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08.28.16

Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • #MyOpenHA Part 1 -Philosophy

    Home Automation. The holy hipster and geek grail. I have played with it. I have tried. I have failed. But today I am proud to have a solution I can truly endorse. So join me on this journey. This series will explain my solution, in excruciating detail. In the hope that I can learn from you while I am explaining. This series will be filled over time with more and more articles. But now, let’s talk about philosophy. The Why. Soon you will see the What and How. One promise, or the TL;DR: It is all 100% Open Source.

    Well, almost. I have integrated some quite non-open things but always in an Open Source Way.

  • Events

    • On speaking at community conferences

      Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.

    • TPM Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016

      Although trusted platform modules (TPMs) have been the subject of some controversy over the years, it is quite likely that they have important roles to play in preventing firmware-based attacks, protecting user keys, and so on. However, some work is required to enable TPMs to successfully play these roles, including getting TPM support into bootloaders, securely distributing known-good hashes, and providing robust and repeatable handling of upgrades.

      In short, given the ever-more-hostile environments that our systems must operate in, it seems quite likely that much help will be needed, including from TPMs. For more details, see the TPM Microconference wiki page.

    • More translations added to the SFD countdown

      Software Freedom Day is celebrated all around the world and as usual our community helps us to provide marketing materials in their specific languages. While the wiki is rather simple to translate, the Countdown remains a bit more complicated and time consuming to localize. One needs to edit the SVG file and generate roughly a 100 pictures, then upload them to the wiki.

      Still this doesn’t scare the SFD teams around the world and we are happy to announce three more languages are ready to be used: French, Chinese and German!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Disable the new Firefox 48 location bar – Tutorial

        Here we are. Seven minutes later, our life is bearable again, but not perfect. Thank you Mozilla, thank you very much. This is exactly what I needed to enrich my life. After all, we all know, cosmetic changes are good, because that’s what plants crave. Stop with these idiotic tweaks please. No one cares. It won’t make the browser better. It won’t change the market share. It will not attract idiots, as idiots are happy. It will only alienate diehard users who keep on using your browser because they have no alternative. From a loved favorite to the least of evils choice. That’s what Firefox has become.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • The Importance of BSD

      The Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) is a Unix operating system developed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Second FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Restores Support for ‘nat global’ in IPFW

      Glen Barber from the FreeBSD project announced the availability of the second RC (Release Candidate) development build of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system.

    • LLVM Might Get An AAP Back-End (Altruistic Processor)

      There’s an active proposal to incorporate a back-end into LLVM for AAP, a processor ISA for deeply-embedded Harvard architectures.

      AAP is designed for FPGA usage and there is an open-source soft-core with commercial deployments also being available. AAP is short for the Altruistic Processor and is described in technical detail here. AAP is said to be an original design but inspired by the OpenRISC / RISC-V projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Last LinuxCon, MariaDB Goes Open Core & More… [Ed: And a day later publicly attacks the Conservancy over GPL compliance against VMware]

      Linus Torvalds being interviewed by VMware’s Dirk Hohndel on the last day of the last LinuxCon North America. Next year’s event in Los Angeles will be renamed Open Source Summit.

    • GPL compliance suit against VMware dismissed

      In a setback to the Christoph Hellwig’s efforts to enforce the GPL on code that he wrote in the Linux kernel, his suit against VMware in Germany has been dismissed on procedural grounds. The court ruled that he had not provided enough specificity about the code he was claiming had been used by the company. The merits of the GPL and whether the two main parts of VMware’s product constitute a derived work of the kernel were not even considered. There may be another chance for the court to do so, however, as Hellwig will appeal the dismissal.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • UK-French Data Taskforce publishes joint report

      “Invest in and share experiences building core data registers, learning from the French National Address Database experience”; “develop initiatives to bring basic data literacy into primary and secondary education”; and “commission research into algorithmic transparency and accountability” are among the recommendations listed in a report published in July by the joint French-UK Data Taskforce.

    • Tuscany: how to promote the economy of sharing and collaboration

      In June, the region of Tuscany (Italy), in collaboration with Open Toscana and ANCI Toscana, launched a project, the goal of which is to “build a regional policy on the economy of sharing and collaboration”.

    • Open Data

      • MS Tries But Just Doesn’t Get FLOSS

        This is what drove me to GNU/Linux so many years ago.

      • Microsoft’s maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

        Microsoft has laid part of the blame for Bing Maps’ mis-location of the Australian city of Melbourne by a whole hemisphere on Wikipedia.

        Yes, Wikipedia, “the free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit.”

        Microsoft made its admission after your correspondent took to Twitter on Monday to do what we in publishing call “pimping”the story of Melbourne’s mis-placement.

        Ricky Brundritt, a senior program manager at Bing Maps, noticed that pimping and responded as follows.

      • Northern Ireland promotes Open Data in education

        The Northern Ireland Department of Finance has supported a challenge that encourages the re-use of public Open Data in education. Called the OpenDataNI Challenge – Using Open Data for Education” (ODNI4EDU), this project, officially launched on June 14, intends to award two applications or educational tools and resources that make use of at least one dataset published on the portal OpendataNI.

Leftovers

  • Try this handy tool to convert a Web site into a native app with Electron
  • Introducing CloudiumOS [Ed: built on Electron]

    It is a complete multi platform operating system that allows you to manage your documents, access your media files and collaborate with other people on the go. CloudiumOS can work side-by-side with another operating system (either via a VM, a Desktop app or Mobile App) or as a standalone installation.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EpiPen Maker’s Stock Value Plunges Nearly $3 Billion as Investors Panic

      Mylan Pharmaceuticals—the company that makes the EpiPen rescue device—has watched its stock value plummet over the last five days as panicky investors jump ship.

      According to U.S. Uncut, outrage over Mylan’s decision to jack up the price of the EpiPen has spooked shareholders, whose departures have reduced the value of Mylan stock by 12.4 percent. On August 19, Mylan stocks went from $49.20 per share to $43.11 on August 24, a net loss of nearly $3 billion for the company.

    • Big Pharma Increased Price of Life-Saving EpiPen by Over 450 Percent

      Martin Shkreli became one of the most notorious people in the United States for hiking the price of a rarely used life-saving drug by 4,000 percent in September 2015. And nearly a year later, dozens of reports are now coming out about how Mylan Pharmaceuticals hiked the price of the very common life-saving EpiPen by over 450 percent since Mylan bought EpiPen in 2007.

    • As the UN finally admits role in Haiti cholera outbreak – here is how victims must be compensated

      The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in 2010 and has since killed at least 9,200 people and infected nearly a million people.

      This is the first time that the UN has acknowledged that it bears a duty towards the victims. It is a significant step forward in the quest for accountability and justice.

      Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is frequently devastated by disasters – both natural and man-made. Yet cholera was not one of its problems before 2010. Then a group of UN peacekeepers was sent to help after an earthquake.

      The UN did not screen its peacekeepers for cholera, nor did it build adequate toilet facilities in its peacekeeping camps. As a result, wastewater carrying cholera flowed directly into a tributary that feeds Haiti’s main river. Given that vast numbers of the population rely on the Artibonite river for washing, cooking, cleaning and drinking, cholera quickly spread around many parts of the country. The disease is now endemic within the country. People continue to die at an alarming rate by this preventable and treatable disease.

    • The UN undermined both public health and human rights in Haiti

      Despite the clear risks, in the long run, the UN would have clearly benefited from transparent investigations into the outbreak, and could have risk-managed any negative outcomes. Its shortsighted obfuscation and failure to accept responsibility was disastrous from a public health perspective. It likely undermined efforts to control the cholera outbreak and led to more deaths of impoverished Haitians, already suffering in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. It also violated key human rights principles promoted by the organization, such as the right of Haitians to the highest attainable standard of health.

      Ultimately, this approach damaged the UN’s credibility, and sent an unfortunate message to other governments, multilateral organizations, as well as transnational entities (multilateral corporations) about how to behave in the face of tragic public health mistakes.

      [...]

      UN officials counter that the organization has been instrumental in efforts to remedy their mistake, leading the fight against cholera through public health messages and treatment. Should these efforts be integrated into any calculation of the harm caused by the UN? The amount demanded in a recent US court system filing—USD 40 billion—is five times the UN’s yearly peacekeeping budget. How would any payout affect ongoing efforts by the UN to address governance, development, and health challenges in Haiti and elsewhere? Does such a ruling have unforeseen negative consequences? Would it spur organizations working in challenging and dangerous environments, such as post-earthquake Haiti, to be more responsible or possibly deter such work?

    • Obamacare’s Faltering for One Simple Reason: Profit

      There have been dozens if not hundreds of news articles about Aetna leaving the Affordable Health Care Act’s online marketplaces in eleven states, and whether this signals serious problems for Obamacare down the road.

      But none of them have truly explained that what’s happening with Aetna is the consequence of a flaw built into Obamacare from the start: It permits insurance companies to make a profit on the basic healthcare package Americans are now legally required to purchase.

      This makes Obamacare fundamentally different from essentially all systems of universal healthcare on earth. (There is one tiny exception, the Netherlands, but of the four insurance companies that cover 90 percent of Dutch citizens, just one is for profit.)

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 Series Release Notes
    • Linux.PNScan Malware Brute-Forces Linux-Based Routers
    • St. Jude stock shorted on heart device hacking fears; shares drop

      The stock of pacemaker manufacturer St. Jude Medical Inc (STJ.N) fell sharply on Thursday after short-selling firm Muddy Waters said it had placed a bet that the shares would fall, claiming its implanted heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

      St. Jude, which agreed in April to sell itself for $25 billion to Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N), said the allegations were false. St Jude shares closed down 4.96 percent, the biggest one-day fall in 7 months and at a 7.4 percent discount to Abbott’s takeover offer.

      Muddy Waters head Carson Block said the firm’s position was motivated by research from a cyber security firm, MedSec Holdings Inc, which has a financial arrangement with Muddy Waters. MedSec asserted that St. Jude’s heart devices were vulnerable to cyber attack and were a risk to patients.

    • BlackArch Linux ISO now comes with over 1,500 hacking tools

      On a move to counter distros like Kali Linux and BackBox, BlackArch has got a new ISO image that includes more than 1,500 hacking tools. The update also brings several security and software tweaks to deliver an enhanced platform for various penetration testing and security assessment activities.

      The new BlackArch Linux ISO includes an all new Linux installer and more than 100 new penetration testing and hacking tools. There is also Linux 4.7.1 to fix the bugs and compatibility issues of the previous kernel. Additionally, the BlackArch team has updated all its in-house tools and system packages as well as updated menu entries for the Openbox, Fluxbox and Awesome windows managers.

    • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen

      Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.

    • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules

      Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked.

      But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer.

      And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdogan at a crossroad: dictatorship or democracy

      An interview with A.H. Banisadr, Iran’s former president, about the aftermath of the coup in Turkey.

    • The Dumbed-Down New York Times

      In a column mocking the political ignorance of the “dumbed-down” American people and lamenting the death of “objective fact,” New York Times columnist Timothy Egan shows why so many Americans have lost faith in the supposedly just-the-facts-ma’am mainstream media.

      Egan states as flat fact, “If more than 16 percent of Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, it would have been a Really Big Deal when Trump said that Russia was not going to invade it — two years after they had, in fact, invaded it.”

    • Where are the Child Victims of the West?

      The Facebook page contains a post cheering on al-Nusra, the US-designated terrorist group, referring to them as ‘rebels’, not ‘terrorists’ and also calling the Syrian government a ‘regime’, the standard terminology of the corporate media when referring to Assad’s administration. Such phrasing destroys the Aleppo Media Centre as a neutral, credible source.

    • Is Syria Ceasefire Achievable? US-Russia Talks Bring No Solution

      Meanwhile, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces say they are now being bombed by U.S.-backed Turkish forces, Reuters reported Saturday, which Common Dreams noted was Turkey’s goal from the start of its military incursion into Syria earlier this week.

    • Clintonites Prepare for War on Syria

      Neocons and Clintonites have launched a major campaign with the goal of direct US military intervention and aggression against Syria, potentially leading to war with Iran and Russia. An early indication emerged as soon as it was clear the Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic Party nominee. Following the California primary, the NY Times reported on State Department diplomats issuing an internal memo “urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al Assad.”

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Accuses US of “Imperialist Attack” Against Latin American Leftists

      Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro told a crowd of supporters Saturday that the turmoil of recent months in progressive Latin American countries are the result of “an imperialist attack on all,” teleSUR reports.

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Says Dilma Coup, Killing of Bolivia Minister ‘Imperialist Attack’ Against All

      President Maduro said the recent events in Bolivia and Brazil are part of a new plan to destabilize progressive governments in the region.

      Following the murder of the Bolivian vice minister by miners and as the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff reaches its final stage, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro warned Saturday of “imperialist” attacks on the region’s left and compared the situation to a new Plan Condor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Standing Rock Sioux Chairman: Dakota Access Pipeline “Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe”

      In North Dakota, indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, which was launched on April 1 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. For more, we’re joined by Dave Archambault, chairperson of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He’s in Washington, D.C., where there is a hearing in the tribe’s lawsuit on Wednesday.

    • Singapore chokes on smoke from Indonesia’s slash-and-burn fires

      A swathe of south-east Asia is blanketed in a smoky haze as smoke from forest fires in Indonesia drifts across the Malacca Strait to neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore’s air quality has deteriorated to very unhealthy levels, peaking at a reading of 215 on the National Environment Agency’s Pollutant Standards Index. Levels above 100 are defined as unhealthy and above 200 very unhealthy.

    • Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, this ‘carbon accountant’ says

      Last month, geographer Richard Heede received a subpoena from Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Smith, a climate change doubter, became concerned when the attorneys general of several states launched investigations into whether ExxonMobil had committed fraud by sowing doubts about climate change even as its own scientists knew it was taking place. The congressman suspected a conspiracy between the attorneys general and environmental advocates, and he wanted to see all the communications among them. Predictably, his targets included advocacy organizations such as Greenpeace, 350.org, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. They also included Heede, who works on his own aboard a rented houseboat on San Francisco Bay in California.

    • What Baton Rouge Can Learn from New Orleans About Bringing Flood Victims Home

      In the wake of the nation’s worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy, flood recovery efforts are now underway in Baton Rouge: Electricity is operating in certain neighborhoods, damaged floors and walls are being removed from homes, and homeowners are beginning to deal with emergency assistance and insurance—or a lack thereof.

      Soon, another aftereffect of the storm will sweep Baton Rouge communities: climate refugees—people who are displaced by climate change or natural disasters—will begin the daunting task of rebuilding their lives.

    • Nature Is Not Benign, It’s Responsive

      There’s a reason why Indigenous peoples everywhere have led on dealing intelligently with climate change: not because they’re wiser or nobler but because they haven’t experienced a rupture with the non-human world to the same degree as most of us. They remain aware of the ways we’re part of the natural realm, and how dangerous and menacing it can be if, like any relationship, that one is left unattended or gets misshapen by a power imbalance. If you live oblivious to something you’re intimately part of, the odds don’t favor you, ultimately.

      Now when I look out the kitchen window and see the squirrel (not “a” squirrel anymore: he’s become an individual, with motives and capacities), I don’t think of him as “scampering” (too cute and generic); more like lurking, working and perhaps pondering a revisit. You could say we’ve entered a relationship, with mutual regard.

    • We Can Have a Healthy Climate With Zero Warming in Our Lifetimes

      We can have a healthy climate — a climate with zero warming — in our lifetimes. The message for the last 20 years has been that we have to reduce emissions drastically to prevent dangerous climate change of more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F). This strategy would have likely worked when it was first suggested, but we have delayed far too long since then. Now, even stringent emissions reductions allow our warming to at least double and likely triple before finally beginning to cool.

      We must begin to reduce the load of already-emitted, long-lived carbon dioxide (CO2) climate pollution in the sky, regardless of costs. The good news is that, not only will costs be very similar to many things we do in our society today whose costs are taken for granted, but by disconnecting emissions reductions strategies from the removal of already-emitted climate pollution in our sky, we vastly simplify the myriad strategies that have been developed to avoid dangerous climate change.

    • 10th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

      October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July.

    • Indonesian police arrest hundreds in connection to burning land

      Singapore’s National Environment Agency said on Friday it expected air quality to remain poor into the weekend as Indonesian disaster management officials cautioned that wildfires in Sumatra and Kalimantan could persist through September.

      On Thursday Indonesia’s newly appointed police chief Tito Karnavian said police had prepared cases against 454 individuals in connection with burning land. “The arrests of individuals has increased compared with last year,” he said in Jakarta. “Just in Riau [province] 85 people have been arrested.”

      The head of the police’s criminal investigation division, Ari Dono Sukmanto, said he expected the number of arrests to rise in the coming months. Indonesian environment minster Siti Nurbaya called on police to “investigate thoroughly” for any links to companies and local government officials.

    • Raging Amazon forest fires threaten uncontacted indigenous tribe

      In April 2012, Survival International launched a global campaign to save the Awá, an uncontacted indigenous people that has been called “Earth’s most threatened tribe.” Two years later, the campaign claimed victory when the Brazilian government sent troops to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from Awá land.

      But now the Awá are facing yet another existential threat in the form of forest fires. According to Survival International, fires are “raging” in Awá territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon and “threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.”

      Small groups of Guajajara Indians, the Awá’s neighbors in the Amazon, reportedly battled the blaze for days without the assistance of government agents until Brazil’s Environment Ministry launched a fire-fighting operation two weeks ago.

      According to Survival International, nearly 50 percent of the forest cover in the territory was destroyed by forest fires started by loggers in late 2015, and the Environment Ministry has warned that the situation is “even worse this year.”

  • Finance

    • The Hidden Homeless Population

      Most children in the United States spend their school days dreaming of their next birthday party or worrying whether they’re popular enough. Not America’s homeless youth.

      Students like Jamie Talley, who first became homeless at age 2, are thinking about how the weather will affect their sleep and how to silence their growling stomachs during a test.

      “I was pushed out of the world and left to survive on my own,” Talley said in a scholarship essay quoted by the Washington Post. “I had given up on the possibilities for me to become somebody.”

      Fortunately, Talley had a teacher who helped her get Medicaid and pushed her to focus on her education.

      But most homeless students don’t feel supported at school. They feel that their schools simply don’t have the funding, time, staff, community awareness, or resources to help, and that’s the way it’s always going to be. This feeling of invisibility continues to disconnect citizens with consistent housing from those without.

      There are more than 1.3 million homeless students in the U.S., according to a new report by Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates. Seventy-eight percent of homeless youth surveyed in the study have experienced homelessness more than once in their lives.

      Why are so many of us disconnected from this crisis?

      Many homeless students say they’re uncomfortable talking with their schools about their housing situation and the challenges that impact their ability to learn. Additionally, 94 percent of those surveyed stay with different people on an inconsistent basis, adding to the ambiguity that makes recognizing homelessness more difficult.

    • She’ll keep America not so great for workers

      The Trump plan would, of course, be a disaster for working people–and another windfall for the rich, with its proposals for eliminating the estate tax and opening up new tax loopholes for the wealthy.

      But Clinton’s own economic plan isn’t very new, much less positive for working people. It reads a lot like the policies of the Bill Clinton administration–and while Hillary denounces the failed Republican policies recycled by Trump, the truth is Clintonomics repurposed many of the GOP proposals that came before it.

      Providing targeted tax breaks to corporations, cutting “red tape” and doing away with regulations on business were all hallmarks of the Clinton-era policies that successfully made a break from the Democrats’ past image of the party of social welfare spending.

    • Education Reformers’ Core Beliefs Are Objectionable

      America’s corporate education reform movement has been a marketing success. Reformers have popularized slogans that promote a radically new public school system; one where tenure and bargaining rights are abolished or severely degraded; where CEOs and administrators, who may have backgrounds in business, politics or public relations rather than education, make hiring and firing decisions; and where data-based accountability — necessarily driven by test scores — perpetually imperils schools, tenure- and union-less teachers, as well as students who must conform to onerous protocols and codes of conduct under charter school contracts. Reformers’ slogans such as “demography isn’t destiny” and “poverty is no excuse” have been ingrained in the minds of all who follow education issues — and have apparently been successful in advancing their agenda. But ironically, while reformers’ slogans are well known, their core ideas around such reformer bedrocks as Teach For America, charter schools, and educational expertise are so objectionably elitist that they are unutterable.

    • Postal Contract Narrows the Gap between Tiers

      They didn’t end three-tier in a single blow. But in a new contract covering 200,000 members, the American Postal Workers Union made serious headway and fended off most concessionary demands, including the Postal Service’s effort to create yet another tier.

      The union entered bargaining with little obvious leverage. It was up against a management that’s been openly collaborating with postal unions’ Congressional foes to push a frenzy of cuts—slashing delivery standards, shutting down mail plants, privatizing work, and selling off post offices to real estate sharks.

      Postal workers can’t legally strike. If the union and management don’t reach a deal, an arbitrator writes the contract—which is what finally happened. Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg announced the results July 8.

      He stopped short of eliminating the three-tier system, as the union had proposed. But the new contract shrinks the number of bottom-tier workers and improves their situation, while defending the traditional raises and no-layoff protection for the two upper tiers.

    • Close My Tax Loophole

      My fellow venture capitalists and private equity investors are paying close attention to the heated election-year rhetoric about the future of “carried interest,” which is the performance fee we charge to manage other people’s money. Carried interest is the fund manager’s share of the earnings from a profitable investment, normally paid on top of a much smaller management fee.

      It’s also a subject of increasing political disfavor. Over the past year, every major presidential candidate — from Jeb Bush and Donald J. Trump to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — has called for an end to a tax loophole that exists for carried interest. Mrs. Clinton has vowed that if Congress does not close the loophole, as president she would ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to do so.

      Ultimately, the controversy has to do with tax fairness, or the lack thereof. Instead of being taxed as wages or commissions earned, carried interest is currently taxed as if it were a personal investment, or capital gains. This gives us a significant tax advantage since the capital gains tax rate is about 50 percent lower than the top rate on ordinary income.

      When I started my first fund, Alan Patricof Associates, in 1970, I vividly remember my accountant telling me about my first sale of an investment: “We’re going to treat this as capital gain, but sooner or later, it will be characterized as ordinary income.”

    • Last BHS stores to close for final time after 88 years

      The last BHS stores are set to close their doors for the final time, ending an 88-year presence on the High Street.

      The closure of the final 22 shops dotted around the UK comes after the retailer was placed into administration in March but failed to find a buyer.

      Previous owners Dominic Chappell and Sir Philip Green have been criticised for mismanaging the chain and failing to protect the company pension scheme.

      Administrators have already made 141 store closures over recent weeks.

    • Dimon is Forever

      Since neither poor earnings by the bank nor a need to find the money with which to pay Mr. Dimon his $27.5 million annual compensation explains why the interest rate on credit card cash advances has increased, there has to be some other explanation and, in fact, there is. Morgan Chase raised the interest rate on those credit cards because it could.

    • ‘People In Poverty Do Work’: What Paul Ryan Misunderstands About Poverty

      Twenty years later, it’s clear that welfare reform has left more families with fewer resources. There has been a 75% drop in the number of Americans receiving cash assistance since 1996, and a sharp rise in the number of households with children with incomes of less than $2 per day. There are 3 million American children who now live on no money for at least three months out of the year.

      [...]

      Ryan claims he is focused on moving people into full-time work—the surest way to get people out of poverty, he says. And it’s true—full-time jobs that pay well and provide benefits are indeed the best path to get out of poverty.

      But that’s not what Ryan is promoting, and his solution—like welfare reform before it—would not have helped me. (Nor would his votes—at least 10 times—against raising the minimum wage.)

    • Obama’s Campaign for TPP Could Drag Down the Democrats

      How much is President Obama willing to harm the Democratic Party in order to win approval for the deeply unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement? We may soon find out.

      On Tuesday, Politico broke the story that the White House will be “making an all-out push to win passage of the deal in the lame duck session of Congress, organizing 30 events over the congressional recess.” The effort will be designed to put pressure not only on Democratic members of Congress, but also on swing Republican votes, by lobbying important business interests in their districts.

    • TTIP Has ‘De Facto Failed,’ Says German Economic Minister

      Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has “de facto failed,” admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.

      “Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed, because of course as Europeans we couldn’t allow ourselves to submit to American demands,” Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF in an interview that will air at 7pm German time Sunday, according to Der Spiegel.

      “Everything has stalled,” Gabriel said.

    • Germany’s economy minister: U.S.-EU free trade talks have failed

      Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the European Union, had essentially failed.

      “The negotiations with the USA have de facto failed because we Europeans did not want to subject ourselves to American demands,” he said, according to a written transcript from German broadcaster ZDF of an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday.

    • “TTIP Has Failed” – Global Justice Now Response

      “The fact that TTIP has failed is testament to the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to protest against it, the three million people who signed a petition calling for it to be scrapped, and the huge coalition of civil society groups, trade unions and activists who came together to stop it. TTIP would have resulted in a massive corporate power grab, and sovereign democracies across the EU would have been deeply compromised.

    • Common Core’s New New Math Has the Same Problem as the Old New Math

      Bad ideas are like unlucky pennies – they keep coming back again.

      Take the New Math. Or maybe I should say the New New Math.

      Common Core State Standards suggests we teach children a new way to do arithmetic. We should focus on multiple ways to reach an answer with an emphasis on understanding the concept behind the problem rather than just manipulating numbers.

      It sounds fine in theory – until you think about it for five minutes.

      When learning a new skill, it’s best to master a single, simple approach before being exposed to other more complex methods. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusion, frustration and ultimately not learning how to solve the problem.

      Take directions.

      If you’re lost and you ask for directions, you don’t want someone to tell you five ways to reach your destination. You want one, relatively simple way to get there – preferably with the least amount of turns and the highest number of landmarks.

      Maybe later if you’re going to be traveling to this place frequently, you may want to learn alternate routes. But the first time, you’re more concerned about finding the destination (i.e. getting the answer) than understanding how the landscape would appear on a map.

      This is the problem with Common Core math. It doesn’t merely ALLOW students to pursue alternate methods of solving problems. It REQUIRES them to know all the ways the problem can be solved and to be able to explain each method. Otherwise, it presumes to evaluate the student’s understanding as insufficient.

    • A Do-Over for Our Unequal Economy?

      Families in the upper reaches of the American economy, by contrast, have done just swell. Families in the top 10 percent, the Congressional Budget Office calculates, have seen their net worths increase an average 153 percent.

    • Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism

      This week marks the first anniversary of the 2015 Greek debt crisis, the third in that country’s recent history since 2010. Last Aug. 20-21, 2015, the ‘Troika’—i.e., the pan-European institutions of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB), plus the IMF-imposed a third debt deal on Greece. Greece was given US$98 billion in loans from the Troika. A previous 2012 Troika imposed debt deal had added nearly US$200 billion to an initial 2010 debt deal of US$140 billion.

      That’s approximately US$440 billion in Troika loans over a five year period, 2010-2015. The question is: who is benefitting from the US$440 billion? It’s not Greece. If not the Greek economy and its people, then who? And have we seen the last of Greek debt crises?

      One might think that US$440 billion in loans would have helped Greece recover from the global recession of 2008-09, the second European recession of 2011-13 that followed, and the Europe-wide chronic, stagnant economic growth ever since. But no, the US$440 billion in debt the Troika piled on Greece has actually impoverished Greece even further, condemning it to eight years of economic depression with no end in sight.

      To pay for the US$440 billion, in three successive debt agreements the Troika has required Greece to cut government spending on social services, eliminate hundreds of thousands of government jobs, lower wages for public and private sector workers, reduce the minimum wage, cut and eliminate pensions, raise the cost of workers’ health care contributions, and pay higher sales and local property taxes. As part of austerity, the Troika has also required Greece to sell off its government owned utilities, ports, and transport systems at ‘firesale’ (i.e. below) market prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein in Colorado: The Photos You Need to See

      On Saturday, Jill spoke at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. A large number of people showed up to hear her.

    • Clinton Foundation Official Requests State Lunch Invitation, Special Seating for Foundation Allies, Emails Show

      A series of newly released State Department emails obtained by ABC News offers fresh insight on direct contact between the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle while she was Secretary of State.

      The emails -– released as part of a public records lawsuit by conservative group Citizens United and shared exclusively with ABC — reveal what the group claims is new evidence Foundation allies received special treatment. [Read the emails here.]

      In one December 2010 email chain with Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, then-top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band offers names for a State Department lunch with Chinese President Hu Jintao scheduled for January 2011.

    • Green Party Candidates: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka

      Born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Dr. Jill Stein is a physician and longtime political and environmental activist with the GPUS. According to her campaign website, Stein “graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.” She unsuccessfully ran for governor of Massachusetts as the nominee of the Green-Rainbow Party, the Massachusetts affiliate of the national Green Party. Stein also ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 2004, and for Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth in 2006, and was the Green Party nominee for U.S. president in 2012.

      Despite her loss in the 2012 presidential election, coming in fourth place with 469,628 votes (0.36 percent of the national vote), Stein holds the record for the most votes won by a female presidential candidate in a general election. However, Hil­lary Clinton, unless forced out of the race, is likely to break this record in November.

      Endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement, Stein selected and the Greens nominated radical Black Nationalist and human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as the Green Party vice-presidential nominee.

      Also born in Chicago, Baraka served as the founding executive director of the US Human Rights Network, a self-described “national network of organizations and individuals working to strengthen a human rights movement and culture within the United States,” from 2004 to 2011.

    • How Sanders Shaped the National Discourse on Class: A Media Analysis

      Now that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is officially over, many of his supporters are adrift. The same week the Sanders’ campaign officially ended, the systematic efforts of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to sabotage his campaign became a matter of public record, thanks to WikiLeaks. The media largely ignored this scandal and proceeded to fawn over various politicians at the Democratic National Convention, as if they were deities. And Bob Woodward appeared on the August 14 Fox News Sunday, smugly joking that Sanders will now “write his memoirs about the revolution that didn’t quite happen.”

      But Sanders supporters should not get disillusioned. It may seem easy to forget, but the primary goal of the Sanders’ campaign was not the presidency, but a “political revolution.” Winning an election was a goal, to be sure, but “revolution” was the goal. The distinction matters. Consider the dictionary definition of revolution: “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” Electing Sanders wouldn’t have been a revolutionary act by itself; the bulk of the work, no matter who won, was always going to take place after Election Day.

    • Number of registered lobbyists plunges as spending declines yet again

      The lobbying industry may start arguing for its own bailout bill, given the relentless decline in reported spending for its services.

      The first quarter of 2016 was sluggish, the second similarly so. And with it came a pronounced dive in the number of active registered lobbyists.

      With 325 fewer lobbyists registered in the second quarter of 2016 than in the first, this marks the biggest single-quarter drop in four years and puts the number of registered lobbyists at the lowest point OpenSecrets has ever recorded. Since 1998, the total number of lobbyists has never dipped below 10,000, but that figure has been falling ever since it peaked at nearly 15,000 in 2007 and this quarter’s decrease puts it at just more than 9,700.

    • Open up debates to Johnson, Stein

      With two less than optimum candidates for president filling the Democratic and Republican slots, two other candidates have generated heightened interest.

      But not enough, apparently, to convince the Commission on Presidential Debates to open the door and let them in.

      And a legal challenge to the format determined by the commission was rejected earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

      The lawsuit had been brought by Libertarian party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green party nominee Jill Stein, among others. It alleged that the threshold set by the debate commission was designed to prevent any but the major-party nominees from participating in the debate. And that is clearly the case.

      This threshold is set at 15 percent support from an average of public polls, a much more exacting standard than the 5 percent threshold set by Congress to qualify for public campaign funds.

    • Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein campaigns in Colorado

      Voters not in tune with everything politics may not even know what the Green Party is. That’s the party Dr. Jill Stein represents. It’s the party that is based on principles like social justice and protecting the environment.

      The trouble for Stein? She’s not well-known. She represents the party that hardly gets any airtime, the party that does not spend millions on ad campaigns, the party hidden behind the big two candidates from the two big parties.

      But there is a market for Stein, one with plenty of devout supporters.

      New numbers show more and more Colorado voters are registering Green and Libertarian. Right now there are more than 11,000 registered Green Party voters and 35,000 registered Libertarian voters.

      That’s not enough to win a presidency, but that is not stopping Dr. Stein from hitting the campaign trail.

      She joined her supporters at a Colorado Springs park Saturday afternoon.

    • Let a Third Candidate Join the Clinton-Trump Debates

      A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum.

      Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two most distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?

      [...]

      The Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization set up and originally co-chaired by the then-chairman of Republican National Committee and his Democratic counterpart, has served as the debates’ gatekeeper since 1988.

      CPD describes its mission as ensuring that the debates “provide the best possible information to viewers.” But its real mission is to make the debate stage a “safe space” for major-party candidates. It does so by rigging the rules to protect them from unflattering camera angles, the microaggressions of uncooperative moderators and—most hurtful of all—the terror of third-party competition.

    • Hillary Clinton hasn’t held a news conference since December — but NPR has proven why it’s not media blackout

      One of the circulating scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton is that she hasn’t held a news conference in 265 days (and counting!), leading to allegations that she has something to hide or is trying to “run-out the clock.”

      The Clinton camp denies this, and has begun to claim that she has given more than 300 interviews this year alone. To prove it, they provided NPR with a list of interviews through the end of July. NPR “made minor corrections after conferring with the campaign, and analyzed the results,” finding some interesting things.

      Clinton by far gave the most interviews to television (both national and local) and local radio. Those three account for 81% of the interviews she’s given this year. Despite her affinity for television, she rarely appears on Sunday shows, usually considered a staple of a politician’s press diet. (Trump, for reference, has appeared on twice as many Sunday shows as she has this year — 43 to 22.)

      Most of her interviews only last for between three and eight minutes — short enough that the reporters don’t have the time to ask follow-up questions or really press her on the issues. In nearly a fifth of the interviews she gave, they weren’t with what NPR considers a journalist or reporter. One radio host gave her an astrological reading.

    • Trump and the Transformation of Politics

      Illiberal politicians are not very interested in civil liberties. They will manipulate the rule of law to “get things done.” They tend to appeal to religious or national identity rather than political ideology. They also generally favor greater state intervention in the economy.

      In short, they defy the usual political categories.

      If Donald Trump weren’t so personally unpopular and so tactically inept, he might be able to join the ranks of these successful illiberal leaders. Still, he has gotten as far as he has – seizing the nomination of a major political party – by articulating the same anger and resentment as the others.

    • Rich Upper East Siders Are Spending Millions to Mess With Elections in Brooklyn and the Bronx

      A new super-PAC is spending millions of dollars to oust four labor-backed black and Latino state Democrats from the Bronx, Brooklyn, and nearby Suffolk County. But most of the $3.17 million campaign, which has already begun to flood the Bronx with mailers, has not been financed by local organizations or concerned constituents.

      Of New Yorkers for Independent Action’s sixteen donors, all have addresses listed outside Brooklyn, Bronx, and Suffolk County, according to the New York State Board of Elections. All those registered in New York list addresses on the Upper East Side and in midtown. And all of the super-PAC’s donors appear to be white.

      The group’s main issue has been advocating for an education tax credit, which would give tax rebates to donors and companies for donations to private and parochial schools and has long been opposed by most state Democrats.

    • LISTEN: Maine’s Governor Unleashes Obscenities On Lawmaker Who Criticized Him

      The vulgar voicemail left Thursday was first reported by the Portland Press-Herald. The newspaper also reports that in an interview, LePage said he wished it were 1825 so that he could challenge Gattine to a duel — and that if he did, he wouldn’t shoot in the air like Alexander Hamilton.

      “I would point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt,” LePage told the Press-Herald.

      LePage has since apologized for his language, and said his comments about shooting Gattine were metaphorical. Democratic leaders in Maine, meanwhile, have said the governor is not “mentally or emotionally fit to hold office.”

      The hostile remarks follow — and are directly linked to — a series of widely-criticized remarks the Republican governor made on race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pahlaj Nihalani is in favour of controlled censorship

      Pahlaj Nihalani has become quite inured to criticism these days, and in his 20-month tenure as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), he has found the going tough since the online leak of censor copies of ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Great Grand Masti’ recently. In fact, Nihalani makes no secret of the fact that the CBFC has become a punching bag as everyone has got it into their head that all the ills that plague Bollywood have something to do with the CBFC.

    • Piers Morgan takes dig at Indian Twitter users, tweets about who Sachin Tendulkar follows
    • Twitterati teach Piers Morgan a lesson for poking fun at Indian Olympians
    • Piers Morgan TWEETS AGAIN: UK journalist takes credit for PM Modi setting up task force for next three Olympics
    • Piers Morgan and Indian athletes at Rio
    • Piers Morgan tweets Shekhar Gupta’s blog about India’s easy embrace to mediocrity and we kind of agree with both

      Days ago, British journalist and Television personality Piers Morgan was trending on twitter worldwide after he literally broke the internet. Morgan’s tweet questioning the over-zealous celebration by Indians for only two Olympic medals, agitated the Indian twitter and soon enough everyone was thrashing and slamming Morgan for it.

    • The Anti-Semitism Smear Against Canadian Greens

      So, establishment pro-Israel organizations are increasingly shrill in smearing the growing Palestinian solidarity movement. While supporters of Palestinian rights generally ignore these smears or reply that it’s not anti-Semitic to stand up for Palestinian rights, defensive strategies aren’t sufficient. The anti-Semitic label is too potent to not confront directly.

      [...]

      Of course, considering the historical oppression originally defined by the term, most progressive minded folk would be discomforted by the idea of mocking and re-appropriating “anti-Semitism”. But, isn’t this inevitable when “leading Jewish organizations” publicly denounce “anti-Semitism” in inverse relation to discernible anti-Jewish animus? When Jews fleeing Hitler’s atrocities were blocked from entering Canada, notes A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada, the dominant Jewish organizations mostly shied away from publicly criticizing Ottawa’s prejudice. Similarly, some Jewish representatives negotiated with McGill over the cap it placed on Jews in some university programs in the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

      While some Jewish activists at the time pushed for a more forceful response to this quantifiable anti-Semitism, the “leading” community representatives didn’t want to rock the boat. Their aim was largely to join the power structure.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Whistleblowers: NSA Hack Was Likely An Inside Job

      The mainstream press is accusing Russia of being behind the release of information on NSA hacking tools.

      Washington’s Blog asked the highest-level NSA whistleblower in history, William Binney – the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”) – what he thinks of such claims.

    • Tampa man at center of web spying case that could impact the workplace

      A federal appeals court has ruled that a Tampa man can sue Awareness Technologies, a Connecticut firm that makes an electronic monitoring program.

      While the ruling by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involved the use of the monitoring program in a divorce case, it could impact what happens in the workplace, an attorney involved in the case told the Wall Street Journal.

      Employees agree to be monitored as part of their jobs, but the people they communicate with do not provide the same agreements. That could lead to more exposure for companies that provide employee monitoring services, attorney Mark Pickrell, interim head of Vanderbilt Law School’s appellate litigation clinic, told the Journal.

    • Man Sues Surveillance Company for Spying on His Conversations With Married Woman

      Javier Luis, of Tampa, Florida, met a woman named Catherine Zang in a chat room on metaphysics in 2009. Zang’s husband, Joseph Zang, somehow became aware of the personal relationship and installed a program called WebWatcher, created by a company called Awareness Technologies, on the family computer to monitor her. WebWatcher made recordings of all the online interactions between Luis and Catherine Zang, which Joseph Zang was then able to review after they were routed to Awareness Technologies’ servers in California. Though Javier Luis and Catherine Zang never actually met in person, Zang’s husband allegedly was able to use the compiled communications to his advantage in their divorce proceedings.

    • Proposed ‘social media ID, please’ law draws outrage

      A plan by the U.S. government to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media IDs on key travel documents is drawing outrage.

      People who responded to the government’s request for comment about the proposal spared little in their criticisms. They call it “ludicrous,” an “all-around bad idea,” “blatant overreach,” “desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness,” “preposterous,” “appalling,” and “un-American.”

      But the feds are most serious about it.

      The plan affects people traveling from “visa waiver” countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — 38 countries in total.

      Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities. It’s technically an “optional” request, but since it’s the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it. Business and pleasure travelers are affected, too.

    • All the Ways Your Wi-Fi Router Can Spy on You

      City dwellers spend nearly every moment of every day awash in Wi-Fi signals. Homes, streets, businesses, and office buildings are constantly blasting wireless signals every which way for the benefit of nearby phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and other connected paraphernalia.

      When those devices connect to a router, they send requests for information—a weather forecast, the latest sports scores, a news article—and, in turn, receive that data, all over the air. As it communicates with the devices, the router is also gathering information about how its signals are traveling through the air, and whether they’re being disrupted by obstacles or interference. With that data, the router can make small adjustments to communicate more reliably with the devices it’s connected to.

      But it can also be used to monitor humans—and in surprisingly detailed ways.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nothing to See Here: The Counter-Revolution Against Black Lives Matter

      There is a phenomenon in this country that we need to examine and it’s just not in New York,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters in May, after addressing a national conference of police chiefs at the Times Square Marriott Marquis. “This has become very serious. I would almost describe it as an epidemic.”

      Bratton, who announced his retirement on August 3— much to the delight of Black Lives Matter demonstrators who set up an encampment at City Hall calling for his resignation one day previously — was not speaking of zika or ebola. He was talking about civilians filming police, a viral occurrence in recent years.

      Bratton went on to equate recording law enforcement with intimidation and attempts to free individuals in police custody. “The community has to make up their mind if they want law enforcement or if they want mob rule,” Bratton said.

    • As the Private Immigrant Detention Business Persists, Families Fight Back

      Moussa came to the United States nine years ago seeking asylum. He lost his asylum case, but while appealing the decision, he fell in love with Victoria. The two were married and have three beautiful children together. Moussa also adopted Victoria’s two children from a prior relationship. When Victoria filed for a family petition on his behalf in April 2015, they thought their immigration struggles were finally over. Sadly, they had just begun.

    • Slavery in modern Britain? Too true but today, it’s on farms and kitchens

      One victim said she came to England from south-east Asia to work as a servant in the home of a wealthy family. “I was forced to work 14 hours a day, even on building sites,” she said. “I felt like a chained dog. Even now, I feel like I am in chains. I still have nightmares that my boss is chasing me.”

      The woman is now in a safe house and is applying for asylum in the United Kingdom. Officials say 21st century slavery takes these basic forms: domestic servitude, sex trafficking, forced labour, forced marriage and child labour.

      The Salvation Army said that 44 per cent of those it helped had been exploited sexually, 42 per cent were used on farms and building sites, and 13 per cent were household slaves.

    • Hate Crime in Tulsa: Khalid Jabara’s Family Speaks Out After His Murder by Racist White Neighbor

      In Oklahoma, funeral services were held Friday for Khalid Jabara, a Lebanese-American man police say was shot dead by his next-door neighbor in a possible hate crime. Police say Stanley Majors will be charged with first-degree murder. Majors has harassed the Jabara family for years. The August 12 killing came less than a year after Majors was arrested and jailed for hitting Jabara’s mother with his car while she was jogging. At the time, the mother, Haifa Jabara, already had a restraining order against Majors, after he had threatened and harassed her. But eight months later, Majors was released on $60,000 bond even though Tulsa County prosecutors called him “a substantial risk to the public.” For more, we speak with Khalid’s brother and sister, Rami Jabara and Victoria Jabara Williams.

    • Socializing the Corrupt: Cheating, Education and Law Enforcement in Pennsylvania

      Collaborations between higher education institutions and law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania have multiplied in the past two decades. Although many of these collaborations purportedly aim to improve law enforcement by educating current and future generations of police officers, they have unfortunately produced ethically questionable and socially deleterious consequences, such as lowering academic integrity standards, encouraging systemic cheating and artificially inflating graduation rates. As a result, higher education institution executives and law enforcement leaders in Pennsylvania have managed to create an educational system for socializing successive generations of corrupt police.

      The expression socialization of the corrupt is Charles Bahn’s. In the 1975 article “The Psychology of Police Corruption,” he compares police corruption to academic cheating. In a study of students’ attitudes towards cheating and their actual cheating behavior, there was no correlation. Students who disapproved of cheating still cheated; others who approved of cheating chose to abstain. Bahn concludes that, “while verbal morality is learned, it is not necessarily true that the related behaviors are also learned.” The implication of this study for police training is that being taught the importance of an institution’s core values (e.g., honesty, integrity, fidelity) and expressing one’s commitment to these values do not curtail unethical behavior. Socializing the corrupt means filling students’ heads with empty slogans and moral platitudes, hoping that they will do what is right in any particular situation.

    • No Way to Call Home: Incarcerated Deaf People Are Locked in a Prison Inside a Prison

      Silent Voices is truly silent. The group’s three members are doing what looks like a dance in the front of a classroom at a state prison near the banks of the Mississippi River, just south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, performing their version of the song “I Believe” by R. Kelly. Instead of singing, the performers are interpreting R. Kelly’s lyrics into American Sign Language, or ASL, the sign language most commonly used in the United States. ASL is an animated language. Gestures, facial expressions and even foot-stomping the floor to a beat allow ASL speakers to add context, detail and music to their conversations. The three men in Silent Voices are stunning in this way. The performance is part ASL, part gospel choreography and it’s contagiously uplifting — in stark contrast with the backdrop of armed guards and barbed wire. The classroom erupts into applause.

    • Corporate Conquistadors Rape Indigenous Lands and Bodies

      Canada’s National Inquiry into Murdered and Disappeared Indigenous Women ought to investigate the role of the extractive industry.

      Recently, KWG Resources Incorporated, a Canadian mining company, posted a video online using women dressed in bikinis to promote the mining of chromite on Indigenous lands in northern Ontario, known as the Ring of Fire. KWG President Frank Smeenk defended his company’s actions saying “sex sells.” Perhaps this was the most honest statement of those in the industry.

    • A Shocking Story of How a Chicago Cop Killed a Teen — Then Locked Up His Best Friend for the Murder

      In 2012, 19-year-old Tevin Louis and his best friend Marquise Sampson allegedly robbed a restaurant. After reportedly making off with about $1,200, the two ran in different directions. Sampson crossed paths with an officer, who gave chase and ultimately opened fire, killing the teenager. Louis arrived at the scene where his friend was shot, and attempted to cross the police line. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. But in a shocking turn, Louis was eventually charged with first-degree murder in the death of his best friend, even though it was the officer who killed Sampson. Louis was found guilty. He is now serving a 32-year sentence for armed robbery and a 20-year sentence for murder. Louis is one of 10 people with similar cases exposed in the Chicago Reader’s new article headlined “Charged with Murder, But They Didn’t Kill Anyone—Police Did.” For more, we speak with the article’s authors: Alison Flowers, a journalist with the Chicago-based Invisible Institute, and Sarah Macaraeg, an independent journalist and fellow with the International Center for Journalists.

      [...]

      AMY GOODMAN: And, Alison Flowers, are police using this murder—this felony murder rule to protect their own misconduct?

      ALISON FLOWERS: That is what we heard from experts about this, that it’s really a red flag for misconduct when you see civilians or co-arrestee suspects being charged with a killing that they didn’t commit, but that police did. It’s often a red flag for misconduct. And, you know, here in Chicago, we have a problem with that, as we see nationwide, of course, but we know that 97 percent of Chicago police misconduct complaints go undisciplined. And so, there really is a problem of immunity, where police officers face little discipline, and it’s pretty easy for them to shift blame.

    • Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem

      Explaining the gesture, Kaepernick said that he had decided to remain seated as a statement against racial oppression.

      “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media in an interview published on Saturday.

    • Yes, Innocent People Confess To Crimes They Haven’t Committed

      A cop friend of mine told me not to talk to the police even if you aren’t even a suspect. She warned that, in court, they can take one tiny thing you said — take it totally out of context — and use to to yank you into a prison sentence. Like how you “hate that girl.” The sort of hyperbole many of us use without ever wanting to kill someone. Or it could be something more innocuous. Suddenly, you are a suspect. And in court, they only present the things that make you sound guilty.

      Via @PINACNews, Cops coerce a 13-year-old kid into confessing to a murder he did not commit, sending him to prison for three years. A question from the video — did he really understand Miranda rights? I think it’s probably often unlikely that young teens do understand the rights and the ramifications of talking.

    • Now we need a reunited kingdom, open to Europe and the world

      Despite being drawn from different political parties, all of us campaigned proudly and passionately for Britain to remain in the European Union. The result was not the one we wanted, but of course we respect the democratically expressed verdict of the British people.

    • New pro-European campaign organisation: Stronger In relaunched as Open Britain

      Open Britain will help tackle the many unanswered questions about our future relationship with the EU, whether over funding, trade, immigration, security, the environment or workers’ rights. We will also, we hope, play a part in the now necessary debate about how we make our economy fairer – arguably the most pressing issue after June 23rd.

    • How storytelling can help address police violence

      On the same evening that three police officers were killed and three more were wounded in Baton Rouge in July, media outlets around the country reported that police officers and members of a local Black Lives Matter group met for a peaceful cookout in Wichita, Kansas. A nation fatigued by police violence was quick to pick up on the story, and social media posts about the gathering were soon trending, signaling peoples’ overwhelming desire to affirm that “all is well.”

      Except that all is not well. As an Oakland member of Black Lives Matter stated the following week when asked to respond to the offer of a cookout with police, “I eat pigs, I don’t eat with them.” Many people are obviously dissatisfied with such piecemeal displays of collaboration, and are seeking something much more substantial.

      So what’s gone wrong? After all, police departments all around the country have been working to implement Department of Justice recommendations intended to reduce incidents of violence. Why have these recommendations, which focus on policing policies and practices, failed to result in meaningful reform?

      As the nation struggles to find a path forward, storytelling, one of the oldest human traditions, could help pave the way. In 2013, I began my own process of leveraging this ancient human tradition to begin building a restorative bridge in my community. I attempted to get law enforcement officers and members of the non-law enforcement community to publicly tell stories about their true, personal stories about police violence.

    • The ‘Burkini Battle’: France’s capitulation to extremism

      Approximately two years ago in Turkey, there was an odd case in which AKP-allied Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made a statement declaring that it was indecent for women to laugh in public or, presumably, in mixed company.

      Naturally, this statement was effectively a call to arms. Women took to social media in droves, posting pictures of themselves smiling accompanied by the hashtags #direnkahkaha (resist laughing) and #direnkadin (resist woman). Many similar stories have come out of the Middle East since the rise of social media, in which online activists and citizens protest their government’s encroachments upon their self-representation and lifestyle.

      Recently, another such viral campaign came in the form of Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom Project.” A fascinating challenge to both Iran’s state-enforced gender binary and state-enforced veiling/modesty codes of dress, this campaign as well as the #resistlaughing campaign and many others like it have been hailed in international media as shining examples of women and their male allies fighting against a repressive and reactionary theocratic state, and received well-deserved popularity and accolades for their bravery.

      Last week, another story of reactionary state control over women’s bodies rose for its moment of international attention, yet this time the tone of coverage by international media outlets was generally one of uncomfortable ambivalence. Beginning with the cancellation of a planned party at a waterpark and expanding to include legislation by several towns in France and an ongoing protest, the ‘burkini’ (a swimming costume allowing for most of the body to remain covered while in the water) has become a central topic in France’s ongoing crisis over its relationship to its Muslim citizens.

    • The burkini as a mirror

      Last week, the mayor of Oye-Plage in France was so disturbed by seeing a woman in a burkini on the beach that he is planning to ban such a garb from the beaches of his own town. This reminded me of some of my own experiences in the past that may just be relevant to the current debates over the burkini in Cannes, Marseille and other beaches in France.

      About fourteen years ago I was in Jordan with my not-yet-adolescent daughter. We were in a goldsmith’s shop in Amman looking at jewelry. The shop was very small, almost a cubicle. At one point six to eight women entered. They were totally covered by burkas; only their eyes were partially visible through a bit of lacework. This was the first time I had found myself in such a situation, in a very small space, surrounded by a group of women of whom I could see nothing. I was more than a bit uncomfortable. We bought a pair of earrings and left the shop.

      Some two years later I was in Esalen, California for a conference. Among those attending was an old friend of mine, a very observant Jewish man who lives in an ultra-orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem. We were both quite taken with the open-air hot tubs, which famously look out over the Pacific Ocean.

      We quickly learned, however, that the etiquette of Esalen demanded that one enter the hot tubs naked, men and women together. We felt rather uncomfortable with this arrangement and contrived to go one morning at about 3:00 am, certain that nobody would be there. We took off our clothes, ran the water in the tubs, and were enjoying ourselves immensely when we were suddenly joined by—a naked woman.

    • Photo of the Week: A Burkini in Marseille

      A woman steps into the sea. Water displaced by her feet flies lightly into the air. Nearby, children wade and play. No one appears uncomfortable, yet the image is a trigger in France, where descendants of people who once displayed the words “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” in their public squares wish to exclude from those ideals certain peaceful others, many of whom were forced from their homelands by oppressors and events beyond their control.

      Bans on “burkinis” this month in more than a dozen French cities and towns—a move supported by many high-profile public figures—reminds us that the capacity for cultural intolerance or its more aggressive elder sibling, cultural bigotry, is a nagging constant in human affairs.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Ethiopian Silver Medalist and Protester Feyisa Lilesa

      A member of the Oromo tribe of Ethiopia, Lilesa made headlines on the final day of the Rio Olympics when he raised his crossed arms in a gesture of solidarity with the Oromo people as he reached the finish line of the men’s marathon. He repeated the pose later during an Olympic ceremony. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed and tens of thousands arrested since Nov. 2015, when the Ethiopian government began to forcibly displace Oromo and other people during an effort to develop land around the capital, Addis Ababa.

    • Airline pilots arrested on alcohol charge at Glasgow Airport

      Two airline pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly from Glasgow Airport to New York.

      The United Airlines pilots, aged 35 and 45, were detained by police ahead of the 09:00 flight on Saturday.

    • Pilots arrested in UK over alcohol concern

      Two pilots were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol as they prepared to fly a transatlantic passenger jet from Scotland to the US.

      Concerns were reportedly raised over the pilots before the 9am United Airlines UA162 flight to Newark, New Jersey, was due to depart from Glasgow Airport on Saturday.

    • Police brutality against Blacks: ‘Changes in the air thanks to videotape & social media’

      Black Americans have had problems with police brutality in each generation. The difference now is the introduction of technologies that allow victims to pursue justice in a court of law, said Roland Martin, host and Managing Editor of TV One’s ‘News One Now’.

      Fifty one years ago, it was legal for African-Americans to be treated as second-class citizens in the United States of America. During the Jim Crow era African-Americans were prohibited from attending the same schools as the Whites, using the same restrooms, same restaurants and from drinking out of the same water fountains as white Americans. Now in 2016, segregation is no longer legal. But since the Jim Crow era ended it seems practices have been put into place to ensure African-Americans aren’t given a fair chance to succeed in the US.

      RT America correspondent Ashlee Banks focuses on issues related to the black community in the United States and discusses them with experts.

    • Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery

      Before a preseason game on Friday, San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

      Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49er fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

      Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today it would be bizarre to expect African American players to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African Americans.

    • Slavery: memory and afterlives

      Tomorrow, 23 August 2016, is International Slavery Remembrance Day; yesterday, the UK’s first ever memorial service to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade/African holocaust was held in Trafalgar Square. But what exactly should or can we remember, and why, and what should we ‘do’ with these memories? The forthcoming series of articles will reflect on these questions as they relate to the memory of slavery and the different conversations that can be had about its past and present. But they do not, and cannot, provide the answer to these questions, for there is no simple or single answer.

    • The living legacy of Emmett Till’s casket

      A casket is an unusual item to display in a museum. Most people visit museums not to dwell on death but to learn about what people did while alive. But there are times when a person’s death itself leaves an impact on history. Such is the case of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old from Chicago who was tortured and murdered by white supremacists in Mississippi on Aug. 28, 1955.

      Many Americans do not remember Till as a carefree, smiling teen but as a brutally disfigured civil rights martyr. Once a person has seen Till’s disfigured face inside his casket, it is impossible to forget.

      That’s why the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in Washington, D.C., next month, will feature Till’s casket among its exhibits. The display will give visitors to the museum the opportunity to hear an audio recording of Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, tell her son’s story and why she decided to shake up the civil rights movement by holding an open casket viewing and showing the world just how brutally Blacks were treated in America.

      A year before Till was killed while visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi, the U.S. Supreme Court in its Brown v. Board of Education decision overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, holding that its doctrine of “separate but equal” was in fact unconstitutional.

    • Abu Zubaydah: Torture’s ‘Poster Child’

      Last week, Abu Zubaydah, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo for 14 years without being charged with a crime, appeared for the first time before the U.S. military Periodic Review Board, which determines whether Guantanamo detainees will continue to be held as “enemy combatants.”

      Zubaydah argued he should be released because he has “no desire or intent to harm the United States or any other country.” During his hearing, Zubaydah also said he had been tortured by the CIA, an allegation confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. The U.S. government maintains he is an enemy combatant.

    • Readers Think. Thinkers Read. – by Ralph Nader

      Here are my recommended books to read for the late summer holidays.

    • Journalist ‘Worried’ Next President May Order Assassination of WikiLeaks Founder

      ​As Jake Sullivan points out in his chilling opinion piece titled “Why I’m Worried America’s Next President Will Kill Assange,” the sentiment expressed by Beckel far from being an exaggerated response of anger has recently become part of the mainstream political discourse in the United States.

      The author points to a new narrative, budding primarily from the Hillary campaign but expressed by think tanks and defense analysts throughout the country that “Russia Weaponized WikiLeaks to Disrupt the US Election” and various derivative forms of the conspiracy theory that Julian Assange is an anti-Hillary agent of Putin.

      Assange for himself explained that he would gladly post damaging material on Donald Trump, but with the caveat that “we would have a hard time publishing something worse than what comes out of his mouth every second day.”

      [...]

      “Trump has indicated his treatment of an extradited Assange or Snowden would be severely harsh,” explained Sullivan. “Snowden, in particular, would be assassinated if Trump had his way. I can only shiver imagining how a President Trump would react to a major leak from the inner chambers of his new political empire.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Non-U.S. Universities with .edu Domain Names: They’re More Common Than You Might Think

      We were curious to see how many 2nd-level dot edu domains (including grandfathered edus) actually map to non-US IP address space. This may be of some practical importance since often people forget that users coming from legacy dot edu domains may not be from the United States.

      Now obviously, a non-US university could elect to host their domain in US address space, or a US university could choose to host their domain in non-US address space, but for the most part we’d expect to see US universities in US IP address space, and international universities in non-US address space.

      So can we identify dot edu domains that are hosted outside the US? It turns out that yes, yes we can.

    • ‘MegaMIMO 2.0’ wireless routers work together to triple bandwidth and double range [Ed: Runs Linux]

      Some enterprising researchers have found a way to make those routers work together, though. Dina Katabi and her team at MIT”s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory call it MegaMIMO 2.0, and they claim some pretty serious improvements: three times better data transfer speeds and doubled range.

      “In today’s wireless world, you can’t solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another,” said MIT grad student and lead author Ezzeldin Hamed. “The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Library of Congress Might Become a Piracy Hub, RIAA Warns

        The U.S. Copyright Office is considering expanding the mandatory deposit requirement for publishers, so that record labels would also have to submit their online-only music to the Library of Congress. The Library would then allow the public to access the music. The RIAA, however, warns that this plan introduces some serious piracy concerns.

      • Commissioner Oettinger is about to turn EU copyright reform into another ACTA

        Instead, Commissioner Oettinger has let the publishing, film and music industries hijack the reform in an attempt to protect old business models from progress – at a tragic cost to freedom of creativity and expression on the internet, startups’ right to innovate and the cause of a Europe without digital borders.

08.27.16

Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

Posted in News Roundup at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Are You a Linux Expert?
    • Common hardware causes Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashes, again

      Microsoft’s Anniversary Update is causing headaches yet again, this time for owners of Kindle e-readers. Some Kindle Paperwhite and Voyager devices are causing PCs running the Anniversary update to lock up and display the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD) whenever the e-readers are connected via USB, as first reported by The Guardian.

      The reason for this odd behavior is unclear, but Microsoft says it’s working on it.

      “We are aware of an issue with a small number of Kindle Voyager and Paperwhite e-Readers causing an unexpected behavior when plugged into Windows 10 devices after installing the Anniversary Update,” Microsoft said on its support forums.

      The impact on you at home: For now, there isn’t a solid workaround for anyone who’s experiencing this problem. Some users are reporting, however, that leaving the Kindle plugged in to the PC while rebooting will allow them to use the Kindle normally and transfer files. Rebooting the PC and plugging the Kindle back in again just causes another lock-up.

  • Kernel Space

    • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

      Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

    • SFC’s Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

      A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

      Torvalds’ rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

    • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

      Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that’s used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

    • Microsoft at LinuxCon: Building Open Source Cred One Conference at a Time [Ed: Wim Coekaerts received just one salary from Microsoft and now he’s being painted as “Microsoft”, which still attacks Linux. Microsoft is just purchasing the illusion that it is loved by Linux and vice versa.]

      Coekaerts came to Microsoft after some off campus meetings at a Redmond area Starbucks with Scott Guthrie and Mike Neil, two vice presidents with the cloud and enterprise group, who convinced him that “open source is very important to Microsoft.”

    • How Cloud Native Computing Is Evolving

      “Cloud native” is a relatively new term that isn’t particularly well understood, but the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) aims to change that.

      At the Cloud Native Day here following LinuxCon, Dan Kohn, CNCF executive director (pictured), detailed what his organization does and how the cloud native approach is now evolving.

      The CNCF was formed in July 2015, as an effort to help unify and define the Cloud Native era. Kohn started off his keynote with a brief history of the cloud and the movement of workloads from physical servers.

    • Making Use Of eBPF In The Mainline Linux Kernel

      One of the exciting innovations within the Linux kernel in the past few years has been extending the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) to become a more generalized in-kernel virtual machine. The eBPF work with recent versions of the Linux kernel allow it to be used by more than just networking so that these programs can be used for tracing, security, and more.

    • Linux turns 25 with a brilliant history

      Chances are, you use it every day. Linux runs every Android phone and tablet on Earth. And even if you’re on an iPhone or a Mac or a Windows machine, Linux is working behind the scenes, across the Internet, serving up most of the webpages you view and powering most of the apps you use. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia—it’s all running on Linux.

      Now, Linux is finding its way onto televisions, thermostats, and even cars. As software creeps into practically every aspect of our lives, so does the OS designed by Linus Torvalds.

    • Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux’s success

      Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, discussed the role that GNU GPL played in the success of Linux during a keynote conversation this week at LinuxCon NA in Toronto.

      Hohndel, who has been involved with the kernel for a very long time, said that during the past 25 years there have been many challenges, and one of the biggest challenges was the possibility of fragmentation. “How do we keep one single kernel?” he asked.

      “I used to be worried about fragmentation, and I used to think that it was inevitable at some point,” said Torvalds. “Everyone was looking at the history of Linux and comparing it with UNIX. People would say that it’s going to fail because it’s going to fragment. That’s what happened before, so why even bother?”

      What made the difference was the license. “FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don’t have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2,” said Torvalds. “I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint.”

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Updates, KaOS & Antergos Reviews, Another 25?

        Today in Linux news, Jeff Hoogland posted a short update on the progress of Bodhi Linux 4.0 and reported on the updates to the project’s donations page. In other news, An Everyday Linux User reviewed Arch-based Antergos Linux saying it was “decent” and Ubuntu-fan Jack Wallen reviewed “beautiful” KDE-centric KaOS. makeuseof.com has five reasons to switch to the Ubuntu phone and Brian Fagioli asked if Linux can survive another 25 years.

      • Rescatux 0.40 beta 9 released

        Many code in the grub side and in the windows registry side has been rewritten so that these new features could be rewritten. As a consequence it will be easier to maintain Rescapp.

        Finally the chntpw based options which modify the Windows registry now perform a backup of the Windows registry files in the unlikely case you want to undo some of the changes that Rescapp performs.

        I guess that in the future there will be a feature to be able to restore such backups from Rescapp itself, but, let’s focus on releasing an stable release. It’s been a while since the last one.

        UEFI feedback is still welcome. Specially if the Debian installation disks work for you but not the Rescatux ones.

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Updates and July Donation Totals

        Late last month I posted a first alpha look at Bodhi 4.0.0. Work since then has been coming along slowly due to a few unpredictable issues and my own work schedule outside of Bodhi being hectic over the summer. Bodhi 4.0.0 will be happening, but likely not with a stable release until September. I am traveling again this weekend, but am hoping to get out a full alpha release with 32bit and non-PAE discs next week.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Weeks 2016/34

        Time seems to be flying, it feels like I only just wrote review of week 33 and now week 34 is already over again. A perfect moment to look back what the three snapshots (0818, 0820 and 0822) offered us.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Virtualisation 4 woos VMware faithful

        It is easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        Red Hat Virtualisation (RHV) 4.0 refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualisation platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It is a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualisation efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Forbes Names Red Hat One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it has been named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list. Red Hat was ranked as the 25th most innovative company in the world, marking the company’s fourth appearance on the list (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Red Hat was named to Forbes’ “World’s Most Innovative Growth Companies” list in 2011.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • When creating updates remember to build for rawhide and Fedora 25 (devel)

          When ever we branch for a new release of Fedora I, and others, end up spending a non trivial amount of time ensuring that there’s a clean upgrade path for packages. From the moment we branch you need to build new versions and bug fixes of packages for rawhide (currently what will become Fedora 26), for the current stabilising release (what will become Fedora 25) as well as what ever stable releases you need to push the fix for. For rawhide you don’t need to submit it as an update but for the current release that’s stabilising you do need to submit it as an update as it won’t just automagically get tagged into the release.

          As a packager you should know this, it’s been like it for a VERY LONG TIME! Yet each cycle from the moment of branching right through to when a new release goes GA I still end up having to fix packages that “get downgraded” when people upgrade between releases!!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 5 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

            You’ve had Android phones, and you’ve had iPhones. Buying a smartphone for most people is a polarized, A/B choice. And for some, the experience of choosing a new phone is becoming… jaded.

            You might think that Android and iOS have the mobile market sewn up, but what if I was to tell you that you don’t need to look at Windows 10 Mobile or BlackBerry as alternatives? Various others are available, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Ubuntu Phone, which uses the Ubuntu Touch platform, and can be found on devices such as the Meizu Pro 5.

          • Ubuntu Linux 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Beta 1 now available for download (don’t talk back)

            Linux celebrated a 25th birthday yesterday — a spectacular open source milestone. For some folks, rather than eat cake, they reflected on how the kernel impacted their lives. For many, Ubuntu would be a big part of the picture — the desktop OS is wildly popular in the Linux community.

            Today, the first beta of Ubuntu Linux 16.10 sees release. Once again, a silly animal name is assigned, this time being the letter “Y” for the horned mammal, “Yakkety Yak”. This is obviously a play on the classic song “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters. Please be sure not to “talk back” while testing this beta operating system!

            “Pre-releases of the Yakkety Yak are not encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavor developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this bos grunniens ready. Beta 1 includes a number of software updates that are ready for wider testing. These images are still under development, so you should expect some bugs”, says Set Hallström, Ubuntu Studio project lead.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google Does Open Source

    Marc Merlin has been working as an engineer at Google since 2002 and has seen (and done) a lot of open source and Linux work during that time. Speaking at the LinuxCon North America event this week, Merlin provided a standing room only audience with an overview how Google uses and contributes to open source.

    “Google wouldn’t be around today without open source software,” Merlin said.

  • ownCloud-Forked Nextcloud 10 Now Available
  • Secure, Monitor and Control your data with Nextcloud 10 – get it now!

    Nextcloud 10 is now available with many new features for system administrators to control and direct the flow of data between users on a Nextcloud server. Rule based file tagging and responding to these tags as well as other triggers like physical location, user group, file properties and request type enables administrators to specifically deny access to, convert, delete or retain data following business or legal requirements. Monitoring, security, performance and usability improvements complement this release, enabling larger and more efficient Nextcloud installations. You can get it on our install page or read on for details.

  • What makes a great Open Source project?

    Recently the Document Foundation has published its annual report for the year 2015. You can download it as a pdf by following this link, and you can now even purchase a paper copy of the report. This publication gives me the opportunity to talk a bit about what I think makes a great FOSS project and what I understand may be a great community.

    If it is possible to see this topic as something many people already went over and over again, think again: Free & Open Source Software is seen as having kept and even increased its momentum these past few years, with many innovative companies developing and distributing software licensed under a Free & Open Source license from the very beginning. This trend indicates two important points: FOSS is no longer something you can automagically use as a nice tag slapped on a commodity software; and FOSS projects cannot really be treated as afterthoughts or “nice-to-haves”. Gone are the days where many vendors could claim to be sympathetic and even supportive to FOSS but only insofar as their double-digits forecasted new software solution would not be affected by a cumbersome “community of developers”. Innovation relies on, starts with, runs thanks to FOSS technologies and practices. One question is to wonder what comes next. Another one is to wonder why Open Source is still seen as a complex maze of concepts and practices by so many in the IT industry. This post will try to address one major difficulty of FOSS: why do some projects fail while others succeed.

  • Events

    • First FSFE Summit Will Focus on Social Issues and Strategies

      Free Software advocates from all over Europe will be meeting in Berlin Sept. 2-4 at the first ever Free Software Foundation Europe’s summit.

      This 2016 event, besides being long overdue, also marks 15 years since the creation of the FSFE. Throughout its history, the FSFE has had its fair share of landmark achievements. It has been instrumental in a successful antitrust-case against a big software corporation that intended to dominate the market of personal computers. It managed to keep software patents unenforceable in Europe, thereby avoiding a veritable apocalypse for European small and medium-sized tech companies. And, it worked alongside gpl-violations.org to get free licenses vindicated in German courts, setting ground-breaking precedents for the whole of the EU.

      One of the main missions of the Free Software community in general, and the FSFE in particular, is to put users back into the driver’s seat, so that people control technology and not the other way around. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it would likely not be an exaggeration to say that the FSFE has transformed the foundations of IT in Europe and that it has had a deep impact on anybody who has used a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet in the last decade or so.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Report: DOD must embrace open-source software

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

      In “Open Source Software and the Department of Defense,” CNAS argues that a number of cultural factors, biases and regulatory barriers are keeping DOD from embracing open-source options.

      “Unfortunately, software development is not currently a high-profile, high-priority topic in the discussion about diminishing U.S. military technical superiority,” the report states. “It should be.”

      Industry relies heavily on open-source software with great success, and DOD’s continued reliance on proprietary code is more expensive, slows innovation and puts America’s warfighters at greater risk, according to CNAS.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Black Women Do Breastfeed, Despite Intense Systemic Barriers in the US

      The movement to normalize breastfeeding in this country has generated positive results, but a racial gap in breastfeeding rates persists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 79 percent of all newborn infants in the US started out breastfeeding in 2011. That is good news for both babies and mothers, as breastfeeding yields significant health benefits, such as a lower risk of asthma and childhood leukemia for children, and a lower risk of gynecological cancers and osteoporosis for mothers. But the data suggest that US mothers require more support in order to continue breastfeeding. Among US-born children in 2011, only 49 percent were still breastfeeding at six months; and at 12 months, only 27 percent of those babies were still breastfeeding. For Black mothers and their babies, support needs are greater, as Black women’s rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration are significantly lower than the US average.

    • EPA’s Inaction Made Way for Lead Poisoning in Children, Lawsuit Claims

      Environmental justice and public health groups are demanding that the federal government update regulations and expand efforts to protect young children from lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible cognitive and behavioral problems and tends to be more common in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

      In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a coalition of groups asked a federal court in California to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) update its standards for assessing dangerous levels of lead dust on surfaces in homes and residential buildings, especially those built before 1978, when regulators began restricting the amount of lead in lead-based paints.

      In 2009, the EPA granted a citizens’ petition to update its lead dust standards and agreed to initiate rulemaking proceedings, after new scientific evidence showed that existing standards were inadequate for protecting children from lead poisoning. However, seven years have passed and the agency has yet to set new rules.

    • Slamming ‘Absurd’ US Healthcare, Sanders Backs Single-Payer in Colorado

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) this week endorsed a Colorado ballot measure that would create single-payer healthcare in the state, urging his supporters to rally around the amendment and stating, “If that proposal can win in Colorado, I believe that idea will spread around the country.”

      “It is absurd, it is beyond belief, that here in America we remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people,” Sanders said at an event in Vermont on Wednesday, where he offered his official endorsement.

      As the Denver Post reports, Colorado Amendment 69—known colloquially as ColoradoCare—would create a universal healthcare system funded by payroll taxes that would largely replace private health insurance. People could still choose to keep their own, although they would still be required to pay the tax.

    • Bernie Sanders endorses ColoradoCare universal health care measure

      Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has formally endorsed the Colorado ballot measure to create a universal health care system in the state.

      At an event in Vermont on Wednesday launching his new political organization, called Our Revolution, Sanders singled out Colorado’s Amendment 69 — also known as ColoradoCare — as something his supporters should rally behind.

    • In Zika-Gripped Florida, Concerns Mount Over Insecticide Use—and Efficacy

      Not only is the anti-Zika aerial insecticide spraying program raising health concerns in Florida and beyond, but the high-rise landscape in Miami Beach may be making such campaigns ineffective, to boot.

      Weeks ago, as mosquitoes carrying the disease became resistant to a less-potent pesticide, Miami-Dade County turned to the more controversial naled, which the Miami Herald noted is “toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish—and people.”

    • Is insecticide sprayed to fight Zika a risk for people and wildlife?

      Faced with the need to quickly kill hard-to-reach mosquitoes spreading the Zika virus through Wynwood, Miami-Dade County has turned to a controversial pesticide that’s toxic not just to the noxious flying parasites, but also to beneficial insects like honey bees, as well as birds, some fish — and people.

    • The ADHD Epidemic: Smart Drugs and the Control of Bodies and Minds

      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has seen massive recent increases in diagnosis since 2000, is defined as a difficulty in paying attention, restlessness, and hyperactivity. By 2010, nearly one in three US children age 2-17 had been diagnosed as suffering ADHD, and by 2012, diagnoses of ADHD had risen 66% in the prior decade. Ballooning rates of diagnosis for ADHD have been met with unprecedented levels of medical prescriptions principally for the amphetamine pharmaceutical drugs Adderall and Ritalin. By 2011 11% of all US children 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1% were taking ADHD drugs and an estimated 8% to 35% of university students in the US using cognitive stimulants. Boys are diagnosed at nearly three times the rate as girls. About 80% of those children diagnosed with ADHD are using these medications. Children below the poverty line are diagnosed at higher rates especially poor toddlers.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.1.0 released
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Openwall 3.1-20160824 is out

      New Openwall GNU/*/Linux ISO images and OpenVZ container templates are out.

    • Scorpene Leak Could Be Part Of ‘Economic War,’ Says French Maker: 10 Facts

      The leak, was first reported in The Australian newspaper. Ship maker DCNS has a nearly 38 billion dollar contract with Australia, but the leak has no mention of the 12 vessels being designed for Australia.

    • Homeland Security has ‘open investigation’ into Leslie Jones hacking

      The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the cyberattack against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones one day after her personal information and explicit images were leaked online.

      In a short statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that the Homeland Security investigations unit in New York “has an open investigation into this matter”.

      “As a matter of agency policy and in order to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation, we will not disclose any details,” the statement said.

      “As a matter of agency policy, we are unable to disclose any information related to an active investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The US: A Dead Nation Walking

      It is my conclusion that Washington is aware of the constraint that the desire for Western acceptance puts on the Russian government and that this is why Washington, in a direct thrust at Russia, was comfortable orchestrating the coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government. I believe that this constraint also explains the mistakes the Russian government made by refusing the requests of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics to be reincorporated as parts of Russia, where the territories formerly resided, and by the premature withdrawal from Syria that allowed Washington to resupply the jihadists and to insert US forces into the conflict, thus complicating the situation for Russia and Syria.

    • The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire

      The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

    • Russia’s Misplayed Hand with Iran

      Iran’s annoyance that Russia over-played its hand in going public about its use of an Iranian airbase shows the risk of offending potential allies, a lesson that U.S. officials also need to learn, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • The High Cost of American Hubris

      Although renowned political scientist John Mearsheimer does not consider himself to be an isolationist – a term which has acquired a negative connotation since WWII – his definition is illuminating as much for clarifying what the term does not mean as for what it does.

      In America Unhinged, Mearsheimer writes: “Isolationism rests on the assumption that no region of the world outside of the Western Hemisphere is of vital strategic importance to the United States. Isolationists do not argue that America has no interests in the wider world, just that they are not important enough to justify deploying military force to defend them. They are fully in favor of engaging with the rest of the world economically as well as diplomatically, but they view all foreign wars as unnecessary.”

    • Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Others Condemn ‘Coup’ in Brazil

      Naomi Klein, Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Arundhati Roy, and 17 other human rights activists, intellectuals, and public figures on Wednesday sent a letter to the Brazilian government condemning the impeachment of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff, and demanding that Brazil’s senate “respect the October 2014 electoral process which over 100 million people took part in.”

      [...]

      “The impeachment—labeled a coup by many Brazilians—has generated outrage and frequent protests in Brazil,” Mendonça adds.

      “We stand in solidarity with our fellow artists and with all those fighting for democracy and justice throughout Brazil,” the letter says, adding that “Brazil has only emerged from dictatorship some 30 years ago and these events could set back the country’s progress towards social and economic inclusion by decades.”

      Rousseff’s removal would end 13 years of Workers’ Party rule, as Common Dreams reported, and bring about the confirmation of “the unelected, right-of-center Temer” as president until 2018, the rest of Rousseff’s term.

    • Saudi-Led Bombing Kills 11 Civilians in Yemen, While Kerry Ignores US ‘Complicity’

      Another Saudi-led coalition airstrike in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians on Friday—only one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Saudi Arabia, purportedly to urge Saudi King Salman to seek a “political solution” to the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

      And despite Kerry’s words about seeking peace in Yemen, the U.S. continues to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons that have been used to kill civilians in that country.

    • Saudi-Led Airstrikes Reportedly Kill 11 Civilians in Yemen

      Airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition in northern Yemen killed 11 civilians, including women and children, Yemen’s rebel-run news agency said Friday.

      The overnight attack in the city of Saada, a stronghold of the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, came as Iran’s foreign minister dismissed claims from Saudi Arabia that his country had supplied Yemen’s rebels with missiles.

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Saudi Arabia the previous day, said he was “deeply troubled” over Saudi photographs showing Iranian-supplied missiles being positioned along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said such statements were “baseless accusations.”

    • What Makes a Hate Group?

      “As a matter of fact, you have had a person attend your protests in Camp Douglas who has threatened to kill our Deputies.” This piece of startling news was revealed to me in a letter from Juneau County, Wisconsin, Undersheriff Craig Stuchlik dated July 25.

      I had written to the sheriff’s department requesting documents under the Open Records Law and for an explanation of the department’s response to a demonstration at Volk Field, a Wisconsin Air National Guard base near the town of Camp Douglas, where my colleague at Voices for Creative Nonviolence Kathy Kelly and I had been arrested onFebruary 23, carrying a loaf of bread and a letter for the base commander. There is a facility at this base where military personnel are trained in the operation of remotely controlled Shadow Drones that have been instrumental in the targeted assassination program that legal experts label war crimes and that military experts say recruit more enemies for our country than they kill.

      Undersheriff Stuchlik put this purported threat into a broader context that suggests that the sheriff’s department views Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars that organizes these demonstrations as hate groups: “Law Enforcement Officers are being targeted in the United States by hate groups because they stand for law and order. Law Enforcement Officers are being executed by these hate groups at an alarming rate and it does not appear to be slowing down.”

    • Pundits, Decrying the Horrors of War in Aleppo, Demand Expanded War

      The devastating photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance after his home was bombed in Syrian or Russian air strikes has amped up calls for direct US military intervention against the Syrian government. The now-viral photo of Omran—and the broader siege of east Aleppo—was prominently featured in most major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and several other publications. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all ran stories on the photo, and editorial boards and pundits weighed in as well, with several insisting that President Obama must “do something” to stop the suffering of the Syrian people.

      According to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, State Department officials “sent a cable to Obama, urging stronger military action against Syrian government forces. They suggested that could include cruise missiles and ‘targeted airstrikes.’ That’s what we mean by leverage, of a sort Putin would comprehend.”

      In The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote (in response to the siege of Aleppo, but before the photo went viral): “Many experts recommend trying to ground Syria’s Air Force so it can no longer drop barrel bombs on hospitals and civilians. One oft-heard idea is to fire missiles from outside Syria to crater military runways to make them unusable.”

      And on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough proclaimed: “Inaction by the United States and the West and the world is not only responsible for this [holding up the Omran image] and 500,000 deaths, it’s responsible for those images of those Syrian refugees, the little boy we saw washed up on the beach…. The world will look back. Save your hand-wringing…you can still do something right now. But nothing’s been done.”

    • How Veterans Are Losing the War at Home

      Among the prime movers in our corporatized politics are undoubtedly the two billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, and their cozy network of secret donors. It’s hard to grasp how rich they really are: they rank fifth (David) and sixth (Charles) on Business Insider’s list of the 50 richest people in the world, but if you pool their wealth they become by far the single richest “individual” on the planet. And they have pals. For decades now they’ve hosted top-secret gatherings of their richest collaborators that sometimes also feature dignitaries like Clarence Thomas or the late Antonin Scalia, two of the Supreme Court Justices who gave them the Citizens United decision, suffocating American democracy in plutocratic dollars. That select donor group had reportedly planned to spend at least $889 million on this year’s elections and related political projects, but recent reports note a scaling back and redirection of resources.

      While the contest between Trump and Clinton fills the media, the big money is evidently going to be aimed at selected states and municipalities to aid right-wing governors, Senate candidates, congressional representatives, and in some cities, ominously enough, school board candidates. The Koch brothers need not openly support the embarrassing Trump, for they’ve already proved that, by controlling Congress, they can significantly control the president, as they have already done in the Obama era.

      Yet for all their influence, the Koch name means nothing, pollsters report, to more than half of the U.S. population. In fact, the brothers Koch largely stayed under the radar until recent years when their roles as polluters, campaigners against the environment, and funders of a new politics came into view. Thanks to Robert Greenwald’s film Koch Brothers Exposed and Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, we now know a lot more about them, but not enough.

      They’ve always been ready to profit off America’s wars. Despite their extreme neo-libertarian goal of demonizing and demolishing government, they reportedly didn’t hesitate to pocket about $170 million as contractors for George W. Bush’s wars. They sold fuel (oil is their principal business) to the Defense Department, and after they bought Georgia Pacific, maker of paper products, they supplied that military essential: toilet paper.

      But that was small potatoes compared to what happened when soldiers came home from the wars and fell victim to the profiteering of corporate America. Dig in to the scams exploiting veterans, and once again you’ll run into the Koch brothers.

    • Colombia: Peace in the Shadow of the Death Squads

      As the Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels near the signing of a comprehensive peace accord, and though they have already signed a bi-lateral ceasefire which is largely holding, Colombia is still suffering from the worst human rights abuses in the Western Hemisphere. These abuses are being carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups (aka, death squads), which the U.S. and Colombian governments conveniently deny even exist.

      These paramilitary groups, in accord with their long-time friend and ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, are openly and aggressively opposed to the peace accords, and will most certainly escalate their violence as a national referendum which will be held to ratify, or reject, these accords draws near. Thus, as Insight Crime recently reported, the Colombian Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) estimates that nearly 250 municipalities (or more than 25% of the 1,105 municipalities in all of Colombia) “are at risk of violence or fraud affecting the referendum on an anticipated peace deal” with the FARC. The departments of Choco, Arauca, Cauca and Putumayo – that is, departments with heavy concentrations of Afro-Colombians and indigenous – are among the departments with the greatest risk. Antioquia, the department of Alvaro Uribe who was governor there, has the greatest number of municipalities at risk.

      [...]

      Father Giraldo then expresses a seldom-uttered truth which I have certainly learned upon my numerous trips to Colombia in the past 17 years – that while the paramilitaries oppose the peace process because it will grant some immunity for rebels, the “popular movements feel more fear of the impunity of the powerful and of the paramilitaries and the agents of the government, whose war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide greatly exceed, both in quality and in cruelty, the crimes of the insurgency.”

    • ‘It Is Time to Give Peace a Chance’: Historic FARC Peace Deal Achieved

      After almost four years of negotiations and over 50 years of war, Colombia’s rebel FARC group and the government finally signed a peace accord in Havana, Cuba, late Wednesday.

      “We won the most beautiful of all battles: Peace,” said the rebel group’s top negotiator, Iván Márquez.

      “The war is over,” the Guardian quotes Humberto de la Calle, chief government negotiator, as saying after signing the deal. “It is the time to give peace a chance.”

      “Today marks the beginning of the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of the war,” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said in an address to the nation after the announcement in Havana.

      Colombia’s government will hold a plebiscite on October 2 for citizens to either accept or reject the agreement.

    • Colombia’s president rushing vote on deal with rebels

      Colombia’s president is moving quickly to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, delivering the final text of the deal to congress on Thursday and declaring a definitive cease-fire with the guerrillas.

    • Pentagon Has No Idea Where Hundreds of Thousands of Guns Went in Iraq and Afghanistan

      The U.S. government has shipped over 1.4 million guns to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, according a new analysis by the U.K.-based watchdog Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), but the Pentagon is only able to account for fewer than half of them.

      AOAV released its analysis of publicly available data on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts on Wednesday, and added that when requested to provide its own accounting for the small arms provided to the war-torn nations, “the DoD data shows that over 700,000 small arms were sent from the U.S. to Iraq and Afghanistan within these periods. However, this amount only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open source government reports.”

      AOAV also noted that the total number of small weapons the U.S. provided to Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to be far higher than even the group’s count, as the Pentagon kept such shoddy records of the planeloads of weapons it dispatched to those countries—if it kept any records at all.

    • Afghanistan, dynamic of war

      Afghanistan has somewhat fallen off the radar of western media, even though violent conflict there continues unabated. An exception is major incidents such as the ten-hour attack and siege against the American University in Kabul on 24 August, which killed fourteen people and injured many more. This rightly attracted attention as a grim indicator of continued Taliban activity, as did the bombing of a Hazara protest march on 23 July, also in the capital, when eighty people died and 250 were wounded.

      But other developments in the Afghan conflict, which are barely reported or even ignored by establishment media in the west, can carry much greater significance. So it was this week with a report at the bottom of an inside page of a leading military journal: “B-52 bombers rejoin US campaign in Afghanistan”.

    • Is the U.S. Finally Ending the Toxic Practice of Burning Old Munitions in Open Pits?

      By the year 2020, the U.S. is expected to have on its hands a growing stockpile of munitions nearing 1.1 million tons that are no longer considered useful to the military. As a means of disposal, these munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, artillery shells, tactical missiles and other wastes, have for decades been burned or detonated on large trays out in the open at military bases across the country.

      Canada and a number of European countries like Germany and the Netherlands have banned the practice, for good reason. Plumes of toxic smoke from burn pits have been documented drifting over surrounding communities, while the destroyed munitions expel pollutants that leach into the soil and groundwater. These pollutants include an array of highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans, PCBs, chromium, dinitrotoluene (DNT), and perchlorate. Many of these toxic chemicals are known carcinogens, while all of them can cause chronic illnesses in humans and wildlife.

    • Is Turkey’s incursion into Syria about Daesh, or about the Kurds?

      Turkish military sources told the Anadol news agency that Wednesday’s military attack on the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, held for years by Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), involved hitting 82 targets. The objective, Ankara said, was to secure the Turkish border and to support the US-led Coalition in its war on Daesh and guarantee the unity of Syrian territory.

      The Turkish military chief of staff and his deputy said they followed the course of the operation from their operations room in Ankara.

      Daesh fighters withdrew from much of Jarabulus and surrounding villages, heading south to al-Bab, now the northernmost Daesh outpost in Syria.

    • Hillary Clinton Shows Dangerous Tendency to Go to War No Matter the Consequences

      In our extended interview with scholar Vijay Prashad, he discusses the U.S. presidential election and notes that while President Obama was reticent, then-Secretary of State “Hillary Clinton led the charge against Libya. This shows, to my mind, a profound dangerous tendency to go into wars overseas, damn the consequences. If you’re looking at this from outside the United States, there’s a real reason to be terrified.”

    • War ‘Has Become a Permanent Condition’ for the United States

      Did you know that Oliver Stone was a Vietnam vet? That explains a lot. No wonder he has come out so strongly against all the various American “war” fiascos since then. If you had suffered through all the shite that he did while fighting in Vietnam, you would most likely be anti-war as well.

      Stone recently spoke at the annual Veterans For Peace convention here in Berkeley—and he had a lot to say too. “America’s crackpot realists create the terror for which they then provide the antidote.” Apparently it’s the American thing to do.

      “In Vietnam, every time we took fire, we went berserk. We’d blow up everything. The mentality of absolute destruction. But when I came back from Vietnam, I thought that intelligence would finally start to reign. Didn’t happen. Reagan’s warning to the world was that Americans could be truly barbaric. That was the lesson of Hiroshima too—to let the Soviet Union know that America was capable of anything.”

    • Acceptable Losses

      Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water.

      Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. Thousands of civilians — no one knows how many — have been killed or wounded. Along with the bombing, the Saudis have enforced a blockade, cutting off supplies of food, fuel, and medicine. A year and a half into the war, the health system has largely broken down, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation.

    • Mainstream Media Are Ignoring U.S. Accountability in Saudi Arabia’s Destruction of Yemen

      Many Americans were shaken last week after a picture of a stunned Syrian child, whose home had just been bombed into rubble, went viral. Time magazine noted that “[d]evastating pictures and footage from Syria are common now.” But what about children in other war-torn countries?

    • “This is Our War & It is Shameful:” Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in the War in Yemen

      Even before the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began more than a year ago, Yemen was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. But now, a year and a half into the war, Yemen’s health system has broken down, and the population is facing the threat of starvation. For more, we’re joined by Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined “Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen.” He is author of “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • “The Hunt”: Colonial Conservation, Caught on Film

      Over the last few weeks, BBC America has broadcast “The Hunt,” the latest offering from world-renowned natural history broadcaster David Attenborough. The formula is familiar: gorgeous photography, silky smooth voiceovers and tear-jerking narratives about the animals on screen. The series has profiled the world’s most “charismatic” predators — big cats, birds of prey, wolves, bears — and the ways in which they dominate their environment. The final episode focused on conservation and the threats faced by many of these species, which are unquestionably very serious.

      Sadly, rather than critiquing poaching or industrialization, the program placed most of the blame for endangering species like the lion and the tiger on the shoulders of the tribal people who live in the so-called “wildernesses” that had been photographed. The narrative was full of distortion and misrepresentation and seemed to support an essentially colonial form of conservation that is deeply problematic.

    • Waste Not, Save More

      On average, each person in the U.S. throws away five pounds of solid waste each day. While many eco–conscious citizens do their due diligence to recycle, compost, and reduce waste, others remain apathetic about preserving the environment.

      Wherever you might land on the eco-friendly scale, innovative “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) programs are incentivizing people nationwide to increase (or start) recycling and composting through a usage-pricing model.

      Basically, the less trash you send to a landfill, the less you pay.

      Over 7,000 communities in the U.S. report using this green solution, with cities seeing an average of 45 percent less trash.

    • Day After Obama Tours Louisiana Flood Damage, Gov’t Holds Massive Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Auction

      On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes. The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. However, on Tuesday, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held today in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. We speak to Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of “Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.” She joins us from San Francisco.

    • Flood-Ravaged Gulf Coast Residents Ask President Obama To Cancel Federal Offshore Drilling Lease Auction

      During President Obama’s visit to a flood-ravaged area near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week, a group of environmental activists delivered a petition to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) protesting the planned leasing of more of the Gulf of Mexico for oll and gas drilling.

      They gathered 184,000 electronic signatures over just six days calling for the President and BOEM to cancel its lease auction — scheduled to take place today, August 24.

      Four members of the group told police on the scene they planned to stay until either they got a response from President Obama or they were arrested.

    • Climate Change and the 1,000-Year Flood in Baton Rouge: When Will We Learn?

      The floodwaters are receding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the scale of the damage is revealing itself. It has been described as a 1,000-year flood, leaving at least 13 people dead and close to 60,000 homes ruined. According to Weather Underground meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, August has been the wettest month in Baton Rouge in 174 years, when records were first kept. They added, “Since June 1, Baton Rouge has picked up an amazing 40.95 inches—more rain in three months than downtown Los Angeles has recorded over the last five years (38.79 inches)!”

      President Barack Obama traveled there Tuesday. “I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood,” he said after walking through part of the devastated city. While Obama was criticized by his political opponents for not visiting Baton Rouge earlier, it’s what happened one day later, in nearby New Orleans, that should have everyone concerned.

      The Obama administration conducted a massive auction of offshore oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The irony was not lost on Antonia Juhasz. She is a journalist and energy analyst who has long tracked the multinational petroleum corporations engaged in deep-water oil extraction. “Following Obama #LouisianaFlood visit, Interior Dept to auction offshore drilling leases to 24 million acres in Gulf on 8/24 at Superdome,” she tweeted, followed by, “After protests nearly shut down lease sale in March at Superdome, for first time, BOEM closes sale to public, makes viewing available online.” The BOEM is the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The agency was auctioning 23.8 million acres in the western section of the Gulf of Mexico, for deep-water oil and gas exploration and extraction.

    • 3 Reasons the Standing Rock Sioux Can Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

      America has more than 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines crossing the country in every direction. So plans to construct the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline from oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois, were supposed to be a nonevent. The regulatory process was largely through state commissions and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and far less stringent than the successfully opposed Keystone XL pipeline.

    • From #NoDAPL to #FreedomSquare: A Tale of Two Occupations

      On the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, Natives have been encamped for 146 days, in an ongoing effort to thwart construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. In Chicago, Black organizers with the #LetUsBreathe collective have created a living, breathing community space in the shadow of the infamous Homan Square police compound — a facility that some call a “black site,” where people have been held for days on end without being able to contact loved ones or an attorney and where some have been tortured.

    • Kandi Mossett on Native American Pipeline Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: For months now, hundreds and then thousands of indigenous people have been taking part in peaceful protests at the Sacred Stones camp in North Dakota. They’re protesting the construction of what’s called the Dakota Access pipeline, slated to carry fracked oil across the state and across the Missouri River. The Standing Rock Sioux say the Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline without their consent. For many people, what’s happening right now in North Dakota is a crucial story of a frontline fight of indigenous people against extractive industry—and on behalf of humanity, really, and the planet.

    • The American Petroleum Institute’s Desperate PR is Failing

      If you’ve watched any political coverage on television in the last few months, or the Olympics, or really anything on TV, you’re bound to have seen some pretty ridiculous advertising coming from the oil and gas industry.

      The American Petroleum Institute in particular has been putting out some pretty desperate stuff. Did you know that “A Vote for [Fossil Fuel] Energy is a Vote for Cheesesteaks?” That’s actually the title of one ad put out during the Democratic Convention, which was held in Philadelphia (Get it? Cheesesteaks!).

    • Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World’s Biggest Marine Sanctuary

      President Barack Obama’s creation on Friday of the world’s largest marine protected area drew praise from lawmakers, Hawaiian community members, and environmental groups alike, who say it will help protect biodiversity and increase resilience in the face of climate change.

      Obama is expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size to 582,578 square miles.

      A White House fact sheet says the expansion, which also bans commercial resource extraction, will afford “critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species,” “improve ocean resilience,” and help preserve “resources of great historical and cultural significance.”

      Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who was among those who had proposed the expansion to the president, praised the move, calling it “one of the most important actions an American president has ever taken for the health of the oceans.” He noted, however, that it was “only beginning” because “management, research, educational opportunities, and enforcement” need to follow.

      Similarly welcoming the move was Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), who said the expansion “will help to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity, and honor cultural traditions.”

    • New Study Warns Biofuels May Be Worse for Climate Than Gas

      A new study finds that biofuels—which are derived from plants like corn or soybeans and sometimes considered to be carbon-neutral—may actually be worse for the climate than gas.

      University of Michigan (UM) Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco analyzed all the greenhouse gas emissions created in the supply chains of various fuel types. For gas, that meant starting with extraction and transportation, among other parts of the process; for biofuels, it was farming and fertilizer use, but not tailpipe pollution, due to the presumed carbon dioxide offset, the Detroit Free Press explains.

    • Biofuels worse for climate change than gas, U-M study says

      The multi-billion-dollar U.S. biofuels industry — promoted and expanded for more than a decade by the federal government — may be built on a false assumption, according to a University of Michigan study published Thursday that is sure to stir all sides in the contentious debate over the industry.

      Despite their purported advantages, biofuels — created from crops such as corn or soybeans — cause more emissions of climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.

      The study is the latest salvo in the expanding battle over whether biofuels, and the farmland increasingly devoted to them, are actually providing the environmental and climate benefits many expected.

      [...]

      As for the petroleum industry funding, DeCicco said that years ago, he reached out to other more environmentally oriented funding sources that he declined to specify, who weren’t interested in funding his examination of life-cycle analysis.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests Recall America’s Historical Shame

      Until a few years ago, the word “occupation” was synonymous with power, imperialism and foreign invasion. Today, in the post-Occupy Wall Street era, more and more activists are using their physical presence to make demands. From Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to Tahrir Square in Cairo, occupation has become a powerful method of organizing.

      One of the most dramatic such occupations is occurring in the form of a growing encampment at the Cannonball River in North Dakota, where indigenous tribes are leading a coalition of environmental activists in protest over the building of a new crude oil pipeline.

    • We’ve always “Occupied the Prarie” and We’re Not Going Anywhere

      In Occupying the Prairie: Tensions Rise as Tribes Move to Block a Pipeline by Jack Healy, New York Times, Aug. 23, 2016 we see and hear about Indians in paint on horseback, in “procession” out of their “tepee-dotted camp.” Who writes like that?

      While the almost 500 Nations of our indigenous brothers and sisters (over 80 are represented in the Sacred Stones Camp) are proud of the heritage of our peoples, it’s important to keep the focus on today and why we are here. This is our land, as defined in our times as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a Sovereign Nation.

      In fact, what we call the United States is really comprised of Nations, it is a “united” Nations, of relationships formed by diplomacy.

      The Greater Sioux Nations predated the United States, so as the newly minted USA acquired more territory, agreements were sought in many cases with the existing nations of the Plains and elsewhere. One such Treaty, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851), matters now. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was signed on September 17, 1851 between United States treaty commissioners and representatives of the Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Crow, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations.

    • In Effort to Kill Pipeline, Groups Call Directly on Obama to Oppose Permits

      As Indigenous activists maintained resistance to a proposed oil pipeline in North Dakota this week, allied groups on Thursday sent an open letter to President Barack Obama asking him to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pull its permits for the project.

      “After years of pipeline disasters—from the massive tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010, to the recent oil pipeline spills in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura, CA—our organizations and our millions of members and supporters are concerned about the threat these projects pose to our safety, our health, and the environment,” reads the letter (pdf), signed by groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, and 350.org.

      The letter was published as a federal judge delayed a decision on allowing the construction to continue.

    • Fatigue, Migraines Linked to Fracking as Case Builds for National Ban

      New research published Thursday links severe fatigue and migraine headaches to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, leading to renewed calls for a ban on the controversial oil and gas extraction method.

      Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported their findings online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, saying their research adds to “a growing body of evidence linking the fracking industry to health problems.”

    • Study: Fracking associated with migraines, fatigue, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms

      New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active natural gas wells operated by the hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—industry are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms, and severe fatigue.

  • Finance

    • Median Income Is Down, But Public College Tuition Is Way Up

      Public colleges play a special role in making higher education affordable, but in recent years, soaring tuition is pushing that dream out of reach. From 2000 to 2014, the average cost of in-state tuition and fees for public colleges in America rose 80 percent. During that same time period, the median American household income dropped by 7 percent.

    • ‘Good News,’ Says Sanders, as McConnell Signals No Lame-Duck Vote on TPP

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the U.S. Senate will not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year, buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to fruition.

      Responding to the news, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—whose opposition to the TPP was a hallmark of his presidential campaign—said: “This is good news for American workers, for the environment, and for the ability to protect public health.”

      McConnell told a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the agreement, “which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year.”

      Grassroots groups have led a concerted campaign to prevent a vote during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress, after the November election and before President Barack Obama leaves office in January. The White House recently vowed to wage an “all-out push” in favor of such a vote.

      “We never thought we would agree with Mitch McConnell on something, but we do agree on not bringing the TPP to a vote in the lame-duck session,” said Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder, on Friday. “There’s widespread, bipartisan opposition to the corporate-written TPP and an unaccountable, lame-duck Congress voting on it.”

    • Sanders Welcomes McConnell Decision to Block TPP

      A leading opponent of the proposed Pacific rim trade pact, Sanders welcomed McConnell’s turnaround on the measure. The Republican leader on Thursday told an audience in Kentucky that he won’t bring the pact to the Senate floor for a vote this year because it “has some serious flaws.” Last June 23, McConnell engineered congressional passage of a measure that gave President Barack Obama and future presidents power to “fast-track” negotiations with the 11 other countries which are parties to the deal. He called it “a very important accomplishment for our country.”

    • Groups Demand Clinton Publicly Oppose Lame-Duck TPP Vote—Now

      Heavy-hitting progressive groups have sent a letter to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, urging her to make “a clear, public, and unequivocal statement opposing any vote on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the post-election, ‘lame-duck’ session of Congress.”

    • How Small Donors Are Giving Super PACs a Run for Their Money

      Election reform advocates are closely watching Seattle to see whether it becomes a viable model for getting big money out of local politics. Last year the city approved a “democracy vouchers” program, which will publicly fund local candidates through small donors, requiring limits on campaign spending.

      Starting in 2017, all registered voters will receive $100 in vouchers from the city government to spend in $25 parcels on their preferred candidates for city office.

    • Debt Collectors Get Away With Daylight Robbery

      I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

      The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

      Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

    • Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud

      As readers of this blog know, deregulation of charters leads to fraud, graft, and abuse. On this site, I have documented scores of examples of fraudsters and grifters who take advantage of weak (or no) oversight to enrich themselves and to strand children in bad schools.

      A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

      Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That is why Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and California are scamming taxpayers. No one is demanding accountability. Politicians get paid off by charter friends, then cripple any effort to oversee them Ohio and Michigan spend $1 billion a year to subsidize charter schools, which are lower-performing than public schools.

    • Diane Ravitch to Readers: Don’t Let Charter Industry Silence John Oliver

      Shared opposition to the fraud and abuse associated with charter schools and other privatization efforts, of course.

      On Thursday, longtime educator and activist Diane Ravitch encouraged her readers to start a campaign of thanks to comedian John Oliver, who devoted a segment of his HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday to charter schools and fraud—and is now being targeted by privatizers and other corporate propagandists on Twitter.

      Charter supporters are “saying that he ‘hurt’ children, he savaged children,” she wrote, noting that this is “a familiar tactic” of intimidation that she faced after writing about dubious test-scoring methods in New York City school a decade ago.

    • John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point

      Sometimes it takes a funnyman to make sense.

      Earlier this week, British comedian John Oliver devoted a “Back to School” segment on his HBO program Last Week Tonight to examining the rapidly growing charter school industry and what these schools are doing with our tax dollars.

      The Washington Post’s education blogger Valerie Strauss watched the segment and reports that while Oliver declined to address whether or not charters provide high quality education, he focused mostly on how often these schools are “terribly – and sometimes criminally – operated.” (You can see Oliver’s entire sketch here.)

      Editors at Rolling Stone watched Oliver’s broadcast as well and report Oliver focused much of his attention on three states – Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio – that have “especially depressing charter track records – including negligence in the approval process and school executives embezzling funds.”

    • Progressive Activists Take A Seat For The People At Federal Reserve Retreat

      Two years ago this week, the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy and allied groups launched the Fed Up campaign, aimed at making the Federal Reserve more accountable to workers and communities of color. They converged then on the Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming, where Fed officials decamp every year to discuss policy and hobnob with the economic elite.

      How much political headway has the campaign made since then? This year, Fed Up activists were essentially put on the schedule for senior Federal Reserve officials, with a major meeting at the Jackson Hole summit.

      The group met Thursday, the first day of the summit, with eight of the 12 presidents of the regional Federal Reserve banks and two members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

      Fed Up activists have met individually with the governors and regional bank presidents before; they spoke with some Fed officials less formally at the past two Jackson Hole gatherings. This is the first time, however, that their delegation of some 120 rank-and-file activists had met with so many of the central bank’s decision-makers in one place.

    • Day Laborers Leader on Right-Wing Hostility: “So Far, We Have Won This Fight”

      Pablo Alvarado is executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)—a group dedicated to building a movement among low-wage workers, most of them immigrants and many of them undocumented. The 49-year old Alvarado, who came to the United States in 1990 from El Salvador, views NDLON as both a workers’ rights and an immigrants’ rights organization. It has been an important player in campaigns to win local minimum wage laws and to stop the exploitation of immigrant workers, many of whom survive in the shadow economy as day laborers, housekeepers, gardeners, restaurant workers and janitors.

      We recently spoke with Alvarado in his small office at the Pasadena Community Job Center in Pasadena, California, one of some 70 worker centers in 21 states connected with NDLON. He is a whirlwind of activity, typically working 12 hours a day, running a national organization while engaged in the daily activities of the Pasadena center—counseling workers, organizing demonstrations, negotiating with city officials, raising money and supervising staff.

      This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    • The Tax Evasion Double Standard: How US CEOs Are Withholding Revenue

      If I refused to pay any taxes until the US government lowered my taxes to a so-called “fair rate,” I’d almost certainly be arrested for tax evasion. But when The Washington Post asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the billions that his company has stashed in tax havens around the world, Cook declared: “We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.”

      And nothing happened, either to Cook or to Apple. Because when it comes to taxes, it’s truer today than ever that only the little people pay.

      Apparently though, that’s not enough for the CEOs of multinational corporations, like Tim Cook. He doesn’t just want to avoid taxes, he wants Americans to know that Congress isn’t writing the rules; Apple is.

    • Meet the Swedish politician ready to play hardball with the UK on Brexit

      During the febrile, topsy-turvy days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, there were plenty of tough messages from European leaders. But few sounded more uncompromising than the EU trade commissioner.

      A week after the result, Cecilia Malmström, Europe’s lead trade negotiator, stated that the UK could not even begin discussing a trade deal until it had left the bloc. “First you exit and then you negotiate the terms of the relationship,” she told Newsnight, opening up the prospect of the world’s sixth-largest economy being left dangling for years. When the BBC interviewer suggested this would damage businesses in Britain and on the continent, her response was straightforward: “Yes, but the vote was very clear.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Another Fly In The SugarMan Lemonade

      Recently Rudy Giuliani said if you want to find dirt on Hillary Clinton, just go on the Internet and google “Hillary Clinton”. Apparently he got that idea from out own Google master, the Sugarman (Remember that moniker? That’s the nickname given to him by some servers in a local eatery for his knack of ordering lemon water and sugar to make his own lemonade). The Sugarman actually said Lemon Water is only served in “High-Class” restaurants, I assume he thinks Chiles or Applebees are “High-Class”… Anyway, the Sugarman has been doing exactly what Giuliani suggested since day one. He scratches around Right Wing blogs until he finds something that he can use. In his last letter he found Democratic Convention goodies, never mind that they were mostly just made up. Things like, foreign flags like N. Korean, Soviet, Plastinian and Hamas but NO American flags. Really Sugarman? That was just one, he had a whole list of made-up stuff to share, he always does…

    • Donald Trump: The NSA Is ‘Coddling’ Hillary Clinton
    • Trump thinks NSA has Clinton’s deleted emails
    • Hillary Clinton Used BleachBit To Wipe Emails

      Have any Slashdotters had any experience with BleachBit? Specifically, have you used it for erasing “yoga emails” or “bridesmaids emails?”

    • In Defending His Support of Trump, Sean Hannity Says He ‘Never Claimed to Be a Journalist’
    • Sean Hannity Turns Adviser in the Service of Donald Trump

      During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).

      But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.

    • US: Clinton calendars won’t be released until after election

      Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government told The Associated Press it won’t finish the job before Election Day.

    • From Booster to Adviser: Sean Hannity Has Erased His Final, Albeit Microscopic, Sliver of Impartiality

      Today in Austin, Texas, Republican presidential nominee – it still feels weird to type this – Donald Trump will tape a two-hour interview with his trained news poodle Sean Hannity. The event will likely entail 120 minutes of the Fox News host offering the sentient tangelo peel open-ended softball questions from which Trump can spin out extended rants about every conspiracy theory and nasty, subversive rumor he has ever heard about Hillary Clinton, egged on by the chuckles of the live audience brought in for the private, closed-to-the-press affair.

    • Embracing the Alt-Right: New Trump Campaign Chief “Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists”

      Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief. Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” “Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard” and “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, “By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the ‘alt-right,’ a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media.” For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.

    • Weapons, Pipelines & Wall St: Did Clinton Foundation Donations Impact Clinton State Dept. Decisions?

      New questions have arisen this week over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. On Tuesday, the Associated Press published a new investigation revealing that while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, more than half of the private citizens she met with had donated to the Clinton Foundation. The AP investigation comes after a three-year battle to gain access to State Department calendars. The analysis shows that at least 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton had scheduled phone or in-person meetings with were foundation donors. This does not include meetings Clinton held with U.S. or foreign government workers or representatives, only private citizens. We speak to David Sirota of the International Business Times and Paul Glastris, editor-in-chief of the Washington Monthly. He was President Bill Clinton’s chief speechwriter from 1998 to 2001.

    • “Our Revolution”? Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution. It seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution.

    • Is Trump-Bashing Good for the Media?

      Just about everyone now concedes that the media have it in for Donald Trump. A survey of eight major news organs during the primaries, conducted by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy — one I cited in a previous post — showed that the press grew increasingly hostile to Trump, peaking at 61 percent negative to 39 percent positive at the end of the primary season. Even the conservative, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal editorialized that he should consider quitting the race, and the normally cautious NBC Nightly News has turned reporter Katy Tur into a one-woman truth squad, correcting Trump whoppers.

    • Troglodyte Vs. Goebbelean Fascism: The 2016 Presidential Race

      Alienation is built into the societal edifice, a known factor long before Marx’s Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, which enabled him to write as presciently as he did. The commodity becomes engrained in the human psyche, and from there the merry race commences, codified in the institutions and culture of property, for superiority one over another fellow human being. Is it too late for systemic rectification of what should be regarded as the political culture of oppression and evil? That would make for an interesting starting point for discussion and possible action, not the mealy-mouthed platitudes offered by the candidates, their respective parties, and America as a whole.

    • Trump Illegally Pumped Up His Own Book Sales With Campaign Donations

      Now we know how Donald Trump manages to write so-called bestsellers. He buys up thousands of copies himself.

      The newest wrinkle in the Republican nominee for president’s con artistry is that he used campaign donations — to the tune of about $55,000 — to buy up approximately “3,500 copies of the hardcover version of Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, or just over 5,000 copies of the renamed paperback release, Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” the Daily Beast reported Wednesday morning.

      According to a Federal Election Commission filing, the Trump campaign paid $55,055 to Barnes & Noble for the books in May. While it’s not illegal to buy thousands of copies of your own book to artificially boost your sales, it is when you use campaign donations to do so, while also lining your own pockets.

    • Internet blind spot highlighted in Trump’s $8.4 million digital expenditure

      Since internet advertisements are usually targeted to a specific demographic, only the people who are targeted by the ad will know it is out there. The only way to tell if campaigns are getting what they paid for in terms of this digital marketing is if those targeted people show up to the polls and vote.

    • Reporter Tweets From Trump Rally: “His Supporters Are Ready for Violence”

      Since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign took off, there have been numerous reports of the sometimes violent nature of the crowds attending his massive rallies, including tales of pushing, shoving and other physical altercations instigated by attendees pumped up by Trump’s hateful rhetoric. “I can’t vote for Trump after that way I was treated,” said one student who was kicked out of a rally.

      Trump’s angry speeches at these rallies are nothing new, but the targets of his vitriol keep changing. In recent weeks, Trump has narrowed his focus to one enemy: the mainstream media.

    • The Independent “Women’s” Voice? Most Known Donors Are Men

      The Independent Women’s Voice touts its “independent” brand in reaching potential voters.

      But is it even women’s voices it is throwing? Let alone independent women?

      The reported data from the Federal Election Commission data says no.

      New research shows that the overwhelming majority of its known donors are men.

      Very rich men.

      Yes, men have provided most of the disclosed donations to fund election-related expenditures under the name of the “Independent Women’s Voice.”

    • How the Washington Post Sells the Politics of Fear

      Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

      Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

      Stein was more diplomatic: “Right now so many people are tuned out [of] the election and out of the political system in general because they are accustomed to being ignored by that system. Was Bernie Sanders tuned out? I don’t think so. I think he had more attention from the American public than just about anyone at least from my point of view. It looks to me like he was the guy saying that the emperor had no clothes and everyone was agreeing with him. Even Trump supporters were agreeing with him. Polls showed that the majority of Trump supporters are not motivated by supporting Trump. They are motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. Let’s give them another choice besides Donald Trump as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.”

      Having been deftly rebuffed, Milbank didn’t note his own question in his column in the Post.

    • Jill Stein: Majority of Americans Want Another Choice

      Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein discusses the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and her campaign. She speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

    • Tech Giants Go to Washington

      As they try to gain more influence with regulators and policymakers, several of the top technology companies are increasing the amount of money they spend on lobbying.

    • A Guided Tour of the ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

      And the “alt-right”? Well, Breitbart (3/29/16) tried to explain what that is in a 5,000-word piece last spring, written by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos—perhaps best-known for being banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones—and Allum Bokhari, who describes himself as the “resident kebab at Breitbart Tech” and “Milo’s deputy.”

    • Will Debates Inject Ideas Into Election Coverage? That’s Debatable

      After weeks of watching media rehash Clinton and Trump campaign talking points of the day, Americans can be forgiven for wanting to see some ideas injected into coverage of the presidential election. For some, debates are a natural opportunity to possibly pull candidates off script, force them to answer questions they didn’t write themselves. But, activists are saying, debates that include only the two major party candidates are far less likely to do that.

      As FAIR founder Jeff Cohen notes in a recent column, the Commission for Presidential Debates that runs the show, though sometimes mistakenly described as “nonpartisan,” is in fact vehemently bipartisan—really a sort of corporation run by the two major parties, and funded by powerful interests like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and finance. CPD rules, Cohen says, don’t aim so much at eliminating “nonviable” candidates as preventing outsiders from ever becoming viable.

      In charge of debates since the 1980s, the CPD makes no bones about its intent to use its role to secure a Republican/Democrat duopoly. So much so that when they took over fully in 1988, the League of Women Voters, which had been running debates, pulled its sponsorship, saying, “The demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

    • ‘Good Riddance’: Canada’s Stephen Harper Bids Adieu to Politics, Hello to Consulting

      As expected, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced his resignation from Parliament, saying that he’s now gearing up for “for the next chapter of my life.”

      That chapter, as the Toronto Star reports, includes “launching a global consulting business.”

      Harper posted the news Friday on his social media accounts, saying, “I leave elected office proud of what our team accomplished together.”

      For the 57-year-old, the resignation marks the end of “nearly two often-tumultuous decades in public office,” Mississauga News reports.

      Harper lost power in October in a “devastating election defeat” when his Conservative Party lost to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party.

      Since then, the Star adds, he “has only appeared in the Commons for votes since he lost power last fall, and has never spoken in debate as the MP for Calgary Heritage.”

    • Former Canadian prime minister Harper leaves politics

      Harper served as prime minister for almost a decade. Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry and backed the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His legacy includes merging two conservative parties in Canada.

      Harper now plans to consult on international issues.

    • American white nationalism isn’t isolationist #USA!USA!USA!

      Alt-right white nationalism is an apt term for a campaign that has electrified white supremacists so it makes sense that most people would focus on the racial angle. According to this analysis in the Guardian, the rising right wing ethno-nationalist movement in Europe is the progenitor of this American version, which adheres to its basic premise but brings its own special brand of deep-fried racism. Both share a belief that the white race is under siege and that “demands for diversity in the workplace which means less white males in particular forms the foundation for the movement.” So it stands to reason that Trump’s border wall, Muslim ban and bellicose appeals for “law and order” (along with his overt misogyny) is a clarion call to this faction.

    • Here’s a Bold Idea for Hillary’s Troubled Campaign

      3. Eliminate tax shelters and loopholes for 1-percenter households and businesses. The loopholes crying out for elimination include capital gains and other types of investment income, such as ‘carried interest’ and the truly outrageous ‘step-up in basis,’ which exclusively benefits inherited wealth. These function as direct federal subsidies to mostly affluent Americans. And they cost the national treasury some $250 billion per year, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that a whopping 70 percent of this subsidy is hoovered by Americans in the top 1 percent income bracket (and nearly 93 percent by the top 20 percent bracket).

    • Maryland redistricting lawsuit can go forward, federal judges rule

      A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s contorted congressional district map on First Amendment grounds has merit and should go forward, a three-judge federal panel ruled Wednesday.

      The map, drawn by Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers following the 2010 Census, essentially ensured that seven of the state’s eight congressional seats would be under their party’s control.

      According to the lawsuit, the redistricting specifically targeted western Maryland’s 6th District, where lines were altered to help unseat 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R). Bartlett was defeated by John Delaney (D) in 2012.

    • Democracy Wins as ‘Biggest Gerrymandering Case in Generation’ Moves Forward
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook Reduces Human Involvement in Selection of Trending Topics

      Facebook Inc. is reducing human involvement in how it displays its Trending Topics after a controversy earlier this year over whether editors working for the social network operator silenced conservative news.

      After conducting an internal investigation and saying it found no bias, Facebook is still retooling the trending news section to rely more on computers than humans. Instead of showing a headline and a summary, the trending topics will instead show an algorithmically selected topic, like “Olympics,” as well as the number of people talking about it, the company said Friday in a blog post.

    • How I Was Blacklisted at CNN, and How Easily America Goes to War Now

      It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.

      I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time is was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide.

      Wait, what? Who are the Yazidis? How they get us back into Iraq?

      Ah, how fast time flies.

      Two years ago a group of Yazidis, a minority spread across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, were being threatened by a group called ISIS few American were focused on. Obama declared a genocide was about to happen, and the U.S. had to act. U.S. officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the safety of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military drew up plans for limited airstrikes and the deployment of 150 ground troops.

    • Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Oil Pipeline Blockade

      As the Lakota Sioux continue their peaceful blockade of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, the story’s absence from the national media narrative is palpable. Considering the corporate media’s chronic quest for controversial stories on government versus public standoffs, you’d think this situation would garner the typical media frenzy invoked during a right-wing militia occupation of a federal building, for example, or a tense standoff between the Black Lives Matter movement and police. But it’s not.

      As of late, the media has faced criticism for its selective coverage of certain events — like, say, focusing on single terror attacks in Western Europe that garner thousands of headlines while basically ignoring similar or worse attacks that occur on a constant basis in Muslim-majority countries.

    • Melania Trump threatens to sue news outlets

      Melania Trump has threatened to sue The Daily Mail, Politico and at least eight other news outlets for defamation, her lawyer says.

      Trump, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has placed The Daily Mail and other news organizations “on notice… for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s,” Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement.

      In addition, Harder said that he had put Politico on notice for “false and defamatory statements” regarding its reporting on Trump’s immigration history. Politico confirmed that its reporters had been sent notices.

    • Lawsuit Over Facebook Post Raises Fears of Online Censorship in Bhutan

      Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam is facing defamation charges over a Facebook post, marking the first time that anyone in the Himalayan country has been taken to court over their social media activities. Official statements surrounding the case indicate that social media users in Bhutan may soon be restricted in what they can say online.

      The suit against Zam revolves around a family that is fighting a property dispute against well-connected business man Ap Sonam Phuntsho, who is also father-in-law to the Chief Justice of Bhutan.

      In an online appeal posted by Namgay on Facebook, Dr. Sacha Wangmo explains how Phuntsho attempted to seize her family’s home when an estranged family member could not repay Phuntsho a debt of Nu 0.7 million. Wangmo says that Phuntsho forged documents to show that they sold their house to repay debts to him, something to which the family says they never agreed. The documents also indicated that their debts had compounded, rising from Nu 0.7 million to Nu 3 million.

    • Pakistani law could enable sweeping internet censorship

      Bangkok, August 26, 2016 – Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain should veto a bill that could allow for sweeping censorship of the internet and the prosecution of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pakistan’s National Assembly approved the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 last week and sent it to Hussain to sign into law, according to press reports.

      Ambiguous language in the bill, which the Pakistani Senate approved in July and the National Assembly approved on August 11, would give state regulators sweeping powers to censor the internet, including material posted to social media platforms, in the name of upholding stability, security, and “the glory of Islam,” news reports said. Penalties under the law include three years in prison and fines for “spoofing,” defined as creating a website or disseminating information online using a “counterfeit” identity with “dishonest” intent, a provision that could apply to satirical websites. Judges could also sentence those found guilty of publishing material deemed to “harm the reputation” of someone, reports said.

    • Israel’s war on open discourse: State censorship now reaches into international news sources and social media

      Since the beginning of this year, Israel’s attempts to control what people can read and write within the country and in occupied Palestinian territories have increased, reaching into new areas in ways that are of concern.

      Of course, all states carefully monitor information, and Israel is not the only country that advertises itself as being an “open democracy” while imposing strict kinds of censorship. But recent developments in Israel signal not only the kinds of things it wishes to censor beyond its borders, but also how it is systematically censoring political dissent and monitoring social media.

      Israel’s authority to carry out such monitoring and censorship still largely derive from measures called the “Defense (Emergency) Regulations,” which were put in place in 1945 during the British Mandate. These have been adapted to the present day in three problematic manners. First, Israel is imposing gag orders on international journalists. In some cases, this holds true even if the information included in an international report is already available in Israel itself. This puts international journalists and editors in the difficult position of determining how much information is worth fighting for.

      Second, Israel is using a vague and broad notion of “incitement” to arrest and detain individuals for things they post on Facebook and Twitter, and requiring that certain individuals gain the State’s approval before posting. Furthermore, Israel has publicly shamed Facebook for not catching certain posts in time — in effect, Israel is asking Facebook to adopt the State’s criteria for what is to be censored. Finally, Israel has also tried to enlist Facebook and Twitter to its cause, and recruited other countries to form a consortium of watchdogs.

    • Who is Nabeel Rajab?

      Have you expressed disapproval of your government? Called for more democratic decision-making in your country? Criticised prison conditions or criticised a country allied with your government? Retweeted a comment that included #opinionsarenotcrimes?

      You are a criminal. You could be facing up to 15 years in prison for simply expressing your point of view, if you lived in Bahrain.

      Nabeel Rajab, just like you, thinks his country could be better. And he has made those views public. He speaks out against poor prison conditions, and argues for more freedom of speech in Bahrain.

      On 5 September Rajab is due in court accused of spreading “false or malicious news, statements, or rumours”, evidence of which includes a retweet of an Index tweet; “offending a foreign country” through tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen; and “offending a statutory body” by condemning conditions in the country’s notorious Jau prison.

      What’s worse, it’s just the latest in a long line of actions taken by the Bahraini government against Rajab, one of the Middle East’s most prominent human rights defenders.

    • Shrinking space for journalism in Russia and Ukraine

      The conflict over Crimea between Ukraine and Russia is having a direct impact on journalists. Though the tactics have differed, each country has been narrowing the space for reporting information on events.

      “A review of incidents reported to the database show that increasingly — in both Russia and Ukraine — the public’s right to information is being jeopardised by the blocking of journalists’ professional duties. The long-term implications, reinforced by polarised viewpoints, are hardened by a lack of a free media,” Hannah Machlin, project officer of Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom platform, said.

    • Brazilian students return to the streets over classroom censorship laws
    • Social media throttling in Turkey points to wartime censorship efforts
    • Telemundo Responds To SAG-AFTRA’s Accusation Of Censorship For Not Airing Ad Critical Of NBCUniversal
    • Telemundo Refuses to Air SAG-AFTRA Ad About Language Equity
    • Telemundo refuses to air ad from SAG-AFTRA calling for pay uniformity
    • US Latin TV Network Underpaying Spanish Speakers
    • SAG-AFTRA Blasts Telemundo’s ‘Double Standard’ Treatment of Talent in TV Spot
    • Clinton’s Censorship Tactics Aren’t Working Against Trump
    • Journalists resort to self-censorship after Maldives passes draconian defamation law
    • Former President of Maldives Mohammed Nasheed flies secretly to Sri Lanka to unseat President Abdullah Yameen
    • Facebook Censors Video Exposing PBS Cutting Hillary/TPP Criticism From Jill Stein Interview

      Facebook is censoring a video created by Green candidate Dr. Jill Stein supporter Matt Orfalea that exposes PBS Newshour cutting Stein’s criticism of Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and Obamacare.

      Breitbart News reported on the Orfalea’s video exposing the Hillary bias and now it appears Facebook is censoring the exposure of censorship. Orfalea told Breitbart News: “It’s insane.”

    • PBS NewsHour Cuts Anti-Hillary Portions of Judy Woodruff’s Jill Stein Interview
    • Criticism of Clinton Edited from Jill Stein’s Answer During PBS Interview
    • Jill Stein Reportedly Censored In PBS Interview
    • PBS Gets Caught Cutting Criticism Of Hillary, TPP, and Obamacare From Jill Stein Interview
    • Just What Clinton Doesn’t Need: An Attack From the Left by Jill Stein
    • Extensive Criticism of Clinton Edited Out of Green Party Nominee’s Answer During PBS Interview
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit [Ed: Cisco should not deliver patches. It should liberate all the code, make it FOSS so that trust can be established]

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

    • Cisco Takes Measures Against NSA Exploit Cyberweapon

      On Wednesday, Aug. 24, Cisco Systems has released some security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls found to be the target of an exploit cyberweapon linked to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Security analysts expect that the networking company will soon release more fixes.

    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers

      According to another expert, Matt Suiche, co-founder of security start-up Comae Technologies, the stolen sample also shows that network security equipment from different manufacturers and brands – including Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortigate and Chinese industrial giant Topse – are targeted by Equation.

    • Hacker Group to Auction Off Supposed NSA Data From Breached Computer Systems

      The hacking group who perpetrated the cyber attack call themselves “The Shadow Brokers” and much speculation surrounds their origin.

      How sure are we that these tools actually belonged to the NSA?

      This code similarity makes us believe with a high degree of confidence that the tools from the ShadowBrokers leak are related to the malware from the Equation group.

    • Untangling the NSA’s latest alleged embarrassment
    • Should the NSA Reveal Leaked Exploits?

      The outing of the NSA-linked framework is the latest in a series of leaks of cyber toolsets that highlight that many governments are active in cyber operations against rival nations, non-governmental groups and even individuals. Mobile security firm Lookout and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab revealed on Aug. 25, for example, that an attacker, likely a nation, had used espionage tools allegedly created by the NSO Group—including exploits for three previously unknown iOS vulnerabilities—against a well-known Middle Eastern activist, Ahmed Mansoor. Mansoor had been targeted by similar attempts twice before.

    • Cisco updates advisory: “We have started publishing fixes” for NSA-linked exploits

      Cisco Wednesday updated a security advisory for a remote code execution vulnerability affecting the SNMP application-layer protocol. The vulnerability was discovered after the Shadow Brokers release of exploits believed to have been used by the Equation Group loosely tied to the National Security Agency (NSA).

      Omar Santos, principal engineer of Cisco’s product security incident response team (PSIRT), wrote in the advisory that the SNMP vulnerability (CVE-2016-6366) is related to the ExtraBacon exploit. “We have started publishing fixes for affected versions, and will continue to publish additional fixes for supported releases as they become available in the coming days,” Santos wrote.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

      A Huawei spokesperson said: “We do view this as a bit of an old story”, but gave an official statement: “Huawei is aware of allegations of past government attempts to exploit commercial networking gear. We know that networks and related ICT product are under regular and widespread attack and we make significant investments in innovative technologies, processes and security assurance procedures to better secure them, as well as the networks and data of our customers.

    • Is There Another Edward Snowden Leaking NSA Info?

      After news that a cache of proprietary and powerful hacking tools had been stolen from the National Security Agency, the government suggested Russian hackers were to blame.

      But intelligence expert and former NSA whistleblower James Bamford writes that the theft probably isn’t the work of the Russians, and was more likely carried out by an insider, similar to famed NSA leak source, Edward Snowden.

      “If Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale,” Bamford wrote for Reuters. “It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook.”

      On the weekend of Aug. 13 and 14, a hacker group calling itself the Shadow Brokers placed the stolen tools online. They consist of what The Washington Post called “a sophisticated cyber arsenal” capable of smashing through firewalls and exploiting weaknesses in network security.

    • Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany

      The Green and Die Linke politicians wrote a letter to the Federal Court of Justice, asking that Snowden be allowed to be questioned in Germany for an ongoing inquiry into NSA surveillance.

      According to DPA sources, they want to break a blockade by the coalition government against having Snowden come for questioning about surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      “Neither a questioning by video nor a hearing of Edward Snowden in Moscow are the same as a questioning in Berlin,” said Linke politician Martina Renner.

      “A testimony in Moscow or by video still would entail significant problems for security and the protection of information about the relevant concerns.”

      The German parliament set up an investigatory committee after Snowden leaked information that revealed the scale of the NSA’s spying, including claims that American agents had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.

      The information from Snowden also led to the emergence of information about Germany helping the NSA to spy on German companies and European politicians.

    • Letter: Liberals twist ‘hacks’ and ‘leaks’ [Ed: Whistleblowers need to defy rules in order to demonstrate misconduct and avoid cover-up. This letter ignores that.]

      What if the leaker signed a confidentially agreement not to share any information, as Manning and Snowden did? Did they not then break the law to obtain the information? What if someone physically enters into a restricted area at work and leaks this data to the media? Is this not theft?

    • NSA has a Most Skillfully Developed Hackers’ Team

      It’s presumed that Equation Group is a contractor that provides service to the NSA. To describe it differently it would be USA’s very own hackers’ team. Cyber Security Company Kaspersky Lab based in Moscow analyzed Equation Group as an extremely skilled hacking group equipped with resources and sophisticated techniques.

    • Were Stolen NSA Codes Leaked by ‘Another Snowden?’

      Top secret tools used by the National Security Agency are believed to be have been leaked by a group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers.”

      The “Shadow Factory” author James Bamford said he wouldn’t be surprise if the hack was caused by someone within the NSA.

      “All indications are that this probably came from somebody from the inside, not somebody from the outside, and certainly not the Russians,” Bamford said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.

      The leaked toolkits, believed to be authentic, provided an inside look at the hacking toolkit of the NSA’s hacker unit from 2013. Bamford is convinced someone from within the agency is responsible for the security breach – an incident similar to the one in which Edward Snowden walked away with 1.7 million NSA documents.

    • If You’re Learning About It From Slate, Running Your Own Email Server Is A Horrendously Bad Idea

      And for what tradeoff? Well, there are some pretty big ones. If you’re not particularly skilled and experienced with online security issues, your personal email server is almost certainly significantly less secure than the big companies that have strong security teams and are constantly making it stronger and on the lookout for attacks. If you’re that good, you’re not learning about the issue of hosting your own email server for the first time in… Slate.

      The article insists that it’s a myth that running your own server is a security nightmare, but I’ve yet to see an online security expert who agrees with that even remotely. Even the comments to the Slate piece are filled with IT folks screaming about what a bad idea this is.

      In the end, this seems to be an issue of tradeoffs and skills. If you’re quite skilled with online security and you think the government might want secret access to your email, then maybe in some limited cases, it might make more sense for you to run your own server — though, even then you’re exposing yourself to being hacked by the government too, because, you know, they do that kind of thing also in some cases. Otherwise, you’re almost certainly opening yourself up to a home IT nightmare and a lot more trouble than it’s worth for significantly less security.

      In short, even if you’re not Hillary Clinton, running your own email server is a bad idea. And if you’re just now getting the idea from Slate… then it’s a really bad idea.

    • Privacy-Preserving Abuse Detection in Future Decentralised Online Social Networks
    • WhatsApp and Facebook to share data – even more snooping

      WhatsApp is an encrypted mobile messaging service. It was purchased by Facebook in February 2014 with the implication that its users’ data would never be shared. It is still saying that despite its latest blog indicating otherwise.

      WhatsApp’s latest blog “Looking ahead for WhatsApp” reveals changes to allow it to share user data with its parent Facebook for highly targeted advertising.

      The blog says, “By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.”

      The updated privacy policy, however, is a wordy document but essentially says, “We may provide you marketing for our Services and those of the Facebook family of companies, of which we are now a part.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sheriff’s Raid to Find Blogger Who Criticized Him Was Unconstitutional, Court Rules

      An appellate court in Baton Rouge ruled Thursday that a raid on a police officer’s house in search of the blogger who had accused the sheriff of corruption was unconstitutional.

      The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals argued that Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s investigation into the blog ExposeDAT had flawed rationale: the alleged defamation was not actually a crime as applied to a public official.

      The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel comes after police officer Wayne Anderson and his wife Jennifer Anderson were denied assistance in local and federal court.

      “I love it when justice is tangible,” Jerri Smitko, one of the Andersons’ laywers, told The Intercept.

      “With that piece of paper it says that what they did was unconstitutional — that’s a great feeling because you’re holding it in your hand and it’s vindication for people that they intended to oppress,” she added.

      The raid was sparked by the sheriff’s investigation into who was behind the anonymous blog that accused local officials, including him, of corruption and fraud. Through a blog and a Facebook page called “John Turner,” ExposeDAT used public records to show conflicts of interest.

      The sheriff sought warrants when Tony Alford, a local business owner, filed a criminal complaint about the blog. On August 2, Larpenter and his deputies raided the Andersons’ house after they traced the IP address of the John Turner Facebook page through a warrant to AT&T.

      The information AT&T provided, according to an affidavit, gave the sheriff an address and a name: Wayne Anderson.

    • Patients violated, doctors rehabilitated

      Doctors who sexually abuse patients go to therapy and then return to practice

    • The Battle Over the Burkini

      There are at least two ways of looking at this: one from the perspective of much of the Muslim world, the other from the perspective of Western countries. The main difference here is this: Westerners or others have of course right to express personal opinions on this issue, but have no authority overseas to decide on the issues that essentially affect Muslim women and local practices in the Muslim world. (Unless we are talking about gross violations of human rights which this is not.)

      It is Muslim men and women who have to decide for themselves what norms they seek on social dress codes for their own countries and cultures. In the Muslim world there is no unanimity, and furthermore the issue is evolving with time.

      Let’s be clear — I’m talking about here the wearing of full face and body covering (burka), not about women’s modest Islamic dress such as the hijab — more like a nun’s habit — that covers the hair but not the face.

      I happen to personally believe that women’s place in society is basically held back by the wearing of the full body and face covering (burka). That is indisputably the case in the West, but even in the East as well. But that is just my personal opinion.

    • The Deep Colonial Roots of France’s Unveiling of Muslim Women

      Throughout the summer, as a growing number of southern French municipalities banned burkinis on their beaches, the measure was widely decried as Islamophobic, counter-productive and oppressive to women. While it would be easy to reduce it to a misled, demagogue measure by right-wing mayors attempting to appear ‘tough on extremism’ in the aftermath of the Nice attack and in a national climate of rising Islamophobia, the bans are only the latest development in a long history of state-led oppression of Muslim women. In fact, the French State has been unveiling Muslim women for decades.

      During colonial rule in Algeria and the Algerian War of Independence, French military propaganda enjoined women to unveil themselves as acts of allegiance to both the French state and “civilization” itself. In turn, remaining veiled was an act of cultural and national resistance. Following years of controversy on the subject, France passed a law to ban headscarves in schools in 2004, and in 2010 Nicolas Sarkozy’s government banned the burqa in all public spaces.

    • ‘Line in the Sand’: Court Halts Burkini Ban on French Beaches

      France’s highest administrative court halted the controversial ban on full-body “burkinis” imposed by the town of Villeneuve-Loubet on the grounds that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.”

      The court said a final decision on the legality of the ban—which is similar to those also in place in some 30 French towns, mostly on the Riviera—would be made later. If Villeneuve-Loubet’s ban is found to be illegal, that ruling could set a precedent for the others, the BBC reports. Correspondents said the court’s action makes it likely that the other bans will also be overturned.

      The ban on the full-body swimsuits has engendered widespread criticism from those who say it uses the language of human rights to impose discriminatory rules on Muslim women.

    • France: Reaction to court decision to overturn burkini ban

      Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:

      “By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”

      “French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”

    • When Police Body Cameras Aren’t The Answer

      Earlier this month, a too familiar tragedy unfolded in East Los Angeles when Los Angeles police officers shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero. Witness accounts vary — the police department says Romero fled when officers approached him on suspicion of scrawling graffiti in his neighborhood, then fired at officers. Some civilians say he had a gun but tossed it away.

      As is increasingly common, the incident was captured on officers’ body cameras.

      Los Angeles officials have touted body cameras as a way to provide transparency and accountability and build trust between police and the public in moments of crisis. But that’s not how it has played out because the LAPD’s policies for body cameras don’t provide transparency or assure the public that officers will be held accountable.

      Instead, the department has stated that it generally holds videos from public view unless ordered by a court to release them. Romero’s family has called for the footage to be released.

      According to LAPD policy, officers are able to review body cam footage before talking to investigators. Instead of promoting transparency and trust, LAPD’s body camera program has resulted in more questions than answers.

    • NYPD Ignored Court-Imposed Rules While Spying on American Muslims

      A new report from the NYPD Inspector General provides more fodder for critics of the department’s discredited practices.

      The New York Police Department repeatedly violated important court-imposed safeguards when it secretly investigated American Muslims for years, according to a new report released this week by the police’s own watchdog.

      The report, issued by the Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD, examined the department’s compliance with the Handschu Guidelines, which protect New Yorkers’ lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, and are incorporated into the NYPD’s Patrol Guide. The investigation focused on a sample of cases closed between 2010 and 2015 that largely involved American Muslims. The report found that the NYPD failed to follow important safeguards in place to protect people’s rights and the integrity of police investigations.

      In perhaps its most damning finding, the inspector general said that in more than half the cases reviewed, both NYPD investigations and their use of informants and undercover officers continued after approval expired. In some cases, the inspector general found the department failed to document any actual reason for extending investigations in which there was no reasonable indication of wrongdoing. This is just more proof that the NYPD’s surveillance of American Muslims was highly irregular and disturbing.

      In the cases reviewed, according to the inspector general, the NYPD always met the “informational threshold” required to open cases. That plainly does not jibe with what the ACLU and NYCLU discovered when looking at NYPD records. Our lawyers have said there were often no valid reasons for the NYPD to open or extend investigations of American Muslims.

    • Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

      Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case after case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

      Earlier this month, the International Documentary Association launched an online petition to the Department of Justice asking the federal government to intervene when local police arrest or otherwise harass civilians who document and record police violence. EFF was proud to sign the petition, since this is an issue on which we have been increasingly active.

      Led by film makers Laura Poitras and David Felix Sutcliffe, the petition also calls for an official investigation exploring “the larger pattern of abuse that has emerged on a federal, state, and local level, and the threat it poses to free speech and a free press.” Finally, the petition urges “our peers in the journalistic community to investigate and report on these abuses.”

      Poitras’ film Citizenfour, documenting the Edward Snowden revelations, won the 2015 Oscar award for Best Documentary. Sutcliffe directed (T)error, which is the first film ever to document an FBI sting operation as it unfolds (and in the interest of full disclosure, briefly features the author of this post).

    • Illinois Achieved Important Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reforms. But Those Reforms Represent Only A Fraction of What Must Be Done.

      While Illinois embraced some bipartisan criminal justice reform, the battle for systemic change has just begun.

      Earlier this week, Illinois’ Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders from the Democratic-controlled legislature took a break from campaigning and gathered together at a ceremony in Chicago to smile for cameras and extol the spirit of compromise as the governor signed legislation aimed at reforming the state’s broken criminal justice system.

      To an observer outside Illinois politics, the significance of this show of bipartisanship might not be readily apparent. Election year politics aside, cooperation between Rauner and the General Assembly has been almost nonexistent since the governor took office in 2015. The two sides have been locked in a bitter and protracted budget battle, with the government operating on stopgap and court-ordered funding, while each side accuses the other of holding the state hostage.

      No one should expect that the recent bill signing represents a break in the impasse that has paralyzed government in Illinois. However, it does demonstrate that the growing consensus that Illinois’ criminal justice system is broken and in need of immediate reform has the power to transcend even the unprecedented partisan distrust and hostility that exists in Springfield today.

      The current state of Illinois’ criminal justice system is the product of a familiar story that is playing out in cities all across the country. Although crime rates have been on a steady decline for decades, our prisons are severely overcrowded as a result of “tough on crime” sentencing laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s, and the destructive impact of over-incarceration has fallen disproportionately upon communities of color and the poor. There is also a profound shortage of rehabilitative services to address behavioral health disorders that can thrust people into crisis and lead to negative interactions with law enforcement.

      Those released from prison face barriers to employment, education, and housing years after paying their debts to society. Not surprisingly, recidivism among those released from prison remains high. Meanwhile, relations between police and the community are at a tipping point, and our draconian drug sentencing laws have done nothing to stave off an epidemic of addiction and overdose.

      As the governor himself acknowledged, the five bills enacted into law on Monday are the first tiny steps in a long process of reform. Gov. Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform in early 2015, and he tasked it with recommending specific reforms which, if implemented, will enable the state to safely reduce its incarcerated population by 25 percent over 10 years.

    • Federal police raids over NBN leak should ring alarm bells for journalists

      The last two people who were successfully prosecuted in Australia for receiving and disclosing an “official secret” were a former intelligence officer and the prostitute he gave classified documents to for the purposes of selling them on to a foreign government.

      But now, for the first time in decades, the Australian federal police has dusted off this rarely used law. There are no prostitutes this time, and no sordid allegations of espionage or intrigue.

      Instead, there’s a Labor staffer who is under investigation for allegedly receiving documents tantamount to an “official secret” from an anonymous source. The documents, according to Labor, are nothing to do with national security but do show failings and cost blowouts in the construction of Australia’s highly politicised national broadband network.

    • Administration Creates A Hack For A Entrepreneur’s Immigration Visa

      For many, many years we’ve talked about why the US should have an entrepreneur’s visa to let in smart entrepreneurs who are able to build companies and create jobs in the US, rather than kicking out the very people who are helping to build out the US economy. However, because immigration is such a touchy issue, attempts to do so via Congress have gone nowhere. And while we’ve had some concerns about the actual implementation (in particular the focus on requiring the entrepreneurs to raise a fair amount of venture capital), the general concept is a good one.

      [...]

      This does seem better than some of the earlier proposals, which included requirements after receiving the visa to have to raise upwards of $1 million from investors. We were worried that this would basically force entrepreneurs to take money from VCs when they might not otherwise need to. This parole system still has raising money as a criteria, but the amount is significantly lower and DHS also has the flexibility to still grant the parole without the investment if there is “other reliable and compelling evidence of the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”

    • Challenged Over ‘Racist’ Remarks, Maine Governor Leaves Unhinged Voicemail

      Maine’s Donald Trump-supporting, race-baiting, Republican Governor Paul LePage has gotten into hot water—again—after leaving a state lawmaker an expletive-laced and threatening voicemail on Thursday.

      In the phone message, LePage—who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014—demands that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine “prove” that he’s a racist, calls him a “son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker,” and says: “I am after you.”

      Gattine has denied that he called the governor racist after his latest diatribe on the racial background of drug dealers in the state. LePage on Wednesday said that “90 percent of drug dealers coming into Maine are black or Hispanic.”

    • ‘Prove I’m a racist’: LePage challenges Westbrook lawmaker in obscenity-laced voice mail

      Gov. Paul LePage left a state lawmaker from Westbrook an expletive-laden phone message Thursday in which he accused the legislator of calling him a racist, encouraged him to make the message public and said, “I’m after you.”

      LePage sent the message Thursday morning after a television reporter appeared to suggest that Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine was among several people who had called the governor a racist, which Gattine later denied. The exchange followed remarks the governor made in North Berwick on Wednesday night about the racial makeup of suspects arrested on drug trafficking charges in Maine.

    • Rights Advocates Slam Baltimore’s “Incomprehensible” Police Spying

      “The fact that the BPD has been engaged in a secret program of mass surveillance is both incomprehensible and unacceptable. It is even more astounding that this could be done during a Justice Department investigation into the BPD that found pervasive racial bias and lack of accountability,” Rocah said in a statement Wednesday.

    • Match the Fine For Palestine: The Higher You Build Your Barriers, the Taller We Become

      In what one admirer calls “a brilliant generous gesture… telling Palestinians they have not been forgotten,” activist fans of Scotland’s Celtics soccer team – the working-class, historically progressive community already facing punishment for flying Palestinian flags at a recent game against Israel to protest the Occupation – have launched a defiant fundraiser to match their likely upcoming fine, thus “hugging tighter” an oppressed population with which they’ve long felt a kinship. The Celtics plan to give the proceeds – their original goal of $20,000 quickly grew to a flood of about $200,000 – to two Palestinian charitable groups.

      Europe’s ruling soccer body UEFA has already announced disciplinary proceedings against Celtic for its display of an “illicit banner” at a game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva team a couple of weeks ago. The act of solidarity was one of many over the years by a largely Irish Catholic community with a strong sense of affinity for the Palestinian struggle against colonization. With over 1,200 Scots of Palestinian origin, their own history of occupation and an ongoing sense of being underdogs in Scotland, says historian Tom Devine, “Part of their sense of communal identity is that sense of grievance about what was done in the past. People who are Irish nationalists will always tend to support independence movements they believe to be based on historical justice.”

    • Death to the Death Penalty in California

      On Election Day, California voters will make a monumental moral and financial decision. Proposition 62—the Justice That Works Act—is on the Nov. 8 ballot, and if the initiative passes, it will replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole. It will also require convicted murderers to work and pay restitution to their victims’ families. And it will save taxpayers $150 million a year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

      Among the states still part of the U.S. death penalty system, California has the most people on death row—746. Florida is next, with 388 according to the Yes on 62 campaign. Overall, 2,943 people are on death row in the United States (as of Jan. 1)—meaning almost one in four people waiting to be executed are in the California penal system. The elderly make up 11 percent, and the oldest condemned inmate is 86. The average stay on death row is 18 years.

      Although California has spent about $5 billion administering the death penalty, it has executed just 13 people since 1978. This means taxpayers have spent about $384 million per execution.

      There is no evidence demonstrating that the death penalty deters crime, according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. Capital punishment has been applied arbitrarily due to inherent bias, local political pressures on prosecutors and judges, and lack of access to quality defense attorneys by those convicted. According to Death Penalty Focus, the race of the victim and the race of the defendant are major determinants in who is sentenced to death in this country.

      [...]

      And look at the company we keep. Only China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia execute more people than the United States.

    • Where Is Our Martin Luther King Jr.?
    • Apple is the source of mistreatment of Chinese workers
    • iPhone or iExploit? Rampant Labor Violations in Apple’s Supply Chain

      A new report published August 24 by China Labor Watch (CLW) demonstrates that the same legal and ethical violations that attracted media attention in 2012 continue unabated at Apple supplier factories today. In the case of Pegatron, CLW reports that conditions have actually worsened since 2015, despite years of audits commissioned by Apple, a membership in the Fair Labor Association, and promises from the company that it is committed to ensuring the safety and dignity of those who make its lucrative products.

    • Why Walmart Matters to 21st Century Working-Class Struggle

      Service jobs as a share of US working hours increased 30 percent between 1980 and 2005, and their prevalence has only grown since the Great Recession. One 2012 study found that although two-thirds of the jobs lost during the recession were mid-wage jobs, 58 percent of the jobs regained by the time of the study were instead low-wage, paying less than $13.84 per hour. Retail sales alone added well over 300,000 jobs in this period, at an average wage of $10.97 an hour; just behind was food prep, paying an average of just over $9 an hour. The trend had begun before the crisis, but after the crisis hit, it was impossible to pretend that something fundamental hadn’t changed.

    • Temp Organizing Gets Big Boost from NLRB

      Thanks to a National Labor Relations Board decision, workers employed by temporary staffing agencies may find it easier to organize and bargain.

      The Board issued its long-awaited ruling last August in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). The decision revamped the Board’s test for what’s considered a “joint employer,” imposing new legal obligations on employers who hire through temp agencies and potentially also on giant corporate franchisors.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How the father of the World Wide Web plans to reclaim it from Facebook and Google

      When the World Wide Web first took off in the mid 1990s, the dream wasn’t just big, it was distributed: Everyone would have their own home page, everyone would post their thoughts – they weren’t called “blogs” until 1999 – and everyone would own their own data, for there was no one around offering to own it for us. The web consisted of nodes joined by links, with no center.

      Oh, how times have changed.

      Now a handful of companies own vast swaths of web activity – Facebook for social networking, Google for searching, eBay for auctions – and quite literally own the data their users have provided and generated. This gives these companies unprecedented power over us, and gives them such a competitive advantage that it’s pretty silly to think you’re going to start up a business that’s going to beat them at their own game. The fact that Facebook already has the data in 1.7 billion users’ profiles and, more important, the history of its users’ interactions means that you’re probably not going to attract a lot of savvy investors. Plus that’s where all your friend are already. Vendor lock-in is real.

    • How Is This Not A Net Neutrality Violation, Sprint?

      While the United States’ net neutrality rules are certainly better than nothing, we’ve noted a few times how they contain enough loopholes (and ignore enough hot button topics) as to be more than a little problematic. More specifically, they contain so much wiggle room they let ISPs of all stripes violate net neutrality — just so long as they’re a bit more creative about it. Verizon and Comcast were quick to highlight this when they began cap-exempting their own content, while still penalizing their competitors (without so much as a real peep from the FCC).

      T-Mobile pushed these creative barriers further with Binge On, which exempts only the biggest and most popular video services from the company’s usage caps (aka “zero rating”). This automatically puts thousands of smaller video providers, non-profits, educational institutions and startups at a notable market disadvantage, but by and large nobody outside of the EFF and academia seems to give much of a damn because a: ill-informed consumers are happy laboring under the illusion that they’re getting something for free and b: the public (and by proxy media) is lazy and tired of debating net neutrality.

      But the door being opened here leads to a monumental, potentially dangerous shift not only in how broadband service is purchased and sold, but in just how open the internet of the future is going to be.

  • DRM

    • Remember When Cracking Groups Said Denuvo Would End Game Piracy? Yeah, Didn’t Happen

      As you may recall, earlier this year a well-known hacking group that specializes in cracking PC games made the bold prediction that cracking games would no longer be a thing in another year or two. Contrasting with what seems like the neverending trend concerning DRM in software, 3DM stated that the software industry had apparently found its unicorn in a DRM called Denuvo, which was increasingly elongating the time between a game hitting the market and the crack for it becoming available. A practice that usually took days or weeks was suddenly being measured in months, pushing to a year. 3DM made the case that this amount of time and effort to crack a Denuvo-protected game made the practice too costly and, more importantly, that the DRM software was being updated and getting so good that it might essentially become uncrackable.

      This prediction, of course, flew in the face of the history of DRM and the speed with which it has always been defeated, leading me to be more than a bit skeptical of the prediction. Skepticism well-founded, it appears, now that Denuvo appears to have been neutered in the days since.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France Passes Copyright Law Demanding Royalties For Every Image Search Engines Index Online

        The Disruptive Competition Project is detailing yet another bad copyright law change in Europe — France, in particular, this time. Called the Freedom of Creation Act, it actually passed a few months ago, but people are just beginning to understand and comprehend the full horror of what’s happening. Basically, it will now require any site that indexes images on the internet (i.e., any image search engine) to pay royalties for each image to a collection society.

      • Do passive hosting providers commit acts of communication to the public in relation to third-party content?

        The document is extremely interesting for various reasons. Among the things, the Commission addresses the problem of right holders facing great difficulties, or being unable, “to negotiate with online service providers that store and give access to large amounts of protected content uploaded by their users. This results in right holders having limited control over the use and the remuneration for the use of their content.” [p 124, the so called 'value gap'].

      • European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

        A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document’s recommendations foreshadow new a EU Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the European Union’s 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe’s Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

        The 182-page document identifies three general objectives—ensuring wider access to content, adapting copyright exceptions to the digital and cross-border environment, and achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright. In this initial article we examine the recommendations that fall under the third of these three objectives, which are amongst the most alarming proposals, including new obligations on Internet platforms, and new copyright-like powers for news publishers.

        More specifically, this article will look at two of the proposals for what the Commission calls “upstream” problems, or difficulties faced by copyright owners in extracting value from the use of content online. We’ll deal with other parts of the document in later posts.

      • FBI-Controlled Megaupload Domain Now Features Soft Porn

        As part of its criminal case against Megaupload, the U.S. Government seized several domain names belonging to Kim Dotcom’s file-hosting service. Nearly five years later the authorities still control the domains but they haven’t done a very good job of securing them. Megaupload.org now links to a soft porn portal.

08.26.16

Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than ‘i’ Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows, Mac or Linux… Which operating system best suits your business?

      Linux is a free alternative. Apart from the zero-cost factor, it’s still less prone to viruses than Windows. Most Linux machines start out as Windows computers that are reformatted. Linux is also adaptable — Linux is an OS kernel, not a full system, but is the heart of software distributions such as Ubuntu or Fedora.

      As for cons, Linux is more complex to learn and use. There are also far fewer programs written for Linux systems. Of course, someone with an advanced online computer science master’s degree will help you make the most of a Linux system by supplying the skills needed to innovate and implement custom solutions for your business environment.

    • Eight free open source alternatives to Windows 10: Chrome, Ubuntu, Solus and more Linux-based alternatives – what’s the best alternative to Windows OS?

      Initially released in 2004, Ubuntu is Debian-based and part of the open source Linux family. Ubuntu uses Unity as its default user interface and can be run on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

      Key features: Libre Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, built-in Ubuntu Software Center, F-spot, an image editor, an instant messaging client called Empathy, and Ubuntu Make (developer tools centre).

      Pros: Comes with popular open source software pre-installed, like Firefox and Libre Office.

      Cons: Unfamiliar interface, perhaps aimed at more technical audience.

    • Windows 10 computers crash when Amazon Kindles are plugged in

      Dozens of Microsoft Windows 10 users are reporting that their computers crash when plugging in Amazon Kindles.

      The issue appears to be caused by the recent Windows 10 Anniversary update. Users of Amazon’s Paperwhite and Voyage attempting to either transfer books or charge their devices via USB are seeing their various Windows 10 laptops and desktops locking up and requiring rebooting.

      Pooka, a user of troubleshooting forum Ten Forums said: “I’ve had a Kindle paperwhite for a few years no and never had an issue with connecting it via USB. However, after the recent Windows 10 updates, my computer BSOD’s [blue screen of death] and force restarts almost as soon as I plug my Kindle in.”

      On Microsoft’s forums, Rick Hale said: “On Tuesday, I upgraded to the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10. Last night, for the first time since the upgrade, I mounted my Kindle by plugging it into a USB 2 port. I immediately got the blue screen with the QR code. I rebooted and tried several different times, even using a different USB cable, but that made no difference.”

      Another forum user, Tuscat, who found the issue affected both an HP laptop and a Dell desktop said: “It’s pretty frustrating because I need to transfer some PDFs to the Kindle for my son’s school classes.”

      The issue appears to be affecting regular Windows 10 Anniversary update users and those on Microsoft’s Insider programme for pre-release software testing.

    • Linux survival guide: These 21 applications let you move easily between Linux and Windows

      If you need to navigate regularly between Linux and the Windows world, there are many applications that can make your job easier. We spotlight 21 quality applications that will pave the way.

    • City of Bern starts open desktop proof of concept

      The council of the Swiss capital of Bern wants to increase the city’s use of open source software solutions. Last week, the city approved a CHF 843,00 (about EUR 750,000) proof of concept study for a switch to open source desktop solutions. The proposal was supported by a clear majority in the council, with 49 votes in favour and 18 against.

  • Server

    • Open Source, Containers and the Cloud: News from ContainerCon and LinuxCon

      LinuxCon and ContainerCon, events focused on Linux, containers and open source software, wrapped up this week in Toronto. Here’s a round-up of the announcements and insights related to cloud computing that emerged from the meeting.

      LinuxCon and ContainerCon are co-located events. That made for an interesting combination this year because Linux is an established technology, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. In contrast, containers remain a new and emerging enterprise technology. (Yes, containers themselves are much older, but it has only been in the past three years, with the launch of Docker, that containers are becoming a big deal commercially.)

      The two events thus paired discussion of a very entrenched platform, Linux, with one that is still very much in development. But open source, the coding and licensing model behind both Linux and container platforms like Docker, tied everything together.

    • Citrix Enables NetScaler for Containers and Micro-Services

      At the LinuxCon ContainerCon event here, a core topic of discussion is about how to enable enterprises to be able to embrace containers. Citrix has a few ideas on how to help and is announcing enhancements to its NetScaler networking gear to enable load balancing for containers and micro-services.

    • Want to Work for a Cloud Company? Here’s the Cream of the Crop

      What do Asana, Greenhouse Software, WalkMe, Chef Software, and Sprout Social have in common? They’ve been deemed the very best privately held “cloud” companies to work for, according to new rankings compiled by Glassdoor and venture capital firm Battery Ventures.

      For “The 50 Highest Rated Private Cloud Computing Companies,” Glassdoor and Battery worked with Mattermark to come up with a list of non-public companies that offer cloud-based services, and then culled them, making sure that each entry had at least 30 Glassdoor reviews, Neeraj Agrawal, Battery Ventures general partner told Fortune.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • ‘Show-and-Tell’ Cool Maker Projects on Hangouts

      Wow! This live Hangout show looks a lot like a DIY version of one of the morning shows on over-the-air TV — and if there’s any doubt that the maker movement thrives on open source, the first guest’s project is all about Python and Arduino. Be sure to check out the cool Star Trek combadge. Beam us up, Mr. Shapiro!

  • Kernel Space

    • 25 things to love about Linux

      Today marks 25 years of Linux, the most successful software ever.

      At LinuxCon this week, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation spoke words of admiration, praise, and excitement from the keynote stage, saying “Linux at 25 is a big thing” and “You can better yourself while bettering others at the same time.”

      To celebrate, we asked our readers what they love about Linux and rounded up 25 of their responses. Dive into the Linux love!

    • The 25 biggest events in Linux’s 25-year history

      You can argue about Linux’s official birthday. Heck, even Linus Torvalds thinks there are four different dates in 1991 that might deserve the honor. Regardless, Linux is twenty-five years old this year. Here are some of its highlights and lowlights.

    • 25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

      Happy Birthday Linux! You’re 25!

      When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for then 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide.

      The Linux operating system started out as an alternative to other platform architectures in use on mainframes and enterprise back-ends. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform for small through large companies’ server operations, and has made inroads into consumer computing.

      Linux has been ported to more hardware platforms than any other operating system, thanks to the popularity of the Linux-based Android operating system, noted Meike Chabowski, documentation strategist at Suse.

      “Today, Linux has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems worldwide. Linux is also the leading operating system on servers of any sort, and of 99.4 percent of the top 500 supercomputers,” he told LinuxInsider. “Also, you find embedded Linux in a huge quantity of devices and machines — built into cars, network routers, facility automation controls, entertainment equipment, and medical equipment such as X-rays.”

      Some people do not even know they are using it. Linux is everywhere, Chabowski said.

    • Google’s Continuing & Numerous Contributions To Open-Source

      Marc Merlin of Google presented at this week’s LinuxCon 2016 event in Toronto how the company has — and continues to — contribute to open-source software.

    • Why Linux is poised to lead the tech boom in Africa

      Certain emerging markets are advancing so quickly that they aren’t just speeding through the technology phases of developed countries. They’re skipping stages entirely — a phenomenon economists call “leapfrogging.”

      The most visible signs of leapfrogging are in consumer technologies, including the rapid adoption of the internet, mobile phones and social media. By 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be the world’s second-largest mobile Internet market, surpassing Europe and ranking only behind Asia-Pacific, according to Frost & Sullivan.

      These advances in consumer technologies are creating a corresponding need for advances in IT infrastructure. This week to help meet that need, IBM announced a new LinuxONE Community Cloud for Africa. Developers will have access at no charge for 120 days utilizing the cloud to create and test their applications on IBM LinuxONE, the industry’s most powerful Linux system.

    • 25 Awesome (And Some Unexpected) Things Powered By Linux

      From your kitchen to the reaches of outer space, Linux is truly everywhere. Here are 25 different places where you can hear the beating of an open-source heart.

    • Special Anniversary Edition: This Week in Open Source News
    • Linux turns 25 years old! Happy birthday Linux!

      Valve aren’t the only ones celebrating a birthday this week (see here). Linux also just got a bit older and wiser. Linux is officially 25 years old today!

    • ​Linus on Linux’s 25th birthday

      It’s been twenty-five years since Linux began. Today, we’re living in a world where Microsoft has embraced Linux and everything — and I mean everything — depends on Linux. It didn’t start that way. It began as a small project without any great ambitions.

    • Open source software changing the connected world
    • Linux celebrates the first of its two 25th birthdays
    • Linux turns 25: Containers, cloud and IoT present new opportunities and challenges
    • Linux turns 25, kind of runs (part of) the world
    • 25 Years of Linux and the GPL, and How Android Benefits
    • Happy 25th birthday, Linux!
    • Twenty-five years of Linux overcoming hurdles and overshooting goals
    • Linux Took Over the Web. Now, It’s Taking Over the World
    • Twenty-five years of Linux: A quiet revolution
    • Linux turns 25 years young: an open, free and exciting future lies ahead
    • Linux celebrates its 25th birthday today! But can it survive another 25 years?
    • Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday, Linux!
    • Linux: 25 years on and still going strong
    • Tech Quiz Of The Week: Linux At 25
    • 25 Years of Linux — so far

      On August 25, 1991, an obscure student in Finland named Linus Benedict Torvalds posted a message to the comp.os.minix Usenet newsgroup saying that he was working on a free operating system as a project to learn about the x86 architecture. He cannot possibly have known that he was launching a project that would change the computing industry in fundamental ways. Twenty-five years later, it is fair to say that none of us foresaw where Linux would go — a lesson that should be taken to heart when trying to imagine where it might go from here.

    • Happy 25th Birthday, Linux!
    • Happy Birthday, Linux
    • Slides for my LinuxCon talk on Mainline Explicit Fencing

      For those of you that are interested here are the slides of the my presentation at LinuxCon North America this week. The conference was great with very good talks and very interesting meetings on the hallway track.

    • Linux 4.8 May Fix An Issue Of Some Laptops Burning Through Power While Suspended

      It looks like some newer Intel laptops will be much happier when S3 suspended with the upcoming Linux 4.8 kernel.

      For at least some newer Intel laptops with distributions like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Fedora was a case where suspending the system would still still be consuming much power: a hot laptop and losing around 12% of the battery life per hour while “suspended.”

    • Linux 4.8 Intel P-State vs. CPUFreq Scaling Driver/Governor Benchmarks

      Given the underlying work that’s been happening in the CPUFreq/scheduler area and the introduce of the new Schedutil CPUFreq governor, I decided to run some fresh performance benchmarks of P-State and CPUFreq with the different governor options when testing from a Linux 4.8 Git kernel atop the current Fedora 25 development packages and using a Core i5 Skylake processor.

    • Upcoming Linux Tests With A $300 Broadwell-EP Xeon CPU
    • Linus Torvalds says first Linux release wasn’t public

      Keeping up with tradition, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, sat down to talk about Linux at LinuxCon NA. Here is an edited version of the conversation, in which they talked about the email Torvalds sent out 25 years ago to announce Linux.

    • LinuxCon: Tracing Linux’s Roots, Mapping Its Future

      On Aug. 25, 1991, a student at the University of Helsinki sent out a mailing announcing a new hobby operating system project. That student was Linus Torvalds, and his hobby operating system, now known as Linux, became the most widely used OS, powering stock exchanges, supercomputers, mobile phones and much more. From Aug. 22 to 25, the Linux community gathered at the annual LinuxCon North America event here to celebrate and discuss all things Linux. A highlight of the event was the appearance of Linus Torvalds, who reminisced about the past 25 years on what has gone wrong and what has gone right with Linux. A decade ago, LinuxCon was only about Linux, but this year, the event was co-located with ContainerCon, Xen Summit and Cloud Native Day. Linux in 2016 is about more than just an operating system. It is about a wider market of open-source technologies that Linux helps enable. (Highly telling is the fact that, starting next year, the conference will be renamed the Open Source Summit.) In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at highlights of this year’s LinuxCon event.

    • Happy birthday Linux: 25 years later, the ‘Year of Linux’ may finally be here

      25 years ago, one Linus Benedict Torvalds started working on a part-time project. This was not any project like travel, working time, hacking, learning music or anything typical. Instead, this part-time hobby project was to work on an ‘Operating System’. Yes, that’s right, an operating system.

      While mere mortals like us would waste our time gaming or sleeping, Linus Torvalds decided to build an OS. Well, technically not an entire operating system, but an OS Kernel. It’s the most crucial part of the operating system anyway.

    • Linux Celebrates Its 25th Birthday This Week
    • As Linux turns 25, its lies beyond desktops and mobile devices

      Today marks the 25th anniversary of the open-source operating system used to do everything from powering supercomputers to surfing the web: Linux.

      Linux began its journey 25 years ago, and now it’s a top product platform for apps for smartphones, Internet of Things devices, and computers—all of which primarily run on Linux.

      Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu), said that the organization is continuing to “support Linux’s journey as the production platform for the enterprise and telecoms infrastructure we see today.” She added that while cloud technology runs almost entirely on Linux, Canonical still thinks the desktop is important to Linux’s growth. Ubuntu also started as a desktop OS, and it’s still used for both mobile and desktop programs, she said.

    • Linux turns 25, with corporate contributors now key to its future

      That developer was of course Linus Torvalds and his free operating system came to be known as Linux. It’s since more or less conquered the world, first becoming the de facto heir to proprietary Unix and latterly serving as the operating system for enormous numbers of devices large and small.

      El Reg runs on Linux and these even Microsoft is embracing the OS, offering it in its cloud, porting products to it and even putting Linux to work running is data centre switches.

    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Alexander Popov: Linux Kernel Contributor

      Since 2012, Alex has had 14 patches accepted into the mainline Linux kernel. With his employer, Positive Technologies, he has helped develop a bare metal hypervisor that they hope to open source soon. And this year he spoke at LinuxCon Japan about his work porting Kernel Address Sanitizer (KASan) to his company’s bare-metal hypervisor.

      He is using the free training and certification provided by the LiFT scholarship to take the Linux Kernel Internals and Development (LFD420) course from The Linux Foundation.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS Brings Serious Relevance Back to KDE

        If you’ve been looking for a distribution to sway you back to the KDE desktop, look no further than KaOS. It’s beautiful, runs with the snap of a much lighter desktop, and feels as reliable as any other option available for Linux. I haven’t been this impressed with KDE for a very, very long time. And, I am certain users would find themselves equally happy to return to a desktop that has long needed a champion like KaOS.

      • Qt 5 based Colorpick

        Colorpick is one of my little side-projects. It is a tool to select colors. It comes with a screen color picker and the ability to check two colors contrast well enough to be used as foreground and background colors of a text.

      • KDE Connect 1.0 is here!

        Today we are officially publishing the first stable release of KDE Connect. Hooray! This version is the most solid yet feature-packed version we ever released. It’s been in development for a year now and it took a lot of hard work, we hope you like it!

      • KDE Connect 1.0 Released For Device/Phone Communication

        KDE Connect is the interesting project for integrating notifications and more from your phone or other mobile device onto the KDE desktop.

      • Qt Creator 4.1 Adds New Themes, Experimental Nim Support

        The Qt Company announced the release today of Qt Creator 4.1 as the newest version of its popular, cross-platform IDE.

      • Qt Creator 4.1.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.1.0.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Fresh From the Oven: GNOME Pie 0.6.9 Released

        For a slice of something this weekend you might want to check out the latest update to GNOME Pie, the circular app launcher for Linux desktops.

      • GUADEC 2016 and the Butterfly Effect
      • GUADEC 2016 Notes

        I’m back from GUADEC and wanted to share a few thoughts on the conference itself and the post-conference hackfest days.

        All the talks including the opening and closing sessions and the GNOME Foundation AGM are available online. Big thanks goes to the organization team for making this possible.

  • Distributions

    • The Battle of The Budgie Desktops – Budgie-Remix vs SolusOS!

      Ladies and gentleman, it’s the moment you have all been waiting for… the main even of the evening! In this corner, wearing Budgie trunks, fighting out of Ireland, created by Ikey Doherty, the man behind Linux Mint Debian Edition — SolusOS! And in this corner, built on the defending champion, also wearing Budgie trunks, aiming to be the next flavor of Ubuntu, Budgie-Remix!

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Antergos LinuxAn Everyday Linux User Review Of Antergos Linux

        So Antergos was recommended to me by a number of people and I have to say that the experience was decent.

        It isn’t difficult to install Antergos but if you have a slow internet connection then you have to be a bit patient.

        Most things worked ok and hardware support was fine across the board.

        The Steam thing I put down to something that the Steam developers need to resolve. Come up with a better installer.

        Would Antergos make my top five now that I have tried it? I would say no to that. It isn’t as good as Manjaro and that is the best distribution to pitch it against because they are both based on Arch. Manjaro has a more polished look and feel.

        Nevertheless Antergos is a good distribution and well worth a try.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Updates its Kernel-based Virtual Machine

        Red Hat updated its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)-powered virtualization platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads.

      • Red Hat Virtualization 4 Takes on Proprietary Competition

        Red Hat continues to move well beyond its core enteprise Linux-based roots with a string of new releases. The company has announced the general availability of Red Hat Virtualization 4, the latest release of its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) -powered virtualization platform. It fully supports OpenStack’s Neutron – the networking project leveraged in SDNs.

        The company emphasizes that Red Hat Virtualization 4 challenges the economics and complexities of proprietary virtualization solutions by providing a fully-open, high-performing, more secure, and centrally managed platform for both Linux- and Windows-based workloads. It combines an updated hypervisor, advanced system dashboard, and centralized networking for users’ evolving workloads.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta Adds NVDIMM Support, Improves Security

        Today, August 25, 2016, Red Hat announced that version 7.3 of its powerful Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system is now in development, and a Beta build is available for download and testing.

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 Beta brings lots of improvements and innovations, support for new hardware devices, and improves the overall security of the Linux kernel-based operating system used by some of the biggest enterprises and organizations around the globe. Among some of the major new features implemented in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 release, we can mention important networking improvements, and support for Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Modules (NVDIMMs).

      • CentOS 6 Linux OS Receives Important Kernel Security Update from Red Hat

        CentOS developer and maintainer Johnny Hughes informed the community about the availability of an important Linux kernel update for the CentOS 6 Linux operating system.

        The new kernel update is here to patch various important security issues in the Linux 2.6.32 kernel packages used by CentOS 6, which is built on the freely distributed sources of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 operating system. This means that the new kernel has also been pushed upstream, in Red Hat’s repositories.

      • Release of Red Hat Virtualization 4 Offers New Functionality for Workloads

        Release of Red Hat Virtualization 4 Offers New Functionality for Workloads
        Red Hat has released Red Hat Virtualization 4 (formerly Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization), the latest release of its Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtualization platform that provides a centrally managed platform for Linux and Windows based workloads.

      • Red Hat CEO: Open-source innovation is always user-led

        According to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, the prevailing narrative about the growth and spread of Linux is only half-true.

        The idea that a doughty community of coding geniuses, led by an irascible commissar in Linus Torvalds, quietly created a technological asset that eventually spread to the biggest users in the land is actually a little misleading, he told Network World at LinuxCon North America 2016 in Toronto.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Julita Inca Chiroque: How Do You Fedora?

          In 2012 Julita traveled to the Czech Republic for a hackfest. She participated with the GNOME Documentation team. She became aware of the relationship between Red Hat, CentOS and Fedora because the event was held in the Red Hat building. Chiroque was inspired to organize Fedora events after meeting Jiří Eischmann. Julita said, “I knew Jiří Eischmann from Fedora Czech Republic and I saw his work as organizer and I wanted to do the same in Peru.” She began working with Fedora LATAM to organize events, with Luis Bazan as her Fedora LATAM Mentor. Chiroque’s current focus is on young students interested in open source and Fedora.

          Julita organized the Fedora 17 release party, a five hour event, as her first in Peru. Activities included installation of Fedora and configuration of applications. The event also included a discussion on how to contribute to Fedora.

        • F25 Wallpaper

          Here are my rough designs so far for the Fedora 25 release wallpaper! Design inspiration? Archimedes; mathematician and inventor of the Achimedean screw. Note: none of these are the final design; they are just to give a sneak peak at the progress begin made by myself and the rest of the Design Team on this project

        • Another Set of Updated Fedora 24 Linux Live ISO Images Are Now Ready to Download

          Fedora Unity Project leader and Fedora AmbassadorBen Williams proudly announce the release of yet another set of updated Live ISO images for the Fedora 24 Linux operating system.

        • Wayland by default in Fedora 25?

          I’ve noticed various reports that Fedora has decided to switch to Wayland by default in Fedora 25. It’s true that the alpha release will default to Wayland, but these reports have misunderstood an authorization from FESCo to proceed with the change as a final decision. This authorization corrects a bureaucratic mistake: FESCo previously authorized the change for Fedora 24, but the Workstation working group decided to defer the change to Fedora 25, then forgot to request authorization again for Fedora 25 as required. An objection was raised on the grounds that the proper change procedure was not followed, so to sidestep this objection we decided to request permission again from FESCo, which granted the request. Authorization to proceed with the change does not mean the decision to proceed has been made; the change could still be deferred, just as it was for Fedora 24.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 4Duino combines Arduino, WiFi, and a 2.4-inch touchscreen

      4D Systems launched a $79 “4Duino-24” Arduino compatible board, with a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen and an ESP8266 WiFi module.

      One reason you might choose a Linux SBC like a Raspberry Pi over an Arduino is that it’s easier to control an LCD display for simple IoT GUIs and other HMI applications. Now the 4Duino-24 board aims to smooth the path to Arduino-based IoT displays with an Arduino Leonardo clone board that not only adds an ESP8266 WiFi module, but also includes a 2.4-inch TFT LCD display with resistive touch.

    • Tegra TK1 COM Express module runs Ubuntu at 15W

      Connect Tech has launched an Ubuntu-driven COM Express Compact Type 6 module with an Nvidia Tegra K1 and optional extended temperature support.

      Nvidia’s Tegra SoCs have faded fast in the smartphone world, but appear to be doing just fine in embedded, especially in automotive. (Nvidia just announced a Tegra-like, ARM Cortex-A57 based Parker SoC for its Drive PX 2 autonomous car platform.) Now Connect Tech has added to the growing market for Linux-driven, Tegra K1-based computer-on-modules aimed at the general embedded market with its “COM Express TK1 CMG601” COM Express Compact Type 6 module.

    • Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Code Club teaches kids skills to compete in our digital world

      For some time, the UK’s technology sector has been concerned about finding the right skilled workers to fill jobs in the future. This predicted “digital skills gap” warns that unless we help people to become confident with technology now, we will be facing a huge shortage in skilled workers in the future.

      One way to overcome the digital skills gap is to invest in training and education for the next generation.

      Code Club is a network of free coding clubs for primary school students, and all of the projects we work on are open source. There are over 4,500 Code Clubs currently in the UK, reaching an estimated 75,000 children.

    • Rugged 3.5-inch SBC runs Linux or Android on i.MX6

      Logic Supply has introduced a “ICM-3011” 3.5-inch board with a dual-core i.MX6, wide-range power input, and extended temperature support.

      Like the recent Pico-ITX form factor ICM-2010 SBC that’s also available in an ICS-2010 mini-PC, the ICM-3011 was built by Taipei-based Embux, and is being distributed and supported by Logic Supply. Like the ICM-2010, the $253 ICM-3011 runs on the 1GHz, dual-core DualLite version of NXP’s Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 SoC. It similarly is supported by images for Android 5.0.2 “Lollipop,” Yocto “Daisy” Linux 1.6.2, or Ubuntu Linux 12.04.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Comparison of the Samsung Z1 vs Z2 vs Z3 Tizen smartphones

          Compare Samsung Z1, Z2, and Z3 Tizen Smartphones

          Lets do a quick history lesson: The first Tizen Smartphone was the Samsung Z1, then came the Z3, and yesterday was the turn of the 4G touting Z2 to take centre stage. On the whole the Z2 is very similar to the Z1 and can be thought of a Z1 2016 edition with the inclusion of 4G cellular connectivity and updated software with user requested features.

      • Android

        • iPhones are much more likely to ‘fail’ than Androids

          Apple’s once glittering reputation for quality took quite a few hits during the last few years, especially when it comes to iOS, the software that runs on iPhones. In some cases, recurrent software bugs have plagued users with issues such as the inability to use Wi-Fi, frequent crashes, and ridiculously short battery life. This week reports surfaced about a hardware flaw that makes some iPhone 6 screens inoperable. (Apple hasn’t confirmed any related problems.)

          It’s hard to tell how widespread some of these issues are, but a new report from a company that monitors smartphone quality suggests iPhones are far more likely to “fail” or suffer serious glitches than Android phones. The Blancco Technology Group says it collected performance data from millions of mobile phones during the second quarter of 2016, and it found that iPhones had an overall failure rate of 58 percent, compared to just 35 percent failure for Android devices. The term “failure” doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone has become a brick, according to Blancco. Instead, it means the device or software running on the device suffered some serious problem.

        • Maru OS is now open source (Turns Android phones into Linux desktops)

          Maru OS is a software project that lets you plug an Android phone into an external display to run desktop Linux software. First unveiled earlier this year, the software is very much a work-in-progress. Initially it only supported one phone: the Google Nexus 5.

          But things could get a lot more interesting soon, because the developer behind Maru OS has finished open sourcing the project and a group of developers are planning to start porting the software to run on additional devices.

        • Maru OS wants to turn your phone into a desktop with its latest open source build

          Not to be confused with Maru the adorable YouTube cat, Maru OS, the bite-sized Android add-on that turns your phone into a desktop, just went open source.

          Maru OS doesn’t change much about the way your phone operates on its own, but once you connect a desktop monitor via a slimport cable, Maru really comes to life. When connected to a display, Maru OS allows you to run a desktop Linux environment straight from your phone.

          Your phone is still a phone, it’ll take calls, send texts and do everything else it normally does, even while it’s connected to a desktop monitor running Linux on the side. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s still very much a work in progress. Today’s announcement could help move things along for Maru.

        • The long-awaited Maru OS source release

          Hey guys,

          I’m happy to announce that Maru has been fully open-sourced under The Maru OS Project!

          There are many reasons that led me to open-source Maru (https://blog.maruos.com/2016/02/11/maru-is-open-source/),
          but a particularly important one is expanding Maru’s device support with
          the help of the community.

          If you’d like to help out with a device port (even just offering to test a
          new build helps a lot), let the community know on the device port planning
          list (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/maru-os-dev/YufKu…)
          . We currently have a few Nexus, LG, and Motorola builds being planned. If
          you don’t see your device on there and would like to help with development
          or testing, please do chip in and we’ll get it added to the list.

        • Living with Android 7.0 Nougat: The most important changes

          Android 7.0 Nougat has finally reached Google’s Nexus devices after more than five months of developer preview testing. The final version is more stable and has a ton of new features. Most phones won’t get a Nougat update for a few months at least, and that’ll only happen if the carrier and OEM consider it a high priority. What can you expect when that glorious day finally arrives? I’ve been using Nougat on both a Nexus 6P and a Pixel C for the last few days. I won’t bother reciting all the features, which you can find a simple list of them on Google’s site. Let’s talk about what it’s actually like to use Android 7.0 Nougat as a daily driver.

        • Apple’s iOS ‘Failure Rate’ Is Higher Than Android’s For First Time

          Apple’s iOS devices like iPhones and iPads crashed twice as often in the second quarter compared to the previous one, new data shows.

          Fifty-eight percent of iOS-based devices suffered from “performance failures” like apps crashing or components shutting down during the second quarter, up from 25% in the first quarter, according to a study by mobile technology service provider Blancco Technology Group (BTG).

        • Is Android malware more popular than Google’s own app?
        • Android 7.0 Nougat Tip: Manage Battery Life
        • Android 7.0 Nougat has already been ported to a phone that doesn’t support it
        • Night Mode Enabler Brings Back Android Nougat’s Night Mode
        • Is your Android phone being controlled by a rogue Twitter account? Botnet is first to receive commands via tweets
        • Nougat’s Nav bar customizer still an option for Nexus 6P owners
        • Geekbench listing shows two Nokia-branded Android phones in the works
        • How to Use Multi-Window View in Android 7 Nougat
        • 1.5m US iPhone users are about to switch to Android

          If we take ComScore figures for January 2016 we see that around 198.5 million people in the US own smartphones. 52.8 percent of these use Android and 43.6 percent use iPhones, ComScore claims.

          If we use ComScore’s figures as base we can make some estimates based on Fluent’s research. Fluent believes 29 percent of all iPhone users will definitely buy a new phone this year, and while 87 percent of them will stick with Apple (21.8 million), 6 percent will switch to Android. This suggests that around 1.5 million US iPhone users will make this switch.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Ways to Solve the Open Source Industry’s Biggest Problems

    Over the last decade, open source software and its audience of end users have greatly matured. Once only used by a small subset of tech-savvy early adopters, the convenience, effectiveness and cost savings of open source solutions are now driving enterprise IT to explore more ways to take advantage of the power of open source in their daily business operations.

    In today’s economy, enterprise IT has less to gain from developing and licensing software and more to gain from actively working with existing open source technology. However, the march toward open source still faces major obstacles before it becomes mainstream. In this slideshow, Travis Oliphant, CEO and founder of Continuum Analytics, outlines five challenges preventing enterprise IT from shifting to open source and tips for tackling them to keep the future of open source heading in the right direction. The road may be winding, but it will eventually lead companies to open source to help them innovate and as the way of the future.

  • Latest attacks on privacy…

    With the EU (in this case France and Germany) gearing up for another attack on privacy I’m quite happy and proud to have been part of the release of Nextcloud 10!

  • Events

    • Conferences and Kids

      I’ve taken my daughter, now 13, to FOSDEM in Brussels every year that I had slots there. She isn’t a geek, yet enjoys the crowds and the freebies. When I could, I also took my kids to other events, where I was speaking. In this post I’d like to capture my feelings about why children should be part of conferences, and what conferences can do to make this easier.

      First off, the “why?” Traditional conferences (in all domains, not just software) are boring, ritualized events where the participants compete to see who can send the most people to sleep at once. The real event starts later, over alcohol. It is a strictly adult affair, and what happens at the conf stays at the conf.

      Now our business is a little different. It is far more participative. Despite our history of finicky magic technologies that seem to attract mainly male brains, we strive for diversity, openness, broad tolerance. Most of what we learn and teach comes through informal channels. Finished is formal education, elitism, and formal credentials. We are smashing the barriers of distance, wealth, background, gender, and age.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Rackspace to be Acquired for $4.3B

      Rackspace announced that it is being acquired in an all-cash deal valued at $4.3B. Pending regulatory anti-trust approval, the firm will be taken private by a group of investors led by Apollo Global Management in Q4 of 2016.

      This valuation equates to a price of $32/share. The 38% premium cited in the announcement is calculated against a base share price from August 3, as the news about the pending acquisition began increasing the company stock price as early as August 4.

      For historical context, this valuation falls considerably below the company’s peak market capitalization in January 2013 when Rackspace was worth $10.9B. This means that the company’s current valuation – including the premium – is less than 40% of what it was at its highest point.

    • More on Open Source Tools for Data Science

      Open source tools are having a transformative impact on the world of data science. In a recent guest post here on OStatic, Databricks’ Kavitha Mariappan (shown here), who is Vice President of Marketing, discussed some of the most powerful open source solutions for use in the data science arena. Databricks was founded by the creators of the popular open source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, which is itself transforming data science.

      Here are some other open source tools in this arena to know about.

      As Mariappan wrote: “Apache Spark, a project of the Apache Software Foundation, is an open source platform for distributed in-memory data processing. Spark supports complete data science pipelines with libraries that run on the Spark engine, including Spark SQL, Spark Streaming, Spark MLlib and GraphX. Spark SQL supports operations with structured data, such as queries, filters, joins, and selects. In Spark 2.0, released in July 2016, Spark SQL comprehensively supports the SQL 2003 standard, so users with experience working with SQL on relational databases can learn how to work with Spark quickly.”

    • SDN, open source nexus to accelerate service creation

      What’s new in the SDN blog world? One expert says SDN advancements will be accelerated, thanks to SDN and open source convergence, while another points out the influence SDN has in the cloud industry.

    • Platform9 & ZeroStack Make OpenStack a Little More VMware-Friendly

      Platform9 and ZeroStack are adding VMware high availability to their prefab cloud offerings, part of the ongoing effort to make OpenStack better accepted by enterprises.

      OpenStack is a platform, an archipelago of open source projects that help you run a cloud. But some assembly is required. Both Platform9 and ZeroStack are operating on the theory that OpenStack will better succeed if it’s turned into more of a shrink-wrapped product.

    • Putting Ops Back in DevOps

      What Agile means to your typical operations staff member is, “More junk coming faster that I will get blamed for when it breaks.” There always is tension between development and operations when something goes south. Developers are sure the code worked on their machine; therefore, if it does not work in some other environment, operations must have changed something that made it break. Operations sees the same code perform differently on the same machine with the same config, which means if something broke, the most recent change must have caused it … i.e. the code did it. The finger-pointing squabbles are epic (no pun intended). So how do we get Ops folks interested in DevOps without promising them only a quantum order of magnitude more problems—and delivered faster?

    • Cloud chronicles

      How open-source software and cloud computing have set up the IT industry for a once-in-a-generation battle

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

      Oracle has revealed its interim plan to help Java devs deal with browser-makers’ imminent banishment of plug-ins.

      Years of bugs in Java, Flash and other plugins have led browser-makers to give up on plugins. Apple recently decided that its Safari browser will just pretend Java, Flash and Silverlight aren’t installed. Google has announced it will soon just not run any Flash content in its Chrome browser.

      Oracle saw this movement coming and in January 2016 announced it would “deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9”

  • Education

    • Marist College, Rockefeller Archive Center Partner on Open Source Digital Archival Tech

      Marist College and the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in New York have partnered to develop and implement an open source digital records management system to support researchers, archival staff and the broader archival community.

      [...]

      At the same time, one of the goals of Marist College “is to offer open source technologies, such as Liferay and Blockchain, to like-minded organizations that create a lasting impact on our community,” said Bill Thirsk, vice president of information technology and CIO at the college, in a news release.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • More Details On PC-BSD’s Rebranding As TrueOS

      Most Phoronix readers know PC-BSD as the BSD operating system derived from FreeBSD that aims to be user-friendly on the desktop side and they’ve done a fairly good job at that over the years. However, the OS has been in the process of re-branding itself as TrueOS.

      PC-BSD has been offering “TrueOS Server” for a while now as their FreeBSD-based server offering. But around the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 release they are looking to re-brand their primary desktop download too now as TrueOS.

    • PC-BSD > TrueOS, BSD’s Legacy, f25 Wayland Maybe

      A few days ago we reported that Wayland is set to be the default graphical server in upcoming Fedora 25 but today Michael Catanzaro said only if it’s ready. PC-BSD is renaming their desktop operating system to TrueOS and Christopher Tozzi looked at why BSD didn’t become the dominate Unix-clone. Elsewhere, Michael Mason examined Budgie Desktop distros and, of course, there’s more on Linux’ 25th.

    • FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 Arrives With Fixes

      The second release candidate to the upcoming FreeBSD 11 is now available for testing.

      FreeBSD 11.0-RC2 ships with various bug fixes, several networking related changes, Clang compiler fixes, and other updates.

      FreeBSD 11.0 is bringing updated KMS drivers, Linux binary compatibility layer improvements, UEFI improvements, Bhyve virtualization improvements, and a plethora of other work. Those not yet familiar with FreeBSD 11 can see the what’s new guide.

    • Open Source History: Why Didn’t BSD Beat Out GNU and Linux?

      If you use a free and open source operating system, it’s almost certainly based on the Linux kernel and GNU software. But these were not the first freely redistributable platforms, nor were they the most professional or widely commercialized. The Berkeley Software Distribution, or BSD, beat GNU/Linux on all of these counts. So why has BSD been consigned to the margins of the open source ecosystem, while GNU/Linux distributions rose to fantastic prominence? Read on for some historical perspective.

      Understanding BSD requires delving far back into the history of Unix, the operating system first released by AT&T Bell Labs in 1969. BSD began life as a variant of Unix that programmers at the University of California at Berkeley, initially led by Bill Joy, began developing in the late 1970s.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda to cut costs with open source software

      Some of the FOSS customizable applications on the market include Word Press, Mozilla Firefox, and open office among others. The applications can be used to create websites, marketing business ideas, and conduct online business. Most startups find it difficult to break through but creation of an online presence has made some business gain faster traction. James Saaka, the NITA-U executive director, said government struggles to pay licenses to use programmes from Microsoft, Oracle which is so expensive to maintain.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is Big Pharma Out to Stop—Or Take Over—Marijuana Legalization?

      Geoffrey Guy stood out when he began attending conferences of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, DC, in the mid to late 1990s. The stout British gentleman, dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit, was hard to miss among the other attendees dressed in tie-dye shirts and psychedelic parkas, recalled Allen St. Pierre, then NORML’s deputy national director.

      But while he might not have fit in, Guy, a doctor in his early 40s who’d already made millions by founding a UK-based pharmaceutical company, was eager to learn all he could at the events about medical marijuana.

      “He was like a dry sponge who desperately wanted to be thrown in a bucket of water,” said St. Pierre, who recently resigned from his 11-year stint as NORML’s executive director to pursue private-sector opportunities.

    • NHS cuts ‘planned across England’

      Plans are being drawn up that could see cuts to NHS services across England.

      The BBC has seen draft sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which propose ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to A&E and GP care in 44 areas.

      There have been have been no consultations on the plans so far.

      NHS England, which needs to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21, said reorganising local services is essential to improve patient care.

      But the Nuffield Trust think tank said while STPs could lead to “fundamental changes”, many of the plans do not meet the financial targets set by the government and will face a “dauntingly large implementation task”.

      Laura Townshend, director of the campaign group 38 Degrees, said the plans had received very little public or political scrutiny.

      She told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “A key concern is why it hasn’t been this transparent up until now.

    • NHS plans closures and radical cuts to combat growing deficit in health budget

      NHS bosses throughout England are quietly drawing up plans for hospital closures, cutbacks and radical changes to the way healthcare is delivered in an attempt to meet spiralling demand and plug the hole in their finances, an investigation by the Guardian and campaign group 38 Degrees has revealed.

      Without the changes, the NHS at local level could be facing a financial shortfall of about £20bn by 2020-21 if no action is taken, the research suggests.

      The cost-cutting shakeup is being overseen by NHS England, but is already sparking a series of local political battles over the future of services, and exposes the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to fresh criticism after his controversial role in the junior doctors dispute.

      Last year’s Conservative manifesto pledged an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by the end of this parliament, as demanded by the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, in his 2014 “five-year forward view”. But Stevens made clear that was the minimum money needed, and radical reforms to the way healthcare is delivered would also be necessary to make the NHS hit its budgets.

    • Virus Sharing Key Against Next Flu Pandemic: Global Database Hosts Genetic Data Of Flu Viruses

      When a deadly influenza virus appears and threatens to become a pandemic, time is of the essence. The 1918 flu epidemic infected a large portion of the global population and killed millions of people. The next pandemic is inevitable, and surveillance of flu viruses is essential through the timely sharing of flu virus genetic data with the scientific and research communities. A collaborative database has become prominent in recent years.

    • The feminisation of males

      An increasing number of baby boys in the UK are being born with genital disorders. One in 350 male babies have a condition known as hypospadias. Instead of the opening of the penis being at the tip, it may be lower down the penis or even around the scrotum. In a few rare cases, there may not be an opening at all.

      Other disorders of the male reproductive system are also on the increase. Cryptorchidism is the most common genital malformation of all, when one of both testes fail to descend into the scrotum, affecting between two and four per cent of baby boys. Chordee – a downward curve of the penis, especially when erect – is usually, but not always, associated with
      hypospadias. Boys with chordee often have to sit down when they relieve themselves. In later life, the severe curvature from chordee can make intercourse impossible.

      Many experts believe that the defects seen in male babies are related to a broader problem- the feminisation of men. Male sperm counts have halved since 1941. Infertility and cancer of the testes are also on the rise. Testicular cancer is now the most common cancer of young men. Hypospadias is a congenital (present at birth) anomaly (abnormality), which means that the malformation occurs during foetal development. As the fetus develops, the urethra does not grow to its complete length. Also during fetal development, the foreskin does not develop completely, which typically leaves extra foreskin on the top side of the penis and no foreskin on the underside of the penis.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Death Toll in Yemen Is So High the Red Cross Has Started Donating Morgues to Hospitals

      Almost a year and a half into Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed bombing campaign in Yemen, the humanitarian toll has become so extensive that the International Committee of the Red Cross has taken the unusual step of donating entire morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

      “The hospitals were not able to cope,” said Rima Kamal, a Yemen-based spokesperson for the Red Cross. “You could have more than 20 dead people brought into one hospital on one single day. The morgue capacity at a regular hospital is not equipped to handle this influx of dead bodies.”

      “At times several dead bodies had to be stored on one shelf to avoid further decomposition,” Kamal continued. “The situation was not sustainable.”

      Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, after Houthi rebels took control of the capital and forced Yemen’s Saudi-backed leader, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, into exile. The United Nations has since attributed the majority of the war’s 6,500 deaths to the Saudi coalition, which the U.S. and U.K. have resupplied with tens of billions of dollars of weapons.

    • Genocide in Plain Sight: Shooting Bushmen From Helicopters in Botswana

      In a healthy democracy, people are not shot at from helicopters for collecting food. They are certainly not then arrested, stripped bare and beaten while in custody without facing trial.

      Nor are people banned from their legitimate livelihoods, or persecuted on false pretenses.

      Sadly in Botswana, southern Africa’s much-vaunted ‘beacon of democracy’, all of this took place late last month in an incident which has been criminally under-reported. Nine Bushmen were later arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.

      The Bushmen of the Kalahari have lived by hunting and gathering on the southern African plains for millennia. They are a peaceful people, who do almost no harm to their environment and have a deep respect for their lands and the game that lives on it. They hunt antelope with spears and bows, mostly gemsbok, which are endemic to the area.

      According to conservation expert Phil Marshall, there are no rhinos or elephants where the Bushmen live. Even if there were the Bushmen would have no reason to hunt them. They hunt various species of antelope, using the fat in their medicine and reserving a special place for the largest of them, the eland, in their mythology. None of these animals are endangered.

    • U.S. Military Now Says ISIS Leader Was Held in Notorious Abu Ghraib Prison

      In February 2004, U.S. troops brought a man named Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry to Abu Ghraib in Iraq and assigned him serial number US9IZ-157911CI. The prison was about to become international news, but the prisoner would remain largely unknown for the next decade.

      At the time the man was brought in, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was finalizing his report on allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib’s Hard Site — a prison building used to house detainees singled out for their alleged violence or their perceived intelligence value. Just weeks later, the first pictures of detainee abuse were published on CBS News and in the New Yorker.

      Today, detainee US9IZ-157911CI is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. His presence at Abu Ghraib, a fact not previously made public, provides yet another possible key to the enigmatic leader’s biography and may shed new light on the role U.S. detention facilities played in the rise of the Islamic State.

      Experts have long known that Baghdadi spent time in U.S. custody during the occupation of Iraq. Previous reports suggested he was at Camp Bucca, a sprawling detention facility in southern Iraq. But the U.S. Army confirmed to The Intercept that Baghdadi spent most of his time in U.S. custody at the notorious Abu Ghraib.

    • Support for Saudi Arabia Gives U.S. Direct Role in Yemen Conflict

      It was a frenetic Monday afternoon at Abs Hospital in northern Yemen, with doctors and nurses busily shuttling among the patients and a maternity ward filled with 25 women expecting to give birth.

      The bomb from the Saudi jet dropped into the middle of the hospital compound, a facility run by Doctors Without Borders, landing between the emergency room and a triage area for new patients. Nineteen people were killed, dozens were injured, and a humanitarian group that for decades has braved war zones across the globe decided it had had enough.

      Doctors Without Borders announced in the days after the Aug. 15 strike that it was pulling out of six medical facilities in northern Yemen, the latest turn in a war that has further devastated one of the Arab world’s poorest countries and has bogged down a Saudi military ill-prepared for the conflict.

    • Dad accused of imprisoning his daughter in Saudi Arabia has ‘two weeks’ to allow her home

      A Saudi academic accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at his home in Jeddah has about two weeks to comply with a British judge’s order which says the woman must be allowed to return to the UK.

      Mr Justice Holman ordered Mohammed Al-Jeffery to return Amina Al-Jeffery to Britain on August 3 after analysing the case at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

      The judge said Mr Al-Jeffery had to “permit and facilitate” Miss Al-Jeffery’s return to England or Wales by 4pm on September 11.

      Solicitor Anne-Marie Hutchinson, who represents Miss Al-Jeffery and is a partner at London law firm Dawson Cornwell, says her client has yet to return.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Indonesia fires: Environmentalists urge authorities to act

      Smoke is rising once again from the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, one year after haze from Indonesian land-clearing fires caused major health problems across South-East Asia.

      Environmentalists have urged Indonesian authorities to make good on their promises to get serious about the burning-off.

      So far, much of the haze seems to be coming from the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.

    • Billionaire’s 28-Year-Old Son Picks Digital Music Empire Over Palm-Oil Riches

      Kuok Meng Ru didn’t spend much time with his billionaire father when he was growing up.

      As the third child of an agribusiness tycoon, he was sent off to a British boarding school at 10, graduating later from Cambridge University with a mathematics degree.

      His father Kuok Khoon Hong was busy building Wilmar International Ltd. into the world’s largest palm-oil business, starting from scratch in 1991. His mother constantly reminded him: “Much has been given, much will be expected.”

      Yet it was the father who introduced his son to Eric Clapton’s music. That led to an obsession with B.B. King and a love affair with the blues guitar.

      “I always felt like I had a personal relationship with him,” Kuok said of the late guitarist.

    • Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ level in Singapore

      Air pollution in Singapore rose to the “unhealthy” level on Friday as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said.

      Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

      The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which Singapore’s NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon. A level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.

      The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.

      Indonesia has been criticized by its northern neighbors and green groups for failing to end the annual fires, which were estimated to cost Southeast Asia’s largest economy $16 billion in 2015, and left more than half a million Indonesians suffering from respiratory ailments.

    • Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ levels in Singapore as authorities push to hunt offenders

      Air pollution in Singapore has risen to the “unhealthy” level as acrid smoke drifted over the island from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the city-state’s National Environment Agency (NEA) said, in a repeat of an annual crisis.

      Every dry season, smoke from fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations in Indonesia clouds the skies over much of the region, raising concern about public health and worrying tourist operators and airlines.

      The 24-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI), which the NEA uses as a benchmark, rose as high as 105 in the afternoon — a level above 100 is considered “unhealthy”.

      The NEA said it planned a “daily haze advisory” as “a burning smell and slight haze were experienced over many areas” in Singapore.

    • Indonesia Steps up Fire Response as Haze Blankets Singapore

      Six Indonesian provinces have declared states of emergency as forest fires blanketed a swath of Southeast Asia in a smoky haze.

      Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to unhealthy levels on Friday as winds blew smoke from fires on Sumatra, where millions of people are already affected by haze, across the city-state and into southern Malaysia.

      The number of hotspots detected in Sumatra and Borneo by weather satellites has increased in the past month though they are below levels last year when massive fires in Indonesia caused a regional crisis.

      Singapore’s three-hour air pollution index was at 157 by late afternoon, after peaking at 215. Its environment agency doesn’t give a health warning with the limited duration index, but on a 24-hour basis it says levels above 100 are unhealthy and above 200 very unhealthy.

    • Singapore air quality worsens overnight as Indonesia fire arrests jump

      Southeast Asia is bracing itself for its annual, uncomfortable tryst with haze as raging fires at Indonesian plantations worsen pollution in the region.

      On Friday, Singapore woke up to a deterioration in air quality overnight, as a thin cloak of haze hung over the city-state. The country’s environment agency said that its 3-hour Pollution Standards Index hit the unhealthy level at 10am SIN.

      Neighboring Malaysia had already been feeling the effects of the drifting smog since mid-August, local media reported.

      The latest bout of pollution comes even as Indonesia steps up efforts against the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique of cutting down vegetation on a patch of land, then burning off the undergrowth to make space for new plantations.

      The country has arrested 454 individuals in connection with forest fires so far this year, more than double the 196 arrests made in 2015, Reuters reported, citing police data released on Thursday.

      The ‘slash-and-burn’ method is prevalent in Indonesia as it the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to clear land. According to the World Bank, about 35 percent of the Indonesian workforce is employed in agriculture, with palm oil and pulp-and-paper industries key contributors.

    • Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?

      Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

      He’s at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a “small-family ethic” — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to “give them grandchildren.”

      Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

      For years, people have lamented how bad things might get “for our grandchildren,” but Rieder tells the students that future isn’t so far off anymore.

      He asks how old they will be in 2036, and, if they are thinking of having kids, how old their kids will be.

  • Finance

    • Apple could be on the hook for $19 billion in taxes, and the Obama administration is livid

      The European Commission is expected to levy a judgment against Apple in the next few months that could total in the billions of euros.

      JPMorgan has estimated that Apple could be on the hook for as much as $19 billion — or about 17 billion euros — the Financial Times reports.

      The commission is accusing Apple of striking a sweetheart tax deal with Ireland, in which the iPhone maker would move its profits to wholly owned Irish subsidiaries to reduce its corporate taxes.

      Apple has one major defender in its corner, though: the US Treasury Department and, by extension, the Obama administration.

    • Uber & Lyft As An Extension Of… Or Replacement For… Public Transit
    • Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides

      In a first for California, a public transit agency next month plans to begin subsidizing fares of people who take private Uber and Lyft cars to local destinations rather than riding the bus.

    • Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016

      The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.

      On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber’s losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

    • Uber Is Playing a $16 Billion Game of Chicken

      A Bloomberg report Thursday revealed that Uber continues to lose an astounding amount of money as it tries to figure out a business model that works internationally. Uber lost $1.27 billion globally in the first half of 2016, according to the report. But more concerning for domestic riders is the fact that, after a profitable quarter in the United States, Uber is now once again losing money in the US market as it tries to use the enormous amount of financing it’s raised ($16 billion) to destroy competitors such as Lyft.

      In its quest to corner the ridesharing market, that has meant steep price discounts and promotional fares for consumers that are subsidized by Uber’s investors. Uber lost $100 million domestically in the second quarter. Lyft isn’t faring any better—its goal is to lose less than $50 million per month, according to the Bloomberg report.

      “Uber has been engaged in a fierce price war with Lyft Inc. this year, and that has also contributed to the enormous losses,” Bloomberg reporter Eric Newcomer wrote. “Uber told investors on Friday’s call that it’s willing to spend to maintain its market share in the US. The company told investors that it believes Uber has between 84 percent and 87 percent of the market in the US, according to a person familiar with the matter. One investor said that he was expecting Uber to continue losing money in the US for the next quarter or two.”

    • Uber lost at least $1.27bn in first half of 2016 – report

      Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies lost at least $1.27bn before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the first six months of 2016, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

      The subsidies Uber grants its drivers was the main reason for the loss, finance head Gautam Gupta told investors in a quarterly conference call, Bloomberg said, citing sources.

      Uber, whose investors include Goldman Sachs Group and Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, could not immediately be reached for comment.

      The company lost about $520m in the first quarter of the year and another $750m in the second quarter, Bloomberg said.

    • Brexit pushes up price of bacon butty as China takes advantage of weak sterling to buy British pork

      The price of a bacon butty has dramatically increased after Brexit as China snaps up Britain’s pork supply and takes advantage of the UK’s weak sterling.

      Pork suppliers have revealed they had bumped up the price of a pack of British smoked bacon by as much as 38 per cent since the beginning of August, causing price increases for Britons of up to 19 per cent.

      The rise is attributed to higher demand from China who are desperately trying to import British pork to make up for their own domestic shortage after floods wiped out huge swathes of Chinese pigs.

    • Government brings forward measures to boost tourism after Brexit puts UK into bargain basement bin

      The Government is bringing forward a raft of measures to boost tourism, as a weak pound makes trips to Britain cheaper for foreigners.

      Brits’ summer holidays became more expensive across the board following the Brexit vote, as the pound fell from $1.49 on referendum day to lows of $1.28 in July and August.

      As a result the cost of a beer in New York City bar went from £3.98 to £4.65 overnight for British visitors – with similar rises for all other expenses like hotels, museums, and some flights.

    • Brexit shock fades as consumer confidence jumps at highest rate in three years

      UK consumer confidence rose the most in more than three years this month as the initial shock from the Brexit vote faded.

      An index of sentiment by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research jumped to 109.8 from 106.6 in July, which was a three-year low. The gauge is still below the level it was a year ago.

      While the Brexit vote initially knocked sentiment, it’s not yet clear how this might ripple into economic activity. The Bank of England took pre-emptive action in early August, cutting interest rates and restarting quantitative easing to counter any slowdown.

    • The top 10 reasons Brexit isn’t working, according to Brexiteers

      Over the next few years, it is likely that the economy will shrink, that the entire government will be consumed by trade negotiations at the expense of every other priority, and that EU leaders will use their considerable negotiation advantages to theatrically screw us. As this unpretty story unfolds, those who argued confidently for Brexit, in parliament and in the press, will feel compelled to maintain that they were right, and that if it hadn’t been for some other impossible-to-foresee factor everything would be going splendidly. What follows is an attempt to anticipate the most predictable post-rationalisations; I’m sure there will be more creative efforts.

    • Why the Norway model is a flawed blueprint for Brexit

      The Norway option contradicts most claims of “taking back control” made during the referendum campaign. This is because, in order to benefit from membership of the single market, Norway has to accept the free movement of persons, along with goods, services and capital. Free movement within the EEA is a package deal.

      Even if the UK was able to secure an agreement to join the EEA and introduce limits on free movement of persons (which seems unlikely), the Norway option would still betray the “control over our laws” promise, as the UK would, in practice, continue to be bound by a large proportion of EU law.

    • Brazil’s Congress — a den of corruption

      Brazil’s Senate is big on decorum, not even letting men in without a coat and tie. But when it comes to corruption allegations, the politicians judging suspended president Dilma Rousseff seem less worried.

      Analysis by corruption watchdog Transparencia Brasil reveals that 59 percent of the 81 Senate members who will vote on Rousseff’s impeachment have been convicted or been investigated for crimes at some point.

      It is the same proportion in the lower house, whose 513 deputies first ignited the impeachment process now in its final stage in the Senate.

      Rousseff is accused of illegally manipulating government accounts to mask the depth of the economic crisis. However, her alleged crime, which she argues is an accounting maneuver used by several previous governments, does not suggest personal corruption or common crime.

      The same cannot be said of many of those sitting in Congress in recent years with rap sheets ranging from embezzlement and vote buying to murder.

    • Finland plans to give out cash to create jobs

      The experiment aims to show if the measure can simplify the welfare benefits system and lower unemployment in the country.

      “The primary goal of the basic income experiment is related to promoting employment,” the ministry said.

      As part of the testing, which will begin next year, 2,000 randomly selected working-age recipients of unemployment benefit will receive a monthly tax free income of €560 instead of their current payment.

    • Finland gearing up to launch basic income experiment

      Finland is set to launch an experiment in which a group of randomly-selected recipients of unemployment benefits will receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros instead of their current benefits.

    • Finland tests giving every citizen a universal basic income

      Finland is pushing ahead with a plan to test the effects of paying a basic income as it seeks to protect state finances and move more people into the labour market.

      The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, known as Kela, will be responsible for carrying out the experiment that would start in 2017 and include 2,000 randomly selected welfare recipients, according to a statement released on Thursday.

      The level of basic income would be €560 euros per month (£480) tax free, and mandatory for those picked.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “The Spoiler” Speaks

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on her campaign and building an alternative to the two corporate parties.

    • Did an ISIS Fighter Try to Sell Sex Slaves on Facebook?

      Well, maybe. It is amazing how these horrific stories about ISIS just happen to appear on global social media, and then are instantly picked up by the mainstream media as fact.

      Why, it is almost as if someone is creating them, and then calling the mass media’s attention to them on obscure sources, for anti-ISIS propaganda purposes. Hmm.

    • Clinton Wins in A Cakewalk? Don’t Bet the Ranch on It

      If you listen to the media and the pundits, most are predicting a surefire Clinton victory – if not a landslide. One of the reasons for this misplaced optimism is that they seem to believe Sanders’ revolutionaries are all prepared to join hands with the PACster politicians and DLC types dominating the Democratic Party and sing Kumbaya.

      [...]

      The 2014 mid-terms are a good guide in terms of what to expect. The President’s party usually loses in a mid-term, but the Democratic defeat in 2014 was off the charts. Republicans ended up with 247 House seats – their best showing since Hoover was President, and they took the Senate, ending up with 54 seats.

      Most of the pundits and even many of the Democrats themselves ascribed the 2014 shellacking to their favorite fantasy – that the majority of Americans are right-of-center and liberal issues like Obamacare sunk the Party. The fact is, the majority of Americans are left of center, and except for a brief blip in the 70’s and 80’s, they have been since World War II.

      In reality, “none of the above” won in 2014, and the Democrats lost because instead of running on progressive values they ran from them, and progressives – disgusted and with no one to vote for — stayed home in droves.

      As a result, 2014 ended up with the lowest voter turnout in over 70 years. If you were to ask what Democrats stood for in 2014, about the only conclusion you could come up with would be something like, “We’re not with the black guy, and well … er… um we really don’t like Obamacare much either …”

      Conservatives, in contrast, ran fanatically on their usual platform of jingoism, anti-government, free-marketeer nonsense, and while their base is much smaller, they got fired up and they showed up. Throw in the gerrymandered districts they got from strategically targeted down-ballot interventions in 2010, and the defeat was crippling.

    • Should Gary Johnson, Jill Stein be included in debates? Reader respond to our question: Letters

      Given the unpalatable candidates chosen by the two major parties for the upcoming presidential election, I feel it is essential that all credible third-party candidates be included in the debates, regardless whether they have polled at 15 percent or better.

      Should either the Democratic or the Republican candidate be elected president, I shudder at the tragic consequences that are sure to result. I certainly don’t plan on voting for the lesser of the two evils and hope that having third-party candidates in the debates may convince others to seriously consider voting for a third party.

    • From Dana Milbank, Trite Objections To Jill Stein

      One week after a CNN town hall event which created a momentary spike of interest in her presidential campaign, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. She hoped to convince reporters from establishment media outlets to give her campaign more coverage because voters are “hungry for more” information about her candidacy.

      Washington Post columnist and contrarian Dana Milbank was present. He published a piece on Stein based on what he heard (and decided not to hear) at the Press Club. This was not the kind of media coverage Stein wanted, but it is about what her campaign could expect from a seasoned Beltway hack, who thinks everything he does is hot fire.

      Columns from the Washington Post are syndicated widely. Just as the Washington Post introduced Americans to Jill Stein through an article that underhandedly suggested she was anti-vaccine, this column will make an impression on voters. That is why it deserves to be rebutted in its entirety.

      In the piece, Milbank attacks Stein for a tactical disagreement with left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky and does so with a joke because Milbank thinks he is hilarious. He once made a joke about what kind of a beer Hillary Clinton would be, “Mad Bitch Beer,” and had to apologize for it. (Yes, sometimes his edginess gets the best of him.)

    • If You’re Worried About Trump’s ‘Alt-Right’ Then Vote Jill Stein, Not Hillary Clinton

      Donald Trump has pandered to the extreme right this election, but Republicans have always engaged in this form of politics. My first Salon article (long before Joan Walsh lobbied the publication to stop publishing me) was in 2014, regarding Paul Ryan’s “tailspin of culture” comments. From Romney’s “47% Percent” remark to Reagan’s use of the “welfare queen” stereotype, Republicans have used race as a political weapon. Trump didn’t start the GOP’s use of racism to gain votes, but he’s been more vocal than previous Republican nominees. There’s a reason he won the Republican Primary and Tea Party politics has gained greater influence within the GOP.

      However, to assume that Hillary Clinton’s speech on Trump’s “alt-right” political alliance makes the case for voting Democrat ignores recent history. Clinton and Trump are two sides of the same coin, especially considering Trump donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation and is friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Voting for the lesser evil in 2016 (assuming you view Clinton to be less evil) only bolsters the ability of establishment Democrats to take money from prison lobbyists, without the condemnation of progressive media. Therefore, the only logical choice to truly undermine “alt-right” political ideology is voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. I explain in this YouTube segment why progressives shouldn’t worry about Trump and must vote Jill Stein to transform America’s lesser-evil political system.

    • Democratic Pundits Downplay Serious Ethical Issues Raised by the Clinton Foundation

      The Associated Press story this week revealing that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton frequently met with donors to the Clinton Foundation, set off a firestorm in the media. Many Democrats and sympathetic pundits are criticizing the article — and have made the sweeping claim that, contrary to many deeply reported investigations, there is no evidence that well-heeled backers of the foundation received favorable treatment from the State Department.

      While there are some legitimate criticisms of the AP story — its focus, for instance, on a Nobel Peace Prize winner meeting with Clinton distracts from the thesis of the piece — it is nonetheless a substantive investigation based on calendars that the State Department has fought to withhold from the public. The AP took the agency to court to obtain a partial release of the meeting logs. Other commentators took issue with a tweet promoting the AP piece, which they said might confuse readers because the AP story reflected private sector meetings, not overall meetings.

      But in challenging the overall credibility of the AP story, Clinton surrogates and allies are going well beyond a reasoned critique in an effort to downplay the serious ethical issues raised by Clinton Foundation activities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China announces strict rules for P2P lenders, Yirendai’s stock price plummets

      After months of very high profile problems, China’s regulators have finally announced how they’re going to fix the online P2P lending industry. Among the new rules for P2P lenders:

      No accepting public deposits
      No pooling investor money to support the lender’s own projects
      No selling financial/wealth management products
      No issuing asset-backed securities
      All lenders must use third-party banks to watch over investors’ money

    • Lawyer Sues Basically All Mainstream Media For RICO Violations For How They Report On Donald Trump

      If you do a Google search on Roy Den Hollander, as I just did, you may discover that basically every result is a story about some absolutely ridiculous lawsuit he has filed. There was the time he sued a nightclub claiming that requiring him to buy a $350 bottle of vodka was a human rights violation. Or the time he sued a bunch of night clubs for violating the 14th Amendment by having “Ladies’ Nights.” Or the time he sued Columbia University for offering women’s studies courses. Or the time he wanted to file a lawsuit to force women to register for the draft. And these are all stories from just the first page of Google results (or following links from those stories). But, you get the idea.

      And now he’s back with a new lawsuit. He’s basically suing the entire mainstream media claiming that how they report on Donald Trump is a RICO violation. No, really.

    • Ai Weiwei Says He Was Removed from Inaugural Yinchuan Biennale for Political Reasons

      Ai Weiwei at his exhibition in 2015 at London’s Royal Academy of Art. Photo Alex B. Huckle/Getty Images. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says that his work was removed from the inaugural Yinchuan Biennale for political reasons.

    • Dissident artist Ai Weiwei says work was pulled from Yinchuan Biennale due to ‘political sensitivity’

      Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says his work has been pulled from the upcoming biennale in Yinchuan, China, due to his “political sensitivity.”

      Ai said on Instagram that he received a “vague” letter from Hsieh Suchen, art director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yinchuan, China. The letter stated that his participation in the upcoming Yinchuan Biennale is now cancelled. The decision was made by higher officials due to his “political sensitivity,” Ai said.

      Scheduled to run from September 9 to December 18, the Yinchuan Biennale is the first biennale in the north west of China and the second in China. As the museum’s first Biennale, the exhibition represents Yinchuan’s entrance into the international art scene.

    • Groups charge censorship over relocation of paintings

      Anti-censorship groups recently appealed to the University of Wisconsin-Stout not to remove or relocate two 80-year-old paintings that depict First Nations people and French fur traders.

      UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer said the paintings were being relocated for display under “controlled circumstances” because of student complaints.

      Meyer said Native American students feel the paintings symbolize a time when their land and possessions were taken from them, according to the AP. The school is moving the paintings because of their potential for harmful effect and because they could reinforce racial stereotypes.

    • Twitter, Google, Facebook “consciously failing” to police extremism, MPs claim

      Twitter, Facebook, and Google are “consciously failing” to tackle the promotion of terrorism and killings on their services in the UK, a cross-party panel of MPs has claimed.

      The home affairs committee released a report on radicalisation on Thursday morning, following a 12-month-long inquiry. And the conclusion is damning for popular online sites such as YouTube.

      “The use of the Internet to promote radicalisation and terrorism is one of the greatest threats that countries including the UK face,” it said, before adding: “Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and they have become the recruiting platforms for terrorism. They must accept that hundreds of millions in revenues generated from billions of people using their products needs to be accompanied by a greater sense of responsibility and ownership for the impact that extremist material on their sites is having.”

    • Newspaper Archive Disappears From Google, Because Company Wants To Cash In

      Another day, another case of copyright being used to lock up information, rather than make it more accessible. In this case, it’s the news archives of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, according to an interesting piece by Henry Grabar over at Slate. A decade or so ago, the newspaper partnered with Google to digitize all of its archives and make them publicly accessible.

    • After Outpouring Of Islamophobia, Oxford Dictionaries Suspends Most-Hated Word Survey

      Oxford Dictionaries suspended its #OneWordMap most-hated words project today. An update to the blog post describing the feature stated: “We regret to inform users that due to severe misuse we have had to remove this feature from our website.”

      It’s possible that the suspension stemmed from the apparent outpouring of anti-Islam sentiment in the submissions to the project. Some Twitter accounts posted screenshots purporting to show that Oxford Dictionaries had barred certain sensitive words, like “Islam,” from submission prior to the decision to take down the project.

      However, the nature of the misuse was not specified in the site’s statement, and as of this update, Oxford Dictionaries had not responded to a request for more details about why the program was halted.

    • UK lawmakers say Facebook, Google, and Twitter are ‘consciously failing’ to fight ISIS online

      A committee of UK lawmakers this week said that Facebook, Google, and Twitter are “consciously failing” to combat terrorist propaganda and recruitment on their platforms, escalating an ongoing debate over the role of social media companies in curtailing online extremism. In a wide-ranging report on radicalization published Thursday, the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee said that social media platforms have become “the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and the recruiting platforms for terrorism.” The Wall Street Journal first reported on the committee’s findings on Wednesday.

      Lawmakers in the US and Europe have called on social media companies to crack down on propaganda spread by ISIS and other extremist groups, following a spate of recent attacks. The Obama administration has been working with tech companies to create counter-messaging campaigns, and some social networks have publicly touted an increase in suspended accounts linked to extremist groups. But some rights groups have said that the crackdown could curtail free speech, expressing concerns over governments delegating too much power to private tech firms.

    • Twitter developing keyword filtering tool to fight abuse, says report

      Twitter is reportedly working on a feature that will let users block certain keywords in order to fight abuse, reports Bloomberg. According to anonymous sources, Twitter has been discussing the tool internally for about a year, although it’s unclear when or if it might be put into place. Bloomberg compares the keyword filtering to a feature recently added by Instagram, which lets users block comments containing certain words from appearing on their posts. But where that would outright remove messages, this system sounds more like an expansion of Twitter’s existing “mute” feature, which simply lets people avoid seeing tweets from specific accounts.

      The report suggests that users could set these filters and avoid being shown tweets with racial or gendered slurs, or they could use it for inoffensive tweets about events or conversation topics they’re not interested in. That’s different from the filters Twitter has been suspected of using in the past, which would actively prevent people from tweeting specific keywords at another user. In fact, the description makes it sound a lot like the filtering systems that already exist in third-party clients like Tweetdeck or Tweetbot, although these aren’t mentioned.

    • Political Correctness: What Words Are Okay to Say?
    • Some Words One College Won’t Encourage
    • UWM ‘Just Words’ campaign sparks criticism of censorship
    • Korryn Gaines Shooting Prompts ‘Censorship’ Change

      A collective of activists sent an open letter to Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him to implement an “anti-censorship policy” at the company for its dealings with law enforcement officials in the wake of the death of Korryn Gaines.

      Gaines, 23, died shortly after a standoff with Baltimore police. Her confrontation with police officers, which was streamed via the social media site’s Facebook Live feature, was turned off shortly after her death.

      Archived video footage from the stream was briefly unavailable as well. According to the letter, Facebook said the inconvenience was due to a “technical glitch.”

      But the consortium of activist groups say they don’t buy the “glitch” explanation.

    • Why Did Facebook Censor the Fatal Police Shooting of Korryn Gaines?
    • Black Lives Matter Demands Facebook Revive Account Of Woman Killed For SHOOTING AT COPS With Large Gun
    • Activists Request Anti-Censorship Policy from Facebook Following Death of Korryn Gaines
    • As Summer Ends, Tensions Remain High Between Black Community and Police
    • UPDATE: Amos Yee Pleads Guilty to Three Charges of ‘Wounding Religious Feelings’
    • Singaporean dissident blogger Amos Yee pleads guilty to three more charges
    • Amos Yee enters guilty plea on three more charges
    • Don’t censor terrorists’ names
    • Terrorists’ names, faces should be published
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech to Authoritarian Regimes

      Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas.

      Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology.

      “At a time when the use of these surveillance tools is still highly controversial in the UK, it is completely unacceptable that companies are allowed to export the same equipment to countries with atrocious human rights records or which lack rule of law altogether. There is absolutely a clear risk that these products can be used for repression and abuses,” Edin Omanovic, research officer at Privacy International, told Motherboard in an email.

    • BAE Systems Sells Internet Surveillance Gear to United Arab Emirates

      A Danish subsidiary of British defense contractor BAE Systems is selling an internet surveillance package to the government of the United Arab Emirates, a country known for spying on, imprisoning, and torturing dissidents and activists, according to documents obtained by Lasse Skou Andersen of the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information.

      The documents from the Danish Business Authority reveal an ongoing contract between the defense conglomerate, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence A/S, and the Middle Eastern oil federation dating back to at least December 2014.

      The contract describes an internet surveillance product capable of deep packet inspection — “IP monitoring and data analysis” for “serious crime” and “national security” investigations. That could include capabilities like mapping a target’s social networks and extracting personal information and communications from devices including voice recordings, video, messages, and attachments.

    • Why can’t Apple spend its way out of security vulnerabilities?

      On most days, it’s the largest company in the world by market cap, and a surprising amount of that money is already in the bank. At the close of Q1 this year, the company had $55 billion in easily accessible cash along with another $178 billion in long-term securities that could be cashed in if the need arose. With the core business already at its peak, there’s no obvious place to put that money, which is why it’s so easy for Tim Cook to pour cash into areas like health-tracking or Frank Ocean albums.

    • IPhone Users Urged to Update Software After Security Flaws Are Found

      One of the world’s most evasive digital arms dealers is believed to have been taking advantage of three security vulnerabilities in popular Apple products in its efforts to spy on dissidents and journalists.

      Investigators discovered that a company called the NSO Group, an Israeli outfit that sells software that invisibly tracks a target’s mobile phone, was responsible for the intrusions. The NSO Group’s software can read text messages and emails and track calls and contacts. It can even record sounds, collect passwords and trace the whereabouts of the phone user.

      In response, Apple on Thursday released a patched version of its mobile software, iOS 9.3.5. Users can get the patch through a normal software update.

    • WhatsApp privacy backlash: Facebook angers users by harvesting their data

      Stop us if you’ve heard this one: Facebook rolls out a new feature and/or acquires a new company, vowing to protect the privacy of its users’ personal information with its last dying breath. A year or two later, it backtracks and decides it wants spin your data into gold after all – and if users don’t like it, they can delete their accounts.

      And so it is with today’s news about WhatsApp, the messaging service acquired by the world’s most unavoidable social network in February 2014. In a blogpost, WhatsApp announced it would begin sharing names and phone numbers with its parent company, to allow its more than 1 billion users “to communicate with businesses that matter to you too” – like notifications from airlines, delivery services or your bank, for example.

      Facebook will also use that data to make friend suggestions and combine that data with the reams of information it has already collected so that it can tailor ads even more specifically to your interests.

      Facebook did not want to comment on the change.

      The reaction was nothing if not predictable. Tech news site Gizmodo sums up the feeling of many tech observers: “The sentiment that WhatsApp is an app that protects and cares for your privacy is no longer a reality. It was nice while it lasted.”

      Some used Reddit to voice their disappointment, like Redditor Rakajj: “WhatsApp just lost a user. Was just a matter of time once the FB acquisition went through. Guess it’s time to finally give Telegram a whirl.”

    • You can stop WhatsApp from sharing your phone number with Facebook

      Hyper-popular messaging app WhatsApp announced yesterday that it would start sharing some user data — including your phone number — with parent company Facebook. The two companies say the new policy will help you find friends and “improve your Facebook ads and products experiences,” but it will also give businesses a new avenue to reach potential customers, with WhatsApp describing situations where banks and airlines will use your phone number to get in touch about fraudulent payments or delayed flights.

      WhatsApp has promised that it won’t sell or share that number with advertisers, but if you still balk at the idea of putting your phone number where a legion of hungry brands could potentially see it, you’re in luck — you’ve still got a chance to stop WhatsApp from handing Facebook this new data if you act fast. There are two methods, as Motherboard notes, but the first has to be done before you accept the messaging app’s new terms of service. Rather than clicking “agree” blindly, press the smaller “read more” option below, and uncheck the box that reads “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook…”

    • Facebook Takes First Step Toward Making Money From WhatsApp Deal

      Facebook Inc. is laying the groundwork for its free messaging service WhatsApp to begin making money, easing its privacy rules so data can be used for Facebook advertising and allowing businesses to message its more than one billion users. It’s the first step toward monetizing the platform since the social network’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg paid $22 billion for the app in 2014.

      WhatsApp announced the change to its terms of service policy today. It allows businesses to communicate with users, including appointment reminders, delivery and shipping notifications and marketing pitches. In a corresponding blog post, WhatsApp said it will be testing the features over the coming months.

    • Here’s How to Prevent WhatsApp from Giving Facebook Your Phone Number

      A little more than two years ago, after Facebook bought his messaging startup for a cool $19 billion, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum stressed that “nothing would change” regarding his company’s well-regarded privacy policy and its handling of user data. “There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product,” Koum said.

      Times change.

      WhatsApp said on Thursday morning that it will now share with Facebook the phone numbers of its users in an effort “to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences.” So far, this “improved experience” primarily appears to mean giving businesses the ability to contact you via WhatsApp: banks will be able to message you when they detect fraudulent activity on your account, and airlines will be able to alert you when your flight is delayed. WhatsApp noted that it expects to begin testing these features within the next few months.

    • Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine

      Open your Facebook feed. What do you see? A photo of a close friend’s child. An automatically generated slide show commemorating six years of friendship between two acquaintances. An eerily on-target ad for something you’ve been meaning to buy. A funny video. A sad video. A recently live video. Lots of video; more video than you remember from before. A somewhat less-on-target ad. Someone you saw yesterday feeling blessed. Someone you haven’t seen in 10 years feeling worried.

    • NSA’s SNMP exploit cyberweapon affects all Cisco ASA software

      The danger of the NSA-linked EXTRABACON exploit grew after researchers found an easy way to modify the SNMP exploit to be effective against newer versions of Cisco’s ASA software.

      EXTRABACON, released earlier this month as part of the Shadow Brokers dump of NSA cyberweapons, was described by Cisco as an exploit targeting a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Simple Network Messaging Protocol (SNMP) code used in Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) software.

      Cisco admitted the underlying vulnerability could be found in all supported versions of SNMP and therefore all Cisco ASA software releases were also affected. But, preliminary research indicated EXTRABACON was designed to be effective against Cisco ASA versions 8.4(4) and earlier.

      Silent Signal, a cybersecurity company based in Budapest, Hungary, proved the EXTRABACON code was modular and could easily be modified to make the SNMP exploit work on all Cisco ASA software.

    • The National Security Agency has no idea how a rogue hacking group leaked its exploits

      The US intelligence community is still attempting to figure out how a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers was able to obtain and leak a slew of NSA computer exploits used to circumvent security of routers and firewalls, top officials have admitted.

      “We are still sorting this out,” said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, at an event at the Nixon Presidential Library on 24 August. As reported by AP, he added: “It’s still under investigation. We don’t know exactly the full extent – or the understanding – of exactly what happened.”

      In what amounted to the first official comment on the hack, it’s clear the US government is still attempting to find out the true scope of the embarrassing blunder.

      The leaked toolkits, reportedly from 2013, contained NSA surveillance and infiltration exploits that relied upon previously unknown zero-day vulnerabilities.

    • Cisco starts patching firewall devices against NSA-linked exploit

      Cisco Systems has started releasing security patches for a critical flaw in Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls targeted by an exploit linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

      The exploit, dubbed ExtraBacon, is one of the tools used by a group that the security industry calls the Equation, believed to be a cyberespionage team tied to the NSA.

      ExtraBacon was released earlier this month together with other exploits by one or more individuals who use the name Shadow Brokers. The files were provided as a sample of a larger Equation group toolset the Shadow Brokers outfit has put up for auction.

      ExtraBacon exploits a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) implementation from Cisco’s ASA software. It allows attackers to remotely execute rogue code on the affected devices, as long as they can send traffic to their SNMP interface. This typically requires being on the same internal network as the targeted devices.

      Even though the ExtraBacon exploit was designed to work for versions 8.4(4) and earlier of the ASA software, other researchers demonstrated that it can be modified to also work on newer versions. Cisco confirmed in an advisory that all versions of SNMP in Cisco ASA software contain the flaw.

    • The Secret Behind the NSA Breach: Network Infrastructure Is the Next Target

      Advanced attackers are targeting organizations’ first line of defense–their firewalls—and turning them into a gateway into the network for mounting a data breach. On Aug. 13, the shady “ShadowBrokers” group published several firewall exploits as proof that they had a full trove of cyber weapons. Whether intended to drive up bids for their “Equation Group Cyber Weapons Auction” (since removed), or to threaten other nation-states, the recent disclosure raises the question: if organizations can’t trust their own firewalls, then what can they trust? Does the cache of cyber weapons exposed by ShadowBrokers signal a shift in attack methods and targets?

    • NSA Leaks are Scaring Big Tech. Heres Why

      After an unknown group came public with a cache of hacking tools from the National Security Agency earlier this week, some of the biggest tech companies in the world are in a hurry to fix their systems and software to protect themselves and customers from attacks.

      The leak came from an anonymous group and is calling itself The Shadow Brokers. While the group’s beginnings and reasons for the leak are unknown, cybersecurity experts and former agency employees have authenticated the NSA hacking tools.

      By exposing the custom-made malware online, the Shadow Brokers have made many of the systems American corporations rely on for security online more vulnerable to cyberattacks from criminals and spies.
      Many cybersecurity pros are asking why the NSA would stockpile so many of these kinds of security vulnerabilities without telling the affected companies such as networking giants Cisco and the digital security firm Fortinet.

    • Cisco Patches ASA Devices Against EXTRABACON

      Cisco has begun releasing software updates for its Adaptive Security Appliance devices to patch a zero-day flaw that was revealed via leaked Equation Group attack tools. Cisco ASA devices provide anti-virus, firewall, intrusion prevention and virtual private network capabilities (see Equation Group Hacking Tool Dump: 5 Lessons).

    • The Shadow Brokers Release More Potent Exploits To The Public

      The Shadow Brokers continue to make a name for themselves. Although their Bitcoin auction is not seeing much success, the group recently leaked some Cisco firewall exploits.

    • The NSA hacked equipment from Cisco, Huawei, and Juniper

      With sensitive NSA documents falling into the hands of hacking group Shadow Brokers, it was only a matter of time before the world gained some further insights on the security agency’s latest work.

    • Apple Updates iOS To Close Three Separate 0days That Were Being Exploited

      As you may have heard, if you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, even iPod Touch) you should be updating your devices, like a few hours ago. Seriously, if you haven’t done it yet, stop reading and go update. The story behind this update is quite incredible, and is detailed in a great article over at Motherboard by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai. Basically after someone (most likely a gov’t) targeted Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates with a slightly questionable text (urging him to click on a link to get info about prison torture), a team of folks from Citizen Lab (who have exposed lots of questionable malware) and Lookout (anti-malware company) got to work on the text and figured out what it did. And, basically the short version is that the single click exploits three separate 0days vulnerabilities to effectively take over your phone in secret. All of it. It secretly jailbreaks the phone without you knowing it and then accesses basically everything.

    • To The NSA, The Word ‘Security’ Is Synonymous With ‘Gaping, Unpatched Holes In US Developers’ Software’

      Suck it up, Cisco. That gaping hole uncovered by the Shadow Brokers was discovered at least three years ago by the NSA and if it chose not to tell you about it, it had its reasons. Namely: national security.

      The Obama administration made sympathetic noises in the wake of the Snowden leaks, suggesting the NSA err on the side of disclosure. It simultaneously gave the agency no reason to ever do that by appending “unless national security, etc.” to the statement.

      But part of the phrase “national security” is the word “security.” (And the other part — “national” — suggests this directive also covers protecting US companies from attacks, not just the more amorphous “American public.”) Allowing tech companies who provide network security software and hardware to other prime hacking targets to remain unaware of security holes doesn’t exactly serve the nation or its security. So, while Tanji may claim the NSA isn’t in the QA business, it sort of is. The thing is the NSA prefers to exploit QA issues, rather than give affected developers a chance to patch them.

    • Germany Interior Minister Pushing For Deployment Of Facial Recognition Software In Public Areas

      Facial recognition software is the wave of the future present. The FBI — acting without a required Privacy Impact Assessment — rolled out its system in 2014, finding that a 20% false hit rate was good enough for government (surveillance) work.

      Following in the footsteps of Facebook, governments slanting towards the authoritarian side (that’s you, Russia!) have deployed facial recognition software to help ensure its citizens are stripped of their anonymity.

      Other governments not so seemingly bent on obedience to the state have done the same. UK law enforcement has quietly built a huge facial recognition database and Brazil experimented with police equipment that would turn officers into Robocops — providing real-time facial recognition to cops via some sort of Google Glass-ish headgear. If what we know about facial recognition software’s accuracy rates holds true, the goggles will, indeed, do nothing.

      Germany has maintained an arm’s-length relationship with its troublesome past. The Stasi and Gestapo’s lingering specters still haunt current legislators, occasionally prompting them to curb domestic surveillance efforts. Concerns for the privacy of its citizens has also sometimes resulted in the government making angry noises at tech companies it feels are overstepping their boundaries.

    • EU backs Franco-German bid for access to encrypted messages

      France and Germany want to compel operators of mobile messaging services to provide access to encrypted content to terrorism investigations, after a series of deadly attacks in both countries.

      French intelligence services, on high alert since attackers killed hundreds of civilians in Paris in November and in Nice in July, are struggling to intercept messages from Islamist militants.

      Many of the groups now use encrypted messaging services rather than mainstream social media, with Islamic State a big user of such apps, investigators in several countries have said.

      French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the European Commission should draft a law obliging operators to cooperate in investigations of militants.

      “If such legislation was adopted, this would allow us to impose obligations at the European level on non-cooperative operators,” he told a joint conference with his German counterpart in Paris.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

      The power of independent journalism was demonstrated last week when the Justice Department announced the end of privately run prisons in the federal prison system. Seth Freed Wessler explains what it took to uncover dozens of questionable deaths in these corporate, for-profit facilities in his yearlong investigation for The Nation.

      [...]

      Plus: Amnesty for Edward Snowden. ACLU attorney Ben Wizner argues that President Obama should do the right thing in view of the NSA whistle-blower’s contributions to freedom and democracy.

    • Canadian Law Enforcement Want Government To Force People To Turn Over Their Passwords

      Mandating the divulging of passwords relies on some very dubious assumptions. One, it assumes that any information still unseen by prosecutors or investigators is of evidentiary value — hence the perceived need to force suspects to unlock devices. As was seen in the San Bernardino case, a lengthy court battle and a million-dollar payout to Israeli hackers recovered nothing of interest from the shooter’s iPhone.

      Second, it assumes law enforcement will use this power wisely and with restraint — something that has historically been a problem for it. When an agency uses repurposed military technology (Stingrays) to (almost) hunt down fast food thieves, it’s safe to assume forcing someone to expose their “whole personal life” by turning over a password is likely to result in the same sort of misuse… and abuse. It won’t be reserved for the “worst of the worst” criminal suspects and will likely be legislated into existence without enough statutory restrictions to prevent device seizures incident to even the most innocuous of arrests to be viewed as evidentiary fishing expeditions.

      The only standing between this law (if it becomes law) will be Canada’s judges. While some judges may be unwilling to expose a person’s entire life just because law enforcement swears it’s necessary, others will be more amenable. Bring on the forum shopping!

    • Jeff Wood’s Stay of Execution Casts More Doubt on the Texas Death Machine

      Terri Been was being interviewed by a reporter inside a Whataburger restaurant in East Texas on the afternoon of August 19 when the text came in: Her brother, Jeff Wood, on death row for his alleged involvement as an accomplice in the 1996 murder of his friend, and facing imminent execution, had been granted a stay. She read the text sent by Wood’s attorney twice before dialing him up. “Are you serious?” she asked.

      It had been a long and emotionally taxing day: Been and her husband, her parents, Wood’s daughter, and another friend had traveled to Huntsville, Texas, the location of the state’s execution chamber, for the first of several eight-hour visits with Wood in anticipation that he would be executed sometime after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24. The news from the lawyer, Jared Tyler, was a serious relief. “I consider it a miracle,” she told The Intercept. “He’s stopped Texas from killing my brother.”

      That afternoon the state’s highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, agreed with Tyler that a state district court should determine whether the punishment hearing portion of Wood’s 1998 trial was infected by junk science and misleading testimony offered by the notorious Dr. James Grigson. If the district court agrees that it was tainted, Wood could get a new hearing, and a chance to get off of death row.

      Grigson, who died in 2004, was known even among peers in the psychiatric community as “Dr. Death” for routinely offering scientifically unsupportable testimony that helped to send defendants to death row in a number of capital cases. He was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association and its Texas counterpart prior to testifying in Wood’s case, where he opined that unless sentenced to die Wood would continue to be violent, a determination he made without ever examining Wood.

    • When Boats Brought Hope to Gaza

      Israel continues to cut off the 1.8 million people of Gaza from receiving relief supplies from sea, an illegal blockade that will be challenged again this year by the Women’s Boat to Gaza, writes retired Col. Ann Wright.

    • What Israel’s Actions Have Wrought

      Israel’s repression of the Palestinians is often rationalized by the historical abuse of the Jews, but Israel’s misconduct is having the disturbing effect of stirring up new anti-Semitism, observes Lawrence Davidson.

    • Another Brick in the Wall: Children of the American Police State

      The nation’s young people have been given front-row seats for an unfolding police drama that is rated R for profanity, violence and adult content.

      In Arizona, a 7-year-old girl watched panic-stricken as a state trooper pointed his gun at her and her father during a traffic stop and reportedly threatened to shoot her father in the back (twice) based on the mistaken belief that they were driving a stolen rental car.

      In Oklahoma, a 5-year-old boy watched as a police officer used a high-powered rifle to shoot his dog Opie multiple times in his family’s backyard while other children were also present. The police officer was mistakenly attempting to deliver a warrant on a 10-year-old case for someone who hadn’t lived at that address in a decade.

      In Maryland, a 5-year-old boy was shot when police exchanged gunfire with the child’s mother—eventually killing her—over a dispute that began when Korryn Gaines refused to accept a traffic ticket for driving without a license plate on her car.

    • Baltimore Police Can’t Explain Why Their All-Seeing Spy Planes Were Kept Secret

      Police officials in Baltimore are trying to deflect controversy over an aerial mass-surveillance program exposed earlier this week, in which a private company quietly keeps watch over a 32-mile radius of the city by flying planes overhead for as many as 10 hours a day.

      The pilot program, which according to Bloomberg Businessweek has been run by the Ohio-based company Persistent Surveillance Systems since January, allows Baltimore police to do retroactive and real-time aerial tracking of people and vehicles using technology adapted from the Iraq war, which its creator describes as “Google Earth with TiVo capability.”

      During a press conference on Wednesday, Baltimore Police Department spokesperson TJ Smith attempted to dismiss privacy concerns about the BPD’s eye in the sky, going as far as refusing to call the program “secret.”

      “Secrecy is not the right word because it’s not a secret spy program … this is something that we’re looking into,” Smith said during the press conference, which was streamed on Periscope and Facebook Live.

    • ‘You are now in Canada’: Anger management ordered for Iranian-born man who attacked wife’s boss

      An Iran-born Edmonton man has been ordered to take anger management courses following a “nasty” attack on his wife’s boss stemming from a male co-worker saying hello to her in a mall.

      Aadel Moradi, 39, was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for 18 months on Tuesday in provincial court after pleading guilty to assault charges over what was an apparent clash of cultures.

      “This was very nasty,” said Judge Kirk MacDonald, who described the Nov. 6, 2015, incident as a minor assault with “disturbing” undertones.

      “You are now in Canada. We do not place restrictions on the way that women live here, unlike in some other countries,” said MacDonald, adding it is “very sad” that Moradi doesn’t see it.

      The judge told Moradi — a Kurd who emigrated here from a city near Tehran about 15 years ago — that he had considered sending him to jail, but accepted the joint submission by Crown and defence.

      “Just because you think someone has displayed bad manners, getting into a fight is no remedy for that,” said MacDonald.

      Crown prosecutor Bethan Franklyn told court that Moradi and his wife had been at a city mall in late October 2015 when one of her co-workers came up to say hello.

    • Hindus flee Muslim extremists after Koran burned in Pakistan

      In the provincial town of Ghotki near Pakistan’s border with India, Ashok Kumar is packing his bags.

      He’s reached breaking point. Like many of his neighbours, and other Hindus in Sindh province, the small trader is fleeing to India.

      “I have four daughters and I fear that one day they will be kidnapped and will be converted to Islam forcibly and will be forced to marry Muslims,” he says.

    • Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for “radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” He has called the Saudis “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.”

      The first American diplomat to serve as envoy to Muslim communities around the world visited 80 countries and concluded that the Saudi influence was destroying tolerant Islamic traditions. “If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing,” the official, Farah Pandith, wrote last year, “there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.”

      And hardly a week passes without a television pundit or a newspaper columnist blaming Saudi Arabia for jihadist violence. On HBO, Bill Maher calls Saudi teachings “medieval,” adding an epithet. In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria writes that the Saudis have “created a monster in the world of Islam.”

      The idea has become a commonplace: that Saudi Arabia’s export of the rigid, bigoted, patriarchal, fundamentalist strain of Islam known as Wahhabism has fueled global extremism and contributed to terrorism. As the Islamic State projects its menacing calls for violence into the West, directing or inspiring terrorist attacks in country after country, an old debate over Saudi influence on Islam has taken on new relevance.

    • Literal Fashion Police Arrest Hundreds Of WhatsApp And Instagram Users In Iran

      I’ll admit I’ve had some fun in these pages with my friends over in the Iran over the years. In my defense, they have at times made the job quite easy for me, between trying to bolster their military reputation through video game footage, trying to suggest that the West carve out a non-free speech zone when it comes to criticizing Islam or members of its faith, and the country’s policy of futility in trying to block its citizens from using the wider internet. These are actions worth criticism and scorn.

      But things got a just a bit more dangerous for some in Iran this past week, as the country has announced it is cracking down on its citizens for actions against Islam and for infractions of fashion on display on several social media services. It seems some portion of the Revolutionary Guard has quite literally become the Fashion Police.

    • France’s Highest Court Suspends Burkini Ban In One Town, Other Challenges May Follow

      France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’État, reversed the burkini ban imposed in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet near Nice on Friday.

      At a hearing Thursday, the court heard a challenge — brought by the Human Rights League of France (LdH) — to the town’s decision to ban the full-body swimsuits with hoods that are popular with Muslim women. The attire has been at the center of a fierce religious and political debate in the country.

      The court invalidated the decree banning the burkinis for the city of Villeneuve-Loubet. In its ruling, also issued in English, the court said, “The mayor’s order had seriously infringed, in a manner that was clearly illegal, fundamental liberties such as the freedom to come and go, religious freedom and individual freedom.”

    • Lack of Accountability Has Made Baltimore an Overpoliced Panopticon
    • Private Prison Involved in Immigrant Detention Funds Donald Trump and His Super PAC

      Geo Group, the second largest private prison company in the U.S., and a major player in for-profit immigrant detention, filed a disclosure this month revealing that it provided $50,000 through its political action committee to Rebuilding America Now, the Super PAC backing the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

      While Trump has not used his campaign to purchase campaign advertisements, an unusual dynamic noted by many in the campaign press, Rebuilding America Now has become his de facto paid media voice, with $2 million in recent anti-Hillary Clinton ad buys.

      Trump has promised sweeping policies to detain and deport millions of undocumented immigrants, a policy platform that he routinely references at rallies across the country.

      “You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” Trump explained on MSNBC last year. He also called for tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and ending birthright citizenship, a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

    • French muslim gang probed after British women GROPED and ASSAULTED on Spanish holiday

      One woman, a 19-year-old from Farnborough in Hampshire, suffered a broken nose after being punched in the face.

      A second woman, a 20-year-old from Essex, was taken to hospital semi-conscious with arm and head injuries.

      Witnesses claimed the men, French-born but of Arabic origin, began to attack the young women in the upmarket resort of Puerto Banus near Marbella after one tried to touch up the teenager who suffered the broken nose.

      One man was arrested for assault and three friends taken with him to a nearby police station so they could be identified as part of an ongoing investigation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO External Offices In High Demand As 18 Countries Offer Hosting [Ed: So they want violations?]

      Hosting a regional or national office of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization seems to be a high prize for WIPO members, 18 of which have submitted hosting proposals to be considered at the WIPO Program and Budget Committee next week. Most of those 18 countries are developing nations and all sought to demonstrate their commitment to intellectual property rights and IPR protection, with some underlining the importance of considering level of development. According to regional press reports, Algeria and Nigeria have been selected by the African region to host the two African external offices.

    • Copyrights

      • Is hosting providers’ safe harbour the real problem of copyright owners? A new article [Ed: No, the problem is that we’re led to assume ISPs are in the business of copyright judgment and policing]

        In the context of its Digital Single Market Strategy [Katposts here] the EU Commission is currently engaged in a discussion of whether the liability principles and rules contained in that EU directive for the benefit of ISPs should be amended [the next EU copyright package is awaited for release in the second half of September - see here for a leaked version].

        With specific regard to copyright, one of the principal concerns relates to a particular type of ISP, ie hosting providers.

        Unlicensed hosting providers have been increasingly said to invoke the relevant safe harbour immunity in the EU Ecommerce Directive [Article 14] lacking the conditions for its application. This alleged abuse has led to a distortion of the online marketplace and the resulting ‘value gap’ indicated by some rightholders.

      • The FBI’s Megaupload Domains Are Now Hosting Porn Ads

        Well, we know the FBI is particularly adept at hosting porn on the internet. After all, just a few days ago it was revealed that in the short time it was running a child porn site as a honeypot, it actually made the site run much faster. But now Torrentfreak points us to the news that some other FBI sites are serving up porn as well, though mostly out of FBI incompetence, rather than competence. Apparently the domain the FBI was using for its nameservers for the domains it seized from Megaupload expired, and someone else snapped it up and redirected all the sites using those nameservers to advertisements basically for porn. So, the FBI is now essentially pointing people to porn via Megaupload.

      • Dotcom Wants Extradition Hearing Live-Streamed, U.S. Does Not

        Kim Dotcom is hoping to have his fight with the U.S. government pushed further into the public consciousness by having his extradition appeal streamed live on the Internet. U.S. authorities are already objecting to Dotcom’s application but they could be up against stiff opposition since New Zealand is proud of its courtroom transparency.

      • Team Prenda Done Fighting Judge Otis Wright

        Well, one of the big Prenda cases may finally be over. As you may recall, the first truly scathing legal ruling against Team Prenda came a little over three years ago when Judge Otis Wright basically lit Team Prenda on fire.

      • Comcast/NBC Tone Deafness, Not ‘Millennials’ To Blame For Olympics Ratings Drop

        Olympics watchers repeatedly begged Comcast for live opening ceremonies, more live events, less host prattle, and fewer ads ahead of the recent games in Rio. What did Comcast deliver instead? A smorgasbord of abysmal bloviation, tape delays, and so many advertisements that many people stopped watching in disgust. As a result, the Rio Olympics were the lowest rated Summer Olympics since 2000, with average viewership down 17% and an overall audience that was 25% smaller than 2012 in the 18-to-49 demo.

      • If You’re Angry About Twitter Banning Someone ‘Permanently’ For Sharing Olympics GIFs, Blame Copyright Law

        The story has gone pretty viral (on Twitter, naturally), with lots of people expressing anger at Twitter. It also appears that soon after the story started spreading, Twitter actually changed its mind and put back his account.

        Here’s the thing, though: if you want to get upset about this, don’t get upset at Twitter. Get furious at parts of the DMCA and how some courts have interpreted it lately (and the International Olympic Committee — it almost always deserves the anger that is pointed in its direction for its extreme protectionist/copyright policies). But remember, not too long ago, the ISP Cox lost big time in an important DMCA case, at the key issue that swayed the judge was the lack of a competent “repeat infringer policy.” And what was one of the key things in that case? The fact that Cox didn’t permanently ban people.

        So if you’re the legal team at Twitter, and you’re keeping up on the caselaw, you better believe that you’re going to make sure that you have a serious “repeat infringer policy” that kicks people off permanently for sharing a few pieces of copyright-covered material. Because even as basically everyone is saying “what? you shouldn’t lose your account permanently for sharing a few happy gifs from the Olympics,” in court it would be spun as “Twitter has a history of failing to reasonably implement a repeat infringer policy, as required by the DMCA in Section 512(i)(1)(A).” And if the Olympics or whoever gets a judge like the one in the Cox case, who doesn’t seem to care much about whether people use the internet or not, Twitter might just lose.

08.25.16

Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The future is here

        Nautilus from master, updated everyday, parallel installable, in less than 3 minutes. I cannot believe this is possible. Note that due to be sandboxed with no permission handling there are things that are not working, like opening with an application.

        For someone not aware of the whole platform and the Linux desktop, it’s difficult to see how many implications this bring to us and the changes that will allow in the upcoming months. This truly changes the game for GNOME (and any other desktop) as a project and platform, including 3rd party developers and companies using Linux desktops or that want to support it.

      • GUADEC’16 report

        I got a chance to attend GUADEC’16 which happened in Karlsruhe, Germany from 11 – 17 August. I stayed for the whole duration including Workshop Day, core days and the later BOF days which were very learning. I’m grateful to my mentor David Woodhouse who guided me all the time. I thank GNOME community for giving me the chance to speak at intern lightning talk and i tried my best to present my project in front of those great people. I hope to get a chance someday again to speak up. We have finished our GSoC project so i am free now to wander around to find some more places and tasks in GNOME’s huge shelter. My experience of attending GUADEC was awesome, despite being a less speaker i was very comfortable to talk and interact to people in the community. I made some new friends in the community and i came to know a lot more about it. I loved attending social events after the long day of great and motivating talks. I am thankful to the GUADEC organizers, i didn’t feel any problem for a second staying 6,000 kms away from home.

      • GUADEC 2016

        I came back from Karlsruhe last week, where GUADEC 2016 took place.

        It was a wonderful event. Even though it was only my second GUADEC, I felt at home in this community, meeting with old and new friends.

      • Summer Talks, PurpleEgg

        The topics were different but related: The Flock talk talked about how to make things better for a developer using Fedora Workstation as their development workstation, while the GUADEC talk was about the work we are doing to move Fedora to a model where the OS is immutable and separate from applications. A shared idea of the two talks is that your workstation is not your development environment environment. Installing development tools, language runtimes, and header files as part of your base operating system implies that every project you are developing wants the same development environment, and that simply is not the case.

      • An awesome experience!

        GUADEC has been a week full of memorable moments. As my friend Rares mentioned in his post, our newcomers group was welcomed by friendly community members right as we arrived at the hotel. For someone who has never attended a similar event before, this really helped with getting into the conference atmosphere.

        In the first couple days of the conference, I found myself meeting a lot of people that I knew from IRC. It felt really nice to finally know the person behind the internet nick. I was especially excited about getting to meet my mentor, Carlos Soriano =). In between the presentations I also took the time to prepare my own lightning talk about compressed files in Nautilus. Speaking in front of the GNOME community for the first time was a unique experience.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Slackware Family

      • NOAA Breaks Weather Apps, Slackware Updates, Valve @ 20

        The LinuxCon headlines continue to dominate but, more importantly, our desktop weather apps are broken thanks to NOAA decommissioning the site. Liam Dawe looked back at 20 years of Valve and Sebastian “sebas” Kügler introduced new KDE kscreen-doctor. Slackware rolled out some updates including a rare kernel upgrade and The VAR Guy wants to hear about your first time.

    • Red Hat Family

      • New CentOS Atomic Host Update Released with Linux Kernel 3.10, Docker 1.10.3-46

        CentOS Project’s Jason Brooks is back again with some awesome news for those interested in using the CentOS Atomic Host operating system designed for running Docker containers on top of the RHEL-based CentOS Linux 7 platform.

      • Red Hat’s gunning for VMware with virtualization platform update

        Open-source Linux vendor Red Hat Inc. has thrown in support for OpenStack Neutron and other new technologies with the latest release of its software virtualization package, in what looks like a bid to steal customers away from VMware Inc.’s more widely-used solution.

        Targeted at convergence, Red Hat Virtualization 4 is the first version of the platform that doesn’t include the word “enterprise,” in a move that suggests the company is hoping its virtualized stack will become the platform for convergence, rather than a server density product.

        OpenStack Neutron is the open-source networking project used by Software-Defined Networks (SDNs), which up until now has only been available as a preview. Many have criticized Neutron’s development for lagging behind the rest of OpenStack’s code base, and Red Hat was one of several vendors to concede that things could be sped up a bit. With the inclusion of the software in Red Hat Virtualization, the company says its Linux platform can be used to run both cloud-enabled and “traditional” workloads in concert.

      • Red Hat Virtualization 4 woos VMware faithful

        It’s easy for a virtual machine user to feel left out these days, what with containers dominating the discussion of how to run applications at scale. But take heart, VM fans: Red Hat hasn’t forgotten about you.

        RHV (Red Hat Virtualization) 4.0, released today, refreshes Red Hat’s open source virtualization platform with new technologies from the rest of Red Hat’s product line. It’s a twofold strategy to consolidate Red Hat’s virtualization efforts across its various products and to ramp up the company’s intention to woo VMware customers.

      • Commvault Announces Support of Red Hat Virtualization 4 with Commvault Software
      • Fedora

        • UDP Failures and RNGs
        • F24-20160823 updated Live isos

          New Kernel means new set of updated lives.

          I am happy to release the F24-20160823 updated lives isos.

        • Curse you, Jon Masters! Why do you always have to be right!

          Long story short, Fedora 24 came out and I’m given the taste of the same medicine: the video on the ASUS is completely busted. I was able to limp along for now by using the old kernel 4.4.6-301.fc23, but come on, this is clearly a massive regression. Think anyone is there to bisect and find the culprit? Of course not. I have to do it it myself.

          So, how did F24 ship? Well… I didn’t test beta versions, so I don’t have much ground to complain.

        • Communication Anti-Patterns
        • Autocloud: What’s new?

          Autocloud was released during the Fedora 23 cycle as a part of the Two Week Atomic Process.

          Previously, it used to listen to fedmsg for successful Koji builds. Whenever, there is a new message the AutocloudConsumer queues these message for processing. The Autocloud job service then listens to the queue, downloads the images and runs the tests using Tunir. A more detailed post about it’s release can be read here.

          During the Fedora 24 cycle things changed. There was a change on how the Fedora composes are built. Thanks to adamw for writing a detailed blogpost on what, why and how things changed.

        • Modularity Infrastructure Design

          The purpose of our Modularity initiative is to support the building, maintaining, and shipping of modular things. So, in order to ensure these three requirements are met, we need to design a framework for building and composing the distribution.

          In terms of the framework, in general, we are concerned about the possibility of creating an exponential number of component combinations with independent lifecycles. That is, when the number of component combinations becomes too large, we will not be able to manage them. So that we don’t accidentally make our lives worse, we must limit the number of supported modules with a policy and provide infrastructure automation to reduce the amount of manual work required.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open source drone controller has an FPGA-enhanced brain

      Aerotenna has launched an open source, $499 “OcPoc” drone flight controller that runs Linux on an Altera Cyclone V ARM/FPGA SoC.

      Lawrence, Kansas based Aerotenna, which bills itself as “the leading provider of innovative microwave sensors and flight control systems,” describes OcPoC (Octagonal Pilot on Chip) as a ready-to-fly, open source flight control platform. The system integrates an IMU, barometer, GPS, and a CSI-camera interface.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 unveiled in China, priced at $135

          Xiaomi took the wraps off their latest smartphone offering, the Redmi Note 4, earlier today, and as is expected from the budget-friendly Redmi series, the device offers a premium look, specifications, and features, and more importantly, an ultra-affordable price tag.

          The Redmi Note 4 retains the premium full metal unibody construction that was introduced with its predecessor, but now comes with a brushed metal finish and chamfered edges that looks and feels even better. The design language is quite similar as well, with the Redmi Note 4 also coming with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

          Under the hood, the Redmi Note 4 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display that is covered with a 2.5D curved glass panel. The phone is powered by a MediaTek Helio X20 processor, that is backed by the Mali-T880MP4 GPU and 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM. 16 GB or 64 GB are the on-board storage options available, which also dictates how much RAM you get, and you also get expandable storage via microSD card to cover all your needs. Keeping everything running is a huge 4,100 mAh battery.

        • New study finds iPhones fail far more often than Android phones

          Apple customers are generally a shockingly loyal bunch. The company’s high repeat customer rate can be attributed to a combination of factors that concern iPhones themselves as well as Apple’s industry-leading customer service. Dealing with Apple’s customer care department has always been a pleasure compared to dealing with rival companies, and iPhones themselves have historically been very reliable, offering a consistently smooth user experience that people love.

        • Relax, Spire can now connect to Android phones

          Spire, the wearable that promises to help you with healthy breathing and mindfulness, was previously only available for iOS devices. But that should change with an update rolling out now.

        • Android 7.0 Nougat: Small changes that make a big difference in UX

          The seventh iteration of Android (Nougat) has finally been released by the mighty Google. If you happen to be the owner of a Nexus device, you might see this update very soon. Everyone else…you know the drill.

          So after an extended period of waiting for the update to trickle through your carrier and onto your device, what can you expect to happen to your Android device once its center has become a creamier shade of Nougat?

        • Two Nokia Android smartphones show up in benchmark

          Nokia is definitely coming out with a few Android smartphones later this year, but today’s Nokia has little in common with the company that ruled the mobile phone industry for years.

          For starters, the devices that will be released this year, or the next, will be made by a third-party company. Nokia won’t be manufacturing phones anymore and most likely it won’t manage the way they are sold through retailers and authorized resellers.

        • Proxima bae, Instagram scams, Android goes full crypto: ICYMI
        • PayPal adds proper Nexus Imprint fingerprint login support on Android
        • Google Duo has been downloaded 5 million times on Android since its release
        • Google’s New Android Brings a Much Needed Change

          Thanks in part to Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup and Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, large-screened phones are becoming more popular than ever. Time spent on these large phones, sometimes called “phablets,” grew by 334% year-over-year in 2015, according to data from Flurry Analytics.

          Still, few phone makers other than Samsung ssnlf have made good use of these larger devices. Google goog is hoping to change this with its newest version of Android. Called 7.0 Nougat, it notably features the ability to view apps in a split-screen mode. The software update, which Google began pushing out to certain Nexus devices this week, makes it possible for Android users to interact with more than one app simultaneously.

        • Google’s New Android Brings a Much Needed Change

          Real multitasking has finally come to stock Android — and it’s about time

          Thanks in part to Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup and Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, large-screened phones are becoming more popular than ever. Time spent on these large phones, sometimes called “phablets,” grew by 334% year-over-year in 2015, according to data from Flurry Analytics.

          Still, few phone makers other than Samsung have made good use of these larger devices. Google is hoping to change this with its newest version of Android. Called 7.0 Nougat, it notably features the ability to view apps in a split-screen mode. The software update, which Google began pushing out to certain Nexus devices this week, makes it possible for Android users to interact with more than one app simultaneously.

        • Android 7.0 has a hidden feature that could finally make it better than iOS

          Android and iOS have been in a user-interface war for years. Who is winning really depends on who you ask, but a secret feature buried in the code for Android 8.0 Nougat shows a feature that would give Android the upper hand.

          Android Police uncovered details and screenshots of a navigation bar customizer hidden in the code for Android Nougat. It’s not currently active, as it was pulled from the code base for being “not ready,” but a tipster managed to recreate the feature and provide screenshots.

        • 8 new things Android 7.0 can do that iOS can’t

          A new version of Android is here, and it looks to be a solid, if relatively low-key, upgrade. Whenever Android 7.0 (Nougat) gets to your device, you’ll probably be happy with it.

          It also means that it’s time, once again, to see how Android has separated itself from iOS. If you’ve been thinking of pledging allegiance to a new platform, then here are some new, Nougat-y features that you won’t find on any iPhone.

        • Android 7 boasts new encryption features as the Crypto War soldiers on

          Not too long ago, the idea of smartphone encryption set off a global debate.

          Now, with the release of Android 7.0, the rise of secure messaging apps, and a public awakening on cyberspying, encrypting your chats and data is easier than ever—encryption is a now marketable selling point for the world’s tech giants—even as the political controversy heats up once more.

          A year after the 2013 Edward Snowden intelligence leaks lit a political fire around spying and privacy, the American tech giants Apple and Google added full-disk encryption to iPhones and Android devices. Police, intelligence agencies, governments, criminals, hackers, and all sorts of prying eyes around the globe would be increasingly locked out of the ubiquitous device that knows so much about us all.

        • Google Drive for Android now creates file and folder shortcuts
        • Android Nougat offers more PC emojis, plus an avocado
        • There’s a hidden menu in Android that lets you unlock experimental features — here’s how to use it
        • Project Fi’s Wifi Assistant to serve all Nexus devices soon
        • How to use split-screen mode in Android Nougat
        • How to Block Annoying Spam Calls and Texts In Android Nougat
        • Google Photos, Android System Webview, and HP Print Service plugin all reach 500 million installs
        • Android Nougat kind of arrives on the Nexus 5, if you’re bold
        • Google may let you add clipboard, keyboard switcher to Android’s navigation bar
        • LG V20 leak shows the Android phone is keeping its second screen

          LG’s V20 is set to debut on September 6th, but mobile leaker Evan Blass has already got his hands on a high-resolution image of the Android flagship and posted it to Twitter. The image shows off a rather bland-looking smartphone with an uncluttered home screen devoid of any duplicate apps and unnecessary bloatware. What we can see from this image is LG’s commitment to the second screen concept it debuted with last year’s V10.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Education

    • 4 tips for teaching kids how to build electronics

      Kids are naturally curious about how things work, and with a new trend in hardware companies creating open source hardware products, it’s a great time to teach kids about electronics. But modern technology can seem too complex to even begin to understand. So where do you start?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • more, less, and a story of typical Unix fossilization

      In the beginning, by which we mean V7, Unix didn’t have a pager at all. That was okay; Unix wasn’t very visual in those days, partly because it was still sort of the era of the hard copy terminal. Then along came Berkeley and BSD. People at Berkeley were into CRT terminals, and so BSD Unix gave us things like vi and the first pager program, more (which showed up quite early, in 3BSD, although this isn’t as early as vi, which appears in 2BSD). Calling a pager more is a little bit odd but it’s a Unix type of name and from the beginning more prompted you with ‘–More–’ at the bottom of the screen.

      All of the Unix vendors that based their work on BSD Unix (like Sun and DEC) naturally shipped versions of more along with the rest of the BSD programs, and so more spread around the BSD side of things. However, more was by no means the best pager ever; as you might expect, it was actually a bit primitive and lacking in features. So fairly early on Mark Nudelman wrote a pager with somewhat more features and it wound up being called less as somewhat of a joke. When less was distributed via Usenet’s net.sources in 1985 it became immediately popular, as everyone could see that it was clearly nicer than more, and pretty soon it was reasonably ubiquitous on Unix machines (or at least ones that had some degree of access to stuff from Usenet). In 4.3 BSD, more itself picked up the ‘page backwards’ feature that had motived Mark Nudelman to write less, cf the 4.3BSD manpage, but this wasn’t the only attraction of less. And this is where we get into Unix fossilization.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda: Govt to Cut Costs With Open Source Software

      The private sector and government departments have been urged to adopt Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to increase their efficiency and competitiveness, writes ALI TWAHA.

      FOSS is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance to suit their needs, something that is not possible with commercial software currently being used in most government departments.

      Speaking during the seventh African conference on FOSS at Speke Resort hotel in Munyoyo, ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze said government departments will gradually integrate the use of FOSS to reduce the cost of public service delivery.

      “Presently, government has been spending over $40m (Shs132bn) annually on commercial software from the like of Oracle systems and Microsoft Cooperation. [Using] FOSS will result into enormous savings that can be re-injected into other under-funded areas,” Tumwebaze said.

    • Uganda: New Software Policy to Boost Innovation in Offing

      A Science, Technology and Innovations driven economy may soon be a reality in Uganda if Cabinet approves a free and open software being developed.

      Speaking at the 7th Africa Conference on Open Source Software at the Commonwealth Resort in Munyonyo on Monday, Mr James Saaka, the executive director of National Information and Technology Authority Uganda, said there is a lot of registered software being used but is very costly.

      He said globally, people develop Free Open Source Software (Foss) which Uganda would emulate for national development.

      Mr Saaka said the country is in the initial stages to develop Foss, adding that the software can spur investment in research and development.

      “We see that the Proprietary software is still expensive and if we are going to develop more online services, we can’t afford but use alternative means to develop our e-government service,” Mr Saaka said.

      He also added that in Uganda, there is an advent of talent skilled in Foss and can help in innovations.

    • Open Source: Of the people, for the people, by the people

      Open Source is the best option for e-Governance. Its open nature allows constant improvements from the open source community, and when built in the correct method using firewalls, the security is protected as well. The best part of the open source for Governments is that the overall cost of building these solutions are much less than other frameworks as it is built, improved, and maintained by a strongly, connect open source community. Truly… ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Oil companies joining open source world by sharing data [Ed: No, oil companies, sharing data is open data and not open source. More openwashing, like greenwashing]

        The oil and gas industry has long collected huge volumes of data, but it hasn’t always known quite what to do with it all. Often, the terabytes aren’t even stored on computer systems that readily talk to each other.

        Industry insiders are used to it, said Michael Jones, senior director of strategy at the oil and gas software maker Landmark. But it’s not OK, he said. So, about a year ago, Jones and some of his oil industry colleagues set about to fix it.

        This week, at Landmark’s Innovation Forum & Expo at the Westin hotel in northwest Houston, the company unveiled the beginnings of a collaborative its members called groundbreaking. In a move to drive technology further, faster — and, perhaps, take a bigger piece of the burgeoning big-data market — Landmark is pushing its main computing platform into the cloud, for all to use.

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming/Development

    • Go! Speed Racer Go!

      I finally reached a point where I could start running the go version of sm-photo-tool. I finished the option validation for the list command. While I was testing it I noticed how much faster the Go version felt. Here are the python vs Go versions of the commands.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services will be presented at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference

      The revision of the European Interoperability Framework and the importance of data and information standardisation for promoting semantic interoperability for European Public Services will be presented by Dr. Vassilios Peristeras, DG Informatics, ISA unit at the SEMANTiCS 2016 conference which takes place in Leipzig on September 13th and 14th 2016. The title of the presentation is “Promoting Semantic Interoperability for European Public Services: the European Commission ISA2 Programme” (slideset to appear here soon).

Leftovers

  • How Rio Ratings Surprised NBC and Will Impact Future Olympics

    Heading into the Summer Olympics, NBCUniversal executives were bullish on ratings for Rio de Janeiro. With a host city just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time Zone and a mountain of data pointing toward heightened interest in the games, NBCU projected that Rio would outpace the 2012 London Games in viewership.

    It did not. Instead of a bulletproof success story, Rio delivered a complex portrait of the rapid changes affecting the TV business and of a viewership still hungry for Olympics coverage, but also for new ways to consume it.

    Over 15 days of competition, NBCU’s Olympics coverage averaged 27.5 million viewers across all platforms, including digital streaming — down 9% from 2012. But traditional TV ratings told a far grimmer story, one that began with Nielsen numbers that showed viewership for the Aug. 5 Opening Ceremony decline 28% from London.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Spike in Rates of Pregnancy-related Deaths in Texas Spurs Soul-searching

      Last week, researchers studying maternal mortality in the U.S. reported an ominous trend: The rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas seemed to have doubled since 2010, making the Lone Star State one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a baby. Reproductive health advocates were quick to blame the legislature for slashing funding in 2011–12 to family-planning clinics that serve low-income women, calling the numbers a “tragedy” and “a national embarrassment.”

      Now a 15-member state task force has issued its own maternal mortality report, offering a new view of what might be going on. The bottom line: Maternal deaths have indeed been increasing in Texas, members said, and African-American women are bearing the brunt of the crisis. For 2011 and 2012, black mothers accounted for 11.4 percent of Texas births but 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

    • Everything has water flowing through it

      And how do we communicate the health risks from contaminated water without causing panic? Sometimes people don’t even want to know about water contamination, as they have so many other things they are already dealing with – water is just another one of many worries. Community wide communication is a real challenge on a large reservation.

    • Stop Playing Politics With Reproductive Rights

      Young women voters have a lot to worry about this election cycle, from a flurry of anti-abortion messaging to diminishing access to reproductive services.

      Just this month, in fact, Congress put the brakes on vital legislation that would fund efforts to prevent the spread of Zika because they’re arguing over birth control.

      I have grown up in a generation of women who can take for granted our right to vote, work for money, own land, and not be treated as property—but I can never take for granted my right to choose what to do with my own body.

      Like 58 percent of the women who use the pill, I rely primarily on birth control to treat many medical conditions. I have hormone-based migraines, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome, which puts me at a higher risk for a whole slew of other health issues—from cardiovascular disease to diabetes.

      But I’m lucky. Birth control treats all three of my conditions where other methods have failed.

    • The Louisiana Catastrophe Proves the Need for Universal, Single-Payer Disaster Insurance

      Of the tens of thousands of Lousianans who had their homes flooded this month, most do not have flood insurance. They weren’t supposed to need it, because flooding had never been a problem where they live. And now it is clear that the federal emergency help they receive will be wholly inadequate.

      Louisiana’s flood victims are in a terrible predicament, and they are not alone. In the America of 2016, thousand-year catastrophes seem to be occurring on a monthly schedule, while we remain stuck with pre-greenhouse home insurance. That is leaving countless families economically devastated.

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • This Android botnet relies on Twitter for its commands
    • Android Security Flaw Exposes 1.4B Devices [Ed: Alternative headline is, “Android is very popular, it has billions of users. And yes, security ain’t perfect.” When did the press ever publish a headline like, “Windows flaw leaves 2 billion PCs susceptible for remote takeover?” (happens a lot)]
    • Wildfire ransomware code cracked: Victims can now unlock encrypted files for free

      Victims of the Wildfire ransomware can get their encrypted files back without paying hackers for the privilege, after the No More Ransom initiative released a free decryption tool.

      No More Ransom runs a web portal that provides keys for unlocking files encrypted by various strains of ransomware, including Shade, Coinvault, Rannoh, Rakhn and, most recently, Wildfire.

      Aimed at helping ransomware victims retrieve their data, No More Ransom is a collaborative project between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Intel Security, and Kaspersky Lab.

      Wildfire victims are served with a ransom note demanding payment of 1.5 Bitcoins — the cryptocurrency favored by cybercriminals — in exchange for unlocking the encrypted files. However, cybersecurity researchers from McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security, point out that the hackers behind Wildfire are open to negotiation, often accepting 0.5 Bitcoins as a payment.

      Most victims of the ransomware are located in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the malicious software spread through phishing emails aimed at Dutch speakers. The email claims to be from a transport company and suggests that the target has missed a parcel delivery — encouraging them to fill in a form to rearrange delivery for another date. It’s this form which drops Wildfire ransomware onto the victim’s system and locks it down.

    • PNScan Linux Trojan Resurfaces with New Attacks Targeting Routers in India

      A trojan thought to have died out resurfaced with new attacks and a new and improved version, launching new attacks on routers running Linux-based firmware located in India’s cyber-space.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Provoking nuclear war by media

      The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

      The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

    • The Two Tales of Russia Hacking NYT

      It’s quite possible both of these stories are misleading. But they do raise questions about why the spooks want to sensationalize these Russian hacks while NYT chooses to downplay them.

    • The Bogus ‘Humanitarian’ War on Serbia

      The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

    • Fighting Absurdity With Absurdity: Heaven Forbid the Penis

      Arguing that carrying firearms on campus will be as effective against random gun violence as carrying dildos, thousands of students at the University of Texas at Austin protested the state’s insane new open carry law Wednesday by gleefully hoisting “Armed With Reason” and “Guns Do Kill People” signs along with over 4,500 donated dildos, flesh color to fluorescent, in what may prove to be the state’s largest ever anti-gun rally. The #CocksNotGlocks campaign, started by one alum as a bit of “defiant nonsense” aimed at fighting absurdity with absurdity, kicked off on the first day of classes by drawing big crowds, with some inventive students juggling dildos and others hawking them with “Come get a dick!”

      The campaign seeks to repeal Senate Bill 11, signed into law by GOP Gov. Gregg Abbott in June but only implemented August 1, allowing students or faculty at public universities to carry their favorite guns to class, because what could possibly go wrong? The law has been vociferously opposed at the relatively progressive Austin campus, where many spoke against it at earlier public forums, an esteemed Architecture Dean resigned rather than live with it, and three professors sought an injunction to block guns from their classrooms; a federal judge just denied their request. Campaign organizers have asked students to “open carry” or hang the sex toys on backpacks until the law is changed: “Why leave your dildos at home if other people won’t leave their guns at home? Wear ‘em proudly until SB11 is repealed.”

    • Top 6 Reasons Turkey is Finally attacking ISIL in Syria’s Jarabulus

      Turkey and coalition allies launch air strikes Wednesday morning against the Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) stronghold of Jarabulus, on the Syrian side near the Turkish border. At the same time, Turkish artillery on the ground pounded the town. With Manbij in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Jarabulus is the last town affording a smuggling route for men and arms from Turkey into Syria’s al-Raqqa, the HQ of Daesh in the country. Turkey has left Jarabulus alone for years and winked at the Daesh smugglers. Why is it acting now?

    • Every Syrian fighter is waging an existential battle that can only end in victory or death

      Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, his face bloody and bruised from bomb blast, stares out in bafflement at a world in which somebody had just tried to kill him. Pictures of his little figure in the back of an ambulance in Aleppo have swiftly become the living symbol of the slaughter in Syria and Iraq.

      In the past there would have been more demands for spurious responses to the latest atrocity in Syria, with calls for the immediate overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad or no-fly zones – measures that sound positive but are never going to happen. This time round there is greater wariness internationally about such quick-fix solutions, opening the way for more realistic action to reduce the present horrendous level of violence.

      I am always edgy about proposing anything that might mitigate the barbarity of the war in Syria and Iraq because explaining what aspects of the situation, however murderous, cannot be changed looks like justifying them. For instance, British policy since 2011 has been that Assad should go, but this was never going to happen because he controlled most of the population centres and was backed by Russia and Iran. To pretend otherwise might sound benign, but was in reality providing the ingredients for war without end.

    • Ankara’s climbdown on Assad

      Sharp changes in the war on Syria have impacted the policy of the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Initially Mr. Erdogan believed that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would fall precipitously. It did not. Rather than overthrow Mr. Assad, the war has placed Turkey itself in danger — a ‘failed coup’ on July 15 came alongside a renewed war against Turkey’s Kurdish population, just as Islamic State (IS) attacks in the country have raised alarm bells about Mr. Erdogan’s adventurism. An adjustment of Turkey’s policy is now on the cards. The President’s August 9 trip to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and the warm words exchanged when the Iranian Foreign Minister came to Turkey on August 10 indicate a change.

    • Arms Industry Donating to Hawkish Clinton Over Incoherent Trump

      Employees of 25 of the nation’s largest defense companies—such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon—are choosing to fill the coffers of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over those of her rival, GOP nominee Donald Trump.

      That’s according to a new analysis by Politico, published Wednesday and based on federal campaign finance filings.

      Indeed, Politico found that Clinton—whose hawkish tendencies have been front-and-center during the 2016 campaign—is leading Trump “by a ratio of 2-to-1 in campaign donations from employees working for defense giants like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. That’s a sharp turnaround from 2012, when defense contractors gave more to then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney than to President Barack Obama.”

      Specifically, employees of those 25 firms have donated $93,000 to Clinton, compared with $46,000 for Trump. “Clinton’s donor rolls also include more than two dozen top defense executives, while Trump’s show just two,” Politico adds.

    • Let the Peace Games Begin

      After the Olympic games in Rio drew to a close, another set of games have begun: military exercises between the United States and South Korea to prepare for a possible armed conflict with North Korea.

    • U.S.-Backed Turkish Offensive in Syria Targets U.S.-Backed Kurds

      Turkey has “launched a major military intervention in Syria,” the Guardian reports, dispatching tanks and warplanes to purportedly reclaim the city of Jarabulus, currently held by the Islamic State (ISIS), and to attack Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

      “At 4am this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on Wednesday, according to the Guardian. Turkey’s government classifies Kurdish nationalists as terrorists, although Erdoğan also pointed to a bomb attack that killed 54 in Southern Turkey, which the Turkish regime blamed on ISIS, as justification for Wednesday’s siege in Syria.

      Turkey’s onslaught is backed by the U.S., while the Kurdish group that Turkey is targeting, the leftwing Kurdish nationalist YPG, is also backed by the United States.

      “If Turkey’s forces drive out ISIS,” observes the Christian Science Monitor, “it could lead to a messy confrontation between the Turkish government and the U.S.-backed YPG.”

      And while Turkey has long battled against Kurdish nationalists both within and outside of its borders while the West turned a blind eye, Wednesday marks the first large-scale Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in Syria.

    • U.S. Weapons Sales Are Drenched in Yemeni Blood

      When Pope Francis visited the U.S. Congress in September 2015, he boldly posed a moral challenge to his American hosts, asking: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”

      “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money,” he solemnly concluded. “Money that is drenched in blood.”

      In this case, it’s innocent Yemeni blood.

      During his almost eight years in office, President Obama has approved a jaw-dropping, record-breaking $110 billion in weapons sales to the repressive Saudi regime, all with Congressional backing.

      “In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade,” Pope Francis said. Our lawmakers have failed miserably at heeding the Pope’s call.

    • Muslim leader ‘murdered by IS supporters for practising Islamic healing’

      Two IS supporters murdered an imam because they viewed his practice of Islamic healing as “black magic”, a jury has heard.

      Jalal Uddin, 71, suffered multiple injuries to his head and face in an attack, thought to have involved a hammer, in a children’s play area in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on the evening of February 18 this year.

      The Crown say the Bangladeshi national was targeted after he left the mosque where he usually prayed, ate a meal at a friend’s house and then walked home.

      Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 22, and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, were said to have developed “a hatred” of Mr Uddin when they discovered last year that he practised Ruqya healing – which involves the use of amulets.

    • Lawyer: Timbuktu Residents Felt Shame After Sites Destroyed

      By reducing historic mausoleums in Timbuktu to dusty piles of rubble, Islamic extremists desecrated holy sites, leaving residents ashamed and impoverished, a lawyer said Wednesday at the trial of the man accused of leading the destruction.

      Mayombo Kassongo, who represented victims at the trial of Muslim radical Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, said locals expressed “shame at seeing their saints stripped naked.”

      Al Mahdi led pickax-wielding rebels who wrecked the simple mud-brick mausoleums covering the saints’ tombs in June and July 2012 in the famed city in the Saharan nation of Mali. Kassongo said the destruction of the World Heritage-listed sites was also a financial blow to residents, crippling tourism in the remote African city.

      Al Mahdi pleaded guilty and expressed remorse Monday for his role in leading the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door in Timbuktu and urged Muslims around the world not to commit similar acts.

      “They are not going to lead to any good for humanity,” he said.

      The trial is continuing despite Al Mahdi’s guilty plea to give Timbuktu residents a chance to speak about the impact of the destruction and to allow prosecutors and his defense lawyer to discuss a possible sentence.

      Prosecution lawyer Gilles Dutertre said Al Mahdi played “a key role” in the 2012 destruction and urged judges to sentence him to between nine and 11 years in prison.

    • Margaret Thatcher’s role in securing controversial £42bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia revealed

      Newly released files have exposed the role Margaret Thatcher personally played in securing one of the UK’s biggest and most controversial arms deals.

      The previously secret files show how officials helped then Prime Minister Mrs Thatcher carefully negotiate the notorious Al-Yamamah deal which saw Britain sell fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

      The documents detail a meeting and private lunch between Mrs Thatcher and King Fahd, soon after which the £42bn contract was clinched, sparking anger form arms-trade campaigners.

      It came back to haunt Tony Blair who intervened to stop an investigation into the deal, that was exploring claims of ran a multimillion-pound “slush fund”.

    • US arms sale to Saudi Arabia under fire from lawmakers

      A bipartisan quartet of lawmakers is circulating a letter that seeks to delay a pending arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

      The lawmakers are targeting the arms sale as part of their opposition to U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

      Lawmaker criticism of U.S. support for the campaign has recently grown louder, following Saudi airstrikes that hit a school and a hospital, killing dozens of civilians.

      The $1.15 billion arms sale, which the State Department approved on Aug. 9, would include up to 153 tanks, hundreds of machines guns, ammunition and other equipment.

      By law, Congress has 30 days to block the sale, but the lawmakers are concerned that notification was given during Congress’s summer recess and that the 30-day period will end with lawmakers having just returned to D.C.

      “Any decision to sell more arms to Saudi Arabia should be given adequate time for full deliberation by Congress,” the letter to President Obama will say, according to a draft. “We are concerned, however, that the timing of this notification during the August congressional recess could be interpreted to mean that Congress has little time to consider the arms deal when it returns from recess within the 30 day window established by law.”

    • Filipino maid ‘raped by employer’ in Saudi Arabia dies in hospital

      A Filipino maid has reportedly died in Saudi Arabia after seeing her alleged rapist in the hospital where she was confined.

      Imra Edloy, 35, was rushed to King Salman Hospital in Riyadh on 13 August with severe injuries suspected to be from sexual assault. She fell into a coma soon after arriving in the hospital.

      While she was unable to identify her attacker, before falling unconscious she pointed at her employer when asked who abused her, ABS CBN News reports.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Global warming signal can be traced back to the 1830s, climate scientists say

      When Charles Dickens, the English novelist, was detailing the “soft black drizzle” of pollution over London, he might inadvertently have been chronicling the early signs of global warming.

      New research led by Australian scientists has pegged back the timing of when humans had clearly begun to change the climate to the 1830s.

    • North Dakota and Feds Suppress Native American Pipeline Protesters

      What’s the difference between these two pipelines? Only variations are the origin of the oil they may transport and their location as far as I can tell since they are described as competing pipelines.

      Oh, and the Keystone XL pipeline was vetoed by President Obama a year ago this past February because Congress tried to ram through approval, attempting to “circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” according to the president.

      In both cases — Keystone XL and the Dakota Access — the planned pipelines traversed Native American tribal lands and/or water systems upon which these sovereign nations relied. The affected tribes have protested the credible threats these pipelines pose to their health and safety as well as their heritage and sovereignty.

    • As Court Hears Arguments in Dakota Pipeline Suit, Protesters Say ‘Protect Our Water’

      As peaceful prayer camps grow in North Dakota against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, demonstrators in Washington, D.C. are marching and chanting in solidarity while a U.S. federal court hears arguments regarding the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s motion to halt pipeline construction.

    • Scale of Threat Seismic Blasting Poses to Whales, Dolphins Laid Bare

      Though the Obama administration in March put a halt on drilling for oil and gas in Atlantic, the dolphins and whales inhabiting the waters are still at risk, says one ocean conservation group, as proposed seismic airgun blasting to look for reserves of the fossil fuels would leave the marine mammals “profoundly impacted.”

      The scale of the threat they face was laid bare on Wednesday with a pair of new maps released by by Oceana. Based on extensive research from Duke University’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, the maps—one for bottlenose dolphins and the other for endangered humpback, fin, and sperm whales—show the overlapping areas of the proposed blasting in the area stretching from Delaware to Florida and the density of the whales and dolphins in those waters over a 12-month period.

  • Finance

    • 20 Years Later, Poverty Is Up, But Architects of “Welfare Reform” Have No Regrets

      A gathering Monday in Washington, D.C., featured a bipartisan group of former government officials agreeing on the benefits of slashing the nation’s safety net.

      This week marks the 20th anniversary of “welfare reform,” the 1996 law passed by Congress and administered by President Bill Clinton that strictly limited the amount of federal cash assistance that the poorest Americans can receive — transforming the Aid for Families with Dependent Children program into the more restrictive Temporary Aid for Needy Families.

      One of the main impacts of the law was to help double the number of American households living in extreme poverty in America – defined as living on less than $2 a day.

      The Capitol Hill event, hosted by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute, which has been referred to as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill,” celebrated the 20th anniversary of the law. Its architects said they had no regrets about its passage.

      Former Michigan Republican governor John Engler, who pioneered state-level welfare cutbacks and who today serves as the head of the corporate lobbying group the Business Roundtable, recounted how Bill Clinton’s support helped make national welfare reform possible.

      “It was pretty stunning in 1992 to have a Democratic candidate for president, albeit a 12-year veteran in the governor’s office talking about ending ‘welfare as we know it,’” he said. “That was a pretty decisive moment.”

      Right-wing praise for Bill Clinton was a reoccurring theme at the event. Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation scholar who has been dubbed the “intellectual godfather” of welfare reform, claimed that Clinton took up the same cause as Ronald Reagan, allowing him to outmaneuver George W.H. Bush. “In my perspective that’s the issue that put Clinton in the White House in ’93,” Rector said.

    • Where Has All the Money for Our Schools Gone?

      As fall approaches, millions of moms and dads are scrambling to prepare for the first day of school, excited to support their children’s success.

      But are schools ready to receive our kids and foster that success? Increasingly, the answer is no.

      In at least 18 states, local government funding levels are declining, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. And as a result, many schools will open with fewer teachers than last year, among other detrimental losses.

      As lawmakers throw up their hands and say, “sorry, there’s just not enough money,” we must ask: Where has all the money gone?

    • Stiglitz Blasts ‘Outrageous’ TPP as Obama Campaigns for Corporate-Friendly Deal

      Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is “outrageous” and “absolutely wrong.”

      Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia University and chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute, made the comments on CNN’s “Quest Means Business.”

      His criticism comes as Obama aggressively campaigns to get lawmakers to pass the TPP in the Nov. 9 to Jan. 3 window—even as resistance mounts against the 12-nation deal.

      Echoing an argument made by Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Mark Weisbrot, Stiglitz said, “At the lame-duck session you have congressmen voting who know that they’re not accountable anymore.”

    • Mississippi Parents Demand an Answer: Are Charter Schools Constitutional?

      Mississippi parents are challenging the public funding of charter schools on the grounds that it’s not constitutional.

      The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an advocacy group, filed a motion for a summary judgment this week on behalf of the parents, for a speedy answer to this question.

      The only debate in the case is that of constitutionality, which makes it prime for answering, SPLC told Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas. The SPLC in July backed the lawsuit by several parents against Governor Phil Bryant, the Mississippi Department of Education, and the Jackson Public School District that challenged the funding of state charter schools.

      Plaintiffs say that because the privately-run, publicly-funded, corporate institutions are not overseen by the state or local superintendents, they do not qualify as “free” schools and therefore shouldn’t be eligible for taxpayer money. Three charter schools in Jackson are currently slated to receive $4 million in public funds this year.

    • Mississippi Charter School Challengers Seek Quick Judgment

      The plaintiffs project that the state and Jackson will transfer $4 million this year to three charter schools. About one-third of that money is collected from property taxes on buildings, vehicles and equipment.

    • Can Workers Get a Fair Deal in the Gig Economy?

      More and more businesses are exploiting what is known as the “1099 worker loophole”—hiring workers as “independent contractors” instead of as regularly employed workers. In some cases, companies have laid off all or most of their regular workers and then hired them back, but as independent contractors.

    • It Is Time to Begin the Process of Rebuilding Our Middle-Class Economy

      In The New York Times recently, the paper’s former Washington bureau chief, the veteran journalist Hedrick Smith, asked an important question: “Can the States Save American Democracy?” Smith, who traveled the country to write his latest book, Who Stole the American Dream?, also serves as the executive editor of the Reclaim the American Dream website, where he keeps a keen eye on efforts to revitalize politics closest to where people live. In his op-ed essay he answered his own question by reporting that “a broad array of state-level citizen movements are pressing for reforms… to give average voters more voice, make elections more competitive and ease gridlock in Congress.”

    • President Obama Aligns with Big Business to Smash Opposition to the TPP

      The Democratic primary of 2008, much like that of 2016, featured a sharp debate on global trade — about who writes the rules, who benefits, and who, ultimately, is harmed.

      And like 2016, the 2008 discussion was largely dominated by so-called trade agreements, namely the North American Free Trade Agreement. Signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993, NAFTA encompassed the economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States, and its implementation was accompanied by the usual lofty promises.

      Whether these promises were fulfilled is another question entirely. Barack Obama, during his run for the presidency, made his view quite clear.

      After noting that Hillary Clinton celebrated NAFTA in her memoir, calling it a “legislative victory,” Obama lamented that “One million jobs have been lost because of NAFTA.”

      “And yet, 10 years after NAFTA passed, Senator Clinton said it was good for America,” he continued. “Well, I don’t think NAFTA has been good for America — and I never have.”

    • 38 Degrees and the 52 per cent: ‘Members who voted Leave are just as much members as those who voted Remain.’

      Martin Shaw has recently criticised 38 Degrees for adopting a neutral stance on whether or not the UK should leave the European Union. Quite a lot of members voted for Brexit on 23 June; probably around half. It’s no wonder that some people find this surprising – Brexit is a polarising issue, and it’s been widely observed that social media feeds can amplify a sense that all our friends share all our views. Particularly in the immediate aftermath of the vote, when emotions were running high, I heard some 38 Degrees members on both sides of the divide express incredulity that they shared values and campaigns with people who’d voted the opposite way to them.

    • Venturing Into ‘the Capitalist Labyrinth’ (Video)

      In this week’s episode of “On Contact,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Rob Urie, author of “Zen Economics,” to discuss “the capitalist labyrinth.”

      The two dive into the concept of the “economic man” or “economic woman” that Urie introduces in his book. Urie explains that humans are conditioned to feel that capitalism is a “natural” state of being. It’s “the integration of psychology with corporate desire,” he explains.

      Urie and Hedges then discuss the “radical alienation” produced by capitalism, particularly how the system is responsible for nuclear weapons, climate change and even imperialism. “Alienation is the bedrock of consumer culture,” Hedges notes.

    • Basic Income — slides in English

      I will be speaking about basic income in Turku, Finland, tomorrow Thursday August 25, at a seminar organized by the Finnish Pirate Party and Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) Finland.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Get campaigning, UKIP’s Farage tells Donald Trump rally

      Outgoing UKIP leader Nigel Farage has urged Republicans to “get your walking boots on” and drum up support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

      He appeared before 15,000 activists in Jackson, Mississippi, being introduced by and sharing the stage with Mr Trump.

      And he said the party could “beat the pollsters” in the presidential race.

      Mr Trump, who is trailing his rival Hillary Clinton in the opinion polls, backed the UK’s exit from the EU.

      In a tweet last week, Mr Trump said: “They will soon be calling me Mr Brexit.”

      Mr Trump introduced Mr Farage as the man who “brilliantly” led the UK Independent Party’s campaign to secure a vote on the future of the UK’s 40-year membership of the European Union.

    • Donald Trump is Spending More on Hats and Other Merchandise Than on Campaign Staff

      Some GOP operatives and other political observers are starting to suspect that Donald Trump’s campaign is structured more as a publicity tour than a quest for the White House.

      Federal disclosures released this past weekend help make the case that the real estate mogul, at the very least, is not conducting a traditional campaign operation.

      They show, among other things, that Trump’s organization spent more money in July on the now-iconic “Make America Great Again” red hats, Trump T-shirts, and mugs than on the staff whose job it is to run the campaign.

      The Trump campaign paid more than $1.8 million to two vendors — California-based headwear-maker Cali-Fame and Louisiana’s Ace Specialties — for T-shirts, mugs, stickers, and the red hats (which the campaign spent over $400,000 on alone).

    • The Debut of Our Revolution: Great Potential. But.

      If Bernie and Our Revolution continue to evade the present-day realities of “the madness of militarism,” their political agenda will be significantly more limited than what our revolution requires for a truly progressive future.

    • ‘Our Revolution’ Kick-Off Signals New Phase for Movement Sanders Built
    • Bernie’s Next Revolution: New National Group to Launch to Promote Progressives

      Bernie Sanders returns to the political stage on Wednesday to try to do what no progressive has successfully done in decades—keep alive national grassroots momentum that led millions to support him and his agenda in 2016’s presidential nominating contests.

      At 9 PM Eastern, Sanders will address 2,600-plus meetings across the country to lay out the next steps in pushing the nation’s politics toward the progressive left. He will kick off a new group called Our Revolution, which will support like-minded candidates running for office and hold pro-corporate officeholders accountable on key issues.

    • Dear Us and Dear Bernie: A Few Notes on Our Revolution

      Left commentary berates mainstream media for serving up ‘too much Trump.” Fair enough, but left writers also flood us with endlessly repetitive Trump coverage.

      Left commentary claims that at election time an endless stream of writers overemphasize the ephemeral and ignore the serious. True, but left writers also continually repeat what people already know while offering few usable lessons for the future.

      Left commentary worries that Sanders will ratify the idea that politics is only about candidates and leave nothing lasting in place. Also fair, but left writers not only worry about this prospect, we contribute to it when we fixate on one person’s possible choices and ignore our own responsibility for achieving more.

      Left commentary bemoans distraction. Sensible, but the complaint becomes ironic when left writers continually repeat that elections don’t matter while not addressing what does matter, the longer term.

    • Understanding Trump’s Use of Language

      I have been repeatedly asked in media interviews about such use of language by Trump. So far as I can tell, he is simply using effective discourse mechanisms to communicate what his wants to communicate to his audience. I have found that he is very careful and very strategic in his use of language. The only way I know to show this is to function as a linguist and cognitive scientist and go through details.

      Let’s start with sentence fragments. It is common and natural in New York discourse for friends to finish one another’s sentences. And throughout the country, if you don’t actually say the rest of a friend’s sentence out loud, there is nevertheless a point at which you can finish it in your head. When this happens in cooperative discourse, it can show empathy and intimacy with a friend, that you know the context of the narrative, and that you understand and accept your friend’s framing of the situation so well that you can even finish what they have started to say. Of course, you can be bored with, or antagonistic to, someone and be able to finish their sentences with anything but a feeling of empathy and intimacy. But Trump prefers to talk to a friendly crowd.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Praises WikiLeaks, Calls Julian Assange a Hero
    • Questions About Clinton Campaign’s Transparency Ramp Up After a Weekend of Closed Fundraisers

      Meanwhile, concerns are growing about a potential conflict of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the government during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. And on Monday, it was announced that an additional 14,900 documents from Clinton’s private email server would be released by the State Department before the November election.

    • Donald Trump Isn’t Really Reaching Out To African-Americans

      Contrary to recent headlines, Donald Trump isn’t reaching out to African-Americans. He isn’t even talking to us. He’s talking past us, and saying exactly what his alt-right base wants to hear him saying to black folks.

      Donald Trump is telling African-Americans that our biggest problems are simply the result of listening to the wrong white people.

    • 4 experts make the case that the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising was troubling

      During the four years Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation run by her husband took tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments and corporations.

      Many of these donors had a lot riding on Clinton’s decisions. Saudi Arabia gave the foundation up to $25 million, and Clinton signed off on a controversial $29 billion sale of fighter jets to the country. Oil companies gave the foundation around $3 million, and Clinton approved a lucrative gas pipeline in the Canadian tar sands they’d long sought.

      We’ve known the basics of this story for months now. But another media feeding frenzy over the foundation kicked off again on Monday, when the State Department was forced to release emails showing that the foundation’s leadership tried to land its top donors meetings with the secretary of state.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fundraisers: No Press Allowed

      Campaign donors will see and hear a lot from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the next month as she embarks on a fundraising tour, but voters will have little clue as to what she says behind closed doors.

    • FBI docs linked to Hillary Clinton role in Vince Foster’s suicide missing – report

      The FBI’s reports linked to Hillary Clinton’s role in the death of Vince Foster, a White House counsel and her friend, have allegedly gone missing. A journalistic investigation says it could be Clinton’s humiliation that pushed Foster to suicide.

      According to Daily Mail, documents containing interviews of Clinton conducted after Foster’s death in July 1993 have vanished from the National Archives.

      The report claims that author and journalist Ronald Kessler visited the National Archives and Records Service in College Park, Maryland multiple times to review the reports submitted by FBI agents investigating Foster’s suicide.

    • Huma Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

      The Clinton campaign is attempting once again to sweep important questions under the rug about top aide Huma Abedin, her family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Saudi Arabia, and her role in the ballooning Clinton email scandal.

      The New York Post ran a detailed investigative piece over the weekend about Ms. Abedin’s work at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs from 1995 through 2008, a Sharia law journal whose editor in chief was Abedin’s own mother.

      This is not some accidental association. Ms. Abedin was, for many years, listed as an associate editor of the London-based publication and wrote for the journal while working as an intern in the Clinton White House in the mid-1990s.

      Her mother, Saleha Abedin, sits on the Presidency Staff Council of the International Islamic Council for Da’wa and Relief, a group that is chaired by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

      Perhaps recognizing how offensive such ties will be to voters concerned over future terrorist attacks on this country by radical Muslims professing allegiance to Sharia law, the Clinton campaign on Monday tried to downplay Ms. Abedin’s involvement in the Journal and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • Why Did the Saudi Regime and Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to the Clinton Foundation?

      As the numerous and obvious ethical conflicts surrounding the Clinton Foundation receive more media scrutiny, the tactic of Clinton-loyal journalists is to highlight the charitable work done by the Foundation, and then insinuate – or even outright state – that anyone raising these questions is opposed to its charity. James Carville announced that those who criticize the Foundation are “going to hell.” Others Clinton loyalists insinuated that Clinton Foundation critics are indifferent to the lives of HIV-positive babies or are anti-gay bigots.

      That the Clinton Foundation has done some good work is beyond dispute. But that fact has exactly nothing to do with the profound ethical problems and corruption threats raised by the way its funds have been raised. Hillary Clinton was America’s chief diplomat, and tyrannical regimes such as the Saudis and Qataris jointly donated tens of millions of dollars to an organization run by her family and operated in their name, one whose works has been a prominent feature of her public persona. That extremely valuable opportunity to curry favor with the Clintons, and to secure access to them, continues as she runs for President.

    • Clinton Foundation Investigation Update: Key Details About Financial And Political Dealings

      The release of documents shedding more light on connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton-led State Department has touched off a new political firestorm only weeks before voters begin heading to the polls in the 2016 election.

      Republican nominee Donald Trump — himself a foundation donor — has called for a special prosecutor to investigate the foundation, and Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has said the new disclosures are “evidence of the pay-to-play politics.” By contrast, the Clinton campaign has argued that there is no proof of any quid pro quo — a message echoed by her supporters in the pundit world.

      As the rhetoric about the Clintons’ public and private financial dealings intensifies, here is a brief review of the major investigative reporting that has been done about the Clinton Foundation.

    • Army Training Lesson Cited Clinton as ‘Insider’ Threat Risk

      An Army training presentation on insider threats included Hillary Clinton among a rogue’s gallery of killers and leakers, citing the former secretary of state as an example of “careless or disgruntled employees,” NBC News confirmed on Tuesday.

      The unclassified slide, which first emerged on a Facebook page that spoofs the military, was confirmed by a U.S. military officials, who said it was used as part of a lesson on how to secure classified materials and improve safety.

      A spokesperson from the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said the slide was developed 18 months ago.

      “As is common with Army training requirements, the local unit was given latitude to develop their own training products to accomplish the overall training objective,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Europeans In Exodus To Russian Facebook to Avoid Censorship

      Germans who are critical of Islam and mass migration are fleeing to the site VK, known as the Russian Facebook to avoid censorship of their remarks and possible raids on their homes.

    • Council censorship eliminates free speech and thought

      There are a lot of TV and print and talk shows about terrorism here and terrorism there. It is a serious matter, terrorism is. What makes it worrisome is that it is not well defined, and it seems some government officials want it that way.

      Some of you may not recognize total censorship or censorship as terrorism. The Peoples got punished over the last few years for having an opinion about corruption in Colville tribal government from the top down. Letters to the editor were removed from our tribal newsprint in total.

      The “Clowncil” and its staff are lying about the censorship imposed since 2013. And now the Clowncil, through its staff, are lying about the censorship again, as they lifted “total censorship” and replaced it with “censorship.”

      Please re-read the December 2014 Tribal Tribune (TT) edition, page A6 “Letter To The Editor Policy.” “Policy” restricts tribal members’ freedom to have a letter also printed in outside newspapers while getting printed in the TT (paragraph 1) with a threat of total censorship; narrows the scope of topics a tribal members may write about (paragraph 3); requires a “respectful/professional tone” but does not define it, leaving censorship in whole (paragraph 4); Editor determines his or her own “facts” (paragraph 5); Editor determines what “hatred, contempt, suspicion or wrongdoing, scorn or ridicule” means and will censor according to the editor’s “belief” (paragraph 6). These standards are outside the bounds of journalistic “libel laws;” therefore, they narrow the scope of free speech and free thought, and, in actuality, eliminate both.

    • You don’t need to look abroad to find rampant censorship – it’s right here in Britain

      Since 9/11, Britons are increasingly watched, shadowed and snooped. This week the wall featuring the mural was smashed. I suspected silent censorship. Turns out it was a dopey builder. So, as it turns out, I was being somewhat paranoid and hasty. But is that worse than being sluggishly trusting and complacent? I was raised in Uganda where the state censored the media, books, art, and song lyrics. Citizens there were more alert to the danger than we are in the UK.

    • Censorship or smart thinking? UWM ‘Inclusive Excellence” group pushing to silence certain words

      But Williford said a list of words some deem offensive has him questioning a relatively new campus guideline.

      [...]

      Hill said “Just Words” is merely a suggestion — not censorship.

      “We are not doing that at all. As a matter of fact, we`re trying to improve and have open dialogue,” Hill said.

      Also on the list: ‘ghetto,’ ‘Nazi’ and even ‘politically correct.’

    • Cloudflare Fights RIAA’s Piracy Blocking Demands in Court

      Cloudflare has made it clear that the company isn’t going to block piracy sites without a proper court order. In addition, it now opposes an injunction requested by the RIAA, under which it would have to disconnect alleged MP3Skull accounts based on a keyword and IP-address.

    • CloudFlare Protects Internet Users By Insisting On Lawful Orders Before Blocking Customers

      This month, the online service provider CloudFlare stood up for its website-owner customers, and for all users of those websites, by telling a court that CloudFlare shouldn’t be forced to block sites without proper legal procedure. Copyright law limits the kinds of orders that a court can impose on Internet intermediaries, and requires courts to consider the pros and cons thoroughly. In this case, as in other recent cases, copyright (and trademark) holders are trying to use extremely broad interpretations of some basic court rules to bypass these important protections. As special interests keep trying to make things disappear from the Internet quickly, cheaply, and without true court supervision, it’s more important than ever that Internet companies like CloudFlare are taking a stand.

      The current dispute between CloudFlare and a group of record labels arose from the labels’ case against the music streaming site MP3Skull. The website’s owners never appeared in court to defend themselves against a lawsuit by the labels. The labels, who are all members of the Recording Industry Association of America, won a court judgment by default in March of this year. The judgment included a permanent injunction against the site and those in “active concert and participation” with it. On the last day of June, the labels’ lawyers sent the order to CloudFlare and demanded that they immediately stop providing services to various Internet addresses and domain names connected with MP3Skull.

    • Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar

      Good riddance to NPR’s comment section, which is shutting down Tuesday after eight years. There has to be a better way for news organizations to engage with the public.

      NPR is joining a growing list of media organizations that have said “finito” to comments including, ‘This American Life,’ Reuters, Recode, Mic, The Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, CNN, The Toronto Star and The Week.

      When comments sections were initiated on news sites, they were hailed as a means to democratize the media, allowing a two-way conversation between readers and the journalists who serve them.

    • Singapore to cut off public servants from the internet

      Singapore is planning to cut off web access for public servants as a defence against potential cyber attack – a move closely watched by critics who say it marks a retreat for a technologically advanced city-state that has trademarked the term “smart nation”.

      Some security experts say the policy, due to be in place by May, risks damaging productivity among civil servants and those working at more than four dozen statutory boards, and cutting them off from the people they serve. It may only raise slightly the defensive walls against cyber attack, they say.

      Ben Desjardins, director of security solutions at network security firm Radware, called it “one of the more extreme measures I can recall by a large public organisation to combat cyber security risks”. Stephen Dane, a Hong Kong-based managing director at networking company Cisco Systems, said it was “a most unusual situation” and Ramki Thurimella, chair of the computer science department at the University of Denver, called it both “unprecedented” and “a little excessive”.

    • The gatekeepers are dead. Long live the World Wide Web!

      Until recently the tools for mass communication were expensive and in the hands of a small number of gatekeepers. Then, the price rapidly fell towards zero. With the Internet and the World Wide Web (that just turned 25 years old) anyone can communicate with the world by words, pictures, sound, and video – 24/365 – on a shoestring budget.

      Still, people need to know about you. So fame, reputation, and status are factors to take into consideration. But content, quality (in some sense) and virality is the new gold standard.

      This has upset the people who used to be in power, like bigwig politicians. They used to have their press releases copy-pasted into the media news flow without too much hassle. Today they still are visible in the slowly dying mainstream media. But on the Internet, they have to compete for attention with everybody and everything else.

      Also, media proprietors, the copyright industry and the big brick and mortar chains are upset – just to mention a few.

      It could have been very different.

      Tim Berners-Lee – who invented the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) together with his friends at W3C at Cern – decided not to patent this method of connecting the dots in the Matrix, but to give it to the world.

    • No Press Intimidation by Trump – hence: BREAKING REPORT: Melania Trump Was A Sex Worker After Moving To United States – repeating story the Trump Attorneys are now making bigger story than it was

      There is a story in a major British newspaper The Daily Mail, which reports that there are now stories that Melania Trump, who was a nude model in her past – that is not under question, had also been an Escort model ie a hooker ie a prostitute and has been working as a hooker, ie Escort in New York before she married Donald Trump. I do take it upon myself to ridicule and laugh at Donald Trump’s absurd political run this year. I did laugh at Melania when she was caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech at the Republican Convention in July and as it since emerged, she has lied about having a college degree from Ljubljana University in Slovenia, which she does not (they have removed references to the fake degree from her website since this news broke out). But this blog is not at war with Trump’s third wife, bought by Trump sixteen years ago, to rear some kids for Trump that Trump himself won’t bother to get to know until they’ve grown up to be adults. Wives, that Trump buys from East Europe and replaces roughly every 16 years. I was mainly focused on mocking Trump himself.

      [...]

      The Trump attorneys attacked Liberal America and Andrew Bradford insisting he must apologize or be sued .Andrew is not rich enough to defend himself against a Billionaire’s attorney attack-dogs so he relented and wrote an apology. Its quite an epic apology which does its best to keep all of the accusations still in view, and he also published in full the attorney’s letter. A letter which uses such phrases as “Melania Trump was a sex worker after moving to the United States” haha. So it is that letter in verbatim, which is now on the blogsite and further hopefully adding to smear Melania Trump’s name. But still, I feel very strongly about freedom of speech and feel a strong personal sense of support to Mr Bradfort that I have never met. I have never even heard of their publication, the Liberal America. But I now of course add my blog to the support of that issue. I link from this blog to Liberal America and I urge my readers to go read Andrew’s very smart article where he deals with the attorneys’ demand for apology.

    • How Facebook censors your posts
    • Activists Call for Facebook to Adopt ‘Anti-Censorship’ Policy
    • Unlike This: Social Media Companies Bow to Government Censorship Requests
    • Open letter to Facebook asks for ‘anti-censorship’ policy after Korryn Gaines death
    • Teen Vlogger Amos Yee Pleads Guilty To Two Charges, May Face Jail Time
    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to three out of six remaining charges
    • ‘That’s a Couple of Weeks in Jail’ – Singaporean Blogger Tweets During Trial
    • Amos Yee does U-turn and pleads guilty to two of his eight charges
    • Blogger Amos Yee, in another U-turn, pleads guilty to three more charges
    • Amos Yee pleads guilty to two charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • US parents largely unaware of what their children do online, research finds

      The parents of America’s digitally literate teenagers are largely in the dark about their children’s internet activity, new research has shown.

      The new study on teen internet use by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that only 13% of teens thought their parents understood the extent of their internet use.

      The survey of 804 online teens and 810 parents of teens found that 60% of teens have created accounts for apps or social media sites without their parents’ knowledge. Only 28% of parents thought their teens had accounts they didn’t know about.

      The gap between what teens are doing and what their parents know about is indicative of what the NCSA is calling a “digital disconnect between American teens and parents”.

    • Using PGP Phones Doesn’t Make You a Criminal, Ontario Judge Says

      Messaging your gun-toting, drug-trafficking friends by way of encrypted message isn’t proof that you’re a gun-toting drug-trafficker, an Ontario court has ruled.

      That useful bit of information comes after police booked a Hamilton man following a search of his room that turned up a 9mm Smith & Wesson unloaded handgun, a sock full of bullets, and a few grams of cocaine. They slapped five criminal charges on him, and hauled him before a judge.

      The Hamilton man was caught up in the investigation as police looked into a suspected drug trafficking ring. He just happened to be living at an address that was connected to the investigation.

      But his defense lawyers were quick to pick apart the search warrant that allowed the cops to bust down his door, and pry open his safe.

    • Germany, France demand golden key AND strong encryption just when you thought politicians had clued in to basic reality

      In a new level of dumb, Germany and France are demanding strong encryption for all citizens at the same time as they demand this strong encryption to be breakable. They also demand messaging providers of end-to-end encryption to provide police with keys they don’t have, and for terrorists to stop using freely available strong encryption without a messaging provider. You really couldn’t sound dumber if you tried.

    • Kuwait’s new DNA collection law is scarier than we ever imagined

      Horrible laws often follow major terrorist attacks. After 9/11, the U.S. Congress passed the Patriot Act. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris last year, European powers contemplated sweeping, strikingly bold internet surveillance laws. Following a July attack in Nice, French officials have passed laughably absurd laws against Muslim women wearing burkinis at public beaches.

      But after an ISIS-linked man ignited a bomb in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait last year, killing 27, the mother of all troubling laws was rushed through the country’s Parliament. The law requires that all citizens, residents and visitors to the country submit DNA samples to enter or stay in the country. It was passed in the name of national security and in helping identify victims of large scale attacks.

    • Liberal, Moderate or Conservative? See How Facebook Labels You

      You may think you are discreet about your political views. But Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, has come up with its own determination of your political leanings, based on your activity on the site.

      And now, it is easy to find out how Facebook has categorized you — as very liberal or very conservative, or somewhere in between.

      Try this (it works best on your desktop computer):

      Go to facebook.com/ads/preferences on your browser. (You may have to log in to Facebook first.)

      That will bring you to a page with your ad preferences. Under the “Interests” header, click the “Lifestyle and Culture” tab.

      Then look for a box titled “US Politics.” In parentheses, it will describe how Facebook has categorized you, such as liberal, moderate or conservative.

      (If the “US Politics” box does not show up, click the “See more” button under the grid of boxes.)

    • Report Shows Post-9/11 NYPD Spying on Muslims to Be ‘Highly Irregular’ [Ed: Not spying sufficiently on Wall Street hedge funds/banks because “Expensive lawyers”, “Job creators”, and “Free market”]

      In the wake of 9/11, New York City police repeatedly violated safeguards meant to protect lawful political and religious activities from unwarranted surveillance, according to the department’s own inspector general.

      A report (pdf) from the New York Police Department (NYPD)’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), released Tuesday, found the department to be “often non-compliant with a number of the rules” by failing to secure proper authorization or extensions for investigations of political activity, particularly those involving Muslims.

      The probe examined a sample of all closed cases between 2010 and 2015, some of which were opened as far back as 2004. More than 95 percent of the cases, according to the document, involved Muslims or political activity associated with Islam.

    • FMA joins National Privacy Commission in holding public consultations on privacy rules

      Following a successful, albeit brief consultation during a Philippine Computer Society meeting on June 28, the NPC partnered with a variety of groups from civil society, the research community, and the government to hold back-to-back consultations on July 13 and 14 at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Ateneo de Davao University, respectively. FMA participated in both consultations as a co-organizer. FMA organized another public consultation in Cebu City on July 28, whereas UP Manila hosted the last round on August 16.

    • Takedowns of Shadow Brokers Files Affirm Files as Stolen

      Now, don’t get me wrong. These are dangerous files, and I can understand why social media companies would want to close the barn door on the raging wild horses that once were in their stable.

      But underlying it all appears to be a notion of property that I’m a bit troubled by. Even if Shadow Brokers stole these files from NSA servers — something not at all in evidence — they effectively stole NSA’s own tools to break the law. But if these sites are treating the exploits themselves as stolen property, than so would be all the journalism writing about it.

      Finally, there’s the question of how these all came down so quickly. Almost as if someone called and reported their property stolen.

    • US Intelligence Still Sorting Out NSA Hack

      The US is still probing the extent of a recent cyber leak of what purports to be hacking tools used by the National Security Agency, the nation’s top intelligence official said Wednesday.

      “We are still sorting this out,” James Clapper, director of national intelligence, said at an event at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.

      “It’s still under investigation,” Clapper said. “We don’t know exactly the full extent – or the understanding – of exactly what happened.”

      The tool kit consists of malicious software intended to tamper with firewalls, the electronic defenses protecting computer networks. The leak has set the information security world atwitter – and sent major companies rushing to update their defenses.

    • Word Games: What the NSA Means by “Targeted” Surveillance Under Section 702

      We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity.

      There’s another one to watch: “targeted” v. “mass” surveillance.

    • A hacker claims he has more leaked NSA files to view — If you can solve this puzzle

      A hacker named 1×0123 claims he has the other half of the recently-leaked NSA hacking toolkit for sale — but samples of the dataset are only available if you can figure out his cryptographic puzzle.

      On Sunday, the hacker posted on Twitter that he was selling the entire archive of files for $8,000, seemingly undercutting the mysterious “Shadow Brokers” hacking group that leaked one-half of the archive last week at various file-sharing websites with claims of an “auction” for the rest.

      It appears that 1×0123 is indeed a hacker who has found and sold security vulnerabilities in the past. Even ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden praised him in April for finding an issue on the Freedom of the Press website.

    • NSA’s leaked exploits affect Cisco, Juniper… and US foreign policy?

      An unprecedented data dump, of security exploits believed to originate form within the US National Security Agency (NSA) has left some firms scrambling to fix security holes dating back years, and revealed the extent to which the NSA stockpiles cyber-weapons..

      The dump includes attacks on network products from several vendors, including Cisco and Juniper. These so-called ’zero day exploits’ take advantage of software vulnerabilities which have been found, and kept secret from the vendor. Until the vendor knows and fixes these weaknesses, they can be attacked, and the exploits can be used with ’cyber weapons’. The dump appears to show the US agency is stockpiling these exploits, but that another power gained access to its stash of weapons – revelations which could have serious ramifications for the US cyber security and cyber warfare team, as well as for foreign relations.

    • Juniper confirms leaked “NSA exploits” affect its firewalls, no patch released yet

      Juniper confirmed exploits leaked by the Shadow Brokers group appear to affect its firewalls, but has not yet patched the vulnerabilities.

      The firewall manufacturer is “investigating the recent release of files reported to have been taken from the so-called Equation Group,” Juniper’s security incident response manager Derrick Scholl wrote in a corporate blog post.

      Juniper identified an exploit affecting its NetScreen firewall devices that run on the ScreenOS operating system. Initial analysis of the exploit “indicates it targets the boot loader and does not exploit a vulnerability on ScreenOS devices,” Scholl wrote in the post.

      On Tuesday, Ixia’s application and threat intelligence unit discovered an exploit that targets Watchguard Firewalls, according to Steve McGregory, senior director of the ATI group said in emailed comments to SCMagazine.com. Four of the exploits affect TopSec firewalls, primarily used in China, he added.

    • Second Snowden could be behind sale of NSA hacking tools

      WE ARE getting closer to unmasking the Shadow Brokers. Last week, the group put hacking tools from the National Security Agency up for auction, including security flaws in companies’ systems and remote access tools. There have been no serious bidders, but the documents have been confirmed as the real deal, raising the spectre of another whistleblower at the agency.

      Initially, the prime suspect was Russia, but this theory has now been downgraded. Certain naming conventions in the files point to scripts only accessible on a machine physically isolated from the network and therefore inaccessible to anyone not physically present in the NSA building. The idea that it was an accidental upload has also been debunked, shifting the focus internally.

      However, it couldn’t have been Edward Snowden, pictured, as it looks like the tools were stolen around October 2013, five months after he fled to Hong Kong.

    • Everyone’s Already Using the Leaked NSA Exploits

      Last week, an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers leaked a bunch of National Security Agency hacking tools. Whoever they are, the Shadow Brokers say they still have more data to dump. But the preview has already unleashed some notable vulnerabilities, complete with tips for how to use them.

      All of which means anyone—curious kids, petty criminals, trolls—can now start hacking like a spy. And it looks like they are.

      Curious to learn if anyone was indeed trying to take advantage of the leak, Brendan Dolan-Gavitt—a security researcher at NYU—set up a honeypot. On August 18 he tossed out a digital lure that masqueraded as a system containing one of the vulnerabilities. For his experiment, Dolan-Gavitt used a Cisco security software bug from the leak that people have learned to fix with workarounds, but that doesn’t have a patch yet.

      Within 24 hours Dolan-Gavitt saw someone trying to exploit the vulnerability, with a few attempts every day since. “I’m not surprised that someone tried to exploit it,” Dolan-Gavitt says. Even for someone with limited technical proficiency, vulnerable systems are relatively easy to find using services like Shodan, a search engine of Internet-connected systems. “People maybe read the blog post about how to use the particular tool that carries out the exploit, and then either scanned the Internet themselves or just looked for vulnerable systems on Shodan and started trying to exploit them that way,” Dolan-Gavitt says. He explains that his honeypot was intentionally very visible online and was set up with easily guessable default passwords so it would be easy to hack.

    • France, Germany Want Encrypted App Makers To Help Stop IS

      France and Germany pushed Tuesday for Europe-wide rules requiring the makers of encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram to help governments monitor communications among suspected extremists.

      Privacy advocates argue that encryption is essential to online security, notably for banking transactions. But security experts say encrypted apps are increasingly used by extremists to hide their location, coordinate operations and trade weapons and sex slaves.

      Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said French authorities have detained three people this month with “clear attack plans,” but police need better tools to eavesdrop on encrypted text conversations utilizing the kinds of powers used to wiretap phones.

    • New leaks prove it: the NSA is putting us all at risk to be hacked

      The National Security Agency is lying to us. We know that because of data stolen from an NSA server was dumped on the internet. The agency is hoarding information about security vulnerabilities in the products you use, because it wants to use it to hack others’ computers. Those vulnerabilities aren’t being reported, and aren’t getting fixed, making your computers and networks unsafe.

      On August 13, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers released 300 megabytes of NSA cyberweapon code on the internet. Near as we experts can tell, the NSA network itself wasn’t hacked; what probably happened was that a “staging server” for NSA cyberweapons — that is, a server the NSA was making use of to mask its surveillance activities — was hacked in 2013.

    • Nick Asks the NSA: Shadow Brokers and the Leaking Ship

      For the second installation of Nick Asks the NSA, I offer Congress my services as to what questions in their oversight capacity they should be asking NSA about the Shadow Broker leak.

      It now safe to say that the “Equation Group” leak by Shadow Brokers is real and consists of a genuine trove of NSA tools used to hack firewalls. The leaked code references known programs, uses a particularly unusual RC6 and cruddy crypto techniques previously associated with NSA implants, and the Washington Post has confirmed the authenticity of the materials with two anonymous ex-NSA employees.

    • NSA Targeted Chinese Firewall Maker Huawei, Leaked Documents Suggest

      When the mysterious Shadow Brokers dumped a cache of hacking tools used by an NSA-linked group last week, researchers quickly identified a number of the spy agencies’ targets, including American security companies like Cisco, Juniper, and Fortinet.

      But until now, no one noticed that the leaked files suggest the NSA has also been targeting—and was likely able to hack—firewalls made by Huawei, a Chinese manufacturer of network infrastructure often seen as a threat to American companies given the suspicion that the Chinese government might have a backdoor and could spy in its products. The revelation is contained in an instruction file part of the leak.

      Within one of the leaked files (TURBO_install-new.txt) there are references to VRP 3.30, a version of Huawei’s proprietary operating system. While 3.30 is an older version, it still appears to be popular, according to a search on Shodan, which returns more than 1,600 devices running that version, mostly in China.

    • After NSA leaks, a renewed interest in vulnerability disclosure

      The code leaked by the Shadow Brokers group last week has set off calls from security researchers and tech groups for a national conversation about vulnerability disclosure policy.

      The code contains about a dozen vulnerabilities affecting firewall manufacturers that many industry professionals believe to be exploits used by the National Security Agency (NSA).

      While the Obama administration’s Vulnerability Equities Process (VEP) calls on intelligence agencies to disclose security vulnerabilities by default, tech companies and security pros are concerned by the prospect of an unknown number of zero-day vulnerabilities possessed by intelligence agencies.

      The Shadow Brokers leak highlights the need for transparency in the government’s disclosure process, according to Mozilla senior policy manager Heather West. “If the government chooses to engage in lawful hacking, it must also support responsible disclosure,” she wrote in an email to SCMagazine.com.

    • FISA Court: Government Can Collect Content Along With Dialing Data Using Pen Register Orders

      The Director of National Intelligence’s office has cleared another FISA court opinion [PDF] for release. These are getting far more interesting to read, even if little seems to be changing about the FBI/NSA’s collection methods. The process is now a little bit more adversarial, thanks to the USA Freedom Act, which introduced the possibility of someone arguing on behalf of the surveilled and in the interest of privacy and the Fourth Amendment.

      Unfortunately, this opinion finds the FISA court mostly unimpressed with the counterarguments. The discussion involved the use of pen register orders to capture “post-cut through” dialing digits — the sort of thing the court determined to be content, rather than metadata in the past.

      This time around, the court seems more amenable to the government’s arguments that any digits obtained along with dialed phone numbers is fair game — whether or not the orders actually allow for the collection of communications content.

    • Warrant for former DA Paul Zellerbach in wiretap case

      A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for former Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach after he failed to appear at a court hearing to answer questions about an eavesdropping operation so vast it once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps.

      The warrant, however, will not be sent to law enforcement for Zellerbach to be arrested unless he does not show up for another hearing on wiretaps, now scheduled for Sept. 30.

      “He should have been there,” said Jan Ronis, the attorney who subpoenaed Zellerbach. “But he just blew us off. We could have had court today.”

    • Arrest Warrant Issued For District Attorney Involved In DEA’s California Wiretap Warrant Mill

      It’s not uncommon for Zellerbach to go missing when people need him. When Zellerbach ran the DA’s office, he was rarely there. The DEA found his office to be just as accommodating, with or without him, though. Although the DEA was supposed to run its wiretap warrant requests through federal judges and have them signed by the district attorney himself, it often found it easier to obtain a signature from whoever happened to be at the office and run them by Riverside County judge Helios Hernandez, who approved five times as many wiretap applications as any other judge in the US.

      The wiretap applications’ reach frequently exceeded their jurisdictional grasp, traveling far outside of Riverside County, California, to be deployed against suspects as far away as North Carolina. But that was only one issue with the warrants applications approved by Zellerbach’s office.

      The DOJ’s lawyers didn’t like the DEA’s skirting of federal rules for wiretap applications.

    • Baltimore Police Are Secretly Spying on Residents from the Air: Bloomberg

      Since January, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has been using small aircrafts to spy on residents for as much as 10 hours a day, without informing the public, in a project financed by a private donor and facilitated by a private company, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

      The BPD, Bloomberg’s Monte Reel wrote, has been using aerial surveillance to investigate “all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings.” The cameras capture an area of roughly 30 square miles and transmit images to analysts on the ground, while footage gets automatically saved to hard drives for later review.

      The technology comes from a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems. Its president, Ross McNutt, developed a similar tool for the Pentagon while working for the U.S. Air Force in 2006. Over time, he modified the technology for commercial use. McNutt eventually pitched the service to the BPD after his company had faltered in finding a department for a long-term contract. He opened his office in Baltimore in January, above a parking garage, denoted only by a piece of paper taped to his door that reads, “Community Support Program.”

    • Baltimore PD Can Keep Tabs On The Entire City, Thanks To Privately-Donated Aerial Surveillance System

      When all you have is repurposed war gear, everything looks like a war zone.

      It’s not just the Pentagon handing out mine-resistant vehicles and military rifles to any law enforcement agency that can spell “terrorism” correctly on a requisition form. It’s also the FBI acting as a gatekeeper (and muzzle) for cell phone-tracking hardware originally developed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The latest addition to the pantheon of “war gear, but for local law enforcement” is aerial surveillance. While this sort of surveillance is nothing new — police have had helicopters for years — the tech deployed to capture recordings is.

      Bloomberg has a long, in-depth article on aerial surveillance tech deployed by the Baltimore Police Department — all without ever informing constituents. Baltimore isn’t the first city to deploy this repurposed military tech. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department gave the same gear a test run back in 2014. The LASD also did little to inform the public about its purchase, claiming that people might get paranoid and/or angry if they knew.

      Baltimore’s acquisition of Persistent Surveillance Systems’ 192-million megapixel eye in the sky also occurred under the cover of governmental darkness. The tech was given to the police and paid for by a private donor — which kept the public out of the loop and any FOIA-able paper trail to a minimum.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Deaf driver’s shooting death by trooper under investigation

      The North Carolina Highway Patrol is urging people not to jump to conclusions as state agents investigate how a deaf driver with a history of minor offenses ended up dead after leading a trooper on a 10-mile chase.

      The family of Daniel Kevin Harris said he was unarmed and suggested the sequence of events last week was a tragic misunderstanding — the type the state’s training manual warns troopers to avoid when dealing with the hearing impaired.

      The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Secretary Frank Perry of the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release.

      “Let us all refrain from making assumptions or drawing conclusions prior to the internal and independent reviews” by the patrol, the State Bureau of Investigation and the district attorney, said Perry, whose agency oversees the Highway Patrol.

    • Some thoughts that I don’t want to have, regarding people getting shot

      A number of (hearing) friends from a bunch of my (different) social circles recently sent me — almost simultaneously — links to news stories about Deaf people getting killed by cops who couldn’t communicate with them.

      This is nothing new. It’s been happening for ages. Someone with a gun gets scared and pulls the trigger, and someone else is dead. Maybe that person is Deaf. Maybe that person is Black. In any case, that person is now dead, and that’s not okay. (Maybe that person is both Deaf and Black, and we mention the second part but not the first. That’s disability erasure that, statistically, correlates highly with race; that’s also not okay.)

      I’ve been deaf as long as I can remember, and I’ve known these stories happened for a long, long time. But this is the first time I’ve watched them from inside the conversations of a Deaf community — for some definition of “inside” that includes confused mainstreamed-oral youngsters like me who are struggling to learn ASL and figure out where they fit.

    • Self-driving cars don’t care about your moral dilemmas

      As self-driving cars move from fiction to reality, a philosophical problem has become the focus of fierce debate among technologists across the world. But to the people actually making self driving cars, it’s kind of boring.

      The “trolley problem” is the name for a philosophical thought experiment created as an introduction to the moral distinction between action and inaction. The classic example is a runaway mine cart, hurtling down tracks towards a group of five oblivious people. With no time to warn them, your only option is to pull a switch and divert the cart on to a different track, which only has one person standing on it. You will save five lives, but at the cost of actively killing one person. What do you do?

      All kinds of tweaks and changes can be made to the basic problem, to examine different aspects of moral feeling. What if, rather than pulling a switch, you stop the mine cart by pushing one particularly large person in its way? What if the five people are all over the age of 80 and the one person is under 20? What if the five people are in fact five hundred kittens?

    • Engineers Say If Automated Cars Experience ‘The Trolley Problem,’ They’ve Already Screwed Up

      As self-driving cars inch closer to the mainstream, a common debate has surfaced: should your car be programmed to kill you if it means saving the lives of dozens of other people? This so-called “trolley problem” has been debated at universities for years, and while most consumers say they support automated vehicles that prioritize the lives of others on principle, they don’t want to buy or ride in one, raising a number of thorny questions.

      Should regulations and regulators focus on a utilitarian model where the vehicle is programmed to prioritize the good of the overall public above the individual? Or should self-driving cars be programmed to prioritize the welfare of the owner (the “self protective” model)? Would companies like Google, Volvo and others prioritize worries of liability over human lives when choosing the former or latter?

      [...]

      It’s still a question that needs asking, but with no obvious solution on the horizon, engineers appear to be focused on notably more mundane problems. For example one study suggests that while self-driving cars do get into twice the number of accidents of manually controlled vehicles, those accidents usually occur because the automated car was too careful — and didn’t bend the rules a little like a normal driver would (rear ended for being too cautious at a right on red, for example). As such, the current problem du jour isn’t some fantastical scenario involving an on-board AI killing you to save a busload of crying toddlers, but how to get self-driving cars to drive more like the inconsistent, sometimes downright goofy, and error-prone human beings they hope to someday replace.

    • Indonesia’s 51-Year-Old Ban on Communism to Stay in Place

      Indonesia’s current criminal code can send individuals to prison for “communist activities” for up to seven years.

      Indonesia maintained its ban on communism in its revision of the country’s criminal code system—controversial laws that have been in place for more than five decades.

    • School Board Elections in Ferguson Are Rigged Against Black Voters

      Nearly two years ago, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division began an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department for racial bias in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager. What federal investigators found wasn’t pretty: a police department that consistently engaged in unconstitutional policing and that thought of the overwhelmingly Black community it was supposed to protect and serve as revenue sources for the city’s government. After the Justice Department’s report was released, it was only fair to ask how many other local institutions in the Ferguson area were afflicted with bias.

      Yesterday, the answer came when a federal court held that the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s system for electing its school board members violates the Voting Rights Act. The court recognized what many Ferguson-area residents know all too well: Once official discrimination — in education, housing, and public infrastructure — was outlawed in the Ferguson area, it shifted in form to other means of achieving the same ignoble goals.

    • French Police Create Propaganda for ISIS by Ticketing Muslim Women on Beaches

      Photographs and video of French police officers issuing tickets to Muslim women — for violating new local ordinances that ban modest beachwear as an offense against “good morals and secularism” in more than a dozen towns along the Riviera — spread widely on social networks on Wednesday, prompting waves of outrage and mockery by opponents of the laws.

    • My Brother Was Brutally Murdered, But the Delaware Supreme Court’s Decision to Ban the Death Penalty Was the Right One

      As the sister of a murder victim who opposes the death penalty, the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in early August declaring the state’s death penalty statute unconstitutional gives me hope. The court’s decision affirms what death penalty opponents have known all along: Delaware’s death penalty doesn’t achieve justice for many reasons.

      The death penalty not only violates the rule of law, but it is costly, biased, prone to error, and ineffective at reducing violent crime and healing communities. Delaware’s statute, however, was particularly flawed. It had allowed a jury to recommend death without getting the approval of all 12 jurors, and it had allowed the judge in a capital case to override the jury’s sentencing recommendation to not put the convicted to death. Because the Delaware scheme diluted the historic role of a unanimous jury in criminal proceedings — to the point of denying capital defendants their constitutional right to a jury trial — the court struck it down.

    • “Deadly Heat” in U.S. Prisons Is Killing Inmates and Spawning Lawsuits

      In the summer months, 84 inmates at the Price Daniel Unit, a medium-security prison four hours west of Dallas, share a 10-gallon cooler of water that’s kept locked in a common area. An inmate there can expect to receive one 8 oz. cup every four hours, according to Benny Hernandez, a man serving a 10-year sentence at the prison. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults drink about twice that amount under normal conditions and even more in hot climates. According to Hernandez, in the summer the temperature in his prison’s housing areas can reach an astonishing 140 degrees.

      The prison provides ice for the cooler twice a day, but the ice has long melted before the hottest part of the day, he wrote in a post on Prison Writers, a website where inmates share their experiences behind bars. “Prisoners look upon the summer months in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) with dread and trepidation,” he wrote. “For one is acutely aware that one may not survive another summer. Many do not.”

    • Adam Curle, peace scholar: a centenary symposium

      Bradford University’s pioneering department devoted to peace education and research is honouring its founding professor. The world’s conflicts make it a timely event.

    • Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine

      On August 16, 2016, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) made another step in the intimidation and silencing of Ukrainians with dissenting opinion – SBU searched the apartment of Myroslava Berdnyk, a popular blogger and political writer who openly criticizes the post-Euromaidan authorities and exposes Ukrainian nationalism. She was detained for interrogation and later released.

      As with many other Ukrainians who refuse to join the anti-Russia crusade of the government in Kyiv, Myroslava Berdnyk now stands accused of undermining the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.

      Myroslava’s case is particularly significant and important because she is the daughter of Oles Berdnyk, a famous Ukrainian dissident who spent many years in Soviet prisons who was also a famous writer, writing many science fiction novels.

    • In Major Ruling, Grad Students Win Right to Unionize at Private Universities

      The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said Tuesday that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private colleges are employees—a ruling with “big implications” for both higher education and organized labor in the United States.

    • Held 14 Years Without Charge, CIA Torture ‘Guinea Pig’ Abu Zubaydah Asks for Freedom

      After 14 years of being held without charge, Guantánamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah, who was subject to brutal torture and is known as the “guinea pig” for the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) “enhanced interrogation program,” made his first appearance on Tuesday before the Periodic Review Board and requested to be set free.

      In a statement (pdf) read by his personal representative, he explained how he “initially believe that he did not have any chance or hope to be released” but has “come to believe that he might have a chance to leave Guantánamo.”

      Further, Zubaydah “expressed a desire to be reunited with his family and begin the process of recovering from injuries he sustained during his capture.” Among other abuses, the detainee lost an eye while in CIA custody.

    • A Rare Glimpse of Abu Zubaydah 14 Years After First CIA Torture Session

      Abu Zubaydah, 45, made his first appearance Tuesday on video from Guantanamo in a hearing before a Periodic Review Board, 14 years after the last day of a month-long interrogation at a CIA black site in Thailand. It was the first time the “enhanced interrogation techniques” approved by the Bush administration were used on a detainee.

      Back then, Abu Zubaydah still had his left eye.

      Representatives from the media, nongovernmental organizations, and academia were permitted to view the unclassified opening portion of the hearing from a conference room at the Pentagon, but the segment does not include any statement or comments from the detainee. It was the first glimpse outside observers got of Zubaydah since a photo of his face with an eye patch was published by Wikileaks in 2011; at one point he was touted as al Qaeda No. 3.

      [...]

      Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al Abidin Muhammad, was captured in a raid of a Faisalabad, Pakistan, house on March 28, 2002, suffering severe bullet wounds. The interrogation techniques used on him included stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and waterboarding, among others.

      Most notably perhaps, he was waterboarded 83 times.

    • Critics Say French Burkini Bans Employ Language of Human Rights to Limit Human Rights

      So-called ‘burkini bans’ in France have come under fierce criticism after images surfaced this week of police in Nice surrounding and forcing a Muslim woman to remove some of her clothes.

      A burkini, or burquini, is a full-body swimsuit “intended to accord with Islamic traditions of modest dress,” as Wikipedia put it.

      Last week, Nice became the latest of 15 French towns to ban the garment, arguing that it “overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks.” Last month, 86 people were killed in the seaside resort town when a truck drove into a Bastille Day celebration.

    • The Heart of Order

      He’d left the water running, flooding neighbors’ apartments. He’d been running around outside naked. By the time police arrived, he was standing in the window of his fourth-floor apartment on Farwell Avenue — a few blocks from where I live in the diverse, unpredictable Chicago neighborhood called Rogers Park — threatening to jump.

      He pointed his finger at the cops, pretending he had a gun. “Fuck the police,” he said. The standoff lasted four hours.

      But eventually he capitulated. The forces of sanity held sway. He was taken to a hospital. No one was hurt. (Phew-w-w!) And life in Rogers Park moved on.

      [...]

      Sixteen years — of war — later, I remain transfixed by that question. Why must social authority be symbolized with escalating bombast? Assault rifles, body armor, MRAPs? Then a scene from Robert Duvall’s 1997 movie The Apostle flickered for an instant in my mind. Billy Bob Thornton’s character, a racist with a bulldozer, is threatening to demolish the church that Duvall, a preacher on the run from the law, has constructed with his racially mixed congregation. Duvall sets his Bible in front of the bulldozer and Thornton is immobilized, indeed, reduced to tears. His hatred melts; the threat disappears.

    • [Older] Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

      Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place.

      The fiction of democracy remains useful, not only for corporations, but for our bankrupt liberal class. If the fiction is seriously challenged, liberals will be forced to consider actual resistance, which will be neither pleasant nor easy. As long as a democratic facade exists, liberals can engage in an empty moral posturing that requires little sacrifice or commitment. They can be the self-appointed scolds of the Democratic Party, acting as if they are part of the debate and feel vindicated by their cries of protest.

    • A black homeowner called 911 to report a carjacking. He wound up getting shot by police.

      An Indianapolis homeowner who called police to report an attempted armed robbery at his house was apparently mistaken for the suspect and shot in the stomach by a responding officer, authorities said.

      Carl Williams, a 48-year-old black man, called 911 early Tuesday morning and told the emergency dispatcher that an armed man tried to assault his wife outside their home, then stole her car keys and drove away in her car, according to a statement from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

      When two officers arrived at the property on the city’s east side, the homeowner, who was also armed and apparently prepared to confront the carjacker, emerged from his home, a law enforcement official told ABC affiliate RTV6.

    • HP hit with age-discrimination suit claiming older workers purged

      Four former employees of Silicon Valley tech icon Hewlett-Packard have filed an age discrimination lawsuit alleging they were ousted amid a purge of older workers.

      Hewlett-Packard began layoffs in 2012, before the company broke into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise last year, and have escalated the layoffs since, eventually hitting tens of thousands of workers.

      The goal “was to make the company younger,” said the complaint filed Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in San Jose. “In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination … and then systematically replacing them with younger employees. HP has hired a disproportionately large number of new employees under the age of 40 to replace employees aged 40 and older who were terminated.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Plagiarism Actions

        Drobetsky was a masters degree student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In her assigned 5-page reflection paper of the Benjamin Button movie, she apparently copied from Wikipedia and a blog post by Richard Larson. The allegations are “that a portion of one sentence in the reflection paper was copied word for word from the Wikipedia article, and portions of two other sentences were copied word for word from the Larson blog, without quotation marks, citation or attribution.”

        The school dismissed Drobetsky for plagiarism in violation of school policy – she sued in Illinois state court for readmittance, recover of the $53,000 paid to the school, etc.

      • EU Copyright Law Undermines Innovation and Creativity on the Internet. Mozilla is Fighting for Reform

        The internet is an unprecedented platform for innovation, opportunity and creativity. It’s where artists create; where coders and entrepreneurs build game-changing technology; where educators and researchers unlock progress; and where everyday people live their lives.

        The internet brings new ideas to life everyday, and helps make existing ideas better. As a result, we need laws that protect and enshrine the internet as an open, collaborative platform.

        But in the EU, certain laws haven’t caught up with the internet. The current copyright legal framework is outdated. It stifles opportunity and prevents — and in many cases, legally prohibits — artists, coders and everyone else from creating and innovating online. This framework was enacted before the internet changed the way we live. As a result, these laws clash with life in the 21st century.

      • SUPER-BREAKING NEWS: Leaked draft Impact Assessment shows that Commission intends to introduce new mandatory exceptions, address value gap and introduce related right for publishers

        What does the EU Commission intend to propose when it releases its next copyright package next month?

        This is a question that has been haunting EU copyright enthusiasts for a few months now.

      • Linking & Copyright rapid response event on 13 September: come join us!

        This is a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court. It was made in the context of proceedings between Sanoma (the publisher of Playboy magazine) and GS Media, concerning the publication by the latter on a website that it operates (GeenSijl) of hyperlinks to other websites hosting unpublished photographs taken for a forthcoming issue of Playboy

08.24.16

Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenIndiana Operating System Gets MATE 1.14 Desktop Environment, New ISOs

    Alexander Pyhalov from the OpenIndiana development team was happy to announce the availability of the latest MATE 1.14 open-source desktop environment for the Solaris-derived operating system.

  • 3 open source alternatives to Office 365

    It can be hard to get away from working and collaborating on the web. Doing that is incredibly convenient: as long as you have an internet connection, you can easily work and share from just about anywhere, on just about any device.

    The main problem with most web-based office suites—like Google Drive, Zoho Office, and Office365—is that they’re closed source. Your data also exists at the whim of large corporations. I’m sure you’ve heard numerous stories of, say, Google locking or removing accounts without warning.

    If that happens to you, you lose what’s yours. So what’s an open source advocate who wants to work with web applications to do? You turn to an open source alternative, of course. Let’s take a look at three of them.

  • NGINX’s Plan to Create a $1 Billion Business from its Open Source Software

    NGINX Inc. has a set an ambitious goal for itself: To become a $1 billion company within the next eight to 10 years. It will not be an easy task, especially given that its biggest competitor may be its own well-engineered open source software. For NGINX, the key to success will be to successfully get customers from additional markets.

    The open source NGINX project, which began in 2002, is a widely-used high-performance web server and reverse proxy. However, the commercial company, NGINX Inc., created to support the open source project, was founded much later, in 2011, with the first commercial product in 2013.

  • Hazelcast Releases Version 3.7

    Hazelcast, a provider of an open source in-memory data grid, has announced the general availability of Hazelcast 3.7. According to the company, the latest release is 30% faster than previous versions and is the first fully modularized version of Hazelcast. Each client/language and plugin is now available as a module – speeding up the development process for open source contributors, with new features and bug fixes released as modules alongside Hazelcast 3.7.

    Hazelcast continues to expand its footprint beyond its traditional “Java heartland,” the company says. The Hazelcast open source community has created clients for programming environments including Java, Scala, .Net/C#, C++, Python, Node.js, and Clojure. Java and Scala can be used for both clients and embedded members.

  • Hazelcast releases 3.7: cloud-enabled, 30% faster and the first fully modularized in-memory data grid
  • How to measure your community’s health

    How do you measure the health of your community, identify problems, and track progress towards your goals? What should you be measuring?

    Last month we discussed vanity metrics, those metrics that might sound impressive on the surface, but ultimately give you little insight or guidance to improve the health and well-being of your community. This naturally begs the question: What should you be measuring? And as I mentioned last month, the obvious but annoying answer: It depends. The first and foremost dependency relates to the nature of your community and where you and your members want it to go.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) to Remove Chrome applications from Mac, Linux, Windows
      • Google Makes Changes to the Chrome App Ecosystem

        Google is making some sweeping changes in the way Chrome, Chrome OS and Android handle apps and applications. The company has announced that it is moving away from the app platform on its Chrome browser for all platforms aside from Chromebooks. Beginning in late 2016, you will require a Chromebook to be able to download new Chrome apps, although existing apps will be usable and developers can still release updates.

        Meanwhile, many Chrome OS users are beginning to use Android apps on the platform. Android apps arrived on Chromebooks in a heavy-handed way in June, but the developer channel was still buggy. Now, a new implementation has entered the beta channel with some much needed stability.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Walmart, Comcast Hasten Innovation, Improve Agility With OpenStack

      As new technologies like applications and programming languages are introduced, it’s important for companies to remain flexible and fast enough to adapt, which is why Walmart and Comcast have embraced OpenStack.

      By adopting OpenStack solution OneOps, Walmart doesn’t have to spend unnecessary time writing code or automating new processes in order to keep up with new technologies, Andrew Mitry, OpenStack Lead at Walmart, explained today at OpenStack East 2016.

      Walmart already uses more than 3,000 applications and services and has more than 170,000 cores in more than 30 regions, with more than 60 Open Source products that are deployed more than 40,000 times each month. With OneOps, Walmart can automate low-level processes like load balance and firewalls using OneOps, which Mitry said frees up time and resources to manage more intricate processes that require manual oversight.

  • Databases

    • MySQL daddy Widenius: Open-source religion won’t feed MariaDB

      MySQL daddy Monty Widenius has dismissed claims the MariaDB fork is veering away from open source.

      Rather, the chief technology officer of MariaDB corporation called his firm’s embrace of a commercial licence for part of MariaDB “critical” to delivering new revenue and for the continued development of open-source software.

      Widenius told The Register in an interview that he believes criticism of MariaDB’s commercial licence for its new database proxy sever, MaxScale 2.0, is motivated by a “religious” belief in free and open source software.

      Not that Widenius is against the belief per se, he told The Register, it’s just: “Religion doesn’t put meat on the table.”

    • Percona Celebrates 10 Years of Leading the Open Source Database Revolution
  • CMS

    • How to Resolve Your Open Content Management Quandary

      After years of development and competition, open source content management systems (CMS) have proliferated and are very powerful tools for building, deploying and managing web sites, blogs and more. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla.

      As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue. The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished. There are even good options for trying open CMS systems online before you choose one. Here, in this newly updated post, you’ll find some very good resources.

      he first thing to pursue as you evaluate CMS systems to deploy, including the many free, good platforms, is an overview of what is available. CMSMatrix.org is a great site for plotting out side-by-side comparisons of what CMS systems have to offer. In fact, it lets you compare the features in over 1200 content management system products. Definitely take a look. This site also has a good overview of the options.

    • Postleaf is an open-source blogging platform for the design-conscious

      Content management systems are boring until you have to use one. You can install a little Drupal or WordPress, pick up some Squarespace, or just dump to Medium, the graveyard for posts about protein shakes and VC funding. But what if you could roll your own CMS? And what if you made it really cool?

      That’s what Cory LaViska did. LaViska is the founder of SurrealCMS and has been making it easy to edit stuff on the web for nine years. Rather than build and sell an acceptable CMS, however, he took all of his best ideas and made a far better CMS. And he made it open source and called it Postleaf.

  • Education

    • Schools that #GoOpen should #GoOpenSource

      School administrators know that traditional proprietary textbooks are expensive. Teachers in budget-strapped schools often face shortages of textbooks. Worse, print content is usually out-of-date as soon as the ink dries on the page. There has to be something better than students hauling bulbous backpacks loaded with dead knowledge stamped on dead trees.

      In the fall of 2015, the U.S. Department of Education launched the #GoOpen campaign, an initiative encouraging public schools to adopt openly-licensed digital educational materials to transform teaching and learning, and perhaps lighten both backpacks and textbook bills. The Department recently published the #GoOpen District Launch Packet, a useful step-by-step implementation guide for schools planning a transition from traditional textbooks to Open Educational Resources (OER).

      We should applaud the Department of Education’s efforts to promote affordable, equitable, and quality educational materials for all schools. Their initiative empowers educators to curate, shape, and share educational content at a local level. No longer is the written word of proprietary publishers like Pearson the fountain of all classroom knowledge. Districts that choose to #GoOpen opt to honor teacher expertise, empower them to build communities of shared practice, and encourage collaboration with colleagues across counties and states. Given unfettered permission to revise, remix, and redistribute curriculum material, teachers are trusted to become active agents in the creation of high-quality learning materials.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Be Bold, Be Curious, and Be Open, Advise Outreachy Participants

      In Tuesday afternoon’s “Kernel Internship Report and Outreachy Panel” session at LinuxCon North America, interns and mentors involved with the Outreachy program spoke enthusiastically of their experiences with the program. The panel was moderated by Karen M. Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and organizer of Outreachy.

      Sandler provided an overview of the Outreachy program, which offers a paid three-month internship for women and other underrepresented groups to work on a free and open source software project. Helen M Koike Fornazier, a former Outreachy intern and now a Software Engineer at Collabora, described her Linux kernel project involving video4linux, with Laurent Pinchart as her mentor. She wrote a driver, which simulates some media hardware using the Media API.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Uganda eager to tap into open source

      Uganda’s Ministry of ICT recently developed a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) policy to regulate the deployment of open source software and use of open standards to accelerate innovation and develop local content.

      At the 7th African Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), organised in conjunction with Uganda’s National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to encourage industry partnerships and uptake of OSS in East Africa, open software was recognised for its contribution to innovation.

      Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda, said, “Free and open software services will help my ministry to innovate better because it forms the platform (for) many of the innovative ideas. Free and open source software in Uganda is certainly something we have been talking about and I am sure we will do so even more in the next few days. Some of the things Uganda has put in place to harness the benefit from free and open source software include a Software Strategy and Policy in accordance with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Trade, Services and Development expert meeting’s determination that free and open source software is an inseparable component of the global technology ecosystem.”

    • Ireland’s govt IT: Recession and job cuts forced us to adapt

      Ireland was hit hard by the global financial crunch of 2007 and 2008. It was the first of the EU member states to slip into recession immediately following the bursting of the economic bubble.

      As the economy contracted, banks faced default and government debt increased, with Ireland eventually taking an €67.5bn loan from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

      Falling tax income and the need to bail out banks saw the Irish government spending in other areas of public life.

      The government had introduced the Public Sector Recruitment Embargo in 2009, which stopped hiring of all civil servants across government and cut pay and pensions – in return for a promise of no compulsory redundancies.

    • Oh! The Horror! Ireland Stays Enslaved To MS

      For 15 years or so, I was in those same financial straits in schools where I taught and GNU/Linux and FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) was the obvious solution. Obviously, one is better off to have IT for all rather than paying monopolistic prices for IT for a few. In schools, that meant extending the life of IT, elimination of malware and re-re-reboots, freedom from paper, freight for paper, storage for paper, … For governments freedom from lock-in to M$ and “friends” saved huge sums which could have been better spent on hardware or employees. Sigh.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Digital Asset Holdings to open up DAML for developers

      Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain start-up commanded by Blythe Masters, has announced that it will be open-sourcing its DAML modelling language.

      DAML, which Digital Asset describes as a “smart-contact-like” system for financial applications and supporting tools, is hailed by the company as a solution to the current market of modelling languages being unsuitable for regulated financial applications.

      “Many that are exploring the use of smart contracts — legal agreements written as executable code to automate the processing of rights and obligations on a distributed ledger — are discovering the deficiencies with available smart contract languages,” the firm writes in a statement.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel

      These scientists didn’t have to write a scientific paper on the problems that Microsoft Excel causes. An easier fix would be “to raise awareness of the problem” via Excel UserVoice or reach out to the Excel team on Twitter for a faster response. It is a bit alarming that 20% of scientific papers have errors due to Excel, but it’s even more confusing that scientists don’t try to figure out a way to solve the problem. This latest scientific paper is not the first of its kind, as a Bing search can easily reveal.

    • Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature

      The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Officials Pull Water Supply as Dakota Access Protest Swells in Number and Spirit

      Growing in number and spirit, the Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline is swiftly gaining strength ahead of a federal hearing on the controversial project. Support has spread across the country, and thousands have descended on the peaceful “prayer camps” in recent days, prompting state officials on Monday to remove the demonstrators’ drinking water supply.

      North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the sweltering heat, because of alleged disorderly conduct, according to the Bismarck Tribune, including reports of laser pointers aimed at surveillance aircraft.

    • After 525 years, it’s time to actually listen to Native Americans

      The center of the fight for our planet’s future shifts. But this week it’s on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation straddling the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There, tribal members have been, well, standing like a rock in the way of the planned Dakota Access Pipeline, a huge hose for collecting oil out of the Bakken shale and carrying it off to the Midwest and the Gulf where it can be made into gasoline.

      The standoff has been picturesque and dramatic, featuring American Indians on horseback. But mostly it’s been brave and lonely, far from most journalists and up against the same forces that have made life hard for Indigenous Peoples for centuries.

      The U.S. Army, for instance. It’s the Army Corps of Engineers that last month granted Energy Transfer Corporation the permit necessary to start construction near the reservation, despite a petition signed by 150,000 people, and carried—on foot—by young people from the reservation all the way to Washington. That would be the same U.S. Army that—well, google “Wounded Knee.” Or “Custer.” “Washita River.” “Pine Ridge.”

    • EpiPen Uproar Highlights Company’s Family Ties to Congress

      The CEO of a Fortune 500 company, who is also the daughter of a U.S. senator, is under fire from for jacking up the rates of life-saving anti-allergy device known as the EpiPen.

      Heather Bresch, whose father is U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), became president of Mylan Pharmaceutical in 2009 and CEO in 2012. She is no stranger to controversy: She moved Mylan’s headquarters to The Netherlands last year, after a corporate “inversion” merger with Abbott Laboratories.

      The move enabled the company to operate its headquarters in the U.S. but maintain corporate citizenship in Holland, benefiting from a lower tax rate.

      But the EpiPen scandal, sparked by a sudden price hike, could cause more trouble for the company, its CEO, and her lawmaker father. This week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, demanded hearings on the EpiPen’s 450 percent price increase in just seven years.

    • WTO, WHO, WIPO Host Discussions On Antimicrobial Resistance In October

      Antimicrobial resistance has been described as a major threat to public health, as infections, even minor, might become killers again, if no new antibiotics are discovered. In October, the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization will join forces for a symposium organised to discuss how to foster innovation, and access.

      A Joint Technical Symposium on “Antimicrobial Resistance: How to Foster Innovation, Access and Appropriate Use of Antibiotics?” will be held on 25 October at WIPO.

      Antibiotic resistance, although occurring naturally as microbes become resistant to treatment, is said to worsened by overuse or misuse of antibiotics. Another factor accounting for the lack of private sector innovation seems to be that once a new antibiotic is found, it must be used sparsely in order to keep microbes from developing resistance, an approach that runs contrary to successful commercial markets.

    • WHO Pandemic Flu Review Group Meets Next Week
  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UN Calls for 48-Hour Ceasefire So Aid Can Reach War-Ravaged Aleppo

      The United Nations is urging all factions inside Syria to commit to a 48-hour ceasefire so that emergency aid and relief workers can save lives and offer assistance to those caught inside the war-ravaged city of Aleppo.

    • Life and Death In Aleppo

      It is all still going on in Aleppo, where the U.N. has now dubbed desperate relief efforts “the apex of horror.” Omran Daqneesh, 5, the stunned and bloodied boy in the ambulance, survived. This weekend his 10-year-old brother Ali, buried longer in rubble from the same airstrike, has died, one of over 100 children of Aleppo killed just this month in similar attacks. Their deaths, it must be noted, were not as widely publicized, but just as deeply mourned.

      As much as the viral image of Omran came to represent Syria’s devastation for those distant from it, says Syrian activist Kenan Rahmani, Omran was a fleeting symbol, a trending hashtag soon gone from many memories. Ali, he says, is grim, ongoing reality. “Ali is the suffering itself, that which Omran tried to convey to us,” he writes. “Ali is the utter loss of everything. Ali is Syria as Syrians know it.” While Rahmani sorrowfully argues “no story in Syria has a happy ending,” there are at least shards of hope and moments of respite. In this extraordinary footage, newly surfaced from July, doctors perform an emergency C-section trying to save a mother and baby wounded in a barrel bomb attack. See the moment one calls, “That’s it! Cry! Cry!” Then help them save more here or here.

    • Propaganda for Syrian ‘Regime Change’

      Neocons and liberal hawks have poured millions of dollars into propaganda to justify “regime change” in Syria and are now desperate to keep the war going until President Hillary Clinton gets a chance to escalate, as Rick Sterling describes.

    • Militant Leader Talks About Break With Al Qaeda and Possible Syrian Rebel Merger

      Such a merger would also make it easier for U.S. officials to justify targeting other Syrian opposition groups like Ahrar al-Sham, as it would more closely associate them with a designated terrorist organization. Along with the Syrian government and mainstream opposition groups, Jabhat Fath al-Sham has been accused by monitoring organizations of committing systematic human rights abuses over the course of Syria’s civil war, including kidnappings and extrajudicial executions.

    • What’s Next for Turkey’s Exiled Cleric Fethullah Gülen?

      At the time, I was shocked by this description of a massive organization. The Gülenists were, according to Mr. X, recruiting in the police, the judicial system, and other government agencies. Gülen’s followers were creating a playbook for religious adherents to survive in a government dominated by a rigid secular ideology promulgated by the Kemalists.

    • Is Turkey’s Pivot to Russia about Erdogan’s Survival?

      The attempted coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey shook that country’s political system to the core. Although President Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had broken in 2013 with his former allies, the right wing religious cult around Fethullah Gulen, he appears to have believed that he had tamed it. He survived the members’ leak of recorded conversations pointing to AKP corruption and support of fundamentalist militias in Syria. His party went on winning elections without the Gulenists, who were revealed to have less popular support than they had imagined.

    • A revolution is not a dinner party

      Does the word “revolution” mean the same thing to the Kurdish liberation movement and to American leftists who supported Bernie Sanders? A little history…

    • Israel sold weapons to Argentina at height of Falklands War, reveal declassified Foreign Office files

      Israel sold weapons to Argentina at the height of the Falklands War in 1982, according to newly declassified Foreign Office files.

      British diplomats cited evidence that Israel had supplied the Argentine military junta with arms that were used against the Task Force during the campaign to liberate the islands.

      Israeli military exports before the war included the Skyhawk jets that would later be used to bomb British warships, killing dozens of soldiers, sailors and marines.

      Four British warships were sunk by bombs dropped from Skyhawks, including RFA Sir Galahad, a troop carrier that was set ablaze while anchored in Bluff Cove, killing 48 sailors and soldiers. Simon Weston, the badly burned veteran, was among the survivors. Another four ships were damaged by Skyhawks.

    • Such a long silence on Yemen

      Early this August, the Pentagon announced plans to sell weapons worth $1.15 billion to Saudi Arabia. The news itself was not surprising as the Arab kingdom is one of America’s biggest arms buyers, but the timing of the announcement was rather conspicuous. The Saudis had resumed heavy bombardment of Yemen after a lull as part of the peace process. By deciding to send in more tanks and armaments to Saudi Arabia at a time when the kingdom faces severe international criticism for rights violations in Yemen, including the killing of children, the U.S. was unmistakably sending a message that it’s with Riyadh in this war.

    • Lawmakers, Peace Groups Team Up to Block ‘Disturbing’ US-Saudi Arms Deal

      Anti-war advocates are launching an 11th-hour bid to stop U.S. Congress from approving a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in its fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which was announced earlier this month.

      Chief among them are the activist group CODEPINK and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who are calling on Congress to block the sale at least long enough to give lawmakers time to “give these issues the full deliberation that they deserve.”

      Congress has 30 days to object to the deal, announced August 9. Lieu has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives from Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), and Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), all of whom are sending a letter to the Obama administration on Thursday asking to delay the trade, citing the recent bombings of hospitals, schools, and residential areas by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

      “I taught the law of war when I was on active duty,” Lieu told The Intercept on Monday. (Lieu served in the U.S. Air Force and is an Air Force Reserves colonel.) “You can’t kill children, newlyweds, doctors and patients—those are exempt targets under the law of war, and the coalition has been repeatedly striking civilians. So it is very disturbing to me. It is even worse that the U.S. is aiding this coalition.”

    • Deadline This Thursday: Urge Your Representative to Block Saudi Arms Deal
    • Moscow, August 1991: a world-changing failure

      25 years ago, an attempted takeover by communist hardliners led to the Soviet Union’s collapse.

    • British woman stabbed to death at Australian hostel by attacker shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’

      A British woman has been killed after being stabbed at a hostel in Australia by man who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.

      A 30-year-old British man is also in a critical condition following the attack at the Shelly’s Backpackers in the town of Home Hill in Queensland at around 11:15pm local time on Tuesday, police said.

      Queensland Police Service said up to 30 people witnessed the “senseless act of violence” at a room in the hostel.

      A 29-year-old French national was arrested at the scene and taken into custody. He was then transferred to hospital for treatment for “non-life threatening” injuries.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Leading Doctor Calls Climate Change Gravest Health Threat of 21st Century

      Climate change is the greatest threat to public health worldwide and doctors must step up to help mitigate it, according to a leading advocate speaking at the annual Canadian Medical Association (CMA) meeting in Vancouver on Monday.

      Dr. James Orbinski, a former top official with the medical charity Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who is now an an associate professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, urged physicians to “step up and step out” in the fight against climate change as part of their duties to create “health-in-all” policies.

      “We’re not separate from our biosphere, or our planet,” Orbinski told the audience of 600. “We can’t possibly live, survive, and thrive without our biosphere. It affects us and we affect it.”

      “Climate change is very much of our own making…but as doctors, we have a vital responsibility to urge the development of a health-in-all-policies approach,” he said.

      The summit is taking place following extreme weather events and other environmental catastrophes throughout Canada, from wildfires in Fort McMurray to a massive oil spill in Saskatchewan.

    • Gulf Residents Arrested Telling Obama: More Drilling Equals More Floods

      A group of Gulf residents were arrested after occupying the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) office in New Orleans on Tuesday, where they were demanding that President Barack Obama cancel an imminent lease sale for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

      The BOEM auction scheduled for Wednesday would sell off an area the size of Virginia for fossil fuel drilling and exploration. It is set to take place in the Superdome “behind locked doors,” according to a press statement from protest organizers.

      Obama will tour Baton Rouge on Tuesday, in the wake of catastrophic flooding that hit Louisiana last week.

    • Louisiana Climate-Deniers Who Refused Sandy Victims Now Want Federal Flood Relief

      As residents of Louisiana this week struggle to recover from “one of the worst floods in modern history,” there is a chance that federal aid may not be so forthcoming thanks to a trio of Bayou State Republicans, who back in 2013 voted against helping victims of another storm: Sandy.

      House majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise, Rep. John Fleming, and Sen. Bill Cassidy all cast their votes against the $50.5 billion relief package because of their dogmatic adherence to austerity economics. At the time, Scalise said, “Paying for disasters and being fiscally responsible are not mutually exclusive.”

      But, as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik and others noted this week, that decision may come to haunt them.

      “No one is saying that the flood-stricken communities of Louisiana don’t deserve all the assistance that the U.S. government can provide them,” Hiltzik wrote. “But so did the residents of the Sandy zone. How do the lawmakers’ 2013 votes to deny relief to those Northeast communities square with their demand for emergency flood assistance now?”

      All three signed onto a letter sent to President Barack Obama earlier this month calling for a disaster declaration and requesting “that vital federal resources be made available in an expedited manner.”

    • State pulls relief resources from swelling Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp

      North Dakota’s homeland security director ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest campsite Monday, citing mounting reports of unlawful activity — the latest involving lasers — and the risk of damage.

      “Based on the scenario down there, we don’t believe that equipment is secure,” Homeland Security Division Director Greg Wilz said.

    • Indonesian parliament to investigate fire-linked firms in Riau

      The Indonesian parliament will form a task force to look into the cancelling of investigations against 15 companies alleged to be complicit in fires in Riau, the country’s top palm oil producing province.

      Legislators made the announcement on Friday as burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan continued to spread, prompting emergency responses from authorities there. The fires are an annual scourge caused by illegal slash-and-burn land clearing practices by companies and farmers, usually to make way for oil palm and timber plantations.

      The fires this week were most concentrated in West Kalimantan province, on Indonesia’s part of Borneo island, with 158 hotspots there on Friday, according to Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. That was up from 106 a day earlier. Following a request from the governor, the agency will begin cloud seeding operations next week and send in two water-bombing helicopters in the meantime.

    • Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them

      After a century of shooing away hunters, tending to trails and helping visitors enjoy the wonder of the natural world, the guardians of America’s most treasured places have been handed an almost unimaginable new job – slowing the all-out assault climate change is waging against national parks across the nation.

      As the National Parks Service (NPS) has charted the loss of glaciers, sea level rise and increase in wildfires spurred by rising temperatures in recent years, the scale of the threat to US heritage across the 412 national parks and monuments has become starkly apparent.

      As the National Parks Service turns 100 this week, their efforts to chart and stem the threat to the country’s history faces a daunting task. America’s grand symbols and painstakingly preserved archaeological sites are at risk of being winnowed away by the crashing waves, wildfires and erosion triggered by warming temperatures.

      The Statue of Liberty is at “high exposure” risk from increasingly punishing storms. A national monument dedicated to abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who will be enshrined on a new $20 note, could be eaten away by rising tides in Maryland. The land once walked by Pocahontas and Captain John Smith in Jamestown, the first English settlement in the US, is surrounded by waters rising at twice the global average and may be beyond rescue.

    • Blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica – and that’s a bad thing

      In a new study, scientists who study the largest ice mass on Earth – East Antarctica – have found that it is showing a surprising feature reminiscent of the fastest melting one: Greenland.

      More specifically, the satellite-based study found that atop the coastal Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica’s Dronning Maud Land, large numbers of “supraglacial” or meltwater lakes have been forming – nearly 8,000 of them during summer months between the year 2000 and 2013. Moreover, in some cases, just as in Greenland, these lakes appear to have then been draining down into the floating parts of the glacier, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

      This is the first time that such a drainage phenomenon has been observed in East Antarctica, the researchers say – though it was previously spotted on the warmer Antarctic Peninsula and was likely part of what drove spectacular events there like the shattering of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002.

      When it comes to East Antarctica, however, “that’s the part of the continent where people have for quite a long time assumed that it’s relatively stable, there’s not a huge amount of change, it’s very, very cold, and so, it’s only very recently that the first supraglacial lakes, on top of the ice, were identified,” said Stewart Jamieson, a glaciologist at Durham University in the UK and one of the study’s authors.

    • Nuclear waste accident 2 years ago may cost more than $2 billion to clean up

      The Los Angeles Times is estimating that an explosion that occurred at a New Mexico nuclear waste dumping facility in 2014 could cost upwards of $2 billion to clean up.

      Construction began on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico’s Carlsbad desert in the 1980s (PDF). The site was built to handle transuranic waste from the US’ nuclear weapons program. The WIPP had been eyed to receive nuclear waste from commercial, power-generating plants as well.

      According to the LA Times, the 2014 explosion at the WIPP was downplayed by the federal government, with the Department of Energy (DoE) putting out statements indicating that cleanup was progressing quickly. Indeed, a 2015 Recovery Plan insisted that “limited waste disposal operations” would resume in the first quarter of 2016. Instead, two years have passed since the incident without any indication that smaller nuclear waste cleanup programs around the US will be able to deliver their waste to the New Mexico facility any time soon.

      Ars contacted the DoE for comment and has not received a response. We will update this article if we hear back.

    • Nuclear accident in New Mexico ranks among the costliest in U.S. history

      When a drum containing radioactive waste blew up in an underground nuclear dump in New Mexico two years ago, the Energy Department rushed to quell concerns in the Carlsbad desert community and quickly reported progress on resuming operations.

      The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

      But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

      The Feb. 14, 2014, accident is also complicating cleanup programs at about a dozen current and former nuclear weapons sites across the U.S. Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for the dump are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere, state officials said in interviews.

    • Germany: Renewable gains, won by people’s power, face corporate threat

      In 2000, renewable energy made up just 6.3% of Germany’s electricity. By last year, it had risen to 31%.

      Cloudy Germany became a leading innovator in solar energy. It did so not by subsidising large power utility companies, but by mobilising hundreds of thousands into energy cooperatives. The two legs of this democratic energy transition are Germany’s commitment to phase out nuclear power and its feed-in tariffs, which allowed small renewable energy producers to sell their electricity.

      Both policies were fruits of the environmental movement. Now, the feed-in tariffs are under attack by the right-wing Angela Merkel government, which wants to hand over renewable energy to large corporations.

      The anti-nuclear leg of the renewable energy transition came out of protest. It was born out of a struggle against a nuclear power plant begun in the early 1970s.

      By the time the plant’s construction was stopped in 1977, the anti-nuclear movement had organised a 10-month occupation by 20,000-30,000 people at the construction site. The victory sparked similar protests across the country.

  • Finance

    • Postal Workers To Rally Against TPP Tuesday

      The 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding its biennial convention in Orlando this week. As part of that convention, there will be a rally to publicize opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The rally will take place Tuesday, August 23 at 3:30 pm beginning in the Hemisphere Ballroom of Orlando’s Dolphin Hotel.

    • From the destruction of Greece to democracy in Europe

      In protesting the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, John Maynard Keynes wrote: “The policy . . . of depriving the lives of millions of human beings, of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable — abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe.”

      Last year’s third bailout of Greece, imposed by Europe and the International Monetrary Fund, does to Greece what Versailles did to Germany: It strips assets to satisfy debts. Germany lost its merchant marine, its rolling stock, its colonies, and its coal; Greece has lost its seaports, its airports — the profitable ones — and is set to sell off its beaches, the public asset that is a uniquely Greek glory. Private businesses are being forced into bankruptcy to make way for European chains; private citizens are being forced into foreclosure on their homes. It’s a land grab.

    • Is the TPP falling apart? Let’s take a look at where the 12 nations are at

      As the ratification fight intensifies, we’re watching closely as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) winds its way through national legislatures across the globe. So grab your popcorn, and let’s take a look at where the TPP stands in each country yet to ratify.

      United States

      In addition to opposition from both major U.S. presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the TPP recently faced two significant setbacks as Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi came out against the deal and House Speaker Paul Ryan deemed it pointless to even bring it up during the Lame Duck session of Congress later this year.

      However, President Obama is convinced he’s “got the better argument,” for this “political football” and is continuing to push hard for TPP ratification, as claims abound that a failure to do so could have costly consequences for the U.S. as a power in the Asian-Pacific region and in the eyes of its partners. He recently put Congress on notice that the TPP is coming, so it looks like we’ve a major fight ahead of us this fall.

    • Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers

      Summary: Hurricane Katrina hit eleven years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people from 484,674 in 2000 to 389,617 in 2015. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. Child poverty is up, double the national average. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. The economic gap between well off whites and low income African Americans is widening. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.

    • The average American family had the same amount of wealth in 2013 as it did in 1989

      The analysis shows the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans now hold three-quarters of the nation’s wealth, up from two-thirds in 1989, and a three percentage-point increase from the start of the recession. Most Americans found themselves with less wealth in 2013 than Americans of a similar age had in 1989; the only age group doing better than its counterparts from a quarter-century ago was senior citizens.

      The report was commissioned at the request of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who made inequality a central theme of his run for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. In a statement, he said the analysis “makes clear that since the 1980s there has been an enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the wealthiest people in this country.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Stoking Russia Panic for Partisan Gain Will Have a Long-Term Price for Peace

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein doesn’t have a show at all, let alone on RT. She once attended a function hosted by RT, which, by our current standards of liberal discourse, makes her a Kremlin agent, but the fact that such a demonstrably false statement could be made on cable news to thousands of people without anyone bothering to correct it shows how easy Russia panic is to stoke.

      Earlier in the segment, Nance made the claim that “someone” in Trump’s campaign “may” be an “agent of Russia,” citing a recent report in the Financial Times (8/19/16) alleging that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s former translator “may” have “links” to Russian intelligence.

      The irony, of course, is that Nance himself has far more recent and better documented ties to US intelligence, but MSNBC feels no need to convince viewers he is not a CIA plant spreading disinformation.

      Nance had a hot tip, offered in smarmy “insider” tones: “Here’s a bit of strategic intelligence for you. Russia is doing a military massing of forces in Crimea in what appears to be an ‘October Surprise.’” That’s correct, an MSNBC contributor is openly speculating Russia will invade Ukraine for the express purposes of influencing the US elections.

      [...]

      Asking questions about Trump’s links to overseas money is entirely fair and above board (as are questions about Clinton’s ties to foreign funders). But to give the Trump charges more moral urgency, liberal pundits are dusting off old Cold War panic and playing up the reach, scope and sinister motives of Russia.

      The effects of this, if and when Clinton takes the White House, will be hard to downplay. How can the US negotiate the end of the Syrian conflict or the Ukrainian crisis if the public, even MSNBC-watching liberals, views Russia as irredeemably aggressive and incapable of ever being a US “friend”? In the interest of short-term partisan gain, pundits on America’s nominally liberal cable network are damaging the prospects of normalizing relations with Russia for years to come.

    • Let them debate

      Before 1988 the non-partisan League of Women Voters was the sponsor of presidential debates. Before that year’s debates between Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis, however, the League pulled out.

      The candidates, the League claimed, had entered into deal deciding how the debates would unfold, including which candidates would be allowed and who would get to ask the questions. They wanted no part of that.

      Stepping into the void to decide the rules was the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has run all the presidential debates since. They are comprised of Democrats and Republicans. Essentially, the candidates are still deciding the rules.

      And to the surprise of no one, Democrats and Republicans are doing their best to keep other parties out, forcing Americans to choose between them. This year both the Republican and Democratic candidates are hugely unpopular, setting new records for unfavorable ratings. To many Americans, it is truly a choice of the lesser evil.

    • Emails threaten to shadow Clinton through Election Day

      The fallout over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server appears certain to dog her until Election Day, after a federal judge ordered the State Department to accelerate its production of nearly 15,000 previously-unreleased emails uncovered by the FBI.

      The State Department is under intense pressure from Republicans to release the full set before Nov. 8.

      But sorting through all 14,900 documents is a gargantuan task. The first batch likely won’t be released until mid-October — just weeks before Americans head to the polls.

      It’s also not clear what the emails contain. They weren’t in the original trove of 30,000 documents that Clinton voluntarily turned over to the State Department in 2014. And their release could put her on the defense in the critical final stretch of the election.

      The revelation of the thousands of additional documents dovetailed with Monday’s release of another set of emails that exposed uncomfortably close ties between Clinton’s staff and the Clinton Foundation during her tenure as secretary of State.

      It was only the latest development in a long controversy Clinton has struggled to move beyond.

    • Clinton e-mail service providers served subpoenas by House, Senate

      Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, has sent subpoenas to three companies that provided services related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server. The subpoena seeks information on how secure the server was and whether it was protected within the guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for systems used by government employees. Smith’s subpoenas were supported by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

      The subpoenas were sent to executives of the data security firm Datto, SECNAP Network Security, and the ISP and managed services provider Platte River Networks. Datto’s SIRIS disaster recovery service was used to back up the e-mail server hosting ClintonEmail.com, and SECNAP provided its Cloudjacket managed intrusion detection and prevention service to the Clinton server. Platte River Networks apparently managed the server for at least part of the period that Clinton and her staff used e-mail accounts on it while at the State Department. All three companies had previously declined to provide information to Smith’s committee voluntarily.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Latest Email Scapegoat: Colin Powell

      Hillary Clinton has struggled for months to find a satisfactory explanation for why she chose to use a private email server and a personal email address while she was secretary of state, a choice that FBI Director James Comey described as resulting in “extremely careless” handling of classified information. Publicly, none of her excuses have met with much success.

    • Democrats are kidding themselves: The House is out of reach, period [Ed: mentioned before, reposted]

      Hillary Clinton has put the Electoral College into checkmate. She’s closer to Donald Trump in many red states like Kansas and Texas than he is to her in key swing states.

      As her lead swells, naturally, fired-up Democrats and a restless media have turned their attention to a more exciting story: Can Democrats retake the House of Representatives? But the outcome there is not really in doubt, either.

      It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones — as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.
      Even if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in a landslide, there are simply not enough competitive districts remaining to give the Democrats any chance at winning the House.

    • Latest Hillary Email Scandal Revelation

      Hillary lied about not having classified State Department material on her personal home server. She lied about turning over to the State Department all emails relating to agency business.

      On Monday, the FBI announced discovery of 15,000 previously undisclosed emails. Some are personal. Others show foreign officials sought favors in return for large Clinton Foundation donations.

      Judicial Watch (JW) president Tom Fitton asked “(w)hen will State release them? It looks like the State Department is trying to slow-roll the release of the records. They’ve had them for at least a month, and we still don’t know when we’re going to get them.”

    • Donald Trump’s Odd Pitch for the Black Vote: Wooing With Insults

      Donald Trump has a problem. He is polling as low as 1 percent among African-American voters nationwide, and in the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, he has earned an astonishing 0 percent of the black vote.

      So what’s Trump to do? Make a bold play for the black vote? Yes.

      But here’s the problem—the same problem that has earned him his meager support from black voters: The words of appeal he speaks drip with his deep contempt for black people.

      The heart of his new pitch to the African-American community is this: “You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

      When I heard him speak these words, I was astonished at how quickly an appeal for votes could devolve into an insult. Frankly, I felt more than insulted—I felt oddly traumatized, like I had heard these words before. Then it hit me: the memory of the scene from “The Color Purple,” where Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) finally decides she’s had enough abuse, but Albert (Danny Glover) won’t let her go without one last “appeal.”

    • Photo Op
    • Trump’s New Billionaire Backer Also Funds Huge Stockpile of Human Urine

      The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have all noticed that Robert Mercer, co-CEO of the giant hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, has emerged as a key backer of Donald Trump.

      Mercer, who first spent over $10 million trying to make Ted Cruz president, just gave $2 million to a Super PAC supporting Trump. Mercer is also a top investor in the Breitbart News Network. According to the Post, Mercer’s daughter Rebekah nudged Trump to bring in Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s executive chairman, to run his campaign.

      But here’s what the mainstream media won’t tell you: Robert Mercer and his daughter have also funded a gigantic stockpile of human urine in Oregon.

    • A Clinton Family Value: ‘Humanitarian’ War

      The current debate over the future of U.S. foreign policy is largely over whether the U.S. should continue its self-anointed role as the policeman of the world, or whether it might be wise for the next administration to put, in the words of Donald J. Trump, “America First.”

      On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly called for a more active U.S. foreign policy. The 2016 election is shaping up to be, among other things, a battle between the inarticulate isolationism of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s liberal interventionism. Hers is an approach which came into vogue during the administration of her husband.

    • Could a New York Times Exposé Help Level the Playing Field for Advocates in the Press?

      In its recent series “Think Tanks Inc.,” the New York Times exposed the deep financial ties between corporations and think tanks, outlining how corporate donors reaped influence and rewards from such “mutually beneficial” relationships. As someone who has worked in Washington, D.C. for 15 years in communications roles, and in corporate communications and PR prior to that, this is not surprising to me. Every piece of research or analysis that comes from an organization — whether it’s a company, a non-profit, or even a government entity — puts forth an agenda.

    • No Need to Build The Donald’s Wall, It’s Built

      At the federal courthouse, Ignacio Sarabia asks the magistrate judge, Jacqueline Rateau, if he can explain why he crossed the international boundary between the two countries without authorization. He has already pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor commonly known as “illegal entry” and is about to receive a prison sentence. On either side of him are eight men in the same predicament, all still sunburned, all in the same ripped, soiled clothes they were wearing when arrested in the Arizona desert by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.

      Once again, the zero tolerance border enforcement program known as Operation Streamline has unfolded just as it always does here in Tucson, Arizona. Close to 60 people have already approached the judge in groups of seven or eight, their heads bowed submissively, their bodies weighed down by shackles and chains around wrists, waists, and ankles. The judge has handed out the requisite prison sentences in quick succession — 180 days, 60 days, 90 days, 30 days.

    • Belted by Trump

      I wondered about confronting Mr. Trump with my concerns and imagined his “customer service” skills. First, he would blame and then insult me for putting on weight over the past few years. He might even insult me with a short person joke or two just for good measure despite being totally unrelated to the belt problem. Then I would be berated for being so stupid as to buy a product with his name on it and expecting any type of quality or satisfaction (I do deserve that one). The whole experience would be a “gotcha” moment, where like other hucksters, once the money changes hands, you are stuck with the product, like it or not. Those of us with marketplace expectations of fair play, quality merchandise and honest representation of the product are easy pickings for con artists like him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Sony Apparently Issuing Takedowns To Facebook For News Articles About PS4 Slim Leak

      Recently, Sony had let it be known that it would soon be announcing some new offerings for its PlayStation 4 console. While most of the media coverage had focused on what is suspected to be a new, more powerful version of the console, a leak this week instead revealed a different console offering, consisting of a newly slimmed down form factor PlayStation 4 with a slightly redesigned controller. As an owner of a PS4, I can join others’ interest in this design, with the original console being somewhat bulky. I can also join others in having only a mild bit of surprise as a reaction, given that Microsoft had already announced a slimmed down version of its Xbox product, and given that Sony has done this with previous versions of the console as well.

      But I was slightly surprised to learn that Sony has apparently been setting its lawyers on spooking gaming media sites and taking down news articles from social media accounts about the leak. Reports of the latter have just started coming in.

    • Think Tank That First Proposed SOPA Now Claims ‘Proof’ That SOPA Would Have Been Great

      Oh boy. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a DC-based think tank that, from it’s name, you might think would promote things that are important for innovation. And yet, this misleadingly named think tank has been on the wrong side of almost every major tech issue over the last few years — perhaps because a large segment of its funding comes from anti-technology industries, like the entertainment industry and the large telco/broadband providers. This is the same organization that argued that net neutrality was bad, that kicking people off the internet for piracy was a good idea, that the US gov’t should encourage countries to censor the internet and, most recently, that broadband companies charging more to not track your every move is “pro-consumer.”

      But perhaps the pinnacle of bullshit policy proposals from ITIF was that it was the organization (again, funded by the entertainment industry) that first proposed the basic framework of site blocking as a response to copyright infringement, back in 2009. The basis of that proposal was then turned into SOPA, leading ITIF to take a victory lap for creating what it believed was such a good law.

      Of course, you know how that all went down. After actual technologists pointed out how problematic the ITIF approach to site blocking would be, and the public spoke up, the bill went nowhere. And ITIF is basically the sorest of sore losers. Last fall, ITIF published a bogus snarky “report” insisting that it’s original SOPA plan for DNS blocking “did not break the internet.” This, of course, conveniently misstates what was meant by “breaking the internet” when tech experts like Paul Vixie explained the problems with SOPA. It wasn’t that the overall internet would just stop working or that fewer people would use it, but rather than basic ways in which the internet is expected to function (I reach out to this DNS entry, I get back the proper response) would fail, and that would open up opportunities for serious mischief, from man in the middle attacks to breaking how certain security protocols work.

    • Peter Thiel’s Lawyer Now Sending Questionable Defamation Threat Letters To Media On Behalf Of Melania Trump

      Charles Harder is the California lawyer who likely will forever be known as “Peter Thiel’s lawyer” after Thiel helped set up his own law firm with the “focal point” of hunting for any lawsuit that might destroy Gawker. It appears that Thiel is happy to share his pet lawyer with his new best buddy, Donald Trump, or Trump’s wife, Melania. On Monday the UK’s Daily Mail (not exactly known for its accuracy in reporting) received a threat letter from Harder, representing Melania Trump, claiming that its recent article on Melania was defamatory.

      I’m not exactly sure where Mr. Harder is looking to sue but, if it’s in the US, it’s difficult to see how the article reaches the level of defamation by any stretch of the imagination. Melania Trump is, obviously, a public figure and, under US law, for a news report to be defamatory it needs to not only be incorrect and harmful but also published “with actual malice” — meaning that the Daily Mail would have known that the published statements of fact were false, or they had a reckless disregard for the truth. Reading through the original Daily Mail article, I don’t see how that could possibly be the case. The supposed “bombshell” claims in the piece are statements from a couple of different sources alleging that Melania was an escort when she first came to NY (and that may be how she met Donald in the first place). But the Mail is actually (somewhat surprisingly, given its reputation), quite careful with those statements, pointing out that they came from a book, but also noting that there’s little evidence to back them up. It also points to a Slovenian magazine article claiming that the modelling agency Melania worked for was actually an escort service, but the Mail only notes that the magazine said this, and then gets a quote from the guy who ran the modelling agency saying (vehemently) that the story wasn’t true.

    • Ece Temelkuran: Turkey’s drive to make theatre “suitable”

      In 2013, the Ministry of Culture began to evaluate its subsidies to private theatres under the criterion of being “suitable with regard to public decency”. This enforcement arose as part of the Turkey Art Association (TÜSAK), which was put forward in a bill advocating the audition and support of art associations affiliated with the state. In this way, the legal foundation for state-imposed censorship was laid.

      For the evaluation of private theatre companies’ grant requests to the Ministry of Culture, submission of the play’s script was made obligatory. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was removed from the State Theatre repertoire in 2014.

    • Cloudflare Faces Lawsuit For Assisting Pirate Sites

      In recent months CloudFlare has been called out repeatedly for offering its services to known pirate sites, including The Pirate Bay. These allegations have now resulted in the first lawsuit after adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan filed a complaint against CloudFlare at a California federal court.

    • How censored is China’s first Tibetan-language search engine? It omits the Dalai Lama’s website

      China launched its first Tibetan-language search engine this week, called Yongzin. It aims to be a “unified portal for all major Tibetan-language websites in China,” according to the state news agency Xinhua.

      Yongzin means “master” or “teacher” in Tibetan. It is the world’s first search engine solely in the Tibetan language, and also the one and only choice for China’s seven million Tibetan people, unless they use a VPN to jump China’s Great Firewall. Chinese search engines like Baidu and Sogou don’t search in Tibetan, while Google, which does, has been blocked in China for years.

      Yongzin features sections for news, images, videos, and music just like Google, and even has a logo with similar colors and designs to Google’s, which was quickly noticed.

    • Some questions for those who are cheering Gawker’s demise

      Gawker.com, the pioneering and controversial media blog, officially died yesterday. It was killed by billionaire Peter Thiel in his successful quest to bankrupt Gawker Media Group through a series of lawsuits he funded – most notably wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued over the publication of a portion of his sex tape four years ago.

      Out of all the controversial topics that we’ve tweeted about at Freedom of the Press Foundation – and there have been a lot – by far the most negative response we’ve received is from Gawker critics who are happy to see the website die.

      The Hogan case certainly brings up a lot of tangled questions about the tension between privacy and free speech and it’s understandable that many people have found Gawker’s decision to publish a clip of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape deplorable. (It’s also true that Gawker did a lot of exemplary investigative journalism). But condemning a specific story and cheering the demise of a media organization at the hands of the legal system are two very different things.

    • Bogus Defamation Lawsuit With Fake Defendant Results In Negative Reviews Of Dentist Being Taken Down

      Earlier this year, complaint site Pissed Consumer noticed a disturbing new trend in the dark art of reputation management: unnamed rep management firms were using a couple of lawyers to run bogus defamation lawsuits through a local court to obtain court orders demanding the removal of “defamatory” reviews.

      What was unusual wasn’t the tactic itself. Plenty of bogus defamation lawsuits have been filed over negative reviews. It’s that these lawsuits were resolved so quickly. Within a few weeks of the initial filing, the lawsuit would be over. Each lawsuit improbably skipped the discovery process necessary to uncover anonymous reviewers and proceeded straight to judgment with a (bogus) confessional statement from each “reviewer” handed in by the “defamed” entity’s lawyer for the judge’s approval. Once these were rubber stamped by inattentive judges, the lawyers served Google with court orders to delist the URLs.

      To date, no one has uncovered the reputation management firm behind the bogus lawsuits. In each case, the companies purporting to be represented by these lawyers were shells — some registered as businesses on the same day their lawsuits were filed.

      It’s one thing to do this sort of thing from behind the veil of quasi-anonymity afforded by the use of shell companies. It’s quite another to file a bogus lawsuit with an apparently forged signature (of the supposed defamer) under your own name. But that’s exactly what appears to have happened, as detailed in this post by Public Citizen’s Paul Alan Levy.

    • Why are GitHub and WordPress.com censoring content?

      The Great Equalizer. The Great Democratizer. Many such phrases have been used to describe the internet over the years—mostly focusing on the rapid dissemination of uncensored information.

      Even social media sites (such as Twitter) have played critical roles in real-world revolutions. The ability for the average person to spread ideas, news and information—without corporate or government censorship—has brought about massive power and freedom to the people of the world.

      But what happens when the key websites and services—the ones we rely upon to spread those messages—censor that content? That’s a bad thing, right? Well, this seems to be happening a lot recently, especially in relation to leaked content (regardless of the type of content or the source from which it originated).

      GitHub, a service primarily used for open source and free culture projects, recently completely censored a repository that contained information proving the NSA developed malware targeting numerous systems.

      Maybe there’s a legitimate reason for this. But if there is, GitHub is staying quiet. I reached out to GitHub’s press department for comment one week ago, and as of today, I have not received any response of any kind.

      And WordPress.com, the company that runs the popular blogging platform, censored content posted by “Guccifer 2” that was potentially damaging to the reputation of the Democratic party.

    • BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET Set for Banned Books Week in NYC

      The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (“DLDF”) will present “Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret” as a part of Banned Books Week (September 25-October 1st), the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The performance will take place on September 29th and 30th at 5PM at the Drama Book Shop (250 W 40th St).

      “Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret” is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the Theater. The performances will feature selections from “Cabaret”, “Chicago”, “Almost, Maine”, “Rent” and “Angels in America,” among other notable works, with contextual commentary by DLDF president John Weidman.

    • Muthambi defends SABC censorship
    • SABC to face music at parliament
    • South African minister faces grilling over SABC crisis
    • Muthambi to explain SABC editorial policy
    • Activists call for Facebook ‘censorship’ change after Korryn Gaines death
    • Facebook censorship of Korryn Gaines police killing puts Zuckerberg in crosshairs
    • Facebook deactivation during fatal police standoff alarms civil rights, consumer activists
    • Why Did You Shut Down Korryn Gaines’ Account? Facebook C.E.O Asked
    • How Facebook censors your posts
    • Facebook and politics’ relationship status: It’s complicated
    • Trolls and spam not welcome in Twitter’s new features
    • Twitter to give everyone ‘quality filter’, letting them mute tweets judged to be bad
    • How to Remove Twitter’s New ‘Quality Filter’ Censorship Setting
    • Twitter has a really good anti-harassment tool
    • Twitter (TWTR) Rolls Out New Feature to Filter Tweets
    • Twitter has a really good anti-harassment tool – and it’s finally available to everyone
    • Twitter ‘quality filter’ works because it’s about news, not social
    • Twitter’s ‘Quality Filter’ Gets Rid Of Trolls, But There’s A Major Catch
    • Twitter Unveils Features to Filter Tweets, Notifications
    • Twitter Updates Quality Filter Tool for All
    • Quality Filter Comes To Twitterati’s Rescue
    • Twitter adds more user control with latest features
    • Now Ignore Trolls on Twitter [Ed: Just the start: expect on by default, expansion of scope of “trolls”, later no option to toggle it off, Like UK ISPs…]
    • Twitter’s New “Quality Filter” Addresses Abuse on the Platform, Also Try New Notification Settings [Ed: Twitter has already done so-called 'quality filtering' for a while but called it shadow-banning. Suppression of particular ideas.]
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Pokémon Go loses its luster, sheds more than 10 million users [Ed: Nintendo's experiment with crowd-sourced CCTV (with microphone) and hotspot collector is rapidly failing]

      It had almost 45 million daily users in July, but this figure appears to have sunk by more than 12 million since the start of August, to just over 30 million said to be playing Pokémon Go. Further decline is expected, as downloads, engagement, and the time users spend on the app have all also visibly flopped, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

      Bloomberg, which saw the raw data, reported that other major apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat “can breathe a sigh of relief” that Pokémon Go is finally wobbling, as the game’s popularity had apparently been costing them considerable amounts of users.

      “Given the rapid rise in usage of the Pokémon Go app since the launch in July, investors have been concerned that this new user experience has been detracting from time spent on other mobile focused apps,” said Axiom Capital Management analyst Victor Anthony.

    • Encryption under fire in Europe as France and Germany call for decrypt law

      A fresh chapter of the crypto wars looks to be opening up in Europe, after the French and German interior ministers took to a podium yesterday to lobby for a law change that would enable courts to demand that Internet companies decrypt data to help further criminal investigations.

      So, in other words, to effectively push for end-to-end encryption to be outlawed. Yes we’ve been here before — many times.

      Giving a joint press conference in Paris yesterday with German’s Thomas de Maizière, France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for the European Commission to change the law to afford security agencies the ability to access encrypted data.

      They want their proposals discussed by the European Commission at a meeting next month.

      The context here is that France and Germany have suffered a spate of terrorist attacks over the past year, including a co-ordinated attack in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130; a July 2016 attack in Nice where a truck driver ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day; and a stabbing in a church in Northern France that killed an elderly priest.

    • Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

      The sky over the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 23 was the color of a dull nickel, and a broad deck of lowering clouds threatened rain. A couple dozen people with signs—“Justice 4 Freddie Gray” and “The whole damn system is guilty as hell”—lingered by the corner of the courthouse, watching the network TV crews rehearse their standups. Sheriff’s officers in bulletproof vests clustered around the building’s doors, gripping clubs with both hands.

      Inside, a judge was delivering the verdict in the case of Caesar Goodson, the only Baltimore police officer facing a murder charge for the death of Freddie Gray. In April 2015, Gray’s neck was broken in the back of a police van, and prosecutors had argued that Goodson purposefully drove the vehicle recklessly, careening through the city, to toss Gray around.

    • At 25, the World Wide Web Is Still a Long Way From Reality [Ed: 24/7 tracking, camera/s, microphone]

      In recent years, the web has lost some of its mojo. It hasn’t quite lived up the lofty ideals laid down by Berners-Lee and so many of his disciples. Facebook makes 84 percent of its money from its mobile app—not the web. Tinder, Snapchat, and many other newer apps aren’t even available on the web.

    • AshleyMadison security protocols violated privacy laws, watchdog says

      AshleyMadison used inadequate privacy and security technology while marketing itself as a discreet and secure way for consenting adults to have affairs, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada says.

      In a report Tuesday, the privacy watchdog says the Toronto-based company violated numerous privacy laws in Canada and abroad in the era before a massive data breach exposed confidential information from their clients to hackers.

      The hack stole correspondence, identifying details and even credit card information from millions of the site’s users. At the time of the breach in July 2015, AshleyMadison claimed to have 36 million users and took in more than $100 million in annual revenue.

    • Poor privacy at Ashley Madison site at time of hack

      The dating website Ashley Madison was in violation of Australian and Canadian privacy laws at the time when it suffered a security breach last year.

      Australian and Canadian authorities carried out a joint investigation into the breach and made this finding in a report which has been released today.

      Avid Life Media, the owner of the website, has been asked to enhance privacy safeguards, amend information retention practices, improve information accuracy and increase transparency.

      ALM has signed an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Information Commissioner to implement these measures.

    • Facebook can guess your political preferences — here’s how to see how it’s categorized you

      This is yet another case of Facebook knowing way more about you than you think.

      The social network is categorizing its users as liberal, conservative, or moderate. This information is valuable for campaign managers and advertisers, especially in the midst of election season.

      For some, Facebook is able to come to conclusions about your political leanings easily, if you mention a political party on your page. For those that are less open about politics on social media, Facebook makes assumptions based on pages you like.

      As The New York Times explained, if you like Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page and most of the other people that like that page identify as liberal, Facebook might assume you, too, are liberal.

      I’m not too politically active on Facebook, and I was curious to see how it categorized me. To my surprise, I am “very liberal,” when I was expecting “moderate” or “conservative.”

    • Apple Acquires Personal Health Data Startup Gliimpse

      Apple’s ambitions in the health sector continue to expand, with its digital health team making its first known acquisition—personal health data startup Gliimpse, Fast Company has learned.

      Silicon Valley-based Gliimpse has built a personal health data platform that enables any American to collect, personalize, and share a picture of their health data. The company was started in 2013 by Anil Sethi and Karthik Hariharan. Sethi is a serial entrepreneur who has spent the past decade working with health startups, after taking his company Sequoia Software public in 2000. He got his start as a systems engineer at Apple in the late 1980s.

      The acquisition happened earlier this year, but Apple has been characteristically quiet about it. The company has now confirmed the purchase, saying: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

    • First on CNN: FBI investigating Russian hack of New York Times reporters, others

      Hackers thought to be working for Russian intelligence have carried out a series of cyber breaches targeting reporters at The New York Times and other US news organizations, according to US officials briefed on the matter.

      The intrusions, detected in recent months, are under investigation by the FBI and other US security agencies. Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said.

      The Times said email services for employees are outsourced to Google. CNN requested comment from Google but didn’t receive comment. The FBI declined to comment.

      Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the company had seen “no evidence” that any breaches had occurred.

    • Russia’s Hackathon Continues, Targeting The New York Times And Other News Agencies
    • The Real Russian Mole Inside NSA [Ed: The latest Rubbophobia from ‘ex’ NSA staff John “Watch My Dick” Schindler]
    • Former NSA analyst: Russia ‘can listen in on anything it wants’
    • Hints suggest an insider helped the NSA “Equation Group” hacking tools leak
    • A Second Snowden at the NSA? Here’s What We Know
    • Juniper Confirms Shadow Brokers Firewall Implants
    • Juniper confirms leaked NSA exploits affect its firewalls
    • NSA leak: Juniper Networks confirms its firewalls are vulnerable to leaked ‘Equation Group’ exploits
    • NSA-linked Cisco exploit poses bigger threat than previously thought
    • Hacking the hackers: everything you need to know about Shadow Brokers’ attack on the NSA
    • Why Twitter Was the Platform of Choice for Ripping Apart the NSA Dump
    • Snowden’s Long Shadow Darkens NSA’s Reputation
    • Not Even NSA Can Keep Software Exploits Secret
    • Who Are The NSA’s Elite Hackers?
    • A Peek Inside The Matrix: What The Shadow Brokers Affair Means For A Cyber Future
    • Your ‘Smart’ Power Outlets Are Now Botnets Thanks To The Internet Of Broken Things

      Making fun of the Internet of Things has become a sort of national pastime, made possible by a laundry list of companies jumping into the space without the remotest idea what they’re actually doing. When said companies aren’t busy promoting some of the dumbest ideas imaginable, they’re making it abundantly clear that the security of their “smart,” connected products is absolutely nowhere to be found. And while this mockery is well-deserved, it’s decidedly less funny once you realize these companies are introducing thousands of new attack vectors in every home and business network the world over.

      Overshadowed by the lulz is the width and depth of incompetence on display. Thermostats that fail to heat your home. Door locks that don’t protect you. Refrigerators that leak Gmail credentials. Children’s toys that listen to your kids’ prattle, then (poorly) secure said prattle in the cloud. Cars that could, potentially, result in your death. The list goes on and on, and it grows exponentially by the week.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • With Voting Rights at Risk Across US, International Monitors Called to Help

      With the right to vote “more vulnerable now than at any time in the past 50 years,” an American civil rights coalition is calling for an increase in international election monitors during the 2016 election.

      In a letter sent this weekend, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comprised of more than 200 national organizations, urged the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to expand its election monitoring mission in the United States this November.

      The body has sent observers to every U.S. presidential election since 2002 and intends to send 500 observers for 2016.

      However, citing the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—as well as recent news that as a result of the decision in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Justice Department is scaling back its deployment of election observers in 2016—the group wrote “to emphasize that the OSCE’s plans to monitor the upcoming U.S. presidential election will be more essential than ever before and to encourage the OSCE to greatly expand its election monitoring mission in the United States for this election.”

    • FBI Apparently Made Darkweb Child Porn Site Faster During Its Hosting Of Seized Server

      Another FBI/Playpen/NIT case has moved to the point of a motion to dismiss. The lawyer for defendant Steven Chase is arguing the government should abandon its prosecution because the FBI’s activities during its conversion of child porn site Playpen into its own Rule 41-flouting watering hole were “outrageous.” What did the FBI do (besides traveling beyond — far beyond — the warrant’s jurisdiction to strip Tor users of their anonymity) to merit this accusation? It made Playpen a better, faster child porn website. Joseph Cox reports for Motherboard…

    • Lawyer: Dark Web Child Porn Site Ran Better When It Was Taken Over by the FBI

      In February 2015, the FBI took control of Playpen, the largest dark web child pornography site at the time. But instead of shutting the site down, the agency kept it going for just under two weeks, in order to deliver malware to its visitors in the hope of identifying suspects in its investigation.

      Newly filed court exhibits now suggest that the site performed substantially better while under the FBI’s control, with users commenting on the improvements. The defense for the man accused of being the original administrator of Playpen claims that these improvements led to the site becoming even more popular.

      “The FBI distributed child pornography to viewers and downloaders worldwide for nearly two weeks, until at least March 4, 2015, even working to improve the performance of the website beyond its original capability,” Peter Adolf, an assistant federal defender in the Western District of North Carolina, writes in a motion to have his client’s indictment thrown out.

    • What It Looks Like When The Terrorists Win: The JFK Stampede Over Fans Cheering For Usain Bolt

      We’ve talked a great deal here about what a theater of security our national airports have become. Far from accomplishing anything having to do with actually keeping anyone safe, those in charge of our airports have instead decided to engage in the warm fuzzies, attempting to calm an easily-spooked traveling public through bureaucracy and privacy invasion. The hope is that if everyone suffers the right level of inconvenience and humiliation, we’ll all feel safe enough traveling.

      But it’s quite easy for the 4th wall in this security theater to be broken by the right sort of circumstance. In case you missed it, one such circumstance happened recently at JFK Airport. The fallout was described in a first-person account in New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells.

    • ‘Assange kill attempt’? Unknown man climbs Ecuador’s London embassy, sheltering WikiLeaks chief

      Social media users are in a panic after WikiLeaks said an unknown man had climbed the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Julian Assange has been staying for four years. Users suggested that it was probably an assassination attempt, “ordered by Clinton.”

      “…At 2:47am an unknown man scaled the side wall [and the] window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London; fled after being caught by security,” a statement from WikiLeaks said early Monday morning.

    • ‘Cardboard justice’ | Youth groups stand against killings

      Hundreds of students spoke out against the rising number of killings, with the continuation of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, now coupled with President Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Youth groups Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students (LFS) led simultaneous candle-lighting protests on August 11, at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Manila campuses, Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila and the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila.

    • NBN leaks: AFP carries out raid at parliament house

      The Australian Federal Police has conducted a raid at the Department of Parliamentary Services at Parliament House to try and find out the source of leaks that led to a number of stories about the NBN.

      AFP personnel met staff of shadow special minister of state Stephen Conroy after they arrived at parliament house at about 10am. The meeting took place in a room of the basement of parliament.

      Media personnel were asked to leave a section of the basement, but were later allowed to film AFP personnel as they left the area. The AFP officers are said to be looking at the email records and logs of Labor staffers, in order to try and track the media they were in contact with.

      In February, there were claims in the mainstream media that the Coalition multi-technology mix broadband network faced mounting delays and rising costs.

    • Passengers back Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that Virgin Train was ‘ram-packed’

      Other people on the train have however come forward to say it was in fact very busy, at least at the start of the journey.

      One passenger, Keren Harrison, posted a picture of herself on the train with Mr Corbyn and gave an account of events that contradicted the company’s version.

      “I was on said train and it was very busy!” she said. “He got seat about 45 mins in when staff started shuffling people around!”

      She added in another tweet that the train was “chock-a”.

      Separately, Charles Anthony, a Corbyn-supporting video journalist who shot the original film also released new footage and disputed the company’s account.

    • Hijab approved as uniform option by Scotland Police
    • French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

      Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.

      Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the Burkini, which covers the body and head, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.

      The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.

      After they arrive, she appears to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, although one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.

    • Nice Officials Say They’ll Sue Internet Users Who Share Photos Of French Fashion Police Fining Women In Burkinis

      This seems pretty ridiculous on all sorts of levels, but never think things are so ridiculous that some politicians can’t make them worse. Guillaume Champeau from the excellent French site Numerama alerts me to the news that the deputy mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi is threatening to sue those who share these images over social media. Yup, France, a country that claims to pride itself on freedom is not just telling women that they can’t cover themselves up too much on the beach, but that it’s also illegal to report on the police following through on that.

    • In Wake of Burkini Ban, Muslim Women Demand Criminalization of Fat White Men in Speedos

      A French-Muslim group has called for a ban on what it terms “woefully-endowed white walruses terrorizing our kids in public,” alongside the repeal of a string of municipal measures outlawing the burkini in southern France.

      Speaking to reporters yesterday, Dr. Yasmina Al-Hazeemi of France’s Think of the Children! Foundation urged the nation’s parliament to criminalize the tight-fitting male swimsuit, framing the so-called ‘budgie smuggler scourge’ as a public safety crisis: “These obscene bathers are in fact evil terrorists imperiling the mental health of millions,” claimed the Algerian-born pediatrician. “For the sake of our traumatized children and the very soul of our Republic, we must crush this shameless cult of sagging manboobs, shrivelled racoon balls and itsy-bitsy Sarkozian wee wees!”

      The Front for the Supremacy of Stocky Indigenous Speedo Lovers, meanwhile, slammed the proposed ban as “yet another Islamic attack on France’s noble secularism.” “From the beaches of Corsica to the shores of distant Thailand, it’s our natural-born right to let it all hang it, no matter how many millions of juvenile nightmares it may cause,” said FSSIS chair Jean-Paul Le Grosporc, who then blasted Al-Hazeemi’s “slanderous attack on the honor of the Frenchman’s glorious manhood – unlike the dark savages flooding our continent, we natives are growers, not showers!”

    • Mansplaining Science To A Doctor, Cycling To An Olympian

      I have to say — the invention of the word “mansplaining” was something of a relief to me. Finally, there was a word for that weird, creepy thing men do when they assume authority over you when they have none. “You wrote a book? I read a book once. It was green. The thing about writing books is…”

      The word was born from an essay called “Men Explain Things To Me” by Rebecca Solnit. In it, she tells an anecdote where she was at a party when a man, on hearing that she wrote books about the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, told her that she really should read this wonderful new book on Muybridge that he had just read and proceeded to tell her all about this Muybridge guy.

    • NLRB: Graduate Students at Private Universities May Unionize

      In a blow to private institutions and a boon to their graduate student employees, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that graduate research and teaching assistants are entitled to collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act.

      Graduate student unions at public institutions are common, as students’ collective bargaining status on public campuses is governed by state law. But the NLRB oversees graduate student unions on private campuses. Tuesday’s decision in favor of a graduate student union bid at Columbia University effectively reverses an earlier NLRB ruling against a graduate student union at Brown University, which had been the law of the land since 2004. The decision also overturns a much longer-standing precedent against collective bargaining for externally funded research assistants in the sciences.

      Graduate students at Columbia and elsewhere celebrated Tuesday’s decision, saying they planned to move forward with their union drives. While many professors applauded the decision to recognize students as legitimate workers, other groups described it as reckless, with the potential to transform — for the worse — the relationship between institution and student. Columbia or other universities could move to challenge the ruling in federal court.

      Columbia’s graduate assistants are affiliated with the United Auto Workers, but there are active drives on a number of other campuses affiliated with different unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and Service Employees International Union. The latter was a key player in a wave of recent adjunct faculty union drives.

    • The Blacklist – how to go on the run
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • One More Time With Feeling: Net Neutrality Didn’t Hurt Broadband Investment In The Slightest

      You’ll recall that ISPs (and the lobbyists, think tanks, politicians, and consultants paid to love them) argued incessantly that if we passed net neutrality rules, investment in broadband infrastructure would grind to a halt, leaving us all weeping gently over our clogged tubes. ISPs like Verizon proudly proclaimed that net neutrality rules would “jeopardize our investment and the development of innovation in Broadband Internet and related services.” ISP-tied think tanks released study after statistically-massaged study claiming that net neutrality (and the reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II) would be utterly catastrophic for the broadband industry and its consumers alike.

      But as time wore on it became abundantly clear that these warnings were the empty prattle of a broken industry, using a thick veneer of bunk science to defend its monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband last mile.

      Since net neutrality was passed there has been absolutely no evidence that a single one of these claims had anything even remotely resembling merit, with broadband expansion pushing forward at full speed, constrained only by the ongoing lack of competition in many markets. We’ve watched as outfits like Google Fiber continue to expand its footprint. We’ve watched as Verizon suddenly promised to deploy fiber to cities long neglected. We’ve watched as Comcast and AT&T rushed to try and keep pace with gigabit investments of their own. In short, nothing changed, and things may have even improved.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Review Of WIPO Development Agenda Implementation: Good Progress But Expectations Unfulfilled

      A group of independent reviewers has found definite progress on implementing the landmark 2007 Development Agenda Recommendations at the World Intellectual Property Organization. But the UN agency needs to elevate the debate, tie in with UN development agencies, create reporting mechanisms, make projects more compatible with local development levels, and detail use of financial and human resources, the reviewers found.

    • Trademarks

      • Little Tree Air Freshener Company Sues Non-Profit For Making Tree Shaped Ornaments

        At the time, we noted how odd it was to take out a full page ad warning people against supposed trademark infringement, and over-claiming its own rights at the same time (e.g., “no matter how you use it.”). So it comes as little surprise that Car-Freshener corporation is a bit of a trademark bully in court. Though, perhaps it’s met its match — and it may result in it losing some trademarks.

        Trademark lawyer Marty Schwimmer, who runs the excellent Trademark Blog, is representing a non-profit organization, Sun Cedar, that has been sued by Car-Freshener for daring to create tree-shaped blocks of wood (cedar!) that smell good. The answers and counterclaims from Sun Cedar is worth the read in full, but we’ll hit a few high points here. Sun Cedar is not just a non-profit, but an organization that tries to train and to employ “at risk” individuals, including those who are homeless, ex-felons and substance abusers to help them get back on their feet. The organization creates objects out of wood, including tree shaped ornaments. It even ran a very successful Kickstarter project last year.

      • And Just Like That, The Dumbest Trademark Suit Over Saying ‘Thank You’ Disappears

        It is with mostly pleasure, but a little bit of sadness, that I am here to inform you, dear reader, that the idiotic trademark lawsuit brought by Citigroup against AT&T because it dared to say “thank you” to its customers is dead. Yes, what started only a couple of months ago as an unintentional test to see just how far a large corporation could twist trademark law out of its useful intentions has been dropped by both parties with prejudice, meaning that no further legal action can be taken on the matter.

        At issue was AT&T including the phrase “thank you” in some of its messaging and branding. Citigroup, as it turns out, somehow got the USPTO to approve a trademark for the phrase “thankyou” and declared that, largely because the two companies had done some co-branding work in the past, customers might be confused by an AT&T ad thanking them for their business into thinking that it has something to do with Citigroup. I read the argument Citigroup made in its filing as to why this confusion was likely, but my brain came to a screeching halt every few sentences, distracted by questions like, “How much can a bank’s lawyers drink during the day?” and “Precisely how many peyote buttons would I have to swallow before ‘thank you’ equalled ‘Citigroup’ in my addled mind?”

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Group, In Arguing Against FCC’s Set Top Box Proposal, Appears To Argue That VCRs & DVRs Are Also Illegal

        Earlier this month, we wrote about how the Copyright Officer had filed a really bizarre and legally dubious comment with the FCC concerning the FCC’s plan to open up competition in TV set top boxes, ending cable company’s monopoly on those boxes (for which they bring in $21 billion in revenue per year). The FCC’s plan was pretty straightforward — and the cable companies have attacked it on all sides, with the one argument that seems to be sticking is that this plan is somehow an affront to copyright, and would result in piracy. This is blatantly, factually incorrect. The FCC’s plan makes it clear that any system would retain existing technology protection measures against piracy (for better or for worse). If this new system resulted in infringement, it would because there’s infringement on the internet already, not because of these new rules.

        [...]

        Except, if what I’ve bolded above is actually copyright law, then the VCR, the DVR, the MP3 player, photocopiers and much of the very internet itself are inherently against copyright law. But that’s not what courts have found. If you look at the classic Betamax lawsuit, it made it abundantly clear that even when there were license agreements between content providers and TV stations that end users could absolutely record and watch content via an “unlicensed” device, known as the VCR. This just takes the Copyright Office’s ridiculous assertion that copyright holders and ISPs can somehow write fair use out of their agreements for end users, and takes it even further to effectively write the Betamax ruling out of existence and set up a framework that says there can be no fair use in new consumer electronics.

        That’s both wrong and crazy. And, yes, I know that the former Copyright Office boss Ralph Oman has argued that all technology should be considered infringing until Congress says it’s okay, but that’s not the actual law, and it’s incredibly dishonest to suggest it’s the case.

        Here’s the important thing that the Copyright Office and the Copyright Alliance don’t seem to understand (or are willfully ignoring). This content is already licensed. The only people who will get access to it are those who have a legitimate right to access the content from their cable providers. In other words, everything is licensed. There is no “harm” at all. The only issue is that the content can be accessed (by the paying subscribers!) via alternative hardware (which might add some more features, but which will still have the same copy protection). But nothing in this creates any problems for the content creators, because the overall setup is the same. They have licensed the work. The hardware alternatives that may arise may include some additional features, such as recording and such, but that’s well within their legal rights under fair use. The complaint here seems to just be that the Copyright Alliance and the Copyright Office don’t like fair use and don’t want the Betamax standard to exist any more.

        The Copyright Alliance and its funders in the entertainment industry may wish that the VCR were never made legal (even though it was a device that basically saved Hollywood by bringing in massive new markets and revenue streams), but they don’t get to rewrite history and pretend it doesn’t exist.

      • Techdirt Podcast Episode 87: An Interview With Kim Dotcom’s Lawyer

        Ira Rothken is a lawyer on the front lines of many major legal battles relating to copyright and piracy, including defending Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and, most recently, taking up the defense of Kickass Torrents operator Artem Vaulin. This week, Ira joins us on the podcast to discuss the ins and outs of these and other cases where the entertainment industry has come down hard on consumers and innovators.

      • Singapore Government launches public consultation on major copyright reform

        Singapore is currently engaged in a significant reform of its Copyright Act. In this context, yesterday Government launched a public consultation [open until 24 October 2016, 5 pm GMT+8] to seek feedback on proposed changes to this country’s copyright regime. This is the full consultation paper.

08.23.16

Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux rules the world. Where to next?

    From Android phones to supercomputers to clouds to car, it’s all Linux all the time. Linux is the poster child for the open-source revolution.

    The latest Linux kernel report, Linux kernel development – How fast it is going, who is doing it, what they are doing, and who is sponsoring it, details just how quickly Linux changes. In the last 15 months, more than 3 million lines of code have been added to the Linux kernel. For those of you coding at home, that’s 7.8 changes per hour.

  • Almost open: BIOS and firmware update tips for Linux users

    I suppose I’m lucky in that for more than 10 years my primary work environment has been Linux-based, yet all to often I’ve been forced to dig out a DOS or Windows image because I need to patch some BIOS device firmware. These days I don’t own anything than has a valid Windows license, and even my 2008 white MacBook has spent most of its life running either Ubuntu or Fedora. Luckily most hardware manufacturers have started to provide bootable images for patching system firmware, and for enterprise-grade hardware they even provide Linux-ready tools. In this article, I’ll walk through my recent firmware update on Linux, and I’ll share a few recommendations based on that experience.

    In the consumer/prosumer landscape there has been a shift toward UEFI-based systems for desktops and laptops, and along the way many manufacturers appear to have removed the option for the BIOS to update from a USB Stick. Historically we’d only see firmware updates for enterprise-class spinning rust (hard drives), but many SSD manufacturers are also providing regular firmware updates for consumer-class devices. Whilst we often should stand by the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I’m a strong believer when standing up a new environment to make sure all my firmware is current. So begins my journey…

  • THE BIG LIE About Operating Systems

    The desktop also is not locked in. Despite slow progress at times, GNU/Linux is gradually gnawing away at Microsoft’s lock on the desktop. It happened in my schools, in my home, in governments in Europe and a few places around the world. It’s obvious the world can make its own software and does have a complete stack with GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Absent from Zemlin’s LinuxCon Pep Rally

      “As all of you may know, Thursday, August 25 is the 25th anniversary of Linux,” he said during the opening portion of the address. “It’s the day when Linus Torvalds, 25 years ago, sent out his note introducing this funny little operating system that wouldn’t amount to much of anything.”

      “Linux at 25 is a big thing,” he added. “Most things in life just don’t last as long and are as enduring as Linux. And Linux has gone so far beyond what anyone who has participated in this community could have ever expected. Linux today really is…the most successful software project in history.”

      After this opening, he pointed to the enormity of the Linux project by citing numbers, like its 53,000 source files and 21 million lines of code, and the fact that each day 10,800 lines of code are added to Linux, 5,300 lines of code removed and 1,800 lines of code modified.

      “This pace is only accelerating,” he said. “Linux now changes seven [or] eight times an hour. There is no single software project by any single person or organization that rivals the breadth, pace, depth and adoption of Linux. What an incredible run.”

      As with any good pep rally, Zemlin gave the fans plenty of reason to be happy to support the home team by pointing to Linux’s wins. Trouble is, all of those wins had to do with making “billions of dollars” — a phrase he used often — for the enterprise.

      “Linux has become the world’s most widely adopted software,” he said and rattled off a list of uses that included high performance computing, weather forecasting, climate modeling, economic modeling, mobile devices and embedded systems. “It runs the global economy. Quite literally, it runs the vast majority of stock exchanges. It runs the vast majority of the Internet and powers things like Google, Facebook, Amazon and much, much more.”

    • Why Google plans to stop supporting your Chromebook after five years

      It’s worth noting that end-of-life doesn’t have to mean the end of useful hardware. If you have the know-how, you can install Linux on your Chromebook to extend its lifespan. Otherwise, users whose Chromebooks are still in fine working order just have to hope that end-of-life notification never comes.

    • EFF slams Microsoft’s ‘blatant disregard’ for user privacy with Windows 10 [Ed: It’s textbook definition of malware]

      THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has lashed out at Microsoft over the company’s “blatant disregard” for user privacy with the pushy, data-slurping Windows 10 operating system.

      Following the launch of a petition in June, EFF has heard from thousands of pissed off people who are asked it to take action against Microsoft, and the privacy campaigners are doing just that. EFF is calling on Microsoft to listen to its users, of which more than 6,000 have signed the online petition, and incorporate their complaints into its operating system.

      “Otherwise, Microsoft may find that it has inadvertently discovered just how far it can push its users before they abandon a once-trusted company for a better, more privacy-protective solution,” EFF’s Amul Kalia said in a blog post.

      First on EFF’s radar is Microsoft’s backhanded tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, which we here at the INQUIRER know about all too well.

  • Server

    • How IBM’s LinuxONE Has Evolved For the New Open Source Cloud

      LinuxONE is IBM’s Linux Server. The LinuxONE server runs the major distributions of Linux; SUSE, Red Hat and Canonical’s Ubuntu. The server also runs open source databases like Mongo DB , PostgreSQL and MariaDB allowing for both horizontal growth and vertical scale, as demonstrated by running a 2TB Mongo database without sharding. Several of the features built into this system support the constant innovation inherent in the open source movement while maintaining the performance and reliability required by Enterprise clients; for example, Logical Partitions (LPARs) allow clients to host a development environment on the same system as production with zero risk.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Mint Rounds Out 18 ‘Sarah’ Releases With Beta KDE Edition

        Earlier this month, the Linux Mint developer team released the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’, which followed the main release at the end of June. But now it’s time for some Plasma action, with a beta release of the upcoming Linux Mint 18 KDE edition.

        It’s worth noting that all three Linux Mint 18 editions are LTS releases (long-term support), with a promise to be supported until 2021. For that reason, these releases don’t include bleeding-edge software, but instead software that can be assured to be stable right-out-of-the-box.

      • KDevelop 5.0 Appears Ready For Release

        We haven’t yet seen any official release announcement, but since yesterday a source package and AppImage binary have been out in the wild for KDE’s KDevelop 5.0 integrated development environment…

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps is fast again!

        Once your distro of choice picks up one of these stable releases you should be back to at least the old Mapquest speed of Maps. And if your distro upgrades to latest libchamplain when it arrives you will see even greater speeds.

      • GTK Scene Kit Isn’t Happening In Time For GNOME 3.22

        With GNOME 3.19 there were plans for a GTK scenegraph and this GTK Scene Kit (GSK) was then planned for 3.20 and then most recently hoped for 3.22. But it’s not happening.

        One of the big user benefits to the GTK Scene Kit will be offloading more work to the GPU and while it looked like GSK may finally be a reality for GNOME 3.22, this morning we found out it’s not going to be merged in time.

      • GSoC: final evaluation

        This blog-post contains the final evaluation of my Google summer of Code 2016 project for the GNOME organization. More precisely, I’ve been working in the Games application under the mentorship of Adrien Plazas implementing multi-source/multi-disc games and offer support to the PlayStation platform.

      • GUADEC

        I arrived at GUADEC a few days early to participate in the Board and AdBoard meetings.

      • GSoC Summary

        The goal to be achieved was to be able to play both single player and multiplayer emulated games using a gamepad in GNOME Games

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Its First Public Beta Release

        GNOME Project’s Frederic Peters informs us a few minutes ago about the availability of the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.

      • GNOME 3.22 Beta Released

        The first beta of GNOME 3.22 beta is now available for testing ahead of the planned official desktop release around this time next month.

        Some of the recent package changes for the GNOME 3.22 Beta include sharing support for GNOME Photos, various Mutter and GNOME Shell improvements (including Wayland improvements!), and GTK improvements.

      • GUADEC Experience

        In this blog post, I will be sharing my GUADEC experience which recently held from 11-Aug-2015 to 17-Aug-2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany. I actually got to see the faces behind IRC nicks, met most of developers and people from GNOME community and also most importantly, GUADEC helped me to meet my Google Summer of Code mentor Debarshi Ray in person which was just great.

      • GNOME Usability Test Results (Part 1)

        This is the first part of analysis for the usability test I recently conducted, with the purpose to uncover usability flaws of two GNOME applications: Photos and Calendar.
        For this part I am focusing on visualizing the results, demographics and talk more about the methodology I used for testing. We will take a closer look on how testers performed on every task given, using a heat map. Hopefully this will create a clear picture of the testing process and help to “get to know” the participants and understand them better!

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Linux live DVD “Choice Edition

        Gentoo One of the wonderful things about Linux is the diversity of the distributions available. Some distributions are very beginner friendly with installers that offer only a few basic options. Others are more complex, requiring knowledge of Linux and skills with the command line to install. Gentoo falls into the more complex category. There is no installer per se, the user just needs to follow instructions to perform several steps leading to a fully installed and configured system. This process is certainly harder than using Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer, but it is not that hard. The instructions are clear and do require previous experience with Linux, or the tenacity to keep going (or start over) when things go wrong when Gentoo is used in a “dive in head first” learning experience. Below, I take a look at the latest Gentoo Linux live DVD, the “Choice Edition,” and briefly explore how Gentoo gets installed on a system by using a step by step set of instructions instead of an installer that takes care of most of the steps automatically.

      • Why did Gentoo Linux fade into obscurity?

        Gentoo Linux was fairly well known at one point, with many tech-savvy Linux users opting to run it on their computers. But Gentoo Linux slowly lost popularity over time and is now a pale shadow of its former self in terms of usage and mind-share among Linux users (though there are still some die-hard Gentoo users left on Reddit).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • Latest Slackware Version Doesn’t Cut Newbies any Slack

        Slackware is a throwback to the early days of the Linux OS, and it may not have much relevance to anyone but diehard Slackware fans. Still, experienced Linux users looking for a change of pace might enjoy setting up a Slackware system.

        The documentation and user guides are fairly detailed, but they are heavy reads that will frustrate the typical new user. Those without a strong technical background will see a big disconnect in going from the live session “Slackware demo” to a functioning Slackware installation.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Most companies worried about coping with increasing data volumes, says Red Hat

        Storage has become a complicated animal within the IT stack, and according to a recent Vanson Bourne survey commissioned by Red Hat, there’s growing evidence that ignoring the critical role storage plays across physical, virtual, container and both public and private cloud environments is a recipe for disaster.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • DNF 1.1.10 and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE 0.1.21-3 Released

          Another stability release of DNF and DNF-PLUGINS-CORE has been made. This release should eliminate the most critical bugs, especially the Unicode tracebacks and COPR plugin should work in Korora again. More information about the release can be found in DNF and plugins release notes.

        • Trying Out Fedora 25 With Wayland, Early Benchmarks Included

          With the news from Friday that Fedora 25 will run Wayland by default I loaded up the current Fedora 25 development packages on a test system this weekend and I used that as my primary system for all of my business/production work this weekend. It went well and included are some early gaming benchmarks of Fedora 25 Workstation GNOME on Wayland and X.Org.

        • Fedora 25 Linux OS to Arrive on November 15, Ship with Wayland by Default

          The Fedora Project is currently working very hard on the next major version of the popular GNU/Linux computer operating system, Fedora 25, bringing you all the latest and modern technologies.

          Wayland is a modern technology, the next generation display server designed as a drop-in replacement for the old X.Org Server or X11 as many of you out there might want to call the display server almost all GNU/Linux distributions are currently using by default. But there are many security-released issues with X11 that for some reason can’t be fixed, so it’s time for the open-source ecosystem to adopt Wayland.

        • New role as Fedora Magazine editor in chief

          Today, I am pleased to announce my new role as the Fedora Magazine editor-in-chief. After deciding to shift focus to other areas of the Fedora Project, I am receiving the torch from Ryan Lerch. Ryan has helped lead the Magazine, edit pieces from other contributors, contribute his own pieces, and decide strategic direction for the Magazine.

          He leaves big shoes to fill, but I hope to offer my own leadership, creativity, and direction in coming years as well. I’d like to thank both Ryan, Paul Frields, and Remy DeCausemaker for their mentorship and guidance towards becoming involved with Fedora and the Magazine. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help guide the Fedora Magazine in how it fits with the rest of Fedora.

        • FOSS Wave: Delhi, India

          After the introductory session on FOSS, we went ahead with our agenda and introduced the Fedora Project and the community behind it: what the Fedora Project is, what its mission is, and how the participants can get started with Fedora. The participants were guided upon how they can create their identity on the Fedora Project by signing up on FAS. They could then use that identity to get access to various Fedora applications and resources. The session on Fedora moved on with the introduction on how the contributors can get to the mailing list and introduce themselves to the community. There, they can get help about starting their contributions. The main focus during the session on Fedora was to introduce the participants to the Fedora Quality Assurance (QA) team and release validation testing.

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible Builds: week 69 in Stretch cycle

        Daniel Stender blogged about python packaging and explained some caveats regarding reproducible builds.

      • Proposing speakers for DebConf17

        As you may already know, next DebConf will be held at Collège de Maisonneuve in Montreal from August 6 to August 12, 2017. We are already thinking about the conference schedule, and the content team is open to suggestions for invited speakers.

      • Google Summer of Code 2016 : Final Report

        This project aims to improve diffoscope tool and fix Debian packages which are unreproducible in Reproducible builds testing framework.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Now in Feature Freeze, First Beta to Land August 25

            Ubuntu and Debian developer Iain Lane informed the Ubuntu community that the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system is in Feature Freeze as of August 18, 2016.

          • Artist Sylvia Ritter Painted All 25 Ubuntu Linux Mascots and They’re Astonishing

            Artist Sylvia Ritter happily informs Softpedia about the availability of 25 wallpapers for mobile phones and tablet devices illustrating her vision of the mascots used for all the Ubuntu Linux operating system releases.

          • Canonical and QTS Team on Private, Managed OpenStack Cloud Solution

            For several years running, OpenStack Foundation surveys have revealed that Ubuntu is the most common platform for OpenStack deployments to be built on. Organizations report that they choose OpenStack and Ubuntu to save money and avoid vendor lock-in. These themes have been emphasized by Canonical at OpenStack Summit.

            Now, responding to what they describe as “increasing demand for flexible, open source and cost-predictable cloud solutions, QTS Realty Trust, Inc. and Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, have announced a private, fully managed OpenStack cloud solution. It will be available from any of QTS’ secure data centers in mid-September.

            Built on Ubuntu OpenStack and using Canonical’s application modeling service Juju as well as Canonical’s Bare Metal as a Service (MaaS), QTS’ OpenStack cloud will be fully managed. Essentially, organizations can treat it as a turnkey cloud solution.

          • Rotate Screen on Ubuntu Easily With This Indicator Applet

            Sam, our backend web hamster, makes occasional use of a portrait monitor. He says it makes reading long terminal sessions easier.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS explained

              In the childhood many of us must have eaten peppermint tablets. Well, just the name gives us some nostalgic moments. So today on the 12th segment of “Introduction with Linux Distro” we are having Peppermint OS as our guest. Peppermint OS is a lightweight option for those with old machines or those who loves fast and light OS.

  • Devices/Embedded