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05.23.16

Links 23/5/2016: GNOME 3.22, Calculate Linux 15.17

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 19 years later, The Cathedral and the Bazaar still moves us

    Nineteen years ago this week, at an annual meeting of Linux-Kongress in Bavaria, an American programmer named Eric Raymond delivered the first version of a working paper he called “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.” According to Raymond, the exploratory and largely speculative account of some curious new programming practices contained “no really fundamental discovery.”

    But it brought the house down.

    “The fact that it was received with rapt attention and thunderous applause by an audience in which there were very few native speakers of English seemed to confirm that I was onto something,” Raymond wrote a year later, as his treatise blossomed into a book. Nearly two decades after that early-evening presentation in Bavaria, The Cathedral and the Bazaar continues to move people. Now, however, it’s not so much a crystal ball as it is an historical document, a kind of Urtext that chronicles the primordial days of a movement—something Raymond and his boosters would eventually call “open source.” The paper’s role in Netscape’s decision to release the source code for its web browser has cemented its place in the annals of software history. References to it are all but inescapable.

  • Time to choose: Are you investing in open source or not?

    In 1996, the term “open source” didn’t exist. Yet 20 years later, open source technology spans countless projects and brings together the collective talent of millions. Take a close look at any open source project or community of developers and you’ll find incredible levels of speed, innovation, and agility.

    Open source participation varies wildly. Some developers devote their professional lives to open source software projects; others contribute their time and talent as an avocation. While the communities behind the software continue to grow, the technology itself is playing both a foundational role in the most important technology developments of the past 20 years and is also an integral role in the strategies powering many of today’s leading organizations.

  • Open Source Employment Trends

    We often think of open source as a volunteer or community based activity community. However open source is increasingly important to companies who need to keep up with new technologies.

    The latest survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation goes beyond Linux to examine trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report is based on responses from more than 400 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses (SMBs), government organizations, and staffing agencies across the globe and from more than 4,500 open source professionals worldwide.

  • 10 most in-demand Internet of things skills

    The Internet of things is ramping up into a multi-billion dollar industry and with it goes demand for employees with IoT skills. Here we look at the skills that employers want

  • Open source job market booming

    Recruiting open source talent is a top priority for IT recruiters and hiring managers in 2016. According to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report released today by IT hiring platform Dice.com and The Linux Foundation, 65 percent of hiring managers say open source hiring will increase more than any other part of their business over the next six months, and 79 percent of hiring managers have increased incentives to hold on to their current open source professionals.

  • Open Source Horizon Claims Edge over Google’s Firebase Mobile Back-End

    Much fanfare accompanied Google’s elevation of its Firebase mobile back-end platform last week, but slipping under the radar was the quieter unveiling of Horizon, an open source JavaScript back-end for Web and mobile apps that claims advantages over Firebase.

  • Linksys WRT routers won’t block open-source firmware under new FCC rules

    On June 2, new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules will force router manufacturers to limit what can be done with their hardware. Only Linksys is ready with a solution for open-source firmware. TP-Link is taking the easy way out by blocking third-party firmware on its routers, and other router manufacturers are quietly following in its footsteps.

  • Open source tool manages AWS Lambda apps

    A new open source project from Express and Node.js-canvas creator TJ Holowaychuk lets developers create, deploy, and manage AWS Lambda functions from a command-line tool.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice

      Following announcements made last year, the Italian army has moved forward with its plan to replace Microsoft Office with LibreOffice. So far, the army has tested its transition plan across 5000 workstations without significant problems. Following its LibreDifesa plan, the army aims to replace all MS Office installations by the end of the year.

      In doing so, the Italian army will join government departments from Spain, France, the UK, Holland and Germany in setting an example for the rest of the public sector to follow.

    • The Month of LibreOffice

      It also helps spread the word about LibreOffice. Remember, Free/Libre & Open Source Software does not directly produce products. Rather, it develops and releases software through community of contributors, that may then be monetized in one way or another – or perhaps not at all. In other words, this means that the distinction between outbound and inbound marketing that is commonly found in the corporate world is more blurry as any user is also a potential contributor. Marketing our community really means marketing LibreOffice itself. This is what we’re doing this month and it makes me happy. I’m excited at the stats and figures that we will draw from this experiment. If you happen to be a LibreOffice contributor, or just a fan of LibreOffice, you could get a badge. All you need is to contribute to the project in one of the several ways described here and it will be awarded to you: remember, we’re already at the end of the month!

  • CMS

    • Made-in-Vietnam open-source software supports IPv6

      At first, NukeViet was used to build websites and publish content on internet.

      However, since the NukeViet 3.0 version launched in 2010, NukeViet has been developed to serve as a platform for the development of web-based apps.

      NukeViet now has many different products, including NukeViet CMS used to operate news websites, NukeViet Portal used to make business information portals, and NukeViet Edu Gate – the information portal solution for education departments, and NukeViet Shop, used to build online sale websites.

  • Networking

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • All About the DC/OS Open Source Project

      The DC/OS project is a software platform that’s comprised entirely of open source technologies. It includes some existing technologies like Apache Mesos and Marathon, which were always open source, but also includes newer proprietary components developed by Mesosphere that we’ve donated to the community and which are fully open sourced under an Apache 2.0 license. Features include easy install of DC/OS itself (including all the components), plus push-button, app-store-like installation of complex distributed systems (including Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra and more) via our Universe “distributed services app store”. We’re also tightly integrating our popular Marathon container-orchestration technology right into DC/OS, as the default method for managing Docker containers and other long-running services (including traditional non-containerized web applications, as well stateful services such as databases).

    • Learn about Apache Mesos and the State of the Art of Microservices from Twitter, Uber, Netflix
  • BSD

    • Wayland/Weston with XWayland works on DragonFly

      DragonFlyBSD user karu.pruun compiled Xorg with XWayland support and made it work with many applications that need Xorg work now with wayland/weston. It’s success because of XWayland support has been merged in the master X.Org branch. Still there will be a compatibility issue with Wayland which will not work properly alone as X window systems.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Governance: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

      Open source solutions – primarily in software but increasingly also in hardware – cost roughly one tenth of proprietary offerings. The switch to open source software enables financial and public service scalability as well as quality sustainability at all levels of governance. Unfortunately this understanding is not widespread.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • A roadmap for the BBC’s support of local journalism

    The White Paper on the future of the BBC published on May 12th notes that the corporation has made a number of proposals to establish ‘a positive partnership with the local news sector’. These include a ‘Local Public Sector Reporting Service’, which would ‘report on local institutions.’

    The BBC has already indicated that it intends to fund 150 journalists to work in the local and regional sectors. This means that from next year a population of around 400,000 people – a city the size of Bristol, say – could expect to have a journalist reporting full time on local government and other public sector institutions.

  • European Union: a House Divided

    The European Union is one of the premier trade organizations on the planet, with a collective GDP that matches the world’s largest economies. But it is far more than a trade group. It is also a banker, a judicial system, a watchdog, a military alliance, and, increasingly, an enforcer of economic rules among its 28 members.

    On the one hand it functions like a super state, on the other, a collection of squabbling competitors, with deep divisions between north and south. On June 23, the two-decade-old organization will be put to the test when Great Britain—its second largest economy—votes to stay in the EU or bail out.

  • Let the Games Begin—Behind the Olympic Sheen

    There is a conventional narrative of the Olympics. It is one the television audience is fed every Olympic Games. This narrative is essentially a pack of lies created and nurtured to further the myth that the Olympic Games are one of humanity’s greatest moments; a time when politics, nationalism, racism and sexism are transcended by the pure beauty of athletic competition. In this narrative, petty pursuits like profit and power are put aside in the name of the Olympic ideal, an almost heavenly reality where humanity becomes like the greatest and purest of the gods in the heights of Olympus. Of course, this narrative is nonsense. In his book, Boykoff enumerates exactly why.

  • London is finally getting the Night Tube

    The Night Tube service will finally begin in three months time on the Central and Victoria lines, with the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines to follow in the autumn.

    The long-awaited service was due to start last September but has been delayed due to disputes with unions.

    “The Night Tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London’s night time economy – creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. The constant delays under the previous Mayor let Londoners down badly,” Khan said in a statement.

    “I have made getting the Night Tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August.”

  • IBM layoffs continue

    International Business Machines Corp. this week quietly laid off employees, continuing a wave of job cuts the company announced in April.

  • It’s a Car ‘Crash’ Not an ‘Accident’ Say Auto Safety Advocates

    The word ‘accident’ was introduced into the lexicon of manufacturing and other industries in the early 1900s, when companies were looking to protect themselves from the costs of caring for workers who were injured on the job, says historian Peter Norton. “Relentless safety campaigns started calling these events ‘accidents,’ which excused the employer of responsibility,” says Norton. When traffic deaths spiked in the 1920s, a consortium of auto-industry interests, including insurers, borrowed the wording to shift the focus away from the cars themselves. “Automakers were very interested in blaming reckless drivers,” says Norton. But over time the word has come to exonerate the driver, too, with “accident” seeming like a lightning strike, beyond anyone’s control. “Labeling most of the motor vehicle collision cases that I see as an attorney as an ‘accident’ has always been troubling to me,” says Steven Gursten. “The word ‘accident’ implies there’s no responsibility for it.”

  • Science

    • The Pope and Mercy: the Catholic Church has not Abandoned Its 400 Year War on Science

      “Pope Francis Relaxes Church Rules on Divorce” touts a recent headline at Huffington Post, a news website whose articles often promote religion, “faith” and spirituality along with a clear bias for the Democratic Party. But he really hasn’t. What’s going missing in the ongoing and often covertly promotional media hullabaloo over Pope Francis’ frequent and seemingly liberal, even revolutionary, public proclamations is the most important fact: as Pope, Francis has the power to change the Church’s repressive doctrines and laws concerning sexuality, women, divorce, the family and human nature itself. He hasn’t.

    • High Tech Tool to Aid in Pacific Northwest Toxin Detection

      The Environmental Sample Processor (left) is an underwater robot that can remotely measure paralytic shellfish toxins. Here, the robot and a surface buoy with communication hardware (right) are readied for deployment in the Gulf of Maine. The sampling equipment for this tool is encased in a yellow steel housing to protect it from crushing ocean pressure. Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  • Deception

    • G4S suspends 5 staff over alleged attempts to massage 999 response figures

      Commercial partners G4S and Lincolnshire Police are jointly investigating the matter.

      Three years ago the security company G4S boasted that it had radically improved emergency call handling times for Lincolnshire Police.

      John Shaw, managing director for G4S policing support services, which took over the bulk of Lincolnshire’s operations in a gigantic 10 year contract in 2012, told the BBC that with G4S involved: “Hopefully the service people get from the police is as good as it was, if not better.”

      Today G4S admitted that it had suspended 5 members of staff working with Lincolnshire Police “following an investigation led by the force with support from G4S”.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How big tobacco lost its final fight for hearts, lungs and minds

      There was a finality about it all, a sense that after half a century something was coming to an end. As David Anderson QC, one of “big tobacco’s” senior lawyers, put it, the battle against the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes had become the industry’s equivalent of Custer’s Last Stand, its “last battlefield”.

      Legal hyperbole perhaps, but also an indication of just what the tobacco industry believed was at stake last week when the high court handed down its landmark judgment rejecting a coordinated attempt by the world’s four largest cigarette manufacturers to derail the new EU regulations that came into effect on Friday.

      The new tobacco directive means graphic health warnings with photos, text and cessation information must cover 65% of the front and the back of cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco packs. Member states have 12 months to sell old stock, and up to four years to sell menthol and flavoured cigarettes, which were banned outright.

    • Seeds of suicide

      May 22 has been declared International Biodiversity Day by the United Nations. It gives us an opportunity to become aware of the rich biodiversity that has been evolved by our farmers as co-creators with nature. It also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the threats to our biodiversity and our rights from IPR monopolies and monocultures.

      Just as our Vedas and Upanishads have no individual authors, our rich biodiversity, including seeds, have been evolved cumulatively. They are a common heritage of present and future farm communities who have evolved them collectively. I recently joined tribals in Central India who have evolved thousands of rice varieties for their festival of “Akti”. Akti is a celebration of the relationship of the seed and the soil, and the sharing of the seed as a sacred duty to the Earth and the community.

      In addition to learning about seeds from women and peasants, I had the honour to participate and contribute to international and national laws on biodiversity. I worked closely with our government in the run-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, when the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) was adopted by the international community. Three key commitments in the CBD are protection of the sovereign rights of countries to their biodiversity, the traditional knowledge of communities and biosafety in the context of genetically-modified foods.

      The UN appointed me on the expert panel for the framework for the biosafety protocol, now adopted as the Cartagena protocol on biosafety. I was appointed a member of the expert group to draft the National Biodiversity Act, as well as the Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Act. We ensured that farmers rights are recognised in our laws. “A farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce, including seed of a variety protected under this act, in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this act”, it says.

    • “Our Water, Our Future”: Voters in Oregon Defeat Nestlé’s Attempt to Privatize Their Water

      Blue yard signs bearing the words “Yes on 14-55: Our Water, Our Future” dotted lawns throughout Hood River County, Oregon, in the run-up to the primary election held on May 17. Just as many of these signs appeared to share a lawn with a Cruz or Trump yard sign as with a Clinton or Sanders sign.

      The issue that brought conservatives and progressives together in this way was clear-cut: keeping Nestlé Waters North America from building a water bottling plant and extracting over 118 million gallons annually from a spring in a small, rural community 45 miles east of Portland.

    • Public Health England: Advice to eat more fat ‘irresponsible’

      Advice to eat more fat is irresponsible and potentially deadly, Public Health England’s chief nutritionist has said.

      Dr Alison Tedstone was responding to a report by the National Obesity Forum, which suggests eating fat could help cut obesity and type 2 diabetes.

      The charity said promoting low-fat food had had “disastrous health consequences” and should be reversed.

  • Security

    • TOTP SSH port fluxing

      Beware: I would not really recommend running this software – it was only written as a joke.

    • TeslaCrypt no more: Ransomware master decryption key released

      The developer has handed over the keys to the kingdom in a surprising twist in TeslaCrypt’s tale.

    • Thoughts on our security bubble

      Last week I spent time with a lot of normal people. Well, they were all computer folks, but not the sort one would find in a typical security circle. It really got me thinking about the bubble we live in as the security people.

      There are a lot of things we take for granted. I can reference Dunning Kruger and “turtles all the way down” and not have to explain myself. If I talk about a buffer overflow, or most any security term I never have to explain what’s going on. Even some of the more obscure technologies like container scanners and SCAP don’t need but a few words to explain what happens. It’s easy to talk to security people, at least it’s easy for security people to talk to other security people.

    • Ransomware Adds DDoS Capabilities to Annoy Other People, Not Just You

      Ransomware developers seem to have found another way to monetize their operations by adding a DDoS component to their malicious payloads.

      Security researchers from Invincea reported this past Wednesday on a malware sample that appeared to be a modified version of an older threat, the Cerber ransomware.

      The malware analysis team that inspected the file discovered that, besides the file encryption and screen locking capabilities seen in most ransomware families, this threat also comes with an additional payload, which, when put under observation, seemed to be launching network packets towards a network subnet.

    • Linux 4.7 Gets a Security Boost with ChromeOS Feature

      We’re currently inside of the two week merge window where code is being pulled in to form the Linux 4.7 kernel. One of the GIT pull requests came from Linux kernel developer James Morris and includes at least one really interesting new security feature, by way of a new Linux Security Module (LSM).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

      Along with his self-congratulatory bombast, Donald Trump has offered a rare critique of Official Washington’s “group think” about foreign policy, including the wisdom of NATO expansion and the value of endless war, notes John V. Walsh.

    • Cameroon Under Colonial Powers
    • Baghdad on Lockdown not from fear of ISIL but of poor Protesters

      Baghdad was a ghost town on Saturday,, as security forces fanned out, blocking key roads into the Green Zone, the area downtown, closed off by blast walls, that houses parliament and foreign embassies.

      On Friday, over a hundred protesters were wounded and at least 2 died as crowds poured into the Green Zone for a second time in a month. Some attacked the home of Iraqi prime minister Haydar al-`Abadi. In response, he ordered a curfew in the capital that lasted until Saturday morning. Security forces expelled the crowds from the Green Zone, using live ammunition and tear gas

    • Israel: Netanyahu replies to Officers’ charges of Fascism, makes far Right Lieberman their boss

      Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bolstered his majority and rid himself of a troublesome voice of conscience Thursday by appointing the extremist Avigdor Lieberman minister of defense. This move strengthened Netanyahu’s hand politically, removing a critic in the form of Moshe Yaalon, the previous minister of defense. But it also sent a signal to Israel’s officer corps, which has been showing distinct unease at Netanyahu’s march of the country into Mussolini territory.

      Part of the dispute is over the cold-blooded murder allegedly committed by a 19-year-old Israeli soldier with an extremist background, who was caught on camera killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif. Sharif had committed a knife attack before being incapacitated and searched. The video showed Azarya rushing back over, shouting angrily, and shooting the prostrate twenty-one year old in the head.

    • Egyptians “shocked” at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak’s accusation of “fascism” in Tel Aviv

      What do Israel’s Arab neighbors think about the political earthquake that struck PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Thursday and Friday? Netanyahu invited into his government the far right Yisrael Beitenu ultra-nationalist party and offered the minister of defense position to extremist Avigdor Lieberman. He appears to have attempted to mollify the old defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, by offering him the foreign ministry. Yaalon angrily declined and announced his resignation from the government.

    • Can Iran Sue the US for Coup and Supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?

      Iranian members of parliament have approved the details of a bill that insists US compensate Iran for its crimes against that country.

      The bill comes as a result of a $2 billion judgment against Iran entered by a US court and backed by an act of the US Congress, on behalf of the families of Marines killed in a Beirut bombing in 1983. Iran was allegedly behind the attack, though responsibility for it was attributed to a fundamentalist Lebanese Shiite splinter group that was a predecessor of Hizbullah.

    • The Big Breakthrough

      Americans are rejecting imperialism – on both sides of the political spectrum

    • Obama in Hiroshima: the Last Best Chance to Step Back Away From the Nuclear Precipice

      President Obama will be the first US president to visit Hiroshima while in office. His visit, on May 27th, has historic potential. It comes at a time when nuclear disarmament talks with Russia and other nuclear-armed nations are non-existent and all nuclear-armed nations, led by the US, are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. The US alone has plans to spend $1trillion on modernizing every aspect of its nuclear arsenal, delivery systems and infrastructure over the next 30 years.

      [...]

      When the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it did so with impunity. Japan was already defeated in war and did not have atomic bombs with which to retaliate against us. That was more than 70 years ago. Today there are nine nuclear-armed countries capable of attacking or retaliating with nuclear weapons. Missiles carrying nuclear weapons can travel across the globe in a half-hour. No one is secure from the consequences of a nuclear attack – not only the blast, fire and radiation, but also those of nuclear famine and nuclear winter.

    • Meet the new face of Israel’s growing military refuser movement

      onscientious objectors from the Israeli military, or “refusers,” are a small but growing group within an increasingly right-wing and militarized society. Last month, several young refusers visited 12 U.S. cities as part of a speaking tour sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the Refuser Solidarity Network.

      On April 27, following an event in New York City hosted by Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace, I spoke with refusers Yasmin Yablonko and Khaled Farrag, who each run their own support groups for conscientious objectors. While Yablonko heads the newly-founded Mesarvot, which provides social and psychological support for those deciding to refuse, Farrag fronts Urfod (Arabic for “refuse”), which specifically supports members of the Druze community refusing Israeli military service. The Druze community faces a unique position because they are the only Palestinians since 1956 to have military service imposed on them.

    • 25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption

      This coming May 24 marks 25 years since a rag-tag afro coifed army of Eritrean rebel fighters drove their captured Ethiopian tanks through the Eritrean capital of Asmara and gave birth to the modern, “socialist” country of Eritrea.

      The birthing process, the “armed struggle for independence”, took 30 years so the modern struggle to build a country based on “scientific socialism”, as Pan Africanists have called it, is still maturing.

    • The foggy numbers of Obama’s wars and non-wars

      As the Obama administration prepares to publish a long-delayed accounting of how many militants and noncombatant civilians it has killed since 2009, its statistics may be defined as much by what is left out as by what is included.

      Release of the information was first envisioned three years ago this month, as part of strict new guidelines President Obama announced for the United States’ controversial use of drones and other forms of lethal force to battle terrorism abroad. Such operations, Obama said in a 2013 speech at the National Defense University, would also be subject to new transparency and oversight.

    • US Govt to “Exclude” 3/4 of Drone Strikes from Civilian Casualty Numbers

      The Obama administration is set to “exclude Pakistan” from its publication of total casualties resulting from covert drone strikes, according to a report in the Washington Post.

      If accurate, this would mean that as many as 72% of known covert drone strikes would be excluded from the tally, along with 84% of recorded casualties, according to figures from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    • Mullah Mansour Drone Strike: Important Milestone or Radicalizing Event?

      How much more ironic could it be? More than 43 years after the last Americans evacuated Vietnam, ending our disastrous occupation there, the dateline reads Hanoi on President Barack Obama’s statement today on the US drone strike that killed Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. Mansour was the head of Afghanistan’s Taliban but was in Pakistan at the time the US killed him with a drone, striking a similarity to the US “secret” bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war.

      [...]

      Because I know how much Marcy enjoys miraculous “left behind” documents, I couldn’t resist following up on a Twitter reference I saw flit by yesterday about how a passport for Mansour somehow survived the conflagration in the taxi in which Mansour met his death by drone. By following it, though, I found even more deep irony in the drone strike. This article by ToloNews carries a photograph of a pristine-looking passport. Compare that with the photo in the New York Times article linked above with the burned out wreckage of the vehicle Mansour was said to have been in when hit. How could the passport have survived?

      [...]

      So while Mansour and his group have continued to reject peace talks with the Afghan government, at least some observers believe that he was in the process of trying to join the fight against Islamic State. And it may well be that he died because of that effort. Here’s a map of the region, showing that the site of the drone attack, Ahmad Wal, lies about 100 miles away from Quetta (where the Afghan Taliban has long been believed to be headquartered) along the highway that is the most direct route to Iran from Quetta.

    • Call It a ‘Coup’: Leaked Transcripts Detail How Elite Orchestrated Overthrow in Brazil

      Confirming suspicions that the ouster of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is, in fact, a coup designed to eradicate a wide corruption probe, Brazil’s largest newspaper on Monday published damning evidence of a “national pact” between a top government official and oil executive.

      It is unclear how Folha de São Paulo obtained the transcripts of the 75-minute phone conversation between the newly-installed Planning Minister Romero Jucá, a senator at the time, and former oil executive Sergio Machado. But the discussion reportedly took place in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower House voted to impeach the democratically-elected Rousseff.

    • New Political Earthquake in Brazil: Is It Now Time for Media Outlets to Call This a “Coup”?

      Brazil today awoke to stunning news of secret, genuinely shocking conversations involving a key minister in Brazil’s newly installed government, which shine a bright light on the actual motives and participants driving the impeachment of the country’s democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. The transcripts were published by the country’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, and reveal secret conversations that took place in March, just weeks before the impeachment vote in the lower house was held. They show explicit plotting between the new planning minister (then-senator), Romero Jucá, and former oil executive Sergio Machado — both of whom are formal targets of the “Car Wash” corruption investigation — as they agree that removing Dilma is the only means for ending the corruption investigation. The conversations also include discussions of the important role played in Dilma’s removal by the most powerful national institutions, including — most importantly — Brazil’s military leaders.

      The transcripts are filled with profoundly incriminating statements about the real goals of impeachment and who was behind it. The crux of this plot is what Jucá calls “a national pact” — involving all of Brazil’s most powerful institutions — to leave Michel Temer in place as president (notwithstanding his multiple corruption scandals) and to kill the corruption investigation once Dilma is removed. In the words of Folha, Jucá made clear that impeachment will “end the pressure from the media and other sectors to continue the Car Wash investigation.” Jucá is the leader of Temer’s PMDB party and one of the “interim president’s” three closest confidants.

    • Does Russia Have Reason to Fear?

      NATO is putting an anti-missile base in Romania and brushing aside Russia’s fears, but – over the decades – the U.S. has reacted furiously to the possibility of nearby foreign military bases, recalls James W Carden.

    • Poof! Our Wars are All Forgotten

      Despite the estimated $26 billion the U.S. spent training and equipping that military between 2003 and 2011, whole units broke, shed their uniforms, ditched their American equipment, and fled when faced with relatively small numbers of ISIS militants in June 2014, abandoning four northern cities, including Mosul. This, of course, created the need for yet more training, the ostensible role of many of the U.S. troops now in Iraq. Since most of the new Iraqi units are still only almost ready to fight, however, those American ground troops and generals and Special Operations forces and forward air controllers and planners and logistics personnel and close air support pilots are still needed for the fight to come.

    • ‘Utopia’, the film, can be viewed for the first time on this site

      John Pilger’s acclaimed film on Indigenous Australia joins his archive for public viewing. Watch now.

    • Protesters Rally Against US Military in Okinawa: ‘Killer Go Home’

      Thousands of people held protests over the weekend in front of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan in response to the rape and killing of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by an American former sailor.

      Roughly 2,000 people attended the protest organized by dozens of women’s rights groups based on the island, where more than two-thirds of U.S. bases in Japan are located. They rallied outside the front gates of the Marine Corps headquarters at Camp Foster, holding signs that read, “Never forgive Marine’s rape,” “Killer go home,” and “Withdraw all U.S. forces from Okinawa.”

      Suzuyo Takazato, a representative of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, told Stars and Stripes that the rally was organized to mourn Shimabukuro and to renew the long-held demand to remove all military bases from Okinawa. The protest comes just ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to Japan to attend a summit and visit Hiroshima on Friday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal

      Back in April, just before the New York primary, Hillary Clinton’s campaign aired a commercial on upstate television stations touting her work as secretary of state forcing “China, India, some of the world’s worst polluters” to make “real change.” She promised to “stand firm with New Yorkers opposing fracking, giving communities the right to say ‘no.’”

      The television spot, which was not announced and does not appear on the official campaign YouTube page with most of Clinton’s other ads, implied a history of opposition to fracking, here and abroad. But emails obtained by The Intercept from the Department of State reveal new details of behind-the-scenes efforts by Clinton and her close aides to export American-style hydraulic fracturing — the horizontal drilling technique best known as fracking — to countries all over the world.

      Far from challenging fossil fuel companies, the emails obtained by The Intercept show that State Department officials worked closely with private sector oil and gas companies, pressed other agencies within the Obama administration to commit federal government resources including technical assistance for locating shale reserves, and distributed agreements with partner nations pledging to help secure investments for new fracking projects.

      The documents also reveal the department’s role in bringing foreign dignitaries to a fracking site in Pennsylvania, and its plans to make Poland a “laboratory for testing whether US success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country,” particularly in Europe, where local governments had expressed opposition and in some cases even banned fracking.

    • More Than 600,000 Miles of Arctic Sea Ice Have Disappeared, and More

      In today’s On the News segment: The current rate of sea ice loss could lead to ice-free summers in the Arctic within the next two decades; a new study is identifying food that can help prevent chronic inflammation that leads to many causes of death; cells may carry the memory of an injury; and more.

    • Oil majors tread cautiously towards renewables

      The big oil companies’ on-off affair with renewable energies seems to be back on track.

      Recent reports say Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil conglomerate, is to invest $1.7 billion in forming a new company division aimed specifically at developing renewable energy and low carbon power.

      This follows on the heels of an announcement by the French oil company Total, another of the oil giants, that it is stepping up its investments in clean energy, spending more than $1 bn buying Saft, a major battery manufacturer. Total has also purchased a majority share in SunPower, a leading solar concern.

    • How the NY/NJ Port Authority Misspent Millions in Federal Money Meant to Cut Air Pollution

      In 2010, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced a plan to drastically reduce air pollution in the impoverished Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey, by replacing outdated, environmentally harmful freight trucks. Over the next six years, the Port Authority received some $35 million in federal grants to do so. But today, many of the trucks are still on the road, and air quality has hardly improved. The Port Authority eventually – though very quietly – abandoned the plan, and Newark children today continue to suffer some of the highest asthma rates in the country. Freelance writer Max Rivlin-Nadler uncovered the story of the failed program for the Village Voice earlier this month; on this week’s podcast, he tells us how he did it.

    • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks

      NOAA’s Historical Hurricane Tracks is a free online tool that allows users to track historic hurricane tracks. The site, developed by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management in partnership with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and National Centers for Environmental Information, offers data and information on coastal county hurricane strikes through 2012. It also provides links to detailed reports on the life histories and effects of U.S. tropical cyclones since 1958, with additional U.S. storm paths traced as far back as 1851. The site contains global hurricane data from as far back as 1842.

    • There’s Still Time To Fix The World’s Most Pressing Environmental Problems, But Not Much

      Environmental degradation is happening faster than previously thought, but there is still time to avert many of the worst effects through better management, new energy sources, and sustainable consumption, a new United Nations report on the state of the world’s environment has found.

      Most of the world is suffering from desertification, land and air degradation, and the effects of climate change as rapid urbanization, rising levels of consumption, and population growth intensifies, the report, released Thursday, states. While dire impacts are recorded in every corner of the world, there is time to address the worst effects, such as marine ecosystem damage and the world’s most widespread environmental health risk: increasing air pollution.

    • This Retired Military Leader Is Now Helping Prep The Business World For Climate Change

      Retired Rear Admiral David Titley used to be a climate skeptic. But after decades in the service, he came to see the carbon crisis as “one of the preeminent challenges of our century.” As the Navy’s chief oceanographer, he spearheaded a task force to investigate the national security implications of climate change.

      Titley has since turned his attention to the world of business. He now teaches Weather Risk and Financial Markets at Pennsylvania State University, the capstone course for meteorology majors specializing in risk management.

    • Tragedy At The Preakness Renews Questions About The Safety Of Horse Racing

      Homeboykris, a nine-year-old gelding who has won 14 races in 63 career starts, won the first of those races. But after he posed for pictures in the winner’s circle, he walked about 100 yards, collapsed, and died, likely due to cardiovascular collapse.

    • ‘Everyday There’s Resistance’: Peaceful Pipeline Protesters Arrested in NY

      Twenty-one non-violent demonstrators were arrested in Peekskill, New York on Saturday in the latest attempt to stop construction of a controversial high-pressure methane gas pipeline planned to run through residential communities and near the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant.

    • Watching the Rails: One Community’s Quest for Safety

      When fossil fuel polluters need a place to do their dirtiest and most dangerous work, they tend to locate their operations in places where they believe people have less power, often in low-income communities or communities of color. Faced with a deadly new threat, residents in one predominately African-American community are organizing their neighbors and allies from far and wide — building the power to take on a Fortune 500 company and complacent regulators.

    • Colorado’s Tenacious Anti-Fracking Movement Explores “Last-Ditch Options”

      Left with few options for stopping the scourge of oil and gas drilling in their state, Colorado residents are turning to creative forms of resistance in what the Denver Post calls “a last-ditch push for protection” against fracking.

      The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in early May that state rules promoting oil and gas development trump local attempts to restrict or ban drilling near homes and schools. As such, residents who live near proposed drilling sites “said they see few options” for stopping new projects, the Post reported.

    • Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking

      Colorado residents fighting new oil and gas development — 53 wells and a fracking waste facility on the banks of the Colorado River — have turned to an untested state rule in a last-ditch push for protection.

      The proposed Ursa Resources wells here, drilled within 1,000 feet of Battlement Mesa homes, also would be near a public water system and a state wildlife area.

      Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials have raised concerns, warning that six storage tanks at the waste injection facility “creates a significant contamination risk to the public water supply” and that a spill could hurt wetlands and the river.

    • A hint of hell: fires in Canada and PUC pipeline dishonesty

      The firestorm in Alberta’s Fort McMurray grew eight times as large in a couple of days—engulfing more than 600,000 acres.

      Not just one fire, it was series of fires, and as the fire enlarged, it created its own storm systems.

      The fire has not yet been put out, although it moved away from the city, ravaging the Wood Buffalo National Park and forests in the north.

    • Trudeau government faces crucial decisions in coming months

      But the Trudeau government will need to decide this December on the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain export pipeline.

    • Vandana Shiva: Small Farmers Are Foundation to Food Security, Not Corporations Like Monsanto

      May 22 has been declared International Biodiversity Day by the United Nations. It gives us an opportunity to become aware of the rich biodiversity that has been evolved by our farmers as co-creators with nature. It also provides an opportunity to acknowledge the threats to our biodiversity and our rights from IPR monopolies and monocultures.

      Just as our Vedas and Upanishads have no individual authors, our rich biodiversity, including seeds, have been evolved cumulatively. They are a common heritage of present and future farm communities who have evolved them collectively. I recently joined tribals in Central India who have evolved thousands of rice varieties for their festival of “Akti.” Akti is a celebration of the relationship of the seed and the soil and the sharing of the seed as a sacred duty to the Earth and the community.

  • Finance

    • Texas’ Largest Jail Accused Of Jailing Poor People Because They Don’t Have Money

      Maranda Lynn ODonnell’s supposed crime was small. On May 18, she was arrested for allegedly driving with an invalid license. But the 22-year-old mother says she was still jailed for two days at the Harris County Jail in Texas, kept away from her four-year-old daughter and her new job at a restaurant.

      If ODonnell had more money, she would have been able to go home immediately. But she doesn’t have many resources. She can’t afford her own home, so she and her daughter stay with a friend. She relies on WIC benefits to feed her child. She lives paycheck to paycheck. So when she was told she either had to pay a $2,500 bail after her arrest or be detained, she was stuck in the jailhouse.

    • The BlackRock Dilemma: To End Short-Termism, Reform CEO Pay

      In April, Gretchen Morgenson boldly called out the hypocrisy of BlackRock pillorying corporate short-termism while the investment giant simultaneously approved more than 96 percent of executive pay packages last fiscal year. She also described one BlackRock investor’s intrepid campaign to better align the company’s supposed philosophy with its executive pay practices: Stephen Silberstein, a retired software company founder, wrote a shareholder proposal for reform, and BlackRock investors and shareholders in general (including anyone with a pension or college savings) should take heed.

      The important connection between short-termism and executive pay that Morgenson and Silberstein are making is not widely understood. People who object to America’s grotesque CEO pay practices usually do so in terms of fairness, which is an argument that certainly has its own merit. But what many Americans are not aware of is how bad CEO pay practices are for the economy, particularly in terms of how they are so tied up with short-termism.

    • The Joys of Accountancy and Tents

      It is not a small point. Empires live on their accounting – some of the oldest documents in the world are surviving accounts of Mesopotamian empires, indelibly inscribed on clay tablets. The commercial origins of the EIC made accounting even more central to its culture. The pressure on Burnes over accounts was a major worry; if the government repudiated his bills he could be ruined.

    • “Print the Money”: Trump’s “Reckless” Proposal Echoes Franklin and Lincoln

      Paying the government’s debts by just issuing the money is as American as apple pie – if you go back far enough. Benjamin Franklin attributed the remarkable growth of the American colonies to this innovative funding solution. Abraham Lincoln revived the colonial system of government-issued money when he endorsed the printing of $450 million in US Notes or “greenbacks” during the Civil War. The greenbacks not only helped the Union win the war but triggered a period of robust national growth and saved the taxpayers about $14 billion in interest payments.

    • With More Americans Going Far Left (And Right), an Anti-Corporate Agenda Takes Shape

      A recently released study by four leading economists of voting in U.S. congressional races uncovered an important pattern. According to a New York Times report on the study, “Areas hardest hit by trade shocks were much more likely to move to the far right or the far left politically.” Job losses, especially to China, the authors noted, lead voters to strongly favor either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

    • Sanders to Senate Dems: Do You Stand with Puerto Rico or with Wall Street?

      As a U.S. House committee prepares to take up the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is calling on his U.S. Senate colleagues to oppose the bill, which he says “would make a terrible situation even worse.”

      In a letter to Senate Democrats issued Monday, Sanders said: “We have an important choice to make. Do we stand with the working people of Puerto Rico or do we stand with Wall Street and the Tea Party? The choice could not be clearer.”

      PROMESA (pdf) would allow Puerto Rico restructure $72 billion in debt, while establishing an unelected outside control board to oversee the territory’s fiscal matters—a top demand from Republicans.

    • Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

      As readers know, I have seen some optimism in voters support for Trump and Sanders as neither are members of the corrupt Republican and Democratic political establishments. Members of both political establishments enrich themselves by betraying the American people and serving only the interest of the One Percent. The American people are being driven into the ground purely for the sake of more mega-billions for a handful of super-rich people.

      Neither political party is capable of doing anything whatsoever about it, and neither will.

      The optimism that I see is that the public’s support of outsiders is an indication that the insouciant public is waking up. But Americans will have to do more than wake up, as they cannot rescue themselves via the voting booth. In my opinion, the American people will remain serfs until they wake up to Revolution.

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

      We’ve heard a lot about Wall Street reform in this presidential primary season. Most of the attention has been on the need to break up the “too big to fail” banks, curbing short-term speculation, and reining in executive bonuses.

      But we also need to create a financial system that serves the everyday need for accessible, affordable financial services. Nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are at least partially outside the financial mainstream, or underserved by traditional banks. A shocking 54 percent of African-American and 47 percent of Latino households are underserved.

    • Locked Out of the American Dream

      The Urban League recently released its annual report on the State of Black American economics, within its pages a bleak picture is painted for African Americans. The report, titled “Locked Out,” shows that in most ways, Black Americans are unable to participate in the American economy.

    • Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

      …poor Americans are becoming increasingly ‘disposable’ in our winner-take-all society. After 35 years of wealth distribution to the super-rich, inequality has forced much of the middle class towards the bottom, to near-poverty levels, and to a state of helplessness in which they find themselves being blamed for their own misfortunes.

      The evidence keeps accumulating: income and wealth — and health — are declining for middle-class America. As wealth at the top grows, the super-rich feel they have little need for the rest of society.

    • What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters

      It’s being blamed on the Brexit jitters. But the weakness in the UK economy that the latest figures reveal is actually a symptom of a much deeper malaise. Britain has never properly recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. At the end of 2015, inflation-adjusted income per capita in the UK was only 0.2% higher than its 2007 peak. This translates into an annual growth rate of 0.025% per year. How pathetic this performance is can be put into perspective by recalling that Japan’s per capita income during its so-called “lost two decades” between 1990 and 2010 grew at 1% a year.

      At the root of this inability to stage a real recovery is the serious imbalance that has developed in the past few decades – namely, the over-development of the UK financial sector and the atrophy of manufacturing. Right after the 2008 financial crisis there was a widespread recognition that the ballooning financial sector needed to be reined in. Even George Osborne talked excitedly for a while about the “march of the makers”. That march never materialised, however, and manufacturing’s share of GDP has stagnated at around 10%.

    • Over 1,500 Organizations Call on Congress to Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Seizing Chance, Sanders Makes Bold Progressive Picks to Shape DNC Platform
    • What Does Bernie Want?
    • The Return of Democratic Socialism

      Democratic socialism used to be a vibrant force in American life. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Socialist Party of America, headed by the charismatic union leader, Eugene V. Debs, grew rapidly, much like its sister parties in Europe and elsewhere: the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party, and dozens of similar parties that voters chose to govern their countries. Publicizing its ideas through articles, lectures, rallies, and hundreds of party newspapers, America’s Socialist Party elected an estimated 1,200 public officials, including 79 mayors, in 340 cities, as well as numerous members of state legislatures and two members of Congress. Once in office, the party implemented a broad range of social reforms designed to curb corporate abuses, democratize the economy, and improve the lives of working class Americans. Even on the national level, the Socialist Party became a major player in American politics. In 1912, when Woodrow Wilson’s six million votes gave him the presidency, Debs–his Socialist Party opponent–drew vast, adoring crowds and garnered nearly a million.

    • Watch: John Oliver Perfectly Nails 10 Reasons Why Our Primary System Is Deeply Broken
    • John Oliver: Primary System Is a Broken, Counterintuitive ‘Cluster- – - – ’
    • The Divide Between Elite and Public Opinion on Healthcare Highlights America’s Democratic Deficit

      In 2014, the political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page released a study revealing that, “In the United States…the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose.”

      Often called the “democratic deficit,” this disconnect between public policy and public opinion is one that, for many, supports the conclusion that the United States is a democracy in name only.

      In their rhetorical flourishes and stump speeches, American political figures, from the president to members of Congress to this year’s presidential candidates, pay fealty to the desires of the public, some more genuinely than others. But even the most cursory examination is enough to show that actual policy decisions often differ wildly from those promised on the campaign trail.

    • Should Dems Be Freaking Out? In First, National Polling Average Shows Trump Over Clinton

      Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders continues to trounce the presumptive GOP nominee by double digits

      [...]

      At the same time, Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders continues to best both Clinton and Trump in favorability ratings (43 percent hold a positive view of the Vermont senator versus 36 percent who have a negative view) and maintains a double-digit lead over the Republican candidate.

    • Why Trump Might Win

      A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie, with Trump leading Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters. That’s an 11 percent swing against Clinton since March.

      A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, also released Sunday, shows Clinton at 46 percent to Trump’s 43 percent. Previously she led 50 percent to 39 percent.

      Polls this far before an election don’t tell us much. But in this case they do raise a serious question.

      [...]

      Americans who feel like they’re being screwed are attracted to an authoritarian bully – a strongman who will kick ass. The former reality TV star who repeatedly told contestants they were “fired!” appears tough and confrontational enough to take on powerful vested interests.

    • Bill Clinton Brought Democrats Back to Life: A Zombie Idea That Won’t Die

      “No one doubted that he had given new life to the party”? Actually, plenty of people have doubted this (e.g., Jeff Cohen, L.A. Times, 8/9/00). But since corporate media keep pushing the fantasy of Bill Clinton as savior of the Democratic Party, it’s worth going over the reality once again.

      [...]

      The Democrats had big losses on the state level under Clinton as well. From the late 1950s onward, Democrats had a big advantage in state houses that continued almost unbroken through the Nixon and Reagan eras. That ended in 1994; since then, party control of state legislatures has on balance favored Republicans.

    • Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning

      The Bernie or Busters want to see him run as an independent or throw in with the Greens and Jill Stein. That absolutely ain’t gonna happen, so the dynamic of General Washington morphing into Benedict Arnold will be an interesting one to observe as the Democrats slouch toward Philly. The Sanders campaign has been splintering for weeks, Buzzfeed reports, struggling with the transition from revolutionary leaders to cheerleaders for Hillary. This is a sad and delicate dance that Bernie is performing, and it will have an ugly ending. Think Jesus in the Garden before the crucifixion and resurrection to emerge as the Savior against Trump.

    • Study: China’s Government Fabricates About 488 Million Social Media Posts Every Year

      For years, the Chinese government has been widely suspected of hiring thousands of paid commenters using fabricated accounts to argue in favor of the government on social media sites.

      This presumed army of trolls is dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because of the rumored rate of pay per post – 50 cents in Chinese Yuan, or about $0.08.

    • Expecting Sanders Supporters to “Close Ranks?”

      When the Clinton campaign and the corporate press call for Sanders to drop out and turn his supporters over to Hillary, they reveal just how out of touch they are. Sanders’ army is not his to command. They arose out of a profound dissatisfaction over politics as usual, and many – if not most – will not be persuaded to vote for a status quo politician they perceive to be part of the problem, no matter how frightening a Trump Presidency could be.

    • How to Make the Democratic Nominating Process Actually Democratic

      In late July, delegates to the Democratic National Convention will gather in Philadelphia, not only to nominate a president and vice president but to debate a reform agenda for the party itself. Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution is centered on democratizing U.S. politics, including the Democratic Party, and his delegation will number at least 1,700. “Big money out and voters in” should be their rallying cry; spending on the 2016 election is on track to exceed the 2012 record of $7 billion.

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Progressive Challenger

      Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced in an interview released late Saturday that he would be backing Tim Canova, the progressive challenger running to unseat incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.) in the congressional race for Florida’s 23rd district.

      Wasserman Schultz has been a highly controversial chair of the DNC this primary season, and is widely perceived by many Sanders supporters as rigging the primary to bolster establishment candidate Hillary Clinton over Sanders’ progressive campaign.

      “Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told Jake Tapper of CNN’s State of the Union. “His views are much closer to mine than to Wasserman Shultz’s.”

    • This Could Be Make-or-Break Monday for Bernie Sanders

      Monday is a critical day in Bernie Sanders’ historic, insurgent campaign for president. It’s the last day Californians can register to vote in the state’s high-stakes presidential primary.

      The Sanders campaign is counting on high voter turnout to win big in the Golden State and five other states in the final Super Tuesday round of primaries June 7. So far, the news is encouraging for the Vermont senator: More than 850,000 new voters have registered for the 2016 California elections.

    • On ‘SNL,’ ‘Hillary’ Admits to ‘Bernie’ the System Is Rigged as They Toast Wasserman Schultz (Video)

      While the most recent “Saturday Night Live” clip featuring Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton is full of truthy nuggets—such as what a “schmuck” the Vermont senator was to brush away the “damn emails” that could’ve “sunk” Clinton—it also shows some bias toward the former secretary of state, much like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    • Why Hating the Media Could Make the Difference in November

      The winning candidate may be the one who most successfully stirs the public’s mistrust of journalists and journalism.

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

      The Democratic National Committee chair has thrown fuel on the flames of infighting just as the party faces a critical November election.

    • Down the 2016 Primary Home Stretch: What the DNC Doesn’t Seem to Get

      There is the cry for Bernie to break free from the obviously Clinton-biased behavior of the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wassermann Schultz. That camp wants Bernie to run as an Independent if he does not win the Democratic nomination. Some look forward to forming a completely new political party that is more responsive to the people and less beholden to special interests and big money. Many in this camp are done with the DNC.

    • Elizabeth Warren Carries the Sword for Democrats in Their Crusade Against Donald Trump

      As some politicians opt to lay down their swords and acquiesce to the tour de farce that is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Senator Elizabeth Warren is stepping up her attacks, engaging in yet another Twitter battle with the presumptive Republican nominee Thursday night.

    • Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

      Donald Trump’s top foreign policy adviser has quietly opened backchannels within Muslim and Middle Eastern communities in the U.S. in an attempt to win over a small but increasingly important voting bloc.

      Walid Phares, a top national security adviser for Trump, has been courting prominent Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists in the U.S.

      Some Muslim Republicans and conservative Middle Eastern activists have also engaged with other top campaign officials about furthering Trump’s outreach to those communities.

      In a Friday phone interview with The Hill, Phares said Trump campaign officials had not directed him to engage with the groups. Rather, he described the talks as a natural extension of the relationships he’s built over decades of policy work on Middle Eastern affairs.

      Phares said that he initiated contact with several individuals and groups to ask them to organize for Trump or to sell them on Trump’s positions in hopes that they’d at some point support the likely GOP nominee.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The NRA Wants Ex-Felons To Have Guns But Not Voting Rights

      The National Rifle Association wants convicted felons to be able to purchase firearms, yet its leaders are lambasting efforts to restore voting rights to the same people.

    • Refugees Unwelcome in Australia: Reading the Signs of a Humanitarian Crisis

      In fact, refugees tend to be a fairly educated bunch — one needs some smarts to traverse hell and high water to resettle in a new country. Moreover, many refugees might be fleeing situations in which they were targeted precisely for their educational and social status. Perhaps they had applied their critical thinking skills to challenge authoritarianism and champion democracy, or were talented artists who defended free expression against state censorship. In fact, Australia, which received in 2014 less than 1 percent of the global transnational refugee flow, tends to receive a self-selecting demographic of relatively well-credentialed people, whose human capital is exactly what made them vulnerable in their home countries.

    • Rebecca Gordon: Terror, Torture and US Wars of Vengeance Diminish Our Humanity

      Because here it is 2016, and no one has been held accountable for the crimes committed in the so-called war on terror. One result is what we’ve seen during the current season of primary elections: Republican candidates for president are competing to see who can promise to commit the most crimes.

    • Austria Is On The Brink Of Electing Europe’s First Far-Right President Since WWII

      The Austrian presidential election is currently too close to call, putting the country on the brink of electing Western Europe’s first democratically-elected far-right leader since World War II.

    • Reform or Revolution

      Karl Leibknecht, who had coaxed a reluctant Luxemburg into an uprising she knew was almost certainly doomed, had been executed a few moments before. The Spartacus Revolt was crushed. It was the birth of German fascism.

      The killers, like the police who murder unarmed people of color in the streets of American cities, were tried in a court—in this case, a military court—that issued tepid reprimands. The state had no intention of punishing the assassins. They had done what the state required.

      The ruling Social Democratic Party of Germany created the Freikorps, which became the antecedent to the Nazi Party. It ordered the militias and the military to crush resistance when it felt threatened from the left. Luxemburg’s murder illustrated the ultimate loyalties of liberal elites in a capitalist society: When threatened from the left, when the face of socialism showed itself in the streets, elites would—and will—make alliances with the most retrograde elements of society, including fascists, to crush the aspirations of the working class.

    • Mira Nair on Who Decides What’s ‘Marginal’ and Why People Need to Tell Their Own Stories

      Founder of the Maisha Film Lab in Kampala for aspiring East African filmmakers, Nair sat down with Truthdig to talk about who decides what’s “marginal,” the importance of having people tell their own stories and how “Queen of Katwe” is not about a poor girl triumphing against all odds.

    • Machine Bias

      There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

    • Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

      In all the wringing of hands about the violence at the end of the Hibs/Rangers Scottish cup final, there is a reluctance to tackle the root of the question. The debate has in recent weeks been reinvigorated over the Scottish law banning sectarian songs and displays at football matches, with speculation that the Scottish Parliament will now have a majority for lifting it. Public mass displays of hate speech do not to me come under freedom of speech. My guide as usual is the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who stated that to argue that corn merchants are parasites who thrive on the misery of the poor is freedom of speech. To yell the same thing to an armed mob outside a corn merchant’s house at night is not. That seems a precise analogy to sectarian songs in football grounds and Mill – whose father was from Montrose – is right.

      But sensible as the ban is, it does nothing to tackle the cause of sectarian hatred. The greatest cause is segregated education. It is difficult to hate people when you grow up amongst them, share your earliest friendships and experiences with them, and learn together. It is easy to hate people when you are taught from your most innocent youth that they are different, and are forcibly segregated from them by the state for all the time you spend outside the family environment in young childhood. They are the other, different, rivals, the enemy. Name-calling, stone throwing, hostile chanting, sectarian singing and your football banner and scarf all ensue in obvious and logical succession.

    • Indonesia needs to stop acting as a “big brother”

      Tensions between Indonesia and Singapore are simmering as a kerfuffle is developing over the decision by a Singaporean court to grant a warrant to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for an Indonesian businessman suspected of involvement in last year’s forest fires. The warrant was obtained after the businessman, whose identity remains hidden, failed to turn up for an interview with the Singaporean authorities while he was in the city-state.

      The saga took an interesting twist as Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied its counterpart’s repeated claims that a formal complaint against the warrant had been lodged by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.

    • Syrian refugees bring life back to Swedish city – with shisha clubs and falafel cafes

      When Fisal Abo Karaa stepped off the train in Malmö’s central station this time last year, exhausted after a long journey by train and boat, he looked like any other victim of Syria’s terrible civil war.

      It wasn’t until April, when Malmö’s main shopping street was filled with the sound of Syrian bagpipes, drums and dancing that he made his presence felt. The opening of Jasmin Alsham, his new restaurant, was the most visible sign yet of an unexpected injection of Syrian money hitting Sweden’s third city.

      Abo Karaa and his partners have invested a rumoured five million Swedish kronor (£400,000) converting what was once a Pizza Hut into a replica Damascene house. It is one of five Syrian restaurants to have opened in less than a year. “There are people saying that the Syrians have come and want to buy up everything,” says Ibrahim, a hairdresser and member of the Nahawand shisha smoking club, a meeting place for the city’s established Arab businessmen.

    • The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education

      Student Protest, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Rise of the Corporate University

    • Second Freddie Gray Trial Ends in Acquittal, Surprises No One

      Nero was one of three officers on bike patrol who chased Gray on April 27 last year, before arresting him and loading him unrestrained into a police van, sending him off on a ride that left him with a severed spine. Nero was charged with second degree assault and misconduct in office, but his defense attorneys argued that he played a marginal role in the arrest. Another officer, Garrett Miller, testified that he alone arrested Gray.

    • Baltimore Police Officer Found Not Guilty in the ‘Rough Ride’ Death of Freddie Gray

      After a mistrial in the first case and now an acquittal the question is whether anyone will be held responsible for the Baltimore man’s death in police custody.

    • BREAKING: Officer Involved In Freddie Gray Death Found Not Guilty On All Counts
    • That’s How It Is These Days

      Another brutal white cop just walked in Baltimore, where a judge acquitted Edward Nero of all charges in the death of Freddie Gray. The bike cop who initially arrested Gray for being a black guy who acted wary of police long wielding criminal power over his and other black lives, Nero was found not guilty of assault. Or reckless endangerment. Or two counts of misconduct in office. Or anything. This, for handcuffing, shackling and throwing Gray into the van without any restraints that might prevent him from getting slammed into its sides, thus breaking his neck on any ensuing rough ride, which is what happened. The verdict came after a five-day bench trial. Circuit Judge Barry Williams, who is black, stressed the facts applied specifically to Nero’s case; five more trials remain.

    • Freddie Gray case: Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero found not guilty of all charges

      Prosecutors had argued that Nero committed an assault by detaining Gray without justification, while the reckless endangerment charge related to Nero’s role in putting Gray into an arrest wagon without buckling a seat belt. In closing arguments Thursday, Williams had skeptically questioned prosecutors about their theory of assault, which legal experts said was unprecedented.

    • Baltimore Officer Found Not Guilty on All Counts in Freddie Gray Case

      Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was found not guilty of all charges by a judge Monday morning for his role in the arrest and subsequent death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray.

      Nero, who is white, had faced charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and two counts of misconduct in office, all related to his role in Gray’s initial detention and arrest on April 12, 2015. Gray died one week after being taken into custody, having suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van.

    • Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga

      The Guardian published a stunning new chapter in the saga of NSA whistleblowers on Sunday, revealing a new key player: John Crane, a former assistant inspector general at the Pentagon who was responsible for protecting whistleblowers, then forced to become one himself when the process failed.

      An article by Mark Hertsgaard, adapted from his new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden, describes how former NSA official Thomas Drake went through proper channels in his attempt to expose civil-liberties violations at the NSA — and was punished for it. The article vindicates open-government activists who have long argued that whistleblower protections aren’t sufficient in the national security realm.

    • Solitary Confinement Is Used to Break People — I Know Because I Endured It

      Solitary confinement. Administrative segregation. Administrative detention. Restrictive housing. Temporary confinement. Protective custody. Appropriate placement. There are many names for solitary confinement. In the Illinois prisons where I was incarcerated, it was called “segregation,” but most of the women called it “seg” or “jail.” No matter the language, it is all solitary — and it is torture.

      Solitary confinement is being locked in a cell alone and segregated from the general population of the prison for 23 hours a day. More often than not, the allowed hour out does not happen. Meals are delivered through a slot in the door, which is kept locked except during the delivery of meals, mail and medication. Being in solitary means being handcuffed for transport to the shower or a visit.

    • Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks

      Fierce criticism has greeted the claim by the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, about the dangers of giving Turks easier entry to Europe. He said that for the EU “to offer visa-free access to 75 million Turks to stem the flow of migrants across the Aegean seems perverse, like storing gasoline next to the fire.” He warned that extreme right wing populist parties in Europe would benefit from the hostile reaction to a fresh wave of migrants as has happened already in Austria and beyond.

    • Cop sued for drawing gun on man filming him

      It’s been months since Ars reported about a Northern California police officer who unholstered his gun and looked ready to shoot a man whose crime appeared to be nothing more than filming that officer scouring the neighborhood.

      Officer David Rodriguez was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by officials from Rohnert Park, a city about 50 miles north of San Francisco. But his job was restored after the police department said the law enforcement official did nothing wrong. The video of the incident went viral and has been seen nearly half a million times on YouTube alone. The incident, in which Rohnert Park resident Don McComas and the officer were both filming each other, underscores that we are indeed living in a YouTube society—one in which there is distrust between the public and police, and one where footage speaks louder than words.

    • Sanders picks pro-Palestinian activist for Democratic platform committee

      Sen. Bernie Sanders has been given highly unusual say over the drafting of the Democratic Party platform this year even if, as expected, he loses the primary contest to Hillary Clinton.

      The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.

    • The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve

      Media Education Foundation’s new documentary THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND: ISRAEL’S PUBLIC RELATIONS WAR IN THE UNITED STATES, now available for sale, is quite simply the best primer yet produced for American audiences so to understand the conflict. It is a valuable tool that we all need to get into our local libraries and hold screenings of.

      Several months ago, in a matter that has little to do with these proceedings, I was asked a pretty easy question by a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology from my alma mater, a woman who once was fired from another university for merely saying the words “occupied territory”, “How did you become interested in the Palestinians?” I replied that it was the now-infamous scene where Dr. Norman Finkelstein righteously bellows at a crowd of know-nothing college students at Waterloo University in Canada, excerpted from the magnificent AMERICAN RADICAL.

      I guess everyone who knows this cause and its meaning has their own story like that. After so many years of hasbara and lies, one finally stumbles upon a piece of media that makes everything click. For some it was the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For others, it was the First Intifada. Still more were converted in the aftermath of the Oslo debacle. Regardless of what it is, there is a moment that occurs to every American when they just become overwhelmed by this revolting state of affairs and begin to study all they can about this conflict.

    • The Unraveling of Zionism?

      This sort of unraveling – the loss of growing numbers of traditional followers of an ideological movement – seems to be going on within the Zionist community, particularly among American Jews. Zionism is an ideological movement that preaches the God-given Jewish right to control and settle all of historical Palestine. Since the founding of Israel in 1948 the Zionists have also claimed that the “Jewish State” represents all of world Jewry, thus self-aware Jews owe allegiance to both Israel and its prevailing Zionist philosophy. However, in the last ten or so years that allegiance has been breaking down. In the U.S. a growing “disconnect” has been noted between the outlook and actions of the ideologically rigid leaders of major U.S. Jewish organizations (who remain uncritically supportive of Israel) and the increasingly alienated Jewish American rank and file whom, at least up until recently, the leaders claimed to represent. This gap has been repeatedly documented by several sources ranging from, Pew Research Center surveys, to the Jewish Forward newspaper, and the organization of Reform Judaism.

    • Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

      If you think this is impossible, consider this: the Iran deal was impossible. The Bernie Sanders campaign was impossible. Maybe some things that used to be impossible are now possible. Let’s put this proposition to the test. What kind of sacrifice is it to try? Not a very big one.

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals 35-Year Sentence For Leaking Files

      It’s been almost three years since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail for leaking a bunch of State Department cables to Wikileaks in what she claims was an act of whistleblowing (though, obviously, some disagree). As we noted in the past, even if you disagree with the whistleblowing claim, the leak did lead to some important discussions about what the US government was doing in certain areas and (contrary to some hyperbolic claims) did not lead to a single death. In addition, we’ve pointed out that people who were flat out selling secrets to the Russians, or simply full-on terrorists, have received lighter sentences. Something does not seem at all right with that.

      And now, Manning has officially appealed the conviction and sentence. The full filing is a massive 209 pages and seems to challenge just about everything about the case against Manning, and makes Constitutional arguments around the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment and Eighth Amendment.

    • Elijah Wood: Hollywood’s child sex abuse comparable to Jimmy Savile case

      Elijah Wood, the actor who took his first film role aged eight before starring in the Lord of the Rings movies, has said that organised sexual abuse of children in Hollywood is rife.

      Speaking to the Sunday Times, Wood said that although he had been protected as a child – mainly through the efforts of his mother, who stopped him going to parties – many of his peers were regularly “preyed upon”.

      Wood, now 35, drew parallels between such experiences and the prolific sexual abuse perpetrated by TV host Jimmy Savile. “You all grew up with Savile,” said Wood. “Jesus, it must have been devastating. Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organised. There are a lot of vipers in this industry – people who only have their own interests in mind.”

      “There is darkness in the underbelly,” he added. “If you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”

      The actor said he felt that such crimes continue to be unpunished because the victims “can’t speak as loudly as people in power”. “That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people. They can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”

    • Sanders Tells Deported Immigrant: ‘I Would Like You On This Side Of The Border’

      Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited to the U.S.-Mexico border wall in California over the weekend — and met with deported U.S. veteran Hector Barajas, who may not have been sent back to Mexico under Sanders’ policies.

      Speaking through the slotted steel border wall division, Sanders thanked Barajas for his service and said that deported individuals should have a chance to come back to the United States.

      “I would like you on this side of the border,” Sanders told Barajas.

      After he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, Barajas fired a weapon in an incident with someone — an event that he previously told ThinkProgress was induced by PTSD. That incident led to his arrest, which gave him a 20-year reentry ban. Barajas then received a lifetime ban after he was caught coming back to the United States to see his young daughter.

    • [Old] Attica Is All of Us: Cornel West on 40th Anniversary of Attica Prison Rebellion

      This week marks the 40th anniversary of another 9/11 tragedy: the Attica prison rebellion. On September 9, 1971, prisoners took over much of state prison in Attica, New York, to protest conditions at the maximum security prison. Then Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered state police to storm the facility on the morning of September 13. Troopers shot indiscriminately more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, killing 39 male prisoners and guards. After the shooting stopped, police beat and tortured scores of more prisoners, many of whom were seriously wounded but were initially denied medical care. After a quarter century of legal struggles, the state of New York would eventually award the surviving prisoners of Attica $12 million in damages. We play an excerpt from a September 9 commemoration at Riverside Church in New York City, “Attica Is All of Us,” featuring Cornel West, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race. “So, 40 years later, we come back to commemorate this struggle against the historical backdrop of a people who have been so terrorized and traumatized and stigmatized that we have been taught to be scared, intimidated, always afraid, distrustful of one another, and disrespectful of one another,” West says. “But the Attica rebellion was a countermove in that direction.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DTSA Litigation Updates

      In this newly filed DTSA case, Universal Protection (a company providing security guards, etc.) has sued its former employee Thornburg for trade secret misappropriation (as well as various breach contract claims involving his non-compete agreement and breach of loyalty). In the case, Thornburg apparently developed a good relationship as head of security for a customer (JBS) and decided to quit his job and start-up a competing company where he could charge the company less and make more money. The primary trade-secret at issue here is apparently the pricing plan provided to JBS and the security plan (developed by Thornburg while at JBS).

    • “Cybersecurity” Directive makes European Council appearance, but where is the Trade Secrets Directive?

      Nothing drives the AmeriKat more crazy than when things or people go AWOL. Thus, her fur bristled when the 17 May came and went but no big Council press release concerning the adoption of the EU Trade Secrets Directive that was passed by the European Parliament last month (see Kat posts here).

      Instead, the European Council adopted the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive during its first reading. The NIS Directive provides that operators of critical IT services (think energy, transport, health and finance) meet certain security obligations. Who falls within this category will be determined by each Member State, whereas digital service providers (such as search engines and cloud services) will be directly subject to the Directive. Member States are also required to cooperate in sharing information when tackling cybersecurity threats.

    • Copyrights

      • The Oracle-Google Case Will Decide the Future of Software

        The legal battle between Oracle and Google is about to come to an end. And nothing less is as stake than the future of programming. Today lawyers for both companies are set to make their closing arguments in the fight over whether Google’s use of the Java application programming interface (API)—an arcane but critically important part of the Android mobile operating system—was legal. Regardless of how the jury rules, the case has already had a permanent effect on the way developers build software.

      • Google vs Oracle: US jury to hear $9 billion lawsuit
      • Oracle sued Google over a hamburger, Java trial jury told

        That’s a Google lawyer’s message to jurors at the companies’ copyright infringement trial. Robert Van Nest showed the jury a menu with only “hamburger” written on it and likened it to the packages, or APIs, of Java programming code…

      • Chilean Bid to Help Authors Will Chill Audiovisual Content Online

        Authors around the world are realizing the benefits of sharing their work in new ways, finding new audiences by refusing to articipate in traditional methods of distribution and licensing. But a new proposal in Chile could undermine thatthose choices, at least for Chilean creators.

        In pursuing copyright reform around the world, we usually stress the need to balance the rights of users with those of copyright owners. But it’s also important to balance the rights of authors with those of copyright owners. Many people understandable think they are the same people. But they often aren’t. Authors (including artists, songwriters and filmmakers) routinely give up their copyrights to large companies in exchange for those companies handling the marketing and management of their work. If the terms of this exchange are unfair, because of the company’s greater bargaining power, this can leave the author in a precarious position (the story of Little Richard selling the rights to Tutti Frutti for $50 is illustrative).

        A current proposal in Chile shows how hard it is to address this tension without trampling on the rights of secondary users and undermining the burgeoning efforts to give authors more choices about how their works might be handled.

      • Paramount Apparently Going To Drop Lawsuit Against Axanar Fan Film, Produce ‘Guidelines’ For Fan Films

        Since December, we’ve been following the ridiculous Paramount/CBS lawsuit over a big crowdfunded Star Trek fan film called Axanar. While it is true that by raising over a million dollars on Kickstarter, and getting a professional team and actors behind it that Axanar started to blur the lines between a traditional fan film and a full-on professional production, it still seemed like a ridiculous and anti-fan move to sue. To some extent, it highlighted yet another problem with today’s copyright laws, which are woefully unprepared for the fact that the equipment is cheap enough and available enough for “amateur” work to be really, really good.

        We’d been covering the case, including the ridiculous overclaiming of copyrights by Paramount/CBS (including claiming a copyright over the Klingon language and “uniforms with gold stars.”) Things had just been starting to heat up and the judge was gearing up for a trial… when famed producer/director JJ Abrams announced at a fan event for the next film that the lawsuit was going away.

      • You’re Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts About Copyright, NY Times Edition

        The NY Times has an op-ed piece by Jonathan Taplin, claiming that Silicon Valley hates music, that is so chock full of out and out factual errors that it’s an embarrassment for the NY Times to have allowed it to be published. Is fact checking dead at the Gray Lady? It’s perhaps not as embarrassing for Taplin, who’s been spewing ridiculous falsehoods for years about how technology is out to destroy all creative culture. In the past we’ve had to correct his blatantly false statements, but it seems odd to us that the NY Times would let him publish a piece so devoid of facts. Let’s dig in and do some editing and fact checking that the NY Times apparently failed to do.

      • Fair Use Needs Protecting & All Abusers Need to Be Punished

        Fair use is an extremely important facet of copyright law and it needs to be defended when it’s wrongly targeted under the DMCA. So, let’s get down to business. Those who attempt to stifle it should get punished. And, to balance things up, those who blatantly claim fair use when it’s clearly not warranted should get punished too.

‘Celebrity’ Patent Trolls and the Elusive Battle Against Patent Trolls (or Eastern District of Texas Courts) Rather Than Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Media continues to highlight the symptoms (personified), but not the core issue/s

Erich Spangenberg

Summary: Some of last week’s more important reports, which serve to demonstrate how the system is attempting to tackle a side-effect of software patents rather than the patents themselves (their irrational scope)

“We are entering a Post-NPE world for patent litigation,” Kevin Rhodes, 3M counsel, is quoted as saying at a recent AIPLA meeting. “NPE” is just a euphemism for one of the worst types of trolls (a “type” being the business model and structure/formation/master/modus operandi). 3M itself can be rather aggressive and litigious, as we noted here in past years (e.g. monopoly on a colour).

The post-patent trolls world is sadly not within sight, whereas the post-Alice world often means that a lot of software patents, including those that patent trolls are using, simply perish in courts (the innocent defendants still lose a lot of money in legal fees).

Among the active patent trolls there are some who stand out and are ‘celebrities’, so to speak. Some of them got mentioned in the media last week.

Erich Spangenberg

One such celebrity troll (shown above) was mentioned in this previous post about Spangenberg at/with Marathon. This notorious patent troll, Spangenberg, goes further and targets more geographies now (MIP took note of it last week). A pro-trolls site, IAM, says: “A couple of stories hit the news last week which might give some in the patent industry reason to hope that the market is beginning to turnaround. First up was the announcement that Erich Spangenberg was joining Marathon Patent Group as director of acquisitions, licensing and strategy.”

According to MIP’s summary: “Marathon Patent Group has named Erich Spangenberg as director of acquisitions, licensing and strategy. He will spend most of his time in Europe and Asia working with large corporate patent owners on monetisation opportunities” (“monetisation” is euphemism for shakedown using threats if not legal bullying as well).

Jay Mac Rust

Recall Jay Mac Rust, who sent out nastygrams to 16,465 businesses some years back, trying to effectively blackmail them using ludicrous patents. This has become an epic example of the harms of patent trolls. According to this new report, Jay Mac Rust is now being sued by the SEC. What took so long? To quote the report: “The SEC filed suit in Manhattan federal court against Jay Mac Rust, a Stephenville, Texas-based lawyer who also owns the litigious patent holder MPHJ Technology Investments LLC, and Christopher Brenner, a onetime Fulbright & Jaworski and Bracewell lawyer now at Houston’s Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom. The SEC alleges that Rust and Brenner perpetuated a fraud by Atlantic Rim Funding, a purported loan company operated by “a convicted felon and recidivist securities law violator” who is identified in the complaint as “Individual X.” (The suit indicates that Individual X is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence following an unrelated criminal securities fraud prosecution.)”

VENUE Act

“EFF Patent Reform isn’t going to happen,” wrote a person who focuses on eliminating software patents. “Probably better to overturn the precedent that allows cases to be filed in EDTX” (Eastern District of Texas).

The above alludes to this news and open letter from the EFF. It wrote the following to Senator Grassley:

You know this better than anyone: patent trolls are not an academic issue for Iowa businesses. They’re a serious threat. In the words of Ames businessman and repeat troll target Al Meyers, “The harm is real, as it reduces the investments that can be made to make Iowa’s and the nation’s products more competitive in the world market.”

We were glad when you told Politico that fighting trolls is still a top priority for you. EFF has a great deal of admiration for the Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (PATENT Act), a bill that you shepherded into the Senate. But we were puzzled to hear that you’re not planning for the Senate Judiciary Committee to move forward with the Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act (VENUE Act), a bill whose reforms complement those in the PATENT Act perfectly.

We wrote about the VENUE Act more than half a dozen times and we don’t think it will solve the biggest problems. It can cause inconvenience to patent trolls, but not eliminate them or their patents (usually software patents).

“I’m not going to give up on patent trolls,” Grassley told the press or the public. Here is one decent article about it, titled “Another patent reform bill just died in Congress”. Here are the relevant parts:

But Politico’s Morning Tech reported earlier this week that Grassley is “not looking at the venue bill because approving a smaller measure could hurt the chances of moving something more comprehensive later.” Indeed, while many in the tech sector support limiting venue choice, they would prefer a complete bill that addresses all issues at once.

Still, Grassley told the site, “I’m not going to give up on patent trolls.” Yet whether Grassley’s determination to advance legislative patent reform can withstand the deadening inertia of election-year politics remains to be seen.

In the past, as we noted here repeatedly, Grassley was involved in patent reform [1, 2] and he also took on Microsoft and Bill Gates [1, 2, 3], so we have respect for his intentions and courage.

Javris Article and Ed Lee Paper

There is a relatively new scholarly paper whose headline (title) says “Patent Trolls: Moral Panics, Motions in Limine, and Patent Reform” and it was mentioned by Professor Crouch’s site the other day. “I’ll highlight the Javris article once it is out,” Patently-O wrote. “Meanwhile, you may want to check-out the article by Professor Ed Lee (Kent-IIT) titled Patent Trolls: Moral Panics, Motions in Limine, and Patent Reform. The article “provides the first empirical study of the use of the term “patent troll” by U.S. media.””

Well, the definition of “patent troll” is quite clear and those who reject the term are unsurprisingly paid by patent trolls.

The problem popularly known as “patent trolls” is real, but debating it without context (like patent scope and a greedy patent office/courts with nepotism) is like speaking about the “war on terror” without entertaining the motivations, which include imperialism, economic disparity, religion and so on.

05.22.16

The Circus of Patent ‘Reporting’ (by Omission) on the Subject of Software Patents in the US and USPTO Bias

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like asking army generals about the needs of war…

Creating war

Summary: A look at some of the latest oddities in the US patent system and much of the reporting about software patenting (more or less monopolised by those who profit from it, not harmed by it)

THE USPTO keeps snubbing SCOTUS (the Supreme Court) and ignoring decisions like those which annihilate software patents, unlike the Enfish v Microsoft decision [1, 2, 3]. What kind of a rigged office is this? And it’s not even a private company, it’s portrayed or framed as an institution that exists for the common good.

Based on what we constantly find online, patent lawyers are now selling services (like a webinar in this case) around the uncertainty, promising to be the ‘experts’ for getting around the rules at the USPTO (while the USPTO often accommodates this, for various different nefarious reasons). Some people in this meta-industry even produce some kind of ‘cheatsheet’, or “Top Ten 101 Patent Eligibility Patent Drafting Rules…and an Enfish Sideshow,” as one patent attorney has just put it, linking to this PDF.

“See what David Kappos is doing nowadays on behalf of large corporations that pay him, including his former employer.”The USPTO, as we noted here several days ago, is heavily biased, sometimes by omission. It just wants to grant more and more patents, so restrictions (like patent scope limitations) are considered to be an ‘enemy’ and a perceived threat to ‘results’ (or ‘growth’). Matt Levy, whose wife works at the USPTO, has just posted a list of USPTO case studies following additional reports (patents ‘industry’ sites [1, 2]) which say that the USPTO adopts a pro-software patents decision, incorporating it into the examiners’ guidance. Why not do anything about a decision from the same court that was against software patents just a few days later? Or many dozens before it, which were also against software patents (at CAFC)? Let’s face it, this system is rigged and money (or moneyed interests, or large corporations with their lobbyists) determine what happens. See what David Kappos is doing nowadays on behalf of large corporations that pay him, including his former employer. Kappos was the Director of the USPTO until not so long ago, namely a few years. Like David Petraeus (see image above), the former CIA Director, David Kappos now makes a killing by selling influence and suggesting horrific policies to his ‘connections’ (doors have revolved). Kappos is paid to do this. His mouth is basically up for sale. He is a lobbyist of the most dangerous kind and thus a source of shame to the system he came from (as it’s indicative of institutional corruption).

As one might expect, especially because we showed dozens of examples in the past week alone, patent lawyers continue to ignore almost every CAFC case and instead cherry-pick to add ‘detergent’ to their shameless never-ending brainwash. Here are 4 new examples [1, 2, 3, 4]. They just keep cropping up at an amazing pace, sending across the message that software patents are now magically patentable again, provided one hires the ‘witty’ lawyers who write these columns. It’s all marketing. Lawyers are typically liars, with few exceptions in many people’s experience. They have a client to serve, they’re not judges. Brainwash from them can be found aplenty in the Oracle v Google case right now, where the jury and judge hardly know what FOSS and API are. Lawyers of Oracle mislead them every day (we post a lot of links about this case) and the more ignorant the judge and jury remain, the better off Oracle will be. In fact, this whole case is ludicrous and should have been thrown out before it even reached a court. Unfortunately, not programmers assess such cases for their actual merit (or lack thereof).

“They just keep cropping up at an amazing pace, sending across the message that software patents are now magically patentable again, provided one hires the ‘witty’ lawyers who write these columns.”Some of these same patents ‘industry’ sites now use the aforementioned cases to further stretch the limits of patenting (see “Patents For Self-referential Computer Database Are Not Categorically Unpatentable as Abstract”), but it isn’t exactly shocking, is it? We found only one single new report about the Vehicle Intelligence case (a case we have covered here for months), which resulted in software patents being chucked away, as is usually the case after Alice. That’s not what the patents ‘industry’ wants people to hear about, so it nonchalantly ignores this ruling.

IP3 Demonstrates That Today’s Patent Systems Devolve Into a Conglomerates’ Game, Won’t Protect the Mythical Small Inventor

Posted in Google, IBM, Patents at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This increasingly globalised system is not for the “small guy”

A small guy

Summary: Multinational corporations bring together their shared interests and steer the increasingly-inseparable patent systems according to their needs and goals, but has anyone even noticed?

For anyone who still thinks that patents are designed to protect the small guy/gal and/or his/her small company/ies… well, maybe this was true a long time ago. The USPTO moved in a bad direction quite some time ago and the EPO, led by Battistelli and his goons, trots in the same direction, notably (but not only) with the UPC. People’s rights and people’s wealth are under constant attack so that corporations’ power and wealth can increase and make way to greater dominance in an increasingly globalised world (overcoming environmental regulations, bypassing minimum wage laws, diminishing working conditions and so on). Just see what I.S.D.S. is all about when assessing the real motivation of TPP or TTIP (not just the forces behind them, those who prefer secrecy due to fear of public reaction). It’s class war, that’s what it boils down to.

Earlier this month and a month ago we wrote about Creative’s attempt to ban a lot of Android devices (at import level). TechDirt finally wrote about it just before the weekend:

It wasn’t enough that Creative Labs/Creative Technology spent March 24th suing almost every big name in the cell phone business for patent infringement. These lawsuits, all filed in the East Texas patent troll playground, asserted the same thing: that any smartphone containing a music app (which is every smartphone produced) violates the patent it was granted in 2005 to use in conjunction with its mp3 players. “Venue is proper” because smartphones are sold in Texas, even if the plaintiffs are located in California and Singapore, respectively.

That wasn’t all Creative Technology did. It also filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission seeking to block the import of smartphones from manufacturers like Sony, LG, BlackBerry, Samsung, etc. under the theory that every imported phone contains patent-infringing software. The ITC has opened an investigation of Creative’s allegations, which will at least hold off any potential import blocks until it reaches a decision. The ITC’s summary of Creative’s patent claims clearly shows how broad the patent’s potential coverage is — and (inadvertently) why it should be invalidated.

[...]

Google has decided it’s not going to wait around for the ITC or east Texas courts to come to the wrong conclusions. It’s gone on the offensive, seeking declaratory judgment that it does not violate Creative’s broad patent. Every company sued by Creative on March 24th sells Android phones that contain Google’s “Play Music” app. On behalf of its customers (and its own Motorola Mobility, which was also sued), Google wants Creative’s BS patent’s power neutered.

We already remarked on Creative’s real ‘business’ at present. This isn’t a case of David v. Goliath but more like Troll v. Google. This troll has an old brand and recognised name (in technology circles), so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening here. MPEG-LA operates similarly on behalf of giants like Microsoft and Apple.

“This troll has an old brand and recognised name (in technology circles), so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening here.”Incidentally, and probably without direct correlation to the above, some days ago the patent lawyers’ sites began floating ‘news’ about IP3 (new name, not a new thing), e.g. [1, 2]. The latter said: “This blog recently covered Google’s Patent Purchase Program, here and here. Google basically offered to consider purchasing submitted patents. The Program is back, but this time expanded with a new group of players under the title, “IP3 by Allied Security Trust.”

We wrote about this before, but it has just been expanded and rebranded (or renamed, to put it more politely). Here is what IAM (patent maximalist) wrote: “In many ways IP3, the new patent selling platform backed by the likes of Google, Apple, Ford, Microsoft and IBM that was announced on Wednesday, is a product of its time. It’s hard to imagine, say five years ago, Google and Apple jumping into bed together on anything patent-related – or for companies in very different industries pooling resources in the way they have for IP3. But today is different: with the smartphone wars almost at an end and everyone talking about convergence, IP3 reflects the more cooperative, partnership-based approach to IP strategy that a growing number of operating companies insist is their new ethos.”

“They just want more mega-corporations to coalesce and use their collective power for protectionism and a sort of cross-licensing with extra edge (battling small plaintiffs which target the well-funded cabal).”Notice the size of the backers and mind who they target with IP3. Is this the fairy tale which the patent systems’ biggest proponents try to tell us about when they defend further scope expansion and sharp increases in the number of patents? As if the more patents we have, the more ‘lone inventors’ are ‘protected’? Consider the cost of application, renewal, litigation, etc. It’s very prohibitive. Here goes IAM again, in its initial report about this: “A group of major patent-owning companies – Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Ford, Cisco and Facebook among them – have banded together to form the Industry Patent Purchase Program – or IP3 – providing patent owners with a streamlined way of selling their IP. The new initiative has been developed in conjunction with AST which will play the central role in administering the project. In effect it is the second iteration of Google’s Patent Purchase Promotion, which the search giant launched last summer and which saw it buy up a number of patents in a price range of $3,000 to $250,000.”

Can I join too? I have no patents, but I too would like this special/magical ‘protection’. The press release about IP3 is a big load of nonsense which is “Calling All Patent Owners”, so people like myself are obviously excluded. They just want more mega-corporations to coalesce and use their collective power for protectionism and a sort of cross-licensing with extra edge (battling small plaintiffs which target the well-funded cabal). What kind of arsenals are they pooling together?

“What all the above stories have in common is that they show patent empowerment by large corporations, their consortia, their trolls (or ‘pools’ like MPEG-LA) and at whose expense?”Speaking of Google, which is the key company in IP3, see the new article “Tech and Auto Firms Join Google-Led Patent Purchase Program” and recall what we recently wrote about the hoard of software patents on driving (not a new concept). Watch how Google is now stockpiling driving patents, as reported last week by dozens of publications, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4] (very limited list as an exhaustive one would be vast).

Google, unlike IBM, never suffered massive layoffs (not yet anyway), but would it become a patent aggressor like IBM recently became (using software patents)? Every company collapses sooner or later. No company exists for an eternity. See what happened to Nokia‘s mobile patents (Microsoft instructed Nokia to give these to Google-hostile trolls).

“This is highly regressive and it corrodes the spirit of the so-called ‘intellectual property’ system we are told to respect.”Dr. Glyn Moody has this new article about a patent we mentioned the other day. It shows just how far IBM’s patent lust has gone. To quote Moody: “Stories about copying turn up a lot on Techdirt. That’s largely as a consequence of two factors. First, because the Internet is a copying machine — it works by repeatedly copying bits as they move around the globe — and the more it permeates today’s world, the more it places copying at the heart of modern life. Secondly, it’s because the copyright industries hate unauthorized copies of material — which explains why they have come to hate the Internet. It also explains why they spend so much of their time lobbying for ever-more punitive laws to stop that copying. And even though they have been successful in bringing in highly-damaging laws — of which the DMCA is probably the most pernicious — they have failed to stop the unauthorized copies. [...] We’ve already seen Microsoft’s Protected Media Path for video, a “feature” that was introduced with Windows Vista; it’s easy to imagine something a little more active that matches the material you want to view or listen to against a database of permissions before displaying or playing it. And how about a keyboard that checks text as you type it for possible copyright infringements and for URLs that have been blocked by copyright holders? There is a popular belief that the computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was named “HAL” after IBM, by replacing each letter in the company name with its predecessor. That’s apocryphal, but with this latest patent application IBM is certainly moving squarely into HAL territory. ”

Yeah, some ‘innovation’…

And we all surely benefit, right?

From patent aggressor IBM, according to this new IAM report, a notorious character moved to Rovi (another patent aggressor) and now he lands inside HEVC Advance, which is a patent troll [1, 2] (IAM dares not say this term, so it would say only “PAE” or “pool”). Remember who is behind HEVC Advance. No ‘lone inventors’ at all. To quote IAM: “Technicolor – previously known as Thomson – has long been a leading media and entertainment business with a strong R&D focus, and has one of Europe’s biggest technology and patent licensing operations – first developed under the leadership of IP Hall of Famer Béatrix de Russé. In 2013, Boris Teksler was brought in to lead the company’s technology operation, with a remit that included IP; and when Teksler departed in June 2015 he was replaced by Stéphane Rougeot, who has now also left the company. As if that was not enough, for much of 2014 and early 2015, the Technicolor board was involved in a bitter dispute about the company’s future direction with shareholder Vector Capital. That has now been settled.”

What all the above stories have in common is that they show patent empowerment by large corporations, their consortia, their trolls (or ‘pools’ like MPEG-LA) and at whose expense? The same mythical character which the patent system was presumably created to protect. This is highly regressive and it corrodes the spirit of the so-called ‘intellectual property’ system we are told to respect.

Disrupting Battistelli’s Distracting Propaganda: EPO Staff to Protest Again in About a Fortnight

Posted in Deception, Europe, Marketing, Patents at 1:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blatter and Qatar

Summary: The overly extravagant (waste of money) EPO European Inventor Award will have to compete for media attention with thousands of EPO staff (in all EPO sites) marching in the streets to protest against the EPO’s abuses

THE EPO became a big bundle of scandals and it’s the fault of Battistelli along with his notorious ‘circle’, who allegedly subvert democracy and work around (if not run over) the EPC. At this stage, for people who work at the EPO, the imperative question to address is not “why protest?” but “why NOT protest?”

In just a few years, having already existed and thrived for many decades (almost half a century), the Office (EPO) turned into a laughing stock and a stock of unprecedented European scandals. This takes its toll on the institution (or Organisation) as a whole, bringing it to a state of crisis (by its own admission) if not the verge of collapse. What future will there be for EPO patent examiners if totally incompetent fools and rascals like Battistelli remain in charge for another couple of years? The EPO now damages the legitimacy of the European Union as a whole. This is not good.

“In just a few years, having already existed and thrived for many decades (almost half a century), the Office (EPO) turned into a laughing stock and a stock of unprecedented European scandals.”Earlier this month the French officials at Munich observed an EPO protest. Other French officials are well aware of the problem. As someone close to these actions put it (not to us directly, not even indirectly): “The French government has been fully informed of the problems caused by their compatriot Mr Battistelli, amongst others by Mr Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, Mr Philip Cordery, Ms Claudine Lepage and others. But we have not seen much effort (diplomatic or otherwise) of the French government to address the situation. It therefore seems me to [sic] remind the French government of the situation at the EPO. The demonstration has been authorised by the German local authorities.”

Separately, in relation to these recent actions, one person wrote: “Staff should not wait for the cavalry to come in on their own impulse and solve all the EPO Problems, let alone rescue its employees. By the me the outside observer will note the state of decay (quantity, motivation, quality, service, etc…), it will be way too late. Hence it is today all the more urgent for staff to show that the world in the EPO is not as the President describes it, let alone as the Gazette attempts to make it look like. According to the Technologia Survey, reality today is that the situation in the EPO is worse than ever: for those “férus de Benchmarking”, it is reported to be worse than the crisis at France Télécom ever was…”

“The EPO now damages the legitimacy of the European Union as a whole. This is not good.”There are several bogus ‘studies’ in the making right now. We know about these and we know what they were designed (by EPO management) to show. It’s more like think tanks or lobbying, not genuine surveys or research, for reasons we noted here earlier this month. In addition to these so-called ‘studies’ (produced to help influence politicians) there is also that stupid propaganda event which strives to create bogus press coverage from “media partners” of the EPO. SUEPO has scheduled a demonstration to coincide with this propaganda event, but we don’t expect the EPO’s “media partners” to even mention such a demonstration, having witnessed how they deleted entire paragraphs which made the horrible ‘error’ of covering criticism expressed at the event itself. Here are SUEPO’s words, noting the lack of progress from Battistelli (he should get sacked shortly after this event unless he manages to 'buy'/secure his seat in nefarious ways that he's now renowned for). To quote: “No progress has been made on staff’s claims (see e.g. last call for strike “Lawfulness at the EPO”). There is also no sign that Mr Battistelli intends to respect the March resolution of the Administrative Council. On the contrary: new controversial reforms are planned (EPO health insurance, dismissal procedure, post-employment obligations), some already for decision in the next meeting of the Administrative Council on 29-30 June. In order to flag the lack of progress to the Administrative Council, a demonstration at all four places of employment is planned for Thursday 9 June. The demonstration will coincide with the EPO European Inventor Award ceremony in Lisbon.”

This is clever timing. The strike probably ought to have coincided with the Administrative Council’s meeting, but Team Battistelli used what looked (at the time) like delaying tactics. “The demonstration will coincide with the EPO European Inventor Award ceremony in Lisbon,” says the above. It’s going to hurt Team Battistelli where it hurts because the EPO’s PR people are working in the weekend again (both Saturday and Sunday), helping to distract from the scandals [1, 2] using the European Inventor Award. It’s all just ‘damage control’ and this is all they have been doing for about a month now. Can SUEPO crash the propaganda event? If not, how about taking aim at Team Battistelli’s ‘baby’, the UPC?

“The strike probably ought to have coincided with the Administrative Council’s meeting, but Team Battistelli used what looked (at the time) like delaying tactics.”According to this new tweet, Team Battistelli is still in self-fulfilling prophecy mode (trying to pretend that it’s all over and done, even when it’s not) regarding the UPC. To quote: “Its interesting that the guys at the EPO information booth at AIPLA were confident that Brexit would fail–Whistling past the graveyard?”

Remember that the UPC is at stake when it comes to Brexit and it’s anything but a done deal for various other reasons. Even the EPO’s mouthpiece, writing about the bride-like EPO, finally acknowledges that Brexit matters (some British patent lawyers previously tried to deny this). To quote today’s columns from IAM’s editor: “In one month and one day, the UK electorate will be deciding the immediate, and perhaps the permanent, future of the proposed EU unitary patent and Unified Patent Court regime. That’s because on 23rd June, the British will vote on whether they want the UK to remain a member of the European Union. As discussed previously on here, if they do vote to Remain, within a year we can expect to see both the patent and the UPC up and running.”

But there are other barriers, the least of which are Britain’s potential exit, Finland’s potential exit (an EU membership referendum there would be far from a close call, based on polls), and Spain’s longtime opposition.

“Nothing would anger Battistelli and his goons more than seeing the defunct UPC ‘project’ go down in a fiery downward trajectory.”We invite EPO workers to join a good cause and help secure the economy of Europe. We ask them to remind their management not to patent everything under the Sun (common trap when maximising the wrong parameter, like a businessman rather than a scientist) and if this means rejecting the UPC, then so be it.

Nothing would anger Battistelli and his goons more than seeing the defunct UPC ‘project’ go down in a fiery downward trajectory. This would not only avenge (for his many abuses) but it might also help restore the ‘old’ EPO, before all that “EU Patent” or “Community Patent” or “UPC” overhaul got drawn up, with help and collaboration from large applicants (not even European, just a bunch of billionaires with lobbyists all over the world). The UPC has many similarities/parallels with TPP and TTIP, as we explained before.

Corrupting Democracy? Growing Frequency of Rumours That the EPO’s President Battistelli is ‘Buying’ Votes of Small Member States

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The best vote/ballot money can buy or just an incredible coincidence?

EU flagSummary: Several sources suggest that rather than appease the Administrative Council by taking corrective action Battistelli and his notorious ‘circle’ now work hard to remove opposition from the Administrative Council, especially where this is easier a task to accomplish (politically or economically)

THE EPO is an institution like no other institution. Even FIFA/UEFA pale in comparison to the abuses at the EPO, but since more people understand football (than complex subjects like patents) media attention has been grossly disproportionate. The media in Europe has been mostly uncooperative, apathetic and unwilling to give thought/iota/space to EPO staff’s complaints. We already wrote many hypotheses or theories about why this may be, ranging from national interests of Germany, the “better good” of the European Union, the corporate ties of large media operations, and so forth.

“Even FIFA/UEFA pale in comparison to the abuses at the EPO, but since more people understand football (than complex subjects like patents) media attention has been grossly disproportionate.”Whatever one knows about the EPO, in reality it’s probably a lot worse. I have written more than 700 articles about the EPO specifically (not just as a side issue) and the lack of intervention/involvement from authorities is truly jaw-dropping. I have never come across anything like this (having run this site for a decade).

Continuing a string of anonymous comments (as anonymous as they can be over at Google’s Blogspot), one person wrote about sanctions against EPO staff that already left the Office:

Still, imposing restrictions upon someone who is no longer an employee of the EPO is a significant step further than everything that has gone before – even the retroactive extension of the period by which an employee may be suspended before a final decision is taken on their case (or, if we are speaking bluntly, extension of the period by which an employee might be “detained without trial”!).

As I understand it, the deal that every EPO employee signed up to was that the EPO would have no claim to infringe or limit the liberty of the employee after they left the employ of the EPO. It would therefore simply be impossible for any court of an EU Member State to validate a “condition of employment” that was unilaterally imposed (i.e. without consent of the employee, or even any form of additional compensation) and that purported to limit the liberty of an individual beyond the term of the contract of employment.

I know that we are operating in Eponia here, and not the EU. Nevertheless, the fact that the above is such a blatantly unarguable point means that, even if the AC erred in rubber-stamping previous proposals, they would really have no excuse for making the same mistake on this occasion.

As another person put it, citing/highlighting the amazing behaviour of Mr. Minnoye (on public television, nothing less!):

Very true. They would have no excuse.
But if they made the mistake, who would call them to account?
Remember, they enjoy “immunity” for their actions.
Some court or tribunal might at some far distant date find the measure to be unlawful.
But even that is my no mean certain.
Do you think they will loose any sleep over such trivia?
Remember Wille Minnoye’s famous words on Netherlands television.

We have been hearing for a while, from 4 sources by now (including this from today), that Team Battistelli — seeking to protect itself from justice (people like Minnoye included) — sought to stack panels and warp the vote in the same way that DNC does it in the United States (e.g. in Nevada more recently).

Here is, once again, a claim that Battistelli “is literally buying the votes of the small countries.” We wrote about this two days ago and here it is again:

The idea that some restrictions were applicable to employees after they left the EPO has always been in the service regulations. It makes sense: the EPO is dealing with confidential matter (unpublished applications), the employees are bound to confidentiality even after they left.

All these have always existed and have always been a potential problem: confidentiality, lack of independent justice, internal sickness insurance, lack of control on spending, etc… But it has never been an acute problem because it was never systematically abused (although some limited abuse was already there). The EPO has functioned quite well for the last 30+ years.

The problem today is that someone is systematically (ab)using the regulations and even strengthening them. That is why the EPO is suddenly in the Press.

Quite frankly, I don’t see any way out. Battistelli will manage to get the council at his side, because he is literally buying the votes of the small countries. Countries with the most economic weight: Germany, France, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Swiss, etc… want him out but will be outvoted by a coalition formed by, maybe, Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, Romania…

Whether the rumour mill is wrong or not, one sure thing is that we are hearing this from more and more separate sources, so there’s probably some level of truth to it. Recall Battistelli signing a deal with Lithuania just around the same time as the Administrative Council's meeting. Very suspicious timing, no?

“Will the delegations let the president weakening the council secretariat? Will they act upon what may be interpreted by the outside observers as basically a “power-play”?”
      –Anonymous
One source recently noted: “Last B28 [Board 28 meeting] seems to have only tackle with [sic] DG3 matters and nothing has transpired about the social situation. Only rumours concern some changes proposed by the President – this is one of his ample prerogative- in the Council secretariat. Shortly after having stated in the March resolution that a reinforcement of the Secretariat capacity and independence was a top priority, it will be an interesting to observe the next session of the AC: Will the delegations let the president weakening the council secretariat? Will they act upon what may be interpreted by the outside observers as basically a “power-play”?

Well, that would not be the first from Battistelli. Also regarding the B28 we have learned that “since January the situation of Ion and Malika [staff representation] has remained unchanged! It seems that we were left with the wrong impression that the president was in dire need of their personal Request for Review to show its benevolence. Presumably this was just a “teaser”: Today, one month after filling the “long awaited” Request for Review, NO decision has been taken yet. Presumably, one can expect a more “PR-effective” date of “release” around the next B28 or Budget and Finance Committee (24-25.05)” (that’s this coming week).

It’s easy to see the cause for angst. The angst is totally just and Battistelli’s regime is — to use a understatement — unjust. Writing in IP Kat anonymously, some people have gone poetic. One writes:

Eponia boss Battistelli
Tried moving the Boards to New Delhi
But later that evening
He went through the ceiling
When they criticised him on the telly.

Another poetic one reads:

A judge once wrote a decision
The president saw with derision.
He was removed from his post,
And given at most
A pension that no one could live on.
LC Lovegood

The poetry continued with this comment that said: “The EPO enlarges itself, becomes methodised and refined and the whole, though it takes long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statute that I can present to the AC at a glance” (there are some bogus ‘studies’ in the pipelines, as we noted before).

On a more serious note, one person notes:

I know some colleagues who have installed on their smartphone a backwards counter to monitor the leaving date of BB.
About two years from now.
In the mean time the work goes on. We try to survive in the mess created by this ill advised management. With shame and disgust.
Because the heart of the EPO is (still) good. Made of multi cultural, competent and very patient people. For these people, my friends, we have to maintain hope and try to save what can be saved of the working life and atmosphere at the EPO.
Unfortunately this top management is only interested in short term benefits and neither in the staff wellbeing nor the european people interest. This is sad, unwise and without any issue. But these people will not last forever. Time to rebuild will come, time for justice and intelligence.
La bêtise, l’énorme bêtise à front de taureau, will go back home forever and for a well deserved and extremely quiet, rest.

“AC creativity may cause spark,” one person noted today. “It can be excruciating when they’re rubbing two rocks together and getting again nothing. Maybe one day sitting at my desk, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, yet through the silence something throbs and gleams…a flame catches and a new era of hope sweeps through the IP world.”

“Most examiners, who are academically trained, wish to the right thing.”In our next post we shall try a more optimistic tone. We invite EPO staff to help our push for tighter EPO patent scope (no software patents), which probably also means blocking the UPC. A lot of the current so-called ‘reforms’ are due to the UPC, which tilts the whole system in favour of the rich and the powerful, and it’s obvious at whose expense and at what cost. The EPO became a battleground (or battle scene) and it’s not the fault of examiners, whose moves are largely reactionary. Most examiners, who are academically trained, wish to the right thing.

[ES] Los Mitos de la EPO ‘Calidad’ de Patentes y de ‘Creación’ de Patentes: Basados en Ventas de Cafe y Trauma

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en Europe, Patentes at 6:46 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crear’ (otorgar) más y más patentes artificiálmente bajar a sus valores

Hiperinflaciones son causadas generalmente por grandes déficits públicos persistentes financiados principalmente por la creación de dinero (en lugar de impuestos y los empréstitos). Como tal, la hiperinflación se asocia a menudo con las guerras, sus consecuencias, en agitación sociopolítica, u otras crisis que hacen que sea difícil para el gobierno de gravar la población. Una fuerte disminución de los ingresos fiscales reales junto con una fuerte necesidad de mantener el status quo, junto con la incapacidad o falta de voluntad para prestar, puede llevar a un país a la hiperinflación.

Hyperinflation

Referencia: Hyperinflation

Sumario: La carrera hacia el fondo, o la ridícula asumpción de Battistelli de que otorgar más y más patentenes más rápidamente (e.g. usando PACE) sería beneficióso a largo término, puede guíar al final colapse del valor de la EPO y la pérdida de su lárgamente ganada reputación a nivel mundial

Frecuéntemente hacemos la amplia afirmación de que el terrible régimen de Battistelli, el cual no tiene idea acerca de calidad de patentes (no hay científicos a cargo. i.e. a la cabeza, a diferencia de antes), artificialmente aumenta los númoers de patentes de la EPO al reducir su calidad, e.g. al presiónar que sean otorgados rápidamente (sin suficiénte busqueda de arte previo) simplemente al igual que la USPTO. Falsas patentes hieren/afectan a los “pequeño jugador” (o jugadora), quien no tiene los medios/tiempo/experiéncia por la cual apele/oponga/pelee una patente hóstil. Eso es poniendo aparte el circulo vicióso de Battistelli de aplastar las Salas de Apelaciónes, lo que significaría menos oportunidades de revisiónes de patentes errónemente otorgadas por los examinadores. Para prestarnos el ejemplo de la India acerca de patentes de software y otras controversiales clases de patentes, consideren este nuevo artículo de los medios de la India:

La Política de Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual de Modi sólo beneficiará a los jugadores con mucho dinero

En noviembre de 2014, cinco gobiernos nacionales escribieron al Departamento de Política y Promoción Industrial (DIPP) para informar el proceso de toma de decisiones de la primera política nacional de derechos de propiedad intelectual de la India (política de DPI). El DIPP recibió 300 trabajos enviados por varias otras partes interesadas, incluidas las ONG y la sociedad civil, las empresas multinacionales, las empresas y asociaciones de comercio, que atraviesa varios sectores. El proceso de toma de decisiones en sí se vio empañado por pasos extraños, injustas e inexplicables, como la repentina disolución del primer grupo de reflexión puesto a cargo de la producción de un proyecto de política, un proceso opaco y prolongado de la liberación de un primer borrador, la fuga de un proyecto final casi completo y no hay publicación de las respuestas (todavía) de las 300 presentaciones extrañas que fueron realizados por las partes interesadas. Por último, el DIPP lanzó la política de la semana pasada.

A pesar del largo proceso de elaboración y extensa, la política se inclina a favor de los titulares de derechos, y coloca una confianza indebida en derechos de propiedad intelectual para estimular la innovación y el crecimiento. Es obvio que afirme lo contrario, pero hay algunos defectos fundamentales en la premisa de la política que hacen que las afirmaciones del DIPP sentido. Ahondar brevemente en el tema de derechos de propiedad intelectual, se trata de una cuestión de principio que un régimen equilibrado de propiedad intelectual (IP), es decir, un modelo que equilibre los derechos adecuados con limitaciones / excepciones, contribuye de manera óptima para el desarrollo integral y el crecimiento de la nación. Limitaciones o excepciones son las flexibilidades en la ley, que redujo el control absoluto conferido por derechos de propiedad intelectual, y asegurar que la utilización y el intercambio de conocimientos con fines tales como la investigación, la educación y el acceso a los medicamentos no son anuladas por los titulares de derechos de propiedad intelectual reivindicaciones. Los aspectos relacionados con el comercio de acuerdo Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual (ADPIC), que es el mayor acuerdo internacional que rige los mecanismos DPI de los países también promueve el uso de estas flexibilidades para construir regímenes equilibrados. La política no indicar en ocasiones su compromiso con el Acuerdo sobre los ADPIC y la Declaración de Doha, pero no se compromete o enuncian las nuevas medidas concretas. Por lo tanto, no se presenta ninguna seriedad en la defensa y la promoción de un régimen de “equilibrada” – en marcado contraste con la forma detallada y quirúrgico en el que se pretende aumentar la conciencia sobre los DPI y comercializarlas.

Por desgracia para la política, una razón de ser miope captura la ambición del documento. El documento de política establece que: “La razón … radica en la necesidad de crear conciencia sobre la importancia de los DPI como un activo financiero comercializable y herramienta económica.” Como tal, la política no reconoce la filosofía del bienestar y el equilibrio incrustado en derechos de propiedad intelectual: para asegurar la innovación, el progreso social, científico y cultural y la promoción del acceso al conocimiento. Para ser justos, mientras que el documento rinde homenaje saludable para objetivos tales como “lograr un crecimiento económico y el desarrollo socio-culturales, al tiempo que protege el interés público; también del avance de la ciencia y la tecnología, las artes y la cultura, el conocimiento tradicional y la biodiversidad, transformando en conocimiento compartido propiedad del conocimiento, “que nunca se eleva por encima de su tratamiento de los derechos de propiedad intelectual como herramienta para servir exclusivamente a los intereses de los titulares de derechos.

Este es la clase de “lógica” que aquellos a los que embauca Battistelli son guiados en cada vez que se habla de la UPC . Lo que Battistelli ha estado haciendo en la EPO se puede resumir como la inclinación de todo el proceso en favor de las grandes corporaciones, incluso los que no son europeos (véase PACE). Podría decirse que logra esto mientras brutalmente atacar a los trabajadores (científicamente cualificado, a diferencia de él) que ‘atrevieron’ para expresar escepticismo. Se burló de la democracia (UPC es claramente antidemocrática), se negó a obedecer a la ley, probablemente causado bastantes muertes (por suicidio después de que sus políticas represivas), y contrató a sus filas a las personas que se enfrentan a muchos cargos criminales. Battistelli es un hombre peligroso, pero él está allí para un propósito y es un propósito para beneficio de las personas hostiles (ganancias corporativas, a expensas de los no millonarios, que no son a los Battistelli se inclina a aceptar de todos modos).

El otro día encontrámos esta nueva evaluación de una patente que acababa de ser reafirmada por la EPO (para ganáncias de Nespresso France). Para citar:

A finales de enero el año 2016 El EPO del procedimiento oral en relación con una oposición por Nestec S.A. y Nespresso Francia contra la concesión de EP2312978 en nombre de la ECC. Al final del procedimiento se desestimó la oposición y la patente mantiene como sentado. Un recurso contra esta decisión ya ha sido presentada por los oponentes.

La patente ECC en cuestión no proteger directamente a productos innovadores de ECC (tienen otras patentes para eso), o incluso impedir que un tercero de la producción de un producto de la competencia, sino que está destinada a evitar modificaciones particulares a las máquinas de Nespresso que los harían incompatible con el producto ECC.

Esta es una forma de candado (restricciónes) DRM/lock-in o algo parecido al caso Lexmark en los Estados Únidos.

Reciéntemente, basado en este pequeño reporte de Reuters y las ampliámente publicaciónes pagadas/financiadas [1, 2], “la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO) ha emitido dictámen al caso de oposición contra BioPorto NGAL Forms patente no. EP 2215481. La EPO decidió en la validez de la patente basado en que ella cumple os requisítos de novedad, paso inventivo y suficiente descripción” (dice la parte que defiénde la patente).

La fuerza total de una oficina de patentes no debiera medirse por el número de patentes otorga y/o defiende, sino por la falta de controversia sobre una patente concedida (o patentes), debido a la novedad ampliamente aceptada y la calidad percibida. Tememos que Battistelli, después de haber visitado algunos regímenes bastante totalitarios – Cuba, Marruecos – en los últimos tiempos, su deseo de correr de manera unilateral a fondo y disminuir la calidad de las patentes, probablemente, a fin de lograr lo que la ENA le enseñó/entrenó a que haga (neoliberalismo). Battistelli esta perdido ‘sin ideas’ acerca de ciencia, como Regan que fué un actor, lo estuvo acerca de economía y política. Lo menos que Battistelli sepa y entiénda, lo más fácil es para la clase afluente (o corporaciónes/cabilderos) lo utilicen.

El punto de vista del Gobierno acerca de la economía puede ser resumido en unas pocas frases cortas: Si se mueve, imponle impuestos. Si sigue moviéndo, regulala. Y si deja de moverse, subsidiala.”

Ronald Reagan

Links 22/5/2016: Systemd 230, Debian Installer Alpha 6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 1000 contributors!

    On the ownCloud blog, Jos shared today that the ownCloud community has hit an impressive milestone!

    The project I started 6 years ago just got a contribution from the 1000th volunteer who considered ownCloud worth the time and effort to contribute code to! Only a year ago, we were so proud having hit over 550 contributors at our 5 year anniversary. It is stunning how fast ownCloud has continued to grow.

  • 7 ways to make new contributors feel welcome

    Sumana Harihareswara and Maria Naggaga gave back-to-back talks at OSCON 2016 on how we can build our open source communities in such a way that contributors feel safe and loved.

    First, recognize that people participate in open source for many reasons. Some of us are lucky enough to get paid to work on it, others are doing it for a school project, and others are doing it just for fun or for the passion of the project. Start by looking at your project as an outsider and try to think about what they might find discouraging or not helpful. There are things in our projects that can be alienating. Evaluate these weird things in your projects and decide if you want to make changes or not.

  • Events

    • DORS/CLUC 2016 – Event Report

      Between 11-13 May 2016, Zacharias Mitzelos and I had been to Zagreb, Croatia for the 23rd DORS/CLUC. We were joined by Elio Qoshi, Jona Azizaj from Albania and Gergely Rakosi from Hungary.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 Lands in the Ubuntu Repos, But No Sign of Thunderbird 45

        Canonical recently pushed the first point release of the Mozilla Firefox 46.0 web browser to the stable channels for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, along with Mozilla Thunderbird 38.8.0.

        Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1 is a small bug fix update to the acclaimed and widely used open-source and cross-platform web browser, patching various security issues discovered by Mozilla’s skillful developers or reported by users since the release of Mozilla Firefox 46.0.

      • CSS coding techniques

        Lately, we have seen a lot of people struggling with CSS, from beginners to seasoned developers. Some of them don’t like the way it works, and wonder if replacing CSS with a different language would be better—CSS processors emerged from this thinking. Some use CSS frameworks in the hopes that they will have to write less code (we have seen in a previous article why this is usually not the case). Some are starting to ditch CSS altogether and use JavaScript to apply styles.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

      The Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW) is a three-day event held every year for legal professionals (and aficionados) who work in the realm of free and open-source software (FOSS). It is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and, this year, the event was held in Barcelona (Spain), April 13-15. The topics covered during the event ranged from determining what constitutes authorship, how to attribute it, and what is copyrightable, to the complexity of licenses and how to make them more accessible for potential licensees lacking in legal background. In addition, license enforcement and compliance were discussed, with a particular focus on how the GPL and related licenses have done in court.

      According to the organizers, there were approximately 90 attendees, 70% of whom were legal professionals and 30% technical professionals linked in some way to legal matters in their communities or companies. Attendees came from legal firms, traditionally open-source companies and communities, such as the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Debian, tech companies with some open-source products (Intel and others), and companies that are using open-source software embedded in their products. Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule, which means that names and affiliations of participants are only available for those who have explicitly agreed.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ReText and Markdown

      Markup formats can inspire just as much devotion and loathing as programming languages. TeX versus HTML, DocBook versus Mallard—the list is probably endless. But the “lightweight” markup formats (Markdown, reStructuredText, AsciiDoc, and so on) are the subject of particular scrutiny. Users almost always write them by hand, not in a dedicated tool, and the formats are becoming ever more widespread: as input formats in web applications and as the preferred document format on sites like GitHub. But these lightweight formats, Markdown in particular, have developed a reputation for compatibility problems in recent years—see the CommonMark effort for one of several attempts to impose order on the chaos. Thus, when version 6.0 of ReText, a GUI editor for Markdown and reStructuredText documents, was released recently, I was curious enough to take a look.

    • Embrace Open Source culture: the 5 common transformations.

      This is a story of what I have lived or witnessed a few times so far. A story of an organization that used to consume, develop and ship proprietary software for many years. At some point in time, management took the decision of using Open Source. Like in most cases, the decision was forced by its customers, providers, competitors… and by numbers.

      [...]

      This organization gained control over its production and, by consuming Open Source, it could focus many resources in differentiation, without changing the structure, development and delivery processes. At some point, it was shipping products that involved a significant percentage of generic software taken “from internet”.

      It became an Open Source producer.

      You can recognise such organizations they frequently create a specific group, usually linked to R&D, in change of brining all the innovation that is happening “in the Open Source community” into the organization.

      Little by little this organisation realised that giving fast and satisfactory answers, to its customer demands became more and more expensive. They got stuck in what rapidly became an old kernel or tool chain version…. Bringing innovation from “the community” required back-porting, solving complex integration issues, incompatibilities with what your provider brings, what your customer wants.

    • The rise of APIs

      It’s been almost five years since we heard that “software is eating the world.” The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market.

      The application programming interface (API) has been a key part of software development for decades as a way to develop for a specific platform, such as Microsoft Windows. More recently, newer platform providers, from Salesforce to Facebook and Google, have offered APIs that help the developer and have, in effect, created a developer dependency on these platforms.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How expiring patents are ushering in the next generation of 3D printing

        The year 2016 is quickly shaping up to be one of the hottest years on record for 3D printing innovations. Although there is still a lot of hype surrounding 3D printing and how it may or may not be the next industrial revolution, one thing is for certain: the cost of printing will continue to drop while the quality of 3D prints continues to rise.

        This development can be traced to advanced 3D printing technologies becoming accessible due to the expiration of key patents on pre-existing industrial printing processes.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Electrospinning Machine

        Electrospinning is a fascinating process where a high voltage potential is applied between a conductive emitter nozzle and a collector screen. A polymer solution is then slowly dispensed from the nozzle. The repulsion of negative charges in the solution forces fine fibers emanate from the liquid. Those fibers are then rapidly accelerated towards the collector screen by the electric field while being stretched and thinned down to a few hundred nanometers in diameter. The large surface area of the fine fibers lets them dry during their flight towards the collector screen, where they build up to a fine, fabric-like material. We’ve noticed that electrospinning is hoped to enable fully automated manufacturing of wearable textiles in the future.

  • Programming/Development

    • Upcoming changes in PHP 7.1

      Below are the key changes that will be introduced (or removed) in PHP 7.1. For a full list, and to see which changes are being discussed, check out the official PHP RFC.

    • Changes Being Worked On For PHP 7.1

      PHP 7.1 is coming later this year as the first significant update to last year’s PHP 7 release that delivered huge speed improvements.

      We’ve already been looking forward to new features with PHP 7.1 and in not looking at the 7.1 work in a few months, more improvements have materialized.

    • Perl 5.24 upgrade
    • Selected projects and mentoring organizations

      The following projects have been selected to participate to SOCIS 2016.

      Instruction for students: you can apply now, but you must first contact the mentor of the project of your choice and discuss the contents.

Leftovers

  • A Day in the Life of an F-35 Test Pilot

    Here at the F-35 integrated test force, pilots spend their days simulating real missions to prepare the jets to one day operate on the battlefield.

    Defense News got a glimpse into the day-to-day life of an F-35 test pilot during a May 4 visit to Edwards Air Force Base. We followed Maj. Raven LeClair, assistant director of operations for the 461st flight test squadron, as he zipped up his flight suit, climbed into the cockpit, taxied to the runway and finally took off into the clear, desert sky.

  • An Oral History of Our Week Without Slack [iophk: "It's just getting proper Swedish-style dot-com hype. That doesn't stop it from being proprietary garbage and all-around useless though."]

    Our announcement got a lot of attention—much more than we were expecting. Throughout the week, our friends, fellow media workers, and coworkers at VICE have been asking us how the experiment is going.

    The short answer is, the experiment went well. We are learning what Slack is essential for, and in what ways it has been serving as a bandaid for what could be a more robust editorial structure.

  • Science

    • EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search

      The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.

      They include life vests, parts of seats and objects clearly marked EgyptAir.

      The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard when it vanished from radar early on Thursday.

    • Bad News

      I think it could be months or years before the cause will be known unless explosive residue is discovered on the stuff already recovered.

  • Hardware

    • Petition for Intel to Release an ME-less CPU design

      Please sign below, allowing Purism to provide this petition to our Intel Partner Account Manager that users want an “ME-less” CPU. “ME-less” is a defined term from within Intel created when discussing with Purism the need to have a CPU without the Management Engine (ME).

    • One Billion Drive Hours and Counting: Q1 2016 Hard Drive Stats

      For Q1 2016 we are reporting on 61,590 operational hard drives used to store encrypted customer data in our data center. There are 9.5% more hard drives in this review versus our last review when we evaluated 56,224 drives. In Q1 2016, the hard drives in our data center, past and present, totaled over one billion hours in operation to date. That’s nearly 42 million days or 114,155 years worth of spinning hard drives. Let’s take a look at what these hard drives have been up to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Activists, Farmers, Indigenous People Rise Up to March Against Monsanto

      Anti-corporate activists, organic farmers, Indigenous peoples, environmental groups and others took the streets across six continents and over 400 cities on Saturday in a global grassroots march against bioengineering giant Monsanto.

      “The fight against corporate control of our food is global,” a food sovereignty campaigner with UK-based nonprofit Global Justice Now rallied the crowd marching in London.

    • Big Pharma Seeks to Capitalize on Pain-Reducing Compound Derived From Cannabis

      The medicinal properties of cannabidiol (better known as CBD), a compound found in the Cannabis sativa L. plant species, are quickly drawing the attention of scientists, plant-medicine lovers, dietary-supplement companies, venture capitalists, professional athletes and Big Pharma — not to mention people living with serious, chronic medical conditions. Insiders predict the burgeoning market will be as profitable as the NFL.

    • Congress Approves A Major Step Forward For Medical Marijuana

      In states that allow it, veterans are a major step closer to being able to obtain medical marijuana.

      On Thursday, both chambers of Congress approved measures prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from enforcing a policy prohibiting government doctors from prescribing medical marijuana to veterans. That essentially means doctors will now be able to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in the 24 states (plus D.C.) where it’s legal.

    • City of Long Beach Sues Monsanto for Ongoing PCB Contamination of Storm Runoff, Waterways

      The city of Long Beach filed a lawsuit against Monsanto Co. Thursday, claiming the manufacturer’s long-banned cancer-producing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are responsible for the contamination of the city’s storm water, port waters, and other bodies of water.

    • Microplastics in the sea a growing threat to human health, United Nations warns

      Millions of tons of tiny debris from plastic bags, bottles and clothes in the world’s oceans present a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems.

      This is the stark warning issued by the United Nations in a report on the most dangerous environmental problems facing the world today.

      Global plastic production has increased dramatically in recent years. Between 2004 and 2014, the amount of plastic produced rose by 38 per cent, the report said.

    • Florida Man Says He Killed Sick Wife Because He Couldn’t Afford Her Medicine, Sheriff Says

      William J. Hager, 86, said he had run out of options.

      His wife, Carolyn Hager, 78, had been ill for the last 15 of the more than 50 years they were married. The cost of her medications had become so burdensome that they could no longer afford it, he said. So on Monday morning while she was sleeping, he shot her in the head, he told the deputy who came to their Florida home.

      The killing in Port St. Lucie and Mr. Hager’s explanation were detailed in an arrest affidavit and by local news media. Mr. Hager was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. But the case appeared to also highlight the difficulties faced by older people who are retired or on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their medicine when they are ill or in pain.

      At the sheriff’s office, Mr. Hager told deputies that his wife had a “lot of illnesses and other ailments which required numerous medications,” which he “could no longer afford,” the affidavit said.

      According to a study by the AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, specialty drugs that treat complex, chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis come with huge price tags.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Security brief: CoreOS Linux Alpha remote SSH issue

      On May 15, CoreOS was informed of a vulnerability in the alpha version of CoreOS Linux. Within 8 hours of this notification, over 99% of affected systems had been automatically patched. Though this issue was limited to an alpha version, we hold all of our releases to the same security standards, and we immediately responded, reported, and corrected the issue. This post describes the nature of the vulnerability, our response, and our plans to avoid similar issues in the future.

    • Purism Laptops to Protect You from Surveillance Capitalism

      There’s a new hardware company on the scene called Purism, and the name is a significant clue as to what the company is all about: pure software. At its heart, Purism is dedicated to providing computer hardware driven entirely by open source software so that users can “trust, but verify.” Purism is putting itself in direct opposition to what it considers “surveillance capitalism.”

      I spoke with CEO Todd Weaver at Pepcom, and it was one of the most significant conversations I’ve had with a tech exec in a long time. I was already on board with Mr. Weaver’s general message when he laid that phrase on me, “surveillance capitalism.” That’s when he really had me hooked.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Set to Deploy (More) Ground Troops to Libya

      The decision by President Obama, egged on by his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to depose Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, led to near-complete chaos inside a country that had been otherwise stable since the 1960s.

    • Israel Veers Even Further Right

      Now come reports that Netanyahu is offering the Defense Ministry to former Moldovan nightclub bouncer (and resident of a West Bank settlement) Avigdor Lieberman. This will bring into the ruling coalition Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, which even within the Israeli context is usually described as “hard right.”

      Bringing Lieberman into the government is indicative not only of the overall orientation of that government but also of some larger disturbing trends in Israeli attitudes that the government has fomented more than it has discouraged.

      If Lieberman is made defense minister he would replace Moshe Ya’alon, who in recent days has backed the Israeli military in prosecuting (though only for manslaughter, not the murder that occurred) an Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape shooting in the head, at close range, a Palestinian man who was wounded and lying on the ground, already subdued and obviously not a threat. Lieberman has joined other hardliners in expressing support for the soldier. (Netanyahu has visited the soldier’s family to express sympathy.)

    • The Republicans’ Military Budget Could Make Every Homeless Person In America A Millionaire

      Last year, the United States spent more than $596 billion on the military, a total greater than the next six countries in the world combined. But the Republican-controlled Congress is looking to increase that number for next year.

      On Wednesday, the House passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing for $602 billion to be spent on the country’s defense in 2017, but the way the money is budgeted could mean that total military spending could actually end up being far higher.

      Under the bill, $18 billion would be moved from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is currently used primarily to fund operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, to the general budget to be used for additional troops and equipment. As Politico reported, this would likely leave enough money for such operations only through April, forcing the next president to request additional funding. Thus, the House bill would effectively increase the total military expenditure for next year.

    • The Parable of the Fat Man Earrings

      This rationalization perpetuates one of the great frauds of the war in the Pacific. As described in John Dower’s excellent War Without Mercy, by the spring of 1945 the Japanese military had been demolished. The disparities in the casualties figures between the Japanese and the Americans are striking. From 1937 to 1945, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy suffered 1,740,955 military deaths in combat. Dower estimates that another 300,000 died from disease and starvation. In addition, another 395,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of Allied saturation bombing that began in March 1945. The total dead: more than 2.7 million. By contrast, American military deaths totaled 100,997.

    • The West’s Needless Aggression

      If we continue down the road toward a totalitarian society, propaganda may become even more pervasive. With the population unendingly surveilled, relentlessly entrapped, enslaved by debt, permanently profiled and all-too-frequently imprisoned, elites will go about their exploitation with calm impunity as ordinary citizens internalize the dictates of power. The question is whether the flashpoints of unrest seemingly everywhere in the world will coalesce into a popular front that can stem the tide of empire. We have little time left before state repression, blood-soaked bombing campaigns, and ecological ruin overcome us. It’s either a Green New Deal or Mad Max. The choice is ours.

    • First Take: Taliban leader’s death may not reduce war

      The apparent death of Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor on Saturday won’t have an immediate impact on the military operations of the insurgent group, which has been expanding in recent months, analysts and Afghan government officials said.

    • How We Got the Tanks and M-16s Out of LA Schools

      To return all military grade weapons to the Department of Defense “Excess Military Equipment Program” AKA the 1033 Program that is arming police departments all over the U.S. In particular, they returned 1 Tank, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, 3 grenade launchers (“37 mm less less-lethal launch platforms” and 61 M-16 rifles).

    • Venezuela and the Silence of the Left

      Venezuela is nearing collapse It can turn violent soon. Last week Nicolás Maduro decreed a state of emergency and suspended constitutional rights. He fears “the Empire” is set to strike soon. This measure comes abruptly as the opposition demands Venezuelan Electoral Panel to ratify the 1.8 million signatures collected in just a few hours as a first step to constitutionally call for a referendum to remove him from power. And he is looking for ways to delay this process.

      An article in Counterpunch written by Eric Draitser characterized the referendum as a coup orchestrated by the opposition to oust Maduro and destroy the legacy of Chávez’ revolution. It further argues that Venezuela’s economic predicament—already a humanitarian crisis—is the product of a plot of the Venezuelan right-wing elites that control the National Assembly and the U.S. imperial interests, comparing the current crisis in Venezuela with the overthrow of Allende in the seventies by Nixon, Kissinger, the CIA and the Chilean elites.

    • New Turkish PM backs constitution to strengthen Erdogan

      Turkey’s incoming prime minister said on Sunday his top priority was to deliver a new constitution to create an executive presidency, giving President Tayyip Erdogan the broad powers he has long sought.

      As delegates from the ruling AK Party unanimously elected Transport Minister Binali Yildirim as their new party leader, and therefore the next premier, Yildirim left no doubt that he would prioritize the policies closest to Erdogan’s heart.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Haze war worsens as Indonesia halts joint projects with Singapore

      The tussle between Singapore and Indonesia over last year’s crippling haze escalated with Jakarta saying it will halt cooperation with Singapore on environment, forestry and haze-related issues.

      Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister also said Jakarta will undertake a unilateral review of several agreements with Singapore on collaboration on haze related matters.

    • Antarctic glacier melt could raise sea level by 3m

      One of Antarctica’s great glaciers could become unstable if global warming continues at the present pace. As warm seas wash the ice shelf, the land-based mass of ice could begin to retreat, cross a critical threshold in the present century and then withdraw 300 kilometres inland.

      In the course of doing so it would spill tremendous quantities of water into the oceans: enough to raise global sea levels by 2.9 metres and threaten cities that are home to billions.

    • Top Democrats Ally With Oil and Gas Industry to Fight Colorado Anti-Fracking Ballot Measures

      Oil and gas companies are spending heavily to crush three Colorado ballot initiatives that would limit fracking. And some of the state’s most powerful Democrats are helping them.

      The stakes are particularly high for several Colorado communities that have voted to limit or ban oil and gas development locally. Those limits were nullified in two cities by state Supreme Court decisions earlier this month. So the ballot initiatives may be their last best chance to slow development whose speed has surprised even cities that initially supported oil and gas projects.

    • Another Gulf oil spill adds fuel to movement against new offshore drilling leases

      Last week a damaged pipeline at a Royal Dutch Shell deepwater production field about 100 miles off the Louisiana coast spilled what’s been officially estimated at 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico before the leak was stopped.

    • How To Socialize America’s Energy

      Coming out of last December’s landmark climate negotiations in Paris, the question is no longer if societies will shift toward renewables, but when and how. For all the limitations of the deal—that it is largely unenforceable, contains only passing reference to human and indigenous rights, and treats historical polluters with kid gloves—its clearest and most redeeming feature is that it signals an end to the fossil fuel era.

    • This Country Just Set A Major Renewable Energy Record

      Last week, Portugal set a record for renewable energy use. Through a combination of hydroelectric, solar, and wind power, electricity use in the country was completely covered for four consecutive days.

      The news was reported by the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) in collaboration with ZERO System Sustainable Land Association. According to their measurements, from 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 to approximately 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, Portugal was able to rely entirely on renewables for an impressive 107 hours, the longest the country has ever been able to go.

    • Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump: ‘Almost a death knell for the human species’

      As he appears in new documentary The Divide, the great intellectual explains why Brexit is unimportant, why Trump’s climate change denial is catastrophic – and why revolution is easier than you think

    • Cherry Blossoms Paint A Lake Purple Making Tokyo Look Like A Fairytale

      Tokyo-based photographer Danilo Dungo uses drones to take stunning pictures of Japanese cherry blossoms. Every spring, he goes to the Inokashira Park to admire the blossoms, and while regular photography capture the park’s beauty, the drones reveal something else altogether.

      When seen from a great height, the lake Inokashira Park lake appears to be entirely covered in blossoms! Resembling pollen in a river stream, the blossoms turn the lake a surreal pink, a view unseen by most before the drone age. Be sure to check out Dungo’s other photographs at the National Geographic link below!

  • Finance

    • Sierra Club Statement on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s TPP Study

      Today the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released a study on the potential impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as required by law. The report projects that the controversial trade deal would result in a decline in U.S. manufacturing due in part to an increase in manufactured imports in some sectors from Vietnam and Malaysia, where production spurs far more climate pollution than in the U.S. It also notes the controversy surrounding the TPP’s conservation provisions, which are too weak to actually curb environmental abuses in TPP countries. The report further acknowledges broad concern that the TPP would empower polluters to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals over climate and environmental protections.

    • Will Hillary Clinton’s Plan to Have Her Husband Fix the Economy Hurt Her at the Polls?

      Hillary Clinton is dishing out details on how her potential administration would function—and apparently, it includes a lot of help from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

    • Trump Attacks On Hillary Take Violent Turn

      Less than one day after his speech at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention, Donald Trump tweeted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would not only eliminate people’s gun rights but strip Clinton of her armed security team as well.

    • ‘This is for Our Families’: Children of Striking Verizon Workers Join Picket Line

      From Indianapolis to Philadelphia, there were new, younger voices joining the usual chant on the Verizon strike picket lines on Saturday: “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!”

      Children of striking workers joined their parents for 25 nationwide “Family Day” protests organized by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the unions behind the strike.

    • Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Greece Can and Must Leave the Eurozone and EU

      As discussions continue to take place between the Greek government and the country’s lenders, Greece’s economic crisis is showing no signs of abating. Meanwhile, new cuts to pensions, wages and social services are currently on the table. Unemployment remains at record levels, while large-scale privatizations of profitable publicly owned assets are moving forward to appease the demands of Greece’s lenders.

    • The Privatization of the Public Sphere

      The attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare are but two of a growing number of campaigns underway to privatize key aspects of public or social life. These efforts range from local water services, schools and healthcare insurance as well as prisons and the military. And this says nothing about the effort by private corporations to control the postal service and the telecommunications superhighway. With privatization comes increased cost, the deterioration of quality, the increased power of the 1 percent and America’s deepening social crisis.

    • Testing The Limits on Wealth Inequality

      In this post, I pointed out that we are going to see an empirical test of Piketty’s theory of rising wealth inequality. The theory itself is not well understood, and Piketty has revisited it since the publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and published an economist’s dream of a paper in full mathematical glory here. The American Economics Association devoted space in its journal to arguments about the theory, giving Piketty an opportunity to discuss his theory in what I think is a very readable paper, and one worth the time.

      He starts by saying that the relation between r, the rate of return to capital, and g, the rate of growth in the overall economy, are not predictive. They cannot be used to forecast the future, and are not even the most important factor in rising wealth inequality. The crucial factors are institutional changes and political shocks. Neither can the relation tell us anything about the decrease in the labor share of national income. He points to supply and demand for skills and education in this paper, as he does in his book, but this is a at best an incomplete explanation, owing more to the neoliberal view that the problems of workers are their fault than to a clear understanding of social processes in the US. A better explanation lies in tax law changes, changes in labor law and enforcement of labor law, rancid decisions from the Supreme Court, failure to update minimum wage and related laws, and government support for outsourcing and globalization.

    • Amazon bought this old hotel in Seattle and turned it into a homeless shelter

      Last month, Amazon announced that it’s turning an old hotel it bought in downtown Seattle into a temporary shelter for homeless people.

    • Noam Chomsky Reveals The Hypocrisies of Capitalism in the Financial Capital of the World

      Chomsky spoke at the New York Public Library last month about why the financial sector is basically tax-funded.

    • Karl Polanyi and twenty-first century socialism

      Gold certificates were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. These certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.Wikicommons. Public domain. Polanyi, however, brought a new angle of vision to this question. He had watched closely the process by which the Labour Government in England in 1931 and the Popular Front government in France in 1936 were effectively forced to abandon their radical reform agendas by international economic pressures.

    • Pensions may be cut to ‘virtually nothing’ for 407,000 people

      The Central States Pension Fund has no new plan to avoid insolvency, fund director Thomas Nyhan said this week. Without government funding, the fund will run out of money in 10 years, he said.

      At that time, pension benefits for about 407,000 people could be reduced to “virtually nothing,” he told workers and retirees in a letter sent Friday.

      In a last-ditch effort, the Central States Pension Plan sought government approval to partially reduce the pensions of 115,000 retirees and the future benefits for 155,000 current workers. The proposed cuts were steep, as much as 60% for some, but it wasn’t enough. Earlier this month, the Treasury Department rejected the plan because it found that it would not actually head off insolvency.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

      To paraphrase the words of that Scottish master Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice, men — and women — go often astray, or “gang aft agley,” as they say in the Highlands. No one knows this better than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

      Twice now, the flight of her presidential aspirations has been forced to circle the airport as other contenders put up an unexpected fight: In 2008, Barack Obama emerged to grab the Democratic nomination away and this year, although all signs point to her finally grabbing the brass ring, unexpected and powerful progressive resistance came from the mighty wind of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

      Certainly, Hillary Clinton is angered by all of this, but the one seemingly more aggrieved — if public comments and private actions are any indication — is Democratic National Committee chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Hillary surrogate who takes umbrage like ordinary folks pop their vitamins in the morning.

      As we recently wrote, “… She embodies the tactics that have eroded the ability of Democrats to once again be the party of the working class. As Democratic National Committee chair she has opened the floodgates for Big Money, brought lobbyists into the inner circle and oiled all the moving parts of the revolving door that twirls between government service and cushy jobs in the world of corporate influence.”

    • Dems in a pickle

      I’ve written before about how the Hillary Democrats are running against hope, and how the Sanders campaign have outed them as frank corporate shills and enemies of even mild social democracy. But now even nominal liberals, or progressives, or whatever we’re calling them these days have gotten in on the act. Not content with merely saying “No!” to new programs like single-payer health insurance and free college, they’re highlighting the worst aspects of the New Deal in an effort to…well, what exactly? Promote Hillary? Fight Trump? It’s hard to tell.

    • Trump and the Dance to the Right

      Donald Trump’s nationalism echoes that of Europe’s rising right-wing parties and movements — but is far more dangerous.

    • Hyperdemocracy or Hypermodulation?

      It’s the encompassing paradigm we are in, one that has made us vulnerable to the demagoguery of Donald Trump.

    • Yes, Bernie’s Waging War on the Democratic Party—But if Hillary Loses, It Won’t Be His Fault

      Hey, remember what I said about the coming civil war in the Democratic Party, and how it wouldn’t necessarily be a whole lot more polite than the Republican version? Well, everybody who spouts opinions for a living loves to say “I told you so,” but in this case I can’t claim that: Neither I nor anyone else thought it would get here quite this quickly. After the ugly, angry chaos of the Nevada state convention last weekend and Bernie Sanders’ big victory in the Oregon primary on Tuesday — to go with a virtual tie in Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 2,000 votes — Democrats now face the possibility of a highly contentious convention in Philadelphia this summer, where the outcome may not be in doubt but the mood will hardly be harmonious.

    • 8 European Far-Right Parties Who Are Celebrating Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s campaign is truly testing the limits of the old saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Unless one operates under the assumption that a hate-filled platform fueled by bigotry, xenophobia and sexism is what the world needs right now. In which case, the Trump cloud appearing on the horizon is seen by some as an invitation to open their arms in exaltation, awaiting the inevitable Trumpian shower to follow.

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘House of Cards’

      For “House of Cards” fans who can’t get enough of fictional President Frank Underwood and his First Lady Claire, it must be tempting to view Bill and Hillary Clinton as their real-life political doppelgangers. Certainly there’s fertile ground for those seeking parallels between the main protagonists of this quintessential political soap opera, and our more flesh and blood “heroes.” Like their imaginary foils, the Clintons’ moral compass is functionally impaired, so much so one suspects the HoC scriptwriters modeled their lead characters on the Democratic Party’s resident “royal couple.”

    • $25 vs $30, Hats Off to the Two-Party System!

      It is sad comedy to view working class individuals lather themselves up about Mexicans (when in fact more Mexicans are leaving this nation than entering these days) and steam up over Black Lives Matter (cause White Lives Matter, too, they bellow….the best response to this I’ve seen is….just because you say “Save the Rainforest” doesn’t mean you believe “Fuck the Tundra”)…..and these people don hats that say “Make America Great Again”, as if there was a magical time and place with greatness falling from the heavens on the white and shining American hordes. Okay, maybe that sort of happened, but there were quite a few “others” who did not receive such blessings. Some even received blessings like genocide and slavery, but those are pesky details, “Make America Great Again!” Sometimes these people seem just lost, not evil (but plenty are bile dripping Evilsaurus Rexes to be sure). The billionaire knows these people are disgruntled souls to actively mine–lots of rancor, insecurity and lust for authoritarianism under that crust and mantle. The hats sell for $25.00 on the official Trump site, or about 3 ½ times the Federal Minimum Wage, so what a bargain.

    • Project Censored Invited to Speak at Ralph Nader’s Breaking Through Power in D.C.

      More specifically, Nader states the goals for day two on Breaking Through the Media: “Leading authors, documentary filmmakers, journalists, cartoonists, new media content producers and other creative advocates will gather to discuss tactics to reform our communications landscape, and open the airwaves and internet up to serious and compelling content. Together we will launch a new organization – ‘Voices’ – a full-spectrum advocacy group to champion an open, democratic communication commons.”

    • Millions Now Understand That Capitalism Needs Socialism to Work—Which Is Why Bernie Is So Popular

      Context is important. When Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist, he is referring to democratic socialism as practiced in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Norway and many other countries in Western Europe; in other words, capitalism with a safety net. Sanders is essentially a capitalist who rejects the type of crony capitalism and ruthless corporatism that is killing America’s middle class. By European standards, Sanders is a mainstream liberal, which is a far cry from orthodox Marxist-Leninism as practiced in the old Soviet Union. And compared to some of the left-wing parties that have been gaining momentum in parts of Europe (such as Podemos in Spain or Syreeza in Greece), Sanders is not that far to the left. Rather, the political discourse in the U.S. moved so far to the right in the 1980s and ’90s that openly embracing socialism on any level was considered toxic.

    • The Most Reliably Democratic County in America Just Sent Hillary Clinton a Signal [iophk: "And how many tens of billions per year is the US willing to spend on incarceration?"]

      Through most of the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has been seen as the Democratic contender who appeals to Democrats. Bernie Sanders might attract independents in open-primary states, and political newcomers in most states, but Clinton, we’ve been told, is the candidate of the party faithful. That did not turn out to be the case in rural Kentucky, however.

      In what has been characterized as the most consistently Democratic county in the United States—Elliott County in eastern Kentucky—Sanders was an easy winner Tuesday night. The strength Sanders showed in the historically Democratic counties of eastern Kentucky helped him to hold Clinton to a virtual tie in the Bluegrass State. With 99 percent of the ballots counted Wednesday morning, Clinton was clinging to a 1,923 lead out of more than 400,000 votes cast statewide and the candidates split the elected delegates 28-27. On a night when Sanders easily won Oregon, Clinton had hoped for a big win in Kentucky, a state where she beat Barack Obama by a 65-30 margin in 2008.

    • Key Sanders backer: DNC chair must apologize [iophk: "DNC has been acting fucked up this whole election cycle. It has failed to remain neutral even from the beginning."]

      The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee should apologize to Bernie Sanders for her handling of the primary fight with Hillary Clinton, says Nina Turner, the Ohio state lawmaker and high-profile Sanders surrogate.

      In an interview with The Hill, Turner stopped just short of calling for Wasserman Schultz to resign, but said that at a minimum there should be an apology.

      “My husband told me I needed to be ready to answer this question,” Turner said. “It’s hard for me to say because I try not to judge people based on one snapshot of their lives or their career, but she should certainly apologize to Sen. Sanders for her words and deeds in making this an unfair fight.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA ‘reform’ harbors return of SOPA

      Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The open Internet is under attack by lawyers and lobbyists hoping to promote their own narrow interests under the guise of reform.

      Similar “reform” efforts gave us the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation that died four years ago in the face of massive protests by Internet users. Those threats to free speech have since been recycled into backroom-negotiated trade deals and court cases.

    • Pirate Bay’s Domain Shuffle Has Come Full Circle

      After years of rotating domain names, The Pirate Bay is now back at its original .ORG domain. The notorious torrent site started redirecting users after a Swedish court ruling put its .SE domain at risk. Today we take a look at the rather impressive domain shuffle the site went through.

    • Fox ‘Stole’ a Game Clip, Used it in Family Guy & DMCA’d the Original

      This week’s episode of Family Guy included a clip from 1980s Nintendo video game Double Dribble showing a glitch to get a free 3-point goal. Fox obtained the clip from YouTube where it had been sitting since it was first uploaded in 2009. Shortly after, Fox told YouTube the game footage infringed its copyrights. YouTube took it down.

    • Amid Censorship Allegations, Conservative Activist Says Facebook Removed This Post and Briefly Suspended Her Account

      Conservative activist Lauren Souther claimed on Friday that Facebook deleted one of her posts because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

      Ironically, the post was about Facebook allegedly “censoring” one of her conservative friends.

      “As I suspected my friend who res Disdain for Plebs has been banned on all his accounts that run the page AND Facebook deleted his post calling them out for censoring conservatives. This is utterly insane,” she wrote in the offending post.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Enterprises Stumble on Data Management

      Information governance essentially describes an end-to-end approach to managing, protecting and extracting the maximum value of enterprise data, typically stored as business records or documents. To accomplish this, CIOs, IT managers and business leaders use a wide range of technologies, management tools and policies to ensure that information is not only routed, stored and used appropriately, but that it doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands causing regulatory compliance and privacy headaches.

    • TorrZan Allows You to Download Torrents Via Telegram

      TorrZan is a new service that allows Telegram users to download torrents through their favorite instant messaging application. The Telegram bot can find files on popular torrent sites and downloads them securely through its service. When the transfers are complete, users can download or play the files directly through the instant messaging service.

    • Steve Allen: @GCHQ stop looking at cat pictures [Ed: they look at naked people through webcams]

      Given that social media is a mixed bag for a radio presenter, I’m not sure why GCHQ joined Twitter this week.

    • Terrorists no longer welcome on OneDrive or Hotmail [Ed: or, Microsoft spies on everyone, everything]]

      Microsoft says that it will be using the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List to determine whether something is terrorist or not; content posted by or in support of the individuals and groups on that list will be prohibited.

    • Uber Knows When You’ll Pay Surge Pricing, But Promises Not to Use It Against You

      Other than the company’s notoriously lax attitude about background checks, allegations of drivers kidnapping and raping riders, and that, um, interesting new logo, the worst thing about Uber is surge pricing. And, not surprisingly, the company has figured out exactly when you are more likely to pay double or triple the cost of your ride: when your phone battery is low.

    • This Is Your Brain On Uber

      Uber is built on the scourge of surge. When demand is high, the company charges two, three, even NINE-POINT-NINE times as much as normal for a ride. Riders hate it… but not so much that they stop riding. “Dynamic pricing” has helped the company to grow into one of the largest ride-booking services in the world. What’s the psychology behind it? Shankar sits down with Uber’s Head of Economic Research Keith Chen to talk about when we’re most likely pay for surge, when we hate it the most, and why monkeys would probably act and feel the same way.

    • British Airways website blocking non exit relays IPs?
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Detained and interrogated for 10 hours in North Korea

      The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was last week expelled from North Korea and forced to apologise for his reporting. He was held incommunicado for 10 hours and interrogated. Here he gives his first account of what happened.

      After a week in North Korea I was more than ready to go home. The trip, to cover a visit to Pyongyang by a delegation of three Nobel laureates, had been exhausting and stressful.

      I couldn’t move anywhere in Pyongyang without a team of five minders following my every step. At night the BBC team was confined to an overheated villa in a guarded compound. We’d fallen out with pretty much everyone. Our North Korean minders were now openly hostile.

    • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

      Ted Nugent was reelected to the National Rifle Association’s board of directors just weeks after he promoted a fake video of Hillary Clinton being shot and during a year in which he caused a national controversy for promoting anti-Semitic material.

    • Guantánamo Prisoner, Never Convicted, To Be Released After Decade-Plus Detention

      An Afghan man detained for 14 years in Guantánamo—without ever being convicted of a crime—was on Friday recommended by the Pentagon for release.

      The man, known as Obaidullah, was arrested and detained in 2002, when he was about 19, but the U.S. government failed to successfully prosecute him for any crimes, AP reported. Charges were eventually made against him in 2008, but were dismissed in 2011.

      “This young man should have been released years ago,” Marine Maj. Derek Poteet, who has represented him since 2010, told the Miami Herald. “He was taken from his bed at his home peacefully without resistance. He was subjected to real abuse at Bagram.”

      Obaidullah was allegedly arrested by U.S. special forces in 2002 because unarmed land mines were discovered buried near his house. The U.S. government did not formally bring charges against him until 2008.

    • As peace deal nears, Colombia’s journalists and activists still live in fear

      In the following months, his investigation into the killing and disappearance of hundreds of men, women and children in the department of North Santander by the paramilitary group Frente Fronteras (linked to the AUC, Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) resulted in dozens of threats against him and his family.

    • Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation

      The latest thematic report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerning Colombia makes for shocking though quite important reading. [1] In short, it details human rights abuses on a massive scale, and lays the blame for these abuses chiefly upon the right-wing paramilitaries aligned with the Colombian State. Citing Colombia’s Center for Historical Memory, the IACHR concludes that Colombia, with its over 6 million internally displaced persons, is indeed “a displaced nation.”

    • ‘America Was Never Great’ Hat Leads to Death Threats

      A Staten Island woman who supports Senator Bernie Sanders said she received death threats after photos of her wearing a cap with the message “America Was Never Great” were posted widely on social media.

      The woman, Krystal Lake, 22, said Thursday that she had ordered the custom-made hat online with the phrase, a play on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” popularized by the campaign of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

      Ms. Lake said she had gotten tired of hearing Mr. Trump’s slogan from his supporters and thought America “was never great.” She said that Mr. Trump’s slogan did not make room for bigger aspirations beyond the past and that he was dismissive of groups that did not fit his ideal demographic.

    • Corruption in Latin American Governments

      It should be remembered that Joseph Stalin, with Lenin’s approval, robbed banks to finance the Bolshevik party. Chavist politicians have also robbed banks: their own. This may seem relatively lacking in glory, but at least most of the time it is also in the service of political ends.

    • Can Sisi stop Egypt’s implosion?

      Contrary to popular belief, there has been a steady increase in under-reported forms of protests since the military coup. The regime has also moved from one security blunder to the next. From the increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Sinai, the bomb on a Russian airliner, and the murder of Mexican tourists by the Egyptian military in the western desert, the tourism industry is crashing.

    • After Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Woman, San Francisco Police Chief Resigns

      Shortly after an unarmed black woman was fatally shot by police in San Francisco, Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned at the urging of Mayor Ed Lee. The move comes days after Lee defended the chief’s leadership, despite a string of department scandals and months of protests calling for Suhr’s departure.

    • A Federal Judge Just Ordered A Dox Attack Against 100,000 Innocent People

      A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court.”

      It appears to be, as several immigration advocates noted shortly after the order was handed down, an effort to intimidate immigrants who benefit from certain Obama administration programs from participating in those programs, lest their personal information be turned over to people who wish them harm. As Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director for United We Dream, said in a statement, the judge is “asking for the personal information of young people just to whip up fear” — fear, no doubt, of what could happen if anti-immigrant state officials got their hands on this information. Or if the information became public.

    • Brazil’s Guarani Indians killing themselves over loss of ancestral land

      The small Apy Ka’y community of around 150 Guarani Indians has lived in squalor by the side of Highway BR 463 in southern Brazil since 2009. Since then, they have been forced out three times by unknown gunmen, had their makeshift camp burned down twice by arsonists and three young people from the group have killed themselves.

      Each time they were intimidated they returned and reoccupied their last patch of land but last month a Brazilian judge ordered the Apy Ka’y community to permanently move off the land that was theirs for hundreds of years but was seized without compensation by wealthy plantation owners in the 1970s.

      “It will be a death sentence,” says anthropologist and community leader Tonico Benites Guarani who estimates that 1,000, mostly young, Guarani, have killed themselves in the last 10 years throughout Brazil – hundreds of times more than the average Brazilian suicide rate, and unequalled among all other indigenous peoples in Latin America.

    • GOP Senator’s Dying Wish Was To Apologize To Muslims On Behalf Of His Party For Trump

      As former Utah senator Bob Bennett lay dying this spring, the staunchly conservative lawmaker voiced a final, unexpected wish: he wanted to apologize to Muslims for Donald Trump.

      “Are there any Muslims in the hospital?” the Republican asked his wife and son, according to the Daily Beast. “I’d love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.”

    • How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

      Every Friday, just yards from a statue of Bill Clinton with arm aloft in a cheery wave, hundreds of young bearded men make a show of kneeling to pray on the sidewalk outside an improvised mosque in a former furniture store.

      The mosque is one of scores built here with Saudi government money and blamed for spreading Wahhabism — the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia — in the 17 years since an American-led intervention wrested tiny Kosovo from Serbian oppression.

      Since then — much of that time under the watch of American officials — Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a font of Islamic extremism and a pipeline for jihadists.

      Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. Over the last two years, the police have identified 314 Kosovars — including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children — who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State, the highest number per capita in Europe.

      They were radicalized and recruited, Kosovo investigators say, by a corps of extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab gulf states using an obscure, labyrinthine network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

    • Islamophobia on the Rise in England

      During a casual conversation inside a store on a swanky shopping street located a short distance from London’s fabled Kensington Palace a twenty-something retail clerk said she feels a strange sense of discomfort that she’s never felt before in London, the city where this native of Algeria has lived most of her life.

      She traces this alienating discomfort to the sharp increase in Islamophobia.

      Islamophobia is generally defined as dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.

      This London resident is an identifiable target for Islamophobia because she wears a modest headscarf that is traditional in her culture and religion – Islam. (She does not wear a full-face covering burka.)

      For her and others, Islamophobia ranges from disdainful stares and caustic comments to physical assaults. A few assaults have ended in fatalities. And then there are British government policies like ‘Prevent’ – the professed counter-terrorism program that seemingly is targeted solely at Muslims. Prevent enlists citizens to report actions and attitudes deemed suspicious.

    • Police make naked dead woman sandcastle, then swiftly apologise

      A local police force has come under fire for building a fictitious crime scene from sand, featuring a naked dead woman.

      The peculiar sandcastle, surrounded by police tape and even featuring a green beach spade sticking out of her back, won the Cornwall Beach Games competition.

    • The crisis in European social democracy: a crisis like no other

      That said, representative democracy must itself be more open to a more balanced selection of representatives (in terms of generations and gender), while the various implementation mechanisms must facilitate genuine debate on issues and challenges that are impossible to face in isolation. These are all huge changes, but constitute only the beginning, a beginning that might suffice in restoring self-confidence, prompting the first steps towards major transformation, by way of the required social and ecological transition.

    • We Can Dream, or We Can Organize

      The swift rise, and swift crumbling, of the Occupy movement brings to the surface the question of organization. Demonstrating our anger, and doing so with thousands of others in the streets, gives us energy and brings issues to wider audiences.

    • Price of calling women crazy: Military women who speak out about sexual assault are being branded with “personality disorder” and let go

      As all too many rape victims discover when they speak out, many react by just wishing the victim would shut up and go away.

      Most rapists attack someone they know, which means that holding them accountable means tearing apart whatever community — school, work, friend group — that the accused and accuser belong in. Often, it feels just easier to pressure the accuser to shut up and go away so everything can return to normal, even though that often requires ignoring that there’s a sexual predator in your midst.

      In a report released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch turned up alarming evidence that, in the military, forces that want to shut accusers up and make them go away have found a disturbingly potent weapon: Misogynist stereotypes. By leaning on prejudiced beliefs that women, especially outspoken women, are either dishonest or crazy, the military was able to get rid of women who came forward with rape accusations.

    • GOP Senator Says America, The World’s Leading Jailer, Doesn’t Put Enough People In Prison

      Many lawmakers appear ready to begin unwinding the system that’s left millions of Americans rotting in prison and blocked those who do make it out from the economic opportunities they need to rejoin polite society. But one Republican lawmaker rejects the idea that America has a mass incarceration problem at all.

      “The claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact,” Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said Thursday at the right-wing Hudson Institute. “For the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted, and jailed.”

    • House Republican Staffer: If You Don’t Support The Confederate Flag You Are Just Like The Terrorists

      On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a measure to ban most displays of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries.

      The final tally was 265-159, but a majority of Republicans opposed the measure, with 158 voting nay and 84 voting in favor. Before the vote, a staffer working on behalf of one of the Republicans who voted against restricting the Confederate flag, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), distributed an email comparing those who support the measure to ISIS.

      “You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote NO,” Westmoreland’s legislative director, Pete Sanborn, wrote, signing the email, “Yours in freedom from the PC police.”

    • Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy

      There is nothing new about people being transgender or using the restrooms they choose. They have been doing so for years. In contrast, black people risk death constantly just because they exist in this society. Driving, walking, riding a bicycle, being in a public space at the wrong moment, or even calling the police for assistance can get them killed. Yet Obama’s FBI doesn’t even maintain a record of killings committed by the police.

      Black people unilaterally surrendered their history of fighting for justice ever since Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008. From the moment it became clear that he could become president there was no amount of contempt or indifference from him that would dissuade millions of people from giving him unquestioned support.

    • Don’t Let the CIA Disappear the Senate Torture Report

      Torture is a war crime under international law and is prosecutable under federal law. The Senate Torture Report contains evidence of crimes. Destroying, disappearing, or continuing to hide the report undermines the rule of law and denies the American people their right to know when the government engages in criminal conduct.

      The CIA’s lawlessness cannot be allowed to subvert justice and erase history. Unless the report is preserved and made public it could be lost forever.

    • Daddy Knows Best

      I’m staring at that separation of politics and life, Obama’s saying “In politics and in life.” But politics IS life, or it at least is where decisions about people’s lives are legislated.

      “Ignorance is not a virtue.” No, it’s not. Yet Obama, this nation’s daddy, decides when we’re better off unaware. As a candidate for president, he promised transparency, but his tenure has been the least transparent in American history.

    • An open letter to #NuitDebout from the Indignados’ districts of the internet

      The strength of r-evolutions like #NuitDebout or 15M lies in:

      (1) decentralization and a distributed leadership according to expertise, not according to media visibility; these new ways of organising will overcome the limits of the horizontal governance of assemblies and will transform into networks.

      (2) Our abilities, well above those of the institutions and political parties, to resolve specific problems with specific solutions that are derived from the specific experiences and expertise of each of us, and not from ideologies. It’s about collaboration between people with different skills and abilities, not about merging under a single banner or a unique trade mark. The strength of a federation based on diversity.

      (3) Shared responsibility: we want grown-up, adult societies that don’t need a parental figure whose proclamations are fanatically observed, or in the same vein, a leader for whom we are the critical current, and who we legitimise ‘democratically’ through our disagreements.

    • Truthdiggers of the Week: Brazilians Protesting Absorption of the Ministry of Culture

      What would you do if a bunch of politicians ousted your democratically elected president and installed one of their own?

    • Is Pope Francis a Teamster at Heart?

      And I say the following not only as a non-Catholic and non-Christian, but as a non-theist. Who is the American public more apt to listen to? The Pope and Jesus? Or Wal-Mart executives?

    • After Damaging Washington Post ‘Redskins’ Poll, Change The Mascot Movement Moves On

      For Native American leaders who have been fighting for the Washington team to change its name — and making strides, at least on the local level — this poll felt like a slap in the face.

      “This is just an investment in white supremacy, plain and simple,” Dr. Adrienne Keene wrote on her website, Native Appropriations. “It is an attempt to justify racism, justify the continued marginalization of Native peoples, justify divide-and-conquer techniques that are pitting Native people against one another. It devalues Native voices, stories, and experiences.”

      Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation and the Change The Mascot campaign, agreed.

    • ‘I’m sorry, I’m scared:’ Killing of student enrages ABQ

      Jonathan Sorensen, a 25-year-old University of New Mexico student, died at the K-Mart location at Carlisle and Indian School Road after he was held down by three loss prevention employees who suspected him of shoplifting.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality complaints have flooded into FCC since rules took effect

      The data includes 86,114 Internet service complaints filed since October 31, 2014 against home Internet and cellular ISPs. Net neutrality has been the most common type of complaint since the rules went into effect and is near the top of the list even when counting the first seven months of the data set in which net neutrality complaints weren’t yet being accepted. In the full data set, billing complaints led the way at 22,989—with 16,393 since June 12. The other top categories for the entire period since late 2014 were service availability with 14,251 complaints, speed with 11,200 complaints, and privacy with 7,968 privacy complaints.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Deborah Cohn on a year of progress for the Trademark Caucus

        Deborah Cohn has been busy since starting as INTA’s Senior Director of Government Relations in March last year. “We are trying and succeeding in raising the visibility of trademark issues and INTA on Capitol Hill,” the former Commissioner for Trademarks for the USPTO says of her role.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP: Police Request Most User Data for File-Sharing “Crimes”

        For the first time Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof has shared details on the nature of police requests for subscriber identities. The data reveals that with 27.5% “file-sharing” is by far the largest category. The ISP, however, doesn’t see piracy as a serious crime and has refused to hand over any subscriber data.

      • Why Is Oracle Suing Google and What’s at Stake?

        For the past week or so, Google — which, uh, I imagine you’re familiar with — and Oracle, an enormous but less flashy technology company, have been sparring in court over Google’s use of a version of Java, the programming language owned by Oracle, in its Android operating system. At the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not the Java API could be copyrighted, and whether Google’s use of it was exempt under fair use. In short, Oracle wants to know if it can get some cash because Google used a program it created.

      • How an Oracle win over Google could set the software industry back to the licensing age

        What’s at stake in Google and Oracle’s copyright dispute over Java isn’t really about the future of open source, as Quentin Hardy seems to argue, but rather about the future of software licensing, period. A pro-Oracle verdict essentially dumps us back into the software Stone Age, an era of arcane software licensing designed to mimic the pre-digital world of physical goods.

      • Google’s legal war with Oracle could undermine a core pillar of the software industry

        Oracle alleges that Google violated its copyright when it put pieces of the crucial Java technology into the Android operating system, which now ships on 80% of smartphones sold. Google’s defense hinges on “fair use,” the idea that it was legally allowed to use Java as it did.

      • Music Industry Wants More Money From YouTube

        UK music industry group BPI is not happy with YouTube and other streaming sites that can feature their music for just a few pennies. According to the major labels, EU legislation needs an overhaul to deter piracy and make sure that labels and artists are properly compensated for their work.

      • Ancillary Copyright: bad for both end-users and creators

        The Commission’s public consultation on whether to grant additional rights to press publishers is aimed at audiences beyond the publishers themselves, to include a wide range of stakeholders – including end users, consumers, and citizens. In this third post of our series on the consultation, we highlight what the introduction of an additional right for publishers would mean for end-users of news and online information, as well as content creators. We encourage everyone to make their views known to the Commission by answering the consultation questionnaire by 15 June.

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