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Links 20/5/2016: Purism Tablet, ChromeOS PCs Outsell ‘Mac’-Branded PCs

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What is Linux?

    What is Linux? It means different things to different people, from the purist who considers it to be the kernel, to the GNU advocate who sees it as a part of GNU/Linux and the new user who thinks it is another name for Ubuntu.

    In truth, Linux is all of these, depending on your point of view. Strictly speaking, the term Linux used alone refers to the kernel of the operating system, while GNU/Linux is the whole operating system, comprising the Linux kernel and GNU tools – either would be useless without the other (or one of its alternatives).

    If you then add a collection of application software, along with some tools to manage the whole thing, you have a distro, such as Ubuntu.

  • Purism introduces privacy-focused 2-in-1 tablet

    Like their laptop predecessors, the Librem 10 and 11-inch tablets are running free and open source software and are targeted at users that want more privacy than is available from major manufacturers. Both devices run PureOS 3.0 Linux and have privacy protecting services like Tor, HTTPS Everywhere and ad blocker Privacy Badger pre-installed. The company is working towards getting both devices QubesOS (the OS of choice of Edward Snowden) certified.

  • Purism introduces privacy-focused, Linux tablets for $599 and up

    Purism is expanding its line of Linux-based computers with an emphasis on security, privacy, and open source software. The company’s new Librem 10 is a Linux-based tablet with a 10 inch display and a starting price of $599, while the Librem 11 is a higher-powered model with a bigger screen and a starting price of $999 for early backers of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in the US

      Google’s low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple’s range of Macs for the first time in the US recently. While IDC doesn’t typically break out Windows vs. Chromebook sales, IDC analyst Linn Huang confirmed the milestone to The Verge. “Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16,” says Huang. “Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story.”

      IDC estimates Apple’s US Mac shipments to be around 1.76 million in the latest quarter, meaning Dell, HP, and Lenovo sold nearly 2 million Chromebooks in Q1 combined. Chromebooks have been extremely popular in US schools, and it’s clear from IDC’s comments the demand is driving US shipments. Outside of the US, it’s still unclear exactly how well Google’s low-cost laptops are doing. Most data from market research firms like IDC and Gartner focuses solely on Google’s wins in the US.

  • Server

    • Linux containers vs. VMs: A security comparison

      In this article, I’ll take two different approaches to comparing VM and container security. The first approach will be more structural, or theoretical, looking at the characteristics of each from a security perspective. Then I’ll apply a more practical analysis by looking at what happens in a typical breach and how it might be affected by container and VM architectures.

    • Docker Founder Talks of New Tool and Open-Source Lessons He Learned

      Solomon Hykes, founder of Docker, details his firm’s open-source experience and releases new tools at the OSCON conference.
      Solomon Hykes, founder of Docker Inc., is a familiar name in the world of open source today, but he wasn’t always an open-source developer. In a keynote at the OSCON conference on May 18, Hykes detailed Docker’s open-source voyage and released a trio of new tools as open source.

    • Containers and Persistent Data Storage on Docker and CoreOS

      As containers from Docker and other vendors grow in popularity, so does the need for enterprise-ready data storage solutions that work well with containers. Here’s an overview of the challenges on this front, and how developers are solving them.

      You may be wondering why data storage for containers is an issue at all. After all, in our era of scale-out storage, automatic failover and redundant arrays, figuring out ways to store and protect data is not usually difficult.

    • SAP rolls Cloud Foundry HANA Platform beta

      SAP has released a beta version of its Hana Cloud Platform for Cloud Foundry.

      The software giant yesterday released a Cloud Foundry beta service that works on the Pivotal-inspired open-source cloud.

      Coming with the beta is support for Java, Node.js, HTML5, MongoDB, Redis, PostgresSQL and RabbitMQ.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Re: Announcing Board of Directors Elections 2016

        As a Director serving since two years already I would love to mention being on the Board is definitely a great experience and a way to learn how one of the most famous FOSS-related non-profit Foundations around the globe is actually ran behind the scenes. If you are a Foundation Member, have some spare time and willing to contribute to the GNOME Project in a way which doesn’t strictly involve coding or any other development task, feel free to apply! I’m sure you will find this experience very rewarding!

      • External plugins in GNOME Software

        I’ve just pushed a set of patches to gnome-software master that allow people to compile out-of-tree gnome-software plugins.

      • GNOME 3.21.2 unstable tarballs due (responsible: jjardon)

        Tarballs are due on 2016-05-23 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.21.2
        unstable release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Modules which
        were proposed for inclusion should try to follow the unstable schedule
        so everyone can test them. Please make sure that your tarballs will
        be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that
        will probably be too late to get in 3.21.2. If you are not able to
        make a tarball before this deadline or if you think you’ll be late,
        please send a mail to the release team and we’ll find someone to roll
        the tarball for you!

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi Linux 3.2.1 With Moksha: Another Path to Enlightenment

      Actually, I suppose I loved Mandrake first, which I installed back in ’02 and used, like. forever. But at that time it wasn’t the distro I loved so much as GNU/Linux. I had no experience with other distros, even though I knew about them, so Mandrake represented, by proxy, all of Linux. Such is the way it goes with new Linux users.

      Around 2008, when Mandrake/Mandriva’s future became uncertain, I moved on to distro hop for a while, not finding anything that really tripped my trigger. However, PCLOS came close, not surprisingly given its Mandrake roots, and became the distro I used for a number of years. Then an install failure, followed by an inability to login or open an account on the distro’s forum, prompted me to move on.

      Which led me to Bodhi, a resource sipping Ubuntu based distro using the Enlightenment desktop version 17, or E17, which at the time was the most elegant and configurable of the lightweight desktops available.

    • New Releases

      • Webconverger 35 Switches to Linux Kernel 4.5, Adds Firefox 46 with GTK3 Support

        Webconverger, a Debian-based GNU/Linux operating system whose main design goal is to distribute a fully functional and controlled web kiosk platform, has been updated today to version 35.1.

        There are many Linux kernel-based distributions out there that claim to offer a powerful web kiosk system for use in offices or Internet cafes, but Webconverger is among the most popular ones, and it is based on the almighty Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

      • Pinguy OS Developer Wants to Pull the Plug On His Ubuntu-Based Operating System

        Just a few minutes ago, Antoni Roman, the developer of the Ubuntu-based Pinguy OS GNU/Linux operating system wrote a short blog post on the distro’s website to inform the community that he wants to pull the plug on the entire project.

    • Arch Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • [Older] In a Crisis, Be Open and Honest

        James Whitehurst is president and chief executive of Red Hat, the world’s largest open source software company.

        Q. You joined Delta Air Lines at noon on Sept. 11, 2001, as acting treasurer. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2005, by which time you had been promoted to chief operating officer and had to lay off tens of thousands of people. Talk about managing through crisis!

        A. I got promoted about 12 weeks before we filed for bankruptcy. That was really my first major leadership role, with 80,000 people working for me. I was 35 years old and I was too naïve to know I should have said no [to the promotion]. I’m naturally a very calm person and that helped, but it was really brutal.

        One of the key things I learned is that in this type of situation, your goal should not be to comfort or make people feel better, but to be open and honest. Tell people what it’s like and allow them to make the decisions that work best for them. A lot of leaders want to show a ray of optimism, but all you do is shade the truth. Be honest and say, “This is what it is and this is what we’re going to do about it.”

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Summer of Reproducible Builds

        What is Outreachy? You might not know! Let me empower you: Outreachy is an organization connecting woman and minorities to mentors in the free (as in freedom) software community, /and/ funding for three months to work with the mentors and contribute to a free software project. If you are a woman or minority human that likes free software, or if you know anyone in this situation, please tell them about Outreachy 🙂 Or put them in touch with me, I’d happily tell them more.

      • Puppet 4 uploaded to Debian experimental

        I’ve uploaded puppet 4.4.2-1 to Debian experimental.

      • Accidental data-store ..

        My code is reliable, the implementation is almost painfully simple, and the only difference in my design is that rather than having an API-server which allows both “uploads” and “downloads” I split it into two – that means you can leave your “download” server open to the world, so that it can be useful, and your upload-server can be firewalled to only allow a few hosts to access it.

      • Accidental data-store .. is go!

        I might not be cool, but I did indeed rewrite it in golang. It was quite simple, and a simple benchmark of uploading two million files, balanced across 4 nodes worked perfectly.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Has Work To Do: The BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Tablet, Hands On

            The BQ Aquaris M10 is a 10.1-inch touchscreen tablet powered by Ubuntu Core, and it can be used like a laptop by connecting a keyboard and mouse. The device has the ability to alter its navigation interface by connecting to an external display, similar to Microsoft’s Continuum, with a feature Canonical calls “convergence.”

          • BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition review: A rocky start to a new era

            Let me be clear. In reviewing the Aquaris M10, I was very aware that I was reviewing not just the device but the Ubuntu mobile platform. In fact, the review is less about the device than about where Ubuntu stands now in the tablet space and the potential and possibilities the future holds.

            Ubuntu mobile is a very promising platform; it just needs some constructive feedback so that developers can improve the user experience. I consider this tablet something similar to Google Glass: a prototype that gives you a glimpse of what to expect from Ubuntu on tablets.

          • Digital Signage Solution, Screenly, Chooses Canonical’s Ubuntu Core
          • 10 things you should know about the BQ Aquaris M10 tablet

            If you’ve been following me for awhile here, you’ve probably noticed I’ve started giving Ubuntu Touch a bit more coverage. There’s a reason for that. Once you get your hands on such a device, you discover just how powerful a tablet can be. Since most people haven’t picked up the BQ Aquaris M10 tablet, I thought I would shed some light on the issue, so that you can decide for yourself if it’s a device you should own.

            Before I get into this, know that you can purchase one of the Ubuntu Touch-powered BQ tablets now. The price is, relatively speaking, low (€279.90, or roughly $320.00 USD). But for some, shelling out even that much cash for unproven tech is steep. And for the average consumer (and even the IT pro) Ubuntu Touch is just that: unproven.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Dueling Arduinos Include Linux in Recent SBC Announcements

      Few would claim that the year-old fork and legal dispute between rival Arduino camps is healthy for the open source hardware community. Yet, so far, the platform remains strong, despite growing competition from open source Linux SBCs like the Raspberry Pi. In large part, this is due to the rising interest in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which dovetails nicely with the low-power, gadget-oriented MCU-based platform.

    • Sneak peek: Arduino Srl’s Primo and Primo Core IoT duo

      Although neither of the Primo products runs Linux, they differ significantly from previous Arduino boards, in that they don’t run their sketches on the traditional Atmega32 MCU, but instead tap the beefier MPU that’s embedded within the IoT-oriented, Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 wireless system-on-chip that implements all but one of the boards’ multi-wireless features. Despite the change in MCU architecture, the Primo and Primo Core run existing Arduino sketches, and are programmed using the familiar Arduino IDE. To this end, Arduino Srl’s software team is busy ensuring that any Arduino sketch will work exactly the same on the new MCU, as on the Atmega32.

      The Primo SBC offers a broad spectrum of wireless capabilities, including WiFi, BLE, NFC, and IR, with all but WiFi implemented by the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52 SoC. A second MCU-controlled wireless SoC, the Espressif ESP8266, is responsible for the board’s WiFi connectivity.

    • i.MX7 computer-on-module may be smallest yet

      Embedded Artists and Rohm have launched a 37 x 27mm COM built around an NXP i.MX7 featuring a low-power Rohm PMIC, 1GB LP-DDR3, and 8GB eMMC.

      You know the Internet of Things has become “a thing” when the main selling point of a computer-on-module is the properties of its power management IC. In the case of the iMX7 Dual uCOM Board from Swedish embedded firm Embedded Artists and Japanese IC semiconductor firm Rohm, however, the module has more than its power-sipping Rohm BD71815GW PMIC going for it. Measuring a wee 37 x 27mm, the Linux-friendly uCOM also appears to be one of the smallest COMs to date built on NXP’s power-stingy i.MX7 Dual SoC.

      Read more

    • This tiny, open-source Game Boy lookalike has started shipping

      The Arduboy is far from high-tech, but its tiny size, basic specs, and throwback style are part of what makes it so appealing. It has a 1.3-inch OLED display, stereo speakers, and six buttons. Inside, there’s 32KB of storage, 2.5KB of RAM, and a 180 mAh rechargeable battery that’s supposed to last through eight hours of gameplay. It’s built on top of Arduino, so the platform should be accessible to a large base of developers (and to those just getting started). The device is on sale for $39, though if you buy it now, you’ll have to wait until every Kickstarter reward has been shipped out.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • The shift in open source: A new kind of platform war

    For many years, open source software seemingly lay at the fringe of the tech industry. A subculture that many didn’t understand and that seemingly threatened the broader industry. It is amazing how much has changed.

    Today, open source software, especially Linux, is so pervasive that you probably interact with it every day. From supercomputers to GoPros and nearly every data center in the world, open source software is the default platform.

  • Open365 an Open Source Takes On Microsoft Office 365

    Open365 is completely open source office available for both the online and offline. Download the software and install in your computers and mobiles. This cloud service and desktop service is provided completely free for all. Open365 is the combination of LibreOffice online + Seafile + KDE. This helps you to improve the productivity and communicate better with the team.

  • Open365: An free Open Source Office 365, Google Docs alternative

    Open365 is a free open source alternative to Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Docs. It features a complete online interface that lets you edit documents online and sync them with the cloud.

  • The future of sharing: integrating Pydio and ownCloud

    The open source file sharing ecosystem accommodates a large variety of projects, each supplying their own solution, and each with a different approach. There are a lot of reasons to choose an open source solution rather than commercial solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive. These solutions offer to take away worries about managing your data but come with certain limitations, including a lack of control and integration into existing infrastructure.

  • file considered harmful

    A program that helps users is useful. A program that restricts users is harmful. Run file on your computer all you want, but don’t use file to limit what I can do.

  • Open source, COTS-based voting tech

    A new company, Free & Fair, is offering a suite of products to make elections more verifiable, transparent and secure. The firm is a spin off from Galois, a research company that has worked with the federal government on identity and privacy services, cybersecurity defense solutions, mobile cryptographic authentication and even secure drone software.

  • A 5-step process for hiring tech talent

    Bitnami cofounder and COO, Erica Brescia says hiring good engineers is difficult. One of the greatest challenges facing companies today is that the younger, less experienced engineers may be a better culture fit than engineers with more experience. Also, more experienced engineers may not apply at all because they are secure in their current jobs.

  • Putting Purpose-Built Performance in NFV

    As the network functions virtualization (NFV) revolution comes to service provider and cloud communities, there are some concerns about this new technology. One of the major questions is how to design enough performance in NFV to keep pace in high-subscriber, mission-critical environments.

    Can NFV live up to the performance expectations of the most demanding networks, including global service providers? There is evidence that there is more work to do to transform this IT technology – but some key technology tools are emerging to put enough performance in NFV to perform for the most demanding applications, including communications.

  • An app competition is fertile testing ground for open organization principles

    It was just a typical, mundane day at school, when I happened to bump into my friend, Sheng Liang, who asked me if I was interested in participating in a competition with his friend, Li Quan. Sheng Liang has an entrepreneurial and competitive mindset, someone we usually see busy with some sort of idea or competition. So I was intrigued by his proposal.

  • Events

    • LAS, hosted by GNOME

      Sri and many members of our community have spearheaded a wonderful new conference named Libre Application Summit. It’s hosted by the GNOME Foundation and has aspirations to bring together a wide spectrum of contributors.

    • Announcing the Debut of LAS GNOME Conference in Portland, OR

      The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce the Libre Application Summit — hosted by GNOME (LAS GNOME), which will be held on September 19 – 23 in Portland, Oregon. LAS GNOME is a new conference that aims to advance the state of the GNU/Linux application ecosystem by increasing collaboration with the Linux Kernel and major Linux distributions, and by attracting and empowering application developers both big and small.

    • European Space Agency starts 6th Summer of Code

      The European Space Agency will start its 6th Summer of Code on 1 June. ESA will this week select students for 24 open source software projects. The past month, sixty students registered to participate in the ‘Summer of Code in Space’ programme.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Steps beyond Open Source with Gigabit Internet Funding in Austin

        Mozilla has built its name on open source software. But its latest Gigabit funding initiative, which piggybacks on Google Fiber, extends the organization’s reach into networking and hardware by supporting the development of robotics, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

        On Wednesday Mozilla announced that, in August, it will expand its National Gigabit Community Fund to Austin, Texas. The fund originated in 2014 in Chattanooga and Kansas City.

      • Mozilla Funds Program to Put Austin’s Gigabit Connections to Use

        Mozilla is funding a new effort in Austin exploring just what can be done with a gigabit. Over the last few years Austin has become one of the few hotbeds of broadband competition in the United States, with Google Fiber, AT&T, Grande Communications all now offering gigabit broadband for $65 per month and up. In the hopes of answer the age of question of “what should you do with all that speed,” Mozilla says the organization is expending the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund to Austin.

      • Mozilla awards grants to Chattanooga organizations

        Mozilla’s Gigabit Community Fund has awarded $134,000 to nine grantees, including several in Chattanooga.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • MapD Offers a Columnar Database System that Runs on GPUs

      San Francisco start-up MapD has released a database system, ParallelDB, built to run on GPUs (graphics processing units), which can be used to explore multi-billion row datasets quickly in milliseconds, according to the company.

    • MapR Rolls Out Quick Start Migration Service
    • PLUMgrid: Open Source Collaboration Speeds IO and Networking Development

      PLUMgrid INC, which provides tools for OpenStack cloud providers, has been participating in the open source community since the company was founded in 2011. It started working with the Linux kernel community to create a distributed, programmable data plane and contributed to eBPF (extended Berkeley Packet Filter), a key component in building networks that are agile, fast and secure. eBPF has been upstreamed since Linux kernel version 3.16.

    • Proven Paths for Getting Valuable OpenStack Certification

      If you cycle the clock back to 2010, when Rackspace and NASA announced an effort to create a sophisticated cloud computing infrastructure that could compete with proprietary offerings, it would have been hard to forecast how successful the OpenStack platform would become. OpenStack has won over countless companies that are deploying it and backing it, and it has its own foundation. What’s more, with some studies showing the majority of private cloud deployments are on OpenStack, OpenStack certification is now an extremely hot commodity in the job market.

  • Databases

    • Berkus: Changing PostgreSQL Version Numbering

      On his blog, Josh Berkus asks about the effects of changing how PostgreSQL numbers its releases. There is talk of moving from an x.y.z scheme to an x.y scheme, where x would increase every year to try to reduce “the need to explain to users that 9.5 to 9.6 is really a major version upgrade requiring downtime”. He is wondering what impacts that will have on users, tools, scripts, packaging, and so on. “The problem is the first number, in that we have no clear criteria when to advance it. Historically, we’ve advanced it because of major milestones in feature development: crash-proofing for 7.0, Windows port for 8.0, and in-core replication for 9.0. However, as PostgreSQL’s feature set matures, it has become less and less clear on what milestones would be considered “first digit” releases. The result is arguments about version numbering on the mailing lists every year which waste time and irritate developers.”

    • Changing PostgreSQL Version Numbering

      Per yesterday’s developer meeting, the PostgreSQL Project is contemplating a change to how we do version numbers.

  • Education

    • First courses online in Italian Moodle-based MOOC

      The first nine courses have been made available online on 21 April by EduOpen, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform developed by a consortium of 14 universities across Italy and the country’s Ministry of Education. EduOpen is built on Moodle, an open source software learning management system.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Takeover


    • Libreboot, Coreboot Downstream, Becomes A GNU Project

      Libreboot, the downstream of Coreboot that doesn’t permit any closed-source microcode/firmware blobs as part of the hardware initialization process for this alternative to proprietary BIOS/UEFI, has become an official GNU project.

      As of a few days ago, Libreboot is officially a GNU project. It’s not too surprising though considering tends to be what runs on the systems endorsed by the FSF due to freeing systems down to the BIOS compared to Coreboot that still permits some binary-only modules for modern hardware. Libreboot is basically a de-blobbed version of Coreboot.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Hungary to increase use of open source software

      The government of Hungary intends to increase public administrations’ use of open source software and open standards. A decree published on 18 May explains that the transition should go hand in hand with the strengthening of the country’s nascent open source software service sector.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • German experts update free software legal review

      Two German legal experts have published the fourth edition of their review of legal issues regarding the use of free software. The book by Till Jaeger, a Berlin-based lawyer specialised in legal issues concerning open source software, and Axel Metzger, professor at the Humboldt University in the same city, appeared in March.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • 4 Ways Custom Code Metrics Improve a Development Team

      One of the things that has surprised me over the years is how infrequently people take advantage of custom code metrics. I say this not from the perspective of a geek with esoteric interest in a subject, wishing other people would share my interest. Rather, I say this from the perspective of a business man, making money, and wondering why I seem to have little competition.

    • Why Continuous Integration Is Important

      Everything starts out fine, with management asking the developers for the amount of time it will take to implement a feature. The developers provide an answer, and management takes them at their word.

      Inevitably, one of two situations results: the deadline goes by yet the feature isn’t finished, or the feature is implemented on time, but it’s either faulty, creates new bugs, or both.

    • 3 open source Python GUI frameworks

      There comes a time in the journey of most any programmer when they are ready to branch out past the basic examples and start to build a graphical interface to their program.

      In Python, the steps to get started with GUI programming are not terribly complex, but they do require the user to begin making some choices. By its nature as a general purpose programming language with interpreters available across every common operating system, Python has to be fairly agnostic as to the choices it presents for creating graphical user interfaces.

    • Beyond Jenkins: 7 devops tools

      The need for speed in the software development cycle has given rise to a number of valuable automation tools for developers. Chief among these tools are those aimed at facilitating the continuous integration and continuous delivery of software projects. Through these CI/CD tools, development teams can keep software up-to-date and quickly put it into production.

      Jenkins is among the best-known CI/CD systems, and it is fast becoming the engine for devops, managing the dev side. A key benefit of Jenkins is the wealth of plug-ins developed for it, providing capabilities that range from extending the number of version control systems Jenkins supports to accommodations for IBM mainframes. Spun out of the Hudson project first launched by Sun Microsystems, Jenkins recently hit Version 2, with improvements to its usability and security.

    • Scratch Blocks — Google And MIT Develop An Open Source Programming Language For Young Learners

      Google and MIT have come up with a programming language called Scratch Blocks for kids. It is based on the Google’s Blockly technology which was launched back in 2007 and had designer interfaces. This interface helps kids to learn a programming language better and faster than textual learning.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • France’s RGI v2 recommends ODF

      The French government has updated the interoperablity guidelines (RGI – Référence Général d’Intéropérabilité), replacing version 1 published in 2009. In this v2, officially published on April 22, 2016, ODF is now considered as a recommended standard to manage exchange between administrations and citizens.


  • Why Google’s monopoly abuse case in Europe will run and run [Ed: Microsoft started this. Hypocritical criminals.]

    If you’ve ever wondered how Google defines the term “backrub,” then look no further than its search engine for the answer, where we’re told that it’s “a brief massage of a person’s back and shoulders.” For many of the complainants in the long-running European Commission competition case against Google’s alleged Web search monopoly abuse, that pithy definition goes a long way to explaining their experience of the multinational’s vast online estate.

    For those among you who don’t know your Google history, the search engine started out with the curious name of BackRub at Stanford 20 years ago, until, that is, its servers greedily gobbled their way through the university’s bandwidth, and it was time for the cofounders to shift up a gear. A year earlier, in 1995, the planets had aligned when Larry met Sergey at the famous Californian university for the first time.

  • Scores of UK stars back remaining in EU

    Jude Law, Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch are among stars who have signed a letter saying Brexit would “damage” the creative industry.

    Almost 300 actors, musicians, writers and artists are backing calls for the UK to stay in the EU.

    They say “vital EU funding” and work across borders has been key to projects from galleries to blockbusters.

    But House of Cards author Lord Dobbs said British success in the industry was “not because of the EU”.

  • Science

    • How this guy used Watson to tune out of conference calls

      A 31-year-old California man has devised a way to tune out on conference calls while still appearing to participate.

      Josh Newlan wrote a small piece of software he calls “Say What” that listens to meetings for him and alerts him if his name is called.

    • Evidence Based Policy Making – Beliefs and a Book

      Cairney delves into EBPM with the general approach that, “if you want to inject more science into policymaking, you need to know the science of policymaking.” It contrasts the idealistic linear view of researchers, with the chaotic reality of policy making. Policymaking isn’t a Modrian, it’s a Monet.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Is Obamacare in Danger Again?

      The Republican party has finally gotten exactly what they have been hoping for over the last five years: a favorable judicial ruling against the Affordable Care Act. But is Obamacare really in danger, or is this just another election year political ploy?

    • Why Is Congress Using Zika to Weaken Truck Safety?

      And if the trucking industry had its way, those families would be sharing the interstate with semi-truck drivers who are exhausted from working more than 80 hours a week.

    • West Coast cities sue Monsanto to pay for chemical cleanup

      Portland, Oregon’s Willamette is no wilderness river. But on a spring day, downstream of downtown, wildness peeks through. Thick forest rises beyond a tank farm on the west bank. A sea lion thrashes to the surface, wrestling a salmon. And as Travis Williams, executive director of the nonprofit Willamette Riverkeeper, steers our canoe under a train bridge — dodging debris tossed by jackhammering workers — ospreys wing into view.

    • New Report Says It’s Time for Big Pharma to ‘Play or Pay’ to Tackle Superbugs

      A new plan for tackling the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant microbes, or so-called superbugs, addresses the unnecessary use of antibiotics and includes a call on Big Pharma to “play or pay” to help bring successful treatments to the market.

      The report, commissioned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, was led by economist Jim O’Neill, who said that antibiotics were sometimes being handed out “like sweets.”

    • Angelenos Press for Change in California With Fossil Fuel Industry Protest

      Thousands of climate change activists gathered at “Break Free L.A.” on Saturday to urge Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Gov. Jerry Brown to end the use of fossil fuels.

      Our dependence on fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, has been contested for years. In April, the Center for International Environmental Law released documents proving what many have speculated: The fossil fuel industry has known of the associated climate change risks for decades. Now, a bill pending in the California State Senate would allow public prosecutors more freedom to take action against complicit companies.

    • Trump’s Newest Enemy: Environmentalists

      Donald Trump has officially taken aim at the environment. And environmentalists are starting to aim back.

      The billionaire and presumptive Republican presidential nominee fired first shots on Friday, when he announced his key energy policy adviser: U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican who loves drilling for oil and denies human-caused climate change. Cramer is staunchly opposed to president Obama’s landmark climate change regulations, and is widely expected to advise Trump to repeal them.

    • With New EPA Advisory, Dozens of Communities Suddenly Have Dangerous Drinking Water

      The EPA announced new drinking water health advisory levels today for the industrial chemicals PFOA and PFOS. The new levels — .07 parts per billion (ppb) for both chemicals — are significantly lower than standards the agency issued in 2009, which were .4 ppb for PFOA and .2 ppb for PFOS. In areas where both PFOA and PFOS are present, the advisory suggests a maximum combined level of .07 ppb. While the old levels were calculated based on the assumption that people were drinking the contaminants only for weeks or months, the new standards assume lifetime exposure and reflect more recent research.

    • Pfizer’s Death Penalty Ban Highlights the Black Market in Execution Drugs

      Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer made big news last week when it announced a ban on the use of its drugs to carry out the death penalty by lethal injection. “Sweeping controls on the distribution of its products” have clamped shut “the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions,” the New York Times reported, calling it a milestone in the fight against capital punishment.

    • Probiotic goods a ‘waste of money’ for healthy adults, research suggests

      University of Copenhagen study finds no evidence that so-called friendly bacteria change the composition of faecal bacteria

    • Probiotic Goods Are a ‘Waste of Money’ for Healthy Adults, Research Suggests

      In a review of existing studies, Danish scientists found no evidence that probiotics, which have a significant market in the U.S., change the composition of bacteria in the guts of healthy adults.

    • Colombia battles world’s biggest drugmaker over cancer drug

      Colombia’s government is giving pharmaceutical giant Novartis a few weeks to lower prices on a popular cancer drug or see its monopoly on production of the medicine broken and competition thrown open to generic rivals.

      Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria’s remarks in an interview Tuesday are the strongest yet in an increasingly public fight with the world’s biggest drugmaker that could set a precedent for middle-income countries grappling to contain rising prices for complex drugs.

    • Mr Justice Green rejects judicial review challenge to UK’s tobacco plain packaging law

      This morning Mr Justice Green handed down his 386 page decision in Tobacco Packaging [2016] EWHC 1169 rejecting applications for judicial review brought by several of the world’s tobacco manufacturers in respect of The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 – the plain packaging rules – which are set to come into effect in the UK tomorrow.

    • Amid Global Push For Tobacco Plain Packaging, IP And Health Rights Bog Down Africa

      Plain packaging is considered unattractive among marketers, loss-making for industries, and a healthy life promoter for governments and the public. The potent mix to balance profits, safeguard jobs and cut illnesses has made it a controversial solution to curb smoking. As it grows in popularity around the world, how is plain packaging faring in Africa?

    • As Big Pharma Is Lavished with Subsidies, Congress Takes a Stingy Approach to the Opioid Epidemic

      After garnering little discussion and even less governmental concern over the past several years, America’s opiate problem — a problem that, based on the numbers, deserves the label epidemic — is finally reaching public consciousness.

      “The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “And since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin) nearly quadrupled.”

      Last week, CNN held a town hall at which victims of the opioid epidemic and their families spoke of their hardships and asked medical professionals, who were positioned across from the moderator, Anderson Cooper, what can be done to mitigate the problem.

    • Slandering Single Payer

      “They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations — which all spend far less per person on healthcare than we do,” they wrote.


      During that show, Rehm asked Dentzer why we don’t have a single payer system in the United States and Dentzer replied — “we had a private insurance industry develop.”

      “It now has revenues in excess of $400 billion a year. And it’s a very effective interest group,” Dentzer said.

      Dentzer should know.

      While Dentzer’s group calls itself The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, in fact if you look at its board of directors, it’s dominated by executives affiliated with health insurance companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and HCA) and drug companies (Genzyme Corporation, Sanofi and Merck).

    • Across Asia, we need to give the women incarcerated by the ‘war on drugs’ a voice

      Only then will the public begin to see the human face of repressive policies and the lives destroyed in the pursuit of an impossible ‘drug-free world’.

    • Delayed EU Decision on Glyphosate Relicensing—Global Justice Now Response

      A decision on whether or not to reapprove the controversial toxic substance glyphosate for use in Europe was today postponed for the second time, following disagreement among representatives of EU governments. A revised proposal by the European Commission to reapprove glyphosate for use in Europe for 9 more years, with almost no restrictions, failed to secure the required majority among EU governments.

    • As EU Weighs Approval, More Evidence Industry is Rigging the Glyphosate Game

      As European officials on Wednesday weigh whether or not to re-approve the use of Monsanto’s glyphosate, a storm has erupted after the World Health Organization (WHO) seemingly flipped in its assessment of the dangers posed by the chemical.

      Ahead of this week’s European Commission meeting, which could approve the use of glyphosate for up to nine years, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the WHO released a joint summary report concluding that the chemical, a favored ingredient of agrochemical producers like Monsanto and Dow, was “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.”

      These findings were widely (and inaccurately) reported as a “clean bill of health” for a pesticide once declared to be “probably carcinogenic” for humans by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

    • Why the UN Hasn’t Given Glysophate a Clean Bill of Health

      The first line of the Reuters article (and the other publications that took it up) then says “The pesticide glyphosate, sold by Monsanto in its Roundup weed killer product and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, is unlikely to cause cancer in people, according to a new safety review by United Nations health, agriculture and food experts.”

      Yet these statements were actually highly misleading to the reader, especially if they did not go on to read the full article to see that the findings of the UN Panel on Pesticides Residues were only in relation to consuming glyphosate residues from food.

    • People Power Just Trumped Corporate Power: Oregon County Rejects Nestle Water-Grab

      ‘This is really a resounding victory for everyone who cares about protecting not only our water supply, but water supplies around the world’

    • The ‘Sell By’ Dates On Our Groceries Are Causing Tons Of Food Waste

      The food labeling system in the United States is a complete mess. Foods can be labeled “healthy” regardless of how much sugar they contain. Foods can be labeled “Non-GMO” even when they don’t have genes, making the existence of a genetically-modified version impossible.


      Take, for instance, the existence of omnipresent expiration labels. Most consumers assume that these labels are guidelines for the date after which it’s unwise, or potentially unsafe, to eat that particular food product. But expiration labels basically mean nothing. There are no federal standards for expiration dates, except for baby formula, and best-by or sell-by date have no basis in science — instead, they’re a manufacturer’s best guess for when the food is likely to be freshest, or at peak quality. Some food products could easily last a year or a year and a half past their “sell by” date.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Daniel Ellsberg Recalls the Spirit of Resistance in the 1971 May Day Protests (Video)

      This is how Daniel Ellsberg, former government analyst and the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, describes his mindset during the 1971 May Day protests against the Vietnam War. While Ellsberg is nonchalant when recalling his experience over those few days in early May, his fascinating tale of resistance to government shows that it was by no means an easy choice. In the video below, he sits down with Judy Gumbo Albert, a Vietnam War protester and peace activist, to relive the events on the 45-year anniversary of the “Mayday Tribe’s” actions.

    • Crystal Memorial Against Tyranny

      The Kurds and the Turks were not supposed to fight one another this year.

      High-level peace talks last year were so promising that a Mandela- style house-arrest was being considered for imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the latest Kurdish rebel movement in Turkey.

      But then some stuff hit the fan: a group of pollsters met with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president since 2014.

      They told him that Kurds were blocking his goal of absolute rule—a dictatorship for life, albeit through an obedient parliament.

      That was news to him, and for good reason.

    • Breaking Through Power: Join Together to Mobilize Against Wars of Aggression

      Did you know that in the nine months leading to the criminal war of aggression against Iraq in March 2003 by the Bush/Cheney administration, at least 300 retired, high-level establishment military, national security and diplomatic officials spoke out against the looming invasion? The list included retired Generals Anthony Zinni and William Odom and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan. Even Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, two of President George H.W. Bush’s closest advisors, strongly opposed the invasion.

      Unprecedented in U.S. history, these individuals and others wrote op-eds and letters to the editor, signed petitions, attended protests, and wrote to their members of Congress. Retired military, national security and diplomatic officials have great moral credibility―much more so than the typical neocon, war hawk talking heads that appear regularly on cable news. No one can question the patriotism or experience of those who have worked their careers in these federal agencies.

    • Imperialist Robert Kagan Disavows the Bureaucracy of Immense American Presidency He Championed

      I suppose I’m unsurprised that Beltway insiders are so gleeful that this Hillary-endorsing Neocon has turned on Republicans in such a fashion. Or, perhaps more importantly, that they’re so thrilled someone with such a soapbox has written a warning of impending fascism that so neatly disavows any responsibility — for Kagan himself, and by association, for other insiders.

      But there are a couple of real problems with Kagan’s screed.

      First, Kagan would like you to believe that Trump’s success has nothing to do with policy or ideology or the Republican party except insofar as the party “incubated” Trump.


      Kagan wants to boil Trump’s popularity down to fear! A guy who has had a central role in ginning up serial American aggressive wars is offended that someone wields fear to achieve political power!!! And having done that, this warmonger says the ability to gin up fear is precisely what our Founders — the men who set up three competing branches of government, each jealously guarding its power — were concerned about.

    • Baghdad takes Rutba from ISIL: Jordan-Iraq Commercial Route to Reopen

      Iraqi forces have taken Rutba in al-Anbar province, hundreds of kilometers west of the provincial capital, Ramadi, which is also now in government hands (though much of its population is displaced). Only a few dozen Daesh (ISIL, ISIS) forces were in Rutba in the end and Iraqi armor and artillery forced them out.

    • Is China a House of Cards?

      China’s total debt is now a whopping 280% of GDP. That includes the 115% that apply to SOEs’ debts; in Japan, for instance, that SOE figure is only 31%. Yet what really matters is that only a maximum of 25% of Chinese SOEs’ debts will need to be restructured.

    • Trauma and Deprivation Lead Syrian Youths to Extremist Groups, Says New Report

      The primary factors driving Syrian youths towards extremist groups are deprivation and personal trauma stemming from five years of civil war in the country, according to a report from International Alert, a British organization. Entitled “Why Young Syrians Choose to Fight,” the report is based on interviews with 311 Syrians living in northern Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

    • General Advising Donald Trump Says Killing Terrorists’ Families Might Be OK

      A top military adviser to Donald Trump expressed qualified support for Trump’s proposal to kill terrorists’ families on Thursday, telling Al Jazeera that it would depend on the “circumstances of the situation.”

    • Up Close on Venezuela’s Crisis

      U.S. policymakers are pleased with the ousters of leftist governments in Argentina and Brazil with the next prospective “regime change” in Venezuela where the economy screams and people are hungry, as Catholic layworker Lisa Sullivan describes.

    • Trump and the Neocon Lament

      Upset that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump isn’t one of them, angry neocons insist that they represent America’s reasonable foreign policy consensus, a claim challenged by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?

      Neither Russia nor China seek conflict. It is a gratuitous and reckless act for Washington to send the message to Russia and China that they must choose vassalage or war.

    • The Clinton-Colombia Connection

      Despite a grisly human rights record and alleged ties to drug traffickers, Colombia’s ex-President Uribe has been a favorite of Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill, helping Clinton associates turn hefty profits, reports Jonathan Marshall.

    • The Real 9/11 Conspiracy

      I remember watching the towers fall.

      My sister called early in the morning to tell me to turn on the television. My husband and I, who had been working closely with Afghan women organizing against the Taliban, stared at the screen, aghast as the buildings crumbled.

      Like everyone else the world over, we realized it was a moment that was going to change history. We also realized that ordinary people, including our friends in Afghanistan, were going to pay the price for something they likely had nothing to do with. And sure enough, on Oct. 7, 2001, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, the U.S. went to war with Afghanistan. That war, the longest in U.S. history, remains a bloody weight on our collective conscience.


      But in 2004, the 9/11 Commission, a 10-person government panel created to investigate the attacks, absolved the Saudi Arabian government of any involvement. (It also faulted intelligence agencies for lack of coordination.) This was thought to be the end of the story. We were supposed to accept as mere coincidence the fact that the majority of the hijackers were Saudi citizens.

    • Wikileaks: Brazil’s New Unelected President a US Informant

      Since the agent, Michel Temer, is now Brazil’s appointed ‘interim’ leader, the context of that cable is important to understand – especially because the situation here is similar to other recent examples in which the US President has, essentially, selected the leader of a foreign government after a US-backed coup has occurred there:

    • Secret Armies, Shadow Wars, Silent Unaccountability

      We live today in an era of postmodern war. It’s a two-front war – the first being the virtual front of threats, posturing, and arms buildups we persist in waging, Cold War-style, against state-based mirror-images of ourselves (Russia and China); the second being the dirty front we wage in the shadows against irregular, non-state thugs and pygmy tyrants who use their weaknesses as strengths, asymmetrically, to turn our strengths into weaknesses.

      The first front is the martial opiate that self-satisfied, complacent politicians and bureaucrats (civilian and military) impose to their own advantage on the unsuspecting, addicted masses. It is the vehicle for perpetuating the dead myth of America’s preferred way of lethal, destructive war, along with the gluttonous defense spending and antediluvian institutional prerogatives that go with it.

    • Middle East – The Mother of All Humanitarian Crises

      When, in March 2015, delegates from the Middle East met in Amman for their regional consultations round in preparation for the May 23-24 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, most likely what they had in mind is the fact that their region was –and still is– the dramatic set of “the mother of all humanitarian crises.”

      Nevertheless, as a sort of reminder, the United Nations told them again: “millions of people, from Libya to Palestine, from Yemen to Syria and Iraq, have had their lives completely overturned by violence.”

      They were also reminded that the huge numbers of people affected by conflict, violence and displacement did little to convey the real trauma experienced.

    • 60 Minutes’ Morley Safer dies at 84

      Safer was a familiar reporter to millions when he replaced Harry Reasoner on 60 Minutes in 1970. A much-honored foreign correspondent, Safer was the first U.S. network newsman to film a report inside Communist China. He appeared regularly on the CBS Evening News from all over the world, especially Vietnam, where his controversial reporting earned him peer praise and government condemnation.

      Safer’s piece from the Vietnamese hamlet of Cam Ne in August of 1965 showing U.S. Marines burning the villagers’ thatched huts was cited by New York University as one of the 20th century’s best pieces of American journalism. Some believe this report freed other journalists to stop censoring themselves and tell the raw truth about war. The controversial report on the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” earned Safer a George Polk award and angered President Lyndon Johnson so much, he reportedly called CBS President Frank Stanton and said, “Your boys shat on the American flag yesterday.” Some Marines are said to have threatened Safer, but others thanked him for exposing a cruel tactic. Safer said that the pentagon treated him with contempt for the rest of his life.


      When he joined Mike Wallace at the beginning of 60 Minutes’ third season, they toiled to put stories on the air for a program that dodged cancellation each season. But their work was immediately recognized with an Emmy for Safer’s 1971 investigation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that began America’s war in Vietnam. The two pressed on for five years, moving the broadcast from the bottom fourth to the middle of the rankings. Then in August 1975, with a new Sunday evening timeslot, Safer put 60 Minutes on the national stage. Interviewing Betty Ford, the first lady shocked many Americans by saying she would think it normal if her 18-year-old daughter were having sex. The historic sit-down also included frank talk about pot and abortion.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • This New Rule Will Make Information About On-the-Job Injuries at Dangerous Workplaces Public

      More than 3 million U.S. workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—numbers that are thought to be significantly underreported. But astonishingly, little or no information about at which workplaces these occur is made available to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency responsible for enforcing U.S. workplace safety. Neither is this information made public.

    • WikiLeaks rep: Julian Assange would find life no easier under President Clinton

      Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who is still confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, would find life no easier under a President Hillary Clinton, according to the journalist, hacker and WikiLeaks representative Jacob Appelbaum.

      Speaking at a Q&A after the Cannes film festival premiere of Risk, Laura Poitras’s documentary about the WikiLeaks activist, Appelbaum said Clinton’s representatives had made it clear that, thanks to Cablegate – the 2010 leak of more than 250,000 classified US State Department messages by WikiLeaks (published by media partners including the Guardian) – Clinton’s office was in no mood to rethink their strategy when it came to Assange.

    • EFF Asks Court to Reverse Chelsea Manning’s Conviction for Violating Federal Anti-Hacking Law

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals Wednesday to overturn Chelsea Manning’s conviction for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), arguing that the law is intended to punish people for breaking into computers systems—something Manning didn’t do.

    • Why the Prosecution of Chelsea Manning Was Unconstitutional

      Disclosures of government information happen all the time, whether by officials seeking to advance their interests or by whistleblowers exposing misconduct for public benefit. But only one person in our history has ever been sentenced to decades in prison for disclosing truthful information to the press and public: Chelsea Manning.

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals “Unprecedented” Conviction

      Lawyers for Chelsea Manning appealed her conviction on Thursday, calling it “grossly unfair and unprecedented” and arguing that “no whistleblower in American history has been sentenced this harshly.”

      Manning was convicted of six counts of espionage by a military court in 2013, and is currently serving a 35-year sentence in military prison.

    • Chelsea Manning Files Appeal Against ‘Grossly Unfair and Unprecedented’ Conviction

      Whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Wednesday filed an appeal of her conviction and sentence for releasing a trove of government and military documents to WikiLeaks.

      The appeal argues for a 10-year sentence rather than the 35-sentence she is currently serving at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

      “For what PFC Manning did, the punishment is grossly unfair and unprecedented. No whistleblower in American history has been sentenced this harshly. Throughout trial the prosecution portrayed PFC Manning as a traitor and accused her of placing American lives in danger, but nothing could be further from the truth,” the appeal states.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Glaciers Will Melt, The Sea Will Rise Up

      The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere directly and indirectly determines the sea level. The more CO2 the higher the sea level. The details matter, the mechanism is complex, and as CO2 levels change, it takes an unknown amount of time for the sea level to catch up.

      The present day level of CO2 is just over 400ppm (parts per million). For thousands of years prior to humans having a large effect on this number, the level of atmospheric CO2 was closer to 250. Human release of CO2 into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuel, and other human activities, are responsible for this difference. We expect the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to rise considerably by the end of the century. It is remotely possible that by 2100, CO2 will be about where it is now, but only if a significant effort is made to curtail its release. If nothing is done about the release of CO2 by human burning, the number will exceed 1000ppm by 2100. Reasonable estimates assuming the most likely level of effort to change the energy system put CO2 at somewhere around 600 to 700ppm by the end of the century.

      So, it is reasonable to ask the question, what is the ultimate sea level likely to be with atmospheric concentrations of CO2 between 500 and 700ppm?

    • A third of birds in North America threatened with extinction

      A billion birds have disappeared from North America since 1970, and a third of bird species across the continent are threatened with extinction, a new report says.

      The first State of North America’s Birds report finds that of 1,154 bird species that live in and migrate among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, 432 are of “high concern” due to low or declining populations, shrinking ranges and threats such as human-caused habitat loss, invasive predators and climate change.

      Steven Price, president of Bird Studies Canada, a member of the North American Bird Initiative behind the report, says that since 1970, “the estimate is we’ve lost at least a billion birds from North America…. The trend lines are continuing down. They have to be turned around or will fall below a threshold where they can be recovered.”

    • The Essential Guide to Not Ruining a National Park for Everyone

      On its 100th birthday, the National Parks System is more popular than ever. A record 307 million people visited its 410 sites in 2015. With that many visitors trampling through, of course some of them are going to be ignorant, ill-prepared, or just plain dumb—putting flora, fauna, and themselves in danger. After a recent incident involving tourists loading a bison calf into their SUV (more on that below), we felt compelled to make this guide for what to do …and importantly, what not to do the next time you visit Acadia, Yellowstone, or any of the country’s parks and monuments in between.

    • House Science Committee Wants to Protect Exxon from Environmentalists
    • On Climate, America’s Least-Respected Lawmakers Come to Defense of Most-Hated Corporations

      House Republicans request documents from green groups and attorneys general related to the effort against fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil

    • Inside The Looming Disaster Of The Salton Sea

      The lake is drying up, uncounted dead fish line the shore, and the desert town is losing people.

    • The Big Issue Californians Are Not Hearing About This Election Year

      The lobbyists and their corporate employers who shape legislation on climate, conservation, safety, pollution and other life-and-death concerns aren’t interested in celebrity or glitter. They’re simple folk, content with a good restaurant dinner in Sacramento as long as an influential legislator is at the table. For them, the most important elections in California this year are for the Legislature. Their must-attend events are a golfing weekend at Half Moon Bay or a Sacramento fundraiser for a lawmaker who will cast a vote on legislation worth millions to some company.

    • “SmartEco” or “Extreme Eco” projector lamp power saving modes are a trap
    • Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone

      Portugal kept its lights on with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days last week in a clean energy milestone revealed by data analysis of national energy network figures.

      Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday, the analysis says.

      News of the zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that clean energy had powered almost all its electricity needs on Sunday 15 May, with power prices turning negative at several times in the day – effectively paying consumers to use it.

    • Feeding Critters, Not Killing Them

      Big Problem, Cunning Small Solution Dept: With our oceans fouled by an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic – much of it those pesky deadly six-pack rings from the astounding 6.3 billion gallons of beer, about half in cans, Americans drink each year – a Florida craft brewery has created rings that can double as lunch for any marine animals who come upon them. Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, which describes itself as “a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea,” has started making the rings from barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process. They are 100% biodegradable, compostable, edible by fish or human alike, and as tough as plastic.

    • Breaking Free: A Rising Tide of Climate Resistance

      “Welcome to Fort McMurray. We have the energy,” reads the signs as one enters this northern deep-woods outpost at the center of the Alberta tar sands petroleum-extraction zone. The forests surrounding Fort McMurray are on fire, closing in on the vast tar sands operations. More than 90,000 people have been evacuated, most from Fort McMurray, but thousands more from the oil sands work camps, where what is considered the dirtiest oil on the planet is extracted from tarry sand dug from earth-scarring open-pit mines. Across the hemisphere, the oil giant Shell has begun cleanup operations in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil-drilling operations have leaked, spilling more than 2,000 barrels of oil into the water, 97 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

    • Executives Running Collapsing Coal Companies Award Themselves Millions While Laying Off Workers

      Executives of the top coal-producing companies in the country got compensation increases while their companies spiraled into bankruptcy, laid off workers, or tried to slash employee benefits, a new report finds.

      Most top executives for Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources got compensation increases worth in total millions of dollars as the companies went into massive debt often due to fruitless expansions, the report released Tuesday by Public Citizen, an advocacy organization, found. In conjunction with the report, Public Citizen also sent letters to Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources chief executive officers urging them to invest their multi-million dollar bonuses in a trust fund for laid off workers.

    • After Mississippi Flooding, Red Cross Stumbles Again

      When record-high floodwaters hit counties across Mississippi in March, over 650 homes sustained major damage or were destroyed entirely. People fled for shelters, and roadways were washed out. State officials told the press the damage was the most widespread they’d seen since Hurricane Katrina.

      The American Red Cross quickly dispatched volunteers. Two of them arrived in Sunflower County in the Mississippi Delta looking to hand out clean-up kits to flood victims.

      The only problem: They weren’t anywhere near the parts of Sunflower affected by flooding, according to Ben Grant, the county’s director of emergency management.

    • Poorest nations will feel heat soonest

      Some of the world’s poorest people, who have contributed least to climate change, are likely to feel its effects sooner than most of their neighbours.

      Research by an international team of scientists has found that many of the planet’s poorest countries are likely to experience daily heat extremes caused by climate change before wealthier nations do.

      The research published in Environmental Research Letters shows that the poorest fifth of the global population will be the first to experience more frequent heat extremes, despite together emitting the smallest amounts of CO2. Countries likely to be worst affected include those in the Horn of Africa and West Africa.

    • Climate disruption, the new reality

      The present experience of climate change in Australia and Canada has major importance for the life of the planet.

    • BP-Sponsored ‘Sunken Cities’ Show Provokes Museum-Climbing Climate Protest

      London’s British Museum was shut down on Thursday after Greenpeace activists scaled its columns to call on the museum to drop BP’s sponsorship for a “blockbuster” exhibit—about flooded cities.

    • The Fracking Process Is Now The Leading Cause Of Earthquakes In Texas

      In the last 40 years, oil and gas activity has caused some 60 percent of Texas earthquakes higher than magnitude 3 in the Richter scale, a new study led by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin found.

  • Finance

    • Saudi Arabia Considers Paying Contractors With IOUs

      Saudi Arabia is considering using IOUs to pay outstanding bills with contractors and conserve cash, according to people briefed on the discussions.

      As payment from the state, contractors would receive bond-like instruments which they could hold until maturity or sell on to banks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Companies have received some payments in cash and the rest could come in the “I-owe-you” notes, the people said, adding that no decisions have been made on the measures.

    • Republicans’ Refusal To Help Puerto Rico Could Cost Them The 2016 Election

      The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is collapsing under the weight of tens of billions of dollars of debt and there is no end in sight for the economic pain. The island has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, at over 12 percent, and a higher rate of poverty than any U.S. state. Home foreclosures are up 89 percent from 2008. More than 100 schools and a children’s hospital have been forced to close. As it faces an outbreak of the Zika virus, the island is losing, on average, a doctor a day.

    • A Commencement Address for the Most Indebted Class Ever

      Congratulations, college graduates! As you enter the next phase of life, you and your parents should be proud of your achievements.

      But, I’m sorry to say, they’ve come at a price: The system is trying to squeeze you harder than any previous generation.

      Many baby boomers, perhaps including your parents, benefited from a time when higher education was seen as a shared social responsibility. Between 1945 and 1975, tens of millions of them graduated from college with little or no debt.

      But now, tens of millions of you are graduating with astounding levels of debt.

      This year, seven in 10 graduating seniors borrowed for their educations. Their average debt is now over $37,000 — the highest figure for any class ever.

    • Paul Ryan Commits To Fighting Rule That Extends Overtime Protection To Millions Of Workers

      Hours after the White House announced a final rule that will change overtime protection so that it covers millions more Americans, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) vowed to fight it. But just months ago, Ryan was calling for the very sort of raises that the new rule will ensure.

      After Ryan was elected to the Speaker position in October last year, he gave a speech outlining the challenges he hopes to address in the role. First on the list was the financial struggles American workers face.

    • State legislatures attacking community wealth building

      Unfortunately, it’s not just Republican-dominated statehouses working to eliminate key tools like local hiring in the local community wealth building toolbox. Leaked documents from the negotiations around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which the Obama administration is pursuing with his counterparts in the EU, indicate a desire to eliminate the power of cities and states—as well as public anchor institutions like universities and hospitals—to establish procurement preferences for locally-owned firms. As advocates for inclusive economies where local resources are used wisely and strategically to create and expand opportunities for local communities, we should oppose such counterproductive restrictions on local autonomy, whether at the state or international level.

    • American CEOs Make 335 Times More Than Their Workers

      According to a new AFL-CIO study on corporate salaries, CEOs made 335 times more than the average employee salary last year.

      The report, which identifies the average worker salary as $36,875, specifically cites Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam who made almost 500 times more than the average Verizon worker in 2015. A number of Verizon employees have been on strike for over a month now, in the largest U.S. work stoppage since 2011, and McAdam’s astronomical salary is frequently cited on the picket lines.

    • The Age of Precarious: 6 in 10 Americans Living on the Financial Edge

      An unexpected medical bill or a dip in the stock market would be all it took to send two-thirds of Americans into financial distress, according to a new poll that finds lingering lack of confidence in the U.S. economy.

      Despite reports of falling unemployment, growing wages, and rising consumer confidence, a full 57 percent of respondents to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey describe the national economy as poor. Only 22 percent of people say the economy has mostly or completely recovered from the Great Recession.

      And while 66 percent of Americans describe their current financial situation as “good”—suggesting they are able to pay their regular bills, go out to eat more, and think about buying a new car or house—the picture is decidedly “precarious,” as the Associated Press puts it.

    • America Must Renew Its Infrastructure or Face Decline

      America is literally falling apart. In Flint, children were poisoned by the lead contamination of the water. In Washington, the subway system is plagued by fires and delays. Arlington Memorial Bridge — which connects the North to the South, the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery — may have to be closed soon. Kennedy’s eternal flame may burn forever, but the bridge is on its last legs.

    • New Leak Reveals Proposal To Extend Corporate Sovereignty Massively To Include Intra-EU Investments

      As Techdirt has reported, the public backlash against corporate sovereignty in TAFTA/TTIP was so strong in the EU that the European Commission was forced to come up with Plan B. It now wants to replace what has been called “the most toxic acronym in Europe” — ISDS, which stands for “investor-state dispute settlement” — with ICS: the investment court system. That was little more than a re-branding exercise, since most of the key flaws remained, but at least it suggested that the European Commission recognized that corporate sovereignty had become a serious problem that needed to be addressed. However, it seems that others didn’t get that memo — or, more likely, just don’t care what the EU public thinks. A new leak reveals that a group of EU governments want to extend the use of ISDS, and to embed corporate sovereignty even more deeply in the fabric of the European economy.

    • The Humane Society and the Greenwashing of the TPP

      On February 4, 2016, the United States and eleven other countries around the Pacific Rim finally signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The twelve signatories now have two years to ratify the agreement. In the U.S., after passage of so-called “fast-track” authority in June, 2015, the TPP may not be amended or filibustered in Congress and will simply face an up-or-down vote. Exactly when that vote will come is unclear at the time of writing. Since most of this year’s crop of aspiring emperors/empresses have publicly opposed the TPP, it may not be brought up for a vote until after the November elections in the lame-duck Congress, which would indeed be the final insult in this profoundly anti-democratic saga. Meanwhile, Barack Obama – in what the Associated Press has been presenting as a kind of valedictory world tour analogous to the final concert of the Rolling Stones – has been visiting European capitals and pressing for signatures on the similar Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The latest round of those negotiations in February ended with high-ranking officials for both the U.S. and the EU expressing hopes of conclusion by the end of 2016, even if that means modifying the agreement’s most contentious element, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

    • US Government’s Own Report Shows Toxic TPP “Not Worth Passing”

      Meanwhile, the ITC estimates a worsening balance of trade for 16 out of 25 U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors that cover vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice, and even financial service. Indeed, output in the manufacturing sector would be $11.2 billion lower with TPP than without it in 2032, the ITC found, with employment down 0.2 percent. And while vehicle production would gain, auto parts, textiles, and chemicals would see reductions, the trade panel said.

    • Trade Commission Report Reveals Few Benefits From the TPP and Ignores its Costs

      The White House has been curiously quiet on the Trans-Pacific Partnership front, following its earlier fanfare about the agreement when it was signed in February. Yesterday with the release of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC)’s almost 800-page report on the TPP’s Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors [PDF], we can expect the rhetoric to be ramped up again, in attempt to sell the agreement to an increasingly skeptical Congress and public.

      However, the USITC report doesn’t actually give the administration much to go on. It estimates that by 2032 the TPP would expand U.S. real income by a measly $57.3 billion (0.23 percent). Real GDP growth would be even smaller at $42.7 billion (0.15 percent), and employment would be a negligible 0.07 percent higher. Belying the touted “Made in America” rhetoric of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), foreign imports would actually grow more than U.S. exports (by $48.9 billion, as against $27.2 billion).

    • Dean Baker’s Statement on the TPP and Latest USITC Report
    • International Trade Commission Report Validates that Trans Pacific Partnership Is Not Worth Passing
    • TPP Study Projects Worsening Trade Balances for 16 of 25 U.S. Economic Sectors, Overall U.S. Trade Deficit Increase

      The actual outcomes of past trade pacts have been significantly more negative than ITC projections generated using the same methodology employed for the TPP study. This makes today’s unusually negative ITC findings on the TPP especially ominous.

    • Michigan Corporations to Pay $0 in Taxes This Year, Despite Crises in Flint and Detroit

      Under Michigan’s tax code, businesses will “effectively contribute nothing to the state coffers” this year—while Flint residents pay for poison water and lawmakers defund Detroit schools

    • Rio During the Coup: “Temer Jamais! Temer Jamais!”

      Hard to imagine there was a de facto coup d’etat three days prior.

    • Watch: First Interview With Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff Since the Senate’s Impeachment Vote

      Last Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended from the presidency when the Senate voted, 55-22, to try her on the impeachment charges, approved by the lower house, involving alleged budgetary maneuvers (“pedaladas”) designed to obscure the size of public debt. Although she nominally remains the president and continues to reside in Brasília’s presidential palace, her duties are being carried out by her vice president, Michel Temer — now “interim” President Temer — and the right-wing, corruption-tainted, all-white-male cabinet he has assembled (due to Brazil’s coalition politics, Temer is from a different party than Rousseff). Rousseff’s suspension will last up to 180 days as her Senate impeachment trial takes place, at which point she will either be acquitted or (as is widely expected) convicted and permanently removed from her office.

    • Woman In £1,000,000 Hat Tells Britain To ‘Live Within Its Means’

      A woman sitting on a chair made of gold has encouraged the country to “live within its means” during these times of austerity while addressing a room full of millionaires.

      She also voiced support for a government imposing longer working hours with less pay on junior doctors while wearing a hat encrusted with five rubies, 11 emeralds, 17 sapphires, 273 pearls and 2,868 diamonds.

    • The Queen’s Speech And The Strangest Customs, Including Dennis Skinner’s Ritual One-Liner
    • Empire of Lies: How the US Continues to Deceive the World About Puerto Rico

      Separated by an ocean and a language from the mainland, Puerto Ricans have watched the US government lie brazenly and repeatedly — to the American people and the world at large — about its actions and interests in the Caribbean.

      The latest walk down liar’s lane is a cut to the minimum wage, as proposed by the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources.

    • Is neoliberalism applicable to Russia? A response to Ilya Matveev

      The word “neoliberalism” was coined in 1938 by Alexander Rüstow, a German sociologist and economist, who suggested it as an alternative to the traditional laissez-faire type of liberalism. Neoliberalism was thus initially understood as a kind of “third way”, a combination of capitalism and free trade with state intervention in the economy and the provision of social welfare.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Robert McChesney: Mainstream Corporate Media Covering 2016 Election Through Eyes of Clinton Campaign

      “This has been an all-time low by mainstream corporate media,” says media scholar Robert McChesney, who joins us to discuss how the media is covering the race for the White House. “What we’ve seen is the Sanders campaign has been largely neglected … And the coverage and the framing of it has been largely through the eyes of the establishment for the Hillary Clinton campaign.” McChesney says reporters also failed simply to ask questions about what exactly happened over the weekend when Sanders supporters erupted in protest at the Nevada state Democratic convention after they said rules were abruptly changed and 64 Sanders supporters were wrongly denied delegate status. This “brought to the front just how little actual journalism goes on,” he notes, “how much of it is simply regurgitating what people in power tell them.” McChesney is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Communication and is co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization.

    • Watch: Hillary Clinton Delegate Claims ‘Manipulation’ at Controversial Nevada Dem Convention That Angered Sanders Supporters

      Clinton delegate Pat Barrett told The Young Turks that the last minute rule changes were unjust.

    • Dear Greens

      Your party, in policy terms, is close to my heart. Proportional representation, a basic income, anti-austerity measures such as Green QE and of course real sustainability, not green wash, what is not to like? And a little over a year ago you were given national recognition through the membership surge you momentarily enjoyed. Thousands of new people joined and you got an unprecedented slice of the vote – with over 1 million backers.

    • ‘Weiner’ Film Review: This Is What Our Democracy Looks Like

      Anthony Weiner’s career may have imploded, but his personal and professional disasters provided the basis for what might be the most astute encapsulation to date of America’s celebrity-mad political culture.

    • Can superdelegates be convinced to support Bernie Sanders? Unlikely, but not impossible

      Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t big fans of the Democratic Party’s superdelegates, the political insiders who get a personal say in the nomination of the party’s presidential candidate. These governors, members of Congress and other officials aren’t obligated to follow the popular vote, and their preference so far for Hillary Clinton has buttressed a central tenet of her campaign — the inevitability of her nomination. It comes as no small irony, then, that it is the very existence of superdelegates that will allow the Sanders campaign to take its call for a political revolution, and its quest for the nomination, all the way to the party convention in Philadelphia in July.

    • This is How Corrupt Our Political System Is

      ALEC corrupts the system in every capitol across the country. It’s legalized bribery that allows corporations and lobbyists to write our nation’s laws.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Race Problem

      At the time, Hillary was traveling the country lauding the new bill as a critical piece of legislation to combat the “crime epidemic” and make America safe for middle class whites. In a blatant display of the sort of racism and white supremacy that could certainly endear her to klansmen like Quigg, Clinton referred to young black males targeted by the Crime Bill as “superpredators,” at once dehumanizing a segment of the population disproportionately impacted by Clinton’s crime policies while also justifying the obviously racist nature of the bill itself.

      And while Hillary Clinton can whitewash her record (and that of her husband) when it comes to issues of race and injustice, the inescapable fact is that the “liberal” Clinton presided over the expansion of the for-profit prison industry, the construction of the mass incarceration state, the explosion of life sentences for drug offenders, the expansion of the death penalty, and countless other socially destructive phenomena that continue to ravage Black America to this day.

    • Values Viewers

      The candidate remains the same: a misogynist alpha male 1%er.

    • As Sanders Readies for California, Clinton Announces Primary Process ‘Already Done’

      Bernie Sanders has reiterated his promise to stay in the presidential race until the Democratic convention in July, and is throwing his weight behind a number of progressive initiatives in California as the state’s primary approaches there on June 7.

      As rival Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday afternoon the nomination was “already” hers, Sanders refuses to discount California voters—more than 1.5 million of whom have registered to vote since January.

      “I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already done, in effect,” Clinton said. “There is no way that I won’t be.”

      In contrast, during a rally in the city of Carson on Tuesday, Sanders told the more than 10,000 people in attendance, “This is, in a sense, the beginning of the final push to win California. There are a lot of people out there, many pundits and politicians, they say Bernie Sanders should drop out, the people of California should not have the right to determine who the next president will be. Well, let me be as clear as I can be…. We are in till the last ballot is cast!”

    • Secret Plans for the General Election: Trump 2016 & Nixon 1968

      Hillary Clinton, her eyes on the general election and Donald Trump, unveiled her latest attack against the Republican front runner yesterday at a rally in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

      This line of attack aims to show that Trump is a con artist, a liar, and has no actual plans for any of the policies he’s “outlined.” Clinton apparently believes that by pointing out that the Republican nominee has no substance behind his ideas, she’ll reap the benefits in November.

      But history is not necessarily on her side. Almost 50 years ago, “secret plans” won an election for a political con man, and it could happen again.

    • Should Progressives Unify with the Democratic Party Establishment? Hell No!

      In countless ways over the last 35 years, our society has become less economically equal and more dominated by corporate power. Less just and more jailed. Vast urban and rural areas decline as government subsidizes economic elites. Funds for education and social services are under constant threat while funding for war and surveillance seems limitless.

      These trends have persisted no matter which major party dominated Washington.

      Whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, Wall Street personnel fill top economic posts; energy policy is dominated by oil/gas/nuclear interests; Monsanto is ever-present in food and agriculture policy; military-industrial types dominate foreign policy.

      The luminous Bernie Sanders campaign – in many ways, a youth movement – has blossomed out of this decay and corruption, as millions are saying “No” to a corporatized Democratic Party leadership. Not convinced the Democratic leadership of the last several decades has been thoroughly corrupt? Read any of a dozen books from William Greider’s 1992 classic “Who Will Tell the People?” to the 2013 insider account “This Town.”

    • Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton 42%-37% in new national poll

      Donald Trump has jumped into a notable lead over likely general election opponent Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup, an eye-popping poll out Thursday showed.

    • New National Poll: Trump Increasing Lead Over Clinton

      A new Rasmussen poll released Thursday shows Republican front-runner Donald Trump increasing his lead over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

      The New York billionaire has a five-point edge over the Clinton, with 42 percent of likely voters saying they’d back him compared to 37 percent for Clinton.

      The poll also shows Trump now getting 76 percent of the Republican vote; Clinton nabbed 72 percent of the Democratic vote. Thirteen percent of Democrats would prefer Trump in square-off between the two, while nine percent of Republican voters would favor Clinton in such a match-up.

    • Reuters’ alleged bias has already been controversial

      Looks innocuous, right? But it’s not — this is the replacement for a tweet that preceded it. Same story, but with a frigging picture of Donald Trump attached. I’d post that original tweet here but they deleted it before I could snag it.

      Initial reaction too often is “It’s just a tweet, it’s just Twitter.” No. Hell, no. If Reuters can’t get something as simple as a photo on a tweet correct, what else are they getting wrong with slap dash coverage?

      Reuters isn’t just any news outlet; businesses pay its parent corporation, Thompson Reuters for their information products. What are businesses getting in purchased real-time feeds? Some of these businesses are broadcasters. Are erroneous feeds shaping broadcasters’ perceptions before they even reproduce news content? It’s rather important today when some news outlets sought whacko tweets and quotes from Trump before attempting to get a reaction from the White House.

    • Can Sadiq Khan’s Victory Influence the US General Election?

      London has its first Muslim mayor. Sadiq Khan won the election in a landslide, securing the largest personal mandate of any British politician ever, in spite of the Islamophobic campaign run by his opponent, Zac Goldsmith. It is easy to be optimistic at such a historic time, but to suppose that because Londoners chose “unity over division and hope over fear,” as Sadiq Khan put it, so too will Americans in the general election later this year may well be comparing apples with oranges.

    • Does Democratic Party Discord Portend Disaster at Convention?

      Harping on convention controversy fuels Sanders’ challenge to the mainstream establishment

    • Bernie Sanders Stays Motivated After Oregon Win, Appeals to California Voters

      Speaking Tuesday night at the StubHub Center at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif., Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders celebrated his victory in Oregon’s primary with a crowd of more than 8,000. An estimated 13,000 more gathered in an “overflow area” outside of the stadium.

      Sanders spent little time dwelling on his Oregon success, however, preferring to speak about his campaign’s future. “It will be a steep climb, I recognize that, but we have the possibility of going to Philadelphia with a majority of the pledged delegates,” Sanders said. “Some people say that we’ve got a steep hill to climb to do that. And you know what? That is absolutely true. But you know what? Together we have been climbing that steep hill from day one in this campaign.”

      Sanders also brought up the subject of recent polls that give him, not rival Hillary Clinton, better odds of beating Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, in the general election. “Whether a national poll or state poll, we do much better beating Donald Trump than Clinton,” Sanders said. “The Democratic Party wants to be certain that Donald Trump is defeated … we, together, are the campaign to do that.”

    • Oregon Goes for Sanders: “If It’s So Over, Why Does Bernie Keep Winning?”

      As of early Wednesday morning, with 77 percent of the vote counted in Oregon, Sanders was the projected winner as he captured 55 percent of the vote compared to Clinton’s 46 percent. Notably, with a state that has encouraged ballot access by instituting automatic voter registration, Oregon is the first closed primary contest (one in which independents and late registrants are excluded from voting) that Sanders has been able to win against Clinton.

    • This Is What A Formerly Incarcerated Man Went Through To Vote In Kentucky

      After 46-year-old Michael Hiser adhered an “I Voted” sticker onto his suit lapel for the first time ever, he sat down to take it all in.

      “I’ve been trying for so long,” he said, his voice cracking while thinking about his more than decade-long journey to restore his voting rights. “It’s really nice to be able to have a voice after so long being silent.” He wiped tears from under his eyes as he spoke to ThinkProgress from a bench outside a suburban Louisville polling place.

      “When I got out of prison, they told me to do good, but they told me I couldn’t be a part of their group,” he continued. “It made it me feel like I didn’t belong.”

    • The Faux Fracas in Nevada: How a Reporter Manufactured a Riot

      Jon Ralston, the dean of political reporting in Nevada, has spread nothing less than a pack of lies about what went down at the state’s Democratic convention on Saturday. And the fact averse oligarchic national media has run completely riot with the provable falsehoods. No chairs were thrown at the convention Saturday. No death threats were made against the chair of the convention Roberta Lange. And Bernie Sanders delegates were not simply mad because their louder shouting was ignored.

    • Media, Democratic Establishment Exploit Nevada Uproar to Diss Bernie Sanders

      The trouble at Saturday’s Nevada State Democratic Convention has become another excuse for the party establishment and the mainstream media to attack Bernie Sanders and his passionate followers.

      In the media’s telling, the dispute over the delegate count has grown into a violent scene. Though we can find no video proof, chairs were reported to have been thrown. That, apparently, was the worst of it. With unabashed hyperbole, The Washington Post now calls it a “donnybrook.”

      Certainly, there was much yelling and tension at the long and exhausting event. But when the convention leaders ignored the results of a voice vote, then failed to follow the party’s own convention rules, Sanders’ supporters had every right to protest. That’s called democracy in action.

      A sober analysis of the event posted on YouTube by Jordan Liles clearly shows the convention leaders’ role in escalating the trouble. Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange’s arbitrary dismissal of the Sanders camp’s complaints could have had no other result than to infuriate all concerned.

    • The Test of Leadership as Sanders Rolls in Oregon

      In his victory speech, delivered before a vibrant crowd in Carson, Calif., Sanders attributed his progress to the power of his message. He rightly celebrated the fact that he has won young voters by huge margins across the country, concluding that, “Our vision – a vision of social justice, economic justice, racial justice and environmental justice – that is the future of this country.”

    • Sanders Slams Trump Donor Sheldon Adelson; Doesn’t Mention Clinton’s Past Ties to Billionaire

      During his Oregon primary victory speech in Carson, California Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders advocated for campaign finance reform as he often does. He also cast an eye toward the general election.

      “If we as a great nation do not get our act together, this nation is going to slip into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control our political and economic life,” Sanders said.

    • Clinton and Sanders Split Primaries Despite Hillary’s Huge Delegate Lead

      In Oregon, Sanders beat Clinton by nine percent, showcasing his unwavering support among liberal progressives who view Clinton’s more pragmatic approach to governance—coupled with her ties to Wall Street—an undesirable compromise.

    • Democratic Primaries in the Shadow of Neoliberalism

      There is an understandable tendency, when in the thick of a long set of presidential primaries, to treat all of them simply as exercises in the choice between individual candidates, and to make them as much about character as about policy. There is also an understandable tendency to assume that what is at stake in these primaries is purely an American matter with entirely domestic roots.

      It is much more difficult to place the competing candidates and their differing policy packages on a bigger and a longer map that takes in previous candidates and previous policies. It is also very hard to break out of a purely American focus, and to see what is happening in the United States as part of a more general story.

    • Slouching Toward Washington

      Despite the opposition of the mainstream press – with especially shameful treatment by The Washington Post and The New York Times – Sanders has drawn the hopes of young people with his promises to address income inequality, abolish student debt, tackle climate change, etc. He’s the only candidate running a campaign based on actual issues. But that will not be enough to win him the nomination or perhaps even a voice in the party platform, despite his demonstrably large constituency. “Socialist” is a dirty work for many people, who cannot look beyond it to hear anything Sanders says.

    • About That Post-Bernie Movement

      Even Noam Chomsky is optimistic: Mr. 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.”


      Green Party candidates don’t only call for relief from the crushing debt burden suffered by college students, they call for debt forgiveness and free college tuition that can be easily covered by reducing the slice of the budget pie that goes to Pentagon contractors and military ventures.

    • Will Christian Evangelicals Walk Down the Aisle With Trump?

      Those shuffling sounds you hear are the boots of establishment conservatives scurrying toward supporting Donald Trump’s run for the presidency. Will conservative Christian evangelicals — particularly those who have been vehemently opposed to The Donald during the primaries — do the same?

    • Melania Trump Blames Jewish Reporter for ‘Provoking’ Neo-Nazis

      It’s hard to tell what’s worse: the irony of a Trump accusing someone of speaking an untruth (in this instance, a well-regarded and fact-checked reporter from GQ), or that Melania seems to have few qualms including neo-nazis in her fanbase.

    • Democratic Fracture: Clinton, Sanders, and Race

      Sanders is manifestly uninterested in soliciting African American votes as a bloc. He’s running a class-based campaign where the “working class” regardless of color & creed are expected to unite and stick it to the bosses. In his approach, Sanders resembles his hero Eugene Debs, who did the socialist thing, and dismissed racism as a distraction employed by capitalism to split and befuddle the working class.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senators Wyden And Paul Introduce SMH Bill To Stop Massive Expansion Of Gov’t Computer Hacking
    • The Intercept Releases New Snowden Documents, Details About Guantánamo
    • NSA Gitmo Link Reveals Entire Intelligence Community Corrupted
    • Ex-CIA Officer: US Government Presented Gitmo as ‘Holiday Camp’
    • Former NSA Director Hayden Weighs In on Encryption Debate
    • NSA’s GenCyber Camps to triple number of summer camps offered [Ed: think about the children!]
    • Missouri S&T hosts GenCyber security camp for K-12 teachers
    • The Tiny Town Where Air Force Cadets Learn to Drop ‘Cyber Bombs’
    • US Cyber Command splits from NSA, White House objects
    • House defense bill elevates cyber force, defying White House
    • Cyberspace’s invisible armies
    • Inside the Ring: NSA on North Korea Nukes
    • Homeland Security Has Not Sent Us A Subpoena

      A couple weeks ago, we wrote about a phone call (and follow up emails) we received from Homeland Security indicating an interest in sending us a subpoena, asking for any identifying information we had on a commenter. That commenter had posted a (somewhat ridiculous) comment, in response to another story, about a guy who had nearly a quarter of a million dollars taken by him by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) under civil asset forfeiture rules. The commenter, somewhat weirdly, suggested that the guy who had this money stolen might “know people” who could murder the agents who took the money. It was clearly not a threat. It was random idle speculation.

      But, for whatever reason, the sister agency of CBP, called Homeland Security Investigations (HSI — which was formerly Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE), decided that it wanted to subpoena the information on the commenter.

    • Surveillance Chills Speech—As New Studies Show—And Free Association Suffers

      Visiting an art exhibit featuring works about the U.S. war on terror or going to a lecture about Islam wouldn’t be cause for worry—unless you found out that the government was monitoring and keeping track of attendees. At that point, some people would be spooked and stay away, sacrificing their interests and curiosity to protect their privacy, not look suspicious, or stay off a list some intelligence agency might be keeping.

      Government surveillance has that chilling effect—on our activities, choices and communications—and carries serious consequences. We argue in our lawsuit First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, et al v. NSA that the government’s collection of phone records violates the First Amendment rights of our clients—churches and civil and human rights organizations—by discouraging members and constituents from associating and communicating with them for fear of being spied on.

      Now two new studies examining the use of Facebook and Wikipedia show that this chilling effect is real. Both studies demonstrate that government surveillance discourages speech and access to information and knowledge on the Internet. What happens is that people begin to self-police their communications: they are more likely to avoid associating with certain groups or individuals, or looking at websites or articles, when they think the government is watching them or the groups/people with whom they connect. This hurts our democracy and society as a whole.

    • Disclosed NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden reveal probe into Putin’s suspected links with crime

      In the early 2000s, intelligence experts at the US National Security Agency (NSA) successfully intercepted calls from the phone of a Russian crime boss in order to probe suspected links with Vladimir Putin, it has been revealed.

      The news emerged from recently disclosed (16 May) documents leaked by former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden, published by The Intercept, and revealed how one request from the US State Department urged the agency to investigate links between the controversial head of state and the notorious Tambov crime syndicate.

    • Why Is Congress Undermining President’s Surveillance Oversight Board?

      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) is supposed to be an independent body that makes sure that the intelligence community is not abusing its surveillance powers. It was created to go along with the PATRIOT Act, as a sort of counterbalance, except that it initially had basically no power. In 2007, Congress gave it more power and independence and… both the Bush and Obama administrations responded by… not appointing anyone to the PCLOB. Seriously. The Board sat entirely dormant for five whole years before President Obama finally appointed people in late 2012. Thankfully, that was just in time for the Snowden revelations less than a year later.

      The PCLOB then proceeded to write a truly scathing report about the NSA’s metadata collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, calling it both illegal and unconstitutional. While the PCLOB was less concerned about the NSA’s Section 702 program (which includes both PRISM and “upstream” collection from backbone providers) the group has been working for nearly two years on an investigation into Executive Order 12333 — which is the main program under which the NSA spies on people.

    • Hidden Mics as Part of Government Surveillance Program

      In another example of multi-dimensional clash among the Fourth Amendment, privacy, technology and the surveillance state, hidden microphones that are part of a broad, public clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the San Francisco Bay Area have been exposed.

      The FBI planted listening devices at bus stops and other public places trying to prove real estate investors in San Mateo and Alameda counties are guilty of bid rigging and fraud. FBI agents were previously caught hiding microphones inside light fixtures and at public spaces outside an Oakland Courthouse, between March 2010 and January 2011.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • “Youth is going to be part of the solution in Brazil”

      “We figure out how to bring global issues down to the field and make sure young people understand where their responsibility lies – to be part of the solution, not just the victims.”

    • Duterte’s Crass Politics and Anti-Imperialism: Class War in the Philippines

      A year ago, few believed that Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao, would be the next president of the Philippines. Duterte had achieved a reputation as a Filipino “Dirty Harry,” a strongman who boasted that he got rid of criminals and drug pushers by wiping them off the face of the earth. When questioned about the 1,000-plus extrajudicial executions alleged to have taken place under his watch, he simply growled that criminals had no human rights and were not entitled to due process.

    • The CIA and the 1962 Arrest of Nelson Mandela

      West Africans and southern Africans alike always assumed both CIA and KGB presence in colonial Africa. There was a common joke saying that if you dropped in at hotel happy hour in Luanda, Lusaka, or Maputo you could identify both the Americans and Russians. People even had memories of KGB and CIA operatives sharing tables.

    • Activism Beyond ‘Feeling the Bern’: Violent Protests for Social Progress Happening Now in France

      The presidential election in the U.S. has dominated the public’s attention and produced two unlikely outcomes. The most obvious is that reality TV star Donald Trump, while breaking every rule in the book of U.S. presidential politics and offending women, minorities and just about everyone, is clearly going to be the Republican nominee for president.

    • House Republicans Want To Force The Library Of Congress To Call Immigrants ‘Illegal’

      Republicans in Congress are insistent on continuing to use the term “illegal immigrant” — even though it’s considered offensive by many immigrants and advocates because of its negative connotation.

      The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee approved a bill this week that would require the Library of Congress to use the term “illegal immigrants,” reversing its recent decision to stop using that phrase in its search terms and cataloging.

      Last month, the Library of Congress announced it would stop using the term “illegal alien” to describe someone who is living in the country without permission, explaining the term has “taken on a pejorative tone” and citing the fact that media outlets like the Associated Press no longer use it. Instead, the Library said it would start using the more neutral terms “noncitizens” and “unauthorized immigration.”

    • Rethinking Criminal Justice

      “For over forty years our criminal justice system has over-relied on punishment, policing, incarceration and detention. This has ushered in an age of mass incarceration. This era is marked by sentencing policies that lead to racially disproportionate incarceration rates and a variety of ‘collateral consequences’ that have harmed our communities and schools. . . .”

      In this time when our self-inflicted troubles seem so obvious but the possibility of change — that is to say, political transformation, through awareness, compassion and common sense — feels more illusory than ever, something extraordinary, that is to say real, is on the brink of happening in Chicago.

    • The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is discriminatory. Let’s fix it

      But today RFRA is being used as a vehicle for institutions and individuals to argue that their faith justifies myriad harms — to equality, to dignity, to health and to core American values.

    • Scottish Country Club Upholds Ban On Women, Offers To Create ‘Lady-Friendly’ Golf Course Instead

      On Thursday, the members of the privately owned Muirfield golf club in Scotland voted against allowing women to join their ranks.

    • With or Without White People, Black Lives Matter

      What do these facts mean? Do they mean what they say or do they mean something else? Is an African American male’s life really 5 years less deserving than a white American male? Is there something about the color of one’s skin that signifies that they are less deserving of freedom or a good paying job? Are black people 6x more worthy of death for committing crimes than whites?

    • As Universities Become More Diverse, Debates Over Buildings Honoring White Supremacists Grow

      There’s been ongoing debate on university campuses about whether the names of slaveowners and white supremacists should be removed from college buildings. It’s a conversation that pits those concerned over campus climates for students of color against the views of some historians and administrators, some of whom say that it’s not appropriate to remove the names of historical figures from college grounds.

      At Yale University, for example, administrators recently changed the title of “master” of a college or “head” of a college, after students expressed concerns over the name being too attached to slavery, but did not submit to calls to rename a residential building called Calhoun College. Students were upset that Calhoun, a fierce opponent of the abolition of slaves who called slavery a “positive good,” would continue to have his name displayed at the college.

    • Home Depot Worker Receives Death Threats After Wearing ‘America Was Never Great’ Hat

      Krystal Lake, a 22-year-old Staten Islander and student at the College of Staten Island, elicited a firestorm of hate tweets after a photo of her wearing an “America Was Never Great” hat went viral.

    • Malcolm X Predicted the Progression of Racism in the United States

      On March 26, 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X came to watch the debate over the civil rights bill, meeting for the first and only known time at the US Capitol. Malcolm had recently been pushed out of the corrupted Nation of Islam. When he left Washington, he started warning American racists of the “ballot or the bullet.” At a church in Detroit on April 12, 1964, Malcolm offered his plan for the ballot instead of the bullet: going before the United Nations to charge the United States with violating the human rights of African Americans. “Now you tell me how can the plight of everybody on this Earth reach the halls of the United Nations,” Malcolm said, his voice rising, “and you have twenty-two million Afro-Americans whose churches are being bombed, whose little girls are being murdered, whose leaders are being shot down in broad daylight!” And America still had “the audacity or the nerve to stand up and represent himself as the leader of the free world . . . with the blood of your and mine mothers and fathers on his hands — with the blood dripping down his jaws like a bloody-jawed wolf.”

    • Urinals and Stalls as the New Battleground: Could the Problem of the 21st Century Be the Gender Line?

      I don’t believe in God, Christian or otherwise, though I do highly regard the humble teachings of Jesus Christ and his lessons on forgiveness. If, perchance, we actually were created by a superior being, he or she was certainly a comedian. Why else were our excreting organs so intricately linked with the organs we enjoy so much for erotic and reproductive purposes. This helped people like Sigmund Freud forge successful careers and write many books trying to explain it all. It also explains why bathrooms have suddenly become a battleground.

    • Defying Hateful Governments, People Worldwide Say ‘Refugees Welcome’

      The vast majority of people worldwide—80 percent—would welcome refugees with open arms, according to a global survey commissioned by Amnesty International.

      The first-ever Refugees Welcome Index exposes how governments that take outlandish measures against asylum are out of touch with their citizens, Amnesty said. The survey found that not only were people willing to accept refugees in their home countries, they would go “to astonishing lengths” to make them welcome.

      “These figures speak for themselves,” said Amnesty’s secretary general Salil Shetty. “People are ready to make refugees welcome, but governments’ inhumane responses to the refugee crisis are badly out of touch with the views of their own citizens.”

    • Power Loves the Dark

      Shemar Taylor was charged with robbing a pizza delivery driver at gunpoint. The police got a warrant to search his home and arrested him after learning that the cell phone used to order the pizza was located in his house. How the police tracked down the location of that cell phone is what Taylor’s attorney wanted to know.

      The Baltimore police detective called to the stand in Taylor’s trial was evasive. “There’s equipment we would use that I’m not going to discuss,” he said. When Judge Barry Williams ordered him to discuss it, he still refused, insisting that his department had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI.

      “You don’t have a nondisclosure agreement with the court,” replied the judge, threatening to hold the detective in contempt if he did not answer. And yet he refused again. In the end, rather than reveal the technology that had located Taylor’s cell phone to the court, prosecutors decided to withdraw the evidence, jeopardizing their case.

      And don’t imagine that this courtroom scene was unique or even out of the ordinary these days. In fact, it was just one sign of a striking nationwide attempt to keep an invasive, constitutionally questionable technology from being scrutinized, whether by courts or communities.

    • Cop Abuses Bad Cyberbullying Law To Arrest Man For Calling Him A Pedophile To His Face

      F-bombs are protected speech, so even the “disorderly conduct” charge is largely baseless. But the use of the cyberharassment law — which carries a possible penalty of 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine — is completely ridiculous. If Forchion committed no crime by calling Officer Flowers a pedophile in person, no crime was committed simply because this confrontation was recorded (by a third party) and posted to YouTube (also, apparently by a third party).

      This is simply a bad law being abused because that’s what bad laws — no matter how well-intentioned — allow people like Officer Flowers to do.

      Officer Herbert Flowers has a history of subjectively interpreting Constitutional rights. He may have been upset by Forchion’s F-bombs, but that doesn’t explain his decision to punish Forchion for using his First Amendment rights. But Flowers has been down this road before.

    • Trump’s Military Adviser Embraces Some Of The Presumptive Nominee’s Most Controversial Positions

      Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, is now an informal adviser to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — and he’s not shying away from the candidate’s most controversial policy proposals.

    • US Officials Responsible for Torture Should Be Prosecuted Under Nuremberg Protocols

      Many observers have pointed out the absurdity of declaring war either on a tactic (terrorism) or on an emotion (terror). A crusade against terror seems even more ill-defined and hopeless than the US “war” on drugs. For simplicity’s sake, I will not qualify the “war on terror” with quote marks throughout this book. But they remain present in my mind’s eye, and I hope in the reader’s as well.

    • Edward Snowden warns CIA ‘never destroys something by mistake’
    • CIA ‘mistakenly’ destroys copy of 6,700-page US torture report
    • Edward Snowden Refutes Claim That CIA ‘Accidentally Destroyed’ Torture Files

      The internal watchdog for the CIA admitted to “mistakenly” destroying its only copy of a Senate torture report—at the same time the report was assured to be preserved, according to a Yahoo News report on May 16.

    • Malcolm X: The Last Speech
    • The U.S. Remains Unequal 50 Years After Malcolm X’s ‘Ballot or the Bullet’ Speech (Audio)

      The speech, which was named the seventh-best speech of the 20th century by scholars, stressed the importance of voting to achieve equality for African-Americans, but he warned that violence would be necessary if politicians failed to bring about justice.

    • “Postracial” Is Racist: The Politics of Erasing Race From the Conversation

      The answer is often implicit racial bias, the unconscious attitudes and racial stereotypes that cause people to act even in the absence of conscious animus or prejudice against any particular group.

    • Obama’s Cruel Decision to Resume Mass Deportations
    • Exclusive: U.S. plans new wave of immigrant deportation raids
    • TSA Lines Causing Frowns? Send in the Clowns! (and Tiny Horses)

      With mounting delays around the country being blamed on Transportation Security Administration cutbacks and increased passenger traffic, airports are turning to musical performers and free sweets to keep travelers’ tempers in check.

      And some airports are getting a little more creative.

      Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is now inviting miniature therapy horses and their handlers from the non-profit Seven Oaks Farms Miniature Therapy Horses program in Hamilton, Ohio to visit the terminals several times a month.

      “Animals help reduce stress and anxiety levels and put smiles on people’s faces,” said Mindy Kershner, a spokeswoman for the airport.

    • The TSA will ruin your summer vacation and no one can agree on a fix

      Security lines at airports around the US are growing longer and longer. And that’s infuriating airlines, airports, passengers, and our elected officials alike. The long lines at the TSA-staffed security checkpoints are delaying fights and causing people to miss their planes. But ironically, passengers and airlines — the two groups most affected — are the ones who can do the least about it.

      “Logistically, we don’t have the opportunity to hold flights for hours,” Ross Feinstein, a spokesperson for American Airlines, said in an interview with The Verge. Passengers “get to the gate too late and they can’t get rebooked for days or a week. That’s our concern, the impact it’s having on our customers.” Naturally, frustrated customers take their anger out on airline employees or, increasingly, airline Twitter accounts. “We see it every day on social media. They’re very upset, and our employees are very concerned.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Customers Beware: This Mega-Merger Just Created a ‘Price-Gouging’ Monster

      The maligned merger between Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks is complete, which means the three companies have now become the country’s second-largest cable provider, despite months of warnings from consumer and open internet advocates who assailed it as the creation of a ‘price-gouging’ monster.

      Charter ultimately paid $55 million to purchase Time Warner Cable and $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the acquisition earlier this month with several caveats—including a ban on data caps and TV exclusivity deals that would harm competition—but opponents warn that the deal is still bad news.

    • Federal Judge Says Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine A Perfectly Legitimate Source Of Evidence

      Those of us who dwell on the internet already know the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” is a useful source of evidence. For one, it showed that the bogus non-disparagement clause KlearGear used to go after an unhappy customer wasn’t even in place when the customer ordered the product that never arrived.

      It’s useful to have ways of preserving web pages the way they are when we come across them, rather than the way some people would prefer we remember them, after vanishing away troublesome posts, policies, etc. Archive.is performs the same function. Screenshots are also useful, although tougher to verify by third parties.

      So, it’s heartening to see a federal judge arrive at the same conclusion, as Stephen Bykowski of the Trademark and Copyright Law blog reports.

    • Former FCC Boss Turned Top Cable Lobbyist Says Cable Industry Being Unfairly Attacked, ‘No Evidence’ Of Consumer Harm

      Given the fact that the FCC has recently bumped the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps to highlight competition gaps; reclassified ISPs as common carriers; passed real net neutrality rules for the first time ever; taken aim at the industry’s use of protectionist state law to keep the duopoly intact; pushed for improved broadband privacy rules, and is now taking aim at the cable industry’s monopoly over cable set top hardware, it’s not really surprising that the cable industry isn’t happy right now.

    • Seized Popcorn Time “News” Domain Sparks Free Speech Appeal

      The battle over the legality of a seized Popcorn Time “news” domain is heating up. Last week a complaint by two digital rights groups was denied by a local court due to a lack of standing, but today they filed an appeal, joined by the legal owner of the disputed domain name.

    • I want the courts to be involved before the police can hijack a news site DNS domain

      I just donated to the NUUG defence “fond” to fund the effort in Norway to get the seizure of the news site popcorn-time.no tested in court. I hope everyone that agree with me will do the same.

      Would you be worried if you knew the police in your country could hijack DNS domains of news sites covering free software system without talking to a judge first? I am. What if the free software system combined search engine lookups, bittorrent downloads and video playout and was called Popcorn Time? Would that affect your view? It still make me worried.

    • Why We Need to Take Back the Internet from the Centralizers

      In a world where digital technology reigns supreme, freedom of speech should not depend on the whims of a few powerful corporations and government rules. Increasingly, it does.

      A delegation of right-wing activists will travel this week to Silicon Valley. They will be supplicants at the throne of Facebook, a platform so pervasive that it has unprecedented power to decide what’s news—a platform that could consume journalism itself in coming years. They will be begging Mark Zuckerberg for his indulgence. What they should be doing—what we all should be doing—is finding ways to reduce his company’s dominance.

      The promise of the internet and personal technology was in its decentralization: one of the most profound advances for liberty in history. Yet at a rapid rate we’re seeing it re-centralized, as governments and corporations—often with users’ willing, if short-sighted, cooperation—are taking control in the center, creating choke points over what we say and how we can say it.

      The Facebook situation is helping people, including journalists, see that these choke points are a threat to freedom of expression. For countless millions, Facebook is the new public square. But its terms of service override the First Amendment, as activists and others have discovered. To assemble and speak in the new public square, we need permission from its owner.

  • DRM

    • Cory Doctorow on the real-world dangers of DRM

      Cory Doctorow gave a fast-paced keynote at OSCON 2016 this year that served as a warning message against DRM (digital rights management): Open, closed, and demon haunted: An Internet of Things that act like inkjet printers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Public Outcry Leads Minnesota Politician To Drop Terrible Idea For The PRINCE Act

      Last week, we wrote about a terrible idea from Minnesota politician Joe Hoppe, for the PRINCE Act (Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act), which was a massively broad publicity rights law, clearly designed to capitalize on Prince’s recent death. In fact, as we noted, the bill could be read to violate itself, since the whole point was to block people from exploiting the likeness or name of a famous person like Prince for various purposes, including commercial purposes and fundraising. Hoppe, apparently missing the irony entirely, had no problem saying that he was pushing the bill to exploit Prince’s death.

    • Who Should Control Your Genetic Information — You or Corporate Laboratories?

      Should patients have the same right to access their genetic information from a laboratory as they would a copy of their MRI, X-rays, or physical exam records? We believe the answer is clearly yes, which is why today we filed the first complaint seeking to guarantee patients’ rights to their own genetic data.

      The stakes are high. On one side are four patients asserting privacy rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, which guarantees access to their entire health record. On the other side is a corporate laboratory with a vested interest in maintaining proprietary control over patient data.

    • Trademarks

      • Brewery Changes Name For Second Time In Two Years Because Trademark

        It’s a mantra I’ve been repeating for some time now, but the alcohol and brewing industry has a trademark problem on its hands. We’ve seen instance after instance of the explosion in the craft brewing industry being hampered and harassed over trademark concerns, both from within the industry and from the outside. Most of these disputes lay bare the fact that trademark law has moved well beyond its initial function of preventing consumer confusion into a new era of corporate bullying and protectionism. But at least in most of these instances, the victim of all this is a victim once. Larry Cary, on the other hand, must be starting to feel like a punching bag, having had to now twice change the name of his alcohol-making business over trademark concerns.

      • Double shot of trademark trouble: Astoria distiller has changed name twice

        Facing legal pressures, Larry Cary is changing his Astoria distillery’s name for a second time.

        His business — Pilot House Spirits — will become Pilot House Distilling as part of a settlement with House Spirits Distilling, a Portland-based distillery that filed suit against Cary over trademark infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • News Reports And Fair Dealing: Moneyweb v Media24

        At last we now have some guidance in relation to the fair-dealing exceptions concerning news reporting, namely, section 12(1)(c)(i). It is clear that wholesale copying of a news article will, generally, not be permissible. Also, news aggregation per se does not amount to copyright infringement. The approach is generally consistent with the interpretation of the equivalent provisions under English law.

      • Larry Page spars with Oracle attorney at Android trial

        Google did not pay to use Oracle’s software in millions of smartphones, but the company believed that the intellectual property was free for anyone to use, Larry Page, chief executive of Google’s parent company, told jurors in court on Thursday.

        In a retrial at San Francisco federal court, Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) has claimed Google’s Android smartphone operating system violated its copyright on parts of Java, a development platform. Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google unit said it should be able to use Java without paying a fee under the fair-use provision of copyright law.

      • CEO Larry Page defends Google on the stand: “Declaring code is not code”

        Alphabet CEO Larry Page testified in federal court this morning, saying that he never considered getting permission to use Java APIs, because they were “free and open.”

        The CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spoke in a soft staccato and was hard to understand at times. (Page suffers from a condition that affects his vocal chords.) Page testified for about a half-hour, answering a lightning-fast round of accusatory questions from Oracle attorney Peter Bicks.

      • Oracle-Google Dispute Goes to Heart of Open-Source Software [iophk: Close. It goes the the heart of all software and to the egregious lack of knowledge held by the courts.]

        The copyrights that are crucial to the trial are related to open-source software, which is created and shared for general use.

      • Under oath, Larry Page disputes that Android is a $43 billion business for Google

        Oracle is suing Google for billions of dollars and on Thursday Larry Page, the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, was called to the stand by Oracle’s lawyers to testify.

      • Economist: There Was No ‘Fair Use’ of Java APIs in Android
      • Alphabet CEO Larry Page defends Android’s use of Java APIs in court

        Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page defended his company’s development of the Android platform today during an ongoing legal battle with Oracle. Oracle sued Google in 2010, claiming that Android developers copied sections of proprietary code from Java. Google has maintained that the code in question was open source and free for its engineers to use, and that the implementation of the Java code in Android was transformative enough to be considered fair use.

        Page testified that he had little knowledge of the engineering details of Android that are at issue in this case, despite the fact that the lawsuit has now dragged on over the course of five years. However, he disputed Oracle’s assertion that Google stole its intellectual property when it used Java declaring code in Android. “When Sun established Java, they established it as an open source thing,” Page said. “We didn’t pay for the free and open things.”

      • Oracle vs. Google: Round 2

        The conflict between Google and Oracle continues to blaze through the courtrooms. With Oracle seeking damages of $8.8 billion, Google has plenty to lose, but the case has far-reaching ramifications for software developers everywhere, including the FOSS community.

        On Wednesday, May 11 2016, Sun Microsystem’s former CEO (Jonathan Schwartz) was called to the stand. His statements blew massive holes in Oracle’s case.


Links 19/5/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.10, Android N

Posted in News Roundup at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • F5’s Latest Updates Give a Nod to Developers

    As virtual appliances become a bigger part of its business, F5 is tweaking some of its products to better fit the concept of developers programming the network.

    The company has separated its orchestration tool from its management tool. The latter, which involves monitoring the network and making sure features such as high availability are viable, is still within the purview of networking people. But orchestration and provisioning of services is becoming more of a programmer’s job.

  • Building a bootstrapped business on open source

    Back in 2009, our day-to-day life at Planio was writing software for clients. Client work is often fun, but there can also be a feeling that you’re stuck on a hamster wheel of endlessly churning through projects, always looking for new customers.

  • Getting started with Node-RED

    Node-RED is a browser-based flow editor that lets users wire together hardware devices, APIs, and online services in new and interesting ways.

    Node-RED’s nodes are like npm packages, and you can get them the same way. And because Node-RED has a built-in text editor, you can make applications as complex as you like by adding JavaScript functions.

    Because Node-RED is based on Node.js and takes advantage of the event-driven, non-blocking model, it can be run on low-cost hardware like the Raspberry Pi or in the cloud.

  • PyBERT: Open-Source Software for Modeling High-Speed Links

    PyBERT by David Banas frees you from IBIS-AMI models, which have their limitations, for modeling high-speed SerDes devices and systems for signal integrity.

  • Events

    • 5 keys to hacking your community. What works?
    • Kindness and Community

      This was all after a weekend of running the Community Leadership Summit, an event that solicited similar levels of kindness. There were volunteers who got out of bed at 5am to help us set up, people who offered to prepare and deliver keynotes and sessions, coordinate evening events, equipment, sponsorship contributions, and help run the event itself. Then, to top things off, there were remarkably generous words and appreciation for the event as a whole when it drew to a close.

    • OpenPGP.conf: Call for Presentations

      OpenPGP.conf is a conference for users and implementers of the OpenPGP protocol, the popular standard for encrypted email communication and protection of data at rest. The conference shall give users and implementers of OpenPGP based systems an overview of the current state of use and provide in-depth information on technical aspects.

    • OSCON for the Rest of Us Starts Today

      Things get cranked-up for real in Austin, Texas today at OSCON. Although the conference started on Monday, the first two days were reserved for special two day training classes and tutorials. Today the big gate opens wide on the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey of open source conferences. For the first time ever, the event is taking place deep in the heart of Texas, as OSCON has said goodbye to Portland, Oregon, at least temporarily, to say hello to the land of Tex-Mex vittles.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Welcome Alex Salkever, Vice President of Marketing Communications

        Alex was most recently Chief Marketing Officer of Silk.co, a data publishing and visualization startup, where he led efforts focused on user growth and platform partnerships. Alex has held a variety of senior marketing, marketing communications and product marketing roles working on products in the fields of scientific instruments, cloud computing, telecommunications and Internet of Things. In these various capacities, Alex has managed campaigns across all aspects of marketing and product marketing including PR, content marketing, user acquisition, developer marketing and marketing analytics.

      • Mozilla Rebuffed in Effort to Get Code Vulnerability Disclosed to it First

        All around the world, there continue to be many people who want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. Typically, the anonymous crowd turns to common tools that can keep their tracks private, and one of the most common tools of all is Tor, an open source tool used all around the world. Not everyone realizes that Tor shares code with Mozilla’s Firefox.

        That fact had to do with why Mozilla recently asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, in the interest of Firefox users, to disclose any findings of vulnerability in Tor to it first, before any other party learns of the vulnerability. I covered the request here. Now, a federal judge has rejected Mozilla’s bid to have the government disclose any vulnerability related to its Firefox web browser. Here are details.

      • Firefox tops Microsoft browser market share for first time

        StatCounter, which analysed data from three million websites, found that Firefox’s worldwide desktop browser usage last month was 0.1 percent ahead of the combined share of Internet Explorer and Edge at 15.5 percent.

      • Report: Firefox Overtakes IE and Edge For the First Time
      • EFF wants to save Firefox from the W3C and DRM

        THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) and web stalwart BoingBoing are fretting about the future of Firefox after moves by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that they claim threaten competition and liberty.

        A post on the EFF blog and BoingBoing pages warned that the W3C’s weakening approach to openness threatens the future of the browser, which once looked like the only thing that could save the internet.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Notes for my HTCondor Week talk

      I’m delighted to have a chance to present at HTCondor Week this year and am looking forward to seeing some old friends and collaborators. The thesis of my talk is that HTCondor users who aren’t already leading data science initiatives are well-equipped to start doing so.

  • Databases

    • SQLite 3.13 Released With Session Extension, Postponed I/O For Temp Files

      SQLite 3.13 was released today as the newest version of this widely-used and relied upon embedded SQL database library.

      SQLite 3.13 integrates the Session Extension, which is used for generating change/patch-sets into a file for applying the same set of changes to another database with the same schema. This session extension can be used for merging changes from multiple users working off the same baseline database back into the original database and other use-cases where you may want to mege a “patch” of the changes to an original database. More details on SQLite’s Session Extension can be found via this documentation page.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Content Management and Site Analytics Solutions are Flourishing

      Whether you want to run a top-notch website or a blog, or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) and analytics tools have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3 BSD Firewall Gets Its First Major Update with Over 100 Changes

      Chris Buechler from the pfSense project announced the availability of the first point release in the stable 2.3.x series of the open-source, BSD-based firewall platform.

      pfSense 2.3.1 arrived on May 18, 2016, as an upgrade to the pfSense 2.3 Update 1 (a.k.a. pfSense 2.3-1) released at the beginning of the month to introduced an important patch to the Network Time Protocol (NTPd) package, which has been upgraded from version 4.2.8p6 to 4.2.8p7.

    • Reusing the OpenBSD in Multi-Threaded User Space Programs

      Now it is time for OpenBSD. Here you will read about “Reusing the OpenBSD arc4random in multi-threaded user space programs” by Sudhi Herle. Upgrade your OpenBSD to the latest version and start your testing.


  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • 40 governments commit to open contracting to fight corruption

      Forty government organisations have committed to implementing open contracting in an attempt to fight corruption. They did so at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016, which took place in London last week.

    • Open Data

      • Welcome to Academic Torrents!

        We’ve designed a distributed system for sharing enormous datasets – for researchers, by researchers. The result is a scalable, secure, and fault-tolerant repository for data, with blazing fast download speeds.

  • Programming/Development


  • Science

    • Computer science professor on the changing face of tech

      Dr. Kyla McMullen spoke at OSCON’s morning keynote session today. She was the first African-American woman to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. And it says a lot about tech’s lack of inclusiveness that this landmark achievement happened in 2012.

    • Scientists Gave Depressed Patients Psilocybin in a First for Psychedelic Therapy

      In a recent UK trial, 12 patients with major depression took a pill quite different to commonly prescribed antidepressants: 25mg of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms.

      Though it’s early days (the study is the first of its kind), the results of the trial are promising.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Antibiotics will stop working at a ‘terrible human cost’, major report warns

      Urgent action is needed to control the use of antibiotics before they cease to work, leaving a number of major conditions untreatable and causing “terrible human and economic cost”, a major study has warned.

      Resistance to antibiotics is growing at such an alarming rate that they risk losing effectiveness entirely meaning medical procedures such as caesarean sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy could soon become too dangerous to perform. Unless urgent action is taken, drug resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050, more than cancer kills currently, the report’s authors warn.

    • Superbugs will ‘kill every three seconds’

      Superbugs will kill someone every three seconds by 2050 unless the world acts now, a hugely influential report says.

      The global review sets out a plan for preventing medicine “being cast back into the dark ages” that requires billions of dollars of investment.

      It also calls for a revolution in the way antibiotics are used and a massive campaign to educate people.

      The report has received a mixed response with some concerned that it does not go far enough.

      The battle against infections that are resistant to drugs is one the world is losing rapidly and has been described as “as big a risk as terrorism”.

    • Surgery surprise: Small rural hospitals may be safer and less expensive for common operations

      “They” are critical access hospitals – a special class of hospital that’s the closest option for tens of millions of Americans living in rural areas. And according to new findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, having surgery at one of them may be a better bet for most relatively healthy patients than traveling to a suburban or city hospital.

    • How to provide Medicare for all

      Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, became law six years ago. The intention was to ensure that nearly all Americans have health insurance, while controlling costs. How did that work out?

      When the law was enacted, about 16 percent of Americans were uninsured. That has dropped to 10 percent. So instead of 50 million uninsured Americans, there are now about 30 million without insurance. That’s better, but hardly universal.

      Health cost inflation slowed for a few years, probably because of the recession, but it’s now resuming its rapid growth. In total, the United States spent $8,400 per person on health care six years ago, or $2.6 trillion. Last year we spent $10,000, or $3.2 trillion.

    • Health Advocates Worry About The Rapidly Increasing Cost Of ‘Opioid Overdose Antidote’

      In the midst of growing concern about the rising cost of prescription drugs, lawmakers are scrambling to slow down price increases for naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Some versions of the life-saving drug are 17 times more expensive than they were two years ago — stunting efforts to combat a drug overdose crisis that’s causing thousands of deaths across the country.

    • Police and Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization in California

      Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted.

      Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.

    • Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe

      This week, a Standing Committee of plant scientists from 28 member states in Europe is likely to endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) findings so that the European Commission (under pressure from Monsanto, Glyphosate Task Force and others) can re-authorise glyphosate for another nine years. This is despite the WHO classifying glyphosate as being “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

      An open letter from campaigner Rosemary Mason to Dirk Detken, Chief Attorney to the EFSA, follows the brief background article you are about to read. In the letter, Mason highlights the regulatory delinquency concerning the oversight of glyphosate in the EU. The evidence provided by Mason might lead many to agree that processes surrounding glyphosate ‘regulation’ in Europe amount to little more than a “cesspool of corruption.”

      There are around 500 million people in the EU. They want EU officials to uphold the public interest and to be independent from commercial influence. They do not want them to serve and profit from commercial interests at cost to the public’s health and safety. However, what they too often get are massive conflicts of interest: see here about the ‘revolving door’ problem within official EU bodies, here about ‘the European Food and Safety Authority’s independence problem’ and here about ‘chemical conflicts’ in the EC’s scientific committees for consumer issues.

    • GMOs Safe to Eat, Says Research Group That Takes Millions From Monsanto

      Public skepticism is growing over a new report that claims genetically modified (GE or GMO) foods are safe for consumption, particularly as information emerges that the organization that produced the report has ties to the biotechnology industry.

      Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (pdf), released Tuesday by the federally-supported National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, states not only that GMO crops are safe to eat, but that they have no adverse environmental impacts and have cut down on pesticide use. Its publication comes as U.S. Congress—which founded the institution—considers making GMO labeling mandatory on consumer products.

    • Why Are Los Angeles Children Drinking Cloudy, Discolored Water?

      How would you feel if your child’s school water supply was murky and yellowish water? You would likely be outraged, like the community in Watts, California is.

      South Los Angeles residents were shocked to learn that, in January 2016, they were exposed to six-hours worth of untreated well water. And many residents are just now finding out about it. The affected water supply serves about 20,000 residents in Watts and neighboring Green Meadows, according to LA Times.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Secure Hardware vs. Open Source

      Recently there have been discussions regarding Yubico’s OpenPGP implementation on the YubiKey 4. While open source and security remains central to our mission, we think some clarifications and context around current OpenPGP support would be beneficial to explain what we are doing, why, and how it reflects our commitment to improved security and open source.

    • The Alarming Truth

      Car alarms don’t deter criminals, and they’re a public nuisance. Why are they still so common?

    • Security hole in Symantec antivirus exposes Windows, Linux and Macs

      A major security vulnerability has been uncovered by UK white hat hacker and Google Project Zero developer, Tavis Ormandy. The vulnerability applies to the Symantec Antivirus Engine used in most Symantec and Norton branded Antivirus products and could see Linux, Mac and Windows PCs compromised.

    • Patch now: Google and JetBrains warn developers of buggy IDE

      Google has emailed Android developers advising them to update Android Studio, the official Android IDE, to fix security bugs. Other versions of the JetBrains IntelliJ IDE, on which Android Studio is based, are also affected.

      The bugs are related to the built-in web server in the IDE. A cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw means that if the IDE is running and the developer visits a malicious web page in any browser, scripts on the malicious web page could access the local file system.

    • Researchers crack new version of CryptXXX ransomware
    • How to empty your bank’s vault with a few clicks and lines of code

      A security researcher has demonstrated how he could have theoretically emptied an Indian bank’s coffers with no more than a few clicks and lines of code.

      Earlier this week, researcher Sathya Prakash revealed the discovery of multiple, critical vulnerabilities and poor coding in an unnamed government-run Indian bank.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 9/11 bill passes US Senate despite Saudi ‘warning’

      A bill that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government has passed a key hurdle in the US Senate.

      The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) now moves to the House of Representatives.

      Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister warned that the move could cause his government to withdraw US investments.

    • Crooked Hillary and the Rape of Honduras

      The history of US-Honduran relations is the story of endless meddling by Washington on behalf of crony capitalists, notably United Fruit, now known as Chiquita. A series of invasions and military occupations in the early part of the twentieth century – seven between 1903 and 1925 – ensured that American investors would get good returns on their investments, while keeping the restless natives under the boot of local oligarchs. During the cold war era, the Jeanne Kirkpatrick doctrine of preferring “pro-American” dictators to left-wing democrats prevailed, and the Reagan administration used the country as a base for undermining the leftist Sandinista regime: the contras, funded by Washington, were based in the country, from which they regularly launched terrorist raids targeting civilians.

    • When Putin Called-Out Obama on a Big Lie, Press Ignored It

      U.S. President Barack Obama lied, about a very important matter. The people calling him out on it should be more than just the Russian President. This is an issue — World War III — that affects the entire world.

    • Obama Ratchets Up to Invade Russia

      America is installing in Europe a new system that’s designed to block Russia’s ability to retaliate against a nuclear attack, but Obama sold it to European nations saying it will protect them against a nuclear attack from Iran.

    • Can Iran sue the US for Coup & supporting Saddam in Iran-Iraq War?

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

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

    • How the NSA Pushed Iraq Invasion

      Charlie Savage in the New York Times writes Tuesday: “On Monday, the news website The Intercept said it would publish the entire archive of the [National Security Agency’s Top Secret internal] newsletter and began by posting more than 150 articles from 2003…. For example, one article described the American and British ambassadors to the United Nations expressing thanks to the agency for providing what the latter called ‘insights into the nuances of internal divisions among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council’ during the diplomatic negotiations ahead of the Iraq War.”

      The Intercept on Monday in one of their postings stated the NSA’s intelligence “during the wind-up to the Iraq War ‘played a critical role’ in the adoption of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The work with that customer was a resounding success.” The relevant document quotes John Negroponte, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: “I can’t imagine better intelligence support for a diplomatic mission.”

    • The life and death of Daniel Berrigan

      Dan Berrigan published over 50 books of poetry, essays, journals and scripture commentaries, as well as an award winning play, “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” in his remarkable life, but he was most known for burning draft files with homemade napalm along with his brother Philip and seven others on May 17, 1968, in Catonsville, Maryland, igniting widespread national protest against the Vietnam war, including increased opposition from religious communities. He was the first U.S. priest ever arrested in protest of war, at the national mobilization against the Vietnam war at the Pentagon in October 1967. He was arrested hundreds of times since then in protests against war and nuclear weapons, spent two years of his life in prison, and was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Airline Confirms Plane Has Crashed, but No Cause Is Given

      The missing EgyptAir plane has crashed, the airline said on its Twitter account. The statement updates previous information released by the airline saying only that the plane was missing.

      Two security officials at Cairo International Airport also said the plane was presumed to have crashed.

    • Crashed Egyptair Flight

      His summary was as balanced and sensible as it could be possible to make. Indeed Eamonn Holmes felt it necessary to ramp up the terrorist narrative by stating there have only ever been 68 mechanical failures on Airbus 320 aircraft. That is true, but it is a very much larger number than the number of terrorist incidents on A 320 aircraft.

    • EgyptAir Flight Carrying 69 From Paris to Cairo Disappears Over Mediterranean

      National carrier EgyptAir said a plane carrying 69 passengers and crew on a flight from Paris to Cairo had gone missing on Thursday, disappearing from radar over the Mediterranean Sea.

    • Live Now: Missing EgyptAir Flight From Paris to Cairo
    • EgyptAir Flight Disappears From Radar With 66 Onboard After Entering Egyptian Airspace, Airline Says

      EgyptAir flight 804 left Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. It lost contact with the radar tracking system over the Mediterranean Sea at 2:45 a.m. at 37,000 feet, after entering Egyptian airspace. (Both France and Egypt are in the same time zone.)

    • Missing EgyptAir flight MS804: One Briton onboard as French security officials say they ‘cannot rule out terror attack’

      An official in Egyptair said Egyptian said that Military search and rescue operations have received an SOS message from the plane emergency devices at 4:26 am Cairo time (3.36am London time).

      The statement said that the Egyptian military sent some planes and navy units to search for the plane, and that the Greece has sent some planes with coordination with Egypt.

    • openDemocracy: Whose side is Belarus on anyway?

      Belarusians generally feel closer to Russia than Ukraine, but refuse to get involved in the conflict between them. It is, they insist, “not our war”.

      The validity of opinion polls in countries with authoritarian regimes is often questioned: how strong is the fear factor in responses? Do they just reflect respondents’ unwillingness to express opinions that don’t fit the official line.

      But practice shows this not to be the case. In surveys recently conducted by Belarus’ Independent Institute of Socio-economic and Political Studies (IISEPS), even positive responses to a pointed question about President Aliaksandr Lukashenka only scored between 20%-50% approval. If we assume that a refusal to show approval of the Belarusian ruler required actual civil courage, that would make 50%-80% of the country’s population “heroes”, which is improbable, to say the least.

    • Russian, Belarusian FMs Criticize U.S. Missile-Defense Plans

      Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makey says Belarus and Russia are concerned about the establishment of U.S. missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe.

      Makey made his comments after meeting in Minsk on May 16 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also held talks with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

    • Appeal from U.S. to World: Help Us Resist U.S. Crimes

      Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated “information warfare” that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.

    • Brazil’s Neighbors Warn of President’s ‘Dangerous’ Ouster–but US Press Isn’t Listening

      The effort to oust twice-elected Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been big news in the United States. Since December 2015, when Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies began an impeachment process over Rousseff’s budget maneuvers, the New York Times has had 74 pieces that mention “Rousseff” and “impeachment,” according to the Nexis news database; the Washington Post has had 138 such stories.

      But something that hasn’t been big news in US corporate media has been the reaction from Brazil’s neighbors to Rousseff’s suspension pending a Senate trial. While some Latin American governments were supportive—notably, newly right-governed Argentina said it “respects the institutional process” in Brazil, while close US ally Colombia “trusts in the preservation of democratic institutionality and stability”—several others were harshly critical. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called Rousseff’s removal an “anti-democratic process that has cast a shadow on the reliability and strength of institutions.” Bolivia’s Foreign ministry said Rousseff’s opponents were trying to “destabilize democratic processes and ignore the will of the people expressed in the popular vote.”

      Three Latin American countries—Venezuela and El Salvador on May 14, and Ecuador today, May 18—announced they were recalling their ambassadors from Brazil, one of the strongest expressions of disapproval a nation can take. Salvadoran President Sanchez Ceren said he would not recognize the government formed by Vice President Michel Temer after Rousseff’s removal. “We respect democracy and the people’s will,” Ceren said. “In Brazil an act was done that was once done through military coups.”

    • Fleeing Gangs, Central American Refugees Fight Deportation From the U.S.

      Alberto was shackled with ankle and waist chains last December when he flew in an airplane for the first time of his life. He and a dozen other Central American refugees were being transported from a Border Patrol detention center in Texas, where Alberto had been held for 25 days, to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in York County Prison, Pennsylvania, where he would spend the next nine weeks. When he arrived, his clothes were confiscated and he was handed an orange jumpsuit, three pairs of boxers, two sheets, and a blanket. Then he was brought to a dormitory with 60 bunks and as many detainees. The room was freezing, and it stayed that way. “They would charge us $17 for a good sweater,” he told me. “And there were a lot of guys in there whose families couldn’t send them any money.”

    • Bill Clinton Talking like Trump on Immigration
    • Noam Chomsky: Why Obama Suddenly Decided to Cozy up With Cuba—It Wasn’t Warm and Fuzzy Feelings

      Michael Ratner: Well, Amy, let’s just say, other than the birth of my children, this is perhaps one of the most exciting days of my life. I mean, I’ve been working on Cuba since the early ’70s, if not before. I worked on the Venceremos Brigade. I went on brigades. I did construction. And to see that this can actually happen in a country that decided early on that, unlike most countries in the world, it was going to level the playing field for everyone—no more rich, no more poor, everyone the same, education for everyone, schooling for everyone, housing if they could—and to see the relentless United States go against it, from the Bay of Pigs to utter subversion on and on, and to see Cuba emerge victorious—and when I say that, this is not a defeated country. This is a country—if you heard the foreign minister today, what he spoke of was the history of U.S. imperialism against Cuba, from the intervention in the Spanish-American War to the Platt Amendment, which made U.S. a permanent part of the Cuban government, to the taking of Guantánamo, to the failure to recognize it in 1959, to the cutting off of relations in 1961. This is a major, major victory for the Cuban people, and that should be understood. We are standing at a moment that I never expected to see in our history.

    • Anti-War Democrats Try to Repeal Authorization for Endless War

      After years of bombings and a new, protracted conflict in the Middle East, the U.S. House on Wednesday is expected to vote on a measure that could end or extend President Barack Obama’s “blank check” for war, which is now currently used to sanction attacks against the Islamic State (or ISIS).

    • US Senate passes bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

      The US senate has passed legislation that would allow the victims of the September 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages from officials from Saudi Arabia – a move that sets the bill for a showdown with the White House.

      Fifteen of the nineteen men who hijacked four planes and flew them into targets in New York and Washington in 2001 were Saudi citizens, though Riyadh has always denied having any role in the attacks.

      A US commission established in the aftermath of the attacks also concluded there was no evidence of official Saudi connivance. However, the White House has been under pressure to declassify a 28-page section of the report that was never published on the grounds of national security.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Agencies Brace for Historic Wildfire Season, Cite Climate Change

      Representatives with the US Forest Service met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday to prep for what could be another record-breaking wildfire season due to global warming.

      This year has already seen five times more acreage burned than at this time last year, the most aggressive wildfire season ever recorded. The Forest Service spent $2.6 billion on dousing fires alone in 2015.

      “We keep setting records we don’t want to see beat,” Secretary Vilsack said in a statement after the meeting.

    • National Parks on the Verge of Taking Corporate Funding

      The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing a relaxation on rules governing corporate partnerships in a move that could see parks increasingly commercialized and dependent on the whims of private donors.

    • Forget Cars: Cows And Fertilizer Could Be A Big Pollution Problem

      But the use of widely-available fertilizer has also come with some considerable downsides. Fertilizer runoff making its way into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans has contributed to algal blooms and oxygen-free “dead zones” across the United States, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. In Iowa, the Des Moines Water Works utility filed a federal lawsuit against three farm counties, claiming that the filtration technology required to strip the drinking water of nitrates from excess fertilizer runoff costs the utility between $4,000 and $7,000 a day.

    • Trial by Fire in Alberta

      Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the BEAST roaming the forests of Northern Alberta was under control. In a scene reminiscent of George Bush’s fly-by over New Orleans after Katrina, Trudeau flew in to Fort McMurray in a helicopter a week or so after things had cooled down, so to speak, to survey the damage. He came, he saw, he conquered the BEAST, or so it was made to appear. Trudeau was so confident that the danger had passed he spurned an offer of help from Russia, saying, “We don’t need help from other countries”. All seemed well over the weekend; the wildfires magically disappeared from our TV screens, and news reports focused, of course, on the return of people to work in the oil-sands. Suddenly however, it is being reported today, May 17th , that things have taken a drastic and unexpected turn for the worse. The CBC is reporting the evacuation of 8,000 workers, explosions and fires consuming homes in the area, and the emergency withdrawal of firefighters because it is “so dangerous out there”. Mais, qu’est-ce qu’ill se passe?

    • Activists in Pacific Northwest Vow to Keep Fossil Fuel Industry on Notice

      They call it a tipping point. It began with the “Shell No” mobilization last spring, when activists in Portland and Seattle thwarted the oil giant’s Arctic drilling plans. Now, after days of successful mass actions with the Break Free From Fossil Fuels campaign, in which thousands of protesters on six continents took defiant action earlier this month to keep fossil fuels in the ground, from the coal fields of Germany to the oil wells in Nigeria, a cross-regional campaign that’s taken root in the Pacific Northwest is vowing to continue the momentum.

    • Oil Company To Face Felony Charges Over Massive California Spill

      The company responsible for spilling 140,000 gallons of oil on the Pacific coastline near Santa Barbara, California, has been indicted on 46 charges, including four felony charges. One employee of Plains All American Pipeline was also indicted.

      The company faces up to $2.8 million in fines plus additional costs and penalties, which would be split between the state and Santa Barbara County. The employee, 41-year-old environmental and regulatory compliance specialist James Buchanan, faces up to three years in jail.

    • Portugal’s Renewable Energy Record: A Harbinger of What’s Possible

      In what is being hailed as a major achievement, Portugal just generated all of its electricity from renewable sources for more than four days in a row.

      According to an analysis of national figures by the Sustainable Land System Association in collaboration with the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN), from the morning of May 7 until the early evening on May 11—a total of 107 consecutive hours—”Electricity consumption in the country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power, ” the Guardian reports.

    • The American West Is Rapidly Disappearing

      A new study released Tuesday by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Conservation Science Partners (CSP) found that every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development. This project, called the Disappearing West, is the first comprehensive analysis of how much land in the West is disappearing to development, how quickly this transformation is taking place, and the driving factors behind this loss.

    • The Past 30 Years Have Seen A 10-Fold Increase In The Cost Of Disasters. That’s Going To Get Worse.

      So much for renewable energy ruining the economy.

      By 2050 there will be $158 trillion in assets at risk from flooding alone — not to mention 1.3 billion people at risk — driven largely by climate change and urbanization.

      This is according to a new World Bank report, which finds that damages from disasters have been on the rise for decades and will keep getting worse.

    • Sticky fingers: The rise of the bee thieves

      The bees crawled up the thief’s arms while he dragged their hive over a patch of grass and through a slit in the wire fence he had clipped minutes earlier. In the pitch dark, his face, which was not covered with a protective veil, hovered inches from the low hum of some 30,000 bees.

      The thief squatted low and heaved the 30kg hive, about the size of a large office printer, up and on to the bed of his white GMC truck. He had been planning his crime for days. He knew bees – how to work them, how to move them, and most importantly, how to turn them into cash.

      He ducked back through the fence to drag out a second box, “Johnson Apiaries” branded over the white paint. Then he went back for another. And another.

    • Storing The Sun’s Energy Just Got A Whole Lot Cheaper

      We are witnessing the dawn of a revolution in which the grid rapidly increases renewable energy penetration, and lithium-ion batteries play an increasingly important role.

    • Global Warming Accelerates

      New climate data shows that the global warming crisis is worse – and accelerating at a faster pace – than was understood as recently as last year’s climate-change conference in Paris, writes Nicholas C. Arguimbau.

    • As Kinder Morgan Decision Looms, Trudeau’s New Pipeline Panel Denounced as “Smokescreen”

      In a move widely seen as an attempt to quell resistance to the expansion of British Columbia’s controversial Kinder Morgan oil pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced a new three-member ministerial review panel—with no veto power—that is meant to supplement the National Energy Board’s (NEB) much-maligned analysis of the project.

      The panel is intended as a fulfillment of Trudeau’s Liberal party’s campaign promises to expand environmental reviews of upcoming pipeline projects—but critics decried the effort as nothing more than a “smokescreen.”

      The NEB will release its recommendation as to whether the pipeline expansion is “in the public interest” on Friday. “If approved, the twin lines would carry nearly 900,000 barrels of crude a day starting in 2018,” notes CBC.

    • Trump’s Bizarre Climate Beliefs Would Jeopardize Meaningful Global Climate Action

      Donald Trump’s climate science denial and dubious deal-making skills just raised the stakes of this election to “existential.”

    • Glad tidings for sea power potential

      The daily ebb and flow of the tides promise a renewable energy bonanza for countries such as Canada and the UK that have shallow seas and a steep tidal range.

    • Neocon-Bashers Headline Koch Event as Political Realignment on Foreign Policy Continues

      In the latest example of how foreign policy no longer neatly aligns with party politics, the Charles Koch Institute — the think tank founded and funded by energy billionaire Charles Koch — hosted an all-day event Wednesday featuring a set of speakers you would be more likely to associate with a left-wing anti-war rally than a gathering hosted by a longtime right-wing institution.

      At the event, titled “Advancing American Security: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy,” prominent realist and liberal foreign policy scholars took turns trashing the neoconservative worldview that has dominated the foreign policy thinking of the Republican Party — which the Koch brothers have been allied with for decades.

  • Finance

    • The Age Of Impunity

      Impunity is epidemic in America. The rich and powerful get away with their heists in broad daylight. When a politician like Bernie Sanders calls out the corruption, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal double down with their mockery over such a foolish “dreamer.” The Journal recently opposed the corruption sentence of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for taking large gifts and bestowing official favors — because everybody does it. And one of its columnists praised Panama for facilitating the ability of wealthy individuals to hide their income from “predatory governments” trying to collect taxes. No kidding.

    • Why This Is the Year of the Anti-Corporate Presidential Campaign

      Voters hit hardest by free-trade economics are rebelling against the status quo. We can use that energy to build a powerful, grassroots movement for democracy.

    • Obama Administration Tweaks Final Overtime Rule After Backlash

      It’s official: More Americans are going to get extra pay when they work extra hours.

      All workers paid hourly are always owed two and a half times their normal rate for working overtime hours. But currently, salaried workers who make over $23,660 a year aren’t guaranteed any extra pay when they put in more than 40 hours a week, a threshold that hasn’t been updated since 1975.

    • Swiss City of Zug accepts Bitcoin payments

      The Swiss Municipality of Zug will accept Bitcoin as payment for municipal services. The pilot will run from July 1 till the end of the year. According to Niklas Nikolajsen, CEO and cofounder of the Bitcoin Suisse trading house, this is the first time that a government agency will accept the cryptocurrency.

    • The Theory of Business Enterprises Part 3: Capital and Credit

      There is effectively no limit on the amounts that the monopolist can collect. We see this in operation in the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer, for example, raises the prices regularly on drugs in which it has a monopoly or an oligopoly. See also this discussion of an interview Pfizer CEO Ian Read did with Forbes. The pricing strategy for new drugs is to maximize profits, not to provide for the needs of the community. The explanation is that a business valued by capitalization of future earnings, like Pfizer, must show increases in earnings every year, or the stock price will stabilize or perhaps fall, and perhaps even the interest rates charged by lenders will rise. That should make us ask why we think this is a good plan for something as important as medicine. But we don’t ask that question. Instead, our politicians protect businesses with favorable trade treaties and other accommodations, and raise prices to consumers for drugs.

      Suppose the goal of manufacturing drugs is to produce sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the community, and to pay the owner of a plant a reasonable living wage, as Veblen says was the case in Adam Smith’s time. This business model was used by actual non-profit hospitals like the one my Dad worked at, a Catholic hospital built and operated with cash raised from the community. In that setting, there is no need to raise prices beyond inflation and depreciation (shorthand for new and replacement equipment and plant, training and so on). Any new entrant would face the same situation, so there is no advantage to be obtained in the near term from introduction of new capital. The business of creating new drugs can be pushed off to venture capital, as is mostly the case already, so there is no need to provide for R&D. There would be no need in this setting to pay dividends, and the need for interest payments would also be reduced. There would be other savings as well.

    • Left-leaning users veer right on regulating Uber and Airbnb, study finds

      First major survey on the sharing economy finds most users of services such as Airbnb and Uber identify as liberal, but take conservative stance on regulation

    • Foreclosure Fraud Is Supposed to Be a Thing of the Past, But It Happens Every Day

      Every day in America, people continue to be kicked out of their homes based on false documents. The settlements over allegations of robosigning, faulty paperwork, and illegal mortgage servicing didn’t end the misconduct. And law enforcement, along with most judges and politicians, have looked away in the mistaken belief that they wrapped up a scandal that just goes on and on.

    • Led by Mega-Donors, Wall Street Is Crushing Previous Records for Outside Political Spending
    • More Than 50 Percent of Super PAC Mega-Donors are from Wall Street

      Unencumbered by much in the way of campaign finance regulation, Wall Street mega-donors are on pace to eclipse even their own “exorbitant precedents” during the 2016 election cycle, according to a new report from national watchdog group Public Citizen.

      The analysis, which uses data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission, finds that employees and businesses in the finance, insurance, and real estate sector already had given more to outside groups—specifically, super PACs devoted to presidential candidates—by the end of March than during any entire election cycle in history.

      On top of that, the securities and investment industry, a subset of the finance sector that includes hedge funds and private equity funds, also has given more to outside groups than in any full election cycle.

    • Samantha Bee Proves Even Super PAC Donors Are Sick of This Messed-Up Campaign Finance System (Video)

      In a comical interview with a real-life Republican Super PAC donor, the “Full Frontal” host highlights how dysfunctional our democracy has become.

    • Donald Trump Promises To ‘Dismantle’ Wall Street Reform

      In an interview with Reuters published on Wednesday, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he will release an economic plan in two weeks that will undo nearly all of the financial reforms that went into effect in 2010.

      “I would say it’ll be close to a dismantling of Dodd-Frank,” he said, naming the financial reform package. “Dodd-Frank is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name.”


      Bernie Sanders has promised to break up too big to fail banks within the first year of his administration, cap ATM fees and interest on consumer products, and institute a financial transaction tax on Wall Street. Hillary Clinton has promised to crack down on the shadow banking system that still often falls outside the purview of regulation and expand on Dodd-Frank’s rules.

    • The 1 percent’s most dangerous weapon: Donald Trump and the global acceleration of income inequality

      No shocker, Donald Trump is once again defying conventional political wisdom and refusing to release his income taxes publicly. So far, his gut instincts have served him well in the first successful hostile takeover of one of America’s two major political parties by an individual. Trump knows better than most, great wealth, like mushrooms, flourishes best in darkness and with a steady stream of excrement to nourish it, which thanks to the corporate news media, 2016 has already supplied in ample quantities.

      Perhaps the candidate was emboldened by the lack of news media blow back on his stunning reversal on his pledge to “self-finance” his presidential campaign. The original story line was so Capraesque; the last great white hope billionaire willing to put his fortune at risk to redeem the Republic sullied by elites that had sold out the national interest to feather their own nests. But now with Trump’s selection of Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund founder and second generation Goldman Sachs alum, as his finance chair, Trump is back in proper alignment with the hedge fund pirates of the Caribbean who to this day continue to profit from the 2008 Wall Street’s heist of the Main Street economy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Donald Trump and His Angry Voters Are Furthering an Extremist Christian Agenda

      Whether they know it or not, Donald Trump and millions of angry voters are taking their cues from a Southern Baptist preacher who died nine years ago. When that preacher, Jerry Falwell, decided in the late 1970s to “bring America back to God,” he gave rise to a brand of fundamentalist Christianity that fed directly into the current chaos in American politics. Falwell’s Moral Majority convinced fundamentalist Christians to become politically active. Media mogul Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition organized those same fundamentalists to seize control of the Republican Party one precinct at a time. The Tea Party and those who share its ideas in fact represent fundamentalist Christianity in its latest guise.

    • Neocons Cry Anti-Semitism Over the Pro-Trump ‘Renegade Jew’ Smear That They Popularized

      An article labeling neoconservative movement leader, Fox News pundit and orchestrator of the #NeverTrump movement William Kristol as a “Renegade Jew” has sparked a frenzy on online news and social media forums. Written by David Horowitz, another neoconservative, for the pro-Trump Breitbart website, the piece trashed Kristol for his plans to back a third party candidate against Trump, the populist evildoer at the top of the Republican establishment’s political kill list.

    • Too Little Democracy Thwarts Fighting Trump

      Things were easier in late June 1912 when delegates loyal to Teddy Roosevelt stormed out of the Republican Convention — and set up camp a mile away in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. Under a giant portrait of the former president, the rump convention nominated the 53-year-old Roosevelt as a third-party candidate against incumbent William Howard Taft and soon-to-be Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

      Addressing the delegates (the first time in history that a presidential nominee accepted the honor in person), Roosevelt thundered, “If you wish me to make the fight, I will make it, even if only one state shall support me.”

      Actually, the former Rough Rider did better than that — carrying six states (including Pennsylvania, Michigan and California) with 88 electoral votes. But Wilson (435 electoral votes) swept to victory over the divided Republican Party with the beleaguered Taft only winning Vermont and Utah.

      With apparent ease, the newly created Progressive Party appeared on the ballot in all 48 states. Histories of the 1912 campaign like Sidney M. Milkis’ Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy do not even mention ballot access as a problem confronting the Bull Moose brigades.

      What a difference a century makes.

    • BREAKING: Connecticut To Automatically Register 400,000 Voters

      On Tuesday, Connecticut became the fifth state in the nation to approve a system where residents are automatically registered to vote every time they visit a Department of Motor Vehicles, following the lead of Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont. The state is the first, however, to implement the policy administratively rather than passing a bill through the legislature.

    • Sanders wins Oregon primary while Clinton claims narrow win in Kentucky

      With 60% of the vote reporting, the Vermont senator was ahead of Clinton 53%-47%.

    • ‘This is nonsense’: Sanders dismisses Democratic criticism of protests at Nevada convention

      Senator Bernie Sanders issued a stinging rebuke to the Democratic Party’s leadership for criticizing his supporters’ protests at the Nevada convention last weekend, saying it had used its power “to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

    • BBC unveils shake-up of online services including recipes website

      The BBC has announced that a number of websites, including BBC Food and Newsbeat, are to close as part of plans to save £15m.

      The online News Magazine will also close but “long-form journalism” will continue in some form.

      Local news indexes for more than 40 geographical areas in England will also cease to exist.

      But the BBC will continue to offer a rolling Local Live service. The BBC’s Travel website is also facing the axe.

    • US Media as Conduits of Propaganda

      Nothing disturbs me more about the modern mainstream U.S. news media than its failure to test what the U.S. government says against what can be determined through serious and impartial investigation to be true. And this is not just some question of my professional vanity; it can be a matter of life or death.

      For instance, did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cross President Barack Obama’s supposed “red line” against using chemical weapons, specifically in the sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, or not?

    • Plan B Is Not Bernie

      To begin with, the Democratic Party, an institution dedicated to plutocratic class rule and imperialism, would not allow Bernie Sanders to be their nominee. The plutocracy will not permit Bernie Sanders to be the CEO of American and world capitalism, let alone the Commander-in-Chief of the American empire.

      Furthermore, Bernie Sanders does not want to play either of those roles. He entered the race, as his advisors acknowledged to the New York Times, “to spread his political message about a rigged America rather than do whatever it took to win the nomination,“ and he has repeatedly pledged to support whomever the Democrats nominate.

      Whatever unexpected and undeniable success his campaign has had, it’s a “political revolution” that will be limited to exerting pressure on the Democratic Party and its eventual nominee. One can complain that it’s been blocked by electoral hijinks or by the anti-democratic superdelegates, but those sores have been festering for a long time in the party Bernie chose to run in. At this point, if Hillary comes to the convention with one more pledged delegate and more popular votes than Bernie—which she will—she will win fair and democratically square—and any attempt by him to use superdelegates against her would contradict his own erstwhile complaints about them. At any rate, those supredelegates were put in place expressly to prevent anyone like him from becoming the nominee, and are not going to be persuaded, even by wonderful arguments based electoral logic, to forsake their duty. Which of these folks is going to switch to Bernie because polls show he’d do better against Trump in the general?

    • How Democrats Manipulated Nevada State Party Convention Then Blamed Sanders For Chaos

      Days after a convention in which leaders incited chaos and disorder, the Nevada State Democratic Party demonized supporters of Bernie Sanders in a letter written to the Democratic National Committee.

      “We believe, unfortunately, that the tactics and behavior on display here in Nevada are harbingers of things to come as Democrats gather in Philadelphia in July for our National Convention,” declared Bradley S. Schrager, the state party’s general counsel. “We write to alert you to what we perceive as the Sanders campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior — indeed, actual violence — in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting, and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats.”

    • Will 712 Democratic Officials Decide 2016 Election? Uncovering the Secret History of Superdelegates

      The relationship between the Bernie Sanders campaign and the Democratic Party leadership has been challenging from the start of the 2016 election campaign, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began the primaries with a more than 400-delegate lead by securing support from superdelegates—the 712 congressmembers, senators, governors and other elected officials who often represent the Democratic Party elite. Now a new article from In These Times by Branko Marcetic uncovers “The Secret History of Superdelegates,” which were established by the Hunt Commission in 1982. We are joined by Jessica Stites, executive editor of In These Times and editor of the site’s June cover story, and Rick Perlstein, the Chicago-based reporter and author of several books, including “Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America.”

    • Naked Politics: Sanders, Clinton and How to Win When You’re Losing

      For his trouble, Sanders gets called a “thug” on live TV. I’ve been watching politically oriented television “news” programming with dreary regularity since Reagan was elected in 1980, and I’ve never seen anything like what I saw on Tuesday. MSNBC — the ha ha ha “liberal” news network — went to work on the Sanders campaign as if Bernie had shot Rachel Maddow’s dog in her front yard. It went on for hours. The crux of it centered around the mess that went down at the Nevada Democratic Convention this past weekend. The process of appointing delegates from the Nevada caucus was hijacked by Clinton surrogates in broad daylight, and some Sanders people flipped their lids.


      It was remorseless, relentless “coverage” that entirely overshadowed what actually went down in Las Vegas. The Sanders campaign got jobbed by Clinton allies within the Nevada Democratic Party who didn’t even have the humility to do it out of sight; they stood at a podium and flipped the bird at a room filled with cameras and people who actually care about something beyond keeping their cushy sinecure within the Party. Some of those people freaked out and acted stupidly, but ask yourself: If you were in the room in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided to give the election to Bush, what would you have done? I might have thrown a chair, too.

    • Ben And Jerry’s Recipe To Save Democracy

      The new flavor, Empower Mint, is a peppermint base with fudge brownies and swirls. The new campaign, “Democracy is in Your Hands,” is aimed squarely at the fallout from two Supreme Court cases: Citizen’s United and the 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Larry Wilmore Was Invited on CNN Post White House Correspondents’ Dinner—and Then Abruptly Banned

      “I know a thing or two about cable news … I know that they literally have blacklists,” said Uygur. “It is not a conspiracy theory. … Mediaite has a source that says that [Wilmore] is [blacklististed] … and based on my experience, I am not at all surprised by that.”

    • Subtle: Iraq Flips The Internet Switch For 3 Hours To Combat Cheating Students And Corrupted Teachers

      We’ve talked about cheating in academia in the past, usually revolving around whether or not what used to be called cheating might be better thought of as collaboration. Beyond that, we’ve also talked about some of the strategies used to combat the modernity of “cheating”, which has included the monitoring of students online activities to make sure they weren’t engaged in cheating behavior.

      Well, the nation of Iraq doesn’t have time for all of this monitoring and sleuthing. When its students have their standardized tests, they simply shut the damned internet off completely.

    • Iraq Shuts Down Internet for Entire Country to Prevent Exam Cheating

      Iraq has done it again. The country’s Ministry of Communications has shut down Internet access in the entire country for the second year in a row just to make it harder for Iraqi students to cheat on their exams.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan blasts Europe’s silence on Bangladesh Islamist leader’s execution

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday lashed out at Europe’s silence over the execution of a veteran Islamist leader in Bangladesh, accusing the West of “double standards.”

      “If you are against political executions, why did you remain silent to the execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami who was martyred a couple of days ago,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.

      “Have you heard anything from Europe? … No. Isn’t it called double standards?” Erdogan said.

      Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was hanged at a Dhaka jail late Tuesday for the massacre of intellectuals during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan.

    • How Facebook Censorship Flap Could Affect Zuck’s Political Agenda

      When reports surfaced that Facebook might be suppressing conservative news in its trending topics bar, Republicans reacted as you would expect. They were pretty upset. And Facebook reacted as you would expect as well: The company denied the accusations, and its CEO is meeting with Republican leaders today to smooth things over.

      But Mark Zuckerberg isn’t just the CEO of a company accused of suppressing political views. He’s also a CEO well-known for his own political activity, and is particularly known for working to build rapport with Republicans and Democrats alike. A pet issue of his is immigration reform, and it’s an area where he has made special efforts to win conservative hearts on the side of creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

    • After censorship scandal, Zuckerberg scrambling to re-obscure Facebook’s true nature

      This month, Facebook came under fire for allegations of censoring conservative-slanted news from users’ supposedly auto-generated Facebook news feed.

    • Conversation not PC censorship leads to tolerance

      Language is important says Rabbi Monique Mayer of Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation

      The seriousness of words and the attitudes that certain kinds of language reflects has come into sharp relief over the last few weeks in the furore over anti-Semitism in the Labour party and remarks made by the new president of the National Union of Students.

      Words have been tossed around carelessly and callously, and there are arguments over who has the right to define what is offensive to whom.I spend a lot of time mulling over words and meaning and intention. Each time I sit down to write a sermon, article or presentation, I consider my message and the conclusions people may draw.

    • Senator’s Inquiry Into Facebook’s Editorial Decisions Runs Afoul of the First Amendment

      Allegations that Facebook’s “trending” news stories are not actually those that are most popular among users drew the attention of Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who sent a letter of inquiry to Facebook suggesting that the company may be “misleading” the public, and demanding to know details about how the company decides what content to display in the trending news feed. Sen. Thune appears particularly disturbed by charges that the company routinely excludes news stories of interest to conservative readers.

      Congressional inquiries usually come with the tacit understanding that Congress investigates when it thinks it could also legislate. Yet any legislative action in response to the revelations would run afoul of the First Amendment. It is possible that Sen. Thune, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sees Facebook as engaging is “unfair or deceptive” trade practices, but that still does not create a legal basis for regulating what amounts to Facebook’s editorial decision-making.

    • Malaysian Parliament Suppresses Debate on Anti-Blogger Amendments

      This week, the Malaysian Parliament went back into session to consider a series of amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 that, if passed, will further chill online speech and worsen the Malaysian regime’s persecution of journalists, bloggers, and activists. The amendments may pass as early as next week, even before the public has had an opportunity to see them. We’ve written about the planned amendments before, based on the scattered information we had about them from leaks and rumors, but local activists have brought to light another likely feature of the planned amendments that is equally or more concerning: a requirement to register political blogs and websites.

    • Belarus. The two hidden mechanisms of media censorship

      The Freedom of the Press ranking recently published by Freedom House has found Belarus’ media environment to be Europe’s most restrictive. The ranking placed Belarus as 192nd out of 199 countries and territories within the “worst of the worst” category. These results suggest that media freedom in Belarus has neither been influenced by the country’s recent improvements in its relations with the West nor by the rapid spread of digital technologies. Some of the business community’s representatives have been unsatisfied with the ranking’s results, which call for a deeper reflection on the hidden mechanisms of control that afflict Belarusian media.

    • Age checks for porn sites in Queen’s Speech [Ed: frames the censorship debate as one about “the children” and “porn” (paedophilia connotations). Well, that’s BBC… typical.]

      The UK government will require pornographic sites to verify users are over 18 as part of a raft of measures announced in the Queen’s Speech.

      As part of its Digital Economy Bill, the government promises more protection for children online.

      It also pledged more protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls, by ensuring direct consent is obtained for direct marketing.

      And it reiterated its plans for driverless cars to be tested in the UK.

      The Conservative Party pledged in its manifesto to increase protection for children online.

    • Facebook blocked in Vietnam over the weekend due to citizen protests

      Facebook appears to have been blocked in Vietnam as a part of a government-imposed crackdown on social media, amid public protests over an environmental disaster attributed to toxic discharges from a steel complex built by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics. Dissidents are blaming wastewater from the steel plant for a mass fish death at aquatic farms and in waters off the country’s central provinces. Citizens have been using Facebook to organize rallies, which is likely the cause of the shutdown.

      Instagram also appears to have been affected, according to reports.

      In addition to helping protesters organize, social media has been used to share photos of people at rallies, holding up handwritten signs that read “I choose fish.”

    • Facebook bans the Beaufort Observer

      The Beaufort Observer has been honored by Facebook. Our Observer Facebook site was getting so much attention and was obviously such a threat to Facebook that they felt they must shut it down. The way they went about doing it was to force us to convert it to what they call a “Page.”

    • Media Ignoring a MAJOR Part of the Facebook Scandal
    • Here’s the real reason Facebook agreed to meet with conservatives
    • Federal Lawsuit Alleging Google Improperly Censored Search Results Clears Hurdle
    • Florida court allows Google to be sued by publisher delisted as “pure spam”
    • Google Must Face Claims Over Search Removals
    • Google’s 1st Amendment defence to search censorship fails in court
    • Florida Court Denies Google’s 1st Amendment Defense
    • Censor board is outdated, junk it
    • Angry Birds got PG rating everywhere but U/A in India. Believe it
    • Fewer A-rated movies are made in India now, but censor asking for more cuts
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Man Who Streamed Son’s Birth on Facebook Live Didn’t Know He Was Sharing It with the World: ‘I Thought It Was Just Going to My Family’

      When Kali Kanongata’a recorded a video of his partner giving birth Monday, he had no idea he was sharing it with the world until his cousin chimed in with some helpful advice: “keep pushing.”

      “That’s when I saw the viewer count,” Kanongata’a, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I thought it was just going to my family and friends!”

    • The Shift To A Cashless Society Is Snowballing [INFOGRAPHIC]

      Love it or hate it, cash is playing an increasingly less important role in society.

      In some ways this is great news for consumers. The rise of mobile and electronic payments means faster, convenient, and more efficient purchases in most instances. New technologies are being built and improved to facilitate these transactions, and improving security is also a priority for many payment providers.

      However, there is also a darker side in the shift to a cashless society. Governments and central banks have a different rationale behind the elimination of cash transactions, and as a result, the so-called “war on cash” is on.

    • Hush To Judgment

      Your friends seem to be confusing privacy with secrecy. Secrecy is about having something to hide — often something shady you’ve done — while privacy is about choosing who gets the scoop on your life. There’s this notion that if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide. Well, you aren’t doing anything wrong on the toilet, but you probably don’t want to replace your bathroom walls with glass and set up bleachers in the backyard. Apparently, your boyfriend just expects people to put in effort to invade his privacy — rather than his being all “Welcome to our relationship! The usher will lead you to your seats — 13A and B, right by the headboard. We look forward to your comments. Even if you’re an Internet troll. Even if you’re a bot!”

    • SEC Says Hackers Like NSA Are Biggest Threat to Global Financial System

      Reuters reports that, in the wake of criminals hacking the global financial messaging system SWIFT both via the Bangladesh central and an as-yet unnamed second central bank, SEC Commissioner Mary Jo White identified vulnerability to hackers as the top threat to the global financial system.


      Of course, the criminals in Bangladesh were not the first known hackers of SWIFT. The documents leaked by Snowden revealed NSA’s elite hacking group, TAO, had targeted SWIFT as well. Given the timing, it appears they did so to prove to the Europeans and SWIFT that the fairly moderate limitations being demanded by the Europeans should not limit their “front door” access.

    • It’s trivially easy to identify you based on records of your calls and texts

      Contrary to the claims of America’s top spies, the details of your phone calls and text messages—including when they took place and whom they involved—are no less revealing than the actual contents of those communications.

      In a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford University researchers demonstrated how they used publicly available sources—like Google searches and the paid background-check service Intelius—to identify “the overwhelming majority” of their 823 volunteers based only on their anonymized call and SMS metadata.

    • District Attorney Arguing Against Encryption Handed Out Insecure Keylogging ‘Monitoring’ Software To Parents

      Beyond James Comey, there are still a few law enforcement officials beating the anti-encryption drum. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is one of those. He’s been joined in this fight by some like-minded district attorneys from the other coast, seeing as New York and California both have anti-encryption bills currently working their way through local legislatures. Vance, along with Los Angeles County DA Jackie Lacey and San Diego County DA Bonnie Dumanis, penned an op-ed against encryption for the LA Times. In it, they argue that tech companies have set them up as “gatekeepers” of communications and data, which they believe law enforcement should always have access to, no matter what.

    • New Leak Reveals the Fun and Follies of the NSA
    • Snowden NSA docs released by The Intercept
    • NSA Spied on Russian Crime Boss in Search for Links to Putin
    • Access to Snowden cache opens
    • Newsletters Released From Secretive National Security Agency
    • Report: NSA Tapped Phone Of Russian Crime Boss To Probe For Putin Ties

      Documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden suggest that the spy agency eavesdropped on a Russian mob kingpin in an effort to determine his possible ties to President Vladimir Putin.

    • Snowden files set for wider release

      The full cache of secret documents from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is being opened to journalists and organizations willing to work with the news organization holding the archive.

    • Hacktivism and the Insider Threat
    • Civil Liberties and National Security Expert on Edward Snowden and the NSA

      Civil liberties and national security expert Geoffrey Stone lays out little-known facts about NSA surveillance and the pitfalls of Snowden’s defense. Snowden and the NSA: Behind the Scenes.

    • Judge: Taking Your Facebook Account Private During Litigation Isn’t Exactly ‘Preserving Evidence’

      If your social media “presence” has been submitted as evidence, you’d better leave everything about it unaltered. That’s the conclusion reached by the judge presiding over a Fair Housing Act lawsuit. The plaintiff didn’t go so far as to delete Facebook posts relevant to the case at hand, but did enough that the defense counsel (representing the landlord) noticed everything wasn’t quite the way it was when the plaintiff was ordered to preserve the evidence.

    • The Police State and License Plate Scanners

      One of the latest tools for violating our privacy and creating the American police state are license plate scanners.

    • The NSA and Guantanamo Bay
    • Video: NSA involved in Gitmo interrogations – new Snowden leak

      The NSA participated in Guantanamo Bay interrogations, newly released leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden show. A decade’s worth of NSA newsletters will be published over the coming months.

    • Updategate: Microsoft said to be auto-creating Skype accounts in Windows 10 [Ed: malware on top of more malware]

      A post on Betanews seems to suggest that Microsoft’s latest trick in its attempts to ‘respond to public demand’ (i.e. meddle) is to create and log you into a Skype account based on your Windows account, automatically.

    • The DAO raises $100 million: How the old world really can’t comprehend the new world

      The DAO – short for Distributed Autonomous Organization – is actually a rather bad name for this venture. That name is a modern equivalent of “The Corporation”. Something like “The Distributed Autonomous Venture Investor” would probably have been more understandable for this particular organization, as there are many more DAOs (just as there is more than one corporation). But still.

      TheDAO is the largest investment crowdfunding ever, beating the game Star Citizen which has pulled in $100 million in funding. TheDAO has currently attracted 108 million dollars in investment money, mostly from small and individual investors. This has left all the large investment institutions in complete confusion and disarray, as the technical term for this kind of amount is “a shitload of money”, which in turn attracts the attention of Wall Street.

      Star Citizen is understandable to Wall Street. It is a high-end entertainment product with an experienced game designer, with some of the most successful products ever, at the helm. The CEO has recruited some of the best people in the industry. This is grokable for the old world.


      And that’s why you can trust the new kind of organization. Unregulated, unstoppable, uncensorable free enterprise, with the source code open for all to see.

    • Developer of anonymous Tor software dodges FBI, leaves US

      In its mission to hunt criminals, the FBI has been keen to hack Tor, the Internet browser that hides your true location.

      The FBI’s attempts to break into Tor are starting to manifest in strange ways.

      FBI agents are currently trying to subpoena one of Tor’s core software developers to testify in a criminal hacking investigation, CNNMoney has learned.

      But the developer, who goes by the name Isis Agora Lovecruft, fears that federal agents will coerce her to undermine the Tor system — and expose Tor users around the world to potential spying.

    • Top EU Legal Advisor Says IP Addresses are PII

      The Advocate General, top advisor to the European Court of Justice, has issued an opinion today about Internet anonymity. He found that dynamic IP addresses are personal data subject to data protection law. The opinion concerns the case of German pirate party politician and privacy activist Patrick Breyer who is suing the German government over logging visits to government websites. “Generation Internet has a right to access information on-line just as unmonitored and without inhibition as our parents read the paper,” says Breyer. The opinion is not legally binding but “is usually a good indication of how the court will eventually rule”. EPIC has supported Internet anonymity since the 1990s and brought a similar challenge to the US government tracking of users of government website.

    • European Court advisor: Dynamic IP addresses are personal data

      The chief advisor for the European Court of Justice has declared that dynamic IP addresses are tantamount to personal data and should be protected under Europe’s privacy laws, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reports.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Exploding the Myth of the Traditional Family

      What kind of family stories are worth telling? For too long, the answer has been painfully limited to families that fit the traditional mold: a married couple raising 2.5 biological kids, while living together under the same (probably middle-class) roof.

    • Defending democracy, reinventing the left

      Representative democracy can only strengthen if it resorts to more participatory and deliberatory mechanisms, a new generation of public action built on co-construction.

    • Some British Muslims refuse to let their children be part of British society. We should say so openly

      Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, is generally an admirably plain-spoken man, willing to talk with refreshing candour about problems in the education system that others refuse to confront. Yet his letter revealing his inspectors’ findings about scores of unregistered schools operating in England is curiously circumspect, almost mealy-mouthed. Referring to the risk that children face “indoctrination”, Sir Michael does not explain exactly which harmful ideas could be foisted on those children.

    • American flyers are losing their minds – and missing their planes – as security screening chaos mounts

      Travelers passing through airports in the United States this summer are being told to build in lots of extra time because of maddening back-ups at the security check-points that are already causing thousands of flyers to miss their planes every week.

      Frustration at airports all around the country is close to boiling point as screeners hired by the federal Transportation Safety Agency, TSA, struggle to keep up with surging numbers of passengers. At least one major airport, in Phoenix, Arizona, is threatening to throw the TSA out and hire private screeners instead.

    • EU does secret deal with suspected war criminal in desperate bid to stop migrants

      THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) is brokering a secret deal with a suspected war criminal in a desperate bid to stop more migrants from Africa arriving on European shores.

    • Maximum security Belmarsh prison is ‘like a jihadi training camp,’ says former inmate

      Group of jihadists called ‘the Brothers’ or ‘the Akhi’ have the run of the prison, a whistleblower claims

    • Terror groups ‘using migrant routes’: Warning of ‘increased risk’ after Interpol report says extremists are making ‘opportunistic use’ of smuggling networks and 800,000 people are waiting to flee Libya
    • Employees With Criminal Records May Be Better Workers: Study

      In 2013, the American Bar Association catalogued approximately 38,000 laws in jurisdictions around the United States that impose collateral consequences on people with prior convictions. Loss of voting rights, government benefits, access to public housing and even certain health care programs are among the hefty penalties that continue to be levied, well beyond release, against those with prior convictions. While all of these prohibitions, some of which are lifelong, can make it hard to find stability, the inability to find a job is one of the most difficult punishments people with prior convictions have to contend with. Some states have laws that close certain classes and categories of employment to those with criminal records. But even when employment prohibitions are not codified into law, employer biases may prevent those with arrest or conviction records from accessing one of the most critical means of post-release self-sufficiency and survival.

      A new study provides a rebuttal to negative assumptions ex-offender employees, as well as evidence that in some cases, those with criminal records may actually do a better job than those without. Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst tracked 1.3 million people — 5,000 of whom had prior felony convictions — who enlisted in the military between 2002 and 2009. Though a felony conviction is an official disqualifier for entry to the armed forces, applicants may request “moral character waivers,” which are granted only after a background check that researchers note “takes into consideration the age at offense, the circumstances and severity of offense, the recruit’s qualifications, references, as well as a personal interview.” Those who cleared such vigorous vetting, which the military dubs a “whole person” evaluation, became recruits who were “no more likely to be discharged for the negative reasons employers often assume,” such as bad behavior or just generally doing a poor job. “Contrary to what might be expected,” researchers write, “we find that individuals with felony-level criminal backgrounds are promoted more quickly and to higher ranks than other enlistees.”

    • Rekia Boyd’s Killer Resigns as Activists Call for End to “Reign of Terror” by Chicago Police

      As Democracy Now! broadcasts from Chicago, Illinois, we look at major developments in several high-profile cases of police shootings of unarmed African-American men and women, and how the independent media has played a key role in exposing police misconduct. On Tuesday, Dante Servin resigned from the Chicago Police Department just days before hearings were set to begin into whether he should be fired for shooting Rekia Boyd while he was off duty and she stood with a group of friends near his house. This comes as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that he plans to disband the city’s controversial police oversight agency that has been criticized for sluggish investigations that rarely resulted in disciplinary action. Mayor Emanuel is also facing calls to resign over a possible cover-up of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times in 2014. We are joined by Jamie Kalven, founder of the Invisible Institute and a freelance journalist who uncovered the autopsy report showing Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times and who first reported on the existence of the video of the shooting. In recent months, he has won a George Polk Award, an Izzy and the Ridenhour Courage Prize for his reporting on Chicago police misconduct. We also speak with Page May, a co-founder and organizer with Assata’s Daughters. She was also a member of the We Charge Genocide delegation to the U.N. Committee Against Torture.

    • As Singapore prepares to execute Kho Jabing this Friday, activists are fighting back

      The news came out of nowhere; it was like we’d all been struck by lightning. “This is to inform you that the death sentence passed on Jabing Kho will be carried out on 20 May 2016.”

      Just a week-and-a-half before this awful announcement, I’d been in Kuching with Jabing’s family, telling the press that his lawyer would be submitting a fresh petition for clemency, which would be likely to buy him another three months while it was being deliberated by the Cabinet and president of Singapore.

    • Government Argues That Indefinite Solitary Confinement Perfectly Acceptable Punishment For Failing To Decrypt Devices

      Recently, we covered the ongoing jailing of a former Philadelphia police officer for his refusal to unlock encrypted devices for investigators. “John Doe” is suspected of receiving child porn but the government apparently can’t prove its case without access to hard drives and Doe’s personal computer. So far, it’s claiming the evidence it’s still seeking is a “foregone conclusion” — an argument the presiding judge found persuasive.

    • One Year Later: We Still Don’t Know How Many Shot by Police

      One year ago today, the White House released The Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing — 116 pages of recommendations meant to address the epidemic of killings of unarmed Black and brown people by the police officers sworn to protect them. The report was supposed to be a blueprint for reforms in policing this country has needed for decades. Yet 12 months after its publication, our government still can’t even come up with the number of people who have been killed by U.S. police.

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

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

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

    • Historical Amnesia and the Destruction of the Senate Torture Report

      When Winston Smith thinks he has finally made contact with the underground movement he has always hoped existed, in George Orwell’s 1984, he drinks a toast, not to the hoped-for future, but to the past, because “he who controls the past controls the future.”

      With the “erasure of the past,” current events can look like anomalies and accidents when stripped of the historical context that belies the patterns that reveal the possibility of intent and guilt.

      The recent revelation that the CIA “mistakenly” deleted its copy of the Senate report on detention and torture, and then, in an “inadvertent” error, deleted the hard disk backup, may be a just such a case. The whisking of the report down the memory hole could be seen as an “inadvertent,” though incredible, mistake if not for the challenge posed by recovering a little history from the memory hole. Former Chinese Premier Chou En-lai once remarked that “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”

    • The Misconduct Continues: Border Officer Verbally Abuses 51-Year-Old Grandmother By Calling Her a ‘Whore’

      That’s what a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer told 51-year-old grandmother Amanda Rodríguez, as she passed through the Ysleta port of entry in El Paso, Texas, for her weekly shopping trip to Wal-Mart.

      Her ordeal began last September when the officer conducted a routine inspection as she crossed from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso to run errands. At the port of entry, the agent made sexist comments about her looks and asked her leading questions about whether she was entering the U.S. to perform “favors.” Rodríguez, who was confused by the line of questioning, didn’t understand well enough to contradict the agent’s allegations that she was a sex worker.

    • What About Human Nature?

      In the struggle for a more just society, we will be aided, not hurt, by our shared nature.


      Socialists don’t believe these truisms. They don’t view history as a mere chronicle of cruelty and selfishness. They also see countless acts of empathy, reciprocity, and love. People are complex: they do unspeakable things, but they also engage in remarkable acts of kindness and, even in difficult situations, show deep regard for others.

    • Michael Ratner: Missionary of Human Rights

      Rather (a long-time CounterPuncher) proved an incessant warrior against the unspeakable in US foreign policy. His criticism was informed by an educational diet nourished by a major in medieval history studies at Brandeis and the political push of Herbert Marcuse.

    • Bolivar County, Mississippi Fought School Desegregation For 50 Years. It Finally Lost.

      In the summer of 1965, dozens of children sued the Bolivar County, Mississippi Board of Education “on their own behalf and on behalf of all other Negro children and parents.” They sought an end to racially segregated schools. But more than half a century later, the county continues to operate at least two schools that are almost entirely black.

      On Friday, just days before the 62nd birthday of Brown v. Board of Education, a federal court ordered the district to end this practice.

    • The first 50 lashes: a Saudi activist’s wife endures her husband’s brutal sentence

      After Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was arrested and sentenced to prison and 1,000 lashes, Ensaf Haidar wondered what to say when the person you love tells you that he’s going to be abused in the most horrible way

    • Democracy in the Spotlight

      On 22 May a citizen meeting will be hosted at the Reykjavik City Theatre on the future of democracy. It is based on the ideology of the National Assemblies which took place in Iceland after the crash inviting citizens to visualize values which could underline a new and better society.

    • American Law Institute rejects affirmative consent standard in defining sexual assault

      Standards of affirmative consent, which generally require parties to affirmatively and continually vocalize their willingness to participate in a sexual encounter, have mostly germinated on college campuses, as well as in a few states in some contexts, including California and New York.

    • Kenya launches inquiry after police photographed kicking and beating man in crackdown on protests

      Shocking images of a protester being beaten and kicked by riot police in Kenya have ignited outrage over a crackdown on demonstrators.

      Thousands of people were sharing a photo showing an officer wearing body armour and a shield kicking a man as he lay incapacitated on the ground.

      “This image…will live on in infamy,” wrote Al Jazeera Imran Garda in a Twitter post re-tweeted by more than 1,200 people.

    • The Sanders Voter: Protesting American Privilege at Home and Abroad

      What does too often go unsaid though is how the rightful condemnation of popular violence masks the larger violence perpetuated by those with power. In this case, the legitimate critique of the actions of a few Sanders delegates is hiding the just as real present and future threat posed by the Democratic establishment to many within America and many more around the world.

    • Copenhagen bars tired of ‘Sharia patrols’ rampage & threats raise issue with integration minister

      A group of bar owners from one of Copenhagen’s suburbs, who have been endlessly harassed by Muslim youth activists trying to impose a so-called “Shariah zone”, have taken their case to a government minister, urging her to protect their businesses and the locals.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality/TV/Cable

    • Cable Company CEO Calls TV Business A ‘Tragedy Of The Commons’ That Ends Badly

      While larger cable companies have the scale and leverage necessary to negotiate better programming, smaller cable companies are finding themselves facing tighter and tighter margins as broadcasters push for relentless programming increases. As such, many have begun candidly talking about exiting the pay TV sector entirely and focusing on broadband service only. When approached by broadcasters like Viacom about major hikes, some cable operators have simply culled the channels from their lineup permanently and refused to look back.

  • Oracle-Google

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IPEC or bust? High Court refusing to deal with IP claims with a value of less than £500,000

      We all know that the Chancery Division is changing and modernising in a number of ways. I fear that some of these changes are having an adverse impact on the ability of IP owners to enforce their rights in the High Court.

      The changes are not just changes to fee structure but also the transfer and triage processes introduced by the new Chancery Guide and how these are being deployed in practice. Could this lead to an overburdening of IPEC, and is the Chancery Division out of step with other divisions of the High Court when it comes to transfer?

    • DTSA Litigation Begins

      The first couple of DTSA lawsuits have been filed.

    • President Obama Signs Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act
    • USITC Finds TPP Benefits US Economy, But Maybe Not Jobs; Unclear On IP Rights [Ed: remember what ITC does]

      The United States International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent government agency, today released an 800-page analysis of the economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement completed last year.

    • Merck & Cie v. Watson Laboratories, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016)
    • Trademarks

      • Interview: a designer’s view of trade marks

        Co-owner of London-based branding agency Grain Creative Madelyn Postman started her career as a freelance graphic designer. She spoke to Managing IP about the impact of the IP legal environment on approaches to brand creation and protection

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Holders Dominate Closed-Door DMCA Hearings

        As discussions over DMCA reform continue, a number of closed-door hearings have taken place in San Francisco. Representatives from Fight for the Future and YouTube’s Channel Awesome were there and they report that discussions were dominated by copyright holders seeking new powers to permanently disappear content and even whole sites from the Internet.

      • A Dozen Bad Ideas That Were Raised At The Copyright Office’s DMCA Roundtables

        The Copyright Office has been holding a series of “roundtable discussions” on copyright reform that it’s going to use to produce a paper supporting certain changes to copyright law. We already know that some sort of copyright reform bill is expected in the near future, and what comes out of this whole process is going to be fairly important. Unfortunately, the roundtables are not encouraging. There was one held in NY a few weeks ago, which Rebecca Tushnet blogged about in great detail, and I attended the ones last week in San Francisco and I’ve gathered up my tweeted commentary, if you feel like reading through it.

        Unlike the House Judiciary Committee roundtable that was held in Silicon Valley last year, where the Representatives surprised many of us by actually asking good questions and listening to the answers, the Copyright Office’s roundtables were bizarre and troubling. First, the whole setup of the two two-day events was problematic. The Copyright Office wanted to make sure that everyone who applied to speak was allowed to participate in some manner, so for each set of roundtables, they set up 7 roundtables of 20 people each on pre-defined topics, where each roundtable was only 90 minutes.

      • Megaupload Hard Drives Are Unreadable, Hosting Company Warns

        Megaupload’s former hosting company Cogent has warned that several drives, which are preserved as evidence for civil and criminal lawsuits, have become unreadable. While the data might not be lost permanently, various stakeholders including the MPAA and RIAA are urging the court to help secure the data.

      • Mega-Publisher Elsevier Is Buying an Open Research Site. That’s Bad for Science

        The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is an open access repository of scientific papers that’s treasured by academics, journalists and researchers—and it’s easy to see why. For years the site has provided free publishing and access to pre-prints of more than 500,000 academic papers on topics ranging from privacy law to socioeconomics and media studies.

        But academics were understandably worried after it was announced on Tuesday that the site has been acquired by infamous mega-publisher Reed Elsevier. The move follows the company’s previous acquisition of Mendeley, a collaborative research platform Elsevier says will enhance SSRN’s massive store of scientific articles.

        Among the corporate gatekeepers of the science publishing industry, Elsevier is arguably the biggest and undoubtedly the most notorious of the bunch. For years the company has been ruthlessly cracking down on the sharing of academic material it owns the rights to, eventargeting academics for publishing their own papers on personal websites.

      • SSRN—the leading social science and humanities repository and online community—joins Elsevier
      • Elsevier Acquires Social Science Repository SSRN

        The publishing giant Elsevier has acquired the Social Science Research Network, an online open-access repository for research. Elsevier said in the announcement that it plans to develop SSRN alongside Mendeley, the company’s own academic social network. Neither SSRN’s user policies nor its leadership will change, Elsevier said. It will still be free for users to submit their papers and download others. Elsevier did not disclose how much it paid to acquire SSRN.

      • Disappointing: Elsevier Buys Open Access Academic Pre-Publisher SSRN

        The vast, vast majority of time when we point to new academic research, we end up linking to the research hosted on SSRN, which stands for the Social Science Research Network. SSRN has been around for a long, long time, and it’s basically the go-to place to post research in the legal and economics worlds — the two research areas we most frequently write about. At this moment, I have about 10 SSRN tabs open on interesting papers that I hope to write about at some point. Technically SSRN is what’s known as a “preprint server,” where academics can share papers before peer review is completed and the final papers end up in a locked up, paywalled journal. The kind of paywall run by a giant company like Elsevier.

        So it’s been quite distressing to many this morning to find out that Elsevier has now purchased SSRN. Everyone involved, of course, insists that “nothing will change” and that Elsevier will leave SSRN working as before, but perhaps with some more resources behind it (and, sure, SSRN could use some updates and upgrades). But Elsevier has such a long history of incredibly bad behavior that it’s right to be concerned. Elsevier is not just a copyright maximalist (just last week at a hearing I attended involving the Copyright Office, Elsevier advocated for much more powerful takedown powers in copyright). It’s not just suing those who make it easier to access academic info. It’s not just charging insane amounts for journals. It also has a history of creating fake peer reviewed journals to help pharmaceutical companies make their drugs look better.

      • Anti-piracy firm Rightscorp’s Q1 financials read like an obituary

        Rightscorp heralded itself as a content savior when it was founded in 2011 with a novel business model—enforcing copyrights by capturing online pirates and demanding about a $20 fee per pilfered work.

        But a few things happened along the way to a year-over-year 78-percent plummet in first-quarter revenues and a loss of $784,180. Among other things, pirates are seemingly masking their IP addresses more and more, and ISPs aren’t forwarding Rightscorp’s money-demand letters to pirates, the company announced Monday. Still, the California-based anti-piracy company has never made a profit. Last year, it lost $3.5 million and, judging by its first-quarter earnings report released Monday, it’s on course to go defunct.

        For the moment, the company is teetering on the brink of financial collapse. It raised $500,000 on February 22, the company reported, but it needs another $1 million to stay afloat. It has enough cash on hand to continue “into the second quarter of 2016,” according to the company’s latest financial report.

      • House of Commons Fast Tracks Copyright Bill To Implement Marrakesh Treaty

        Bill C-11, the copyright bill that will allow Canada to accede to an international copyright treaty that will improve access for the blind and visually impaired, was fast tracked on Tuesday with unanimous approval to consider the bill read, studied, and passed three times. There will be no House of Commons committee hearings on the bill, which now heads to the Senate for approval. The bill received first reading at the Senate today. With no hearings and little debate, the bill will pass quickly without any changes. I wrote about Bill C-11 last month, noting that it is a positive step forward but that some provisions may be unduly restrictive when compared to the implementation approach recommended by some copyright groups.


Links 18/5/2016: ReactOS 0.4.1, KWayland in KDE Frameworks

Posted in News Roundup at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Sweden’s insurer: open source maximises IT efficiency

    Open source’s inherent flexibility maximises IT value, says Mikael Norberg, CTO at Sweden’s Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). Thanks to free software licences, information technology can be used effectively. Last year, Försäkringskassan completed its transition to open source in its data centre in Sundsvall, “driving down costs while increasing IT value”, the CTO says.

  • SL Adds Docker, MongoDB and Node.js to Open Source Monitoring Portfolio
  • RethinkDB’s Horizon Will Shave Months Off Your Development
  • RethinkDB unveils open-source JavaScript platform, Horizon

    RethinkDB, an open-source database, wants to help developers prototype and build cross-platform, real-time Web, mobile and IoT apps. The company announced Horizon, a new open-source JavaScript platform, is coming out of a closed developer preview today.

  • Leveraging IoT & Open Source Tools

    Though the data regarding connected devices is anything but cohesive, a broad overview of IoT stats affords a clear picture of how quickly our world is becoming a connected ecosystem: In 1984, approximately 1,000 devices were connected to the Internet; in 2015, Gartner predicted 4.9 billion connected things would be in use; and by 2020 analysts expect we’ll have somewhere between 26 and 50 billion connected devices globally. Said Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco, “In 1984, there were 1,000 connected devices. That number rose up to reach a million devices in 1992 and reached a billion devices in 2008. Our estimates say… that we will have roughly 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020.”

  • ReactOS 0.4.1 Released To Advance “Open-Source Windows”
  • ReactOS 0.4.1 Operating System Released with Initial Read/Write Btrfs Support

    Ziliang Guo from the ReactOS project today announced the availability for download of the first maintenance release of the ReactOS 0.4 open-source operating system.

    While not a GNU/Linux distribution, ReactOS is an open source project whose main design goal is to offer users a computer operating system built from scratch that clones the design principles of Microsoft Windows NT’s architecture.

  • Google open sources its ‘most powerful’ AI SyntaxNet
  • Has Google’s Parsey McParseface just solved one of the world’s biggest language problems?
  • Google ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Free Update: Google Introduces ‘Parsey McParseface’ As Open Source Natural Language AI Tool [VIDEO]
  • Amazon Joins Tech Giants in Open Sourcing a Key Machine Learning Tool

    Among technology categories creating sweeping change right now, cloud computing and Big Data analytics dominate the headlines, and open source platforms are making a difference in these categories. However, one of the biggest open source stories of the year surrounds newly contributed projects in the field of artifical intelligence and the closely related field of machine learning.

  • Amazon opens up its product recommendation tech to all
  • VR for Good, Amazon open-sources DSSTNE, and the Google Spaces app—SD Times news digest: May 17, 2016
  • Amazon’s DSSTNE Is Now Open Source Software
  • Amazon’s DSSTNE machine learning tech is now open source
  • After Google, now Amazon open sources its machine learning engine DSSTNE
  • Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Open Sources Deep Learning Software

    The software is now available on Github where the tech giant hopes developers and researchers will expand its functionalities.

  • Blockchain open sources Thunder network, paving the way for instant bitcoin transactions

    Blockchain, the company behind the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, has been quietly working on an interesting project called Thunder. The Thunder network is an alternative network of nodes that lets you make off-chain bitcoin payments in seconds and settle back to the bitcoin blockchain every now and then. And it makes me excited about bitcoin all over again.

    This sounds complicated but it’s quite neat and could be a powerful innovation for bitcoin transactions. But first, let’s take a step back.

    If you’ve ever tried sending a couple of bitcoins from one wallet to another, you know it can take ten or twenty minutes before the blockchain confirms the transaction.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Expands Its National Gigabit Project to Austin, TX

        When you couple lightning-fast Internet with innovative projects in the realms of education and workforce development, amazing things can happen.

        That’s the philosophy behind the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund, our joint initiative with the National Science Foundation and US Ignite. The Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund brings funding and staffing to U.S. cities equipped with gigabit connectivity, the next-generation Internet that’s 250-times faster than most other connections. Our goal: Spark the creation of groundbreaking, gigabit-enabled educational technologies so that more people of all ages and backgrounds can read, write, and participate on this next-generation Web.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OSOps Gives Operators a Powerful Tool to Poke OpenStack Developers

      For JJ Asghar, senior partner engineer of OpenStack at Chef, there is one issue that continues to hamper OpenStack’s success: Operations. It’s no secret in the Ops community that there is a large barrier to entry involved in becoming a part of the OpenStack community. When it comes to submitting bugs, reporting issues, and ensuring one’s OpenStack cloud runs smoothly, operations teams find themselves facing an uphill battle.

    • Cisco’s Embrace of OpenStack Pays Network Dividends [VIDEO]

      When Lew Tucker, vice-president and CTO of cloud computing at Cisco first got Cisco involved with OpenStack, networking wasn’t even a separate project, it was just part of the Nova compute project. OpenStack has since evolved with the Neutron networking project and more recently, a large focus on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) with some of the world’s largest carriers supporting the effort.

    • OpenStack Player Platform9 Rolls Out Channel Partner Program

      As the OpenStack arena consolidates, there are still many business models evolving around it, and OpenStack-as-a-Service is emerging as an interesting choice. Platform9, which focuses on OpenStack-based private clouds, has announced a new release of its Platform9 Managed OpenStack, which is a SaaS-based solution with integration for single sign-on (SSO) solutions. The company also updated its private-cloud-as-a service offering from OpenStack Juno to OpenStack Liberty.

  • DevOps

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Why VCs Have Invested More Than $200M in Container Tech

      Last week alone, investors—aiming to profit from the new approach to building, deploying and managing apps—poured $63M into container vendors.
      The evolving market for application containers isn’t just about developer adoption anymore; it’s now very much about investors, too.

      The week of May 9, in particular, highlights the intense interest that venture capitalists (VCs) have in containers and the potential to profit from the new approach to building, deploying and managing applications at scale.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.3′s new features

      FreeBSD is a venerable operating system, often deployed on servers due to the project’s focus on performance and stability. At the beginning of April the FreeBSD project released version 10.3 of their operating system. The release announcement for FreeBSD 10.3 mentioned several features and improvements which caught my attention. Specifically the availability of ZFS boot environments, 64-bit Linux compatibility and jail improvements were of interest to me. I was especially eager to try out FreeBSD’s new jails technology using the iocage front-end. The iocage software has been presented as an improvement on (and replacement for) Warden, a friendly front-end for handling jail environments.

      I already reviewed FreeBSD 10.0 when it was launched and so I plan to skip over most aspects of the new 10.3 release and focus on the key features I listed above, along with the notable changes I encounter. The new release is available in many different builds, ranging from x86 and ARM, to SPARC and PowerPC. For the purposes of my trial I downloaded the 2.6GB DVD image of FreeBSD’s 64-bit x86 edition.


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Smartphone-based Robotic Rover Project goes Open Source

      The chassis is made to cradle a smartphone. Fire up your favorite videoconferencing software and you have a way to see where you’re going as well as hear (and speak to) your surroundings. Bluetooth communications between the phone and the chassis provides wireless control. That being said, this unit is clearly designed to be able to deal with far more challenging terrain than the average office environment, and has been designed to not only be attractive, but to be as accessible and open to repurposing and modification as possible.

    • “Participatory budgeting: a silent democratic revolution”

      Citizens with a say — or even a vote — in their municipal budgets are part of a silent democratic revolution. Participatory budgeting started 25 years ago in Brazil and, since then, has been spreading slowly but steadily from South America to cities all over the world. At the moment, more than 1,500 municipalities involve their citizens in the budget-making process, according to an article on participatory budgeting recently published in the Dutch online newspaper ‘De Correspondent’.

    • Fifty shades of open

      Open source. Open access. Open society. Open knowledge. Open government. Even open food. Until quite recently, the word “open” had a fairly constant meaning. The over-use of the word “open” has led to its meaning becoming increasingly ambiguous. This presents a critical problem for this important word, as ambiguity leads to misinterpretation.

    • Open Data

      • “Panama Papers pushing open government”

        The publication of the so-called Panama Papers will only help to further the discussion on open government. “Things like hidden company ownership and strict secrecy have fuelled questions on links between world leaders and offshore jurisdictions,” write Koen Roovers, and Henri Makkonen, EU Advocacy Lead and EU Advocacy Intern, respectively, at the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC).

      • “Governments need to enable the data-driven economy”

        Big Data is a game changer for businesses, Alla Morrison, International Development Specialist, Digital Economy and Solutions at the World Bank, recently wrote in a blog posting. She quoted Harvard professor Michael Porter, a globally recognised authority on competitiveness, who said: “Data now stands on par with people, technology, and capital as a core asset of the corporation and in many businesses is perhaps becoming the decisive asset.”

      • Open Government Research Exchange (OGRX) launched

        Earlier this month, the Open Government Research Exchange (OGRX) was launched. The portal brings together research on on government innovation, and already indexes hundreds of publications (though many of them are only available for purchase).

      • Central Greece creates dashboard to increase citizen awareness

        Basically, Smart Sterea can be seen as a set of technological tools. Central Greece deployed a data visualisation portal, which mixes data for budgets, political projects and public consultations. This “Open Dashboard of Central Greece” makes use of Open Data to allow citizens to monitor public revenue and expenditure, political programs and their progress, and allocations – among other types of information. Data are updated in real-time.

    • Open Access/Content

      • A call for open source textbooks

        Ninety dollars, sometimes over a hundred, even. Walking away from the bookstore with a full set of math textbooks for a calculus course can easily set a student back by over two hundred. Add in online components, and that number only grows. The College Board estimates that the average full-time student would have to spend $1,200 alone in books and materials. The textbook industry costs already financially overburdened students massive amounts of money, and the solution is clear: Open source textbooks must become commonplace in De Anza classrooms.

    • Environment

      • Moja Global: Creating Open Source Tools to Help the Environment

        To understand and address issues such as land degradation, deforestation, food security, and greenhouse gas emissions, countries need access to high-quality and timely information. As these challenges have become more urgent over the past decade, the need for more information has also increased. At the recent 2016 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we introduced a new open source project called moja global, supported by the Clinton Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada and Kenya, that aims to provide the tools necessary to help address these issues.

      • Open-Source Fabbing Gives Plastic Waste New Life


  • When TV Ads Go Subliminal With a Vengeance, We’ll Be to Blame

    For decades the annual television industry ritual known as the upfronts has gone the same way.

    Thousands of advertising and television executives trudge between New York’s great cultural centers — Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center — where network executives screen premieres of their hottest new shows (“24: Legacy” on Fox! “Designated Survivor” on ABC!); trot out their biggest stars (Jennifer Lopez! Kerry Washington!), and disclose which programs will go where on the prime-time schedules being set for the fall.

    After successive nights of upscale hedonism — steaks at Peter Luger, mango chili martinis at Tao and Nicki Minaj at Terminal 5 — the ad people and the TV people get down to the real business of cutting deals for the 30-second spots that run during prime time’s commercial breaks.

    But when the whole shebang kicks off in earnest on Monday morning, there will be an underlying sense of seasickness because of the inexorable, existential question that now faces television this time of year: How long can it go on like this?

    This queasiness was your doing.

  • Dear Politicians: At Least Close Those Porn Tabs Before Sending Out Your Campaign Screenshots

    We all know the internet is for porn, right? But the implication in that age-old internet commandment is that it’s for porn and nothing else. But that’s not true! The internet is also for cats, for business-ing, for Techdirt, and for political messages. But what you really shouldn’t do is mix any of those formers with the latter, which it appears is what congressional candidate Mike Webb did on his Facebook page.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No, the UN has not given glyphosate a ‘clean bill of health’

      News headlines today suggest that a UN report on glyphosate residues has given the controversial herbicide a clean bill of health, writes Georgina Downs. But that’s seriously misleading: the panel concludes that exposure to the chemical in food is unlikely to cause cancer. But that does not apply to those exposed to it occupationally or who live near sprayed fields.

    • New Evidence About the Dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup

      John Sanders worked in the orange and grapefruit groves in Redlands, California, for more than 30 years. First as a ranch hand, then as a farm worker, he was responsible for keeping the weeds around the citrus trees in check. Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer, was his weapon of choice, and he sprayed it on the plants from a hand-held atomizer year-round.

    • US Beekeepers Lost 44 Percent of Honey Bee Colonies in 2015, and More

      US beekeepers lost 44 percent of honey bee colonies in 2015; microplastics might be contaminating the air we breathe; an atmospheric measuring station is picking up CO2 levels that are on the verge of breaking 400 parts per million for the first time in human history; and more.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • The Truth about Linux 4.6

      As anticipated in public comments, the Linux Foundation is already beginning a campaign to rewrite history and mislead Linux users. Their latest PR release can be found at: https://www.linux.com/news/greg-kh-update-linux-kernel-46-next-week-new-security-features, which I encourage you to read so you can see the spin and misleading (and just plain factually incorrect) information presented. If you’ve read any of our blog posts before or are familiar with our work, you’ll know we always say “the details matter” and are very careful not to exaggerate claims about features beyond their realistic security expectations (see for instance our discussion of access control systems in the grsecurity wiki). In a few weeks I will be keynoting at the SSTIC conference in France, where a theme of my keynote involves how little critical thinking occurs in this industry and how that results in companies and users making poor security decisions. So let’s take a critical eye to this latest PR spin and actually educate about the “security improvements” to Linux 4.6.

    • Major Remote SSH Security Issue in CoreOS Linux Alpha, Subset of Users Affected

      A misconfiguration in the PAM subsystem in CoreOS Linux Alpha 1045.0.0 and 1047.0.0 allowed unauthorized users to gain access to accounts without a password or any other authentication token being required. This vulnerability affects a subset of machines running CoreOS Linux Alpha. Machines running CoreOS Linux Beta or Stable releases are unaffected. The Alpha was subsequently reverted back to the unaffected previous version (1032.1.0) and hosts configured to receive updates have been patched. The issue was reported at May 15 at 20:21 PDT and a fix was available 6 hours later at 02:29 PDT.

    • Let’s Encrypt: The Good and the Bad

      By now, most of you have heard about the “Let’s Encrypt” initiative. The idea being that it’s high time more websites had a simple, easy to manage method to offer https encryption. As luck would have it, the initiative is just out of its beta phase and has been adding sponsors like Facebook, Cisco, and Mozilla to their list of organizations that view this initiative as important.

      In this article, I want to examine this initiative carefully, taking a look at the good and the bad of Let’s Encrypt.

    • SourceForge Tightens Security With Malware Scans

      After taking down the controversial DevShare program in early February, the new owners of popular software repository, SourceForge, have begun scanning all projects it hosts for malware in an attempt to regain trust that was lost by Dice Holdings, the site’s previous owners.

    • Mozilla Issues Legal Challenge to FBI to Disclose Firefox Flaw
    • Judge In Child Porn Case Reverses Course, Says FBI Will Not Have To Turn Over Details On Its Hacking Tool

      Back in February, the judge presiding over the FBI’s case against Jay Michaud ordered the agency to turn over information on the hacking tool it used to unmask Tor users who visited a seized child porn site. The FBI further solidified its status as a law unto itself by responding that it would not comply with the court’s order, no matter what.

      Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any FBI officials tossed into jail cells indefinitely for contempt of court charges. The judge in that case has reversed course, as Motherboard reports.

    • Judge Changes Mind, Says FBI Doesn’t Have to Reveal Tor Browser Hack

      In February, a judge ordered the FBI to reveal the full malware code it used to identify visitors of a dark web child pornography site, including the exploit that circumvented the protections of the Tor Browser. The government fought back, largely in sealed motions, and tried to convince the judge to reconsider.

    • Symantec antivirus security flaw exposes Linux, Mac and Windows

      Security holes in antivirus software are nothing new, but holes that exist across multiple platforms? That’s rare… but it just happened. Google’s Tavis Ormandy has discovered a vulnerability in Symantec’s antivirus engine (used in both Symantec- and Norton-branded suites) that compromises Linux, Mac and Windows computers. If you use an early version of a compression tool to squeeze executables, you can trigger a memory buffer overflow that gives you root-level control over a system.

    • Apache incubating project promises new Internet security framework

      The newly announced Apache Milagro (incubating) project seeks to end to centralized certificates and passwords in a world that has shifted from client-server to cloud, IoT and containerized applications.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Top Hizbullah Commander in Syria killed in Explosion; Radical Salafis blamed

      Mustafa Badreddine, the Hizbullah commander responsible for Syria, was killed Friday in an explosion near Damascus. It wasn’t clear whether he was hit by artillery fire or what.

      The US now has a tacit alliance of convenience with Lebanon’s Hizbullah against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), but continues to keep the organization on a terrorism list.

    • Organized Misery is Fascism

      Just about one half of the year 2016 is in the world’s history books. The 16th year of the 21st Century, a century that was supposed to usher in a new era of democracy, opportunity, “green thinking”, and income for all, has thus far been a bust for much of the citizens of the world. Some 40.8 million displaced people roam the continents of the world due to the effects of climate change and the fallout from varying degrees of conflict/war ranging from the War on Terror and War on Drugs, to covert-overt regime changes in Brazil, Ukraine, Egypt, Paraguay, Iraq, Libya and Honduras. Syria remains a work in progress.

    • NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia

      The popular narrative is that is that the Western powers dropped these bombs out of humanitarian concern, but this claim falls apart once the distorted lens of Western saviourism is dropped and actual facts are presented. In truth, NATO intervention in Yugoslavia was predicated on the imperialist, colonialist economic and ideological interests of the NATO states, masquerading for the public as a humanitarian effort, that in fact served to dismantle the last remnant of socialism in Europe and recolonize the Balkans. This becomes apparent when the economic interests and actions of the NATO bloc in the decades leading up the breakup are analyzed, when what actually occurred during the intervention is further explored, and when the reality of life in the former Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the ‘humanitarian’ intervention is more closely examined. It becomes clear that the most suffering endured by the Yugoslav people since Nazi occupation was the result of the actions of NATO with the United States at its helm.

    • Wonky welds keep West Coast submarines stuck in port

      Canada’s troubled submarine fleet has been hit with another headache: hundreds of potentially dangerous welds

    • Hillary Clinton Wasn’t Always This One-Sided on Israel

      The text of Hillary Clinton’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in March runs 3,301 words, almost every one of them praising Israeli policy in one way or another, and expounding on taking the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.”

      Only a single sentence — 15 words to the effect that “everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements” — could possibly be interpreted as criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s extremist right-wing government.

    • [Older, reposted] Muslim Memories of West’s Imperialism

      A century ago, Britain and France secretly divided up much of the Mideast, drawing artificial boundaries for Iraq and Syria, but Muslim resentment of Western imperialism went much deeper, as historian William R. Polk described in 2015.

    • Behind the Veil of Chinese Politics

      The first story concerns President Xi Jinping’s warning of cabals, cliques and conspirators which came to light in the first week in May. The speech, delivered in January, confirmed what many suspected.

      Xi chose his words carefully. “Some officials have been forming cabals and cliques to covertly defy the CPC [Communist Party of China] Central Committee’s decisions and policies,” which risked “compromising the political security of the Party and the country’’.

    • The Danger of Demonization

      As the West is sucked deeper into the Syrian conflict and starts a new Cold War with Russia, the mainstream U.S. news media has collapsed as a vehicle for reliable information, creating a danger for the world, writes Robert Parry.

    • Donald Trump vs. Sadiq Khan

      Donald Trump is on the record calling for the ban of all Muslims entering the United States until U.S. representatives can figure out what is going on. London’s new Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, says Trump is ignorant about Islam and assures that mainstream Islam and Western liberal values are compatible.

    • “Please Free Us”: EU’s Outsourcing of Refugees Drives Crisis to New Low

      Conditions for refugees seeking asylum in Europe descended to new depths this week, as residents of a Greek refugee camp launched a hunger strike to protest inhumane living conditions, the United Nations warned Greece to stop imprisoning refugee children in police cells, and deported Syrian refugees said they were being illegally detained in Turkey and stripped of their rights.

    • Brazil’s New Conservative Leadership Quietly Readies Neoliberal Onslaught

      Following the suspension of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff last week—in what some called a coup by conservative opponents—her supporters warned that the interim government, led by Vice President Michel Temer, may use the opportunity to push through neoliberal legislation.

      According to the advocacy group the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers (ALERT), they were right.

      The Brazilian Committee of the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship on April 27 “quietly” passed an amendment known as PEC 65, which would ban any public works project from being cancelled or suspended, as long as the contractor has submitted an environmental impact study. Amid the political uproar, the measure is now poised to pass.

    • Noam Chomsky: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff “Impeached by a Gang of Thieves”

      As protests continue in Brazil over the Legislature’s vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial, Noam Chomsky notes that “we have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so. That does count as a kind of soft coup.” Rousseff’s replacement, Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, is a member of the opposition PMDB party who is implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras, and has now appointed an all-white male Cabinet charged with implementing corporate-friendly policies.

    • Noam Chomsky: The True ‘Center of Radical Islamic Extremism’ Is Close American Ally Saudi Arabia

      In an interview with Democracy Now, Chomsky says that Saudi Arabia is a “a source of not only funding for extremist radical Islam and the jihadi outgrowths of it, but also, doctrinally, mosques, clerics and so on, schools, you know, madrassas, where you study just Qur’an, is spreading all over the huge Sunni areas from Saudi influence.”

    • Senate Passes Bill Allowing Families of 9/11 Victims to Sue Saudi Arabia

      he Senate defied a veto threat by the Obama administration Tuesday, passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which if signed into law would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center that killed almost 3,000 people.

    • Undeterred by Obama’s Veto Threat, Senate Passes 9/11-Saudi Bill

      Setting up a likely veto fight and opening a potential Pandora’s Box, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that allows victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia for any role the government may have played in the attacks.

    • ‘Operation Popcorn’ Explores How U.S. Vietnam War Policy Shaped Allies’ Identities

      Although it sounds like something straight out of Hollywood, the story behind “Operation Popcorn” is not fiction. It is, in fact, a tale of violence and desperation spanning several generations.

      The feature-length documentary, directed by David Grabias, follows businessman-turned-activist Locha Thao as he embarks on a quest to help Hmong communities in Laos, eventually working with an arms dealer and a retired U.S. Army officer to supply weapons for a rebellion. Eventually, Thao, the Army officer and 10 other Hmong-American community leaders, including renowned Hmong war hero Gen. Vang Pao, are indicted on charges of conspiracy.

    • My cultural revolution: a child’s memory

      The purge of Mongolian ‘nationalists’ stopped in 1969. The official death-toll among Mongolians is 50,000, but many Mongols believe the true figure is much higher. To pacify the discontent of the Mongol victims of the purge, the authorities at the time gave various forms of compensation to their families. My parents received a family trip to Beijing and Shanghai for a health check and treatment. I spent a few months living with them in a hotel in Shanghai, where we met many other long-term resident guests, many of whom who, permanently maimed in industrial accidents, were on medical trips paid by the state. At the time, Shanghai was the only big city where the radical leftists had taken complete control, while in other places they were checked by the army. I remember walking past the Shanghai workers’ militia headquarters and seeing militia sentry standing outside holding automatic rifles with shiny bayonets.

    • Israeli mishap in Latin America?

      A diplomatic incident between Brazil and Israel shows how Netanyahu is prisoner of his extreme-right and ultra-nationalists coalition friends.

    • Elon Musk Just Exposed Billions in Corrupt Pentagon Spending to Weapons Monopoly — Here’s How

      Perhaps Elon Musk’s innovative venture into the cosmos through SpaceX finally exposes excessive waste so common in the Pentagon’s bloated budget — an enormous chunk of which remains unaccounted for. A report last June found the Pentagon has essentially ‘lost track’ of around $8.5 trillion — yes, trillion — in taxpayer funded programs granted by Congress, just since 1996. As it turns out, the Pentagon has simply never complied with audits required by the government since that time; but as its fealty to ULA’s bloated space contracts shows, taxpayers are getting the shafted at every turn.

    • 5 lessons America has failed to learn from the Iraq War [Ed: reposted again]
    • Obama is bullish on war, no matter how you spin it

      Barack Obama has now been at war longer than any president in United States history, as the New York Times pointed out on Sunday. Barring some sort of peace miracle in the next six months, he will be the only president who ever served two full terms in office while constantly being at war. And given how he has transformed how the US fights overseas, his wars will likely continue long after he leaves office.

      Anytime the media writes about Obama and war, it’s apparently a rule that the author must mention that Obama supposedly fights his wars more reluctantly than his predecessors. But in many contexts, this is misleading. Obama hasn’t attempted to avoid war; he has merely redefined it. In some ways, he has fought them in a far more aggressively than any president before him, just with different tools.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sources: Arianna Huffington wants to find leaker of embarrassing Uber-related email

      In an early May meeting with top Huffington Post managers, founder Arianna Huffington expressed an interest in finding the person who leaked a troubling email relating to the website’s coverage of Uber, according to three informed sources. Leaking internal documents is unacceptable and doesn’t comport with company values, Huffington argued. Also: Those who do such things must be malcontents who would be better off leaving their jobs.

      The impression that Huffington imparted was that she was already pursuing the leaker and urged her colleagues to be mindful of problem employees, according to the sources.

      On April 28, this blog reported that Huffington Post executive features editor Gregory Beyer had killed a story pitch about an Uber driver who had turned over the controls to a passenger while he took a nap. The substitute driver then led police on a highway chase. The pitch came just after the Huffington Post had consummated a partnership with Uber to combat drowsy driving, of all things. “Let’s hold on this one please as we’re partnering with Uber on our drowsy driving campaign,” Beyer wrote in an email secured by this blog.

      Colleagues of Beyer later received this apology: “Hi everyone, just wanted to bump this because a few people have asked me about this email and I realize it gave off the wrong impression. Obviously our partnerships never affect our coverage, and I was moving quickly in the moment and sent the wrong message as I read it in hindsight. For any confusion or concern I caused with my note, I apologize.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Obama Mocks Politicians Who Think Cold Weather Disproves Global Warming

      It was unseasonably cold in New Jersey when President Obama delivered his commencement speech at Rutgers University in Pitscataway on Sunday. It was so cold that in some areas of the state, small pellets of ice fell from the sky.

      The cold weather, however, didn’t stop Obama from devoting a portion of his speech to human-caused global warming. In fact, Obama actually spent part of his speech rebuking politicians who deny climate science on the basis that sometimes it’s cold outside.

    • Can Green Banks Turn Renewable Energy Into A Financial Attraction?

      Last month, dignitaries from 175 countries applied the final seal of approval to the Paris Climate Agreement, setting a course for a low-carbon future. Experts say that, to meet the goals laid out in the pact, investors will need to funnel $1 trillion a year into clean energy and energy efficiency.

      It should come as no surprise that clean energy companies have become such hot properties. Last year saw historic investment in renewables worldwide. Tesla’s recently-announced Model 3 broke records by garnering $14 billion in promised sales in a single week.

    • Congress should pass much-needed Chemical Safety Bill

      In what seems like an earlier life, I majored in Chemistry in college. I enjoyed the subject but as it sometimes happens, my life took a different direction and I became a writer.

      But my Chemistry days taught me, among other things, the extent to which everything in and around us has a basis in Chemistry. What are our bodies but exquisitely balanced chemical factories (of sorts) under our skin? As science advances, we discover that our bodies, organ systems and mental faculties are sensitive to the chemicals we’re exposed to in our daily lives.

    • When Nuclear Plants Expire: Stick the Taxpayers With the Bill (and the Waste)

      Aging and dangerous nuclear power plants are closing. This should be cause for celebration. We will all be safer now, right? Well, not exactly.

      US nuclear power plant owners are currently pouring resources into efforts to circumvent the already virtually non-existent regulations for the dismantlement and decommissioning of permanently closed nuclear reactors.

      And sad to say, many on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the industry’s ever compliant lapdog, are trotting happily by their side.


      Using Vermont Yankee (a relatively small 620 MWe reactor) as an example, the decommissioning cost estimate in 2015 was $1.2 billion and rising. At the same time, Entergy, the plant’s owner, had just $625 million on hand.

      In early May, Entergy was reprimanded (but not fined) by the NRC for violating “federal regulations last year when it prematurely took money out of the Vermont Yankee decommissioning trust fund to cover planning expenses associated with the handling of spent nuclear fuel at the closed reactor”, the Times Argus reported.

      Another factor in the current struggle to pay for decommissioning is rooted in a decades-long practice by utilities of omitting the costs of decommissioning from electricity bills in order to artificially lower rates and stay competitive in the market.

      Rather than preserve decommissioning trust funds for actual decommissioning work, utilities are now asking the NRC to let them raid the funds for activities outside the parameters of the reactor decommissioning process. These activities include the payment of taxes and the protracted management of orphaned nuclear waste left on site.

    • Tar Sands Operations Shut Down, Work Camps Evacuated as Fire Jumps North

      Major Alberta tar sands facilities have been shut down and 19 work camps are under a mandatory evacuation order, after weather conditions caused Canada’s uncontrolled Fort McMurray wildfire to surge northward on Monday.

      The order, which covers about 8,000 people and was issued late Monday evening, came due to the “unpredictable nature” of the fire and the fact that those camps could be isolated if the road was jeopardized, said Scott Long, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

      The evacuation zone, stretching about 30 miles north of Fort McMurray to just south of Fort MacKay, included Syncrude and Suncor facilities, along with several smaller operations. As such, the Wall Street Journal reported, the order “is a setback for large oil-sands producers such as industry leader Suncor Energy Inc., which had said last week that it was in the process of planning to resume production at its oil sands sites.”

    • Everything You Need To Know About Why The DC Circuit Delayed Arguments On Obama’s Climate Plan

      The Clean Power Plan will get its day in court, but in September, not June — and by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, not the court’s normal three-judge panel that was scheduled to hear it in just over two weeks.

      West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is one of the most important environmental cases in almost a decade. The case will decide whether the EPA violated the law when it finalized its carbon rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector under the Clean Air Act.

    • Koch Candidates? Where Is the Koch Machine Spending in 2016 So Far

      Recent articles in the national media, such as yesterday’s piece in the National Review, suggest that Charles and David Koch are less interested and less involved in national politics in the 2016 election cycle than in previous years.

      This latest PR effort comes despite the fact that $400 million of the $889 pledge by the Kochs through their “Freedom Partners” network has already been invested in the outcome of the 2016 elections, with more money to be spent.

      A close examination of recent campaign finance disclosures and other data reveals that Team Koch has already identified some of their candidates for 2016 and in many cases has already started spending big on behalf of candidates in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, state Governorships and state Attorney General races–as the presidential tickets remain unsettled and controversial.

      For example, the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch (CMD) looked at disclosed donations by Koch Industries’ KochPAC. This is limited to the donations that are required to be disclosed under federal and state law but, as the Nation and others have documented, Koch Industries also attempts to indoctrinate its employees on who and what to vote for or against, as documented here.

    • Declining Deer Population: Blame the Mountain Lions?

      This is the time of year with Spring in full bloom that here in Colorado, we are likely to see more wildlife. It has been my good fortune to see a fair amount these past few weeks – beaver (which I had never seen until now), muskrat, avocets and then a few days ago a herd of seven mule deer grazing on the side of a slope above Clear Creek just beyond the entrance to Clear Creek Canyon. We had been hiking. Nancy went on a bit; as usual, I waited behind and took a seat on an inviting rock, looked up; there were all seven of them making their way down along a stream bed not far from me.

    • There’s No Time to “Debate” Climate Change: We Need Global Transformation

      Corporate mainstream media outlets are missing something very important as the general election draws closer and both Democrats and Republicans start freaking out that it’ll be the end of the world if the other party gets into the White House. Media are completely ignoring the fact that unless we do something right now to fundamentally change what fuels our economy, it actually will be the end of the world as know it.

    • Kochs’ Grassroots Leadership Academy Training Astroturf Army

      With no clear favorite in the 2016 U.S. presidential primary race–following Gov. Scott Walker’s early exit and Trump’s march toward the nomination–the Koch brothers have turned their attention (and opened their wallets) to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state governorships.

      But with the Kochs having already spent at least $400 million of $889 million committed to the 2016 election cycle, according to news reports, where is that money being spent?

      An under-covered arm of the Koch political operations is a likely recipient of some of that cash and it’s called Americans for Prosperity’s “Grassroots Leadership Academy.”

    • Exxon Gets Sued by Conservationists and Legal Help from Conservatives

      As attorneys general of Texas and Alabama pledge to assist oil giant with fraud probe, conservation group files first lawsuit since cover-up revealed

    • Texas Thinks The Investigation Into Exxon Is ‘Ridiculous’

      If you didn’t know better, you might think the State of Texas favors oil companies.

      On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed for the second time in two weeks on the side of an oil company — this time Exxon, which is challenging a subpoena in the Virgin Islands’ Attorney General’s investigation over what the oil and gas giant knew about climate change, and when.

      Paxton called the Virgin Islands’ investigation “ridiculous” in a statement Monday.

    • Massachusetts Court Sides with Teenagers in ‘Historic’ Climate Victory

      ‘This is an historic victory for young generations advocating for changes to be made by government,’ said 17-year-old plaintiff Shamus Miller.

    • Youth Climate Advocates Secure Victory in Massachusetts Climate Change Lawsuit
  • Finance

    • Protests Rise Against World Economic Forum’s Implausible ‘Africa Keeps Rising’ Meme

      As reality dawns, even the continent’s oldest retail bank, Barclays, has just announced it will sell its African operations.

      The most gloomy reason to fear Africa’s for future, climate change, was distorted beyond recognition at the Kigali WEF last week. Referring to the December 2015 UN climate summit in Paris, the director of the Africa Progress Panel (founded by Blair in his prime a decade ago), Caroline Kende-Robb, pronounced that the “COP 21 in Paris was an unambiguous success [because] African nations seized the chance to shift the climate narrative from one of dependence to one of opportunity and transformation.”

    • Investigators Target Dangerous Housing Finance Practice With Deep Ties To America’s Racist Legacy

      Investigators in New York will probe the resurgence of a dangerous housing finance practice that was historically used to target low-income black families who dreamed of owning their own home, the state’s Department of Financial Services announced Monday.

      Investigators have sent subpoenas to at least four separate companies that are helping drive a boom in a long-dormant alternative to a traditional mortgage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    • New York Banking Regulator Investigates ‘Seller-Financed’ Home Sales

      Financial regulators in New York have opened an investigation into housing deals marketed by investment firms to low-income buyers who don’t qualify for mortgages.

    • EU referendum: Boris Johnson accused of ‘dishonest gymnastics’ over TTIP U-turn

      The grandson of Winston Churchill has accused Boris Johnson of “fundamentally dishonest gymnastics” for reversing his position on the planned multibillion-pound TTIP trade agreement between the US and the EU.

      The former Mayor of London had previously called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership “Churchillian” in its brilliance.

    • Challenging a Wall Street Giant on Pay

      A prominent shareholder activist is fed up with money manager BlackRock over the firm’s practice of rubberstamping obscenely large executive compensation packages at thousands of U.S. corporations.

    • Privatizing America’s Public Land

      It goes without saying that in a democracy everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. The trouble starts when people think they are also entitled to their own facts.

      Away out West, on the hundreds of millions of acres of public lands that most Americans take for granted (if they are aware of them at all), the trouble is deep, widespread, and won’t soon go away. Last winter’s armed take-over and 41-day occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon is a case in point. It was carried out by people who, if they hadn’t been white and dressed as cowboys, might have been called “terrorists” and treated as such. Their interpretation of the history of western lands and of the judicial basis for federal land ownership — or at least that of their leaders, since they weren’t exactly a band of intellectuals — was only loosely linked to reality.

      At least some of them took inspiration from the notion that Jesus Christ wrote the Constitution (which would be news to the Deists, like James Madison, who were its actual authors) and that it prohibits federal ownership of any land excepting administrative sites within the United States — a contention that more than two centuries of American jurisprudence has emphatically repudiated.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Chomsky: Today’s Republican Party is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History

      We speak with world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky about the Republican party, the rightward shift in U.S. politics and the 2016 election. “If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects,” Chomsky says, “but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally.”

    • This Man Can’t Vote Today Because Kentucky’s GOP Governor Reversed A Major Voting Rights Victory

      “Seeing the struggle of those folks to vote, I was reminded of my dilemma and not being able to vote,” he said, referring to the film and the movement that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      Malone is one of more than 140,000 Kentuckians who are permanently disenfranchised because of felony convictions. The commonwealth is one of three states with the strictest felon disenfranchisement laws. Just over five percent of Kentucky’s voting-age population cannot vote because of a felony convictions, but for African Americans, that number is 16.7 percent.

    • Top Aide Explains Why Sanders is Fighting the Good Fight
    • Sanders Urges Democrat Leaders to Welcome ‘Real’ Fighters for Change

      ‘The Democratic Party has a choice,’ says senator. ‘It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change… Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure.’

    • Bernie Sanders Looks for High Turnout to Fuel Kentucky, Oregon Upsets

      “Needless to say, what I hope we’ll be seeing is a very large voter turnout,” Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders told an Oregon newspaper over the weekend ahead of the state’s closed primary on Tuesday.

      It seems the Vermont senator may get his wish, with Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins saying Monday that voters are on track to cast more than one million votes in a primary election for only the second time in state history. The first time, according to The Oregonian, was in 2008 and “was driven most acutely by Obama-crazed voters wanting a say in the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama primary show-down.”

    • Live Blog: Both Parties Hold Oregon Primaries, Democrats in Close Race in Kentucky
    • Hillary and the Corporate Elite

      “Mainstream” U.S. media is struck by the “strange bedfellows” phenomenon whereby a number of right wing foreign policy neoconservatives and top business elites – including at least one of the notorious hard right-wing Koch brothers – are lining up with Democrat Hillary Clinton against the Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race. But what’s so strange about it? Trump is off the elite capitalist and imperial leash. He channels some nasty things that have long been part of the Republican Party playbook: frustrated white nationalism, racism, nativism, and male chauvinism.

      At the same time, however, he often sounds remarkably populist in ways that white working class voters appreciate. He has been critical of things that elite Republicans (and elite corporate Democrats) hold dear, including corporate globalization, “free trade’ (investor rights) deals, global capital mobility, cheap labor immigration. He questions imperialist adventures like the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Libya, the destabilization of Syria, and the provocation of Russia. He’s a largely self-funded lone wolf and wild card who cannot be counted to reliably make policy in accord with the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire. And he’s seizing the nomination of a political organization that may have ceased to be a functioning national political party.

    • The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud

      It is hard to think of bigger news than that the Electoral Commission is taking the governing party to court over alleged fraud in its election accounts, with possible disqualifications that could cost the government its majority. Yet the issue has received remarkably little coverage apart from the very dogged work of Channel 4 News. Why is that?

      There are a number of reasons. The first is that the media has a major pro-Tory bias and minimises bad news for the Tories as a matter of course. The most remarkable example of this is the continual playing down of divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, which run to extreme levels of personal hatred and abuse. But you do not see that hatred and abuse reflected, whereas divisions within the Labour Party are reported daily in extreme detail.

      If you doubt what I say, consider the fact that it is quite openly acknowledged that, under pressure from No.10, the media are organising the televised debates for the EU referendum so that Conservatives are never seen to be debating each other. That is the most extraordinary piece of media connivance, and even entails the media excluding the official Leave campaign from at least one national debate. What is deeply worrying is that the UK has become a country where nobody is surprised or concerned at this kind of blatant state propaganda manipulation.

    • The Mainstream Media and Its Discontents

      Throughout the 2016 primary elections season to date, the “mainstream media,” both “liberal” and “conservative,” along with the establishments of both the Republican and Democratic parties, have been desperately working — at times in a state of barely-concealed panic — to contain, divert, coopt and otherwise neutralize a tsunami of discontent among the “uneducated,” “working class” masses, many of whom are “stubbornly” refusing to cooperate with the extremely expensive simulation of democracy that the corporate plutocracy is forced to stage for us every four years.

      These “discontents” have already handed the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump, a buffoonish billionaire real estate mogul whose incoherent demagogic ramblings make George W. Bush sound articulate in comparison, and are “childishly” dragging out the coronation of Democrat Hillary Clinton by continuing to vote for a 74-year-old self-proclaimed “socialist” who has had the audacity to talk about Clinton’s shady ties to Wall Street, and the rest of the transnational corporate elite that more or less rules the world at this point, and things like that.

    • British PM Cameron’s tiff with Trump over Muslims: The Hypocrisy Factor

      When Donald Trump announced his monstrous and yet daffy plan to exlude Muslims from the United States (what with being, himself, both monstrous and yet daffy), British Prime Minister David Cameron called him out. The plan, he said, is “divisive, stupid and wrong.”

      Trump gave an interview with Piers Morgan on British TV on Monday in which he threatened the United Kingdom with retaliation.


      But what shouldn’t be lost in all this is that Cameron himself hasn’t exactly been good on Muslim issues in the UK. He’s been supercilious, condescending, and tone deaf. And he’s made some stupid and divisive proposals, as well.

    • More Mexican Immigrants Are Returning to Mexico Than Coming to the U.S.

      If you listen to Donald Trump and his legions of supporters—a task you undertake at your own peril—you will inevitably hear about hordes of invading Mexicans arriving in the United States daily, and the border wall the billionaire presidential candidate has proposed to keep them out. Variously described by Trump as a “gorgeous wall,” a “great, great wall,” and the “greatest wall that you’ve ever seen,” this magnificent would-be eighth wonder of the modern world has become a cornerstone of the GOP presidential contender’s campaign, a majestic concrete testament to America’s renewed Trumpian greatness.

    • The BBC White Paper show

      The run up to last week’s government white paper was filled with scare stories about a war against the BBC. The final document could scarcely have been more pleasing for the corporation.

    • Poll: Trump Closing in on Clinton, as Sanders Remains Formidable

      Donald Trump has reduced Hillary Clinton’s national lead to just three points—down from five last week—underscoring the grim prospects of the presidential election, a new poll released on Tuesday reveals.

      The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll finds that Clinton now leads Trump nationally 48 to 45 percent, an unsettling development as the candidates enter their final stretch of primaries, two of which are taking place Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon. Last week, Clinton and Trump were found to be in a dead heat in three swing states.

    • Poll: Trump narrows Clinton’s lead nationally to 3 points

      In the Democratic primary, Clinton leads Sanders nationally by 14 points, 54 percent to 40 percent. But it’s the Vermont senator who beats Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head by a wider margin, 53 percent to 41 percent.

    • Establishment Democrats and the Next March of Folly

      The March of Folly Defined: In 1984, Barbara W. Tuchman wrote the much acclaimed book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam in which she documented four cases where governments pursued policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, and despite evidence that the chosen courses of action would have devastating consequences.

      Still Marching Toward Folly: Since 1984 we have piled up a lot more marches of folly – the Iraqi invasion and regime change in general; the deregulation of banking leading to the Great Recession of 2008; an anti-terrorist strategy that generates more terrorists; an energy policy that advocated an “all of the above energy strategy” and discounted the threat of climate change; and a trade and tax policy that shifted wealth to the very few at the expense of the many, to name a few. (Extra credit question – which Democratic presidential candidate supported all of these follies)?

    • Donald Trump’s Trick Spokesperson Play

      The mystery of whether Trump masqueraded as his own spokesman while owner of the New Jersey Generals endures.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Teacher fired from Christian school after reporting shocking rape of her daughter

      A former teacher at a private Christian Science high school in St. Louis claims she was fired from her job as part of a cover-up after reporting to police that her underage daughter had been sexually assaulted multiple times by a school employee.

    • CIA ‘Mistakenly’ Destroys Torture Report
    • Appeals Court Declines to Release Full ‘Senate Torture Report’

      The D.C Circuit Court today ruled against releasing the entire contents of the so-called “Senate torture report,” which describes the Central Intelligence Agency’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation and detention program.

      A three-judge panel decided unanimously to deny a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act requesting release of the 6,000-plus page investigative report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • CIA Watchdog “Mistakenly” Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report

      The years-long battle to force the Obama administration to release the nearly-7,000-page Senate Intelligence Committee’s report detailing the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program just took an absurd new turn.

      According to exclusive reporting from Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff, the CIA inspector general’s office says it “mistakenly” destroyed its sole copy of the mass document “at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved.”

    • Senate report on CIA torture is one step closer to disappearing

      The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.

      While another copy of the report exists elsewhere at the CIA, the erasure of the controversial document by the office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released, according to multiple intelligence community sources familiar with the incident.

    • Leaked NSA newsletter says working at Guantanamo Bay is fun and awesome

      There’s little to laugh about in the 166 documents from Edward Snowden’s treasure trove of NSA leaks The Intercept released to the public on Monday. As one might imagine, there’s a lot in there about how our government knowingly committed horrific human rights abuses and violated international law. But connoisseurs of the absurd could do worse than to read the leaked NSA newsletter from 2003 that made working at Guantanamo Bay sound like a fun Caribbean vacation. SCUBA diving and torture: Two great tastes that taste great together?

    • Kidnapped and coerced: this is Liliana’s story

      Many women who end up transporting drugs are co-opted by networks that use similar methods to those employed in human trafficking crimes. That is what happened to Liliana, a Venezuelan woman with two children who agreed to transport drugs under the threat that her family would be harmed if she refused. She is incarcerated at an Argentine federal prison and her children remain in Venezuela.

    • Red Hat is the Winner of Mintigo’s Data Super Hero Award

      Iran has arrested eight people working for online modelling agencies deemed to be “un-Islamic”, the prosecutor of Tehran’s cybercrimes court has said.

      The arrests are part of an operation that has seen women targeted for posting photos showing them not wearing headscarves on Instagram and elsewhere.

      Women in Iran have been required to cover their hair in public since 1979.

      The eight unnamed people were among 170 identified by investigators as being involved in modelling online.

      They included 59 photographers and make-up artists, 58 models and 51 fashion salon managers and designers, according to a statement from the court.

    • Indefinite prison for suspect who won’t decrypt hard drives, feds say

      US federal prosecutors urged a federal appeals court late Monday to keep a child-porn suspect behind bars—where he already has been for seven months—until he unlocks two hard drives that the government claims contain kid smut.

      The suspect, a Philadelphia police sergeant relieved of his duties, has refused to unlock two hard drives and has been in jail ever since a judge’s order seven months ago—and after being found in contempt of court. The defendant can remain locked up until a judge lifts the contempt order.

    • Michael Ratner, Champion for Human Rights

      Michael Ratner, who died last week, was a champion on behalf of the world’s oppressed, giving the phrase “human rights” real meaning and defying its current propaganda application to justify endless war, as Marjorie Cohn explained at Truthdig.

    • In Sweden, Children are Citizens… Not Overheads

      We all know about the obvious examples of Swedish social democracy in relation to kids, such as the generous parental leave and the subsidized daycare. Loved or hated, these aspects are almost always discussed (at least in popular terms) in relation to the parents and how they enable successful careers or boost the economy. Rarely, however, do we think of how these programs send a long-term message to children that they are valuable members of society who, at this precise moment in time, simply cannot fend for themselves. So, the state steps in to make sure that their rights and well-being are respected, just as the rights and well-being of their larger fellow citizens are respected.

    • Left Cover for Hoffa? The Rise and Fall of a Model Teamsters Local

      After Hoffa was jailed in 1967 for jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud, he left Frank Fitzsimmons in charge of the IBT. Gibbons did not fare well under Fitz, as he was known. To Gibbons’ credit, he was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and played a key role in Labor for Peace, hosting its founding conference in St. Louis. He even joined a trade union delegation to Hanoi during the war, met with top North Vietnamese officials, and conducted Washington briefings on his trip when he returned.

    • What does the newly announced Euro 2016 team tell us about the state of multicultural England?

      The backpages will be full of hopeful optimism after the announcement of England’s provisional squad for Euro 2016. A squad full to bursting with youthful promise, it is the England fan’s lot to believe for 50 years it can never be as bad as the last time, but never as good as the first and only time either.

    • African American Unemployment, Hillary Clinton and Political Insanity!

      In reality, the black unemployment rate topped out at 30…

    • France erupts in defiance of employer-friendly labour reforms

      France is continuously rocked by debates around the meaning of the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality and solidarity that predate the French Revolution.

      Some important notions are widely shared. Most French citizens expect governments to meet the basic needs of all and promote individual expansion of talents and abilities.

      It is generally agreed France should offer educational, cultural and recreational facilities to every child.

      How the Enlightenment ideals should apply in the workplace is a matter of fierce dispute.

      Unlike Canada, the U.K. or the U.S., France has not consistently favoured employers over labour.

    • ‘An Entire Neighborhood Was Defamed’

      Few events have gone from fact to fable as quickly and decisively as that of the 1964 killing of Kitty Genovese. For decades we’ve heard references to the poor young woman stabbed again and again on a New York City street while some 38 people—Genovese’s neighbors—watched from their windows without making a move to help. In some tellings, some of them pulled up chairs for a better view. But in all tellings, the community’s apathy was the reason for Genovese’s death, almost as much as her killer, Winston Moseley, whose death in prison last month brought the story briefly back into the headlines.

    • Women and Children First: Homeland Security Targets “Family Units” for Deportation in May and June

      After January’s raids that tore teens from their families and plucked them off buses on their way to school, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is about to embark on a renewed quest to arrest and deport Central Americans who applied for refugee status in the United States in the summer of 2014. According to sources reported by Reuters on May 12, 2016 and confirmed by DHS a day later, the agency is sending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents out on a second wave of raids against immigrants, this time with the specific aim of apprehending and imprisoning Central American women and their children, or “family units”, and unaccompanied minors.

    • Iran Arrests Models Over Instagrams Without Headscarves, Alleges Kim Kardashian Is A Secret Agent

      In a crackdown on “un-Islamic dress,” Iranian authorities arrested eight individuals involved in Instagrams of women without headscarves. A former model was also questioned by the authorities on live state television as part of the operation which “targets Iran’s fashion elite for their use of social media.”

      Prosecutor Javad Babei made the arrests public on TV, saying the operation was zeroing in on “threats to morality and the foundation of family.” A total of 29 people were notified about their allegedly problematic social media presence, but most had modified that behavior and, as a result, “did not face any judicial action,” Babei said. According to the BBC, the eight people who were arrested were among 170 identified by investigators as “being involved in modeling online”; in their ranks were 59 photographers and make-up artists, 58 models and 51 fashion salon managers and designers.

    • Private Groups, Not Government, Lead the Charge on Prison Issues

      The ethics panel of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is considering prohibiting members from designing “execution chambers and spaces intended for torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.”

      Although no final decision has been announced, the proposal has been lauded by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), an architectural ethics and human rights group, as a huge leap forward on human rights,

      A ban would reverse the AIA’s position from 2014, when it rejected a similar proposal, and put it in line with other professional groups’ decisions related to human rights.

      The American Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, for instance, voted last year to prohibit members from “providing medical drugs to be used for executions.”

      More dramatically, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Friday that it would ban the sale of drugs that could be used in executions, and the American Psychological Association (APA) recently voted to prohibit member psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. The United Nations has declared the practice of solitary confinement in the United States a form of torture.

    • For Second Year in a Row, HPSCI Tries to Gut PCLOB

      As I reported, during the passage of Intelligence Authorization last year (which ultimately got put through on the Omnibus bill, making it impossible for people to vote against), Congress implemented Intelligence Community wishes by undercutting PCLOB authority in two ways: prohibiting PCLOB from reviewing covert activities, and stripping an oversight role for PCLOB that had been passed in all versions of CISA.

    • Make America Less Smart Again! We Know Words! Obama Is A Joke! Sad!

      Oh man. We can’t even. So Obama gave a commencement speech at Rutgers where he actually praised “Facts. Evidence. Reason. Logic. An understanding of science,” claiming, “These are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens.” He went on, “So class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be: in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness, that’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

    • France Rises Up Against Anti-Labor Reforms

      Union members joined pro-democracy activists in widespread protests against new law that makes it easier to fire workers and move jobs offshore

    • Donald Trump faces June deposition in restaurant lawsuit

      Expected Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears likely to be forced off the campaign trail in June to be deposed under oath in at least one of two lawsuits he filed after prominent chefs backed away from plans to open restaurants at the luxury Trump International Hotel under development in Washington.

      A D.C. Superior Court judge approved a plan Tuesday to briefly extend court deadlines to allow Trump to give testimony June 16 in the case Trump’s development company filed against a firm set up by restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian to open a dining establishment called “The National.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Lobbying Group Claims More Competition Would Hurt Consumers

      The FCC recently voted 4-1 to approve Charter’s $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The agency just released its full order (pdf) pertaining to the deal, outlining the various conditions the FCC hopes to enforce to keep Charter from simply becoming another Comcast. Among them are a seven-year ban on usage caps, a seven-year ban on charging for direct interconnection (the heart of the telecom industry’s battle with Netflix last year), and a ban on any attempt to pressure broadcasters into refusing deals with streaming video providers.


      If history is any indication the ACA really doesn’t need to worry all that much. Traditionally in telecom, FCC conditions requiring that an ISP “expand to X number of additional homes” are usually conditions that the merging companies volunteer themselves. Why? It’s most frequently because that expansion either already happened (and the paperwork hasn’t been filed yet) — or was slated to happen as a matter of course. Or it may not happen at all; such expansion promises are usually never really independently audited by the FCC, which lets companies string the FCC along with an endless flood of expansion promises that more often than not aren’t even real.

      In other words, the ACA’s decision to insult the intelligence of an already annoyed customer base by pretending competition would be bad for them — only adds insult to injury. Instead of whining about competition, how about just competing? Better yet, how about competing with Charter using a strange, outdated idea known as better customer service?

    • La Quadrature du Net leaves the state of emergency

      When faced with a wall, you need to know when to stop banging your head against it. After years of legal violence, defeats and steady erosion of fundamental rights, and confronted with an elected political body whose only logic is to reinforce the security apparatus, La Quadrature du Net has decided to stop wasting time trying to appeal to the reason of those who won’t listen, and is now taking a new direction for its actions.

    • Add Philadelphia To The Long List Of Cities That Think Verizon Ripped Them Off On Fiber Promises

      Verizon’s modus operandi has been fairly well established by now: convince state or local leaders to dole out millions in tax breaks and subsidies — in exchange for fiber that’s either only partially delivered, or not delivered at all. Given this story has repeated itself in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York City and countless other locations, there’s now a parade of communities asking somebody, anybody, to actually hold Verizon’s feet to the fire. Given Verizon’s political power (especially on the state level) those calls go unheeded, with Verizon lawyers consistently able to wiggle around attempts to hold the telco to account.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Extra-Territorial Application of the Defend Trade Secrets Act

      The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) includes a provision regarding its “applicability to conduct outside the United States.” 18 U.S.C. § 1837. Section 1837 was left unchanged with DTSA’s amendments to EEA, but seemingly applies to the new private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. The provision offers important insight on how the new cause of action can be applied in the foreign context. Most importantly, a (1) U.S. corporation or citizen can be held liable for trade secret misappropriation under the DTSA regardless of whether the misappropriation occurred abroad; and (2) an entity can be held liable under the DTSA for foreign misappropriation if “an act in furtherance of the offense was committed in the United States.”

    • Alibaba membership of IACC suspended amid turmoil

      The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) board of directors sent a letter to members on May 13 saying it would like to address an anonymous letter that has been recently circulated that expressed concerns about the IACC President Bob Barchiesi, and the organisation’s operations and governance.

    • Trademarks

      • Earnhardt Family Fighting Over Whether One Earnhardt Son Can Use His Own Last Name

        You may not be aware of this, but apparently Teresa Earnhardt, widow of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the NASCAR driver who died mid-race in 2001, is a staunch protector of her deceased husband’s name. I was one of those not aware of this, primarily because NASCAR is every bit as foreign to me as curling (hi, Canadians!). Her latest attempt to block the use of the Earnardt name is particularly interesting, since those she is opposing are her dead husband’s son and his son’s wife.


        It’s also a strain to understand how much confusion is going to be caused by Kerry using his last name for a home and furniture business. Teresa’s filing attempts to assert that there will be plenty, but the USPTO didn’t buy it.

      • “Simply” invalid: French trade mark win for M&S in the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris

        M&S responded that there was no likelihood of confusion, and counterclaimed for invalidity of both trade marks, and requested that both trade marks be revoked for lack of use.

      • Belmora seeks en banc reconsideration in Flanax trade mark case

        In March, the Fourth Circuit reversed the Eastern District of Virginia’s dismissal for lack of standing and found that use of the Flanax mark is not a prerequisite to sue for unfair competition or false advertising under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act or for cancellation under Section 14(3). The case was remanded to the district court.

    • Copyrights

Links 17/5/2016: Wine 1.9.10, ChaletOS 16.04

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux, the GPL and the Power of Sharing

    Yes Virginia, there is a Linux community. It’s alive and well in just about every place you want to imagine. And it’s doing quite well for itself. Quite well.

  • End of Apple, maddog Recovering, PCLOS Drops 32-bit

    Top new today in the Linux world is the recovery of Jon “maddog” Hall. Hall, a staunch supporter of Linux and Open Source, recently suffered a heart attack and is now recovering comfortably at home. PCLinuxOS announced the end of the 32-bit versions and Dimstar blogged the latest in Tumbleweed. Elsewhere, Paul Venezia said Apple is on the ropes and Neil Rickert said Microsoft clearly doesn’t even care about security.

  • Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog: I give my heart to you

    One last thing. I would like to give a heartfelt (no pun intended) “Thank you” and my admiration for Dr. Berry and the entire staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire. How do you thank people for saving your life?

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • CoreOS Fest Showcases New Projects to Advance Containers

      CoreOS held its second annual CoreOS Fest event May 9-10 in Berlin, with a satellite event simulcast in San Francisco. CoreOS originally got its start in 2013 as an optimized delivery platform for Docker containers but has evolved to become one of Docker Inc.’s primary rivals, building out its own rkt container runtime. CoreOS also has become a leading contributor to the Kubernetes open-source container orchestration platform, originally built by Google. CoreOS’ commercial tectonic platform is a fully supported Kubernetes distribution that aims to provide organizations with a Google Infrastructure for Everyone Else (GIFEE) platform. At CoreOS Fest, the company announced a new $28 million round of funding to help advance its technologies and marketing efforts. Also at the event, Tigera, a new company that will oversee the commercialization of the Canal open-source effort, officially launched. Zachary Smith, CEO of Packet, used his time on the CoreOS Fest stage to detail how his cloud hosting company is enabling trusted cloud computing on a bare metal platform. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the highlights of the CoreOS Fest event.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Some new Breeze app icons in Frameworks 5.22

        Some icons I made, you can find them in KDE Frameworks 5.22

        The QOwnNotes icon became the official one. Give to this app a try, it’s super.

      • The initiation

        What will I be doing you ask? Well, as some people know Krita on Mac OS X is not quite there yet. Some of the new cool functionality added to Krita 3.0 is forcefully omitted from the OS X release. Deep down in the depths of Krita painting we paint decorations using Qt’s kindly provided QPainter class. This class allows us to make pretty lines and shapes very easily, and is perfectly suited to drawing all of the overlay functionality (such as grids, cursors, guides, etc.). What could possibly go wrong there? Well, even though we are grateful to have such easy rendering functionality, the backend of those functions haven’t exactly kept up with the times.

      • QtCon Call for Papers Extended!

        What have you been working on lately that you’d like to share at a QtCon talk? The Qt Community of developers wants to hear from you! Submit your proposal by Friday and get a chance to contribute to this one-off, unique Event in Berlin.

      • Care to help test Plasma 5.6.4?
      • Compiling all of Qt5, KF5, Plasma5, kdepim5, apps…

        I see a very high value in compiling my own Qt, and on top of it all the KDE-made software that I use. This makes it very easy to fix bugs and add improvements to the software I use on a day to day basis. Nowadays I think many developers use distro packages for Qt or KF5 or even the whole environment except for the one app they’re working on, but in my opinion this leads to “silo” thinking, with workarounds in upper layers rather than fixing issues at the right place.

        So, here’s a working and easy recipe for compiling all the Qt-based software you use.

      • Transmission in QML?

        One of the hardest parts of actually doing something is the action to do it. I spend quite a while saying to myself “I’ll start learning QML”, then I discovered that there is a Qt version of Transmission, the one used on Windows and also a few linux flavors. Unfortunately it’s not polished as I hoped to run unmodified on Mac, Gnome and such (it runs fine on Plasma, my DE of choice, but I wanted to make it work nice anywhere).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • New features in GNOME To Do

        GNOME To Do is an application that manages a simple set of to-do lists. To Do was built by Georges Stavracas, a frequent contributor to GNOME software including Calendar and Nautilus, during Google Summer of Code. It’s designed to be the best tool to manage what you want to achieve with your projects and daily life.

        GNOME 3.20 (available in the upcoming Fedora 24 release) brings many new enhancements, some of which expand the functionality of GNOME To Do. I spoke with Georges about what these changes bring, and what the future holds for To Do.

      • Orca Screen Reader Updated for GNOME 3.20.2 with Performance Improvements

        The Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier software used by default in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems has been updated today, May 16, 2016, to version 3.20.2.

      • Reviving the GTK development blog

        The GTK+ project has a development blog.

        I know it may come as a shock to many of you, and you’d be completely justified in thinking that I just made that link up — but the truth is, the GTK+ project has had a development blog for a long while.

      • GNOME.Asia Summit 2016

        While I was going through news.gnome.org, a piece of news flashed on my screen stating that GNOME.Asia summit 2016 is to be held in Delhi, India which is my own place. Though at that time I was completely unaware about what happens in a summit, what it is meant for and all that sort of questions. But for once, I decided to atleast attend it, if not participate. I told about this news to my mentors Jonas Danielsson and Damian Nohales. Initially i was quite reluctant to participate there, but Jonas pushed me a lot to present a lightning talk about my outreachy project in the summit. Damian too motivated me to go for the summit. Therefore I decided to submit a lightning talk proposal about my project : “Adding print route support in GNOME-Maps”. Within few days i got the confirmation regarding the acceptance of my talk and also the approval of travelling sponsorship.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Rebellin Linux v3 GNOME

        Last week, I finished and passed my generals! This not only means that I can continue doing research here with a roof over my head and with money to feed myself; it also means that I now have the time to get back to doing reviews and posting about other things here. I’m starting this week by reviewing Rebellin Linux.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux 16.06 Release Candidate 1 Is Out with Linux Kernel 4.6 Support

        Today, May 16, 2016, Philip Müller proudly announced the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC1) build of the highly anticipated Manjaro Linux 16.06 “Daniella” computer operating system based on Arch Linux.

        Early adopters can now jump into the Manjaro Linux 16.06 RC bandwagon and take the upcoming for a test drive on their personal computers, as the team of skilled developers led by Philip Müller have done a great job in the past few months to make the Arch Linux-based distro as stable and reliable as possible.

      • Arch Linux and SparkyLinux Are Among the First Distros to Offer Linux Kernel 4.6

        Linux kernel 4.6 was officially announced, as expected, on May 15, 2016, by Linus Torvalds, and we were just wondering which GNU/Linux distributions will be the first to adopt it.

      • Manjaro 16.06 RC1 Polishes Xfce 4.12, Linux 4.4 LTS

        The first release candidate to the upcoming Manjaro 16.06 “Daniella” release is now available.

        Manjaro’s flagship desktop continues to be built upon Xfce 4.12, for which they’ve worked on more polishing and improvements this release cycle. Manjaro 16.06 for the KDE spin will feature Plasma 5.6 and KDE Applications 16.04.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • LetsEncrypt on openSUSE Leap

        I’ve been running my personal blog on rootco.de for a few months now. The server is a minimal install of openSUSE Leap 42.1 running on a nice physical machine hosted at the awesome Hetzner, who offer openSUSE Leap as an OS on all of their Physical and Virtual server hosting. I use the standard Apache available in Leap, with Jekyll to generate this blog. You can actually see the source to this Jekyll blog on GitHub. And to manage it all I use the awesome SaltStack and keep all of my Salt configuration in GitHub also so you can see exactly how my system is setup.

    • Red Hat Family

      • 5 rules for avoiding burnout

        Recently, I was asked to fly to India to help some new teams at Red Hat learn a bit more about how to approach the ideas underpinning Agile effectively. Impulsive me wanted to respond, “Yes, I will absolutely travel to India to meet people and share what I know.” However, reasonable me followed up with, “OK, so you are going to fly to India. That’s almost a two-day trip, you will only be there for around a day, and then you have to fly back for two days. You have a class that week, are teaching the following week, and somewhere in between all of that you are supposed to organize a yard sale. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, you need a visa.”

      • Fedora

        • Single sign-on improvements in Fedora 24

          How many times do you wish everything around you was a tiny bit smarter? A door opens automatically when you come in with bags of groceries. A light switches on when you step in. Entering a password twice in a row isn’t required to unlock your email after you logged in into your desktop.

          Home automation has improved greatly in the last decade. Numerous sensors and smart switches are cheaper and more accessible every year. For example, offices and shopping malls in Finland have had automatically opening doors for years. Lights in my office switch off to conserve electricity when I’d get too deep into coding or a debugging session. Darkness is a result of me not moving much in my chair, as if I froze or need to be kicked out for a run.

        • Fedora 24 alpha – Twine software.

          Today I tested teh Twine open-source tool with Fedora 24 alpha. I used virtual box software the last version.

    • Debian Family

      • ZFS comes to Debian, thanks to licensing workaround

        The ZFS file system has come to popular Linux distribution Debian, but in a way the distro’s backers think won’t kick up another row over compatibility of open source licences.

        Ubuntu 16.04 added ZFS, despite pre-release grumblings from Richard Stallman to the effect that anything licensed under the GNU GPL v2 can only be accompanied by code also released under the GNU GPL v2. ZFS is issued under a Common Development and Distribution License, version 1 (CDDLv1).

      • Skirting The Hole In The Ice Of ZFS

        The muddy part is how building and running a ZFS module with Linux is not a violation of copyright when a combined derivative work of Linux+ZFS is created. Making even one copy is probably a violation of both CDDL and GPL., so keep on skating.

      • What does it mean that ZFS is included in Debian?

        Petter Reinholdtsen recently blogged about ZFS availability in Debian. Many people have worked hard on getting ZFS support available in Debian and we would like to thank everyone involved in getting to this point and explain what ZFS in Debian means.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi Zero, the $5 Computer, Now Ships with a Built-in Camera Connector

      Approximately half a year after its launch, during which time every single copy was sold, the $5 computer, Raspberry Pi Zero, makes a comeback with a built-in camera connector.

    • New Arduino Srl SBC merges Arduino, WiFi, and Linux

      Arduino Srl’s new “Arduino Industrial 101” SBC includes Arduino circuitry and I/O, along with a soldered-on WiFi module that runs Linino Linux.

      Last November, Arduino Srl promised an Arduino Industrial 101 carrier board for Dog Hunter’s WiFi-enabled Chiwawa module, which is supported by the OpenWrt-based Linino Linux distribution. Arduino has now unveiled the resulting product: a $40, sandwich-style single board computer with a soldered-on, Arduino-branded version of the Chiwawa module, along with Linino Linux support.

    • BeagleBone Green Wireless adds WiFi, BLE, USBs

      The module also includes Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy (BLE) with support for Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) for stereo-quality audio control in automation projects. The Green Wireless SBC also supports Node-RED for wired IoT, and it integrates with the MRAA library, “so users can program with more Grove modules,” says the company.

      Features borrowed from the BeagleBone Green and Black include the ability to run Linux on a 1GHz, Cortex-A8 TI Sitara AM3359 SoC with an Imagination PowerVR SGX530 GPU and a programmable PRU subsystem for industrial I/O. The 3.4 x 2.1-inch SBC similarly supplies 512MB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of eMMC flash, and a microSD slot.

    • Open, Linux-based platform simplifies wireless IoT

      Sierra Wireless and Element14 unveiled an open-spec Arduino compatible “mangOH Green IoT Platform” based on Sierra’s 3G, GNSS, and WiFi modules running Linux.

      Sierra Wireless announced a beta release of its AirPrime WP module and open-source “mangOH” carrier board last June. Now, the company has formally released the products with the help of Element14, which appears to have built the new mangOH Green IoT Platform carrier board.

    • The Raspberry Pi Foundation released

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of the Raspberry Pi Zero with a camera connector and the same $5 price.

    • 91% of IoT developers use Open source

      Did you know that 91% of IoT developers use open source technology in their projects ? Our latest Premium report in the IoT series –Open source in the Internet of Things -not only confirms the figure but also sheds light to a number of tools and strategies that developers employ for open source, open hardware and open data.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • The need for Open source skills in Africa

    Despite the fact that OS skills development is nothing new, the subtle changes in business requirements over the years mean the need has progressed beyond foundational skills. Today, companies are looking for people who have more advanced OS skills reflecting a more dynamic, connected business landscape.

  • How Fuzzing Can Make A Large Open Source Project More Secure

    Emily Ratliff of the Linux Foundation explains the considerations to take when planning to fuzz your open source project

    One of the best practices for secure development is dynamic analysis. Among such techniques, fuzzing has been highly popular since its invention and a multitude of fuzzing tools of varying sophistication have been developed.

  • Despite New FCC Rules, Linksys, Asus Say They’ll Still Support Third Party Router Firmware

    The apocalypse for those who like to tinker with their router firmware may be postponed.

    Last year we noted how the FCC updated router and RF device rules for safety reasons, stating that some illegally modified router radios operating in the unlicensed bands were interfering with terminal doppler weather radar (TDWR) at airports. The rule changes prohibited tinkering with the just the RF capabilities of devices. But some sloppy FCC language worried tinker advocates and custom-firmware developers, who feared that because many routers have systems-on-a-chip (SOC) where the radio isn’t fully distinguishable from other hardware — vendors would take the lazy route and block third-party firmware entirely.

    And, at least with some companies, that’s exactly what happened. TP-Link for example stated that it would be preventing custom router firmware installations with gear built after June 2016, blaming the FCC for the decision while giving a half-assed statement about respecting the hobbyist community’s “creativity.” Again: the rules don’t mandate anything of the kind; TP-Link just decided to take the laziest, most economical route.

  • Conflict resolution: A primer

    People are pretty incredible. The open source community is a great example of this: hundreds and thousands of people passionate about building new things, collaborating together, and helping each other succeed. Good people deliver great results, time and time again.

    There is though, always going to be conflict. Sometimes people will disagree on ideas, on perspectives, on approaches, or ideologies. Sometimes you can’t point your finger at the source of conflict easily and it seems people just don’t get on.

    Conflict doesn’t just happen in open source projects though. It happens at work, in our families, in our groups of friends, and elsewhere. So, when you have two people who rub each other up the wrong way, how do you help to resolve it? Today I want to share some things I have learned that might help.

  • Amazon goes open source with machine-learning tech, competing with Google’s TensorFlow

    Amazon is making a bigger leap into open-source technology with the unveiling of its machine-learning software DSSTNE.

  • Events

    • OPNFV’s Inaugural Plugfest Hosted by CableLabs

      OPNFVs first Plugfest was held at CableLabs facility in Louisville, CO. This event, which focused on deployment and integration of OPNFV as well as Virtual Network Function (VNF) applications, was open to both OPNFV members and non-members.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Linux Foundation Advance New Trends in Open Source Funding

        Who pays for open source development? Increasingly, large organizations like Mozilla and the Linux Foundation. That’s the trend highlighted by recent moves like the expansion of the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) project.

        The Mozilla Foundation has long injected money into the open source ecosystem through partnerships with other projects and grants. But it formalized that mission last year by launching MOSS, which originally focused on supporting open source projects that directly complement or help form the basis for Mozilla’s own products.

      • Mozilla Extends its MOSS Program, Providing Funding for Open Source Projects

        Mozilla isn’t alone in funding open source development outside its own purview. The Linux Foundation and other organizations are well known for providing such funding. Mozilla is now spreading its MOSS effort even wider, though. It is adding a second track for MOSS called “Mission Partners” which is open to any open source project in the world which is undertaking an activity that meaningfully furthers Mozilla’s mission.

      • The FBI and the Mozilla Foundation Lock Horns over Known Security Hole

        The Mozilla Foundation and the FBI recently have clashed over security weaknesses. The FBI is aware of a weakness in the Tor browser that may affect Firefox—it’s a weakness the FBI has exploited during an investigation.

        Mozilla wants the FBI to reveal the details of the exploit ahead of the trial, but the FBI is playing its cards close to its chest. Because of the potential risk to its users, Mozilla has turned to the courts to force the FBI to reveal its information.

        It’s just the latest of several high-profile cases this year concerning security and privacy. Each of these cases has involved the Federal government and software firms or communities. For the average guy on the street, it’s just business as usual. But for those who keep an ear to the ground, it’s hard not to read between the lines.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • AtScale, Focused on BI and Hadoop, Bags Another $11 Million in Funding

      In recent months, tools that demystify and function as useful front-ends and connectors for the open source Hadoop project are much in demand. Hadoop has been the driving technology behind much of the Big Data trend, and there are many administrators who can benefit from simplified dashboards and analytics tools that work with it. In fact, as we covered here, MapR’s CEO predicted that IT will embrace self-service Big Data to allow developers, data scientists and data analysts to directly conduct data exploration.”

  • CMS

    • My two cents about Jekyll

      WordPress is mainly about WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get), but you can also go the WYSIWYW way if you prefer (What you see is what you write). In other words, you can write your posts in plain HTML, or Markdown (thanks to the Jetpack plugin). The latter is what I used to do, but the downside is a slower productivity: you need to click the Preview button to get a preview of the resulting page.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • First impressions of FreeBSD 10.

      The BSD family of operating systems is typically reputed to be conservative, stable and dependable. FreeBSD typically embodies these characteristics quite well, showcasing reliability and offering few surprises. That being said, the latest release of FreeBSD, version 10.0, introduced a few important changes which I felt deserved a look. Some of the new features shipping with FreeBSD 10.0 included support for ZFS on the root file system, TRIM and LZ4 compression support for ZFS, virtualization improvements and a new package manager. The latest version also swaps out the venerable GNU compiler for the Clang compiler on supported architectures. The 10.0 release is available for several architectures, including x86, Power PC and Sparc. I was interested in the x86 releases which can be downloaded in 32-bit or 64-bit builds. We can further narrow our selection by downloading either a CD-sized ISO or a 2.2 GB ISO image. I opted to try the larger image for my trial.


    • HSA IL Front-End Proposed For GCC

      HSA stakeholders are hoping to mainline their HSA IL front-end for the GCC compiler stack. In particular, BRIG, the binary form of the Heterogeneous System Architecture Intermediate Language.

      The HSA Foundation has been maintaining their repository with the HSA IL front-end on top of GCC 4.9 while now the developers are hoping to see this code mainlined. The development appears to be done primarily by Parmance, a company specializing in parallel performance engineering.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • The end of Apple? The early signs may be in

    No matter how much of a force a company might seem, all good things must come to an end. That’s not to say that today’s juggernauts will vanish overnight, but the tech world is littered with the corpses of powerful, even massive companies that failed to adapt to changing times and were either marginalized or became the dust of ages — Wang, DEC, Tandy, SGI, Compaq. More recently we witnessed the collapse of Sun into the murky depths of Larry Ellison’s ego. No matter how significant a corporation might become, it is not immortal.

    A few have more staying power and diversified well enough that they have a (possibly) longer lifespan than most. IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Apple appear to be in this category.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Glyphosate in the EU

      On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ formulation. Glyphosate was last year determined to be “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO.

      The parliament’s resolution called for no approval for many uses now considered acceptable, including use in or close to public parks, playgrounds and gardens and use where integrated pest management systems are sufficient for necessary weed control.

      The resolution, however, fell short of calling for an outright ban. Due to the various political maneuverings, a disappointing compromise was reached that called for the renewal of the licence for glyphosate to be limited to just seven years instead of the 15 proposed by the Commission.

      The resolution and the vote to re-approve glyphosate for seven years are non-binding, and, on Wednesday 18 May, the European Food Standard Authority Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed will meet to decide whether glyphosate is to be re-registered for use in the EU.

    • Zika Hysteria Spreads Faster than Zika Itself

      Despite the fact that viruses and mosquitos will attack humans regardless of how fancy their car is, poor communities suffer more from mosquito-borne illnesses. Communities of poverty have inadequate infrastructure that leads to a variety of ways that water can pool and mosquitoes can breed. Without running water, people are more likely to store water in basins and tanks. Shoddy, makeshift architecture creates areas where water can pool. Additionally, without glass windows and air conditioning, there are no barriers to mosquitos entering crowded dwellings.

    • Light Years Ahead of the US on Drug Reform, Canada Will Allow Prescription Heroin

      Health Canada announced Friday that it is proposing new regulations to allow access to prescription heroin under its Special Access Program (SAP). That program allows for emergency access to drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions when conventional treatments have failed or are unsuitable.

    • One Way To Help People Stay Out Of Jail? Sign Them Up For Health Insurance.

      For the thousands of incarcerated Americans, prison may be the first place they’ve ever received comprehensive health care. But what happens after their sentence is up?

      At least half of the inmates in America’s prisons and jails have some form of mental illness. Sixty-five percent have an substance abuse addiction. Behind bars, they may be able to get into rehab or start taking needed medication for the first time in their life.

    • Scalia’s Death Just Saved Thousands Of Women’s Access To Birth Control

      Zubik v. Burwell was supposed to be an epic showdown over the power of religious objectors to limit the rights of others. A sequel to the Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Zubik involved regulations expanding women’s access to birth control that the conservative justices appeared to endorse in Hobby Lobby — even as they struck down a more direct method of providing contraceptive coverage to working women.

    • Sanders Has It Exactly Right: Majority of Americans Want ‘Medicare for All’ System

      Bernie Sanders’ call to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a single-payer healthcare system is a policy that a strong majority of Americans agree with, according to a new Gallup survey released on Monday.

      Fifty-eight percent of all U.S. adults favor replacing the ACA with a federally-funded healthcare program, such as Sanders’ Medicare for All.

      This is compared with 48 percent who prefer to keeping Obama’s healthcare system in place, a policy which has been a cornerstone of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign platform.

    • ‘Train NHS staff’ to plug doctor gaps, bosses say

      Nurses, paramedics and pharmacists should be trained to fill in for doctors and help the NHS in England cope with demand, bosses say.

      Management body NHS Employers has given the plan the green light after advisers said there were a range of extra tasks they could do with more training.

      A Nuffield Trust review found examples of nurses filling in for hospital doctors and pharmacists for GPs.

    • Oklahoma GOP Does an About-Face on Medicaid Expansion

      In a surprising about-face, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and the state’s GOP leaders are considering embracing a key tenet of Obamacare and expanding Medicaid to offer health insurance coverage to additional low-income Americans.

      The state’s overwhelmingly Republican state lawmakers are considering the Oklahoma Health Care Authority’s proposal to move 175,000 people off Medicaid and into Obamacare’s subsidized private insurance markets, making room for new Medicaid enrollees. If state lawmakers and the Obama administration approve the plan, the federal government will cover 90 percent of the cost — reviving the state’s struggling Medicaid program with an influx of federal Obamacare dollars.

    • In surprising turnabout, Oklahoma eyes Medicaid expansion

      Despite bitter resistance in Oklahoma for years to President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, Republican leaders in this conservative state are now confronting something that alarms them even more: a huge $1.3 billion hole in the budget that threatens to do widespread damage to the state’s health care system.

  • Security

    • Security will fix itself, eventually

      Here’s my prediction though. In the future, good security will be cheaper to build, deploy, and run that bad security. This sounds completely insane with today’s technology. A statement like is some kook ten years ago telling everyone solar power is our future. Ten years ago solar wasn’t a serious thing, today it is. Our challenge is figuring out what the new security future will look like. We don’t really know yet. We know we can’t train our way out of this, most existing technology is a band-aid at best. If I had to guess I’ll use the worn out “Artificial Intelligence will save us all”, but who knows what the future will bring. Thanks to Al Gore, I’m now more optimistic things will get better. I’m impatient though, I don’t want to wait for the future, I want it now! So all you smart folks do me a favor and start inventing the future.

    • Does Microsoft care about security? [Ed: no, because leaks show it gives back doors to governments]

      On Wednesday, I also booted my laptop to Windows. I had not used the laptop for several days, so the AV definitions were three days old. It updated after around 3 hours. But the Vista system still has not updated.

      This is the third consecutive month when I have had problems with updating MSE, at around the time of patch Tuesday. The previous two months, I attempted to manually update. On the manual update, it did a search for virus updates, then seemed to hang there forever not actually downloading. It did eventually update, after repeating this for two days. This month, I decided to allow it to update without manual intervention, with the results described above.

      It seems pretty obvious that, recently, Microsoft has worsened the priority for updates to Windows 7 and to Vista. The priority worsening is greater for Vista than for Windows 7. It affects monthly patches as well as MSE virus table updates.

      The message to malware producers is loud and clear. Malware producers should distribute their malware on patch Tuesday, and Microsoft will give them a free run for several days.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • To Halt ISIS’s Spread In North Africa, UN Considers Lifting Arms Embargo Of Libya

      The White House is backing a United Nations plan to ease the arms embargo to Libya in an effort to counter the volatile spread of ISIS.

      The UN Security Council initially placed an arms embargo on Libya during the 2011 revolution. Libya’s then-leader Moammar Qaddafi was trying to violently repress the popular uprising. Since Qaddafi’s fall, the country has been divided and subject to violent clashes by militias, and a growing ISIS presence. Control over Libya was split between a secular fighting force in control of the country’s east and Islamist militias with hegemony over Tripoli and the west. But a UN-backed unity government arrived in Tripoli this past March, giving world powers new hope that a peaceful resolution can be reached to the country’s infighting.

    • Obama Disastrously Backed the Saudis in Yemen, Now He’s Deploying US Troops to Deal with the Fallout

      The Obama administration has said little about its fresh deployment of American troops to Yemen, where the U.S. has spent the past year backing the ruthless Saudi Arabia-led military intervention by shipping weapons, identifying bomb targets and sending its warships to assist the naval blockade.

    • Old Trafford bomb error a ‘devastating mistake’

      The boss of the firm that left a fake bomb at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium has apologised for making a “devastating mistake”.

      Chris Reid of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd (SSMS) said he wrongly logged the item as found on Wednesday.

    • Manchester Mayor Shows Discontent Over Old Trafford Bomb ‘Fiasco’

      Following the recent bomb scare that happened at Old Trafford which caused the whole stadium to be evacuated the mayor, Tony Lloyd, expressed disappointment and has called for a full investigation on the issue and has made it known that someone has to be held accountable.

    • Owner of security firm blamed for Man Utd Old Trafford bomb scare blunder worked on Olympics and Rugby World Cup

      The owner of the security firm being blamed for with the Manchester United bomb scare blunder worked on the London Olympics and last year’s Rugby World Cup, Telegraph Sport can reveal.

      Chris Reid, a former counter terrorism (CT) advisor for the Metropolitan Police, also has an “ongoing” relationship with the Rugby Football Union, according to his LinkedIn page.

      The 62-year-old, of Biggin Hill, Kent, is the owner of Security Search Management & Solutions Ltd (SSMS), which were allegedly involved in the training exercise at Old Trafford last week that left behind a fake bomb, sparking a terror alert at United’s final Premier League match of the season.

    • Heartbroken Manchester United fan from Sierra Leone given FA Cup final tickets after Old Trafford fiasco

      The majority of Sunday night’s capacity Old Trafford crowd would have been completely devastated to hear that Manchester United’s home game with Bournemouth would have to be abandoned.

    • ‘This idiot’s in for a right kicking’: Fans’ fury at bungling security firm that left fake bomb in Old Trafford toilets as Man United face £3MILLION bill for replay after game was scrapped
    • Manchester United will increase Old Trafford security for rescheduled Bournemouth clash on Tuesday

      Manchester United will increase security for tomorrow’s rescheduled final Premier League game of the season against Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

      United’s game against Bournemouth was called off on Sunday following a terror alert after a suspect package – later revealed to be a dummy device left in error following a training exercise – was discovered inside the stadium.

      The game will now go ahead at 8pm on Tuesday and senior United sources have confirmed to MirrorFootball that enhanced security measures will be in force in and around Old Trafford.

    • 63 Thoughts Everyone Who’s Accidentally Left A Fake Bomb In Old Trafford Has Had
    • Pellegrini: I told City players to ignore Old Trafford drama

      The Chilean head coach admitted it was vital for the Etihad club not to miss out on a place in the Champions League on the final day of the season

    • April 17, 2016: The Day of Men

      On April 17, 2016 everyone across Brasil glued themselves to the television to watch Congress vote on the impeachment process against Partido das Trabalhadores (PT) president Dilma Rousseff. It was a historic moment, not just for the fragile Brasilian democracy that was installed in 1985, but also as one of the few opportunities for Brasilian citizens to watch the Congressmen they elected in 2014 on live TV.

      Political polarization was at its highest in São Paulo, the city where I was born and live in to this day. As much as the capital of São Paulo state seems to be a cosmopolitan city with rich cultural diversity it has a strong tradition of conservatism which still drinks from the fountain of the slavery era. Therefore, the state became one of the epicentres of right wing movements against the federal government since 2014 when they began to exclusively occupy Avenida Paulista, one of the most well-known streets in the city, during their protests.

    • North Korea, Following China and India, Pledges No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons–So Could Obama

      North Korea’s May 7 declaration that it would not be first to use nuclear weapons was met with official derision instead of relief and applause. Not one report of the announcement I could find noted that the United States has never made such a no-first-use pledge. None of three dozen news accounts even mentioned that North Korea hasn’t got one usable nuclear warhead. The New York Times did admit, “US and South Korean officials doubted that North Korea has developed a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile that would deliver a nuclear payload to the continental United States.”

    • Seeing Humanity in ‘Enemy’ States

      Official Washington’s propagandistic view of the world sees “good guys” and “bad guys,” a simplistic and dangerous dichotomy that ignores the common human elements, as ex-State Department official Matthew Hoh observes.

    • Inciting Iran’s ‘Bad Behavior’

      Psychologists have observed that most of us favor a self-serving way of explaining the good and bad conduct of others with whom we interact. While we are quite comfortable with attributing some of the good to our own benign influence, we attribute all of the bad to the other person’s character and refuse to accept that our own conduct may have influenced what the other person is doing.

      This phenomenon arises frequently in foreign affairs. It is common with, for example, American perceptions of anti-U.S. international terrorism. The dominant popular concept is that terrorists do what they do because of their own malign nature. To the extent that terrorists focus on the United States, we like to think this is because, as former President George W. Bush put it, they hate our democratic values.

    • Kurd Fighter in Iraq Destroys U.S.-Made Turkish Helo With Russian-Model Missile

      There’s no past in Washington. There is no sense that actions taken today will exist past today, even though in reality they often echo for decades.

      A video making the rounds online shows a fighter from a Kurdish group known as Kurdish Workers Party, or, more commonly, the PKK. Using what appears to be a Russian model shoulder fired portable air-to-air missile, the fighter is shooting down a Turkish military, American-made Cobra attack helicopter.

      The attack helo is made by the United States and supplied to NATO ally Turkey;

      The missile is of Russian design but could have been made and could have come from nearly anywhere in Eastern Europe. However, such weapons were flooded into the Middle East after the United States deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Many such weapons simply entered the black market when the Libyan army more or less dissolved, but many appear to have been sent into the Middle East by the CIA as part of a broader anti-ISIS strategy. Some say one of the functions of the CIA station overrun in Benghazi was to a facilitate that process.

    • Evaluating Obama’s Foreign Policy Record

      Obama’s foreign policy has been long on progressive rhetoric and (engagement with Iran and Cuba excepted) short on substantive accomplishment. To be sure, we need to make allowance for the backward-looking Congress with which he has had to contend; and we should give more than a little credit to Obama for going over its head on Iran, Cuba, and climate change. But we had come to expect more, much more, from him, especially on issues of war and peace. After all, he was supposed to have learned from the George W. Bush years that you “don’t do stupid shit” and get yourself bogged down in hopeless foreign adventures. But he hasn’t learned. A foreign-policy legacy that includes a costly and irremediable quagmire in the Middle East as well as hostile relations with Russia, considerable contention with China, and very modest advances on climate change is not much to crow about. The most positive prediction I can make is that by 2020, another Clinton presidency will make us feel much better about Barack Obama’s foreign policy record.

    • Brazil: Coup or Fiasco?

      The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has been suspended from her office while she goes on trial by the Senate. If convicted, she would be removed from office, which is what is meant in Brazil by “impeachment.” Anyone, even Brazilians, who have been trying to follow the last several months of political maneuvering may be excused if they are somewhat confused by the many turns this process has taken.

    • Daniel Berrigan Through the Eyes of a 1960s Ithaca Mom

      It was the everyday life of people in Ithaca, N.Y., the everyday life of me, my family and my neighbors.

      Jesuit priest, scholar, philosopher, poet and servant of justice Daniel Berrigan had arrived in town and thoroughly awakened anyone willing to wake, and a few who were not so willing. Many had already opened their eyes, of course, but had not yet gotten out of bed and stood up.

      At the time, there was very little anti-Vietnam War sentiment anywhere in the country, and, as with other progressive towns, Ithaca tended to wear its radicalism when convenient. We held a rally, and in addition to Berrigan, who looked like just a pleasant priest to the newspaper, we had to come up with another speaker, and finally found an anti-war professor who wore a suit and a crew cut.

    • Terrorist group Al-Qaeda threatens to murder Microsoft founder Bill Gates [Ed: recall this article]

      When Al-Qaeda destroyed two World Trade Center buildings, it felt like everything changed. Seemingly overnight, the citizens of the USA went from being fairly care-free to having to constantly look behind their collective backs. It is now 2016 and when I go to Penn Station in New York City, I still see military people with assault rifles. Sadly, this is apparently the new reality.

      Now, that same terrorist group is threatening business men and women in America. It is particularly sad that a person must live in fear because of their success. One particular person being threatened is Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates.

    • Al Qaeda’s online magazine tells terrorists to target U.S. business leaders in their homes
    • Australian police authorities buying up sound weapons

      They can break up protests with loud, piercing sound, but Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) can also cause permanent hearing damage. Australian law enforcement agencies are now investing in the technology, but sound and law experts say their potential use is extremely concerning.

    • Minh Quang Pham: FBI Continues Creating Terror Stories Assisted by Unrecorded Interviews

      Minh Quang Pham, whom I dubbed AQAP’s “graphic artist of mass destruction” because he was busted for providing graphic design skills to AQAP, got sentenced today; neither FBI nor SDNY have announced his sentence but it will be between 30 and 50 years in prison.

      The government, as it tends to do, has submitted a bunch of documents as part of the sentencing process to inflate the magnitude of Pham’s acts, which largely consist of carrying a Kalashnikov he wasn’t really trained to use and helping Samir Khan make Inspire look prettier. With the documents, DOJ suggests Pham might have attacked Heathrow if he hadn’t been stopped when he was.

    • Anti-war Is Pro-American

      Thomas Jefferson declared the American way of interacting with the world to be “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” However, over the course of at least the past seven decades, the US government has turned this admonition on its head.

      Peace? The US government has waged wars of choice almost constantly since the end of World War II. It has distributed death and destruction around the world for nearly 70 years straight in overt wars, covert wars, coup d’états, assassinations, cold wars, drone wars, etc.

    • Argentina after kirchnerismo: Populism’s defeat and Macri’s counter-hegemonic project

      Current political change in Argentina is of great trascendence, as it intends to undo fundamental policies of the Kirchner’s era. In this sense, Macri is as radical as its predecessors.

    • Our Military Needs to Defend the Country, Not Undermine American Security

      As President Obama visits still-communist Vietnam, a former American rival, in his “pivot to Asia” to recruit more countries to shelter against a rising China, the trip only serves to illustrate the global American Empire’s overextension. At the same time, he is opening missile defenses in Europe, quadrupling U.S. military spending there, and deploying more military forces near Russia – all of which will have the effect of continuing to provoke that already insecure country. Also, Obama has failed to withdraw US ground forces from Afghanistan, inserted them into Iraq and Syria to battle the terror group ISIS, and continued his accelerated air wars over Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. Finally, the president sent the top general in the Army to Africa to showcase US efforts to train 38 countries to battle terror groups that could attack Europe, including affiliates of ISIS and al Qaeda. These US military forces may be valiantly battling threats to the Empire, but most of them pose very little threat to America.

    • Super Heroes Collide in Post-Traumatic America

      This long bout of emotional crisis was kicked off by the indelible visuals of 9/11, and then aggravated by the 2008 financial crisis. The terror attacks have not stopped and the job market has not recovered, and so America’s post-traumatic stress disorder has been chronic.

      The new wave of blockbuster super-hero movies began with Iron Man(2008). That film’s very first scene was saturated with trauma ripped from the headlines. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) is shown as a tech billionaire and devil-may-care playboy: a veritable personification of the go-go nineties, blissfully ignorant of the turmoil to come. Then his whole world is jarringly thrown into upheaval, as the U.S. military convoy taking him through Afghanistan is attacked. His escorts, mostly wide-eyed youngsters overawed by their celebrity passenger, are all massacred. Before he passes out, he finds himself lying in the dirt with a chest full of shrapnel.

    • Silence Is Not An Option: ADL Breaks With Israel – and U.S. – To Acknowledge Armenian Genocide

      Breaking with Israel’s decades-long insistence that Jews hold a monopoly as victims of mass murder, the Anti-Defamation League has for the first time declared the 1915 massacre by Turkish forces of over 1.5 million Armenians “unequivocally genocide,” and called on the US government to recognize the killings as such. The precedent-breaking move by new ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt – which came on the occasion of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, shortly after the 101st com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Armenian tragedy, and shortly after Palestinians marked Nakba Day – was seen by some as a rebuke to the denial of not just Turkey, but the US and Israel, of their respective crimes.

      In his statement, Greenblatt stressed the 103-year-old organization’s historic task to fight against all forms of big­otry, to “edu­cate and take action against hate in our own time (as) we vow, ‘Never again.’ Our mis­sion reflects the words of the Jew­ish Sage Hil­lel from 2,000 years ago: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be? And, if I am only for myself what am I?’” Citing both a moral and practical responsibility, he went on, “The first genocide of the 20th century is no different. What happened in the Ottoman Empire to the Arme­ni­ans begin­ning in 1915 was geno­cide.” Citing the awful progression from arresting and executing intellectuals to expulsion of families to death marches, torture, starvation and massacre – and a failure to act by too much of the world – he proclaimed, “We must edu­cate each gen­er­a­tion about the tragedies of the past. Silence is not an option.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Obama defends leak prosecutions

      President Barack Obama is defending the record number of leak prosecutions launched under his administration, arguing that some of the cases were really the work of the Bush administration and that others involved unusually serious disclosures of classified information.

      “I am a strong believer in the First Amendment and the need for journalists to pursue every lead and every angle. I think that when you hear stories about us cracking down on whistleblowers or whatnot, we’re talking about a really small sample,” Obama said in an interview published Thursday by the Rutgers University student newspaper, the Daily Targum.


      One prominent lawyer for whistleblowers said it was hard to assess the pace of leak prosecutions under Obama as anything but a significant increase.

      “This is not a really small sample. This is a tremendous uptick in whistleblower prosecutions,” said Jesselyn Radack of ExposeFacts.

      Radack also noted that, despite Obama’s embrace of the First Amendment, prosecutors have not been willing to permit alleged leakers to mount a defense that they were performing a public service by disclosing important information to the press.

      In many of the leak cases, “the government filed a motion to preclude any mention of the First Amendment,” she noted.

    • Not Just Hillary: State Department As A Whole Pretty Careless With Handling Of Classified Communications

      In their defense, State Department officials say they often can’t control how classified communications will be routed. After all, they have no control over receipt of messages from foreign government officials that might be considered classified. And they routinely use other insecure channels to communicate, like normal phone systems.

      For that matter, it’s difficult to determine what the government will consider classified at the point the communications are sent and received. In the case of Clinton’s emails, the investigation (which James Comey recently confirmed is an investigation, not a “security inquiry” as Clinton has portrayed it) and response to FOIA requests have prompted an after-the-fact classification review of State Dept. communications contained in the FOIA response.

    • An Unintended Side Effect of Transparency

      In 2013, ProPublica released Prescriber Checkup, a database that detailed the prescribing habits of hundreds of thousands of doctors across the country.

      ProPublica reporters used the data — which reflected prescriptions covered by Medicare’s massive drug program, known as part D — to uncover several important findings. The data showed doctors often prescribed narcotic painkillers and antipsychotic drugs in quantities that could be dangerous for their patients, many of whom were elderly. The reporters also found evidence that some doctors wrote far, far more prescriptions than their peers for expensive brand-name drugs for which there were cheaper generic alternatives. And we found instances of probable fraud that had gone undetected by the government.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Florida Proposes Tripling Amount Of Benzene That Can Be Polluted Into State Waters

      For the first time in over 25 years, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing to revise its restrictions on what toxic chemicals can be discharged into surface water — but environmentalists worry that the proposed standards, which would triple the amount of a toxic chemical called benzene allowed to be discharged into surface waters like rivers and lakes, are meant more to entice fracking companies than keep Floridians safe.

    • Revealed: Prominent oceans scientist fails to disclose funding from fishing industry

      An outspoken marine scientist who rejects claims of overfishing in the world’s oceans has failed to disclose millions of dollars in funding from the fishing industry, a Greenpeace investigation has revealed.

      According to documents obtained by Greenpeace USA via the Public Records Act, Dr Ray Hilborn, a professor at University of Washington’s School Aquatic Fisheries Science, received at least $3.5 million from 69 fishing, seafood and other industry groups over the last 12 years.

      Hilborn – whose research has been published by reputable journals such as Science, Nature and Marine Policy – has only mentioned corporate funding from 21 industry groups in 26 instances.

    • Cities face flash flood hazards

      Scientists in Australia warn that global warming will lead to more intense and concentrated summer storms seriously testing city drainage systems already struggling to cope.

    • Halted Oil Trains, Arrests, And Crowds Of Thousands Spread Across 6 Continents In ‘Break Free’ Protest

      Thousands of people around the country protested over the weekend to stop fossil fuels and demand a just transition to an economy that uses 100 percent renewable energy. More than 50 people were arrested in the Pacific Northwest and five others were arrested in upstate New York, where protestors stopped trains carrying crude oil.

      Meanwhile, demonstrations in Washington, D.C., Albany, and Los Angeles drew thousands more to the Break Free movement, which brought a coalition of environmental groups together over 12 days of global action and civil disobedience.

    • April 2016 Hottest on Record as ‘Climate Emergency’ Grows

      This April was the hottest on record—and the seventh month in a row to break global temperature averages—setting up 2016 to be the hottest year ever, NASA has reported.

      April was 1.11°C hotter than previous averages between 1951 and 1980, which NASA uses as a barometer for measuring climate change, according to figures the agency released over the weekend. NASA also found that April was the third month in a row that the record-breaking jumps in temperature were reached by the largest increases yet.

      In fact, 2016 may not only be the hottest year in recorded history, but also by the widest margin, scientists say.

    • Navy Allowed to Kill or Injure Nearly 12 Million Whales, Dolphins, Other Marine Mammals in Pacific

      What if you were told the US Navy is legally permitted to harass, injure or kill nearly 12 million whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals across the North Pacific Ocean over a five-year period?

      It is true, and over one-quarter of every tax dollar you pay is helping to fund it.

      A multistate, international citizen watchdog group called the West Coast Action Alliance (WCAA), tabulated numbers that came straight from the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing EIS (environmental impact statement) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Letters of Authorization for incidental “takes” of marine mammals issued by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

    • The Koch Brothers Stop Pretending

      In recent years, Charles and David Koch — the billionaire brothers who run Koch Industries — have sought to cast themselves as selfless patriots, pushing policies that were against their own interests for the good of the nation. The argument was part of a gauzy and extensive public relations campaign intended to blunt attacks from liberals highlighting their outsized influence on the political system.

    • Canadians Propose ‘Elegant Solution’ for Country’s Runaway Emissions

      The Canadian chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL Canada) on Monday launched a petition calling for the government to implement a carbon tax known as the fee-and-dividend, a measure environmental advocates say would help the country meet its climate promises without burdening citizens with the costs.

      Under a fee-and-dividend plan, the government would gradually increase taxation on fossil fuels at their entry point into the marketplace, which would help make alternative and renewable energy more economically competitive, spurring investment and innovation in the field, the lobby says.

      And the money collected from the fees would be redistributed among citizens to help offset the costs of transitioning to clean energy.

    • Renewables Are Leaving Natural Gas In The Dust This Year

      The renewables were primarily wind (707 MW) and solar (522 MW). We also added some biomass (33 MW) and hydropower (29 MW). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) latest monthly “Energy Infrastructure Update” reports that no new capacity of coal, oil, or nuclear power were added in the first quarter of the year.

    • Chomsky: Hillary Clinton Fears BDS Because It Counters Decades of U.S. Support for Israeli Aggression

      Chomsky says, “You can understand why Hillary Clinton is frightened” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS.

    • Chomsky on Trump’s Climate Denialism: He Wants Us to March Toward the Destruction of the Species

      World-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky weighs in on Trump’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, particularly his denial of climate change and push for greater militarization. “Trump is saying, ‘Yeah, let’s make the global warming problem as dangerous and imminent as possible. Let’s march towards destruction of the species, like we’re destroying everyone else. And let’s escalate militarization and, at the same time, sharply cut down resources by radical tax cuts, mostly for the rich,’” Chomsky says. “This is a really astonishing moment in human history, if you look at it.”

    • “Water Is Our Life”: How a Mining Disaster Affected the Navajo Nation

      In the midst of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, it is not surprising that the World Health Organization recently released a report documenting that the environment is responsible for almost a quarter of deaths and disease in the world.

      But this is not news to the Diné (Navajo) people, who believe that all parts of nature — the water, fish, trees and stars — are equal members of society and are so intricately connected that an imbalance in one member may impact another.

  • Finance

    • Shift Away From Traditional Pensions Contributes to Inequality, and More

      A report from the US Government Accountability Office shows the shift away from traditional pensions to 401(k)-like plans contributes to inequality; Bernie Sanders endorsed a citizen-led initiative to fight soaring drugs prices in California; the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement has resulted in more than 95,000 lost US jobs; and more.

    • Rich people have access to high-speed Internet; many poor people still don’t

      Ever since Curtis Brown Jr. got his first Star Wars toy as a toddler, he has been fascinated by action figures. So much so that he has built a business customizing action figures for clients worldwide. But what could be a lucrative career has turned into an exercise in futility that traps Brown and his family in poverty.

    • Corrupt Elites and the Looting Machine

      The mechanics and dire consequences of this system are easily explained though often masked by neo-liberal rhetoric about free competition.

      In authoritarian states without accountability or a fair legal system, this approach becomes a license to loot. Corruption cannot be tamed because it is at the very heart of the system.

    • #PanamaPapersNZ – Long John Key Silver And His Treasure Islands

      I warned that New Zealand would be used as a tax haven on October 26th, 2011, if the National government was reelected.

      I wasn’t the first.

      Never did I expect we would be proven right in such a spectacular fashion as via the Panama Papers leak.

      A leak that has shone light on an agenda to use New Zealand as a port of safe harbour for vast swathes of foreign cash. An agenda that does not stem solely from the ruling Party. It comes from on high.

    • Donald Trump’s Pledge to Defend Spending for Old and Poor Belied by Staff Picks

      Throughout his campaign, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has advocated for building two walls: one between the U.S. and Mexico, and another around America’s public retirement programs.

      For more than a year, Trump has regularly assailed his rival candidates for “attacking Social Security… attacking Medicare and Medicaid.” He boasted that he was the one “saying I’m not gonna do that,” instead saying that he’d focus on economic growth so that we’d get “so rich you don’t have to do that.”

      At the Miami GOP presidential debate in March, he said he would “do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is; to make this country rich again.”

      But that second wall now appears to be crumbling.

    • RushCard Customers Can Finally Look Forward To Getting Paid For Being Locked Out Of Their Accounts

      Late last year, hundreds of customers who store their money not with a traditional bank but with a prepaid debit card from the company RushCard suddenly found themselves completely cut off from their funds, thanks to a technical problem. Customers reported that they ran low on food, had to resort to scrounging loose change out of their couch cushions, and even faced eviction, getting their water shut off, or losing their cars.

    • State Legislatures Attacking Community Wealth Building

      Meanwhile, a similar fight is unfolding in Louisiana. With over half of African-American men unemployed in New Orleans, local job creation has been a key priority for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration. Already unable by state law to set local hiring quotas, the city instead opted in its Hire NOLA program to establish ambitious local hiring targets for projects receiving public subsidies, building an inclusive job training and hiring pipeline infrastructure that could help the construction industry meet these targets. But all of this is threatened by a proposed state law that would nullify the city’s policy. For Ashleigh Gardere, senior adviser to Mayor Landrieu and director of the Network for Economic Opportunity:

    • Bernie Sanders Gives a Very Important Speech on Poverty (Video)

      The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet 47 million Americans are living in poverty.

      Bernie Sanders spoke about the issue at the the Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank in Kimball, W.Va., on May 5.

    • What’s Killing the American Middle Class?

      The great American middle was never large enough, even at its height. It always excluded too many people – sometimes, shamefully, merely for their skin color. And now, instead of growing and becoming more inclusive, it’s fading away instead.

    • Sanders Blasts ‘Vulture Capitalists’ and Colonialism in Puerto Rico

      Campaigning in Puerto Rico on Monday, Bernie Sanders railed against the “colonial-like relationship” that has allowed Wall Street “vulture capitalists” to profit off the debt-stricken territory’s economic crisis and demanded that Congress and the Obama administration grant immediate relief.

      “It is unacceptable to me for the United States government to treat Puerto Rico like a colony during a time when its people are facing the worst fiscal and economic crisis in its history,” the presidential hopeful declared in a rousing speech at a packed town hall in San Juan.

      Currently in the midst of economic free-fall, the territory defaulted earlier this month after the U.S. government—at the urging of hedge fund lobbyists—failed to take action on restructuring its $70 billion debt. Consequently, the island has had to slash many essential services while calls grow for even more cuts.

      “What vulture funds on Wall Street are demanding is that Puerto Rico fire teachers, close schools, cut pensions and abolish the minimum wage so that they can reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the children and the people of Puerto Rico,” Sanders said. “We cannot allow that to happen. We will not allow that to happen.”

    • New series: Anti-Austerity and Media Activism

      Eight years after the emergence of a renewed global crisis of capitalism, there is no evidence of a wholehearted return to economic growth. The economic stagnation has been such that the IMF has had to consistently revise downwards its predictions of growth. The policies attributed to a politics of austerity have been presented as virtually the only solution out of this crisis.

    • UK media and the legitimisation of austerity policies

      On the 30 April 2015, during a Question Time Election Special, the Labour leader Ed Milliband was challenged by a member of the audience over the previous Labour Government’s economic record. “How can you stand there and say you didn’t overspend and end up bankrupting this country?” the man complained. “It’s absolutely ludicrous you are frankly just lying’. Research carried out after the 2010 and 2015 elections confirmed that Labour had indeed lost both contests in large part because the public believed that Labour had overspent and crashed the economy. Yet both these beliefs were false.

    • L.A. Car Wash Workers Turn Up Pressure

      In Juan Hernandez’s first car wash job, he and his co-workers used to put in nine-hour days for $40 in cash. Workers would often arrive at 8 a.m.—but have to wait three or four hours to start working, with no fixed schedule.

    • The United States Needs to Realize FDR’s Dream and Adopt the “Nordic Model”

      Life is nice in the Nordic countries — especially for those who are part of the white majorities in these countries. The five Nordic nations (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland), rank at or near the top of almost every single Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development human development index, and their citizens consistently poll among top 10 happiest in the world.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How ‘Sanders Could Still Win the Nomination’
    • Extraordinary Stitch-Up at Nevada Democratic Convention

      I had heard much about the way that Hillary was able to use control of the Democratic Party machine to suppress the challenge of Bernie Sanders. I had not fully understood it until I saw this truly shocking video of the Nevada Democratic Convention, a stage in the awarding of that state’s delegates to Hillary or Bernie. After the announcement of a narrow win for Hillary, which to many seemed improbable, the chairwoman of the Convention, Roberta Lange, a member of the National Democratic Committee, absolutely refused demands for a recount. She then closed the Convention after calling for a voice vote, again uncounted, on a rules change to allow her to do that.

      Twice as many Sanders delegates to the Convention were disqualified by the Committee,for “administrative reasons”, as the supposed majority for Clinton, which even after those disqualifications did not appear to reflect the apparent balance of delegates present.

    • When the System Feels Rigged, How Surprising is Convention Mayhem?

      The Nevada Democratic convention was overwhelmed by utter turmoil on Saturday after the chair adopted a controversial set of new rules and disqualified 56 Bernie Sanders delegates from participating, handing rival Hillary Clinton a majority of the state’s delegates.

      This occurred after the Democratic frontrunner lost the state’s county level caucuses in April.

      The chaotic convention, organized and run largely by Clinton supporters, was yet another instance of what many observers have decried as the party’s rigging of the primary process in favor of the establishment candidate.

    • Clinton Does Best Where Voting Machines Flunk Hacking Tests: Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders Election Fraud Allegations

      At the end of the climactic scene (8 minutes) in HBO’s Emmy nominated Hacking Democracy (2006), a Leon County, Florida Election official breaks down in tears. “There are people out there who are giving their lives just to try to make our elections secure,” she says. “And these vendors are lying and saying everything is alright.” Hundreds of jurisdictions throughout the United States are using voting machines or vote tabulators that have flunked security tests. Those jurisdictions by and large are where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is substantially outperforming the first full wave of exit polling in her contest against Senator Bernie Sanders.

    • The Coming Democratic Crackup

      Though the mainstream media is focused on Republican divisions, a more important story could be the coming Democratic crackup, as anti-war Democrats resist Hillary Clinton’s pro-war agenda, writes Robert Parry.

    • Most Of Oregon’s Newly Registered Voters Won’t Be Able To Particpate In The State’s Primary

      For decades, Oregon has been at the forefront of making it easier to vote. Two decades ago, the state began offering each and every eligible resident the option to vote by mail. Oregon later became the first to conduct all its elections by mail. Then, in 2015, Oregon became the first state in the nation to automatically register voters every time they visit a Department of Motor Vehicles.

      The new “Motor Voter” policy has added more than 67,000 new voters to the state’s voter rolls, and officials are hoping Tuesday’s primary will have record turnout. The new system has especially been a boon for young voters; since September, the number of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29 has increased 21 percent.

    • The Dangerous Insecurity of Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s opponents in the primaries were right to call him a con artist, a narcissist and a pathological liar. Just ask “John Miller.”

      That’s one of the names Trump used with journalists to burnish his status as a bold-faced Manhattan celebrity; he also called himself “John Barron.” Both personae were supposedly publicists who just wanted to explain what a wonderful guy Mr. Trump was and how beautiful women seemed unable to resist his charms.

      Last week, The Washington Post ran a story about the “Miller” and “Barron” ruses, which took place years ago, and posted a 1991 recording of “Miller” explaining why Trump was dumping Marla Maples. “He’s coming out of a marriage, and he’s starting to do tremendously well financially,” the imaginary publicist says to a reporter from People magazine. “Actresses just call to see if they can go out with him and things.” Madonna is ostentatiously name-dropped as someone who “wanted to go out with him.”

    • Chomsky: Today’s GOP Qualifies as Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History—Part 2

      In Part 2 of our wide-ranging conversation with the world-renowned dissident Noam Chomsky, we talk about the conflict in Syria, the rise of ISIS, Saudi Arabia, the political crisis in Brazil, the passing of the pioneering lawyer Michael Ratner, the U.S. relationship with Cuba, Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and today’s Republican Party. “If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects,” Chomsky says, “but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally.”

    • Vox’s CIA-Backed ‘Democracy’ Standard Is OK With Slavery and Women Not Voting

      Defining democracy is a notoriously difficult thing, but much is revealed by how media outlets choose to do so.

      One popular metric is called “Polity IV”—a methodology created by the Center for Systemic Peace, headed by Dr. Monty G. Marshall of Georgetown University, which has been cited in prestigious outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times. But few outlets have embraced the method as enthusiastically as the “news explainer” site Vox.

    • Copp’s Plea for You and Me

      The plain-spoken, public-spirited former Federal Communications Commissioner, Michael Copps, is indignant—and for good reason: The FCC is not enforcing the law requiring the “dark money” super PACs and other campaign cash conduits to reveal, on-the-air, the names of the real donors behind all political advertisements, which are now flooding the profitable radio and television airwaves.

    • Feminism is Bigger Than Gender: Why I’ll be Happy in Hell Without Hillary

      Are you a Bernie supporter and wondering if you will or can vote for Hillary if he loses the nomination? Or have you already decided that you’re for Hillary – either because she’s a woman or because we have an obligation to do anything we can to keep Trump out? Do you believe that it’s your obligation to vote and you would not be upholding your responsibility as a citizen if you didn’t vote?


      Madelyn Albright has announced that there is a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t help each other – meaning women who don’t vote for Hillary. Let’s see, Sarah Palin, Madelyn Albright, Margaret Thatcher are all women. Is voting for women, because they re women, feminism? Can feminism be reduced to gender? Looks like hell is going to be pretty crowded for all of us women who won’t be voting for Hillary.

    • Corporate Idiocracy and the Manufacturing of ProducTrump

      There is no need for content, a stable platform, concrete policies, real issues or even reality (which worries some members of the establishment). There is also no need to think. The dummy can just spout off insipid inanities—spiced up with a ‘signature’ mix of bravado, strongman populist rhetoric, misogyny, racism and xenophobia—and be assured that the paparazzi will catch every last drop of mindless drivel and immediately export it to the four corners of human consciousness.

    • The End of Ideology: What Kind of Democracy is This?

      You are not alone. I watched in disbelief as Fair Trade champion and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown endorsed Clinton. I watched in disappointment as Elizabeth Warren remained on the sidelines. Either and both could have made a huge impact in exposing the duplicity of Hillary on trade policy and Wall Street reform. What were you afraid of? What were you waiting for? What did they promise you?

      It is frankly hard not to feel alienated. It is hard not to feel disenfranchised.

      We have an election in which I cannot in good conscience vote for either candidate and yet there is one candidate I am compelled to vote against.

      What kind of democracy is this?

      A week ago I reregistered as a Democrat for one reason and one reason only: To vote for Senator Bernie Sanders in the California primary. There’s still a slim chance this thing isn’t over. Six months ago there was no chance Trump could be nominated. In any case it may be a long time before I can cast a meaningful vote for a candidate again.

    • I Apologise Yet Again, and Another Request

      A hostile message I received from a fierce advocate of Israel, interested me because when I checked him out I noted he spent much time attacking Bernie Sanders. This led me to wonder what correlation there is between those individuals currently accused of anti-Semitism, and particularly those suspended from the Labour Party, and support of Bernie Sanders.

      It occurs to me equally that many of those most ardently throwing around the accusations of anti-Semitism, particularly mainstream journalists and MPs, are those most hostile to Sanders or supportive of Clinton.

      If I am right, the irony that the alleged “anti-Semites” support the excellent Jewish candidate for POTUS, and the witch-hunters oppose him, would be obvious.

    • BBC to drop online recipes as part of slimmed-down website

      Approximately 11,000 online recipes are to be dropped following a review of the BBC’s online output that promises to save £15m a year by cutting back on magazine-style content as well as local news.

      The recipes are being “archived or mothballed”, a source said, and will “fall off the face of the internet” after the food site is closed, with no live links.

      The broadcaster will archive the recipes on its food site although recipes from television shows will remain online for a 30-day period after transmission and the plans will not affect commercial services such as BBC Good Food. Other text-based online offerings are also expected to be hit. A number of travel articles are also expected to be taken offline.

      Although the recipes will still exist online they will be hard to find. One BBC source said: “The website will be closed and viewers will have to make a concerted effort to access the archive.”

    • Sharing the licence fee could reinvigorate the BBC

      Last week the government released its white paper on the forthcoming renewal of the BBC Charter. Prior to that event, many viewed the Corporation as under threat from a disapproving government and, in the person of John Whittingdale, a hostile Secretary of State. Only a week earlier footballer and national treasure Gary Lineker had tweeted how Whittingdale was a ‘chump’ after it was reported he had joked about privatising the BBC to a Tory student society. And yet, despite all that, the reforms it will now be subject to are relatively minor.

    • What does contestable funding mean for children’s TV in Britain?

      The government’s proposals for the BBC include creating a public service fund to prop up children’s content.

    • Let’s not shatter the fragile ecology of British broadcasting

      While the government’s plans for the BBC are under scrutiny, the future of Britain’s hugely successful system of public service broadcasting is at risk.

    • Obama Didn’t Birth Trump’s Movement

      Blaming President Obama for the rise of Donald Trump is popular among Republican leaders. They don’t want to take responsibility for the choices made by their own voters or their complicity in tolerating and even encouraging the extremism Trump represents.

      They also don’t want to face the fact that many Trump ballots were aimed at them.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • China’s “leftover women” and the left-out system

      Can a skin brand “change your destiny” in a socially empowering way? A video titled ‘Marriage Market Takeover’ seems to have done a good job, but not without an underlying agenda.

    • F.B.I. Director Says ‘Viral Video Effect’ Blunts Police Work [Ed: accountability "Blunts Police Work"]

      The director of the F.B.I. reignited the factious debate over a so-called “Ferguson effect” on Wednesday, saying that he believed less aggressive policing was driving an alarming spike in murders in many cities.

      James Comey, the director, said that while he could offer no statistical proof, he believed after speaking with a number of police officials that a “viral video effect” — with officers wary of confronting suspects for fear of ending up on a video — “could well be at the heart” of a spike in violent crime in some cities.

    • Three years after Rana Plaza: why Bangladeshi workers need trade unions

      Martin Luther King once said, “all labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and status and should be undertaken with meticulous excellence”. This sentiment has been largely lost in our world of global supply chains and bargain-basket prices, but I would see it revived. As good a place as any to start such a project is in Bangladesh, where millions upon millions of people work under harsh conditions to supply multinational companies with the goods westerners want to buy – yet there is little concern for ensuring their rights as labourers in return. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ready-made garment industry.

    • Trump’s Politics of Whiteness and the CIA tip that Jailed Nelson Mandela

      The revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency provided the tip to the Apartheid South African government that led to Nelson Mandela’s arrest should come as no great shock, though the public confirmation is perhaps surprising.

      Nor is it unconnected to the popularity of Donald Trump, who is proposing a new Apartheid regime with regard to American Muslims.

    • SC Man Who Shot and ‘Slow-Cooked’ Two Men out on Bail Thanks to ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

      James Edward Loftis, 39, is facing murder charges in the deaths of taxi driver Guma Oz Dubar, 46, and his friend James Cody Newland, 32, on March 5 after they demanded he pay his fare following a ride home from a strip club.

      While Loftis has given police varying accounts of what happened that evening—once saying he invited the men in, while another time saying they barged into his home—several facts are not in dispute.

    • Quantitative data in human rights: what do the numbers really mean?

      Quantitative researchers have been sweeping a pervasive “dirty little secret” under the rug for decades: the written reports we use to generate cross-national datasets of governments’ (lack of) respect for human rights are a record of alleged violations, not a census of actual violations. They represent a small fraction of governments’ violations of rights. Yet using these data as if they were actual measures of performance has become standard operating procedure.

    • Could a union do anything to protect Russian journalists?

      Physical attacks and management interference have put Russian journalists’ safety — and their ability to work freely — back on the table. A new union will have to survive in an increasingly hostile environmen

    • I’m Not Your Shorty

      More important than criminalizing catcalling, however, is changing the way men are taught to view and talk about women. We need to teach young men that hollering at women just isn’t OK. That a genuine compliment is always nice, but a litany of adjectives to describe women’s anatomy shouted from across the road is not. That they might feel quite cute when they compete with each other to offer up new harangues, but that women do not find them at all witty for doing so. We need to teach young men that true power isn’t about making women fear you. Such conversations need to happen in homes, schools, churches, and other institutions. And they need to happen often, starting at a young age. It’s time we put some more focus on the daily microaggressions that women must endure, rather than treating them as if they’re an inevitable fact of life if you were born with a vagina.

    • ‘Like most of my friends, I baptised my children so they could go to school’: The anger of Ireland’s non-religious parents

      IN SEPTEMBER OF last year, just over a week after the country’s primary schools had returned from the summer break, a parent of a five-year-old sat down in exasperation to write a letter to the Department of Education.

    • A Catholic School’s Weirdly Self-Defeating Push To Turn ‘Religious Liberty’ Against A Student

      Nevertheless, a Texas appeals court held on Thursday that the school enjoys broad constitutional immunity from its obligation to obey its own contracts because of the school’s status as a “religious institution.” That’s a decision the school — and many other religious institutions — could come to regret in the long run.

    • Duterte vows to kill criminals and reintroduce hanging in Philippines

      Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces the power to “shoot-to-kill” criminals.

      In his first press conference since winning the 9 May elections in a landslide, Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of the southern of Davao, warned his campaign threats to kill were not rhetoric.

    • What’s the Best Way to Weed Out Potential Killer Cops?

      For generations, conventional wisdom has held that every cop—from prowl-car partners to sector sergeants to top-floor executives at headquarters—is acutely aware of which officers are dangerous powder kegs.

    • CIA Achieves a Whole New Scale of Torture Evidence Destruction

      I once made a list of all the evidence of torture the CIA or others in the Executive Branch destroyed.


      Two key parts of this story: Sharpley appears to have no idea who decided to nuke the report off the IG server. Hmmmm.

      And DOJ has been suppressing this detail in filings in the FOIAs for the Torture Report itself (which may be what led Dianne Feinstein to make an issue of it last week).

      Click through if you want a really depressing list of all the ways Richard Burr is trying to disappear the report.

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the entire report got disappeared. But destroying the whole thing is rather impressive.

    • The Bitter Consequences of Corporate America’s War on Unions

      Last week, Oxfam America published a report in which it was revealed that, across the United States, workers at giant poultry factories are being denied basic human dignity in the name of productivity and corporate gain.

      Among other abuses, Oxfam found that some workers have been “reduced to wearing diapers while working on the processing line” after their requests to take bathroom breaks were repeatedly denied.

      American poultry workers, furthermore, “incur injuries at five times the national average” without compensation that justifies such risk; workers subsist, as a result, in a state of perpetual anxiety, resentful of their situation but powerless to do anything about it.

    • Michael Ratner’s Death Is a Loss for Freedom, Peace and Justice

      Legendary human rights lawyer Michael Ratner died Wednesday. His pathbreaking legal and political work on behalf of the poor and oppressed around the world is unmatched. His death is an incalculable loss for the cause of freedom, peace and justice.

      The last time I saw Michael was shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer. We were in New York for the annual dinner of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Both of us had served as NLG presidents, he during the Reagan years, I during the George W. Bush administration. When we met in New York, Michael had just returned from Cuba, where he had a wonderful visit with Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five. I was about to leave for Cuba, where I would meet with René González and Antonio Guerrero, two other members of the Cuban Five.

    • Private Prisons: American Slavery, Under New Management

      With U.S. crime down yet prisoners up, and private prisons raking in billions off their labor, it’s becoming increasingly clear that American slavery has returned with a new name.

    • CIA’s Idea of Digital Innovation: Attempt (and Fail) to Buy an Existing News Service

      Which raises even more questions for me about the timing of the request, and of these misleading claims from anonymous intelligence officials. Why go public now? It’s not like CIA is any more popular than it was six months ago (though it’s possible the pressure is tied to CIA’s reorganization).

      As far as the request, it’s interesting CIA never made this demand after the Arab Spring, which CIA missed entirely because it was listening to Omar Suleiman rather than watching social media like the rest of us. That would have been the moment to make this case (I assume CIA and FBI both use more targeted tracking of ISIS Twitter).

      Instead, the request seems more likely tied to the roll out of the larger organization, CIA’s new McKinsey-recommended Directorate of Digital Innovation last October. I would have thought that a claimed commitment to developing digital expertise would have led CIA to set up its own scraping system, rather than trying to purchase the same service news outlets use (to questionable value, according to some people commenting on this). Unless, of course, CIA’s goal is Dataminr’s “firehose,” including all Americans’ Twitter.

    • North Carolina Police Chief Implores Officers To Stop Arresting Addicts

      In a sharp turn away from the War on Drugs, the chief of police in Nashville, North Carolina announced in February that drug addicts in the small town would be taken to rehabilitation centers instead of jail. Now, in response to a growing opioid crisis, the chief is calling on other law enforcement officers across the state to do the same.

      Three months ago, following an “alarming” spate of prescription drug overdoses in Nash County, Thomas Bashore of the Nashville Police Department unveiled the HOPE Initiative to help addicts find treatment and divert them away from the criminal justice system. In lieu of arresting and imprisoning addicts, the initiative encourages them to go the department voluntarily and meet with a community volunteer who can connect them to counseling and treatment facilities. Addicts who have drugs or paraphernalia when they enter the department aren’t penalized

    • Strike Supporters “Adopt” Verizon Wireless Stores to Picket in New York City

      At the base of three escalators, tucked in a corner of a Brooklyn mall, striking Verizon workers and their supporters said they’re standing up to the company’s corporate greed.

      The workers, joined by about a dozen supporters, formed a picket line outside a Verizon Wireless retail store in the Atlantic Terminal Mall near downtown Brooklyn on Sunday, calling for job security, a fair union contract and an end to outsourcing.

    • Populism – the eternal ideology

      Populism – once associated mainly with Latin America – is now part of the political mainstream in western and eastern Europe. What’s behind this surge?

    • ‘Stunning’: CIA Admits ‘Mistakenly’ Deleting Copy of Senate Torture Report
    • CIA Destruction of Senate Torture Report ‘Stunning’ – Reprieve
    • CIA Inspector General Claims It Accidentally Deleted CIA Torture Report After Being Asked To Retain It

      The saga of the CIA torture report continues to get stranger and stranger. As we noted, last week, the appeals court shot down a FOIA lawsuit from the ACLU to get the full report released. If you remember, only the heavily redacted ~500 page executive summary of the report had been released, with another ~6,500 pages or so still locked away. And we do mean locked away. The Justice Department has basically told the entire executive branch not to open the report, and Senate Intelligence Committee boss Richard Burr has been demanding the report be sent back to the Senate so it can be destroyed. Senator Feinstein had actually distributed copies fairly widely throughout the administration, with the goal being that the full report would get read and, you know, the US government wouldn’t torture people again.

      Part of the reason why the DOJ instructed everyone in the executive branch not to read it was to play a game with the whole FOIA process. Only documents held by the executive branch are subject to FOIA requests. Things in Congress are exempt. So Burr has been making sure that everyone believes the report is “a Congressional record” and the DOJ is arguing that by not opening the report, the executive branch doesn’t run the risk of accidentally making the document subject to FOIA requests. But, as part of that, the DOJ also told everyone in the executive branch not to destroy their copies either — asking it to “preserve the status quo” during the course of the FOIA lawsuit.

    • Very Classy Donald Trump Challenges London’s New Mayor To An IQ Test

      Trump initially said he was “happy” at Khan’s victory — and that the mayor could be an exception to his proposed Muslim ban. In addition to Khan, Trump has previously said that his rich Muslim friends would also be exempted from the ban, and even that the ban was “just a suggestion.” When first describing the illegal and controversial proposal, however, Trump insisted it would apply to “everyone” — even Muslim Americans currently living abroad.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Now Trying To Claim That Delivering Just TV To Third-Party Set Top Boxes ‘Not Feasible’

      We’ve talked a lot about how the FCC is trying to open up the set top box market to additional competition, breaking open cable’s monopoly control of the hardware, while driving down set top prices and improving gear quality. Given this would kill $21 billion in annual set top rental fee revenue and expose customers to more streaming options than ever before, the cable industry has been engaged in raging histrionics to try and shut down the effort and protect the status quo.

      So far, this plan has involved whining, urging lawmakers (most of them about as well-liked as the cable industry) to also whine, while pushing an endless ocean of incredibly misleading editorials in news outlets nationwide claiming the FCC’s plan is going to hurt puppies and rip gigantic holes in the space-time continuum.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 16/5/2016: Linux 4.6, Geary Email Client is Back

Posted in News Roundup at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • How Herbalife’s Gospel of Health and Wealth Fuels a Billion-Dollar Deception

    For the past couple years, Herbalife has been trying to convince the Federal Trade Commission that this is multi-level marketing—not a pyramid scheme. Drawing that line, though, is a fickle and complicated affair.

  • This 14-Year-Old Boy CEO Rejected $30 Million Offer For His “RecMed” Innovation

    Rosenthal launched his startup RecMed in 2015. He has already gained $100,000 in angel investments. This first aid dispensing machine was started as an eighth-grade project when he was a part of a Young Entrepreneurs Academy class.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • As Opioid Epidemic Continues, Steps to Curb It Multiply

      The overdose death toll from opioids, both prescription drugs and heroin, has almost quadrupled since 1999. In 2014 alone, 28,000 people died of opioid overdoses, more than half from prescription drugs.

    • Our Failure to Invest in Infrastructure Is Literally Making Us Sick: #JusticeforFlint

      The residents of Flint have gone without clean water for 748 days, and counting. That’s more than two years: long enough for toddlers to become preschoolers, for infants to graduate from lead-tainted formula to lead-tainted Kool-Aid. When you think of school kids subjected to lead poisoning for years in the supposedly greatest country on earth, it’s hard not to feel sick. It’s not my kid. But it could be.

    • Where do we go from here? The drug policy debate continues
    • “Our children are dying”: meet the activists saying ‘no more’ to the ‘war on drugs’

      Last month, openDemocracy was in New York to meet the Caravan Activists, a remarkable group of men and women, who have lost loved ones to the ‘war on drugs’. Now they campaign to change the system.

    • Impasse or turning point for the ‘war on drugs’? UNGASS 2016, explained

      The global drug control regime was established to bring state control over, and eventually eradicate, illicit drug markets. But it is not going well. The last UN drug summit, in 1998, met under the slogan “A Drug Free World – We Can Do It”. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that, 18 years later, we can’t do it. The challenge facing the member states gathered in New York last month was to acknowledge that basic truth, acknowledge that repressive approaches had actually created many of the problems we now face, and agree a programme of action that could at least reduce the harmful impacts of a globally established commodity market with high demand, and multiple supply options.

    • Who Gets to Drink From the Great Lakes?

      Water has become the 21st-century equivalent of oil, and a plan to divert water from the Great Lakes to surrounding areas is raising questions about the possibility of future water grabs from far-flung water-sparse regions.

      While plans to divert water from the Great Lakes basin date back to the early 1900s, modern-day attempts have become increasingly extravagant. In 1982, Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the feasibility of using Great Lakes water to irrigate farmland on the Great Plains. (Not so feasible, said the Corps.) Fifteen years later, a businessman in Canada secured a permit from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to transport 158 million gallons of water each year from Lake Superior to Asia in tanker ships. (He withdrew his proposal in 1998 under pressure from Canadian officials.) And in 2007, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, in his presidential bid, suggested piping Great Lakes water to the arid Southwest. (Richardson’s campaign foundered and his trial balloon burst.)

    • How to avert a Great Lakes catastrophe

      A pair of 63-year-old underwater pipelines (collectively, Enbridge Line 5) spanning the Straits of Mackinac carry about 23 million gallons of crude oil and liquid hydrocarbons a day.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Ugly Consequences of the U.S. Military Having Immunity to Commit War Crimes in Afghanistan

      “The U.S. bombing of the hospital was a war crime. But the United States can bomb any place it wants—a school, refugee camp, hospital—and they will not be held accountable,” said Hakim, a physician and mentor to the grassroots organization Afghan Peace Volunteers. “U.S. immunity is atrocious. It’s intolerable. They should be held accountable like every other human being.”

      Hakim, who requested his last name and city of residence be withheld for security reasons, spoke with AlterNet from Afghanistan just weeks after the Pentagon released a heavily redacted internal investigation in which it exonerated itself of war crimes for its October 2015 bombing of a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz that killed 42 civilians. The 16 U.S. service members immediately responsible will face administrative consequences but not court martial, and the high-level architects of U.S. policy in Afghanistan will remain untouched. The military provided the fallacious justification that the massacre did not amount to a war crime because it was unintentional.

    • Surprise! Despite Syria-Iraq Turmoil, Major Mideast Economies growing 3-4%

      When you only hear bad news from a place, you form a negative opinion of it. But when I went looking for news about the economies of the most populous Middle Eastern countries, I was surprised to find that the IMF and/or World Bank is seeing between 3.5 and 4% growth in 2016.

      You would think Turkish President Erdogan’s renewed conflict with Kurds in the country’s southeast, along with the occasional bombings in Ankara and Istanbul that have hurt tourism, plus the Russian cancellation of some joint projects, the fall in Russian tourism, and the cancellation of fruit and vegetable orders– that all these things would have hurt economic growth. Well, maybe they did, but the Turkish economy is still set to grow 4% this year. Of course, you could argue that the economy might be growing 7% if Erdogan hadn’t picked all those fights. And, it is not as if the profits are being equally spread around the population.

    • Top 3 Signs Bill Clinton didn’t kill himself to “give” the Palestinians a State

      Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday claimed “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” and maintained that he secured an agreement, which the Palestinians turned down. In fact, no such text was ever presented to the Palestinian side, and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak kept flaking out on commitments previously made, leaving the Palestinian negotiators with nothing to agree to. Negoatiator Aaron Miller later admitted, “There was not a formalized, written proposal that covered the four core issues. There was no deal on the table. None of the issues were explained enough in detail to make an agreement, though the Israelis made an interesting argument on Jerusalem.”

      No time here to go into the paternalist and colonial language about “giving” the Palestinians a state. They are a stateless people because they are unrecognized; they would get a state by recognizing them as such, not giving them anything.

    • Refugees from ‘Endless’ War

      Policymakers in Official Washington talk piously about waging “humanitarian” wars, but the real-life consequences of these interventions play out in squalid refugee camps far from U.S. shores, as Ann Wright witnessed.

    • Why, and How, Congress Should Enact an AUMF

      Just as bad was how Congress approached the resolution, enacted in October 2002, authorizing the offensive war in Iraq. This time there was no consideration at all of the resolution in committee—only a cursory floor debate. Republicans were mostly observing party loyalty to their president. Democrats were anxious to get the vote out of the way as quickly as possible to maximize the time between the vote and the elections in November. Political pusillanimity prevailed. One of the few members to lament this shoddy and rushed performance of Congress’s duty was Senator Robert Byrd, who said on the Senate floor a few weeks before the invasion, “This chamber is for the most part ominously, dreadfully silent. You can hear a pin drop. Listen. You can hear a pin drop. There is no discussion. There is no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.”

    • Eyewitness Odessa: Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine

      At the end of World War Two, the city of Odessa in present-day Ukraine was declared a Hero City by the Soviet Union for its determined resistance to Nazi occupation. It’s a designation still valued by the people of this multicultural metropolis of a million people on the western shore of the Black Sea.

      On May 2, 2016, Odessans once again showed their great capacity for courage. Defying threats by local and national fascist organizations, thousands of city residents, accompanied by international monitors from across Europe and the United States, gathered to pay their respects to the victims of a fascist massacre and press their demand for an international investigation.

    • SCS for South China Sea aren’t the scariest letters in the world … they’re CPEC

      Don’t make the mistake of regarding the CPEC as another South China Sea, an opportunity for a budget-fattening play date for the US and PRC and other regional militaries, one carefully constrained and choreographed between several high-capacity partners within a relatively stable political and security matrix…

    • The Assassination Complex: A Long-Overdue Window into America’s Vast Killing Machine

      Based on dramatic revelations from a post-Snowden whistleblower and written by Jeremy Scahill and other Intercept writers, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program provides a long-overdue window into America’s vast killing machine: who makes the decisions on who will be killed; how those decisions are made; how the strikes are carried out; most of all, in a thoughtful foreword by Edward Snowden and afterword by Glenn Greenwald, the implications for a democratic society of all this due-process-free, non-battlefield killing.

    • Suspect device in Old Trafford controlled explosion was dummy left behind after training exercise
    • Norwegian Ryanair flight to Manchester delayed after hoax security alert

      Police in Norway evacuated a Ryanair aircraft due to fly to Manchester and after a hoax security alert.

      Officers writing on an official Twitter account said they had arrested two passengers due to suspicious behaviour.

      Officials searched bags and quizzed other passengers from the flight, as the ‘bomb squad’ headed to the airport

      Reports suggest only the Ryanair flight FR3225, was due to take off at 18.55 from Rygge Airport near Oslo, was affected.

      Police, writing on Twitter in Norwegian and translated into English, said: “Due to suspicious behaviour on two passengers who were flying into Manchester police have evacuated the aircraft control mechanisms.”

    • Watch worried fans climb fences after Old Trafford evacuate following suspect package find

      Fans and police have been praised for the swift and orderly evacuation of the stadium but a few supporters in the North West quadrant of the stadium were reportedly confused about their exit route.

    • Bomb threat at Manchester United’s Old Trafford after training device left behind

      An embarrassing security blunder brought chaos and disruption to the final day of the English Premier League soccer season on Sunday, as tens of thousands of fans at Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford stadium were evacuated by police due to a suspected bomb threat.

      United, one of the most famed and successful teams in the world, was due to host Bournemouth to conclude its league campaign. After an “incredibly lifelike” package, including a taped device made up of a cell phone and protruding wires, was discovered, the game was cancelled and supporters ordered out of the 75,635-seat venue.

    • Old Trafford ‘bomb’ was left behind after security training at Manchester United

      Some 50,000 supporters were evacuated from the ground when the alarm was raised about 15 minutes before the kick-off.

      United players were warming up on the pitch when they were told to leave.

      The club and the police have now revealed the device had been accidentally left behind by a private company following a security training drill.

    • Old Trafford ‘dummy bomb’ has happened before

      Many around the football world have been left astounded by the events at Old Trafford on Sunday, as Manchester United’s match with Bournemouth was abandoned by what was thought, at the time, as a suspicious package.

      Then, with fans evacuated and bomb disposal experts sent to the stadium, it transpired that the device was a dummy, giving rise to the theory that the ‘bomb’ was a hoax. But in a remarkable twist, it has now emerged that the so-called bomb was a training device left over from safety excercises earlier in the week.

      And perhaps even more remarkably, this is not the first time such a scenario has presented itself in English football, with Wolverhampton Wanderers having to evacuate part of their Molineaux stadium in 2014 while police investigated what turned out to be a training device left over in the Steve Bull Stand.

    • Manchester United Game Canceled Over Fake Explosive From Training Exercise

      Manchester United’s game against Bournemouth was canceled after a suspicious package was found at the Old Trafford stadium, the club said Sunday, but police later said the package was actually a training device left behind during an earlier security exercise.

    • Old Trafford security alert – statement
    • Manchester United bomb scare was caused by security blunder after dummy device was left in Old Trafford toilet BY MISTAKE
    • Imperial Designs? Current US Ambassador to Brazil Served in Paraguay Prior to 2012 Coup

      The U.S. ambassador to Brazil previously served in Paraguay in the lead up to the 2012 coup against Lugo, who was ousted in a manner similar to Rousseff.

      The possible role of the United States government in the ouster of the democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff is being scrutinized after it emerged that Liliana Ayalde, the present U.S. ambassador to Brazil, previously served as ambassador to Paraguay in the lead up to the 2012 coup against President Fernando Lugo.

      In a case very similar to the current political crisis unfolding in Brazil, Lugo was ousted by the country’s Congress in June 2012 in what was widely labeled a parliamentary coup.

    • American Horror Story: The Shameful Truth About the Government’s Secret Experiments

      Fool me over and over and over again, shame on both of us.

      Shame on every politician, bureaucrat and technician who is a shill for the U.S. government’s abuses and lies, and shame on every gullible American who keeps buying into the government’s propaganda, believing that it has our best interests at heart.

      Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government has seldom had our best interests at heart.

      The government didn’t have our best interests at heart when it propelled us into endless oil-fueled wars and military occupations in the Middle East that wreaked havoc on our economy, stretched thin our military resources and subjected us to horrific blowback.

    • The Real Story of Our Decades-Long Foreign Policy Disaster That Set the Middle East on Fire

      The brilliant Andrew Bacevich explains why our massive march to folly in Middle East has to be seen as one war.

    • The Civil War Inside the US Military

      In early April, a battalion of senior military officials appeared before a Senate panel and testified that the US Army is “outranged and outgunned,” particularly in any future conflict with Russia. Arguing for a much bigger budget for the Army, they claimed that, absent a substantial increase in funding, the Russians would overtake us and, even scarier, “the army of the future will be too small to secure the nation.”

    • Poof! It’s Forgotten

      Five Ways the Newest Story in Iraq and Syria is… That There Is No New Story

    • Defense Bill Coming This Week: A Boost for War and Tyranny

      For many of us concerned with liberty, the letters “NDAA” have come to symbolize Washington’s ongoing effort to undermine the US Constitution in the pursuit of constant war overseas. It was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2012 that introduced into law the idea that American citizens could be indefinitely detained without warrant or charge if a government bureaucrat decides they had assisted al-Qaeda or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.” No charges, no trial, just disappeared Americans.

      The National Defense Authorization bill should be a Congressional mechanism to bind the president to spend national defense money in the way Congress wishes. It is the nuts and bolts of the defense budget and as such is an important oversight tool preventing the imperial executive from treating the military as his own private army. Unfortunately that is no longer the case these days.

    • Human rights activists project ‘Daesh Bank’ onto Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Berlin

      Human-rights activists have projected the Isis flag and the phrase “Daesh bank” onto the side of the Saudi embassy in Berlin.

      The “guerrilla light project” was organised by artist Oliver Bienkowski, who wanted to highlight the country’s relationship with the extreme Islamist movement and its much-criticised human rights record.

      Saudi Arabia has been accused of indirectly creating Isis through the propagation of its fundamentalist Wahhabist interpretation of Islam.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton, the Conveniently Negligent Queen

      Hillary Clinton should have known that. At least according to her own spin, which she previously used to indict Edward Snowden. Now these words may come back to haunt her; “When I would go to China or I would go to Russia…we would leave all my electronic equipment on the plane with the batteries out, because this is a new frontier and they’re trying to find out not just about what we do in our government, they’re trying to find out about what a lot of companies do and they were going after the personal emails of people who worked in the State Department. It’s not like the only government in the world that is doing anything is the United States.”

      Considering agency rivalry, the FBI may not bother to ask the NSA whether foreign intel successfully hacked into the subterranean server (the NSA certainly knows). And even if they asked, the NSA notoriously does not share data with other federal agencies.

      So here’s a solution. The FBI should politely ask Beijing and Moscow for copies of all Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • China April coal output down 11.0 pct on year – stats bureau

      May 14 China produced 268 million tonnes of coal in April, down 11 percent on the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, with producers cutting back in a concerted effort to shore up prices.

      Output over the first four months of the year reached 1.081 billion tonnes, down 6.8 percent compared with the same period of last year.

    • National Park Service Stands Up For Grizzly Bears, Yet Again

      On May 10, among the thousands of comments to US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on its proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from Yellowstone grizzly bears and allow a trophy sport hunt, was a brief letter from the National Park Service (NPS) that packed a big punch: don’t hunt the bears that wander close to Park boundaries (link).

    • Our Fossil-Fuel Economy Destroys the Earth and Exploits Humanity

      Whether or not we care to admit it, our current economy is extractive—that is, it’s built on the exploitation and extraction of human labor and the earth’s resources. It relies on corporations that force workers to work long hours in unsafe conditions for insufficient wages and benefits. It exists by the continual removal of nutrients from the soil, minerals from the mountains, and fossil fuels from underground. This system isn’t working for us today, and it isn’t going to work for us tomorrow. We know that infinite growth is not possible, but this economy depends on it.

    • Volunteers for the Long Haul

      Good old Knoxville, Tennessee — this scruffy little town that I love — will host the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a dismal bureaucracy, on May 26, 2016. BLM is heading to the vibrant, plush Tennessee Theatre in the heart of downtown to take comments on how “public” lands are utilized for coal mining. Specifically, strip mining will be under the microscope. Moreover, taxpayer-funded, corporate welfare-ridden, landscape-plunderingstrip mining will be examined.

      Though King Coal is in decline it is still a major industry. An estimated 40% of coal extracted in the United States comes from land managed by the BLM. We taxpayers fund the BLM and thus the mining on these landscapes. We then have to watch as the black rock is sold at bargain prices to industry giants. It’s American capitalism. Risk and cost are socialized while profit is privatized. It’s nation against country. State against our lands.

    • Climate Democracy for Rural Communities

      In early March, farmers and rural residents of southeast Minnesota gathered for three intensive days of presentations, discussion and deliberation around the thorny issue of climate change. The Winona, Minnesota Climate Dialogue participants, most of them in shirts and jeans, were a blend of ages, cultural backgrounds and jobs. Some had lived in the community their whole lives, while others had moved to the area recently. All said they loved where they lived and cared about its natural beauty—ideally positioned where fertile farmland meets the deeply carved Mississippi River Valley. But, all certainly did not come to the table with any shared view of climate change or common political perspective.


      The dialogue process is far more than an exercise in community decision making; it’s the opportunity to rebuild democracy. Democracy requires informed citizens. Without positive, pro-rural voices or proposals on the table, climate change deniers have been able to focus on the additional burdens that new regulation or taxation would bring to rural America while ignoring all of the ways in which climate change itself will negatively impact rural America—and the opportunities for economic development in a new, clean energy economy.

      Climate change can make people feel powerless. Therefore, democracy in action requires more than an informed citizenship. People also need to have agency—the feeling and actual power to do something about the problem, not just individually, but as a collective.

      The Rural Climate Dialogue process is three-fold: through peer to peer collaboration it enables us to understand the climate challenge for the community; it builds an amplified on-the-ground network of cooperation to implement both policy and non-policy solutions; and then it reforms the political process so that our leaders (and the policies they pass) are influenced and include a more diverse network of citizens.

    • ‘Not a Symbol, A Signal’: Wave of Direct Actions Points to Fossil-Free Future

      Mass arrests took place during the weekend’s Break Free actions around the world, and more demonstrations were happening on Sunday, the final day of a global wave of actions calling for a just transition away from fossil fuels.

    • For Inspiring ‘A New Agenda,’ Naomi Klein Wins 2016 Sydney Peace Prize

      Author and activists says award ‘comes at a time when the impacts of the climate crisis are being acutely felt’ around the world

    • A Song Of Fire And No Ice: We Just Had Our Fourth Record-Breaking Hottest Month In A Row

      A record fire-storm in Canada fueled by record warmth. Record ice-melt in Greenland and the Arctic sea, driven by off-the-charts warmth in the far north. And, NASA reported Friday, we’ve just been through the hottest April and the hottest January-April on record — by far.

    • April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs

      April 2016 was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records.

      The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded.

    • Shell creates green energy division to invest in wind power

      Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, has established a separate division, New Energies, to invest in renewable and low-carbon power.

      The move emerged days after experts at Chatham House warned international oil companies they must transform their business or face a “short, brutal” end within 10 years.

      Shell’s new division brings together its existing hydrogen, biofuels and electrical activities but will also be used as a base for a new drive into wind power, according to an internal announcement to company staff.

      With $1.7bn of capital investment currently attached to it and annual capital expenditure of $200m, New Energies will be run alongside the Integrated Gas division under executive board member Maarten Wetselaar.

    • Revealed: New Zealand’s enormous 60-year, 25 million tonne illegal fishing lie

      Michael Field, whose book The Catch helped expose the labour and human rights abuses in New Zealand’s fishing industry, says a report out today reveals a decades-long abuse of our much-vaunted quota system, with more than twice as many fish caught as declared.

      New Zealanders know the power of national utterances; we live by “clean and green” and “a great place to raise kids”.

  • Finance

    • What Recovery? In Cities All Over America, the Middle Class Is Drastically Declining

      Since the year 2000, more than 80 percent of metropolitan areas saw their household incomes decline, pointing to a shrinking middle class that’s fueling economic insecurity.

      According to the Pew Research Center, which previously documented a national trend of middle class decline, “the changes at the metropolitan level … demonstrate that the national trend is the result of widespread declines in localities all around the country.”

    • Pataphysical Conditions on the Ground

      Pace Hillary and Trump but manufacturing jobs once again creating a solid middle class and a moveable feast of economic mobility will not return. Walls, embargoes, penalty taxes, passport revoking, and resurrection of unions will not do it. “Low pay married to high profits in much of the service economy is contributing to a widening income chasm that is rending society in all sorts of ways. Used to the prosperity once delivered by manufacturing, American workers are rebelling against the changing tide.” (Eduardo Porto, “Moving On From Farm And Factory,” The New York Times, April 27, 2016.)

      A postindustrial tomorrow is the ticket. We are all a service economy now with a sharp distinction between serving “on the ground” and serving in cyberspace. Flipping a burger or delivering a pizza, mowing a lawn or cleaning a pool, walking dogs or baby carriages are “on the ground” services. In cyberspace, brokers and investors practice their dark derivative arts, marketers and advertisers huckster products and services, the outraged blog and tweet, and the overworked and not working surf for personally chosen brands of anesthetics and distractions, sports, porn, gambling, and shopping high on the list. Those still in school preparing for the service economy network socially, updates on Facebook, videos on Instagram, occasion marking selfies, keeping up on Twitter, and rushing at nano speed beyond all things analog, where, as Baudrillard expresses it, “the whirligig of representation goes mad.”

    • If You’re Low-Income, America Is Still an Oligarchy

      At least that’s the argument in a recent article by Vox’s Dylan Matthews. Matthews cites new research finding that the rich and middle class agree on about 90 percent of bills that come before the United States Congress.


      What’s more, policies favored by the middle class and poor, who together comprise a majority of Americans, passed just 20.4 percent of the time, while those favored by only the rich passed 38.5 percent of the time. In other words, the rich had more success getting their policies enacted than the middle class and poor combined—which is the very definition of an oligarchy.

    • Tricky Timing for the Class of 2016

      This year’s high school graduates were 10 years old when the economy hit the skids in 2008. Many college graduates in the class of 2016 were 14. Yet, their economic prospects remain darkened by the enduring effects of the Great Recession.

      That is not to say there has been no improvement. The class of ’16 has more and better-paying job opportunities than earlier post-crash graduating classes, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. But for the most part, today’s graduates still face employment conditions that are worse than in 2007, the year before the recession, and are much worse than in 2000, when the economy was last at full employment.

      The recent unemployment rate for college graduates ages 21 to 24 was 5.5 percent, compared with 4.3 percent in 2000. Their underemployment rate — which includes the unemployed, those who have briefly left the work force and those stuck in part-time jobs — was recently 12.3 percent, compared with 7.1 percent in 2000. And in 2015, nearly 45 percent of college graduates ages 22 to 27 were in jobs that did not require a college degree, compared with 38 percent in 2000. Over the same period, student debt has soared, which means that many of today’s graduates are trying to pay off more debt with less secure jobs.

    • Reinvention and Whiplash: Bernie, Hillary, and “Strange Bedfellows” in the Democratic Party

      Meanwhile, beneath and beyond the seemingly interminable electoral extravaganza, the profits system’s ever- accelerating real-time assault on livable ecology pushes life on Earth ever closer to an apocalyptic cliff.

    • TTIP vs Europeans: A wake-up call for the Commission

      The massive opposition to TTIP in Europe should convince the EU to listen to its citizens, as the issue has the potential, in conjunction with other factors like Brexit, to bring the whole idea of the Union into question, writes Nomi Byström.

      Nomi Byström is a postdoctoral researcher in computer sciences at Aalto University, Finland.

      In all corners of Europe, opposition to TTIP has swept like wildfire since the deal was announced in 2013. Huge demonstrations in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Vienna, Warsaw, Ljubljana and Prague show no sign of ending. In its first year alone, 3,263,920 people signed a petition against TTIP by a London-based charity. Not only do Dutch voters seek a referendum on TTIP, opinion polls make sobering reading on where most Europeans stand. Only a few days ago, it was revealed that some 70% of Germans see TTIP as bringing “mostly disadvantages”.

    • TPPA shines light on constitutional shortcomings

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has been before Parliament since February of this year.

      As the Green MP on the relevant committee, I attended the hearings the committee held, reading the 3000 written submissions and listening to the 255 oral submissions presented in person.

      In eight years in Parliament, I have not witnessed such passion from New Zealanders as in these hearings. Whatever the substantive issues of the treaty, and we all have our views, the fact is that people harbour deep concern over the general nature of this particular agreement.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie or Bust will save us: The foul stench of “lesser evilism” has made our politics useless

      For months now, my Facebook feed has been clogged with inspirational posts about Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders getting arrested at a civil rights rally. Bernie Sanders’s modest tax returns. Bernie Sanders with a bird. Now that the delegate math is stacked against him, my Facebook feed is full of panicky moralistic posts about how Bernie or Bust is going to ruin everything, that it’s time for Sanders supporters to give up on ideological purity and unify behind the presumed nominee.

      But the case for giving up on Sanders is turning out to be as difficult to make as the one for nominating him. Could it be that the Bernie or Bust movement, however righteous or quixotic, is not about Sanders at all, but another symptom of a high-rolling advertising-driven culture that has eroded all our trust in the social contract? I mean, if you’re looking for someone to blame, Edward Bernays is your man, not Sanders—and certainly not anyone who plans to write in Sanders’s name on a general election ballot.

    • Trump’s Dangerous Strategy: How Inciting His Supporters Could Backfire

      When Donald Trump tells his supporters that if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination: “It’s a rigged system; it’s a corrupt system, it’s 100% crooked,” he is resurrecting a theme that created some of America’s darkest hours. Trump is trying to solidify his support by attacking the legitimacy of the political system. While Movement Conservatives since Newt Gingrich have attacked the legitimacy of Democrats in Washington, Trump is going further: delegitimizing the government itself. Americans have been in this place before. In the late nineteenth century, when the nation’s economic and political tensions looked much like today’s, unpopular politicians trying to overcome overwhelming odds did the same thing.

    • Nevada Democrats defend exclusion of Bernie convention delegates that led to explosion of anger

      Nevada’s Democratic State Committee defended excluding 58 Bernie Sanders’ delegates at their convention Saturday night, saying they failed to register properly as Democrats before the final caucus.

      At the contentious convention, held in the Paris hotel in Las Vegas, scuffles broke out as Sanders’ supporters claimed that the state party subverted the will of the voters by awarding more pledged delegates to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

      According to the Las Vegas Sun, Clinton took 20 of the 35 pledged delegates Nevada will send to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer.

    • Ben Carson Lets Drop That Sarah Palin Is on Trump’s VP Short List

      On a day when the New York Times dropped a bombshell of a piece about Donald Trump’s long history of crude comments and disgustingly sexist treatment of women, Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson detonated a little bombshell of his own.

    • Here’s what happened at Saturday’s dramatic Nevada Democratic convention

      The people who attend the Democratic convention this weekend were chosen during voting in early April. At that point, Sanders out-organized Clinton, getting 2,124 people elected to the state convention (according to the tabulation at the always-essential delegate-tracking site the Green Papers) to Clinton’s 1,722. That suggested that voting at the state convention would flip: Sanders would win those 4-to-3 and 3-to-2 contests, giving him a 7-to-5 victory at the convention and making the state total 18-to-17 for Clinton instead of 20-to-15.


      On Friday, Sanders’s campaign released a statement (apparently after a conversation with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid) thanking his supporters in the state and saying that working together “respectfully and constructively on Saturday at the Nevada Democratic convention” would help the party beat Donald Trump in November. On Saturday morning, though, there was tumult.

    • Tensions Flare, State Chairwoman Flees in Delegate Dispute at Nevada Democratic Convention (Video)

      Sanders supporter Rachel Avery posted video of the point in the evening when Paris Hotel security made it clear that the conference, as far as they were concerned, was officially over…

    • To Leave the Future Open: On the False “Choices” of Election 2016

      Not long ago, I promised to say more about my own choice, so I offer this reflection. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind, and I’m not trying to. But this is no ordinary election year; political, financial, and ecological systems are all in various stages of crisis and collapse. I hope what I say here is useful to some as we think not only about specific candidates and the election but also beyond them.

      The violence I’m speaking of here is the “normal” violence of mainstream American institutions. Michael Bronski and I have recently written a book about such violence (Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics) which is widespread and massive. It kills swiftly and through the systemic diminution of life chances for Black, Indigenous, and Latino/a communities, and for working class and poor people of all races.

      Rooted in ideologies that are, interdependently, white supremacist, patriarchal and capitalist, this violence is a predictable structural feature, not an aberration, of the entire criminal legal system, including prisons and policing. It is a feature of many forms of custodial care. It is found within public and private educational institutions; the health care system; corporations and many workplaces; the military. This violence usually gets little attention; when it does come into public view, usually as the result of crisis and the accompanying sensationalized media coverage, there is a flurry of activity to produce cosmetic public ceremonies, commissions, or even token policy reforms that do little or nothing to get at its root causes. A designated “bad apple,” disciplined or prosecuted, often serves as the scapegoat for systemic harm.

    • Russia’s Diversity of Opinion

      The usual U.S. depiction of Russian media is that all you get is Kremlin propaganda, but prime-time talk shows actually offer wider diversity of opinion and more substantive debates than what appears on American TV, says Gilbert Doctorow.

    • You Can’t Distract Us Forever: a Note to Justin Trudeau

      The revenue agency’s investigation into KPMG’s tax scheme has been stalled for more than three years, and no one will explain why. According the CBC’s investigation, “In February 2013, a federal court judge ordered KPMG to turn over a list of unidentified multimillionaire clients who placed their fortunes in an Isle of Man tax shelter scheme.” KPMG has still not complied and the fact that the CRA has not requested a court date to enforce its court order has been described as “mysterious.” Maybe not.


      If Justin Trudeau can’t deal with the rot in his own rogue agency, his carefully crafted political persona will be permanently tainted. What will remain is the same old Bay Street Liberal Party unashamedly serving the rich and powerful.

    • Electoral Folly: No Matter How Good the Candidate, Business as Usual Rules Elected Office

      2016 is shaping up to be a year of social movements: Black Lives Matter, trans-equity, teachers and workers struggles. It is also an election year, and one candidate, Bernie Sanders, has activists and organizers across the country “feeling the bern.” But is the enthusiasm justified, will electing good politicians lead to substantial change?

      “The question is,” according to Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist city council member, “How can we build a public movement that would counter business opposition?” This was Sawant soon after her historic victory where she and her party, Socialist Alternative, defied expectations and won a tight race against an entrenched incumbent Democrat, Richard Colin. Her major legislative agenda, “$15Now,” a substantial minimum wage hike for workers, faced hostility from business interests. Sawant recognized that they couldn’t do it alone, that it would take a movement of regular people to make change.

      But how far did the minimum wage law go given the tremendous support Sawant’s campaign generated, and did her repeated electoral success help build social movements as she often claims? This article wants to go back to Sawant’s central question posed in 2014 – how can we build social movements to counter business power?

    • What’s Left?

      Sanders says he is campaigning for a “political revolution”. Sawant and other genuine socialists have embraced this call and taken it up as their own. This is indeed strange since the expression has historically been used to describe a change at the top that is distinct from a fundamental change of the whole. The expression “political revolution” was popularized by Leon Trotsky in his fight against Stalinism in the Soviet Union. In that context, it was a call to replace the murderous, bureaucratic regime at the head of the Soviet state with a form of workers democracy, while retaining the socialized economy and property relations that had been won in the Russian revolution. The idea was to replace the rot at the top without reverting to capitalism.


      What’s needed is not some new party in the abstract, but a new tool that can be used by working people to fight for political power as a class, with the ultimate aim of replacing the rule of the capitalist minority with the democratic rule of the working class majority. Along the way, in our zeal to build the movement we know is needed to set the world right, we should remember: success is not measured by how many people you have marching behind your banner, but by the number of people marching behind your banner in the right direction.

    • Conservatives bash the Beeb for advertisers

      Distinctiveness is the keyword running through the BBC White Paper but to understand the proposals we need another word: advertising. We can speculate on the driving motivations, from grandstanding free-market ideologising to petty political point-scoring, but one explanation stands out: the White Paper delivers to those commercial media and advertising interests wanting to get more of us to switch from BBC services to services that carry advertisements.

      It does not deliver everything the advocates of immediate dissolution of the BBC want, of course, but it accepts and advances the commercial case to cut competition for audiences in lucrative markets. The majority commercial view is that the BBC is a tolerable if not advantageous presence, as long as they can enjoy the greatest commercial opportunities that the political system can deliver from BBC reform.

    • RNC Chair: Nobody Cares How Awful Trump Has Been To Women

      In its effort to rally behind Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee, the Republican Party is embracing a new messaging strategy: None of the terrible things Trump has said or done matter to anybody.

      Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said as much Sunday morning. On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Priebus about the Saturday New York Times story cataloging multiple times Trump has mistreated women in private. “Does that bother you?” Wallace asked.

    • Purged, Hacked, Switched: On Election Fraud Allegations in Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

      According to Gonzalez, “the suppression of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters” was a violation of the Voting Rights Act as it had a “disproportionate affect on Latino” voters. “Typically, Latino voters vote more heavily on election day” rather than in early or absentee balloting. Seventy percent of Latino voters in the state are in Maricopa county, according to Gonzalez, and the Democratic (and Republican) party should not seat delegates from Arizona: “Those delegates should be thrown out, the awarded delegates based on a fraudulent vote should not be allowed. Either that delegation should be disqualified in total at the party convention or you have to have a new election.”

      Unless Democrats or the New York City Board of Election can provide compelling evidence contrary to Election Justice USA’s findings, New York’s delegation also should not be seated at the Democratic Convention in July.

    • Why Trump Can Lie and No One Seems to Care

      The GOP candidate gets away with outrageous, contradictory statements because the mainstream media and the public let him.

    • Understanding the Republican Insurgency: the Donald Trump Phenomenon

      Donald Trump is no champion of the poor – he is a billionaire born into money, a crude, predatory capitalist in the mold of Silvio Berlusconi. The similarities between these two figures are striking, and give one an indication of the absolute rotten depths to which a national politics must fall before the working classes start to embrace these kinds of figures in their electoral preferences.

    • Thomas Frank: Bill Clinton’s Five Major Achievements Were Longstanding GOP Objectives

      Thomas Frank, author of Listen, Liberal, discusses the Hillary Doctrine’s basis in neoliberalism, how the Democratic Party stopped governing on behalf of the working class and how President Bill Clinton’s major achievements actually enacted conservative goals, and ultimately hurt working people.

    • WATCH: Fox News’ Vile Jesse Watters Gets Humiliated by the Very People He’s Trying to Humiliate

      “This country has become a joke,” one victim said, “and Donald Trump is the punchline.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • President Obama Just Said He Opposes Campus Censorship. Here’s How He Can Prove It.

      The plague of political correctness infecting every corner of life on American college campuses has grown so ubiquitous that even President Obama—by no means a conservative or contrarian on education matters—is bemoaning student-initiated censorship.


      The Vox piece on Obama’s comments is largely positive; it certainly doesn’t criticize the president for observing that college students are too narrow-minded and censorship-driven. Perhaps that’s not so surprising—Vox has actually run at least two pieces from professors lamenting that the preferences of a few irate students have made teaching much more difficult and less rewarding. Indeed, many on the intellectual left are supportive of the idea that college administrators are all-too eager to humor the demands of the hyper-offended minority.

      But I’m skeptical that any amount of public pressure from intellectuals can inspire campuses to change so long as the federal government continues issuing guidance to universities that obligates them to censor. If Obama is actually opposed to the new scourge of political correctness on college campuses, he could prove his dedication to the cause by directing the Education Department to relax its relentless Title IX inquisition.

    • Can we face away from Facebook?

      Facebook remains uncontested as the social media champ of Wall Street. Its stock recently hit an all-time high while Twitter’s hit its low. As an enrollee in both, I can tell you why — and the why of it is reason for concern.

      Beneath those warm visuals of Thanksgiving pies and bulldogs playing with canaries lies a data-gathering megalopolis focused on gathering one’s personal information and selling it. Facebook knows your social connections, your shopping habits and your likes. It does offer privacy settings, but they take effort. Meanwhile, users are under constant assault to ”give it up” in the name of some convenience or pleasure.

      Facebook’s genius is in its ability to hide this machinery. It seems a safe place. Users must reveal their identities, which cuts down on the careless hurling of snark.

    • Olivier gala: Mike Ward the big winner

      Humorists in solidarity say freedom of expression is the basis of their work

    • Gala les Olivier: Comedy and controversy
    • Canadian Comedy Sketch Canceled…About Freedom of Expression
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Hidden Microphones Exposed As Part of Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area

      Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

      Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it.

      Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

    • Lack of Online Privacy Has Chilling Effect, U.S. Department of Commerce Says

      The constant threat of breaches, surveillance, and online data collection stopped almost half of American households from doing business and expressing opinions online last year, according to a new survey from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

      Using 2015 census data, a new analysis from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) finds that out of 41,000 internet-using households (representing a total of around 19 million), 45 percent claimed they’ve refrained from banking, buying stuff, posting on social media, or talking about controversial topics online over the last year. The reasons people gave for the chilling effects vary, but a significant majority (63 percent) cited identity theft, followed by credit card fraud, corporate data collection, government surveillance, and other factors.

    • Feds Will (Finally) Mine Social Media for Background Checks

      After years of development, the US government has come up with an official policy to mine the public social media accounts of potential employees during background checks.

      The policy was signed on Thursday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. It allows intelligence agencies to collect “publicly available social media information,” so it doesn’t cover anything that’s not public information already, and expressly forbids agencies to request passwords or create fake or real social media accounts to interact with the applicants “in order to bypass privacy controls.”

      Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, and an expert in government secrecy, said that this policy has been in the works for 8 years.

    • Needed: More Snowdens – Ex-intel analyst

      I was an active duty Marine working in signals intelligence in 2013 when Edward Snowden exposed the mass surveillance programs of the National Security Agency. Snowden’s alleged espionage had a lasting effect both on my work and on my attitude toward it.

      As a cryptologic linguist and intelligence analyst, my day-to-day activities were directly compromised when I was suddenly unable to use certain methods and tools due to the leak. Not only that, Snowden’s action created a moral dilemma for me as a member of the intelligence community. I began questioning the morality of my work. If the public was outraged by what Snowden leaked, will they be outraged by how the U.S. is fighting terrorism?

    • Snowden derides ‘traitor versus hero’ media coverage

      Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now hiding in Russia from U.S. espionage charges, Thursday chided the media for making too big a deal of him.

      “I was very forceful in my first interviews: I am the least important part of the story,” he said on a secure video channel to a packed audience at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

    • Hidden Microphones Exposed As Part of Government Surveillance Program In The Bay Area

      Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

      Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it.

      Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.

    • Japanese firm introduces privacy visor that confuses facial recognition software

      According to a report in Inverse, Japan’s Nissey Corp. is set to release a privacy visor that the company claims will scramble digital facial recognition software.

      “This is a way to prevent privacy invasion through the many image sensors in smartphones and other devices that can unintentionally photograph people in the background,” commented National Institute for Informatics researcher and a visor developer Isao Echizen.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Lesser of Two Evils Vote is Counterproductive and Morally Corrupt

      If you vote for Clinton as the lesser of two evils, you’re compromising your moral values, you’re condoning the Democratic Party’s shoddy treatment of millions of progressives, and you’re sabotaging future real change. You’re virtually guaranteeing the Democratic Party elites will put you in this position again and again. If you refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils, maybe you’ll help elect Trump (or maybe your write-in or third party choice will win). But you’ll certainly send a very clear message to Democratic Party elites that you’ll no longer tolerate being ignored, marginalized, or shamed with false lesser of two evil choices.

    • Police called in to investigate David Cameron letters as election fraud probe grows

      Police have been asked to investigate whether letters sent by the Conservatives to voters in David Cameron’s name broke election laws.

      In the latest twist to the investigation into the party’s election spending, a former Liberal Democrat MP told police that mail-outs by the Tories were not properly recorded as local election expenses and may have broken spending limits.

      Conservatives say the letters, which were signed by David Cameron, did not count as local campaign expenditure because they did not mention the name of the Tory candidate in the area.

    • White Cop Brutally Beats Black Teen for Riding Her Bike—Then Charges Her with Assault (Video)

      A Tacoma, Washington family is suing over the brutal beating in 2014 of then-15-year-old Monique Tillman, who a Tacoma Police officer pulled off her bicycle, choked and then shocked with a Taser.

      The Free Thought Project reported Saturday on the attack, which was recorded by security cameras.

      Monique Tillman and her brother were bicycling home on May 24, 2014 when they cut through the parking lot of the Tacoma Mall. Officer Jared Williams, a uniformed white officer of the Tacoma Police Department, was working mall security that day. He pursued the two teenagers — who are black — and informed them that they were trespassing on mall property.

    • “Take it off! This is America!”: North Carolina man pleads guilty to federal crime after yanking Muslim woman’s headscarf off during flight

      A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Friday to forcibly removing a Muslim woman’s head scarf during a flight between Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, late last year.

    • Chomsky: The Majority of Today’s Elected Democrats Are Moderate Republicans

      The majority of Democrats have shifted to the right so far that the two-party system is almost unrecognizable, according to Noam Chomsky.

      “There used to be a quip that the United States was a one-party state with a business party that had two factions: the Democrats and Republicans—and that used to be pretty accurate, but it’s not anymore. The U.S. is still a two-party state, but there’s only one faction, and it’s not Democrats, it’s moderate Republicans. Today’s Democrats have shifted to the right,” Chomsky told RT America’s Anissa Naouai.

    • A Tribute To Radical Human Rights Lawyer Michael Ratner

      Michael Ratner spent the last half century steadfastly fighting for human rights. He was a radical lawyer, who led the Center for Constitutional Rights. He was an outspoken advocate for civil liberties and truth-telling, as he represented WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. He was instrumental in winning due process rights for Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and he died on May 11.

      In a sober statement celebrating the work of Ratner, the Center for Constitutional Rights declared, “For 45 years, Michael brought cases with the Center for Constitutional Rights in U.S. courts related to war, torture, and other atrocities, sometimes committed by the U.S., sometimes by other regimes or corporations, in places ranging from El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala, to Yugoslavia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, and Israel.”

    • British-Based Cubans Face US Blockade in Piano Project

      As a sign of just how punitive the blockade remains, earlier that month a group of Cuban musicians based in Britain had their money withheld by Eventbrite, a US website-based company. Cuban pianist Eralys Fernandez, who lives in London, had used the ticket sales website for a classical music concert held in an East London church in mid-March.

    • Trumping Up Torture

      Calculated production of suffering, as much as capricious, is known as barbarism, yet should become US policy according to Donald Trump. He specifically aims to institute “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

      Barbarism, it goes without saying, is what makes terrorism bad, and no confidence is warranted that either of them produce much besides pain, indignation and escalation.

      Yet there is a clear difference between Trump and ISIS in that the latter has an actual strategy of escalation. Trump just thinks that the harsh extraction of words will serve most captives right and is bound to be worthwhile even if it doesn’t provide useful intelligence (though he assures us it does). His pitch is simple: Our enemy is brutal so we must be too.

      To know the first thing about logic is to know that doesn’t follow. It is virtually equivalent to saying that our enemy is evil so we should be evil too.

    • Turkey’s Creeping Authoritarianism: Is the Resistance Enough?

      Turkey’s march towards authoritarianism took another dangerous turn this past week with the forced resignation of moderate Islamist Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, apparently at the insistence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

      Though constitutionally the Turkish prime minister wields executive authority and the president is largely a figurehead, Erdoğan—who served as prime minister for eleven years before term limits forced him to step down in 2014—appears to still be in charge.

    • CIA admits: We sent Mandela to jail

      A former CIA spy has revealed his key role in the arrest of Nelson Mandela, which led to the future South African president’s trial and imprisonment for almost 28 years.

      The bombshell disclosure led yesterday to a demand for the CIA to come clean about putting behind bars a figure who became one of the world’s most revered statesmen.

      A veteran political associate of Mandela called it a “shameful act of betrayal” that “hindered the struggle against apartheid”.

    • Philippine president-elect Duterte vows to kill criminals

      “What I will do is urge Congress to restore (the) death penalty by hanging,” Duterte, 71, told a press conference in Davao.

    • The Supreme Court Is at Stake: Why the Presidential Election Matters

      It is no secret that the makeup of the US Supreme Court will be a major issue as the fall election campaigns unfold. And yet, many voters will choose not to vote. “It’s too much effort. I forgot to register when I moved. My vote won’t matter.”

    • Voices from UK Detention Centers

      The pregnant detainee was writing back in March. It’s not clear how she spent Mother’s Day, but in all likelihood she spent it in detention or was deported, and in either case, would be spiraling deeper into mental instability at this point. Wherever she and her child end up, they might never escape the sense of being “controlled by somebody.” When protesters rallied on May 7, trying to break the silence around detention across Europe and the North America, they brought their voices to an often ignored human rights issue. Yet it is even rarer to hear the people who live in the immersion of that silence every day speaking out in their own words.

      This is what the isolation of detention does, forcing us to forget what we sound like, and eventually to forget how to speak.

    • My Acceptance Speech for the 2016 Blueprint Enduring Impact Whistleblowing Prize

      I keep fighting to survive and thrive. I am fighting my court-martial conviction and sentence before a military appeals court, starting this month. I am fighting to make the full investigation by the FBI public. I am fighting to grow my hair beyond the two inch male standards by the U.S. military.

    • Are our smartphones afflicting us all with symptoms of ADHD?

      When was the last time you opened your laptop midconversation or brought your desktop computer to the dinner table? Ridiculous, right? But if you are like a large number of Americans, you have done both with your smartphone.

  • DRM


Links 15/5/2016: Gaming on Linux, LinHES R8.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Follow Up: Linksys WRT Routers Won’t Block Open Source Firmware, Despite FCC Rules

    Is the suggestion that the Doppler weather radar in use at airports is less important than getting cat pictures from the comfort of your couch and not having to run an extra Ethernet cable? Because Delta Flight 191 is why these airport Doppler weather radar systems exist at all. Do we punish before or after the crash? As well I don’t think there is an appreciation for just how hard it is to find malfunctioning transmitters: it can be done but with significant amounts of work. The FCC is not funded for this level of enforcement right now. Everyone must share the very finite electromagnetic spectrum. I don’t have a problem giving life and safety critical systems priority over cat videos.

    As a quick experiment locate your WiFi router and check the verbiage. I’m sure everyone has seen the part 15 text but probably never paid attention to it. You will find This device may not cause harmful interference as well as this device must accept any interference received. That’s because the weather radar, by design, gets to break you but you don’t get to break it.

  • Reflections: The ecosystem is moving

    At Open Whisper Systems, we’ve been developing open source “consumer-facing” software for the past four years. We want to share some of the things we’ve learned while doing it.

  • The Evolution of Open Source

    For those who entered the IT industry in the late 2000s, open source software is part of the norm. For them, there isn’t a time when open source software was not free and available to everyone, and permeating through almost every facet of technology.

    But those who have been with open source from the beginning know that such was not always the case. As open source stands at the brink of technological breakthroughs, we remember its past and look forward to its promising future.


    By the 1990s to 2000s a new kind of movement emerged. Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel and because of it, more people were able to use open source operating systems and improve them to a level that was competitive with proprietary platforms.

    Unlike the programmers of Stallman’s time, Torvalds and his peers’ primary motivations for moving open source forward were not moral but functional. They viewed it as the more efficient way to code, and way less expensive than its proprietary counterparts. Despite this industry-aligned motivation and the developments that arose from it, open sourcing was still a much debated issue. Many a programmer had to battle with giants like Microsoft for using open source software.

  • Web Browsers/Mail

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • In search of a home for Thunderbird

        For fans of Thunderbird, the repeated back-and-forth from Mozilla leadership can be a source of frustration on its own, but it probably does not help that Mozilla has started multiple other non-browser projects (such as ChatZilla, Raindrop, Grendel, and Firefox Hello) over the years while insisting that Thunderbird was a distraction from Firefox. Although it might seem like Mozilla management displays an inconsistent attitude toward messaging and other non-web application projects, each call for Mozilla to rid itself of Thunderbird has also highlighted the difficulty of maintaining Thunderbird and Firefox in the same engineering and release infrastructure.

  • Databases

    • Enterprise NoSQL Database for the IoT Becomes Open Source

      Riak TS, an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT), recently upgraded to version 1.3. The Riak TS now has a free open source version for IoT developers, in addition to a more robust Riak TS Enterprise version.

  • BSD

    • Why OpenBSD Is Important To Me

      The US government has chosen to attack everyone’s privacy, US citizen and world citizen alike, in the name of attacking the privacy of terrorists. The government view is that privacy is an impediment to keeping us safe from physical harm. Tragically, they’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater–we want to be safe from physical harm so that we can engage with society as free citizens with the maximum possible liberty…putting us in a digital prison, where all of our communication is subject to the whim of government review is the opposite of keeping us safe, its a devastating attack on our freedom.


  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

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

  • Programming/Development

    • Physicists ≠ Software Developers

      Nevertheless, I really think that being a physicist is not an excuse for not following good programming style and practise when working with others, especially given the large number of learning resources currently available online. I am especially fond of two non-profit projects that focus on providing resources and organizing events to improve computing skills in scientific research. One is lead by Software Carpentry and the other is lead by Mozilla Science Lab. There you can find some nicely curated lessons on basic software development practices.


  • EU Referendum: Boris Johnson compares EU’s aims to Hitler’s

    Boris Johnson has compared the EU’s aims to Hitler’s, saying both involved the intention to unify Europe under a single “authority”.

    The pro-Brexit Tory MP said both the Nazi leader and Napoleon had failed at unification and the EU was “an attempt to do this by different methods”.

    Labour MP Yvette Cooper, from the Remain campaign, accused the ex-London Mayor of playing “nasty, nasty games”.

  • Boris Johnson: The EU wants a superstate, just as Hitler did

    The European Union is pursuing a similar goal to Hitler in trying to create a powerful superstate, Boris Johnson says.

    In a dramatic interview with the Telegraph, he warns that while bureaucrats in Brussels are using “different methods” from the Nazi dictator, they share the aim of unifying Europe under one “authority”.

    But the EU’s “disastrous” failures have fuelled tensions between member states and allowed Germany to grow in power, “take over” the Italian economy and “destroy” Greece, he warns.

  • Sir John Major’s thinly veiled attack on Boris Johnson and Michael Gove: Vote leave campaigners risk ‘morphing into Ukip’

    Senior Conservatives leading the campaign to leave the EU risk “morphing into Ukip” by fuelling prejudices over immigration, Sir John Major is to say.

    In a thinly veiled attack on leading Brexit backing Tories including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the former Conservative prime minister will warn that they are straying into “dangerous territory” by focusing on immigration.

    Sir John will say that the Leave campaign risks “opening up long-term divisions in our society”.

  • Microsoft director, former Amazon director charged in prostitution sting [Ed: not so unusual at Microsoft]

    Charges have been filed against additional men – including a director from Microsoft and a former Amazon director – for promoting prostitution after investigators said they met with victims of sex trafficking at high-end Bellevue apartments.

    One of those charged is Sumit Virmani, the director of worldwide health for Microsoft.

    Using the names “Appy” and “Jaytee,” investigators said Virmani submitted over 70 reviews of prostitutes he had allegedly hired since April 2012, according to investigators.

    When asked about Virmani’s employment status, a spokeswoman for WE Worldwide — Microsoft’s PR company — said she couldn’t comment because it’s a “law enforcement matter.”

    A spokesman later confirmed Virmani is no longer an employee at Microsoft.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Political Economy of Dead Meat: Why Mad Cows are the Least of It

      Start today with one giant U.S. corporation, Monsanto, which makes chemicals and agribusiness products. It has spent many years and a billion dollars or two developing recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. The purpose of this product is to increase milk yield in dairy cattle. Inject BGH into cows twice a week and the milk yield goes up by some 10 to 20 percent. But crucially, with the artificially increased milk production, the cows need the infamous protein supplements made from rendered cows and sheep, thus opening the way to diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow disease), which can transfer to humans.

      There are other problems, of course. First, who needs higher productivity per dairy cow when there’s a huge milk glut in the United States? Second, as happened with poultry and now with hogs, BGH accelerates the demise of small producers and the emergence of the industrial dairy conglomerates.

      Like any junkie, cows hooked on BGH tend to get sick, mostly with mastitis, an infection of the udder. Treatment of mastitis requires liberal doses of antibiotics. The antibiotic injected into the cow passes on to the human consumer, and thus contributes to the process whereby more and more bacteria are building up greater resistance to antibiotics. Moreover, BGH also causes cows to produce more Insulin Growth-like Hormone-1 (or IGH-1), which has been linked to a number of disorders in humans, including acro-megaly (gigantism in the form of excessive growth of the head and extremities) and an increased risk of prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. There is also research to suggest that IGH-1 reduces the body’s ability to suppress naturally occurring tumors.

    • The Dirty Secret Behind Russia’s 2014 Olympic Success

      Over two years ago at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian athletes walked away with 33 medals, including 13 golds and 11 silvers, more than any other country. None of these medal winners were caught doping at the time.

      However, an investigation by the New York Times reveals that this success was due in part to “one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.”

      Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, is the whistleblower.

    • Flint Residents Told Their Poisoned Water Might Soon Cost Them Twice as Much

      Michigan state officials announced Thursday that Flint residents will not be charged for their water usage in May as part of an effort to help flush the system, but the long-term picture for the lead-poisoned city is far less rosy, according to a new report.

      In fact, the Michigan Department of Treasury analysis presented Friday shows that water rates in Flint, already among the highest in the nation, could double within five years unless changes are made to the crumbling water system.

    • Report: Flint water bills set to double over five years

      The typical Flint resident is currently charged about $53.84 per month on the water portion of their bill, not counting sewer costs, according to the report prepared by Raftelis Financial Consultants of Missouri.

      But current residential rates are not projected to cover future costs, assuming the city purchases Lake Huron water from Detroit through fiscal year 2017 before transitioning to the KWA pipeline in 2018.

      As a result, the typical water portion of a residential bill is estimated to rise to $110.11 per month by fiscal year 2022 “if no action is taken” to address various issues, according to the report.

    • In “Profound Loss for Maine’s Citizens,” Court OKs Sale of Town’s Water to Nestle

      Decision “paves the way for a private corporation to profit from a vital public resource for decades to come.”

    • Hunt and Stevens – leaving their dirty footprints all over the NHS

      Sustainability and Transformation Plans – the biggest attack on the NHS you’ve never heard of.

    • Federal Lawsuit: Farmers Claim Monsanto’s Controversial ‘Roundup’ Weedkiller Gave Them Cancer

      Despite Monsanto’s claim that its Roundup weed-killer is “safe enough to drink,” four Nebraska farmers say the widely used herbicide gave them non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

      The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” but Monsanto has promoted Roundup as “safe enough to drink,” the farmers say in their federal lawsuit.

    • Monsanto’s Cancer-Linked Weedkiller Is Coming to a City Park Near You? Already 2,000+ Locations Sprayed in NYC

      New Yorkers who visit their local parks have likely been exposed to glyphosate, the controversial, cancer-linked main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup. But the data about herbicide and pesticide spraying projects across the city isn’t adding up.

    • Pesticides, GMOs and Corporate Control: The Poster Child is Monsanto but Neil Young is the Main Act

      Neil Young has a long history of activism. He is a co-founder of Farm Aid, which works to support small and family farmers in North America, while his song Ohio is often considered to be one of the greatest protest songs ever made. Last year, Young pledged a $100,000 donation to Vermont’s legal fight against the GMO-labelling lawsuit, and he has recently been involved in putting together a new website that will help people engage with issues such as GMOs, farming, ecology, justice and climate change (access the site here).

      His new albums The Monsanto Years (2015) and Earth (2016) have a strong anti-corporate theme running through them and feature songs exploring global hunger, pesticides, GMOs, seeds and ecology. Young spent part of 2015 touring the US. The tour was different from the usual concert tour because it was accompanied by an ‘activist village’ comprising a coalition of leading non-profit organisations housed in numerous tents.

    • Leaks Show Senate Aide Threatened Colombia Over Cheap Cancer Drug

      Leaked diplomatic letters sent from Colombia’s Embassy in Washington describe how a staffer with the Senate Finance Committee, which is led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, warned of repercussions if Colombia moves forward on approving the cheaper, generic form of a cancer drug.

      The drug is called imatinib. Its manufacturer, Novartis, markets the drug in Colombia as Glivec. The World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines last year suggested it as treatment not only for chronic myeloid leukemia, but also gastrointestinal tumors. Currently, the cost of an annual supply is over $15,000, or about two times average Colombian’s income.

      On April 26, Colombian Minister of Health Alejandro Gaviria announced plans to take the first step in a multi-step process that could eventually result in allowing the generic production of the drug. A generic version of the drug that recently began production in India is expected to cost 30 percent less than the brand name version.

    • New bill proposes mandatory donation of unsold food

      Finnish MPs are following in France’s footsteps and introducing legislation that would make it mandatory for potential food waste to be directed to charities and food banks while it is still edible. Coordination of the redistibution would be a challenge.

  • Security

    • Replacing /dev/urandom

      The kernel’s random-number generator (RNG) has seen a great deal of attention over the years; that is appropriate, given that its proper functioning is vital to the security of the system as a whole. During that time, it has acquitted itself well. That said, there are some concerns about the RNG going forward that have led to various patches aimed at improving both randomness and performance. Now there are two patch sets that significantly change the RNG’s operation to consider.

    • Mozilla asks the FBI for details of Tor vulnerability that could also affect Firefox

      Mozilla is fighting to force the FBI to disclose details of a vulnerability in the Tor web browser. The company fears that the same vulnerability could affect Firefox, and wants to have a chance to patch it before details are made public.

      The vulnerability was exploited by FBI agents to home in on a teacher who was accessing child pornography. Using a “network investigative technique”, the FBI was able to identify the man from Vancouver, but Mozilla is concerned that it could also be used by bad actors.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, the government says that it should be under no obligation to disclose details of the vulnerability to Mozilla ahead of anyone else. But the company has filed a brief with a view to forcing the FBI’s hand. The argument is that users should be kept protected from known flaws by allowing software companies to patch them.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 9/11 Commissioner Leaks Damning New Info: Saudi Government Officials Supported the Hijackers

      The 9/11 hijackers had support from Saudi government employees, said a former Republican official who investigated the attacks — and he wants the Obama administration to release evidence to prove it.

      John Lehman, an investment banker and Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, said his fellow 9/11 commission members had helped to obscure Saudi links to the 2001 terrorist attacks, reported The Guardian.

    • Saudi officials were ‘supporting’ 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

      The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

    • What the obituaries missed about my uncle, Dan Berrigan

      I moved to New York City in 1998, with an internship, a notion of being a writer, and a way station of sanity and welcome at 98th Street (where Dan and a dozen other Jesuit priests lived). I didn’t need a New York City dream — I had Uncle Dan.

    • Tensions Simmer as Moscow Calls New US Missile Site in Romania a ‘Direct Threat’

      Tensions between the United States and Russia continued this week with Moscow calling the U.S.’s newly activated missile defense site in Romania a “direct threat” to security and part of “the start of a new arms race.”

    • U.S. activates Romanian missile defense site, angering Russia

      The United States switched on an $800 million missile shield in Romania on Thursday that it sees as vital to defend itself and Europe from so-called rogue states but the Kremlin says is aimed at blunting its own nuclear arsenal.

      To the music of military bands at the remote Deveselu air base, senior U.S. and NATO officials declared operational the ballistic missile defense site, which is capable of shooting down rockets from countries such as Iran that Washington says could one day reach major European cities.

    • The Great Leap Backward: America’s Illegal Wars on the World

      Since 1945, America’s Manifest Destiny, posing as the Free World’s Crusade against the Red Menace, has claimed 20 to 30 million lives worldwide and bombed one-third of the earth’s people. In the 19th century, America exterminated another kind of “red menace,” writing and shredding treaties, stealing lands, massacring, and herding Native populations into concentration camps (“Indian reservations”), in the name of civilizing the “savages.” By 1890, with the massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee, the frontier land grab—internal imperialism– was over. There was a world to conquer, and America trained its exceptionally covetous eye on Cuba and the Philippines.

    • Despair and Unrest in Mexico

      The statistics explain the anger. Seven women are killed every day in Mexico. Over the past three decades, over 45,000 women have been killed. The passive voice is appropriate here. Over 95 per cent of these cases have not been properly investigated by the police and judged by the courts. The impunity rate is stunning. Two-thirds of Mexican women above the age of 15 report in surveys that they have experienced some form of physical or emotional abuse or discrimination at work.

    • The Bush Administration, U.S. Nuclear War-Fighting Policy & the War On Iraq

      The purpose of nuclear weapons never has been principally about deterrence or mutually assured destruction (MAD), but rather to serve as a coercive foreign policy instrument designed and intended for actual war fighting. In the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rebuttal to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 proposal to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 200 warheads, “U.S. nuclear strategy maintains military strength sufficient… to provide a war-fighting capability to respond to a wide range of conflict in order to control escalation and terminate the war on terms acceptable to the U.S..”v First strike nuclear weapons, designed to back up military intervention and enforce geopolitical dictates, are seen by Pentagon war planners as the backbone of war-fighting strategy, and in this capacity have been used at least 27 times between 1945 and 1998.vi Daniel Ellsberg, former RAND Corporation nuclear war planner, wrote; “Again and again, generally in secret from the American public, nuclear weapons have been used: …in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone’s head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled.”vii Dominating the most powerful economic system in world history, the U.S. will use any military force necessary, including the use of nuclear weapons, to expand, consolidate and maintain its control.

    • Radical and Anti-Imperialist Art on the Streets of Cuba

      With the recent visit of US President Barack Obama in Cuba and talks of lifting the decades-old embargo (it is still in effect), many Americans are excited at the notion of touring the long estranged Caribbean island. Cuba attracts those fascinated by its complicated history and ardent anti-imperialist modern culture, but it also boasts beautiful beaches, classic cars, colonial architecture, beautiful music and dance, and delicious Cuban cigars complemented by an assortment of Rum drinks. For those literary geeks among us, Cuba offers inspiration in the form of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hang out spots and watering holes.

      But aside from these marketing clichés, any self-respecting tourist must take time to admire the incredible variety of Cuban art. This can be easily achieved by visiting the truly wonderful Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana and complemented by walking the streets. As a culture led by a staunch and long-time anti-American socialist regime, it should be no surprise that the streets of Cuba’s cities are riddled with political art.

    • Should the U.S. provide reparations for slavery and Jim Crow?

      It continues today. The overwhelming majority of academics studying the issue have supported the calls for compensating black Americans for the centuries of chattel slavery and the 100 years of lynching, mob violence and open exclusion from public and private benefits like housing, health care, voting, political office and education that occurred during the Jim Crow era.

    • Robert Scheer Talks About Disrupting Militarism With Codepink’s Jodie Evans

      In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” the Truthdig editor in chief sits down with Codepink activist Jodie Evans to discuss her organization’s efforts to move the United States away from military conflict, as well as the origins of her activism.

    • The Hillary Clinton/Neocon Merger

      Between the mainstream media’s demonization of Donald Trump and the neocons jumping ship to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a Clinton victory might prove grimly inevitable, but that will guarantee more neocon wars, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Political Pressure Stymies US-Iran Ties

      With the Iran nuclear agreement, President Obama opened lines of communications to Iran, but political pressures in Washington prevent a more substantive shift in relations, reports Gareth Porter.

    • Venezuela Accuses US of Plotting Coup, Declares State of Emergency

      Venezuela’s leftist president Nicolas Maduro announced a 60-day state of emergency on Friday evening and accused the U.S. of plotting with right-wing groups within the country to overthrow his government.

      On the same day, unnamed D.C. officials warned of a coming “meltdown” in Venezuela.

    • Brazil Impeachment Brings to Mind Thailand’s 2014 Military Coup

      Q: What’s the difference between the coup that overthrew the elected government in Thailand in Thailand in 2014 and the coup that has now removed the elected government in Brazil?

      A: The coup-makers in Thailand wore uniforms.

      The Brazilian Senate has just voted 55 to 22 to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. She will be suspended for the next 180 days while the same body tries her on the charge of understating the size of the budget deficit before the last election.

      If two-thirds of the senators find her guilty, she will be permanently removed from office. Since they have just voted to impeach her by a bigger majority than that, we may take it for granted that she is a goner.

      As the long evening droned on, it was quite clear that most senators were only interested in the outcome, not the evidence. On several occasions the Speaker even had to tell them to stop talking and put their phones away. This was about politics, not about justice, and the deal was already done.

    • Escalations in a New Cold War

      The Obama administration poked Russia in the eye again by activating a missile defense site in Romania while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, acts that could escalate toward nuclear war, notes Jonathan Marshall.

    • NATO’s Reluctant 2 Percenters

      According to the 2014 US-NATO declaration of confrontation with Russia, all member countries are supposed to commit 2 percent of their GDP to military expenditure. But as with most NATO plans and endeavours, this one has failed to meet expectations.

    • Reflections on a Delegation to Imprisoned Palestine

      At the end of March 2016, I was part of a nineteen-member Prisoner Solidarity and Labor Delegation that traveled from the United States, the country with the largest number of prisoners in the world, to Palestine, a nation where 40% of the male population has been imprisoned. (This article focuses on the prisoner solidarity portion of the delegation. To understand the full breadth of the delegation’s trip, see our delegation statement.) Convened by Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, professor at San Francisco State University, this was the first U.S. delegation to focus specifically on political imprisonment and solidarity between Palestinian and U.S. prisoners. We built on a long history of mutual inspiration and exchange dating back to the 1960’s. In 2013, when prisoners at Pelican Bay prison in California undertook an historic hunger strike to protest long term solitary confinement at the same time as Palestinian prisoners were on hunger strike against administrative detention, this exchange was renewed. Khader Adnan, a former Palestinian political prisoner who had waged a hunger strike in Israeli prisons for 66 days, sent a strong message of solidarity to the California hunger strikers, supporting their actions.

    • Pfizer Cuts States Off From Execution Drugs

      After pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Friday that it will clamp down on the distribution of its drugs so that they can no longer be used in executions, any state that wants to use lethal injection will now have to resort to getting them on underground markets.

      Pfizer announced that it will restrict seven products — pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, and vecuronium bromide — that are used in executions. Those products will now only be available to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers who verify that they won’t resell them to correctional institutions for executions, and any government entity that wants to buy them has to certify that they will only be used for patient care and will not be resold.

    • Scalia’s Death Just Prevented Alabama From Executing A Man

      If Vernon Madison’s case had reached the Supreme Court three months ago, he would almost certainly be dead right now.

      On Thursday, a federal appeals court ordered Alabama to halt its plans to execute Madison, at least temporarily, so that it will have enough time to consider whether killing Madison would violate the Constitution. Almost immediately, the state asked the Supreme Court to vacate this order, and the Court denied that request in an order handed down late Thursday.

    • The Lies Military Recruiter Tell

      As I hinted at before, the US military is one of the few governmental institutions that have overwhelming respect from almost all residents of the United States. This phenomenon is largely due to a very concerted campaign by the ruling elites of this nation to place the Pentagon and its troops above reproach. This can be seen in the ever-constant presence of the military and its advertising at sporting events, civic festivals, and even some music concerts and festivals (especially country music.) As the authors point out, this barrage of advertising, or (let’s be honest) propaganda began almost immediately after the military draft was ended in 1973. As of 2012, direct recruitment advertising by all branches of the military stood at around 667 million dollars. This figure does not include the cost of buildings and staffing of actual military recruitment offices around the country, nor does it include the money spent on recruitment efforts in schools and other places youths congregate.

    • Good-Guy Gunslingers

      The audience believes the gunslinger is a better man than civilization gives him credit for because the gunslinger myth makes them value men differently from how civilization values them. We believe a little wildness is a good thing. The gunslinger sacrifices himself for civilization. Civilization has a problem with him, not he with it. He fights for civilization in spite of its hostility towards him. He acquiesces to his own expulsion. His real problem is running out of wilderness, for he is a civilizing force that cannot live in civilization. He needs to civilize and tame the wilderness although he is a wild creature himself. So he must always use up, move on, and seek more wilderness. He is an attractive loner from nowhere who lives only in his own fame. He comes into town, commits an act of violence or, depending upon your point of view, defends himself, and then leaves. Things are then better, we are told, though we do not see it, for we are moving on with the gunslinger. His fame makes him a role model. As a role model he is a cautionary tale and his effect, when he achieves it, is to inspire the boy to embody the illusion of a lawman without violence. The violence is forgotten in the peace. With the American wilderness gone who knows where he will quick-draw for the sake of civilization next.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • New Rules On Corporate Secrecy Have Glaring Loopholes

      The Treasury Department released a new rule and several proposals last week that they said are intended to address the problem of corruption and dirty money in secret U.S. shell companies.

      A White House news release announced what it called “several important steps to combat money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion, and called upon Congress to take additional action to address these critical issues.” (A White House fact sheet is available here.)

      The new rules at first glance appear strong. But after examining the details, several watchdog groups are warning that the new regulations and proposals leave open several glaring loopholes, and even practically provide instructions for how to get around the regulations.

    • Blind Item: ‘Dishonest Career Politician’ Dishes on D.C. Dishonesty

      A person claiming to be a U.S. lawmaker—one who may or may not still purport to represent American constituents—appears to rip into his congressional colleagues in a new “tell-all” book titled The Confessions of Congressman X.

      “Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that’s lavished upon them,” the alleged current or former congressman says in the questionable tome.

    • Assassinating Assange’s Character | Interview with Michael Ratner
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Civil disobedience is the only way left to fight climate change

      Right now, thousands of people are taking direct action as part of a global wave of protests against the biggest fossil fuel infrastructure projects across the world. We kicked off earlier this month by shutting down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine in south Wales.

      Last Sunday, around 1,000 people closed the world’s largest coal-exporting port in Newcastle, Australia and other bold actions are happening at power stations, oil refineries, pipelines and mines everywhere from the Philippines, Brazil and the US, to Nigeria, Germany and India.

    • Emissions Limits Will Test Gov. Inslee’s ‘Greenest Gov.’ Claim

      This past Friday, I was in a King County courtroom as history was being made. I am one of eight petitioners under the age of 18 who sued the Washington State Department of Ecology and won – not once but three times! The court not only affirmed that we children have the right to a safe and healthful future under the state constitution, but has just taken the next step by ordering Ecology to make a science-based rule by the end of this year.

    • Judge orders state to move on rules cutting greenhouse gases

      A King County Superior Court judge on Friday ordered the state Department of Ecology to complete by year’s end a new rule regulating greenhouse gases.

    • This Is What It Looks Like When People All Over The World Break Free From Fossil Fuels

      Over the last 9 days a global wave of actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground has been gathering momentum all over the world. Words alone are not enough to describe how powerful this moment of action is.

      If you’ve missed any of it, here’s what’s happened so far in just the first 9 days of Break Free:

      It started in Wales, where over 300 people shut down the UK’s largest open-cast coal mine for a day.

    • Fracking’s Air Pollution Puts Infants and Children at Risk of Developing Heart, Lung Problems: New Study

      A newly published peer-reviewed study concludes that air pollution from fracking puts people’s lungs, hearts, and immune systems at risk – and that the health risks are particularly pointed for young children and infants.

      The study — the first to specifically focus on how shale oil and gas drilling affects children ability to breathe — concludes that starting in the womb, children’s developing respiratory systems are particularly at risk from five airborne pollutants associated with fracking and drilling.

      “We conclude that exposure to ozone, [particulate matter], silica dust, benzene, and formaldehyde is linked to adverse respiratory health effects, particularly in infants and children,” the researchers wrote in the study, titled “Potential Hazards of Air Pollutant Emissions from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations on the Respiratory Health of Children and Infants” and published in Reviews on Environmental Health.

    • Westerners Bear Witness to U.S. Energy Boom’s Health and Environmental Tolls

      Coal, oil, and natural gas deposits have brought development, jobs, and tax revenue to Western states. But as recounted by locals in a recent storytelling project, fossil fuels have also created vicious boom-and-bust cycles that leave social upheaval, health problems, and environmental destruction in their wake.

    • In Colorado ‘Sacrifice Zone,’ Break Free Protest Escalates Fight Against Fossil Fuels

      Days after the Colorado Supreme Court denied two cities local authority to regulate fracking, hundreds of climate activists descended Thursday on a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in Lakewood, just outside Denver, kicking off four days of major direct actions against fossil fuels across the United States.

      In addition to the Lakewood demonstration and a larger mobilization elsewhere in Colorado on Saturday, protests and civil disobedience actions are scheduled to take place between Thursday and Sunday in and around Anacortes, Washington; Albany, New York; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C., and Chicago, all under the Break Free banner.

    • Driving Bans Are Spreading As Most Urban Residents Breathe Unhealthy Air

      Most urban lungs around the world are breathing harmful air, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.

      More than 80 percent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution breathe air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, according to the report, which was released Thursday. The report, which evaluated a database encompassing 3,000 cities in 103 countries, also found global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent from 2008 to 2013, despite improvements in some regions.

    • One Building Is Saving $1 Million A Year On Energy. What Would Happen If The Whole World Was More Efficient?

      Of course, not everything is intuitive. Take Trane’s work with a theater company in Minnesota, for example. The company wanted to better manage temperatures in their theaters — being too hot or too cold is one of movie-goers top complaints. Trane installed a management system, but wasn’t getting quite the results it was looking for. Now they have added a new data set: ticket sales. Knowing in advance how many people are going to be watching a certain showing allows the company to adjust the heating or air conditioning in advance and with more specificity. Now the theater isn’t over-chilling a a room with very few moviegoers, and they don’t have to over-correct in a room that has gotten too warm. (Trying to cool down a hot room is significantly less efficient — and less comfortable — than getting the temperature right from the beginning.)

    • Yet Another Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc On The Gulf Of Mexico And Nearby Coastal Communities

      A Shell oil facility has leaked nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to federal authorities. The spill has left a two-mile by thirteen-mile sheen in the Gulf, approximately 165 miles southwest of New Orleans. A helicopter first noticed the spill near Shell’s Brutus platform on Thursday morning, according to Shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon.

      “There are no drilling activities at Brutus, and this is not a well control incident,” Windon told the Associated Press. Instead, authorities believe the leak came from a release of oil from subsea infrastructure, from a line connecting four wells. According to the Wall Street Journal, Shell had dispatched boats Friday to begin cleaning up the spill.

    • Taking on the Sacred Cow of Big “Green” Energy
    • New RSPCA chief promises less adversarial approach

      Jeremy Cooper says group made mistakes in past and often drifted into political activism rather than supportive, animal welfare society

    • Shock impacts hit Greenland’s ice

      New research indicates that melting of the Northern Hemisphere’s biggest ice sheet is being accelerated by the seismic impact of waves crashing against Greenland’s coastline.

    • Will New Chemical Law Hide the Fracking Industry’s Toxic Secrets?

      The makeup of hydraulic fracturing fluid – the slurry of chemicals, sand and water injected deep underground to free petroleum deposits trapped by bedrock – is a closely guarded secret of the oil and gas industry.

    • Exxon Faces Questions Over Climate As Gates Dumps BP

      The famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin is that “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

      Another certainty is that you know that the top executives of controversial companies absolutely hate the one day in the year that they are accountable to their shareholders: the AGM.

      It is a day to be endured under extreme duress. A day when normally aloof executives have to answer awkward questions. There is no escape. There is no spin doctor to wheel out instead. The chief executive and chairman have to go face to face with the public. And it can hurt.

      Often the questions are over ridiculously high pay levels. In addition, Big Oil executives are used to being quizzed on a whole host of other abuses: over the years answering why they were propping up apartheid; polluting the coasts of Alaska; colluding with the military who were murdering their critics in Nigeria; over-stating their reserves; polluting the Gulf of Mexico or spending silly money looking for oil in the Arctic. I could go on.

      And that is before we get to the thorny issue of climate change and stranded assets and pouring invaluable shareholder money down a big black hole.

      The companies are coming under increasing criticism over their flawed long-term business strategy.

      Just last week, the influential Economist Magazine reported that “it has been a grim decade for investors in international oil firms—among them, many of the world’s biggest pension funds. Even before oil prices started to fall in 2014, the supermajors threw money away on grandiose schemes: drilling in the Arctic and building giant gas terminals.”

    • At Break Free Protests Around the World, Climate Activists Put Bodies on the Line

      Fossil fuel projects were blockaded simultaneously on three continents on Saturday—the “crest” of a wave of global actions responding to the growing threat of climate change.

      Through rallies, civil disobedience, and kayaktivism, people around the world stood up to oil and gas interests to say: enough. Additional actions are planned for Sunday.

    • Justice for Berta Caceres Incomplete Without Land Rights: UN Rapporteur

      The murder of Honduran Indigenous woman Berta Caceres is only too familiar to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

      All around the world, Indigenous peoples are murdered, raped and kidnapped when their lands fall in the path of deforestation, mining and construction. According to the group Global Witness, one Indigenous person was killed almost every week in 2015 because of their environmental activism, 40 percent of the total 116 people killed for environmental activism.

      “We shouldn’t forget that the death of Berta is because of the protest that she had against the destruction of the territory of her people,” Tauli-Corpuz told IPS in a recent interview.

      Caceres, who was murdered at the beginning of March, had long known her life was in danger. She experienced violence and intimidation as a leader of the Lenca people of Rio Blanco who protested the construction of the Agua Zarca dam on their traditional lands.

    • Hillary Takes Millions From Fossil Fuel Industry, Lies About It
    • Proof That Koch-Backed Professors Are Using Universities To Spread Right-Wing Policies

      “Economic freedom centers” — or institutes with conservative, libertarian missions that are backed by the Charles Koch Foundation — are tightly controlled by the interests of the conservative foundation, according to remarks from Koch-backed professors and executives at the Association of Private Enterprise Education’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.

      The remarks were recorded by UnKoch My Campus, a group that focuses on the influence of powerful donors on research and coursework in universities, and shared by Greenpeace staff. At the event, Koch-backed professors and Charles Koch Foundation executives said that students act as “foot soldiers” for free enterprise ideals, deans will take money from anyone, and the slightest mention of the foundation’s legal team can bring universities back in line.

    • How Low-Income Households Can Take Advantage Of Renewable Energy And Efficiency

      Monya’ (pronounced “Monet,” like the French artist) Chapman, 53, lives with her 77-year-old mother in a house she rents in West Baltimore, a neighborhood she describes as moderate- to low-income. She earns about $30,000 a year as a pharmacy technician, which, along with her mother’s monthly social security benefits, covers rent, food, and basic necessities like soap and toilet paper.

    • Anthropocene vs Capitalocene: a Reflection on the Question, “What Have I Done?”

      There are approximately 150-200 species going extinct everyday. The background rate of the normal extinction process is roughly one to five species a year. We are at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate today due to human activities. As far as the last members of a doomed species might be concerned, humans are responsible, not just the capitalist class. To them, it is the Anthropocene. Might your perspective on this issue be determined by which side of the axe you are on?

    • Rancher spots first wolverine in North Dakota in 150 years — so he kills it

      A rancher shot and killed the first wolverine spotted for more than a century in North Dakota — where the animals had been eradicated.

      Researchers had been tracking the omnivorous animal, known as M56, since 2008, when a transmitter was placed under its skin after its capture just south of Yellowstone National Park, reported the Grand Forks Herald.

    • The legend of Arthur – the dog that followed me 100 miles

      I’ve always been a guy addicted to competition. My first love was ice hockey, as it was for anyone growing up in Örnsköldsvik, in northern Sweden, although I never quite made the grade. At 18 I had to do compulsory military service. And boy, was it tough. We were put through endless gruelling exercises in horrendous conditions, but in the middle of it all I suddenly realised I was enjoying myself. I had a strange talent, it seemed, not only for getting through things that would make most people give up, but for getting others through with me.

  • Finance

    • Donald Trump Changes His Mind About Changing His Tax Plan

      Donald Trump can’t make up his mind about what to do about taxes.

      Last year, as a candidate for the Republican presidential nominee, Trump released a detailed tax plan. As soon as all the other Republican candidates dropped out of the race, however, he started to distance himself from it, saying the plan is just a “concept” and the starting place for negotiations. The distancing went so far that he commissioned two well-known conservatives to draft a set of suggestions for changing it, lowering its price tag.

    • Is This The Return Of U.S. ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’ Serving Corporations?

      Colombia is allowing local production of a generic form of a cancer drug that is ultraexpensive because of a government-granted monopoly handed to a giant, multinational pharmaceutical corporation. The U.S. government is stepping in on the corporation’s side with a modern form of “gunboat diplomacy” — even though the giant corporation isn’t even “American.”

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

      “Reckless,” “alarming,” “disastrous,” “swashbuckling,” “playing with fire,” “crazy talk,” “lost in a forest of nonsense”: these are a few of the labels applied by media commentators to Donald Trump’s latest proposal for dealing with the federal debt. On Monday, May 9th, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate said on CNN, “You print the money.”

      The remark was in response to a firestorm created the previous week, when Trump was asked if the US should pay its debt in full or possibly negotiate partial repayment.

    • Top 2 hedge fund managers bankroll Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, after making $1.7 billion each in 2015

      James Simons and Kenneth Griffin were the world’s top two hedge fund managers in 2015. Each made $1.7 billion last year alone, and have used their massive wealth to bankroll the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, the Guardian reported.

      Simons is the 50th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. The mathematician has made an estimated $15.5 billion as CEO of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, and is individually richer than many countries.

    • The Declining Taste of the Global Super-Rich

      Today’s “patrons of the arts” are less interested in opera and ballet, and more interested in novelty furniture and enormous sculptures of their own faces…

    • Verizon Strike Exposes Broader Shifts in Telecom Labor Conditions

      The strike by 36,000 Verizon workers — represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) — is about to enter its second month.

    • Verizon Calls in SWAT Team to Keep Exploited Overseas Workers Under Wraps

      Representatives from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union whose members are currently engaged in a weeks-long strike against Verizon for its “corporate greed,” say they discovered this week that the communications behemoth has publicly lied about the extent of its offshoring of jobs.

    • Dilma Out: Brazilian Plutocracy Sets 54 Million Votes on Fire

      Never in modern political history has it been so easy to “abolish the people” and simply erase 54 million votes cast in a free and fair presidential election.

      Forget about hanging chads, as in Florida 2000. This is a day that will live in infamy all across the Global South – when what was one of its most dynamic democracies veered into a plutocratic regime, under a flimsy parliamentary/judicial veneer, with legal and constitutional guarantees now at the mercy of lowly comprador elites.

      After the proverbial marathon, the Brazilian Senate voted 55-22 to put President Dilma Rousseff on trial for “crimes of responsibility” – related to alleged window dressing of the government’s budget.

      This is the culmination of a drawn-out process that started even before Rousseff won re-election in late 2014 with over 54 million votes. I have described the bunch of perpetrators of what Brazilian creativity has termed ‘golpeachment’ (a mix of coup – “golpe” in Portuguese – and impeachment) as Hybrid War hyenas.

    • This Is the County With the Worst Childhood Hunger in America

      When Feeding America issued its annual Map the Hunger Gap, Apache and four other counties atop the northern part of Arizona—stretching the full expanse from the eastern state line to the west—were the darkest shade of green included on the map’s legend. The color indicated that more than 30 percent of kids in those areas are food insecure, meaning they live in households that experience limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Apache County, a long, narrow strip in the northeast corner of Arizona, includes parts of the Navajo Nation as well as the Zuni and Fort Apache Native American reservations. There, 42 percent of children—9,050 kids—are food insecure, twice the national rate.

    • Europe and the spectre of democracy: Michel Feher interviews Yanis Varoufakis

      Yanis Varoufakis: Firstly, let’s begin by stating the fact, the historical fact, that there is no new development here. The IMF has been repeating, quite correctly, that the debt is unsustainable since 2011, 2012.

      There was even a time, when Christine Lagarde in 2012, 2013, proposed to the Greek government of the time, the right-wing/PASOK government, to forge an alliance between Athens and Washington DC, the IMF, in the Eurogroup, in order to bring about debt relief. Then, the Greek government rejected that, choosing instead to remain loyal to Berlin. So what you just described is a repetition and continuation of this pattern.

      The explanation for this by Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minster, if you were to put this question to him, would be that the IMF keeps making these noises about the importance of debt relief but only refers to the part of the debt owed to the Europeans. He would tell you that the IMF would never consider debt relief for the part of the debt that is owed to the IMF. So it only puts forward the suggestion of a haircut to other people’s money, and not its own loans to Greece.

      In addition, and far more importantly, the IMF, he would say, sets ruthless and rather horrific conditions in the realm of labor relations and pension cuts. Alexis Tsipras has always held this view, even when I was in the cabinet. This was not my view, it was his, and I was ambivalent about whether we are better off getting rid of the IMF because the IMF’s noises regarding debt relief are insubstantial and hypocritical, and they don’t help much anyway.

      He believed that in order to achieve a better balance between social policies regarding labor markets, pensions, and debt relief, it was best to try to deal with European officials directly. I am of the view that this is a mistake because having the support of the IMF is instrumental to the federal government in Berlin.

    • We All Pay for Low Wages

      When you are paid starvation wages, it’s up to public-assistance programs to make up the difference. That government assistance, costing treasuries billions of dollars per year, is part of the high cost of low wages.

    • A Quiz [Ed: Privatizing the IRS?]

      Here is an additional bit of information: ignoring past experience Congress has decided that in some circumstances the IRS can once again use private debt collection agencies. Go figure.

    • The Washington Post’s Bernie Sanders Bashing

      The Washington Post really, really doesn’t like Bernie Sanders and they miss no opportunity to display this dislike. For this reason, it is not surprising that they had a field day highlighting a report from the Tax Policy Center showing that his program would increase the debt by $18 trillion over the course of a decade. As the folks at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)noted, this study was good for four different pieces over a seven hour period.

    • Boris Johnson accused of ‘dishonest gymnastics’ over TTIP U-turn

      The former mayor of London, a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign, wrote in his Daily Telegraph column in October 2014 that TTIP was a “great project”. He said: “It is Churchillian in that it builds transatlantic links, it is all about free trade, and it brings Britain and Europe closer to America. The idea is to create a gigantic free trade zone between the EU and the US, or a TTIP – a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

      “There is absolutely nothing not to like about the TTIP. As Churchill might have said, it is altogether unsordid. And yet virtually the only commentary we have been offered is absurdly hostile and misinformed. The debate is dominated by leftwing misery guts anti-globalisation campaigners.”


      However, in a speech last Monday backing a Brexit, Johnson changed his tune completely, likening the EU’s role in the continuing TTIP talks to a “pantomime horse” in which the 28 member states tried, chaotically, to agree a joint position on venture that was preventing the UK from striking its own, quicker and more effective bilateral trade deals.

      The speech by Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, lampooned the entire TTIP process. “As for the argument that we need the muscle of EU membership if we are to do trade deals – well, look, as I say, at the results after 42 years of membership. The EU has done trade deals with the Palestinian authority and San Marino. Bravo. But it has failed to conclude agreements with India, China or even America,” he said.

    • 2 minutes on the TPP

      My sign read:

      TPP is Oligarchy
      Oligarchy is a corruption of Democracy

    • Doubts over Thames garden bridge as Sadiq Khan probes £175m project

      The new London mayor, Sadiq Khan, is investigating his predecessor’s conduct over the procurement process for London’s planned £175m garden bridge.

      Khan, having completed his first week in office, has already begun scrutinising Boris Johnson’s decisions relating to the controversial project, to which £60m of public money has been allocated in circumstances previously criticised by parliamentary spending officials as unorthodox. An official report concluded that the process to select a designer for the bridge was unfair and that the office of the previous mayor was “less than honest” about his role in the process.

      A spokesman for Khan said: “He is only in his first days in the role but he is looking in more detail at some of the issues raised about the procurement.”

    • This Letter Exposes The Absurdity Of Donald Trump’s Excuses About His Tax Returns

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he won’t release his tax returns so long as they’re being audited. This week, Trump told the Associated Press he probably won’t be releasing any returns before November, which suggests he doesn’t expect the audits to be wrapped up anytime soon. That means Trump could potentially become the first major party candidate in 40 years to not release his taxes.

    • There’s a Way Out of Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis If US Leaders Are Willing to Be as Bold as Alexander Hamilton

      Robert E. Wright, the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University and the Treasurer of Historians Against Slavery, is currently seeking a publisher for his eighteenth book, “The Poverty of Slavery: How Enslavers Victimize Us All.” His books include One Nation Under Debt: Hamilton, Jefferson, and the History of What We Owe. The views expressed herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the above mentioned institutions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Did the New York Times Just Accidentally Tell the Truth About the Obama Administration?

      Historians so inclined will have a blast when their turn comes to dissect the Obama administration and its people. I do not mean the old-line “presidential historians,” story-telling hagiographers such as Stephen Ambrose or the insufferable David McCullough. Obama will have to wait a while for somebody of this set to embalm him to take what place he might among our mythologized tenants of the White House.

    • Senior Trump Adviser Says Idea That Words Matter Is ‘Ridiculous’

      Donald Trump spent his first two weeks as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee changing his stances on a number of policy issues, sometimes multiple times. That got an interesting defense from one of his senior advisers on Friday.

      Speaking on a panel on CNN, Barry Bennett, a senior political adviser to the Trump campaign, defended Trump’s waffling by saying that anything he puts forward is “a suggestion to Congress,” noting that “he has to persuade Congress to do it and all he can try to do is persuade Congress to go along with him.”

    • Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private

      Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Stephanie Grimes, Former Editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

      On May 5, Stephanie Grimes uploaded a post to Medium titled “Why I’m out at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.” Grimes, who had been the publication’s features editor, was let go five months after the family of billionaire Sheldon Adelson purchased it for $140 million. Before diving into Grimes’ exposé, it’s important to understand the Review-Journal’s tumultuous recent history.

    • How Our Stone-Age Brains Get in the Way of Smart Politics

      Using science and history, author Rick Shenkman’s new book explains how our brain works in response to manipulative politicians and their appeals.

    • Chicago Election Official Admits “Numbers Didn’t Match”: Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders Election Fraud Allegations

      Jim Allen, Communications Director for the Chicago Board of Elections (BoE), acknowledges that “the numbers didn’t match” initially in the legally mandated 5% audit of voting and tabulating machines after the recent Illinois Democratic primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Allen, however, insists that this is simply a “perception issue” and that absolutely no election fraud took place.

      Allen was responding by phone to my questions regarding allegations from citizen vote monitoring groups Who’s Counting? – Chicago and the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project (IBIP). Dr. Lora Chamberlain is a leader of Who’s Counting, which works with IBIP to credential election day monitors and joined them this year to audit the audit. IBIP was started in Illinois in the aftermath of the 2000 Al Gore versus George Bush Debacle. A total of six members of the two groups gave affidavit-based testimony at the April 5, 2016 Chicago Board of Elections meeting.

    • This isn’t how a democracy should work: How the media boosted Donald Trump and screwed Bernie Sanders

      As this wildly unpredictable primary season heads toward the finish line, the two frontrunners are widely seen as their respective party nominees. Given that presidential elections are typically glorified as proof of our democracy at work, it seems appropriate to ask what kind of democracy has been revealed by this year’s primary season.

      In his book “Democracy, Inc.,” the late, distinguished political scientist Sheldon Wolin has argued that we have a “managed democracy,” that elite “management” of elections is the key to perpetuating the “primal myth” that the people determine the rulers. As Wolin put it, this “antidemocracy” doesn’t attack the idea of government by the people, it encourages “civic demobilization” – conditioning the electorate to be aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.

      Obviously the mass media play a central role in the managed democracy. How, exactly, has this played out in this, the “year of the outsider,” when, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, almost two-thirds of voters in both political parties agreed with the statement that “The old way of doing things no longer works and we need radical change.”

    • None of the Bankers Think Hillary Clinton Believes Her Populism, a Financial Journalist Wrote

      As Hillary Clinton has no doubt noticed, the circumstances of 2016 present a striking similarity to the ones that put her husband in the White House in 1992. Again Americans are outraged at the way the middle class is falling to pieces and at the greed of the people on top. The best-seller lists are once again filled with books about in equality. Today Americans are working even harder for even less than when Bill Clinton made “working harder for less” his campaign catchphrase. Hillary Clinton — the way any Democrat — will play such a situation is extremely easy to guess.

    • Obama Endorses Idea of National Voting Holiday

      An enterprising Rutgers student who was at the White House as part of a college journalism program asked President Obama if he would do a one-on-one interview with the Rutgers student newspaper, and Obama said yes, and it happened, and if I’m not mistaken, the interview involves breaking news in the form of Obama, for the first time ever, endorsing the idea that Election Day should be a holiday in order to help improve turnout.

    • Following Sanders’ Lead, Obama Endorses National Voting Holiday
    • One of the Most Successful Right-Wing Myths of All Time: ‘The Limousine Liberal’

      Limousine liberalism is the specter haunting American politics. That has been true and getting truer for the last half century. Nowadays, Hillary Clinton serves as “exhibit A” of this menace.

      She’s an odd choice in some ways. As the metaphor vividly suggests, a thoroughbred limousine liberal should be to the manner born, a patrician of outsized wealth, socially connected, credentialed by the toniest prep schools and the Ivy League, raised to rule, who for reasons sometimes sinister and sometimes of excessive credulity has gone over to the dark side: a limousine liberal is history’s oxymoron, an elitist for revolution, working to undermine the ancient regime—or at least pretending to do so. Hillary Clinton was bred instead in far more modest circumstances. Her father owned a small fabric store outside Chicago. He ran a conservative home, demanding strict devotion to the frugality and work ethic of the respectable middle class. His daughter was politically precocious and had views congruent with her upbringing. Already by age thirteen she was out canvassing for Richard Nixon’s election in 1960. Four years later she volunteered for the Goldwater campaign, inspired by the fervent anticommunism of her favorite high school history teacher.

    • Trump’s past surfaces as GOP looks forward

      As Donald Trump pushed for party unity this week, he offered fresh reminders of the landmines from his past that he is carrying into a general election.
      The political outsider’s unconventional style and resume vaulted him into the role of party standard-bearer, but his unusual background was also exposed repeatedly this week as a major liability, with characters — real, or maybe even fictional — re-emerging to hound him.

    • Listen to This Insane Audio of Trump Pretending to Be His Own PR Guy

      In today’s most bizarre headline, the Washington Post released audio from a 1991 interview between People Magazine reporter Sue Carswell and “John Miller,” an alleged spokesperson for the Trump organization who just so happens to sound a hell of a lot like the reality TV star himself.

    • Fear And Loathing In USA

      This would be funny, fodder for Saturday Night Live funny, if it weren’t true. The GOP’s imminent candidate for POTUS being caught in lies and womanizing while he accuses Hillary of enabling her husband’s philandering… Really, would anyone trust this guy with running a lemonade stand rather than having a hand on the nuclear “button”? USA has a few months to wake up or become the laughing stock of the world. If this guy does any one of the things he promises to do it could well bring ruin to USA and may well cause the world to try to insulate itself from the nonsense. I wonder if Canada could handle the inflow of refugees? I doubt it. We might have to build our own wall.

    • Are Sanders Supporters Ever Going to Vote for Clinton If She’s the Nominee?

      One of the most striking—and disturbing—takeaways from Tuesday’s West Virginia Democratic primary were exit polls that found large numbers of Bernie Sanders supporters saying if not Bernie, they would actually vote for Donald Trump next fall.

      CBS News reported 44 percent said they’d vote for Trump, 23 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 32 percent for neither. These findings—especially Sanders’ supporters shifting to Trump—seem like a stretch, but maybe they’re not.

    • How Trump Gets Away With Lying and the Mainstream Media Colludes With Him

      Broadcast media has helped Trump perpetuate falsehoods like these four blatant lies.

    • The Politics of Triangulation

      “Ending welfare as we know it” was a signature accomplishment of the Clinton White House as well as a priority for Republicans. Both parties lead their attack on the poor with moralistic calls for “personal responsibility.”

      When Democrats protect big banks, Republicans are free to attack unions. When Democrats coddle big oil, coal, and gas, the Republicans resort to climate denial and gag rules. TPP is a bipartisan project of the center.

    • Copp’s Plea for You and Me

      The plain-spoken, public-spirited former Federal Communications Commissioner, Michael Copps, is indignant—and for good reason: The FCC is not enforcing the law requiring the “dark money” super PACs and other campaign cash conduits to reveal, on-the-air, the names of the real donors behind all political advertisements, which are now flooding the profitable radio and television airwaves.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Who is to Blame?

      Xenophobic traditions are truly long-lasting in some minds. Today Muslimophobia is far more useful than anti-Semitism, in older or newer forms, if only for a lack of numbers to victimize. And with next year’s elections approaching, all other parties are hunting for lost voters, frightened by the strength of the AfD in state elections in March, with 12 % and 15 % in two West German states and a startling 24 % in the East German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The changing polls now give the AfD overall 14 %, in third place and ahead of Die LINKE (Left) and the Greens.

    • Iranian animation faces censorship challenge

      Stunning Media has revealed further details of its ambitious Iranian animated feature Release From Heaven – and of the problems the production continues to face with censors in Iran.

    • Zuckerberg investigating Facebook censorship after staff admit deactivating Trending stories

      Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is investigating claims of censoring conservative news reports, following a discussion in the US Senate. Facebook’s Trending Topics has been criticised after anonymous former editors revealed that popular conservative news topics were not given the prominence they were due. A copy of Facebook’s “Trending Review Guidelines” shows how Facebook trained it’s internal employees to curate Facebook’s trending section to “inject” and “blacklist” topics.

      One former anonymous employee told tech news website Gizmodo that Facebook “used external topics, to push more external topics into people’s feeds”. The team of curators had the power to vet topics coming from a series of sources, including organisations such as BBC, the Guardian, NBC News, CNN and Buzzfeed – most of which generally reflect centre-left views – which may lead to the lack of attention to conservative topics, which featured sources such as Fox News.

    • Facebook Investigating Trending Topics Censorship Controversy
    • Milo Yiannopoulos challenges Zuckerberg to debate Facebook censorship [VIDEO]
    • Mark Zuckerberg Will Meet With Conservative Leaders Following Allegations Of Censorship
    • Jeremy Geltzer: Wisconsin played central role in censorship drama

      The First Amendment has come under siege. From free speech zones on college campuses to the battle between Apple and the Department of Justice over digital privacy, media is vulnerable.

      In recent weeks, even movies have been deemed improper. “Deadpool” was banned in Utah, and Houston’s mayor shut down “Vaxxed,” a controversial documentary.


      In Madison, a censor board was proposed in 1919, and it was up and running a decade later. Mayor — soon to be governor — Albert Schmedeman led the charge to shut down an edu-exploitation birth control flick called “No More Children” (1929). Other risqué pictures including “What Price Glory” (1926) and “Party Girl” (1930) raised eyebrows in Madison but played on.

    • Publisher’s Facebook page deleted after posting criticism of Turkish government

      Facebook has denied involvement in the deletion of the page of a London-based academic publisher who had published articles that criticised the Turkish government and discussed the outlawed (in Turkey) Kurdistan Workers party.

      The deletion sparked accusations of censorship against the social network, which has often been accused of siding with the Turkish government in battles over free speech. But Facebook says it did not delete the page, and Zed Books has accepted the claim. Both companies say they are trying to discover how the page was removed from the site, and who by.

      Zed Books, an independent publisher founded in 1976, found its Facebook page deleted outright on Tuesday, without any warning or notification. It said its attempts to contact Facebook for an official statement on why its page was removedhad gone unanswered, and that it had been given no timeframe for recovering it. After the Guardian contacted Facebook over the issue, Facebook got in touch with Zed Books, and told the Guardian: “Facebook has not taken Zed Books page down. We are in contact with them to help understand what has happened and to resolve the situation.”

    • Thai exhibit puts spotlight on censorship

      The Nation/Asia News Network–Banning books is a habit with Asian governments, as the art installation “Paradise of the Blind” in Bangkok shows.

      It look like somebody’s shot up all the books in the Reading Room off Silom Road. A second glance reassures you, though, that you’re actually just looking at an art installation.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • This 1 Simple Equation Describes Cybersecurity in a Nutshell [Ed:trying to frame mass surveillance as a science (it’s not)]
    • Privacy fears ‘deterring’ US web users from online shopping

      Almost half of American households with at least one internet user have been “deterred” from online activity recently because of privacy or security concerns, a survey has said.

      Their concerns had stopped them either using online banking or shopping or posting on social media, the survey by a Department of Commerce agency said.

      The study asked 41,000 households about their activity in the past 12 months.

      A US official said mistrust about privacy was causing “chilling effects”.

    • Researchers just released profile data on 70,000 OkCupid users without permission

      A group of researchers has released a data set on nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid. The data dump breaks the cardinal rule of social science research ethics: It took identifiable personal data without permission.

      The information — while publicly available to OkCupid users — was collected by Danish researchers who never contacted OkCupid or its clientele about using it.

      The data, collected from November 2014 to March 2015, includes user names, ages, gender, religion, and personality traits, as well as answers to the personal questions the site asks to help match potential mates. The users hail from a few dozen countries around the world.

    • Pay-for-Privacy Schemes Put the Most Vulnerable Americans at Risk

      The FCC has opened a proceeding on the rules and policies surrounding privacy rights for broadband service. One industry practice called into question in that proceeding could have a devastating impact on our most vulnerable populations.

      Internet service providers charge broadband customers a ton for Internet access. ISPs are increasingly finding new revenue streams too, by taking part in the multibillion-dollar market that’s evolved out of selling users’ personal information to online marketers. As the debate around privacy has heated up, ISPs have tri