mother immediately got rid of the lawn and planted a huge garden where she grew all kinds of heirloom vegetables, berries, flowers, legumes and garlic.

      “She wanted me and my sister to grow up knowing the story behind the food that we ate, so our backyard was basically our grocery store,” says Aube.

      During the film, we are treated not only to various outdoor scenes of the Giroux’s food garden (their ‘grocery store’) but also to Aube and her mother’s passion for preparing homemade culinary delights. The ‘backyard’ is the grocery store and much of Giroux family life revolves around the kitchen and the joy of healthy, nutritious food.

      When GMOs first began appearing in food, Aube says that what bothered her mother was that some of the world’s largest chemical companies were patenting these new genetically engineered seeds and controlling the seed market.

      In the film, Aube explains, “Farmers who grow GMOs have to sign technology license agreements promising never to save or replant the patented seeds. My mom didn’t think it was a good idea to allow corporations to engineer and then patent the seeds that we rely on for food. She believed that seeds belong in the hands of people.”

    • Russian regulator finds drop in quality of Georgian wines days after anti-Russian demonstrations begin in Tbilisi

      Russia’s Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) issued an announcement saying that the quality of Georgian alcohol products has been in decline for several years.

      According to the agency, the quantity of substandard Georgian alcohol nearly tripled to 203,000 liters between 2014 and 2018, necessitating new quality controls for Georgian imports to Russia. Data from Georgia’s federal wine agency indicates that almost half of Georgian wine exports go to Russia, and Russian federal data indicates that Georgia is consistently the third- or fourth-largest exporter of wine to Russia in the world.

    • UN Expert Warns Inequality and Austerity Are Intensifying Global Mental Health Crisis

      The United Nations’ top health envoy warned Monday that inequality and austerity are fueling a global mental health crisis that can only be solved by government interventions to reduce economic insecurity and increase funding for crucial public services.

      Dr. Dainius Pūrasa, a Lithuanian psychiatrist and the U.N.’s special rapporteur on health, said in an interview with The Guardian that purely “biomedical” approaches to treating mental illness are not sufficient because they ignore the social and economic conditions that exacerbate depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

    • ‘A True Public Health Emergency’: 70+ Medical Groups Sound Alarm on Climate Crisis

      “Climate change is one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced—it is a true public health emergency,” the groups state. “The health, safety, and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change.”

      Referencing the impacts of climate-related events and air pollution that have already claimed lives, the groups “call on government, business and civil society leaders, elected officials, and candidates for office to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to work across government agencies and with communities and businesses to prioritize action on this Climate, Health, and Equity Policy Action Agenda.”

      In addition to averting thousands of deaths annually in the U.S., they note, a far-ranging approach to tackling the climate crisis will improve communities’ well-being as well as that of the planet.

      But, they warn, “Without transformational action, climate change will be increasingly severe, leading to more illness, injury, and death; mass migration and violent conflict; and worsening health inequities. By mobilizing climate action for health and health action for climate, the U.S. can reduce climate pollution and build healthy communities that are resilient in the face of climate risks.”

    • Americans Continue to Eat Processed Meat Despite Serious Health Warnings

      But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

      A study published in the July edition of Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics looked at trends between 1999 and 2016.

      Data on nearly 44,000 people shows that over this timespan the amount of processed meat consumed by adults in the United States has remained unchanged.

      Consumption of healthier meat options such as fish and shellfish also stayed the same.

      If there’s a silver lining, it’s news that Americans are eating more chicken and less red meat than they used to.

      Given the acknowledged health risks of consuming processed meats, the data would seem to suggest that Americans are unaware of these dangers.

      [...]

      To understand what makes these meats so unhealthy, it helps to look at what’s in it.

      “A lot of it has to do with the actual components associated with the processing of red meat,” explained Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, a licensed, registered dietitian who manages wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

      One primary component of processed meat are nitrites and nitrates, components that prevent the growth of bacteria and add a salty flavor.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Sting Catches Another Ransomware Firm — Red Mosquito — Negotiating With “Hackers”

      ProPublica recently reported that two U.S. firms, which professed to use their own data recovery methods to help ransomware victims regain access to infected files, instead paid the hackers.

      Now there’s new evidence that a U.K. firm takes a similar approach. Fabian Wosar, a cyber security researcher, told ProPublica this month that, in a sting operation he conducted in April, Scotland-based Red Mosquito Data Recovery said it was “running tests” to unlock files while actually negotiating a ransom payment. Wosar, the head of research at anti-virus provider Emsisoft, said he posed as both hacker and victim so he could review the company’s communications to both sides.

      Red Mosquito Data Recovery “made no effort to not pay the ransom” and instead went “straight to the ransomware author literally within minutes,” Wosar said. “Behavior like this is what keeps ransomware running.”

    • Carbon Black adds Linux support and more to its endpoint protection solution

      Endpoint protection company Carbon Black is adding a number of features to its platform, including Linux support and Amazon Web Services and container protection.

      The cloud-native platform gives security and IT teams remote access to cloud workloads and containers running in their environment, making it easier to resolve configuration drift, address vulnerabilities in real time, confidently respond to incidents and demonstrate compliance with business policies and industry regulations.

      The cloud workload and container protection capabilities are available from the same universal agent and cloud-native platform protecting Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux endpoints.

      “The industry is quickly moving into the cloud era for endpoint protection and IT operations,” says Ryan Polk, Carbon Black’s chief product officer. “Carbon Black is proud to be at the front edge for cloud innovation and, with this latest release, our cloud-native EPP is now protecting some of the most important and emerging cloud real estate.”

      As well as supporting AWS workloads and nearly every Linux distribution released since 2011, Carbon Black’s platform extends direct access to more than 1,000 individual system artifacts across all major operating systems, including the ability to check the status of disk encryption, installed applications, kernel integrity, listening network ports, logged in users, OS versions, USB devices and more.

    • Top 10 Ethical Hacking Books

      Hacking is an ongoing process of information gathering and exploitation of any target. The hackers are consistent, practical and stay updated with daily appearing vulnerabilities. The first step to exploitation is always reconnaissance. The more information you gather, the better there are chances that you will make your way through the victim boundary. The attack should be very structured and verified in a local environment before being implemented on live target. The pre requisites are Networking skills, programming languages, Linux, Bash scripting and a reasonable workstation.Ethical hacking is the application of hacking knowledge for the benefit of society through good morals, and is usually defensive in nature, based on good knowledge of the core principles.
      Many books are available on hacking, but we will discuss today the top 10 which are appreciated and recommended by the hacking community. Note: The books are in no particular order.

    • Raspberry Pi used to steal data from Nasa lab [Ed: RasPi has a major new release (4), so MSBBC needs to spread some negative things/stories about it (googlebombing?). Microsoft failed to take over Raspberry Pi Foundation like it did OLPC. BBC (run by ex-Microsoft UK people) spreads anti-RasPi news belatedly (blaming it for something unrelated) only hours after a major product release.]

      A tiny Raspberry Pi computer has been used to steal data from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the space agency has revealed.

      An audit report reveals the gadget was used to take about 500MB of data.

    • VMware’s Dirk Hohndel On Container Security, Mental Health And Open Source
    • Trump Ponders Banning All Chinese-Made Gear From US 5G Networks [Ed: Mandating NSA back doors everywhere]

      We’ve already noted extensively how the “race to fifth generation wireless (5G)” is kind of a dumb thing. While 5G is important in the way that faster, better networks are always important, the purported Earth-rattling benefits of the technology have been painfully over-hyped. And they’ve been painfully over-hyped largely for two reasons: one, mobile carriers want to give a kick to stalling cellphone sales numbers, and network hardware vendors like Cisco want to drive the adoption of new, more expensive, telecom hardware.

      The “race to 5G” isn’t a race. And even if it were, our broadband maps are so intentionally terrible, we’d have no idea if and when we’d won it. Regardless, 5G has subsequently become a sort of magic pixie dust of tech policy conversations, justifying all manner of sometimes dubious policy. But the underlying desire to simply sell more kit has also infected the Trump administration’s protectionist attacks on companies like Huawei, which is based on about 40% actual cybersecurity concerns, and 60% lobbying efforts by US hardware vendors that don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese hardware.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘They Despise Diplomacy, and Thirst for War’: Iran Accuses Trump of Closing Path to Peace With New Sanctions

      Iranian officials warned Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s new economic sanctions targeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and top diplomat Javad Zarif could vanquish the possibility of peaceful negotiations and move the two nations closer to an unnecessary military conflict.

      “Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry. “Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

    • Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis

      Recent weeks have seen tensions between the United States and Iran soar, initially after a May 2019 incident in which four commercial vessels were struck in the Gulf of Oman (two Saudi oil tankers, one Norwegian and an Emirati ship), ebb thereafter and escalate yet again when a similar attack took place a month later on the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair tankers, also in the Gulf of Oman. Tellingly, when it appeared the war rhetoric had subsided after the first incident it quickly ratcheted up, and by several degrees, after the second, as if the May episode had failed to achieve its goal. President Trump’s apparent last-minute change of heart in calling off planned airstrikes when Iran downed a U.S. military surveillance drone last Thursday highlights the war footing Washington is on.

      Both tanker assaults were allegedly at the hands of Iran, that is, according to Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, albeit by unclear means and for dubious reasons.

      It did not take long for doubts to surface as to why Iran would attack a Japanese tanker in the midst of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran in an attempt to mediate between it and Washington. The suspect authenticity of a grainy video released by U.S. Central Command purportedly showing an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker also raised skepticism (the crew indicated they were hit by a flying object, not a mine).

      Putting sloppy, poorly designed “evidence” aside, recent history makes clear who the vested parties keen to stoke a manufactured hostility between Iran and its neighbors are. Indeed, one such actor has for decades used a comparable strategy of deliberate provocation to justify vicious military campaigns in Gaza and Lebanon, not unlike the agitation Iran is experiencing today.

      The Israeli tactic has always been to make conditions so intolerable and unsustainable that a response of some kind by the affected group becomes inevitable. Whether it had been to starve and strangle Gazans by a stifling land, sea and air blockade and in effect imprisoning its population (who then responded by firing rather symbolic, fertilizer-based rockets) or the nearly two-decade long occupation of southern Lebanon to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization and then Hezbollah, the approach always fails but not without great civilian casualty.

    • Trump May Already be in Too Deep to Avoid War With Iran

      President Trump’s last-minute change of mind over launching US airstrikes against Iran shows that a military conflict of some description in the Gulf is becoming highly probable. His hesitation was most likely less connected with an Iranian surface-to-air missile shooting down a US surveillance drone than with his instinct that militarising the crisis is not in America’s best interests.

      If Trump had not pulled back and the strikes against Iranian radars and missile batteries had gone ahead, where exactly would that have got him? This sort of limited military operation is usually more effective as a threat than in actuality. The US is not going to launch an all-out war against Iran in pursuit of a decisive victory and anything less creates more problems than it resolves.

      Iran would certainly retain post-strike the ability to launch pin-prick attacks up and down the Gulf and, especially, in and around the 35-mile wide Strait of Hormuz through which passes 30 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Anything affecting this choke point reverberates around the word: news of the shooting down of the drone immediately sent the price of benchmark Brent crude oil rocketing upwards by 4.75 per cent.

    • Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened

      Just before sunset on Jan. 12, 2016, 10 American sailors strayed into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, a navigation error with potentially grave consequences. On their way to a spying mission, the Americans had set sail from Kuwait to Bahrain. It was a long-distance trek that some senior commanders in the Navy’s 5th Fleet had warned they were neither equipped nor trained to execute.

      Surrounded by four boats operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. sailors, in two small gunboats, surrendered rather than opening fire. The officer in charge of the mission later said he understood that had a firefight erupted, it could well have provoked a wider conflict and scuttled the controversial nuclear deal the two countries were poised to implement in mere days.

      The Navy dialed up an elaborate rescue mission to free the sailors from tiny Farsi Island involving fighter jets and a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group. But the return of the sailors was ultimately secured peacefully. The nuclear deal went forward with the U.S. providing sanctions relief and unfreezing billions in Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran’s promise to curb its nuclear ambitions.

      President Donald Trump explicitly invoked the 2016 incident last week as he weighed actions against Iran amid rising tensions. Trump told Time magazine that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had mishandled the high-stakes confrontation, a mistake he would not make. “The only reason the sailors were let go is that we started making massive payments to them the following day,” Trump said. “Otherwise the sailors would still be there.”

      But a ProPublica investigation makes clear that Trump’s repeated claims about the captured sailors – Obama’s weakness; that the money was improper – obscure the more troubling realities exposed by the Navy’s 2016 debacle in the Persian Gulf. The Farsi Island mission was a gross failure, involving issues that have plagued the Navy in recent years: inadequate training, poor leadership, and a disinclination to heed the warnings of its men and women about the true extent of its vulnerabilities.

    • NIAC Statement on Trump’s Imposition of New Iran Sanctions

      Moments ago President Donald Trump signed off on an executive order imposing a new wave of sanctions on Iran following increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran last week. The sanctions target Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei and senior commanders from the Revolutionary Guard’s Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces, and aim to block Iran top leadership’s from accessing the international financial system.

    • Escalating “Crisis of His Administration’s Making,” Trump Imposes New Sanctions Against Iran

      After President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing new economic sanctions against Iran, critics denounced the punitive measures as a dangerous intensification of the same “maximum pressure” strategy that pushed the U.S. to the brink of war in the first place.

      “Sanctions are what got us into this mess, more sanctions will not get us out of it,” Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), said in a statement. “Donald Trump needs to put his ego aside and abandon the ‘maximum pressure’ strategy that [national security adviser] John Bolton and [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo have foisted on the world.”

    • Trump Signs Order Imposing Sanctions on Iran Supreme Leader

      President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday targeting Iran’s supreme leader and his associates with financial sanctions, the latest action the U.S. has taken to discourage Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and supporting militant groups.

      The sanctions follow Iran’s downing of a more than $100 million U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz that has ratcheted up tensions. Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes on Iran last week, but is continuing his pressure campaign.

      The targets of the new sanctions include senior military figures in Iran, blocking their access to any financial assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

      “These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

    • Giving Trump Credit (But Not Too Much) on Iran

      The Donald made the right call. Now that’s a rare statement. Calling off – or at least delaying – a military strike on Iran was prudent. Nevertheless, there was something deeply unsettling about the whole thing. The system is broken, perhaps irreparably.

      The president never even considered seeking congressional approval before playing emperor and unleashing death and destruction on a sovereign nation. Why would he? Essentially every president, since Truman, has done the same thing one time or another. Unilateral executive action has been the American norm pretty much since World War II wrapped up. Seen in this context, Trump isn’t so anomalous as many would like to believe. Korea kicked off the trend. But the Vietnam advisory mission, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria – to name the highlights – were all undertaken without the constitutionally mandated consent of the legislature.

    • Bill Clinton in Kosovo

      The Balkans has often been prone to seizures of mysticism, glum prediction and predation. But one character felt at home as he addressed his audience in Kosovo, himself having been afflicted by a certain evangelical urge. This month, former US President Will Jefferson Clinton, keeping company with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, were rubbing shoulders with officials and stage hands in Pristina to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Kosovo intervention by NATO in March 1999.

      It was a chance Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaçi was not going to let pass. In being awarded the Order of Freedom, Clinton was all praise. “I think the whole world today with all this turmoil, can look to Kosovo as an example of a democracy and a commitment to prove, grow, and live in peace with one’s neighbours.” Being Clinton, his words have a profound lightweight quality, albeit dressed up as grave and morally hefty.

      Nonetheless, they struck the appropriate, ceremonial note. Thaçi glowed with appreciation. “We thank you for the just decision to stop the Serbian genocide during 1999. We are very grateful for the support of the US to Kosovo. The story of Kosovo is a story of joint success. You are our hero.”

      Clinton duly responded, expressing pride at having been the “president of the United States when you needed someone to stand up and say no more ethnic cleansing, no more people running out of their homes, no more killing innocent civilians, there’s got to be another way.”

    • Is Mexico Winding Down or Winding up the Drug War?

      As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador begins transitioning his country away from its decade-long drug war, which has killed more than 100,000 Mexican citizens since 2006, officials in the Trump administration have remained largely silent about his moves. Washington is continuing its public relations strategy of saying very little about the war while helping Mexican security forces continue to fight it.

      The Trump administration’s silence, which has been enabled by a lack of coverage in the U.S. mass media, has not gone entirely unnoticed. Some members of Congress have begun to question the Trump administration’s strategy, arguing that the administration does not have an effective plan for winning the war.

      “We are whistling by the graveyard if we don’t address and talk about an effective strategy for crushing the drug cartels,” Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said during a congressional hearing in April.

      To say that the Trump administration has simply been “whistling by the graveyard” as violence increases is not entirely accurate, however. Although the administration has kept mostly quiet about the growing violence, it has been working closely with Mexican military forces to crush the country’s drug cartels, exactly as Senator Johnson demanded.

    • Trump’s Return to Full-Spectrum Dominance

      The United States is formally committed to dominating the world by 2020. President Trump’s Space Directive-4, on the production of laser-armed combat aircraft as possible precursors to space weapons and the possibility of nuclear warheads being placed in orbit, moves the clock forward.

      An interesting and credible paper by T.J. Coles in CounterPunch recently reported that in 1997, the re-established U.S. Space Command announced its commitment to full spectrum dominance by 2020, which means military control over land, sea, air and space to protect U.S. interests and investments.

      Protecting means guaranteeing the operational freedom of U.S. investments, which in turn means “corporate profits.”

      The journalistic work explains that, in the past, the Army was deployed based on the interests of settlers who stole land from Native Americans in the genocidal birth of the United States as a nation.

      A National Defense University report recognizes that, by the 19th century, the Navy had evolved to protect the newly formulated “grand strategy” of the United States. In addition to the supposed protection of citizens and the constitution, the guiding principle was, and continues to be, “the protection of American territory … and our economic well-being.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Interior Department Putting Even More Effort Into Dodging FOIA Request

      The Department of the Interior is still trying to remove the word “freedom” from “Freedom of Information Act.” The first step is removing the word “information.”

      Earlier this year, the DOI tried to sneak past a rewrite of FOIA by hiding a request in the federal register. It would only apply to the DOI, hence the lack of legislative noise or heads up to the public. Under the guise of “ensuring compliance” with the law, the DOI wanted the power to unilaterally reject any request it found “burdensome.”

      Faced with an influx of requests, the DOI decided to double down on non-compliance. Rather than route more staff to the overburdened FOIA response team, the DOI decided it would be better served by tossing as many requests in the trashcan as possible.

    • Justices Side With Business, Government in Information Fight

      The Supreme Court sided with businesses and the U.S. government Monday in a ruling about the public’s access to information, telling a South Dakota newspaper it can’t get the data it was seeking.

      The justices ruled against the Argus Leader, which is owned by USA Today publisher Gannett and is the largest newspaper in South Dakota. The paper was seeking to learn how much money goes annually to every store nationwide that participates in the government’s $65 billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP.

      The federal government initially declined the paper’s request for the information. In response, the paper sued, arguing that the data is public and shows citizens how the government is spending their tax money. The government lost in a lower court and decided not to appeal. But a supermarket trade association, the Virginia-based Food Marketing Institute, stepped in to continue the fight with the backing of the Trump administration, arguing that the information is confidential and should not be disclosed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour Raises $21.5 Million to Fight Climate Crisis in Guitar Auction

      David Gilmour, guitarist, singer and songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd, set a record last week when he auctioned off 126 guitars and raised $21.5 million for ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law group dedicated to fighting the global climate crisis, according to CNN.

      The auction lasted more than eight hours and had bids from over 66 countries, according to Christies, the London-based auction house, which hosted the sale in New York City, as CNN reported.

    • David Gilmour puts his guitars up for auction, raises $21.5M for a climate change charity

      An auction of David Gilmour’s guitars has raised a lot of “Money” — to combat climate change.

      Christie’s auction house says it raised $21.5 million Thursday, selling off more than 120 guitars owned by the Pink Floyd guitarist, singer and songwriter. Proceeds went to ClientEarth, a nonprofit fighting climate change.

      The items included guitars by Fender, Rickenbacker, Ovation, Gibson, C.F. Martin and Gretsch, including guitar cases, a banjo and amps.

      A black Stratocaster — dubbed the “Black Strat” — was the top item and was snatched up for $3,975,000, a new world record for a guitar at auction.

    • CEO of Major Shale Oil Company “Has Second Thoughts” on Fracking Rush, Wall Street Journal Reports

      On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      Back in 2014, Sheffield told Forbes that he expected Pioneer could produce a million barrels of oil a day from the Permian basin by 2024 – up from 45,000 barrels a day in 2011.

      Now, Sheffield, who left the helm of Pioneer in 2016 and returned this February, says that those million-barrel-a-day plans are looking increasingly doubtful as the industry has struggled to prove to investors that it’s capable not only of producing enormous volumes of oil and gas, but that it can do so while booking profits rather than losses.

      “We lost the growth investors,” Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield told the Journal. “Now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”

    • Trump Administration Buries Government-Funded Studies Showing Dangers of Climate Change

      The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation’s farmers.

      The administration put the kibosh on publicizing work done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) own scientists that carried warnings about the long-term repercussions of the climate crisis, according to a report by Politico.

    • Ice-free Greenland possible in 1,000 years

      US scientists have just established that the long-term future may bring an ice-free Greenland, if melting continues at the current rate. By the year 3,000 it could simply be green, with rocky outcrops. Greenland’s icy mountains will have vanished.

      By the end of this century, the island – the largest body of ice in the northern hemisphere, and home to 8% of the world’s fresh water in frozen form – will have lost 4.5% of its ice cover, and sea levels will have risen by up to 33cm.

      And if melting continues, and the world goes on burning fossil fuels under climate science’s notorious “business as usual scenario”, then within another thousand years the entire cover will have run into the sea, which by then will have risen – just because of melting in Greenland – by more than seven metres, to wash away cities such as Miami, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Shanghai and New Orleans.

      “How Greenland will look in the future – in a couple of hundred years or in 1,000 years – whether there will be Greenland, or at least a Greenland similar to today, it’s up to us”, said Andy Aschwanden, of the University of Fairbanks, Alaska geophysical institute.

    • Germany: Climate activists end coal blockade in Garzweiler

      Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.
      However, some protesters were still blocking nearby train tracks that usually serve as a coal transport route from one of Germany’s biggest open-pit mines, near the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne.
      Spokeswoman Kathrin Henneberger confirmed the protesters had now left the mine.
      “In the morning, there was a brief escalation with the police. Officers encircled a group, although all participants intended to clear the area around 10 a.m. as agreed and announced,” Henneberger told Germany’s dpa news agency.

    • Women are rising in the conservation movement, but still face #MeToo challenges

      The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.

      In its latest twist, over the last month a series of top executives have exited The Nature Conservancy, the largest conservation organization in North America. They left after an internal investigation, prompted by sexual harassment and workplace misconduct accusations, which found that the organization’s culture “can make it difficult for women to thrive.”

      We have been studying women in conservation leadership for the past several years, and unfortunately this news didn’t shock us. Our research shows that harassment is one of many gender-related challenges that frequently confront women conservation leaders.

    • What’s Next for the Youth Climate Lawsuit

      On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.

      It’s the latest of many delays for the lawsuit, which was first filed in 2015 by the then-youth plaintiffs. The judges’ decision on this most recent request to dismiss the case is expected sometime in the next few months.

      Rodgers is a senior attorney for Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit based in Eugene, Oregon, that is supporting the young plaintiffs—the eldest of whom are now young adults while the youngest is 11—in making their case.

      They’re suing the United States government for endangering their future by supporting a fossil fuel-based energy system, despite knowledge of how that would contribute to the current climate disaster. Rodgers is also the lead attorney for climate-related suits on behalf of children in the states of Washington and Florida.

    • 70 Arrested at Extinction Rebellion Protest Demanding More Urgent Climate Coverage From New York Times

      Protesters briefly blocked traffic on Manhattan’s Eighth Avenue, between the Times building and the busy Port Authority Bus Terminal, The Guardian reported. Demonstrators staged a die-in on the street outside the paper’s headquarters. They also attached banners to the two buildings. The one affixed to Port Authority read “Climate Emergency,” and the banner suspended from the Times building read “climate change = mass murder,” with “change” crossed out and replaced with “emergency,” Reuters reported.

      “The lack of coverage of the climate crisis is completely unacceptable,” member of Extinction Rebellion’s press and fundraising teams Becca Trabin told The Guardian. “It’s a public safety crisis on a global scale.”

    • UPDATE 1-Police arrest 70 climate change protesters outside New York Times

      Police arrested 70 environmental protesters outside the New York Times headquarters who laid down in the street and climbed onto the building to demand the newspaper start referring to climate change as a climate emergency, police and media reports said.

      New York police arrested 67 people and Port Authority police arrested three others, a police spokesman said. Charges were pending.

      Protesters blocked the street by lying down in a “die-in” and affixed a banner to the skyscraper in midtown Manhattan saying “climate change = mass murder,” with the word “change” crossed out and replaced with “emergency,” according to pictures posted by the website of 1010 Wins radio.

    • Massive Fire at South Philadelphia Oil Refinery Injures Five

      A fire broke out at a Philadelphia oil refinery Friday morning, starting with an explosion so massive it was felt as far away as South Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, CNN reported.

    • Fire that engulfed Philadelphia refinery has been extinguished, officials say

      A fire that engulfed a Philadelphia refinery and sparked air-quality concerns has been extinguished, according to city officials.

      The fire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions was put out on Saturday afternoon, according to a statement on the city’s website.

      The fire began with an explosion on Friday morning from a vat of butane and propane. Residents reportedly felt the explosion in South Jersey and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, according to CNN affiliate WPVI.
      Emergency medical services treated one individual on the scene, according to Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. Four employees also suffered minor injuries, and all were treated on-site by a company medical team, according to Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

      The fire sent large plumes of smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles. Emergency management officials initially asked people east of the fire to shelter in place, but the order was quickly lifted.

    • We Have Less Than a Millisecond Left

      We have less than a millisecond left.

      You see, the planet we call home has existed for roughly 4.55 billion years. But numbers that large mean almost nothing to me, nor to most people, so I choose to break it down. If we lay the age of the Earth out over a calendar year, that would amount to 518,264 years per hour or 144 years per second. So if we have 10 or 11 years until the point of no return, as climate scientists have repeatedly told us, that means we have a millisecond left before midnight in which to change our society completely to avoid turning the Earth into a piping hot fajita. (If you want to be more generous and instead look at how long modern homosapiens have been walking around, it’s 315,000 years. So if you lay that over a calendar year, we have roughly 15 minutes before the stroke of midnight to combat climate change. Not sure that makes me feel much better.)

      None of us should be thinking about anything other than climate change. We all kind of know it even if we think we don’t know it. Even people who deny climate change exists probably secretly know it. They’re just confusing what they want to be true with what they subconsciously know to be true. I did the same thing when I was a child and tennis legend Jimmy Connors lost in the semifinals of the 1991 U.S. Open after his monumental run at the ancient age of 39. (For an 11-year-old, 39 sounds pretty close to mummified.) I was certain Jimmy would be playing in the finals. I knew deep within my bones that Jimbo would dazzle us with diving volleys and mid-court passing shots in the championship match because how could the powers that be allow the only character America genuinely cared about to bow out before the finals? In my mind it was akin to killing off Iron Man halfway through the movie “Iron Man.”

      Jimmy Connors did not show up to the finals. Climate change is the only thing we should be thinking about.

    • Protecting the Great Burn

      The Great Burn is Missoula’s best kept wilderness secret, a landscape lost for more than 50 years from the devastating effects of the fire that bears its name. Its recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Yet, the Burn is under fire once again, this time by off-road vehicles, snowmobiles and mountain bikes that threaten to steal the spirit of this fragile and wild landscape.

      With an administration dead set on exploiting our public lands, time is of the essence to ensure protection for perhaps our wildest and least protected stretch of proposed wilderness: the 1.9 million acres that straddles Montana and Idaho, known as the Great Burn and String of Pearls.

      Since 1964, wilderness lands have remained vital for recreation, the protection of species, as pristine waterways or as important connectivity for wildlife to continue to move and migrate without interference. Within the Great Burn there are bears, wolves, native mountain goats, wolverines and so many other special creatures that bring soul to these public lands owned by all Americans. Wildlife biologists have made clear; the Great Burn may well be one of the most important remaining habitats in the lower 48, especially when it comes to grizzly recovery.

      These lands are rich in old growth western-red cedar and Douglas fir; in some parts the cedars have been determined by the Forest Service to be more than 500 years old. These were the lucky strands that avoided fire.

      When President Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot set aside millions of acres for national forests, those who had been exploiting the public lands were enraged and senators in some Western states cut funding to the bone for the new agency and did all they could to ignore the peril they were creating.

      Today history is sadly repeating itself. The Forest Service is woefully underfunded; the current administration has done more to remove lands from protection than any in our history. There continues to be an outcry from a radical fringe to get rid of public lands and turn our wildest lands into a waste pit of extraction, trapping and a machine-driven chaos.

    • In Far-Reaching Plan, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Proposes Radical Changes to Fossil Fuel Industry

      Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t one of the top contenders for his party’s nomination for president in 2020, but his campaign, which focuses on climate change, is pushing to end U.S. fossil fuel dependence by hitting climate crisis-exacerbating companies where it hurts: the wallet.

      In Inslee’s “Freedom from Fossil Fuels” plan, the governor calls for ending subsidies for fossil fuels, ensuring any new energy infrastructure is put through a rigorous permitting process, and introducing fees for greenhouse gas emissions. The plan, which marks the most comprehensive approach to addressing the climate crisis presented by a 2020 Democrat to date, is part of what Inslee described in comments to HuffPost reporter Alexander Kaufman as working “in the only time period that’s consistent with our survival in the world.”

      “This will get us off fossil fuels in the only time period that’s consistent with our survival in the world as we know it,” said Inslee. “Don’t expect these people to go easily.”

      Inslee’s plan shows how the conversation around climate is moving, said Julian Brave NoiseCat, Green New Deal Strategy director for Data for Progress. NoiseCat told environmental news outlet Earther Monday that the plan’s “move toward an investment and accountability framework is a very notable paradigm shift.”

    • Hey, Oregon Senators: You Can’t Run Away From Climate Change

      This week Oregon stands on the cusp of approving historic cap-and-invest legislation, HB 2020, that experts have said will help grow the Oregon economy. After three years of legislative consideration, numerous studies, hearings, public meetings and debate, the Oregon House approved the legislation decisively (36-22) on June 18th, and the bill moved to the Senate Floor, where a vote was expected on June 20th.

    • Jay Inslee’s Latest Climate Plan Targets the Fossil Fuel Industry

      In his latest bid to be the 2020 climate candidate, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled a plan Monday to target the fossil fuel industry by both phasing out extraction and making it pay for the damage it has already done.

      The plan would end subsidies for oil, natural gas and coal companies, ban drilling on federal lands and waters, phase out fracking and institute a “Climate Pollution Fee,” The Hill reported.

    • Inslee unveils plan to fight fossil fuel pollution, ban fracking

      Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled on Monday his plan for tackling fossil fuel pollution, including ending subsidies for oil and gas companies and phasing out fracking.

      The proposal, Inslee’s fourth plan for addressing climate change, calls for taking on the oil and gas companies he calls “the greatest and most powerful special interests that are holding back our clean energy future.”

      Even as candidates compete to showcase their environmental credentials, Inslee’s latest plan stands out in its attempt to tackle the source of emissions from what is now the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions: transportation.

    • Plastics Pact announcement ‘wholly inadequate’, says Green Party deputy leader

      Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:

      “Companies produce and sell about 76 kilogrammes of plastic that goes to waste each year in the UK for every women, man and child in the country.

    • Up in Arms: New Book Explores the Bundys, Militias and the Battle Over Public Lands

      When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.

    • 77 Health Organizations Call for Climate Action to Fight Public Health Emergency

      More than 70 leading public health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that the climate crisis is also a health emergency.

    • ‘Historic moment’ for indigenous people at climate talks, new climate leader says

      Pasang Dolma Sherpa: Yes, this is a historic moment. When the UNFCCC was established in 1992, indigenous peoples did not have the same forum to interact.
      Now, the indigenous peoples’ continued hard work, their struggle, their work on the ground has been acknowledged and is reflected at the global level. And finally we have the platform, the facility working group, at the same level as said parties to present the important role of indigenous peoples.
      What is the state of rights for indigenous peoples right now?
      In the Paris Agreement as well as at COP24 [in Katowice], it’s explicitly stated that indigenous peoples’ rights be enshrined by the UNFCCC, particularly rights for protecting, enhancing and continuing with traditional knowledge and cultural practices in their territories.
      But these rights are hardly reflected at a national level. There are so many events in the name of conservation, in the name of protection of biodiversity, cultural practices. The role of indigenous peoples has hardly been acknowledged, when in fact indigenous peoples have been contributing to sustaining and managing and protecting the ecosystem’s biodiversity. This voice needs to be heard.

    • 10 things a committed U.S. President and Congress could do about climate change

      The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

      There’s a big “if” behind that remark: It will take an exceptionally climate-savvy and climate-concerned Executive Branch to have the political will to initiate some of these steps. And there’s more: It likely will take supportive bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. More still: It will also take widespread and strong public support and citizen engagement, and, even then, strong leadership skills on the part of federal leaders.

      It’s not clear when or if that time will come, nor what kind of climate catastrophe could precipitate such a coming-together. It brings to mind a phrase often attributed, but with some uncertainty, to Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

  • Finance

    • Brief Impressions of the Japanese Conjuncture

      I was last in Japan 12 years ago. Japan is a study in contradictions.

      Economically, it should be regarded as a basket case. Japan’s 2019 debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 235.96% of its GDP.

      Even Greece, after a decade of troika (EU-IMF-ECB) “fiscal waterboarding”, has a ratio of 191.27%. The US’s ratio is at 108.02%, and the UK’s 85.92% (thereby giving lie to the Tory myth, in support of its austerity agenda, that the UK is “living beyond its means”).

      Japan, with greater debt levels than Greece and Venezuela, has however the same credit rating as the other major economic powers because of its large economy and stable political system. It would be an international economic pariah otherwise.

      The other factor causing a drag on Japan’s economy is its elderly population. Japan has over twice the number of centenarians per 1000 people than the US and UK: 48 per 1000 versus 21.5 (UK) and 22 (US).

      A 1998 United Nations demographic survey showed that Japan is expected to have 272,000 centenarians by 2050. Data recently released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry showed that the 26.18 million people 70 or older accounted for 20.7% of Japan’s population.

    • Hopeful Things

      Abandoning religion wasn’t at all hard. I forgot the feasts, the priests, the dutiful drones, and the money-worshipping hordes of hypocrites that turned up and tuned out every Sunday, just as they had forgotten the Gospels and their communist implications – if ever they had read them. The decision to leave was political, not spiritual: any organised religion that supported capitalism – a system that by its fundamental principles thrives on inequality and exploitation, that reproduces itself through violence, that endlessly refines the means to render the human species extinct – must necessarily compromise its own fundamental principles.

      Right or wrong, that was my point of departure, a long time ago now. But despite my efforts, I found it devilishly difficult to drop the monstrously complex habit of praying. It is at times utterly exhausting: searching for ways to forgive your enemies, dead or alive, to find love in your heart and to send some sprinklings of goodwill in otherwise spiteful situations, to hate a person’s vile behaviour, but not the person. And if none of this is remotely possible, to focus on the context that created them – a very socialist take on the whole affair.

    • Why We Need to Break Up Big Tech

      The combined wealth of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Google’s Sergey Brin, and Larry Page is larger than the combined wealth of the bottom half of the American population.

      They are the leaders of a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet – which has spawned a handful of hi-tech behemoths and crushed competition.

      Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft now have the highest market values for all public corporations in America.

      As of today, only three countries in the world have a GDP higher than these companies’ combined market value of approximately 4 trillion dollars.

      America’s first Gilded Age began in the late nineteenth century with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – that culminated in mammoth trusts run by “robber barons” like J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and William Vanderbilt.

    • With Puerto Rico Still Waiting on Approved Emergency Food Aid, Sanders Condemns Trump for ‘Holding Funds in Red Tape Limbo’

      Amid reports that Puerto Rico has still not received the $600 million in emergency food stamp aid that President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law more than two weeks ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday accused the White House of “holding the funds in red tape limbo” and said the money must be released “immediately.”

      Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, specifically called out U.S. Department of Agriculture chief Sonny Perdue and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney for withholding the funds as the people of Puerto Rico “are going hungry.”

      [...]

      “The situation is dire,” Glorimar Andújar Matos, secretary of Puerto Rico’s families department, told the Post. “Given Puerto Rico’s unfair treatment in federal programs, we are pushing to receive and utilize the funds as soon as possible.”

      The delay comes after Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration worked to block any new emergency funding for Puerto Rico. Trump reportedly told officials earlier this year that he “doesn’t want another single dollar” going to Puerto Rico despite the growing hunger crisis on the island.

      The president ultimately signed into law a $19 billion disaster relief package that included funds for Puerto Rico and U.S. states affected by hurricanes.

    • Ilhan Omar and Bernie Got It Right: Full Student Debt Cancellation Is the Best Approach

      Sen. Bernie Sanders, together with Representatives Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal, has introduced a dramatic reform package on college affordability. It goes far beyond anything proposed so far, both in its scope and in its potential to reshape the way Americans think about their society and government.

      One bill in the package, Rep. Omar’s Student Debt Cancellation Act, would cancel all outstanding student debt. That’s a $1.6 trillion burden affecting more than 45 million people. This bill will benefit people in all demographic groups, communities, and walks of life. That fact is illustrated by the fact that, as Sen. Sanders introduces the bill in the Senate, eight representatives of color (including Rep. Omar) will simultaneously introduce it in the House.

      The reform package also includes Sen. Sanders’ College for All Act, which provides tuition-free higher education to every qualified American without any additional work requirements, restrictions, or tests for family financial eligibility.

    • Sanders and Omar’s Plan Would Wipe Out Every Outstanding Student Loan

      Today, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota released a bill to cancel all student debt in the nation, called the Student Debt Cancellation Act. Sen. Bernie Sanders is also introducing companion legislation for complete student debt cancellation as a part of broader package he is introducing on college affordability. While Representative Omar’s Student Debt Cancellation Act isn’t the first bill ever to propose canceling all student debt, it comes at a time when wide-scale student debt cancellation as a policy proposal is finally being treated with the seriousness it’s always deserved.

      Representative Omar’s legislation would enact universal debt cancellation — which means every single outstanding student loan, federal or private, would be wiped out. The bill comes two months after presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a proposal to wipe out all student debt for 75 percent of borrowers. Omar’s bill goes further than Warren’s plan, which caps debt cancellation at $50,000. Over 7.8 million borrowers (17 percent of all student debtors) owe $50,000 or more on their student loans, according to data from the New York Fed Reserve. This includes many borrowers who’ve pursued graduate degrees, and not only lawyers and people with MBAs. The average debt load of those who completed a master’s of education degree from 2015-16 was $55,200; for a master of science, it was $62,300. And of those pursuing any kind of advanced degree, Black and Latinx graduates are the most likely to have borrowed $50,000 or more.

      There are also many parents like Christopher Raymond who’d benefit from universal debt cancellation. Raymond borrowed $136,000 toward his two children’s higher education using Parent PLUS loans. He’s not alone: As of 2014, 13 percent of parents with Parent PLUS loans owe more than $50,000, and 4 percent owe over $100,000. Those with high loan balances are also likely to struggle to repay: almost 30 percent of all dollars in default are held by borrowers who owe over $50,000.

    • Trump Attacks Federal Reserve Again, Wants Interest Rate Cut

      President Donald Trump is continuing efforts to pressure the U.S. central bank system, saying the stock markets and economic growth would be much higher if not for its actions.

      Trump says the Federal Reserve “doesn’t know what it’s doing” and raised interest rates too quickly.

    • Under Trump, Manufacturing Job Growth Slows to a Trickle

      Donald Trump put manufacturing jobs at the center of his economic platform in 2016. He endlessly harped on the loss of relatively good-paying manufacturing jobs.

      He blamed this job loss on “terrible” trade agreements and other countries “manipulating” the value of their currency to get an advantage in trade. He put China at the top of the list of bad actors, promising to declare them a currency manipulator on day one of his administration, which would directly lead to economic sanctions.

      While Trump has engaged in considerable bluster in his trade negotiations, they have not led to much of a payoff for U.S. manufacturing workers to date. At the most basic level, instead of shrinking, the trade deficit has gotten larger under Trump.

      In 2016, the last year of the Obama administration, the trade deficit was $502 billion. Through the first four months of 2019, the trade deficit was running at almost a $620 billion annual rate, more than $100 billion higher than the deficit Trump inherited.

      For all his screaming about currency manipulation, the value of the dollar relative to other currencies has barely changed since Trump took office. Needless to say, Trump did not declare China a currency manipulator on day one of his administration or on any subsequent day.

      While he has in fact started a trade war with China, currency values — which would directly affect our trade balance — are no longer a major issue of contention. Instead, Trump seems more focused on ensuring that China respects the intellectual property claims of Boeing and other multinational companies when they outsource factories to China.

      Although the story of negotiating whiz Trump winning terrific trade deals for U.S. workers has not quite panned out, he actually could point to an increase in manufacturing jobs under his watch. Manufacturing employment increased by 471,000 (3.9 percent) in the 28 months from January 2017 to May 2019.

    • Capitalist Workplaces Set Bosses Up to Be Authoritarian Tyrants

      Long before the growing interest in economic inequality facing contemporary capitalist societies, radical thinkers and union organizers were concerned about the authoritarian governance in workplaces. Unfortunately, this concern seems to have taken a back seat in political philosophy during the present era. Elizabeth S. Anderson, a professor of philosophy and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, is seeking to remedy this with her trenchant analyses of the coercive and hierarchical nature of capitalist firms and corporations. Her book Private Government offers an important reminder that bosses tend to be dictators and that workers’ lives are essentially at the mercy of private government.

    • UK Government’s Latest Take On Asset Forfeiture Is Pretty Much ‘You Can’t Afford That!’

      The UK government has adopted a spin on asset forfeiture so brazenly abusive of citizens, American cops are probably kicking themselves for not thinking of it first.

      Dutch law enforcement raised the bar for forfeiture-related audacity early last year when they promised to start taking the literal clothes off people’s back if it didn’t seem like they had the (legal) funds to afford high-end designer wear. Dutch officials said a lot of things about gaudy timepieces but made it clear shirts and pants might follow if deemed sufficiently expensive.

      The UK has this beat. As Walter Olson opines for the Washington Examiner, the UK plan does away with all the comparative politeness of American asset forfeiture. There will be no fishing expeditions masquerading as traffic stops. There will be no pre-dawn raids predicated on tips by informants whose trustworthiness is only exceeded by their willingness to commit crimes using taxpayer dollars.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Deep Fakes: Will AI Swing the 2020 Election?

      Imagine, on the day before the 2020 presidential election, that someone posts a video of the Democratic candidate talking before a group of donors. The candidate admits to being ashamed to be an American, confesses that the United States is a malevolent force in the world, and promises to open borders, subordinate the country to the UN, and adopt a socialist economic system.

      The video goes viral. It doesn’t matter that it sounds a bit suspicious, a candidate saying such things just before the election. A very careful observer might note some discrepancies with the shadows in the background of the video or that the candidate makes some oddly uncharacteristic facial expressions.

      For the average credulous viewer, however, the video reinforces some latent prejudices about Democratic Party candidates, that they never thought America was all that great to begin with and are not ultimately interested in making the country great again. And hey, didn’t Mitt Romney make a similar mistake by dissing the 47 percent just before the 2012 elections?

    • How the Media Will Pick the Next Democratic Presidential Candidate

      Democratic primary voters and caucus-attendees are of two minds about the 2020 presidential general election campaign.
      A majority of them want it to be like one of those hockey games where the players drop their gloves and start fighting the moment the puck is dropped. They want a candidate who welcomes a bench-clearing brawl with President Trump. And they want the melee to be about something big: an explicit and unapologetic liberal agenda, devoid of global-oney and neoliberal trims.

      At the same time, a greater majority of Democratic voters simply want to beat Trump and worry about the rest later. Anything that might endanger his defeat is therefore disqualifying. Whatever general-election voters in the key states need to hear to vote against Trump, that’s the Democratic platform.

      Back and forth it goes. The California State Democratic Party delegates boo Democratic presidential candidates who are critical of socialism. Joe Biden is talked up as the party’s surest bet in November 2020. Biden is lambasted for his past support of the Hyde Amendment. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth are described (again and again) as too liberal, a.k.a. “unelectable.”

      Enter the polls. Polls are the MRIs of “electability” and provide pseudo-scientific precision to forecasting future outcomes. They enable TV talking heads to winnow candidates out and, to paraphrase the late Senator Fred Harris, “winnow candidates in.”

    • How Immigration Changed A Small-Town Sweden That Never Existed

      How far can you stretch nostalgia before warm, harmless exaggeration transforms into weaponized dishonesty?

      This question is at the heart of a great deal of discussion on immigration in Europe, where the presence of new residents is often pitched by those opposed to immigration as ultimately undermining (and even eradicating) local history, cultures and traditions. Precisely what those local histories, cultures and traditions looked like before the arrival of immigrants, however, is far from agreed upon, and are very often altered and romanticized in the service of an anti-immigration agenda.

      Nothing better illustrates this dynamic than an opinion piece published a few days ago in the Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten. In the article, the author recounted the tale of searching late one dark winter night (in the relatively small Swedish town of Gävle) for an open food store. She eventually managed to find a shop run by an immigrant, and noted that the store sold meat marked “Halal” in Swedish and Arabic, had “small animals” in the meat freezer and pickled vegetables she considered “inedible”. She ended up buying the only thing she felt comfortable eating: a box of instant macaroni.

      The author’s reaction to this entire incident?

      “I am in Sweden, a Sweden that doesn’t feel Swedish. And I don’t like it.”

      The piece played on the familiar clichés of lost local cultures and feeling like a stranger in your own land. But, it also touched upon nostalgia over the death of small-town community and identity: the “Mom ’n’ Pop” corner store selling local food being replaced by stores selling supposedly “exotic” foreign food; and, small communities, once bustling with people and businesses, now reduced to ghost towns housing immigrants.

    • Every Day Is World Refugee Day

      Last week the U.N. declared World Refugee Day to shine a light on the record, almost 26 million poor, brown, defenseless souls our monsters in power keep using as political pawns in an unconscionable “death by a thousand cuts.” It’s always good to remind us of the human misery at the edges of our privilege, but the crimes, alas, mount. The horrific tales emerging of the conditions of “some suburb of hell” where thousands are now incarcerated – concrete floors, packed bodies, freezing dog-pound-style detention pens, flu, lice, shit, vomit, trauma, hunger, sexual abuse and dear God sobbing children – were best if gruesomely embodied by the spectacle of demon DOJ lawyer Sarah “Eichmann” Fabian struggling to explain to horrified judges why children don’t need soap, beds or toothbrushes to be “safe and sanitary” as required by law. One helpful observer to Fabian, “Your room in hell is ready.” Finally, lest we forget, greedy people are making money from these atrocities, and they are part of a long historical arc – yes we have locked up many innocents before – proving that, “Once there are concentration camps” – yes they are concentration camps – “it is always probable that things will get worse.”

      Still, many are fighting back to assert the fundamental human rights of refugees. They are telling their stories and citing their too-often neglected accomplishments. They are declaring themselves safe spaces and sanctuary states, counties, cities. They are vowing, as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker just did by signing several new laws, that private entities will not “profit off the intolerance of this president.” And they are finding new, humane ways to confront the crisis. Here in Portland, Maine, hundreds of new asylum seekers from Angola and the Congo just arrived en masse, bundled into buses from Texas after months making their harrowing way through South and Central America, mostly on foot. Portland has already absorbed several thousand African refugees and crafted an extraordinary, grassroots support network for them, but we’ve seen nothing like this – the big numbers at once, the horror stories, the desperation. Still, we have rallied. City and state officials found money, created decent shelter, reached out to other towns. People have raised over $400,000 and donated mountains of clothes, toys, baby food. African leaders organized volunteers, Angolan and Congolese women flocked to cook native meals, truckloads of diapers shipped, lawyers, doctors, translators stepped up. It’s neither easy nor complicated, but it’s doable. In the name of our common humanity, because this.

    • New Report Details the 15 House Democrats That Should Face Progressive Challengers

      As progressive candidates continue to announce their intentions to oust corporate Democrats, a new report names 15 House Democrats to unseat in primary challenges.

      Published Monday by the left-leaning group RootsAction, the new report is entitled Bad Blues: Some of the House Democrats Who Deserve to Be ‘Primaried.’

      The list, the report notes, “is by no means exhaustive—only illustrative.”

      “There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial, and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace,” the report notes. “Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job.”

      Among the well-known names on the list: Rep. Eliot Engel of New York. He’s already facing two progressive challengers: educators Jamaal Bowman and Andom Ghebreghiorgis.

      Engel, the report says, has long been “affiliated with the corporate wing of the party” and is “notable for repeatedly breaking with his own party to support Republican foreign policy positions.” In Congress since 1989, Engel’s “support for hawkish Republicanism has continued into the Trump era.”

      Another primary-worthy House Democrat on the list: Illinois’s anti-choice Dan Lipinski.

    • Leader of Ingushetia resigns following extraordinary popular resistance to Chechen border deal

      Ingush government head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov announced his decision to resign before the end of his current term during a state-run regional television broadcast.

      “I have made the decision to request that President Vladimir Putin release me in advance from my duties as the head of the republic,” Yevkurov said, adding that he is “not blind” to the current political situaiton in his region. He argued that government, social, and religious organizations are all responsible for a state of division in Ingushetia.

    • Greed and Politics Should Not Drive Forest Policy

      The Custer Gallatin National Forest should withdraw its North Bridger Forest Health Project (2,296 acres of commercial logging, including 667 acres of clear-cutting). Despite the government’s claims, there is nothing particularly unhealthy about the public forest in and around Fairy Lake, Battle Ridge Campground and Brackett Creek.

      Yes, the snow is deep, growing season short and the soil is thin, but trees somehow make a living in challenging conditions. Clear-cutting in these amazing high-elevation, alpine environments demonstrates how far removed the Forest Service-USDA has become from the public values of a typical local resident. Most individuals and families who travel the short distance to the North Bridgers are expecting a quiet weekend of camping close to town, or a peaceful day of hiking, fishing, hunting or sight-seeing. These are the values important to locals. Out-of-town visitors come to enjoy similar experiences on their national forest. These are sacred places.

      It is self-evident that the Forest Service doesn’t value the forest in the same way. Why is this so hard for the Forest Service to understand? National (top-down) timber goals dominate the current system. Same as it ever was. Clear-cutting unroaded alpine forests defies common sense, is contrary to scientific knowledge, and lacks any sense of moral integrity to the public and the forestry profession. What a ridiculous place to manage a tree farm.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Flawed But Well-Intentioned Proposal For Banning Private Prisons

      Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren published a policy proposal to ban private prison facility management and place stronger controls on the outsourcing of services in the criminal legal system.

      In making her case, Warren attempts to broaden the public’s limited understanding of privatization as a matter of facility management. She raises issues of extortion faced by prisoners and those who support them, and she highlights the growing lobbying influence of private companies searching for avenues to expand their reach into other areas of the system.

      “We need significant reform in both criminal justice and in immigration, to end mass incarceration and all of the unnecessary, cruel, and punitive forms of immigration detention that have taken root in the Trump administration,” Warren argues.

      Unfortunately, it does not seem that Warren’s proposal is adequate enough. Some of these issues relate to limitations any president faces in pursuing a top-down strategy on criminal punishment issues that are largely the purview of state and local governments.

    • New Draft of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ Treaty Affirms Protection for Women and LGBTIQ Persons. The Fight Wasn’t Easy—and It Isn’t Over Yet

      When it comes to the letter of the law, a few words can mean the difference between having your rights protected – or not.

      Earlier this month, the International Law Commission (ILC) formally recommended a final draft of the new crimes against humanity (CAH) treaty for adoption by states—a treaty that promises to bring justice to victims of atrocities.

    • Most Democratic Candidates Still Afraid To Criticize Israel’s Violations Of Palestinian Rights

      The attitudes of Democratic voters toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become decidedly more balanced in the past two decades. Favorable attitudes toward Palestinians are up while attitudes toward Israel appear to be in decline. While, overall views of Israel remain positive, substantial numbers of Democrats are opposed to Israeli policies – namely settlement construction and violations of Palestinian rights. Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also viewed negatively by most Democrats.

      These shifts in opinion have placed many Democratic presidential candidates in a bind – especially those who have served in Congress or as Governors. As conscious as they may be of their base’s changing mood, they have also been schooled not to alienate pro-Israel donors or cross Israel’s lobbyists, who can, if aroused, distract their campaigns with a barrage of protests.

      It was against this backdrop that I watched the results of a months-long New York Times’ project in which they interviewed 21 of the Democrats running for president on a range of foreign and domestic policy issues that will confront the next president. There were questions on Afghanistan, handguns, health care, immigration, and the death penalty.

    • Trump’s swamp people: Shockingly, the administration’s vetting process was a total mess

      think most people believe that one of Donald Trump’s most important pledges during the 2016 campaign was to “Drain the swamp,” a slogan that has become one of his followers’ favorite chants. But unlike “Lock her up” or “Build the wall,” Trump didn’t even launch that phrase until Oct. 18, 2016, just a couple of weeks before the election.

      It was formally introduced with great fanfare in a speech on the eve of the first general-election debate in which he presented his “ethics reform” program.

    • To Create a New Deal That Works for Everyone, We Must Shun Centrism

      History has a way of crashing into itself on occasion. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s unrepentant praise for a white supremacist segregationist last week — which, according to the presidential candidate, was taken out of context and is not actually a reflection of his hidebound mid-20th century worldview so stop saying that — caused a multi-car pileup in history’s HOV lane. Untangling the wreckage informs us on not just where we’ve been, but where we could be headed in 2020.

      Biden’s kind words for Sen. James O. Eastland (D-Mississippi), one of the most ruthless defenders of Jim Crow in the South, ripped the scab off some uncomfortable truths regarding the Democratic Party, the New Deal, and institutional racism. Biden summoned Eastland into his argument as a means of praising a time when lawmakers could “get things done” even with terrible people in a bygone era of “civility.”

      As much as it was just and proper to confront Biden’s serial talent for missing the point, particularly when he summoned the racist slur “boy” with no apparent sense of its vicious context, the fact remains that the Democratic Party mollified its segregationist wing in order to pass the New Deal. By doing so, they deliberately left Black citizens out of the equation, even as they enacted new laws and regulations that remade the U.S. economic and political landscape.

      Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ambitious program, enacted in pieces over several years to end the long slog of the Great Depression, changed the way the country lived and worked. Minimum wage and child labor laws, protections for bank customers and new muscle for unions, strong stock market regulations, and new infrastructure for plumbing and electricity remade the nation from coast to coast and border to border. The establishment of Social Security meant that for many people, growing old did not have to mean growing destitute, and laid the groundwork for Medicare and Medicaid, two of the most successful government programs ever put forth.

      In passing his slate of reforms, however, Roosevelt placated the segregationist wing of his party, represented toward the end of his long administration by men like James Eastland. Many Black workers were denied the benefits of Social Security and the bargaining power provided by the National Labor Relations Act so Southern oligarchs could maintain their pool of cheap Black laborers. Black people were likewise denied government mortgage subsidies granted by the Federal Housing Act, also at the behest of those same Southern oligarchs.

    • Buttigieg Criticized at Emotional Town Hall After Shooting

      Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced criticism Sunday from angry residents of South Bend, Indiana, at an emotional town hall meeting a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city where he is mayor.

      Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) said he would call for an outside investigation of the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan by Sgt. Ryan O’Neill.

      The 37-year-old mayor said he would send a letter to the federal Department of Justice’s civil rights division and notify the local prosecutor that he’d like an independent investigator appointed. He conceded that his administration had failed on two key initiatives.

      “The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that,” Buttigieg said.

      Prosecutors investigating said that the shooting was not recorded by O’Neill’s body camera.

    • Billionaires to 2020 Presidential Hopefuls: ‘America Has a Moral, Ethical, and Economic Responsibility to Tax Our Wealth More’

      “Those of us who have signed this letter believe it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us,” the letter reads. “It is a key to both addressing our climate crisis, and a more competitive, stronger economy that would better serve millions of Americans. It would make America healthier. It is a fair way of creating opportunity. And it strengthens American freedom and democracy. It is not in our interest to advocate for this tax, if our interests are quite narrowly understood. But the wealth tax is in our interest as Americans.”

      The letter is signed by 18 named individuals from 11 incredibly wealthy families, including Robert S. Bowditch Jr., founder of real estate development firm MB Associates, and his wife, Louise Bowditch; filmmaker Abigail Disney; philanthropist George Soros and his son Alexander Soros; Arnold S. Hiatt, chairman of the Stride Rite Charitable Foundation; Regan Pritzker, president of the Libra Foundation; and Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, co-founders of the impact investment organization Blue Haven Initiative.

      “We thought it would be a good idea,” Ian Simmons explained to the Times. “Liesel and I decided to reach out to some other folks to see if they thought it was a good idea, too.”

    • An Open Letter To My Fellow American, Civil Servant Jared Kushner

      I do hope it’s okay with you that I dropped the salutation formalities. I just read in Medium an article by Aaron Gell, their contributing editor, titled Jared Kushner Was My Boss, so I really feel I personally know you now, plus, I’ve been writing about you for several months, so let’s be friends.

      I just read your Peace to Prosperity Economic Plan. I must give it to you. You did it. You produced 136 pages of nothing, in full color and with photos too.

      I read this on my veranda, the one facing the illegal Israeli settlement of Psagot across the valley. Every time I looked up to take a sip of water, I looked at the settlement lights glaring down on me and then looked down to your plan to see where it fits; I see it fits perfectly since you don’t even hint that it exists. I know, we Palestinians should not get bogged down with inconvenient facts on the ground.

      I really liked the part of the plan’s vision that notes that it can only be achieved, “following a peace agreement” and that “Only through peace can the Palestinians achieve prosperity.” You are spot on here, Jared, but isn’t that what the Palestinian leadership and people have been saying to you from the outset, show us the political parameters and then we can talk economy? Isn’t that how “business plans” are built; you ask about the applicable laws and regulations, then you build your plan?

    • Advocates Say Illinois Ban on Private Immigrant Detention Centers, a ‘Firewall’ Against Trump’s Attacks on Immigrants, Should Be Model for Country

      In addition to making Illinois the first state to outlaw private immigrant detention facilities, the state’s new legislation also prohibits local law enforcement agencies from engaging in federal immigration enforcement with ICE and allows undocumented and transgender students to receive Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and other aid at public education institutions.

      “We will not allow private entities to profit off of the intolerance of this president,” said Pritzker. “We will not allow local police departments [to] act as an extension of ICE. And we will ensure that every student in this state who wants to go to college should be able to do so without saddling themselves with debt for the rest of their lives.”

    • EFF to the California DOJ: Enforce the Prohibition on Assisting Immigration Enforcement

      In response to the looming threat of mass deportations, EFF has sent a letter to California’s Department of Justice (DOJ) asking it to enforce the standing prohibition on using the state’s law enforcement network for immigration enforcement.

      In February 2019, the DOJ updated its regulations to prohibit federal agencies from accessing the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) for the purposes of immigration enforcement. This change was part of the implementation of the California Values Act, a 2017 law that generally prohibits California law enforcement from using its resources to assist in deportation efforts.

      Databases can qualify as such resources. CLETS is a network that allows law enforcement agencies to search through a person’s criminal history, driving and parking violations, and driver license and vehicle registration. While the California Values Act made an exception for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) access to criminal histories to comply with federal law, all other uses should be off limits for immigration enforcement.

    • Hearing Wednesday: California Should Audit Use of License Plate Data

      Sacramento – On Wednesday, June 26, at 10 am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to approve an audit on the use of automated license plate readers (ALPR) by state law enforcement.

      ALPRs are camera systems that scan the license plates of vehicles in order to track people in real time and create search databases of driver’s historical travel patterns. As a mass surveillance technology, ALPR captures information on every driver, regardless of whether their vehicle is under suspicion. Several years ago, California lawmakers passed legislation to regulate ALPR use, including requiring publicly available usage policies and guidelines for how the information is accessed. State Sen. Scott Wiener, who previously supported EFF legislation to protect drivers’ from ALPR surveillance, filed the request for the audit.

      At the hearing Wednesday, EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass will explain that many California law enforcement agencies are not complying with this law. Researchers have found that ALPR data is routinely shared with hundreds of other entities without safeguards or proper legal process. A probe by the California State Auditor will help the public and policymakers learn more about how state agencies are protecting their data.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Indian Gov’t Uses National Security Law, Bad Information To Block Twitter Accounts All Over The World

      US social media companies are continuing to act as proxy censors for governments around the world. This is adding some bizarre twists to stories of social media content takedowns as governments target posts by non-citizens located thousands of miles away.

      India may have abandoned a fake news law, but it still acting as though unverified news is a threat to national security. In a case covered by Kevin Poulsen for The Daily Beast, an American college student’s tweets were targeted by the Indian government, which claimed the student was engaging in spreading propaganda.

    • Supposedly Disadvantaged Conservatives Not Exactly Rushing To Support Josh Hawley’s Anti-Section 230 Bill

      Senator Josh Hawley’s ridiculous and unconstitutional bill to remove CDA Section 230 protections from internet giants was clearly designed to appeal to conservative voters who have been fed a nonstop myth that the big internet platforms are “targeting” them for their conservative views, when the reality is that the platforms are mostly targeting trolls, harassers, Nazis, and assholes. If those factors are disproportionately impacting Republicans, then perhaps that’s more an issue for the Republican party than the internet platforms.

      Either way, given that the myth that platforms are “targeting” conservatives has some traction, it seems likely that Hawley thought the conservative movement and conservative organizations would likely rush in to support his nonsense bill. It appears he miscalculated. FreedomWorks, the organization closely associated with the Tea Party movement put out a tweet mocking Hawley for thinking “conservatives are too stupid to realize he’s trying to kill free speech online.”

    • Congress Should Not Rush to Regulate Deepfakes

      The House Intelligence Committee held a hearing earlier this month examining the issue of “deepfakes,” a term coined to describe images or videos created with a machine learning algorithm that allows people to make false footage that appears real. There is real potential for fake or manipulated images or video to be dangerous or harmful. University of Maryland law school professor Danielle Citron pointed during her hearing testimony to the horrifying story of journalist Rana Ayyub. An online mob spread a false pornographic video featuring Ayyub’s image, forcing her to hide for her own safety. As a society, we must acknowledge the harmful uses of deepfakes and hold the people who produce them accountable for their actions. EFF has acknowledged the harms of online harassment—including how people use harassment to chill the speech of marginalized people. Yet Congress must tread carefully if it seeks to address the actual problem without censoring lawful and socially valuable speech—such as parodies and satires.

      Before Congress drafts legislation to regulate deepfakes, lawmakers should carefully consider what types of content new laws should address, what our current laws already do, and how further legislation will affect free speech and free expression.

    • Australia Says Media Companies Can Be Sued Over User Comments On Facebook

      It’s no secret that Australia has taken a very different view towards intermediary liability than the US, saying (for example) that search engines can be responsible for search results it had nothing to do with, and even that they can be held liable if you are offended by the images that show up next to yours in an image search. So perhaps the latest such case in Australia shouldn’t be a surprise. A court has ruled that media companies can be held liable for comments on their news stories. And not just the comments on their own pages… but on Facebook.

    • Don’t Shoot The Message Board: A Data Driven Look At The Impact Of Section 230 On Innovation And The Economy

      We’ve obviously been talking a lot about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act over the past few years — and it is often credited as being the most important law for the internet. Jeff Kosseff’s recent book calls it “the 26 words that created the internet,” while David Post once declared that Section 230 probably “created a trillion dollars or so of value.” We’ve talked a lot about how the real benefits of Section 230 are not to the internet companies themselves, but to the public’s free speech rights, but over the last few years it’s bugged me that there wasn’t a better attempt to measure the actual economic impact of Section 230 and other intermediary liability regimes.

      Today, in partnership with NetChoice, we’re launching our new report: Don’t Shoot the Message Board, that attempts to explore what the data shows concerning the economic benefits of Section 230. We chose the name because it’s perfectly fitting. Section 230 was, literally, written and pushed by (then) Reps. Chris Cox and Ron Wyden in response to the awful ruling in the Stratton Oakmont case, which suggested that any company hosting a message board could be found liable for any of the content on that message board. Similarly, the common phrase is “don’t shoot the messenger,” which is very much about not blaming the party merely delivering the message, as opposed to creating or causing the message. Putting liability on intermediaries is very much about blaming the messenger for actions of someone else.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Opinion: New generation of tech firms urges stronger privacy laws

      Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently wrote about the importance of privacy in the New York Times, joining Facebook and others as purported converts to the cause. But while Big Tech publicly claims a change of heart about consumer privacy, it is at the same time quietly attempting to dismantle California’s new privacy law before it even goes into effect. This kind of duplicity is why the tech industry is increasingly being viewed with suspicion.
      Last year California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires large companies to respect basic personal information rights.
      These include the rights of individuals to know what types of information about them are collected sold, or shared, and the right to stop businesses from trading their information.
      As an industry that depends on public trust and touts itself as improving our lives, we need to stop sharing intimate information with unscrupulous brokers and building systems that manipulate users’ preferences and actions. These are serious mistakes that may generate short-term profits but hurt consumers, our communities, and the industry as a whole.
      Secretly, our colleagues in Big Tech worry about privacy violations too. That’s why so many of them prohibit their own children from using the products and services they push on an unwitting public.
      We represent a new generation of privacy-focused companies that believe we should not build things we wouldn’t let our own kids use. We support strong privacy protections, not just token “regulation” that doesn’t really protect consumers. That’s why we (and others) have called on the legislature to actually strengthen California’s consumer privacy law.
      Big Tech, though? They’re calling for something else entirely: watering down California’s law as much as possible.
      For example, Big Tech has called for an exception for online advertising tracking and other changes that would narrow the range of information protected by the new law.
      They also successfully killed SB 561, which proposed that Californians should be able to hold tech companies accountable when they commit serious privacy violations, as well as AB 1760, the Privacy for All Act, which would have strengthened the CCPA in numerous ways.

    • The New Generation of Tech and Stronger Privacy Laws

      Read all about how Todd Weaver and Brendan Eich reject Big Tech’s efforts to weaken California’s privacy law.

      In a nutshell, what you can read in The Mercury News is how every Big Tech company seems to care about privacy now—while quietly attempting to dismantle the California Consumer Privacy Act before it even goes into effect. Why? California’s new privacy law requires large companies to respect basic information rights: what is collected, sold, traded or shared.

      Sharing intimate information and manipulating users’ choices and actions are serious mistakes.

      Our colleagues in Big Tech worry about privacy violations too… and that’s why so many of them don’t allow their own children to use the products and services they sell.

      Regulate us. Seriously.

      We don’t believe in building things we wouldn’t let our own kids use, and that’s why we want to strengthen California’s consumer privacy law. Our industry knows how to innovate and adapt, we thrive in the startup mindset of tackling new challenges, we know how to conquer what seems impossible. Regulation that helps civilians is critical; regulation that creates a barrier to entry for competition and protects technology giants is not.

    • “Somebody Is Going to Die”: Lawyer Describes Chaos, Illness & Danger at Migrant Child Jail in Texas

      Outrage is mounting over a shocking Associated Press report published late last week revealing that at least 250 migrant infants, children and teenagers have been locked up for nearly a month without adequate food, water or sanitation at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, near the city of El Paso. Lawyers who visited the facility described a scene of chaos and sickness, with children unable to shower or change into clean clothes for weeks on end. The AP report came the same week that the Trump administration argued in federal court that the government is not required to provide toothbrushes, soap or beds to children detained at the border, and as other reports found similarly squalid conditions at a number of immigration jails. We speak with Warren Binford, a lawyer who interviewed children detained at the Clint, Texas, facility.

    • Children Continue to Die in Government Custody, and DHS is Dodging Accountability

      In recent months, at least seven children have either died in custody or died after being detained by federal immigration agencies at the border. These children came to the United States desperate for shelter and safety, but found inhumanity and suffering, under our government’s care, instead.

      Their deaths reveal just how dire the conditions are under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are holding hundreds of children. Detention facilities are dangerously overcrowded, where migrants are forced to wear soiled clothes for days at a time. To make matters worse, CBP also appears to be holding children for extended periods of time in direct conflict with the Flores agreement, a set of legal guidelines that provide humane conditions for immigrant children in detention — guidelines the Trump administration is now attempting to dismantle, arguing in court that it doesn’t require CBP to provide basic toiletries to keep children clean.

      The government may argue that their hands are tied by a lack of resources, but the truth is that these horrors are simply the latest attempt to dehumanize asylum-seekers and migrants, including children, and deny them basic care and dignity.

      U.S. Border Patrol, the law enforcement arm of CBP, has more than doubled in staff and funding since 2003. CBP has dealt with even higher levels of border crossers arrivals in the past and has 17 times the budget it did in 1990.

      And yet, the department continues to have a heinous track record of rampant reported abuses in detention facilities, with adults dying on their watch as well as children, all with almost no accountability standards. There have been 97 fatalities at the hands of CBP agents since 2004, including the murder of Claudia Gomez Gonzalez, an unarmed, indigenous 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in May 2018.

      The department has had ample time and resources to figure out their processes and be more forthcoming with a plan to address influxes of asylum seekers, particularly families, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, they continue to be opaque in their answers to members of Congress and push misleading data about border crossings.

    • If China Is A Glimpse Of Our Future Surveillance Nightmare, Maybe Hong Kong Shows How To Fight It

      Techdirt has been covering the roll-out of the extraordinarily comprehensive digital surveillance systems in China for many years. It’s hardly news that the Chinese authorities continue to deploy the latest technologies in order to bolster their control. Many of the same approaches to surveillance are being tried in the special administrative region of Hong Kong. A British colony for 156 years, it was handed back to China in 1997 on the understanding that there would be “one country, two systems”: Hong Kong would be part of China, but it would retain its very different economic and administrative systems for at least 50 years.

      Well, that was the theory. In practice, Xi Jinping is clearly unwilling to wait that long, and has been asserting more and more control over Hong Kong and its people. In 2014, this provoked the youth-led “Umbrella Movement”, which sought to fight interference by the Chinese authorities in Hong Kong’s political system. More recently, there have been even bigger protests over a planned law that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to China.

    • Why is the US government using social media to monitor the public?

      A series of recent reports—based on documents obtained from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings and other leaked information—have revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is violating the First Amendment right to free speech and assembly by gathering social media data for surveillance purposes and targeting organizations and individuals for harassment, intimidation, deportation and arrest.

    • Ola Bini, Privacy Activist and Julian Assange Friend, Speaks Out After Release from Ecuadorian Jail

      Last week, an Ecuadorian judge ordered the release of Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini, who spent more than two months in jail without charge. Bini is a friend of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. He was arrested in Quito on the same day that Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. We speak with Ola Bini in Quito, where he remains under investigation for allegedly hacking the Ecuadorian government. He says, “Through the whole process, 70 days in prison, and all of the days since, we’ve been asking the prosecution to tell us what it is I have done. And they still have not actually given us any single answer.”

    • Targeted for Being a Friend of Julian Assange? Ola Bini Released After Two Months in Ecuadorian Jail

      Web-only conversation with Swedish programmer and data privacy activist Ola Bini following his release from over two months in an Ecuadorian jail. Bini was arrested on the same day that Julian Assange was forcibly taken by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Moscow and St. Petersburg protested against police overreach and political repressions on June 23

      On June 23, demonstrators gathered around Russia to protest political repressions and police fabrication of criminal cases. In central Moscow, a march organized by the Libertarian Party and the Union of Journalists and Media Workers attracted between 1,800 and 3,900 people according to police and organizers, respectively. Six protesters, including artist Artyom Loskutov, were arrested at the end of the event. In St. Petersburg, protesters had not received a permit from local authorities, and three of them were arrested. Sasha Sulim and Pavel Merzlikin observed the day’s goings-on in Moscow and St. Petersburg, respectively.

    • Meet the Moscow teen trying to educate women about their rights when sexually assaulted, as she faces felony charges for protecting herself

      A 19-year-old woman in Moscow named Darya Ageniy has launched a new campaign on social media in support of victims of sexual violence. She says she survived an attack last summer in the city of Tuapse, where an intoxicated local man tried to rape her. In self-defense, Darya stabbed the man with a pencil sharpening knife, leading to an investigation in which she is a suspect. If convicted, she faces time in prison. The man in question denies forcing himself onto Darya, saying that he only wanted to read poetry to her. Meduza special correspondent Pavel Merzlikin spoke to Darya Ageniy about the felony case against her and about how her Internet project might change Russians’ perceptions of sexual violence.

    • Citing CIA’s Dark History, Librarians Protest Agency’s Recruiting at Their Conference

      A group of librarians demanded the American Library Association abide by its values on Friday as they staged a protest of the CIA’s presence and recruitment at the professional organization’s annual conference.

      At the convention, which is taking place June 20-25 in Washington, D.C., the CIA is among the hundreds of exhibitors.

      Being an exhibitor at one of its gatherings, the American Library Association (ALA) says, “provides the best and most comprehensive opportunity to reach decision makers in the library field.”

      The protesters say the CIA’s track record provides ample evidence it should not be provided that opportunity.

      “The CIA is recruiting at #alaac19,” said organizer and Library Freedom Project founder Alison Macrina on Twitter. “Everything they stand for is a violation of the values of librarianship, so we protested.”

    • The Largest Migrant Shelter Is a House of Horrors, Report Finds

      President Trump announced and then quickly called off Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting undocumented immigrants this weekend, but it’s little relief for the migrants already in government custody.

      The Texas Tribune reported Sunday that the McAllen, Texas-area Customs and Border Patrol shelter, the largest of its kind in the U.S., was so overcrowded that immigrants were forced to sleep outside. Toby Gialluca, an immigration lawyer, told the Tribune the water in the facility “tastes like bleach,” adding, “It was so bad that the mothers would save any bottled water they could get and use that to mix the baby formula.”

      Children don’t have clean clothes, advocates say, and are not receiving sufficient medical care. “Unable to clean themselves, young mothers reported wiping their children’s runny noses or vomit with their own clothing,” the Tribune reported.

      The McAllen facility is separate from the Clint, Texas, one that most of the 300 children that were there were moved from, according to reports Monday from the Associated Press, via Texas station KVIA.

      “Basic hygiene just doesn’t exist there,” Gialluca told the Tribune. “It’s a health crisis … a manufactured health crisis.”

    • State Duma proposal would protect entrepreneurs from recent law criminalizing mafia leadership

      State Duma Deputy Rifat Shaikhutdinov has introduced a proposal to block a relatively recent law that penalizes organizing or participating in a “criminal community” from being applied in cases of financial crimes. The law in question, Article 210 of the Russian Criminal Codex, was designed to lock up those who hold a high rank in the Russian organized crime hierarchy even if they cannot be charged under other statutes.

    • Post Office loses bid to have judge in case removed

      A group of 557 former post office staff, including Telford’s Tracy Felstead, are taking legal action against the company in an attempt to clear their names.

      Miss Felstead, 37, from Brookside, was jailed for six months in 2001 after being convicted of stealing £11,500 when she was a 19-year-old counter clerk. She protests her innocence, and says a glitch with the Post Office’s Horizon computer system created the shortfall.

    • Horror At The Border

      While reading it, I realized I was painfully naive about what really goes on via CBP. It’s no man’s land for privacy and other rights — in a way that’s terrifying.

      I’ve said that the TSA (which is not security by any stretch of the imagination…missing 95% of mock weapons in tests) is really about obedience training for the American public, training us to be docile as our rights are yanked from us.

      I don’t know — but I have to wonder — if CBP has long been like this or has grown more and more Soviet Secret Police, etc., since the TSA was installed in airports across the country.

    • New Policy: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration

      We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.

    • New Ban: Do Not Post In Support of Trump or his Administration

      We are banning support of Donald Trump or his administration on the RPGnet forums. This is because his public comments, policies, and the makeup of his administration are so wholly incompatible with our values that formal political neutrality is not tenable. We can be welcoming to (for example) persons of every ethnicity who want to talk about games, or we can allow support for open white supremacy. Not both. Below will be an outline of the policy and a very incomplete set of citations.

    • AOC Is Right — They’re Concentration Camps

      What, then, is the meaning of a phrase like “never again” when the institutions that proselytize it also argue that Holocaust memory cannot be sullied by the present tense? “Never again” is the common refrain that young Jews are taught, particularly by leaders at groups like the JCRC and tour guides at Yad Vashem. But by the time many of these young Jews become adolescent or twenty-something Jews, the mantra becomes a question: “Never again, for whom?”

      Rather than broaden the scope of the lesson to include injustices not committed by Nazis against Jews, Jewish institutions would rather instead police the boundaries of Holocaust memory. Jewish leaders like the JCRC, like Foxman, like Wolpe, and like many others, in giving the Republicans cover for such a putrid policy, have given their answer: Just us.

    • John Kiriakou: CIA Seeking More Impunity

      The CIA doesn’t care about a free press, though. The proposed provision in the authorization bill would save the CIA the trouble of having to explain itself to the likes of the media, to members of the congressional oversight committees, or even to the courts. And it raises far more questions than it answers. Why is such a provision necessary in the first place? What exactly is it supposed to protect? What was the precipitating event?

      There are, of course, no legitimate answers to those questions. No CIA officers have been exposed. None have been threatened. None have had their lives put in danger by unauthorized disclosures. That’s a red herring. This new provision is a power grab. It is an attempt to get a pass on crimes even before they’re committed. It’s prior restraint. It’s un-American and we have to fight it.

    • Report Says DHS Can’t Manage Internal Misconduct Because The DHS Just Doesn’t Do Anything About Internal Misconduct

      The long history of abuse and misconduct by DHS components stretches back for years. Agencies like ICE, CBP, and the TSA have never not been abusing their power to violate rights, circumvent the protections of the legal system, or just treat everyone like garbage for national security reasons.

      Why has nothing gotten better? Well, if you’re the DHS, you’ve tried nothing and you’re all out of ideas. The latest report [PDF] by the DHS Inspector General understates the issue. The title says the DHS needs to “improve” its oversight of misconduct and discipline. Start with the baseline low enough and any incremental forward motion is an improvement.

      Reading through the report, it’s apparent the DHS simply doesn’t care what abuses happen on its watch. No one in the agency — not even those specifically tasked with following up on allegations of misconduct — seems to think it’s their job to follow up on allegations of misconduct.

    • Aggression Detectors: The Unproven, Invasive Surveillance Technology Schools Are Using to Monitor Students

      Ariella Russcol specializes in drama at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York, and the senior’s performance on this April afternoon didn’t disappoint. While the library is normally the quietest room in the school, her ear-piercing screams sounded more like a horror movie than study hall. But they weren’t enough to set off a small microphone in the ceiling that was supposed to detect aggression.

      A few days later, at the Staples Pathways Academy in Westport, Connecticut, junior Sami D’Anna inadvertently triggered the same device with a less spooky sound — a coughing fit from a lingering chest cold. As she hacked and rasped, a message popped up on its web interface: “StressedVoice detected.”

      “There we go,” D’Anna said with amusement, looking at the screen. “There’s my coughs.”

      The students were helping ProPublica test an aggression detector that’s used in hundreds of schools, health care facilities, banks, stores and prisons worldwide, including more than 100 in the U.S. Sound Intelligence, the Dutch company that makes the software for the device, plans to open an office this year in Chicago, where its chief executive will be based.

      California-based Louroe Electronics, which has loaded the software on its microphones since 2015, advertises the devices in school safety magazines and at law enforcement conventions, and it said it has between 100 and 1,000 customers for them. Louroe’s marketing materials say the detection software enables security officers to “engage antagonistic individuals immediately, resolving the conflict before it turns into physical violence.”

    • Methodology: How We Tested an Aggression Detection Algorithm

      This companion article to our main story describes the testing and data analysis ProPublica conducted for the Sound Intelligence aggression detection algorithm on the Louroe Digifact A microphone. Here, we discuss the data and methodology used for our research, as well as the results of our testing and analysis. Those results raise concerns about the device, particularly for the school environments for which it is marketed and sold.

      We first tested the device in simulated situations to measure its performance in real-world scenarios and collected spontaneous and simulated vocalizations from high school students. We then analyzed the types of sounds that the algorithm found to be aggressive and determined, for those sounds, some common audio characteristics. We view this analysis as an initial exploration of the algorithm, using sound it would likely encounter in operation, rather than a definitive evaluation.

    • Japanese-American Internment Survivors Protest Plan to Jail Migrant Kids at WWII Prison Camp

      Democracy Now! was there when five Japanese-American elders, survivors of U.S. internment camps, engaged in civil disobedience Saturday outside the Fort Sill Army post in Oklahoma, where the Trump administration plans to indefinitely detain 1,400 immigrant and refugee children starting next month. Fort Sill was an internment camp for 700 Japanese-American men in 1942. It was one of more than 70 sites where the U.S. government incarcerated about 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, including one of 14 U.S. Army bases. President Obama first used Fort Sill in 2014 to detain migrant children seeking asylum from violence in Central America. Descendants of internment camp survivors were also present at the peaceful protest. We feature a video report from Fort Sill and speak with Mike Ishii, co-chair of Tsuru for Solidarity. Ishii was at Fort Sill Army Base Saturday and helped organize the act.

    • U.S. Moves Migrant Kids After Facility’s Poor Conditions Exposed

      COMMENTS
      The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

      Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso on Monday, said Rep. Veronica Escobar after her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection.

      Attorneys who visited the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, last week said older children were trying to take care of infants and toddlers, The Associated Press first reported Thursday. They described a 4-year-old with matted hair who had gone without a shower for days, and hungry, inconsolable children struggling to soothe one another. Some had been locked for three weeks inside the facility, where 15 children were sick with the flu and another 10 were in medical quarantine.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Is Siding With Landlords and Comcast Over Tenants Who Want Broadband Choices

      In December of 2016, the city of San Francisco boldly enacted the “Occupant’s Right to Choose Communications Services Provider” ordinance (also known as Article 52) that hinders a payola scheme cooked up between big cable companies like Comcast and landlords. In just a few short years since its enactment, a great number of apartments in San Francisco have at least four options for broadband service, including affordable gigabit fiber service. Fearing that other cities would follow suit, a whole range of associations and corporations that represent landlords and the cable industry pushed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hard to block these local efforts. For a federal agency tasked with promoting competition, it shouldn’t be a close call to simply ignore these groups. But that is not what the FCC plans to do next month.

    • Robocalls Swamp Hospitals As The Trump FCC Pretends To Fix The Problem

      As we just got done explaining, the Pai FCC has been getting a lot of press for what it claims is a bold, new plan to help rein in the robocall menace by “suggesting” that carriers offer free robocalling tools by default, and recommending that they quickly adopt call authentication technology to thwart spoofing (faking the originating call number). But the Pai FCC proposal isn’t actually new, and offers absolutely no penalty for carriers that fail to comply.

      And while Ajit Pai has promised to hold carriers accountable if they don’t, there’s absolutely nothing in Pai’s tenure so far that suggests he’s actually capable of standing up to carriers. The press likes to beat around the bush on this front, but there are two major reasons this FCC hasn’t done more to thwart robocalls. One, carriers don’t want to have to pay for it, and the Pai FCC has proven to be a mindless rubber stamp to carrier interests. Two, a lot of “legitimate” telemarketing and debt collecting agencies utilize these exact same tactics, and the FCC doesn’t want to upset them either.

      What we get as a result is a government that pays a lot of lip service to the problem, but doesn’t actually do much of anything for fear of upsetting campaign contributors in the telecom and marketing industries. They’re quick to go after smaller robocall players that are easy to prosecute, but they’re terrified of holding larger, legitimate companies accountable for their own role in failing to implement technologies that could have put the problem to bed years ago. Again because while a lot of “robocalls” are perpetuated by illegal scam operations, a lot of them are perpetuated by industries using the exact same tactics (this 2018 testimony by Margot Saunders (pdf) explains this in great detail) to harass and spam consumers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm Faces Second EU Fine as Vestager’s Last Big-Tech Target

      Qualcomm Inc. faces another European Union antitrust fine a year after being ordered to pay 997 million-euro ($1.13 billion) penalty for thwarting rival suppliers to Apple Inc., according to three people familiar with the latest case.

      The chip giant may be fined as soon as next month, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process isn’t public. That would make it the last U.S. technology firm to get a large antitrust penalty from Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

      Vestager is due to step down later this year after punishing Google with more than $9 billion in fines and ordering Apple to pay more than 14 billion euros in back taxes. She warned in May she was “definitely not done yet” with big tech as she weighs potential new probes into Amazon.com Inc., Google and Apple.

      The EU’s current Qualcomm investigation targets 3G chips for internet mobile dongles sold between 2009 and 2011. Regulators allege these were sold below cost in order to push Icera, now owned by Nvidia Corp., out of the market. The EU took the unusual move of sending an extra antitrust complaint to Qualcomm last year to bolster its arguments of a “price-cost” test it used to show how far below cost the prices were.

    • Trademarks

      • Oops I Did it Again: Time to Register those Scandalous Marks

        In an interesting free speech opinion, the Supreme Court has sided against Congress and the USPTO — finding the statutory prohibitions on registering immoral or scandalous trademarks to be an unconstitutional limit on free speech. The decision here follows Matal v. Tam (2017) where the court similarly held unconstitutional a parallel provision restricting disparaging marks.

        Justice Kagan wrote the 6-person majority opinion that was joined by Justices Thomas, Ginsberg, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. The remaining justices agreed that the First Amendment requires the government to register immoral marks, but argued that at least some scandalous marks can be properly prohibited. In the minority viewpoint, the court should have narrowly construed that aspect of the statute to a Constitutional scope while retaining some of its effectiveness.

        This case involves the mark “FUCT” that Brunetti has been using for many years in association with his product line for wealthy rebellious skaters. However, when he decided to register the mark, the PTO rejected his application as directed toward immoral or scandalous matter as required by the Lanham Act. Brunetti appealed.

    • Copyrights

      • This is original broadcast, says the Finnish Market Court on IPTV transmissions

        Do collecting societies have standing to sue for copyright infringement and do internet access providers commit acts of communication to the public when they give access to their customers of TV programs that are also broadcasted simultaneously free to air?

        Both these issues were at the centre of a recent judgment issued by the Finnish Market Court.

      • Copyrighting the Official Annotated Statutes: Georgia v. Public.Resource.org

        The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the important public access case of Georgia v. PublicResource.org Inc. The case focuses on Georgia official statutory code with official annotations (the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” or “OCGA”). OCGA includes the statutes, section titles, statutory histories, guidance from the Georgia Code Revision Commission, judicial summaries, and opinions by the State AG, for example. PublicResources.org bought a copy of the OCGA, copied it, and uploaded it to the internet so that the public could have free access to the law. Georgia then sued for copyright infringement.

        The district court held OCGA copyrightable and the 11th Circuit reversed that decision — finding that the “government edicts doctrine” prohibits copyright in this case. One difficulty with with that doctrine is that it was last discussed by the U.S. Supreme Court 130 years ago in Callaghan v. Myers, 128 U.S. 617 (1888) and Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244 (1888).

        [...]

        OCGA is published by LEXIS, but its contents are particularly controlled by the Georgia General Assembly and the Commission (a division of the Assembly). The appellate panel found particularly that “the Commission exercises direct, authoritative control over the creation of the OCGA annotations at every stage of their preparation.”

The European Patent Office Remains a Crooked Patent Office That Harms Staff and Abolishes the Rule of Law

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Pisa

Temple in Ayuthaya

Summary: The EPO remains a sordid mess, but those who follow mainstream media might not know anything about it because it’s not covered anywhere in 2019

THIS MORNING we ranted about the European media intentionally ignoring the European Patent Office’s (EPO) scandals, of which there are so many. President António Campinos, like his predecessor Battistelli, must really be enjoying his immunity and impunity (even protection from the media). These people can do almost anything they want and Campinos thought about lending immunity to his criminal son (after he had committed a serious crime). Are these people drunk on power or just literally drunk? Perhaps both. The previous post spoke about patents on life and the one beforehand about software patents in Europe. These aren’t legal. European authorities say so, but the EPO chooses to ignore authorities, the law/EPC, even courts.

How much longer will SUEPO hold off another strike? What concrete steps has Campinos taken to deserve its postponement? “Kluwer Patent blogger” wrote about this yesterday, but this anonymous author makes it seem as though things are OK with a headline like “No strike, little progress in restoring social peace at the European Patent Office”. To quote some bits:

In a letter that the SUEPO sent to president Campinos last week, with a copy to all delegations of the Administrative Council, the SUEPO warns social tensions are far from over and expresses concern that Campinos has celebrated “major” achievements, whereas they are, ‘in our opinion, only a few, relatively minor steps towards the necessary re-establishment of the Rule of Law at the EPO. These steps are simply the beginning of a long process, and are far from being sufficient to restore social peace after years of massive staff rights violations under Mr Battistelli.’

In the letter, the SUEPO also criticizes the way in which Campinos expressed himself about pending cases of sanctioned union and staff representatives. Although last year the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO reversed dismissals and downgrading of three SUEPO leaders by former EPO president Battistelli, this has not led to quick actions by Campinos in similarly questionable cases: ‘You wrote: “[T]he office cannot accept any terms of settlement especially where demands involve excessively high financial compensation”. (sic)’ According to the SUEPO, ‘[t]his statement is highly disingenuous. The individuals in question only ask what is owed to them, to restore the status quo ante: nothing more. What is owed may now be substantial, but by no means excessive.’

EPO president António Campinos came in charge in July 2018 and said listening to the staff would be a high priority for him. Disappointingly to many, this has not led to important changes nor a better social climate. A recent internal survey showed EPO staff has a very negative view of management effectiveness, low confidence in senior management decisions and lack of clarity about direction. Alarming and ominous as well: only 39 percent of staff member think they are treated with respect.

The comments from “No Justice at EPO” and “Experienced Examiner” (only two comments posted/approved so far) are better than the article, which SUEPO cited on Monday. To quote the first one:

It is incomprehensible that Mr Campinos act in this way.

Why does he endorse the mad actions of his predecessor? Why does he protect top managers who acted illegally and de facto maintains injustice to those who have suffered from their actions?

Not only the sanctioned staff reps but the entire EPO structure is maintained under far too high production pressure, fear of retaliation and thus chronical stress.

He is a lawyer by training. Why does he do at the EPO what he could never have done in Brussels in the EU institutions?

Can someone explain to me what purpose does this strategy serve? Does he (do they) take pleasure in making people suffer?

And the second:

Neither the new President nor anybody in Senior Management has the intention to change anything – aside from cutting costs, meaning reduced staff benefits, with the support of the bogus financial study.

We have seen one area of major progress: information technology. Here, the Office decided to rely on Google Chrome as third browser, in addition to Internet Explorer and Firefox. This will, without doubt, massively boost quality, quantity, motivation and staff engagement.

The latest talk is about an “agile culture” which allegedly has brought major benefits in various companies. So far, I still miss an explanation of what “agile culture” is and how it shall be compliant with the very rigid guidelines we have on how search and examination are to be carried out. We examiners are not at liberty in performing these tasks. More or less every step is regulated down to the tiny detail. I have the feeling my top management remains blissfully ignorant about the services the Office provides and the work done by substantive examiners.

As to the staff survey with devastating results, the only visible reaction is an assurance that “work is going on”. Hm. I would not know about you, but getting slapped in face for lack of respect and having nothing to offer aside from fuzzy, unsubstantiated assurances falls somewhat short. Months have passed, there is nothing tangible.

The Council, in all likelihood, will not do anything substantial. They have become very good in doing this during the last years.

We examiners are between a rock and a hard place. The only way to remain sane and healthy is to adapt the quality we deliver to the time we are allowed to spend. Professional pride in doing a good job is outdated.

Why does the EPO carry on without very major scrutiny from the media, from the EU and so on? This inaction makes them look very much complicit, at least by passivity.

From the above blog typically come lies of Team UPC and other patent extremists, who lobby for patents on life (or similar). Arnie Clarke and Harriet Crawford have just pushed or publicised the agenda of fast, sloppy, inaccurate patent examination (the way Battistelli and Campinos like it). Good for lawyers? Sure. Harms the innocent? Well, duh! This is where those lawyers extract the money from. It’s a systematic passage of wealth. These authors are highlighting rather extreme and rare cases/examples (almost 2 decades in the queue):

T2377/17 concerns an application for which over 16 years elapsed between regional phase entry (October 1999) and issuance of the first Rule 71(3) communication (August 2016). In T2707/16, the first instance decision to refuse (July 2016) was over 14 years after the filing date (November 2001).

Clearly these are exceptionally long durations for patent examination, considering the 20-year maximum term of a patent. The Board did not provide any hard line as to exactly when accumulated examination delays tip from merely long to excessive, but does provide a thorough assessment of the factors that should be considered in reaching a conclusion either way.

[...]

The decision T2707/16 emphasises that examination should not be rushed, acknowledging the skill and effort required for quality examination of patent applications, which it notes is an “intellectually demanding task of high responsibility” (reasons 18). Here, a distinction should be made between the actual time that an examiner requires to prepare for and write an examination report, which is a necessary expenditure of time, and the time that the patent application spends in a queue for examination, which is an unnecessary delay.

T2707/16 further takes care to avoid criticising individual examiners, instead calling out the system that allows files to languish in cupboards real or electronic for so many years (reasons 33).

G1/05 and T84/82 are also referenced. In particular T84/82 notes the aim of the EPO “to carry out the substantive examination thoroughly, efficiently and expeditiously”. Hence not only should undue delays be avoided, but examination should also be thorough and not rushed.

[...]

In contrast to the focus on EPO stakeholders in the recent EPO survey on postponed examination, the Board 3.5.07 considered in T2707/16 and T2377/17 the needs of the wider public and the position and purpose of the patent system in the economy.

These are of course very exceptional cases (we wrote about some of these before); they’re typically brought up to shield patent maximalists who don’t believe in patent examination and wish to just hop straight onto fast-tracked (e.g. PPH) lawsuits, based on mere claims (never properly assessed by a professional in the said field).

Where does public interest fit into all this? Nowhere.

Yesterday Benjamin Henrion of FFII wrote about the EPO’s absurdity which is rejecting input from Europeans who don’t speak the “right” language: [via]

The European Patent Office (EPO) has censored contributions to its public consultation ‘EPO2023’ from spanish companies and citizens. The EPO wanted input from the public on how they could “improve” themselves, but failed to be inclusive.

Seven contributions were refused on the basis that the EPO only accept contributions from the public only in its official three languages: English, German, French). Apparently, other contributions in Dutch were also censored.

The first form was already biased as the EPO considered all companies to be “patent applicants”, so a normal company interested in to participate had to tick the option “other” instead of “company”.

The above press release from FFII might not reach many eyes because FFII is hardly active anymore.

The corrupt EPO does not care at all what the European public, i.e. Europe, has to say. It’s an apparatus of large non-European corporations and oligarchs. EPO accepts and publishes input from the United States and Canada (not Europe), but not from Dutch people, whose country hosts a branch of the EPO and has a new shiny building from which fake/low-quality patents come out (to harm Dutch businesses).

USPTO and EPO Faking Growth by Granting Patents on Everything in Nature, But Campaigners Strike Back

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A hungry slug

Summary: The patent microcosm is eating the world; everything under the Sun must be patented, they insist, even life itself (so they can ‘pirate’ the Commons and then charge us a tax for ‘access’ or ‘license’ to it)

THE previous post spoke of illegal software patents being granted in Europe because the EPO is run by a former banker, President António Campinos, and his compatriot Battistelli, a dubious politician whose master got arrested for corruption.

“You own life! Yes! That’s what the patent system was conceived for!”“Congratulations,” says the USPTO, having just given you a patent monopoly on something in nature — something you did not even invent, let alone managed to discover. You own life! Yes! That’s what the patent system was conceived for! Here in this week’s news we have “Patent triumph for CRISPR inventors” and to quote: “The US Patent office has recently (May 28) issued a patent to the French biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier and US colleague Jennifer Doudna covering the methods of modulating DNA transcription with the much-vaunted but controversial CRISPR-Cas9 system. The patent (No. 10,301,651)…”

“It is definitely not “fake news” that patents are being granted on life itself.”This isn’t “those crazy Americans” who do this. It’s happening right now in Europe as well. It has happened for quite some time and there were massive protests about it. It is definitely not “fake news” that patents are being granted on life itself. To quote this tweet from “No Patents on Seeds!”: “RESEARCH REVEALS: PATENT ON SALMON AND TROUT IS NOT AN ISOLATED CASE! Several similar patents, which claim food like milk and meat of animals fed with selected plants as “inventions”, have already been submitted. PR https://bit.ly/2WAovoE Patent on salmon https://bit.ly/2IEzaty pic.twitter.com/D8RjnL9qhi”

It links to their article, “Patent applications covering ‘seeds to meat’and from ‘maize to milk’” (from a fortnight ago). To quote:

The patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) covering salmon and trout reared on specific plants (EP1965658) could now become a precedent for many other patent applications. Recent research shows several similar European patent applications are already pending, claiming food products, such as meat and milk, derived from animals fed with selected plants.

The patent on salmon and trout was granted in October 2018 and recently brought to public attention by “No Patents on Seeds!”. The patent monopoly covers the rearing and feeding of the fish, along with the fish itself. After learning of this case, No Patents on Seeds! researched similar patent applications. This research came to an alarming conclusion: there are several other European patent applications recently filed at the World Patent Institute (WIPO), all following a similar strategy. Starting with plants and feed, also the food products derived from farm animals are claimed as inventions.

[...]

No Patents on Seeds! is demanding a change in the rules for interpreting patent law in order to close these loopholes, it is also calling for the more effective implementation of current prohibitions. However, if a change in the interpretation of current law does not provide sufficient legal certainty and clarity, the European patent law itself needs to be changed accordingly. No Patents on Seeds! is warning that if patents on plants and animals used in food production are granted, this will allow big companies such as Bayer, DowDupont and Syngenta to increasingly take control of agriculture, breeding and food production.

These patent extremists who run the EPO are handing monopolies over to large corporations. Power or monopoly power over what exactly? Over life, animals, nature. Truly insane; most people would think it’s “fake news”, but it’s not…

“Power or monopoly power over what exactly? Over life, animals, nature. Truly insane; most people would think it’s “fake news”, but it’s not…”Here’s another new tweet, this one in French: “BREVETS: @NoPatentsOnSeed s’inquiète de récentes tentatives pour breveter de la viande et du lait https://agenceurope.eu/fr/bulletin/article/12273/27 … PATENTS: No Patents on Seeds! is concerned about recent attempts to patent meat and milk https://agenceurope.eu/en/bulletin/article/12273/27 …”

Patenting milk! Not even joking! This past weekend we predicted patents on air would be next because there are already patents on (treated) water. Here’s the cited page:

The patent granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) for salmon and trout raised on specific plants could set a precedent for many other patent applications, the association No Patents on Seeds! denounced in a statement published on Wednesday 12 June. However, according to this association, which fights against the patenting of living things, several patent applications claiming food products, such as meat and milk, derived from animals fed with selected…

This is Europe. Not joking. No “fake news” here…

“When she says “damage” she means refusal to grant patents on life and on nature.”Over in the US things have been a little harder since 35 U.S.C. § 101 or Mayo. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is reluctant to go as far as the EPO does. Eileen McDermott et al have just staged a lobbying event of Watchtroll (‘webinar’) and she speaks of “USPTO Commissioner for Patents on Life” (seriously! The headline is “USPTO Commissioner for Patents on Life Five Years After Alice: We’ve Come a Long Way”). They’re not even pretending not to grant patents on life itself. This isn’t legal and even courts in the US point this out. From her summary: “Panelists in this past Thursday’s IPWatchdog webinar, “Dissecting Alice,” gave credit to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the steps it has taken to minimize the damage caused by the courts’ lack of action on patent eligibility, but expressed concern that it simply isn’t enough.”

When she says “damage” she means refusal to grant patents on life and on nature. Damage to who exactly? These people are nuts. Are nuts patented yet?

IBM Happy That Patent Quality at EPO Collapsed and It’s Easy to Get Software Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, IBM, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM explains that "HEY HI" (AI) helps applicants patent software where such patents are not actually legal

On shortcuts

Summary: The EPO keeps granting illegal European Patents and the media almost never mentions this illegality because it’s in too amicable a relationship (typically financial) with the EPO

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos, the chosen successor of Battistelli, continues to promote software patents in Europe. This is no laughing matter; what they do is illegal. We’re not exaggerating. It’s not a “crib notes”-type offense because they give actual monopolies (to bully companies with) that are illegal. The damage is potentially enormous. It’s difficult to measure because much of this is happening behind closed doors (e.g. secret settlements, like those IBM has plenty of). I’ve heard lots of stories, but there are NDAs.

“It’s not a “crib notes”-type offense because they give actual monopolies (to bully companies with) that are illegal.”Where’s the media? Where the Hell is the media? Why on Earth is nobody covering these things? Why do real journalists no longer write at sites such as those that specialise in patents? We used to know some. But they’re gone. Did something happen? I’ve asked those whom I know. They don’t want to talk about it, perhaps fearing retribution. We’ve been investigating in recent days why European (or EU-ropean) “news” sites no longer cover EPO corruption. I sent questions to people I knew, questions like “Why do you no longer write at [x]?”

“Did something happen?”

Techrights used to write many articles about why European media won’t cover EPO corruption (not much, barely and rarely).”Several European (or EU-ropean) “news” are bribed by American billionaires (we know that much as they admitted it) and we have legitimate reasons to believe they demote or even fire people for covering crimes. That’s just not good for attracting businesses, advertisers and so on. Techrights used to write many articles about why European media won’t cover EPO corruption (not much, barely and rarely). It hardly covers that at all anymore. Amplifiers of law firms dominate the media; their business model is just that. It’s not really news, it’s just marketing that looks like reporting. Look at last week’s ‘reports’ about the EPO’s ‘festival’ in Australia. Some sites literally copied press releases from the EPO and filed those under “news” or “articles” sections. How about this new one? It’s rather frustrating to see. This morning I saw one company running a paid press release about being granted patents by patent offices not exactly renowned for quality (yes, EPO). I hardly find anything (anymore) about EPO scandals. One might be led to think that everything is suddenly rosy. SUEPO too is afraid to speak directly. IP Kat has become an utter joke (we wrote about it recently). What gives? As we pointed out over the weekend, World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) had done lots of puff pieces recently about “hey hi” (AI), pushing software patents using these buzzwords. WIPR is like EPO PR. It used to cover EPO scandals, but not anymore. I can guess why, but I’m waiting for replies (if any). Here is the new EPO puff piece from WIPR. It’s about its annual ‘festival’ that cost millions of euros per hour (they even pay for so-called ‘journalists’ to fly over).

“Amplifiers of law firms dominate the media; their business model is just that.”Staying with WIPR for a moment, it has just done another “hey hi” article (“TPN Europe 2019: Keep software patents simple, says IBM lawyer”). Blue Bully IBM, which is buying Red Hat, is a pusher of algorithm monopolies in Europe (yes, Red Hat’s stance on software patents is in trouble because lawyers from IBM will wipe it out). “With the EPO, it’s a lot clearer [and] a lot easier,” IBM lawyers say. Some large European law firms too have publicly said (at events) that it’s easier to get software patents at the EPO (than the USPTO and others). That’s how bad things have become. To quote some portions:

According to Kevin Fournier, IP lawyer at IBM in the UK, when drafting a software patent application, the best means of assessing an idea or an invention was to show it to a software developer.

Speaking at Technology Patent Network Europe 2019, hosted by WIPR in London last Thursday, June 20, Fournier said that “if software developers are impressed by the invention, then you’re really on a winner”.

Outlining his approach to patent claim construction, Fournier said “the worst thing that you can possibly do is have a method claim that requires the action of three or four different entities”.

The IBM lawyer advocated for the single method patent claim as a useful tool for patent attorneys.

The more complex a claim and the more actors are involved, then an applicant has “more to prove; [it’s] another argument that you have to make,” Fournier said.

[...]

Commenting on the UK Intellectual Property Office’s approach, Fournier said that, in his experience, “the technical contribution seems to be interpreted more narrowly”.

“With the EPO, it’s a lot clearer [and] a lot easier, as long as you can show that the features that are critical to the invention are contributing to the technical effect,” he added.

Fournier also questioned Kennedy on his observations on emerging principles in AI patent drafting.

Notice that part about “hey hi” (AI); it’s their favourite term these days. Benjamin Henrion has just found this tweet: “Una vez más, como experto en el Comité de Derecho de Patentes de @wipo #scp30 con interesantes documentos sobre “licencias obligatorias”, “actividad inventiva en química” e “Inteligencia Artificial, IA” los dos últimos elaborados a propuesta de la @OEPM_es (IA con @INPIFrance) pic.twitter.com/LNeMgs7G5W”

“Yes, not only the EPO but also the USPTO uses the same trick; they’re sharing this ‘toolkit’ for software patents.”IA, AI… different languages, same nonsense. On “hey hi” he also noted “Coons and Tillis to restore US swpats: “we will investigate ways to sharpen the “field of technology” requirement to ensure that critical advances like AI and medical diagnostics qualify, but not economic transactions or social interactions” https://is.gd/elsynt” (“Cached here,” he told me because of the paywall)

“Nobody seems to care. Not in the media anyway; too busy liaising with law firms and booking flights to EPO events at the EPO’s expense.”Yes, not only the EPO but also the USPTO uses the same trick; they’re sharing this ‘toolkit’ for software patents. As Henrion noted, linking to this page and new tweets, the EPO also still allows software patents which are disguised as hardware. To quote these vocal proponents of software patents in Europe: “Protecting a cryptographic computation against power attacks is considered a technical problem if, and only if, the computation is actually carried out on hardware and thus open to such attacks.”

“Oh, wait,” I responded, “I thought I was going to execute it with/on pen and paper. Software (patents) are “hardware” (patents) because machines can run programs?”

As we said at the start, nobody covers these very serious issues that will cost Europe billions in damages. Nobody seems to care. Not in the media anyway; too busy liaising with law firms and booking flights to EPO events at the EPO’s expense.

The Linux Foundation’s Staff Uses Windows and Microsoft. Now the Foundation Outsources the Coding and Hosting, Too (to Microsoft of Course).

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs Git (a Linus Torvalds project) when there’s proprietary Microsoft GitHub?

Jim Zemlin, Microsoft and GitHub

LF, Microsoft and Github
Source: Microsoft, via

Summary: The disturbing turns of the self-described “Linux” Foundation, which seems to be promoting proprietary software and even Microsoft rather than Linux and Free/Open Source software while the role or capacity of Torvalds is being gradually diminished

THE Linux Foundation is sadly becoming a bridge to Microsoft, not to Linux. That’s like the Russian military hosting on AWS or GNU projects using Visual Studio. Projects that have nothing whatsoever to do with Linux, the kernel, are being ‘gifted’ to Microsoft. The following new (hours-old) press releases with our comments added hopefully sum things up (these are consortia that involve surveillance firms, including Palantir with its notorious, racist agenda):

  • The Linux Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence Community Announces New Acumos Release Focused on Creation of AI/ML Models [Ed: The "Linux" Foundation calls itself "collaboration platform" (or similar), but this new one shows that it's just outsourcing all this collaboration to Microsoft in GitHub (no kidding). The "Linux" Foundation pays a lot of money (salaries) to the father of Git, yet it cannot host its own Git instances and instead outsources it to Microsoft proprietary software, a centralised surveillance platform called GitHub?]

    The LF AI Foundation, the organization building an open AI community to drive open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL), today announced the new release of Acumos code named Boreas. This latest release of the open source framework and marketplace will enable the creation, training and license verification of AI, ML and DL models and apps, among other benefits to the community of developers and data scientists.

  • The Linux Foundation Will Host the Federated AI Enabler to Responsibly Advance Data Modeling [Ed: Original posted here, in tandem, by Craig Ross, not a familiar name (maybe external PR). This project is on GitHub (advertised in massive fonts on the front page). Yet another new example of the “Linux” Foundation outsourcing everything to Microsoft. Takeover complete? Only days ago the Linux Foundation announced its new Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, who had worked for Microsoft.]

    KubeCon + CloudNativeCon – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the FATE (Federated AI Technology Enabler). It is a federated learning framework that fosters collaboration across companies and institutes to perform AI model training and inference in accordance with user privacy, data confidentiality and government regulations. 4Paradigm, CETC Big Data Research Institute, Clustar, JD Intelligent Cities Research, Squirrel AI Learning, Tencent and WeBank are among the first organizations committed to the new Foundation.

I’m at a loss for words. It’s all happening so fast. Those who know how E.E.E. works (and have seen many examples of it over the years) cannot simply ignore/dismiss all the evidence. Should we all sit aside until it’s too late? To avoid offending the culprits?

Some of the above sites, we should also note, give the visitors empty pages unless one enables JavaScript (e.g. https://www.fedai.org/) and it’s a sign of unsavory design that encourages surveillance (https://www.fedai.org/ has malware in it, there’s Google Analytics watching your every move).

“If Torvalds was to step down, we know who would take his place (the interim maintainer while he was away). He used to work on Microsoft projects and put Microsoft code inside Linux when Novell was his boss (and in turn bossed by Microsoft).”The staff of the Foundation hardly uses GNU/Linux. Some of them, who contacted me in the past, used Microsoft. Jim Zemlin uses Apple. How many people in the management of the “Linux” Foundation actually use GNU/Linux? Same question for the Board…

I reckon very few of these people care about GNU/Linux and/or have used it, based on what I know about some of them. The Linux Foundation is not about Linux; it is more about keeping GNU/Linux under corporate control than about spreading it. Today, June 25th, marks 2 months since the “Linux” Foundation effectively sacked all Linux.com staff (even the editors). No original work has been published there since (only a few links to the Linux Foundation’s site, e.g. the one about Wim Coekaerts). In our daily links we’ve meanwhile included the following link as well:

What has the Linux Foundation become? It protects Microsoft from its critics (saying that it’s “like kicking a puppy” while Microsoft staff 'greases' things up) and it’s slamming Torvalds — who stepped down temporarily — for exercising free speech and carrying out quality control, which may mean rejecting code that is like cow’s feces (‘bulls**t’) and yet repeatedly being pushed onto Torvalds, whose tone understandably escalates over time, seeing that polite messages aren’t getting across effectively enough. Are they trying to just weaken him as boss of his own project? If Torvalds was to step down, we know who would take his place (the interim maintainer while he was away). He used to work on Microsoft projects and put Microsoft code inside Linux when Novell was his boss (and in turn bossed by Microsoft).

So far everyone we’ve heard from shares our concerns on these matters. Everyone. Few are however willing to speak about it. No news site touched the subject. It’s all PR. And speaking of PR, watch what Slashdot published 3 days ago under the modified headline “How OIN’s Linux-Based Patent Non-Aggression Community Drove Open Source Growth” (it links to ZDNet).

“We expect things to get yet worse over time because the Foundation isn’t communicating any of these issues. It never airs these concerns and it hasn’t even said a thing about Linux.com being effectively disbanded.”This headline is nonsense (yet it was promoted by OIN staff in Twitter); in fact it’s a promotional lie. The growth coming from OIN is a software patents growth, not “Open Source Growth” (more on that in our next article about IBM, which pretends Open Source would not be possible without software patents) and there’s no evidence to support this title. It doesn’t take much research to see that OIN is about making FOSS more like large corporations with their software patents, not making those corporations more like FOSS. The same goes for the Linux Foundation. They both just misuse the “Linux” brand to promote the agenda of companies such as IBM. To say that the Foundation exists merely “to pay Torvalds’ salary” is also quite misleading because nowadays it pays dozens of people ~$300,000/year in salaries. They’re not technical people; few actual coders get paid; they’re the likes of Zemlin, riding the coattails of Linus Torvalds and his project, Linux, to get as much as a million bucks a year. It’s truly discouraging to see that in the same way oil companies thoroughly corrupt politics Microsoft corrupts FOSS groups like the Linux Foundation, OSI and so on. Money buys silence if not complicity. Over at Tux Machines we’ve shown (over the weekend) that Microsoft’s role inside the Foundation keeps growing yet more. They have a lot of power and influence inside this Foundation, so should we be shocked to see Jim Zemlin saying that being against Microsoft like “kicking a puppy” (his words)? Is self-defense like animal abuse? Violence against puppies? We’ve warned about this for well over a decade (e.g. Zemlin urged people to “respect Microsoft” more than a decade ago). Microsoft’s work for ICE doesn’t seem to bother him, but Trump does bother him. Palantir does not seem to bother him either (the Foundation now names it as a member, even in press releases, while acting as a front group to it). This is not good and it’s only a matter of time before the “Linux” Foundation gets associated with things like concentration camps (which Microsoft proudly profits from, it even brags about it in its blog and lies about it to employees).

“…for Azure training they have budget, but not for Linux.com.”Here’s another new ZDNet piece (same author, who is connected to the Foundation) that promotes the Foundation’s work for Facebook, a company that gives all its data to Microsoft and was nearly acquired by Microsoft (instead they became strategic ‘surveillance capitalism’ allies with a shared warehouse of people’s secrets). We expect things to get yet worse over time because the Foundation isn’t communicating any of these issues. It never airs these concerns and it hasn’t even said a thing about Linux.com being effectively disbanded. Yesterday they published a press release about training (Clyde Seepersad), highlighting a program that promotes Microsoft Azure; for Azure training they have budget, but not for Linux.com.

06.24.19

Links 25/6/2019: Raspberry Pi 4, Ubuntu’s Change of Mind, Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux computer seller Star Labs now offering laptops with Zorin OS

      If you want a computer with a Linux-based operating system pre-installed, you can never go wrong with System76 or Dell. Of course, those two companies are hardly the only ones selling Linux-powered computers. For instance, the UK-based Star Labs also sells machines with Ubuntu and Linux Mint — two very good operating systems.

      Well, Star Labs has seemingly gotten the memo on how great Zorin OS is, as the computer seller is now offering laptops with that operating system pre-installed. Zorin OS is an operating system that is ideal for those that want to switch from Windows, so having it pre-installed gives a new option for those not prepared to install a Linux-based OS on their own.

    • One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop demonstrated running Ubuntu

      If you are in interested in seeing how the Ubuntu Linux operating system runs on the new One Mix Yoga 3 mini laptop. You are sure to be interested in the new video created by Brad Linder over at Liliputing. “ I posted some notes about what happened when I took Ubuntu 19.04 for a spin on the One Mix 3 Yoga in my first-look article, but plenty of folks who watched my first look video on YouTube asked for a video… so I made one of those too.”

      The creators of the One Mix Yoga 3 have made it fairly easy to boot an alternative operating system simply by plugging in a bootable flash drive or USB storage device. As the mini laptop is powering up simply hit the delete key and you will be presented by the BIOS/UEFI menu. Simply change the boot priority order so that the computer will boot from a USB device and you are in business.

    • 189 Lives Changed – By Linux

      I’ve been at this business of putting Linux-powered computers into the homes of financially disadvantaged kids since 2005, one way or the other. That’s 14 years and north of 1670 computers placed. Throughout those years, I’ve shared with you some of our successes, and spotlighted the indomitable spirit of the Free Open Source Community and The Linux Community as a whole. I’ve also shared with you the lowest of the low times for us, and me personally.

      But through it all, Reglue has maintained our mission of placing first-time computers into the homes of financially disadvantaged students. By onesies and twosies mostly. A multi-machine learning center here and there, by far the greatest is the Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center. And as much of a challenge as that was, we have another project of even greater measure.

      If you don’t know who Bruno Knaapen is, I suggest you follow the link. Bruno will go down in history as a person who helped more people adapt to Linux than anyone, at any time. Bruno’s online contributions are still a treasure trove of Linux knowledge. So much, individuals pay out of their pocket to make sure that information remains available. Going down that list, you will come to understand the tenacity and knowledge that man shared with his community. I was one of those that learned at his elbow.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Going Linux #371 · Listener Feedback

      Bill continues his distro hopping. We discuss the history of Linux and a wall-mountable timeline. Troy gives feedback on Grub. Grubb give feedback on finding the right distribution. Highlander talks communication security and hidden files. Ro’s Alienware computer won’t boot. David provides liks to articles.

    • Linux Action News 111

      Ubuntu sets the Internet on fire, new Linux and FreeBSD vulnerabilities raise concern, while Mattermost raises $50M to compete with Slack.

      Plus we react to Facebook’s Libra confirmation and the end of Google tablets.

    • SACK Attack | TechSNAP 406

      A new vulnerability may be the next ‘Ping of Death’; we explore the details of SACK Panic and break down what you need to know.

      Plus Firefox zero days targeting Coinbase, the latest update on Rowhammer, and a few more reasons it’s a great time to be a ZFS user.

    • GNU World Order 13×26
    • LHS Episode #289: Linux Deep Dive

      Hello and welcome to Episode #289 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, LHS gets a visit from Jon “maddog” Hall, a legend in the open source and Linux communities. He discusses–well–Linux. Everything you ever wanted to know about Linux from its early macro computing roots all the way up to the present. If there’s something you didn’t know about Linux, you’re going to find it here. Make sure to listen to the outtake after the outro for 30 more minutes on Linux you problem didn’t know anything about. Thanks to Jon for an illuminating and fascinating episode.

    • Podcast.__init__: Behind The Scenes At The Python Software Foundation

      One of the secrets of the success of Python the language is the tireless efforts of the people who work with and for the Python Software Foundation. They have made it their mission to ensure the continued growth and success of the language and its community. In this episode Ewa Jodlowska, the executive director of the PSF, discusses the history of the foundation, the services and support that they provide to the community and language, and how you can help them succeed in their mission.

    • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #136
    • Ubuntu Ex86s 32-Bit, OpenMandriva, Alpine, openSUSE, EndeavourOS, Regolith | This Week in Linux 71

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a BIG announcement from Ubuntu to talk about that is bound to be polarizing. We’re also going to cover some other Distro News from OpenMandriva, Alpine Linux, openSUSE, EndeavourOS, and Regolith Linux. Then we’re going to check out some Hardware News from Pine64 for the…

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 151 – The DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge with David Brumley

      Josh and Kurt talk to David Brumley. The CEO of ForAllSecure and professor at CMU. We discuss when David’s team won the Cyber Grand Challenge, what the future of automated security looks like, and what ForAllSecure is doing. It’s a fascinating window into the future of the industry.

    • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 18

      Coming in on the newly scheduled day of Monday, the weekly round-up podcast Linux Gaming News Punch Episode 18 is now here.

  • Kernel Space

    • Old Linus Torvalds is back: Linux page caching sparks ‘bulls**t’ outburst [Ed: Anti-Linux writers of the CBS tabloid ZDNet are mobbing Torvalds into silence again]

      But the Finnish-born Linux creator essentially told the Australian not to come the raw prawn.

      “You’ve made that claim before, and it’s been complete bullshit before too, and I’ve called you out on it then too,” wrote Torvalds.

      “Why do you continue to make this obviously garbage argument?”

      According to Torvalds, the page cache serves its correct purpose as a cache.

      “The key word in the ‘page cache’ name is ‘cache’,” wrote Torvalds.

    • Official x86 Zhaoxin Processor Support Is Coming With Linux 5.3

      Zhaoxin is the company producing Chinese x86 CPUs created by a joint venture between VIA and the Shanghai government. The current Zhaoxin ZX CPUs are based on VIA’s Isaiah design and making use of VIA’s x86 license. With the Linux 5.3 kernel will be better support for these Chinese desktop x86 CPUs.

      Future designs of the Zhaoxin processors call for 7nm manufacturing, PCI Express 4.0, DDR5, and other features to put it on parity with modern Intel and AMD CPUs. It remains to be seen how well that will work out, but certainly seems to be moving along in the desktop/consumer space for Chinese-built x86 CPUs while in the server space there’s the Hygon Dhyana EPYC-based processors filling the space for Chinese servers.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam and Courses Are Now Offered Onsite in China in Local Language

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today is announcing the availability of Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam and corresponding Kubernetes Fundamentals course as in-country, instructor-led programs taught in Chinese.

        According to a Cloud Native Computing Foundation survey, 44 percent of Mandarin respondents are deploying Kubernetes. There is great demand in China and the overall Asia/Pac region for training courses that will help developers accelerate their work with Kubernetes and associated technologies.

        Since launching in 2017, the CKA exam has been taken by nearly 10,000 professionals around the world. Now it will be easier for Chinese users to take advantage of this offering with in-person instructors and in their local language. To register for the exam and courses, please visit: http://training.linuxfoundation.cn/

        “The Kubernetes administrator courses and certified exam are among the most popular training courses we offer,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager, Linux Foundation training. “We’re now able to make the courses and exam available in Chinese with in-country exam delivery and instructors, which we hope will increase access and opportunity to learn and apply one of today’s most relevant and pervasive open source technologies.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • weston 6.0.1
        Weston 6.0.1 is released with build system fixes to smooth the
        transition to Meson. Other miscellaneous bugfixes are also included.
        
        Note that the PGP signing key has changed to 0FDE7BE0E88F5E48.
        
        - (1):
              zunitc: Fix undeclared identifier 'NULL'
        
        Alexandros Frantzis (1):
              clients/simple-dmabuf-egl: Properly check for error in gbm_bo_get_handle_for_plane
        
        Antonio Borneo (2):
              clients: close unused keymap fd
              log: remove "%m" from format strings by using strerror(errno)
        
        Daniel Stone (2):
              weston: Properly test for output-creation failure
              compositor: Don't ignore --use-pixman for Wayland backend
        
        Fabrice Fontaine (1):
              Fix build with kernel < 4.4
        
        Harish Krupo (4):
              meson.build: Fix warning for configure_file
              window.c: Don't assume registry advertisement order
              data-device: send INVALID_FINISH when operation != dnd
              Fix: clients/window: Premature finish request when copy-pasting
        
        Kamal Pandey (1):
              FIX: weston: clients: typo in simple-dmabuf-egl.c
        
        Luca Weiss (1):
              Fix incorrect include
        
        Marius Vlad (3):
              meson.build/libweston: Fix clang warning for export-dynamic
              compositor: Fix invalid view numbering in scene-graph
              compositor: Fix missing new line when displaying buffer type for EGL buffer
        
        Pekka Paalanen (7):
              meson: link editor with gobject-2.0
              meson: link cms-colord with glib and gobject
              meson: link remoting with glib and gobject
              meson: DRM-backend demands GBM
              meson: dep fix for compositor.h needing xkbcommon.h
              build: add missing dep to x11 backend
              libweston: fix protocol install path
        
        Scott Anderson (1):
              compositor: Fix incorrect use of bool options
        
        Sebastian Wick (1):
              weston-terminal: Fix weston-terminal crash on mutter
        
        Silva Alejandro Ismael (1):
              compositor: fix segfaults if wl_display_create fails
        
        Simon Ser (1):
              build: bump to version 6.0.1 for the point release
        
        Tomohito Esaki (1):
              cairo-util: Don't set title string to Pango layout if the title is NULL
        
        git tag: 6.0.1
        
      • Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1 Released With Build System Fixes & Other Corrections

        Weston 6.0 was released back in March with a remote/streaming plug-in and Meson becoming the preferred build system among other improvements. Weston 6.0.1 was released today by Simon Ser with various fixes to this reference Wayland compositor.

        Weston 6.0.1 is mostly made up of Meson build system fixes/improvements to ensure a good Meson experience. There is also a fix for building with pre-4.4 kernels and a variety of other smaller fixes.

      • OpenStack Stein feature highlights: vGPU support coming in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 15

        Red Hat is working on the next release of the supported enterprise distribution of OpenStack, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 15, based on the Stein community release. In this multi-part blog series, we’ll be examining some of the features that Red Hat and the open source community have collaborated on–starting with a look to future workloads, such as artificial intelligence.

        “How does OpenStack enable next generation workloads?” you ask. When it comes to computer-driven decision making, machine learning algorithms can provide adaptable services that can get better over time. Some of these workloads, such as facial recognition, require GPUs to ingest and process graphical data in real time. But the more powerful GPUs often used for machine learning and such are expensive, power-hungry, and can take up a lot of room in the servers’ chassis. When working with GPUs at scale, optimized utilization is key to more cost effective machine learning.

      • Panfrost Gallium3D Picks Up Yet More Features Thanks To Collabora’s Summer Internship

        Just a few days ago I wrote how the Panfrost Gallium3D driver continues making incredible progress for this community-driven, open-source graphics driver targeting Arm Bifrost/Midgard graphics. There’s yet another batch of new features and improvements to talk about.

        Most of this feature work continues to be done by Panfrost lead developer Alyssa Rosenzweig who is interning at Collabora this summer and appears to be spending most of her time working on this reverse-engineered Arm graphics driver supporting their recent generations of IP.

      • Vulkan 1.1.112 Released While Open-Source ANV + RADV Drivers Continue Marching Along

        Vulkan 1.1.112 was outed this morning as the newest documentation update to this high performance graphics and compute API.

        Vulkan 1.1.112 is quite a mundane update with just documentation corrections and clarifications this go around and not any new extensions. But at least the clarifications should help out some and other maintenance items addressed by this Vulkan 1.1.112 release. It’s not a surprise the release is so small considering Vulkan 1.1.111 was issued just two weeks ago.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The Intel Performance Change With Linux FSGSBASE Support

        As covered last week, the Linux kernel is finally about to see FSGSBASE support a feature supported by Intel CPUs going back to Ivybridge and can help performance. Since that earlier article the FS/GS BASE patches have been moved to the x86/cpu branch meaning unless any last-minute problems arise the functionality will be merged for the Linux 5.3 cycle. I’ve also begun running some benchmarks to see how this will change the Linux performance on Intel hardware.

        See the aforelinked article for more background information on this functionality that’s been available in patch form for the Linux kernel going back years but hasn’t been mainlined — well, until hopefully next month. FSGSBASE should help in context switching performance which is particularly good news following the various CPU vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Zombieload that have really hurt the context switching performance.

  • Applications

    • Drawpile 2.1.11 release

      Version 2.1.11 is now out. In addition to bug fixes, this release adds one long awaited feature: the ability to detach the chat box into a separate window.

      Another important change is to the server. IP bans now only apply to guest users. When a user with a registered account is banned, the ban is applied to the account only. This is to combat false positives caused by many unrelated people sharing the same IP address because of NAT.

    • Drawpile 2.1.11 Released! Allow to Detach Chat Box into Separate

      Free collaborative drawing program Drawpile 2.1.11 was released day. This release features the ability to detach the chat box into a separate window.

    • Horde vs Roundcube vs Squirrelmail – Which Works Best

      Webmail is a great way to access your emails from different devices and when you are away from your home. Now, most web hosting companies include email with their server plans. And all of them offer the same three, webmail clients as well: RoundCube, Horde, and SquirrelMail. They are part of the cPanel – most popular hosting control panel.

    • Linux Package Managers Compared – AppImage vs Snap vs Flatpak

      Package managers provide a way of packaging, distributing, installing, and maintaining apps in an operating system. With modern desktop, server and IoT applications of the Linux operating system and the hundreds of different distros that exist, it becomes necessary to move away from platform specific packaging methods to platform agnostic ones. This post explores 3 such tools, namely AppImage, Snap and Flatpak, that each aim to be the future of software deployment and management in Linux. At the end we summarize a few key findings.

    • 5 Best and Free Desktop Email Clients for Linux and Windows

      If you are looking for free Email clients for Linux and Windows – here are 5 of them we list which you can try and consider for casual or professional uses.

      Web based email is popular today which can be accessed via browser or mobile apps. However, big and medium enterprises, generic users still prefers native desktop email clients for heavy and office uses. Microsoft Outlook is the most popular desktop email client which is of course not free and you have to pay huge licence fee to use.

      There are multiple options for free desktop email clients available. Here are the best 5 free and open source email clients which you can go ahead and try then deploy for your needs.

    • Proprietary

      • OnlyOffice Desktop Editors review – A challenger appears

        OnlyOffice Desktop Editors is definitely an interesting office suite. Unique, fairly stylish, with reasonably good Microsoft format compatibility – I’m not sure about the background image transparency, whether it’s a glitch, a bug or a PEBKAC. I also like the UI – minimalistic yet useful. Plugins are another nice feature, and you will find lots of small, elegant touches everywhere. With a free price tag, this is a rather solid contender for home use.

        But there were some problems, too. The initial startup, that’s a big one for newbies. Styles can be better sorted out, document loading is too slow, the UI suffers from over-simplification here and there, and the fonts need to be sharper and with more contrast, the whole new-age gray-on-gray is bad. Maybe some of these missing options are actually there in the business editions, and I’m inclined to take those for a spin, too. So far, I wouldn’t call this an outright replacement for Microsoft Office, but I’m definitely intrigued, and do intend to continue and expand my testing of OnlyOffice. Very neat. I suggest you grab the program for a spin, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Oaths, coalitions and betrayal — some thoughts on Total War: THREE KINGDOMS

        Total War: THREE KINGDOMS was released in its all-caps glory about a month ago and saw a same-day Linux release thanks to porters Feral Interactive. The action this time around is centered in China during its fractious Three Kingdoms period of history that saw the end of the Han dynasty and warlords and coalitions battle it out for supremacy. More specifically, this Total War title also takes inspiration from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel and its larger-than-life heroes and villains. Developer Creative Assembly has put in plenty of time and effort to capture the feeling of both novel and the historical conflict.

        At the heart of this design philosophy is the option to play the turn-based campaign in Romance mode. Veteran players that have played other Total War titles such as the Warhammer entries may be familiar with the prominence that hero units and leaders have come to take in the series. Romance mode continues this trend by making it so the commanders of retinues are key to warfare. They lead troops, use abilities to buff allies and hamper enemies, can stand up to dozens of regular troops and fight duels with enemy commanders. A more classic mode, where regular troops feature more prominently, is also available but I spent the majority of my time with the game playing in Romance mode.

      • Open-world space arcade-action game “Underspace” is on Kickstarter with a Linux demo

        Oh goodie, more space action goodness! Underspace from Pastaspace Interactive is on Kickstarter looking for funding and it seems like quite a promising game.

      • Epic’s Tim Sweeney thinks Wine “is the one hope for breaking the cycle”, Easy Anti-Cheat continuing Linux support

        This is as a result of this article on Wccftech, which highlights a number of other interesting statements made by Sweeney recently. The funny this is, Valve themselves are helping to improve Wine (which Sweeney touches on below) with Steam Play (which is all open source remember) and a lot of the changes make it back into vanilla Wine.

      • Insurgency: Sandstorm for Linux not due until next year, with a beta likely first

        We’re in for a sadly longer wait than expected for the first-person shooter Insurgency: Sandstorm [Steam], as it’s not coming until next year for Linux.

        On a recent Twitch broadcast during the free weekend, it was asked in their chat “Linux will be released along with consoles or after?” to which the Lead Game Designer, Michael Tsarouhas said (here) “We haven’t really announced our Linux or Mac release either, but we will just have to update you later, right now we can say we are focused on the PC post-release content and the console releases.”.

      • Tense Reflection sounds like pretty original take on combining a shooter with a puzzle game

        Tense Reflection will ask you to think, solve and shoot as you need to solve puzzles to reload your ammo making it a rather unique hybrid of game genres.

        Developed by Kommie since sometime in 2016, the gameplay is split across three different panels you will need to switch between. A colour panel to pick the colour of your shots, the puzzle panel you need to solve to apply the colour and then the shooter to keep it all going.

      • The survival game ‘SCUM’ seems to still be coming to Linux, no date yet though

        SCUM, a survival game from Gamepires, Croteam and Devolver Digital that was previously confirmed to eventually come to Linux is still planned.

        They never gave a date for the Linux release and they still aren’t, but the good news is that it still seems to be in their minds. Writing on Steam, a developer kept it short and sweet by saying “Its not to far” in reply to my comment about hoping the Linux version isn’t far off. Not exactly much to go by, but it’s fantastic to know it’s coming as I love survival games like this.

      • In the real-time strategy game “Moduwar” you control and change an alien organism

        I absolutely love real-time strategy games, so Moduwar was quite a catch to find. It seems rather unique too, especially how you control everything.

        Instead of building a traditional base and units, you control an alien organism that can split and change depending on what you need to do. It sounds seriously brilliant! Even better, is that it will support Linux. I asked on the Steam forum after finding it using the Steam Discovery Queue, to which the developer replied with “Yes, there will be a Linux version, that’s the plan. Thanks :)”.

      • Steam To Drop Support For Ubuntu Linux

        While the number of gaming titles being made available on Linux is increasing each month, it’s widely accepted that gaming remains one of the weakest points of all Linux based operating systems. There are options like Pop!_OS, Manjaro, etc., that deliver considerably better performance, but they’re also heavily dependent on the Valve-owned Steam game distribution platform.

        Just recently, we reported Ubuntu’s plans to completely drop the support for 32-bit packages. Earlier, during the Ubuntu 17.10 development cycle, Canonical announced its plans to ditch the 32-bit installation images. Along the similar lines, Canonical had also disabled the upgrades from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 18.10.

      • Steam is dropping support for Ubuntu, but not Linux entirely
      • Steam ending support for Ubuntu over 32-bit compatibility
      • Out of Steam? Wine draining away? Ubuntu’s 64-bit-only x86 decision is causing migraines

        Canonical’s decision to effectively ditch official support for 32-bit x86 in Ubuntu 19.10 means the Steam gaming runtime is likely to run aground on the Linux operating system – and devs say the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows apps will be of little use.

        As a result of the changes, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais confirmed on Twitter: “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users.” This is because Steam relies on 32-bit x86, aka i386, support for running older games that are 32-bit-only. Without official 32-bit x86 support in Ubuntu, Valve is walking away from the Linux distro.

      • Ubuntu Compromises on 32-Bit App Support

        Canonical, the developer of Ubuntu, has backtracked on an earlier announcement that Ubuntu 19.10 will no longer update 32-bit packages and applications, announcing today that Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 will support select 32-bit apps.

        The news follows Valve and the developers of Wine, an open source compatibility layer for running Windows apps on other operating systems, saying they would stop supporting Ubuntu completely.

      • Steam to End Support for Ubuntu

        Canonical’s decision to stop updating 32-bit libraries has seen Valve react by stating Ubuntu will no longer be officially supported from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards.

      • Valve to drop Steam support for Ubuntu Linux

        Valve has announced it is pulling support for its Steam digital distribution platform on Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system, after the company revealed plans to drop 32-bit support.

        Valve’s interest in Linux is storied and ongoing: While the company focused, naturally enough, on Windows for the launch of its now-ubiquitous Steam digital distribution platform, the company announced Linux support in 2012 and launched in in 2013 via Canonical’s Ubuntu Software Centre. When Valve announced its own Linux-based gaming operating system in 2013, it extended its efforts with the operating system; Steam Play, launched late last year, allowed Steam for Linux to play Windows games through a compatibility shim dubbed Proton.

        Now, though, Valve has indicated that it is to drop support for the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution – though not Linux in general – over maintainer Canonical’s decision to stop developing 32-bit libraries.

      • Steam will no longer be officially supporting Ubuntu for future updates

        Valve‘s video game megastore Steam will no longer be supported for Linux operating systems after October of this year.

        Announced by Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais on Twitter, the company will officially be dropping support for future versions of the Linux distro.

        Those who frequently use Ubuntu will have until the OS’ next update, 19.10, to move another OS before Valve’s services become unsupported. The update is planned to release on October 17th, just four months away.

      • Ubuntu 19.10 looks DOA for gamers, with Valve dropping support for the OS

        Apple, Canonical and Microsoft may have switched to distributing 64-Bit OSs a few years ago, but Mac OS X, Ubuntu and Windows all still support the 32-bit architecture. Microsoft integrates Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) for example, while the current version of Ubuntu still supports 32-bit. That is, until now.

        Starting with 19.10 Ubuntu will contain only 64-bit code, with Canonical removing all 32-bit support. In short, no 32-bit applications will run on future versions of Ubuntu. This may not seem noteworthy considering that developers have had years to upgrade their software to 64-bit. However, Ubuntu 19.10 and newer will prevent even 64-bit applications from executing any 32-bit libraries or packages.

      • Steam is boiling as Ubuntu turns half its library into vapourware

        GAMING PORTAL Steam has announced it will ditch official support for Linux Ubuntu starting with the next release.

        Last week, Canonical announced it would not be offering 32-bit builds of its software in future, and Steam responded with an almighty “erm – no”.

        Steam has pledged to do everything it can to avoid leaving anyone in the lurch but will be moving its attention to a yet-to-be-determined alternative Linux flavour soon.

        The big problem for Steam is that so many of its classic games were only ever made available in 32-bit. By dropping support for the ageing architecture, it is essentially putting Steam in a position of borking half of the games in its library, whether that be by hiding them in the GUI or having them throw up an error code. Either way, it’s not a good look.

        Although there are lots of options, alternative operating systems, custom builds, emulators and so on, it’s not the same as having an out-of-the-box experience.

      • Canonical Assures Users 32-bit Apps Will Run on Ubuntu 19.10 and Future Releases

        Last week, Canonical announced that they will completely deprecate support for 32-bit (i386) hardware architectures in future Ubuntu Linux releases, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system, due for release later this fall on October 17th. However, the company mentioned the fact that while 32-bit support is going away, there will still be ways to run 32-bit apps on a 64-bit OS.

        As Canonical didn’t give more details on the matter at the time of the announcement, many users started complaining about how they will be able to run certain 32-bit apps and games on upcoming Ubuntu releases. Valve was also quick to announce that their Steam for Linux client won’t be officially supported on Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases, so now Canonical has clarified the situation a bit saying only updates to 32-bit libraries are dropped.

      • Steam Linux likely to not support future versions of Ubuntu

        Steam’s Linux version will not support future versions of popular and newbie-friendly distribution Ubuntu, Valve have said. The news came after Ubuntu’s makers said they’d drop 32-bit as of the next big release in October, which sounded like it would leave the great many 32-bit Steam games unplayable. Valve said they were now planning to “switch our focus” to another Linux distro. Ubuntu have since pivoted to say they’re not dropping 32-bit, they’re just going to stop updating it, which is better but still a bit of a dead end.

      • Steam is Dropping Support of Ubuntu Soon

        If you use Linux-based operating system Ubuntu to play games on Steam, you might want to think about an alternative solution. As per a tweet from Valve coder Pierre-Loup Griffais over the weekend, future versions of Ubuntu will not be officially supported by Steam, nor will it be recommended to users as a compatible OS.

        The first version of Ubuntu to not be supported will be 19.10, which is scheduled to release on 17th October. That means Ubuntu users have just shy of four months to enjoy official Steam support before it’s a thing of the past.

      • Steam to drop support for Ubuntu but Linux users shouldn’t panic yet

        The majority of the time that Linux gets dragged in the spotlight is when there are high-profile security bugs that remind people how Linux practically runs the world behind the scenes. This time, however, the controversy is ironically around one of the operating system’s weakest points: gaming. A Valve developer just “announced” on Twitter that the company will be dropping support for future releases of Ubuntu and, as expected, it has driven Linux users into a slight frenzied panic.

      • Out of Steam, Wine draining away? Ubuntu’s 64-bit only decision is causing problems

        Canonical’s decision to cease development of 32-bit libraries in Ubuntu 19.10 “eoan” means it won’t support Steam gaming runtime and devs say the Wine compatibility layer for running Windows apps will be little use.

        The Steam news was reported on Twitter by Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais, who said “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users.”

        Ubuntu has caused anxiety with its announcement that “the i386 architecture will be dropped” in the next release. Some presumed this meant i386 libraries would not be shipped at all, meaning that no 32-bit applications would run.

      • Valve Says Steam for Linux Won’t Support Ubuntu 19.10 and Future Releases

        Valve’s harsh announcement comes just a few days after Canonical’s announcement that they will drop support for 32-bit (i386) architectures in Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine). Pierre-Loup Griffais said on Twitter that Steam for Linux won’t be officially supported on Ubuntu 19.10, nor any future releases.

        The Steam developer also added that Valve will focus their efforts on supporting other Linux-based operating systems for Steam for Linux. They will be looking for a GNU/Linux distribution that still offers support for 32-bit apps, and that they will try to minimize the breakage for Ubuntu users.

      • I am running Steam/Wine on Ubuntu 19.10 (no 32-bit on the host)

        I like to take care of my desktop Linux and I do so by not installing 32-bit libraries. If there are any old 32-bit applications, I prefer to install them in a LXD container. Because in a LXD container you can install anything, and once you are done with it, you delete it and poof it is gone forever!

        In the following I will show the actual commands to setup a LXD container for a system with an NVidia GPU so that we can run graphical programs. Someone can take these and make some sort of easy-to-use GUI utility. Note that you can write a GUI utility that uses the LXD API to interface with the system container.

      • Steam to Soon Drop Support of Ubuntu

        The all-powerful folks over at Valve have announced that Steam will soon not support the Linux-based operating system Ubuntu. Starting from the upcoming version 19.10, all future versions of Ubuntu will not be supported and also won’t be recommended to users as a compatible OS.

      • Canonical backtracks on pulling 32-bit support from Ubuntu Linux

        Last week, Ubuntu announced it would end support for 32-bit applications, starting with its next release.

      • Ubuntu Reverses Decision, Says It Will Continue To Support 32-bit Apps

        Canonical has issued a statement on Ubuntu’s 32-bit future — and gamers, among others, are sure to relieved!

        The company says Ubuntu WILL now continue to build and maintain a 32-bit archive going forward — albeit, not a full one.

        In a response emailed to me (but presumably posted online somewhere) the company cite “the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community” for persuading them to change track.

        That outcry, almost unparalleled in Ubuntu’s history, resulted in Valve, makers of the hugely popular games distribution service Steam, announcing that it would not support future Ubuntu releases.

        This, combined with worries from users relaying on legacy applications or Windows-only software ran through WINE, has resulted in a change of plans.

        Accordingly, Canonical says it “…will build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS,” they say.

        Notice the word “selected” there. It seems the full 32-bit archive we enjoy now wont stick around, but a curated collection of libraries, tooling and other packages will be made available.

      • Raspberry Pi 4 on Sale Now, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1 Released, Instaclustr Service Broker Now Available, Steam for Linux to Drop Support for Ubuntu 19.10 and Beyond, and Linux 5.2-rc6 Is Out

        Valve developer announces that Steam for Linux will drop support for the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release and future Ubuntu releases. Softpedia News reports that “Valve’s harsh announcement comes just a few days after Canonical’s announcement that they will drop support for 32-bit (i386) architectures in Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine). Pierre-Loup Griffais said on Twitter that Steam for Linux won’t be officially supported on Ubuntu 19.10, nor any future releases. The Steam developer also added that Valve will focus their efforts on supporting other Linux-based operating systems for Steam for Linux. They will be looking for a GNU/Linux distribution that still offers support for 32-bit apps, and that they will try to minimize the breakage for Ubuntu users.”

      • Canonical foolishly backpedals on 32-bit packages in Ubuntu Linux

        Having an open mind and admitting when you are wrong is a noble quality. Those that are stubborn and continue with bad ideas just to save face are very foolish. With all of that said, sometimes you have to stick with your decisions despite negative feedback because you know they are right. After all, detractors can often be very loud, but not necessarily large in numbers. Not to mention, you can’t please everyone, so being indecisive or “wishy-washy” in an effort to quash negativity can make you look weak. And Canonical looks very weak today.

        When the company announced it was planning to essentially stop supporting 32-bit packages beginning with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10, I was quite impressed. Look, folks, it is 2019 — 64-bit processors have been commonplace for a long time. It’s time to pull the damn 32-bit band-aid off and get on with things. Of course, there was some negativity surrounding the decision — as is common with everything in the world today. In particular, developers of WINE were upset, since their Windows compatibility layer depends on 32-bit, apparently. True Linux users would never bother with WINE, but I digress.

      • Ubuntu Reverses Decision, Says It Will Continue To Support 32-bit Packages

        Canonical has issued a statement on Ubuntu’s 32-bit future, saying it will continue to build and maintain a 32-bit archive going forward.

      • Canonical have released a statement on Ubuntu and 32bit support, will keep select packages

        It seems Canonical have done a bit of a U-turn on dropping 32bit support for Ubuntu, as many expected they would do. Their official statement is now out for those interested.

      • Ubuntu Changed their stand in dropping support of 32-bit i386 Packages

        Ubuntu gave a press release about their stand for 32-bit i386 packages. They will be building selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. But not a full one.

        Last week, Canonical announced that they will completely dropping support for 32-bit (i386) hardware architectures in future Ubuntu Linux releases, starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system.

        After this announcement, many of the users started complaining about how they will be able to run the 32-bit apps and games on upcoming Ubuntu releases.

        At the same time, after three days. Valve announced that Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to their users.

        They will evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users, but they will switch to a different distribution, currently TBD.

        Ubuntu has reversed their decision based on the community response.

      • Statement on 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS

        Thanks to the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community, we will change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

        We will put in place a community process to determine which 32-bit packages are needed to support legacy software, and can add to that list post-release if we miss something that is needed.

        Community discussions can sometimes take unexpected turns, and this is one of those. The question of support for 32-bit x86 has been raised and seriously discussed in Ubuntu developer and community forums since 2014. That’s how we make decisions.

      • Ubuntu To Provide Select 32-Bit Packages For Ubuntu 19.10 & 20.04 LTS

        It looks like my info from this weekend was accurate, “I’m hearing that Canonical may revert course and provide limited 32-bit support.” Canonical issued a statement today that they indeed will provide “selected” 32-bit packages for the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 as well as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        Canonical announced that as a result of feedback, they “changed our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS…We will put in place a community process to determine which 32-bit packages are needed to support legacy software, and can add to that list post-release if we miss something that is needed.”

      • Canonical returning 32-bit Ubuntu Linux support after gaming uproar

        At first glance, Canonical dropping support for 32-bit Ubuntu Linux libraries looked to be interesting — the end of an era — but of no real importance. Then, Canonical announced that, beginning with October’s Ubuntu 19.10 release, 32-bit -computer support would be dropped. And both developers and users screamed their objections.

        Canonical listened and has changed course. “Thanks to the huge amount of feedback this weekend from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community, we will change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.”

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 0.4.1 Release of Elisa

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

        We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

      • Krita Interview with Chris Tallerås

        My name is Chris Tallerås and I’m a 23 year old dude from the Olympic city of Lillehammer in Norway and I do political activism traveling the country to fight the climate crisis and to advocate free culture/free, libre & opensource software in our kingdom.

        [...]

        Maybe later in 2017. I was getting tired of Windows and wanted to get into Linux…

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1

        Clear Linux is a rolling release distro that places a strong emphasis on performance. The distribution focuses on providing optimizations for Intel (and compatible) CPU platforms and often scores well in benchmark tests.

        I previously experimented briefly with Clear Linux in 2017 and found it to be very minimal in its features. The distribution presented users with a command line interface by default and, while it was possible to install a desktop environment from the project’s repositories, it was not focused on desktop computing. These days Clear Linux is available in several editions. There are separate builds for command line and desktop editions, along with cloud and specially tailored virtual machine builds.

        I downloaded the distribution’s live desktop edition which was a 2.2GB compressed file. Expanding the download unpacks a 2.3GB ISO. It actually took longer for me to decompress the file than it would have to download the extra 100MB so the compression used on the archive is probably not practical.

        Trying to boot from the live desktop media quickly resulted in Clear Linux running into a kernel panic and refusing to start. This was done trying version 29410 of the distribution and, since new versions come along almost every day, I waited a while and then downloaded another version: Clear Linux 29590. The new version had an ISO approximately the same size and, after it passed its checksum, it too failed to boot due to a kernel panic.

        I have used Clear Linux on this system before and, though it technically utilizes an AMD CPU, that was not an issue during my previous trial. The current situation does make me wonder if Clear Linux might have optimized itself so much that it is no longer capable of running on previous generation processors.

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 134 ready for testing

        The Linux kernel was vulnerable for two DoS attacks against its TCP stack. The first one made it possible for a remote attacker to panic the kernel and a second one could trick the system into transmitting very small packets so that a data transfer would have used the whole bandwidth but filled mainly with packet overhead.

        The IPFire kernel is now based on Linux 4.14.129, which fixes this vulnerability and fixes various other bugs.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE CaaS Platform 4.0 Beta 3 is out!

        SUSE CaaS Platform 4.0 is built on top of SLE 15 SP1 and requires either the JeOS version shipped from the product repositories or a regular SLE 15 SP1 installation.
        Please note that SLE 15 SP1 is now officially out! Check out the official announcement for more information.
        Thus you should not use a SLES 15 SP1 environment with the SLE Beta Registration Code anymore. Because the SLE Beta Registration Code has expired now, but you can either use your regular SLE Registration Code or use a Trial.

      • SUSE Provides Platform for Cloud-Native, Containerized Applications as Enterprises Move to Hybrid and Multi-Cloud

        As businesses are transforming their IT landscapes to support present and future demands, SUSE® is providing the foundation for both their traditional and growing containerized workloads with the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1.

      • SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 Now Available

        With the current increase in data creation, increased costs and flat to lower budgets, IT organizations are looking for ways to deploy highly scalable and resilient storage solutions that manage data growth and complexity, reduce costs and seamlessly adapt to changing demands. Today we are pleased to announce the general availability of SUSE Enterprise Storage 6, the latest release of the award-winning SUSE software-defined storage solution designed to meet the demands of the data explosion.

      • What’s New for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Arm 15 SP1

        Happy Birthday! It’s been 1 year since we introduced the world’s first multimodal OS supporting 64-bit Arm systems (AArch64 architecture), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Arm 15. Enterprise early adopters and developers of Ceph-based storage and industrial automation systems can gain faster time to market for innovative Arm-based server and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Arm is tested with a broad set of Arm System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processors, enabling enterprise-class security and greater reliability. And with your choice of Standard or Premium Support subscriptions you can get the latest security patches and fixes, and spend less time on problem resolution as compared to maintaining your own Linux distribution.

      • Are you ready for the world’s first Multimodal Operating System

        Today, SUSE releases SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1, marking the one-year anniversary since we launched the world’s first multimodal OS. SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP1 advances the multimodal OS model by enhancing the core tenets of common code base, modularity and community development while hardening business-critical attributes such as data security, reduced downtime and optimized workloads.

      • The future of OpenStack?

        Before we can answer these questions, let’s take a look at its past to give some context. Since its original release in 2010 as a joint venture by Rackspace and NASA, and its subsequent spin-off into a separate open source foundation in 2012, OpenStack has seen growth and hype that was almost unparalleled.
        I was fortunate enough to attend the Paris OpenStack Summit in 2014, where Mark Collier was famously driven onto stage for a keynote in one of the BMW electric sports cars. The event was huge and was packed with attendees and sponsors – almost every large technology company you can think of was there. Marketing budget had clearly been splurged in a big way on this event with lots of pizazz and fancy swag to be had from the various vendor booths.
        Cycle forward 4 years to the next OpenStack Summit I attended – Vancouver in May 2018. This was a very different affair – most of the tech behemoths were no longer sponsoring, and while there were some nice pieces of swag for attendees to take home, it was clear that marketing budgets had been reduced as the hype had decreased. There were less attendees, less expensive giveaways, but that ever-present buzz of open source collaboration that has always been a part of OpenStack was still there. Users were still sharing their stories, and developers and engineers were sharing their learnings with each other, just on a slightly smaller scale.

      • SUSE Academic Program to be present at 2019 UCISA SSG Conference

        Engaging with the community has always been important for SUSE and this is no different for our Academic Program. That is why next week, the SUSE Academic Program is excited to attend and participate in a three day event hosted by one of the most respected networks in UK education.

      • Harnessing hybrid cloud for HPC

        As a grizzled veteran of the IT industry, I have been involved in many high performance computing (HPC) projects over the years, both from a hardware and software perspective. I have always found them to be intensely interesting mainly because the projects were deeply scientific in nature, whether it be decoding the human genome, designing better, more efficient vehicles or even deep space research.
        What’s different now is the emergence of HPC into the mainstream. Instead of it just being the preserve of academics, scientists and other boffins, normal commercial organisations are trying to harness the power of HPC to solve their business issues, notably through its application to AI and Machine Learning.
        As today’s technology creates vast hordes of unstructured data, unlocking the business value therein has become a key competitive advantage and almost the Holy Grail of Digital Transformation for many organisations. HPC has a key part to play in this as deriving insight from large data sets has been a major component of scientific research for many years.

      • Building Nonstop Data Access

        The traditional way we think of data is as something that’s stored and then used later, like electricity in batteries. But today, data is always flowing, and constantly in use, much more like the electricity you pull from a grid than the energy you store in a battery. In the old days, you could wait a day, even a week, to get ahold of data. Today, it needs to be there at the flip of a switch.

    • Fedora

      • On the Road to Fedora Workstation 31

        So I hope everyone is enjoying Fedora Workstation 30, but we don’t rest on our laurels here so I thought I share some of things we are working on for Fedora Workstation 31. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the more major items we are working on.

        Wayland – Our primary focus is still on finishing the Wayland transition and we feel we are getting close now, and thank you to the community for their help in testing and verifying Wayland over the last few years. The single biggest goal currently is fully removing our X Windowing System dependency, meaning that GNOME Shell should be able to run without needing XWayland. For those wondering why that has taken so much time, well it is simple; for 20 years developers could safely assume we where running atop of X. So refactoring everything needed to remove any code that makes the assumption that it is running on top of X.org has been a major effort. The work is mostly done now for the shell itself, but there are a few items left in regards to the GNOME Setting daemon where we need to expel the X dependency. Olivier Fourdan is working on removing those settings daemon bits as part of his work to improve the Wayland accessibility support. We are optimistic that can declare this work done within a GNOME release or two. So GNOME 3.34 or maybe 3.36. Once that work is complete an X server (XWayland) would only be started if you actually run a X application and when you shut that application down the X server will be shut down too.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.14.2 is out

          This release is an emergency release to fix a critical security vulnerability in Tor Browser.

          You should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Linux Kernel Security Patch for 64-Bit PowerPC Ubuntu Systems

            Affecting the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating systems, the new Linux kernel security patch fixes a vulnerability (CVE-2019-12817) on 64-bit PowerPC (ppc64el) systems, which could allow a local attacker to access memory contents or corrupt the memory of other processes.

            “It was discovered that the Linux kernel did not properly separate certain memory mappings when creating new userspace processes on 64-bit Power (ppc64el) systems. A local attacker could use this to access memory contents or cause memory corruption of other processes on the system,” reads the security advisory.

          • Canonical backtracks on i386 packages

            Canonical has let it be known that minds have been changed about removing all 32-bit x86 support from the Ubuntu distribution.

          • Create Minimal Debian Upstream Images with Debos and Armbian

            Armbian provides lightweight Debian or Ubuntu images for various Arm Linux SBC…

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 584

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 584 for the week of June 16 – 22, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Video from KubeCon 2019: Red Hat in Barcelona

      From May 21-25, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage rolled into KubeCon Europe 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, a rare chance to bring different parts of the Red Hat community together from across Europe and the U.S. While there, we took the opportunity to sit down with members of the teams that are shaping the next evolution of container native storage in Red Hat OpenShift and throughout the Kubernetes ecosystem.

      We’ve put together highlights from Barcelona, where you’ll see what happens when you gather 7,700 people from the Kubernetes ecosystem in one place. You’ll also hear from members of Red Hat’s team in Barcelona—Distinguished Engineer Ju Lim, Senior Architect Annette Clewett, Rook Senior Maintainer Travis Nielsen and others—about what’s exciting them now, and what’s ahead.

    • Bassam Tabbara: Next 10 Years Should Be About Open Cloud

      During KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Barcelona, we sat down with Bassam Tabbara – CEO and founder of Upbound to talk about the company he is building to make the next decade about Open / Open Source Cloud, breaking away from the proprietary cloud. Tabbara shared his insights into how AWS, Azure and the rest leverage open source technologies to create the proprietary clouds. He wants to change that.

    • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS is OpenAwards 2019 Best Tech Community Winner

      Kiwi TCMS is the winner at OpenAwards’19 category Best Tech Community! Big thanks to the jury, our contributors and core-team and the larger open source and quality assurance communities who voted for us and supported the project during all of those years.

  • LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • Glen Barber: Statement regarding employment change and roles in the [FreeBSD] Project
      Dear FreeBSD community:
      
      As I have a highly-visible role within the community, I want to share
      some news.  I have decided the time has come to move on from my role
      with the FreeBSD Foundation, this Friday being my last day.  I have
      accepted a position within a prominent company that uses and produces
      products based on FreeBSD.
      
      My new employer has included provisions within my job description that
      allow me to continue supporting the FreeBSD Project in my current
      roles, including Release Engineering.
      
      There are no planned immediate changes with how this pertains to my
      roles within the Project and the various teams of which I am a member.
      
      FreeBSD 11.3 and 12.1 will continue as previously scheduled, with no
      impact as a result of this change.
      
      I want to thank everyone at the FreeBSD Foundation for providing the
      opportunity to serve the FreeBSD Project in my various roles, and their
      support for my decision.
      
      I look forward to continue supporting the FreeBSD Project in my various
      roles moving forward.
      
      Glen
    • FreeBSD’s Release Engineering Lead Departs The Foundation

      Well known FreeBSD developer and leader of their release engineering team, Glen Barber, has left the FreeBSD Foundation but will continue working on FreeBSD as well as coordinating its releases.

      Glen Barber has decided to take up a position at BSD-focused Netgate. Serving as an engineer at Netgate, Glen will continue to be engaged with upstream FreeBSD as well as working on pfSense. Netgate is the provider of various secure network offerings, including pfSense and their premium TNSR firewall/router/VPN platform

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • The need of US OSS for the programs [Ed: What an awful article. Original? Plagiarism? Even the encoding is all wrong.]

      A wide range of sorts of OSS licenses exist. In any case, there are basic traits among most OSS licenses. Two of the principle normal qualities are that: (1) beneficiaries can uninhibitedly utilize, change and convey the product; and (2) the source code (for example the comprehensible code) is made accessible to empower the activity of these rights. This recognizes OSS from restrictive programming. With exclusive programming licenses, ordinarily duplicating, altering or redistributing is disallowed and just the item code (i.e., the machine meaningful code or ‘gathered structure’) is circulated. The centrality of this is to adequately adjust the product, an engineer commonly would need access to the source code.

  • Programming/Development

    • binb 0.0.4: Several nice improvements

      The fourth release of the binb package just arrived on CRAN. binb regroups four rather nice themes for writing LaTeX Beamer presentations much more easily in in (R)Markdown. As a teaser, a quick demo combining all four themes follows; documentation and examples are in the package.

    • Watermarking photos? “I can do that in Python!”

      The Python Image Library (PIL), although not in the standard library, has been Python’s best-known 2-D image processing library. It predated installers such as pip, so a “friendly fork” called Pillow was created. Although the package is called Pillow, you import it as PIL to make it compatible with the older PIL.

    • EuroPython 2019: Schedule is online

      Please make sure you book your ticket in the coming days. We will switch to late bird rates next week.
      If you want to attend the training sessions, please buy a training pass in addition to your conference ticket, or get a combined ticket. We only have very few training seats left.

    • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Geir Arne Hjelle

      This week we welcome Geir Arne Hjelle (@gahjelle) as our PyDev of the Week! Geir is a regular contributor to Real Python. You can also find some of his work over on Github. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Geir now!

    • Python’s Mypy–Advanced Usage

      In my last article, I introduced Mypy, a package that enforces type checking in Python programs. Python itself is, and always will remain, a dynamically typed language. However, Python 3 supports “annotations”, a feature that allows you to attach an object to variables, function parameters and function return values. These annotations are ignored by Python itself, but they can be used by external tools.

      Mypy is one such tool, and it’s an increasingly popular one. The idea is that you run Mypy on your code before running it. Mypy looks at your code and makes sure that your annotations correspond with actual usage. In that sense, it’s far stricter than Python itself, but that’s the whole point.

      In my last article, I covered some basic uses for Mypy. Here, I want to expand upon those basics and show how Mypy really digs deeply into type definitions, allowing you to describe your code in a way that lets you be more confident of its stability.

    • One Of AMD’s Leading LLVM Compiler Experts Jumped Ship To Unity

      AMD has lost one of their leading LLVM compiler developers as well as serving as a Vulkan/SPIR-V expert with being involved in those Khronos specifications.

      Neil Henning has parted ways with AMD and is now joining Unity Technologies. Neil was brought to AMD to improve the performance of their LLVM compiler, in particular their LLVM Pipeline Compiler (LLPC) used by the likes of their official AMD Vulkan driver in order to make it competitive with their long-standing, proprietary shader compiler currently used by their binary graphics drivers. While at AMD, he was able to increase the performance of their LLVM shader compiler stack by about 2x over the past year. He also implemented various Vulkan driver extensions into their stack.

    • Intel Is Working On A New ‘Data Parallel C++’ Programming Language

      ntel has been working on its OneAPI project for quite some time. The company has now shared more details of the software project — including the launch of a new programming language called “Data Parallel C++ (DPC++).”

    • 6 Best Data Science and Machine Learning Courses for Beginners

      Many programmers are moving towards data science and machine learning hoping for better pay and career opportunities — and there is a reason for it. The Data scientist has been ranked the number one job on Glassdoor for last a couple of years and the average salary of a data scientist is over** $120,000** in the United States according to Indeed.

      Data science is not only a rewarding career in terms of money but it also provides the opportunity for you to solve some of the world’s most interesting problems. IMHO, that’s the main motivation many good programmers are moving towards data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

    • Find the smallest number within a list with python

      In this example, we will create a python function which will take in a list of numbers and then return the smallest value. The solution to this problem is first to create a place holder for the first number within the list, then compares that number with other numbers within the same list in the loop. If the program found a number which is smaller than the one in the place holder, then the smaller number will be assigned to that place holder.

    • Basic Input, Output, and String Formatting in Python

      To be useful, a program usually needs to communicate with the outside world by obtaining input data from the user and displaying result data back to the user. This tutorial will introduce you to Python input and output.

      Input may come directly from the user via the keyboard, or from some external source like a file or database. Output can be displayed directly to the console or IDE, to the screen via a Graphical User Interface (GUI), or again to an external source.

    • Want to level up your Python? Join Weekly Python Exercise, starting July 2nd

      Let’s face it: Stack Overflow has made developers’ lives easier. Almost every time I have a question, I find that someone on Stack Overflow has asked it, and that people have answered it, often in great detail.

      I’m thus not against Stack Overflow, not by a long shot. But I have found that many Python developers visit there 10 or even 20 times a day, to find answers (and even code) that they can use to solve their problems.

    • Introducing pytest-elk-reporter

      Few years back I’ve wrote a post about how I’ve connected python based test to ELK setup – “ELK is fun”, it was using an xunit xml, parsing it and sending it via Logstash.

      Over time I’ve learn a lot about ElasticSearch and it’s friend Kibana, using them as a tool to handle logs. and also as a backend for a search component on my previous job.

      So now I know logstash isn’t needed for reporting test result, posting straight into elasticsearch is easier and gives you better control, ES is doing anything “automagiclly” anyhow nowadays.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft bans its employees from using Slack, Google Docs, and more

    Keeping your company’s data safe can be tricky when your competitors are begging you to put all your conversations, projects, and hard work right into the palms of their hands.

    To make sure its competitors aren’t able to look behind its tightly drawn curtains, Microsoft has a list of online services that it forbids its workforce to use, according to a report from GeekWire. They’re familiar names for most modern professionals: Slack, Google Docs, and Amazon Web Services (among others).

    Despite the popularity of some of these services that allow for easy communication between employees and data storing and sharing, Microsoft wants to make sure everybody is keeping all their information in-house with its own programs. Actually, not even all of its own programs are safe, as the Microsoft-owned GitHub is also off limits.

  • What are you working on this summer?

    Tell us about your summer project by taking our poll. Plus, read what our writers are working on.

  • [Mozilla] Emily Dunham: More on Mentorship

    Last year, I wrote about some of the aspirations which motivated my move from Mozilla Research to the CloudOps team. At the recent Mozilla All Hands in Whistler, I had the “how’s the new team going?” conversation with many old and new friends, and that repetition helped me reify some ideas about what I really meant by “I’d like better mentorship”.

  • Science

    • Asteroids, SUSE and Protecting the Planet

      Asteroid Day is a global awareness campaign where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids, the impact hazard they may pose, and what we can do to protect our planet, families, communities and future generations from future asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day takes place on June 30, the anniversary of the largest impact in recent history, the 1908 Tunguska event in Siberia. That asteroid decimated about 800 square miles (to put that in perspective, greater London is about 600 square miles). It’s estimated that a Tunguska-level “city-killer” asteroid hits the Earth every 500 years. So, while there is nothing to lose sleep over, it’s imperative that we are aware and have a plan.

  • Security

    • Daniel Stenberg: openssl engine code injection in curl

      This flaw is known as CVE-2019-5443.

      If you downloaded and installed a curl executable for Windows from the curl project before June 21st 2019, go get an updated one. Now.

    • Fedora’s GRUB2 EFI Build To Offer Greater Security Options

      In addition to disabling root password-based SSH log-ins by default, another change being made to Fedora 31 in the name of greater security is adding some additional GRUB2 boot-loader modules to be built-in for their EFI boot-loader.

      GRUB2 security modules for verification, Cryptodisk, and LUKS will now be part of the default GRUB2 EFI build. They are being built-in now since those using the likes of UEFI SecureBoot aren’t able to dynamically load these modules due to restrictions in place under SecureBoot. So until now using SecureBoot hasn’t allowed users to enjoy encryption of the boot partition and the “verify” module with ensuring better integrity of the early boot-loader code.

    • Fedora 31 Will Finally Disable OpenSSH Root Password-Based Logins By Default

      Fedora 31 will harden up its default configuration by finally disabling password-based OpenSSH root log-ins, matching the upstream default of the past four years and behavior generally enforced by other Linux distributions.

      The default OpenSSH daemon configuration file will now respect upstream’s default of prohibiting passwords for root log-ins. Those wishing to restore the old behavior of allowing root log-ins with a password can adjust their SSHD configuration file with the PermitRootLogin option, but users are encouraged to instead use a public-key for root log-ins that is more secure and will be permitted still by default.

    • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

      Picked up by Gizmodo, acclaimed Californian security company SafeBreach has revealed that software pre-installed on PCs has left “millions” of users exposed to hackers. Moreover, that estimate is conservative with the number realistically set to be hundreds of millions.

      The flaw lies in PC-Doctor Toolbox, systems analysis software which is rebadged and pre-installed on PCs made by some of the world’s biggest computer retailers, including Dell, its Alienware gaming brand, Staples and Corsair. Dell alone shipped almost 60M PCs last year and the company states PC-Doctor Toolbox (which it rebrands as part of ‘SupportAssist’) was pre-installed on “most” of them.

      What SafeBreach has discovered is a high-severity flaw which allows attackers to swap-out harmless DLL files loaded during Toolbox diagnostic scans with DLLs containing a malicious payload. The injection of this code impacts both Windows 10 business and home PCs and enables hackers to gain complete control of your computer.

      What makes it so dangerous is PC-makers give Toolbox high-permission level access to all your computer’s hardware and software so it can be monitored. The software can even give itself new, higher permission levels as it deems necessary. So once malicious code is injected via Toolbox, it can do just about anything to your PC.

    • Update Your Dell Laptop Now to Fix a Critical Security Flaw in Pre-Installed Software

      SafeBreach Labs said it targeted SupportAssist, software pre-installed on most Dell PCs designed to check the health of the system’s hardware, based on the assumption that “such a critical service would have high permission level access to the PC hardware as well as the capability to induce privilege escalation.”

      What the researchers found is that the application loads DLL files from a folder accessible to users, meaning the files can be replaced and used to load and execute a malicious payload.

      There are concerns the flaw may affect non-Dell PCs, as well.

      The affected module within SupportAssist is a version of PC-Doctor Toolbox found in a number of other applications, including: Corsair ONE Diagnostics, Corsair Diagnostics, Staples EasyTech Diagnostics, Tobii I-Series Diagnostic Tool, and Tobii Dynavox Diagnostic Tool.

      The most effective way to prevent DLL hijacking is to quickly apply patches from the vendor. To fix this bug, either allow automatic updates to do its job, or download the latest version of Dell SupportAssist for Business PCs (x86 or x64) or Home PCs (here).

      You can read a full version of the SafeBreach Labs report here.

    • TCP SACK PANIC Kernel Vulnerabilities Reported by Netflix Researchers

      On June 17th, Researchers at Netflix have identified several TCP networking vulnerabilities in FreeBSD and Linux kernels.

    • DNS Security – Getting it Right

      This paper addresses the privacy implications of two new Domain Name System (DNS) encryption protocols: DNS-over-TLS (DoT) and DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH). Each of these protocols provides a means to secure the transfer of data during Internet domain name lookup, and they prevent monitoring and abuse of user data in this process.

      DoT and DoH provide valuable new protection for users online. They add protection to one of the last remaining unencrypted ‘core’ technologies of the modern Internet, strengthen resistance to censorship and can be coupled with additional protections to provide full user anonymity.

      Whilst DoT and DoH appear to be a win for Internet users, however, they raise issues for network operators concerned with Internet security and operational efficiency. DoH in particular makes it extremely difficult for network operators to implement domain-specific filters or blocks, which may have a negative impact on UK government strategies for the Internet which rely on these. We hope that a shift to encrypted DNS will lead to decreased reliance on network-level filtering for censorship.

    • OpenSSH adds protection against Spectre, Meltdown, RAMBleed

      OpenSSH, a widely used suite of programs for secure (SSH protocol-based) remote login, has been equipped with protection against side-channel attacks that could allow attackers to extract private keys from memory.

    • How to take the pain out of patching Linux and Windows systems at scale

      Patching can be manually intensive and time-consuming, requiring large amounts of coordination and processes. Tony Green gives the best tips.

    • Removal of IBRS mitigation for Spectre Variant2

      As the Meltdown and Spectre attacks were published begin of January 2018, several mitigations were planned and implemented for Spectre Variant 2.

    • Go and FIPS 140-2 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

      Red Hat provides the Go programming language to Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers via the go-toolset package. If this package is new to you, and you want to learn more, check out some of the previous articles that have been written for some background.

      The go-toolset package is currently shipping Go version 1.11.x, with Red Hat planning to ship 1.12.x in Fall 2019. Currently, the go-toolset package only provides the Go toolchain (e.g., the compiler and associated tools like gofmt); however, we are looking into adding other tools to provide a more complete and full-featured Go development environment.

      In this article, I will talk about some of the improvements, changes, and exciting new features for go-toolset that we have been working on. These changes bring many upstream improvements and CVE fixes, as well as new features that we have been developing internally alongside upstream.

    • Check your password security with Have I Been Pwned? and pass

      Password security involves a broad set of practices, and not all of them are appropriate or possible for everyone. Therefore, the best strategy is to develop a threat model by thinking through your most significant risks—who and what you are protecting against—then model your security approach on the activities that are most effective against those specific threats. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a great series on threat modeling that I encourage everyone to read.

      In my threat model, I am very concerned about the security of my passwords against (among other things) dictionary attacks, in which an attacker uses a list of likely or known passwords to try to break into a system. One way to stop dictionary attacks is to have your service provider rate-limit or deny login attempts after a certain number of failures. Another way is not to use passwords in the “known passwords” dataset.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • OpenSSH code gets an update to protect against side-channel attacks

      Last week, Damien Miller, a Google security researcher, and one of the popular OpenSSH and OpenBSD developers announced an update to the existing OpenSSH code that can help protect against the side-channel attacks that leak sensitive data from computer’s memory. This protection, Miller says, will protect the private keys residing in the RAM against Spectre, Meltdown, Rowhammer, and the latest RAMBleed attack.

      SSH private keys can be used by malicious threat actors to connect to remote servers without the need of a password. According to CSO, “The approach used by OpenSSH could be copied by other software projects to protect their own keys and secrets in memory”.

      However, if the attacker is successful in extracting the data from a computer or server’s RAM, they will only obtain an encrypted version of an SSH private key, rather than the cleartext version.

    • Bird Miner cryptominer targets Macs, emulates Linux [Ed: This is actually malware that spreads itself using proprietary software and not about "Linux"]

      A new cryptominer, dubbed Bird Miner, has been spotted in the wild targeting Mac devices and running via Linux emulation under the guise of a production software tool.

    • Linux Admins! Grab Our Free Tool To Protect Against Netflix SACK Panic

      Your Linux boxes may be vulnerable to TCP networking vulnerabilities that can lead to a remote DoS attack.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”

      Was the U.S. spy drone that Iran shot down On Thursday, June 20th, in international airspace, or was it over Iranian airspace as Iran insists? Flight coordinates in strategic locations are easy to access, but that misses the point altogether. Here is the point:

      The U.S. has acted belligerently and violated the most basic tenets of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter by abrogating its responsibilities under the Iran nuclear deal, then punishing the Iranian people collectively with economic sanctions that affect their ability to live their lives in a nation not at war. The U.S. has sent masses of troops to the Middle East to ready for war against Iran and has made charges that are unproven that Iran attacked oil tankers. The U.S. has waged a propaganda war against Iran through the words of both Pompeo and Bolton. Donald Trump has added to the verbal assault by his mercurial threats of war (illegal under the UN Charter) and the reality of the economic sanctions that his administration has put in place against Iran.

      Further, in order for war to be declared, there must be an actual threat against a nation and that threat has not been substantiated. That premise, the basis for accepted rules or laws of war, is thousands of years old. The people and government of the U.S. do not stand in harm’s way by the alleged actions of Iran against the oil tankers and spy drone and no ally of the U.S. suffers any of those same consequences. Neither the governments of Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, and others are in any danger from the actions that Iran has taken in the face of grave threats of force and real economic threats from the U.S. and others in the West.

    • The Question of Character

      Every now and then, I feel myself compelled to write something I know that the majority of my readers will not agree with. That is because I do not go along with left wing groupthink any more than I go along with the line of the Establishment. I do not subscribe to a set of opinions. but attempt to consider every question afresh.

      Wikileaks is much criticised for having published the leaked Hillary and Podesta emails, thus having “caused” Trump. At its extreme, this involves the entire evidence free “Russiagate” paranoia. I find myself criticised for my association with Julian Assange on these same grounds.

      The major answer to this is that it would have been morally wrong to conceal the evidence of Hillary’s wrongdoing, her associations with the Saudis and the Bankers, and particularly the rigging of the primary elections against Bernie Sanders by Hillary and the DNC. If I was accused of association with concealing all that, I would not be able to defend Wikileaks. Another part of the answer is that I am not sure any of this much affected the actual votes cast. But the most important bit of the answer is that I am not sorry that Clinton lost and Trump won.

      I say that with apologies to all my American friends who are suffering from Trump’s harsh domestic policies and his version of the “hostile climate for immigrants” which we have long suffered in the UK. I do not underestimate the harm done by Trump’s penchant for trade wars, or his blindly pro-Israel policies and gestures, nor the continuation of the Saudi anti-Shia alliance.

    • Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars

      “From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, from Libya to Somalia in Africa, from Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, all forming a U.S. air curtain descending on a huge swath of the planet with the declared goal of fighting terrorism. Its main method is summed up in surveillance, bombardments and more constant bombardments. Its political benefit is to minimize the number of “United States boots on the ground” and, therefore, American casualties in the never-ending war on terrorism, as well as public protests over Washington’s many conflicts. It’s economic benefit: plenty of high-performance business for arms manufacturers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he wants and sell his warplanes and ammunition to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). Its reality for several foreign peoples: a sustained diet of bombs and missiles “Made in the USA” that explode here, there and everywhere.

      This is how William J. Astore, a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel and now a history professor, interprets the cult of bombing on a global scale that he views in his country, as well as the fact that U.S. wars are being fought more and more from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them increasingly daunting, and finally asks: What is driving this process?

      “For many of America’s decision-makers,” Astore says, “air power has clearly become a sort of abstraction. “After all, with the exception of the September 11 [2001] attacks by four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans have not been the target of such attacks since World War II. On the battlefields of Washington, the Greater Middle East and North Africa, air power is almost literally always a one-way street. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force and its allies, so we are no longer talking about “war” in the normal sense. No wonder Washington’s politicians and military see it as our strength, our asymmetric advantage, our way of settling accounts with wrongdoers, real and imaginary.

    • The Antiwar Movement No One Can See

      When Donald Trump entered the Oval Office in January 2017, Americans took to the streets all across the country to protest their instantly endangered rights. Conspicuously absent from the newfound civic engagement, despite more than a decade and a half of this country’s fruitless, destructive wars across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, was antiwar sentiment, much less an actual movement.

      Those like me working against America’s seemingly endless wars wondered why the subject merited so little discussion, attention, or protest. Was it because the still-spreading war on terror remained shrouded in government secrecy? Was the lack of media coverage about what America was doing overseas to blame? Or was it simply that most Americans didn’t care about what was happening past the water’s edge? If you had asked me two years ago, I would have chosen “all of the above.” Now, I’m not so sure.

      After the enormous demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the antiwar movement disappeared almost as suddenly as it began, with some even openly declaring it dead. Critics noted the long-term absence of significant protests against those wars, a lack of political will in Congress to deal with them, and ultimately, apathy on matters of war and peace when compared to issues like health care, gun control, or recently even climate change.

      The pessimists have been right to point out that none of the plethora of marches on Washington since Donald Trump was elected have had even a secondary focus on America’s fruitless wars. They’re certainly right to question why Congress, with the constitutional duty to declare war, has until recently allowed both presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump to wage war as they wished without even consulting them. They’re right to feel nervous when a national poll shows that more Americans think we’re fighting a war in Iran (we’re not) than a war in Somalia (we are).

    • Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?

      The official US narrative on Iran is that it is an escalating threat to “peace and security” in the Middle East and must be stopped. Step by step, with Mike Pompeo and John Bolton—two war maniacs—taking the lead, the Trump administration has sought to destabilize Iran with sanctions, if possible bring about regime change, and if necessary provoke actions by Iran that will provide a pretext for war. If this sounds similar to the nonexistent Gulf of Tonkin “incident” in 1964 and the false pretenses behind the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, it should. Only this time around is even more dangerous and more preposterous.

      Journalists and Congress members have been pestering Trump and his aides with questions about their determination to go to war with Iran. Trump, typically, tells reporters to wait and see, stymieing them. They should be asking different questions, such as: What threat does Iran pose to US interests? Why shouldn’t Iran’s actions be considered responses to the US policy of “maximum pressure”? The answers to these two questions are clear: Iran is doing nothing that constitutes a new threat to US or any other country’s interests, and Iran’s latest actions—even if Tehran is responsible for the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and the downing of a US drone—are best understood as responses to US provocations.

      What I believe we are now witnessing is the result of the ascendance of the hardliners on both sides. US policy since the appointments of Pompeo and Bolton and withdrawal from the nuclear deal has energized their counterparts in Iran—the Revolutionary Guards, certain military leaders, and others long opposed to the nuclear deal and now able to show that the Americans are completely untrustworthy.

    • The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi

      Ye Gods, how brave was our response to the outrageous death-in-a-cage of Mohamed Morsi. It is perhaps a little tiresome to repeat all the words of regret and mourning, of revulsion and horror, of eardrum-busting condemnation pouring forth about the death of Egypt’s only elected president in his Cairo courtroom this week. From Downing Street and from the White House, from the German Chancellery to the Elysee – and let us not forget the Berlaymont – our statesmen and women did us proud. Wearying it would be indeed to dwell upon their remorse and protests at Morsi’s death.

      For it was absolutely non-existent: zilch; silence; not a mutter; not a bird’s twitter – or a mad president’s Twitter, for that matter – or even the most casual, offhand word of regret. Those who claim to represent us were mute, speechless, as sound-proofed as Morsi was in his courtroom cage and as silent as he is now in his Cairo grave.

      It was as if Morsi never lived, as if his few months in power never existed – which is pretty much what Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, his nemesis and ex-gaoler, wants the history books to say.

      So three cheers again for our parliamentary democracies, which always speak with one voice about tyranny. Save for the old UN donkey and a few well-known bastions of freedom – Turkey, Malaysia, Qatar, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-in-exile and all the usual suspects – Morsi’s memory and his final moments were as if they had never been. Crispin Blunt alone has tried to keep Britain’s conscience alive. So has brave little Tunisia. Much good will it do.

    • Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back

      Like everyone else who can say “Gulf of Tonkin,” “Remember the Maine,” and “Iraqi WMDs,” my instinctive reaction to the attacks on two tankers, a month after explosions hit four oil tankers in the UAE port of Fujairah, was: “Oh, come on now!” We know the United States, egged on by Israel and Saudi Arabia, has been itching to launch some kind of military attack on Iran, and we are positively jaded by the formula that’s always used to produce a justification for such aggression.

      It seemed beyond credibility that Iran would attack a Japanese tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, at the moment the Prime Minister of Japan was sitting down with Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran. After all, Iran is eager to keep its oil exports flowing, so it would hardly want to so flagrantly insult one of its top oil customers.

      Nor did it seem to make sense that Iran would target a Norwegian vessel, Front Altair. That tanker is owned the shipping company, Frontline, which belongs to Norway’s richest man (before he moved to Cyprus), John Fredriksen. Fredriksen made his fortune moving Iranian oil during the Iran-Iraq war, where his tankers came under constant fire from Iraq, and were hit by missiles three times. He became known as “the Ayatollah’s lifeline.” Furthermore, as the Wall Street Journal reports, Fredriksen’s Frontline company has continued to help Iran move its oil in a way that evades sanctions. A friendlier resource Iran has not. This is the guy Iran chose to target, in another gratuitous insult?

    • Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela

      Last April marked a special anniversary for Cuba but one that we should all reflect upon given the current events in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela. In mid-April 1961 three cities in Cuba were bombed at the same time from the air. Immediately the US government claimed that Cuban defectors carried out the action with Cuban planes and pilots. The media quickly “confirmed the actions”.

      These were false flag attacks organized by the US.

      In a large mass rally in Havana the next day Fidel Castro pronounced a very important speech where he called John Kennedy and the media liars. That was the speech where Fidel declared the “socialist character” of the Cuban revolution. [1]

      US interventions, military and parliamentary coups have been relentless before and since in Latin America. Often they are preceded by outright disinformation in order to misrepresent events and demonize the target government as a prelude to legitimize a more aggressive intervention.

      Fast-forward to the 21st Century, pan quickly over the Middle East, and zoom into our Western hemisphere today and you will see Venezuela. Not the country that most Venezuelans want you to see, but the country that the US government and its allies – Canada at the forefront – want you to see. Reportedly, one that needs a regime change.

      The level of disinformation about Venezuela has been widely exposed by political analysts like Dan Kovalik [2] and media groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), which indicated that corporate media in the United States has undertaken “a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change in Venezuela”. [3]

      In an article last April Time magazine said, “Venezuelans are starving for information”. To which VenezuelaAnalysis.com responded that, “Creative reporting about Venezuela is ‘the world’s most lucrative fictional genre’ “, and it goes on to show how there are three private TV channels, a satellite provider that covers FOX News, CNN and BBC. Anti-government print media is also widely accessible as well as online outlets. [4]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pursuit of profit won’t solve climate crisis

      Resolving the climate crisis demands radical political change, a British author argues: the end of free market capitalism.

      You could turn the entire United Kingdom into a giant wind farm and it still wouldn’t generate all of the UK’s current energy demand. That is because only 2% of the solar energy that slams into and powers the whole planet on a daily basis is converted into wind, and most of that is either high in the jet stream or far out to sea.

      Hydropower could in theory supply most of or perhaps even all the energy needs of 7 billion humans, but only if every drop that falls as rain was saved to power the most perfectly efficient turbines.

      And that too is wildly unrealistic, says Mike Berners-Lee in his thoughtful and stimulating new paperback There Is No Planet B. He adds: “Thank goodness, as it would mean totally doing away with mountain streams and even, if you really think about it, hillsides.”

    • Majority of Americans Know Fossil Fuel Companies Drive Climate Change, Should Pay for Damages

      The majority of Americans say fossil fuel companies should pay for damage caused by climate change, according to a recent poll released by Yale University on Wednesday.

      Researchers asked 5,131 Americans how much they think global warming is harming their local communities, who they think should be responsible for paying for the damages, and whether they support lawsuits to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for those costs.

    • Cigarette Waste: New Solutions for the World’s Most-littered Trash

      By now it’s no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.

      Last year the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy reported that cigarette butts, which contain plastic and toxic chemicals, were the most-littered item at their global beach cleanups.

      Trillions of butts are tossed each year. So what’s being done about it?

    • How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness

      Mountain Biking is a significant threat to our wildlands—both in designated preserves like national parks, wilderness areas, and the like, but also Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) and roadless lands that may potentially be given Congressional protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

      Wilderness designation is one of the best ways to protect biodiversity, watersheds, wildlife habitat, and natural ecological processes. And in this day of climate change, protecting forests, shrublands, deserts, and grasslands in our national wilderness system is also one of the best ways to store carbon.

      Lest we forget, there is a finite amount of public land that can qualify for wilderness designation. If we must err on one side or the other, we ought to err on the side of protecting our wildlands heritage.

      It is important to note that recreation is not the same as conservation. In any dispute about whether to increase recreational use/access or place limits on recreation, protection of wildlife and wildlands should always receive top priority.

      One of the philosophical values of wilderness is the idea of restraint. When we designate a wilderness area, we as a society are asserting that nature and natural processes have priority, and we accept limits on ourselves. It is a lesson that is increasingly important for all to learn in an age of climate change, population growth, biodiversity loss, and other major environmental issues.

      In a world filled with such vexing and overwhelming issues, worrying about bicycles on trails can seem trivial and inconsequential. But it’s important to note that bicycles and other mechanical conveyances, and the lack of commitment to personal restraint that it can foster is indicative of the broader challenges facing society. Namely, how do we live on this planet without destroying it? Self-control and restraint will be critical to our future.

    • The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego

      We all have egos that we erect to circumscribe and reify the “self,” or so I have been told. Some scholars have gone so far as to argue that our lives consist of little more than obsessively hitting the world’s feeder bar to obtain emotional and material rewards for the ego, not unlike rats in a gigantic elaborate maze. Even so, this fundamental premise obscures important distinctions between motivations that literally arise from different portions of our brains, as well as from our narratives about who we are, what’s important, and why. And such distinctions matter when it comes to the consequences of our actions for both ourselves and others.

      [...]

      For the last four-plus years the vast 3.1-million acre Custer-Gallatin National Forest of Montana has been in the process of revising its Forest Plan. This process will eventually produce an authoritative Record of Decision that determines what people will or will not be able do with specific parcels of the Forest; essentially, a land use plan with legal teeth. In certain places people will be able to ride mountain bikes, in other places, they won’t; likewise for Off-Highway-Vehicles, or OHVs. And, so on, for timber harvest, livestock grazing, camping, hang-gliding, or generally running amuck.

      These planning processes are invariably contentious as stakeholders strive to have their interests codified in the Forest Plan. Some of this struggle plays out in public, in the press or through formal processes eliciting public input. Some plays out in a more overtly political way, often behind closed doors or in the muddy waters of far-off Washington, DC. In the aftermath, litigation is not uncommon. The Forest Service is invariably caught in the middle in ways that deplete morale, amplify anxiety, and jeopardize careers—at least for the proximally-involved personnel.

    • Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change

      The official government pickin’and choosin’ of the winners and losers of climate change already has begun.

      If you’re still in the tribe that thinks climate change is maybe not a thing, or a thing that might happen a hundred years from now, perhaps you might like to consider this: everyone else is already moving beyond that debate and starting to pick and choose who’s gonna be saved and who’s not, who’s gonna be a winner and who’s gonna be a loser. If you want to have anything to say about which of those two camps you get slotted into, maybe it’s time to reconsider your position.

      The New York Times reported (June 19) that two federal government agencies are now developing rules for giving out billions of dollars in grants to help cities and states defend themselves from the destructive effects of climate change.

      Since we live in nonsense times, of course this is happening while the Republican President and his minions are denying that climate change is even happening, and the leadership of the Democratic Party is refusing to allow its leading presidential candidates to engage in public debate about it so it won’t become a major issue in the 2020 campaign. Tra lala lala lala

      And now the bad news. The experts say that there won’t possibly be enough money to defend all the places that need defending. That’s where the pickin’ and choosin’ comes in.

  • Finance

    • The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story

      A theme often repeated in the media is that Japan is suffering terribly because of its low birth rates and shrinking population. This has meant slow growth, labor shortages, and an enormous government debt.

      Like many items that are now popular wisdom, the story is pretty much nonsense. Let’s start at the most basic measure, per capita GDP growth. Yeah, I said per capita GDP growth because insofar as we care about growth it is on a per person basis, not total growth. After all, Bangladesh has a GDP that is more than twice as large as Denmark’s, but would anyone in their right mind say that the people of Bangladesh enjoy a higher standard of living? (Denmark’s GDP is more than twelve times as high on a per capita basis.)

      On a per capita basis, Japan’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of 1.4 percent since the collapse of its stock and real estate in 1990. That’s somewhat less than the 2.3 percent rate of the U.S. economy, but hardly seems like a disaster. By comparison, per capita growth has averaged just 0.8 percent annually since the collapse of the housing bubble in 2007 in the United States.

      But per capita income is just the beginning of any story of comparative well-being. There are many other factors that are as important in determining people’s living standards. To take an obvious one that gets far too little attention, the length of the average work year has declined far more over this period in Japan than in the United States.

    • Financed by Tax on Wall Street Speculators, Sanders Plan Would Wipe Out All $1.6 Trillion in US Student Loan Debt

      “This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders told the Washington Post, which reported the details of the Vermont senator’s bill late Sunday. “In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”

      Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, will introduce his proposal alongside Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who plan to unveil the Student Debt Cancellation Act and the College for All Act in the House.

      “I am one of the 45 million people with student debt—45 million people who are held back from pursuing their dreams because of the student debt crisis,” Omar tweeted Sunday. “It’s why I’m proud to stand with Sen. Sanders and Rep. Jayapal to pass college for all and cancel student debt.”

      The three lawmakers will introduce their proposals in a press conference Monday morning outside the U.S. Capitol building.

    • Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”

      In mid-June, Facebook — in cahoots with 28 partners in the financial and tech sectors — announced plans to introduce Libra, a blockchain-based virtual currency.

      The world’s governments and central banks reacted quickly with calls for investigation and regulation. Their concerns are quite understandable, but unfortunately already addressed in Libra’s planned structure.

      The problem for governments and central banks:

      A new currency with no built-in respect for political borders, and with a preexisting global user base of 2.4 billion Facebook users in nearly every country on Earth, could seriously disrupt the control those institutions exercise over our finances and our lives.

      The accommodation Facebook is already making to those concerns:

      Libra is envisaged as a “stablecoin,” backed by the currencies and debt instruments of those governments and central banks themselves and administered through a “permissioned” blockchain ledger by equally centralized institutions (Facebook itself, Visa, Mastercard, et al.).

      To put it a different way, Libra will not be a true cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ether. Neither its creation nor its transactions will be decentralized and distributed, let alone easily made anonymous. A “blockchain” is just a particular kind of ledger for keeping track of transactions. It does not, in and of itself, a cryptocurrency make.

      In simple terms, Libra is just a new brand for old products: Digital gift cards and pre-paid debit cards.

    • Burning Down the Future

      The hulk of Grenfell Tower, its charred sides covered by sheets of white plastic, stands as a mute and ominous testament to the disposability of the poor and the primacy of corporate profit. On June 14, 2017, a fire leaped up the sides of the 24-story building, clad in highly flammable siding, leaving 72 dead and 70 injured. Almost 100 families were left homeless. It was Britain’s worst residential fire since World War II. Those burned to death, including children, would not have died if builders had used costlier cladding that was incombustible and if the British government had protected the public from corporate predators. Grenfell is the face of the new order. It is an order in which you and I do not count.

      I walked the streets around the tower on the two-year anniversary of the fire with Kareem Dennis, better known by his rapper name, Lowkey (watch his music video about Grenfell)—and Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle, Hesham Rahman, in the blaze and who has been abruptly terminated from two jobs since the disaster apparently because of his fierce public denunciations of officials responsible for the deaths. Families, some wearing T-shirts with photos of loved ones who died in the conflagration, solemnly entered a building for a private memorial. A stage was being prepared for a rally that night a block from the tower. It would draw over 10,000 people. Flowers and balloons lay at the foot of the wall that surrounds the tower. Handwritten messages of pain, loss and love, plus photos of the dead, covered the wall. The demolition of Grenfell Tower will take 18 more months as each floor is methodically dismantled.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Journalist as Hemorrhoid

      Occasionally I am subject to the hysterical stupidity of cable news, as when, for example, my father and I spend time together. He is 80, and likes to watch drivel such as CNN, Bloomberg Business and the like. It is always a stunning experience to see the performing monkeys who masquerade on camera as journalists, since I get to see it so rarely.

      First off, on this miserable morning of June 20, is the perfumed cheerleading squad at Bloomberg, who are prattling on and on about an IPO by a tech company called Slack. “We are on tenterhooks,” the little minstrels tell us. Me too – I’m waiting for the moment when someone blows up Bloomberg Business with a Molotov cocktail. But alas, it doesn’t happen, and onward they race, in rapt attention to issues of total insignificance (this Slack being a company that…well, I don’t know what it does, but it probably doesn’t feed, clothe, or house the poor and the needy, or protect wild creatures and wild places, or educate our children – it probably does something totally useless, which is the reason the IPO is doing so well and the executives will be multimilllionaires by day’s end).

      Click – now we are at CNN, where the bloviators are delving into the question of whether we should attack Iran over its downing of one of the United States’ pieces of flying junk (a drone, apparently – or so the government and media inform us). The matter at hand – the only matter for the folks at CNN – is one of expedience, the utilitarian value of a military response, the “cost” to the United States in treasure and manpower, the “value” of the diplomatic and political “gain” of such an attack. We are talking about war here; we are talking about murder, though nothing of that is said. We

    • BorisGate is Beneath Us

      There had apparently been reports of a loud argument, banging and yelling etc. The police talked to both the people present and then left. No one was detained, charged, cautioned. Legally speaking, there was no incident. It would not warrant a mention most of the time.

      However, the same neighbours who called the police also recorded the argument and sent the recording to The Guardian.

      The Guardian, who have all the class of the Daily Mail, but none of the honesty, duly published it. Red banner. Shrieking tabloid headline. At least The Sun admits what it is.

      And so we have Borisgate, or rather #BorisGate.

      Boris refused to answer questions about the incident the next day, and Jeremy Hunt has been piling on the pressure to produce “an explanation”. Apparently “we had a row, it’s none of your business” isn’t enough of an explanation.

      Hunt’s obsession with this topic is understandable, he’s massively trailing in the leadership contest and needs all the ammunition he can get his hands on.

    • Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty

      If Donald Trump actually follows through on his recently tweeted promise that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “will begin deporting the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States … as fast as they come in,” what will you do?

      According to the faith I was raised with I hope I would act according to the lessons found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told of a traveler who was beaten, stripped, and left naked waiting for death. People who claimed to be great believers avoided this victim, but it was the Samaritan who stopped and freely rendered aid—selfless altruism. Charity, compassion, and forgiveness are the highest values I was raised with. I do my best to dedicate myself to their service, and I’m sure I’m not the only one left in a bind: what will I do?

      Recent stories tell of modern day Samaritans rendering aid to travelers (some seeking asylum, some trying to immigrate legally, some illegally…) at great risk. The case of Scott Warren in Arizona presents offering humanitarian aid as a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison; but there is no verdict, the jury is hung. His specific crimes are putting out food and water, and pointing directions (actions consistent with No More Deaths, a part of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson), which appears reflect values just like I was raised with. Do I have the strength to follow my religious convictions, even in the face of criminal prosecution like Warren has?

      Our current context should make us struggle no matter how much we think we’ve figured out. The case against Food Not Bombs taught us–after some alarming incidents to the contrary–that feeding the homeless is an act of protected expression, but with migrants the acts of feeding and pointing direction could invoke serious punishment. Do you love your Mexican or Central American neighbor enough to risk prosecution?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Failing to Identify Real Party In Interest was Excusable Error that Did Not Reset Petition Filing Date

      With regard to the PTAB guidance, the court noted that such guidance was “non binding” [upon whom?] and that the Board had allowed several petition corrections without changing the filing date.

      Why Do It? – Privileged: The gaping hole in in the analysis is any discussion of why MSD did not name its parent company who was being sued for infringement as a real party in interest.

      In the IPR, Merck’s attorneys (who represented both companies) indicated that they had intentionally omitted MCI as a real-party-in-interest, but did not explain their actions other than: “privileged legal strategy immune from discovery” (although this is in quotes, it is my paraphrasing). The key patent-related reason here that comes to mind is that – at the time – Merck thought it might get around IPR estoppel by having its subsidiary file the petition. It was not until more than a year later that Merck agreed that both companies would be bound by any resulting estoppel.

      Appealable: The patent challenger also argued that the issue here is not appealable because it is tied to institution. On appeal, the Federal Circuit ducked that issue and instead held that the case is affirmed whether or not it is appealable. (Interesting jurisprudence dance on this one).

    • Power Integrations, Inc. v. Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

      Power Integrations owns U.S. Patent Nos. 6,212,079 and 8,115,457, among others. Fairchild Semiconductor filed two ex parte reexamination proceedings challenging claims of the ’079 patent in 2005 and 2006; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confirmed the patentability of the claims in September 2009. Two months later, in November 2009, Power Integrations sued Fairchild for infringement of the ’079 patent and the ’457 patent (and one other patent not at issue here). In March 2014, a jury found that Fairchild infringed claims of the ’079 patent (but no claims of the ’457 patent), and that the infringed claims were not invalid. The jury awarded $105 million in damages. Fairchild moved post-trial for a new trial on damages, the District Court granted the motion, and the jury on re-trial awarded damages of $139.8 million.[1] Fairchild appealed on both liability and damages; the Federal Circuit affirmed the finding of infringement but vacated the damages award because the entire market value rule should not have been applied and remanded the case for further proceedings.

      Just prior to the damages re-trial, in November 2015, Semiconductor Components (which did business as ON Semiconductor) agreed to merge with Fairchild. The Fairchild-ON merger did not close quickly. Instead, in March 2016, ON filed a petition for inter partes review of claims of the ’079 patent (including all of the claims that had been found infringed by Fairchild). Five months later, ON filed an IPR petition related to the ’457 patent. The Fairchild-ON merger then closed just four days before the IPR related to the ’079 patent was instituted on September 23, 2016.

      [...]

      Notably, while the Federal Circuit panel (Chief Judge Prost and Judges Reyna and Stoll) held that privity can be determined at least as late as the time of institution, it left open the possibility that later events could be relevant to the determination of privity.[6] Of course, the reasoning of the opinion — based on the express language of the statute — would be contrary to an extension of the time bar to any time after institution of review. But given the extreme circumstances of the Power Integrations case, the Federal Circuit did not want to cut off the possibility that privity would not have applied if the Fairchild-ON merger had closed five days later. Thus, it is possible that post-institution facts could still be relevant to determining whether an IPR is time-barred, in addition to the certainty that all pre-institution circumstances are to be considered.

Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And then suggesting/insinuating/saying that anyone unlike them is a terrorist

Bush visits Brussels

Summary: Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn’t a “true believer” in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a “fringe” and akin to terrorists

THE BIAS in media coverage about patents can be amusing at times (it’s composed by law firms). It’s only infuriating when they defame people, knowingly, as we explained one week ago. In Twitter, for example, people compare the likes of yours truly to “Taliban”. Apparently only the Taliban cares about patent quality then. We suppose SUEPO too is “Taliban” and lots of law professors are also “Taliban”. Even judges and Justices are “Taliban” (somebody, call the Marines! Raid SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit!). Sometimes they take it a step further and call voices of reason "Daesh". How truly ridiculous. At best, these are projection tactics. People who are unlike billionaire orthodoxy are all just ‘dangerous’ ‘radicals’. We wrote about that yesterday.

“So these radicals think that those bribed political figures don’t go far enough? Amazing. Truly amazing.”Consider for a moment who is actually breaking the law and burning things in protests. The new Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) already ‘disses’ and looks for ways to work around — or put another way, violate — 35 U.S.C. § 101 (even if courts rebuff). The litigation ‘industry’ is so ‘up in arms’ that it took this fight to the political arena. Look at Coons for example. What we have here are politicians paid by large law firms to buy laws. Bribery? Sure, but they don’t use the “B” word. That might upset many other politicians who receive bribes similarly. Who is the radical here? Who is actually breaking laws? The outlaws aren’t critics of this bunch, i.e. people who highlight the corruption.

Based on his weekend’s Watchtroll piece (“Inventors Must Oppose the Draft Section 101 Legislation”) Paul Morinville, who is a textbook radical (look what he did on USPTO premises!), is not happy because the stacked panels put together by Coons et al were not 100% stacked (maybe ‘just’ 90%). The outline: “When it was announced that I would be testifying to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on IP about Section 101, I was surprised. Not only did they grant a critic of the 101 roundtables a chance to speak, but not one inventor who used patents to fund a startup has testified in any patent-related hearing in decades. This gave me faith that Senators Tillis and Coons are serious about fixing 101 right by considering what inventors need.”

So these radicals think that those bribed political figures don’t go far enough? Amazing. Truly amazing.

The patent trolls’ think tank and Battistelli ally (funded by his PR firm, cited by him afterwards), namely IAM, is once again asking its patent maximalist/troll subscribers about the European Patent Office (EPO) and guess what they say, complimenting António Campinos in the process (e.g. for granting software patents in defiance of European law). From the outline (there’s a paywall there):

Boost for António Campinos as he ends the first year of his presidency; and good news, too, for USPTO head Andrei Iancu

There’s also this weekend outline that said “IAM readers once again make the European Patent Office their number one; and they have good news, too, for USPTO head Andrei Iancu.”

“Can a law school be led by a thug who breaks the law and is well known for it?”This comes from a propaganda rag that takes money from thugs to promote these thugs’ agenda. As for Campinos, over the weekend we wrote about his one year in Office. He has been terrible and he only narrowly dodged a massive strike by his workers. Campinos still breaks the law. But yeah… we’re “Daesh” because we point this out.

We’ve meanwhile noticed that Antonella Gentile, over at IP Kat, advertises jobs/openings/vacancies at CEIPI, an institution which is run by a literal criminal, Battistelli (and formerly Campinos, who swapped seats with him). Have many members of staff quit? Many were reportedly very upset (staff/teachers, maybe students as well). Can a law school be led by a thug who breaks the law and is well known for it?

“Where did you graduate from?”

“Ha! That school of Battistelli?” The man who 'made' Alexandre Benalla.

Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Hardware Review – The ZaReason Virtus 9200 Desktop
    • Chrome OS 76 will disable Crostini Linux backups by default

      Essentially, this is still a work in progress feature. And I shouldn’t be terribly surprised by that, even though in my experience, the functionality hasn’t failed me yet.

      That’s because we know that the Chromium team is considering on a way to backup and restore Linux containers directly from the Files app on a Chromebook. That proposal is targeted for Chrome OS 78, so this gives the team more time to work that out, as well as any other nits that might not be quite right with the current implementation.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.2-rc6
                    

      eally was hoping that we'd continue to have an increasingly quiet

      and shrinking rc series. But that was not to be.

      rc6 is the biggest rc in number of commits we've had so far for this

      5.2 cycle (obviously ignoring the merge window itself and rc1). And

      it's not just because of trivial patches (although admittedly we have

      those too), but we obviously had the TCP SACK/fragmentation/mss fixes

      in there, and they in turn required some fixes too.

      Happily we did pick up on the problem quickly - largely thanks to the

      patches making it into distro kernels quickly and then causing

      problems for the steam client of all things - but it's still something

      that doesn't exactly make me get the warm and fuzzies at this point in

      the release cycle.

      I'm also doing this rc on a Saturday, because I am going to spend all

      of tomorrow on a plane once again. So I'm traveling first for a

      conference and then for some R&R on a liveaboard, so I'm going to have

      spotty access to email for a few days, and then for a week I'll be

      entirely incommunicado. So rc7 will be delayed.

      I was thinking that I timed it all really well in what should be the

      quietest period of the release cycle for me, and now I obviously hope

      that last week really was a fluke.

    • Linux 5.2-rc6 Released With Steam Networking Fix – The Biggest Post-RC1 Release

      However, he did express optimism still over Linux 5.2 in today’s rc6 announcement, “With all that out of the way, I’m still reasonably optimistic that we’re on track for a calm final part of the release, and I don’t think there is anything particularly bad on the horizon.”

      One important fix merged last night was fixing the kernel issue that was causing Steam network connection issues. That fix has also already been back-ported to maintained stable kernel trees.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Sends In Navi Support & Other Remaining AMDGPU Changes For Linux 5.3

        On Saturday night AMDGPU/Radeon DRM maintainer Alex Deucher sent in the final batch of feature updates to DRM-Next that is targeting the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel.

        This final batch of changes is on top of multiple earlier rounds of work already queued in DRM-Next for vetting in the weeks until the Linux 5.3 merge window in early July. Most notable with this final batch of work is the Navi 10 (Radeon RX 5700 series) support.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam Will No Longer Support Ubuntu : Valve

        Ubuntu users are having a bad week as now Valve says that steam won’t support Ubuntu any more. Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais revealed this shocking news in this tweet.

      • EA calls loot boxes ‘surprise mechanics’ and compares them to Kinder Eggs

        Confusion was a theme—over language, games, the questions—with highlights including one MP asking if Epic can close down text messages. He meant chat, but for a moment Epic’s representatives struggled to explain that they don’t have control over SMS. Later, Fortnite gets compared to a casino.

      • Lutris is an excellent gaming platform!

        In Linux, typically, when there’s a solution to a problem, there are seven other solutions to the same problem. But not so when it comes to Linux gaming. Here, we only have several incomplete solutions to a rather big problem. Steam did massively improve the situation, and it looks like the most mature and likely technology slash software to bring parity to the Linux gaming scene. Still, it’s not a perfect fix.

        There are many Linux games that don’t quite fit the Steam category [sic]. You have old games, indie games with their distribution channels, Windows games that need WINE, and so forth. If you want to have all these under a single umbrella, there isn’t really a solution. Well. Maybe. A challenger appears: Lutris. Let’s have a review.

      • Valve looking to drop support for Ubuntu 19.10 and up due to Canonical’s 32bit decision (updated)

        Update: Canonical are now saying 32bit libraries will be “frozen” and not entirely dropped.

      • Rumour: Ubuntu NOT Dropping 32-bit App Support After All?

        That’s according to Canonical’s Steve Langasek, the author of the original “end of 32-bit support” mailing list post that led to a colourful parade of opinions from users, developers and software projects over the past few days..

        Reaction to the mailing list post’s implication that Ubuntu will no longer support 32-bit apps culminated in a dramatic decision by Valve, who say Steam for Linux will not support Ubuntu 19.10.

        Now, in a forum reply on the Ubuntu Discourse, Langasek appears to row back on the notion that 32-bit libraries will be removed wholesale in the ‘Eoan Ermine’, writing:

        “I’m sorry that we’ve given anyone the impression that we are ‘dropping support for i386 applications‘. It is simply not the case. What we are dropping is updates to the i386 libraries, which will be frozen at the 18.04 LTS versions.”

      • Would Steam Losing Ubuntu Support Make You Switch Distro? [Poll]

        Gamers the globe over were left open-mouthed by a Valve developer’s tweet that Steam for Linux is dropping support for Ubuntu as of the next release, Ubuntu 19.10.

        That snippet of shock followed an announcement by Canonical developers that there’d be no traditional access to 32-bit libraries in the next short-term release of the famed Linux distro.

        While confusion remains as to Canonical’s exact plans for the 32-bit Ubuntu archive — going away entirely? Just being frozen? Something else? — many Ubuntu users have taken to social media to state that if Steam goes from Ubuntu, so will they.

        Would a lack of official support for using the world’s biggest games distribution platform and shop store front on Ubuntu be enough to make YOU switch distro?

      • Ubuntu is dropping support for 32-bit apps and games, so Steam is dropping support for Ubuntu

        Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system is one of the biggest names in desktop GNU/Linux. But if you plan to play PC games on Linux, you might want to start looking around for a different Linux distro.

        Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek announced last week that starting with Ubuntu 19:10, which comes out in October, Canonical would no longer provide 32-bit builds of applications and libraries. This being Linux, there will be workarounds — but many existing apps may not work out of the box anymore.

        Case in point: a number of games from GOG cannot be installed on a pre-release version of Ubuntu 19:10. So it’s not all that surprising that a developer for Valve says that now that Canonical is dropping support for 32-bit software, Valve’s Steam game client is dropping support for Ubuntu.

      • Steam will stop supporting Ubuntu Linux over 32-bit compatibility
      • Canonical’s Decision To Drop 32-Bit Support In Ubuntu Upsets The Linux Gaming Community

        The future of Linux gaming sure is going to be interesting, as Canonical has announced this week that it’s going to be scrapping 32-bit support with Ubuntu 19.10. This was something considered last year, and clearly, even after all of the debate about whether or not it should happen, Canonical feels it’s best to pull the plug and look to the future.

        There are some problems with that, but before we go further, we do want to make clear that this decision is Canonical’s own. The myriad spins based on Ubuntu could take it upon themselves to continue supporting 32-bit libraries. For gamers, what this move means is that Ubuntu is no longer going to be the de facto “simple” choice for Linux gaming.

      • Steam will not support Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

        It is only a few days since Canonical announced that it was dropping support for 32-bit packages as of Ubuntu 19.10. The fall out from this is now being felt.

        While there were many developers who were not happy with the decision, Linux-based gamers are now likely to be more than slightly annoyed. Steam has announced that “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users”.

      • Ubuntu Developer Talks Down Impact Of 32-Bit Changes For Ubuntu 19.10

        Following Valve saying they won’t be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and Wine developers questioning their Ubuntu 32-bit builds following the announcement this week of not providing new 32-bit packages for new Ubuntu releases, longtime Ubuntu developer and Canonical employee Steve Langasek is trying to provide some clarity into the situation.

      • Steam Is About to Drop Official Support for Ubuntu

        Valve is dropping official support for Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases for its mega-popular Steam video game distribution platform, per Engadget, as the upcoming version of the OS will eliminate updates to 32-bit x86 components. According to Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais, the company will “evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users,” though it will also be focusing on “a different distribution, currently TBD.”

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars v3.3.1 is released

        KStars v3.3.1 is released for Windows, MacOS, and Linux on all platforms (Intel/AMD and ARM). This is yet another maintenance release with a few new experimental features and addons.

      • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 76

        Week 76 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative is here! This week’s progress report includes the first several says of the Usability & Productivity sprint, and as such, it’s absolutely overflowing with cool stuff!

      • KDE’s Night Color Feature Being Ported From Wayland To X11

        It’s another busy summer in the KDE space with a nice mixture of bug fixes and features being pursued for KDE Frameworks, KDE Plasma, and KDE Applications.

        One new feature coming is a back-porting of their night color feature from Wayland to X11. KDE, like many other desktops these days, has offered a “night color” option that adjusts the gamma ramp for the display output. This feature has just been supported on Wayland given that’s their focus moving forward, but with no major blockers in supporting the feature on X11, that is now being addressed. This X11 support for the night color feature is coming for Plasma 5.17.

      • Skrooge 2.20.0 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.20.0 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

      • New website for Konsole

        The content could probably still need some improvements, so if you find typos or want to improve the wording of a sentence, please get in touch with KDE Promo. The good news is that you don’t need to be a programmer for this.

        [...]

        The new website uses Jekyll to render static html. Because the layout and the design aren’t unique to konsole.kde.org, I created a special Jekyll located at invent.kde.org/websites/jekyll-kde-theme, so that only the content and some configuration files are located in the websites/konsole-kde-org repository. This make it easier to maintain and will make it easier to change others website in the future without repeating ourself.

        This was a bit harder to deploy than I first though, I had problem with installing my Jekyll theme in the docker image, but after the third or fourth try, it worked and then I had an encoding issue, that wasn’t present on my development machine.

      • Crazy Last Weeks

        Last weeks have been crazy for me. Since the GSoC began, I have been rushing everything related to university and my life to dedicate exclusively to the development. Besides the two classes I was taking, Static Code Analysis and Approximation Algorithms, I had my obligatory teaching internship in Project and Analysis of Algorithms for the postgraduate program, where I was responsible for creating and evaluating assignments for 50+ students and answering general questions.

        [...]

        I am using as my environment the Qt Creator, and I am focusing in the algorithm for creation of specific graph classes inside the generategraphwidget. I have already implemented algorithms for Paths, Complete and Complete Bipartite graphs, besides fixing some details here and there. These modifications are still only in my local machine, as I am having some problems pushing the commits (I must be doing something wrong in my configuration).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Nordic Theme on Ubuntu Desktop GNOME 3

        Nordic is currently ranked #10 most popular GTK3 theme on OpenDesktop.org. This article exposes this theme beauty and explains how to install every component on Ubuntu 18.04. You can practice the installation procedures on other distros as long as it uses GNOME 3 as the user interface.

      • Andrei Lisita: Something to show for

        Unfortunately along with the progress that was made we also encountered a bug with the NintendoDS core that causes Games to crash if we attempt to load a savestate. We are not yet 100% sure if the bug is caused by my changes or by the NintendoDS core itself.

        I hope we are able to fix it by the end of the summer although I am not even sure where to start since savestates are working perfectly fine with other cores. Another confusing matter about this is that the Restart/Resume Dialog works fine with the NintendoDS core and it also uses savestates. This led me to believe that perhaps cores can be used to load savestates only once, but this can’t be the problem since we re-instantiate the core every time we load a savestate.

        In the worst case we might just have to make a special case for the NintendoDS core and not use savestates with it, except for the Resume/Restart dialog. This would sadden me deeply since there are plenty of NintendoDS games which could benefit from this feature.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • OSMC’s June update is here with Kodi v18.3

        Team Kodi recently announced the 18.3 point release of Kodi Leia. We have now prepared this for all supported OSMC devices and added some improvements and fixes. Here’s what’s new:

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • CERN Goes Open Source

    The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, is stopping using Microsoft products in favor of open-source.

  • CERN ditches Microsoft for open source

    The Large Hadron particle collider operator says no to Microsoft’s licensing fees increase.

  • A comparison of open source, real-time data streaming platforms

    A variety of open source, real-time data streaming platforms are available today for enterprises looking to drive business insights from data as quickly as possible. The options include Spark Streaming, Kafka Streams, Flink, Hazelcast Jet, Streamlio, Storm, Samza and Flume — some of which can be used in tandem with each other.

    Enterprises are adopting these real-time data streaming platforms for tasks such as making sense of a business marketing campaign, improving financial trading or recommending marketing messages to consumers at critical junctures in the customer journey. These are all time-critical areas that can be used for improving business decisions or baked into applications driven by data from a variety of sources.

  • Amphenol’s Jason Ellison on Signal Integrity Careers and His Free, Open Source PCB Design Software

    Ellison, Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC, gives his insight on the importance of networking, giving to the EE community, and his open-source signal integrity project.

    How does signal integrity engineering compare to other EE fields? What are open-source resources worth these days? What makes for a good work life for an engineer? Learn this and more in this Engineer Spotlight!

    Jason Ellison started down the path to becoming an electrical engineer because someone told him it was “fun and easy if you’re good at math.” In this interview with AAC’s Mark Hughes, Ellison—a Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC—describes how his career has grown from these beginnings into the rewarding and diverse work of signal integrity engineering.

  • Cruise open-sources Webviz, a tool for robotics data analysis [Ed: Releasing a little tool that's part of proprietary software so that it 'feels' more "open"]

    Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016, generates an enormous amount of data by any measure. It orchestrates 200,000 hours of driving simulation jobs daily in Google Cloud Platform, spread across 30,000 virtual cars in an environment running on 300,000 processor cores and 5,000 graphics cards. Both those cars and Cruise’s fleet of over 180 real-world autonomous Chevrolet Bolts make thousands of decisions every second, and they base these decisions on observations captured in binary format from cameras, microphones, radar sensors, and lidar sensors.

  • EWF launches world’s first open source blockchain for the energy industry

    The Energy Web Foundation this week announced that it has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain).

    More than ten Energy Web Foundation (EWF) Affiliates — including utilities, grid operators, and blockchain developers — are hosting validator nodes for the live network, according to the company.

  • Pimcore Releases Pimcore 6.0, Amplifying User-Friendly Digital Experiences Through Open Source

    Pimcore, the leading open-source platform for data and customer experience management, has released the most powerful version of the Pimcore platform, Pimcore 6.0. The updated platform includes a new user interface that seamlessly connects MDM/PIM, DAM, WCM, and digital commerce capabilities to create more advanced and user-friendly experiences quickly and efficiently.

  • VCV Rack reaches version 1.0.0: free and open-source modular synth gets a full release

    VCV Rack is a free, open-source modular software synth that’s been gaining ground for a couple of years, but only now has it reached the significant milestone of version 1.0.

    Designed to replicate the feeling of having a hardware modular synth on your desktop, VCV Rack enables you to add both free and paid-for modules, and now supports polyphony of up to 16 voices. There’s MIDI Output, too with CV-Gate, CV-MIDI and CV-CC modules enabling you to interface with drum machines, desktop synths and Eurorack gear.

  • Flying Above the Shoulders of Giants

    Thanks to open-source platforms, developers can stand on the shoulders of software giants to build bigger and better things. Linux is probably the biggest…

  • MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer

    A research team from MIT, Hong Kong University, and Zhejiang University has open-sourced ATMSeer, a tool for visualizing and controlling automated machine-learning processes.

    Solving a problem with machine learning (ML) requires more than just a dataset and training. For any given ML tasks, there are a variety of algorithms that could be used, and for each algorithm there can be many hyperparameters that can be tweaked. Because different values of hyperparameters will produce models with different accuracies, ML practitioners usually try out several sets of hyperparameter values on a given dataset to try to find hyperparameters that produce the best model. This can be time-consuming, as a separate training job and model evaluation process must be conducted for each set. Of course, they can be run in parallel, but the jobs must be setup and triggered, and the results recorded. Furthermore, choosing the particular values for hyperparameters can involve a bit of guesswork, especially for ones that can take on any numeric value: if 2.5 and 2.6 produce good results, maybe 2.55 would be even better? What about 2.56 or 2.54?

  • Open-Source Cybersecurity Tool to Enhance Grid Protection

    A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Deeper into the data fabric with MongoDB

      However, to gain access to rich search functionality, many organisations pair their database with a search engine such as Elasticsearch or Solr, which MongoDB claims can complicate development and operations — because we end up with two entirely separate systems to learn, maintain and scale.

  • LibreOffice

    • Microsoft Office vs LibreOffice

      Microsoft Office and LibreOffice are both excellent office suites, but how can you be sure which is right for you? On the surface the two look very similar, but there are some important differences to bear in mind when making your decision.

    • Florian Effenberger: LibreOffice Adoption Is Growing Globally

      During the openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg, Germany, we sat down with the executive director of The Document Foundation. We talked about the evolution of LibreOffice to cater to new users and devices. We also talked about other activities of the foundation beyond managing the LibreOffice community. We also touched upon the importance of diversity and inclusion

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU APL 1.8 Released

      I am happy to announce that GNU APL 1.8 has been released.

      GNU APL is a free implementation of the ISO standard 13751 aka.

      “Programming Language APL, Extended”,

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • DoD’s Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set

        As climate change escalates, the impact of natural disasters is likely to become less predictable. To encourage the use of machine learning for building damage assessment this week, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI — the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit — open-sourced a labeled data set of some of the largest natural disasters in the past decade. Called xBD, it covers the impact of disasters around the globe, like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti.

        “Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon,” reads a research paper detailing the creation of xBD.

        [...]

        xBD includes approximately 700,000 satellite images of buildings before and after eight different kinds of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Covering about 5,000 square kilometers, it contains images of floods in India and Africa, dam collapses in Laos and Brazil, and historic deadly fires in California and Greece.

        The data set will be made available in the coming weeks alongside the xView 2.0 Challenge to unearth additional insights from xBD, coauthor and CrowdAI machine learning lead Jigar Doshi told VentureBeat. The data set collection effort was informed by the California Air National Guard’s approach to damage assessment from wildfires.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open-source textbooks offer free alternative for UC Clermont students

        Some UC Clermont College students are avoiding paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks — and getting the content for free — thanks to online open-source textbooks, a growing trend among faculty at the college and throughout higher education.

        UC Clermont Dean Jeff Bauer, who is also a professor of business, said the benefits of open textbooks are many. “All students have the book on the first day of class, it saves them a lot of money, and the information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, without carrying around a heavy textbook,” Bauer said. “They don’t need to visit the bookstore before or after each semester to buy or sell back books, either.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Knits Pikachu For You

        The origin story of software takes us back past punch card computers and Babbage’s Difference Engine to a French weaver called Joseph Marie Jacquard.

      • Successful open-source RISC-V microcontroller launched through crowdfunding

        X-FAB Silicon Foundries, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, launched the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V SoC reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from start of design to tape-out in less than three months employing the Efabless design flow produced on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations, the solution should operate at up to 150MHz.

      • Open Hardware: Open-Source MRI Scanners Could Bring Enormous Cost Savings

        Wulfsberg explore the possibilities of open source MRI scanning. As open-source technology takes its place around the world—everywhere from makerspaces to FabLabs, users on every level have access to design and innovation. In allowing such access to MRI scanning, the researchers realize the potential for ‘technological literacy’ globally—and with MRIs specifically, astronomical sums could be saved in healthcare costs.

        The authors point out that medical technology is vital to the population of the world for treating not only conditions and illnesses, but also disabilities. As so many others deeply involved in the world of technology and 3D printing realize, with greater availability, accessibility, and affordability, huge strides can be made to improve and save lives. Today, with so many MRI patents expiring, the technology is open for commercialization.

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s the Most Secure Programming Language?

      WhiteSource recently put out a report, taking a deeper dive into the security of the most popular programming languages.

    • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Plum UI Kit

      The mobile framework NativeScript team is releasing a new open-source project this week designed to help developers style their applications. The team calls the Plum UI Kit a “kitchen sink native app” meant to provide common app scenarios with copy-and-paste abilities.

    • Kedro Open Source library For Machine Learning

      A new open source development workflow framework for creating machine learning code has been released. Kedro has PySpark integration and an SDK for working with datasets.

      Kedro has been developed by QuantumBlack, an analytics firm acquired by McKinsey’s in 2015, and the name Kedro derives from the Greek word meaning center or core. Kedro helps structure your data pipeline using software engineering principles. It also provides a standardized approach to collaboration for teams.

    • Prisons Are Banning Books That Teach Prisoners How to Code

      According to public records obtained by the Salem Reporter, the Oregon Department of Corrections has banned dozens of books related to programming and technology as they come through the mail room, ensuring that they don’t get to the hands of prisoners.

    • Oregon prisons ban dozens of technology and programming books over security concerns

      Chan said he understands security concerns for books related to hacking, but they often see introductory or basic books disallowed.

    Leftovers

    • Yle ends Latin news service

      Latin teachers often harvest Nuntii Latini for teaching material, as audio and transcripts of shows dating back to 2011 are available online.

    • Science

      • Russian Academy of Sciences archive reopens after debts forced it to close in March

        The archive’s financial trouble began in 2018 when the umbrella agency above it, the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations, was liquidated, leaving ARAN to join the Education Ministry’s budget. That budget did not include funds for paying off the archive’s debts, including a large dept to the company Stroimonolit, which is designing a new building for the archive in St. Petersburg. The 1.064 billion-ruble ($16.9 million) contract for that project was signed in 2015, but the archive was unable to pay even for initial blueprints. Stroimonolit ultimately sued the archive and won.

    • Hardware

      • The U.S. blacklists five Chinese supercomputer firms, including AMD joint venture THATIC

        The U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for the entity list, which includes companies where the agency says there is “reasonable cause to believe…have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being involved in activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy of the United States.”

        U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with and supplying components to companies placed on the entity list, although exceptions can be granted. Though China has developed its own microprocessors, that means U.S. companies would be forbidden to ship PCs and other components to members on the entity list. Many supercomputers, for example, use Nvidia GPUs.

      • U.S. Blacklists More Chinese Tech Companies Over National Security Concerns

        The Commerce Department announced that it would add four Chinese companies and one Chinese institute to an “entity list,” saying they posed risks to American national security or foreign policy interests. The move essentially bars them from buying American technology and components without a waiver from the United States government, which could all but cripple them because of their reliance on American chips and other technology to make advanced electronics.

      • Western Digital Freezes Out Huawei, Which Braces for Massive Sales Drop

        The damage to Huawei keeps on spreading. Last week, Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan announced his company had stopped doing business with the embattled Chinese manufacturer. It’s the latest blow to Huawei’s business after the US announced sanctions against the company last month.

        While Huawei accounts for less than 10 percent of Western Digital’s revenue, Milligan told Nikkei that the firm represents a “meaningful customer.” WD is apparently considering applying for permission to continue doing business with Huawei from the US government. In April, Huawei and WD had signed a declaration of intention to strengthen their partnership across hard drives and non-volatile storage technologies, but that partnership is now effectively on hold due to the US findings.

        In late May, I wrote a story exploring what CPU architectures Huawei might be able to use for future designs if it was cut off from chips by manufacturers like ARM. According to a discussion of this issue published by former US assistant secretary of export administration Kevin Wolf, this is a complex question. US export law forbids the export of any technology with more than a trivial amount (de minimis) of US-based technology built into it.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Air Pollution, the Invisible Enemy

        U.S. News & World Report spoke with Gardiner over the telephone to discuss what countries get right and wrong in tackling air pollution, and what the future of our air may look like. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

      • India’s Sixth-Largest City Is Almost Out of Water

        As much of India bakes in a deadly heat wave, the country’s sixth largest city is running out of water, Time reported Thursday.

        In Chennai, home to nearly 4.6 million people, four major reservoirs are running dry. The monsoon has been delayed, and rainfall has fallen 99 percent in the region from June 1 to 19, while temperatures have reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

      • This Indian City Is Running Out of Water, Impacting 4.6 Million People

        The sixth-largest city in India is running out of water for nearly 4.6 million people

      • Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food

        Food is not a commodity, it is not “stuff” put together mechanically and artificially in labs and factories. Food is life. Food holds the contributions of all beings that make the food web, and it holds the potential of maintaining and regenerating the web of life. Food also holds the potential for health and disease, depending on how it was grown and processed. Food is therefore the living currency of the web of life.

        As an ancient Upanishad reminds us “Everything is food, everything is something else’s food. “

        Good Food and Real Food are the basis of health .

        Bad food, industrial food, fake food is the basis of disease.

        Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine”. In Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of life, food is called “sarvausadha” the medicine that cures all disease.

      • Refusing to Comply With ‘Dehumanizing’ Rules Any Longer, Missouri’s Last Abortion Clinic Defies Regulators

        Days before Missouri’s Republican government is set to decide whether it will renew the license of the state’s only remaining abortion clinic, doctors at the facility have announced they will no longer comply with state restrictions and guidelines they deem “unethical,” harmful, and medically unnecessary.

        Planned Parenthood of St. Louis said Wednesday that it would stop performing pelvic exams on patients receiving abortion care 72 hours before the procedure, in addition to standard exams doctors perform at the time of an abortion. The extra pelvic exams were mandated by the state health department last month.

        Clinic medical director Dr. David Eisenberg told CBS News that he had determined in recent weeks that the exams were having a harmful effect on his patients.

        “[Patients] are being victimized by a state regulatory process that has gone awry. It is not making them healthier, it is not making them safer, it is only victimizing them,” Eisenberg said. “Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100 percent of the patients who I’ve taken care of who’ve undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that.”

      • Study Confirms GOP Medicaid Work Requirements Succeeded in Taking Away People’s Healthcare, But Did Nothing to Boost Employment

        The first major study of new Medicaid work requirements confirmed that the warnings of critics were correct: requiring program recipients to work serves only to take healthcare away from vulnerable communities, while doing nothing to promote employment.

        Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a report Wednesday on the work requirements, which went into effect in Arkansas in 2018. One of President Donald Trump’s signature healthcare policies, the program demanded that Medicaid recipients work at least 80 hours per month or participate in job training, or risk losing their health insurance.

        The program, which is now on hold following a federal judge’s decision in March, resulted in nearly 20,000 low-income Arkansas residents losing their health coverage.

      • The AMA Is on the Wrong Side of History on Medicare of All

        What does the American Medical Association (AMA) have in common with Sen. Mitch McConnell?

        Both refuse to support Medicare for All, the single-payer universal health care program proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal. On June 11, the AMA underscored that opposition, taking a formal vote at their annual conference in Chicago.

        A recent poll reveals that 70 percent of Americans favor Medicare for All, yet the AMA’s position suggests that a majority of doctors do not. In fact, 56 percent of doctors expressed support for single-payer health care in a separate poll.

        In response to the AMA, medical students and younger physicians are joining organizations like Physicians for a National Health Program, a leading organization in the single-payer movement for decades. The organization’s student affiliate, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP), decided to confront the AMA directly at this year’s annual meeting.

        The AMA has a long record of being on the wrong side of history. They refused to admit Black physicians up until the civil rights era, effectively blocking their ability to get residency appointments and ensuring the maintenance of Jim Crow segregation in health care. They also voiced strong opposition before the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, calling those programs “socialized medicine.”

      • Organic California 2050: Bob Cannard’s Crusade for a Toxic Free State

        Crops begin with seeds and so do ideas. To thrive, they both need friendly environments and human beings who nurture them. Bob Cannard has been planting seeds and harvesting crops for the last four decades. So, it ought not to be surprising that he’s planted the seed of an idea that would transform farming and agriculture in California, where it’s a multi-billionaire-dollar-a year-industry dependent on toxic chemicals.

        Cannard wants California to ban all chemical pesticides and herbicides by the year 2050. With help from Karen Lee and Nellie Praetzel, he has just launched an organization and a movement to liberate the whole state from products like Roundup, which has been shown to cause cancer in human beings.

        Over the past decade, over one million pounds of chemicals have been used in Sonoma County. During the same time period, about 86 million pounds of chemicals have been used in California. The whole state has been poisoned, to say nothing about the nation and the globe itself.

      • The Movement to Expand Medicaid in Southern States Is Growing

        North Carolina activists held 22 simultaneous vigils across the state earlier this month to remember the thousands of people who have suffered and died in the state for lack of health care and to call on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to veto any state budget proposal passed by the Republican legislature that does not include Medicaid expansion. A few days later, at a summit on the opioid crisis, leaders with the state Department of Health and Human Services cited expanding Medicaid as the most important step to reduce opioid addiction and deaths.

        The calls show how the effort to expand Medicaid has continued in the 14 states — eight of them in the South — where Republican legislatures and governors have refused to extend health care access to more low-income people under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

        “People are dying across North Carolina each and every day we fail to expand Medicaid,” said attorney Jackie Kiger at a vigil in Asheville. “More than a thousand people die each year.”

        The benefits of Medicaid expansion are extensive and well-documented: more timely treatment of Black cancer patients, decreased infant mortality rates, fewer deaths from cardiovascular conditions, more accessible treatment for opioid addictions. Still, state legislatures refused federal money to expand Medicaid, leaving 2 million people nationwide in the coverage gap, meaning they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for ACA Marketplace premium tax credits.

        And 90 percent of those in the coverage gap live in the South, where just five states have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Arkansas was one of the first to do so when then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, signed the state’s expansion plan into law in 2013, giving about 250,000 low-income residents access to insurance. Last year Arkansas implemented a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, but it has since been blocked twice by the federal government. Kentucky adopted its Medicaid expansion plan in January 2014 via an executive order by then-Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat. Like Arkansas, Kentucky attempted to implement a work requirement, but it was struck down by a federal judge. Current Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, has threatened to dismantle the entire expansion if Kentucky can’t impose a work requirement.

    • Security

      • [Attackers] Used Two Firefox Zero Days to Hit a Crypto Exchange

        Luckily, not only did Coinbase and an outside researcher notice the bugs, but Coinbase picked up on the attack before any money could be stolen or the network could be infiltrated.

      • Romanian hospitals, affected by ransomware attack [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        Four hospitals in Romania have been affected by the BadRabbit 4 ransomware, the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) announced. One of the hospitals is the Victor Babeş Infectious Diseases Hospital in Bucharest. The other hospitals are located in Huşi, Dorohoi and Cărbuneşti.

      • Cyber-attacks on hospitals most likely come from China, SRI says

        The specialists with the Cyberint National Centre with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) suspect that the recent attacks on hospitals in Romania come from China, service representatives say, quoted by digi24.ro.

        “Regarding the cyber-attacks on hospitals, the Cyberint National Centre suspect the attackers are of Chinese origin. The time interval was considered, when the Chinese hackers are active and the clues left along with the ransom requests,” SRI says in a release.

      • Five Romanian hospitals targeted by cyber attack [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        Five hospitals in the Romanian capital Bucharest are the target of a cyber attack. Various Romanian media report this. Opposite the news platform Stiri Lazi, the Romanian Minister of Health has announced that patients will be affected by the attack.

      • Open source vs proprietary password managers [Ed: If it's proprietary software, then you can never trust what it's doing with all your passwords; it can compromise everything you have. Like putting a bandit in charge of guarding a neighbourhood]

        Nowadays, we all have huge numbers of subscriptions to online accounts and services. For those accounts to be secure, each one of them must have a unique, robust password. What’s more, truly strong passwords must be complicated, which means that they are extremely difficult to remember.

      • Cyber Militia Launches Non-Profit to Share Technology [Ed: The NSA uses the term "Cyber Militia"; what a bunch of thugs.]

        RockNSM is a network security monitoring platform that uses open source technologies, such as CentOS, which is an operating system derived from the RedHat enterprise-level open source system. RockNSM formed the basis for a Task Force Echo network anomaly detection system used for real-world cyber operations.

      • Linux Kernel “LOCKDOWN” Ported To Being An LSM, Still Undergoing Review

        It didn’t make it for the Linux 5.2 kernel and now it’s up to its 33rd revision on the Linux kernel mailing list… The “lockdown” patches for locking down access to various kernel hardware features has been reworked now and is a Linux Security Module (LSM) as it still tries to get enough endorsements to be mainlined.

        The Lockdown effort has been most recently led by Google’s Matthew Garrett and with this 33rd revision he reworked the code to serve as an LSM module. The Lockdown functionality prohibits writing to /dev/mem, restricts PCI BAR and CPU MSR access, doesn’t allow kernel module parameters that touch hardware settings, drops system hibernation support, and disables other functionality that could potentially change the hardware state or running Linux kernel image.

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 133 has been released

        This update brings many updates on the core libraries of the system. Various changes to our build system are also helping us to build a more modern distribution, faster. The toolchain is now based on GCC 8.3.0, binutils 2.32 and glibc 2.29 which bring various bugfixes, performance improvements and some new features.

        Although these might not be the most exciting changes, we recommend upgrading as soon as possible since this is essential hardening for backbone components of the user-space.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Rare Piece of Good News for the People of Yemen’ as UK Court Finds Weapons Sales to Saudis Unlawful

        The judgment (pdf) came in response to a judicial review brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)—joined by Amnesty International, Rights Watch U.K., and Human Rights Watch. Amnesty’s Lucy Claridge called the ruling “a rare piece of good news for the people of Yemen.”

        “We welcome this verdict,” CAAT campaigner Andrew Smith said in a statement, “but it should never have taken a court case brought by campaigners to force the government to follow its own rules.”

        “The Saudi Arabian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world, yet, for decades, it has been the largest buyer of U.K.-made arms. No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the U.K.,” Smith added. “The arms sales must stop immediately.”

        Claridge celebrated the ruling as “a major step towards preventing further bloodshed,” and noted that “this is the first time that a U.K. court has acknowledged the risks of continuing to lavish Saudi Arabia with military equipment for use in Yemen.”

      • UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court rules as war in Yemen rages on

        The ruling will not halt British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is deeply involved in the civil war in Yemen, but it does mean the British government “must reconsider the matter,” the court ruled.

      • U.K. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Ruled Unlawful As Donald Trump Prepares to Veto Senate Resolutions Against Weapons Sales

        The judges accused Ministers Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, and Liam Fox of having illegally authorized weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in 2016 without assessing whether the sales would pose a risk to civilians or have other humanitarian consequences. The ruling requires the U.K. government to suspend all new arms sales to Saudi Arabia until it can review its processes.

      • US ‘launched cyber-attack on Iran weapons systems’

        The cyber-attack disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers, the Washington Post said.

      • After Drone Shootdown, U.S. Struck Iranian Computers

        Officials say U.S. military cyber forces earlier this week launched a retaliatory cyber strike against Iranian computer systems amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

        Three U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that the operation on Thursday evening disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled Iran’s rocket and missile launchers.

        The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Yahoo News first reported the cyber strike.

      • ‘These Are Huge Checks Being Written to Boeing and Lockheed’: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Rips Endless War Budget as House Passes $733B in Military Spending

        “These are huge checks being written to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, when we should be cutting checks to everyday people struggling to make ends meet,” said Tlaib, one of just seven Democrats to vote against the trillion-dollar spending measure.

        The other House Democrats who voted against the measure were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Denny Heck (Wash.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), and Ben McAdams (Utah). View the full roll call here.

        In a tweet following Wednesday’s vote, Tlaib wrote, “Giving our military industrial complex another $733B windfall doesn’t bring [Michigan's 13th congressional district] closer to economic opportunities we need.”

        “We deserve better than to come second to for-profit defense spending that doesn’t make our nation any safer,” the Michigan congresswoman wrote.

      • Because ‘Drums of War Are Beating,’ Bernie Sanders Says Everything Must Be Done to Prevent US Attack on Iran

        As Common Dreams reported on Friday, progressive anti-war critics have sounded the alarm over the Trump administration’s claim that it has outright authority to launch offensive strikes against Iran. While Trump admitted Friday that he called off a bombing raid just minutes before it was set to begin—a claim and timeline of events that new reporting has now called into question—Sanders argues that the U.S. Constitution is explicit in stating that the executive branch does not possess such power.

        “The constitution is very clear: it is Congress, not the president, who decides when we go to war,” wrote Sanders. “It is imperative that Congress immediately make it clear to the president that taking us into hostilities with Iran without congressional authorization would be both unconstitutional and illegal.”

      • Pentagon Releases, Then Deletes, Document Detailing Use of Nuclear Weapons to Restore ‘Strategic Stability’ for US Military

        The U.S. military appears to believe it can somehow prevail in a nuclear war, according to a Pentagon document that was briefly made public, and has plans for using atomic weapons in “small and limited” capacities in order to create “strategic stability” for itself in the world.

        The document, Nuclear Operations (pdf), describes the current political and military environment and the challenges faced by the Pentagon in strategizing how to most effectively deploy nuclear weapons in war. It was first reported on by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), which downloaded and released the document on June 19.

        The Pentagon published the document on June 11 and removed it earlier this week. In a statement to The Guardian, a Defense Department official said the document was made private “because it was determined that this publication, as is with other joint staff publications, should be for official use only.”

        “Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the document reads. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.”

      • Peace Advocates Praise Senate for Voting to Block ‘Brazen Power Grab’ by Trump to Sell Saudis More Weapons

        The GOP-controlled Senate considered 22 resolutions of disapproval—one for each weapons contract the administration tried to push through.

        A small number of Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the measures: 20 that were voted on collectively passed 51-45, and the other two passed 53-45. See the full roll call votes here. The resolutions now head to the Democrat-held House, where they are expected to pass.

        Although President Donald Trump may veto the resolutions if they reach his desk—as he did in April with a War Powers resolution approved by Congress—critics of U.S. complicity in the Saudi and UAE coalition’s war in Yemen still welcomed the Senate votes as, in the words of Peace Action’s Paul Kawika Martin, “yet another rebuke to this administration’s reckless foreign policy in the Middle East.”

        By approving these resolutions, Martin said Thursday, “Congress is forcing the president to either stop arming countries that are using U.S. weapons to starve the people of Yemen, or issue more vetoes and defend the indefensible. If Trump does veto these resolutions, Congress should vote to override in order to help bring the terrible war in Yemen to an end.”

      • US and Canada Back the White Supremist Minority in Venezuela

        Slavery was officially abolished in all of the Americas in the 19th century. The history of slavery in the Caribbean and Latin America has left a legacy of prejudice, discrimination and class conflict, which has largely gone unresolved.

        Different skin complexions of Latin Americans are due mostly to various mixtures of European, Spanish and Indigenous bloodlines.

        The darker the skin color, along with other ethnic features, the more there is of discrimination in education, employment, and opportunity.

        Discrimination against blacks and people of color perpetuates poverty and class conflict. In Venezuela, as elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America, political power, commerce and wealth is largely in the hands of a minority of upper-class elites, whom are mostly whiter and lighter than those with darker skin complexion.

        One can get a sense of how much class and race affect Latin American society by watching Spanish language movies and soap operas. Below are just two examples below: the setting for the TV series “The White Slave” is 19th century Columbia; and the setting for “Teresa” is contemporary Mexico.

        Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro are exuberantly despised by the elite white-supremacist minority. They still call Chavez negro, savage, monkey and ape. Maduro gets the same; and the media never fails to remind the public that he was a former bus driver, which is code for “low-class”.

        Maduro is proud of his humble beginning as a bus driver and his Afro-Indigenous ethnicity. Chavez was proud of his poor Afro-Indigenous background too, and his final resting place is in the barrio where he and Maduro came from.

      • Palestinians Dismiss Economic Portion of Kushner Plan as Dead-on-Arrival Failure

        The economic proposal purportedly designed to help foment Israeli-Palestinian peace and made public over the weekend by Jared Kushner, top advisor and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, fell predictably flat as Palestinians rejected it immediately as not tethered to reality and an insult to those who continue to struggle while living under the U.S.-backed military occupation of the Israelis.

        Part of what has become know as Kushner’s “Deal of the Century” proposal to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, it was treated as largely unserious by Palestinians and those who advocate for their liberation.

      • White House Unveils Palestinian Economic Plan

        The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan.

        The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million new jobs for Palestinians, was posted to the White House website ahead of a two-day conference in Bahrain that is being held amid heavy skepticism about its viability and outright opposition from the Palestinians.

      • Forget Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century.’ Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation

        When Israeli prime ministers are in trouble, facing difficult elections or a corruption scandal, the temptation has typically been for them to unleash a military operation to bolster their standing. In recent years, Gaza has served as a favourite punching bag.

        Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting both difficulties at once: a second round of elections in September that he may struggle to win; and an attorney general who is widely expected to indict him on corruption charges shortly afterwards.

        Netanyahu is in an unusually tight spot, even by the standards of an often chaotic and fractious Israeli political system. After a decade in power, his electoral magic may be deserting him. There are already rumblings of discontent among his allies on the far right.

        Given his desperate straits, some observers fear that he may need to pull a new kind of rabbit out of the hat.

        In the past two elections, Netanyahu rode to success after issuing dramatic last-minute statements. In 2015, he agitated against the fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Palestinian asserting their democratic rights, warning that they were “coming out in droves to vote”.

      • No War With Iran

        We’re dangerously close to an all-out war with Iran — and it makes absolutely no sense.

        President Trump is waffling on whether to take military action against Iran in reaction to the downing of a U.S. drone in the Gulf of Oman this week, an incident about which not all the facts are known.

        This follows months of bellicose rhetoric by Trump’s war cabinet, which has been engaged in a cycle of escalation by imposing devastating economic sanctions and moving troops and ships toward Iran. Clearly, they’re grasping for any reason to keep escalating, even recycling the same unverified claims that were used to justify the Iraq invasion 16 years ago.

        Any military strike by the United States could quickly lead to a situation where no one is able to stop a full-blown war, even if we don’t want one.

        And today, we need you to take action: Can you call the White House to demand no military retaliation, and contact your representative to demand they speak out NOW to say NO WAR WITH IRAN?

        It should never be this easy for the White House to launch our country into war. But here we are.

        We’re now 18 years into seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have cost almost $6 trillion, killed at least 480,000 people already, and devastated entire communities for generations.

        At a time when the United States should be winding down our global military presence by deeply cutting Pentagon spending for a moral budget that works for all, starting a new war with Iran would be catastrophic.

        The best time for ordinary people to influence our government in moments like this is before the bombs start dropping.

      • Dear Trump: Iran doesn’t Have a Military Nuclear Program and Gave up Bomb-Making Potential

        Julian Borger at The Guardian reports that Trump said Saturday to reporters, “They’re not going to have a nuclear weapon. We’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon. When they agree to that, they’re going to have a wealthy country. They’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend. I hope that happens.”

        Trump can’t get the conservative script right to save his life. The argument warmongers made for breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was that it did not address a range of Iranian behavior beyond nuclear matters, such as its military intervention in Syria or (they allege) Yemen, or its ongoing work on ballistic missiles, or its support for Hizbullah in Lebanon.

        Few argued that the JCPOA was useless in deterring Iran from making a nuclear weapon. Some worried about a 15 year sunset provision to the deal, but it was envisioned the UN inspections would continue.

        Trump is now citing Iran’s non-existent bomb-making as the reason for his breach of the treaty and not mentioning any of the things the hawks mind.

        Iran isn’t making a bomb and gave up 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program in the JCPOA.

      • Trump Delays Nationwide Deportation Sweep

        Lawmakers are mulling whether to give $4.6 billion in emergency funding to help border agencies struggling to manage a growing number of migrants crossing the border. The measure passed committee on a 30-1 vote. The bipartisan vote likely means that the Senate will take the lead in writing the legislation, which needs to pass into law before the House and Senate leave for vacation next week.

        Pelosi called Trump on Friday night, according to a person familiar with the situation and not authorized to discuss it publicly. The person spoke on condition of anonymity.

      • Trolling America, Trump Pins Tweet Showing Him Staying in Power Until… Forever

        Amid actual fears that President Donald Trump would not cede the White House even if impeached, voted out in 2020, or following a second term—the president on Saturday was actively trolling the people of the United States with a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter page suggesting that he would stay in power until the year… well, forever.

      • Common Dreams
        The Redeeming Power of Love

        She was a mentally challenged woman yelling and cursing at passersby. We were a group of children, teasing and yelling at her. Fortunately, she didn’t pay any attention to our bad behavior. That we were children being silly or that the incident happened a long time ago, however, doesn’t diminish my responsibility, or my sense of guilt. If anything positive came out of that experience, however, it is that it made me more aware of the suffering of others, particularly those suffering from mental illness.

        I thought about this incident that happened so long ago in my hometown in Argentina during a recent visit to my family. I had gone with my brother and two sisters for a short trip out of the city, just to relax and reaffirm our family bonds, so necessary after living apart for almost 50 years, despite yearly visits to my country.

        My brother had taken us to a dam located not far from the city, surrounded by beautiful hills where we could have our afternoon tea and chat at leisure. I treasured those moments because they are so rare as to make them very special to me.

      • Any Dem Who Wants to Be President Should Reject War with Iran, Not Hide Behind Process Criticisms

        On the evening of June 20, Donald Trump reportedly gave initial authorization to launch strikes on Iran, then revoked the order at the eleventh hour. The move—which was the latest action in a long-simmering campaign to wage war against Iran—was falsely framed by the Trump administration as retaliatory: Earlier on the same day, reports surfaced that a U.S. Navy surveillance drone violated Iran’s airspace border, prompting the Revolutionary Guard to shoot it down, which Trump called “a big mistake.”

        The previous week, shepherded by neocon National Security Advisor John Bolton, the administration alleged, with no conclusive evidence, that Iran was responsible for attacks on two commercial oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman on June 13. This occurred just over a year after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, putting the U.S. on a path to greater aggression towards Iran.

        Iran has denied the Trump administration’s oil-tanker claims, which remain unsubstantiated. On June 14, the U.S. military released indistinct video footage, which the U.S. military insisted showed an Iranian military patrol boat approaching one of the tankers. The Pentagon followed this with additional “clearer” photos meant to “prove” Iran’s involvement in the attack, and claimed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removed an unexploded limpet mine from one of the ships, yet failed to prove that these mines were even attached to the ship. Further, the head of the Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo Co., which owns one of the ships, contradicted the U.S. military’s allegations.

        The crisis, fueled by the Trump administration’s bellicose rhetoric and dangerous provocations, has offered a glimpse into the foreign-policy platforms of some of the leading 2020 Democratic hopefuls. The responses of these candidates—Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders—ranged from expressing skepticism about the U.S. narrative on Iran’s actions and condemning “forever wars” to handwringing about whether Trump is following the right process for starting a war and reinforcing the White House narrative that Iran as a “threat.” While Sanders appears to adopt the strongest and most morally informed oppositional stance, Warren trails just behind him, owed to her slightly weaker legislative record on Iran. Meanwhile, candidates like Harris and Biden, who continue to espouse rhetoric about the supposed national security threat posed by Iran and focus more on procedural critiques, rank among the weakest.

      • Listening for Immigration at the Democratic Presidential Debates

        If you’ve been repelled by the family separations and other immigration-related cruelties perpetrated by the Trump administration, and if you plan to watch either or both of the upcoming Democratic presidential debates, please listen carefully – not just to what the candidates are saying, but how they’re saying it: how they frame the issues. Will they present immigration as a discrete set of concerns (“fixing our broken immigration system”), or will they describe it in relation to broader historical struggles, distinctly American struggles, for human rights? It’s possible that if any candidates are willing to articulate a broader story, they may find themselves in a stronger position against Trump – and, possibly, on a stronger footing for leading the nation.

        Consider, for example, the issue of voting rights and the current conflict over the 2020 census. For some time, the Trump administration has been trying to add a citizenship question to the census, and recently it was revealedthat a Republican strategist, Thomas B. Hofeller, played a significant role in urging this change as a way of giving a “structural electoral advantage” to Republicans and “non-Hispanic whites.” The Census Bureau’s own experts estimatedthat up to 6.5 million people, representing households that included noncitizens, would not respond to a census questionnaire that included a question about citizenship. The result would be significant shifts in electoral representation.

        This attempt to skew representation, based on the precarious status of millions of undocumented people in the U.S., is not unconnected to a larger effort to suppress votes, particularly of people of color. One can look, for example, to the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that states with histories of discriminatory practices would no longer need federal clearance to make changes in voting policies. Six years later, legal battles continue over Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election, battles in which allies of defeated Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams cite many practices (voter purges, precinct closures, absentee ballot cancellations) that they claim blocked many African-Americans from voting. The battle over the census is certainly an immigration battle, but as an electorally related issue, it is not a stand-alone concern.

        Or consider the issues of racism and xenophobia. Though many opponents of Trump’s immigration policies portray the U.S. as “a nation of immigrants,” such portrayals often don’t go very far in accounting for the racism and prejudice that have riven American immigration history since the nation’s founding. Nor do they acknowledge the work of countless activists who struggled in courts, in print, and in other venues to resist, for example, the racism of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, or the racially based immigration quotas of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, quotas not overturned until the mid-1960’s. If candidates are unwilling to acknowledge this history, they’ll be less able to describe the broader pattern of Trump’s statements and actions. This is a president who, in 2017, described white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia as including “some very fine people.” This is the same individual who declared his candidacy in 2015 by railing against Mexico for sending us “rapists,” drugs, and crime. The cruel effects of the administration’s policies (deaths in detention, family separation, children in cages) flow from an inexorable, dehumanizing logic of white supremacy.

      • Key Witness in Navy SEAL Case Stuns Court by Taking Blame

        When prosecutors called a special forces medic to testify, they expected him to bolster their case against a decorated Navy SEAL accused of stabbing an Islamic State fighter in his care.

        Corey Scott delivered in part, saying Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher unexpectedly plunged a knife into the adolescent detainee in 2017 after treating his wounds in Iraq.

        But the government was floored by what came next: Scott took the blame for the killing, saying he suffocated the boy in an act of mercy shortly after Gallagher stabbed him.

      • On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”

        In the United States, if one only stops to think about it, this contradiction is glaring. For instance, is human life’s alleged precious worth even relevant to the behavior of the “Defense” Department, which until 18 September 1947, was more accurately named the War Department? American military operations in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq—almost always sanctioned by sanctimonious leaders citing firsthand knowledge of God’s will—have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the post-9/11period, and of course, that is on top of previous episodes of 20th century mass slaughter in Southeast Asia and Central America. The assumption that all this bloodletting was and is carried on in defense of the USA is so far-fetched as to be beyond credence. Today the United States aids in the killing of civilians in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Palestine. Based on practice, Washington’s denial of life’s preciousness seems without end.

        I was about to add that this disregard for human life is expressed most readily when the victims are innocents of other nationalities. However, upon consideration, this simply is not the case. The U.S. has laws and a powerful lobby that insist on the American citizen’s right to possess the means to slaughter its own innocent population. The lobby we are speaking of here is the National Rifle Association (NRA).

      • Jon Gold – The Continuing Lies and Unanswered Questions of the 9/11 Attacks

        Then we air Jon Stewart’s June 10 speech to a House committee, shaming it for neglect of 9/11 first responders’ illnesses. Finally, “flag burner” Joey Johnson describes a new legal victory, and his underlying political philosophy.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Chelsea Manning Is a Political Prisoner. Release Her Right Now.

        Whistleblower and human rights advocate Chelsea Manning has now been imprisoned for 100 days, and faces outrageous fines that have already forced her to lose her apartment and will soon bankrupt her –– for mounting a principled opposition to testifying before a Grand Jury. Digital rights group Fight for the Future, which has long supported Chelsea and led many campaigns demanding her release from prison, issued the following updated statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her)…

      • Episode 33: Assange show as Spy or journalist?

        On this episode of Along the Line, Dr. Dreadlocks Nicholas Baham III, Dr. Nolan Higdon, and Janice Domingo outline Facebook’s history and analyze Julian Assange of Wikileaks and the ways in which he has been portrayed in the media. ATL’s Creative Director is Jorge Ayala. ATL’s Assistant Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga. Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo.

      • Is Socialism Possible in America?

        The U.S. government has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 (extended by the Sedition Act of 1918). The act targeted “whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States”; and to prohibit forms of speech that were judged “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States … or the flag of the United States.”

        The law was promoted by Pres. Woodrow Wilson to suppress growing resistance to U.S. entry into WW-I. The repression of dissent took two forms. One included blocking the mail distribution of allegedly subversive publications like the Socialist Party’s American Socialist, the IWW’s Solidarity and even a 1918 issue of The Nation. The second involved the arrest, trial and imprisonment of people who voiced opposition to the war effort, including the draft; the most notable arrest concerned Eugene V. Debs, the head of the Socialist Party, who received a 10-year sentence. At trial, he declared, “I believe in free speech, in war as well as in peace. If the Espionage Law stands, then the Constitution of the United States is dead.” Most troubling, the Espionage Act set the stage for theimplementation of the Red Scare and the Palmer Raids that led tothe deportation of suspected “aliens”; the U.S. government deported 250 aliens included Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman.

        In the century since the adoption of the Espionage Act, the U.S. government has repeatedly employed the act – and subsequent supplemental acts – to suppress dissent or activities claimed to be a threat to national security. During World War II, the U.S. government employed the act a number of times. One involved Elmer Hartzel, a World War I veteran who distributed pamphlets calling for the U.S. to stop fighting the Nazis and wage war against American Jews; the Supreme Court found that while the material were “vicious and unreasoning attacks on one of our military allies, flagrant appeals to false and sinister racial theories, and gross libels of the President,” it did not violate the Espionage Act. However, the act was used to censor the mailing permit of Father Charles Coughlin’s weekly – and anti-Semitic — magazine, Social Justice.

      • Lawyers Say 250 Migrant Children Being Held in Dangerous Conditions

        A traumatic and dangerous situation is unfolding for some 250 infants, children and teens locked up for up to 27 days without adequate food, water and sanitation, according to a legal team that interviewed dozens of children at a Border Patrol station in Texas.

        The attorneys who recently visited the facility near El Paso told The Associated Press that three girls, ages 10 to 15, said they had been taking turns watching over a sick 2-year-old boy because there was no one else to look after him.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

      • When water demand rises, this Montana town invests in forests

        New York is the poster-city example in this country. Twenty years ago, the city engaged in a wrenching political battle over whether to build a $6 billion water filtration plant that would cost $300 million per year to filter water for the city. Instead it gambled and spent $2 billion to protect the forested watershed in the Catskill Mountains, 125 miles away, the source of 90% of the city’s water. It was a bold and controversial decision – and it worked.

        “Here we are, 20 years later they have been meeting the safe drinking water standards through tropical storms and superstorms,” says Paul K. Barten, one of the junior architects of the original Catskills program who now chairs a current National Academy review of the system. “It has become an international example of what watershed protection can accomplish.”

      • The Growing Case to Ban Fracking

        “There is no regulatory framework for fracking that will keep the toxins out of air and water, or will protect the climate from carbon and methane releases. It can’t be done. It can’t be made safe. Like lead paint, we finally have to ban it.”

        So concludes Sandra Steingraber of Concerned Health Professionals of New York in an interview. She is one of five authors of a newly released compendium of scientific and media findings on the dangers of shale gas development her group coauthored with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

        This report is the sixth in a series that looks at peer-reviewed scientific articles, as well as government reports and investigative stories, on the wide variety of harms created by the fracking industry. The reports examine the human rights implications of poisoning drinking water with fracking chemicals; the heavy climate impacts of methane release, in both the extraction and transportation of fracked natural gas for export; the industry’s weak record on worker safety; and increased earthquake activity in communities near fracking operations.

      • How the Media Misrepresents the Debate Over the Green New Deal

        A recent Politico article about the Green New Deal resolution put forward in February by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) features many grumblings from blue-collar union members about the potential economic disruption and the loss of jobs — even though the resolution calls for union rights and a federal jobs guarantee for workers. The article opens with Robbie Hunter, the president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which represents 450,000 construction workers and apprentices, who is leading a union-led advocacy campaign called #BlueCollarRevolution. A drastic shift away from oil industry jobs in California, Hunter contends, could “export our jobs, while doing nothing for the end game, which is the environmental.”

        The Green New Deal resolution calls for an economy-wide mobilization to achieve a national transition to a zero-carbon future within a decade. The proposal has sparked a vibrant conversation in Congress and throughout the country, resonating with grassroots environmental groups and challenging lawmakers to start talking seriously about decarbonization. Yet despite massive public support, the resolution was predictably stymied in Congress, and has faced skepticism within the Democratic Party and labor movement. Nor has the resolution been greeted with universal praise by the Democratic Party or labor unions. But while some unions express reluctance to hop on the green bandwagon, there’s more to the story than “environmentalists versus blue-collar workers.” Organized labor does not speak with a single voice on climate policy, though the whole movement has deep stakes in the politics of decarbonization, as working-class people’s lives and livelihoods are most vulnerable to climate change.

        Jessica Levinson, a law professor who serves on the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, warns in the Politico piece that the Green New Deal “really divides the Democrats on a fault line, which is more of the elites against the working class Democrats who are concerned about losing their jobs.” The article suggests that 2020 presidential hopefuls should be wary of alienating the working-class base — a segment that lost many voters to Trump in 2016, particularly white, working-class voters — by pushing too hard for the Green New Deal.

        So a policy agenda intended to address an existential crisis for the world’s environment is framed within the familiar dichotomy between burly blue-collar construction men and tree-hugging liberal elites. It’s a classic American trope that hearkens back to the faux populism of Nixon’s “hardhat” marches against “hippies” during the Vietnam War. Nevermind the fact that the labor movement today is driven by workers in the service industries, women, people of color and immigrants. The media regularly flattens the labor movement into a one-dimensional depiction of a Fordist industrial laborer, frozen in time.

      • In the Face of Climate Collapse, We Need the Wisdom of Elders

        I am steadily on the lookout for leveraging forces that can lift us out of heavy stuck loops, onto new ground. Often these are less obvious elements. One that has been underestimated is the presence of “elders,” whose presence calls us back to a bedrock sense of self and right relationship to the Earth.

        We are up against a systemic reality in the U.S. regarding older Americans as they are abandoned in policy and practice on a national scale. Attacks on Social Security, Medicare, etc. are attacks on elderly people. Turning our view of eldership on its end is a beginning place to shift this utter disregard.

        I am writing to those who are searching for a place from which to understand the disruption at hand and what is behind it, and also to those who want to respond in a way that provides a soft landing as systems collapse, while growing us into the human beings that we rightly are. Perhaps that “place” is under the wing of an elder who might offer shelter and inspiration, who has direct relationship with the spiritual reality that sits behind the concrete world, who is steadily available as a source of sanity and guidance.

        Western society has dishonored, colonized and often annihilated Indigenous cultures that revere true elders — people who know how to initiate successors into their full stature, whose communities revolve around their counsel. Largely bereft of this wisdom and direction, many of us are faced with the necessity of growing our own elders, and living into that potential ourselves. We are having to create our own pathways and initiations into this rightful alternative to simply getting old.

        Truthout’s Dahr Jamail will be writing the sequel to this piece, which will include the voices of several Indigenous elders who currently carry great weight. In recent months, I too, have been graced by the presence of Stan Rushworth, an elder of Cherokee heritage, author of Going to Water: The Journal of Beginning Rain, and Professor of Native American Literature at Cabrillo College in California. Stan maintains traditional ceremony, “which is for me, the root of it all.”

      • Cognitive Dissonance: Canada Declares a National Climate Emergency and Approves a Pipeline

        On June 18, the government of Canada declared a national climate emergency. The next day, the same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), which will be able to move almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Port of Burnaby in British Columbia.

        If this seems like a contradiction, you are not alone.

      • ‘Fund Climate Solutions, Not Endless War’: 22 Arrested Demanding US Build Windmills, Not Warships

        The protest took place outside the General Dynamics-owned Bath Iron Works (BIW) where some of the U.S. Navy’s most advanced and lethal warships are built. The group blocked traffic near the shipyard as buses carried guests to a ceremonial “christening” of a new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.

        Holding signs that read, “Tell Congress: Fund Climate Solutions, Not Endless War” and “Bring Our War Dollars Home,” supporters of the action stood on sidewalks nearby as those who risked arrest were taken into custody by local police.

        The protest in Bath was a much smaller direct action than what the world also witnessed on Saturday—when thousands of people from across Europe mobilized in Germany to shut down that nation’s coal industry, storming an open-pit and occupying railway tracks to a major power station—but the message was quite the same: a call for drastic and immediate action to end the world’s reliance on fossil fuels in order to build a more sustainable and peaceful world.

      • ‘Report the Urgency! This Is a Climate Emergency!’: 70 Arrested Outside New York Times Demanding Paper Treat Climate Like the Crisis It Is

        Hundreds of people descended on the headquarters of the New York Times on Saturday to demand the “paper of record” drastically improve its coverage of the global climate crisis and specifically demanded its reporters refer to the situation as a “climate emergency” in alignment with what the world’s scientific community is warning.

        Coordinated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, 70 people were reported arrested after the group staged a sit-in on Eight Avenue in midtown Manhattan in order to bring attention to the failure of the paper—and that of the journalism industry overall—to adequately report on the global urgency of skyrocketing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, rapidly warming oceans, and all the associated perils that result. The group hung banners in front of the Times building as well as from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the other side of the street.

        Standing on the street corner, scores of people repeated the chant: “Report the urgency, this is a climate emergency!’

      • Devastating Rain Spells Are on Their Way

        Canadian scientists have examined an exhaustive collection of rain records for the past 50 years to confirm the fears of climate scientists: bouts of very heavy rain are on the increase.

        They have measured this increase in parts of Canada, most of Europe, the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, northern Australia, Western Russia and parts of China.

        From 2004 to 2013, worldwide, bouts of extreme rainfall rain increased by 7%. In Europe and Asia, the same decade registered a rise of 8.6% in cascades of heavy rain.

        The scientists report in the journal Water Resources Research that they excluded areas where the records were less than complete, but analyzed 8,700 daily rain records from 100,000 stations that monitor rainfall worldwide. They found that from 1964 to 2013, the frequency of catastrophic downpours increased with each decade.

      • Facing the Climate Emergency: Grieving The Future You Thought You Had

        Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 20? Perhaps you plan to be advancing in your career, married, with children or retired, living near the beach, traveling often. Whatever it is—have you factored the climate crisis into it? In my experience, most people have not integrated the climate emergency into their sense of identity and future plans. This is, a form of climate denial. The vast majority of Americans—especially educated, successful, powerful, and privileged Americans—are still living their “normal” lives as though the climate crisis was not happening. They are pursuing their careers, starting families, and even saving for retirement. They know, intellectually, that the climate crisis is real, but they have not faced that reality emotionally, they have not grieved the future they thought they had, and consequently, they have not been able to act rationally or responsibility.

        Thankfully, this is starting to change. Thanks to the efforts of the School Strikers, The Climate Mobilization (the organization which I founded and direct), Extinction Rebellion, the Sunrise Movement, leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, authors like David Wallace Wells, and many more, people are increasingly confronting the terrifying reality of climate truth, and looking for help processing and making sense of what they find.

        After you acknowledge the apocalyptic scale and speed of the climate emergency, you must allow yourself time to grieve. There are so many losses: the people and species already lost, your sense of safety and normalcy.

      • From Galápagos to Guam: US Military Bases are a Threat to Local Communities

        I’m from Guam; one of the countless islands of the Pacific used by the United States military as a base. At just 8 miles wide and 30 miles long, about a third of our island is covered by military installations with more build-up expected. My family and my community know all too well what being used as an airfield means. 52,000 veterans have organized into the group Agent Orange Survivors of Guam to lobby for benefits related to their exposure to the infamous herbicide while serving in the Pacific.

      • Global Warming, Carbon Dioxide and the Solar Minimum

        Even before the UN-initiated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed in 1988, the common assumption was that carbon dioxide was thekey greenhouse gas and that its increases were the driving force solely responsible for rising climate temperatures.

        At that time, anthropogenic (human caused) GW was declared to be the existential crisis of our time, that the science was settled and that we, as a civilization, were running out of time.

        [...]

        As Earth’s evolutionary climate cycles observe the Universal law of the natural world, the Zero Point Field, which produces an inexhaustible source of ‘free’ energy that Nikola Tesla spoke of, is the means by which inter stellar vehicles travel through time/space. The challenge for ingenious, motivated Earthlings is to harness and extract the ZPF proclaiming a new planetary age of technological innovation with no rapacious industry, no pollution, no shortages, no gas guzzlers and no war.

      • US military is huge greenhouse gas emitter

        British scientists have identified one of the world’s great emitters of greenhouse gases, a silent agency which buys as much fuel as Portugal or Peru and emits more carbon dioxide than all of Romania: the US military.

        Ironically, this agency is acutely aware that the climate emergency makes the world more dangerous,

        increasing the risk of conflict around the planet. And simply because it is conscious of this risk, it is ever more likely to burn ever-increasing levels of fossil fuels.

        The US military machine, with a global supply chain and massive logistical apparatus designed to confront perceived threats in war zones around the world, if it were a nation state, would be 47th in the global league tables for greenhouse gas emissions from fuel usage alone.

      • Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing

        Spending time in natural environments can benefit health and well-being, but exposure-response relationships are under-researched. We examined associations between recreational nature contact in the last seven days and self-reported health and well-being. Participants (n = 19,806) were drawn from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2014/15–2015/16); weighted to be nationally representative. Weekly contact was categorised using 60 min blocks. Analyses controlled for residential greenspace and other neighbourhood and individual factors. Compared to no nature contact last week, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being became significantly greater with contact ≥120 mins (e.g. 120–179 mins: ORs [95%CIs]: Health = 1.59 [1.31–1.92]; Well-being = 1.23 [1.08–1.40]). Positive associations peaked between 200–300 mins per week with no further gain. The pattern was consistent across key groups including older adults and those with long-term health issues. It did not matter how 120 mins of contact a week was achieved (e.g. one long vs. several shorter visits/week). Prospective longitudinal and intervention studies are a critical next step in developing possible weekly nature exposure guidelines comparable to those for physical activity.

      • Two Hours a Week in Nature Can Boost Your Health and Well-Being, Research Finds

        New research has given credence to the age-old wisdom that spending time outside is good for you. A study recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature per week have higher odds of reporting better health and psychological well-being.

      • Spending minimum two hours weekly in nature tied to good health, wellbeing

        People who experience nature for at least 120 minutes per week are more likely to report good health and psychological wellbeing, a large UK study suggests.

        Researchers found that it didn’t matter how participants achieved their total time outdoors, whether in one long stretch or several short visits, but the greater the weekly “dose” of nature exposure up to about 300 minutes, the bigger the benefit.

        “Doctors (and patients) are often quite aware that spending time in natural environments might be good for people’s health, but the question that keeps coming up is, ‘How much is enough?’” said lead study author Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK.

      • A weekly goal of two hours of “nature time” improves health and wellbeing

        The idea that spending recreational time in natural settings is good for our health and wellbeing is hardly new. Parents have been telling their kids to “go play outside, it’s good for you” for generations. Now, colleagues and I have published a study in the journal Scientific Reports which suggests that a dose of nature of just two hours a week is associated with better health and psychological wellbeing, a figure that applies to every demographic we could think of (at least in England).

      • How Much Nature Is Enough? 120 Minutes a Week, Doctors Say

        It’s a medical fact: Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is good for you.

        A wealth of research indicates that escaping to a neighborhood park, hiking through the woods, or spending a weekend by the lake can lower a person’s stress levels, decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk asthma, allergies, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while boosting mental health and increasing life expectancy. Doctors around the world have begun prescribing time in nature as a way of improving their patients’ health.

        One question has remained: How long, or how frequently, should you experience the great outdoors in order to reap its great benefits? Is there a recommended dose? Just how much nature is enough?

        According to a paper published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, the answer is about 120 minutes each week.

        The study examined data from nearly 20,000 people in England who took part in the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey from 2014 to 2016, which asked them to record their activities within the past week. It found that people who spent two hours a week or more outdoors reported being in better health and having a greater sense of well-being than people who didn’t get out at all.

      • Thousands of Fossil Fuel “Observers” Attended Climate Negotiations – UNFCCC Data 2005-2018 COP1-COP24

        The collection of Global Climate Coalition (GCC) documents we compiled and released this April reveal that the organization had a singular focus, slowing down or derailing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations process and “tracking” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), undermining the scientists’ message of urgency. In the GCC meeting minutes and press releases we see numerous interventions at the UN meetings along with strategies, budgets and debriefs.

        Se we decided it would be interesting to compile every fossil fuel company and trade group delegate who ever attended UNFCCC meetings. This research debuted in an Agence-France Press AFP piece and on Yahoo News this week during a UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, Germany.

        Non-governmental organizations like the GCC (or Greenpeace) have to gain accreditation with the UN in order to send “observers” to the meetings. Both the individual corporate members of the GCC (like Exxon) and the trade association members of the GCC (like the American Petroleum Institute) sent large delegations to UNFCCC meetings. These employees of oil companies, electric utilities, auto companies and corporate trade associations wore UNFCCC badges that obscured their true corporate employers to attendees, national delegates and media at the meeting.

      • Because ‘Another World Is Possible,’ Tens of Thousands of Activists Stage Climate Mobilizations in Germany

        Chanting “we are unstoppable, another world is possible,” thousands of activists in Germany set off Friday to occupy a coal mine as tens of thousands of other demonstrators mobilized in a separate German city as part of the swelling “Fridays for Future” climate actions.

        Activists Organizers with Ende Gelände (EG) mobilization say that roughly 4,000 people departed their protest camp in the western city of Viersen to head to the Garzweiler surface mine, operated by energy company RWE, some 12 miles (20 kilometers) away.

        “Today we set out with thousands of people towards a future without fossil fuels, without exploitation, and without this destructive quest for infinite economic growth,” said EG spokesperson Sina Reis, in a statement.

      • Massachusetts Energy Secretary Engaged in Enbridge Facility Review While Negotiating Job With Project’s Consultant

        While still in office, Massachusetts’ former energy and environmental secretary Matthew Beaton, who recently left his post for the private sector, took part in discussions about a natural gas project involving his new employer, DeSmog has found.

      • After Oregon Republicans Scurry Off to Avoid Voting on Climate Bill, Governor Sends State Police to Bring Them Back

        The prospect of mitigating the climate crisis sent Oregon state Senate Republicans scurrying into hiding Thursday, fleeing a vote that would place strong restrictions on emissions in the state.

        On Friday, Governor Kate Brown ordered the Oregon State Police to locate the 11 senators and bring them back to do their jobs.

        “I am authorizing the state police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request,” said Brown in a statement. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their backs on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building. They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”

        State GOP lawmakers disappeared from the capital on Thursday rather than vote on the bill, denying the state Senate the 20 members it would need for a quorum. There are 18 Democrats in the chamber, 11 Republicans, and one vacant seat. The Republican flight came after Brown, on Wednesday, threatened to send police to force the senators into session.

        In response to Brown’s ultimatum, state Senator Brian Boquist, a Republican from Tillamook, appeared to threaten the lives of any police officers that might come to arrest him.

      • A Climate Bill Sets Off Tumult: Republicans Flee, Police Follow

        ensions boiled over in the Oregon Capitol this week as Republican state senators vanished in an effort to delay a vote on a climate change bill they oppose. On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, ordered the state police to find them and bring them back.

        It was only the latest chapter in a season of partisan division and frustration in the nation’s statehouses, where, for the first time in more than a century, all but one state legislature is dominated by a single party. In Oregon, where Democrats dominate both chambers, Republicans were unapologetic about their efforts to slow the state’s adoption of an emissions-reduction program by disappearing — and keeping the Democrats from having enough lawmakers present to call a vote.

        Brian Boquist, one of the Republican senators who went missing, issued what sounded like a warning to any police officer who might try to arrest him.

      • Oregon GOP lawmakers who fled capitol to avoid climate bill vote face $500 daily fines

        The Republican state lawmakers in Oregon who skipped town this week to avoid voting on a climate bill are reportedly facing fines if they don’t return to the state Legislature soon.

        According to a local NBC station, the state senators will be fined $500 for every day they don’t show to vote on the bill beginning Friday. Supporters have reportedly raised over $6,000 to help the Republican lawmakers cover the costs of the fines through a GoFundMe campaign.

        Although the bill has already passed the Democratic-controlled state House and is poised to pass the state Senate, where Democrats also hold the majority, a number of Republican lawmakers have fled the state to deny their colleagues a quorum in the upper chamber.

      • Governor sends police after GOP senators who fled Capitol

        Oregon Gov. Kate Brown deployed the state police Thursday to try to round up Republican lawmakers who fled the Capitol to block a vote on a landmark economy-wide climate plan that would be the second of its kind in the nation.

        Minority Republicans want the cap-and-trade proposal, which is aimed at dramatically lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, to be sent to voters instead of being instituted by lawmakers — but negotiations with Democrats collapsed, leading to the walkout, Kate Gillem, a spokeswoman for Senate Republicans said Thursday.

      • Oregon Republicans Flee Climate Bill, Police Follow

        Oregon republicans fled their state rather than do anything to stop the climate crisis. The state republicans abrogated their duties as elected officials and ran away since they don’t have the votes to stop a landmark bill that would make Oregon the second state to adopt a cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as Vice News reported.

        Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a democrat, who will sign the bill into law once it is passed, ordered the state police to apprehend the Republican lawmakers who fled the Capitol. Although Oregon State Police can force any senators they find into a patrol car and bring them back to the Capitol, the police intend to use polite communication and patience rather than force, the agency said in a statement, according the AP.

      • Oregon Republicans Literally Fled the State Rather Than Vote on a Climate Bill

        And the governor sent the state police to drag them back to Salem.

      • People Are Wearing Data Charts to Visualize the Climate Crisis

        For Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, the solstice also provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about human-driven climate change.

        Hawkins is the lead scientist behind #ShowYourStripes, an interactive tool that enables users to generate colorful graphics representing over a century of temperature measurements. Colder years are color-coded blue, while hotter ones are red.

      • Elizabeth Warren thinks corruption is why the US hasn’t acted on climate change

        Warren, isn’t making climate change the centerpiece of her agenda nor placing it in a “environmental” silo. Instead, she is using different parts of her agenda address climate. She is making the policy case that climate change is a national security concern, an economic threat and opportunity, and the consequence of a violation of public trust.

        That’s because Warren doesn’t see climate change itself as the central problem; rather the problem is money in politics. “The reason the United States is where it is on climate is corruption,” Chris Hayden, a spokesperson for the Warren campaign, told Vox. “We need to rein in the economic and political power of Big Oil to get serious about addressing climate change – which is why the first thing Elizabeth would do as President is pass her anti-corruption bill which would end lobbying as we know it.”

      • In a bid to avoid climate vote, Oregon Republican Senators cross state lines, go into hiding, threaten to murder cops, as white nationalist paramilitaries pledge armed support

        Oregon’s legislature is about to vote on a piece of climate change cap-and-trade legislation that the Democratic majority are likely to win, so to avoid the vote, 12 Oregon state senators have gone into hiding, thus depriving the senate of the necessary quorum.

      • Oregon Republicans are on the lam to avoid voting on a major climate change bill

        Democratic Gov. Kate Brown authorized state police to find the lawmakers and bring them back. They are each being fined $500 for every day there aren’t enough senators for a vote. (So far, it’s been two days.) Oregon State Police said they are also coordinating with law enforcement agencies in nearby states to find the Republicans.

      • Oregon Police Working To Retrieve State GOP Lawmakers Avoiding Vote On Climate Change

        Well, let’s start with the fact that Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers here and the governor’s office. So, you know, they’ve been pretty successful this session at pushing through some very big bills. And now they are hoping to pass one of the more sweeping climate change policies in the country. It’s a cap and trade program that would make Oregon only the second state after California to do so. But Republicans feel like this could be really detrimental to their mostly rural districts. And they’ve been trying to do anything they can to keep the bill from passing, at least in its current form. Democrats needed two Republicans to conduct business in the Senate, so this walkout effectively freezes things.

      • Oregon Senate Republicans leave the state to avoid climate bill vote [iophk: "An apparent R sedition"]

        In response to the walkout, Senate President Peter Courtney formally requested Democratic Gov. Kate Brown to dispatch Oregon State Police troopers to round up the missing Republican Senators.

        Brown quickly granted that request. “It is absolutely unacceptable that the Senate Republicans would turn their back on their constituents who they are honor-bound to represent here in this building,” she said in a statement. “They need to return and do the jobs they were elected to do.”

      • Oregon Governor Orders State Police to Find GOP State Senators Avoiding a Climate Vote

        On Thursday, the Democrat governor of Oregon ordered state troopers to find the 11 Republican state senators and take them back to the capitol. The senators went into hiding to stop the state’s senate from reaching the quorum needed to vote on a carbon cap and spend bill, the Oregonian reported. If passed, the bill would set statewide greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and charge polluters for their emissions.

      • California Legislators Urge Caution, but Greenlight a Plan That Could Lead to the Widespread Use of Forestry Offsets

        California legislators gave regulators at the state’s Air Resources Board approval to endorse a plan that could lead to the widespread use of forest preservation offsets, but not without committing to “vigorous and proactive monitoring,” a note of caution inspired, in part, by a recent ProPublica investigation that showed how these carbon credits have not provided the emissions cuts they promised.

        In a letter from an ad-hoc workgroup to the board, four assembly members noted the scientific problems highlighted in the story, which make it hard to accurately quantify how much carbon is being offset by preserved forests.

        The Tropical Forest Standard — a blueprint for how carbon offsets could be awarded for intercontinental programs — would raise the stakes for such projects, allowing them to be used to fulfill government mandates. Experts say other countries will adopt the standard if the California board votes to endorse it later this year.

      • History Proves We Can’t Count on the Democratic Party for a Green New Deal

        In 1966, the civil rights movement, in ways similar to the climate justice movement today, was at an impasse, confronting vast societal disparities of wealth and power. “A Freedom Budget for all Americans,” issued by leaders of the civil rights movement, called on the federal government to implement programs that would eliminate poverty in 10 years through jobs, education, housing and health care programs.

        Today, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a Green New Deal, with similarly broad universal social and environmental justice ambitions — and the stakes for the U.S. and global working class and the planet are dire.

        To discuss the historical lessons from the 1966 Freedom Budget and prospects for a Green New Deal, Truthout spoke with historian and labor activist Paul Le Blanc, co-author (along with Michael Yates) of A Freedom Budget for All Americans: Recapturing the Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Struggle for Economic Justice Today. A lightly edited transcript follows.

      • Scientists Are Stunned by How Rapidly Ice Is Melting in the Arctic

        June has set a record low of Arctic sea ice, while the extent of melting across the Greenland Ice Sheet this early in the summer has never been seen before.

        Recently, temperatures in parts of Greenland soared to 40 degrees above normal, while open water (not covered by sea ice) is already being observed in places north of Alaska where it has seldom, if ever, been observed.

        The current sea ice coverage in the Arctic is the lowest ever recorded for mid-June.

        Rick Thoman, a Fairbanks-based climatologist, told The Washington Post that the loss of sea ice over the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of Alaska’s northern coast is now “unprecedented.”

        Scientists have long been warning that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Some liken the situation to what happens when a refrigerator door is left open. The cold air that is usually contained within the Arctic region of the planet is now often being displaced by high-pressure zones in the Arctic, all of which is then being augmented by human-caused climate disruption. This has resulted in lower-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and eastern United States in early June, while the Arctic was baking under abnormally high temperatures that have facilitated the unprecedented melting of ice across so much of the region.

      • Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early

        Fasten your seat belt! Global warming is on a rampage.

        As a consequence, many ecosystems may be on the verge of total collapse. In fact, recent activity in the hinterlands surely looks that way. Over time, the backlash for civilized society, where people live in comfort, could be severe, meaning extreme discomfort.

        But still, nobody knows when or how bad it’ll get. As it happens, an ongoing climate catastrophe, like the show-stopping catastrophic collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic (more on this later) is hard evidence that climate scientists have been way too conservative for far too long. Evidently, they never expected climate change to hit with the force of a lightening bolt.

        Still in all, and in fairness, climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it’s happening, in spades. It should be noted that America’s politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate, “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate,” NY Times d/d June 24, 1988.

        The NYT article of 31 years ago went on to say: “If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.” Hmm, that’s where the permafrost is located.

        Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo, climate news doesn’t get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic’s extreme coldest region:

        “Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090.” (Source: Louise M. Farquharson et al, Climate Change Drives Widespread and Rapid Thermokarst Development in Very Cold Permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic, Geophysical Research Letters, June 10, 2019).

      • ‘Our Climate Is Breaking Down. Business As Usual Is Over’: Campaigners Interrupt Televised Speech of UK Treasury Official

        The Greenpeace UK activists targeted the speech being given MP Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Tory in the House of Commons representing Runnymede and Weybridge, at the annual dinner in which government officials offer their view of the nation’s economic outlook.

      • ‘We Are Unstoppable, Another World Is Possible!’: Hundreds Storm Police Lines to Shut Down Massive Coal Mine in Germany

        Hundreds of climate activists stormed a massive open-pit coal mine in Germany on Saturday, entering a standoff with police inside the mine while thousands of others maintained separate blockades of the nation’s coal infrastructure as part of a week-long series of actions designed to end Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels.

        Coordinated by the Ende Gelände alliance, the campaigners targeting the Garzweiler mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia as they evaded security forces across roads and fields before reaching the pit and descending its banks.

      • An EU proposal to slash carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 was blocked by four countries

        The European Union has failed to set a firm deadline to end its contribution to climate change, after a group of central and eastern European countries blocked a proposal to slash EU carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

        Leaders of the bloc’s 28 member states agreed instead on Thursday to start working on “a transition to a climate-neutral EU.”

        A majority of EU nations were hoping for a much more robust version of the plan. Earlier proposals envisioned a strict road map of how to reach net zero emissions, and a hard 2050 deadline. Such deal would have been notable for its sheer scale — more than 500 million people living in the EU would have been affected by it.

      • Four states block EU 2050 carbon neutral target

        Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Estonia prevented the EU from adopting a clear long-term climate neutrality goal at the summit in Brussels on Thursday evening (20 June).

        The central and eastern European leaders could not get behind a draft text which said the EU should take measures “to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU by 2050″ – a date too specific for them.

        Poland was leading the opposition, with support from the Czech Republic and Hungary.

      • E.U. Leaders Fail to Strengthen Climate Target

        European Union leaders failed to reach an agreement Thursday on a proposal to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

        Elections were held in the 28-member bloc in May, and leaders are in Brussels this week to set an agenda for the European Parliament’s next five-year term. The document will include broad guidelines on key issues facing the union, including migration, living standards and climate change.

      • EU Leaders Fail to Set 2050 Carbon Neutrality Deadline

        Western European leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron had wanted the bloc to agree to an ambitious target ahead of a major UN climate summit in September. But leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary refused to sign any document with a 2050 date. It was also unclear if Estonia would have committed to the deadline, the EU Observer reported. Poland gets around 80 percent of its electricity from coal, The New York Times reported, and the countries were concerned such a timeline would disproportionately impact their economies.

      • Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill

        In contrast with California where every bill to ban or impose a moratorium on fracking has been defeated under heavy political pressure by Big Oil, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a five-year ban on fracking for oil and gas exploration and production on June 17.

        HB 2623, sponsored by Rep. Julie Fahey and Sen. James Manning, received final approval by the state legislature on June 5. The bill previously banned fracking for 10 years, but the Senate reduced that ban to five years.

        The House concurred in Senate amendments and repassed the bill. The votes were: Ayes, 40; Nays, 19–Barker, Barreto, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Evans, Findley, Keny-Guyer, Leif, McLane, Nearman, Noble, Post, Reschke, Sanchez, Smith G, Sprenger, Stark, Wallan, Wilson; Excused for Business of the House, 1–Rayfield.

        The controversial process to extract oil and gas has poisoned drinking water and caused widespread health problems in other states, according to fracking opponents. It has has been banned in Vermont, New York, Maryland, and Washington.

      • Former Shale Gas CEO Says Fracking Revolution Has Been “A Disaster” For Drillers, Investors

        Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking.

        “The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”

        “While hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to hundreds of millions of people, the amount of shareholder value destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said. “The industry is self-destructive.”

      • Green MEP says community energy report demonstrates failures of government policy

        Alexandra said: “The report describes 2018 as “a year of uncertainty and challenge”.

        “There’s only one source of that uncertainty, the total failure of government policy to engage with the needs of this crucial part of the renewables sector that is also an essential part of strong, resilient local economies right across the country.

        “Community energy should be at the heart of the government’s policy, but like the whole renewables and energy efficiency sector it has been trapped in an uncertain policy environment, given limited encouragement then all too often had the rug pulled out from under its feet, as with the sudden ending of the feed-in tariff.”

      • Congressional Dems Investigating Why Big Oil Is ‘Only Winner’ in Clean Car Standard Rollbacks

        House Democrats in the Energy and Commerce Committee are actively investigating the oil industry’s role in shaping the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for cars and light duty trucks.

      • Climate action: Can we change the climate from the grassroots up?

        More and more people are demanding that investors, such as faith-based organizations and pension funds, withdraw their financial support from fossil fuel projects. The global divestment movement has convinced over 1,000 institutions to commit to divesting from oil, coal and gas companies. This translates to almost $8 trillion (€7 trillion) less in assets from fossil fuel investments.

        “The momentum has been driven by a people-powered grassroots movement, ordinary people on every continent pushing their local institutions to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry and for a world powered by 100% renewable energy,” the NGO 350.org says.

      • Clean Power Overtaking Fossil Fuels in Britain in 2019

        The milestone has been passed through the end of May this year. National Grid said that clean energy had slightly outpaced fossil fuels, 48 percent to 47 percent for coal and gas. The other five percent is chalked up to biomass burning, which has the potential to be carbon-neutral. The transformation reflects the growing unpopularity of coal energy, as the public increases its appetite for wind and solar power, according to the BBC.

        The UK has a long and storied history with coal, which was home to the world’s first coal-fueled power plant in the 1880s. Coal was the island nation’s dominant electricity source for the next century, which led to economic leaps, but also dangerous air quality.

        In a sign of the times, British politicians shunned coal and made the UK the first G7 country to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. That target compels Britain to invest heavily in low-carbon power and to make drastic reductions in fossil fuel use, according to Reuters.

      • Clean power to overtake fossil fuels in Britain in 2019

        Britain, the birth place of coal power, is set this year to use more electricity from zero-carbon sources such as wind, solar and nuclear than from fossil fuel plants for the first time, the country’s National Grid said on Friday.

      • Clean electricity overtaking fossil fuels in Britain

        The milestone has been passed for the first five months of 2019.

        National Grid says clean energy has nudged ahead with 48% of generation, against 47% for coal and gas.

        The rest is biomass burning. The transformation reflects the precipitous decline of coal energy, and a boom from wind and solar.

        National Grid says that in the past decade, coal generation will have plunged from 30% to 3%.

        Meanwhile, wind power has shot up from 1% to 19%.

        Mini-milestones have been passed along the way. In May, for instance, Britain clocked up its first coal-free fortnight and generated record levels of solar power for two consecutive days.

      • Another Reason to Protect Elephants: Frogs Love Their Feet

        Some of the tiniest creatures in Myanmar benefit from living near the largest species in the area.

        Newly published research reveals that frogs are laying their eggs in the rain-filled footprints of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), which then provide a safe home for growing tadpoles. The footprints eventually fade away, but they last for a year or more on the forest floor and can serve as important habitats during dry seasons and even as “stepping stones” between frog populations.

      • Water-filled Asian elephant tracks serve as breeding sites for anurans in Myanmar

        Elephants are widely recognized as ecosystem engineers. To date, most research on ecosystem engineering by elephants has focused on Loxodonta africana and Loxodonta cyclotis, and the role of Elephas maximus is much less well-known. We here report observations of anuran eggs and larva in water-filled tracks (n=20) of E. maximus in Myanmar. Our observations suggest that water-filled tracks persist for >1 year and function as small lentic waterbodies that provide temporary, predator-free breeding habitat for anurans during the dry season when alternate sites are unavailable. Trackways could also function as “stepping stones” that connect anuran populations.

      • A Democratic Think Tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, Is Promoting Pushback Against Climate Lawsuits

        As part of a growing trend of lawsuits over climate change impacts, cities and states across the U.S. are seeking damages from oil, gas, and coal companies whose products drive the crisis and which for years evidently engaged in disinformation and denial campaigns to stall climate action.

        Now the fossil fuel industry is pushing back, taking a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook to rein in that liability litigation, and getting help from an unexpected source.

        Behind the scenes, politically affiliated groups are quietly providing support. One of the outfits promoting the efforts to counter the slew of climate lawsuits is none other than the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a center-left Washington, D.C.-based think tank with links to the Democratic party.

    • Finance

      • Libra, a Cyberpunk Nightmare in the Midst of Crypto Spring

        It’s an ELE, an Extinction Level Event for the old financial world order. When historians look back they may just point to this moment as the catalyst.

        But what does the future look like? How does it all play out?

        Are we racing towards a financial renaissance or a cyberpunk nightmare of oligarchical mega-corporations ripped from the pages of William Gibson?

      • Facebook’s Libra Crypto Coin: 5 Things We Know, and 5 We Don’t

        The world’s largest social media company published a 12-page white paper on Libra and has more than 20 partners for the project. But there are still many questions. After a week of analysis, here’s what Bloomberg reporters and editors know about Libra, along with key unknowns that remain: [...]

      • Green Party co-leaders reflect on third anniversary of Brexit referendum

        With tomorrow marking the third anniversary of the Brexit referendum, the co-leaders of the Green Party have reflected on two key aspects of the last three years.

        Sian Berry said: “Our politics has become entangled in what has been rightly described as Brexit chaos over the past three years.

        “We could, and should, have been dealing with the fast-rising issues of poverty and homelessness, with the collapse of bus services and the causes of the filthy air we breathe, with the state of our nature-deprived countryside and the struggles of our small farmers to survive.

      • Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign

        This week in Washington, the powers that be are hearing from a vital new democratic force in this country.

        For three days, the Poor People’s Campaign will bring poor and low-wage Americans to the nation’s capital to call for a moral renewal in this nation. They will question many of those who are seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Congressional hearings will showcase their Poor People’s Moral Budget.

        Their actions should be above the fold of every newspaper in America; they should lead the news shows and fill the talk shows. A movement for common sense and social justice is building, putting every politician on notice: lead or get out of the way, a new moral majority is building and demanding change.

        As the co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, write in their forward, this movement is not partisan. It calls not for liberal or conservative reforms, but for a moral renewal. It is not a deep-pocket lobby. It is mobilizing the 144 million Americans who are poor or one crisis away from poverty into a “new and unsettling force” to “revive the heart of democracy in America.”

        This movement launched on Mother’s Day in May 2018. In 40 days, it triggered 200 actions across many states with 5,000 nonviolent demonstrators committing civil disobedience, and millions following the protests online. Forty states now have coordinating committees build a coalition of poor people and people of faith and conscience across lines of race, religion, region and other lines of division.

      • No Dare Call It Austerity

        Trump’s 2020 budget proposal reflects another significant increase in military spending along with corresponding cuts in spending by Federal agencies tasked with the responsibility for providing critical services and income support policies for working class and poor people. Trump’s call for budget cuts by Federal agencies is mirrored by the statutorily imposed austerity policies in most states and many municipalities. Those cuts represent the continuing imposition of neoliberal policies in the U.S. even though the “A” word for austerity is almost never used to describe those policies.

        Yet, austerity has been a central component of state policy at every level of government in the U.S. and in Europe for the last four decades. In Europe, as the consequences of neoliberal policies imposed on workers began to be felt and understood, the result was intense opposition. However, in the U.S. the unevenness of how austerity policies were being applied, in particular the elimination or reduction in social services that were perceived to be primarily directed at racialized workers, political opposition was slow to materialize.

        Today, however, relatively privileged workers who were silent as the neoliberal “Washington consensus” was imposed on the laboring classes in the global South — through draconian structural adjustment policies that result in severe cutbacks in state expenditures for education, healthcare, state employment and other vital needs — have now come to understand that the neoliberal program of labor discipline and intensified extraction of value from workers, did not spare them.

        The deregulation of capital, privatization of state functions — from road construction to prisons, the dramatic reduction in state spending that results in cuts in state supported social services and goods like housing and access to reproductive services for the poor — represent the politics of austerity and the role of the neoliberal state.

      • Facebook’s Authoritarian Money Grab

        “Don’t be surprised,” said Terence Ray, one of the hosts of the Whitesburg, Ky.-based podcast “The Trillbillies,” “if Mark Zuckerberg starts trying to pay his employees in ‘Facebook Bucks.’” Ray made that comment in late May during a Means TV segment on the history of company money, or scrip, which was used throughout the 19th and 20th centuries by mining and logging companies in the United States. In some cases, scrip was still changing hands decades after it was made officially illegal by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

        Lo and behold, not one week later, the business press began reporting that Facebook would, within the month, announce its own new proprietary cryptocurrency. What’s more, the tech giant would perhaps even “allow employees working on the project to take their salary in the form of the new currency,” a proposal of, at very least, dubious legality in the United States.

        The actual announcement came this week—and it was more banal, stupid and terrifying than I had imagined.

        This new currency, dubbed “Libra,” is, in the first place, not a currency. A consortium of investors—banks, credit card companies, venture capitalists, etc.—will pool millions or billions of dollars in order to purchase a “reserve” composed of “low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks.” While the Libra will not be “pegged” to any particular currency—set, for example, to a fixed rate against the dollar—this reserve will be structured to “minimize volatility, so holders of Libra can trust the currency’s ability to preserve value over time.” This scheme stands in sharp contrast to something like bitcoin, whose wildly fluctuating values are purely speculative and whose only supposedly intrinsic value is an enforced scarcity: There can never be more than 21 million of its units.

      • Sharia Law makes a comeback in Canada

        Two Muslim men – an activist turned Shariah mortgage seller and an Islamic cleric who sold his Islamic seal of approval on such mortgages – were acquitted on Friday of a dozen criminal charges by an Ontario Superior Court judge who validated aspects of Sharia law in reaching her decision. Justice Jane Ferguson described the trial as a “huge learning curve in Islamic finance.”

      • Elon Musk Is Gaslighting America

        “What we found was that, under pressure to meet its production goals, it was really leaving safety, worker safety, by the wayside, and had prioritized cranking out cars as fast as possible, and left its workers dealing with all kinds of serious injuries. And then was actually trying to hide those injuries in order to make its safety record look better.”

        The revelations should have jolted Musk and California officials to take a deeper look into the company’s operations, but quite the opposite took place. While state officials did in fact grill Tesla after the investigative reports were published, according to Evans, they are mostly afraid regulating the company could push Tesla—with its factory and the jobs it creates—out of the state. As for the CEO, he had a response that anyone reading any news about the arrogant tech baron might expect.

        “The company and its supporters, and Elon, sees this all as sort of an attack on him and on the company—that people want to see it fail,” Evans tells Scheer. “[Tesla] went as far as to say that [the Center for Investigative Reporting” is] an extremist organization … working on a disinformation campaign. [Musk] went on to attack journalists in general for being beholden to the fossil fuel industry because of advertisements, and gthat that’s why journalists are out to get Tesla.

        “When someone pointed out that, hey, over here at the Center for Investigative Reporting we don’t even have advertisements, we’re a nonprofit, he went on Twitter and he called us just a bunch of rich kids from Berkeley who took their political science professor too seriously. That was his diss.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • AOC Is the Trump-Era Hero We Need

        On Monday evening, President Trump pressed send on a tweet declaring that in the next week, ICE would begin removing “the millions of illegal aliens” who are in the United States. This, of course, was not true. ICE deports about 7,000 immigrants per month, which is rather short of the roughly 10.5 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. The tweet, coming two days before Trump’s big reelection rally, seemed tailor-made to send Democrats into paroxysms of rage and force us into a law-and-order debate in which we stand on the side of the lawbreakers.

        [...]

        The way that AOC pulled off this feat is worth examining. Her tactics actually were quite Trumpian. First, she expertly stoked the flames of outrage. Not only did she label detention centers as concentration camps but she added “never again” to underscore the Nazi connection. Republicans, who can never resist a chance to take AOC’s bait, predictably pounced. This controversy set the cable news trap, and soon political panels were debating the meaning of concentration camps instead of having to engage with Trump’s law-and-order framing. As David Rothkopf pointed out, if you are explaining why your policies aren’t as bad as Auschwitz, you are losing. AOC, for her part, doubled, tripled and then quadrupled down, offering scholarly articles on concentration camps and retweeting Jewish people who lauded her comparison.

        Some Democrats were comfortable with the comparison and some were not. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN, “I have not used that word.” But that’s not the point. Whether it was 4-D chess or just an instinctive knack for the modern media landscape, AOC forced the debate that she wanted to have — and it was a good debate for Democrats. After all, there is no Democrat who would not concede that the conditions in which we hold migrants are abhorrent.

      • Activists Step Up Trainings in Wake of Deportation Threats

        Ceci Garcia believes that if her husband had a better understanding of his rights, he would have avoided deportation to Mexico after telling a suburban Chicago police officer during a 2012 traffic stop that he was living in the U.S. illegally.

        “He failed to remain silent,” said the U.S. citizen mother of five. “He proceeded and told the truth.”

      • Yes, Liz Cheney, AOC is right that US is Running Concentration Camps for Refugees

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for an Instagram message she sent out in which she characterized the holding facilities for refugees and other undocumented entrants into the US run by ICE and by private companies (for which it is a $2 billion a year industry) as “concentration camps.”

        Human rights groups are speaking of a systematic violation of basic human rights of these immigrants. Note that it is perfectly legal for people to seek refugee status in the United States, and that the court system determines if they will be awarded that status. Trump is now trying to intimidate INS agents into not forwarding cases to the judges. It is illegal for people to simply migrate without documentation into the United States, but the US has been dealing successfully with that phenomenon for years, deporting some 400,000 people a year. In the past decade, more Mexicans have left the US than have come in, and Trump’s anxiety is one more appropriate to the 1980s and 1990s. A majority of Americans favor immigration and 70% say being welcoming of people of other cultures is key to their idea of America.

      • A Brief History of US Concentration Camps

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has ignited a firestorm of criticism, from both the left and the right as well as the mainstream media, for calling US immigrant detention centers “concentration camps.” To her credit, Ocasio-Cortez has refused to back down, citing academic experts and blasting the Trump administration for forcibly holding undocumented migrants “where they are brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.” She also cited history. “The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during World War II,” she tweeted. “It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it. These camps occur throughout history.” Indeed they do. What follows is an overview of US civilian concentration camps through the centuries. Prisoner-of-war camps, as horrific as they have been, have been excluded due to their legal status under the Geneva Conventions, and for brevity’s sake.

      • 19 States Still Allow Schools to Beat Their Students

        Mississippi is one of 19 states that still allow corporal punishment in school, with more than 70 school districts still practicing it. Lafayette County, where I grew up, recently discussed the possibility of removing it. Not everyone supported the idea.

        “Just having it in the policy and some students knowing they might get paddled might keep them from doing things they shouldn’t,” said board member Mike Gooch at the meeting. “I know it did for me.”

        But the last 20 years of psychology (along with the American Academy of Pediatrics) says otherwise. No data have demonstrated a connection between corporal punishment and corrective behavior at all, other than an “increased immediate compliance” that also increases aggression and anti-social behavior, often to lifelong effects.

        Let’s not be misled by the language: Corporal punishment isn’t a euphemism for disciplinary action. It’s a euphemism for beating children.

        And in the case of Lafayette County, it’s not just children — it’s the youngest and most vulnerable children. According to Superintendent Patrick Robinson, Lafayette High School hasn’t used corporal punishment in over a decade, but the district’s elementary schools used it “about eight or nine times” last year.

        That’s actually pretty low for Mississippi, which sees about seven of its public school students paddled every year. That’s the highest rate in the 19 states that still practice it, altogether recording a total of 163,333 beatings in the 2011-12 school year.

        Our students already have to worry about AR-15s. Do we really need them worrying about wooden paddles, too?

      • At South Carolina Convention, Sanders Hammers Centrist Democrats

        Bernie Sanders is striking back at a centrist Democratic group he says is dismissing him as an “existential threat” to the party’s 2020 hopes.

        The Vermont senator and second-time presidential candidate hammered Third Way as a corporate-financed group as he spoke Saturday at the South Carolina Democratic convention.

        Some of the group’s members have garnered fresh attention for warming toward liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She is perhaps Sanders’ biggest threat for support on the Democrats’ left flank.

        Sanders argued Saturday that he can win a general election against President Donald Trump not by winning over the middle of the traditional electorate but instead by attracting millions of new voters. “We defeat Trump by running a campaign of energy and enthusiasm that substantially grows voter turnout … in a way we have never seen,” he said.

      • Brian Mier on Brazilian Political Scandal

        New revelations from Brazil: Whistleblower-leaked records show the anti-corruption crusade, called Car Wash or Lava Jato, that put popular ex-president Lula da Silva in prison and paved the way for fascist president Jair Bolsanaro—all while being celebrated in the US corporate press—was actually, as critics contended, less interested in corruption than in keeping Lula’s Workers Party out of power. It’s a story about what investigative journalism can reveal…and about how elite media can try and cover it right back up. Journalist Brian Mier has lived in Brazil for more than 20 years. He’s co-editor at Brasil Wire and author of the new book Year of Lead: Washington, Wall Street and the New Imperialism in Brazil.

      • Could ‘Deepfakes’ Help Swing the 2020 Election?

        Imagine, on the day before the 2020 presidential election, that someone posts a video of the Democratic candidate talking before a group of donors. The candidate admits to being ashamed to be an American, confesses that the United States is a malevolent force in the world, and promises to open borders, subordinate the country to the UN, and adopt a socialist economic system.

        The video goes viral. It doesn’t matter that it sounds a bit suspicious, a candidate saying such things just before the election. A very careful observer might note some discrepancies with the shadows in the background of the video or that the candidate makes some oddly uncharacteristic facial expressions.

        For the average credulous viewer, however, the video reinforces some latent prejudices about Democratic Party candidates, that they never thought America was all that great to begin with and are not ultimately interested in making the country great again. And hey, didn’t Mitt Romney make a similar mistake by dissing the 47 percent just before the 2012 elections?

        The video spreads across social media even as the platforms try to take it down. The mainstream media publish careful proofs that the video is fabricated. It doesn’t matter. Enough people in enough swing states believe the video and either switch their votes or stay home. It’s not even clear where the video came from, whether it’s a domestic dirty trick or a foreign agent following the Russian game plan from 2016.

      • Diary: Party of Quartz

        It’s 2019 and General Andrew Jackson is at it again, campaigning for American hearts, today more like a rough ghost riding the bodies of almost all Democrat contenders. There’s a problem, again, this time. Except for Bernie Sanders and his band of leftist and centrist catalysts being managed by mainstream Democrat Campaign Manager, which I have purposely caps locked, Faiz Shakir from Harry Reid’s old office the ACLU and Nancy Pelosi’s, the DNC has lost the ability to relate polis and politics to culture, and as many writers today exclaim, it is the main reason for its demise. For all its inabilities to organize around poverty, feminism, and other catastrophic realities, its biggest downfall is its inability to organize around catastrophic thought and the catastrophic imagination, that of most poor, working, and middle class Americans and one they share with many upper middle class and upper class Americans. It does this by, again, pushing aside classic and contemporary thought, making it an apoetic, aliterate party of glossy progression, a consolidation effort.

      • At European Parliament, PT accuses the US of coordinating Lava Jato

        On Thursday, June 18th, PT Congressional leader Paulo Pimenta accused the United States of coordinating the corrupt Lava Jato investigation which, as the Intercept has now revealed through publishing leaked social media conversations between task force members, actively worked to protect conservative politicians from the investigation while removing former President Lula from the 2018 elections and helping elect right wing extremist Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency.

        In a blatant quid pro quo, Lava Jato task force leader Sérgio Moro was given a key cabinet position by Bolsonaro.

        The Brazilian lawmaker presented European Union Parliament with 13 archives documenting illegal US collaboration in the investigation, saying that “there is already a strong suspicion, based on facts, that Operation Car Wash was politically instrumentalized in order to produce objectively harmful effects on Brazil.” The report is reproduced in its entirety here.

      • Why Jair Bolsonaro’s new security policy endangers the lives of black and marginalized women

        Today, Brazil is the highest ranked country in the world for homicides and murders by firearm and fifth for female homicides. Black women fall victim particularly often to gun murders: In 2016, 66% of all women killed by a firearm were of color.

        While Brazil’s militarized approach to public security has systemically contributed to civilian victimization in armed operations, justified through an “us or them” war rhetoric in the combatting of drug traffic, the Bolsonaro administration has introduced several modifications to the current public security policy which have the capacity to take the already alarming levels of violence against black women and favela residents to a new record level.

        These measures boil down to two significant changes in the current legislation: the flexibilization of the legal requirements for purchasing and carrying firearms, implemented through two presidential decrees, and the relaxation of the penalties for excesses committed by security agents, presented in the context of a measure package for public security and currently in progress in the Brazilian Congress.

      • Biden Is Being Biden. That’s a Risk.

        I get what Joe Biden was trying to say, but I’ll never understand how he tried—and utterly failed—to say it.

        Yes, there was a time when the Senate was a chummy men’s club whose members, on some issues, put collegiality ahead of ideology. Yes, I see how the Democratic front-runner might want to hold out the hope, however slim, of a return to the days of “civility” when political foes could find common ground. Yes, I know that Biden is still Biden, which means you never know what might come out of his mouth.

        But no, no, a thousand times no, you don’t name former senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia in your fond reminiscences of the good old days. There are plenty of conservative Republicans whom Biden might have cited. He didn’t have to dredge up two vicious Dixiecrat racists who devoted their long careers to denying African Americans basic civil and human rights.

        That’s what Biden did, however, at a fundraiser Tuesday in New York City. After recalling that he had served in the Senate with segregationists Eastland and Talmadge, Biden went on: “Guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

        When a passel of his opponents for the Democratic nomination pounced on the remarks and called for an apology, Biden was initially defiant. “Apologize for what?” he said to reporters Wednesday. “There’s not a racist bone in my body; I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”

      • A Lobbyist Raising Money for Biden Is Fighting Measures to Crack Down on Foreign Election Influence

        This article was produced by Sludge, an independent, ad-free investigative news site covering money in politics. Click here to support Sludge.

        As former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns to become the chief executive of the United States government, he is getting help from someone who is working to block reforms aimed at reducing the influence of foreign corporations on U.S. elections and policymakers.

        Biden’s first presidential campaign fundraiser this year, held in April at the Philadelphia home of Comcast’s top lobbyist, David Cohen, was hosted by a cast of Democratic Party high rollers including Ken Jarin, co-leader of government affairs at corporate lobbying firm Ballard Spahr. Among the clients of the lobbying team Jarin leads at Ballard Spahr is the Fair FARA Coalition, a mysterious trade group representing U.S. subsidiaries of major foreign companies. The coalition opposes proposals to make lobbyists for U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires far more rigorous disclosure than domestic lobbying reports demand.

        Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, special counsel in Ballard Spahr’s government relations and public policy division but not part of its Washington, D.C. lobbying team, also hosted the event. Cohen was formerly Rendell’s chief of staff and chair of Ballard Spahr.

        In an email to potential donors, Cohen said that Jarin, Rendell, and former Ballard Spahr partner Charisse Lillie, now a vice president at Comcast, are part of a new “Philadelphia finance leadership team” he put together. Cohen encouraged those attending the fundraiser to contribute the maximum allowed amount of $2,800. On the day of the fundraiser, Biden raised $6.3 million.

        In early January, Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr set up a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying shop, co-led by Jarin, and hired three lawyers and two lobbyists from Nossaman LLP who brought over the Fair FARA Coalition as a client.

      • Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting

        On a beautiful, breezy day last week, I spoke to a roomful of Congressional summer interns working in the House of Representatives. The subject was “Corporate Power, Congress and You.” (“You” referred to the interns as the citizenry).

        I noted that they were a special group because they were willing to spend an hour listening to a talk about corporate power. I told them about how small groups of ordinary citizens became leaders in the nuclear arms control movements, the anti-tobacco drives, and consumer rights movement. I also talked about the expansion of equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. I took note that many of them in the room – women and people of color— would not be there if not for their predecessors’ tireless efforts to advance civil rights.

        No more than one percent of Americans – sometimes far less – made the many advances in peace and justice take hold, backed by a growing public opinion.

      • Donald Trump Accused of Sexual Assault by 24th Woman

        Advice columnist and journalist E. Jean Carroll publicly accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault on Friday.

        Carroll is the 24th woman to accuse the president of assault, harassment, or molestation.

        In an excerpt from her upcoming book, “What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal,” published on New York magazine’s website, Carroll described Trump pushing her into a dressing room at the department store Bergdorf Goodman 25 years ago, hitting her head against a wall, holding her against the wall, and forcibly penetrating her…

      • Donald Trump Is America’s Shadow

        We are a nation that elected a man who in less than two and a half years has sullied our reputation across the world while here at home enabling our baser instincts to mug and molest our better angels.

        The concept of decency is not one he knows or possesses within himself. His lack of it has helped reignite a contagion of hatred and intolerance, ratcheted up by Internet trollery, that largely lay dormant but now spreads once again like a toxin through the body politic.

        Because of him this is not an America made great. It is instead a nation struggling with basic human decency, whether at the camps and cages of our southern border or along the corridors of Congress, where too many once rational members have succumbed to the siren call of cynical opportunism and demagoguery.

        Conservative analyst and former White House adviser Peter Wehner writes in the New York Times, “… In their ferocious defense of the president, Trump supporters are signaling that decency is a form of weakness, that cruelty is a welcome and highly effective political weapon and that the low road is the preferred road. At one point, Republicans were willing to tolerate Mr. Trump’s brutish tactics and reprehensible character as the price of party loyalty; today many of them seem to relish it. They see the dehumanization of others as a form of entertainment.”

        Fortunately, the black hole in this president’s soul has not succeeded in sucking everyone into the void; a majority refuse to share his lawless disdain for doing the right thing or thinking of anyone but himself. Nor do we ascribe to the ends-justify-the-means sentiments of people like that Trump supporter who told MSNBC, “I think he’s a despicable human being. But he’s done a lot of good things for the country.”

      • Forget Bernie vs. Warren. Focus on Growing the Progressive Base and Defeating Biden.

        A few days ago, I shared what I thought was a fairly innocuous observation about a fundamental difference between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Warren spends most of her campaign unpacking and explaining detailed policy proposals, many of them excellent, while Sanders splits his emphasis between his own strong plans and his calls for the political revolution he has consistently said will be required for any substantive progressive policy wins.

        “Smart policies are very important,” I tweeted. “But we don’t lose because we lack smart policies, we lose because we lack sufficient power to win those policies up against entrenched elite forces that will do anything to defeat us.”

        Within seconds, I was in the grip of a full-on 2016 primary flashback. I was accused of being a shill for Bernie and an enemy of Warren (I’m neither). My feed filled up with partisans of both candidates hurling insults at each other: She gets things done, he is all talk; she’s a pretender, he’s the real deal; he has a gender problem, hers is with race; she’s in the pocket of the arms industry, he’s an easy mark for Donald Trump; he should back her because she’s a woman, she should back him because he started this wave. And much more too venal to mention.

        I immediately regretted saying anything (as is so often the case on that godforsaken platform). Not because the point about outside movement power is unimportant, but because I had been trying to put off getting sucked into the 2020 horserace for as long as possible.

        Liberals in the U.S. often say the Trump presidency is Not Normal. And yeah, it’s a killer-clown horror show. But the truth is that from most outsider perspectives, there is nothing about U.S. politics that is normal — particularly the interminable length of campaigns. Normal countries have federal elections that consume two, maybe three months of people’s political lives once every four to five years; Canada caps federal campaigns at 50 days, Japan at 12. In the U.S., on the other hand, there’s a total of about nine months in every four-year cycle when politics is not consumed by either a presidential or midterm horserace.

      • Here’s What Neoliberal Democrats Who View Bernie Sanders as an ‘Existential Threat’ Have Yet to Realize

        Over the past few days, the mainstream Democrats’ war on Bernie Sanders has come out of the closet. Recent articles in Politico and the Guardian, detail how centrist organizations like Third Way have been pushing the narrative that Sanders is unelectable. The reason, according to Third Way leaders and other neoliberals, is the dreaded label of “socialist.”

        There’s two things wrong with this premise.

        First, Sanders has been a nationally known figure since 2015, and the label hasn’t hurt him much. He still polls better against Trump than any Democrat except Biden—and they’re essentially tied at the moment in a race with Trump. And make no mistake, with Biden’s record of coddling Wall Street and big banks, backing the Iraq War, and a history of racist and sexist remarks, it’s Biden who is frighteningly unelectable. He’d face the same fate as Hillary Clinton in 2016 if he got the nomination, because the vast majority of voters hold more progressive views and a centrist candidate just can’t generate the turnout Democrats need to win.

        Yes, Republicans and a few older folks see the term “socialist” as a non-starter, but more people view capitalism negatively and many young people see socialism as a positive. Sanders himself has done a good job of defining exactly what democratic socialism is, and it lines up well with what voters say they want.

      • Primary challengers looking to repeat AOC magic face uphill battle in 2020

        After a midterm cycle featuring a number of high-profile upsets, a few House Democrats are already facing primary challengers in advance of 2020. But candidates looking to repeat the success of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) or Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) have a tough path forward.

        Incumbents nearly always have an advantage when it comes to fundraising, and a new policy from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee makes it more difficult for primary contenders to find consultants and contractors. Still, several challengers think they have what it takes to pull off upsets of their own.

        Justice Democrats, the group that propelled Ocasio-Cortez to power, is backing two candidates so far: middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who declared his challenge to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, and 26-year-old lawyer Jessica Cisneros, who announced last week that she will challenge longtime Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

      • ‘Completely Horrific’: Journalist E. Jean Carroll Becomes 24th Woman to Accuse Trump of Sexual Assault

        The excerpt published in New York details numerous encounters Carroll had with “hideous men” during her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood—including one with former CBS executive Les Moonves—as she embarked on a career as a journalist and the author of the “Ask E. Jean” column at Elle.

      • Landmark Istanbul Mayoral Loss a Blow to Turkey’s Erdogan

        The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win Sunday in a closely watched repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party’s 25-year hold on Turkey’s biggest city.

        “Thank you, Istanbul,” former businessman and district mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, 49, said in a televised speech after unofficial results showed he won a clear majority of the vote.

        The governing party’s candidate, former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, conceded moments after returns showed him trailing well behind Imamoglu, 54% to 45%. Imamoglu increased his lead from a March mayoral election by hundreds of thousands of votes.

        Erdogan also congratulated Imamoglu in a tweet.

        Imamoglu narrowly won Istanbul’s earlier mayor’s contest on March 31, but Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, AKP, challenged the election for alleged voting irregularities. He spent 18 days in office before Turkey’s electoral board annulled the results after weeks of partial recounts.

      • ‘For What?’ Joe Biden Refuses to Apologize After Praising Segregationist Senators

        Under pressure from rival 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and civil rights advocates to apologize for praising the “civility” of two notorious segregationist senators, former Vice President Joe Biden refused to do so on Wednesday, insisting that he has nothing to apologize for.

        “Apologize for what?” Biden asked after reporters called attention to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) statement demanding an “immediate” apology.

        “Cory should apologize,” Biden said before attending a fundraiser in Chevy Chase, Maryland. “He knows better. There’s not a racist bone in my body. I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Period. Period. Period.”

      • Hope Hicks Rebuffs Questions on Trump White House

        Former top White House adviser Hope Hicks refused to answer questions related to her time in the White House in a daylong interview with the House Judiciary Committee, dimming Democrats’ chances of obtaining new or substantive information about President Donald Trump in their first interview with a person linked to his inner circle.

        Frustrated Democrats leaving the meeting Wednesday said Hicks and her lawyer rigidly followed White House orders to stay quiet about her time there and said they would be forced to go to court to obtain answers.

        House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Hicks’ lawyers asserted the White House’s principle that as one of Trump’s close advisers she is “absolutely immune” from talking about her time there because of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Nadler said that principle is “ridiculous” and Democrats intend to “destroy” it in court.

        Nadler said the committee plans to take the administration to court on the immunity issue, and Hicks’ interview would be part of that litigation.

      • On the Morning Consult Poll, Margins of Error, and the Undecideds in the Democratic Primary

        Morning Consult regularly has Joe Biden a fair bit higher than every other polling firm at this point, and, as they usually have had throughout the 2020 Democratic primary cycle to date, also have Bernie Sanders a little higher than the average.

        Morning Consult also has, by far and away, the largest sample size each week, with a reported margin of error (MOE) of 1%. So, is Morning Consult or its MOE wrong? Or are all the other polling firms missing something that Morning Consult is onto with its large sample size and, per my diving into their full tables has sent to me over the course of three weeks around Biden’s entry into the race, fair weighting of a broad array of demographics?

        Based on data in the chart below and further explanation below, I think neither view is quite wrong. It’s just that Morning Consult is mishandling undecided voters in a way that over estimates Biden’s share and, to a lesser extent, Sanders’ share. (MC in the chart = Morning Consult; DK = Undecided or Don’t Know respondents.)

        I wrote about this problem (and proved absolutely correct) ahead of the UK General Election in 2017 here. And I spent a bit of time on it for this 2020 Democratic cycle in this article, but without the specific focus on Morning Consult.

        When polling firms simply flush “undecided” or “don’t know” voters from their sample and then report the findings without any other adjustments, they automatically boost the leader an extra amount, and where the lead is already big, the problem becomes even worse. Now, I am not sure if this is what Morning Consult is doing (they failed to respond when I asked, even though they’ve graciously sent along their cross tabs on two other occasions).

      • AMLO in Office: From Megaprojects to Militarization

        Many on the left, both in Mexico and abroad, welcomed the new president of Mexico, hoping that his progressive rhetoric of a “fourth transformation” augured a new era of positive change in Mexico. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) even convinced a number of Indigenous resistance groups that his administration would be favorable to their struggles against the neoliberal extractivist megaprojects that are devastating their lands.

        Indigenous rights supporter Richard Gere recently met with AMLO in the National Palace, and even Noam Chomsky spoke up favorably after a meeting with AMLO during his campaign last year.

        Obrador’s “National Development Plan,” unveiled in January, reads like a leftist dream come true, criticizing neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus, promoting renewable energy and agricultural independence, and, of course, championing the poor and dispossessed. The plan was promoted as a moral regeneration, and even invoked the ethics of “leading by obeying” (mandar obedeciendo), a famous Zapatista phrase that encapsulates their dedication to self-government from below.

        Six months on, he has proven that nothing could be farther from the truth.

        In practice, AMLO’s presidency is a continuation of the neoliberal regime and of the clientelism that has characterized the Mexican government for ages. Like so many governments before it, the AMLO administration is using government handouts to divide communities and to undermine autonomous organizing efforts that threaten the capitalist class protected by AMLO.

        Groups that have been most vocal against AMLO include the Zapatistas, the National Indigenous Congress (the CNI), the Movement in Defense of Land and Territory, and the many local-led resistances that have so far stood in the way of dozens of destructive capital projects.

      • GOP Lawmakers Try to Squelch Voter Initiatives in 16 States

        Arkansas voters have been active in recent years, passing ballot initiatives that legalized medical marijuana, raised the minimum wage and expanded casino gambling.

        That hasn’t gone over well with Republicans.

        Arkansas’ GOP-dominated Legislature has taken steps this year that will make it harder to put such proposals before voters, and they are not the only ones.

        Florida, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah also have enacted restrictions on the public’s ability to place initiatives on the ballot. In Michigan, the state’s top election official is being sued over Republican-enacted requirements that make it harder to qualify proposals for the ballot.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Media freedom is almost over. Only one thing can save Julian Assange from dying in prison.

        Anyone who wants to uphold the right for journalists to expose the worst excesses of governments should be very concerned. The only way to uphold this right is if the public do not stand for the criminalisation of journalism.

        In order to do this, we must separate the man from the issue of press freedom. The US indictments are not about allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, which Assange should face separate proceedings for. They are specifically concerned with WikiLeaks publishing documents exposing war crimes that the US would have preferred to remain under wraps. Such as the US indiscriminately gunning down journalists in Iraq and tens of thousands of unreported civilian deaths. Whatever you think of Assange, what’s at stake is our ability to hold governments to account.

      • Ecuador Ends ‘Arbitrary’ Detention of Swede Linked to Assange

        The court will require Bini to periodically appear before authorities and banned him from leaving the country as investigations continue over his alleged [computer] attacks.

      • The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed

        Last week, independent journalist Matt Kennard revealed that the paper’s deputy editor, Paul Johnson, was personally thanked by the Defence and Security Media Advisory Notice (or D-Notice) committee for integrating the Guardian into the operations of the security services.

      • Analysts Skeptical of Turkey’s Vow to Protect Free Speech

        “More than 150 detained journalists are currently in prison, and more than 500 lawyers are in prison. If you want to start reform, your priority must be releasing these people who are arrested for doing their job,” Ok added.

      • Digital sleuths alarmed after Twitter cites Indian law violation

        It took Ryan Barenklau a few moments to figure out why Twitter was sending him an email saying he had violated Indian law.

        “My first thought was, ‘Huh? I’m an American citizen,’” the 21-year-old Texas resident said. “My company is an American LLC. How can Indian law apply to me inside the United States?’

        Barenklau, who tweets about geopolitics and international affairs from his company’s verified Twitter account, The Strategic Sentinel, is a part of the internet’s open source intelligence community. Better known as OSINT, it is made up of digital detectives who use online tools and public information for investigative purposes.

        It wasn’t long until others in Barenklau’s orbit started getting similar emails from Twitter. Six OSINT accounts either received warnings from Twitter about violating Indian law or were suspended.

        In recent years, some OSINT groups have emerged as respected investigative outfits. The best known group, Bellingcat, gained international attention for its investigations into the use of weapons in the Syrian civil war and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014. In February, OSINT sleuths descended on claims by India that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and poked holes in the government’s narrative by analyzing photos and videos posted online.

      • India forced Twitter to suspend open source intelligence handles: Report

        A popular US news website reported on Tuesday that the Indian government had forced Twitter to take action against a number of handles that disseminate ‘open source’ intelligence (OSINT).

        OSINT is information of a political or military nature gathered via commonly available tools such as travel trackers, social media or news media. At least four Twitter handles were suspended over the weekend, but restored following an outcry.

        Writing in the Daily Beast, journalist Kevin Poulsen claimed a student of a college in Texas had received a notice from Twitter after the Indian government complained his tweets were a “national security threat”.

      • Guardian Continues to Promote “Progressive” Censorship

        There’s a lot of talk about “free speech” being under threat these days, with reports of de-platforming at universities, academics losing their jobs because of their political opinions, artists and celebrities getting “cancelled” over an off-colour joke, an even vaguely non-PC opinion, or just supporting Donald Trump.

        The entire reason this website exists is the sheer amount of censorship in both corporate media and social media.

        We have an archive dedicated to it, that doesn’t include even half of 1% of the deleted comments on The Guardian alone.

        Rather notably the US is trying to extradite (and perhaps execute) a man for simply telling the truth.

        You’d be forgiven for thinking that free speech was, indeed, under attack.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Complainants call on ICO to take action against adtech sector

        “The ICO has clearly indicated that the sector operates outside the law, and that there is no evidence the industry will correct itself voluntarily. As long as it remains doing so, it undermines the operation and the credibility of the GDPR in all other sectors. Action, not words, will make a difference—and the ICO needs to act now.”

        Ravi Naik, solicitor for the complaints and for Dr Johnny Ryan’s simultaneous complaint before the Irish DPC, said:

        “Between the ICO’s report and the actions of the DPC, there can no longer be any question; AdTech cannot comply with the GDPR. We welcome the ICO’s findings and look forward to the Commissioner taking concrete steps to prevent further violations of individual rights. It is time for action.”

      • Age Verification delay is an opportunity to fix privacy in porn block

        “While it’s very embarrassing to delay age verification for the third time, this is an opportunity for the Government to address the many problems that this ill-thought through policy poses.

        “Age verification providers have warned that they are not ready; the BBFC’s standard to protect data has been shown to be ineffective.

        “The Government needs to use this delay to introduce legislation that will ensure the privacy and security of online users is protected.”

      • When AI-enhanced customer service is on the line, so is your privacy

        All the kinds of algorithmic analysis of personal data and voice patterns described above could be fed not to a human representative, but to a computer-based one along the lines of Google Duplex. Its voice, “character”, and approach could be exactly tailored to each individual, even their current mood, as indicated by continuous AI analysis of their voice patterns during a call. This kind of real-time personalization is likely to reinforce the well-known ELIZA Effect, whereby people already tend to ascribe human-like capabilities to computers. The fact that such an AI-based system would seem strangely sympathetic, and to know everything about us – even our deepest fears and unspoken secrets – is likely to reinforce that sense. As a result, some people may unconsciously trust such an interlocutor, and discuss their wants and needs more openly, without reserve. Views about whether that is a good thing are likely to vary…

      • [Compromise] of U.S. Border Surveillance Contractor Is Way Bigger Than the Government Lets On

        Even as Homeland Security officials have attempted to downplay the impact of a security intrusion that reached deep into the network of a federal surveillance contractor, secret documents, handbooks, and slides concerning surveillance technology deployed along U.S. borders are being widely and openly shared online.

        A terabyte of torrents seeded by Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS)—journalists dispersing records that governments and corporations would rather nobody read—are as of writing being downloaded daily. As of this week, that includes more than 400 GB of data stolen by an unknown actor from Perceptics, a discreet contractor based in Knoxville, Tennessee, that works for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is, regardless of whatever U.S. officials say, right now the epicenter of a major U.S. government data breach.

      • Australian Internet pioneer says future does not look so bright

        “Today – let’s see, awesome compute power in my pocket, high-speed mobile communications, Wi-Fi in planes, driverless cars, cashless money, automated trading, death of newspapers, death of television networks, death of the telephone and telephone companies, death of the bricks and mortar shop, huge displacement of the labour force as we shift from primary and secondary production to a service-based economy, new forms of labour exploitation with the so-called gig economy, and an entire new economy based on surveillance capitalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Gig economy transforms Finnish labour

        The Finnish Construction Trade Union told Yle that the job Laura was offered could be classified as slave labour. The median wage for a painter is 16.81 euros per hour.

        Becoming a sole trader left Laura with 2,500 euros in debt which she plans to begin paying off in August.

      • Pakistani Christian couple facing death over ‘blasphemous texts’ to finally get court hearing

        He allegedly showed the text to two other mosque clerics before approaching his counsel for legal proceedings. Then, he and his lawyer claimed they both then received more blasphemous messages. However, the texts were alleged to have been written in English, and both Shafqat and Shagufta are illiterate and neither have a knowledge of English or its alphabet.

      • Qatari Shari’a Professor Ahmad Zayed: Christians Can Run For Office, But Muslims Forbidden From Voting For Them

        Ahmad Zayed, a professor of shari’a at Qatar University, said in a June 12, 2019 debate on Al-Araby TV (U.K.) that Islamic law permits non-Muslims to run for office, but that it is impermissible for Muslims to vote for non-Muslim candidates, since shari’a says the ruler must be a Muslim. Qatar-based Saudi academic Raed Al-Samhouri also participated in the debate.

      • Assange, the AFP and the crime of dissent

        And this Kafkaesque scenario leads us back to the undeniable truth about the press raids: they were designed to have a chilling effect, in a similar manner to that of Julian Assange’s incarceration. Indeed, these closely timed crackdowns are a warning to all that journalism is now a crime.

      • Facebook blocks ad for PES meeting in Paris to defend Assange

        Apart from the US government itself, the French government is among the most closely tied to Facebook censorship. Last November, as “yellow vest” protests against social inequality began in France, Macron hailed France’s World War II-era fascist dictator Philippe Pétain as a great soldier and launched an unprecedented collaboration on social media censorship with Facebook. Countless “yellow vest” social media posts have been deleted since, as police detained over 7,000 protesters in the largest wave of mass arrests in metropolitan France since the Nazi Occupation.

      • Poor treatment of Assange

        Egypt is a dictatorship and Britain a parliamentary democracy, but the treatment of each prisoner seems to be the same.

      • Hong Kong protests: “I’m witnessing the fall of the city I love”

        Minnie’s family, most of whom are members of the Communist Party, still live in Shanghai. She says her father didn’t worry when she moved to Hong Kong. “In the mainland we always imagined that people in Hong Kong and Taiwan were all together, that we are all brothers and sisters. No way that they would not love their country!” But Chinese students are watched when they travel. During the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests in 2014, she wrote two Facebook posts praising the discussions at one of the camps. “Hardly anyone ‘liked’ them. But months later my father told me, ‘I know what you did in Hong Kong.’” Two national-security officers had visited his home and shown him the posts. They told him that she was producing propaganda as part of the core group of protestors. “I wasn’t, but he believed them over me.” Minnie says Shanghai has changed since her childhood: “In recent years the space for free speech is tightening.” Since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, the Communist Party has stepped up its campaign against liberal values, and many people suspected of dissent have been arrested.

        This time she hasn’t told her family about the protests, although she has posted status updates on Facebook with images of the hunger strike. “I don’t want to make my family worried, and I don’t want to spend too much extra energy arguing with them.” Some of her old friends call her a traitor. “They say ‘don’t forget you are from the mainland.’ But in Hong Kong I am regarded as a brainwashed mainlander who has been civilised into Hong Kong ways!”

      • For this grandmother and grandson, speaking Ojibway is ‘an act of defiance’

        The pair’s first two-week Ojibway language course took place in May, a project jointly run by Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, an Indigenous education institute. About two dozen students from Ontario and Manitoba attended the immersion program, offered at introductory and intermediate levels.

        They spent much of their time outside in an open-air lodge, learning traditional activities, like how to catch, fillet and smoke a fish, to more mainstream ones, like driving a car, grocery shopping and arguing an opinion — all in immersive Ojibway.

      • Supreme Court Undermines Religious Neutrality In Permitting Giant Governmental Cross

        The decision ignores our constitutional commitment to official religious neutrality.

        Today, the Supreme Court announced that a governmental display of a 40-foot-tall Latin cross as a war memorial for all veterans does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The decision ignores our constitutional commitment to official religious neutrality and is a slap in the face to non-Christian veterans. There is, however, a small silver lining: The opinion itself was narrow, making clear that the ruling is not an invitation for government officials to erect new religious displays.

        In American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the court concluded that the Bladensburg Cross — originally built to honor a Maryland county’s World War I dead — is constitutional for a combination of reasons, including its nearly hundred-year history and the court’s belief that the cross has somehow taken on an “added secular meaning when used in World War I memorials.” But there are several flaws in the court’s reasoning.

        First, in his opinion for the majority, Justice Alito cites the rows of white crosses that memorialize fallen American service members in World War I cemeteries overseas. Yet those crosses are tied to the individual faith of each soldier. Notably, the graves of Jewish service members in those cemeteries are marked with the Star of David, not a Latin cross. That’s because the Latin cross is inextricably linked to the Christian belief in the crucifixion of Jesus, the resurrection, and the promise of eternal life—a point emphasized in friend-of-the-court briefs filed by both the Baptist Joint Committee and the American Jewish War Veterans for the United States of America. As Justice Ginsburg explains in her dissent, the Latin cross is an “exclusively Christian symbol.” It is “not emblematic of any other faith,” and it certainly has “never shed its Christian character.”

        Second, the Bladensburg Cross does not stand as a memorial to fallen World War I soldiers alone. Although the cross was erected in the 1920s on private land as a World War I memorial, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission went out of its way in 1961 to acquire the cross and the land on which it sits — for the purpose of preserving the monument and, purportedly, to address traffic-safety concerns. But the Commission wasn’t satisfied with merely maintaining the cross’s connection to World War I; instead, it spent $100,000 renovating the monument, and then, in 1985, held a religious ceremony featuring prayer by a Catholic priest to rededicate the cross to veterans of all wars.

      • Corporate Pride is Cheap

        The satirical website McSweeney’s recently published a piece called “My Coming Out Story, Sponsored by Bank of America.”

        Anyone who has been to an LGBTQ Pride celebration (or seen Pride-themed ads on Facebook) will immediately get it: Corporations are falling over themselves to wrap themselves in rainbows, because they see Pride as a corporate branding opportunity.

        Let me be clear: The greatest struggle of my life is not a corporate branding opportunity.

        A lifetime of feeling different and wrong and dating people I’m not attracted to because I think it’s the only way to live — and only getting to fully inhabit my true self starting in my late 30s after years of therapy — has nothing to do with selling toothpaste, beer, or bank accounts.

        Years ago, I got a degree in marketing. In our senior capstone class, we learned that you can either change your product so it’s more in line with what people want, or you can change people’s impression of your product so that they think it is.

        Slapping a rainbow on your brand constitutes the latter. I want to see more of the former.

      • As Trump Tweets Hateful Threats, States are Protecting Immigrant Rights

        This week, President Trump kicked off his re-election campaign by tweeting a threat to deport millions of immigrants, apparently referring to his administration’s plans for mass raids on families across the country. Meanwhile, news continues to break about what his administration is already doing, as dizzying as it is horrifying: A six-year-old girl dying in the Arizona desert on the way to seek asylum, a premature baby languishing at a border holding site, a trans woman dying from pneumonia after asking to be deported rather than remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention without proper medical care.

        What’s remarkable is that in the midst of the extreme rhetoric and reality, people across the country are finding common ground on immigration. In at least seven states, grassroots activists have quietly built coalitions necessary to enact pro-immigrant rights laws, many of which will limit the Trump administration’s ability to carry out its threats to deport millions.

      • American History for Truthdiggers: The Reagan Revolution

        It was no accident. Indeed, candidate Ronald Reagan knew exactly what he was doing. It was August 1980, at the height of presidential election fever. Visiting Mississippi, once a symbol of the solid Democratic South, Reagan chose the Neshoba County Fair for a key campaign speech. To beat incumbent President Jimmy Carter, he would have to turn the Deep South Republican. The fair was in the same county as Philadelphia, Miss., and only seven miles from that town, forever associated with the murder of three civil rights activists (one black and two white) just 16 years earlier. It was a bold move by Reagan. Stepping up for the occasion, he railed about big government and thundered in ever-so-coded language, “I believe in states’ rights.” In a state that still proudly flew the Confederate Battle Flag, no doubt the mostly white crowd of some 15,000 knew, and loved, the racial undertones of such a statement. The states’ rights mantra had long amounted to little more than a justification of racism by another name. The only right many states tended to focus on was their right to suppress black voting and maintain the segregation of public life.

        Reagan’s performance at the fair was an insult to the memory of the once vibrant civil rights movement. And it was understood as such.

        The tactic worked. Reagan all but swept the South in the 1980 race, and the region has essentially remained Republican ever since. (Among Southern states, only West Virginia and Georgia went for the Georgian who occupied the Oval Office.) The Sunbelt, that vast southern expanse from Florida to California, would prove to be a stronghold of Republican loyalty for decades to come. Though President Richard Nixon inaugurated the Republicans’ “Southern Strategy,” it was Reagan who perfected it.

        The presidency of Reagan, like that of many of the chief executives of the United States, was complex. He was undoubtedly conservative and had run to the right of his primary opponents in 1980. Political ideology aside, he was an astute politician, willing to compromise and never so doctrinaire as liberals feared. On foreign policy he could shift from hawk to dove on a dime, exuding “toughness” but also, at times, demonstrating restraint. He cut taxes and some social programs but was smart enough not to dismantle the highly popular Social Security and Medicare programs, held dear by liberals before and afterward. Though far more ideological than Dwight Eisenhower and—even—Nixon, he was at root a pragmatist. For the left, he was ultimately something much scarier than those two earlier Republican presidents: a charming, effective and highly popular figure of the right. He bent with the prevailing winds and harnessed their energy in continuing the gradual rightward policy shift that had been occurring since the end of the presidency of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson.

      • America Was Never Great. Behind the Flag Is a Harrowing History.

        Arguing that “America was never great” is more than controversial in Trump’s United States: Disputing the idea that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth and has done only good has become a dangerous act.

        Krystal Lake — a Black woman who wore a hat with the words “America Was Never Great” at the Home Depot where she worked — received death threats on social media in response to her small symbolic act in defiance of Trump’s racist campaign. The online rage was triggered because she dared challenge the myth of American innocence — the idea that the U.S. has been a benevolent force in the world.

        In their new book, American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News — From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, authors Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong map the power of ideology. In 21 essays that span the media’s reaction to 9/11 to the multi-cultural patriotism of the Broadway show “Hamilton,” they show how American exceptionalism and innocence has warped our culture. It is a tour de force of scholarship that takes Karl Marx’s call for a “ruthless criticism of the existing order” and brings it up to the present.

        It also is a harrowing read. After the last essay, one sees the massive violence hidden by media. It is like peeling back a Band-Aid with the U.S. flag on it and seeing an ugly wound that never healed. Scraping off ideology leaves one face-to-face with reality and empowers us, the readers, to change it.

      • ‘Not On Our Watch’: Rights Groups Rally to Help Immigrant Communities Ahead of Reported Weekend Raids by ICE

        Ahead of raids the Trump administration is reportedly set to begin on Sunday, rights groups on Friday urgently circulated information to immigrant communities and families nationwide to ensure their rights are known and protections are in place.

        Three officials with knowledge of Trump’s directive to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the Washington Post that up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders could be targeted in 10 major cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco, Newark, and Washington, D.C.

        The news of the planned raids comes days after the president threatened that he would soon begin deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants.

        To prepare communities, groups including United We Dream and Raices posted on social media information about immigrants’ rights.

        If ICE agents come to an immigrant’s home, one infographic made by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) read, he or she should not open the door. Instead, families should demand to see a warrant for arrest and exercise their right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.

      • America Must Make Amends for the Horror of Slavery

        Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom. The name comes from a combination of the two words in the date, June nineteenth. On that day in 1865, 250,000 slaves in Texas were freed by a Union Army general who had arrived with troops in Galveston the day before. The Civil War had ended more than a month earlier, but word of the war’s end took time to reach parts of Texas. By the end of 1865, the 13th Amendment had been ratified, formally outlawing slavery across the United States.

        It was an incredible victory, but the trajectory of systemic racism in the United States did not end there, as we know all too well. Indeed, the real-world impacts of slavery on today’s African American population were front and center in Washington, D.C., this week, as historic hearings and public gatherings convened to discuss, debate and organize around reparations and poverty, and to offer a vision for a more just and equitable nation.

      • Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reparations Are Not Just About Slavery But Also Centuries of Theft & Racial Terror

        On the heels of Wednesday’s historic hearing on reparations, we speak with renowned writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on the lasting legacy of American slavery, how the national dialogue about reparations has progressed in the past five years and his testimony in favor of H.R. 40, which took direct aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Coates says, “It is absolutely impossible to imagine America without enslavement.”

      • Alabama Prisoners On Hunger Strike Demand Justice Department End Brutal And Inhumane Treatment

        Four Alabama prisoners are on hunger strike at the Limestone Correctional Facility in protest against corruption, abuse, and a lack of accountability for inhumane conditions in the state prison system.

        The hunger strike is a response to a call to action from a coalition of prisoner rights groups, including the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and Unheard Voices O.T.C.J., as well as incarcerated activists Kinetik Justice and Swift Justice.

        Five prisoners were on hunger strike initially. One prisoner, Kenneth Traywick Jr., began his strike on June 12 and ended it this week when the Alabama Department of Correction (ADOC) agreed to transfer him to another facility.

        The other four prisoners launched their strike on June 14. As of this report, they are still refusing meals.

        The prisoners issued a list of six demands. The first demand is for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to take action against Alabama for the Eighth Amendment violations they uncovered in an investigation published at the beginning of April.

        “As the DOJ has so far failed to pursue action by way of a lawsuit against the ADOC, those who have confined loved ones argue that their inaction is proof that the DOJ does not believe incarcerated individuals in the ADOC are worth protecting,” the activists declared in a statement to the press.

      • ‘Not One More Dollar’: Even as Trump Postpones Raids, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib Vow to Oppose All Funding for ‘Hateful Border Agenda’

        In a joint statement, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)—all freshman who have been outspoken in their criticism of both the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) and the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agencies—denounced the president’s planned raids which reports indicated would take place in 10 major cities across the U.S. beginning on Sunday.

        “The Trump Administration would rather criminalize immigrants, separate families, and detain refugees than practice empathy and compassion,” the group of four lawmakers said. “Recent reports of a massive deportation operation, targeting thousands of immigrant families in major cities across the country are further evidence that this President will stop at nothing in order to carry out his hateful agenda.”

        As immigrant rights groups mobilized to provide resources to targeted communities ahead of the expected raids—and several mayors of the cities thought to be prime targets said they would not participate carrying them out—Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to say that, “at the request of Democrats,” he was suspending the raids at least temporarily.

      • Beware of the “Easy” Way to Build Power. It Must Begin With Organizing.

        The sad outcome of the United Auto Workers campaign at Volkswagen reminded me of when I entered the labor movement 15 years ago.

        Back then the national leaders of the Service Employees (SEIU) had diagnosed labor’s big problem: we weren’t organizing fast enough. As the percentage of unionized workers in the U.S. slipped, so did unions’ influence.

        If only we could regain sufficient union density, these leaders said, we would have power. Then we could start winning gains for members and change the political climate.

        Their strategy to organize faster was to lower the bar—convince bosses to stay neutral, so that workers could win union recognition without a fight. Often this neutrality was bought by giving up rights and benefits in advance.

        But I always wondered, if you won a union without building enough workplace power to fight your boss, how much would you really be able to win going forward? And would workers want to join such a weak organization?

        Since then bosses have mostly lost interest in neutrality. Unfortunately, unions haven’t lost interest in shortcuts. The UAW counted on a speedy election instead of arming workers to fight.

      • Normalizing Atrocity

        This week President Trump vowed mass arrests and the removal of “millions of illegal aliens” by early next week. These proclamations have become increasingly normalized in an age where his absurdities are spouted daily, but this is the kind of rhetoric which often precedes atrocity. “Mass arrests” of millions of people is the kind of language that communicates the naked aggression of the state against the “other.” It permits a sweeping dehumanization of entire groups. That they are non-violent or paying taxes is of no consequence. They are “aliens” who must be “removed,” extracted from the so-called “legal” population by any means. In the last 20 years this has generally meant people of color, especially those with non-Anglo surnames. Yet, in response to this latest threat I saw a comment from one American liberal which read “meh, the logistics of doing something like this are enormous.” In other words, “it can’t happen here.” History begs to differ.

        Thousands of socialists and leftists were marched into stadiums in Chile in the 1970s and gunned down, tortured, or disappeared in a country with a much smaller military than the US. Between 1965 and 1966, at least a million communists, or those believed to be communists, were hunted down and brutally murdered in Indonesia by rightwing death squads and the police. And millions of Jews, Roma, communists, homosexuals and the disabled were persecuted, rounded up and sent to concentration camps in the 1930s and 40s in Germany and Nazi occupied countries, where most perished at a time when many ordinary people thought “the logistics” of doing something like that were too “enormous” to be fathomed, much less carried out. And each atrocity was preceded by the rise of a pernicious fascism and the language of dehumanization by leaders.

      • Police drug division chief in Moscow suburb arrested for drug possession and falsifying a criminal case

        Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Ponkratov, who leads the police anti-narcotics division in Ramensky, a suburb of Moscow, has been arrested on charges of falsifying a criminal case, possessing drugs, and overstretching his authority, Kommersant reported.

      • Putin says he’s against relaxing Russia’s drug laws

        During his annual televised call-in show on June 20, Vladimir Putin said he opposes an initiative to relax Russia’s criminal laws against illegal narcotics. At the same time, the president stressed the need to strengthen control over the actions of police in this area, to avoid more “cases like with the journalist,” referring to the recent arrest of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov.

      • Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate

        Several theories have been put forward to explain the schisms roiling American politics. The least contentious, meaning the one not obviously intended to produce a political result, is that a battle is underway within the oligarch class. Given the role of security and surveillance state officials, the precise alliances driving the split— if the term is accurate, aren’t clear. An alternate explanation is that a defense of the existing order is underway. The latter has been put forward in terms approximating a ‘redneck rebellion.’

        Class analysis— the search for economic explanations of political outcomes, is antithetical to the American conception of the social order. The redneck rebellion thesis— that hateful hillbillies too stupid to land jobs in the ‘knowledge economy’ are inflicting their own deficiencies on the hardworking and deserving classes through racist violence, has led the mainstream news (and left analysis) for three years now. Not spoken publicly is that blaming down absolves the powers-that-be for five decades of malgovernance.

        Most people don’t have the time or resources to make their own determinations regarding official claims. This creates ‘information asymmetry’ where the facts needed for critical analysis are often controlled by people with political agendas. And in less conspiratorial terms, newsrooms have been gutted by oligarchs for economic gain. When tied to psychological triggers, facts that are superficially plausible can be made into truths no matter how contrary to actual evidence they may be.

        The redneck rebellion thesis is particularly insidious in this way. It’s barely contentious today to point out that both mainstream political parties have been ‘captured’ by economic interests. And until 2016, it was broadly conceded that neoliberalism had created an economic divide between the few who benefited from it and the many whose lives had been diminished. The people on the losing end didn’t become loathsome racists and fascists until the political establishment needed to defend its realm.

      • Supreme Court Tosses Man’s Murder Conviction Over Racial Bias

        The Supreme Court on Friday threw out the murder conviction and death sentence for a black man in Mississippi because of a prosecutor’s efforts to keep African Americans off the jury. The defendant already has been tried six times and now could face a seventh trial.

        The removal of black prospective jurors deprived inmate Curtis Flowers of a fair trial, the court said in a 7-2 decision written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

        The long record of Flowers’ trials stretching back more than 20 years shows District Attorney Doug Evans’ “relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals,” with the goal of an all-white jury, Kavanaugh wrote.

      • Sweatshops Don’t Just Exist Overseas — They’re Here in the US Too

        New Labor Forum Editor’s Note: The more things change, the more they stay the same. To a surprising extent, the super exploitation of early 20th-century garment workers lives on, not just in Dhaka and Guangzhou, but also in the U.S., garment sweatshops continue to spring up in immigrant-dense, urban peripheries, perhaps nowhere as much as in L.A. County, the setting of this “Working-Class Voices” essay. Just as in the past, these mostly immigrant, female workers labor under the grind of the “piece rate” system rather than receiving hourly wages; they make clothes for big name brands but work for largely unregulated subcontractors; and often toil behind locked exits, under dire conditions. The decline in private-sector union density, entrenched obstacles to new organizing, and the underfunding of agencies charged with monitoring labor law compliance go a long way to explain this harrowing back-to-the-future scenario.

        I come from Indonesia, where I was a garment worker. In 2003 I traveled to Malaysia, because it was hard for me to find a job in Indonesia. There was upheaval with a lot of factories burning and demonstrations in my country. At first I had a three-year contract and worked as a garment worker for the same company I had worked with in Malaysia. Once my contract ended I began work as a domestic worker. For nearly five years I worked for one employer who, in 2007, sent me to L.A. to work with her daughter. But what that family promised — earnings of a thousand dollars a month, one bedroom, and one day off per week — never came true.

        In L.A. I worked the equivalent of thirty eighteen-hour days and was only paid $200 per month with no bedroom or paid days off provided. They said, “Hey, you have to pay for everything when you come here.” They took my passport and wouldn’t let me talk to anyone. At the time I didn’t speak English. The employer said, “Because you don’t speak English I’ll only give you $200.” I was very sad because it’s not what was promised. I left my son in Indonesia to come to the U.S. I thought it was a good opportunity for me, but when I came here I felt trapped.

        I decided to run away, but I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have no money. Nothing. I only had my clothes that I was wearing. I ran a mile away from her house to Bloomingdale’s to a pay phone and called Maria. Maria worked before me in my employer’s house. She’s the only person I knew. But Maria spoke Spanish, and I didn’t speak it at the time. It wasn’t clear to her when I said, “Hey help me, help me.” I didn’t understand what she said, and she didn’t understand what I said. She was afraid maybe the former employer would call the police to get her. So she called her brother Pedro, and he picked me up to go to Maria’s house. I started a new life in L.A. from Maria’s house and then in another host’s home.

      • Surviving the Mediterranean Sea Amid European Refugee Crisis

        Emmanuel Freedom is a refugee. He’s 22 years old and has been living in Malta for the last 18 months. As night falls on the island, he heaves a sigh of relief. He considers every day to be a victory, a promise for a brighter tomorrow.

        Although he looks far older than his years, his facial expression is soft, even fragile. He is constantly wary of his surroundings, but he smiles often with a faraway look in his eyes. An undocumented worker, he usually finds employment as a day laborer, working odd jobs in construction, painting or repairs.

        Shy at first, Freedom slowly recounts his story. He talks of fleeing persecution in his hometown back in Nigeria and of the dangers that he encountered on the journey to Europe. It’s a unique story, but also one that exemplifies a shared resilience amid untold suffering.

        As a refugee in Malta, Freedom belongs to a wider group of men, women and children. His story represents this community, one that has grown accustomed to living under the shadow of anonymity.

      • State-by-State the War on Cannabis is Ending

        Judging by its first six months, 2019 has been a banner year for marijuana policy reform.

        Most notably, lawmakers in Illinois legalized the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The state is the 11th to legalize the use of marijuana by those over the age of 21, and it’s the first to pass such a measure with a statehouse vote (rather than a public initiative).

        “Illinois is going to have the most equity-centric law in the nation,” Governor J.B. Pritzker announced. “For the many individuals and families whose lives have been changed — indeed hurt — because the nation’s war on drugs discriminated against people of color, this day belongs to you.”

        Illinois is far from alone. Several other states have also approved measures in recent weeks to significantly reduce marijuana penalties.

        In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation reducing first-time penalties for low-level possession from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a “penalty assessment,” punishable by a $50 fine. Similar decriminalization legislation in Hawaii awaits Governor David Ige’s signature.

        In North Dakota, lawmakers reduced penalties involving the possession of both cannabis and cannabis paraphernalia from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction. In Colorado, they reduced felony marijuana penalties to misdemeanors.

      • Slamming ‘Corruption’ That Has Allowed Rampant Abuse, Warren Releases Plan to Ban Private Prisons

        Calling the federal government’s close ties with for-profit prison operators “corruption,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren released her plan to ban private prisons should she win the presidency in 2020.

        The Massachusetts Democrat’s proposal focused on the massive growth in the private prison industry over the last two decades. In that time, the government has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses within private detention centers, the price gouging companies like Core Civic and Geo Group subject inmates to, and as lawmakers have enriched their campaigns through their relationships with those companies—making the enforcement of any restrictions impossible.

        “We didn’t get here by chance,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “Washington works hand-in-hand with private prison companies, who spend millions on lobbyists, campaign contributions, and revolving-door hires—all to turn our criminal and immigration policies into ones that prioritize making them rich instead of keeping us safe.”

        Warren explained how she would ban private, for-profit prisons; stop contractors from charging fees for essential services; and ensure oversight of how detention centers operate.

        The senator wrote that after ending all contracts between the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and other public entities with private prison operators, she would cut federal public safety funding for states and municipalities unless they agreed to use the money for publicly-run prisons only.

      • Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage

        He is all about being the romantic saboteur. He is destructive, hates the business of a steady vocation, and the idea of being desk bound. Little details trouble him; an indignant bigger picture is enthralling. Bomb throwers tend to be of such ilk, taking shots at the establishment, courting potential voters over a pint, and railing against non-representative elements in politics. But Nigel Farage and his recently arrived Brexit Party can unimpeachably claim to be vote getters.

        Along with others, some of whom have been resurrected in the stagnant pools of Brexit – take the near-dead and now very revived former conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe – he has animated the corpse people and zombie faithful keen to attack the satanic heart of the EU. Last month, in Peterborough, he told some 1,500 Brexiters about the broader mission at hand. “This fight now is far more than just leaving the European Union. This is a full-on battle against the establishment.” This battle has also struck a Trumpist note, with Farage reserving special salvos for the BBC.

        So far, the attack mounted by the collective that is the Brexit Party has worked; with a four-month old entity, Farage forged ahead in elections held by the very same entity he despises. In doing so, he also convinced many from the UK Independence Party, the right wing anti-immigration party he used to lead, to join in. In the European elections last month, the Brexit Party won a stonking 29 seats against the Liberal Democrats with 16, Labour 10, the Greens seven, the Tories four, the SNP three, and Plaid Cymru and the DUP with one each.

        Farage put the successes down to an elementary theme: “With a big, simple message – which is we’ve been badly let down by two parties who have broken their promises – we have topped the poll in a fairly dramatic style. The two-party system now serves nothing but itself.” Despite doing well, Farage was careful to avoid drawing attention to another result: 40 percent of the UK European vote went to parties who are against Brexit, with 35 percent favouring it.

        The reading from Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable was bound to be at odds with Brexiter enthusiasts. For Cable the result showed that there was “a majority of people in the country who don’t want to leave the European now”.

      • Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing

        In the early 1960s while a student at the University of British Columbia I became fascinated with the study of cultural anthropology. Anthropology, for me, held up a “mirror for man.” It challenged us to see ourselves in the experience of others of different colour, to respect different ways of seeing values, kinship systems and social organization. But, I soon discovered, it was not easy to grasp who Natives were and how they understood themselves in their world of constant change, upheaval and intense traumatic suffering.

        Indians had long filled a pathetic imaginative space for the dominant culture. Their cultures had been steadily eroding, at best hanging on in museum-like reservations or, perhaps worse, living only in anthropological displays. Anthropologists rushed out into the field to record the dying languages and capture fragments of once proud, beautiful but now vanishing people. Anthropologists were the saviours of non-western cultures.

        I moved out of the schoolbook world of the University of British Columbia in the summers of 1963 and 1964 to travel up the North West Coast to see for myself the magnificent cultures of the Tsimshian, Tlingit, Haida, Kwakiutl and Coast Salish. My teachers (famous scholars like Harry Hawthorn, Wilson Duff and Wayne Suttles) had taught me to appreciate the meaning of majestic totem poles, the wonders of North West Coast mythology and art, the mysteries of the potlatch and the profound native sensitivity to land and sea. They presented me with powerful images of cultures as integrated, meaningful wholes.

      • How a Russian lawmaker’s perceived arrogance provoked violent clashes outside Georgia’s Parliament building

        In Tbilisi late on June 20, several thousand people joined a protest at Georgia’s Parliament building. As many as 10,000 people filled the square outside the legislature. Activists protested against the “Russian occupation” of Georgia, demanding the resignation of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, as well as the heads of Georgia’s Interior Ministry and State Security Service. After an hour, when their demands were not met, demonstrators started storming the Parliament building.

      • Photos from the June 20 protest outside Georgia’s Parliament in Tbilisi

        Late on June 20 in the center of Tbilisi, an unannounced protest broke out at the steps of Georgia’s Parliament building. Thousands of people took to the streets, following a speech by Russian State Duma deputy Sergey Gavrilov, who enraged the country’s opposition parties by sitting in the parliamentary speaker’s chair and speaking in Russian during a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy. After activists demands for the resignations of several top state officials went ignored, protesters tried to storm the Parliament building, prompting the police to resort to tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. Roughly 70 people were reported injured.

      • Putin temporarily blocks passenger flights to Georgia

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order forbidding passenger planes from flying between Russia and Georgia following an outbreak of mass unrest and anti-Russian protests in Tbilisi. Beginning on July 8, Russian airlines will not be permitted to transport passengers from Russia to Georgia.

      • A new documentary film shows the Ivan Golunov case through the eyes of those at its epicenter

        With his arrest in early June 2019, investigative journalist Ivan Golunov became a symbol in Russia of resistance to police misconduct. His case was perhaps the first time in the country’s modern history that civil society forced the law-enforcement system to retreat. Over the five difficult days it took to free Ivan, no one was closer to him, his family, and Meduza’s editorial staff than documentary filmmaker Sergey Erzhenkov and the camera crew who assisted him. In this new film from the “Black Flag,” we bring you the Golunov case through the eyes of those who were at the epicenter of these events.

      • Trump’s Persecution of His Investigators Follows Authoritarian Playbook

        The Justice Department’s decision to interview top CIA officials as part of an effort to investigate the reasons for looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election will alarm people who understand President Trump in the broader international context of authoritarians’ recent successes in undermining democratic governments.

        In functioning democracies with independent prosecutors, investigations occur when evidence of serious wrongdoing exists, not when powerful politicians wish to question conclusions they find politically damaging. No evidence exists of any wrongdoing by those investigating Russia’s support for Trump.

        Law enforcement officials have a responsibility to investigate evidence of foreign interference in U.S. elections. The investigation of the investigators sends a message that civil servants doing their job and uncovering evidence of foreign interference risk harassment and damage to their careers. This is alarming, as leading experts have shown that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made undermining Western democracy a major goal — a goal advanced by securing Trump’s election.

        The investigation reflects Trump’s frequently expressed desire to persecute his opponents. He signaled this desire during the campaign when he led chants of “lock her up” against Hillary Clinton, even though no law forbids use of a private email server and a government investigation found no basis for criminal prosecution.

        Since then, Trump and his associates have asked the Department of Justice to prosecute not only Clinton, but also James Comey, John Kerry, Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, and to investigate Joe Biden. Trump has also encouraged prosecutors not to go after Republicans committing crimes, lest their prosecution damage the Republicans’ electoral chances.

      • Putin’s 2019 ‘Direct Line,’ in a nutshell Russia’s president spoke on national TV for four hours, but you can read this summary in five minutes

        If someone says they’re earning below the minimum wage (by the way, we’ve raised it to the subsistence minimum), then you need to check if that person is working part time. A few years ago, earnings dropped because of economic shocks — not just the sanctions, but also because of falling prices on our raw materials. Falling earnings are primarily due to borrowed credit. We’ve already taken measures to raise wages, and the average pay is rising.

      • Putin’s ‘Direct Line’ earns lowest Moscow TV ratings in six years

        Moscow TV ratings for Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” event with Russian voters have fallen to their lowest level since 2013, preliminary data from the data firm Mediascope showed. 6.8 percent of the city’s population was found to have watched the program, and they accounted for 52.5 percent of TV viewers in that time slot.

      • Militia Threat Shuts Down Oregon Statehouse

        The president of the Oregon Senate ordered the state Capitol to close on Saturday due to a “possible militia threat” from right-wing protesters as a walkout by Republican lawmakers over landmark climate change legislation dragged on.

        Republican state senators fled the Legislature — and some, the state — earlier this week to deny the majority Democrats enough votes to take up the climate bill, which would dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2050. It would be the second program of its kind in the nation after California if passed.

      • Migrant Children Imprisoned in Texas Detail Border Patrol’s “Level of Inhumanity”

        Warren Binford, a law professor at Williamette University who was part of the team that visited the facility, told AP that children her team interview were so tired they were falling asleep at the tables and chairs in the interview room.

        “We’ve seen the worst conditions that we’ve seen in the last three years of conducting these visits,” said Binford.

        “Many of them have not been bathed, many of them talk about how hungry they are,” she added.

        Binford also said that the conditions at the Ursula Detention Center in McAllen, Texas that her team visited the week before were no better for the children there.

        Children that the lawyers spoke to described how they were being forced to care for the young children in the center, including a two-year-old who was not speaking and being cared for by three young girls after an agent asked a group of children, “Who wants to take care of this little boy?”

      • Floridians Are Suing a Cop Fired for Planting Drugs in Their Vehicles

        In October 2017, Derek Benefield was driving in the Florida Panhandle’s Jackson County when he was pulled over for allegedly swerving into the opposite lane. Once at the car, sheriff’s deputy Zachary Wester claimed to smell marijuana and conducted a search of the vehicle, which, he reported, turned up methamphetamine and marijuana. Despite insisting the drugs weren’t his, Benefield, who was already on probation, was arrested, charged $1,100 in fines and court fees, and sentenced to one year in county jail.

        Benefield was seven months into his sentence when, in September 2018, the state attorney’s office dropped his case and those of 118 others. Largely thanks to the diligence of one assistant state attorney, Wester was suspected of routinely planting drugs during traffic stops over his two years in the department.

        Last month, Benefield and eight others filed a federal lawsuit accusing Wester and two other deputies of planting drugs and making illegal arrests, and the Jackson County sheriff’s office of negligence. The suit accuses all the defendants of violating the individuals’ civil and constitutional rights through illegal search, seizure, detention, prosecution, and incarceration. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Marie Mattox, told The Appeal the suit represents “only the tip of the iceberg,” and she plans to add another 18 to 20 plaintiffs. At least 37 people have filed lawsuits against Wester at the state level. The sheriff’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

        A criminal investigation into Wester’s behavior was opened last August by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but no charges have been filed. Mattox said that, for the first time, three of her clients were subpoenaed for interviews in connection with that investigation in early June.

      • Hong Kong Protests Flare Again Over Extradition Laws

        More than 1,000 protesters blocked Hong Kong police headquarters into the night Friday, while others took over major streets as the tumult over the city’s future showed no signs of abating.

        The latest protest came after a deadline passed the previous day for the government to meet demands over highly unpopular extradition bills that many see as eroding the territory’s judicial independence.

        Police called for the demonstrators to disperse but did not immediately take firm action to remove them.

      • Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem

        One country, two systems. One event, two interpretations. The crisis in Hong Kong was sparked by chief executive Carrie Lam’s efforts to champion an extradition bill that would allow both residents and visitors to be sent to China for trial.

        It backfired. Beijing is furious for two reasons. First the massive demonstrations it ignited and secondly the central government insists it gave no instruction or order concerning this issue. It looked, Beijing officials insist privately, that Lam was trying to curry favour and had overstepped the mark. This was not a prime example, according to this narrative, of Beijing again trying to stamp its authority on Hong Kong.

        The mountains are high and the emperor is far away. This is an old saying in southern China. But the reverse is also true. From Beijing, Hong Kong is far away. Antigovernment protests in the former British colony are not a cause for emergency meetings though Lam’s future is under serious discussion.

        At the time of the rain-drenched handover in the summer of 1997, Hong Kong accounted for about 20 percent of China’s GDP. Today it accounts for 3 percent. This statistic does not cause sleepless nights in Zhongnanhai, the leadership compound off Tiananmen Square. If anything, it provides reason for a good night’s sleep. It proves, from Beijing’s perspective, not Hong Kong’s decline, but the healthy development of the national economy. The Hong Kong economy has grown since the handover but China’s growth has been supercharged.

        This is the crux. China’s economy has to keep growing, not just for the betterment of the people but to ensure stability.

        Human rights are viewed through a different prism in China than in the West. The imposition of, and here it gets complicated, what China considers the West considers as human rights, is feared. Support for the corrupt regimes of South Vietnam, the Philippines under Marcos and the so-called War on Terror are a small but telling sample and proof, in Beijing’s eyes, of a less than fully altruistic approach to human rights by Washington.

        Many in China believe that without strong central government the country would descend to mass violence and disintegration. This does not let the government off the hook. Chinese people want corruption to be tackled with greater determination and focus. They want to be rid of the scourge of pollution, linked to corruption through the bribing of officials. They want the ruling party to be more accountable. What they do want from the West is teachers, engineers, specialists and trade.

        The unwritten deal between the government and the people is you will be better off, leave the politics to us.

      • Federal police find violations in local counterparts’ handling of Golunov arrest

        Ivan Golunov was released on June 11 after the attempted drug distribution charges against him were dropped for lack of evidence, but the case under which he was charged lives on as a vehicle for police to investigate where the drugs came from. The case materials were transferred today to citywide prosecutors in Moscow for later transfer to the federal Investigative Committee.

      • My Grandmother’s 20-Year Fight for Prison Phone Justice

        Imagine having to choose between purchasing groceries or making a phone call to speak with your incarcerated loved one this week. That’s the dilemma facing thousands of families across the country bearing the burden of high-cost prison phone calls.

        In states like Arkansas, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, it can still cost up to $24 for a 15-minute phone call with someone detained at a jail — a plight poignantly dramatized in Ava DuVernay’s new series about the Central Park jogger case, “When They See Us.” In the series, DuVernay shows us how varied levels of contact and access impacted the now-exonerated men at the heart of the case differently over the course of their years of imprisonment.

        This continued injustice is why, for more than 20 years, my grandmother, Martha Wright-Reed, fought the prison phone industry for affordable phone rates. Now, I am working to keep up the fight.

        My own incarceration was the initial motivation for my grandmother’s struggle for phone justice. However, over time, we realized this fight was much bigger than us; it was about keeping families together across the United States. We also knew that lowering the price of long-distance calls was only one aspect of this ongoing battle.

        My grandmother’s perseverance and commitment finally bore fruit in 2013 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced they would cap long-distance prison phone rates. I couldn’t have been more proud of my grandmother, who, in her final years, achieved such tremendous change.

        This past week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act to continue my grandmother’s legacy by pushing for fairer prison phone rates across the country. This legislation would restore the FCC’s authority to regulate the prison phone industry and cap the rate of prison phone calls from state and local prisons.

      • “Willful Recklessness”: Trump Pushes for Indefinite Family Detention

        At the Greyhound bus station in San Antonio, Texas, you can easily spot the mothers and children who were released by immigration authorities from a facility run by the private prison company CoreCivic. The women wear what amount to prison uniforms: dark-wash jeans, pastel or red t-shirts or sweatshirts, and generic tennis shoes. Their sons and daughters, ranging from infants to tweens, all wear similar shirts and shoes with maroon sweatpants.

        One mother, named Corina, ran her fingers through her 10-year-old son’s hair as he leaned on her shoulder this past Saturday and waited for a bus to Oklahoma, where their sponsor lives. It was the next step of their journey to escape violence in Guatemala. Earlier in June they had been taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in South Texas, and crowded into an outdoor pen known as a perrera or “kennel,” where they were fed baloney sandwiches twice a day and slept on the ground. Then they were bussed to the sprawling 2,400-bed South Texas Family Residential Center in the small town of Dilley, and held 11 days in a room with two other families.

        “Compared to the border, it was much cleaner,” she said Saturday, through an interpreter. “We had food and we were able to sleep,” even though at night dozens of lights illuminate what is currently the largest family detention center in the United States.

        When pressed to describe what she might change about their time at the facility, she said only that she wished they had been held there for “menos tiempo”—“less time.”

    • DRM

      • Green Party co-leaders back call for ‘right to repair’

        Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley will today jointly be signing the Manchester Declaration calling for a “right to repair” for consumers.

        They will be joined by a representative from the Restart movement at the “Library of Things” – a community-focused lending library of useful appliances and tools – in the Upper Norwood Library.

        Jonathan Bartley said: “We all know how annoying it is when an appliance that we know used to last for decades dies after a few years, when a new computer won’t work with an older printer, when an expensive kitchen appliance becomes useless for the want of a minor part.

        “As consumers, we should have the right to goods made to last, designed so that if an element goes wrong it can be repaired (ideally at home or at a repair cafe), that parts will be available when needed and documentation available to assist the repairer.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • China introduces ‘intent to use’ to combat trade mark squatting in its recent law amendment

          For the first time, China introduces the concept of ‘intent to use’ into the trade mark application procedure. The new law requires that “Bad faith trade mark applications filed without intent to use shall be refused”. Procedurally, this clause becomes a legal ground for trade mark opposition and invalidation.

          It’s clear that the “intent to use” requirement is introduced to combat trade mark squatting, which has been a long-standing problem for brand owners. There is even plenty of ‘professional’ trade mark squatters, individuals and organisations alike, which scan the market and register trade marks in large quantities, without any intent to use them and rather sell them to brand owners for profit later on.

          China has acknowledged the problem since the third amendment of the China Trade Mark Law in 2014, and gradually increased the ease of opposing or invalidating such bad faith trade mark applications. However, non-use cancellation remains the best way to remove such trade marks from the Registrar. The problem is that it only applies to trade marks which have been registered for over 3 years.

          Therefore, the “intent to use” requirement is a significant step forward to deter trade mark squatting. Brand owners can now oppose any pending trade mark applications, or invalidate any registered trade mark that is less than 3 years old, based on the lack of intent of use. This means that trade marks can be challenged on the ground of ‘use’, either intent to use or actual use, at both the application and registration phase. Detailed guidelines are yet to be rolled out regarding, for example, what evidence satisfies intent to use. However, it’s likely that they will be based on and adapted from the ‘intent to use’ rules of other jurisdictions, including the USA.

      • Copyrights

        • RIAA Targets Large Polish File-Hosting Site Chomikuj

          The RIAA has obtained a subpoena from a court in the United States ordering Cloudflare to reveal the personal details of the operator of a large file-hosting site. In its native Poland, Chomikuj (hamster) is a hugely popular platform but according to Google the site is also ranked fifth in the world when it comes to DMCA complaints.

        • Rightsholders Want to Completely Delist ‘Pirate’ Domains From Search Results

          In a closed-door meeting this week to discuss the formation of a new anti-piracy law, rightsholders in Russia proposed that pirate sites should be completely delisted from search results, rather than just links to specified content. Internet companies are said to be against the measures, despite agreement on other fronts.

        • Spain’s Pirate Site Blocklist Expands Following Hollywood Complaint

          Following a complaint from major Hollywood studios including Disney, Paramount, Sony, and Universal, a Spanish court has ordered several ISPs to block several Spanish-language pirate sites. The MPA stresses that the ISPs are not accused of any wrongdoing, but their cooperation, voluntary or through the court, is needed to help deter piracy.

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