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04.29.16

Links 29/4/2016: GNOME 3.21.1, Fairphone

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • RMS Gets Award, OwnCloud Founder Resigns & More…
  • Coreboot Gets Ported To A Unique Industrial Board

    While the Siemens MC_BDX1 will likely be unavailable for purchase as a computer motherboard similar to some of the past Siemens Coreboot ports, it’s still worth mentioning and interesting watching them bring Coreboot to more industrial boards. The MC_BDX1 in this case is a unique motherboard based off Intel’s Camelback Mountain CRB platform, a.k.a. a Xeon D Broadwell motherboard.

  • 4 keys to leading open source teams

    I like to be busy and have a lot of energy to be a part of leadership teams in open source communities, aside from my fulltime job as Developer Evangelist for Cisco in the DevNet.

    I’m a community leader and member of the PHP and the Joomla communities. I’ve been part of the Joomla organization since 2011 and have held leadership roles for the past few years. Previously, I was a Board of Director for Open Source Matters (OSM), the organization that supports the Joomla! Project legally, financially, and from all business aspects. For the past year, I’ve been on the Joomla Production Leadership Team (PLT), which is responsible for coordinating the production of the Joomla CMS and Framework, including the code, documentation, and localization. I was brought on to help evangelise and market the Joomla project in the greater developer communities by speaking about our community and code. I also run the Seattle PHP meetup and Seattle Joomla meetup. And, I organize the Pacific Northwest PHP Conference in Seattle (PNWPHP).

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Coming up: the Month of LibreOffice

      There’s so much fantastic work going on in LibreOffice at the moment, in all areas of the project: development, translations, bug fixing, documentation, user support and much more. The community is doing stellar work to make the software better, faster, more reliable, easier to use, and available for everyone.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Ionic Downloads $8.5M to Rev Up Business Around Open-Source Software

      But the company saw a bigger opportunity with Ionic, which allows developers to use Web-based languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to make mobile apps that work across different platforms—meaning users can simultaneously create iOS, Android, and Windows apps. The software is geared toward Web developers, many of whom have never built a mobile app before. One of the goals is to help companies’ existing staff of Web developers quickly and easily build mobile apps, thereby saving businesses time and money they would’ve spent to hire or contract with more mobile-savvy developers.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Pulls In More Than $300,000 USD A Year In Sponsorships

      The LLVM Foundation published its plans and budgets this week for 2016. There are a few interesting details when analyzing the information.

      The post at LLVM.org explains of the LLVM Foundation for those unfamiliar, “The LLVM Foundation originally grew out of the need to have a legal entity to plan and support the annual LLVM Developers’ Meeting and LLVM infrastructure. However, as the Foundation was created we saw a need for help in other areas related to the LLVM project, compilers, and tools. The LLVM Foundation has established 3 main programs: Educational Outreach, Grants & Scholarships, and Women in Compilers & Tools.”

    • LLVMpipe Ported To Android x86 For Running Android Apps Without GPU Support

      For x86 Android users, patches are available for making use of Mesa’s LLVMpipe driver in Gallium3D for cases where hardware drivers are not available.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ACM RECOGNIZES MAJOR TECHNICAL CONTRIBUTIONS THAT HAVE ADVANCED THE COMPUTING FIELD

      Richard Stallman, recipient of the ACM Software System Award for the development and leadership of GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), which has enabled extensive software and hardware innovation, and has been a lynchpin of the free software movement. A compiler is a computer program that takes the source code of another program and translates it into machine code that a computer can run directly. GCC compiles code in various programming languages, including Ada, C, C++, Cobol, Java, and FORTRAN. It produces machine code for many kinds of computers, and can run on Unix and GNU/Linux systems as well as others.

      GCC was developed for the GNU operating system, which includes thousands of programs from various projects, including applications, libraries, tools such as GCC, and even games. Most importantly, the GNU system is entirely free (libre) software, which means users are free to run all these programs, to study and change their source code, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. GNU is usually used with the kernel, Linux. Stallman has previously been recognized with ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 29th
    • Tumbleweed gets glibc 2.23

      There has not been a new snapshot for openSUSE Tumbleweed for the past week, and it has been a couple weeks since the last time it was discussed on news.opensuse.org.

      A new snapshot of Tumbleweed arrived today and the reason for not having one the past week is that the entire rolling release distribution was rebuilt on the Open Build Service and thoroughly tested by openQA.

  • Public Services/Government

    • FRAND Is Not A Compliance Issue

      The European Commission has been persuaded by lobbyists to change its position on standards to permit the use of FRAND license terms for patents applicable to technologies within those standards. This is a massive mistake that will harm innovation by chilling open source community engagement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Saving Lives with Open-Source Electrocardiography

      A few months ago, MobilECG wowed us with a formidable electrocardiograph (ECG, also EKG) machine in the format of a business card, complete with an OLED display. We’ve seen business card hacks before, but that was the coolest. But that’s peanuts compared with the serious project that it supports: making an open-source ECG machine that can actually save lives by being affordable enough to be where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why and how I became a software engineer

      Throughout my experiences, the fascinating weeks I’d spent writing out DOS commands remained a prominent influence, bleeding into little side projects and occupying valuable study time. As soon as Geocities became available to all Yahoo! Users, I created a website where I published blurry pictures that I’d taken on a tiny digital camera. I created websites for free, helped friends and family fix issues they had with their computers, and created a library database for a church.

      This meant that I was always researching and trying to find more information about how things could be made better. The Internet gods blessed me and open source fell into my lap. Suddenly, 30-day trials and restrictive licenses became a ghost of computing past. I could continue to create using GIMP, Inkscape, and OpenOffice.

    • PHP version 5.5.35, 5.6.21 and 7.0.6
    • Learn Perl Online for Free
    • Top Ten Programmers of All Time

      3. Linus Torvalds

      The man who created Linux Kernel. Linux operating system is a clone to the Unix operating system, written originally by Linus Torvalds and a loosely knit team of programmers all around the world.

      [...]

      5. Richard Stallman

      He founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU Compiler Collection(GCC). Richard Stallman is the prophet of the free software movement. He understood the dangers of software patents years ago. Now that this has become a crucial issue in the world. He has hugely successful efforts to establish the idea of “Free Software”.

    • Node.js version 6 is now available

Leftovers

  • EU Regulators Can Barely Contain Their Desire To Attack Google And Facebook, Believing It Will Help Local Competitors

    Look, we warned everyone. Back in December of last year, we told you that the EU Commission was looking to put in place new regulations that were clearly designed to hamper Google and Facebook with needless regulations. It was pretty obvious from the way it phrased its broken survey form, that this was the intent. We, along with a bunch of internet startups told the EU that this was a mistake. We explained that Google and Facebook are big and they’ll be able to handle whatever regulations the EU throws at them, because they can just throw money at the problem.

    But… everyone else? They’re going to get screwed over. The folks over at Euractiv have got their hands on a leaked draft of the plan to regulate online platforms, and it’s more or less what we expected, and what was hinted at a few weeks ago.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • USB Type C speed test: Here’s how slow your laptop’s port could be

      USB Type C is the intriguing new port that began appearing in laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices well over a year ago, but we had no real way test its throughput performance until now. Thanks to Sandisk’s Extreme 900, we’re finally able to push that tiny reversible port to its limits. To do that I gathered up no fewer than eight laptops equipped with USB Type C ports, and threw in a desktop PCIe card for good measure too.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

      The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Hacking Slack accounts: As easy as searching GitHub

      A surprisingly large number of developers are posting their Slack login credentials to GitHub and other public websites, a practice that in many cases allows anyone to surreptitiously eavesdrop on their conversations and download proprietary data exchanged over the chat service.

      According to a blog post published Thursday, company researchers recently estimated that about 1,500 access tokens were publicly available, some belonging to people who worked for Fortune 500 companies, payment providers, Internet service providers, and health care providers. The researchers privately reported their findings to Slack, and the chat service said it regularly monitors public sites for posts that publish the sensitive tokens.

    • Time for a patch: six vulns fixed in NTP daemon
    • NTP Daemon Gets Fixes for Vulnerabilities Causing DoS and Authentication Bypass
    • Cisco Spots New NTP Bugs
    • Network Time Keeps on Ticking with Long-Running NTP Project [Ed: corrected URL]
    • Open Source Milagro Project Aims to Fix Web Security for Cloud, Mobile, IoT

      As the Internet continues to both grow in size and widen in scope, so do demands on the supporting infrastructure. The number of users and devices, amount of activity, internationalization of the web, and new devices that range from mobile apps and cloud instances to “Internet of Things,” put strain on the system. Not just for bandwidth or service availability, but also on the assurance of trust — trust that the entities at each end are who (or what) they say they are, and that their communications are private and secure.

    • M2Mi Obtains DHS Open-Source Cryptographic Tool Development Funds

      Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corp. has been awarded $75,000 in funds by the Department of Homeland Security‘s science and technology directorate to create a deployable cryptographic protocol for an Internet of Things security initiative.

    • Encrypted Network Traffic Comes at a Cost

      The use of encryption over the Internet is growing. Fueled by Edward Snowden’s revelations on the extent of NSA and GCHQ content monitoring, encryption is now increasingly provided by the big tech companies as part of their standard product offerings. It’s effectiveness can be seen in the continuing demands by different governments for these same tech companies to provide government backdoors for that encryption. Encryption works: it safeguards privacy.

      Against this background, the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt network traffic is likely to grow dramatically. Google is encouraging this. It already uses HTTPS as a positive weight for web sites in its search algorithm, while current rumors suggest it will soon start to place a warning red X in the URL bar of sites that do not use it. Taken together, these are strong incentives for businesses that don’t currently use SSL/TLS to start doing so. Some predictions believe that almost 70% of network traffic will be encrypted by the end of this year.

    • Raptor Engineering Updates Details On Their POWER8-Based Talos Secure Workstation

      Raptor Engineering has published new information around their proposed high-performance Talos Secure Workstation that for around $3k is a high-end POWER8 motherboard.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tony Blair courted Chinese leaders for Saudi prince’s oil firm

      Tony Blair obtained a “blessing” from Chinese leaders for a company owned by a Saudi prince to do business in China as part of an arrangement that paid the former UK prime minister’s firm £41,000 a month and a 2% commission on any multimillion-pound contracts he helped to secure.

      A series of documents, seen by the Guardian, show how Blair courted some of the most influential Chinese political leaders in 2010 and then introduced them to the Saudi-owned company he worked with, PetroSaudi. The company was not allowed to divulge his role without permission, according to the contract.

    • ‘It’s Remarkable How Little Real News Comes From Saudi Arabia’

      Janine Jackson: The New York Daily News cover is a photograph of Barack Obama with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and the headline “Oil Protect You, Sire.” It’s far from elegant, but the paper’s trying to say something about the relationship CNN likened to “an unhappy marriage in which both sides, for better or worse, are stuck with each other.” News of Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia changed by the hour: First we were told things were chilly, then that they’d been smoothed over. But people who might want to understand more about the abiding goals of the US alliance with a monarchy where women can’t have bank accounts could easily remain confused.

    • The Coming World of ‘Peak Oil Demand,’ Not ‘Peak Oil’

      On the structural side, global demand for energy had, in recent years, ceased to rise quickly enough to soak up all the crude oil pouring onto the market, thanks in part to new supplies from Iraq and especially from the expanding shale fields of the United States. This oversupply triggered the initial 2014 price drop when Brent crude – the international benchmark blend – went from a high of $115 on June 19th to $77 on November 26th, the day before a fateful OPEC meeting in Vienna. The next day, OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, failed to agree on either production cuts or a freeze, and the price of oil went into freefall.

      The failure of that November meeting has been widely attributed to the Saudis’ desire to kill off new output elsewhere – especially shale production in the United States – and to restore their historic dominance of the global oil market. Many analysts were also convinced that Riyadh was seeking to punish regional rivals Iran and Russia for their support of the Assad regime in Syria (which the Saudis seek to topple).

    • Hiding the Indonesia Massacre Files

      Perhaps nowhere does U.S. hypocrisy over human rights stand out more clearly than Indonesia’s “Year of Living Dangerously” slaughter of vast numbers of people in 1965, dirty secrets that Jonathan Marshall says finally deserve airing.

    • It’s Not About Drones, It’s About Lazy War

      Clinton dabbled in other conflicts, such as bombing what turned out to be a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory in 1998. And yes, Kosovo was his big blowout event in 1999. Yet, he didn’t walk away from office with the reputation as a warmonger. If anything, his stickiest critique was that he didn’t kill Osama Bin Laden when he had the chance. That comes from the right. Mostly on the left, Clinton is loved and missed – or at least a world in which a presidential sex scandal was the biggest news is missed.

      Bush Jr. was loud, and obvious in his wars. The damage that his administration wrought in the Middle East will be felt for generations. And so, yes, Obama felt like a revelation simply because he wasn’t Bush. He even said a few things that were called “apologizing for America” by offended hawks. This usually meant that Obama was admitting America had not been perfect in its foreign policy choices in the past.

      [...]

      The Obama administration has stretched the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to impossible lengths, using it to justify excursions into Syria and elsewhere that Daskal very nearly calls illegal (she goes with “expansive legal interpretation” instead). Perhaps hoping to use a carrot instead of a stick, Daskal suggests Obama knows better than this. Yet, there’s little evidence to suggest that he does. And she notes, Obama’s suggested a narrower AUMF to justify his current adventuring, but intended for it to be piled atop the old one, thereby adding, and not extracting war-making powers.

    • Drone Wars Produce PTSD Victims on Both Sides

      “When we are in our darkest places and we have a lot to worry about and we feel guilty about our past actions, it’s really tough to describe what that feeling is like,” says Daniel, a whistleblower who took part in drone operations and whose last name is not revealed in National Bird. Speaking of the suicidal feelings that sometimes plagued him while he was involved in killing halfway across the planet, he adds, “Having the image in your head of taking your own life is not a good feeling.”

    • Trump’s Foreign Policy Mishmash

      Donald Trump’s “big” foreign policy speech was a mishmash of his reasonable calls for American restraint blended with some bluster about unleashing military force, salted with some predictable Obama bashing, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • No Dissent from Anti-Russian Propaganda

      The European Union prides itself on its commitment to free expression, except apparently when a documentarian diverges from the official line bashing Russia. Then silencing dissent becomes the “responsible” response, as Gilbert Doctorow explains.

    • Pentagon Denies War Crimes Allegations In Kunduz Hospital Killings

      Nearly seven months after the first shots were fired, the Pentagon has released its full report detailing the night of chaos and horror that left 42 patients and staffers dead at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. In publishing the highly anticipated account, the military concluded that its attack did not amount to a war crime because its effects were not intentional, a view at odds with certain interpretations of international law.

    • Doctors Without Borders Launches New Solidarity Action as U.S. Military Brushes Off Deadly Kunduz Attack as ‘Accidental’ (Video)

      The International medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) was attacked Wednesday in the Syrian city of Aleppo. According to the charity, the direct U.S. airstrike killed more than a dozen doctors and patients including “one of the city’s last pediatricians.”

    • The Joke of U.S. Justice and “Accountability” When They Bomb a Hospital

      Ever since the U.S. last October bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the U.S. vehemently denied guilt while acting exactly like a guilty party would. First, it changed its story repeatedly. Then, it blocked every effort – including repeated demands from MSF – to have an independent investigation determine what really happened. As May Jeong documented in a richly reported story for The Intercept yesterday, the Afghan government – rather than denying that the hospital was targeted – instead repeatedly claimed that doing so was justified; moreover, they were sympathetic to calls for an independent investigation, which the U.S. blocked. What is beyond dispute, as Jeong wrote, is that the “211 shells that were fired . . . were felt by the 42 men, women, and children who were killed.” MSF insisted the bombing was “deliberate,” and ample evidence supports that charge.

    • As More American Boots Hit the Ground in Syria, U.S. Parses “Boots” and “Ground”

      After President Obama announced on Monday that he would deploy 250 additional special operations troops to Syria, State Department spokesperson John Kirby tried to deny that Obama had ever promised not to send “boots on the ground” there.

    • “To demand peace is not a crime”: Turkish academics on trial

      Last Friday, April 21st, four Turkish academics, Meral Camci, Kivanc Ersoy, Muzeffer Kaya and Esra Mungan, after five weeks remanded in prison, were brought to the Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul to face charges of making “propaganda for terrorism” and of association with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), labelled as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. The indictment accused them under Article 7(2) of Turkey’s anti-terror law and if convicted they could face sentences of up to 7 ½ years in detention.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why Climate Change Is No Longer Shocking Enough

      Back in the real world, 97% of climate scientists have determined that climate change is happening and caused by human activity. And, it’s already affecting people and places all over the world. Climate change should be the issue of the 2016 election, but the only way for this to happen is if the media partners with the people to put actual issues ahead of circus-like entertainment value. This is also where young people must come in.

    • Droughts trigger tree ‘heart attacks’

      Research identifying survival traits in different tree species could prove vital in helping to reduce the massive losses caused by heat extremes as the world warms.

    • $5 Million In Arizona Higher Education Funding Is Going To Koch-Backed ‘Freedom Schools’

      Five million dollars has been earmarked for conservative institutes at Arizona’s public universities.

    • These Republican Lawmakers Are Turning To Climate Action To Help Keep Their Seats

      For most Senate Republicans, climate change is an anathema: 70 percent of Republicans in the Senate deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and humans are the main cause.

      But a growing number of liberal and moderate Republican voters are concerned about climate change and want their elected officials to reflect that concern. And that leaves Republicans in tight campaigns for reelection with an interesting choice: embrace climate action, long seen as a liberal stance, or risk losing crucial voters.

    • Using the “Public Trust” to Frame “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” Actions

      Governments have no more right to authorize the emission of greenhouse gases that destroy the climate than the trust officers of a bank have to loot the assets placed under their care. , The people of the world have a right to our common natural resources. And we have a right, if necessary, to protect our common assets against those who would destroy them.

    • Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

      A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

      Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap the ocean of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe. But it’s been difficult to determine whether this anticipated oxygen drain is already having a noticeable impact.

    • Save the Starfish: Deoxygenated ‘Dead Zones’ Threatening Marine Life
    • Why is Congress Trying to Give Military Half a Wildlife Refuge it Doesn’t Want?

      The overreaching rider is part of a trend: this is only the latest attempt by the House Armed Services committee, long dominated by Republicans, to demolish endangered species protections through the NDAA, the annual “must-pass” legislation that authorizes annual military spending.

    • America’s Most Notorious Coal Baron Is Going to Prison. But He Still Haunts West Virginia Politics

      As CEO of Massey Energy, central Appalachia’s largest coal producer, Don Blankenship towered over West Virginia politics for more than a decade by spending millions to bolster Republican candidates and causes. That chapter came to an end in April, when Blankenship was sentenced to a year in prison for conspiring to commit mine safety violations in the period leading up to the deadly 2010 explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine. But even in absentia, he casts a long shadow over state politics. For evidence, look no further than the contentious Democratic primary for governor.

    • Retrofitting Suburbia: Communities Innovate Their Way Out of Sprawl

      The future for suburbanites, who now have twice the carbon footprint of city dwellers, seems to be pointing backward to pre-automobile, train-based living.

    • Obama’s Offshore Drilling Proposal Based on Fossil Fuel Industry Research

      A key component of President Barack Obama’s push for offshore oil drilling—an economic analysis touting the benefits of opening up waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic—was based on studies conducted by the fossil fuel industry, a new investigation reveals.

      The “apparently impartial” analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) justified the offshore drilling proposal unveiled last month as having potential for “increased wages, additional jobs, increased tax collection, revenue sharing, and proximity of supply and consumers economic,” the nonprofit research group Public Accountability Initiative states in its report, Offshore Shilling: An Analysis of the Economic Studies Justifying the Department of Interior’s Offshore Drilling Plan.

  • Finance

    • Chevron Lobbied For Corporate Sovereignty Rights In TAFTA/TTIP To Act As ‘Environmental Deterrent’

      Back in 2014, Techdirt noted that arguably the most serious problem with corporate sovereignty was not the huge awards that could be imposed on countries, but the chilling effect the mere threat of those awards could have on national sovereignty. In that post, we quoted from a remarkable 2001 article in The Nation. A former Canadian government official in Ottawa revealed that numerous proposals for new environmental regulations had been dropped in the face of threats that NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework would be used against Canada if it brought in new laws. The Techdirt post also mentioned a case in Indonesia, where a mining company dropped a corporate sovereignty case when it was offered “special exemptions” from a new mining law.

      More recently, we’ve seen New Zealand put on hold its plans to require plain packaging for cigarettes, as a result of Philip Morris bringing an ISDS claim against the Australian government for doing the same. The New Zealand government was concerned it too might get hit, and so decided to wait. Now that the Australian case has been thrown out, New Zealand is pressing ahead with its plain packs legislation.

    • Weighing Obama’s Economic Legacy–With a Thumb on the Scale

      The economy has also seen close to 3 million prime-age workers (ages 25–54) drop out of the labor force. No one had predicted this back in 2009 when President Obama took office. The number of people who are working part-time involuntarily is still close to 1.7 million above its pre-recession level. No one had expected this back in 2009, either.

      The 73 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, “the longest period of sustained job growth on record,” is kind of a joke. This is sort of like a weak-scoring basketball player telling a reporter about the number of consecutive games in which he scored points; it is an utterly meaningless statistic. It is the average job growth, GDP growth and improvement in living standards that matter, not the monthly job creation streak. (And President Obama wonders why people don’t feel better.)

      Sorkin then turns to mind-reading on the Wall Street bailout, telling readers: “But Obama, convinced that anything short of a major bailout could lead to economic catastrophe, said Democrats should back Paulson’s plan. They did.”

      Sorkin doesn’t indicate how he knows that Obama was “convinced.” No one has ever given an argument as to why the government could not have boosted the economy with massive spending after the market had been allowed to work its magic in putting Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the rest out of business. Elite types call people names who raise this point, but that doesn’t mean it is not valid.

    • More Lies From the Government

      The government has reported a growth in first quarter 2016 GDP of one-half of one percent — 0.5%.

      Residential investment accounted for the entire increase.

      Yet housing starts fell by 0.7%.

    • How to Redistribute Wealth—Without the Guillotine

      We can’t just tax billionaires’ paychecks. We should tax the wealth they’ve already amassed.

    • The Question Is Not “Free Trade” and Globalization, It Is Free Trade and Globalization Designed to Screw Workers

      Why are none of the “free trade” members of Congress pushing to change the regulations that require doctors go through a U.S. residency program to be able to practice medicine in the United States? Obviously they are all protectionist Neanderthals.

      Will the media ever stop the ridiculous charade of pretending that the path of globalization that we are on is somehow and natural and that it is the outcome of a “free” market? Are longer and stronger patent and copyright monopolies the results of a free market?

      The NYT should up its game in this respect. It had a good piece on the devastation to millions of working class people and their communities from the flood of imports of manufactured goods in the last decade, but then it turns to hand-wringing nonsense about how it was all a necessary part of globalization. Actually, none of it was a necessary part of a free trade.

      First, the huge trade deficits were the direct result of the decision of China and other developing countries to buy massive amounts of U.S. dollars to hold as reserves in this period. This raised the value of the dollar and made our goods and services less competitive internationally. This problem of a seriously over-valued dollar stems from the bungling of the East Asian bailout by the Clinton Treasury Department and the I.M.F.

      If we had a more competent team in place, that didn’t botch the workings of the international financial system, then we would have expected the dollar to drop as more imports entered the U.S. market. This would have moved the U.S. trade deficit toward balance and prevented the massive loss of manufacturing jobs we saw in the last decade.

    • Crime Can Pay if It’s Big Enough

      For banksters like Goldman Sachs, federal criminal settlements are just a cost of doing business.

    • Could US Trade Threaten Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba?

      The future of agroecology in Cuba rests not only on how U.S.-Cuban relations continue to develop but also on how the Cuban state proceeds with ongoing economic reforms. Cuban farmers who practice agroecological methods by necessity will face a choice between committing to them in principle and returning to using imported agrochemicals to resolve the issue of labor shortages. The Cuban government will face a tricky balancing act between using U.S. agricultural exports to settle the question of food security and protecting its own industries, particularly agroecological and organic farms, from increased competition. Will a pioneering, sustainable food system that emerged from a period of extreme scarcity and hardship survive the transition to an era of relative abundance?

    • ‘Brazil Is One of the Most Unequal Countries in the World’

      The situation in Brazil—where President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment charges spurred by legislators, many of whom are themselves under investigation for corruption—is hard to grasp at a glance, but glances are all we get in US media. And when it comes to Latin America, elite media haven’t been shy about their disaffection for leftist governments, sometimes going to great lengths to paint them as delusional and dangerous to the region, and somehow to the US.

    • NYT Photographer Mauricio Lima, 2016 Pulitzer Winner, Denounces Globo and the “Coup” in Brazil

      Ten days ago, the photographer Mauricio Lima was feted by Brazil’s large corporate media when he won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, the first Brazilian ever to win the award. Lima shared the Pulitzer with fellow New York Times photographers Sergey Ponomarev, Tyler Hicks and Daniel Etter, with whom he worked to produce a series of stunning photographs documenting the journey of a Syrian refugee family, the Majids, as they traveled from Greece to Sweden to seek asylum. The year before, Lima, along with two colleagues, was named a Finalist in the same Pulitzer category for his work in The New York Times showing the devastation from the war in Ukraine. Last week, one columnist for O Globo quoted Joseph Pulitzer’s definition of journalism’s purpose and gushed that “there is no better definition to describe the work of Maurício Lima.”

    • Puerto Rico Is Cracking Down On Tax-Exempt Status For Churches

      Locked in the midst of a spiraling debt crisis, the government of Puerto Rico has taken a number of drastic steps to make money, such as cutting public education, hiking sales tax to be the highest in the U.S., and raising the cost of amenities such as water and electricity.

      But this past week, its Treasury Department announced another, somewhat unusual tactic: cracking down on churches that abuse tax-exempt status.

    • Republicans Shoot Down Rule That Bans Financial Advisers From Scamming Retirees
    • As Millions of Workers Face Pension Cuts Thanks to Wall Street Greed, Executive Benefits Remain Lavish

      In October of 2008, while the economy was in the early stages of what the IMF called “the worst recession since World War II,” the Washington Post reported that the “stock market’s prolonged tumble has wiped out about $2 trillion in Americans’ retirement savings in the past 15 months, a blow that could force workers to stay on the job longer than planned.”

      Thanks, in other words, to Wall Street’s reckless and criminal behavior, workers who were promised a secure retirement were cheated out of the benefits they worked hard — for decades — to attain.

      Which brings us to 2016: Just over a week ago, the Washington Post reported (déjà vu?), “More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money.”

    • The Sanders Campaign – From Sea to Shining Sea

      Really, you can’t fault Hillary Clinton’s campaign for trying to get Bernie Sanders out of the race. It’s a campaign – that’s what you do. They want to win the nomination. We on the Sanders side want it too and we’d love to see Clinton out. But we’re also campaigning to change the nation by ending the corporate stranglehold on Washington. And as more and more people come to understand what that’s all about, we think we’re winning that campaign.

    • Banks Assert Constitutional Right to Billions in Subsidies

      A trade group for the nation’s largest banks has asserted a constitutional right to risk-free profit from the Federal Reserve.

      Rob Nichols, the chief lobbyist for the American Bankers Association, argued in a comment letter Thursday that a recent federal law reducing the dividend on the stock that banks purchase as part of membership in the Federal Reserve system, violates the Fifth Amendment clause banning the uncompensated seizure of property.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Amid Media Megamergers, a Mosaic of Community Media Thrives

      The business press is all atwitter with merger news, as federal regulators are set to approve a massive deal between cable giants Charter, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. The $78 billion transaction will create the second-largest cable TV/Internet company, dubbed “New Charter,” next to Comcast, and leave just three major cable providers in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Gannett Company, which owns more than 100 newspapers, including USA Today, is attempting to acquire Tribune Publishing, which owns several major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

      This looming consolidation in the corporate media is happening as we celebrate “Democracy Now!” news hour’s 20th anniversary. We are on a 100-city tour of the United States, going from city to city, hosting fundraisers for community media outlets and broadcasting the news as we travel. Our travels confirm that a thriving, vibrant community media sector exists, serving the public interest, free from the demands to turn a profit at any cost.

    • To Clear the Air, Sanders Should Challenge New York Vote

      In November 2004, the officially announced results of the Ukrainian presidential election differed from exit polling by 12%.

      U.S. officials officially cried fraud.

      Last Tuesday, the results of the New York primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders differed from exit polling by 12%.

      Tim Robbins has cried fraud, and the Washington Post’s most consistent Clinton hack this cycle is leading the charge in mocking him.

    • Does the First Amendment Justify Corruption?

      Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Supreme Court corruption appeal will help decide whether the First Amendment protects average Americans or special interests.

    • Opening the Closed Political Culture

      Don’t they know how American democracy works? Real change isn’t part of the game. The mainstream media looks on in fascination at those (mostly young people) who don’t get this yet and seem to think that something more is at stake than which preselected big-money candidate wins the election.

    • The Pragmatic Impacts of Sanders’ Big Dreams

      The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has pitted a dreamer against a realist, right? Bernie Sanders is the unrealistic one, and Hillary Clinton, the pragmatist, is the candidate who can get things done.

      That’s what many pundits say. But, even with Tuesday’s setbacks to the Sanders campaign, it’s worth examining which is actually unrealistic—Bernie’s pledge to make the country more equitable and sustainable? Or Hillary’s progressive talking points, given her deep ties to corporate power players?

      One way to see if Sanders really is a dreamer is to look at his record as mayor of the city of Burlington, Vermont.

    • Fourteen to Go: Sanders Set on ‘Transforming Nation’

      That’s how many Democratic presidential nominating contests remain. From Indiana next week to the District of Columbia on June 14—with delegate prizes as large as 546 in California and small as 12 in Guam to be won in between—14 states and territories have yet to hold their respective caucus or primary.

    • Reputation Management Revolution: Fake News Sites And Even Faker DMCA Notices

      Pissed Consumer has uncovered another apparent case of bad reputation management, this one revolving around bogus websites facilitating bogus DMCA takedowns. It previously exposed a pair of lawyers using shell companies and highly-questionable defamation lawsuits to force Google to delist negative reviews hosted around the web. These faux litigants always managed to not only find the supposed “defamers,” but to also obtain a signed admission within 48 hours of the lawsuit being filed — a process that usually takes weeks or months, especially if the alleged “defamer” utilizes anything other than their real name when posting negative reviews.

      In this case, the reputation management scheme involves the use of hastily-set up “news” sites that contain a blend of scraped content and negative reviews hosted at sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer.

    • Rhode Island’s Primary Results Show Us How Independents Are Shaping the 2016 Election

      Rhode Island’s primary results “show just how tough and unpredictable the battle for the presidency will be this year, all the way to the White House,” Guardian journalist Suzanne McGee writes.

      The key factor is the rising anger of middle-class or formerly middle-class Americans, an experience given voice by the author and critic Neal Gabler in a recent essay for The Atlantic, in which he confesses that he is one of many Americans suffering from “financial impotence,” or the inability to find even $400 to cover an emergency. One study suggests 47 percent of Americans find themselves in this plight, and “millions of Americans are succumbing to a form of economic despair, a factor that has been cited as one of the contributing factors in sending the US suicide rate to a 30-year high,” McGee says.

    • Yanis Varoufakis, Former Greek Finance Minister, Returns to Public Life More Hopeful Than Ever

      Just a year ago the eyes of progressives all over the world were turned toward Greece. That which rarely happens had transpired in the Greek electoral system: a left-wing party with a strong ideological position was elected to power. The Syriza Party, which had upheld a staunchly anti-austerity platform, was propelled by the collective despair of the Greek populace into a landslide victory.

      The challenge of Syriza, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, lay in navigating between the opposing pressures of austerity-weary Greeks on the one hand, and the troika of creditors (the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund) on the other. Part of international fascination with this European moment was based on the hope that if Greece could thumb its nose at neoliberal capitalism, there might be positive repercussions throughout Europe and even elsewhere.

    • How the New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk

      In our critique of the media, we tend to focus on the New York Times, because it purports to be the gold standard for journalism, and because others look to the paper for coverage guidance. But the same critique could be applied to the Washington Post,Politico, CNN, and most other leading outfits.

      In prior articles, we noted how the Timeshelped Clinton walk away with most of the African-American vote—and therefore victory in many states—by essentially hiding Sanders’ comparably far more impressive record on civil rights. We also noted how it seemed that every little thing the Clinton camp did right was billboarded, while significant victories against great odds by Sanders were minimized.

      These are the kinds of decisions that determine the “conventional wisdom,” which in turn so often determines outcomes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Rosemary Collyer’s Worst FISA Decision

      Collyer has a history of rulings, sometimes legally dubious, backing secrecy and executive power, some of which include,

      2011: Protecting redactions in the Torture OPR Report

      2014: Ruling the mosaic theory did not yet make the phone dragnet illegal (in this case she chose to release her opinion)

      2014: Erroneously freelance researching the Awlaki execution to justify throwing out his family’s wrongful death suit

      2015: Serially helping the Administration hide drone details, even after remand from the DC Circuit

      I actually think her mosaic theory opinion from 2014 is one of her (and FISC’s) less bad opinions of this ilk.

    • GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year, Including Ones in iOS

      Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS.

      “So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products,” a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ.

    • Russia’s Trace in NSA Spying Scandal Proofless Rumors – Ex-BND Chief

      The Russian involvement in Edward Snowden’s leaks on the BND targeting European authorities and individuals at NSA’s request should be qualified as unsubstantiated rumors, August Hanning, former head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), told Sputnik Friday.

    • Senators Burr & Feinstein Write Ridiculous Ignorant Op-Ed To Go With Their Ridiculous Ignorant Bill

      Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are not giving up that quickly on their ridiculous and technically ignorant plan to outlaw real encryption. The two have now penned an op-ed in the WSJ that lays out all the same talking points they’ve laid out before, without adding anything new. Instead, it just continues to make statements that show how incredibly ignorant they are. The piece is called Encryption Without Tears (and may be paywalled, though by now everyone knows how to get around that), which already doesn’t make any sense. What they’re pushing for is ending basic encryption, which will lead to many, many tears.

      [...]

      I love this. They give two examples that have been rolled out a bunch in the last few weeks. The attack in Garland, Texas, where the attackers supposedly exchanged some messages with potential ISIS people, and the case of Brittney Mills, who was tragically murdered, and whose case hasn’t been solved. Mills had her smartphone, but no one can get into it. Of course, it took nearly two years of fretting before law enforcement could dig up these two cases, and neither make a very strong argument for why we need to undermine all encryption.

      It’s a simple fact that law enforcement never gets to have all of the evidence. In many, many, many criminal scenarios, that’s just the reality. People destroy evidence, or law enforcement doesn’t find it or law enforcement just doesn’t understand it. That’s not the end of the world. This is why we have police detectives, who are supposed to piece together whatever evidence they do have and build a picture for a case. Burr and Feinstein are acting like in the past, law enforcement immediately was handed all evidence. That’s never been the way it works. Yes, law enforcement doesn’t get access to some information. That’s how it works.

    • Notorious “FOIA Terrorist” Jason Leopold “Saves” FBI Over $300,000

      I noted at the time that 1) Jim Comey has a history of telling untruths when convenient and 2) he had an incentive to exaggerate the cost of this exploit, because it would pressure Congress to pass a bill, like the horrible Burr-Feinstein bill, that would force Apple and other providers to help law enforcement crack phones less expensively.

    • Supreme Court Approves Rule 41 Changes, Putting FBI Closer To Searching Any Computer Anywhere With A Single Warrant

      The DOJ is one step closer to being allowed to remotely access computers anywhere in the world using a normal search warrant issued by a magistrate judge. The proposed amendments to Rule 41 remove jurisdiction limitations, which would allow the FBI to obtain a search warrant in, say, Virginia, and use it to “search” computers across the nation using Network Investigative Techniques (NITs).

      This won’t save evidence obtained in some high-profile cases linked to the FBI’s two-week gig as child porn site administrators. Two judges have ruled that the warrants obtained in this investigation are void due to Rule 41(b) jurisdiction limitations. (Another has reached the same conclusion in an unrelated case in Kansas). The amendments recently approved by the US Supreme Court would strip away the jurisdiction limitation, making FBI NIT use unchallengeable, at least on jurisdiction grounds.

    • FBI Spent $1.3 Million To Not Even Learn The Details Of The iPhone Hack… So Now It Says It Can’t Tell Apple

      Once the DOJ told the court in San Bernardino that it had succeeded in hacking into the iPhone of Syed Farook, the big question people asked is whether or not the FBI would then tell Apple about the vulnerability. After all, the administration set up the so-called “Vulnerabilities Equities Policy” (VEP) with the idea of sharing most vulnerabilities it discovers with companies.

    • The Shell Game the Government Played During Yahoo’s Protect America Act Challenge

      The unsealed classified appendix released today (the earlier released documents are here) provides a lot more details on the shell game the government played during the Yahoo litigation, even with Walton. (It also shows how the government repeatedly asked the court to unseal documents so it could share them with Congressional Intelligence Committees or other providers it wanted to cooperate with PAA).

      [...]

      As a result of the government’s successful argument Yahoo had to argue blind, it did not learn — among other things — that CIA would get all the data Yahoo was turning over to the government, or that the government had basically totally restructured the program after the original expiration date of the program, additional issues on which Yahoo might have challenged the program.

    • Here’s Why FBI Won’t Tell Apple How It Hacked San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

      After it was possible to hack into the San Bernardino iPhone, FBI has again come up with another statement that it cannot reveal the information about the method that was used to hack into the iPhone as FBI did not purchase the rights to the technique used in hacking.

    • The NSA doesn’t even know how many Americans it’s spying on
    • Now FBI Can Hack Any Computer In The World With Just One Warrant
    • ‘Snowden’ Movie Trailer: Can Oliver Stone Make Whistleblowing Suspenseful?
    • Oliver Stone’s Snowden: American whistleblower portrayed as hero in trailer
    • Edward Snowden Reacts To ‘Snowden’ Movie Trailer
    • Official Trailer Released for Oliver Stone Film ‘Snowden’
    • Snowden movie trailer teases an action-packed NSA thriller
    • Ssh, Don’t Tell Anyone, But The Official Trailer For ‘Snowden’ Has Leaked
    • Watch: First trailer for ‘Snowden’ looks intense
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s unfair to say Hillsborough police were incompetent – it takes great organisation to tell such shocking lies

      One touching side to the aftermath of the Hillsborough verdict, is how few people responsible for the tragedy, the lies or the cover-up appear to show the slightest signs of remorse, which is heartening because there’s no point in adding to the suffering is there?

      This is excellent news as it should save on counselling. For example, Paul Middup, who as chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation blamed the disaster on a “rampaging mob”, has refused to make a further statement.

      So if he had to see a therapist, they’d say, “Now Paul, you were at a traumatic event weren’t you? And the force you speak for was partly to blame, but you invented a rampaging mob to deflect that blame. Do you ever experience feelings of, perhaps, slight guilt in any way?” And he’d say “no not really”, and the session would be over, saving on costs all round.

      [...]

      It also suggests our society is now controlled by new age liberals, as the police falsified at least 116 statements, which we’ve known about since the last inquiry, and no one’s yet been punished for it. Because it’s wrong to see these police officers as liars, they’re suffering from Compulsive Statement Alteration Syndrome, and we shouldn’t be negative by saying they make stuff up but recognise they’re “differently realitied” – which is why many of them have been promoted, to raise their self-esteem.

    • British Police Forces Sued for “Abuse on an Industrial Scale” Over 96 Soccer Fans’ Deaths

      This past Tuesday, a jury ruled that the fans were not to blame, that the 96 dead were “unlawfully killed,” and that the chief officer in charge was had been “in breach of duty.”

    • A Battery of Dangerous Cybercrime Proposals Still Hang Over Brazil

      Digital rights activists across Brazil held their breath yesterday, as the country’s Parliamentary Commission on Cybercrime (CPICIBER) debated whether to send its report to the full lower house of Congress for committee assignment and debate. In the end, the vote was postponed, and rescheduled for Tuesday, May 3rd. A postponement does not fix the problems with the commission’s proposals — but it may show a growing realization of the negative attention the report is gathering from Brazil’s Internet users.

    • Our children aren’t inheriting the liberties of our parents: The importance of “Analog Equivalent Rights”

      The civil liberties of our parents are not being passed down to our children. Somehow, liberties are being interpreted to only apply to analog technology, despite this limitation being nowhere in the books. This is a disastrous erosion of the fundamental liberties our ancestors fought, bled, and died to give us.

      This week, there was news of a new law passed in the US House of Representatives – the lower legislative chamber in the United States – passing a bill to require a search warrant for the government to search and seize people’s e-mail. In other words, the government would need a search warrant to obtain people’s private correspondence if it happened to be transmitted electronically, which practically all correspondence is today.

    • Cruelty of Solitary Detention Challenged as Obama Pushes State-Level Reform

      When President Obama in January announced plans to limit federal prisons’ use of solitary confinement—a practice a UN expert described as “torture” and “cruel”—human rights activists applauded.

      Those activists were still skeptical, however, that such a measure would reach far enough to enact meaningful change, as the vast majority of solitary confinement happens in state-level prisons. A total of about 90,000 people are imprisoned in solitary in state prisons, compared to about 10,000 incarcerated in segregated cells in federal facilities. (The nationwide total of approximately 100,000 people in solitary confinement surpasses the total prison populations of countries such as France, Japan, Germany, and the UK, as the Yale Law Journal points out.)

    • Anti-Trump protesters shatter windows of police cruiser at California rally
    • Trump Held A Rally In A Heavily Latino City Last Night. Chaos Ensued.
    • One Ugly Summer: Is Latest Trump Rally Violence Just Taste of What’s to Come?

      If events in California outside a Donald Trump rally on Thursday night are any indication, the months ahead are likely to inspire more acrimony than political inspiration as billionaire media personality Donald Trump emerges as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

      While holding an event at the Orange County Fair grounds in the city of Costa Mesa, approximately twenty people were arrested after anti-Trump demonstrators clashed with the candidate’s supporters and police were confronted with a hostile crowd who vowed to challenge the noxious views of Trump’s campaign.

    • FBI failed to follow its own rules when it impersonated The Associated Press in a 2007 investigation

      The FBI failed to follow its own rules when agents impersonated an Associated Press reporter in order to locate a criminal suspect in 2007, according to documents newly released in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and The Associated Press.

      The documents further show that after the impersonation became public, an FBI analysis determined that the non-compliance was reasonable, raising questions about the efficacy of the guidelines altogether.

      The Reporters Committee and AP sued the FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice last August for records related to the FBI’s practice of impersonating the news media.

    • Historic Ruling Puts Justice Within Reach for CIA Torture Victims

      CIA torture victims are a big step closer to accountability.

      A federal judge has ruled against two CIA contract psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, in their effort to dismiss a case brought against them on behalf of three victims of the torture program they designed and implemented for the agency.

      Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush announced his decision rejecting the psychologists’ motion to dismiss during an argument last Friday in Spokane, Washington. Yesterday, the federal court issued its written opinion.

    • Robert Scheer Talks With Eddie Conway About Making Real News After Prison

      In this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” the Truthdig editor in chief sits down with former Black Panther Eddie Conway to hear about how he helped fellow prisoners organize for reform while serving a nearly 44-year term sentence for a murder he didn’t commit.

    • Texas Prisons Assert Right to Censor Inmates’ Families on Social Media

      On the morning of April 15, Pat Hartwell drove up from her home in Houston, Texas, to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Austin, where the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs the state’s prisons, was holding a board meeting. The board only offers a public comment period during two of its meetings each year, and this would be the first time in 2016 that the public would have a chance to air grievances or concerns about agency operations, for example, or prison conditions.

    • You Serve Your Time, Earn Your Freedom, Then the Job Market Shuts the Door in Your Face

      I decided I had to prove to the next potential employer that I’m worthy. On my next interview, I took the actual piece of paper with the executive grant commuting my sentence that the president gave me. When the interviewer asked me about my conviction, I showed her my executive order. Next thing I know, she is calling other people into the room, and they are looking at me and my clemency paper. The interviewer told me she would talk to the manager and tell him to hire me because she knows how hard it is for someone who has served time to get a job. Her brother was in prison, and she’d seen it happen to him. The manager agreed to hire me as a welder, but I was unable to get the job because I didn’t have a driver’s license. Mine had expired after 17 years, and it was going to take a month to take a driving test.

    • Reforming Democracy From the Grassroots Up

      America is in the midst of a grassroots revolution. Ordinary people are standing up to big money and denouncing the culture of corruption that permeates our political system. Just this month, more than 1,200 people were arrested and sent to jail for protesting special interests and lobbyists. Thousands more joined anti-corruption rallies in communities across America to demand a government that represents us.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Cable Industry Threatens To Sue If FCC Tries To Bring Competition To Cable Set Top Boxes

      Back in February the FCC voted on a new plan to open up the traditional cable box to competition. According to a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf), under the FCC’s plan you’d still pay your cable company for the exact same content, cable operators would simply have to design systems — using standards and copy protection of their choice — that delivered this content to third-party hardware. The FCC’s goal is cheaper, better hardware and a shift away from the insular gatekeeper model the cable box has long protected.

      Given this would obliterate a $21 billion captive market in set top box rental fees — and likely direct consumers to more third-party streaming services — the cable industry has been engaged in an utterly adorable new hissy fit. This breathless hysteria has primarily come in the form of an endless stream of editorials — most of which fail utterly to disclose financial ties to cable — claiming that the FCC’s plan will boost piracy, hurt privacy, “steal the future,” and even harm ethnic diversity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • USTR: Foreign Governments Engaging In Censorship And Rights Abuses Should Add IP Enforcement To Their ‘To Do’ Lists

      If it’s mid-spring, it means it’s time for the US Trade Representative’s “Special 301 Report,” the annual “event” that names and shames countries who don’t live up to US industries’ intellectual property protection ideals. The same countries that have made the list for years still make the list, although a few have moved up a notch from the “Priority Watch” list to just the normal “Watch” list.

      There are lots of familiar names on the lists, including such perennial favorites as China, India, Russia and… Canada. The report offers congratulations to countries like Italy, which has managed to steer clear of the watchlists by instituting censorious IP enforcement procedures like site-blocking. And it pats other countries on the head for ceding to the USTR’s IP imperialism in exchange for upgraded 301 listings.

    • China Tops Annual US Trade Watch List — Again [Ed: pushing for software patents]

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released the 2016 Special 301 Report on the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement.

      [...]

      India also remains on the 2016 Priority Watch List “for lack of sufficient measurable improvements to its IPR framework despite more robust engagement and positive steps forward on IPR protection and enforcement undertaken by the Government of India.” The Priority Watch List includes a total of 11 countries, including Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

    • Discussions Continue On How To Govern WHO Interactions With Outside Actors

      The World Health Organization interacts with a large number of actors aside from governments, such as industry, philanthropic organisations, academia, and civil society. With an eye to preventing undue influence on the work of the organisation, member states have been trying to finalise a draft framework on WHO interaction with those actors. This week, what was seen as a last effort at reaching a consensual text did not quite meet the goal and some additional informal discussions are expected to take place before the annual World Health Assembly in late May.

    • Congress May Be About to Shake Up Trade Secret Law: Is That a Good Thing?

      Defend Trade Secrets Act may be the ‘most significant expansion’ of federal IP law in 70 years

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Captured U.S. Trade Agency Resorts to Bullying Again in 2016 Special 301 Report

        Every year at around this time the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issues a Special 301 Report in which it chastises other countries for not submitting to its unilateral demands (often lacking any legal basis) as to how they should be enforcing copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets in their countries. And just like last year, this gives us the opportunity again to point out how unbalanced these demands are, missing the real harms of strict copyright and patent enforcement and failing to acknowledge the benefits of a more flexible, user-centered approach.

        It would be unfair to say that the USTR just doesn’t get this; after so many submissions pointing this out the agency surely gets it just fine. Rather, it just doesn’t care, because its priorities lie with appeasing the special interest groups who pre-write most of the demands that end up in the report; major entertainment companies and the pharmaceutical industry [PDF]. In the USTR’s calculus, the concerns of other stakeholders—such as technology users, cultural institutions, remixers, fans, patients, people with disabilities, libraries and archives, independent creators and innovators—scarcely figure at all. After all, it’s Hollywood and the pharmaceutical industry who offer former USTR staff a much more lucrative career path.

      • Freedom of panorama in France: could even a visit to Père Lachaise become a problem?

        Game of Thrones? House of Cards? Forget them.

        The battle around what until recently was an area of copyright not many cared knew about, ie freedom of panorama, has now become one of the most eventful sagas ever.

        The relevant provision in this sense is Article 5(3)(h) of the InfoSoc Directive, which allows Member States to introduce national exceptions/limitations to the rights harmonised by that directive to permit the “use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places”.

      • The end of the Google Books legal saga

        While I was a law student in India, I was required to search for books in a physical library and the resources therein were few and far between. Searching manually took a lot of time but with Google Books, every student, researcher, lawyer, academician stands to benefit as it brings them to the book at the click of a mouse and also the authors close to their target audience. Therefore, I for one, cannot extol enough the virtues of the Google Books project.

        The Supreme Court too seems to embrace the goal of Google Books, which is, to make the life of every researcher or avid book reader much easy. The decision of the Supreme Court augers well for the reading/researching population. This case has certainly brought delight to researchers all over the world but dismay to the Authors Guild.”

      • Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone

        Just as spring arrived last month in Iran, Meysam Rahimi sat down at his university computer and immediately ran into a problem: how to get the scientific papers he needed. He had to write up a research proposal for his engineering Ph.D. at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. His project straddles both operations management and behavioral economics, so Rahimi had a lot of ground to cover.

        But every time he found the abstract of a relevant paper, he hit a paywall. Although Amirkabir is one of the top research universities in Iran, international sanctions and economic woes have left it with poor access to journals. To read a 2011 paper in Applied Mathematics and Computation, Rahimi would have to pay the publisher, Elsevier, $28. A 2015 paper in Operations Research, published by the U.S.-based company INFORMS, would cost $30.

      • Paramount Copyright Claim on Klingon Language Challenged in Klingon Language

        The Language Creation Society has filed an amicus brief challenging Paramount’s claim of copyright over the Klingon language in its lawsuit against Axanar, a fan-produced film set in the Star Trek universe. Marc Randazza, a top notch first amendment attorney who has helped out Reason on copyright issues, and Alex Shepard filed the brief yesterday.

04.28.16

Links 28/4/2016: Fedora 24, EE Goes Open Source

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 1º Computer Science Week 2016

    And since the beginning, I had tried to bring the most of the content about Free Software ideology. And this time next week, it will start the 1º Computer Science Week, and what is more amazing is that this edition is bringing people from more there 14 cities around the state of Rio de Janeiro, for watch the talks. I didn’t expect that.

  • OpenDaylight as an NFV Controller

    In discussing our use cases, we’ve noticed that a key domain for OpenDaylight (ODL) is Cloud and NFV. ODL is closely tied to NFV and accordingly works very closely with the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), a related project with the Linux Foundation that concentrates on providing a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform to accelerate the introduction of new NFV products and services.

  • Open, available & interoperable: How open source is transforming the data centre industry

    Analysis: From commercial to enterprise hubs, from smaller to bigger players, open source is gearing up to be the future of the data centre.

    The use of open source to design, build and deploy software and even hardware infrastructure in the data centre seems to be an accelerating trend amongst companies in the hosting space.

    Open source software revenues worldwide are expected to go beyond the $50bn barrier this year for the first time, according to Statista. By 2020, that value will rise to $57.3bn.

  • ​OwnCloud founder resigns from his cloud company

    Frank Karlitschek, ownCloud’s founder and CTO, has resigned from his company. OwnCloud is a popular do-it-yourself infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud.

  • 7 science projects powered by open source GIS

    Next week, FOSS4G North America is coming to Raleigh, NC. FOSS4G is a conference celebrating all of the ways that free and open source software are changing the world of geographic and geospatial information science (GIS).

    These days, with ever-expanding technologies for collecting geographic data, sensor networks and the Internet of Things are driving larger and larger quantities of data that must be stored, processed, visualized, and interpreted. Practically every type of industry imaginable is increasing the types and quantities of geographic data they utilize. And the traditional closed source tools of the olden days can no longer keep up.

    Many of the applications of geographic tools are scientific in nature, from biology to oceanography to geology to climatology. Here are seven applications for geographic science that I’m excited about hearing talks on next week.

  • EE

    • EE partners with open source tech innovators to boost connectivity in rural areas

      EE has collaborated with Lime Micro and Canonical on an open source project set to boost connectivity in rural areas.

    • EE Looks To Open Source Networks For 5G And Rural 4G

      EE wants developers to create network services and applications using Lime Micro’s software defined radio transceiver and Canonical Ubuntu Snappy Core

    • EE goes Open Source with Network in a Box solution

      UK telco EE has announced that it is partnering with Lime Micro and Canonical, two of the UK’s leading open source technology companies, to launch a fully programmable network capability with the ability to change the way future mobile networks are built. The solution is built on Lime’s ‘network in a box’ solution, which developers can configure by software to provide any wireless service, including 4G and WiFi. The configuration software, available through the Snappy Ubuntu Core stores, should allow developers to create new applications and services for a mobile network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 47 Beta Enables VP9, Embedded YouTube Videos Use HTML5

        Running hot off this week’s release of Firefox 46 is the beta release issued by Mozilla for Firefox 47.

        The Firefox 47.0 beta is another hefty update by Mozilla developers. With Firefox 47 Beta, embedded YouTube videos can now play with HTML5 video if Flash is not present, there is support for Google’s Widevine CDM but only on Windows/OSX, and the VP9 video codec is enabled for users with “fast machines.” Outside of the video work, there is now support for ChaCha20/Poly1305 cipher suites, Service Workers improvements, about:debugging additions, smart multi-line input in the Web Console, RSA-PSS signature crypto support, the Firefox User Extension Library (FUEL) has been removed, and various other user and developer additions.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • CoreOS’s Stackanetes Puts OpenStack in Containers

      CoreOS said a few weeks ago it was working on a way to run OpenStack as an application on the Kubernetes container platform. Today the company says it has done just that with its new Stackanetes.

      Stackanetes puts OpenStack in containers as a way to make OpenStack easier to use, according to Alex Polvi, CoreOS CEO, who spoke with SDxCentral in early April. He said OpenStack can be “a bit fragile,” and containers can be useful to make an organization’s infrastructure behave like that of a Web-scale cloud provider.

    • 5 Developers Explain Why They Attend ApacheCon

      ApacheCon North America and Apache Big Data are coming up in just a few weeks and it’s an event that Apache and open source community members won’t want to miss.

      Apache products power half the Internet, manage exabytes of data, execute teraflops of operations, store billions of objects in virtually every industry, and enhance the lives of countless users and developers worldwide. And behind those projects is a thriving community of more than 4,500 committers from around the world.

    • Apache Apex Is Promoted To Top-Level Project

      Streaming and batch big data analytics technology Apache Apex has been elevated to a Top-Level Project by the Apache Software Foundation. Used by organizations including Capital One and GE, the technology can help developers more quickly create apps that leverage real-time data.

    • Qubole releases Kafka ingestion, conversion service to open source

      Less than three weeks after open-sourcing its Quark cost-based SQL optimizer, big data-as-a-service provider Qubole Inc. is at it again.

      Coincident with Kafka Summit taking place in San Francisco this week, Qubole said it’s releasing its StreamX ingestion service under an Apache open source license. StreamX is used to efficiently and reliably capture large scale, real-time data using Apache Kafka, the message broker that is surging in popularity thanks to growing interest in real-time and streaming analytics.

      StreamX ingests data logs from Kafka and persists them to cloud object stores such as Amazon Web Services LLC’s S3. It guarantees that data is delivered without duplicates, addressing a characteristic of Kafka that can cause problems for users in some situations.

    • Qubole and Looker Join Forces to Empower Business Users to Make Data-Driven Decisions

      Qubole, the big data-as-a-service company, and Looker, the company that is powering data-driven businesses, today announced that they are integrating Looker’s business analytics with Qubole’s cloud-based big data platform, giving line of business users across organizations access to powerful, yet easy-to-use big data analytics.

    • Talk Recap: Automated security hardening with OpenStack-Ansible
    • Data and Announcements Roll in from OpenStack Summit
    • OpenStack Summit Austin – Start
    • OpenStack Swift Proxy-FS by SwiftStack

      Proxy-FS is basically a peer to a less known feature of Ceph Rados Gateway that permits accessing it over NFS. Both of them are fundamentally different from e.g. Swift-on-file in that the data is kept in Swift or Ceph, instead of a general filesystem.

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU founder Stallman: ‘Open source is not free software’

      Stallman is frequently described as an advocate of open source computing, even its father. It’s a characterization he vehemently denies. “I want people to associate me with free software, not open source,” he said. “I don’t want to make statements about open source except how it differs from free software.”

      Or, as a statement on GNU.org sums it up: “The free software movement campaigns for your freedom in your computing, as a matter of justice. The open source non-movement does not campaign for anything.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU jeopardises its own goals in standardisation with FRAND licensing

      On 19 April, the European Commission published a communication on “ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market” (hereinafter ‘the Communication’). The Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy intends to digitise industries with several legislative and political initiatives, and the Communication is a part of it covering standardisation. In general, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) welcomes the Communication’s plausible approach for integrating Free Software and Open Standards into standardisation but expresses its concerns about the lack of understanding of necessary prerequisites to pursue that direction.

    • A fresh look at the U.S. draft policy on ‘federal sourcing’

      The policy both reaffirms and broadens a goal laid out in the Administration’s Second Open Government National Action Plan for “improved access to custom software code developed for the Federal Government.” The Plan emphasized use of (and contributing back to) open source software to fuel innovation, lower costs, and benefit the public. It also furthers a long-standing ‘default to open’ objective going back to the early days of the Administration.

    • The Situation Report: NIST Framework Mandatory? Open Source Rebellion at DHS?

      The Department of Homeland Security’s chief information officer Luke McCormack was put in a tough position recently when he had to publicly flip-flop on the department’s official position on the use of open source software.

      McCormack was forced to post to GitHub a strong formal endorsement of a draft White House policy for publishing Federal source code in the open. “We believe moving towards Government-wide reuse of custom-developed code and releasing Federally-funded custom code as open source software has significant financial, technical, and cybersecurity benefits and will better enable DHS to meet our mission of securing the nation from the many threats we face,” McCormack wrote, reversing the concerns expressed a week earlier by members of his own team.

      Those DHS IT officials had called out the misguided geeks at the White House noting that most security companies do not publish their source code because that would allow hackers to develop highly targeted attacks.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Guide to Facebook’s Open Source Data Center Hardware

        When Facebook rolled out the Open Compute Project in 2011, it started somewhat of a revolution in the data center market. In a way, that revolution had already been going on; Google had figured out it was better off designing its own hardware than buying off-the-shelf products from the top vendors, and it had been some time before Facebook reached that point too.

  • Programming/Development

    • Purdue’s IronHacks series puts unique spin on hackathons

      Hackathons are well-known as events where developers come together to quickly turn out a piece of software, often competing against each other. But what if they were also a place for learning? The Research Center for Open Digital Innovation at Purdue University is making that happen. The IronHacks series of hackathons is designed to allow participants to learn from judges and Center researchers to learn from the participants.

    • Concourse: Scalable Open Source CI Pipeline Tool

      Concourse, an open source CI pipeline tool that uses yaml files for configuring pipelines and configuration-free setup, has recently bumped its major release and is currently available in version 1.1.0. According to the team sponsored by Pivotal, the major benefits of Concourse are explicit and first-class support of pipelines, running isolated builds in containers, avoidance of snowflake build servers and easy access to build logs.

    • GNU compilers learn new C++, parallelism tricks

      The GNU Compiler Collection will be refreshed with updated C++ standards compliance and improvements in parallelism and diagnostics.

      Described as a “major” release, GCC 6.1 leverages the C++ 14 standard, which was approved in 2014. “The C++ front end now defaults to the C++ 14 standard, instead of C++98, [which] it has been defaulting to previously,” said Jakub Jelinek, a Red Hat consulting engineer and a co-release manager of GCC, in a bulletin.

Leftovers

  • Scientology Honcho Miscavige Threatens to Sue Own Father to Block Book That Could Finally Bring Down ‘Church’

    High-ranking Church of Scientology member David Miscavige’s lawyers have threatened to file suit against Miscavige’s father, Ron. The threat is a last-ditch effort to stop Ron Miscavige from releasing a tell-all book about his son’s involvement in the religion, a belief system that outsiders and former members call a cult.

  • Dead Body Found In Conference Room Of Apple’s Headquarters

    A dead body was found in one of the conference rooms of the Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. No other injuries have been reported except a female employee who was also reported to be injured. Sheriff’s department have refused to comment on this case.

  • Annoying Windows 10 Update Request Highlights Its Annoying-Ness On Live Weather Broadcast
  • Microsoft’s Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

    Microsoft’s relentless Windows 10 nagware has interrupted a live TV weather forecast, urging meteorologist Metinka Slater to upgrade.

    The operating system suddenly popped up a box on screen insisting the station’s computer be upgraded to the latest version – while Slater was on air describing thunderstorms rolling through Iowa, US.

  • The Best Windows 10 Commercial Ever

    We interrupt this weather report with a very important announcement. Despite our best efforts, your local TV station has not yet upgraded to Windows 10. We warned them that something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.

  • Teen Pregnancy Rate Has Fallen by More Than Half

    Why are teen women having fewer babies? First, more teens appear to be taking advantage of effective contraceptive methods. Second, they also are having less sex than earlier generations did. In an earlier report on adolescent sex the CDC noted that since 1988 the rate of teen sexual activity had fallen by 22 percent for teen males and 14 percent for teen females. Interestingly, a 2014 study found that births to teens dropped by nearly 6 percent 18 months after the preimiere of the MTV reality show, 16 and Pregnant.

  • Science

    • 3 women who radically changed the course of technology

      Now however, for no discernable reason, just 20% of the Australian IT workforce are women. So in order to not forget the industry’s roots – and hopefully inspire more Australian women to start crunching code – we thought we’d remember three notable innovators who radically changed the course of technology as we know it.

    • More particle than wave

      ASKED by a journalist in April about Canada’s role in fighting Islamic State, Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, came back with a pithy lecture on quantum computing. “The uncertainty around quantum states,” he explained, lets quantum computers encode much more information than the conventional binary sort can. This detour into geekdom seemed natural at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, which Mr Trudeau was visiting to proclaim his enthusiasm for basic research. The video of the impromptu lecture went viral, adding to the glamour already radiated by the snowboarding, cannabis-legalising, refugee-embracing prime minister. The assembled physicists duly cheered; Mr Trudeau then answered the question.

    • Scientists Think Intelligent Life Could Have Evolved Before Brains

      Learning is a function that has always been precious to humans. In a way, it allows us to believe the fallacy that we can revolt against our evolved, basal tendencies, and forge our future as a species through intellect, as opposed to natural selection.

      We value the capacity to learn in ourselves, but also in other species. It’s why we take so much delight in teaching a dog new tricks, and yet feel threatened by the possibility of sentient, non-human beings.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s Why Kids Are Still Getting More Obese

      But obesity doesn’t exist just because of individual choices by parents and kids. On the policy front, the US government “has yet to aggressively do more than try to make some minor changes in a few programs,” Popkin added. For example, Congress and President Barack Obama reformed the school food environment in important ways back in 2010, cutting down on the once-ubiquitous availability of sugary snacks and beverages, but public school cafeterias are still constrained by tight budgets to churning out plenty of highly processed food. (More here on the the modest US lunch reforms and the brewing congressional backlash against them.) In Brazil, by contrast, “70 percent of all food served in schools must be real food that is healthy,” Popkin said.

    • Plant Variety Protection To Meet Food Security Plant Treaty, But Where Are Farmers’ Rights?

      A planned symposium to identify potential interrelations between the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), and the United Nations International Plant Treaty is raising concerns from civil society about farmers’ rights.

    • Is a GMO Labeling Victory within Our Grasp?

      Oh, to be a fly on the wall inside the offices of the top lobbyists for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

      So close to the July 1 deadline for complying with Vermont’s GMO labeling law, and still no court ruling to overturn Vermont’s law. Still no federal legislation to preempt Vermont’s law.

      Hundreds of millions of dollars spent to keep labels off GMO ingredients. Lawsuits, dirty tricks, shady schemes—all, so far, for naught. Meanwhile, food corporations are labeling, or announcing plans to label, and preparing to implement those plans. Others, including Dannon, will remove GMO ingredients from their products.

    • 3 Pesticides Are Putting Nearly All U.S. Endangered Species At Risk

      The EPA’s draft report, which was released earlier this month, looked at three widely-used pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. It found that both malathion, which is used in agriculture, for lawn care, and for mosquito control, and chlorpyrifos, which is used on a range of crops including cotton, almonds, and fruit trees, was “likely to adversely affect” 97 percent of the 1,782 species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The other pesticide, diazinon, which is used in orchards and vegetable crops, was found to likely adversely affect 79 percent of these species.

    • Should We Worry About Arsenic in Baby Cereal and Drinking Water?

      According to a 2007 study this may be because of previous use of arsenic-based pesticides to control the boll weevil pest on cotton. From the 1930s to the 1960s, approximately 10 to 15 pounds of arsenic-based pesticide were used per acre for every planting.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • No Exit: The Case for Moving Security Information Front and Center

      The OWASP Top 10 list is extremely well known; it is impossible to walk through the show floor at a security conference without encountering at least some mention of the top 10 list. The Top 10 list is cited several times by the PCI Security Standards Council Penetration Testing Guidance and has been used as an acceptance test criteria for contract fulfillment for public procurement.

    • What Is Gitian Building? How Bitcoin’s Security Processes Became a Model for the Open Source Community

      But open source code doesn’t necessarily eliminate all risk. Users still need to trust that the software they run on their computers actually reflects the open source code as it should. To eliminate this risk, Bitcoin developers have developed a fierce security policy which goes beyond the open source nature of Bitcoin itself: “Gitian Building.”

    • The road to hell is paved with SAML Assertions

      A vulnerability in Microsoft Office 365 SAML Service Provider implementation allowed for cross domain authentication bypass affecting all federated domains. An attacker exploiting this vulnerability could gain unrestricted access to a victim’s Office 365 account, including access to their email, files stored in OneDrive etc.

    • Cisco Finds Backdoor Installed on 12 Million PCs

      Cisco started analyzing Tuto4PC’s OneSoftPerDay application after its systems detected an increase in “Generic Trojans” (i.e. threats not associate with any known family). An investigation uncovered roughly 7,000 unique samples with names containing the string “Wizz,” including “Wizzupdater.exe,” “Wizzremote.exe” and “WizzInstaller.exe.” The string also showed up in some of the domains the samples had been communicating with.

    • The “Wizzards” of Adware [Ed: unsurprisingly Windows]
    • All About Fraud: How Crooks Get the CVV

      A longtime reader recently asked: “How do online fraudsters get the 3-digit card verification value (CVV or CVV2) code printed on the back of customer cards if merchants are forbidden from storing this information? The answer: If not via phishing, probably by installing a Web-based keylogger at an online merchant so that all data that customers submit to the site is copied and sent to the attacker’s server.

    • Why We Should Be Worried About Ancient Viruses Infecting Power Plants [Ed: unsurprisingly Windows again]

      The reasons these patients are vulnerable to viruses like W32.Ramnit and Conficker is because they run legacy systems that haven’t been patched or updated for a decade. And that’s fine as long as the operators of the plant keep them isolated and assume they are insecure, hopefully keeping the more critical parts of the network away safer.

    • Magical Thinking in Internet Security

      Increased complexity without corresponding increases in understanding would be a net loss to a buyer. At scale, it’s been a net loss to the world economy.

    • Edward Snowden: The Internet Is Broken

      In 2013, a now-infamous government contractor named Edward Snowden shined a stark light on our vulnerable communications infrastructure by leaking 10,000 classified U.S. documents to the world.

      One by one, they detailed a mass surveillance program in which the National Security Administration and others gathered information on citizens — via phone tracking and tapping undersea Internet cables.

      Three years after igniting a controversy over personal privacy, public security, and online rights that he is still very much a part of, Snowden spoke with Popular Science in December 2015 and shared his thoughts on what’s still wrong and how to fix it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Puerto Rico: a Junta By Any Other Name

      Empire is once again fashionable. The financial crisis that is presently gutting the island of Puerto Rico plays out like the world’s worst case of botched assisted suicide. The sell of its municipal funds and its constitutionally guaranteed promise of repayment to investors has plunged the island into a very precarious situation for its millions of citizens and the opportunity of a lifetime for hedge fund vultures. While it is laudable that the current economic meltdown on the island has made some headlines, including a mostly well-thought out piece by comedian John Oliver, the same cannot be said for the congressional knee-jerk legislative reaction to it. The bill, H.R. 4900, was designed to impose an oversight board meant to administer the fiscal responsibilities of the Puerto Rican people and has unleashed a firestorm of opposition that was glossed over by Oliver’s otherwise on-point observations. The controversy surrounding this bill has served as a catalyst underscoring the deep disregard bordering on contempt that frames the question of self-determination and complete lack of sovereignty afforded to islanders.

    • Taking Page from Israel War Tactics, US Military Employs Controversial ‘Roof Knocking’

      An Israeli tactic deemed “ineffective” at preventing civilian causalities by a United Nations commission has now been adopted by the United States in its fight against ISIS, according to a U.S. military official.

      Air Force Maj. Peter Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led coalition, explained at a press briefing Tuesday that the tactic dubbed “knocking on the roof” was, in fact, used during a strike in Mosul, Iraq against a “major distributor of funds to Daesh fighters.” A woman the military had seen come and go with her children from the building died in the strike—”an unfortunality,” as Gersten called it.

      “We went as far as actually to put a Hellfire on top of the building and air burst it so it wouldn’t destroy the building, simply knock on the roof to ensure that she and the children were out of the building. And then we proceeded with our operations,” Gersten said. He went on to say that ISIS fighters are “using the civilian force as human shields.” He said that the military saw the woman and children leave the building. They then “began to process the strike,” but the woman ran back into the building and was killed.

    • Why NATO Has Become One of the Most Destructive Forces on the Planet

      Europe is rife with political conflict. Southern European economies continue to splutter along on fumes. The defeat of the Grexit (Greece’s departure from the Euro) is temporary. When the pain of austerity rises once again, the politics of exit from Europe will return. In Spain, there is no government as the conservatives refuse to give up power to the anti-austerity bloc in parliament. The “refugee crisis” continues to rattle European societies, where an anti-refugee bloc has made gains at the ballot box. Austria is the latest test, where the far right anti-refugee party and the Green Party displaced the establishment parties in the presidential elections; it is the right and the Greens that will go for a run-off. It is this polarity between the Far Right and the Left that has broken the “centrist” consensus of European politics.

    • How Big Money in Politics Fuels Inequality and War

      Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.

      [...]

      Most notoriously this included Halliburton, a military contractor previously led by Dick Cheney. The company made huge profits from George W. Bush’s decision to wage a costly, unjustified, and illegal war while Cheney served as his vice president.

      Military-industrial corporations spend heavily on political campaigns. They’ve given over $1 million to this year’s presidential candidates so far — over $200,000 of which went to Hillary Clinton, who leads the pack in industry backing.

    • Rahm AWOL on Chicago Police Reform

      Chicago is a city on edge. Last weekend, 20 people were shot over 13 hours. According to the Chicago Tribune, 1,051 have been shot this year alone, through April 25. One hundred seventy-eight have been killed, more than one each day. And while shootings take place across the city, they are concentrated in neighborhoods scarred by deep poverty.

    • US Pivot to Asia Poised to Enter Nuclear Phase

      I’m expecting tactical nuclear weapons to reappear overtly in the US military equation for Asia…

    • What The Next Execution Tells Us About Childhood Trauma And The Death Penalty

      Less than two weeks after executing Kenneth Fults, Georgia is getting ready to lethally inject its fifth death row inmate this year.

      Daniel Anthony Lucas is scheduled to die Wednesday night for the fatal shootings of two children. He doesn’t dispute that he committed the crime. But his story demonstrates how early childhood trauma plays out on death rows across the country today. A substantial number of executions involve people who grew up around substance abuse or grew up in environments where violence and neglect was the norm.

    • Searching for Ground Truth in the Kunduz Hospital Bombing

      Deliberately targeting a hospital is a war crime, after all, but so is the indiscriminate killing of civilians outside a hospital. And it’s worth noting, according to a Western security analyst who is an expert on Kunduz, that “even if they had struck the NDS headquarters, there still would have been civilian casualties.” The NDS office, which the U.S. military has said was the intended target, stands in a residential neighborhood, as do the private home and the tea factory that were also bombed on the night of the MSF hospital strike. An AC-130, the analyst pointed out, is a disproportionate and indiscriminate weapon, not appropriate for use in civilian areas in the dead of night.

    • Bob Graham Says FBI Aggressively Deceived on Sarasota 9/11 Investigation

      James Clapper has suggested that the 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry may be declassified by June. I’m skeptical the pages will be entirely declassified, but look forward to them.

      Meanwhile, former Senate Intelligence Chair has begun to press for an accounting on the Sarasota cell of apparent 9/11 supporters. In an interview with NPR, he stated clearly that FBI lied (um, misstated) what they knew about the Sarasota cell and called for the investigations to be reopened without the tight time limits imposed on the original commissions.

    • French Assembly adopts resolution calling to end anti-Russian sanctions imposed by EU

      French MPs have voted in favor of a resolution to lift the EU-imposed sanctions initially slapped on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine and the reunification with Crimea. The document is non-binding.

      Fifty-five members of the French National Assembly have supported the resolution calling on the government not to extend the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU. Forty-four voted against and two abstained. Of the 577 deputies in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, 101 took part in the vote.

    • The People of the USA will Have the Final Word

      It has been repeatedly said that the American people are the only ones who could perform the Herculean task of bringing down the most powerful and bloodthirsty empire ever known to humankind. Humanity anxiously hopes to see the US people act, and will provide the solidarity they would have earned.

      [...]

      The continuous embarrassing exposure of prisoners’ human rights violations – including torture and serious indignities– in US public or secret prisons scattered around the world, have awakened the awareness of millions of Americans who condemn such injustice.

    • Tibet, symbolism and the Czech Republic

      According to the official statement of the dean’s office, the display of the Tibetan flag was a symbol of the institution’s freedom of thought, a critical expression of the injustices of our times and therefore a reaction to a state visit “reminiscent of communist-era masquerades”.

    • Ten inconsistencies in Donald Trump’s big foreign policy address

      For a speech purporting to challenge Washington’s accepted wisdom, there was much that was familiar about Donald Trump’s first big foreign policy address, not least the customary certainty of its delivery.

      A call to challenge radical Islam through “philosophical struggle” as well as military force might even have come from the lips of Barack Obama. Certainly no mainstream Republican would ever disagree with the somewhat motherhood-and-apple-pie exhortation for US presidents to view the world “through the clear lens of American interests”.

    • 46 Seconds Everyone Should Watch Before Handing Donald Trump The Nuclear Codes

      Now, however, things are getting serious. Trump is, in all likelihood, one of the two people with a shot at becoming our next president. As Commander-In-Chief, Trump would have full control of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal and would be in charge of our diplomatic relationships with the other 8 nations that possess nuclear weapons.

      Trump has said that he believes nuclear weapons are the greatest threat facing our country. Yet the nuclear deterrence strategy he outlined last night during a 46-second soundbite on Fox News borders on incoherency.

    • ‘Outrageous Targeting’ as MSF-Supported Hospital in Syria Bombed

      Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that a hospital it supported in the Syrian city of Aleppo was bombed, destroying the key pediatric facility and killing at least 14 people.

      The medical humanitarian aid group, also known by its French acronym, MSF, said in a statement that two doctors were among the casualties, including one of last pediatricians in Aleppo, and that other medical structures in the city had also been attacked this week.

      Witnesses said the Al Quds hospital was hit by a missile from a fighter jet Wednesday, according to CNN.

    • US expats told to ‘avoid crowded places’ in Stockholm

      The US embassy has warned Americans to avoid crowded places in Sweden as Swedish security police continues to investigate a potential terror threat against Stockholm.

    • Veteran Hindu saint murdered in Bangladesh by pro-Jihadists.

      A Hindu priest died on Saturday, a day after he was stabbed by a local Islamist lumpen in Tungipara of Gopalganj. The deceased Hindu man eschewed his material association with his family life and entered into a life of sainthood for greater social service and emancipation.

      Police arrested the Muslim youth identified as Shariful Sheikh (aged 25), son of Abdul Mannan Sheikh, in the murder case filed in a local police station.

      The dead, Sadhu Paramananda Roy, 75, of Dakkhin Bashuria village under Kushali union, used to preach Hindu values according to scriptures to the people at different programmes in the area, family members said. He was a disciple of Thakur Rasraj Roy.

      He was returning home on last Friday afternoon from a market near Gimadanga village. As he reached a bridge around 6:30pm, fanatic Shariful stabbed him in the abdomen and the right hand with a knife, the victim told his family members before his death.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • BREAKING: DSM Communication on Platforms leaked!

      The role and responsibility of online platforms and intermediaries is a key issue in the Digital Single MarketStrategy, which the EU Commission launched last May [see Katposts here, here, here, here and here]. After a number of public consultations, on-line and off-line enthusiasts were anxiously awaiting for the Commission to release a Communication on that very issue by the end of May 2016. A few hours ago, Politico provided for a good remedy against our anxiety by leaking the draft Communication, which bears the lovely title “Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe”. The draft version is dated 18 April.

      The draft Communication addresses a number of DSM initiatives where platforms’ liability is involved and shades light upon the general principles that will guide the Commission’s reform efforts as regards E-Commerce, AVMS, and IPRED Directives. Overall, the draft Communication describes a strongly pro-competition program that reminds to this Kat the EU he knew when he attended university [i.e., agesago], when the Commission was perceived as a disruptive Institution aimed at battling status quos, rather than preserving them. Be that as it may, here are the major points that the Communication addresses.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Belarus’s Chernobyl taboo

      Thirty years after the catastrophe at Chernobyl, the government of neighbouring Belarus still refuses to release information about real radiation levels in the surrounding area. It’s even planning to build a new nuclear power plant.

    • Rejection of Montana Coal Train a ‘Big Win’ for Ranchers and Environmentalists

      Driving one more nail into the coal industry’s coffin, a federal board on Tuesday officially rejected a proposal to build a coal-hauling railroad through farm and ranch land in southeastern Montana.

      Ranchers and environmentalists, who aggressively opposed the project, celebrated the Surface Transportation Board ruling.

      “It’s a historic day when a federal agency recognizes there’s no foreseeable future for coal,” stated Ken Rumelt, an attorney at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at the Vermont Law School, who represented the grassroots conservation group Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) before the Board.

    • Summer swelter will be no joy for US

      Scientists warn that the current pleasures of warmer weather will pall for US citizens as climate change brings extreme temperature rises and unhealthy levels of atmospheric ozone.

    • Germany to launch 1 billion-euro discount scheme for electric car buyers

      Germany is set to launch a new incentive scheme worth about 1 billion euros ($1 billion) to get more consumers buying electric cars as it struggles to meet a target of bringing 1 million of them onto its roads by the end of the decade.

      The costs of the incentives, similar to those already established in some other European countries, are to be shared equally between the government and automakers with a view to selling an additional 400,000 electric cars, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said on Wednesday.

      Critics say higher electricity generation to charge battery cars will increase carbon dioxide emissions.

    • Germany Just Announced A Major Push To Increase Electric Car Sales
    • Malaysia planning to amend law to seize land if there are big fires

      Malaysia is proposing to amend an Act to allow the government to seize control of land where big fires are discovered, as part of its long-term efforts to curb haze from slash-and-burn forest clearing techniques usually linked to palm oil plantations.

      The palm oil sector in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia has been facing criticism for deforestation and its land-clearing methods that send vast plumes of smoke across South-east Asia every year.

      Indonesia has already taken measures to reduce the industry’s environmental impact, with the latest being a moratorium on new oil palm concessions.

    • Panama Papers Prove America Has the Money to Transition to 100% Clean Energy

      Last week, the IRS asked anyone who might be exposed in the Panama Papers to come forward before they get caught. And for good reason—America is a hotbed of tax evasion.

      There’s an old myth that we can’t have a comfortable lifestyle—cars, homes, creature comforts—without sacrificing clean water and clean air, because it requires lots of energy and we don’t have the money to transition to cleaner energy sources.

    • Climate Change Is Driving Ocean Oxygen Levels Down, And That’s a Big Problem For Marine Ecosystems

      Scientists know that climate change is slowly robbing the oceans of their oxygen, but historically, it’s been hard to differentiate oxygen loss that’s due to natural ocean cycles and warming-driven loss. Now, a new study predicts that within the next 15 to 25 years, warming-caused oxygen loss will be detectable across the worlds’ oceans.

      The study, published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, used modelling to determine that, between 2030 and 2040, warming-caused oxygen loss will be severe enough — and data will be comprehensive enough — for scientists to see what parts of the ocean are being affected by human-caused deoxygenation.

  • Finance

    • Capitalism Without the Das Capital: Welcome to Uber’s Gig Economy

      Uber has succeeded in almost completely pushing its operating costs (absent the relatively small investment needed to run the app and backoffice) down to people who often can’t afford it but are lured into trying because the alternatives seem even lower paying.

      [...]

      In addition to having to raise their own capital to essentially buy themselves a job driving for Uber, drivers face risks far above the simple “risk” associated with any “investment.”

    • ‘Let the Rich Pay More Taxes’: Thousands Take to Streets in Costa Rica

      Public sector workers in Costa Rica were on strike Tuesday and Wednesday, demanding salary increases, higher taxes on the wealthy, and land rights for peasants.

      Thousands of teachers, medical workers, and their allies reportedly marched to the national congress building on Tuesday, demonstrating to President Luis Guillermo Solís “that the people are not happy with his administration,” said Gilberto Cascante, the president of the ANDE teachers union, one of three major teachers unions joining the strike.

      Spanish language news agency EFE reports that protesters carried banners with messages like “Let the rich pay more taxes” and “For the dignity of workers,” among others.

    • SF College Faculty Strike for Justice Stop Class Reductions & Pay Cuts

      Currently, there are approximately 43.3 million Americans carrying student loans amounting to an astounding $1.2 trillion. This is greater than the country’s towering credit card bill. And, it’s getting worse. 2015 graduates set a new record of indebtedness.

    • How the Democrats Destroyed Welfare [Ed: short]
    • Inequality Will Increase Until There’s a Revolution

      Imagine, after a deep sleep, you suffered the fate of Rip Van Winkle and woke in the spring of 2040. What might you find?

      Among other things, maybe a presidential candidate railing against America’s concentration of wealth. Except this time, it’s not the 1 percent that owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent — it’s the top hundredth of a percent.

      Could it get that bad? Yes, quite easily. In fact, that nightmare is already on the way.

      To see this better, take a step back in time. If you woke up 24 years ago, you could hear candidate Bill Clinton lamenting the fact that the top 1 percent owned as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

    • Elon Musk, Crony Capitalist

      Creating something that people want is how one gets wealthy in a market economy. Sadly, there’s another way to get rich. It’s called cronyism, and it can make billions for the lucky businesses that get government support—whether their products are profitable or not. In the process, the taxpayers foot the bill.

      Taxpayer insurance against unprofitability takes many forms, from loan guarantees to grants, which provide a no-lose scenario for beneficiaries. If the business is profitable, then the corporation makes massive profits. If the business goes bust, then the taxpayers take a hit. Either way, the crony capitalist wins.

      Perhaps the most prominent case of cronyism in modern history is Elon Musk. A brilliant entrepreneur, Musk founded the online payment company X.com with profits he made off the sale of Zip2—another profitable company and the first online version of the Yellow Pages. X.com eventually merged with Confinity and became the wildly successful PayPal.

    • Economic Growth Slows to 0.5% in First Quarter

      The economy grew at a sluggish 0.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter. The main culprits for the poor performance were downturns in durable goods, nonresidential construction, and defense spending. This is the third year in a row in which growth has been poor in the first quarter, which means that one-off excuses about snowstorms and so forth don’t really hold water anymore. But it might be a statistical artifact. Jared Bernstein says “there’s some concern with the seasonal adjusters, which some argue are biasing Q1 down and Q2 up.” I guess we’ll have to wait until Q2 to find out.

    • Are Fair Trade Policies “Extreme?” Is Clinton Ready For Trump On Trade?

      In our country’s current trade regime, however, “trade” is used as a justification and enabler for closing American factories and moving American jobs to places where people are paid less and the environment is not protected, and bringing the same goods that used to be made here back here and selling them in the same outlets. The people who used to employ those American workers can then pocket the wage and environmental-protection-cost differential; the country gets a massive trade deficit.

    • Saudi efforts to ‘modernise’ its economy away from oil are just PR tactics – and the West is lapping them up

      Just like his adventure in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s young Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman got it all wrong this week. It’s not Saudi Arabia which suffers from “oil addiction”, it’s we who are addicted. The unique Saudi drug – a cocktail of wealth, arrogance and infantile Puritanism – is far more dangerous, since it depends on the arithmetic (or myth) of its 716 billion barrels of oil reserves.

      If this statistic is as ill-conceived as the Sunni Saudi war on Yemen’s Shiite Houthis, along with its massive civilian casualties, then Prince Mohamed’s ‘reforms’ – oiled (if that’s the right word) by a $2 trillion public investment fund which would take over ownership of the state oil company Aramco – will have to kick in long before the deadline of his ‘Vision 2030’.

      [...]

      No wonder, as the Washington Post revealed this month, the Saudis are spending millions on Washington’s top law, lobby and public relations companies to promote foreign investment in the Saudi economy – some of them, according to the paper, “tasked with coming up with content for the [Saudi Washington] embassy’s official Twitter and YouTube accounts”. The PR firm Qorvis, it turned out, also ran the Twitter account for the Syrian Opposition Coalition. Firms like Podesta, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop are trying to raise the Kingdom’s “visibility”.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Could Voters Opposed to Both Clinton and Trump Team up Using VotePact?

      Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have incredibly high negatives. Most people don’t agree with, like or trust either. In a political system responsive to the public, an alternative with broad support would emerge if they become the nominees, as seems increasingly likely.

      Unfortunately, in our system — which enshrines the dominance of the two establishment parties — the negatives of each end up perversely being the basis of support for the other. Voters end up being trapped by the very unpopularity of the candidates. The main things holding the system together are fear and hate — even as the candidates claim to be bringing people together.

      That is, most people supporting Clinton are not doing so because they view her as upstanding, wise or just. They support her because they fear and despise Trump and his misogyny, racism and temperament.

      And the same largely goes for Trump. He supporters back him because they detest the establishment of the Republican Party as well as Clinton, who shares so much with that very Republican establishment even as she postures as a newly born progressive.

    • The Atlantic Primaries: Trump and Clinton Consolidate

      Sanders won Rhode Island, the only state that had an open primary, allowing independents to vote. The others were limited to registered Democrats only, effectively blocking independent and many young voters from casting a ballot.

    • Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging Arizona’s Disastrous Primary

      Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Gass has tossed a lawsuit from a Tucson, Arizona voter challenging the March 22 presidential primary, which was marred by confusion, 5-hour lines, and rampant errors.

    • After Bitter Tuesday, Progressives Ask Democratic Party What It Stands For

      ‘What I want to know from my Democratic Party is…when will our voices be effective, legitimate, equal leaders?’

    • Amid Media Megamergers, A Mosaic of Community Media Thrives

      The business press is all atwitter with merger news, as federal regulators are set to approve a massive deal between cable giants Charter, Time Warner and Bright House Networks. The $78 billion transaction will create the second-largest cable TV/Internet company, dubbed “New Charter,” next to Comcast, and leave just three major cable providers in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Gannett Company, which owns more than 100 newspapers, including USA Today, is attempting to acquire Tribune Publishing, which owns several major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

    • On Open Marriages and Closed Elections

      Cheating is a word that simply is redefined in an open marriage. Hillary and Bill Clinton have had an open marriage for decades. Most of us don’t know the terms of the arrangement. Nor should we, I suppose. Don’t sleep with my friends or lovers might be one. Who knows? Palling around with Jeffrey Epstein the pedophile?

    • An Alternative After a Likely Bern-Out: The Green Party’s Jill Stein

      With Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign falling short, his followers have limited choices. Many would support Hillary Clinton. But the cadre of activists and political newcomers, including the young who have flocked to him, may not accept that choice. Perhaps they’ll retreat from the 2016 election battle. Perhaps they’ll find another candidate.

      They would be welcomed by Dr. Jill Stein. The physician-activist is favored to win the Green Party presidential nomination this year after heading the party’s ticket in 2012.

      “The whole reason for having an independent third party that cannot be silenced is there are 25 percent of Bernie’s voters who are not going into that dark night to vote for the No. 1 cheerleader for Wal-Mart, for Wall Street, for an endless war,” Stein said in a telephone interview this week. “They are looking for another place to hang their hat.”

    • Drudge, Koch, Soros, Bezos: 4 Non-Politicians Exerting an Outsized Influence on the Election

      So-called dark money, in conjunction with a wide-reaching “mouthpiece,” paves the road to the Oval Office—and even a brilliant John Oliver expose can’t change that.

    • Sanders Calls for 50-State Strategy to ‘Revitalize American Democracy’

      Bemoaning a failing democratic process that leaves too many people left out, Bernie Sanders on Thursday said his campaign would continue to bring disenfranchised people into the political process and said the Democratic Party as a whole must forge a 50-state strategy in order to restore civic vibrancy and fuel meaningful outcomes on the key issues people care about in every community nationwide.

    • Dark money group spends $58,000 attacking Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      Since it formed in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been under siege from financial institutions. Senate Republicans tried very hard to stop it from functioning at all, and since then they’ve tried to “tighten the leash” on the agency. Nearly five years since it officially opened, a new dark money group is taking aim at the agency — and no one has any idea who’s behind it.

      Protect America’s Consumers is a 501(c)(4) group that incorporated in November 2015. Its registered agent is North Rock Reports LLC, located at the same address in Warrenton, Va., as the law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. According to Politico, “The firm specializes in untraceable pressure groups for conservative causes.” In 2012, Bloomberg News reported that the firm was tied to groups that had spent more than $250 million on the 2012 election, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. In 2015, the firm represented the super PAC Pursuing America’s Greatness before the U.S. District Court in D.C., defending its right to use Mike Huckabee’s name in its communications. Jill Vogel, a partner at the firm, is also a Virginia state senator; her website describes the firm as “a law firm that specializes in charity and nonprofit organizations, election law, and ethics.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Online censorship: A new flank in the US-China trade wars?

      Remember Hillary Clinton’s internet freedom agenda? In a groundbreaking speech in 2010, Clinton outlined her State Department policy for promoting internet freedom in the context of human rights and democratisation. This meant funding anti-surveillance tools, chiding repressive governments, and funding efforts to support online democratic activism in troubled states.

    • China Just Earned Its Worst Ever Score in an Annual Global Press Freedom Survey

      On Wednesday, China scored its worst ever marks in the new Freedom of the Press report by Freedom House, with the advocacy group blaming a “trend of ideological tightening” under Xi. Freedom House scored China 87/100 — with higher marks indicating greater restrictions — on press freedom in its 2016 survey. (Last year was the China’s previous worst score with 86.)

    • The waltz of censorship

      In order to avoid censorship, Flaubert honed his prose to convey the scandalous in a subversively indirect manner, making readers complicit in the immorality by inviting them to apply their own understanding to the text. Analysis of Flaubert’s manuscript drafts of Madame Bovary compared to the published text reveals that the author trimmed and entirely cut explicit passages. It is hard to tell whether alterations were legally or artistically motivated. Flaubert was famously fastidious about writing and it could be that his wish to sublimate scandalous content was solely (or at least primarily) due to literary considerations.

    • New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship

      A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting on the study, the Washington Post this morning described this phenomenon: “If we think that authorities are watching our online actions, we might stop visiting certain websites or not say certain things just to avoid seeming suspicious.”

      The new study documents how, in the wake of the 2013 Snowden revelations (of which 87% of Americans were aware), there was “a 20 percent decline in page views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that mentioned ‘al-Qaeda,’ “car bomb’ or ‘Taliban.’” People were afraid to read articles about those topics because of fear that doing so would bring them under a cloud of suspicion. The dangers of that dynamic were expressed well by Penney: “If people are spooked or deterred from learning about important policy matters like terrorism and national security, this is a real threat to proper democratic debate.”

    • Press Freedom Declining Around the World

      Every year Reporters Without Borders (RSF) compile an index of press freedom around the world. The index has been published since 2002 and measures the state of press freedom in 182 countries. It measures “the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country”. The data is compiled through a questionnaire (answered by experts around the globe) and combined with quantitative data on violence and abuses against journalists.

    • Will Ankara’s new culture plan lead to more censorship of the arts?

      On April 21, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu revealed the long-awaited sustainable cultural development plan in Ankara. The program, commonly referred to as “culture package,” has been in the works for over four months. Davutoglu’s one-hour introduction of the plan generated more questions than answers. He suggested, for instance, that it was the responsibility of artists in Turkish society to act as amicable peacemakers. At one point during his speech he said, “When a society is approaching a crisis, you [artists] should be the light of hope. You must stand against polarization, you must spread a unifying language.”

    • Wikipedia Is Basically a Corporate Bureaucracy, According to a New Study

      Wikipedia is a voluntary organization dedicated to the noble goal of decentralized knowledge creation. But as the community has evolved over time, it has wandered further and further from its early egalitarian ideals, according to a new paper published in the journal Future Internet. In fact, such systems usually end up looking a lot like 20th century bureaucracies.

      Even in the brave new world of online communities, the Who had it right: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    • Huffington Post killed story pitch critical of Uber

      Uber yesterday announced that Huffington Post Editor in Chief Arianna Huffington would be joining its board of directors, a move that put the site’s reporters in an instant bind. To fight the notion that Huffington Post would somehow take it easy on Uber because of these ties, Huffington’s folks noted that her news operation has churned out various hard-hitting stories on Uber while the announcement was “impending,” as spokeswoman Lena Auerbuch put it.

      There was an omission, however.

      On April 6, reporter Sarah Digiulio sent a note to some colleagues apprising them of this story in the New York Times: “Uber Driver Napped as His Passenger Led Highway Chase, Police Say.”

    • The Crime of Speech

      Freedom of expression is a universal right, but the specific threats to it vary widely from country to country and region to region. As activists fighting for free speech worldwide, it is essential that we better understand the specific legal and procedural mechanisms that governments use to silence it. When you begin to untangle the array of laws that are used to prosecute speech in a given country, you get a much clearer picture of the state of digital rights in that country.

      EFF is proud to present The Crime of Speech: How Arab Governments Use the Law to Silence Expression Online. This report was the culmination of six months of work by Wafa Ben Hassine as an Information Controls Fellow through the Open Technology Fund. The ICFP fellowship supports examination into how governments restrict the free flow of information, debilitate the open Internet, and thereby threaten human rights and democracy.

    • Time to put an end to film censorship

      When the credits rolled over Sholay’s powerfully ambiguous ending—Sanjeev Kumar’s Thakur on his knees beside the body of the man he had just killed, Amjad Khan’s Gabbar Singh, weeping in despair—Ramesh Sippy had established his film as perhaps the most iconic representation of Indian popular cinema in the public consciousness.

      Save that it didn’t quite turn out that way. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) deemed the idea that a police officer would violate the law and kill a man in this fashion distasteful. It demanded that the ending be changed. A furious Sippy complied and shot the anodyne sequence everyone knows; the police arrive in time to prevent Gabbar Singh’s murder and arrest him instead. Sholay had enough going for it to survive the hit mostly unscathed—but Sippy’s authorial vision had been violated.

    • A major Hollywood screenwriter self-censored because he was worried about angering China
    • ‘Doctor Strange’ shows why diversity advocates should take Chinese censorship seriously
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • First FISC Phone Records Ruling Post-USA FREEDOM Exposes Shortcomings of Reforms

      The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had its first opportunity to review a government request for telephone call records since the enactment in June 2015 of the USA FREEDOM Act, which placed some restrictions and oversight on the NSA’s surveillance powers. Unfortunately the results of this first post-USA FREEDOM FISC review are not pretty, and remind us all that there is still much work to be done.

      In approving a request for “call detail records” by the FBI, Judge Thomas Hogan allowed the FBI to get people’s call records even in the absence of any belief that those records will be relevant to an investigation, and let the bureau keep records with no foreign intelligence value for 6 months or longer even though USA FREEDOM requires “prompt” destruction of such records. He also declined to take advantage of the new provisions that allow him to appoint an amicus to help sort through the new statute. The opinion, issued on December 31, 2015, was made public April 19, 2016.

    • Supreme Court Gives FBI More Hacking Power

      The Supreme Court on Thursday approved changes that would make it easier for the FBI to hack into computers, many of them belonging to victims of cybercrime. The changes will take immediate affect in December, unless Congress adopts competing legislation.

      Previously, under the federal rules on criminal procedures, a magistrate judge couldn’t approve a warrant request to search a computer remotely if the investigator didn’t know where the computer was—because it might be outside his or her jurisdiction.

      The rule change, sent in a letter to Congress on Thursday, would allow a magistrate judge to issue a warrant to search or seize an electronic device if the target is using anonymity software like Tor. Over a million people use Tor to browse popular websites like Facebook every month for perfectly legitimate reasons, in addition to criminals who use it to hide their locations.

    • Game Critic Keeps YouTube Vids Ad-Free By Creating ContentID Feeding Frenzy

      You should know by now that YouTube’s ContentID system is a horrible mess. This system, which allows purported intellectual property owners to claim other people’s uploads as containing their content, and then allowing those purported owners to either take the videos down or monetize them for themselves, is so rife with abuse, trolls, and mistakes that it’s a wonder anyone at any point thought this was an idea that could work. Lost in all of this bowing towards intellectual property owners has bred some creative methods for getting around ContentID abuse, but it’s still a problem. A problem particularly challenging in the video game reviews space on YouTube, where entirely too many game studios think that using ContentID to flag game reviews is a practice worth repeating.

    • What the NSA Doesn’t Know? How Many Americans It’s Spying On

      At a press briefing on Monday, National Intelligence Director James Clapper stated that his intelligence network has no idea how many Americans are spied on by the National Security Agency (NSA).

      Congress is being pushed to approve giving the nationally-mandated Federal Bureau of Investigation access to NSA data, undermining the claim that the notorious surveillance agency is not targeting American citizens, but lawmakers seek an answer to a basic question before giving approval.

    • New ‘Tinder Social’ feature under fire for exposing Facebook friends

      There’s the online persona you want to share with your friends — carefully filtered Instagram photos of your sublime beach vacation, for example.

      Then there’s the side you’d perhaps rather keep private — like your Tinder profile.

      But a new feature on the dating app seems to be mixing the two.

      Tinder has come under fire after testing a new feature called Tinder Social for a small number of users in Australia.

      It allows users to create a group of friends, who can then swipe and match with other groups of friends.

    • Zuckerberg has given Facebook investors all they need. He wants one thing in return: control

      Mark Zuckerberg has dominated the desktop internet. He’s dominated the mobile internet. Now he’s going to dominate Facebook itself, and the company is probably going to let him.

    • NSA lauds The Citadel for cybersecurity training [Ed: How long before puff pieces like this one once again outnumber actual NSA news (like pre-2013)?]
    • Germany outlines plan to create Bundeswehr cyber command

      German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen outlined on 26 April a plan to establish a dedicated cyber and information command by merging the Bundeswehr’s current cyber and IT units.

      The Kommando Cyber- und Informationsraum (Cyber and Information Space Command) will be responsible for cyber, IT, military intelligence, geo-information, and operative communication. It will be headed from 1 April 2017 by a lieutenant-general.

    • Defense authorization bill would elevate Cyber Command

      A defense authorization bill that cleared a House committee early Thursday would elevate U.S. Cyber Command and launch a review into whether the agency should still be run by the National Security Agency (NSA) head.

    • The US declares cyber-war on Islamic State
    • U.S. Cyber Command closer to break from NSA

      In an acknowledgement that cyber war is gathering momentum on the international stage, the House on Thursday cleared a defense authorization bill that could split off the U.S. Cyber Command from under the direction of U.S. Strategic Command and the National Security Agency (NSA) and elevate it to its own military command, according to The Hill.

    • Watch: The New Trailer for Oliver Stone’s Biopic of Edward Snowden

      The film covers similar ground as Citizenfour, the 2014 documentary chronicling the fallout of Snowden’s revelations, which was directed by Laura Poitras, one of the journalists who helped report on the documents, along with Glenn Greenwald. Citizenfour received the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2015.

    • Even The Surveillance-Loving Wall Street Journal Is Bashing The FBI For Its War With Apple

      The Wall Street Journal has been a reliably pro-surveillance voice over the years, calling Snowden a “sociopath” while calling for even less NSA oversight, making up bizarre conspiracy theories, and fighting back against any surveillance reform. It even once argued that the tech industry should put backdoors into its encryption to better help the surveillance state.

    • Dangerous new uses for government eavesdropping

      The U.S. government claims the right to eavesdrop at will on your email when you’re writing to someone who lives abroad. Now it wants to be able to use those emails to convict you of a crime.

      [...]

      No court has yet reviewed the law’s constitutionality because until 2013 the government didn’t tell anyone that it had been doing this. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that no one had legal standing to challenge the law based merely on the speculation that it might be applied to them.

    • Italy orders Facebook to hand over fake user account data to its alleged victim

      The Italian data protection authority has ordered Facebook to provide an Italian user with all their data, including the personal information, photos, and posts of a separate fake account set up in that person’s name by somebody else.

      In addition, the US social network must provide details of how the personal data was used, including who it was sent to or might have obtained knowledge about it.

    • Students shrug over NSA spying

      Last year, as the school bathroom wars were heating up, I asked a group of college students how they’d feel if they had to share a toilet with people of a different gender. Nobody seemed to mind; indeed, some of them were doing so already.

    • The NSA has no idea how many Americans it’s spying on

      The answer, says National Intelligence Director James Clapper, is that we have no idea. “We’re looking at several options right now, none of which are optimal,” said Clapper at a press briefing in Washington DC on April 25. Security officials argue that analyzing the dataset would mean even more intrusions upon Americans’ privacy. “Many people find that unsatisfactory, but that is a fact,” says Clapper.

    • Watch first Snowden trailer: Whistle-blower mocks NSA on Twitter

      The first trailer of political thriller Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is out. If the 2.39 minute-long trailer is anything to go by, the movie seems to be fast-paced, action-packed and chaotic.

      Academy-winning director Oliver Stone, whose directing opus includes Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July and George W Bush biographical drama W, is the mastermind behind this sensational thriller. The movie recreates the story of Edward Snowden, who went from being an aspiring Special Forces member to a fugitive living in Russia under political asylum. In the movie, Shailene Woodley features as Snowden’s long-term girlfriend Lindsay Mills, while Nicolas Cage plays an unnamed government official.

    • Snowden trailer is out: Oliver Stone unveils the true story behind NSA leak

      The story of National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden captivated the US in 2013 and now Snowden is getting the Hollywood treatment, as the trailer for Oliver Stone’s Snowden was released on Wednesday (April 27).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Commons and the Centennial of the Easter Rising

      The Proclamation called on Irishmen and Irishwomen to strike for freedom. The republicans were “supported by her exiled children in America.” “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” Sovereignty meant independence from Great Britain, the United Kingdom, England. James Connolly explained, “the essential meanness of the British Empire is that it robs under pretence of being generous.” What was true of the British Empire is doubly true for the American who call robbery “aid.”

    • ‘Stark deterioration of press freedom’ in Europe, says Index on Censorship

      There has been a “stark deterioration of press freedom” in Europe in 2016 with conflict in Turkey and Ukraine creating especially difficult conditions for journalists.

      Index on Censorship said it had seen 301 verified incidents reported to its Mapping Freedom project over the first three months of the year, including four deaths and 43 assaults. The figure is up 30% on the first quarter of 2015.

      Three of the killed journalists died while reporting on conflict in Turkey, while a third, Russian culture journalist Dmitiri Tsilikin, was stabbed to death in his St Petersburg flat.

      Of the 43 assaults, more than half occurred in Ukraine, Italy or Russia, with 12 in the Ukraine alone.

      There were also 27 arrests recorded, with 15 in Turkey when journalists were reporting on violence or protests, with a pattern of arrest on terror charges or during anti-terror operations.

    • John McCain’s Fundraiser Busted for a Meth Lab With LSD, Coke, Heroin and Counterfeit Cash

      Sen. John McCain’s re-election fundraisers all list the same name as the RSVP contact, but that name also showed up as a person arrested during the bust of a meth lab Tuesday.

      In Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputies made arrests when they found an operational meth lab as well as other illicit drugs when they were carrying out a search warrant for the woman’s home. According to The Arizona Republic, the sheriff’s office identified Emily Pitha, 34, who is a former staffer of retired U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ). She also has worked most recently as a campaign fundraiser for McCain’s 2016 reelection.

    • FT post on Theresa May, Hillsborough, human rights law and the politics of superficiality

      In brief: the new Hillsborough Inquest could not have ranged as widely without Article 2 of the ECHR having effect in domestic law – the same ECHR which May wants the UK to leave.

    • The CIA Illegally Let the Wrong People Do Intelligence Work, Declassified Report Finds
    • OPSEC for Activists (Part 1)
    • OPSEC for Activists, Part 2: Packing for a Protest
    • Jeremy Corbyn, the future not the past

      Whatever the truth of that judgment, the surge continued. When his win seemed assured, but just before the actual vote, the second column fantasised on his first hundred days in power. This made the point that for many in the Labour Party, especially the tens of thousands of new members, Corbyn’s appeal stemmed from opposing what was seen as the cavalier way the Conservatives were reversing previous coalition policies in pursuit of ideological certitude:

    • Letter Details FBI Plan for Secretive Anti-Radicalization Committees

      The idea of the committees is to enlist counselors, social workers, religious figures, and other community members to intervene with people the FBI thinks are in danger of radicalizing — the sort of alternative to prosecution and jail time many experts have been clamoring for. But civil liberties groups worry the committees could become just a ruse to expand the FBI’s network of informants, and the government has refused to provide details about the program.

    • So Much For The Fifth Amendment: Man Jailed For Seven Months For Not Turning Over Password

      The FBI recently spent more than $1 million for assistance in decrypting a device’s contents. It may have overpaid. Alternatives exist, whether it’s a $5 wrench or indefinite imprisonment for not helping the government with its prosecution efforts.

    • The Geopolitics of Generosity

      On April 16, Ecuador suffered an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale. One week later, the death toll stood at 656, with more than twelve thousand injuries reported and more than fifty people still missing. Hundreds of aftershocks, some very powerful, continue to shake the country’s northwest coast and cause more damage.

      The day after the disaster, aid began arriving from Ecuador’s Latin American neighbors: Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia. Quick responses were crucial, as hundreds of people were still missing, many trapped in crumbling rubble.

    • Where Angels Fear to Tread

      I have accepted an offer from Sky News tomorrow to discuss anti-Semitism in the UK, where I shall argue that opponents of Israeli policy are being tarred with anti-Semitism in an witch-hunt.

      [...]

      There is a deliberate ploy by Israel to brand Palestinian sympathisers and critics of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic, in order to delegitimise criticism of Israel, as the settlements programme makes any two state solution completely non-viable.

    • Where will we end up? Terrorism, Islamophobia and the logic of fascism

      Fascism is not only a form of prejudice, it is also a political logic. A logic that reduces complex problems to ‘us and them’ issues.

    • Noam Chomsky: Young Bernie Sanders Supporters are a “Mobilized Force That Could Change the Country”

      During an event Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and professor, was asked about Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House. “[H]e’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat,” Chomsky said. “His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical.” Chomsky concluded by noting that Sanders “has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, ‘Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.’ And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.”

    • An Indictment of Thatcher’s Legacy: Justice for Hillsborough Families, at Last

      The victory of the Hillsborough families in their long struggle for justice was won against an establishment that viewed them and their loved ones as nothing more than scum and which, make no mistake, continues to do so today. Harsh words, perhaps, but true nonetheless. For at the very core of this scandal is the issue of class and the legacy of a prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who throughout the 1980s waged war against working class people, communities, and sought to destroy the bonds of solidarity that provided them with their strength and pride in who they were.

    • In defence of today’s anti-fascist protesters

      Populist leaders today are unable to completely abolish multi-party systems, free press, individual freedom, or instigate actual war both inside and outside the country. But we can’t ignore the danger they present.

    • Hunger Strike in San Francisco Puts a Spotlight on Police Brutality

      At the corner of 17th and Valencia Streets in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon, a group of about 20 protesters remained camped outside the Mission Police Station, fueled by coconut water, vitamin supplements, and cars honking in solidarity. Several were in the sixth day of a hunger strike. Their goal: The ouster of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and his boss, Mayor Ed Lee, over a string of police violence and alleged misconduct.

      A stash of rations sat near the entrance of the station, where last week five people began the protest: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ilyich Sato, Sellassie Blackwell, Ike Peterson and Edwin Lindo. The demonstrators also set up three tents on a nearby corner. Gutierrez, a short, soft-spoken woman who runs a neighborhood preschool, has also at times escaped the cold evenings in her van parked across the street.

    • Workers Say T-Mobile Created A Fake Union To Kill The Real One

      One of the largest cell phone carriers in America is trying to derail a years-long campaign to organize tens of thousands of workers by creating a fake in-house union, Communication Workers of America (CWA) officials say.

      Union leaders are accusing T-Mobile of co-opting worker dissatisfaction through a new internal organization it calls T-Voice. The group functions as “a direct line for Frontline feedback to senior leadership,” according to an internal email obtained by Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson. But management selects the workers who serve as part of T-Voice, and has allegedly pointed to the group as a reason not to unionize during captive-audience meetings with employees.

    • Our Military Shouldn’t Turn Its Back on Servicewomen Who Need an Abortion

      How the U.S. military restricts servicewomen from accessing abortion on military bases is a discriminatory scandal.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Nervous About Regulatory Action, Comcast Bumps Usage Caps To One Terabyte Per Month

      After taking a PR beating for several years on the matter, Comcast has announced that it’s significantly bumping the company’s usage caps. Since 2013 Comcast has been conducting a “trial” in many of the company’s less competitive markets, capping usage at 300 GB per month, then charging users either $10 per each additional 50 gigabytes, or providing users the option of paying $30 to $35 per month extra to avoid the cap entirely. But according to a new blog post by the cable giant, the company will be bumping that usage allotment to one terabyte per month starting June 1.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Blizzard Pretends IP Made It Kill Fan Server

      Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft, has a long and dubious history when it comes to trying to twist intellectual property laws and requirements to be whatever they want it to be at the time. These instances have mostly revolved around using copyright in an attempt to stop people who use cheat-bots to play the company’s games, as well as those who make the bots. The actual tactics Blizzard uses in those cases, which chiefly revolve around twisting copyright into knots as never intended, can get lost because of the hatred most players have for those who game the gaming system.

      But it’s a different story when it comes to Nostalrius, which was the name for fan-servers offering up a “vanilla” version of World of Warcraft to gamers who wanted to play the game without any of the expansion packs that Blizzard has released. Serving thousands of individual gamers, Blizzard decided the fan-server was a threat to its business and used trademark law to threaten those running it into shutting the whole thing down. Smart or not, Blizzard was within its rights to do this. Its explanation as to why, however, is absolutely dripping with bullshit and needs to be called out.

    • DTSA as a Shoe Horn for Contract and Employment Law Claims

      I expect that an important result of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) will be the creation of supplemental federal jurisdiction over contract and employment disputes that are otherwise a matter of state law decided by state courts. The majority of trade secret lawsuits also involve breach of contract and/or employment law claims – with the breach serving as the requisite ‘improper means,’

    • Copyrights

      • Publishing and “the Machine”: help or hindrance?

        This Kat wants to make it clear: from his discussions, it seems that with a few stellar exceptions (some of whom this Kat has had the pleasure of working with), the broad strokes of his tale are not unique to the particular publisher involved. And yes, this Kat holds “the Machine” responsible in part. This Kat would like to think that he is not naïve. He knows that in today’s business climate, there is a strong push to replace labor with capital, even in the publishing world. Digital platforms are ultimately cheaper than additional employees. However, publishing still rests on the human element—author, editor, and publisher. Over reliance on a digital manuscript submission platform does harm to that interrelationship and the exercise of human judgment that has been a linchpin of publishing. Even if, for over 300 years, “the Machine” has been good to authors and publishers, it seems to this Kat the publication process is impaired when it develops an over reliance on digital platforms, at the expense of the human element and at the cost of rigidity and tunnel vision.

      • Techdirt Reading List: How To Fix Copyright

        Nevertheless, Patry was then convinced to write a follow up book How to Fix Copyright, in order to respond to those critics (most of whom will never be satisfied). Once again, the book is an excellent read. It is not — as some believed — an entire book dedicated to discussing possible solutions. Instead, it again spends a lot of time making sure people really understand how messed up copyright law has become, and then towards the end proposes a few, relatively simple, solutions (which, frankly, may not go far enough). It talks about things like bringing back formalities (i.e., make copyright opt-in again) and shortening copyright terms.

      • Lessons From Prince’s Legacy And Struggle With Digital Music Markets

        Famously, Prince, via Universal Music, was behind the “dancing baby” DMCA lawsuit, which featured Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” playing faintly in the background of a short clip as a toddler danced. Ultimately our friends at EFF, who were representing defendant Stephanie Lenz, prevailed on their fair use claim. In 2013, EFF awarded him their “Raspberry Beret Lifetime Aggrievement Award” for “extraordinary abuses of the takedown process in the name of silencing speech.”

      • Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood Withdraws Google Subpoena As Google Appeals Court Ruling

        Earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit appeals court tossed out the lawsuit that Google had filed against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, following Hood’s decision to send a subpoena that was written by the MPAA’s lawyers, as part of a plan by the MPAA to pay money to get state Attorneys General to attack Google.

        While some in the legacy copyright world painted the ruling in the Fifth Circuit as a “victory” for Jim Hood, and a loss for Google, anyone reading the details would recognize it was anything but that. The court made it pretty clear that Hood’s subpoena was ridiculous and had no chance of surviving a judicial review… but dumped the case on a procedural issue, arguing that since Jim Hood had not yet taken any action concerning Google’s unwillingness to respond to parts of the subpoena, there was nothing to dispute. Basically, the court said “wait until Hood actually tries to force you to do something… and then we’ll tell him his subpoena is bogus.”

Links 28/4/2016: Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux, Proxmox VE 4.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Where did we all go wrong? And why doesn’t anyone remember?

    But we didn’t pursue them. We replaced them with something cheaper — with Unix machines, an OS only a nerd could love. And then we replaced the Unix machines with something cheaper still — the IBM PC, a machine so poor that the £125 ZX Spectrum had better graphics and sound.

    And now, we all use descendants of that. Generally acknowledged as one of the poorest, most-compromised machines, based on descendants of one of the poorest, most-compromised CPUs.

    Yes, over the 40 years since then, most of rough edges have been polished out. The machines are now small, fast, power-frugal with tons of memory and storage, with great graphics and sound. But it’s taken decades to get here.

    And the OSes have developed. Now they’re feature-rich, fairly friendly, really very robust considering the stone-age stuff they’re built from.

    But if we hadn’t spent 3 or 4 decades making a pig’s ear into silk purse — if we’d started with a silk purse instead — where might we have got to by now?

  • Your Beard Doesn’t Intimidate Me Anymore!
  • Server

    • Understanding Your HPC Application Needs

      Many HPC applications began as single processor (single core) programs. If these applications take too long on a single core or need more memory than is available, they need to be modified so they can run on scalable systems. Fortunately, many of the important (and most used) HPC applications are already available for scalable systems. Not all applications require large numbers of cores for effective performance, while others are highly scalable.

    • 5 Container as a Service Tools You Should Know About

      In a previous article on next-generation cloud technologies, I mentioned Containers as a Service (CaaS), which provides a framework to manage container and application deployment.

    • Don’t Worry About IBM’s Mainframe Sales Collapse

      For those who know little about International Business Machines , the company’s hulking System Z mainframe computers may seem like little more than a relic. The 42% year-over-year decline in System Z sales during IBM’s first quarter would appear to offer proof that the mainframe business is struggling.

      But investors shouldn’t worry about this mainframe sales collapse. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. IBM’s System Z product cycle, which sees new models introduced every few years, induces an extreme amount of sales volatility as clients rush to upgrade. While IBM doesn’t report System Z sales numbers directly, the company does report year-over-year performance, and that allows us to see that the big drop in sales during the first quarter is nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Kernel Space

    • PulseAudio Adds Memfd Transport Support

      PulseAudio gained support for utilizing the Linux kernel’s memfd as a transport mechanism as spearheaded by the systemd/KDBUS crew.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.59 LTS Out Now with Crypto & Networking Fixes, Updated Drivers

      Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby today announced the availability of the fifty-ninth maintenance release of the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series, urging all users to update as soon as possible.

      Looking at the appended shortlog, we can notice that Linux kernel 3.12.59 LTS is here to patch various security issues that have been discovered since the previous point release, version 3.12.58, which has been announced two weeks ago by Mr. Jiri Slaby, along with an important piece of information, that the Linux 3.12 series will be supported until 2017 because it is used in SUSE Linux Enterprise 12.

    • Linux infosec outfit does a Torvalds, rageblocks innocent vuln spotter

      An open source security firm has blocked a security researcher who reported flaws in a recently issued patch in an apparent fit of pique.

      Hector Martin took to Twitter on Tuesday to note a trivial crashing vulnerability in a recently issued patch by Grsecurity.

      “I literally crashed my box by pasting a bunch of text into a terminal, due to a really sad bug in the patch,” Martin said.

      In response, Grsecurity acknowledged the issue, which it said would be fixed in the next release. At the same time it blocked Martin on both Twitter and by IP address.

    • Why Linux Creator Linus Torvalds Thinks That C++ Programming Language Sucks?

      This morning, I was reading some news about Linux creator Linus Torvalds and I came across a decade-old note from him. You might have heard about Linus Torvald’s opinion of programming language C++ and this note was about the same.

    • Open Source: Thinking Big by Jim Zemlin

      Zemlin’s career spans three of the largest technology trends to rise over the last decade: mobile computing, cloud computing and open source software. Today, as executive director of The Linux Foundation, he uses this experience to accelerate the adoption of Linux and support the future of computing.

    • Graphics Stack

      • See How Your Linux GPU Compares To Various GeForce GPUs With NVIDIA 364.19

        While waiting for today’s release of Tomb Raider on Linux, for which I just posted various NVIDIA Tomb Raider benchmarks on Ubuntu, I was running some other OpenGL benchmarks.

        One of the benchmark runs I did with various graphics cards this morning while waiting for Tomb Raider was the well known and demanding Unigine Valley demo. Tests were done with various Kepler and Maxwell GeForce graphics cards while using the brand new NVIDIA 364.19 driver on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS x86_64.

      • X.Org Foundation Election Results

        Two questions were up for voting, 4 seats on the Board of Directors and approval of the amended By-Laws to join SPI.

        Congratulations to our reelected and new board members Egbert Eich, Alex Deucher, Keith Packard and Bryce Harrington. Thanks a lot to Lucas Stach for running. And also big thanks to our outgoing board member Matt Dew, who stepped down for personal reasons.

      • X.Org Members Approve Becoming Part Of The SPI Organization

        The results just are in of the 2016 X.Org Foundation elections and the members have voted to become part of the SPI. The foundation thus is basically becoming dissolved to become part of Software in the Public Interest.

        After last year’s vote failed for the X.Org Foundation to merge with the SPI due to not reaching the two-thirds quorum to change the by-laws, this year was a success: 61 of the 65 members voted.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Proxmox VE 4.2 Officially Released with Let’s Encrypt Support, ZFS Improvements

        Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, a renowned company developing the Proxmox VE (Virtual Environment) server virtualization operating system based on the Linux kernel, announced the release of Proxmox VE 4.2.

      • Proxmox VE 4.2 Released

        Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, the company developing the server virtualization platform Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE), today announced the general availability of version 4.2. The open source virtualization platform Proxmox VE is a hyper-converged solution enabling users to create and manage LXC containers and KVM virtual machines on the same host, and makes it easy to set up highly available clusters, as well as to manage network and storage via an integrated web-based management interface.

      • antiX 16 Linux OS Gets a Second Beta Build with Kernel 4.4.8 LTS, Many Changes

        It’s been a little over two weeks since the first Beta build of the upcoming antiX 16 Linux operating system was announced, and now we can get our hands on the second Beta release.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Adds F2FS Support

        It’s been a while since last having anything to report on with the OpenMandriva Linux distribution, but they wrote in today with news about adding Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) support.

        Within their OpenMandriva “Cooker” development repository is the most interesting support with F2FS support being part of their kernel, shipping f2fs-tools by default, and their Calamares installer allowing F2FS for SSD disks. They’ve also added a F2FS patch for GRUB2. With that work in OpenMandriva Cooker, users can be running F2FS as their root file-system with ease!

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Entroware’s Orion Laptops Now Ship with Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS and Skylake CPUs

            Entroware, one of the few hardware companies to offer laptops with Ubuntu MATE Linux operating system pre-installed, today announced a refresh of its Orion series of laptops.

            The new Orion laptop is now in stock, and it looks like it comes with the next-generation of Intel Skylake processors, as well as the latest and greatest version of the Ubuntu MATE distro, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • my Shuttleworth Foundation flash grant

            More important than features is making Propellor prevent more classes of mistakes, by creative use of the type system. The biggest improvement in this area was type checking the OSes of Propellor properties, so Propellor can reject host configurations that combine eg, Linux-only and FreeBSD-only properties.

          • Wolfram Research turns your Ubuntu phone into an IoT sensor
          • Ubuntu 16.04′s support for the ZFS file system may violate the General Public License

            Ubuntu 16.04′s support for the ZFS file system is one of many useful enterprise features on top of all the Linux desktop polish in the new OS. But Linux distributions have avoided shipping ZFS support in the past due to licensing issues, and Ubuntu 16.04’s ZFS support sits smack-dab in the middle of a controversial legal gray area.

          • Ubuntu’s $70 computing stick could fit nicely behind your TV

            Want to turn a TV into a Ubuntu computer? The very orange MeLE PCG02U just might be what you’re looking for. This tiny stick computer costs only $70, meaning you can add a desktop to any TV for very little money. It’s the first Ubuntu device from Mele, a Chinese manufacturer that until now has focused on Android and Windows devices.

          • This $70 computer stick is designed for Ubuntu

            Ubuntu is starting to show up in lot more places lately: tablets, phones, and this neat little computer-on-a-stick created by MeLE called the PGC02U. It’s $70, with an Intel BayTrail processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. It also comes in Ubuntu orange and has a wee little antenna to help with wireless reception. Liliputing points out that you might want to go ahead and install this build of Ubuntu created by Ian Morrison, as it’s designed specifically for stick computers.

          • Mele PCG02U is a $70 Ubuntu PC stick

            Chinese computer maker Mele has been offering small Android and Windows computers for a few years. Now the company is selling a PC-on-a-stick that runs Ubuntu Linux.

          • Mele PCG02U Ubuntu PC Stick Launches For $70
          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS video review

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS was recently released, and many Linux users have been wondering what it has to offer and if it’s worth installing or upgrading from a previous release of Ubuntu.

            Not to worry, a YouTuber by the name of Quidsup has a full video review of Ubuntu 16.04 that will walk you through the latest changes to Canonical’s popular desktop distribution.

          • [Older] Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Released, This Is What’s New
          • uNav 0.59 GPS Navigation App for Ubuntu Phones Brings Pinch-Zoom, a Refreshed UI

            uNav developer Nekhelesh Ramananthan announced the release of version 0.59 of the default GPS navigation app for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phones.

            According to the announcement, uNav 0.59, which has been dubbed “Beauty and the Beast,” comes with exciting new features, among which we can mention a brand-new navigation structure, giving users the possibility of searching for locations, favorites or coordinates directly from the menubar, as well as a refresh of the UI (details below).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • YouTube will soon roll out six-second ads that you can’t skip

    YouTube’s adding a new option to help advertisers get their message to consumers — but in a much shorter amount of time than normal. Today the company announced that beginning next month, it’ll offer six-second “Bumper” ads that are designed to be a better companion to the shorter video clips that millions of YouTube users are watching on smartphones. “We like to think of Bumper ads as little haikus of video ads — and we’re excited to see what the creative community will do with them,” YouTube’s Zach Lupei wrote in a blog post. You can see a sample of one below, which was an early test by Atlantic Records.

  • YouTube just announced plans to steal six seconds of your life

    PEOPLE FALLING over and cat fanciers hangout YouTube is planning to make people sit through six seconds of un-skippable advertising in the sort of move that makes sense to businesses but makes people go cray cray.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • German nuclear plant infected with computer viruses, operator says

      A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station’s operator said on Tuesday.

      The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE (RWEG.DE).

      The viruses, which include “W32.Ramnit” and “Conficker”, were discovered at Gundremmingen’s B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

      Malware was also found on 18 removable data drives, mainly USB sticks, in office computers maintained separately from the plant’s operating systems. RWE said it had increased cyber-security measures as a result.

    • Death of the enterprise VPN – if remote access is not secure what comes next? [iophk: "Spam. Besides, if an app cannot be put on the net without a VPN then it does not belong on the net in the first place."]

      VPNs are the backbone of enterprise remote access and yet their security limitations are starting to pile up. The problem is that the very thing that once made them so useful, network access, is now their biggest weakness. As the 2014 attacks on retailers Target and Home Depot painfully illustrate, this architecture can easily be exploited by attackers armed with stolen credentials to move around networks from within in ways that are difficult to spot until it’s too late.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The classified ’28 pages’: A diversion from real US-Saudi issues

      The US government has known that Saudi financing of madrassas all over the world has been a major source of jihadist activism. The Saudi regime’s extremist Wahhabi perspective on Shia Islam is the basis for its paranoid stance on the rest of the region and the destabilisation of Syria and Yemen. The 28 pages should be released, but at a time when the contradictions between US and Saudi interests are finally beginning to be openly acknowledged, the issue is just another diversion from the real debate on Saudi Arabia that is urgently needed.

    • Is This What’s in Those 28 Pages? And Does it Matter?

      Did the CIA meet with some of the 9/11 hijackers ahead of the attacks on New York? Did the Saudi government help finance those hijackers? Someone knows the answers, and soon, you might know as well.

    • Rio Sees A ‘Surge’ In Police Killings Ahead Of The Summer Olympics

      Since the beginning of April, 11 people have been killed by the police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin in just 100 days. One of the victims was a five-year-old boy.

    • Censored, Surveilled, Watch Listed and Jailed: The Absurdity of Being a Citizen in the American Police State

      April 26, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Ron Paul Institute”- In the American police state, the price to be paid for speaking truth to power (also increasingly viewed as an act of treason) is surveillance, censorship, jail and ultimately death.

      However, where many Americans go wrong is in assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or challenging the government’s authority in order to be flagged as a suspicious character, labeled an enemy of the state and locked up like a dangerous criminal.

    • Nuclear Escalation in Europe

      The United States feigned surprise during the simulation of an attack by the Russian aviation against the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. And yet, as we have reported, Russia already has the capacity to block the ship’s Communications & Commands, and did so, observes Manlio Dinucci, because the ship was in the process of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Furthermore, the US nuclear deployment occurred as China is developing hypersonic launchers, a part of whose trajectory will be in glide mode, inspiring new research by DARPA. As from now, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are participating in the Tactical Boost Glide Program.

    • Ukraine’s Rightists Return to Odessa

      For two years, Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime has balked at investigating dozens of arson deaths in Odessa and now is doing little as far-right nationalists rally for another confrontation, writes Nicolai N. Petro.

    • Can We Feel the Heat?

      I am travelling as a peace witness in Iraqi Kurdistan. We visited a sheikh whom I had met in Fallujah in 2012. He and his family were forced to flee to Kurdistan about two years ago. Fallujah iis being held by ISIS. None of the residents are allowed to leave. People are dying of starvation.

    • Has The American Age of Decline Begun?

      “Low-energy Jeb.” “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.” “Crooked Hillary.” Give Donald Trump credit. He has a memorable way with insults. His have a way of etching themselves on the brain. And they’ve garnered media coverage, analysis, and commentary almost beyond imagining. Memorable as they might be, however, they won’t be what last of Trump’s 2016 election run. That’s surely reserved for a single slogan that will sum up his candidacy when it’s all over (no matter how it ends). He arrived with it on that Trump Tower escalator in the first moments of his campaign and it now headlines his website, where it’s also emblazoned on an array of products from hats to t-shirts.

      You already know which line I mean: “Make America Great Again!” With that exclamation point ensuring that you won’t miss the hyperbolic, Trumpian nature of its promise to return the country to its former glory days. In it lies the essence of his campaign, of what he’s promising his followers and Americans generally — and yet, strangely enough, of all his lines, it’s the one most taken for granted, the one that’s been given the least thought and analysis. And that’s a shame, because it represents something new in our American age. The problem, I suspect, is that what first catches the eye is the phrase “Make America Great” and then, of course, the exclamation point, while the single most important word in the slogan, historically speaking, is barely noted: “again.”

      With that “again,” Donald Trump crossed a line in American politics that, until his escalator moment, represented a kind of psychological taboo for politicians of any stripe, of either party, including presidents and potential candidates for that position. He is the first American leader or potential leader of recent times not to feel the need or obligation to insist that the United States, the “sole” superpower of Planet Earth, is an “exceptional” nation, an “indispensable” country, or even in an unqualified sense a “great” one. His claim is the opposite. That, at present, America is anything but exceptional, indispensable, or great, though he alone could make it “great again.” In that claim lies a curiosity that, in a court of law, might be considered an admission of guilt. Yes, it says, if one man is allowed to enter the White House in January 2017, this could be a different country, but — and in this lies the originality of the slogan — it is not great now, and in that admission-that-hasn’t-been-seen-as-an-admission lies something new on the American landscape.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Harmful Algal Bloom Reddit “Ask Us Anything”

      With harmful algal bloom (HAB) season beginning over the next few months in several areas of the U.S., this is your chance to talk with two NOAA scientists who study the impacts of harmful algal blooms and forecast bloom conditions for various U.S. coastal regions.

    • Climate Change Is Taking The Spotlight In Australia’s Election

      Australia hasn’t exactly been seen as a leader on climate policy in recent years: Former prime minister Tony Abbott once called climate change “absolute crap,” and current Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull hasn’t delivered the about-face on climate that many environmentalists had hoped for. But that could change with this year’s election.

      On Wednesday, Australia’s Labor Party, the main opposition to the country’s current Turbull-led coalition government, announced a plan to tackle climate change that’s more ambitious than the country’s current approach. Under the Labor Party, Australia would work to decrease emissions 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, compared with the current pledge to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels. A ruling Labor party would also implement a country-wide emissions trading scheme and would set a goal of getting 50 percent of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

    • Climate Change Action Emerges As Winning Wedge Issue In 2016

      A new public opinion survey finds that “Americans across political lines, except conservative Republicans, would support a presidential candidate who strongly supports taking action to reduce global warming.”

      The survey of 1,004 registered voters by the Climate Change Communication programs at Yale and George Mason University yielded a number of important findings consistent with earlier polling this year by Gallup.

    • Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative

      Oyster beds stabilize the shoreline and filter contaminants from the water, which, in turn, promotes seagrass growth, providing habitat for numerous fish and shellfish species. Oysters are an important food source for animals and people alike, and they are fundamental to the region’s economy. A February 2014 report from NOAA Fisheries estimated that in 2012, the oyster harvest garnered $331 million in revenue in Louisiana alone.

    • ‘Neutral is Not Acceptable’: Nationwide Protests Demand Colleges Go Fossil Free

      A series of sit-ins and protests urging universities to divest their endowments from fossil fuels gained new strength this week, as students at the University of Montana, Vassar College, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison launched their own actions to combat climate change.

      Two nights in a row, on Monday and Tuesday multiple students at Northern Arizona University (NAU) were arrested for taking part in a nonviolent action demanding their school divest from oil and gas companies.

      “Our administration would rather arrest students then take serious action on climate change,” lamented Fossil Free NAU on its Facebook page.

      “We believe that it is morally unjust to be investing in a dying industry,” said NAU senior Michaela Mujica-Steiner, one of the coordinators of the school sit-in. “We would like to see the school step up and lead with students who are currently demonstrating leadership.”

    • Hanford Seeks Possible Leak in 2nd Double-Walled Tank
    • Michigan Official Tried to Manipulate Lead Tests—Eight Years Ago

      A newly resurfaced email demonstrates that in 2008 an official from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) tried to game lead tests by suggesting that technicians collect extra water samples to make the average lead count for a community appear artificially low.

      The email was sent in response to a test result that showed one home’s lead levels were ten times the federal action level of 15 parts per billion, and urged the lead test technician to take an additional set of water samples to “bump out” the high result so that the MDEQ wouldn’t be required to notify the community of the high levels of lead in its water.

      “Otherwise we’re back to water quality parameters and lead public notice,” complained Adam Rosenthal of the MDEQ’s Drinking Water office in the email.

    • Michael Moore Blasts Obama in an Open Letter About the Flint Water Crisis

      Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has been extremely active in advocating for his hometown of Flint, Mich., since the news of the water crisis there broke months ago.

      He has repeatedly posted about Flint on his website, even going so far as demanding Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrest. And, like other activists in Flint, he’s been urging President Obama to pay a visit to the desperate town.

    • Locals In Peru Force US Company To Scrap $5 Billion Mining Project

      Activists in Peru have forced the second-largest gold mining corporation in the world, Newmont, to abandon its $5 billion Conga copper and gold mining project.

      Indigenous Peruvians say the conga mine project, which was intended to replace the nearly-depleted Yanacocha gold mine nearby, threatens the local environment

  • Finance

    • Luxembourg Puts Journalist and Whistleblowers On Trial for Ruining Its “Magical Fairyland” of Tax Avoidance

      LUXEMBOURG IS TRYING to throw two French whistleblowers and a journalist in prison for their role in the “LuxLeaks” exposé that revealed the tiny country’s outsized role in enabling corporate tax avoidance.

      The trial of Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, two former employees of the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and journalist Edouard Perrin began Tuesday.

      Deltour and Halet were charged in connection with theft of PwC documents. Perrin is charged as an accomplice for steering Halet toward documents that he considered of particular interest.

    • Former Tax Lobbyists Are Writing the Rules on Tax Dodging

      The secret tax-dodging strategies of the global elite in China, Russia, Brazil, the U.K., and beyond were exposed in speculator fashion by the recent Panama Papers investigation, fueling a worldwide demand for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

      But there is little appetite in Congress for taking on powerful tax dodgers in the U.S., where the practice has become commonplace.

    • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince’s $2 Trillion Gamble

      Saudi Arabia’s citizen population is probably only about 20 million, so it is a small country without a big domestic market. It is surrounded in the general region by huge countries like Egypt (pop. 85 million), Iran (pop. 75 mn.) and Turkey (75 mn.), not to mention Ethiopia (pop. 90 mn.) Without petroleum, it is difficult to see what would be distinctive about Saudi Arabia economically.

      The excruciatingly young prince, who was born in 1985, has a BA in Law from a local Saudi university and his way of speaking about the elements of the economy is not reassuring. Take his emphasis on the maritime trade routes that flow around the Arabian Peninsula. How exactly does Saudi Arabia derive a dime from them? The only tolls I can think of are collected by Egypt for passage through the Suez Canal. By far the most important container port in the region is Jebel Ali in the UAE, which dwarfs Jedda. His estimate of 30% of world trade going through these bodies of water strikes me as exaggerated. Only about 10% of world trade goes through the Suez Canal.

    • Letter from Oxford

      The future independence of universities is in doubt, especially those dependent on alumni support. Old grads are turned off by the erasure of what they remember. Recent grads are not experiencing the same success. A university degree no longer brings the same economic success that it did in the 20th century. A financialized and offshored capitalism has heavily redistributed income and wealth to the One Percent. One consequence is that the alumni donor base will shrink.

    • A majority of millennials now reject capitalism, poll shows
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton is DINO-mite to the Billionaires

      Now that Charlie Koch has admitted that his money could ride on Clinton would she just tweak a few of her ideas here or there, I can only presume he may have paid for the Yahoo! ad, which can’t be cheap.

      I’m kidding. Hillary has plenty of money.

      But it would be an expression of his devotion, would it not? Koch likes her for good reason. She’s as much about the money as he is, but not everyone admires Madam.

      The dislike of Clinton is borne out in some polls. People are going to hold their noses and vote for Hillary all the way to the convention. Many dislike her, but it’s in their best interest to keep things the way they are. Not just for the Kochs, but for the majority.

      Bernie and The Donald would mess something up. This election is ultimately about pragmatism once you exit the powder room.

    • Vox’s Puff Piece on Goldman Sachs Doesn’t Reveal Goldman Sponsors Vox

      Matthew Yglesias (4/25/16) gave a generous write-up to Goldman Sachs’ new commercial banking subsidiary, GS Bank, without noting that Goldman Sachs is a sponsor of Vox.

      Despite the obligatory “to be sure” paragraph, where Yglesias ran through some of the downsides (“they don’t have a checking account and there’s no ATM access”), the post mostly served to promote a new product “for the masses” from Goldman Sachs, a company worth roughly $87 billion.

    • Amy Goodman on How the Media Is Ruining the 2016 Election by Focusing on ‘Trump-land’

      If you’ve been near a television, computer or newspaper over the past six months, you know it’s impossible to escape media coverage of Donald Trump. Beyond mere annoyance, this avalanche of attention has created a serious problem in media accountability.

      Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!”, argues that the 24/7 Trump coverage is ruining the election. “We need a media that covers power, not covers for power,” she says, noting the imbalance in election coverage among the candidates in this year’s presidential race.

    • Amy Goodman on AJ+: How the Media Ruins Elections
    • Money Couldn’t Buy Love for Maryland Congressional Candidate David Trone

      David Trone entered Maryland’s 8th Congressional District race in late January, but his late start didn’t hinder his campaign spending. Trone broke the record for self-funding a House campaign by spending more than $12 million of his own money, breaking New Mexico Democrat Phil Maloof’s 1998 record of $6.3 million.

      Despite this significant lump of cash, Trone lost Tuesday’s primary race.

      Throughout the campaign, Trone never labeled himself a front-runner—quite the opposite. “There is no question that I am the underdog,” Trone told Bethesda Magazine in January. The “wine superstore owner” faced seven other opponents for the seat, including Kathleen Matthews, wife of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews; State Sen. Jamie Raskin; and two of Barack Obama’s former aides.

    • Exclusive: Half of Americans think presidential nominating system ‘rigged’ – poll

      More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

      The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

      The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway.

    • Cracked Distills Idiocy, Mendacity of American Politics (Video)

      This Cracked video provides a humorous overview of the presidential election process and explains why candidates can’t be honest.

    • Offshore Democracy, or Argentina through the looking glass

      Exclude the poor from politics on the grounds that they are tempted to misappropriate public funds, and replace them with the rich: this is the project.

    • Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders is Not a Radical, He Has Mass Support for Positions on Healthcare & Taxes

      During an event Tuesday night, Noam Chomsky was asked about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and said he considered him more of a “New Deal Democrat” than a radical extremist, as some have portrayed him. Chomsky said Sanders’ positions on taxes and healthcare are supported by a majority of the American public, and have been for a long time. He added that Sanders has “mobilized a large number of young people who are saying, ‘Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.’ If that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.”

    • Fourteen to Go: Sanders Set on ‘Transforming Nation’

      That’s how many Democratic presidential nominating contests remain. From Indiana next week to the District of Columbia on June 14—with delegate prizes as large as 546 in California and small as 12 in Guam to be won in between—14 states and territories have yet to hold their respective caucus or primary.

      “That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast,” said Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night, following a win in Rhode Island and losses to rival Hillary Clinton in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

    • Why Bernie Will, Should and Must Stay in the Race

      Bernie has substantively—even profoundly—changed American politics for the better, which is why he’s gaining more and more support and keeps winning delegates. From the start, he said, “This campaign is not about me”—it’s a chance for voters who have been disregarded and discarded to forge a new political revolution that will continue to grow beyond this election and create a true people’s government.

    • Why Sanders Supporters Should Not Let Democratic Primary Demoralize Them

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was expected to do very well in the five primaries on April 26, but after the results, Bernie Sanders and his supporters face a critical moment in the election as the campaign fights for every possible delegate on the way to the convention.

      Clinton won Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware decisively. She also eked out a win in Connecticut. She lost in Rhode Island, which was the only state with an open primary that allowed independents to vote for Sanders without affiliating with the Democratic Party.

      Numerous dedicated Sanders volunteers, who have put thousands of hours into the campaign, now face low morale. Sanders supporters lost a lot of hope after New York, and much of that had to do with the establishment news media aggressively promoting the Clinton campaign’s talking points that there was no way Sanders could achieve victory (which was not accurate).

    • The Best Reason for Bernie Sanders to Fight On: Hawkish, Neoliberal Clintons Need a Watchful Eye From Progressives

      Hillary Clinton’s victory language last night showed that she has picked up some of Sanders’ language, and her effort to fold Sanders’ vision into her party’s sounded compelling. But let me mention and rebut some of the Clinton camp’s most convincing points before … ah, elephant in the argument that could end up embarrassing Democrats and actually worsening conditions in the United States even (perhaps especially!) if Clinton wins the White House.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Rhode Island Attorney General Pushing For A State-Level CFAA That Will Turn Researchers, Whistleblowers Into Criminals

      We recently wrote about the Rhode Island attorney general’s “cybercrime” bill — a legislative proposal that seeks to address cyberbullying, revenge porn, etc. with a bunch of broadly — and poorly — written clauses. Two negative comments written months apart could be viewed as “cyber-harassment” under the law, separating it from the sustained pattern of abuse that one normally considers “harassment.”

      In addition, the proposed law would criminalize “non-consensual communications.” If the sender does not obtain the recipient’s permission to send a message, it’s a criminal act if the recipient finds the message to be distressing — which could mean anything from emailing explicit threats to posting a negative comment on someone’s Facebook page.

      But that’s not Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin’s only bad idea. It appears he’s behind another legislative proposal — one that would amend the state’s computer crime laws into something more closely resembling the catastrophic federal equivalent: the CFAA.

    • Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t got an ‘antisemitism problem’. His opponents do.

      These are extraordinary claims to level against the UK’s principal party of opposition, and they have generated an extraordinary amount of media coverage, albeit no serious investigation. The common premise underlying this torrent of articles, think-pieces and polemics – that antisemitism is a growing problem within the Labour party – is rapidly congealing into conventional wisdom. Yet this basic claim is devoid of factual basis. The allegations against Corbyn and the Labour party are underpinned by an almost comical paucity of evidence, while what evidence does exist not only fails to justify the claims being made, but has itself been systematically misrepresented. There is no grounds for supposing either that antisemitism is significant within the Labour party, or that its prevalence is increasing. But, under mounting pressure, the Labour leadership’s response to the accusations has regressed from dismissive to defensive, to the point where policy interventions from such noted antisemitism experts as Richard Angell of Progress are reportedly being treated as serious, good-faith contributions.

    • Egypt’s Dangerous Turn

      Egypt’s military regime is suppressing political opposition even more ferociously than the longtime Mubarak dictatorship while also collaborating in the strangulation of Gaza, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • FDA to Massachusetts Group Home: Stop Shocking Disabled Residents

      The government questions whether The Judge Rotenberg Center has been straight with families about the risks of its electrical shock devices and alternative treatments.

    • Bill Clinton’s Shameful Legacy on Immigration: ‘Terrible’ Laws He Signed ‘Rip Apart’ Families and Authorize Unjust Detention, Human Rights Watch Says

      Clinton-era immigration laws “have subjected hundreds of thousands of people to arbitrary detention, fast-track deportations and family separation,” Human Rights Watch says in a new report.

    • Longest-Serving GOP Speaker In History Is A Liar And Serial Child Molester, Federal Judge Says

      Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced in federal court today to 15 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, in addition to two years of supervised release, on the condition that he get treatment as a sex offender. Last year, Hastert pled guilty to breaking banking laws by making illegal withdrawals — which he then lied about to the FBI.

      Hastert took out $1.7 million in small amounts to avoid suspicion, according to the indictment, which he then used as hush money to prevent a victim of sexual abuse from going public. The victim, identified only as “Individual A” in the court papers, was a 14-year-old on Hastert’s wrestling team when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High school in Illinois. When the allegations become public, three other victims came forward and said that they had been molested by Hastert while he was their wrestling coach. While the statute of limitations on the sexual crimes ran out long ago, the judge can take any behavior surrounding the banking crimes into account when sentencing.

    • Notorious Louisiana Prison Accuses Inmate Of ‘Defiance’ For Speaking With Reporters

      Officials at one of the United States’ most notorious prisons have reportedly punished an outspoken inmate for daring to correspond with reporters about conditions inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

      William Kissinger was abruptly relocated from Angola to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center some 70 miles south in early February, after emailing with a reporter from the New Orleans Advocate for some weeks. Prison officials say he was moved as a disciplinary action because he was guilty of “defiance” and “general prohibited behavior,” the Advocate reports — two broad and vague rules of prisoner conduct that allow officials to punish inmates for anything they decide insults staff or impedes the prison’s function.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Roku CEO Kisses Up To Comcast, Supports Opposition To Cable Set Top Box Competition

      As we’ve been discussing, the FCC is cooking up a plan to open up the closed cable set top box to third party competition. As we’ve also been pointing out, the cable industry has been throwing an absolutely epic hissy fit about this plan, given it would destroy the $21 billion in annual revenues cable operators make off of cable box rental fees. Since it can’t just admit this is all about protecting set top rental fees, the cable industry has been pushing an endless wave of editorials in newspapers and websites nationwide, claiming more set top box competition will hurt consumer privacy, increase piracy, harm diversity, and rip the very planet from its orbital axis.

    • As Broadband Usage Caps Expand, Complaints To The FCC Skyrocket

      For several years now, broadband providers have been taking full advantage of the lack of competition in the broadband market by expanding usage caps and overage fees. More recently, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Suddenlink have taken this practice one step further by charging users a $10 to $35 per month surcharge if consumers want to avoid usage caps. In other words, consumers are paying more money than ever for a service that costs less and less to provide, thanks again to limited competition in the broader broadband market.

      And while companies like Comcast have used the same approach seen in the boiling frog metaphor to slowly expand its usage cap “trials” and hope nobody notices, people are definitely noticing the rising temperatures.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Drawn Out Battle Over Genetic Resources Dampens Africa’s Hopes

      The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the world’s most authoritative legal instrument on intellectual property. It falls under the World Trade Organisation, which sets the rules for trade between countries. The United Nations also has an agency specialising in intellectual property rights, the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The two bodies signed a cooperation agreement in 1996.

      But the trade agreement doesn’t mention traditional knowledge, let alone its association with genetic resources. The UN body, meanwhile, has been trying – unsuccessfully – to negotiate a new framework over the past 16 years. These gaps show how conventional intellectual property frameworks have neglected the knowledge that indigenous communities produce.

      [...]

      All of these examples have attracted international interest. This has prompted indigenous and local communities to spar with foreigners over the benefits that are due to them.

      In the absence of clear rules, a process called “biopiracy” has emerged. Biopirates appropriate genetic resources and their associated traditional knowledge by using patents. Sometimes these are turned into blockbuster products. Local communities don’t benefit at all.

    • Magic Leap lampoons Google Glass in patent filing

      Patent drawings are not generally a source of amusement, as artistic as they may sometimes be. Magic Leap, the fabled and secretive augmented reality start-up valued at USD 4.5 billion, however, snuck a first class nerd joke in its application US2016/0109707 published 21 April 2016 with the memorable title “combining at least one variable focus element with a plurality of stacked waveguides for augmented or virtual reality display” (and containing no less than 152 patent drawings).

    • BREAKING: House passes Defend Trade Secrets Act, next stop President Obama

      The US Senate only just unanimously passed S.1890 (see AmeriKat report here) three weeks ago. Following the Senate vote, the Obama administration called the DTSA “important protection” for American business and industries. Why is the DTSA so important? It provides trade secrets owners with the possibility of filing civil claims for trade secrets misappropriation within the federal court system (necessary given the ease and speed with which misappropriated trade secrets can cross state borders). The DTSA also provides for a seizure order to prevent the destruction or dissemination of misappropriated trade secrets. See the recent post by trade secrets expert, James Pooley.

    • US House passes trade secrets bill
    • Implementing and Interpreting the Defend Trade Secrets Act [iophk: “Microsoft, for example, defines just about everything as a trade secret, especially contracts with public entities.” Has Microsoft (along with other corporations that bought the US government) just criminalised revealing Microsoft contracts? Has Microsoft just criminalised revealing its patent racketeering deals?]

      With today’s 410-2 House vote, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) has now passed both the House and Senate and is headed to President Obama for his expected signature.[1] The DTSA amends the Economic Espionage Act to create a private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation based upon the Congressional sense that trade secret theft exists and is harmful.[2] Trade secret misappropriation (as a civil matter) has previously been purely a matter of state law. Although there is substantial uniformity between the states,[3] there are also a number of differences and perceived procedural weaknesses.[4] The DTSA would not eliminate or preempt the various state trade secret rights but rather would operate as an additional layer of potential protection.[5] The law is designed to go into effect on its day of enactment and apply to any misappropriation that occurs on or after that date.

    • Transparency of patents on medicines and other technologies

      The Beall/Attaran paper deals specifically with the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML), and the authors might make the argument that not much is known about the patent landscape of the entire EML, per se, but that really misses the point. There are many studies and commentaries on the patent landscape for medicines that are essential, including both those on and off the WHO EML. Much of the work in publishing patent landscapes in recent years has been done by MSF, I-Mak, and the Medicines Patent Pool, as well as several academics and health NGOs. NGOs, including but not limited to KEI, have also addressed policy issues related to the transparency of patent landscapes, not only for medicines, but also in other areas, including clean energy, climate change, and standards essential patents on mobile computing devices, for example.

    • On IP Protection, USTR Finds Fault With China, India … And Switzerland? [Ed: see what else it did, bullying nations that don’t obey the demands of US corporations]

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) does not hesitate to add even its closest friends to its annual list of concerns about possible inadequate protection of US intellectual property rights. So this year, along with perennial listees China, India and dozens of others, vigorous IP-rights defender Switzerland makes an appearance. The annual Special 301 report was issued today, and in its press release this year, USTR also included its primary client in publishing the list – the rightsholder industry.

    • Trademarks

      • Priceline Throws A Fit And Sues USPTO For Not Granting Them Booking.com Trademark

        The Priceline Group has something of a history with intellectual property. Several years back, Jay Walker, Priceline’s founder, appeared to have transitioned to becoming a full-blown patent troll. In the year’s since, the company he once founded has been in something of a tussle with the USPTO over its attempt to register a trademark for “booking.com.” The USPTO had initially approved of the mark, before reversing its own decision only weeks later due to “booking.com” being essentially descriptive. The Priceline Group appealed, but the appeals board upheld the rejection of the mark, affirming it as being descriptive.

    • Copyrights

      • Judge: RIAA and MPAA Can’t Copy Megaupload’s Servers, Yet

        The legal battles between the RIAA, MPAA and Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload have been put on hold for another six months. Virginia District Court Judge Liam O’Grady agreed to stay the cases, but did not grant a request from the industry groups to allow them to copy Megaupload’s data which remains stored at its former hosting provider.

      • US Supreme Court debates copyright case attorneys’ fees in Kirtsaeng

        The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Susap Kirtsaeng v John Wiley, with justices appearing sceptical that prevailing defendants should be awarded fees in close cases

      • International report – Google Books project gets green light

        On April 18 2016 the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Authors Guild v Google, thus leaving in place a lower court ruling that Google did not infringe authors’ copyrights in its project to create a searchable library of the world’s books. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit had held that Google’s project was a protected ‘fair use’ of copyrighted works.

      • Rep. Goodlatte Promises ‘Consensus’ Copyright Reform Proposals Soon

        Congress has mostly stayed away from any attempt at copyright reform since the great SOPA blackout of 2012, afraid that anything will set off the public again. However, in 2013, Copyright Register Maria Pallante called on Congress to create the “next great copyright act” designed to update copyright for the 21st century. The House Judiciary Committee has been holding hearings and roundtables every few months since then, some of which have been more encouraging than others.

04.27.16

Links 27/4/2016: A Lot About OpenStack, Vivaldi 1.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • A tech company accusing a Google-backed UK rival of copying code is now suing its customers

    London startup Yieldify has been hit with a second lawsuit from competitor Bounce Exchange, again alleging that it copied its code. The more recent suit also names some of Yieldify’s customers as defendants in the suit.

    Bounce Exchange, a New York-based company, alleges in New York and Texas court filings that it gave Yieldify executives a demonstration of its product in 2013 and that Yieldify went on to launch a very similar competing product.

  • I lived with an undercover officer – this BBC series gets it all wrong

    The TV drama is well produced but based on such an implausible premise it is misleading and inauthentic

  • Science

    • Court Smacks Down Kansas Christians for Labeling Evolution a Religion to Force School Ban

      A federal court rejected the argument from a Christian group in Kansas which said that evolution was religious “indoctrination” and should not be taught in schools.

      After the state of Kansas adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) argued that teaching science without a religious explanation for the creation of the universe would indoctrinate children into atheism.

      COPE said that teaching evolution took children “into the religious sphere by leading them to ask ultimate religious questions like what is the cause and nature of life and the universe—‘where do we come from?’”

    • Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and others urge Congress to fund K-12 computer science education

      Some of the biggest names in tech and corporate America, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, have teamed up with governors and educators to ask Congress to provide $250 million in federal funding to school districts in order to give every single K-12 student in the nation an opportunity to learn how to code. On the legislative side, these tech CEOs are joined by governors from both sides, including California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R).

    • EC aims to build EUR 6.7 billion science cloud

      In 2017, the EC will make open by default all scientific data produced by future projects under the EUR 77 billion Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding programme, the Commission announced on 19 April “The benefits of open data for Europe’s science, economy and society will be enormous”, the statement quotes Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, as saying.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The U.S. Is Dropping Bombs Faster Than It Can Make Them

      Like about 90% of the news today, this would be terrific satire, if it wasn’t true.

      America is dropping so many bombs on ISIS that the country is in danger of running out.

      “We’re expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has asked Congress to include funding for 45,000 “smart bombs” in the Defense Department’s 2017 budget. But it could take a while to rebuild the stockpile.

    • US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire

      One of the frustrations of following the Syria conflict from the Arabic press is that when you then turn to the English language accounts, they tend to play down the importance of al-Qaeda or the Support Front (al-Jabha al-Nusra).

      In American parlance, there have just been three sides– the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Free Syrian Army, and Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). The Free Syrian Army is depicted as democrats deserving US support (only some of them are).

    • From Brady to MH-17, Power Defines Reality

      From the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down to Tom Brady’s NFL suspension, reality gets defined not by facts and reason but by power and propaganda, reports Robert Parry.

    • Saudia Arabia and 9/11: the Kingdom May be in For a Nasty Shock

      Foreign leaders visiting King Salman of Saudi Arabia have noticed that there is a large flower display positioned just in front of where the 80-year-old monarch sits. On closer investigation, the visitors realised that the purpose of the flowers is to conceal a computer which acts as a teleprompter, enabling the King to appear capable of carrying on a coherent conversation about important issues.

    • The Return of the Coup in Latin America

      Venezuela and Brazil are the scenes of a new form of coup d’état that would set the continent’s political calendar back to its worst times. Meanwhile, in Argentina, the brutal model for the demolition of democracy is set forward by the continental oligarchic right and the hegemonic forces of US imperialism who wish to impose their model in the region.

      As we can see in the previews that test the memory of the peoples in the continent, it is difficult to accept that the new types of coups are actually softer and more covert than those which Latin America suffered for so long.

    • ISIL Endgame: Obama to send 250 more US Troops into Syria

      That Obama is focusing on this Kurdish-Arab coalition is a further slap in the face to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who are backing hard line far-right Salafi groups like the Freemen of Syria in the Aleppo area, who have been attacked by the Arab/Kurdish SDF, which is to their left.

    • Mexico Finds It Easier to Focus on Trump Than Its Own Failings

      During my many years as a correspondent in Mexico, some of my best reporting happened around dinner tables. So on a recent trip back, I dined with a range of old contacts to catch up on how Mexico was handling its most pressing challenges, like the 2014 student massacre in southern Mexico, which shocked the world and ignited protests across the country.

      But all anyone wanted to talk about was Donald Trump.

    • Trapped In Turkey: One Afghan Asylum Seeker’s Quest To Make A Life In The EU

      A 23-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, and an example of the collateral damage of America’s longest war, Kakar has been stuck in Turkey since March 20, waiting for human smugglers to get him to Greece. But things have recently tightened up in the Mediterranean route, with Greece even sending some asylum seekers back.

    • An open letter to Jeremy Corbyn from an Italian

      France has just sold 1 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Egypt. Prime Minister François Hollande flew there to sign the eye-watering deals. Other European nations are counting on Field Marshall Al-Sisi’s regime and Turkey to keep ISIS in check. Egypt’s help with Libya is crucial. The scenario is complex. What else can be done to do posthumous justice to the Cambridge PhD student? Not an easy one.

    • Left-wing, Antiwar Voice in Ukraine Assaulted by Rightist Extremists

      On April 22, the leader of the Union of Left Forces (Союз Лівих Сил) of Ukraine, Vasyl Volga, was attacked in Zaporizhia, southern Ukraine by ‘activists’ – extreme nationalists – of the Azov Battalion and Syla Natsii (Force of the Nation). Volga and his colleagues came to Zaporizhia to present the program of their party which fights for the cessation of war in Ukraine, the restoration of peace and integration of Donbass back into Ukraine.

      Volga and his colleagues were heading to a building in Zaporizhia to hold a press-conference. In an interview with Channel 112 television after the attack, Volga told the 112 journalist that he tried to talk to his attackers but they replied that Ukraine needs war and that they do not want politicians like Volga. One of these thugs attacked Volga from behind. Volga and his colleagues were able to escape thanks to Zaporizhia local police.

    • Meddlesome Empire: Obama and Client Britain’s EU Referendum

      Good to see that history, if it does not possess historical cunning, as Hegel rather foolishly observed, has, at the very least, some humour. US President Barack Obama has been busy making it his business to make sure that Britain remains in the European Union after the referendum elections of June. The urging has all the meaning of a Wall Street plea. If Britain leaves, there will be instability. A world of chaos will ensue.

      Obama in imperial mode has been some sight. Armed with words of condescension, he has treated Britons in a fashion they are rarely used to: being lectured as subjects in need of a good intellectual thrashing. For years, the nostalgic establishment Briton has become the supposedly sagacious backer of US power in various parts of the planet. The US has been assured that it can count on vassal insurance when Washington’s more bizarre imperial failures come to light.

    • Saudi Role Beyond the 28 Pages

      Release of the 28 secret pages from the congressional 9/11 report may be long overdue, but the depth of Saudi involvement with Islamic radicals goes much deeper, says Gareth Porter at Middle East Eye.

    • Orwell’s Ghost is Laughing

      What’s the difference between “boots on the ground” and military personnel wearing boots who are engaged in combat – and perhaps dying – on the ground? If you can answer that question convincingly, perhaps you’d like to apply for John Kirby’s job, because he’s not doing it very successfully. Kirby is the State Department spokesman who, in answer to a question from a reporter about the 250 US troops being sent to Syria, denied President Obama ever said there’d be “no boots on the ground” in Syria.

    • In Yemen, Saudi-Led Intervention Gives Rise to New Armed Religious Faction

      Thickly bearded men — some wrapped in traditional outfits, others masked — can be seen these days driving through Yemen’s central city of Taiz in pickup trucks mounted with machine guns.

      The men belong to a growing faction of Salafis, an ultra-conservative Sunni religious group. In Taiz, the Salafis were once known for being preachers in mosques and religious scholars, but now they have become the most dominant fighters among local resistance to the Shiite Houthi rebels, who ousted from power Yemen’s President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    • The Pentagon’s Medal Inflation

      Like grade inflation in college, the Pentagon has engaged in medal inflation, diluting awards for actual heroism by proliferating ribbons for bureaucratic skills, as Chuck Spinney and James Perry Stevenson explain.

    • 9/11 Commission Didn’t Clear Saudis

      As the Obama administration belatedly weighs releasing the 28 pages on the Saudi role in 9/11, Americans should not be fooled by claims minimizing the Saudi involvement, writes 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser.

    • Justin Trudeau outrage at beheading of Philippines hostage Ridsdel

      The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the beheading of a Canadian hostage kidnapped by Islamist militants in the Philippines.

      John Ridsdel, 68, was taken from a tourist resort with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September 2015.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Grauer’s Gorillas May Soon Be Extinct, Conservationists Say

      The Grauer’s gorilla, the world’s largest primate, has been a source of continual worry for conservationists for more than two decades. Longstanding conflict in the deep jungles of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo left experts with no choice but to guess at how that gorilla subspecies may be faring.

      Now, with tensions abating somewhat, researchers finally have an updated gorilla head count — one that confirms their fears. According to findings compiled by an international team of conservationists, Grauer’s gorilla populations have plummeted 77 percent over the last 20 years, with fewer than 3,800 of the animals remaining.

    • Bold Moves Block Tapajós Mega-dam and Uphold Indigenous Rights, for Now

      In the shadow of last week’s contentious vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s indigenous agency FUNAI and environmental agency IBAMA made unexpected, decisive rulings in defense of indigenous rights and ecological protection in the Amazon. As if pouncing on the opportunity to finally do their jobs without the overbearing interference of an embattled executive, FUNAI moved to demarcate a besieged indigenous territory while IBAMA took this cue to suspend approval of São Luiz do Tapajós, a mega-dam projected to flood it and displace its Munduruku inhabitants.

    • CNN Is More Focused On Running Fossil Fuel Ads Than It Is On Covering Major Climate Stories

      If you tuned into CNN earlier this year, when NASA And NOAA announced that 2015 was the hottest year on record, you weren’t likely to see much coverage of that announcement. In fact, you were more likely to see an ad for the fossil fuel industry than a news story on how fossil fuels are driving the planet’s warming, according to a new report.

    • Flint and America’s Corroded Trust

      It’s been the subject of protests and debates, but if anything is improving in Flint, Michigan, it’s hard for any of us on the ground to see.

      One of the city’s lead pipes has been replaced for the benefit of the press, but more than 8,000 additional service lines are likely corroded and still leaching toxic lead. It took a mom, a pediatrician, and a professor in Virginia to discover Flint’s children were being poisoned. It took cable television to get the nation to give a damn.

    • The Great Barrier Reef Won’t Survive Bleaching Events If Global Warming Continues

      The Great Barrier Reef’s coral is dying, and it may never be the same again.

      Last month, as historically high ocean temperatures bathed the waters around the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian government raised the coral bleaching threat to the highest level possible.

      On an aerial reconnaissance trip from Cairns to Papua New Guinea, researchers observed the parts of the reef that are supposed to be the most pristine and vibrant. What they saw was chilling.

    • Chernobyl at 30: Thousands Still Living in the Shadow of Nuclear Disaster

      Just this week, the Associated Press described Belarus, where 70 percent of the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl landed, as “a nation showing little regard for the potentially cancer-causing isotopes still to be found in the soil.”

    • 30 Ways Chernobyl and Dying Nuke Industry Threaten Our Survival

      April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at theChernobyl nuclear power plant.

      It comes as Germany, which is phasing out all its reactors, has asked Belgium to shut two of its nukes because of the threat of terrorism.

      It also comes as advancing efficiencies and plunging prices in renewable energy remind us that nukes stand in the way of solving our climate crisis.

    • What does justice for slain Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres mean?

      Particularly worrisome to human rights organizations was the government’s response within the first 48 hours after the murder, in which investigators allegedly tampered with the crime scene and treated COPINH members as suspects, while ignoring the escalating death threats Berta had been receiving for her opposition to Agua Zarca — a hydroelectric dam project that would have impacted communities surrounding the Gualcarque River.

    • ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Tim DeChristopher Discuss Far-Reaching Effects of Climate Change

      In this week’s episode of “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Tim DeChristopher, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center.

      The two analyze how the industrialized world fails to significantly confront climate change, beginning with the “exercise in make-believe” that was the 2015 Paris climate conference.

    • Saudi Prince Announces Plan To Free Kingdom From Oil ‘Addiction’

      Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia — second in line behind the crown prince, and his father, King Salman. Before his father ascended the throne a year ago, Prince Mohammed began to quietly plan for his kingdom’s future with the encouragement of the late King Abdullah, according to Bloomberg. Kings and princes frequently plan for the future, but this time the House of Saud wants to be able to thrive in a low-carbon economy.

    • The Chernobyl accident in Ukraine, 30 years after

      April, 26, 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the accident in Unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which resulted in a very large release of radionuclides which were deposited over a very wide area in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in Europe and, most particularly, in Belarus, Northern Ukraine and part of Western Russia.

      Much work has been conducted immediately after the accident and in the 30 years since in order to secure the area, limit the exposure of the population, provide support and medical follow-up to those affected and study the health consequences of the accident.

    • Mitsubishi Lied About Vehicle Emissions for 25 Years

      Following VW’s smog-testing cheating scandal in September, Mitsubishi on Tuesday announced that its employees used outdated emissions testing methods outlawed in Japan on millions of vehicles sold since 1991.

      The outdated methods violated Japanese regulatory standards and provided deceptively low results for emissions measurements. The environmental impact of Mitsubishi’s decades-long deception is as of yet still undetermined.

    • “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

      Throughout Exxon’s global operations, the company knew that CO2 was a harmful pollutant in the atmosphere years earlier than previously reported.

      DeSmog has uncovered Exxon corporate documents from the late 1970s stating unequivocally “there is no doubt” that CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels was a growing “problem” well understood within the company.

    • Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

      Throughout Exxon’s global operations, the company knew that CO2 was a harmful pollutant in the atmosphere years earlier than previously reported.

      DeSmog has uncovered Exxon corporate documents from the late 1970s stating unequivocally “there is no doubt” that CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels was a growing “problem” well understood within the company.

    • 30 Ways Chernobyl and Dying Nuke Industry Threaten Our Survival

      April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

      It comes as Germany, which is phasing out all its reactors, has asked Belgium to shut two of its nukes because of the threat of terrorism.

      It also comes as advancing efficiencies and plunging prices in renewable energy remind us that nukes stand in the way of solving our climate crisis.

  • Finance

    • Kansas Governor Justifies Kicking 15,000 People Off Food Stamps

      For over five years now, Kansas has served as an economic policy experiment for anti-tax, small-government conservatives. Their lab work is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars, crippling public service budgets, and making life harder for low-income families without reducing the state’s poverty rate at all.

      With his political star beginning to tarnish, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) came to Washington on Wednesday to discuss his poverty policies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. At one point, the embattled governor justified his policy of forcing people off of food stamps if they can’t find a job by likening low-income and jobless people to lazy college students.

    • ‘We’re At War’ Says Organizer Behind Education Protests Sweeping The Country

      Keron Blair will look you directly in the eye the whole time he’s talking to you, making sure you absorb every single word he’s saying. His personality seemed a bit reserved when he sat down with me at a Starbucks to discuss Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the coalition he is director of, which been responsible for organizing and supporting school protests across the country. But when you listen to his speeches, you hear a minister’s voice.

      “Public education…could die on our watch,” Blair said at a recent event for the Milwaukee Teachers Association. “The reality is what drew me to this fight is the shared acknowledgement that we are in fact at war, and what I’ve learned about wartime is that you cannot operate with the same kind of rules. You’ve got to make some wartime adjustments.”

    • Fast Food Industry Looks To Skirt Labor Law, With An Assist From Scott Walker

      With fast food workers on the march nationwide, deep-pocketed corporate interests have quietly turned to state lawmakers for help.

      The quiet push uses low-profile legislation to shore up a liability firewall that has made it hard for workers in some industries to pursue their labor rights fully since the mid-1980s. Last month, buried in a stack of 59 different laws, Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a bill that made Wisconsin the latest state to join the party.

      Businesses in the state that use franchising agreements to insulate corporate headquarters from legal liability down at ground level will have a slightly easier time thanks to Wisconsin Act 203. The law prohibits state labor agencies and judges from applying the same logic the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has invoked in recent years to eat away at a common corporate liability shield.

    • Monster Corporate Sovereignty Ruling Against Russia Overturned By Dutch Court, But It’s Hard To Tell Whether It’s Over Yet

      By now, the theoretical risks of including corporate sovereignty chapters in TPP and TAFTA/TPP are becoming more widely known. But as Techdirt wrote back in 2014, there’s already a good example of just how bad the reality can be, in the form of the monster-sized case involving Russia. An investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunal ruled that Vladimir Putin really ought to pay $50 billion to people who were majority shareholders in the Yukos Oil Company. The Russian government didn’t agree, and so naturally took further legal action to get the ruling overturned.

    • On Revolutionary Attitude

      I am willing to predict that Cameron, Blair and Clinton all find their way on to Philip Green’s new yacht. I am willing to bet that no ex-employee of BHS ever does.

      [...]

      The truth is that there is very little hope for young people in the UK. They are saddled with massive tuition fee debt as they leave a commoditised education system in which University Principals are paid £300,000 a year plus. They move in to a market which does not provide nearly enough graduate level jobs for the number of graduates produced. Work they do find leaves them at the mercy of their employers with very few rights or benefits. They will normally live most of their lives in private sector rental, where each will be a small part of the astonishing 9 billion pounds per year the taxpayer gives to private landlords in housing benefit – yet another direct transfer by the state from ordinary people to the rich. Indeed, for a great many tenants, every penny they pay in tax goes in effect to their landlord in housing benefit.

    • UK’s Secret TTIP Assessment: No Benefits, Plenty of Risks

      The TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would have “lots of risks and no benefits” for the UK, according to a government analysis released publicly Monday through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the advocacy group Global Justice Now.

    • New York Times Finds Verizon Strike Beneath Notice

      The New York Times actually mentioned the ongoing strike against Verizon on Tuesday.

      David Wacker, a service technician with Verizon who is one of around 39,000 landline and cable employees participating in the largest U.S. strike action in four years, was quoted in an article about Bernie Sanders supporters, which noted, in a subordinate clause, that he was on strike.

      That brief reference was the first mention of the Verizon labor action on the news pages of the New York Times in a week.

      The most recent references before that also had to do with Sanders, when he visited a Verizon picket line in midtown Manhattan on April 18. Outside of those Sanders-focused stories, the New York Times hasn’t run a story on this major labor battle since its second day of action, nearly two weeks ago.

    • Did The Beatles Help Fuel The Reagan Revolution?

      Overcrowded classrooms. Crumbling bridges. Shuttered libraries. These have become our everyday realities after over a generation of tax-cutting political bravado.

      A shrinking middle class. Rising dead-end poverty. The splurges of a new super rich. These have also become the markers of our time.

    • How Bill Gates and His Billionaire Pals Used Their Enormous Wealth to Start Privatizing the Schools in Washington State

      Once upon a time, the super-wealthy endowed their tax-exempt charitable foundations and then turned them over to boards of trustees to run. The trustees would spend the earnings of the endowment to pursue a typically grand but wide-open mission written into the foundation’s charter—like the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1913 mission “to promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.” Today’s multibillionaires are a different species of philanthropist; they keep tight control over their foundations while also operating as major political funders—think Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, or Walmart heiress Alice Walton. They aim to do good in the world, but each defines “good” idiosyncratically in terms of specific public policies and political goals. They translate their wealth, the work of their foundations, and their celebrity as doers-of-good into influence in the public sphere—much more influence than most citizens have.

      Call it charitable plutocracy—a peculiarly American phenomenon, increasingly problematic and in need of greater scrutiny. Like all forms of plutocracy, this one conflicts with democracy, and exactly how these philanthropists coordinate tax-exempt grantmaking with political funding for maximum effect remains largely obscure. What follows is a case study of the way charitable plutocracy operates on the ground. It’s a textbook example of the tug-of-war between government by the people and uber-philanthropists as social engineers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Trump University Fraud Case Could Become A Big Problem For Trump This Fall

      GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump may have to testify shortly before November’s election in a case accusing his now-defunct Trump University of fraud. On Tuesday, a New York judge ruled the New York Attorney General’s case against Trump University will go to trial.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman first filed the lawsuit in 2013 and only recently received the go-ahead from the New York Appellate Division.

    • Here Are 10 Ways to Make Elections More Democratic

      Voter suppression is real and comes in many forms.

    • Clueless CEOs at the Top

      The Wall Street Journal recently reported that “Populist Tone Rankles America’s Executives.”

      Apparently the CEOs and board members of big American companies are “increasingly frustrated” by the anti-business rhetoric of both parties, and concerned such sentiments might translate into meaningful public policy change after the election.

      “The precipitousness of the political debate is a little scary right now,” Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told The Wall Street Journal. General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt informed investors that relations between government and big business is “the worst I have ever seen.”

    • Hillary: Wall Street’s Golden Girl

      So it’s a go for Zeus to launch the thunderbolt. Neo-Athena – minus the wisdom – Hillary Clinton, Queen of Chaos, Goddess of War, Empress of the Perma-Smirk, will finally have her shot at the U.S. presidency. After the Battle of New York, she’s on top on number of votes; number of states; number of pledged delegates; number of superdelegates.

    • Dark Money Group Tells the Government it Won’t Spend on Elections While Bragging to Donors it Will “Win Senate Seats” with “No Donor Disclosure”

      Newly-released documents expose how shadowy political operatives flaunt campaign finance law to keep donors secret – and that federal regulators are asleep at the switch.

      The Commission on Hope Growth and Opportunity (CHGO) formed in February 2010 – just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC –told the Internal Revenue Service it would not “spend any money attempting to influence” any “election.”

      Shortly after making those sworn assertions to the IRS, however, CHGO officials prepared a memo and PowerPoint slides telling donors that the group’s goal is to “win Senate seats” and to “make a measureable impact on the election outcome” but “with no donor disclosure.” Citizens United, the group told donors, “creates unprecedented opportunity.”

    • Leading Advocates of “Dark Money” Previously Supported Disclosure

      The campaign to allow money to be spent in the political system without a hint of its origin — the growing phenomenon known as dark money — racked up a major victory last week when a federal judge in Los Angeles issued a permanent injunction ending California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s attempt to obtain the donor list for Americans for Prosperity, the primary campaign and elections arm of the Koch brothers’ $889 million advocacy network.

    • Here’s What Today’s Primary Voters Think About the Planet’s Most Important Issue
    • Bernie Sanders Blames Closed Primaries As Path To The Nomination Narrows

      Sen. Bernie Sanders suffered a crushing defeat Tuesday night, losing three out of five states to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton by significant margins at press time.

      In a speech shortly after most polls closed at 8 pm, Sanders blamed his loss on closed primaries, which barred independent voters from participating in four of five primaries. He did win Rhode Island, which allows participation by independent voters.

    • Sanders’ Choice

      Should Bernie Sanders abandon the Democratic Party, which he’s technically not a member of, and make a run of some kind either as an Independent or in amalgamation with Jill Stein and the Green Party? It’s a fair question, one many of his supporters will be asking.

    • Seymour Hersh on Sanders vs. Clinton: ‘Something Amazing Is Happening in This Country’

      Legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh weighs in on the foreign policy positions of the 2016 presidential candidates. “For me to say who I’m going to vote for and all that … I’m not a political leader, that’s not what I’m into,” Hersh says. “But I will say this: Something that’s amazing is happening in this country, and for the first time, I do think it’s going to be very hard for a lot of the people who support Sanders to support Hillary Clinton. … There’s a whole group of young people in America, across the board, all races, etc., etc., who have just had it with our system.”

    • Gutless Democrats Fear Fights: Why Triangulating Neoliberal Clintonites Back Big Business Over People

      But it’s not just that American factory workers were sold out. At the same time, professionals (the same class of people who tell us it’s inevitable) were carefully protected. “The arguments on gains from trade are the same with doctors as with textiles and steel,” Baker noted. “The reason that we import manufacturing goods and not doctors is that we designed the rules of trade that way.” Those rules made it easy to off-shore jobs, but retained obstacles to foreign professionals moving here to work. “The reason is simple,” Baker pointed out: “Doctors have more political power than autoworkers.”

    • Donald Trump Is No Match for the Cruz-Kasich Tag Team

      Don’t call it strategy, call it strategery: Ted Cruz and John Kasich are going to cooperate to deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination. Also, I don’t know, maybe a hurricane will dishevel Trump’s comb-over and reveal his bald pate, causing such mortification that he quits the race. Or maybe there will be an earthquake next week in Indiana, affecting only precincts where Trump has a lead.

    • Ted Cruz Literally Tells Transgender People They Should Only Pee At Home

      Ted Cruz’s tour de transphobia, launched last week to capitalize on Donald Trump’s criticism of North Carolina’s anti-transgender law, has embraced a new extreme position. Speaking to reporters this weekend in Indiana, he actually admitted that he doesn’t believe transgender people should be allowed to use any restroom except the ones in the privacy of their own home.

    • Cruz Reminds Us That Social Conservatism Has Roots in Prejudice

      All Cruz is really doing is reminding Americans that social conservatism was born in anti-integration politics and anti-gay hysteria.

    • Sanders Didn’t Start The Fire, So Don’t Ask Him To Put It Out

      Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign operation has been anything but subtle in suggesting that now that her win in the New York primary Tuesday has made her nomination at the Democratic convention pretty much inevitable, it’s time for the Bernie Sanders campaign to die with dignity.

      Let’s get on with the laudatory memorial service, the campaign seems to be saying, and then the estate sale, in which Sanders’ cadre of fervent and largely young supporters can be snapped up for pennies on the dollar.

      But Sanders, to the Clinton campaign’s frustration, is not bowing to this bit of conventional wisdom because the Sanders campaign is not a typical campaign. It is, to use Sanders’ oft-repeated word, a “revolution.”

    • GOP Mega-Donors Are So Frustrated by Their Failure to Buy Elections That Some Are Actually Bowing Out

      With all the talk of legalized corruption, it should be good news that money can’t always buy an election—case in point, Jeb Bush. But even months after the once “inevitable GOP frontrunner” dropped out, GOP megadonors have been actively throwing money at Trump’s opponents, without catching a break.

      “John Kasich’s campaign took in $4.5 million and his supporting super-PAC $2.8 million for the month,” The Hill reported, also stating that “Ted Cruz took in just $12.5 million in March—less than half of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign haul.”

      Any average person would look at these numbers and think, “That’s a lot of money.” But it’s a actually not enough money.

    • Winning in Losing: How Sanders pushed Clinton to the Left

      Bernie Sanders’ path to the nomination as the Democratic Party standard bearer in 2016 was all but closed off by Clinton’s four big wins on Tuesday. His only hope had been to get close enough to her in pledged delegates to have a substantial number of super-delegates switch to him. (This kind of switch actually took place in summer of 2008 when super-delegates deserted Clinton for Obama). Sanders could not turn a string of primary wins into a victory because he went on splitting the state’s delegates with Clinton. His loss in New York was probably already fatal to his campaign, but the delegate count turned radically against him yesterday. If she can keep her super-delegates, which she now can, Clinton is only a couple hundred away from clinching the nomination (she has on the order of 2,168 with super-delegates, and just needs 2383). Even if she only gets half of California’s 475 Democratic pledged delegates, that would put her over (and she did defeat Barack Obama in California in 2008).

    • Clinton and Trump Edge Closer to Party Nominations, as Sanders Softens His Confrontational Tone

      Donald Trump moved closer to the Republican nomination on Tuesday as he swept five mid-Atlantic primaries, while Bernie Sanders slipped further behind Hillary Clinton—despite winning the smallest state, Rhode Island, and promising to keep campaigning to influence the Democratic Party’s agenda.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • What White Teachers Can Learn From Black Preachers

      Researchers have found that such mental sorting is commonplace in American classrooms and has huge impact on a student’s ability to succeed. When teachers think a student is “teachable,” he or she supports that student in hundreds of invisible ways: by giving them more time to answer questions, or through visual cues such as nodding and smiling. What’s more, new research found that when a white teacher and a black teacher evaluate the same black student, white teachers are almost 40 percent less likely to think the black student will graduate high school. That same bias often translates into a white teacher being less rigorous with the student and more prone to discipline him or her.

    • Man Sentenced To Die After ‘Expert’ Testified That Black People Are Dangerous

      After Buck was convicted of murder, his own attorneys retained a now-discredited psychologist who testified that Mr. Buck is more likely to be a danger to society in the future because he is black. This testimony then went unchallenged at a later, crucial state court proceeding even though Buck was then represented by a new lawyer. The only new claim that lawyer raised at this proceeding was “based on a non-existent provision of the penal code.”

    • As Poles shift right, democracy runs scarce

      Poland has become yet another European country to take the risky route of a nationalist policy, much to the despair of its international partners, including but not limited to the European Commission, Council of Europe and the United States.

    • Law and policy round-up: Theresa May’s call for the UK to leave the ECHR

      Theresa May, the Home Secretary, gave a speech yesterday which included a call for the United Kingdom to leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

      The speech is set out in full at ConservativeHome, and (as it appears to be a statement on behalf of her department) it is also now on the Home Office site.

      The statement is, of course, more about the politics of Brexit and succession to the Tory leadership than anything serious about law and policy. It is a sort of counter-balance to her position on the UK remaining in the European Union.

    • immigration issues

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour examining immigration issues. They speak to two undocumented young adults who arrived in the US as children. Also on the show are two immigration attorneys, who explain the Obama Administration’s DACA and DAPA actions — one of which is now before the Supreme Court — and the millions of US residents affected by them.

    • Samantha Bee on the Racist, Sexist and Historically Ignorant Responses to Harriet Tubman on the 20

      Placing one of the most important black women in American history on the 20 dollar bill hasn’t been so popular among conservatives, explains the “Full Frontal” host.

    • A Syrian constitution by August: by whom and for whom?

      This comes after the December 2015 UN Security Council Resolution endorsing the road map for the peace process in Syria, and setting a timetable for talks. Resolution 2254 already set optimistic targets including a six-month political process to arrive at an agreement on both governance arrangements and a process for drafting a new constitution – while also acknowledging “the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process”. Kerry and Lavrov’s call for a draft constitution by August seems to accelerate this already problematic and challenging timetable and raises alarm in light of recent constitutional transitions.

    • What I Told the Attorney General and the HUD Secretary About My Criminal Record

      After four decades of mass incarceration and over-criminalization in the United States, as many as 1 in 3 Americans now have some type of criminal record, and nearly half of U.S. children now have a parent with a record.

      Today, as part of the Department of Justice’s inaugural National Reentry Week, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro visited Philadelphia to hear how brushes with the criminal justice system have stood in the way of employment, housing, and more—and how people have persevered.

      Here are three stories told to Attorney General Lynch and Secretary Castro—they are representative of the experiences of millions of Americans held back by a criminal record.

    • In / Out: Which Way for the European Union?

      Egyptian Marxist and political economist, Samir Aziz on the other hand has long made known his preference for what he refers to as “convergence of diversity.” Diversity is what the left does well, so why can’t it make it work?

      Part of the problem is that we don’t have a good working definition for such a condition of diversity. Those of us who grew up in a north west European culture have been exposed to the tradition of precise and clinical thinking. We sometimes call this “clear thinking” even in the midst of muddle. This has served us well, especially in the physical world. In the social world where diversity thrives and often seems to be ahead of our particular curve its utility is less certain.

      So we are left with one of life’s old conundrums. How to do the right thing, how to do the thing right? The technocrats and many of my friends in political parties seek to eliminate risk. Others accept risk – this is not just for the entrepreneur classes – it’s part of diversity.

      In the meantime RISE – like them or loath them – goes to the electorate with a convergence of diversity working model, ready to be tested in the referendum. That’s got to be a good start.

    • More Than a Few Rogue Cops: the Disturbing History of Police in Schools

      Another week, another video of police abuse surfaces. This time the video shows San Antonio school resource officer Joshua Kehm body-slamming 12-year-old Rhodes Middle School student Janissa Valdez. Valdez was talking with another student, trying to resolve a verbal conflict between the two, when Kehm entered and attacked her. “Janissa! Janissa, you okay?” a student asked before exclaiming, “She landed on her face!” In a statement on the incident, co-director of the Advancement Project Judith Browne Davis wrote, “Once again, a video captured by a student offers a sobering reminder that we cannot entrust school police officers to intervene in school disciplinary matters that are best suited for trained educators and counselors.”

    • Four Ways To Fight For Democracy

      As we slog through another negative, money-saturated presidential campaign, Americans are doing everything they can to let their leaders know they are fed up. As if the votes for anti-establishment candidates weren’t enough to send the message, thousands of activists spent the last week in Washington and more than 1,200 were arrested in sit-ins at the Capitol.

    • Watch: Samantha Bee’s Stunning Interview with Wrongfully Accused and Tortured Former Gitmo Prisoner
    • Watch: Samantha Bee Shuts Down Conservative Whining about Tubman on the $20
    • The One-State Mirage

      The reality is that the settlers are there precisely because of a subsidy that involves American tax monies. This in turn means that, should Americans demand of their tax dollars cease being used to fund the illegal settlements, the Israelis will either have to do some serious financial restructuring or the settlers will have to move to subsidized housing inside Israel proper. Those who refuse to budge will have to do so in a Palestinian state. Think removing this subsidy is impossible? How long did it take Bill Clinton to get rid of the subsidy to poor mothers via Welfare?

    • Denying a Cadet Her Right to Wear Hijab Will Not ‘Make America Great’

      Should a Muslim woman who enrolls as a cadet at the Citadel, a public military college in South Carolina, be permitted to wear hijab with her uniform?

      One student cadet at the Citadel doesn’t think so. As The Washington Post recently reported, when Cadet Nick Pinelli found out that an incoming Muslim student had requested a religious accommodation to wear hijab, he took to his Facebook page, publicly proclaiming it “shameful that people expect to be accommodated by groups that are opposite to themselves” and calling on people to “Make America Great Again.”

    • 6 Corrupt Police Forces That Didn’t Even Pretend to Give A F

      In the last few years, there seems to have been a drastic increase of police violence plaguing the United States, as if everyone with a badge is auditioning to become Mad Max in the pending societal breakdown. However, the even more depressing truth is that things haven’t really gotten worse. Quite a few cops have been dragging their asses way over the thin blue line since time immemorial. For instance …

    • A Year After the Baltimore Uprising, the Real Work Is Just Beginning

      ONE YEAR AND one day after Freddie Gray succumbed to the spine injury he received during a 45-minute drive in a police van, the Baltimore police commissioner sat on stage before a room packed with people who had poured into the city’s streets demanding justice. On the walls, black-and-white photos of protesters reminded everyone of the rawness and emotion of Baltimore’s breaking point.

    • Jurors caught using social media could be fined up to $1,500

      Jurors who don’t obey a judge’s admonition to refrain from researching the Internet about a case or using social media during trial could be dinged up to $1,500 under proposed California legislation.

      The first-of-its-kind measure, now before the California Assembly, would give a new weapon to judges in the Golden State who can already hold misbehaving jurors in contempt. But under the new law, designed to combat mistrials, a judge would have an easier time issuing a rank-and-file citation under the proposed law instead of having to go through all of the legal fuss to charge somebody with contempt.

      Judges routinely warn jurors not to research their case or discuss it on social media. Normally, errant jurors are dismissed without any penalty, and sometimes a mistrial ensues. Under the new law, levying a fine would be as easy as issuing a traffic ticket.

      “We are all on our cellphones and iPads all the time,” the bill’s sponsor, state Assemblyman Rich Gordon, said. “The problem with that is that it can lead to a mistrial. We’ve seen that happen across the country where verdicts have been tossed out, trials have had to be redone.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New Report Shows Which Brazilian ISPs Stand With Their Users

      We entrust our most sensitive, private, and personal information to the companies which provide us access to the Internet. Collectively, these companies are privy to the online conversations, behavior, and even the location of almost every Internet user. As this reality increasingly penetrates the Brazilian public consciousness, Brazilian Internet users are justifiably concerned about which companies are willing to take a stand for their privacy and protection of personal data. That is why InternetLab, one of the leading independent research centers on Internet policy in Brazil, has evaluated key Brazilian telecommunications companies’ policies to assess their commitment to user privacy when the government comes calling for their users’ personal data.

    • NBC Smells Cord Cutting On The Wind, Will Reduce ‘SNL’ Ad Load By 30% Next Season

      For several years now we’ve noted how instead of adapting to the cord cutting age, many in the cable and broadcast industry have responded with the not-so-ingenious approach of aggressive denial, raising rates as fast as humanly possible, and stuffing even more ads into every television hour. And when broadcasters can’t get the ads to fit, they’ll just resort to speeding up or editing programs to ensure that they’re hammering paying customers with more ads than ever. Given the rise in alternative viewing options, this obviously isn’t the most ingenious form of market adaptation.

    • FCC Green Lights ‘Crushing’ Charter Cable Mega-Merger

      When the deal is complete, two-thirds of the nation’s high-speed Internet subscribers will be under the control of just two corporations, Charter and Comcast.

    • Measurement Lab explores the current state of the Internet

      M-Lab isn’t just about open data either—it’s an open platform for a few different research projects. The one that most people know is called Network Diagnostic Test (NDT). NDT measures your Internet connection by seeing how much information it can transfer between you and a server in 10 seconds. Everything about how NDT works is published openly, and anytime someone runs an NDT test the data is published to M-Lab and available for others to study and analyze.

    • Brazilian Cybercrime Bills Threaten Open Internet for 200 Million People

      Brazilian internet freedom activists are nervous. On Wednesday, a committee in the lower house of Congress, the Câmera dos Deputados, will vote on seven proposals ostensibly created to combat cybercrime. Critics argue the combined effect will be to substantially restrict open internet in the country by peeling back the right to anonymity, and providing law enforcement with draconian powers to censor online discourse and examine citizens’ personal data without judicial oversight.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHO Debates Changes To Safeguards Against Undue Influence By Outside Actors [Ed: The World Health Organization has already complained about the corrupting influence of Bill Gates, who’s trying to profit from it]

      Meanwhile, some 34 civil society groups issued a letter [pdf] this week, titled, “Save the World Health Organization from the undue influence of corporations and corporate linked entities.”

    • Innovative R&D Financing Discussed At Geneva Health Forum

      Given this year’s theme for the forum of ‘Sustainable and Affordable Innovations in Healthcare’, the conference discussed innovation across a whole range of issues. This included sessions on the multi-sectoral approaches to health in the era of SDGs, in dealing with viruses such as Zika and Ebola, on health cooperatives, on the IT revolution for health, innovation solutions for migrations and health, access to innovation at scale for Universal Health Coverage, and on healthcare insurance, among many others. There were also side events on clinical trials and on the future of global public health procurement.

      At an open session on April 21, on ‘Innovation Funding for R&D and Access to Global Health’, TDR – the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases – presented the proposal for a global financial mechanism. The session’s speakers at the Geneva Health Forum included representatives from TDR, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and the University of Geneva.

    • Irony? Publisher Celebrates IP By Revoking IP

      There’s no better way to celebrate something than by doing the opposite of it. That seems to be the message of a leading publishing company. In a campaign today to hail the virtues of intellectual property, it appears to be hoping to gain goodwill – and possibly some sales – by removing intellectual property on some of its products.

      [...]

      It provides open access to numerous – admittedly intriguing – chapters from copyrighted academic books and journals, like samplers of products for sale.

      Exceptions and limitations to copyright are a part of copyright law. But publishers have been under fire for years to make products open access in order to encourage sharing and creativity, and have had to defend the benefits to authors, research and business of copyrighting content.

    • Trademarks

      • Washington NFL Team Asks Supreme Court To Hear ‘Redskins’ Trademark Case

        On Monday, the Washington Redskins asked the Supreme Court to hear its case, which challenges the constitutionality of allowing a trademark to be barred if it “disparages” others.

      • Washington Redskins Appeal To SCOTUS On Trademark And Seek To Tie Their Case To That Of The Slants

        We’ve talked quite a bit around here about the saga of the Washington Redskins trademark cancellation. The long-held mark by the football team was cancelled after a group of Native Americans petitioned against it, claiming that the team’s name was disparaging of their people. After I, dare I say, flip-flopped from cheering on the cancellation to having the team itself change my mind with a delightfully vulgar ruling, which demonstrated that the USPTO grants all kinds of marks on “offensive” terms, the current status of the trademark remains cancelled. Well, the team has now appealed to the US Supreme Court, not only seeking to have its own case reviewed, but also seeking to tie their case to another that we’ve talked a bit about, that of the Asian music group, The Slants.

        The Slants’ case is different from the Redskins’, with the music group never getting its trademark registration, also based on the notion that its name was disparaging of the very group of people who comprised the band. An appeals court declared the refusal of the band’s trademark applications was a First Amendment violation, rightly. But the USPTO has appealed to the Supreme Court. The Redskins, meanwhile, have petitioned the Supreme Court to take the two cases in tandem, arguing that the slight differences between the two would give the court a well-rounded look at the question of whether blocking disparaging trademarks was a constitutional violation.

      • Hong Kong accepts first movement mark registration

        The Trade Marks Registry recently accepted the first movement mark for registration since the IPD published guidance two years ago. What lessons are there for applicants?

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Says Pirate Sites Will Take Advantage of Set-Top Box Proposals

        Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission promised to “tear down anti-competitive barriers” by opening up the set-top box market in the United States and freeing consumers from $20 billion a year in rental charges. The proposals have spooked content owners, not least the MPAA who fear that pirate sites will take the opportunity to build a “black market” business.

      • The Misguided Plan to Expand A Performers’ Veto: More “Copyright Creep” Through Policy Laundering

        A proposal to rewrite parts of copyright law being pushed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would create new restrictions for filmmakers, journalists, and others using recordings of audiovisual performances. Against the background of the the Next Great Copyright Act lurching forward and the Copyright Office convening a new series of roundtables on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, few have noticed the USPTO push happening now. But these proposals are a classic instance of copyright creep and are dangerous for users, creators, and service providers alike.

      • Copyright Maximalists And Lobbyists Celebrate Vancouver Aquarium Censoring Critical Documentary With Copyright

        We’ve written many times about how copyright is frequently used for censorship, and just recently we wrote about law professor John Tehranian’s excellent article detailing how copyright has a free speech problem, in that people using copyright to censor has become more common and more brazen. Whenever we write this kind of thing, however, I get pushback from copyright maximalist lobbyists and lawyers, who insist that no one really wants to use copyright for censorship purposes, but merely to “protect” their works.

        I’m finding those claims difficult to square with the following story, which I only found out about because the Copyright Alliance — a front group for the big legacy entertainment companies, and put together by some well known lobbyists — tweeted out a link to a story on a blog by Hugh Stephens, entitled A Whale of a (Copyright) Tale. Stephens is a former copyright policy guy for Time Warner as well as a former diplomat, who blogs about copyright issues in Canada.

        He happily tells the tale of how the Vancouver Aquarium has successfully blocked filmmaker Gary Charbonneau, who made a documentary critical of the Aquarium’s treatment of dolphins and whales, from using clips from the Aquarium’s website. In the original version of the documentary, approximately five minutes of the hour-long film came from clips he pulled from the Aquarium’s own website. The Aquarium wanted to get the entire film blocked by the court, giving you a pretty clear vision of how they were looking to censor the film. While the courts have not gone that far, they did order Charbonneau to make a new edit and remove all of those clips.

04.26.16

Links 26/4/2016: Firefox 46.0, Thunderbird’s Stewardship

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Why shun Linux, CM Oommen Chandy asks V S Achuthandnan

    Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has slammed opposition leader V S Achuthandnan for preaching free software on the one hand and using a product of Microsoft for his own website. The Chief Minister said though Achuthanandan had repeatedly accused Microsoft of being a global monopolist, his website has been developed using asp.net , which is a product of Microsoft.

  • Microsoft caught in Kerala’s political battle

    Continuing his attack on V S Achutanandan, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today slammed the Marxist veteran for using a product of Microsoft, which he had earlier dubbed as a “global monopoly giant”, to develop his website ahead of the May 16 assembly polls.

  • In Kerala, Chandy, Achuthanandan spar over usage of software

    Chandy has asked Achuthanandan to explain why he opted for Microsoft when it came to setting up his own website and Facebook page while he has been battling for free software (open source) all these years.

  • Desktop

    • My Linux Desktop — Hither and Yawn

      An argument has taken the form of a verbal running gun battle at our shop, depending on who’s working that day. Does training a student in the use of Linux deprive them of valuable, life-long learning opportunities? I mean, it’s hard to argue the value of being able to delve into the registry and edit the offending subkeys and values that are allowing your banking information to be spread across three continents. How are they to learn the ins and outs of virus and malware protection and for Pete’s sake, do it for the children. Make sure they learn how to use Malwarebytes. For the love of Linux, please don’t fail these kids.

    • The ‘Year of the Linux desktop’ never came, and it never will [Ed: Ignoring Chromebooks for self-fulfilling prophecies and FUD]

      Every culture has its myths and prophecies. For Linux users, it was “The Year Of The Linux Desktop.” The idea: someday in the future, likely soon, everyone is going to notice how great Linux is and just switch over, en masse.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: Adedayo Samuel

      From my experience interviewing for jobs and to advance my career, it has been a personal desire of mine to understand the inner workings of a computer, and Linux provided a platform for doing that by having a design philosophy that doesn’t shy away from the command line so that caused me to dive right in!

      I like open source because of the free software movement (we can always do with more free software), and more importantly because such a movement is capable of inspiring an operating system like Linux which powers servers of Fortune 500 companies and services we depend on like Banks, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and my favorite mobile OS – Android.

    • Checkpoint-Restore Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      This year will feature a four-fold deeper dive into checkpoint-restore technology, thanks to participation by people from a number of additional related projects! These are the OpenMPI message-passing library, Berkeley Lab Checkpoint/Restart (BLCR), and Distributed MultiThreaded CheckPointing (DMTCP) (not to be confused with TCP/IP), in addition to the Checkpoint/Restore in Userspace group that has participated in prior years.

    • Setting Up The Radeon Open Compute Platform On Linux

      Posted today to the GPUOpen blog was a guide on setting up the Radeon Open Compute Platform (ROCm) support. The RoCm 1.0 platform consists of the ROCK kernel driver, ROCR runtime, ROCT Thunk Interface, HCC compiler, LLVM-AMDGPU-Assembler-Extra, and LLVM/Clang. AMD/RTG offers the Radeon Open Compute Platform packages for Ubuntu/Debian systems as well as Fedora/RedHat distributions.

    • Many EFI Updates Prepped For Linux 4.7 Kernel

      Matt Fleming at Intel sent out the set of patches he intends to submit as the queue of EFI changes for what will become the Linux 4.7 kernel. He noted of this queue, “this is probably the biggest EFI pull ever sent, and there quite a few different topics covered.”

    • The Linux Foundation’s Jim Zemlin To Keynote ITS America 2016 San Jose Day Two “Infrastructure of Things”
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • QRegion will be iterable in Qt 5.8

        Apart from providing a non-allocating, non-throwing way to inspect a region, there are other positive effects. Because no QVector is returned that needs to be destroyed by the caller, even in projects (such as QtGui) that are compiled with exceptions disabled, porting even a few loops to the new construct saves more than 1KiB in text size on optimized GCC 5.3 Linux AMD64 builds, not to mention countless memory allocations at runtime.

      • Starting KWin/Wayland on another virtual terminal

        So far when one started KWin/Wayland on a virtual terminal it took over this virtual terminal. This made it difficult to read the debug output and even more difficult to run the complete session through gdb.

        The reason for this behavior is that KWin interacts with logind and needs to take session control on the current logind session. This is needed to have logind open the restricted device files like /dev/dri/card0 or the /dev/input/event* files.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Epiphany Browser Does Its First Development Release Towards GNOME 3.22

        GNOME’s Epiphany web-browser has done its first development release in the GNOME 3.21 series, which is culminating with the GNOME 3.22 release this September.

        Some of the changes to find with Epiphany 3.21.1 include “paste and go” support for the address bar, allow opening WebP files with the open dialog, redesigned error pages, a Duplicate Tab menu item for tabs, various fixes, updated translations, and more.

      • A GNOME Software Hackfest report

        The incarnation of GNOME Software used by endless looks pretty different from what the normal GNOME user sees, since it’s adjusted for a different audience and input method. But it looks great, and is a good example for how versatile GS already is! And for upstream GNOME, we’ve seen some pretty great mockups done by Endless too – I hope those will make it into production somehow.

      • GNOME Software Package Manager Prepares for GNOME 3.22, Gets Steam Support

        For those of you not in the loop, the GNOME Project is currently working hard on implementing new features of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, and they are about to seed the first development milestone.

        GNOME 3.21.1 will be the first development version towards the major GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, due for release on September 21, 2016, and it should be ready for deployments tomorrow, April 27, 2016, according to the release schedule. And, as part of this first GNOME 3.22 milestone, several core components have been updated with new features and bug fixes.

      • Google Summer of Code 2016

        Hello everyone! I am participating in the Google Summer of Code program for the second time with GNOME, this year working on Epiphany. I am one of the two students working on this product, the other person being a friend of mine. We are both excited to leave our mark with some serious contributions.

  • Distributions

    • Should beginners install Kali Linux on their computers?

      Kali Linux is bird of a slightly different feather, in terms of Linux distributions. Kali’s focus is on security and forensics, but some Linux novices have been installing it without knowing much about either thing. DistroWatch has a full review of Kali Linux 2016.1 and doesn’t think it’s really appropriate for beginners.

    • Download ready-to-use Linux virtual machines from OSBoxes

      VirtualBox is a great tool for trying out some new Linux distro, but you’ll usually have to spend a while finding a download and setting up your VM and operating system, first.

      OSBoxes.org makes life easier by providing 40+ prebuilt VirtualBox (VDI) and VMware images for Android x86, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Linux Mint, Remix OS, Ubuntu and many more.

    • Infographic: Which Linux Distribution Is Right For You?

      When setting up a new web server for your website, one of the most important decisions you have to consider making is which operating system you are going to use. If you’ve moved past the Windows Server versus Linux Server debate and decided to go host your website on a Linux Server, you have a whole host of distributions to chose from.

      Every Linux Distribution will have its pros and cons, and all of those pros and cons are dependent on your own needs and requirements for the project.

      In this infographic, the team at Future Hosting takes a look at three of the most popular Linux distributions to try to help you answer all of these questions while guiding you along the path to choosing the right operating system for your next website.

    • Reviews

      • elementary OS 0.3.2 “Freya” review

        The most recent version of elementary OS, codenamed Freya, was released in December 2015 and is based on Ubuntu’s 14.04 Long Term Support distribution. I downloaded the distro’s ISO from their website, for a paltry fee of $0.00, and loaded it onto a USB using Unetbootin. After the quick Unetbootin boot-up screen, I found a familiar install process. elementary’s installation process is beautiful, simple, and works. This is because the installation software, much like everything else in this distro, is based off of Ubuntu. Using the Ubuntu installer is very easy, but elementary turns it into an exercise in beauty as well. The install was quick, taking only about ten minutes to complete.

        The first thing I noticed about elementary was the dock. The dock is located at the bottom of the screen and includes the applications that the elementary team thinks you will use most. Initially included on the dock are applications for music, pictures, videos, mail, the calendar, the web browser, and the settings panel.

        The desktop environment on elementary is called Pantheon. Pantheon includes the dock at the bottom and the panel at the top. The panel at the top is a picture of sheer beauty, and I mean sheer. Where previously the panel was a solid bar at the top of the screen with text in it, it is now completely transparent. This gives the effect that the words are part of the screen. The panel includes the applications on the left, a clock in the middle, and the indicators on the right to show wi-fi, alerts, and battery life, among other things. Pantheon was overall a big hit for me, and I would love to see this desktop environment get ported over into other big distros. Unfortunately, Pantheon crashed many times during my use. Each time it automatically restarted and prompted me to send a bug report; I am disappointed by this instability.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux 7.6 Released

        Today we are releasing Black Lab Linux 7.6. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is the latest release of our stable 7.x series of OS’s. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is supported long term until April 2019.

      • Pisi-Linux-2.0-Beta-KDE5

        After the last Pisi-Linux-Alpha 7 Release, the Team has work on a lot of bug fixes, to give you a good stable beta Pisi Linux.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE to Mentor Six Google Summer of Code Students

        Google made an announcement April 22 that 1,206 students were selected for the Google Summer of Code and six of those students will be mentored through the openSUSE Project, which is one of 178 mentoring organizations in this year’s GSoC.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Verizon taps Red Hat and OpenStack for its NFV deployment
      • The great systemd bug squashing party of 2016

        After the initial ramp-up period last summer, the trend for new issues is approximately linear, with a hundred new issues opened each month. The trend for issues being closed is different: we seem to have longer and shorter periods of bugfixing activity, separated by periods where very few bugs are being closed. The final outcome is not too bad, with 265/1015 ≈ 26% issues remaining open.

      • Red Hat names telecoms VP in EMEA

        Red Hat has appointed Massimo Fatato vice president of its telecommunications business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

        According to the company, Fatato will lead strategic development and programme execution to support Red Hat’s expansion in the telecommunications market in EMEA.

      • Red Hat Doubles Down on Cloud With OpenStack Platform 8 and Cloud Suite

        Two new products from Red Hat announced today are aimed squarely at helping enterprise clients deploy private clouds. Red Hat Cloud Suite and Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8 are each designed to offer companies a complete solution for building and deploying private clouds, the company said.

      • Verizon and NASA Double Down on Red Hat OpenStack

        The OpenStack Austin Summit gets under way today in Austin, Texas, and with it comes news of continuing momentum among some big-name organizations. Verizon is announcing a major OpenStack cloud networking milestone, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reveals it is using Red Hat’s OpenStack Platform, and Red Hat now claims to have trained 10,000 IT professionals on OpenStack.

      • NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Powers Planetary Exploration with Red Hat OpenStack Platform
      • OpenStack and Red Hat ready for hybrid deployments | #OpenStack

        As the enterprise moves toward its digital transformation, OpenStack is becoming a key player in the arena of hybrid cloud. The changes in open-source software and the growth of OpenStack has enabled the enterprise to develop a dynamic infrastructure that will help them migrate workloads to and from the cloud, working with on-premise and with legacy systems.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora BTRFS+Snapper – The Fedora 24 Edition

          In the past I have configured my personal computers to be able to snapshot and rollback the entire system. To do this I am leveraging the BTRFS filesystem, a tool called snapper, and a patched version of Fedora’s grub2 package. The patches needed from grub2 come from the SUSE guys and are documented well in this git repo.

        • Fedora @ GNOME.Asia
        • Linux Fest North West Day 0

          We had about 250 at Fedora Game Night, gave away shirts to table winners and ran out of early sign-in badges.

        • Linux Fest North West Day -1

          If you live in the Northwest come an join all the Linux enthusiast this weekend at LinuxFest NorthWest. Seminars and Exhibits are at Bellingham Technical Collage Saturday and Sunday, and the Fedora sponsored Game Night is Friday from 6-10 at Fox Hall at the Hampton Inn. If you join us at Game Night you can get your pass early, play some board games and try out the SuperTuxKart races. At the exhibit on Saturday and Sunday you can participate in the SuperTuxKart Tournament at the Fedora booth. We could also use some help staffing the booth, contact me if you can help.

        • Going to Bitcamp 2016

          The Fedora Project attended as an event sponsor this year. At the event, we held a table in the hacker arena. The Ambassadors offered mentorship and help to Bitcamp 2016 programmers, gave away some free Fedora swag, and offered an introduction to Linux, open source, and our community. This report recollects some highlights from the event.

        • GSoC-2016
        • Data science and Fedora

          I’ve decided to use Fedora as my default GNU/Linux operating system to develop and test data science stuffs. Fedora is pretty nice because it has regular releases and includes most updated mainstream packages.

        • Crouton Fedora new version available!

          I’ve managed to clean the scripts even further, and now it is using Docker images from Koji to set itself up instead of downloading RPM’s. You save a lot of data and a lot of time. It now can install a base Fedora system in less than a minute.

        • Introducing the extra wallpapers for Fedora 24

          In the Fedora 24 alpha release, you could preview an early version of the default wallpaper for Fedora 24. Each release, the Fedora Design team collaborates with the Fedora community to release a set of 16 additional backgrounds to install and use on Fedora. The Fedora Design team takes submissions from the wider community, then votes on the top 16 to include in the next release.

        • How to create Fedora feed in Jekyll

          Across the Linux communities, there are several people that write and maintain their own blogs across all four corners of the world. From low-skills men to professionals, a lot of contents are posted everyday and informations at all levels are available on the Internet. What about to stay in touch with Fedora people that publish on the web?

        • Fedora 24 Linux Default Wallpapers Revealed, They’re Truly Gorgeous

          Fedora Project’s Sirko Kemter announced the winners of the community wallpapers that will be included in the upcoming Fedora 24 Linux operating system, due for release on June 7, 2016.

          The Fedora 24 Linux distribution is currently in heavy development, and it only saw a first Alpha release until now, unveiled at the end of last month, so it’s now time for early adopter and public beta testers to get their hands on the Beta build of the upcoming Linux kernel-based operating system sponsored by Red Hat.

          As with every new release of the Fedora Linux OS, the artwork is being tweaked, optimized, and revamped, with a new default wallpaper, as well as a brand-new set of supplemental desktop background images contributed by various members of the Fedora community as part of a well-organized contest.

        • Refreshed Look of Fedora Developer Portal

          I have just deployed a new version of Fedora Developer Portal. The most visible part is refreshed look with more uniform layout. I have also compressed all the images in titles (from ~1.2MB to ~50kB in average) – so the loading should be much faster.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® Apex™ as a Top-Level Project
  • Apache Apex reaches top level
  • Apache Elevates Another Big Data Project to Top-Level Status

    Just last week, in conjunction with covering the Allura project, I wrote about the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months.

    Today, the foundation announced that Apache Apex has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles. Apex is a large scale, high throughput, low latency, fault tolerant, unified Big Data stream and batch processing platform for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. Here is more on the project, and Apache’s other Big Data projects.

  • FLISoL Venezuela 2016 in Numbers

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to those who organized each one of the FLISoL’s that were held at Venezuela and THANK YOU to the hundreds of visitors that went to each one of those locations, without you, none of this would have been possible. From my position as National Coordinator I was able to see how 17 cities from our country joined the largest OpenSource celebration from LATAM, at large locations and small ones, with months of planning and also just days. What matters is to multiply that knowledge that can help many.

  • Ask Safia: How do I unite similar open source projects?
  • How one e-commerce giant uses microservices and open source to scale like crazy
  • 2.4 million Euros for making embedded software safe, customizable, and open source

    Nowadays microprocessors are used in thousands of items that were previously not computer-related. These are embedded inside such devices. Together with the proprietary software controlling them, they each form a so-called embedded system. Several of these are at work in an average middle-class household, hundreds in cars, and as the American multinational semiconductor company AMD concludes in its 2014 annual report: “There is significant demand [...] which address the growth of data and content in a world of 50 billion connected devices”.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 46.0 Is Ready To Ship, GTK3 Support Appears Finally Baked

        Firefox 46 won’t be formally announced until the morning, but in usual fashion the source and various platform binaries have appeared this evening.

      • Mozilla Firefox 46.0 Now Available for Download with GTK3 Integration for Linux

        Just a few moments ago, we discovered that Mozilla has uploaded the final version of the Firefox 46.0 web browser to its FTP servers, making them available for download for all supported platforms.

        The Firefox 46.0 web browser is expected to be officially unveiled by Mozilla later today, April 26, 2016, finally bringing the GTK3 integration for the GNU/Linux platform, along with improved security of the JavaScript JIT (Just In Time) compiler and support for using the Content Decryption Module (CDM) as a fallback for decoding unencrypted H.264 and AAC streams.

      • Finding a new home for Thunderbird
      • Thunderbird Evolving

        Since December, Simon has been working on a report describing the options the leaders of the Thunderbird mail client community have for hosting their project now that Mozilla is ready to take the last steps of separation they have long trailed. The report was published today and is now being considered by the Thunderbird community. While it considers a number of potential destinations, it recommends a choice between the Software Freedom Conservancy, The Document Foundation and a new, arms-length status at the Mozilla Foundation.

      • [OT but related] Why email hasn’t killed the fax

        Five years ago, I wrote a column about how the fax machine refuses to die. Five years is a long time in terms of technology, but only a short time in terms of fax machines. Depending on how you define the point of origin of the first method of distributing images or photographs over an electrical wire, the fax machine may date back to 1843.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Open365 Is An Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Office 365

      One of Microsoft’s Office 365 program chief advantages over open source alternatives is the ability to sync documents via the cloud so you can edit them everywhere. Open365 has stepped up to finally match this feature set.

      Open365 works a lot like Office 365 does. The suite builds on LibreOffice Online to let you open your documents in the browser, or use any of the client apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android to open them. Open365 also gives you 20GB of cloud-based storage to store your files on that will be synced across your devices.

    • Open365: open source Office 365 alternative

      Open365 is an open source Office 365 alternative that allows you to edit or create documents online, and to sync files with the cloud.

      The service is in beta currently but you can sign up for it already on the official website. You may use it using a web browser, download clients for Windows, Mac or Linux desktop machines, or for Android. An iOS client is in the making currently and will be made available as well soon.

      Open 365 offers two main features that you can make use of. First, it enables you to synchronize files between devices you use and the cloud.

    • The importance of the Document Liberation Project

      Today I would like to focus on a quite interesting project, even though it is rarely spoken of: The Document Liberation Project. The Document Liberation Project is LibreOffice’s sister project and is hosted inside the Document Foundation; it keeps its own distinct goals and ecosystem however. We often think of it as being overly technical to explain, as the project does not provide binaries everyone may download and install on a computer. Let’s describe in a few words what it does.

    • Tested the Libre Office software.
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU releases ethical evaluations of code-hosting services

      Today the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project announced evaluations of several major repository-hosting services according to the standards of the GNU Ethical Criteria for Code Repositories. Released in 2015, these criteria grade code-hosting services for their commitment to user privacy and freedom. At the time of publication, Savannah and GitLab have met or surpassed the baseline standards of the criteria.

    • GNU Rates GitHub & SourceForge With “F” Ratings

      The Free Software Foundation today announced their evaluations of major code repository-hosting services per the standards of the GNU Ethical Criteria for Code Repositories.

    • guix @ Savannah: GNU Guix welcomes four students for GSoC

      All four projects sound exciting to us and we are happy to see progress on these fronts. Happy hacking!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Oettinger: ‘Open source licences should be the norm’

      Industry-friendly open source licences should become the norm for building data platforms, for the web, and for digital consumer services, says Günther Oettinger. The European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society urges cooperation between standardisation organisations and open source communities on cloud computing services.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • 10 SQL Tricks That You Didn’t Think Were Possible

      But once your database and your application matures, you will have put all the important meta data in place and you can focus on your business logic only. The following 10 tricks show amazing functionality written in only a few lines of declarative SQL, producing simple and also complex output.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • DNA: The Long-term Data Storage Format that Will Never Go Obsolete

      At the Linux Foundation’s Vault storage conference, held last week in Raleigh, North Carolina, European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) researcher Nick Goldman talked about the feasibility of using DNA as a long-term storage format, a talk timely not only because it was at a storage conference, but also because Monday is DNA Day.

  • Hardware

    • Inside One of the World’s Most Secretive iPhone Factories

      John Sheu, known at the factory as Big John, or the Mayor, is giving the tour to a Bloomberg reporter. He’s the president of Pegatron’s facility, where as many as 50,000 people assemble iPhones. It’s his job to make sure that more time is spent making phones rather than wasting it on unproductive distractions, like roll calls and ID checks.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Eliminating malaria, once and for good

      What is an end game? In the case of malaria, the end game is at the same time obvious and enormously challenging. Obvious because the disease can be prevented (mosquito target) and treated (human target) with tools which already exist – so that it is, indeed, obvious that it can be done. Challenging because, as colleagues running national malaria programs are quick to emphasize, doing this at a national scale, given the millions of people infected, is really an uphill task. Besides the complexity of the parasite that causes malaria, the capacity of both the parasite and mosquitoes to develop resistance to widely used drugs and insecticides, the variability of the immune responses – the list goes on –, there exists an uneasy truce between the parasite and humans, developed over thousands of years. Most infections actually do not result in death, particularly in the case of adults who have some level of immunity from prior infections. If left unchecked, however, malaria has shown it can make a comeback, as it did in the 1990s, when deaths increased to about a million per year – mostly children, mostly in Africa. If merely controlled, the entire package of tools, systems and trained staff need to remain in place forever.

    • Ban on THC-Infused Gummy Bears Advances in Colorado

      The most straightforward solution to this problem, of course, is to make sure that marijuana edibles are kept away from children. If that does not happen, the fact that gummy candies are shaped like stars instead of bears is not going to make much of a difference.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Can we train our way out of security flaws?

      Just as humans are terrible drivers, we are terrible developers. We won’t fix auto safety with training any more than we will fix software security with training. Of course there are basic rules everyone needs to understand which is why some training is useful. We’re not going see any significant security improvements without some sort of new technology breakthrough. I don’t know what that is, nobody does yet. What is self driving software development going to look like?

    • Windows Security Flaw Lets Hackers Run Any App On PCs Without Admin Rights

      This Windows security flaw lets you run any app on Windows without admin rights…

    • ‘New’ Windows Security Flaw Runs Apps Without Admin Rights

      Newly discovered Windows security hole bypasses AppLocker and lets apps run without admin rights. Proof-of-concept code published.

    • HTTPS is Hard

      This blog post is the first in a regular tech series from the Yell engineering team looking at challenges they face and problems they solve across Yell’s various digital solutions.

      Here, Yell’s Head of Web Engineering, Steve Workman, looks back over Yell.com‘s seven-month transition to HTTPS, (a secure version of the HTTP protocol – which sends data between a browser and a website) to raise awareness of the issues with the move in the industry and to make the adoption process easier for other engineering teams.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Remembering Argentina’s Mothers of the Disappeared

      On April 30, 1977, Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti and a dozen other mothers gathered in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina’s capitol city to demand justice for their children, who had been “disappeared” by the military junta during the Dirty War period – a reign of terror that would last from 1976 to 1983, backed by the CIA.

    • World War III Has Begun

      Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals. Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests.

    • Contractor Hired Former African Child Soldiers to Guard U.S. Forces in Iraq

      A defense contractor hired mercenaries from Africa for $16 a day to guard American bases in Iraq, with one of the company’s former directors saying no checks were made on whether those hired were former child soldiers.

      The director of Aegis Defense Services between 2005 and 2015, said contractors recruited from countries such as Sierra Leone to reduce costs for the U.S. occupation in Iraq. He said none of the estimated 2,500 boys recruited from Sierra Leone were checked to see if they were former child soldiers who had been forced to fight in the country’s civil war.

    • PART 2: Seymour Hersh’s New Book Disputes U.S. Account of Bin Laden Killing

      …when he argues the official U.S. account of how bin Laden was found and killed was deceptive, and that Pakistan detained bin Laden in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the U.S. and Pakistan then struck a deal: The U.S. would raid bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware.

    • Repeating His Own ‘Mistake,’ Obama to Send More Troops to Syria

      President Barack Obama on Monday announced plans to send up to 250 more troops to Syria to allegedly aid in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), just a day after he made emphatic statements against using ground troops to deal with the crisis there.

      The deployment will increase the U.S. troop count in Syria to 300. Obama made the announcement during a visit to Hanover, Germany, stating that the decision comes in response to Syrian fighters recently gaining back territory from the militant group.

      “Given the success, I’ve approved the deployment of up to 250 additional personnel in Syria, including special forces to keep up this momentum,” he said.

    • U.S. to Send 250 Additional Military Personnel to Syria
    • Israel Just Freed A 12-Year-Old Palestinian Girl From Prison

      The Israeli prison service released a 12-year-old girl, believed to be the youngest Palestinian female ever imprisoned, on Sunday after she confessed to planning a stabbing attack against Israelis in a West Bank settlement.

      “I am happy to be out. Prison is bad,” the girl, Dima al-Wawi told AP after her release, where she was greeted by around 80 relatives. “During my time in prison I missed my classmates and my friends and family.”

    • The Panama Papers: Laundering Havens for War Budgets (Video)

      In mid-April, economist Michael Hudson told The Real News Network that global oil and mining industries and the U.S. State Department created Panama and Liberia for the express purpose of tax evasion.

    • Turns Out Their Reassurances Were Too SWIFT

      So SWIFT had warning there were vulnerabilities in its local printer system (though it’s not clear this is the same vulnerability the Bangladesh thieves used).

      You’d think SWIFT would have made some effort when that became public to shore up vulnerabilities in the global finance system. Instead, they left themselves vulnerable to a $10 router.

    • CyberCommand Turns Its “Cyberbombs” from Assad to ISIS

      Golly, what a novel idea, hacking an adversary that relies on the Internet for its external strength? Imagine how many people we could have saved if we had done that a few years ago? And all this time CyberCom has just been sitting on its thumbs?

      Sanger suggests, of course, that CyberCom has been otherwise focused on Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, which (post-StuxNet) would be significantly an active defense. He pretends that cyber attacks have not been used in the ISIS theater at all.

      Of course they have. They’ve been going on so long they even made the Snowden leaks (as when NSA “accidentally” caused a blackout in Syria).

      But it would be inconvenient to mention attacks on Syria (as distinct from its ally Iran), I guess, because it might raise even more questions about why we’d let ISIS get strong enough, largely using the Internet, to hit two European capitals without undercutting them in the most obvious way. It all makes a lot of sense if you realize we have, at the same time, been directing those resources instead at Bashar al-Assad.

    • Pentagon Claims Coalition Civilian Bombing Death Toll 25x Smaller Than NGO Estimates in Syria and Iraq

      The military says its nearly two years of bombings against Islamic State have killed 41 civilians, but a key monitor group puts the number far higher.

    • The US Should Quit Coddling Badly-Behaving Saudi Arabia

      Yet the United States mutes its criticism of such practices because of the pervasive myth among US policymakers that the Saudis can manipulate world oil prices and that the American economy will crash if the Saudis wink and create a world price spike. Neither is true.

    • The Hell on Earth Paved by Samantha Power’s Good Intentions

      Gaddafi’s arsenals were looted by Islamists and other militants.

    • Neocons Panting for President ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

      Thanks to Target Liberty for its diligence in “Mad Dog” spotting, we see the (former) house organ of the CIA, Time Magazine, joining the neocon cheering section behind the notion of a third party run by retired Major General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, former Commander of the US Central Command.

    • A genocide century: Armenia’s light, Turkey’s denial

      Yerevan is consumed by passionate commemoration of the end of the centennial of the Armenian genocide. What is striking is the new, humanist message.

      When the commemorations started on 24 April 2015, the slogan was “I remember and I demand”: a political message in the tradition of the century-long Armenian struggle, demanding recognition that the mass slaughter that took place during the first world war constitutes a genocide – which remains to be addressed.

      This year, the message emanating from Armenia has a significantly different tone. It is no longer angry, but serene; it is no longer about Armenians, but about humanity still struggling to cope with its own self-destruction.

    • Long Time Coming: Georgia Rises Up

      The racist protesters were outnumbered by police in over-the-top riot gear, as well as by several hundred anti-racism protesters under the auspices of Rise Up Georgia. The protesters, including about 50 Black Lives Matter activists, had carefully orchestrated the action, beginning with blocking traffic by paying $15 park entrance fees in pennies. Others took to the woods to get around police, scuffled with them or threw rocks at them; several were arrested. Using hashtags like #HeritageofHate and #‎Time2Escalate, the protesters argue against having to fight a newer, subtler racism that feels as offensive as the old explicit kind. “It’s 2016,” said Shanda Neal. “We should not be dealing with this same BS of racism and prejudice. There’s no room for it. It should just be over.” Decades ago, Georgia’s own Otis Redding sang of it: “It’s been a long, long time coming/ But I know, but I know a change is gotta come.”

    • Pages Said to Detail Saudi Arabia’s Involvement in 9/11 to be Made Public

      As Obama administration and Gulf ally try to evade accountability, 28-page document may be declassified by June

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • So We Signed the Paris Agreement. Now What?

      “I’m on the front line of the suffering” from climate change, Assaad Razzouk told me at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Friday.

      Razzouk, the sharp-eyed CEO of Sindicatum, a sustainable energy developer based in Singapore, had just finished excoriating Wall Street for sticking its head in the sand with regards to the costly impact of climate change.

    • Civil Society Takes on the Haze Crisis in Indonesia

      The Indonesian province of Riau declared a state of emergency last month as haze from agricultural fires across Sumatra continued to envelope the region. The fires are the result of an early dry period, which comes all too quickly after last year’s extended dry season that saw agricultural fires burn over two million hectares of peatland mostly in Central Kalimantan, Riau, and South Sumatra.

    • Within One Week, Plans For Two Major Proposed Natural Gas Pipelines Are Scrapped

      It’s been a good week for anti-pipeline activists in the Northeast.

      Plans for two proposed natural gas pipelines have been scrapped within the last week — but not for the same reasons. On Wednesday, energy company Kinder Morgan halted operations on its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, which would have carried natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania into Massachusetts. Kinder Morgan said it wasn’t able to secure the commitments from energy customers it needed to justify building the pipeline, and said that low energy prices made it difficult for natural gas producers to commit to the pipeline.

      Then, on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration rejected water quality permits needed to construct the Constitution Pipeline, effectively killing the project, which would have brought natural gas 124 miles from Pennsylvania to New York. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation said in its decision to reject the permits that the pipeline would have impacted about 250 streams, “including trout spawning streams, old-growth forest, and undisturbed springs.”

    • Sea Change in Gasland? PA Primary Shaping into Fracking Referendum

      Pennsylvania Democrats will have the opportunity to choose a host of anti-fracking candidates on the states’ primary ballot on Tuesday—representing a potential sea change against the industry at the heart of the Marcellus Shale, one of the country’s largest fracking plays.

      The state is the second largest producer of natural gas in the country, after Texas. Pennsylvanians living close to wells and suffering the accompanying adverse effects on their health and land have long appealed to corporate officials and local politicians to put a stop to the controversial practice.

    • Pennsylvania Attorney General Candidate Says He’d Look Closely At Fossil Fuel Companies Like Exxon

      The day before Pennsylvania voters cast their votes in the primary election, the leading Democratic candidate for attorney general has confirmed to ThinkProgress that, if elected, he would join a growing coalition of state attorneys general in examining whether fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil have purposefully misled the public on climate change.

      “Climate change is one of our world’s most pressing issues and and I’ve made addressing it a top priority in my campaign and have pledged to hold the fracking industry accountable for violating Pennsylvania’s environmental laws,” Josh Shapiro, who according to the most recent polling from Harper Poll leads the current Democratic attorney general race by almost 20 points, told ThinkProgress via an emailed statement. “I applaud [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman and the 16 other state Attorneys General who are investigating Exxon Mobil for misleading investors about climate change. As Attorney General, I will join them in looking closely at whether fossil fuel companies like Exxon Mobil have violated Pennsylvania’s laws.”

    • After Paris COP21: Top 6 Green Energy good News Stories Today

      World leaders signed the COP21 Paris climate accord on Friday, Earth Day. Whether it will be meaningful in stopping carbon dioxide emissions and emissions of other dangerous greenhouse gases that are warming our planet remains to be seen. But there is some good news on the emissions front, and new renewable energy installations are key to it.

    • Revealed: After Big Oil Pressure, EU Dropped Key Environmental Measures

      According to a 10-page letter obtained by the Guardian, the unnamed executive warned that proposed pollution cuts and a push for clean technologies “has the potential to have a massively adverse economic impact on the costs and competitiveness of European refining and petrochemical industries, and trigger a further exodus outside the EU.”

    • Despite Chernobyl, Belarus goes nuclear

      Nuclear fall-out, like carbon dioxide and other climate-changing greenhouse gases, does not respect national borders.

      On 26 April 1986 an explosion at the Chernobyl power plant, in Ukraine but only a few kilometres from the southern border of Belarus, sent clouds of radioactive dust into the atmosphere.

      It’s estimated that up to 70% of the fall-out from what rates as the world’s worst nuclear accident fell on Belarus, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

    • Clinton Says No Thanks To Charles Koch’s Endorsement, Citing His Climate Denial
    • Why Right-Wing Oligarch Charles Koch Doesn’t Seem That Concerned About a Hillary Presidency

      How Clinton handles such endorsements, or even the occasional kind word from Charles Koch, is important. She already has a problem with perceptions. After all, she earned millions of dollars in speaking fees from strategically-situated business groups and has refused to release the transcripts of those talks. Her vote on the Iraq war in 2003 was a true and monumental misjudgment. Still, she will likely be the Democratic nominee. (And I should add that if she is the nominee, I am likely to vote for her myself).

    • Here’s what publicly owned energy would actually cost – and why the stockbrokers got it wrong

      A substantial majority of people want to see the UK’s electricity and gas services in public ownership.

    • Two Years of Tragedy in Flint

      The water in Flint, Michigan, is still unsafe to drink — two years after the crisis was set in motion. Badly needed federal assistance has been marooned by a handful of congressional Republicans. And the larger national problem of lead in too much of our drinking water is yet to be addressed.

    • ‘Catastrophic Leak’ Found at Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State

      The amount of radioactive waste that has been leaking between the two walls of one of the underground tanks at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State for several years grew dramatically on Sunday, April 17, with up to 13,000 liters (3,500 gallons) of new waste.

    • Australian Politician Sets Methane-Laden River on Fire to Protest Fracking

      An Australian elected official set fire to a river in Queensland this weekend in an act of protest against the coal seam gas industry, stating that fracking causes methane to seep into the river.

      In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham can be seen leaning over the side of an aluminum boat on the Condamine River, touching a barbecue lighter to the water and setting it instantly ablaze.

  • Finance

    • TTIP: UK Government found trade deal had ‘lots of risk and no benefit’ in its only assessment

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have “few or no benefits to the UK”, according to the only official assessment of the deal commissioned by the UK Government.

      The stark warning was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request by anti-TTIP campaigners Global Justice Now.

      Campaigners filed a request to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to ask what risk assessments had been made about the treaty.

    • A word-switch, not a phrase-insertion: “back of the line” is an Obama rhetorical staple

      The contention is being (seriously) made that President Obama’s use of “back of the queue” in a speech about Brexit shows that the phrase was inserted by his UK hosts. This contention rests on “queue” not being a word Americans use. They use the word “line” instead.

    • TPP Benefits the Few and Harms Many
    • TTIP is a very bad excuse to vote for Brexit

      Barack Obama’s key message to Europe’s leaders last week was “let’s speed up TTIP”. The US-EU trade deal, formally called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, has been mired in controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. The “free trade” agenda has become poison in the US primaries, forcing even pro-trade Hillary Clinton to re-examine TTIP.

      The next round of talks begin on Monday in New York and Obama is worried – unless serious progress is made in coming months, his trade legacy may be doomed. The problem for the US president is selling TTIP at the same time as trying to warn against the dangers of Brexit. This is a tough ask because TTIP has been a godsend for Brexit campaigners, who argue that the deal is a major reason to cut loose from Brussels.

      It’s true that TTIP is a symbol of all that’s wrong with Europe: dreamed up by corporate lobbyists, TTIP is less about trade and more about giving big business sweeping new powers over our society. It is a blueprint for deregulation and privatisation. As such it makes a good case for Brexit.

    • The Theory of Business Enterprise Part 2: Neoclassical Economists and Veblen

      At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution factories were owned an operated by individuals with a view to making a living. Over time the Captains of Industry (his words) built up capital and began to treat factories not as sources of livelihood but assets to be bought and sold, and operated as generators of profit from investment. As Veblen describes the activities of the businessmen, it feels like the creation of a market in plants and equipment and other rights of ownership like railroad rights-of-way and patents. The industrial processes themselves were not operated, or even necessarily understood, by the Captains. They were designed and operated by engineers, inventors and mechanics, ond operated by workers with varying degrees of skill. All of them were working to make production as simple and as useful as possible. They depended for their livelihoods on paychecks from the Captains of Industry.

    • Globo’s Billionaire Heir, João Roberto Marinho, Attacked Me in the Guardian. Here’s my Response.

      Look, João: like virtually all Brazilians, I had to battle a great deal to earn my place in life. I did not inherit a huge company and billions of dollars from my parents. The things I have had to overcome in my life are far more burdensome than your effort to discredit me with condescension, and it is thus not difficult to demonstrate that your response was filled with falsehoods.

    • John Oliver: We Have to Start Treating Puerto Rico Like an Island of American Citizens (Video)

      The “Last Week Tonight” host outlines the Puerto Rico debt crisis and calls on Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and star of the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” to explain just how dire the situation in the U.S. territory is.

    • Trump and Clinton share Delaware tax ‘loophole’ address with 285,000 firms

      1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington is a nondescript two-storey building yet is home to Apple, American Airlines, Walmart and presidential candidates

    • Apple, Twitter and Facebook under scrutiny

      Also on Tuesday, Twitter reports results. When co-founder Jack Dorsey came back to lead the company last year, he put it through the wash — laying off employees, changing the boardroom, dropping some projects and prioritising others. Turns out Twitter shrunk in the wash – in its latest financial results, Twitter revealed it lost users for the first time in its history.

    • Transforming finance can help to tackle the biggest problems of society

      Analysis by the UK housing charity Shelter recently found that since 1969, house prices for first time buyers have increased by 48 times, far out-pacing incomes which have only grown 29 times. The received wisdom is that this is a simple issue of supply and demand: build more houses and the market will sort itself out. But the truth is more complex. As a group called Positive Money has pointed out, the role played by huge increases in mortgage credit is potentially far more significant.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Endgame of 2016′s Anti-Establishment Politics

      Will Bernie Sanders’s supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination? Likewise, if Donald Trump is denied the Republican nomination, will his supporters back whoever gets the Republican nod?

      If 2008 is any guide, the answer is unambiguously yes to both. About 90 percent of people who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries that year ended up supporting Barack Obama in the general election. About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John McCain.

      But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.

    • Bernie Says Hillary Will Need to Challenge Oligarchs to Get Enthusiastic Support From His Voters

      “If she continues to be a proponent of establishment politics and establishment economics … she’s not going to generate the excitement that I think we need.”

    • Missing the Biggest 2016 Story

      For one thing, journalists as a whole don’t look like the rest of America. “The typical U.S. journalist is a 41 year-old white male,” began a 2006 report by the Pew Research Center. When that report was updated in 2013, that typical journalist had become a 47 year-old white male, and the median age had risen not only at newspapers, where one might expect journalists to be aging along with their institution, but also at TV and radio stations and even online news sites.

    • Clinton’s Defense of Big Money Won’t Cut It

      Hillary Clinton’s heated defense of the money she has raised from Wall Street and other interests won’t cut it. Her protests contradict the basic case that virtually all Democrats and reformers have made for getting big money out of politics. It is vital that voters not be misled by them.

    • How the CIA Writes History

      Policy and ethics aside, I’m impressed. My attempt to write a more comprehensive history of Angleton’s mole hunt has been limited. My plans to quote Cram and Applewhite on Angleton’s legacy have been called into question. My chapter describing the human toll (and the taxpayer’s bill) for the mole hunt will have to be revised. As I write the story of one of the CIA’s most notorious characters, the agency is redacting my book, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. That’s how the CIA writes history.

    • Clintonism the Future? NYT’s Political Science Fiction

      Just before the New York primary, the New York Times (4/16/16) published an op-ed by Michael Lind called “Trumpism and Clintonism Are the Future.” It’s a good guide to how the wishful thinking of the pundit class will likely lead them to misread the clear message of the 2016 elections.

    • Pro-Israel Billionaire Haim Saban Drops $100,000 Against Donna Edwards in Maryland Senate Race

      IN THE FINAL DAYS leading up to Maryland’s Democratic voters going to the polls on Tuesday to choose their U.S. Senate nominee, Rep. Donna Edwards has been barraged by ads and mailers from the Super PAC backing her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, called the Committee for Maryland’s Progress.

      A television ad assails Edwards as “one of the least effective members of Congress,” contrasting her career with Van Hollen’s legislative record. It mentions no foreign policy issues, despite the dominant issue motivating one of the Super PAC’s largest funders.

      Recently released disclosures reveal that $100,000 — a sixth of what the Super PAC has raised —comes from a single source: a donation by pro-Israel billionaire Haim Saban.

    • Millennials Poll Shows Sanders’ Revolution Reshaping US Electorate

      Bernie Sanders is changing the face of American politics, a new poll from Harvard’s Institute of Politics suggests.

      According to the survey released Monday, Sanders remains the most popular presidential candidate for so-called millennials between the ages of 18-29, 54 percent of whom view him favorably, compared to 31 percent who harbor unfavorable views.

    • Clinton Team Cynically Exploits ‘Cyberbullying’ to Justify $1 Million Online Propaganda Push

      Friday, Clinton super PAC Correct the Record announced it was starting a million-dollar social media campaign to “push back” against online criticism of Clinton supporters and her superdelegates. It’s a plan awash in PR posture about “cyberbullying” that amounts to little more than a classic social media astroturf campaign—the likes of which we’ve seen everywhere from Russia to Mexico to the Department of Defense.

    • Sanders Still Strongest Candidate as New Poll Shows Trump and Clinton in Near-Tie

      Sanders continues to trounce Trump by double digits, 51 to 40 percent, according to the George Washington University survey

    • Final Poll Results for Pennsylvania and Maryland

      Here are the final Pollster aggregates for the Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the two big states up for grabs tomorrow. If this is how things turn out, there’s really no case left to be made that Bernie Sanders has a chance to win the nomination. A few minutes ago I was watching his town hall with Chris Hayes, and it seemed like he knew it. He struck me as more subdued than usual, pumping out his standard answers sort of mechanically, rather than with any passion. He may have said “revolution” several times, but his eyes didn’t seem to agree. We’ll see.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook is reportedly building a standalone camera app

      A team of Facebook engineers in London are working on a standalone camera app with a big live-streaming component, according to a report today in The Wall Street Journal. The app would open straight into a camera, as Snapchat does, to foster immediate capturing and posting of photos and videos, as well as letting users stream via Facebook Live. The app is just a prototype and the experimental effort may never see a finished public release, the report adds.

    • Facial Recognition Service Becomes a Weapon Against Russian Porn Actresses

      The developers behind “FindFace,” which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends. Released in February this year, FindFace started gaining popularity in March, after a software engineer named Andrei Mima wrote about using the service to track down two women he photographed six years earlier on a street in St. Petersburg. (They’d asked him to take a picture of them, but he never got their contact information, so he wasn’t able to share it with them, at the time.)

      From the start, FindFace has raised privacy concerns. (Even in his glowing recommendation, Mima addressed fears that the service further erodes people’s freedoms in the age of the Internet.) In early April, a young artist named Egor Tsvetkov highlighted how invasive the technology can be, photographing random passengers on the St. Petersburg subway and matching the pictures to the individuals’ Vkontakte pages, using FindFace. “In theory,” Tsvetkov told RuNet Echo, this service could be used by a serial killer or a collector trying to hunt down a debtor.”

    • Kuwait to DNA Test Everyone, Including Tourists. No exceptions

      According to Traveller 24, Kuwait is going to become the first nation in the world to conduct total mandatory DNA tagging, which applies both to their own population and tourists.

      The legislation that will make DNA tagging mandatory will come in effect later this year. After that each and every person entering the country will undergo a mandatory DNA sampling. This will be done by taking samples of saliva or blood (by person’s choice). Refusing to undergo such procedure will cause “consequences” that have yet to be specified.

    • Britain’s Investigatory Powers Bill: a gift to securocrats everywhere

      Britain is responding to terror threats in ways that are likely to increase global insecurity, including in southern countries that face no major terrorist threats, like South Africa. An example of a dangerously inappropriate response is the Investigatory Powers Bill – the “Snoopers Charter”– which is passing through the British parliament at the moment.

      If passed in its current form, the bill may well give Britain’s intelligence and police agencies sweeping powers to spy on the communications of its and other countries’ citizens on vague grounds, and with inadequate oversight. It writes unprecedented new mass surveillance powers into law: powers that have been shown to have been abused.

    • Court Tells Cops They Can’t Open A Flip Phone Without A Warrant

      Lower courts appear to be taking the Supreme Court’s Riley decision seriously — give or take the occasional “there’s no Constitution at the border” decision. If the Supreme Court says there’s a warrant requirement for cell phone searches, there’s a warrant requirement for cell phone searches.

      The Central District of Illinois has just handed down a decision that makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that any examination of a cell phone’s contents, no matter how brief, is a search covered by Riley.

      The Pekin Police Department participated in a couple of FBI-assisted controlled buys of weapons and drugs involving defendant Demontae Bell. Shortly thereafter, Bell was arrested.

    • [older] U.S. reluctant to change data pact after EU watchdogs’ concerns
    • Practical Applications For Massive Surveillance Databases: Timely Birthday Cards, Travel Diaries

      The information collected includes data that could reveal political preferences, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, memberships in associations or groups, mental/physical health along with biometric data and financial documents. With a little digging, the massive database could be used to uncover journalists’ sources and privileged communications.

    • FBI Hides Its Surveillance Techniques From Federal Prosecutors Because It’s Afraid They’ll Become Defense Lawyers

      We know the FBI isn’t willing to share its investigative techniques with judges. Or defendants. Or the general public. Or Congress. The severely restrictive NDAs it forced law enforcement agencies to sign before allowing them to obtain IMSI catchers is evidence of the FBI’s secrecy. Stingray devices were being used for at least a half-decade before information starting leaking into the public domain.

      The FBI doesn’t want to hand over details on its hacking tools. Nor does it want to discuss the specifics of the million-dollar technique that allowed it to break into a dead terrorist’s phone (which held nothing of interest).

      USA Today’s Brad Heath has obtained documents showing the FBI’s tech secrecy extends even further than its nominal opponents (judges, defense lawyers, defendants). Its secrecy even involves freezing out other players on the same team.

    • NSA Definitely Working On Maybe Telling Us How Many Americans It Spied On

      Will the NSA reveal how many Americans they spy on? Maybe! One thing is for certain, they are most definitely working very hard on it.

      This morning James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told reporters “we are looking at several options right now, none of which are optimal.” Sounds promising!

      For years civil liberties groups like the ACLU and some senators (namely Ron Wyden D-OR) have been trying to pry this information out of Clapper to no avail. There’s a famous 2013 video of Wyden asking Clapper if the NSA spies on millions of Americans, to which Clapper replies “not wittingly.”

    • US Spy Chief Considers Disclosing Number Of Americans Surveilled Online
    • US might reveal how many Americans it caught in ‘incidental’ surveillance – spy chief
    • US weighs disclosure of number of surveilled Americans -spy chief
    • US exploring ways to disclose number of Americans caught in data grabs: spy chief
    • Spy chief appalled that Americans don’t want government snooping through correspondence
    • National Intelligence Director Answers U.S. Data Collecting Questions
    • Spies see obstacles for calculating surveillance of Americans
    • James Clapper: Snowden accelerated crypto adoption by 7 years
    • Clapper: Snowden accelerated commercial crypto by 7 years
    • James Clapper: Snowden sped up sophistication of crypto, “it’s not a good thing”
    • Another Reason to Praise Snowden: He Sped Up Encryption Development
    • Spy Chief Claims Edward Snowden Has Made It Harder To Catch Terrorists, Sped Up Rollout Of Strong Encryption
    • US Spy Chief Claims Snowden Helped ‘the Terrorists’ by Improving Technology
    • Congress demands to know how many citizens are being spied on
    • Snowden Leaks Accelerated Encryption Technology By 7 Years, US Intelligence Chief Says
    • Tracking Islamic State Plots Impeded by Encryption, Clapper Says
    • Encryption hindering efforts to stop Islamic State, intelligence director says

      [Ed: Evidence suggests that ‘successful’ terrorists never use encryption so The Liar (Clapper) must be lying again]

    • Clapper says Snowden’s leaks accelerated roll-out of strong encryption
    • Intelligence Director Clapper: Snowden Advanced Encryption Technology ‘Seven Years’
    • Snowden Leaks Advanced Encryption by 7 Years, US Spy Chief Says
    • Plaid Cymru candidate Arfon Jones defends ‘bomb’ tweet

      The Plaid Cymru police and crime commissioner candidate for north Wales said a tweet urging people to “keep GCHQ quiet” by sending emails containing the words “bomb, terrorist and Iran” was meant “in jest”.

      Arfon Jones said the comment was “banter” in response to UK government plans to extend surveillance powers.

      Mr Jones also stood by a tweet that said the “UK created ISIS”.

      He added that he did not recall using a swear word to describe David Cameron.

    • Plaid Police and Crime Commissioner candidate under fire over tweets on GCHQ and David Cameron

      A Plaid Cymru Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has been dubbed unfit to hold office by Labour and the Conservatives after it emerged he had tweeted a message calling on people to “keep GCHQ quiet” by sending emails containing the words “bomb, terrorist and Iran”.

    • NSA Failed to Fully Inform FISC Even After It Started Fact-Checking Itself

      On Friday, I described how, for four years after the FISA Court ruled that NSA couldn’t keep otherwise unlawfully collected information from a single traditional FISA order, the NSA continued to do just that with data from 702 orders.

    • On Encryption Battle, Apple Has Advocates in Ex-National Security Officials

      In their years together as top national security officials, Michael V. Hayden and Michael Chertoff were fierce advocates of using the government’s spying powers to pry into sensitive intelligence data.

      Mr. Hayden directed a secret domestic eavesdropping program at the National Security Agency that captured billions of phone records after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Chertoff pushed for additional wiretapping and surveillance powers from Congress both as a top prosecutor and as Homeland Security secretary.

    • Decrypted PGP BlackBerry Messages Helped Convict UK Gun Smugglers

      Law enforcement agencies across the world are cracking down on PGP smartphones as a means of secure communication for organised crime.

      Last week, two leading members of a UK gang, which bought the largest amount of automatic weapons into the UK mainland ever detected by police, were convicted of importation and firearms offences. The two men, Harry Shilling and Michael Defraine, used so-called PGP BlackBerrys (custom smartphones that come pre-configured with an encrypted email feature), but their messages were ultimately decrypted and used to help convict them.

    • Spy Chief Complains That Edward Snowden Sped Up Spread of Encryption By 7 Years

      THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE on Monday blamed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the development of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption.

      “As a result of the Snowden revelations, the onset of commercial encryption has accelerated by seven years,” James Clapper said during a breakfast for journalists hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

      The shortened timeline has had “a profound effect on our ability to collect, particularly against terrorists,” he said.

    • House Reps To James Clapper: No, Really, Stop Ignoring The Question And Tell Us How Many Americans Are Spied On By NSA

      Way back before Ed Snowden became a household name, Senator Ron Wyden kept pushing James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to reveal more details on how the NSA was interpreting certain provisions in the PATRIOT Act to spy on Americans. You probably recall the infamous exchange in a 2013 Senate hearing in which Wyden asked Clapper “does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” and Clapper said “No sir… not wittingly.” Snowden himself later noted that this particular exchange was part of what inspired him to leak documents to reporters just a couple months later.

      However, that question had some history. Two years earlier, in 2011, we wrote about James Clapper’s ridiculous response to a letter from Wyden about this topic. Wyden had asked Clapper to answer some questions about NSA authorities to collect information on Americans and Clapper had refused to answer on the basis of he didn’t really want to.

      A year later, in the summer of 2012, Wyden got more explicit, saying that he would block the FISA Amendments Act until Clapper gave an estimate of how many Americans had their information sucked up by the NSA. This time, Clapper responded in December of 2012 by saying that it would be impossible to actually say how many Americans had their information scooped up by the NSA. We now know why — because six months later, Ed Snowden revealed the answer to be “basically everyone.”

    • Tech titans are busy privatising our data

      Are we facing another tech bubble? Or, to put it in Silicon Valley speak, are most unicorn startups born zombies?

      How you answer these questions depends, by and large, on where you stand on the overall health of the global economy. Some, like the prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel, argue that virtually everything else – from publicly traded companies to houses to government bonds – is already overvalued. The options, then, are not many: either stick with liquid but low-return products such as cash – or go for illiquid but potentially extremely lucrative investments in tech startups.

    • DOJ Drops Other Big Case Over iPhone Encryption After Defendant Suddenly Remembers His Passcode

      While so much of the attention had been focused on the case in San Bernardino, where the DOJ was looking to get into Syed Farook’s iPhone, we’ve pointed out that perhaps the more interesting case was the parallel one in NY (which actually started last October), where the magistrate judge James Orenstein rejected the DOJ’s use of the All Writs Act to try to force Apple to help unlock the iPhone of Jun Feng, a guy who had already pled guilty on drug charges, but who insisted he did not recall his passcode.

      There were some oddities in the case. Feng had pled guilty and there was some issue over whether or not there was still a need to get into the iPhone. The DOJ insisted yes, because Feng’s iPhone might provide necessary evidence to find others involved in the drug ring. The other oddity: Feng’s iPhone was running iOS7. While the device itself was a newer model iPhone than the one in the Farook case, it still has an older operating system, where it was known that Apple (and others) could easily get in. So it made no sense that the FBI couldn’t get into this phone. In fact, Apple’s latest filing in the case, just over a week ago was basically along those lines, noting that the DOJ claimed Apple’s assistance was “necessary,” but that seemed unlikely.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 10 percent of Michigan kids have parents in prison

      Michigan is among the states with the highest number of children who have a parent behind bars, according to a report released Monday.

      Some 228,000 children — one out of 10 — have had a parent incarcerated, according to Kids Count in its report “A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration of Kids, Families and Communities.”

      Michigan ranked fifth in the number of kids affected in 2011-12, the latest figures available. California was first with 503,000, followed by Texas, Florida and Ohio.

    • Mexican Human Rights Defenders Say They Are Target of Smear Campaign

      On the eve of the release of a report investigating a student massacre in 2014, its authors and other human rights advocates fear an attempt to pre-empt the findings and discredit the work.

    • The Political Miseducation of DeRay Mckesson

      When it comes to changing the way we talk about race in America, Black Lives Matter has been one of the most successful political movements in the country’s recent history. At Dooby’s, Mckesson told me that the future of Black Lives Matter is one of continued coalition building, with the goal of strengthening what he calls “the inside-outside,” or the pressure placed on institutions of power from both agitators on the outside and political playmakers within.

    • My Frustrating Primary Day as a New York Poll Worker

      More than one million New York City residents participated in Tuesday’s presidential primary. I served as a poll worker on election day and it left me with many questions. Why did many would-be voters receive affidavit ballots on Tuesday? What do you do when everything breaks down at once? Once you go through this process, you have a newfound annoyance with the way New York conducts elections.

      [...]

      There is now a lot of discussion over the affidavits that many people, especially in Brooklyn, had to fill out on Tuesday. Brooklyn is not alone, and at PS 51 we saw voters who had not moved or changed parties in 10 years and were not listed in the book. We had new voters who registered properly and were not in the book. We found misspellings, birthdate issues, and we even found someone’s name backwards. When I placed a follow-up call to the Board of Elections today, I was told by a spokesperson that they do not know how many affidavit ballots they have received but they will be counted in three to four weeks. Whether an affidavit ballot is approved or not will be subject to the same database that showed the voter to be ineligible to cast a regular ballot in the first place.

      New York City voters stepped up to do their civic duty on Tuesday. They deserve an election system better than this.

    • Breivik reminds us human rights never stand alone

      Many have found a Norwegian court’s ruling that mass murderer Anders Breivik was being tortured in jail hard to swallow

    • Turkish academics go on trial for ‘terrorist propaganda’

      Four Turkish academics go on trial Friday for “terrorist propaganda” in the latest of a series of court cases that have highlighted growing restrictions on free speech under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

      Across town, journalists accused of divulging state secrets also return to court for the third hearing of their Istanbul espionage trial.

      The university scholars are being prosecuted for signing a petition along with over 1,000 colleagues and supporters denouncing the government’s military operations against Kurdish rebels in the country’s southeast.

    • Theresa May faces huge backlash over call to leave European human rights convention

      Theresa May’s call for Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights would be a betrayal of the post-war generation who helped create it, human rights groups have said.

      In a speech on the EU, the Home Secretary said that the ECHR was able to “bind the hands of Parliament”, by preventing the deportation of foreign criminals, and called for Britain to stay in the EU but withdraw from the Convention.

      The comments drew immediate criticism from human rights campaigners.

    • Texas is using “Of Mice and Men” to justify executing this man. Seriously.

      Bobby James Moore has a lifelong intellectual disability, yet he sits on Texas’s death row because the courts there used John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to decide his fate.

      That’s right—the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals went with a fictional novel over science and medicine to measure Bobby’s severe mental limitations. The justices heard a vast body of evidence demonstrating these limitations, which meet the widely accepted scientific standards for defining intellectual disability. Then they rejected it all according to seven wildly unscientific factors for measuring intellectual disability, drawn in large part from the fictional character Lennie Small. Bobby was no Lennie, they concluded, ruling that his disability wasn’t extreme enough to exempt him from the death penalty. On Friday, the Supreme Court will decide whether to take Bobby’s case.

    • What’s Driving Religious Discrimination at the Alabama DMV?

      I am a Christian woman who follows the Biblical instruction on headscarves, and the state of Alabama should respect that.

      I have always been a spiritual being. Even as a young child I would spend countless hours delving into the tattered pages of my Bible. Though I often have failed, I have tried to remain obedient to God and his Word. But last December, at the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles, my faith was tested in a way that was humiliating and demeaning.

      In accordance with my Christian faith, I cover my hair with a headscarf, but the DMV refused to take my driver’s license photo unless I removed it. The DMV officials said only Muslims were allowed to keep their headscarves on for photos. I didn’t know what to do. Without question, I believe that Muslim women should not have to violate their faith just to take a driver’s license photo, but neither should Christian women.

    • Independent Investigators Leave Mexico Without Solving the Case Of 43 Disappeared Students
    • ‘Illegal, Immoral, A Slap in the Face’: Experts Blast Mexico over Missing Students

      A scathing report issued Sunday accuses the Mexican government of stonewalling an international probe into the disappearance of 43 students in September 2014, and Mexican police of torturing suspects in the case.

      The 608-page report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights—the fruit of an oft-obstructed, year-long investigation—was unveiled “at an emotional press conference on Sunday attended by some of the relatives of the missing students,” according to VICE.

      No high-ranking government officials showed up.

    • The Tories Are Disgusting

      Basic human rights are under greater attack in the UK than in any other member state. We have more communications surveillance, more video surveillance, more organised government informers under “Prevent” and more secret police per head of population than either Russia or Turkey.

      It is therefore not surprising that it is in the UK that the responsible Minister – Theresa May – is today calling for the UK to leave the European Convention of Human Rights. It is indeed complete affirmation of the truth of what I have been saying about the police state the UK has become.

    • Obama is Wrong about Social Movements and Activists

      President Obama is on his farewell tour. Speaking to a young, university audience in London while trying to drum up some support for Britain to stay in the European Union, he offered what has to be seen as totally gratuitous advice to them – and of course all of the rest of us – about what he sees as the proper, underline “proper,” role for social movements and activists.

    • The Tory ‘remain’ strategy is based on fear and selfishness

      PM David Cameron and other prominent politicians campaign for a Remain vote. Stefan Rousseau/PA images. All rights reserved.As confirmed a Remainer I watched with some dismay Chancellor George Osborne’s high-profile defence of British membership in the European Union. The alleged crushing monetary cost of Brexit constituted the central message delivered in his performance in Bristol at the National Composite Centre (who thinks up these names?).

      For progressives – and any open-minded voter — the problems with Mr Osborne’s championing of the EU cause were 1) the Treasury cost estimates are dubious to the point of absurd, 2) the Osborne argument seeks to inspire fear by appealing to narrow self-interest, and 3) for reactionary political reasons the central benefits of the EU were ignored.

    • Donald Trump Once Again Fearmongers About Muslims

      During a Monday afternoon rally in Warwick, Rhode Island, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump warned Ocean State residents to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees, some of whom he thinks might be associated with ISIS, are being resettled in the state.

      While reading off Rhode Island factoids from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trump said, “Here’s one I don’t like… Syrian refugees are now being resettled in Rhode Island.” The audience responded with loud boos.

    • An Obscure GOP Rule Aimed at Stopping Insurgents Is Helping Donald Trump
    • Illinois Police Department Pulls Plug On Body Cameras Because Accountability Is ‘A Bit Burdensome’

      Police body cameras aren’t the cure-all for bad policing. However, they are an important addition to any force, providing not only a means for accountability (albeit an imperfect one) but also documentation of day-to-day police work. They can help weed out those who shouldn’t be cops as well as protect officers from bogus complaints.

      It’s not enough to just have the cameras, though. Effort must be made to keep them in working order (and to prevent intentional damage/disabling). The footage must also be preserved and provided to the public when requested. This does mean there’s additional workload and expenses to be considered, but the potential benefits of increased documentation should outweigh the drawbacks.

    • Cleveland To Shell Out Millions For Tamir Rice’s Death
    • “No Such Thing as Closure”: Tamir Rice’s Family Settles for $6M with Cleveland
    • Tamir Rice’s Family Should Spend Money Warning of Toy Guns, Say Cops Who Shot Him With Real One

      The City of Cleveland announced on Monday that it will pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed by police officers in 2014 while holding a toy gun.

      The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association released a statement responding to the settlement. Rather than acknowledging any error on the police’s part, the association suggested that the Rice family use the funds to “educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.”

    • Even As Cleveland Pays $6 Million Over Tamir Rice Killing, Police Union Can’t Resist Victim-Blaming

      Hours after the city of Cleveland revealed it will pay $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by relatives of slain 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the labor group that represents the police officers who killed Rice sought to remind the world that the boy brought this on himself.

      “We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) President Stephen Loomis said in a statement.

    • Democratic Hope in New York

      We face a crisis in this country: A majority of young Americans have lost faith in our government. According to a 2015 Harvard poll, only 17% of 18-29 year olds trust Congress as an institution.

      Having spent three years as a student organizer, I’ve witnessed this political distrust first hand. Many young people view Congress as an auction house, in which politicians are bought via political donation. Given our dysfunctional campaign finance and lobbying systems, none of this should come as a surprise. Indeed, most Americans of all ages believe politicians are more responsive to large donors than their constituents.

    • 8 States Still Have Holidays Celebrating The Confederacy

      Over 150 years ago, the state of Alabama took up arms against the United States in order to defend the state’s practice of enslaving black people and forcing them to work to enrich white property owners. Today, the state celebrates its four years of treason in defense of slavery with a statewide holiday.

      Under Alabama law, the fourth Monday in April is “Confederate Memorial Day” — and this is actually one of two Confederate-themed holidays celebrated by the state. State law also recognizes the first Monday in January as a celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday. State offices, courts, and licensing offices are all closed on Monday because of the state holiday.

    • Psychologists Who Designed the CIA Torture Program Can Be Sued by Victims, Federal Judge Rules

      For the first time, a federal judge is allowing torture victims to sue the psychologists who devised the CIA’s brutal interrogation methods that included sleep deprivation, starvation and forcing captives into coffin-like boxes.

    • Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood most popular leader in Wales, says poll

      Poll suggests Welsh nationalists could become second biggest party ahead of Tories in next week’s assembly election

    • Protests in motion: When films inspire rights’ movements

      Films, like every kind of art, are often made purely for cinema’s sake – but sometimes they aren’t. Some of the most iconic recent films have actually played a major role in inspiring rights’ movements and protests around the world.

      Ten Years, recipient of Hong Kong’s best film award on 3 April 2016, is just one of the latest examples of how cinema can side up with rights: films have often given protests momentum and a cultural reference.

      Sometimes, directors have spoken out publicly in favour of protests; other times the films themselves have documented political abuses. In other cases, protesters and activists have given a film a new life, turning it into an icon for their protests on social media even against the directors’ original ideas.

    • Internet Protections Enshrined In Brazil’s Marco Civil Framework Under Threat From New Laws

      Clearly, if these bills pass in their present form, they will nullify many of the safeguards found in the Marco Civil. The key vote is expected to take place on April 27, and the EFF has a page where you can ask Brazilian lawmakers to reject the proposals. There is also a joint statement to the Brazilian congress, which companies active in the country are invited to sign.

    • Oklahoma Is About to Enact a Bill That Would Jail Abortion Providers

      In the most draconian statewide anti-abortion measure yet, the Oklahoma state House of Representatives approved a state Senate bill last week that could make nearly all abortions in the state illegal and jail doctors who provide the procedure.

      The measure, SB 1522, would make it a felony to perform an abortion, with no exceptions for a woman’s health. The minimum punishment for those who do so would be one year in prison. If it is discovered that they have provided an abortion, doctors would be stripped of their state medical licenses. The only exception to these rules would be abortions to save the life of the mother, and the bill makes clear that the threat of suicide by a woman seeking an abortion doesn’t fulfill the “life” requirement. The bill is now with Gov. Mary Fallin. It’s unclear if she will sign it, though historically she has supported anti-abortion legislation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Preventing Customers From Accessing Starz Streaming App, Can Only Offer Flimsy Reasons Why

      Last year, we noted that Comcast was refusing to let the company’s customers access HBO’s streaming video service on certain platforms. In order to watch a service like HBO Go on your Roku or, say, gaming console, you need to log in using your cable credentials, as with most “TV Everywhere” type services. Most cable operators had no problem quickly enabling this authentication, but when it came to say — HBO Go on Roku or the Playstation 3 or 4, Comcast refused to let the services work. Why? If users can’t access this content via a third-party app, they’re more likely to watch the content on Comcast’s own apps, devices, and services.

    • FCC To Ban Charter Communications From Imposing Usage Caps If It Wants Merger Approval

      If you recall, the FCC and DOJ blocked Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, in large part because of the sheer volume of nonsensical benefits Comcast tried to claim the deal would bring consumers. When Charter Communications subsequently announced its own acquisition of the company, it decided to take a different tack; most notably by taking a more congenial tone with regulators, dialing back the tone-deaf rhetoric and astroturf, and even hiring long-time net neutrality and consumer advocate Marvin Ammori to help seal the deal.

      And it’s now apparent that Charter’s approach paid off. After months of meetings with regulators, both the FCC and the DOJ have announced they intend to approve the deal — with a few conditions. After Bloomberg leaked word of the looming approval, FCC boss Tom Wheeler issued a statement saying (pdf) that most of the conditions being attached to the deal will focus on preventing Charter from harming Internet video competitors.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MPP Amends HIV Licensing Agreement To Cover More Countries

      The Medicines Patent Pool announced today that its current licensing agreement with ViiV Healthcare for a new antiretroviral drug will be extended to all lower middle-income countries.

      According to an MPP press release, this decision to amend the agreement allows generic dolutegravir distribution in four countries with patents that were not covered in the initial agreement: Armenia, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine. These were the last lower middle-income countries remaining uncovered, it said.

    • Own name defence narrowed in Europe

      The recently introduced EU trade mark reforms limit the scope of the own name defence. James Whymark and Rachel Boakes explain why the change was introduced, and ask if it is really necessary

    • Federal Cause of Action for Trade Secret Misappropriation

      Nothing is likely to deter the DTSA from passing on Wednesday. The House Leadership is not permitting further amendments prior to the vote and no strong opposition has been voiced other than a group of law professors. States-rights activists have not suggested any reason why the traditional state-law-tort should not also be a federal cause of action.

    • World IP Day – Anne Frank & Geo-blocking Special

      The case highlights the curious lack of copyright harmonisation across the EU, which goes against the single-market premise. Under a single market, capital, goods and services are freely able to move. This freedom stems requires moving towards harmonisation in domestic regulations, lower barriers to trade and reduced restrictions on labour mobility, among others. The goal is to create a trade bloc which functions more like a single European economy, rather than a collection of smaller economies. In theory, this creates a stronger economy that is able to compete internationally with other large economies such as the U.S. and China. In practice, well, geo-blocking is only one example of a number of contentious issues.

    • Trademarks

      • Courts clarify OEM trade mark infringement

        Original equipment manufacturing for export raises several potential trade mark issues in China. Matthew Murphy, Yu Du and Joyce Chng examine the impact of the recent Pretul and Dong Feng cases

      • How to protect your brand when your endorser goes rogue

        Sports sponsorship is big business, and can bring benefits to both the brand owner and the endorser. Nisha Kumar discusses how you can minimise the damage when things go wrong

      • Court Dismisses Trademark Suit Brought By Racetracks Against Gaming Company Referencing Historical Races

        We don’t see nearly enough good trademark rulings, especially concerning Fair Use, that it’s worthwhile in highlighting those that do occur. A nice recent example of this is a court tossing a trademark action started by several horse racing tracks against a gambling gaming company over the latter’s use of track names. To get just a bit of background on this, Encore Racing Based Games makes electronic gambling games, including video slots and video poker. You see these types of machines in bars and restaurants wherever this type of gaming has become legal. But they also make a more innovative type of game in which players are presented with historical races and given the option to bet on them in a parimutuel fashion. The results, as best as I can tell, are based on the real-world outcomes of what I assume are obscure enough races that people aren’t able to simply look up the results on their smartphones in whatever the allotted time is that they’re given. Those results and races, naturally, include the names of the venues in which they were run.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom and MEGA Ratchet Up War of Words

        Kim Dotcom and the site he founded, MEGA, appear to be at war. After Dotcom warned users to back up their files last week, MEGA hit back with an attack on the entrepreneur’s business plans, noting that his MegaNet project has failed to materialize. Unfazed, Dotcom says MEGA is losing a million dollars per month.

      • Pacemakers and Piracy: The Unintended Consequences of the DMCA for Medical Implants

        As networked computers disappear into our bodies, working their way into hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses, information security has never been more urgent — or personal. A networked body needs its computers to work well, and fail even better.

        Graceful failure is the design goal of all critical systems. Nothing will ever work perfectly, so when things go wrong, you want to be sure that the damage is contained, and that the public has a chance to learn from past mistakes.

        That’s why EFF has just filed comments with the FDA in an open docket on cyber-security guidelines for medical systems, letting the agency know about the obstacles that a species of copyright law — yes, copyright law! — has put in the way of medical safety.

04.25.16

Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Running Windows on System76

      By tonight, this laptop’s time as a Windows only machine will be over. As soon as I finish writing this, I plan to print a file copy of my return, which got mailed before last Monday’s deadline by the way, and also save a copy of the file that Tax Act created to a USB drive so I can move it to our desktop for safekeeping. Then I’ll be downloading the recently released Xubuntu 16.04 for a review, partitioning the hard drive to save Windows for next year’s taxes and then seeing what our new laptop can do running a real operating system.

  • Server

    • Debunked! The CIA-Docker connection

      Some readers may have been alarmed to also learn that one of the companies that presented at a summit sponsored by In-Q-Tel was Docker. But Docker’s involvement with In-Q-Tel appears limited to a government support contract for its software — a wholly uncontroversial connection between Docker and the spy agency.

  • Kernel Space

    • Inside The Mind Of Linus Torvalds — Open Source, Linux, And Power Of Code

      Linus could be very easily regarded as one of the most influential peoples of last century who created a software that serves as the foundation of the 21st-century computing. Notably, he changes the technology twice — first with the Linux kernel, and again with Git, the source code management system being used all over the world by developers to maintain their code.

    • Kernel 4.4.8 Has Been Released
    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.6 RC5, Final Release Lands Mid-May

      Just a few moments ago, April 24, Linus Torvalds made his regular Sunday announcement about the next RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.6 kernel.

      Things are looking great and safe for the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.6, and while this fifth RC build is considerably bigger than the previous one, it still remains in the normal range, at least as Linus Torvalds sees it, and Linux 4.6 might just be one of those rare releases to not even get a seventh RC.

      “If things continue this way, this might be one of those rare releases that don’t even get to rc7. At least that’s how it feels now, although to be honest I suspect that even if things continue this calm I’d do the normal rc7 just because there’s no particular hurry or reason not to,” said Linus Torvalds in today’s announcement.

    • Linux 4.6-rc5 Is Another Fairly Calm Weekly Kernel Update
    • Linux 4.6 rc5
    • Kernel 4.2.8 CKT8 Has Been Released
    • /dev/random – a new approach

      The venerable Linux /dev/random served users of cryptographic mechanisms well for a long time. Its behavior is well understood to deliver entropic data. In the last years, however, the Linux /dev/random showed signs of age where it has challenges to cope with modern computing environments ranging from tiny embedded systems, over new hardware resources such as SSDs, up to massive parallel systems as well as virtualized environments.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Reordering a Qt Quick ListView via drag’n’drop

        It is common in user interfaces to provide the user with a list of elements which can be reordered by dragging them around. Displaying a list of elements with Qt Quick is easy, thanks to the ListView component. Giving the user the ability to reorder them is less straightforward. This 3 article series presents one approach to implementing this.

      • A note to those who test kde apps building them from sources
      • Google Summer of Code,2016

        So, finally, the wait is over. The result of GSoC selections is out and Voila! my proposal has been accepted and is now a GSoC project. I would like to thank KDE community, my mentor, and co-mentors for their support and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this programme. I will be working on the project LabPlot (KDEdu) which is a KDE-application for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data. LabPlot provides an easy way to create, manage and edit plots.

      • open365, let’s declare war at Google and Microsoft

        Open365 is a public and/or private cloud designed to compete with the likes of Google Drive or Office365 by leveraging all the best free software out there.

        The service is designed to scale horizontally as well as to be resilient to components crashing or going crazy. In order to achieve this we have implemented a microservice architecure that communicate using a bus (rabbitmq) plus some other tricks so we can scale using commodity hardware horizontally. Nothing fancy, nothing revolutionary but it had to be done :)

        Finally, we’ve integrated under the same system very well know software solutions for File sinchronization, PIM (Email, calendar,contacts…) and office.

        Specifically

        Seafile
        Kontact
        Libreoffice

        For the last two, we re using SPICE and our HTML5/Javascript client to run those applications in the server and send only the interface to the Web browser in a really efficient way.

      • clazy: Suppressing warnings
      • Summer Is Coming

        First, we managed to kill of projects.kde.org for good. It used to run ChiliProject – which has been discontinued and no longer provides security updates – and used to be a constant source of headaches for the syasadmins, with the seemingly endless HTTP 500 ISEs we’d generate. After it went down in the middle of CKI – and resulted in a few embarrassing moments in the middle of talks – we decided it had to go.

      • Interview with Tomáš Marek

        I’m a GNU/Linux user and when I wanted to paint I always had to reboot to Windows to use Photoshop for painting, so with Krita I don’t have to use Windows at all.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Primed For Release

        The GNOME3-forked Cinnamon Desktop is ready for its 3.0 milestone.

        Linux Mint lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged version 3.0 of Cinnamon within their official Git repository on GitHub. Cinnamon 3.0.0 succeeds Cinnamon 2.8 and adds an option for showing/hiding the favorite box in the menu applet, new default application buttons, changes to the sound settings, effects on dialogs and menus are enabled by default, power setting improvements, and many bug fixes.

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Environment Tagged for Linux Mint 18, Here’s What’s New

        Linux Mint project leader and Cinnamon lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment as ready for release on the project’s GitHub page.

        Therefore, we’re happy to inform you today, April 25, 2016, that the development cycle of the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment has ended, and it should hit the stable repositories of various GNU/Linux operating systems, such as Arch Linux, in the coming days.

        Cinnamon 3.0 has been tagged as ready for deployment in the upcoming Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” distribution, which should hit the streets this summer, sometimes around June or July, but we should be able to get an early taste in the coming weeks as the developers will announce the RC (Release Candidate) version.

  • Distributions

    • This Week In Solus – Install #27

      Welcome to the 27th installation of This Week in Solus and one I’m happy to say is actually being written and published on schedule.

    • Kali

      • Kali Linux 2016.1

        Kali Linux Kali Linux, which was formally known as BackTrack, is a forensic and security-focused distribution based on Debian’s Testing branch. Kali Linux is designed with penetration testing, data recovery and threat detection in mind. The project switched over to a rolling release model earlier this year in an effort to provide more up to date security utilities to the distribution’s users.

        I have been finding a lot of posts about Kali Linux from Linux newcomers on various forums and social media recently and this surprised me. Kali Linux is not marketed toward novice users, in fact the distribution has a fairly narrow focus (security, forensics and penetration testing) so I was eager to experiment with the distribution and see if I could find out why so many newcomers to Linux have been installing Kali as their first GNU/Linux distribution.

        Kali Linux is available in two editions, with each edition available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The main (or full) edition ships with the GNOME desktop and a large suite of security tools. The Light edition features fewer tools and the Xfce desktop. There is also an ARM port of Kali Linux. The 64-bit build of the main edition is 2.7GB in size and this is the ISO I downloaded for the purposes of my trial.

      • Kali Sana New Look & Features – Cyber Security OS
    • New Releases

      • Solus 1.2 Linux Operating System Is Coming in May with Multilib Support

        Josh Strobl from the Solus Project published earlier today, April 24, 2016, the twenty-seventh installment of the weekly “This Week In Solus” newsletter to inform the community about the latest news from the Solus OS land.

        This week’s newsletter reminds us that the second point release of the GNU/Linux operating system, Solus 1.2, is coming next month, in May, with multilib support, updated packages, and latest security patches.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Evangelizing open source: Interview with OSCON speaker Gabrielle Crevecoeur

      A recent graduate of Florida State University, Gabrielle Crevecoeur is a technical evangelist at Microsoft specializing in open source development. She will be speaking at OSCON about how to run the Johnny-Five Javascript framework on Arduino and have it sing Frozen’s hit song Let It Go. So, I caught up with her to ask some questions before her talk.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google open sources Chromium browser bug tracker

        Chrome is a proprietary software application development product… and Chromium is open source. Google draws its source code for Chrome from the Chromium project once it is happy with the stability and functionalities of features in production.

  • OpenStack

    • OpenStack’s director: Why open source cloud should be the core of your data center

      Six years ago over two days engineers from Rackspace and NASA met in Austin, Texas, for the very first OpenStack Summit. Six years later, OpenStack is returning to its roots.

      As it does so, OpenStack has cemented itself as the dominant open source IaaS platform. But at the same time, more proprietary offerings from vendors like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and VMware still seem to reign in the broader market.

    • Blueprint: Top 10 Use Cases for OpenStack SDN

      Years ago, Linux opened up the data center and made it programmable, uncorking a Genie’s bottle of previously unimagined use cases, wealth and possibilities that became known as the cloud. For years after the data center became a software-programmable cloud, networking remained the bottleneck in an otherwise programmable environment. Today, we’re seeing a similar transformation with the advent of SDN and NFV. Launching in 2010, a free and open-source software infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform for cloud computing, OpenStack, made it easier to configure cloud infrastructure by linking compute, storage, and networking resources to support a range of use cases. Now, SDN is not just supporting but driving some of the biggest innovations in cloud services. Enabling users to easily deploy and manage resources from a single pane of glass, production services that used to take months to provision are now live in mere minutes.

    • OpenStack by the numbers: Who’s using open source clouds and for what?

      The latest bi-annual survey data of OpenStack users shows a continuing march of the open source cloud software into mainstream of enterprises, but also the project’s continued challenges related to ease of deployment and management.

    • Kicking off the Summit, and more OpenStack news

      Catch up on the latest OpenStack happenings in this special summit edition of our weekly OpenStack news. Members of the Opensource.com team will be in Austin this week for the feature event, so be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn what’s happening this week in real time.

    • Akanda Releases New Version of OpenStack Astara at OpenStack Summit Austin

      Customers Can Cut the Cord With Over-the-Top Network Functions; Advanced Features for High Network Availability; and New IPV6 VPN Services for Hybrid Cloud & IOT Infrastructures

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria moves towards open source repository

      The Bulgarian parliament is likely to approve plans to start a repository for software developed by or for the government. The source code store is to be managed by a new organisation, the eGovernment Agency. The proposal has passed the first reading in the National Assembly on 15 April and is expected to be accepted by vote in May.

    • France Chooses Freedom

      It’s been a long time coming but France is now on its way to giving preference to ODF over M$’s mess of a standard for documents.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open Data Barometer 2015: 5 European countries in the Top 10

        The UK is still at the top of the barometer, but is now followed by the USA and France, both ranked second. France, which was third in 2014, received good marks in three criteria: government action, political impact and, citizens and civil rights.

  • Programming/Development

    • Q&A: Python Creator Guido van Rossum on How He Got His Start in Programming

      Guido van Rossum is the creator of Python, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Guido was kind enough to tell us his story, from growing up and discovering computers in the Netherlands, to creating Python and landing at Dropbox in San Francisco.

    • 5 Eclipse tools for processing and visualizing data

      Gone are the days of scientists processing data by hand. Scientific tools are rapidly scaling to meet the increasing demands of their users, both in terms of complexity and sheer volumes of data.

      In various domains, highly sophisticated scientific workbenches have been developed to enable scientists and researchers to quickly make sense of their data in a reproducible way. Several scientific workbenches have been built on top of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) framework and offer up open source environments for processing and visualizing data. The companies and institutions behind these workbenches got together to collaborate on these tools, and so the Eclipse Science Working Group was born.

Leftovers

  • England always dreaming

    No, this isn’t some misguided claim to England being the ‘home of football’, those days are long gone. Rather it is a means to understand how football frames both a brutish form of nationalism and the most popular version of internationalism. Sometimes at one and the same time. Football is the most global of sports because of its simplicity, its suitability to be played on almost any surface, with next to no equipment – ‘jumpers for goalposts’ will do – by bodies of any shape or size, and for the very few it is a route out of poverty from wherever they come. Football is both a global actor and a global subject. Football is played all over the world more or less according to those thirteen rules adopted more than 150 years ago. Our ‘English’ game couldn’t be more globalised : the players, the managers, the owners, the shirts sponsors, the fans, the TV audience.

  • Something Huge Is About to Go Down With Scientology That Could Destroy the ‘Church’ Once and for All

    The only daughter of rock icon Elvis Presley has been slowly pulling herself away from Scientology, to which she was introduced as a child by her mother, since at least 2008, reported Tony Ortega.

  • 14 Simple Charts For Teaching Children That Life Is Hard

    There’s a lot of harsh realities of life that people just don’t want to face. But people also love to look at pictures, especially if they think they’ll be smarter for doing so after.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fresh EU-US trade spat brewing over new plant breeding techniques

      The EU’s decision on how to regulate NPBTs is “not yet clear”, Commission officials admit.

      But in any case, time has come to “move away from a GMO-centered discussion” when it comes to innovation in plant reproductive materials, an EU spokesperson told EurActiv.com.

    • Making Polluters Pay In Flint Et Al

      Joining the furious voices of poisoned Flint residents calling for even “an ounce of accountability,” Green For All marked Earth Day by launching a national campaign calling on polluters to pay for what they break via a modified carbon tax to be invested back into the communities they trash. The campaign will start in Flint, where the Snyder administration trucked in clean water for state workers while continuing to contaminate residents, and where the many afflicted, now entirely dependent on bottled water, say they “feel like the walking dead.”

    • Journalism, Pro-GMO Triumphalism And Neoliberal Dogma In India

      Aiyar’s piece is standard pro-GMO PR. Unfortunately, this type of article is becoming all too common (see this and this). Instead of informing the public, this form of ‘journalism’ is designed to misrepresent facts and misinform the public on behalf of powerful commercial interests.

    • Ocean Pollutants Found in Tuna Weaken the Immune System

      Eating seafood tainted with a class of common, long-lasting environmental contaminants can weaken the human body’s ability to defend itself against toxic substances, a new study has found.

      A team of California scientists, led by Amro Hamdoun of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tested how exposure to 10 persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, affected an important cellular protein found in most animals and plants.

    • ‘Poverty is a death sentence,’ Sanders declares during Baltimore stop

      Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders used a campaign stop Saturday in this economically challenged city to decry the difference between the life expectancies of the nation’s rich and poor, declaring that “poverty is a death sentence.”

      “If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood, your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood,” the senator from Vermont said, adding that “15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank.”

    • CIA invests in Skincential Sciences, a firm that collects DNA painlessly

      The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via its venture capital branch In-Q-Tel has provided funding to a beauty products manufacturing company called Skincential Sciences. Wondering why the CIA would be interested in skincare products? It is because Skincential Sciences has patented a technology that painlessly collects human DNA.

    • What Do You Do When Your Family Was the Victim of CIA Mind-Control Experiments?

      In 1956, her grandmother, Velma Orlikow, checked into Montreal’s Allan Memorial Institute for postpartum depression. Orlikow was treated by renowned psychiatrist Dr Ewen Cameron, whose controversial “de-patterning” treatment—prolonged, drug-induced sleep comas, followed by multiple doses of electroshock therapy—turned out to be a part of Project MKUltra.

    • Early Lessons From Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

      So what can other countries learn from the U.S. experience with marijuana legalization?

  • Security

    • Does Your Email Provider Know What A “Joejob” Is?

      The first inklings that Google had reservations about delivering mail coming from my bsdly.net domain came earlier this year, when I was contacted by friends who have left their email service in the hands of Google, and it turned out that my replies to their messages did not reach their recipients, even when my logs showed that the Google mail servers had accepted the messages for delivery.

      [...]

      The forum is primarily intended as a support channel for people who host their mail at Google (this becomes very clear when you try out some of the web accessible tools to check domains not hosted by Google), so the only practial result was that I finally set up DKIM signing for outgoing mail from the domain, in addition to the SPF records that were already in place. I’m in fact less than fond of either of these SMTP addons, but there were anyway other channels for contact with my friends, and I let the matter rest there for a while.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Pentagon’s Twisted Potlatch

      The global military-industrial complex similarly stands outside normal market economics. You can’t buy a nuke or even an F-35 on Amazon. The state intervenes in the economy in order to guarantee the production of these items and ensure that they are not available through normal market mechanisms. The state does so, moreover, not so much to make money from their sale — though this happens, too — but to reaffirm the country’s status.

    • Kagame Goes to Harvard

      Never underestimate the global myopia and indifference that lurks beneath the surface of the United States’ supposedly Leftist higher educational system. Between August of 2005 and May of 2006, I worked as a visiting professor of American History at a Midwestern public university. The U.S. was into the third year of one the most monumental, mass-murderous, and openly imperial crimes in history: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Where, I asked students and faculty, was the on-campus antiwar movement? Where were the protests and teach-ins on and against Washington’s egregious and blood-soaked assault on Mesopotamia, sold on thoroughly false pretexts and already estimated to have the caused the premature death of many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?

    • The ‘Credibility’ Illusion

      The Obama administration protects its “credibility” by refusing to budge on its claims about the 2013 Syria-sarin case or the 2014 plane shoot-down in eastern Ukraine even as the evidence shifts, writes Robert Parry.

    • Oil and Amnesia: Obama and Saudi Arabia’s “Forgotten” Ties to 9/11

      Poor old Barack. Off he goes to Riyadh to talk to his so-called ally, Saudi Arabia. The Sunni Wahhabi kingdom long ago run out of patience with the US president, who befriended Shiite Iran and who failed to destroy the Alawite (read: Shiite) regime in Syria. So why is Obama even bothering coming to the Gulf? Does he have any friends left among the kings, emirs and princes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Emirates and Oman?

    • ‘True Cost of Covert Killings’ Demanded as Drone Strike Victims Speak Out

      The environmental engineer from Sanaa, Yemen continued his lengthy battle for justice on Wednesday, filing a federal lawsuit (pdf) in Washington, D.C. demanding his “a legal right under FOIA” for the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury to provide him with pertinent information about the strike that killed his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in 2012.

      Thus far, according to human rights organization Reprieve, which is representing Jaber, the agencies have not provided “substantive responses” to FOIA requests related to the killings.

      Reprieve points to the contrast between the administration’s treatment of Jaber with that of a 2015 drone strike that killed an American, Warren Weinstein, and an Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto.

    • Stiffing Iran on the Nuke Deal

      Secretary of State Kerry boasts about how little Iran has gotten from the nuclear deal – accessing only $3 billion of its frozen assets – but that hurts U.S. credibility and endangers the deal, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Obama may be preaching ‘tough love’ to Saudi – but arms sales tell another story

      When President Barack Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for a meeting of Gulf leaders, he was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, instead of the Saudi king. Unlike his previous visits, Obama’s arrival was not broadcast on Saudi state television with its usual pomp and circumstance. It was one sign of how livid Saudi leaders are at Obama and his administration – the decades-long Saudi-US alliance has rarely been more tense.

      Saudi rulers believe that Obama has shifted US foreign policy to be more friendly toward Iran, especially after his administration expended considerable political capital to reach a nuclear deal with Tehran last summer. Obama also reduced direct US involvement in the Middle East, resisting calls to intervene military in Syria and to send more US troops to Iraq. And Saudi leaders were particularly upset after Obama suggested in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that they should figure out ways to “share the neighborhood” with Iran.

    • War out of sight, sacrifice out of mind

      In practice, roughly 1 percent of the population bears the burden of actually fighting our wars. A country that styles itself a democracy ought to find this troubling. Yet unlike the inequitable distribution of income, which generates considerable controversy, this inequitable distribution of sacrifice generates almost none. Even in a presidential election year, it finds no place on the nation’s political agenda. In the prevailing culture of choice, those choosing to remain on the sidelines are not to be held accountable for the fate that befalls those choosing to go fight.

    • A Note on Clinton’s Faux-Concern

      Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on the 43 students for La Opinión show the media’s failure to judge her pandering rhetoric against her actual, substantive actions. When she states she is indignant about the case, she erases her role in the violence engulfing Mexico. The corporate media allows this, because their pages never print about the US-role in Mexico’s War on Drugs.

    • What We Know About The Mass Shooting In Ohio

      On Friday, officials in the Appalachian region of Ohio announced that eight people had been killed execution-style, all members of the Rhoden family. The mass shooting happened over four crime scenes within miles of each other in the early hours of Friday morning.

      The victims include seven adults and one teenager, and investigators believe the family was targeted. Each was shot in the head, “executed,” according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and some were still in their beds. DeWine released their names on Saturday evening. Three children, ages three years, six months, and four days, were the only survivors at the crime scenes.

    • Pakistan dismisses claims of ties to 2009 suicide bombing targeting CIA officers

      Declassified US diplomatic cable says bomber of listening post in Afghanistan was‘triple agent’ and top Pakistani spy agency paid $200,000 to facilitate attack

    • John Brennan, CIA chief, in Bosnia on unannounced counterterrorism visit
    • Head of the CIA arrives in Bosnia for anti-terrorism talks
    • CIA accidentally left explosives on a school bus after training exercise
    • CIA accidentally leaves ‘explosives’ material in Virginia school bus engine for a WEEK after K-9 training exercises at local school
    • CIA ‘inadvertently’ left explosive training material under school bus
    • Anniversary of an Attempt to Overthrow France’s Charles De Gaulle. Did CIA Help?

      Evidence suggests that Allen Dulles, the US Director of the CIA, and his numerous contacts deep within the French government, helped orchestrate the plot.

      Many French — along with Dulles — feared an independent Algeria would fall into the hands of Communists, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.

    • Life on a CIA Kill List in Pakistan

      VICE News meets Malik Jalal in Pakistan and London to find out about a legal action he is pursuing to get his name stripped from the kill list — and prevent further drone strikes in North Waziristan.

    • The Strange Death of Hugo Chavez: an Interview with Eva Golinger

      Eva Golinger– I believe there is a very strong possibility that President Chavez was assassinated. There were notorious and documented assassination attempts against him throughout his presidency. Most notable was the April 11, 2002 coup d’etat, during which he was kidnapped and set to be assassinated had it not been for the unprecedented uprising of the Venezuelan people and loyal military forces that rescued him and returned him to power within 48 hours. I was able to find irrefutable evidence using the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that the CIA and other US agencies were behind that coup and supported, financially, militarily and politically, those involved. Later on, there were other attempts against Chavez and his government, such as in 2004 when dozens of Colombian paramilitary forces were captured on a farm outside of Caracas that was owned by an anti-Chavez activist, Robert Alonso, just days before they were going to attack the presidential palace and kill Chavez.

    • Hidden Costs of US Air War

      When Russian air strikes kill civilians in Syria, it is big news in U.S. newspapers, but there is near-total silence when U.S. bombs kill civilians in Iraq or Syria, a human rights dilemma addressed by Nicolas J S Davies.

      [...]

      Previous statements by U.S. officials have absurdly claimed that over 40,000 U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria have killed as few as 26 civilians. Speaking to USA Today, a senior Pentagon official who is briefed daily on the air war dismissed such claims, noting that heavier civilian casualties were inevitable in an air war that has destroyed 6,000 buildings with over 40,000 bombs and missiles.

    • Yes, Prince Faisal, We Need to ‘Recalibrate’ Our Relationship

      For decades the US and Saudi Arabia have shared a peculiar relationship: the Saudis sell relatively cheap oil to the United States for which they accept our fiat currency. They then recycle those paper dollars into the US military-industrial complex through the purchase of billions of dollars worth of military equipment, and the US guarantees the security of the Saudi monarchy.

      By accepting only dollars for the sale of its oil, the Saudis help the dollar remain the world’s reserve currency. This has meant that we can export inflation, finance the warfare/welfare state, and delay our day of financial reckoning.

      But it seems this longstanding entangling alliance is coming apart.

    • Obama Bows to Turkish Genocide Denial as Erdogan Calls for War on Armenia

      President Obama broke a campaign promise in refusing to honor the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians so as not to anger Erdogan, his dictatorial, terror sponsoring counterpart.

    • Turkish border guards ‘shoot eight Syrian refugees dead’ including women and children trying to reach safety

      Women and children are among eight Syrian refugees reportedly shot dead by Turkish border guards while trying to reach safety.

      Footage obtained by The Times showed survivors of the alleged attack fleeing down a mountain path for treatment to their injuries.

      One man was seen carrying his young son, who appeared to be bleeding heavily from gunshot wounds in both legs.

    • Saudi Arabia, 9/11, and the secret papers that could ignite a diplomatic war

      Twenty-eight secret pages of a report locked away in a room in the Capitol in Washington lie in the centre of a crisis between America and Saudi Arabia which threatens to have severe and widespread repercussions.

      The US Congress is considering legislation which would enable the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, presented by the West as its most valuable ally in the Middle East, over alleged links with al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks on New York and Washington.

      The issue had cast a long shadow over the recent visit of President Barack Obama to Riyadh, with the Saudis threatening to sell off $750bn of American assets they hold if the bill is passed by Congress.

    • Clooney Joins Armenians to Mark Anniversary of Massacre

      Actor George Clooney presented a $1.1 million award on the 101st anniversary of a massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks to a Burundi woman who offered sanctuary to thousands of orphans in the middle of a civil war there.

      The killing of more than 200 Armenian intellectuals on April 24, 1915 is regarded as the start of the massacre that is widely viewed by historians as the first genocide of the 20th century in which they estimate 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered.

      Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects that the deaths constitute genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

    • Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil

      To illustrate with another example of dog-whistle diplomacy: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped the country’s president, Mel Zelaya, and flew him out of the country. The White House statement in response did not condemn this coup, but rather called on “all political and social actors in Honduras” to respect democracy.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • First TransparencyCamp to take place in Europe

      TransparencyCamp Europe is to take place for the first time as part of a series of events to promote transparency and Open Government in the EU.

      The event, scheduled on June 1st 2016 in Amsterdam, is organised by the Dutch Open State Foundation and the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Netherlands holds the presidency in the first half of 2016.

    • Slovenia: a portal to monitor country’s legislative footprint

      Several civil society organisations in Slovenia have developed a portal to make legislative processes more transparent for citizens.

    • Will The Panama Papers Kill Journalism?

      During the past years, investigative journalism has changed. Pioneered by WikiLeaks, whistle-blowing has transformed from a lonely activity to a new kind of publication. From CableGate, to LuxLeaks, then to SwissLeaks and the revelations of Chelsea Manning, from Edward Snowden, Herve Falciani and Carmen Segara, today we arrived at the Panama Papers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It?

      In just two decades, the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half.

    • Victory: Kinder Morgan Nixes New England Pipeline Plan

      Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has suspended its plans to build a fracked gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, citing poor demand for its gas in a statement (pdf) released late Wednesday. Pipeline opponents are cheering the decision.

      The pipeline would have cost over $3 billion and spanned nearly 200 miles, according to the Boston Globe.

      “I read the announcement from Kinder Morgan that they had suspended their process” for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, said Bob Hamilton, chairman of the board of selectmen in Rindge, N.H., which was on the pipeline’s route. “I led the room in a happy dance.”

      “They said that we would welcome them with open arms, and it was the opposite,” Elisa Benincaso of Rindge told New Hampshire’s WMUR.

    • Fox Uses Stuffed Armadillo to Persuade Viewers ‘There’s Nothing to Worry About With Global Warming’

      Fox News on Sunday invited self-styled climate expert Marc Morano to explain how a stuffed armadillo could prove that climate change was a hoax.

    • Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites

      Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham travelled to Chinchilla in South Western Queensland to investigate the impact of the coal seam gas industry on the environment as part of the Greens’ campaign to ban fracking and unconventional gas in Australia.

      “I was shocked by the force of the explosion when I tested whether gas boiling through the Condamine River, Qld was flammable,” Buckingham said. “So much gas is bubbling through the river that it held a huge flame for over an hour.”

    • “We’re wasteful”: Catherine McKenna wants Canada to step up its climate game

      Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she gets frustrated when she searches for a spot to lock up her bike on Parliament Hill.

      “I’m a huge cyclist, so it just drives me crazy that there are no bike racks out in front of Parliament Hill, because I think if you have them out there, people will see — they will be reminded — that it’s actually faster to get around by bike,” she told her parliamentary colleagues this week.

    • You can buy a cheap chicken today, but we all pay for it in the long run

      Have you ever asked yourself why an everyday “value” chicken can now be cheaper, pound for pound, than bread? Cheap chicken has become the “healthy” meat of choice for most shoppers and sales are booming, up 20% since 2000 in the UK. But is it really either cheap or healthy?

      Producers who use intensive methods are not financially accountable for the harm they cause. The apparently cheap price tag of industrial chicken does not include any of the costs related to pollution of the environment, destruction of natural capital, greenhouse gas emissions or the damage to public health resulting from such systems. It turns out that low-cost chicken isn’t cheap at all.

    • The world’s largest primate is being wiped out by war

      The population of the world’s largest primate — a gorilla subspecies that lives in a region of Central Africa beset by conflict — is collapsing.

      Back in 1998, a team of researchers estimated that 17,000 Grauer’s gorillas, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, lived in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    • Cuomo administration rejects Constitution pipeline

      The Cuomo administration has denied the water quality permits for a controversial pipeline in what has become another primary test of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental legacy.

      On Friday, which is Earth Day, the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the water quality certificate the pipeline developers need to begin construction. Most of the pipeline’s federal permits have already been approved and the project developers have already shipped all of the pieces into the state and even began clearing trees in Pennsylvania.

    • Internationational Gathering of ”Berta Caceres Lives On” Ends in Violence

      The aggressors were paid 250 lempiras, the equivalent of USD$11 dollars, by one of the companies implementing the Agua Zarca dam project, according to local residents.

    • This Earth Day, Lets Defend Earth’s Defenders

      Almost 7 weeks have passed since Berta’s murder, and the Honduran government has no answers. Much like the more than 100 environmental activists that have been killed there since 2010, her case is unlikely to be solved. In 2014, the country’s impunity rate was a shameful 96% according to Honduran NGO, Alliance for Peace and Justice. Yet, leaders claim the situation is improving and the murder rate is dropping. That’s what former Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales told a group of NGOs assembled recently in Washington. A few days later he resigned his post after being linked to the murders of several police officials when he was security minister.

    • “Grim Drumbeat” Behind Historic Climate Agreement

      As the Independent puts it “But even if countries manage to bring the agreement into effect soon, it may not be enough. Scientists say that the measures in the document might not be enough to keep temperatures below the 2 degrees Celsius limit that, if breached, could cause huge damage across the world.”

      John Sterman, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells the Independent: Even “if the Paris pledges are implemented in full, they are not enough to get us even close to a 2-degree pathway. I don’t think people understand how urgent it is.”

      There is increasing evidence that the politics is not keeping up with the world’s rapidly changing climate: As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis report in the Washington Post, there is a “grim drumbeat” behind today’s agreement…

    • Towards a post-nuclear Ukraine

      Ukraine’s energy oligarchs have a strong voice in the country’s day-to-day politics. Take the concentration of the thermal coal power market, for instance: thermal is largely steered by the DTEK conglomerate, which is Ukraine’s largest energy company, and is controlled by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man. In the past, DTEK was able to negotiate a strong position (and higher tariffs) for coal generation, which, in turn, had to be cross-financed by lower prices for nuclear power.

    • Chernobyl, and Cesium, at 30

      April 26 is the 30th anniversary of the reactor meltdown and radiation disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, which brings to mind cesium. Thirty years is how long it takes for half a given amount of cesium-137 — dispersed in huge quantities from Chernobyl (and Fukushima) — to decay into radioactive barium. This 30-year “half-life” means half of Chernobyl’s jettisoned cesium-137 is still around — over four million billion “Becquerels” in Europe alone, according to TORCH: The Other Report on Chernobyl. This cesium will persist in decreasing amounts in soil, water, and food for another 270 years.

    • Goldman Prize for a Gold Mining Opponent

      A petite woman from Peru has been honored with a huge award, the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, for years of principled resistance to the Colorado-based gold-seeking conglomerate Newmont Mining Company.

    • Climate Change Has All But Destroyed Great Barrier Reef, Study Confirms

      More than 90 percent of world’s largest living ecosystem has been hit by “severe” coral bleaching

    • Chris Hedges and Josh Fox on Holding Onto Our Humanity Amid Climate Change

      Hedges observes the similarities between his own book, “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” and Fox’s film, noting that both “empower the imagination.” While Fox acknowledges that his latest documentary doesn’t pull any punches, he says he intended it to remind viewers why the human species is “worth keeping on this planet.”

    • New Campaign Calls For Polluters ‘To Pay For What They Break’

      The California experience could be a sign that so-called polluters pay funds could multiply across the nation. After all, California is a pioneer in progressive laws and programs that other states then pick up. Yet, creating a polluters pay fund puts communities against polluters, which are often wealthy businesses or corporations that oppose more stringent laws in the first place. What’s more, Green For All proposes the Clean Power Plan, a court-challenged rule that calls for reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, to be used as a vessel for the fund.

      The plan, now under a Supreme Court stay, has been opposed by many lawmakers and multiple states. However, the rule also enjoys its share of support and some states are moving forward with it. Truong said a polluters pay fund attached to the plan could bring communities to rally around the controversial rule.

    • “It’s Possible”: Koch Brother Says Hillary Clinton Might Be Best Choice for Him

      ‘We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,’ says billionaire industrialist and far-right ideologue

    • Prominent Conservative Will Only Support Republican Candidates If They Walk Back Policy Positions

      Conservative billionaire Charles Koch said “it’s possible” Hillary Clinton could be a better president than any of the current GOP candidates.

      In an interview on ABC News’ This Week that aired Sunday, Koch said that Bill Clinton was “in some ways” a better president than George W. Bush. “As far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times [greater] under Bush than it was under Clinton.”

      “So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican next time around?” asked ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

    • Philadelphia Prison System Receives Accolades from EPA

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the City of Philadelphia today for its innovative food recovery achievements at the Philadelphia Prison System that include composting 1.35 tons of wasted food each day and saving the city $31,000 each year in landfill fees.

    • We’re flirting with apocalypse: The planet inches ever closer to the 1.5°C threshold

      Global leaders are meeting in New York this week to sign the Paris climate agreement. One of the expressed purposes of the document is to limit warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”

      A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December.

      February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C.

    • “Global Elite’s Theater”: Paris Deal Is Mere Starting Point for Climate Justice

      The Paris climate agreement, hammered out at last December’s COP21 talks and signed Friday by close to 170 nations, is alternately being hailed as “a turning point for humanity” and denounced as “a dangerous distraction.”

      There’s no doubt that the deal “is the capstone of years and years of hard work,” as Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) president Ken Kimmell put it on Thursday.

    • Cattle in Grizzly Country

      Coexistence, commonsense and compassion must be the norm rather than the exception when we get around to removing Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.

  • Finance

    • Trade backers hope for ‘watershed’ Obama visit

      President Barack Obama will try to rally reluctant Europeans behind a U.S.-EU trade deal when he touches down in Germany Sunday, but he doesn’t exactly arrive with the political trade winds at his back.

      Back home in the United States, anti-trade sentiment in both parties is the highest in a generation, and nearly all of Obama’s potential successors are hardening their views on the subject — with potential implications for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • While Workers Struggle for $15, CEOs Enjoy Obscene Pay Raises

      Interestingly, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, Easterbrooks’ 368% raise is quite consistent with the overall pay increase enjoyed by the top 0.1% of earners over the past several decades.

    • TTIP Is Dying; Here’s How to Help Finish It Off

      There are no comparable figures for the UK, but they probably wouldn’t be as good: the almost total lack of media coverage on TTIP and CETA might make cynics suspect a conspiracy, and many people in the UK have never heard of it. If asked, they would probably say they were in favour of a trade deal with the US – indeed, some surveys carried out for the European Commission ask precisely that question, and get generally favourable answers. That’s not surprising, since the problem is not so much with US trade deals in general as TTIP in particular: when people find out exactly what is in TTIP they are generally pretty appalled at what is being done in their name.

      Given the reluctance of mainstream media to provide objective information – if any – there’s not much we can do other than post to social media. One other thing we Europeans can all do is to contact our politicians expressing our concerns, and asking them some questions about their knowledge and support or otherwise for TTIP.

      Linda Kaucher, the main organiser of the Stop TTIP movement in the UK, has put together a useful sample letter for UK citizens to send to their MPs to do precisely that. It could easily be modified for other EU countries. Ideally, you could take the letter and edit it to make it more personal, but the most important thing is to send it to your political representatives so that they appreciate the strength of public opinion on the topic of TTIP and CETA.

    • Hillary’s State Department Stopped Haiti From Increasing Its Minimum Wage to 61 Cents

      The #FightFor15 movement is continuing to make gains. After steamrolling through large urban centers such as Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, now it may be coming to entire states near you. New York and California recently adopted a $15 statewide minimum wage, and both Democratic presidential candidates have advocated extending the policy nationwide.

    • Bernie Sanders Calls Out Hillary Clinton for Supporting Soda Taxes

      Kenney wants to use the money the city gets from the tax to help fund preschool programs for Philadelphia. A government program for the children? Sign Hillary Clinton up immediately! She declared her support for the soda tax this week as a way to achieve this end.

    • Calling Corporate-Backed Deals an “Indisputable” Good, Obama Makes Pitch for TTIP

      Despite the tens of thousands of people who marched against the deal in Germany ahead of his arrival and the steady drop in support for such neoliberal trade deals overall, President Barack Obama stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and defended the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and said similar past deals have been an “indisputable” benefit to the U.S. economy.

      “It is indisputable that ["free trade"] has made our economy stronger,” Obama said during a joint news conference. “It has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world.”

      Though the failure of past deals like NAFTA have become rallying cries on both sides of the partisan aisle in this year’s U.S. presidential campaign—with middle- and working-class Americans speaking out against them like never before—Obama said Sunday that “the majority of people still favor trade” and “still recognize, on balance, that it’s a good idea.”

      Offering a quite visible contradiction to that assertion, tens of thousands marched in the streets of Hanover on Saturday to let both Obama and Merkel how strong their opposition to TTIP remains.

    • Obama and Merkel Should Change Course on TTIP and Heed Bipartisan, Transatlantic Revolt Against More-of-the-Same Trade Agreements
    • Beyond the Empire of Chaos: the Life Capital Solution

      In short, life capital provides the true goods of life which are now everywhere at risk without a life-value ground and compass to guide choice and action.

    • Tom DeLay, ex-CIA director ask judge to go easy on Dennis Hastert

      Attorneys for ex-speaker Dennis Hastert on Friday filed dozens of letters of support from former colleagues, constituents and friends, asking a federal judge to consider the former lawmaker’s decades of service when he is sentenced next week on bank fraud charge.

      Hastert, 74, pleaded guilty in October to one count of illegally structuring bank withdrawals, as part of an effort to payoff one of his former student-athletes from his days as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in a small town outside of Chicago decades ago, according to prosecutors.

    • Defend Brazil!

      Dilma Rousseff, whatever your foes are saying, whatever the Empire is uttering in its toxic and cynical voice, the Workers Part (PT) changed absolutely everything!

    • Bernie’s Right on Free Tuition — We Had It Once

      Brooklyn College also welcomed a son of Polish immigrants, Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He entered in 1959 and finished his degree at University of Chicago.

      Sen. Sanders has proposed a national program of free higher education for all at public colleges and universities. New Yorkers would return to a system that had worked for a century before ending 50 years ago.

    • Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers

      Birkenfeld, an American citizen, was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy.

    • Everyone Knows Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Speeches
    • Rich list: ‘Asylum King’ who houses migrants in budget hotels enters list of richest Britons

      He has been dubbed ‘The Asylum King’ after securing lucrative Home Office contracts to house refugees in his budget hotels.

      Now Britannia Hotels founder Alex Langsam, 77, has entered The Sunday Times rich list after amassing an estimate fortune of £220 million.

      The hotel chain, which has twice been voted the worst in Britain by consumer watchdog Which?, made £14 million in profit last year as the number of asylum seekers soared to 36,000-a-year.

    • New York Times plans to cut hundreds of jobs later this year

      Times CEO Mark Thompson, who has been working to restructure the staff to meet new challenges, saw his total compensation nearly double last year — to $8.7 million.

    • Quinn: After a year of slowing sales, Silicon Valley’s future takes shape

      Silicon Valley firms, large and small, are stepping over their competitors and former tech giants to become the new dominant players.

      It’s a story captured by this year’s SV150, this newspaper’s annual survey of the region’s top tech firms.

      As the merry-go-round of the giddy boom time slows — whether just taking a breather or coming to a stop — new players are emerging from sectors such as the Internet and social media, consumer information technology and health. Semiconductors and enterprise, meanwhile, are sinking lower on the SV150 list this year.

      [...]

      In Silicon Valley last year, tech companies overall boosted employee productivity by 2.2 percent.

      But productivity, determined by dividing sales by the number of employees, is a strange measure. The ratio raises as many questions as it answers.

      Did the company increase employee productivity by increasing sales or by cutting staff? The increased use of technology has often been cited as the reason companies that aren’t in the tech sector are able to increase employee productivity. If a machine can do a job faster or better, fewer employees are needed.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Countdown to the RNC Apocalypse: Republicans Still Can’t Control Trump as the Clock Ticks Down to the Convention

      But that’s for later. For now, the RNC members look like the rest of the party and many observers have for a solid year: Standing around scratching their heads, trying to figure out what the hell is going on and, wondering whether they can climb out of this mess.

    • The Corporate Media Echo Chamber

      As I mentioned above, none of this really matters to Senator Sanders and his supporters anymore, now that the media (and the immutable laws of mathematics) have announced that they are one big, all-white, hacky sack-playing bug splat after getting creamed in New York. Still, it is awe-inspiring to watch the corporate media at work.

      I can hardly wait for this year’s feature presentation, wherein Mrs Clinton and her neoliberal buddies save us all from Hitler … again.

    • Bernie Sanders Won’t Drop Out, Here’s Why

      With increasing intensity after each primary or caucus he loses — and for that matter after each primary or caucus he wins — party big-wigs call on him to concede the race and get out of Hillary Clinton’s way. Politico‘s informal April survey of anonymous Democratic “insiders” has nearly 90% wanting Sanders out no later than the DC primary in mid-June and only 10% urging him to hold out to the bitter end.

    • No One Thought It Was Possible: 12 Ways the Sanders Revolution Has Transformed Politics

      Sanders hasn’t just climbed from a 55-point deficit in national polls to being just 1.4 percent behind Hillary Clinton (who, counting her husband’s, is waging her fourth presidential campaign); he has fundamentally changed the national political landscape for the better by reviving the very best progressive traditions and principles within the Democratic Party.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Support Base as Bogus as US Democracy

      US elections, despite all the media hype and endless rhetoric about ‘democracy in action,’ are in fact little more than manufactured political theater. The country that ceaselessly trumpets democratic values and transparency practices neither when it comes to its own elections.

    • Inside the CIA’s Troubling Collaboration With Hollywood

      According to a 2012 audit report on the CIA’s engagement with the entertainment industry obtained by Leopold as part of a Freedom of Information request, the CIA has had its hand in at least 22 entertainment projects between 2006 and 2011, which run the gamut from books and movies to reality television. It’s all part of the CIA’s effort to work with entertainment professionals “to debunk myths about CIA and intelligence work, present a balanced and accurate image of the CIA and lend authenticity to entertainment industry projects,” according to the report.

    • American democracy is rigged

      The Republican and Democratic parties are functioning like two identical but competing Orwellian Ministries of Truth.

    • Everybody Wants Bernie Sanders’ ‘Precious’

      Bernie Sanders is a long way from conceding the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton. So party operatives won’t be getting their hands on his impressive, grass-roots list of voters and donors any time soon.

    • Described as ‘Most Pro-Worker in a Lifetime,’ Rank-and-File Union Backs Bernie

      Announcing democratic consensus of its members across all three regional chapters nationwide, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America said it was officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for president on Sunday.

      The 35,000-member UE—which uses “the members run this union” as its tagline—said it was support from rank-and-file members which drove the endorsement.

      “As more of our members around the country have seen and heard Bernie over the past few months, they’ve seen that his policies and priorities match our own,” said the EU’s general president Peter Knowlton in a statement. “There has been a groundswell of support for Bernie with members volunteering for the campaign.”

    • Forget Bernie Bros — the Worst Trolls Work in Corporate Media

      One of the more popular pastimes of establishment media pundits is complaining of their various “trolls”—anonymous, faceless basement dwellers who lurk online and harass with aggressive, non-stop vigor. But a recent online dust-up started by Washington Post columnist Philip Bump made something clear: When you factor in actual impact, big media pundits troll just as much as—if not more than—any random egg avatar on Twitter.

      [...]

      This is the living, breathing definition of trolling: provocation for its own sake. To deliberately seek a reaction from people in bad faith. It’s something one sees often: Corporate media use deliberately antagonizing headlines to solicit outrage and generate traffic—only to turn around and feign indignation when they get precisely the reaction they sought.

      As I’ve noted before, the “Bernie Bro” label—often used to describe pro-Sanders “trolls”—isn’t entirely without merit. As in any large system, there is a cohort of sexists lurking in the broader Sanders “movement,” and it’s useful to point this out when it happens. But the term has morphed into a catch-all to describe any online dissent aimed at traditional media, namely Clinton partisans.

      [...]

      It’s a symbiotic relationship, except only one side is finger-wagged and derided for promoting a “toxic atmosphere.” Indeed, generally neo-liberal (and thus pro-Clinton) Slate has made something of a joke out of writing “provocative” headlines, often referred to as “Slate pitches,” specifically designed to get a rise out of people. What is this if not trolling on a wholesale level?

      There’s a libertarianism to the discussion that is out of whack—power dynamics are never really factored in. Establishment media folks like Bump–the kind who get a “blue checkmark” when they post on Twitter, to certify that they really are who they claim to be—are the victims under siege, while random Twitter users with 40 followers are social media terrorists that must be condemned.

    • The Real Hillary Clinton

      Enough of this. Let’s meet the real Clinton.

    • Backing Bernie’s Bold Vision, Biden Knocks Hillary’s “No We Can’t” Mantra

      Although Vice President Joe Biden has promised to stay neutral on the Democratic presidential candidates this campaign season, he offered high praise for Bernie Sanders’ message in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday: Biden will “take Mr. Sanders’ aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton’s caution any day,” the newspaper reports.

    • Who Runs Strongest Against Trump? ‘That Candidate is Me,’ Says Sanders

      “Look, if we do not have a majority, it’s gonna be…hard for us to win,” Sanders told reporter Andrea Mitchell in his first interview since losing the New York primary to rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. “The only fact that I think remains uncertain is if we continue to be running significantly stronger than she is against Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican nominee will be. I think that’s a factor.”

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, Obsession, Addiction, and the News

      Think of the 2016 presidential campaign as the political equivalent of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s loud; there are plenty of abusive special effects; the critics hate it, but the crowds turn out; a media company or three rake in the dough; and foreigners can’t get enough of this new vision of the American way of life — or is it of a Bizarro world?

    • SuperPAC to Spend $1 Million to Target Hillary Haters on Social Media

      It’s fascinating to see anybody supportive of Hillary Clinton complaining about aggressive “Bernie Bros” when hatchet man David Brock is standing around as a very obvious counterpoint.

      And those Bernie Bros are finding out right now how aggressive an effort forces connected to Brock may use to push back against them. “Correct the Record,” a PAC that was spun off of Brock’s American Bridge SuperPAC, has started a project called “Barrier Breakers” to go after anybody who says anything they don’t like about their candidate on social media like Reddit and Facebook.

    • You may hate Donald Trump. But do you want Facebook to rig the election against him?

      While the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency is a terrifying one, perhaps this is scarier: Facebook could use its unprecedented powers to tilt the 2016 presidential election away from him – and the social network’s employees have apparently openly discussed whether they should do so.

      As Gizmodo reported on Friday, “Last month, some Facebook employees used a company poll to ask [Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg whether the company should try ‘to help prevent President Trump in 2017’.”

      Facebook employees are probably just expressing the fear that millions of Americans have of the Republican demagogue. But while there’s no evidence that the company plans on taking anti-Trump action, the extraordinary ability that the social network has to manipulate millions of people with just a tweak to its algorithm is a serious cause for concern.

    • Bill Moyers: Meet the Rare Conservative Who Admits That Money Corrupts Politics (Audio)

      I sat down with former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter to discuss why conservatives should care about the influence of money in politics—and how they can fight to get it out.

    • Trump Has Insane General Election Optimism About States He Can’t Possibly Win

      If there’s one quality the Donald Trump presidential campaign does not lack, its confidence. In the days since Trump barreled through the New York primary, his team has been making a deliberate show of strength intended to discourage his rivals and win over skeptical Republicans. And, in characteristic Trump fashion, their pitches have an eye-catching, over-the-top quality intended to distract from the obvious lack of substance behind the product.

    • Is Hillary Clinton ‘Honest’?

      Hillary Clinton’s defenders object to the widespread public view that she is a liar by noting she scores reasonably well on the accuracy of her policy statements, but that is missing the point, says Robert Parry.

    • The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

      To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

    • Sanders Assures Supporters Nationwide: ‘We’re Going All the Way to California’

      Confronted on multiple weekend news shows over his campaign strategy going forward, Bernie Sanders assured his supporters in no uncertain terms on Sunday that the race for the Democratic nomination is not yet over and that every voter in upcoming state contests will have a chance to have their voice counted ahead of the party’s national convention this summer.

      “We’re going all the way to California,” Sanders told George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning.

      Sanders mentioned his campaign stop in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday and said the endemic poverty he sees in such cities is a major reason why the status quo of “establishment politics” and “establishment economics” must be overcome.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Ad Blocker-Blocking Websites Might Be Violating European Privacy Laws

      The ad-blocking wars are getting ugly again.

      In the latest phase of the conflict, several high-traffic websites have started denying entry to users whenever they detect their browsers running ad-blocking extensions like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus. These new ad-blocker-blocking scripts typically present offending readers with a choice: Either disable your blockers by whitelisting the site, or pay a small subscription fee to help keep the lights on.

      But that might not fly in Europe, where using these detection scripts could be a violation of local privacy laws, according to a letter from the European Commission.

      Under European law, websites are required to get users’ consent before they can send you cookies, the tiny blobs of data that live in your browser and allow sites to recognize and target you with ads. The letter suggests that since the law’s scope isn’t limited to cookies, scripts that scan your browser looking for ad-blocking extensions without consent might be verboten too.

    • Schools are helping police spy on kids’ social media activity

      Schools in Florida are renewing a program that monitors their students’ social media activity for criminal or threatening behavior, although it has caused some controversy since its adoption last year.

      The school system in Orange County, where Orlando is located, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the program, which partners the school system with local police departments, has been successful in protecting students’ safety, saying that it led to 12 police investigations in the past year. The school district says it will pay about $18,000 annually for SnapTrends, the monitoring software used to check students’ activity. It’s the same software used by police in Racine, Wis., to track criminal activity and joins a slew of similar social media monitoring software used by law enforcement to keep an eye on the community.

    • Court Rebukes, Then Excuses, FBI, NSA Excesses

      Never mind the veneer-thin excuse that the illegal data was “accidentally” collected in the first place. The NSA still chose to keep the data, and then the Office of Director of National Intelligence said, “The Government has informed the Court that there was no intent to leave the FISC with a misimpression or misunderstanding, and it has acknowledged that its prior representations could have been clearer.”

      So, because officials didn’t mean to break the law and then lie about it, it’s no big deal. After all, everybody makes mistakes.

      The FBI is required to purge surveillance records of data that would violate attorney-client privilege. In cases where conversations between defendants and attorneys are scooped up, the FBI is supposed to have “such surveillance reviewed by a ‘taint team’ that can excise any legal communications, but that was not happening in all cases,” according to the report by Politico.

    • Congress to US spy chief: Tell us how many Americans were ensnared by PRISM

      Lawmakers are demanding that the Obama administration comes clean on how many Americans have been caught up in its domestic surveillance programs.

      Without that information, a bipartisan group of leading lawmakers aren’t able to fully determine what changes need to be made to US surveillance laws, some of which will expire by the end of 2017.

    • The CIA is getting serious about monitoring social media
    • The NSA Has Never Not Been Violating FISA Since It Moved Stellar Wind to FISA in 2004

      Back in 2013, I noted that FISA Judge John Bates had written two opinions finding NSA had violated 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2), which prohibits the “disclos[ure] or use[ of] information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by” FISA. Each time he did it, Bates sort of waggled around the specter of law-breaking as a way of forcing NSA to destroy data they otherwise wanted to retain and use. I suspect that is why NSA moved so quickly to shut down its PRTT program in 2011 in the wake of his upstream opinion.

      [...]

      Consider what this means: between the five years between when, in fall 2004, NSA told Colleen Kollar-Kotelly it was violating her category restrictions on the bulk Internet dragnet until the time, in 2009, it admitted it continued to do so with every single record collected, between the non-disclosure of what NSA was really doing with upstream surveillance between 2008 and 2011, and between the time FISC told NSA it couldn’t keep illegally collected data for management reasons in May 2011 to the time in July 2015 it confessed it had continued to do that with 702 data, NSA has always been in violation of 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2) since it moved Stellar Wind to FISA.

    • NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Is Suing Norway To Prevent Extradition To US

      Whistleblower Edward Snowden filed a lawsuit at the Oslo District Court in Norway in order to seek assurance that the country will not extradite him to the United States if he attends a local award ceremony.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • To Prevent Spike In Domestic Violence Around Soccer Game, Scottish Police Remove Abusers From Homes

      Last weekend, police in Scotland prepared for the Old Firm soccer match between Glasgow football clubs Celtic and Rangers in an unusual way — by removing serial domestic abusers, who were potentially a risk to their partners, from their homes. Officials described the plan as a preventative effort aimed at reducing the spikes of domestic violence that have been associated with Old Firm games in the past.

    • We Won’t Improve Education By Making Teachers Hate Their Jobs

      Does this sound like a place you’d like to work?

      The work environment is “depressing” … “morale is at an all-time low.”

      “It feels like a lot of busy work and hoop jumping and detracts from the work.” “Every move … needs to be documented and noted.”

      “We have to respond to feedback given by an administrator who did a one-minute walk through and thought they knew what was going on … but didn’t.”

    •  The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Most Visible on Twitter But Its True Home Is the Hard Work of Organizing

      A little over a year later, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty on charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Undeterred by the legal setback, the activists—calling themselves the Dream Defenders—showed up in Tallahassee and occupied the Florida statehouse for four weeks in an effort to push Republican Governor Rick Scott to call a special legislative session to review the state’s “stand your ground” law, racial profiling, and school push-out policies, all of which the organization linked to Martin’s death. Fueled in part by participants sharing updates on Twitter, the occupation became a national story, and Selah fielded a flood of requests from media and progressive organizations. Some wanted to give an award to the Dream Defenders; others wanted to add Selah to lists proclaiming the arrival of a new generation of civil-rights heroes. (One writer said he embodied the spirit of Nelson Mandela.) Others wanted his perspective on the burgeoning racial-justice movement. After a while, Selah wanted none of it.

    • Milwaukee Teacher’s Aide Caught Abusing Child on Camera—and Adults on Facebook Blame the Kid

      It’s hard to tell from the video what led up to the violence but the boy can be heard saying something to the 39-year-old aide before the man roughly pushes him down and then climbs on top of him and holds him down, cursing at him. Neither the suspect nor the student are named by the station.

    • How the FBI May Have Tried to Turn a Muslim Civil Rights Advocate Into an Informant

      In April of 2009, amidst the capture of the one surviving Somali pirate involved in the infamous Captain Phillips hostage situation, Jamal received a text from an FBI agent he alleges was Special Agent in Charge Ralph Boelter calling him a self-promoter after Jamal spoke on the issue on a local news channel. At the time, Jamal’s organization had been in contact with the family of the accused pirate and was working on getting him a lawyer, which seems to have put Jamal back on the FBI’s radar. It quickly degenerated into a nasty exchange, with the agent appearing to pressure Jamal. (An attempt to call the phone number of the sender in the texts provided below returned a notice that the number had been disconnected)

    • Redefining the Possible for Labor

      Our best weapon to combat wealth inequality remains a strong union contract, but innovative direct action is also needed.

    • Church and State in the South Forecast U.S. Future

      Thus the church receives the nurture and protection of the state, and the masters of the state retain the ghostly powers derived from the slave era without interference by the church. This explains the South’s periodic spasms of theocratic enactments that astonish and darkly amuse the rest of the country.

    • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents

      In the wake of his big win in New York, I want to push back once more against the normalization of Trump as a legitimate presidential candidate, given his policy positions. Let us remember what the Republicans of New York voted for (there are hardly any Republicans in New York City, so it can be spared the shame).

    • Denaturalisation: a brief (French) history

      The potential insertion of denaturalisation into the French Constitution raised important questions, such as: if, in order to prevent statelessness, denaturalisation were only to apply to citizens with dual nationality, how does one reconcile denaturalisation measures with one of the most fundamental principles of democracies, i.e. the principle of equality before the law? But also: would denaturalisation be effective to combat terrorism? And would it indeed only have effect on those targeted? What does denaturalisation mean for the rest of the community? The scope of the political disagreements on the topic is best exemplified by Christiane Taubira’s resignation from her position as Minister of Justice 27 January 2016, which she presented as the expression of her resistance to the government’s plan.

    • Victims Of CIA Torture Notch Historic Victory In Legal Battle

      A lawsuit against two psychologists behind the CIA’s torture program moved forward on Friday, when a judge decided he could not throw out the case.

      “I don’t think I have any other choice,” said Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush, after rejecting the claim of the psychologists’ lawyer that the two are immune from civil liability, according to the Huffington Post.

      The lawsuit was first filed in a federal court in Spokane, Washington in October 2015 by Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian citizen, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan citizen, and the family of Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who froze to death at a secret CIA prison in Kabul. All three men allege that they were subject to some of the harshest physical and psychological torture methods while in CIA custody.

    • Prince’s Islamophilia as a Problem: “It’s fun to be in Islamic Countries”

      Prince was in error that all Muslims dress in this Gulfie way. Actually only the small citizen populations in the Gulf– 1.4 million in the UAE, 250,000 in Qatar, 20 million in Saudi Arabia, etc., wear this kind of clothing. The other 300 million Arabs tend to wear European clothing, and they have as much choice in what to wear as any Westerner does.

    • The New Common Ground Between Populist Left and Right
    • University Official Threatens to Call Police on Reporter at Milo Protest Because Students Need ‘Safe Space’

      A female journalist and her film crew were harassed by a university official while trying to cover a protest over the appearance of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at American University.

      Ashe Schow, a reporter for the the Washington Examiner, turned up at the protest to cover the story. However, she was soon told to stop filming by a university officia,l who on realising she was being filmed said, “Are you kidding me? Seriously I’m calling the police.”

    • Obama Urges Britain to Remain in European Union, Says UK Could Go to Back of Trade Deal Line

      Unfortunately for Johnson, he led with a debunked story about a Winston Churchill bust and suggested the half-Kenyan Obama’s “ancestral dislike of the British empire” informed his thought process. In Britain President Obama scores approval ratings in the 70s. Americans and Brits largely set aside any “ancestral dislikes” long ago. Whether Obama’s personal popularity translates to the issue of EU membership, on which polls find British voters more or less evenly split, remains to be seen.

    • Portugal Clears the Way for Extradition of Ex-C.I.A. Agent to Italy
    • Ex-CIA officer to be extradited to Italy for role in Egyptian cleric kidnapping

      A former CIA officer, now residing in Portugal, faces extradition to Italy after her alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, otherwise known as Abu Omar, in Milan 13 years ago, The Washington Post reported.

      An Italian court convicted Sabrina De Sousa, 60, in absentia along with 26 other Americans, sentencing her to four years in prison. In 2009, De Sousa avoided potential imprisonment by leaving Italy before the trial started.

    • Ex-CIA Officer Faces Extradition From Portugal To Italy For Alleged Role In Cleric’s Rendition

      More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy, where she was sentenced to four years in prison for the abduction.

    • Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial

      The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one – not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA – has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

    • CIA Veterans Gather To Honor Duane Clarridge, A Sometimes Unsubtle Spy

      In the early 1980s, Clarridge served as chief of the CIA’s Latin America division, a perch from which he ran the CIA’s covert war against communism in Central America. He was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, but pardoned before the end of his trial by the first President Bush.

    • Violent groups aggravate government crackdowns on civil society

      Violent extremists in Bangladesh have been responsible for a spate of attacks against outspoken critics and bloggers. In January 2013, Asif Mohiuddin, a self-described “militant atheist” blogger, was stabbed near his office in Dhaka. Mohiuddin, a winner of a prominent award for online activism, was on an Islamist hit list because of his opposition to religious extremism. In another harrowing case in February of 2014, bio-engineer Dr. Avijit Roy and his wife Bonya Ahmed were attacked in Dhaka by machete-wielding assailants. Roy was a founder of the influential Bangladeshi blog Mukto-Mona (“Freethinkers”) and a champion of liberal values and secularism.

    • Let’s Be Clear About Andrew Jackson (and Lord Jeffery Amherst)

      Jackson told the Court (and the Cherokee) to drop dead. In 1838, Martin Van Buren (Jackson’s vice president and successor) sent in the troops. That May, some 14,000 Cherokee were forced out of their homes at gunpoint. They were imprisoned on an open field (a concentration camp!) without shelter, food, or care for their children or animals. About a thousand escaped into the hills.

      In the fall about 13,000 were “ethnic cleansed” to Oklahoma. More than a quarter died along their infamous “Trail of Tears.” They were promised the right to live in Oklahoma as long as the “rivers flow and the grasses grow.” But 50 years later their land was divided.

      Jackson’s face does not belong on our money. Harriet Tubman was a great hero who repeatedly risked her life to win freedom for others. Hopefully the idea to replace him with a black female anti-slavery activist is making Andy flip in his grave.

    • Defiantly principled: Breivik v Norway

      Last week a Norwegian court ruled that all prisoners are equal before the law and have the right to have their human rights respected. To many this was outrageous. The prisoner in question was Anders Behring Breivik. The man who in 2011 bombed the Norwegian Government Headquarters killing 8 before going on a shooting spree on Utøya Island where the Labour Youth Party were holding their summer-camp. There he killed 69 more. I could have been the 70th. Yet I stand up for Breivik’s rights as a prisoner, and as a human.

    • Behind the murder of Berta Cáceres: corporate complicity

      The corporate denial of violation of human rights in the death of Berta Cáceres reveals the web of complicities and impunity that prompted her assassination.

    • Obama vs. Britain’s ‘Isolationists’

      Indeed, the entire history of post-World War II American foreign policy is the story of US intervention in the internal affairs of nations from Western Europe to Eastasia. What other country has agencies of government devoted to bending the politics of other nations to their will?

    • Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Bangladeshi Professor’s Murder

      Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a university professor in Bangladesh on Saturday, heightening concerns about the rise of radicalism in the South Asian country.

    • ‘Green Party may have been infiltrated by Islamists’

      Lars Nicander, director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, fears that the Green Party, the junior partner of the Social Democrats in the Swedish coalition government, has been infiltrated by Islamists.

    • National Parks Are Used Mostly By Older White People: Here’s Why That Needs to Change

      It’s simple math: Today’s young people, the most diverse generation in U.S. history, will determine the future of our public lands and waters. And if they never use these places, then they’ll feel no connection to them.

      [...]

      The National Park Services has a complicated relationship with race, as many of its parks followed Jim Crow laws and remained segregated through World War II.

      But that history, as well as Native American narratives about their connections to these open lands, is often missing from the stories told about our parks.

      Jourdan Keith, who founded the Seattle-based Urban Wilderness Project 13 years ago, has been trying to address this in her writing, public speeches, and wilderness excursions taken each summer with a group of local young people.

      Keith, who is African American, says she learned about the outdoors from a “European perspective,” but, as a wilderness trainer, is introducing new generations to untold stories of public lands.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Paint it Vantablack — Artists owning colours and the dark side of IP

      Also, it can be used in art. As some newspapers reported, Surrey NanoSystems has just provided British-Indian artist Sir Anish Kapoor (that of ArcelorMittal Orbit) with exclusive rights to paint using “Vantablack”. While Surrey and Sir Kapoor have not disclosed the details of the agreement, the British company confirmed that – from now on – Mr Kapoor alone can paint using Vantablack.

04.24.16

Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Device Tree Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Device-tree discussions are probably not quite as spirited as in the past, however, device tree is an active area. In particular, significant issues remain.

      This microconference will cover the updated device-tree specification, debugging, bindings validation, and core-kernel code directions. In addition, there will be discussion of what does (and does not) go into the device tree, along with the device-creation and driver binding ordering swamp.

    • Refactoring the open-source photography community

      Generally speaking, most free-software communities tend to form around specific projects: a distribution, an application, a tightly linked suite of applications, and so on. Those are the functional units in which developers work, so it is a natural extension from there to focused mailing lists, web sites, IRC channels, and other forms of interaction with each other and users. But there are alternatives. At Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 in London, Pat David spoke about his recent experience bringing together a new online community centered around photographers who use open-source software. That community crosses over between several applications and libraries, and it has been successful enough that multiple photography-related projects have shut down their independent user forums and migrated to the new site, PIXLS.US.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Firefox Search Worth $375M/Year to a Yahoo Buyer?

        That’s because Mozilla is highly dependent on a five-year contract with Yahoo, signed in December 2014, where it receives about $375m per year to make Yahoo the default search provider in the Firefox browser on the desktop. From 2004 to 2014, that contract was exclusively with Google; now it’s Yahoo in the US, Google in Europe, Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Year of the OpenBSD desktop

      It is a common theme in the GNU/Linux community to tout the current year as the year of the linux desktop. Every year the same thing happens. The nay sayers nag that Linux is a tiny percentage of the desktop market and that Mac OS X/Windows is superior in so many ways.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How to build a Linux router, Internet of Things devices, and more news
    • Aravena’s Small Step, Open Source’s Big Leap

      Aravena’s recent initiative to open-source four of his built projects goes a long way to promoting the public and social benefits of collaboration and information-sharing.

    • Open Data

      • CERN Makes 300TB of Large Hadron Collider Data Public

        CERN has recently released the data from the famous 2011 experiment probing the fundamental structure of the Universe to the public. These raw and processed data can be analyzed and verified using CERN Linux virtual environment on a virtual machine.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Lawsuit accuses PACER of milking the public for cash in exchange for access

        The federally run online court document access system known as PACER now finds itself listed on a federal docket. Its overseer, the US government, is a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the service of overcharging the public.

        The suit, brought by three nonprofits on Thursday, claims millions of dollars generated from a recent 25-percent increase in page fees are being illegally spent by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO). The cost for access is 10 cents per page and up to $3 a document. Judicial opinions are free. This isn’t likely to break the bank for some, but to others it adds up and can preclude access to public records. The National Consumer Law Center, the Alliance for Justice, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program also claim in the lawsuit that these fees are illegal because the government is charging more than necessary to keep the PACER system afloat (as is required by Congress).

      • Lawsuit Filed Over PACER Fees

        For many years we’ve pointed out that the fees charged by PACER were clearly outside what the law allows. If you don’t know, PACER is the electronic filing system for the federal court system. It is great that all filings in federal cases are available online, but the interface looks like it was designed in 1998, the search is ridiculous, and (worst of all) the system charges you 10 cents per page of download — excluding judicial opinions, but including HTML pages including search results and docket reports. There is a cap of $3 per document, but that means that every time I call up PACER on a big case — say the Apple/DOJ encryption battle, there are so many filings that just to look at the docket is basically $3. That adds up.

  • Programming/Development

    • Timezones for programmers

      Timezones are typically based on geographical locations. For example, we have the IANA timezone America/Chicago which can represent Central Time for the United States.

    • When to Rewrite from Scratch – Autopsy of a Failed Software

      It was winter of 2012. I was working as a software developer in a small team at a start-up. We had just released the first version of our software to a real corporate customer. The development finished right on schedule. When we launched, I was over the the moon and very proud. It was extremely satisfying to watch the system process couple of million of unique users a day and send out tens of millions of SMS messages. By summer, the company had real revenue. I got promoted to software manager. We hired new guys. The company was poised for growth. Life was great. And then we made a huge blunder and decided to rewrite the software. From scratch.

    • Doing things that scale

      In the software world, and with internet, we can do a lot of things that scale.

Leftovers

  • Local govt. pleased with Danish eGovernment services

    The increasing digitisation of society requires the stable and secure running of public IT solutions, the agency writes. Denmark’s public administrations expect DIGST to professionally manage the IT systems and to keep them involved. According to DIGST, the agency’s network partners contribute to the dialogue with public administrations.

  • St George’s Day: Who actually is Saint George?

    We all know the basic story of St George, right? English knight who slayed a dragon. Or, wait, there’s a dragon on the Welsh flag, so is that a different myth? Was the dragon Welsh? How do you get to be a saint for slaying a dragon? I thought saints tended to be suffering Christians? Or is that martyrs?

    OK, so maybe we don’t know the ins and outs of St George as much as we think.

    Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out why the George’s cross is George’s cross.

    He’s not even English!

    He was a Greek Christian, born in the third century in what was then Syria Palaestina. Yep, Saint George (or Georgios) was Middle Eastern. Don’t tell Nigel Farage.

  • The case for Europe, 2016

    In an interdependent world, nationalism offers no bolt-hole. The task for all progressives is to find effective ways to engage with continental partners, creating a new blend of national and European politics.

  • Science

    • The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s

      If you’re a grad student, it’s best to read the latest report from the National Science Foundation with a large glass of single-malt whiskey in hand. Scratch that: The top-shelf whiskey is probably out of your budget. Well, Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” is good, too!

      Liquid courage is a necessity when examining the data on Ph.D.s in the latest NSF report, “The Survey of Earned Doctorates,” which utilized figures from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. The report finds that many newly minted Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet few people seem to be paying attention to these findings; graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.

  • Hardware

    • Scientists can now make lithium-ion batteries last a lifetime

      Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) said that’s exactly what they were doing when they discovered how to increase the tensile strength of nanowires that could be used to make lithium-ion batteries last virtually forever.

      Researchers have pursued using nanowires in batteries for years because the filaments, thousands of times thinner than a human hair, are highly conductive and have a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons.

      The problem they have encountered, however, is that nanowires are also extremely fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, known as “cycling.” For example, in a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules

      Cannabis may be used for medical reasons during Passover, despite previously being forbidden

    • Colorado’s First Black Woman Pot Entrepreneur on Edibles, Incarceration & the Industry’s Whiteness

      We are broadcasting live from Denver, Colorado, where in 2012 the state voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Now 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use, and the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States. But some have questioned who stands to cash in on the billions being generated by cannabis sales. Michelle Alexander, the best-selling author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” addressed the issue in a conversation with the Drug Policy Alliance, saying, “Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?” We speak now to Wanda James, CEO of the Denver-based cannabis dispensary Simply Pure. She is the first African-American woman in Colorado to own a cannabis dispensary. She was inspired to start a dispensary by the experiences of her brother, who at 17 was locked up on a petty drug charge—and forced to pick cotton in Texas for four years to earn his freedom.

    • Celebrating 500 Years of German’s Beer Purity Law

      In Germany rules are rules—and they even apply to something as fun as beer. The Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s legendary beer purity law, turns 500 on April 23 in a sudsy celebration known as German Beer Day. Many Germans love the law, but others think it’s an outdated relic that should be chucked. Beer purity is only one part of the Reinheitsgebot story; protectionism, taxes, national pride and marketing all come into play.

    • Chart of the Day: Hillary and Bernie Duke It Out on Soda Taxes

      Finally we have a real difference between Hillary and Bernie. Hillary supports Philadelphia’s proposed tax on sugary drinks of 3 cents per ounce. Bernie doesn’t. “A tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families in Philadelphia,” he said on Thursday.

    • Flint is about how we treat the poor

      As you no doubt know, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, returned to the headlines last week with news that the state attorney general is charging three government officials for their alleged roles in the debacle. It makes this a convenient moment to deal with something that has irked me about the way this disaster is framed.

      Namely, the fact that people who look like you often get left out of it.

      [...]

      As has been reported repeatedly, Flint is a majority black city with a 41 percent poverty rate. So critics ask if the water would have been so blithely poisoned, and if it would have taken media so long to notice, had the victims been mostly white.

    • The Creepy Way Processed Food Packaging Messes With Your Hormones

      A new study shows common plastic packaging steeps food in industrial chemicals.

    • Flint woman suing over poisoned water crisis found shot to death in home

      On Tuesday, police found the bodies of two women inside of a townhouse, where they also found a one-year-old who was unharmed. Both women were shot, and have been identified as Sasha Bell and Sacorya Reed, though police only said their ages are between 18 and 20 years old, WJRT reported. The child was taken into protective services.

    • Slain Woman Among People To File Lawsuits Amid Water Crisis

      One of two women found shot to death in a Flint apartment was among dozens of people who earlier filed lawsuits over lead-tainted water in the city.

      The Flint Journal reports Thursday that Sasha Bell’s case was one of 64 lawsuits filed by law firms on behalf of 144 children.

      Bell had said her child was poisoned by lead.

      Flint was under state control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. The corrosive river water wasn’t properly treated and caused lead to leach from old pipes into homes and businesses.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Why I gave your paper a Strong Reject

      Writing a bunch of wordy bullshit that doesn’t mean anything. Trust me, you’re not going to wow and amaze the program committee by talking about dynamic, scalable, context-aware, Pareto-optimal middleware for cloud hosting of sensing-intensive distributed vehicular applications. If your writing sounds like the automatically-generated, fake Rooter paper (“A theoretical grand challenge in theory is the important unification of virtual machines and real-time theory. To what extent can web browsers be constructed to achieve this purpose?”), you might want to rethink your approach. Be concise and concrete. Explain what you’re doing in clear terms. Bad ideas won’t get accepted just because they sound fancy.

    • Computer System Security Policy Debate (Follow-up)

      The challenge is that political people see everything as a political/policy issue, but this isn’t that kind of issue. I get particularly frustrated when I read ignorant ramblings like this that dismiss the overwhelming consensus of the people that actually understand what needs to be done as emotional, hysterical obstructionism. Contrary to what seems to be that author’s point, constructive dialogue and understanding values does nothing to change the technical risks of mandating exceptional access. Of course the opponents of Feinstein-Burr decry it as technologically illiterate, it is technologically illiterate.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘The Japanese Were Already Defeated and Were Seeking Peace’

      Media reports noted that Secretary of State John Kerry was the highest-ranking sitting US official to visit the war memorial in Hiroshima. US ambassadors have shown their respects, and Jimmy Carter went there when he was out of office. But from non-blame-assigning references to “one of the most destructive acts of World War II,” as a New York Times article had it, to an obliviously ethnocentric focus on how these commemorations have, as the Times said, “long troubled American diplomats,” nothing suggests that US media find much to grapple with.

    • New Push for Military Intervention in Libya: Who Will Control the Libyan Central Bank?

      The emails of the former Secretary of State and current Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton exposed to the world the principal reasons for the NATO intervention and destruction of Libya in 2011. We are informed by one writer who had examined these emails on the traffic between the USA and France over the imperatives for intervening in Libya. In one e mail dated April 2, 2011 Sidney Blumenthal, then an aide to Clinton informed her ‘that sources close to one of Gaddafi sons were reporting that “Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver” and the hoard had been moved from the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli closer to the border with Niger and Chad. “This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).”Blumenthal then added that “According to knowledgeable individuals, this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.” The email added: “According to these individuals, Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

    • Hillary ‘the Hawk’ Clinton

      Mark Landler has an interesting extended article in the New York Times about how Hillary Clinton came to views about the use of military force that have made her, in Landler’s words, “the last true hawk left” in this year’s presidential race.

      Landler poses the question of Clinton’s motivations as a traditional dichotomy between “calculated political maneuver” and “deeply felt core principle,” and suggests that in the case of Clinton’s hawkishness it is more the latter than the former. But much of what the article describes is less a matter of principle than of sociology.

    • Twenty civilians killed in air strikes in Iraq, Syria: U.S. military

      Twenty civilians were likely killed and 11 others injured in nine U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria between Sept. 10, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2016, the U.S. military said on Friday.

    • ISIS executes 250 women for refusing to become sex slaves

      The Islamic State, known for its brutality, has reportedly executed 250 girls in northern Iraq for refusing to become sex slaves , according to a media report.

      The girls had been ordered to accept temporary marriages to the terrorists and were murdered, sometimes alongside their families, for their refusal to be sex slaves in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.

      ISIS began selecting women of Mosul and forced them into marrying its militants, calling it temporary marriage since it has taken control over Mosul, and the women who refused to submit to this practice would be executed, said Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Said Mamuzini.

    • The real reason the British government refuses to call Isis’s killings genocide

      George Osborne announced at a parliamentary reception this week that the Government will increase its support for the Holocaust Educational Trust by £500,000. There will also be funding, he added, for a statue of Frank Foley, a British intelligence officer who helped thousands of Jews to escape from Nazi Germany.

      The Chancellor spoke of the horrors of genocide, of taking his family to see the concentration camp at Dachau last month, and praised the courage of those who had helped the refugees at a time of peril. He raised a few smiles saying that some of the money pledged “would come from fines paid by those who fixed the Libor rates – people who showed the worst of values to those who have the best of British values”.

    • Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

      Nothing undermines the American belief in military force. No matter how often its galloping about results in resentment and mayhem, the U.S. gets up again to do good elsewhere. Failure to improve life in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya stiffens the resolve to get it right next time. This notion prevails among politicized elements of the officer corps; much of the media, whether nominally liberal or conservative; the foreign policy elite recycled quadrennially between corporation-endowed think tanks and government; and most politicians on the national stage. For them and the public they influence, the question is less whether to deploy force than when, where, and how.

    • Military Spending is the Capitalist World’s Fuel

      Not least is this the case with the United States, which by far spends the most of any country on its military. The official Pentagon budget for 2015 was $596 billion, but actual spending is far higher. (Figures for 2015 will be used because that is the latest year for which data is available to make international comparisons.) If we add military spending parked in other portions of the U.S. federal government budget, we’re up to $786 billion, according to a study by the War Resisters League. Veterans benefits add another $157 billion. WRL also assigns 80 percent of the interest on the budget deficit, and that puts the grand total well above $1 trillion.

    • Six Year Anniversary of WikiLeaks Collateral Murder; A Celebration of Free Speech

      On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks published classified military footage of a July 2007 attack by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The video titled Collateral Murder depicted the killing of more than a dozen men, including two Reuters staffers. At the time of release, the WikiLeaks website temporarily crashed with a massive influx of visitors, while versions popped up on YouTube, reaching millions.

      The importance of The Collateral Murder video has often been talked about from the perspective that it provided visual evidence of unaccounted US military power and brutality. Now, on the 6th anniversary of its publication, we will revisit the emergence of WikiLeaks in the public consciousness and explore the significance of this video release for the advocacy of free speech.

      [...]

      The smothering of free speech has cost the public access to the real images of war. Back in the 1960’s, during the Vietnam War, pictures of wounded soldiers and dead civilians flooded through televisions into American homes. Unlike the current situation, the government had not yet learned to keep the press out of war zones, where all could see the horrific images of what in many cases amounted to war crimes.

    • Defending Democracy To the Last Drop of Oil

      The Saudis, who are also petrified of Iran, threw a fit, threatening to pull $750 billion of investments from the US. Other leaders of the Gulf sheikdoms sided with the Saudis but rather more discreetly.

      Ignoring the stinging snub he had just suffered, Obama assured the Saudis and Gulf monarchs that the US would defend them against all military threats – in effect, reasserting their role as western protectorates. So much for promoting democracy.

    • What’s Left of Palmyra — and Syria

      By pouring weapons and money into the Syrian war, the West and its Gulf state allies share in the guilt for the Islamic State’s partial destruction of Palmyra’s historic ruins, which Jeff Klein visited.

    • Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine: Home Demolitions on the Rise

      According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, an Israeli NGO, the Israeli government has demolished 28,000 Palestinian structures since the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967, resulting in the homelessness and suffering of untold numbers of people. There is little ambiguity about the morality of this form of ethnic cleansing, and even most Israeli legal scholars agree that it is in contravention of international law. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

    • Drone Warfare and the Kill Chain

      In the current movie, starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, the human toll and moral dilemma of drone warfare are portrayed in a compelling drama of life and death.

    • After drones: the indelible mark of America’s remote control warfare

      Nabila’s favorite memories of her grandmother come from weddings. It didn’t matter who was getting married – relative or neighbor – her grandmother, Mamana, was an active participant, owing to her matriarchal perch above their village.

      Mamana was as responsible as she was festive. An uneducated woman, she was the local midwife, and served as an impromptu primary care physician, even a veterinarian, when the need arose.

    • Islamic State claims it killed Bangladeshi academic

      Prof Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, hacked to death in Rajshahi in attack similar to murders of other secular and atheist activists

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Navajo Fight Coal Strip Mine in Four Corners

      A Navajo environmental group sued the federal government this week for allowing a New Mexico coal plant and strip mine to operate for another 25 years without assessing clean-energy alternatives.

    • Looking Back on Deepwater With Journalism as Usual

      It’s standard stuff, as if the paper forgets its own reporting (9/4/14) on the ruling on Deepwater in which US District Court Judge Carl Barbieri cited not a lack of rules but a failure to respect them, calling out the entire industry as “motivated by profit” to operate with “conscious disregard of known risks.” In a case where business as usual is the problem, journalism as usual can’t be the response.

    • The Earth Doesn’t Need To Worry, But The Things That Live On It Do

      When is it time to rebrand? Fortune magazine just ran an Earth Day story “Earth Day 2016 Freebies and Deals.”

      The business magazine wants us to know that “Earth Day, historically, hasn’t been thought of as a retail holiday. But as more and more people become environmentally aware, many major stores are jumping on the bandwagon.” Now while we are nowhere near the over-commercialization that, say, Christmas has achieved, I’m still thinking that Earth Day is probably a good day not to buy anything and instead step back from hypermaterialism.

    • Five Planet-Changing Consequences of Global Warming to Consider on Earth Day—and Every Day

      The entire human population is vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change brought about by global warming, because everyone is susceptible to the effects of drought, flood, heat wave, disease, and famine. No one is immune from the risks posed by climate change.

    • Unprecedented global warming as 2016 approaches 1.5 °C mark

      Global surface temperatures could get close to the 1.5 °C-above-preindustrial limit before the Paris climate agreement even comes into effect.

      That’s alarming news, considering that the deal aspires to limit global warming to no more than this.

      Last week Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, estimated that the average global temperature in 2016 could range from about 1.1 °C above preindustrial to only slightly below 1.5 °C, based on GISS’s temperature record and its definition of pre-industrial (other records and definitions vary).

    • Fracking Executive Says Rich Neighborhoods Safe from Drill Sites

      An executive from a top shale drilling firm told attendees of a fossil fuels seminar in Pennsylvania earlier this month that fracking companies deliberately avoid setting up shop near the “big houses” of the wealthy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

      Two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and the Center for Coalfield Justice, last week sent a letter to the state Office of Environmental Justice to review Range Resources’ practices to see if it has indeed avoided rich neighborhoods and targeted low-income areas for shale gas development. Attorneys from both organizations were present at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Environmental Law Forum on April 7.

    • Fracking a Possible Cause of Disturbing Birth Defects and Deaths Found in Horses

      The vets are conducting their own study of what may be causing the epidemic of horse birth defects. The veterinary team cite the presence of a gas well adjacent to Gural’s land that was drilled by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC as the “prime suspect” in the Gural farm problems. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that the farm’s water is contaminated, although they failed to cite Chesapeake as the cause.

    • Fabulous Win for Anti-Fracking Movement as Another Major Pipeline Bites the Dust

      For the second time in less than a week, climate activists and fracking opponents in the northeast find themselves celebrating.

      The latest applause comes after a state regulatory agency on Friday—which happened to be Earth Day—announced it was denying a permit for a major fracked-gas pipeline in the state. Just days earlier, another similar project was halted in New England.

      Calling it “amazing news” and a “huge victory” for New York residents and the planet as a whole, the decision by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to reject the controversial Constitution Pipeline project was welcomed as a timely gift by Frack Action, a state coalition opposed to hydraulic drilling and further expansion of fossil fuel projects in the state.

    • Alongside 174 Nations And Holding His Granddaughter, John Kerry Signs Paris Climate Accord

      “More countries have come here to sign this agreement today than any other time in human history, and that is cause for hope,” Leonardo DiCaprio, U.N. Messenger of Peace, said during the opening ceremony which marked the beginning of the signing. DiCaprio also called climate change the “defining crisis of our time,” and called for fossil fuels to remain in the ground in an effort to cut carbon emissions.

    • A Young American Reminds Us How Badly We Are Failing Children on Climate Change

      If Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh didn’t have the look and sound of a 15-year-old, one could easily assume he was twice his real age. The indigenous environmentalist talks like a seasoned activist and well-educated adult, rather than the teenager he really is. Perhaps it is because he is so driven by passion for his cause of climate justice.

      In an interview on Rising Up With Sonali, Tonatiuh revealed that he started his political activism at age 6. He explained that it was natural for climate change to be the cause dearest to his heart because “being involved in the climate movement is protecting everything that I love.”

  • Finance

    • Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Steve Wozniak

      Apple should pay more tax, according to Steve Wozniak, the company’s co-founder.

      Speaking to the BBC, Wozniak expressed discomfort with reports that Apple avoids tax, saying that paying taxes was just “part of life” – something that “every company in the world” should do.

    • Clinton doubling down on transcripts

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is doubling down on a strategy of not releasing transcripts of speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other investment banks.

      Clinton has refused to release any of the transcripts in the face of a pressure campaign from rival candidate Bernie Sanders, who has relentlessly attacked the Democratic front-runner as being too closely tied to Wall Street.

      “She’s not going to basically create a standard that isn’t applied to anyone else in this race,” said one longtime Clinton ally and confidante of her position on releasing the transcripts.

      The issue has been an effective line of attack from Sanders, who has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls.

      It also appears to have hurt Clinton, who has seen her favorability rating in polls drop below 50 percent. Just as bad, Clinton has seen her marks fall with Americans when they are asked whether they trust her or see her as honest.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Big Win: The New, Much-Needed Rule that Could Rein in Wall Street Slime

      Are you in the market for some good news? While everyone is being told to follow the excitement of the 2016 campaign to the exclusion of all else, out of the spotlight but not far away, the Obama administration is calmly trying to enact lasting progressive change. In the Labor Department earlier this month, consumer advocates won a big battle, as the vast middle class was “gifted” with a new requirement being placed on the financial services industry. As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained, a glaring conflict of interest has been resolved in the favor of people saving for retirement. No longer can investment advisers recommend funds to their clients that reward them or their firms; instead, they must, without exception, direct customers into the best financial products, with lower or, sometimes, zero fees.

    • “Free Love – Not Free Trade”: With Obama En Route, 90,000 March Against TTIP

      Protesters wearing Obama and Merkal masks were among the tens of thousands who marched against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Hannover, Germany on Saturday. (Photo: Helga Reimund / Attac.de)

      On the eve of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany on Saturday to voice emphatic opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP), a deal they argue benefits global capitalism and corporate elites at the expense of the public good and local democracy.

      With a 1960′s “Summer of Love” theme informing the march, many participants grooved under banners reading “Freie Liebe – Statt Freihandel” (Free Love – Not Free Trade) as organizers estimated 90,000 people in attendance.

    • One of the nation’s largest pension funds could soon cut benefits for retirees

      More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money.

      Within the next few weeks, the Treasury Department is expected to announce a crucial decision on whether it will approve reductions to one of the country’s largest multi-employer pension plans.

    • Greece’s Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us

      Next time you’re having an fight with somebody who doesn’t like the idea of a universal basic income, you might employ some of these arguments from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, he not only refutes the usual arguments against the concept that the government should give everyone a minimum check every month, but he makes them sound quite ridiculous.

      [...]

      Varoufakis agrees with one problem—with $2,500 a month on the table, wouldn’t everyone move to Switzerland? He advocates for regulation, which is almost certainly what will happen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • BUSTED: Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million on Social Media Trolls

      A Super PAC headed by a longtime Clinton operative is spending $1 million to hire online trolls to “correct” Bernie Sanders’ supporters on social media.

      Correct The Record (CTR), which is operated by Clinton attack dog and new owner of Blue Nation Review David Brock, launched a new initiative this week called “Barrier Breakers 2016” for the purpose of debating supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders — or “Bernie Bros,” as they’re referred to in Correct the Record’s press official release — on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.

      The “Barrier Breakers” will also publicly thank Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates and fans for supporting her campaign. The paid trolls are professional communicators, coming from public relations and media backgrounds.

    • Clinton’s Image Among Democrats at New Low

      Recent activity in the presidential election campaign is clearly taking a toll on the images of the leading presidential candidates, as Hillary Clinton drops to her lowest net favorable rating among Democrats since Gallup began tracking her in July, and as both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump return to near their all-time lows among Republicans.

      We can start with the Democratic side of the ledger, where Clinton’s current net favorable rating of +36 among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents is based on 66% who give her a favorable rating and 30% who give her an unfavorable rating.

    • Trump’s Campaign Manager Admits His Boss Has Been Playing a ‘Part’ the Whole Time

      “Fixing personality negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives. You can’t change somebody’s character, but you can change the way a person presents himself.” – Paul Manafort

      The above quote is from Donald Trump’s new campaign manager. Along with Rick Wiley, Manafort was hired recently to “professionalize” Trump’s operation. What he says here is both revealing and profoundly wrong. How a person presents himself, or more to the point, how far a person is willing to go in order to project an image of himself, says a lot about who he is.

      If a man is willing, as Trump clearly is, to say or do anything in the name of self-promotion, if he shape-shifts and contradicts himself on a whim, if he says things he knows to be untrue and dangerous because he thinks it will win him the news cycle, does that not reveal his character? Trump is either a nihilist or a fraud. In either case, his personality and character are inextricably bound.

    • Sanders: I’ve lost because ‘poor people don’t vote’

      Confronted with poor performance in states with higher populations of low-income people, Bernie Sanders said his losses are due to those people not voting.

      “Well, because poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact. That’s a sad reality of American society,” Sanders said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air in full on Sunday.

      Host Chuck Todd had asked about rival Hillary Clinton’s victory in 16 of 17 primary contests in states with the highest levels of income inequality.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Satellite TV is helping Iranians bypass internet censorship

      People who live in countries with a strict nationwide internet filter always come up with ways to get around it. In Iran, according to Wired, people are using satellite TV and a free anti-censorship system called Toosheh. While Iranians do use VPN to bypass the filter, their crippling internet speeds make it hard to stream videos or download bigger files. The system gives them a way to get 1GB of data within 60 minutes. Users simply have to plug a USB stick into the set-top box, access Toosheh’s channel that doesn’t show anything besides text instructions and set the receiver to record.

    • Berwick MP strongly rejects Facebook censorship claims

      Prior to that, her tweets were automatically published onto her public Facebook page, but she had received complaints due to ‘some very offensive comments’ and the idea was to publish fewer updates to Facebook to make it easier for her or her team to keep track of what was being posted by others.

      However, some Facebook users claim that their comments were hidden, not due to their being offensive, but because they were expressing political views opposed to Mrs Trevelyan’s own, for example, on the EU referendum.

    • Utah Lawmaker Says Internet Porn Violates First Amendment

      The Utah lawmaker who introduced a state resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” has taken his opposition a step further. During a conservative talk radio appearance on Friday, state Rep. Todd Weiler (R) said that the internet, essentially, violates a person’s First Amendment rights by “delivering pornography” to people who don’t want to view it.

      “Someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography,” Weiler told Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch” radio show. “But what about my First Amendment right not to view it?”

    • California GOP Blathers About Freedom, But Mostly Backs ‘Secrecy Lobby’

      Politicians from the party of Reagan and Lincoln should instinctively know the dangers of giving government officials unaccountable power.

    • A paean to censorship

      It takes a certain mindset for a person to believe that he or she has the right to determine what information, otherwise lawful, that the citizens of Guyana should receive.

    • Donald Trump and His ‘Micropenis’ Expose Problems With Facebook’s Censorship Policies

      California-based artist, Illma Gore, has gotten quite a bit of attention after painting Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in the nude with a very, very, small penis. Gore told LawNewz.com she’s received nasty threats from Trump supporters, and this week she says Trump’s team even told her she would be getting a cease and desist letter in the mail. Gore says the painting, which is titled Make America Great Again, was not even meant as a political statement per se.

      “The idea was to invoke a reaction from audience to inspire discussion about what is in our pants…our physical being,” she told LawNewz.com.

    • Is censorship bad for business? How trade laws could break through China’s Great Firewall

      The United States has now opened a new line of attack against China’s censorship regime. Human rights arguments aside, could China’s internet controls constitute a trade barrier? In its annual National Trade Estimate Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative included the Chinese internet filters and blocks in a list of impediments foreign businesses face in China.

    • Does it really mean a free trade?
    • China seizes biggest share of global exports in almost 50 years
    • Chinese censorship fears over Chariots sequel about Liddell
    • Leader comment: Censorship would dishonour Liddell’s memory
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Facebook plans to take over the world

      Social network went from digital directory for college kids to communications behemoth – and it’s planning for prosperity with its global takeover

    • Facebook usage over Tor passes 1M per month

      The number of people using the Tor anonymizing browser to access Facebook has passed the one million mark this month for the first time, Facebook has announced.

      Tor (aka The Onion Router) is a network technology designed to increase the privacy of web users by encrypting and randomly routing Internet connections via a worldwide network of volunteer relays — thereby making it harder for individual web connections to be traced back to a particular user.

      Facebook created a dedicated onion address for Tor access back in October 2014, aimed at making it easier for users to connect via Tor, given that the way the network routes traffic can be flagged by site security infrastructure.

    • Lawmakers ask National Intelligence director, ‘How many citizens have you spied on?’

      American lawmakers are getting frisky when it comes to digital frisking. In a recent letter from 14 top members of Congress (including eight Democrats and six Republicans), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked to estimate the number of Americans affected by various surveillance techniques, including email surveillance and other forms of spying. Data espionage remains one of the few issues over which there is bipartisan concern, and the letter comes as part of an ongoing examination into potential surveillance program reforms.

    • Dispatches: US Surveillance Court Opinion Shows Harm to Rights
    • U.S. administration refuses information about spying on Americans
    • Secret court takes another bite out of the 4th Amendment
    • Congress asks the NSA how often it spies on Americans
    • Spy Chief Pressed for Number of Americans Ensnared in Data Espionage
    • DOJ’s Awesome New Trick to Break into Apple Phones

      Use the sentencing process, rather than the All Writs Act, to open up a phone captured two years ago (which probably has even less usable evidence than Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone did.

      These prosecutors are really using some amazing tools these days.

    • ISP Vows to Protect Users From a Piracy Witch Hunt

      Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof says it will do everything in its power to prevent copyright holders from threatening its subscribers. The provider is responding to a recent case in which a competing ISP was ordered to expose alleged BitTorrent pirates, reportedly without any thorough evidence.

    • Facebook is going to start showing you pieces people actually read

      Facebook is changing its algorithm yet again, and this time it wants to show you more things that you’ll actually spend time reading or watching.

      The social network looks at a wealth of data when deciding which posts you actually see on News Feed, but until now it hasn’t cared too much about what you actually do when you click away from Facebook. It says that’s going to change.

    • EFF and ACLU Expose Government’s Secret Stingray Use in Wisconsin Case

      Thanks to EFF and the ACLU, the government has finally admitted it secretly used a Stingray to locate a defendant in a Wisconsin criminal case, United States v. Damian Patrick. Amazingly, the government didn’t disclose this fact to the defendant—or the court—until we raised it in an amicus brief we filed in the case. In the government’s brief, filed late last week, it not only fails to acknowledge the impact of hiding this fact from the defendant but also claims its warrantless real-time location tracking didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

      We first learned about this case when it was already on appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and filed an amicus brief arguing the Fourth Amendment protects all of us from warrantless, real-time location tracking. The government suggested to both Patrick and the trial court that it had relied on location information obtained directly from Sprint. However, we suspected they had instead used a Stingray.

    • The Government Admits 9 Defendants Spied On Under Section 702 Have Not Gotten FISA Notice

      As I noted, in his opinion approving the Section 702 certifications from last year, Judge Thomas Hogan had a long section describing the 4 different kinds of violations the spooks had committed in the prior year.

      One of those pertained to FBI agents not establishing an attorney-client review team for people who had been indicted, as mandated by the FBI’s minimization procedures.

    • Former Top Holder Aide Says Back Door Searches Violate Fourth Amendment; FISC Judge Thomas Hogan Doesn’t Care

      When I first realized that FISA Court Presiding Judge Thomas Hogan picked her to serve as amicus for the review of the yearly 702 certifications last year, I complained that she, not Marc Zwillinger, got selected (the pick was made in August, but Jeffress would later be picked as one of the standing amicus curiae, along with Zwillinger). After all, Zwillinger has already argued that PRISM (then authorized by Protect America Act) was unconstitutional when he represented Yahoo in its challenge of the program. He’s got experience making this precise argument. Plus, Jeffress not only is a long-time national security prosecutor and former top Eric Holder aide, but she has been involved in some actions designed to protect the Executive. I still think Zwillinger might have done a better job. But Jeffress nevertheless made what appears to be a vigorous, though unsuccessful, argument that FBI’s back door searches of US person data are unconstitutional.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court: Border Search Warrant Exception Beats Riley In The ‘Constitution-Free Zone

      The Supreme Court declared in 2014 that law enforcement could no longer perform searches of cellphones incident to arrest without a warrant. The exceptions to this ruling are making themselves apparent already.

      The area of the United States where the Constitution does not apply — while still being fully within the borders of the US — apparently exempts law enforcement from following this ruling in regards to cellphone searches. The Southern District of California has come to the conclusion that border searches are not Fourth Amendment searches and that the government has no need to seek a warrant before searching a cellphone.

    • VIDEO: Spoken Word Artist Saul Williams Extended Interview on His New Album, “MartyrLoserKing”

      Williams also discusses his appreciation for hacking, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and the late net neutrality activist, Aaron Swartz.

    • Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS

      Washington has always blocked reform in Latin America. Latin American peoples will remain American serfs until they elect governments by such large majorities that the governments can exile the traitorous elites, close the US embassies, and expel all US corporations. Every Latin American country that has an American presence has no future other than serfdom.

    • Students block Sather Gate on Cal Day in protest of treatment of undocumented UC students

      A group of roughly 30 student demonstrators gathered in front of Sather Gate on Saturday afternoon, protesting UC President Janet Napolitano’s treatment of undocumented students within the UC system.

      The protest was held on Cal Day, a day when the campus opened its grounds for prospective students accepted to the class of 2020.

    • Suicide Rates Are Up, But the Most Obvious Explanations Are Probably All Wrong

      For my money, we flatly don’t know what’s causing the increase in suicides over the past decade. Based on the size of the numbers and the evidence at hand, if you put a gun to my head I’d probably guess opioid abuse was the biggest cause. But I don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone else knows either.

    • Landmark Ruling Will Finally Allow Victims to Hold CIA ‘Torturers to Account’

      Ladin called it “a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions.”

    • Child Brides ‘Tolerated’ In European Asylum Centres

      Some child brides are living with older husbands in asylum centres in Scandinavia, triggering a furore about lapses in protection for girls in nations that ban child marriage.

      Authorities have in some cases let girls stay with their partners, believing it is less traumatic for them than forced separation after fleeing wars in nations such as Afghanistan or Syria.

    • Open Borders? EU Commission May Pave Path to Millions of Ukrainian Migrants

      The dream of the Maidan revolutionaries -for Ukrainians to be able to travel to Europe without visas, has moved one step closer to reality, with the European Commission proposing to lift visa restrictions on Ukrainians. What might a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union look like for Ukrainians and Europeans? Sputnik investigates.

    • What Happens When Asylum Seekers Are Too Poor to Make Bail

      On April 6, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government for detaining immigrants who remain in jail simply because they are too poor to pay their bond.

    • Fed Up With Officer Violence, San Francisco Residents Go On Hunger Strike Against Police Chief

      “I’ve reached 48 hours now. After the 24-hour mark, you kind of get over the pain of hunger. We get distracted, kind of, with the people that are visiting. We’re trying to stay dry. It was raining last night,” Edwin Lindo told ThinkProgress by phone Friday morning. “I’m hanging in there.”

      Lindo is one of six hunger strikers currently sitting in front of the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, alongside loca