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

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

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

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

    But it brought the house down.

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 Now, however, it’s not so much a crystal ball as it is an historical document, a kind of Urtext that chronicles the primordial days of a movement—something Raymond and his boosters would eventually call “open source.”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

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

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

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

  • Open Source Employment Trends

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

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

  • 10 most in-demand Internet of things skills

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

  • Open source job market booming

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

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

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

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

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

  • Open source tool manages AWS Lambda apps

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

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice

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

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

    • The Month of LibreOffice

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

  • CMS

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

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

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

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

  • Networking

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • All About the DC/OS Open Source Project

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

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

    • Wayland/Weston with XWayland works on DragonFly

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Governance: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development


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

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

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

  • European Union: a House Divided

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

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

  • Let the Games Begin—Behind the Olympic Sheen

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

  • London is finally getting the Night Tube

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

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

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

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

  • IBM layoffs continue

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

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

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

  • Science

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

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

    • High Tech Tool to Aid in Pacific Northwest Toxin Detection

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

  • Deception

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

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

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

    • Seeds of suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

    • TOTP SSH port fluxing

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

    • TeslaCrypt no more: Ransomware master decryption key released

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

    • Thoughts on our security bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Linux 4.7 Gets a Security Boost with ChromeOS Feature

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

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Big Breakthrough

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Does Russia Have Reason to Fear?

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

    • Poof! Our Wars are All Forgotten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Oil majors tread cautiously towards renewables

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

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

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

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

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

    • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trudeau government faces crucial decisions in coming months

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Joys of Accountancy and Tents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

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

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

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

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

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

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

    • Locked Out of the American Dream

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

    • Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

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

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

    • What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • Why Trump Might Win

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    • Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning

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

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

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

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

    • Expecting Sanders Supporters to “Close Ranks?”

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

    • How to Make the Democratic Nominating Process Actually Democratic

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

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Progressive Challenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Hating the Media Could Make the Difference in November

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

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Reform or Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

    • Machine Bias

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

    • Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks

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

    • Cop sued for drawing gun on man filming him

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

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

    • Sanders picks pro-Palestinian activist for Democratic platform committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Unraveling of Zionism?

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

    • Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

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

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals 35-Year Sentence For Leaking Files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DTSA Litigation Updates

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

      • Chilean Bid to Help Authors Will Chill Audiovisual Content Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 1000 contributors!

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

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

  • 7 ways to make new contributors feel welcome

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

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

  • Events

    • DORS/CLUC 2016 – Event Report

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

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

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

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

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

      • CSS coding techniques

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

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ReText and Markdown

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

    • Embrace Open Source culture: the 5 common transformations.

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


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

      It became an Open Source producer.

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

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

    • The rise of APIs

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

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

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

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

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

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Source Electrospinning Machine

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

  • Programming/Development

    • Upcoming changes in PHP 7.1

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

    • Changes Being Worked On For PHP 7.1

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

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

    • Perl 5.24 upgrade
    • Selected projects and mentoring organizations

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Science

    • EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search

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

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

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

    • Bad News

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

  • Hardware

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

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

    • Congress Approves A Major Step Forward For Medical Marijuana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

    • Purism Laptops to Protect You from Surveillance Capitalism

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

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

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

    • Israel Veers Even Further Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Parable of the Fat Man Earrings

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

    • The West’s Needless Aggression

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

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

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

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

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

    • Venezuela and the Silence of the Left

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

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

    • New Turkish PM backs constitution to strengthen Erdogan

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Haze war worsens as Indonesia halts joint projects with Singapore

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

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

    • Antarctic glacier melt could raise sea level by 3m

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How To Socialize America’s Energy

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

    • This Country Just Set A Major Renewable Energy Record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

    • Trump Attacks On Hillary Take Violent Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Privatization of the Public Sphere

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

    • Testing The Limits on Wealth Inequality

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Karl Polanyi and twenty-first century socialism

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

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

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

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

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

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

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

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

    • Dems in a pickle

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

    • Trump and the Dance to the Right

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

    • Hyperdemocracy or Hypermodulation?

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hillary Clinton’s ‘House of Cards’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA ‘reform’ harbors return of SOPA

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

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

    • Pirate Bay’s Domain Shuffle Has Come Full Circle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Enterprises Stumble on Data Management

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

    • TorrZan Allows You to Download Torrents Via Telegram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • This Is Your Brain On Uber

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

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

    • Detained and interrogated for 10 hours in North Korea

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

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

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

    • Ted Nugent Reelected To NRA Board After 2016 Of Hate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Colombia: the Displaced & Invisible Nation

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

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

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

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

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

    • Corruption in Latin American Governments

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

    • Can Sisi stop Egypt’s implosion?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How Kosovo Was Turned Into Fertile Ground for ISIS

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

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

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

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

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

    • Islamophobia on the Rise in England

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

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

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

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

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

    • Police make naked dead woman sandcastle, then swiftly apologise

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

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

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

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

    • We Can Dream, or We Can Organize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Obama’s Civil Rights Hypocrisy

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

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

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

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

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

    • Daddy Knows Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Is Pope Francis a Teamster at Heart?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

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

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Music Industry Wants More Money From YouTube

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

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

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


Links 21/5/2016: Manjaro Linux RC, Flock 2016 Schedule

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • They take to it later, but when women FLOSS, they mean it

    Despite an extreme gender gap in the free/Libre and open-source software community – even more extreme than in general IT – women who work full time in FLOSS stick with it longer than men, according to a recent report.

    The gap between men and women in the IT industry is well known. The report, “Women in Free/Libre/Open Source Software: The situation in the 2010s”, estimates that women make up 25 to 30 per cent of the IT workforce. For women working in free and open-source software, however, this percentage drops dramatically to two to five per cent.

  • Moving on from ownCloud

    A few days ago, I published my last blogpost as ’ownCloud’ on our blog roll about the ownCloud community having grown by 80% in the last year. Talk about leaving on a high note!

    Yes, I’ll be leaving ownCloud, Inc. – but not the community. As the numbers from my last post make clear, the ownCloud community is doing awesome. It is growing at an exponential rate and while that in itself poses challenges, the community is healthy and doing great.

  • The most important skill you need as a leader

    “One of the most powerful tools you have as a leader is to be present.” Eric McNulty opened up the first day of Cultivate this year, the annual pre-conference event before OSCON, with this quote.

  • Geek of the Week: Timothy Crosley is a champion of open source technology

    When Timothy Crosley isn’t working on security solutions for DomainTools, he devotes his time to open source projects. He runs Simple Innovation, a software development business that builds apps on a contract basis, using open source technology.

  • Why Should Every Developer Contribute To Open Source Software?

    Since the beginning of the free and open source software movement, a lot has changed. Today, open technologies are being used by millions of individuals and companies to make their products better. Open source software development also brings numerous benefits to a developer and here we are going to talk more about the same.

  • Open source at your company? 6 questions your manager will ask

    Christian Grail gave a talk at OSCON 2016 titled: “How to convince your manager to go open source.”

    I thought the perspective was going to be from the user side but it was from the employee side, about convincing your manager to open source the projects at your company.

  • Yu set to take on Xiaomi, releases open-source code for developers to make its OS interesting!

    Micromax subsidiary brand, Yu Televentures has an official forum online, which has been an active space for communication for the company with its fans and followers. The company has now announced something special for developers and contributors.

  • The new open source: Money, corporations, and identity

    Danese Cooper, head of open source for PayPal, spoke to during the Day 2 OSCON morning keynotes about the sustainability of open source, mixing in some of the history of open source as well as her own sage advice.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • It Takes a Village: Making Data Projects Work – Amy Gaskins, Big Data Project Director
    • It’s Surprising Who’s Using NFV MANO Code From Cloudify

      There’s been so much flurry around NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) in 2016 that GigaSpaces’ Cloudify Project kind of flew under the radar.

      GigaSpaces, a company that offers a data scalability platform, has created some MANO software named Cloudify, and the code is being used by Open-O, OPNFV, and AT&T.


      GigaSpaces launched the NFV Lab during the OpenStack Summit last month, and it is demonstrating it in collaboration with Metaswitch at the Metaswitch Forum event this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    • Publisher’s cloud strategy improves uptime and agility with PaaS

      Despite this PaaS love, Otte is keeping his options open. As he told me, “We’re committed to operating in a multi-cloud environment that uses open source and cloud-based technologies in everything that we do.” This means, among other things, that the company will continue to use OpenStack to stand up private and public clouds, even as it uses Cloud Foundry’s container-based architecture to build portable images and then run them in any language.

    • MapR Report Shows Apache Drill Coming to Maturity

      MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop, made the news this week as it rolled out a simple migration service for its Hadoop distribution that targets what it bills as growing demand for moving Big Data tool installations to its converged data platform. And, it was one year ago that we did an interview marking the company weaving Apache Drill into its Hadoop-centric distribution. Drill, which we’ve covered before, delivers self-service SQL analytics without requiring pre-defined schema definitions, dramatically reducing the time required for business analysts to explore and understand data. It also enables interactivity with data from both legacy transactional systems and new data sources, such as Internet of things (IOT) sensors, Web click-streams, and other semi-structured data, along with support for popular business intelligence (BI) and data visualization tools.

  • CMS

    • Phire CMS: A feature-rich, lightweight content management system

      By 2009, developer Nick Sagona had, over time, built quite a few custom, hand-rolled content management solutions for his specific client needs. He realized that having a standard, modular platform for all these custom bits would be useful, and Phire CMS was born.

      Phire CMS version 1.0 was released on November 1, 2010. Last October, version 2.0 was released, with a ground-up rewrite to utilize the Pop PHP Framework, also developed by Sagona at NOLA Interactive, a New Orleans-based web design firm. Both applications are available under the BSD 3-Clause License.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • It’s Possible To Run (X)Wayland On DragonFlyBSD

      It’s possible to get XWayland running on DragonFlyBSD if you want to experience Wayland/Weston outside of Linux.

      A DragonFlyBSD developer was successful in rebuilding the X.Org Server with XWayland support, used the i915 Intel DRM/KMS driver for display, and launched Wayland’s Weston with the Pixman renderer.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Git 2.8.3 Source Code Management System Introduces over 20 Improvements

      Git, the popular and acclaimed source code management system, has received its third point release, version 2.8.3, bringing over 20 improvements and bug fixes to the current stable 2.8 branch.

    • Your project’s RCS history affects ease of contribution (or: don’t squash PRs)

      Github recently introduced the option to squash commits on merge, and even before then several projects requested that contributors squash their commits after review but before merge. This is a terrible idea that makes it more difficult for people to contribute to projects.

      I’m spending today working on reworking some code to integrate with a new feature that was just integrated into Kubernetes. The PR in question was absolutely fine, but just before it was merged the entire commit history was squashed down to a single commit at the request of the reviewer. This single commit contains type declarations, the functionality itself, the integration of that functionality into the scheduler, the client code and a large pile of autogenerated code.


  • Aiding Africa

    I realized that there are two Africas: one normally portrayed in the media, a land of poverty, disease and war. And another Africa: a vital, energetic continent of hard working men and women, a continent of beautiful children and young men and young women, a continent of humor and a continent of hope. Today, six of the ten fastest economies in the world are in Africa.

    Despite some progress, however, some important problems remain, such as unemployment, particularly among the young. It is estimated that 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30, and that 60 percent of the unemployed are also young people. New policies should be developed to incorporate them into the labor force.

  • Eurovision as Politics

    This year’s Eurovision came with its usual cast of political baggage and implications, made spicier by the introduction of a “popular” vote that effectively neutralised usual judging patterns. But then again, the entire tournament was filled with such innovations, with Australia running a second time and winning the professional judge’s vote, only to lose by public vote to Ukraine.

    Even before the confirmation that Australia would feature again, eyebrows were raised as to what would be in store. A ridiculous competition, famed for its sublimated battles, was about to get even more peculiar. Were the Australians the shock absorbers in a polarised field?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hundreds of antibiotics built from scratch

      A 64-year-old class of antibiotics that has been a cornerstone of medical treatment has been dramatically refreshed by dogged chemists searching for ways to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

      In work described today in Nature[1], a team of chemists built molecules similar to the drug erythromycin, a key member of the macrolide class, from scratch. In doing so, they were able to generate more than 300 variations on erythromycin that would not have been feasible by merely modifying the original drug — the way that scientists would normally search for new variants of existing antibiotics.

    • Establishment Dems Fight to Defeat ‘Medicare-for-All’ in Colorado

      Pro-Clinton Democrats join Big Pharma and state Republicans in fighting to defeat first-in-the-nation ballot measure for statewide single-payer plan

    • Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed

      Uniform packaging rules for tobacco will be introduced on Friday after a legal challenge against the new law was dismissed by the High Court.

      The case was brought by four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

      But Mr Justice Green dismissed all their grounds of challenge.

      The government said it meant a generation would “grow up smoke-free”.

      Two of the companies have said they will appeal against the ruling.

    • Big Tobacco Lost to Australia over Plain Packaging – but That Doesn’t Mean Corporate Courts ‘Work’

      Late last year tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) attempted to sue the Australian government for billions over the introduction of plain packing of cigarettes. This court case happened in a secretive court system, just like the one that they are trying to introduce in the EU-USA trade deal, TTIP. PMI failed in their attempt and the case report has just been published.

      It is indisputably a good thing that PMI lost the case. But people who argue in favour of the same ‘corporate court’ system in TTIP (the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS) are claiming this as proof that the system works, justice was done, and the ISDS system functions responsibly to make sure that corporations can’t abuse it.

      Here’s five reasons why that’s not true.

  • Security

    • “Robin Hood” Hacker Steals $11,000 In Bitcoin, Donates It To Help Fight ISIS

      The hacker who claimed to hack the Hacking Team and Gamma Group is back again. This time, he has sent about $11,000 of allegedly stolen Bitcoin to help fight ISIS.

    • Aqua Launches Container Security Platform

      Looking beyond just application vulnerability scanning, Aqua also provides a degree of runtime protections. Aqua uses a layered security approach to keep containers safe, according to Jerbi. The layered approach starts with running the container application images in learning mode, usually during functional testing. In the learning mode, Aqua examines a container’s behavior in the application context and uses that to set granular runtime parameters, based on which files, executables and network connections a container is using.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Noam Chomsky on Syria Conflict: Cut Off the Flow of Arms & Stop Bombing to Stem the Atrocities

      Today, the U.S. and Russia co-chair a meeting of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict with a death toll that has reached close to half a million people. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing deadly conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. For more on these conflicts and the rise of ISIS, we continue our conversation with internationally renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Noam Chomsky. “The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities,” says Chomsky. He has written over 100 books, most recently, “Who Rules the World?” Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.

    • Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East

      On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies — and indeed, they’ve never had diplomatic relations.

    • America – the Most Frightened Nation on Earth

      America is exceptional alright. It is the most frightened nation on Earth, subjected to hysterical propaganda over decades warning about foreign enemies and ideologies. No wonder its supposed democratic freedom is in so appallingly bad shape, when the preponderant population is imprisoned by their rulers in a virtual cage of fear.


      Clooney dismissed Trump as a demagogue sowing fear and divisive tensions along racial and xenophobic lines. Which is fair enough. Of interest here is not so much the actor’s views on Trump’s chances of political success. Rather, it is Clooney’s premise that Americans would not succumb to reactionary fear peddling.

      Seated at the press conference alongside his American co-star Julia Roberts and film director Jody Foster, Clooney told his Cannes audience: «Fear is not going to drive our country… we’re not afraid of anything».

      Well, sorry George, but you are dead wrong on that score. Fear is the paramount emotional driver in American politics since at least the Second World War, and probably decades before that too.

    • Pentagon Official Once Told Morley Safer That Reporters Who Believe the Government Are “Stupid”

      Morley Safer, who was a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes from 1970 until just last week, died Thursday at age 84.

      There will be hundreds of obituaries about Safer, but at least so far there’s been no mention of what I think was one of the most important stories he ever told.

      In 1965, Safer was sent to Vietnam by CBS to cover the escalating U.S. war there. That August he filed a famous report showing American soldiers burning down a Vietnamese village with Zippo lighters and flamethrowers as children and elderly women and men cowered nearby.

    • The Dreadful Kagan Clan——Hillary’s Warmongers In Waiting

      The U.S. is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections——-which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly 4X the normal cycle length—–we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (5% of GDP) by 2026.

    • Obama Plays a Dove in NPR’s Historical Fiction

      So Clinton pushed for “safe zones” in Syria, which Obama did not create—and she advocated for US military intervention in Libya, which Obama carried out. So half the evidence presented for the claim that Clinton is more hawkish than Obama actually shows that Clinton is as hawkish as Obama.

      But what is the evidence that Obama is “reticent when it comes to deploying military force” in the first place? He’s bombed at least seven countries during his time in office—Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya, and drone strikes continue in all of these but Libya. The deadliest airstrikes, those against ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, have killed more than 25,000 people, according to US officials.

    • Pushing Russia Toward War

      NATO’s military pressure on Russia and the West’s economic sanctions have empowered Moscow’s hardliners…

    • Parallels Between Israel and 1930s Germany

      90 years ago was 1926, one of the last years of the German republic. 80 years ago was 1936, three years after the Nazis came to power. 70 years ago was 1946, on the morrow of Hitler’s suicide and the end of the Nazi Reich.

      I feel compelled to write about the general’s speech after all, because I was there.

      As a child I was an eyewitness to the last years of the Weimar Republic (so called because its constitution was shaped in Weimar, the town of Goethe and Schiller). As a politically alert boy I witnessed the Nazi Machtergreifung (“taking power”) and the first half a year of Nazi rule.

    • Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart

      “We’re fighting a system that now includes Kmart, which has an unlimited amount of power,” said Dinah Vargas, Albuquerque human rights activist and producer of the independent media site Burquemedia.com. “They’re acting like agents of the State, like they’re police officers. They have no authority to arrest him,”

      Vargas added, “Our own state doesn’t do capital punishment. We don’t send anyone to death. I’m an American citizen, and I’ll be damned if a loss prevention officer is going to be judge, jury and executioner.”

    • Speaking To NRA In A Gun-Free Zone, Trump Pledges To Eliminate Gun-Free Zones

      Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

      Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

    • NSA Participated In the Worst Abuses of the Iraq War

      You know the CIA was involved with some of the least savory aspects of the Iraq War.

      But the NSA got its hands dirty, as well.

    • US Downplays a New Syrian Massacre

      The Obama administration claims Syrian rebels in Ahrar al-Sham deserve protection from government attack although they have close ties to Al Qaeda and joined its official Syrian affiliate in a slaughter of Alawites, writes Daniel Lazare.

    • Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close

      As the political configuration of South America quickly shifts to the right and the global alignment of power is in active play , Venezuela is in the cross-hairs. The grave humanitarian crisis in Venezuela today is real and not an invention of the press. And the contributions to this crisis lie on multiple shoulders. And the solution to this problem needs to be determined by the Venezuelan people with support from other Latin American peoples.

    • Think Tanks and the US Power Elite

      The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense.

      The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other.

    • In Hiroshima, Obama and Abe Should Acknowledge Their Country’s Wrongdoing

      On May 27, as the first sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Hiroshima, the city that his country attacked with an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.

      Obama neither has a plan to apologize for the bombing nor to go back to the debate on the decision to drop the bomb. He has no plan to make a significant speech in Hiroshima comparable to his “Prague Speech” of April 5, 2009. There is not a plan yet for him to meet with Hibakusha (atomic-bomb victims).

      He received a Nobel Peace Prize for just talking about “a world without nuclear weapons” in Prague. Yet, Obama has been relentlessly allocating large budgets for modernization of nuclear weapons – $1 trillion over thirty years.

    • Saudi Arabia’s new best friend: India

      Fighting a sectarian air-war in Yemen, Saudis have made a mockery of humanitarian and human rights laws; from using indiscriminate cluster bombs to decimating hospitals and marketplaces. But the absence of formidable ground force means that they have not been able to achieve any of the set military objectives. Houthis still control much of the country, including the capital Sana’a. The Saudi-backed ousted government of Mansour Hadi faces opposition even in its stronghold of Aden. Al-Qaeda virtually rules over a state in the south-eastern port of Mukalla with a constant revenue stream and looted reserves worth $100 million. ISIS is also on the rise.

    • 2001 AUMF, Gitmo Restrictions Survive as House Passes Defense Policy Bill

      Last minute attempts to wind down trappings of the Bush-era Global War on Terror were thwarted Wednesday night before lawmakers in the House passed the annual defense bill.

      An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) put forth by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was defeated in a 285-138 vote. Fifty-seven Democrats joined Republicans to preserve the 15-year-old consent to war.

    • Trump Praised For Being ‘Consistent’ After Lying About His Record On Military Intervention

      During a Friday phone interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he “would have stayed out of Libya” back in 2011. Contrasting his own position with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pushed to get the United States more involved in the effort to take out Muammar Qaddafi, Trump said deposing the dictator led to “more destabilization” in the region. Trump also said he “would have stayed out of Iraq too.”

      Trump’s remarks won plaudits from host Joe Scarborough, who responded by saying, “There are a lot of people who say you have an inconsistent foreign policy, but it sounds pretty consistent.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track

      With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world’s natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

      Published Thursday, Global Environmental Outlook from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) involved the expertise of more than 1,200 scientists and over 160 governments, and exposes through reports on each of the world’s six regions that the rate of environmental deterioration is occurring faster than previously thought—and can only be halted with swift action.

    • Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

      In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.” The resolution further commits the school district to develop a plan to “address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

      The resolution is the product of a months-long effort by teachers, parents, students, and climate justice activists to press the Portland school district to make “climate literacy” a priority. It grew out of a November gathering of teachers and climate activists sponsored by 350PDX, Portland’s affiliate of the climate justice organization, 350.org. The group’s resolution was endorsed by more than 30 community organizations. Portland’s Board of Education approved it unanimously late Tuesday evening, cheered by dozens of teachers, students, and activists from 350PDX, the Raging Grannies, Rising Tide, the Sierra Club, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Climate Jobs PDX, and a host of other groups.

    • Agriculture Wasn’t Included In The Paris Climate Deal, But It Will Be Crucial To Meeting Its Goals

      In December, nearly 200 nations met in Paris and unanimously agreed, in historic fashion, to a shared goal of keeping the world well below 2 degrees Celsius of warming. In order to achieve that, the participating nations each put forth a broad set of goals, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and agreed to a number of provisions included in the text of the Paris agreement itself.

    • After ‘Robbing Humanity’ of Better Future, Shareholders Targeted for Big Oil’s Charade

      When they gather in Texas and California, respectively, for their annual shareholder meetings next week, ExxonMobil and Chevron will face increasing pressure from shareholders, environmentalists, and impacted communities to act on climate change.

      The meetings, both taking place next Wednesday, come amid a concerted effort to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations accountable for deceiving the general public and their shareholders about climate science.

      But if history is any indication, the Big Oil giants will remain as intractable as ever, even in the face of a growing climate crisis.

    • Here’s One Way The Media Confuses The Public About Climate Change

      The multi-decade disinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry is certainly a key source of their confusion. And that confusion is amplified whenever the media disproportionately favors scientists who reject the basic scientific consensus on climate change. A 2014 study makes clear this false balance remains commonplace.

      But there is another more insidious source of confusion for the public, and that’s when the media’s language on climate science is itself ridiculously watered-down.

    • Tiny English Village Fights Fossil Fuel Industry To Avoid Becoming Ground Zero For British Fracking

      Through the decades, the English countryside has been known to American audiences as the background for classic, beloved shows: Brideshead Revisited, All Creatures Great and Small, Downton Abbey. The casual Netflix viewer today is familiar with Britain’s brick villages, hedgerows, and quaint, narrow streets.

      Kirby Misperton (pop. 370) is such a village. It has been perched in the gently rolling hills of northeast England for, literally, a thousand years. “New” houses here were built before the United States fought a civil war.

    • The Science Museum is free – so what is BP buying?

      “I’d prefer the wording not to focus on environmental damage” – those were the words used in an email by the company Shell, as it attempted to muscle in on the Science Museum’s curatorial decision making. In 2014, Shell had been a sponsor of the museum’s climate science exhibition but once that controversial email had been unearthed – as the result of a freedom of information request – there was no going back. The museum’s reputation was damaged and the end of Shell’s sponsorship became inevitable.

      Earlier this month, the campaign group, Art Not Oil, published a damning report into the “corrupting influence” of another fossil fuel giant – BP – on the museums and galleries it sponsors. Once again, it places the Science Museum in the spotlight.

      At its recent AGM, BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley insisted that the company gives money with “no strings attached” but documents cited in the report paint the opposite picture. Rather than furthering the understanding of science, BP appears to have been using the Science Museum in order to sharpen its spin and advance its strategic interests with policymakers.

      Curatorial independence is highly prized in the culture sector but for the Science Museum, BP has often been an exception to the rule. When the museum redeveloped its energy gallery in 2004, BP played a “hands-on” role. An article posted on BP’s website at the time (but now no longer available) described a “BP advisory board headed by Peter Mather, BP head of country, UK” with “10 experts from BP … to help with content for the exhibits.” And the Science Museum’s sponsorship liaison manager said: “We would like to help [BP] meet their objectives on different levels, including corporate responsibility, education strategy and global strategy.”

    • First Nations and Allies Vow to Fight Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval

      Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) announced late Thursday that it has found oil giant Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of a pipeline that transports tar sands oil to the British Columbia coast “in the public interest.”

    • India Records Highest Temperature Ever As Drought Drives Despair

      India recorded its hottest day on the books on Thursday amid a scorching heatwave and “staggering” number of farmer suicides.

      Sizzling at 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees F), the temperature in the city of Phalodi in the western state of Rajasthan topped the nation’s previous record of 50.6 Celsius set in 1956.

    • India records its hottest day ever as temperature hits 51C (that’s 123.8F)

      A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51C – the highest since records began – amid a nationwide heatwave.

      The new record was set in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, and is the equivalent of 123.8F.

      It tops a previous record of 50.6C set in 1956.

    • Over A Third Of North America’s Bird Species Need ‘Urgent Conservation Action’

      The report, released by the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, is the first to look at the threats facing all 1,154 migratory bird species native to North America. Taking into account population sizes and trends, extent of habitats, and severity of threats, the report found that 37 percent of migratory birds in North America qualify for the conservation watch list, “indicating species of highest conservation concern based on high vulnerability scores across multiple factors.”

    • Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

      The Abe government is desperately trying to clean up and repopulate as if nothing happened, whereas Chernobyl (1986) determined at the outset it was an impossible task, a lost cause, declaring a 1,000 square mile no-habitation zone, resettling 350,000 people. It’ll take centuries for the land to return to normal.

    • Drought be Dammed

      The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned.

    • House Republicans Are Going After The Exxon Investigation

      Not content to let the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology’s reputation for hating science rest for even a moment, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has now subpoenaed the New York attorney general over his investigation into Exxon’s role in sowing climate denial.

      Calling the investigation a “coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and the threat of prosecution,” Smith’s letter calls for documents and communication between the attorney general’s office and environmental groups, the EPA, and the Justice Department, and internally, regarding any climate change investigations.

    • The ALEC Attack on Solar Power

      It seems almost every week a new report comes out touting the growth of renewable electricity, especially wind and solar. Whether it is new milestones in installed generation capacity or low prices sold into the electricity markets, wind and solar are the certain future of electricity generation. But the future prospects of truly clean energy depend on a variety of government policies that have incentivized that growth. Net metering is one of those policies—which is why it has come under attack.

      Net metering is a billing arrangement in which the owner of a rooftop solar system can send electricity they don’t use back into the grid, and receive credit for it on their bill. While there is no national net metering policy, net metering programs have traditionally paid the owners the “retail” electricity rate. In other words, the owners have gotten a one-for-one credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity sent into the grid.

    • Trump cannot derail global climate deal

      Even if he wins the US presidency, Donald Trump will be unable to halt international progress towards a low-carbon economy, a British expert says.

    • The world’s largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem

      As Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger

    • Warnings of Food Safety Threats as Canada Green Lights ‘Frankenfish’

      Despite a sustained effort from public health and climate activists, genetically modified (GM or GMO) salmon has been officially sanctioned for sale in Canada.

      And if that wasn’t foreboding enough, a pending trade deal between Canada and the European Union means the country’s first approved GMO food animal, known colloquially as the “Frankenfish,” could soon be sold and eaten internationally.

      Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced their approval of the U.S.-based biotechnology company AquaBounty’s salmon—which will be shipped as eggs from Prince Edward Island to laboratories in Panama, where they will be grown to their adult full size and sent back to Canada for sale and consumption—on Thursday.

  • Finance

    • Central Asia, the Panama Papers and the myth of the periphery

      Regarding the potential for a mobilisation of public outrage, the anonymous source behind the Panama leak stated that “a new global debate has started” in a manifesto for Süddeutsche Zeitung.

      In tune with the usual refrain that bribing is rife outside the west, David Cameron referred to Afghanistan and Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” during an embarrassing microphone slip-up on 10 May ahead of the London Anti-Corruption Summit. In response, corruption experts at Transparency International were quick to brand Cameron’s government as “extraordinarily inept” for its lax regulation and transparency requirements across British-controlled offshore dependencies such as the Cayman and Virgin Islands (BVI).

      These developments suggest two market logics in play. Whereas oligarchs from outside the west operate from a logic of “demand-side” corruption seeking discreet locations to launder money, the west operates from a logic of “supply-side” corruption.

    • Response to Human Rights Watch’s letter on minimum-age standards with respect to child labour

      As the UN considers its position on child labour, a group of academics and practitioners have engaged in open debate with Human Rights Watch over the utility of minimum age rules. This is the third letter in a series.

    • Donald Trump Says ‘I Don’t Settle,’ But We Found 13 Times He Did.

      The lawsuits touch many facets of his real estate and entertainment empire: Complaints were filed against his television production company, his now mostly defunct chain of casinos, and his hotel and resort management businesses. Each of the companies were owned and/or directly controlled by Trump at the time of the suits.

    • Francis: Employers not offering health insurance are ‘true leeches’

      Pope Francis has condemned employers who exploit their workers by offering only temporary contracts or not providing health insurance, calling them “true leeches [that] live on the bloodletting of the people they make slaves to work.”

      Reflecting Thursday on the day’s Mass readings during his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pontiff also said that Christians err when they think there is a “theology of prosperity” in which God “sees that you are just and gives you much wealth.”

    • Pope Francis To Employers Who Don’t Offer Health Care: You Are ‘True Leeches’
    • Austerity as a failed experiment

      Austerity is a failed experiment, it is an elite narrative that informs a set of policies whose outcomes are not yet fully known – they are contingent, contested and uncertain.

    • Many of America’s Leading Economists Are Not Even Remotely Grappling With America’s Systemic Problems

      The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair. Rationalizing personal disappointment and embracing market-centric economic theories according to which government can do little more than fuss around the edges, their conclusions—and the political leadership that embraces them—have little to offer millions of angry ordinary people for whom the economy simply isn’t working.

    • University of Chicago Students Protest The ‘Corporatization’ Of Their School

      University of Chicago students plan to stage a sit-in on Thursday afternoon to demand several actions from the administration, including putting an end to racist policing practices and paying university workers $15 an hour.

      Student activists say they plan to have 30 students and alumni go into the administration building and drop a banner from the windows that will read “Democratize UofC.” A group of 250 protesters — including students, adjunct faculty, and community members — will walk through the streets and block traffic before marching through the quad and staging a sit in in front of the administration building.

      The list of demands also includes expanding student disability services and disabled students’ access to buildings and divesting from fossil fuels. When asked about what ties together the list of demands, Anna Wood, a second-year student and university worker, told ThinkProgress that the “corporatization” of the university is the reason why all of these issues remain unaddressed.

    • #NuitDebout Protests Are Part of a Global Movement Challenging a Broken Economic System

      Over the last two month France has been rocked by mass protests, occupations and strikes, as a new generation takes to the streets to expresses its rage at labor reforms and growing inequality. Over a million people have mobilized across the country to say on vaut mieux que ça — “we are worth more than this.”

      Similar to the Occupy Wall Street, Indignados and the Gezi Park movements, #Nuitdebout (“Night on our Feet”) is part of a new global movement that seeks to challenge the rule of the 1 percent by taking back public space. Thousands gather every night in Place de la République to discuss and debate how to construct a more participatory form of politics.

      The streets and squares of Paris are alive with democracy, and if the Spanish and US examples are anything to go by, this participatory and chaotic movement could play an important part in creating transformative change.

      The link between these movements is clear. On May 15th they jointly organized #GlobalDebout – over 300 actions across the world demanding real democracy, economic justice and sustainability. There were major demonstrations in Madrid, a general assembly in Mexico, a free orchestra in Brussels and occupations across Italy.

    • Economic Update: Poverty and the US Economy

      This episode provides updates on an Alabama prison strike, Greece’s economy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Yale’s taxes. We also interview Joan Berezin and Kip Waldo on revolutionary change.

    • How Rudy Giuliani Helped Landlords Get a Tax Break With No Strings Attached

      In June 1995, a proposal to revitalize the ghostly New York neighborhood near Wall Street was poised to pass the state Senate. The bill offered developers multimillion-dollar tax breaks if they were willing to turn aging office buildings into apartments. Landlords, in turn, would agree to limit rent increases, a standard provision for such programs.

      However, just hours before the Senate was scheduled to adjourn for the summer, Joseph L. Bruno, the Republican leader of the Senate, surprisingly slammed the brakes and pulled the bill off the calendar. He later said the reason was simple: He wanted time to consult New York City’s mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.

    • New rule means millions more U.S. workers can qualify for overtime pay

      Millions of workers in the U.S. who currently don’t qualify for overtime pay despite putting in more than 40 hours a week will soon see a spike in their paycheck. After years of resistance from powerful business lobbies, the Department of Labor announced new rules Tuesday. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

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

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

    • Is Your Local Public Library Run by Wall Street?

      What do 82 public libraries, a Texas beef processing company, and a string of Pizza Huts across Tennessee and Florida have in common?

      They’re all managed by the same private equity firm.

      Fifteen of those libraries are in Jackson County, Oregon, where public officials are starting to raise concerns over the firm’s ownership of the private contractor that manages them. Facing budget issues in 2007, the county contracted with Library Systems and Services (LS&S), the country’s largest library outsourcing company, to try to save money—but LS&S is owned by Argosy Private Equity, whose mission is to “generate outstanding returns” and “substantially grow revenues and profits” for the businesses it owns.

      Now Jackson County is learning the hard way. LS&S’s claim to do more with less while still making a profit really meant that corners would be cut. Before privatization, most of the county’s libraries were open more than 40 hours per week—after taking over, the company cut the operating times in half and closed branches on Sundays. They also cut benefits for the staff, which were no longer unionized.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Nefarious Surveillance State Dangerously Inhibits Self-Expression and a Healthy Democracy

      The nefarious brilliance of the surveillance state rests, at least in part, in the fact that it conveys omniscience without the necessity of omnipresence. Since even its verifiable actions are clandestine and shadowy, revealed not through admission but by whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Jeremy Hammond, its gaze can feel utterly infinite. To modify an old phrase, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not watching you—especially given that you now have proof. But if you never know precisely when they’re watching or exactly what they’re looking for, can you ever be paranoid enough?

    • American Democracy Is in Crisis Mode and We’re All Complicit: Here’s What Needs to Happen

      And here we are. Conservatives blame liberals for summoning “movements” that turn citizens into “takers.” Liberals blame conservatives for turning them into stupefied consumers and mobs. Each side is only half right—right only about how the other side is wrong. Let’s stop listening to such one-sided thinking. The novelist D.H. Lawrence wrote that “it is the business of our Chief Thinkers to tell us of our own deeper desires, not to keep shrilling our little desires in our ears.” The founders understood that a republic needs an open, circulating elite of “disinterested” citizen-leaders who rise above private interests in wealth and power and tribal loyalties to inspire and, yes, support others in looking beyond narrow self-interest to accomplish things together that they couldn’t achieve alone.

    • Why Voters Might “Respectfully Disagree” With Clinton’s Declaration of Victory

      The Bernie Sanders campaign struck back at Hillary Clinton on Thursday for her statement that the Democratic presidential nominating process was “already done,” pointing to not only the nine remaining contests, but also poll after poll showing Sanders outperforming Clinton in hypothetical match-ups against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

      Clinton told CNN on Thursday: “I will be the nominee for my party. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”

      But Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs, in a strongly worded statement issued late Thursday afternoon, begged to differ.

    • After Distancing Herself From Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies, Hillary Wants Him as Mr. Economic Fix It

      After having institutionalized the neoliberal economic policies that have enriched the 1% and particularly the 0.1% at the expense of everyone else, Hillary Clinton wants to give the long-suffering citizenry an even bigger dose.

    • Bernie Comes to Vallejo

      Sanders delivered his speech saying:

      * the campaign finance system is corrupt and undermining democracy

      * the economy is “rigged” with the rich taking it all

      * the infrastructure is collapsing with school children in Flint Michigan poisoned by tap water

      * corporations have taken away good jobs by moving manufacturing outside the USA

      * the criminal justice system is broken, with the government spending $80 billion locking up 2.2 million people

      * police departments have been militarized

      * graduating students are saddled with monstrous debts

      * why does the government always have money for wars but not to rebuild inner cities?

      * we are destroying the planet – what kind of legacy is that?

      * healthcare should be a right not a privilege – we need medicare for all

      * workers needs a living wage which is $15 per hour minimum

      * we need immigration reform and end to deportations

    • Five things people should stop saying about Bernie Sanders

      Establishment Democrats want him to stop criticizing Clinton, they want him to lay off the party, they want him to drop out. Here’s why they’re utterly wrong

    • Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn

      Trump was a mere stripling of 27, the son of a racist real estate tycoon, when crooked, always-under-indictment lawyer Cohn got his claws on him. As Donald and his dad Fred faced federal charges of racial discrimination at the Trumps’ New York rental properties, young Trump turned to Roy Cohn, the city’s most notorious fixer, to fix it. Trump’s staff lawyers advised we’re guilty so settle; Cohn said tell the Justice Dept. to go to hell.

    • Sanders Takes Case to California

      Despite calls from many pundits and pols for him to quit, Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to rally thousands of Americans to a program of profound social and economic change, reports Rick Sterling.

    • Establishment Collectively Stunned To See Citizens Reject Rigged Democratic Primary

      Democratic Party leaders accuse Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaign of inciting “violence” among supporters by promoting allegations that the primary process is rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Surrogates for Clinton and pundits, who favor Clinton, have ramped up their attacks on Sanders for maintaining a robust campaign, even though the last votes have yet to be cast in the primary.

      Much of the pressure to rein in supporters stems from a belief that Sanders no longer has a right to run in the primary, and that he is now a spoiler candidate in the race. The pressure has ramped up in the aftermath of the chaos at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s convention, which was largely provoked by how it was handled by chairwoman Roberta Lange.

      For example, The New York Times published a report with the incendiary headline, “Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch.” It suggests Sanders intends to inflict a “heavy blow” on Clinton in California and “wrest the nomination from her,” despite the reality that she has not clinched the nomination.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Is Our Best Chance to Beat Donald Trump

      Hand-wringing over party unity misses the point. No one cares about your precious parties.

      As Hillary Clinton joylessly stumbles her way to the Democratic nomination, calls have increased for Bernie Sanders to either drop out of the race altogether or, at least, to stop fighting so darn hard. We’re told that Bernie should drop out for the good of the party. Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can make her general election “pivot” (which presumably means she can be free of the burden of pretending to be a liberal). Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can focus on Trump. According to this logic, Bernie and his band of loyalists need to get pragmatic, face the music, have a reality check. Hogwash. Doesn’t anyone see what I see? Bernie Sanders is our best chance to beat Donald Trump and to prove to the young voters backing him that the Democratic party actually stands for something.

    • Why Not Hillary?

      For those who have had enough of the neoliberal turn and of liberal imperialism, and who have no liking for endless wars and for an economy organized around war and preparations for war, the question answers itself. Or, rather, it would, if reason were in control.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé

      Liberal Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters get defensive when they hear that Mrs. Clinton is favored over Donald Trump by right-wing billionaires like Charles Koch and (with much more enthusiasm) by leading arch-imperial foreign policy Neoconservatives like Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen. But an honest look at Hillary’s record should make the support she is getting from such noxious, arch-authoritarian “elites” less than surprising.

      My last essay reflected on Hillary’s deeply conservative, neoliberal, and pro-Big Business career in domestic U.S. politics and policy. This article turns to her foreign policy history, showing why it makes perfect sense that top imperial Neocons prefer Hillary over the at least outwardly “isolationist” and at anti-interventionist Trump.

    • Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

      It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race — even though it’s now widely accepted that Clinton can’t win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don’t vote for more than two months — at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds — and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.

      CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

    • Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared

      The Democratic Party machine, along with the Clinton campaign wants voters to believe the nomination is a sure thing, and while it may be all but clinched barring a miracle for the Sanders campaign. Mathematically speaking it’s pretty locked in for Clinton. The obstacles Bernie Sanders must overcome to secure the nomination are seemingly insurmountable, needing to win nearly 80 percent of the remaining delegates and then convincing Super Delegates to swap from the party elite to his revolutionary comparing.

      Yet, with all air of confidence coming from the Clinton camp, they have descended upon a strange campaign strategy; convince voters that the Sanders campaign and supporters are inseparable from the Trump campaign.

      They are accomplishing this by exploiting the inexcusable actions of a small number of individuals in Nevada who apparently sent threatening voicemails and text messages to Nevada Democratic Party Chair, Roberta Lang. Sanders quickly condemned these actions, writing in a press release, “I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.”

      However, the Democratic Party elite continue to tell the media and voters that Sanders has yet to condone these actions and apologize for them. These comments come in the form of comparisons to what voters have seen from Trump rallies, and wonder why Sanders would allow such a thing to happen, as if he has any control over these individuals.

    • Bernie fan Robert Reich urges voters to ‘work like hell for’ Hillary if she gets nod — and all hell breaks loose

      There have been few more eloquent supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ drive for the Democratic presidential nomination than former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is precisely on the same page as Sanders when it comes to income inequality and the oppressive influence of money in politics in the U.S.

    • Hillary Clinton and Political Violence

      In broader understanding, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey developed the ‘telos of becoming’ to describe life-purpose as it unfolds historically. In contrast to passive theories of pre-ordination, Dilthey’s purposiveness is brought into being through the act of living. In a social sense this theory places the policies and practices of Bill and Hillary Clinton on the path to those of George W. Bush as necessary precedents. In more straightforward terms, Mr. Bush’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan were preceded by the Clinton’s sanctions and bombing that killed 500,000 innocent Iraqis. And Mr. Bush’s capacity to wage war was facilitated by the political cover provided by both Clintons.

      The American relationship with political violence has always been schizophrenic as the storyline of ‘benevolent’ violence overseas is met by the facts as lived by what remains of the indigenous population and the descendants of slaves whose forebears were kidnapped and held as chattel when not being raped and / or murdered. Thanks in large measure to the economic and carceral policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the portion of the population that isn’t currently incarcerated lives with the ‘passive’ violence of outsourced jobs, privatized public services and generally diminished lives. And lest this idea of passive violence seem effete, the suicides, drug addiction, divorces and domestic abuse that accompany economic stress are demonstrably real.

      When Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Angela Davis was asked in 1972 by a Swedish film crew about the alleged penchant of the Panthers toward revolutionary (political) violence, she made the point back that Black people in America have lived with three centuries of political violence not of their making. Those old enough to remember the murder of Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Fred Hampton at the hands of the Chicago police as he slept next to his pregnant wife likely cringed knowingly when permanent Clinton confidant and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel covered up the vicious murder of Laquan McDonald by the very same Chicago Police Department four decades later. Depending on one’s class and race, political violence in America is either an everyday occurrence or something that doesn’t affect you.

    • ‘I Will Be the Nominee for My Party,’ Hillary Clinton Declares (Video)
    • First, Do Some Harm: How to Smear a Disfavored Candidate on NYT’s Front Page

      As a bonus, you get to make a front-page allusion to violence on the part of Senator Sanders, which bolsters the idea—advanced by phantom chair-throwing incidents—that the Sanders campaign is a dangerous menace. (Note that the story’s original headline was the less-inflammatory “Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Accuses Head of DNC of Favoritism“—which became the more slanted “Bernie Sanders’s Defiance Strains Ties With Top Democrats” before settling on the final smear.)

      The real problem that the Times has with the Sanders campaign, I would suggest, is revealed at the end of that lead, where Healy et al. write that Sanders plans on “amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July—or even wrest the nomination from her.”

      Yes, the New York Times has the scoop: Bernie Sanders is secretly hoping to win the election!

      Healy is one of the Times reporters who wrote, back in October, about “Hillary Rodham Clinton emerging as the unrivaled leader in the Democratic contest.” The Times will not forgive Sanders for proving them wrong.

    • Ralph Nader’s Democracy Crusade

      Nader did not do it through the Green Party after he ran for President. But neither, to be fair, did Barack Obama, whose Organizing for America became not a progressive pressure group, as it was originally conceived, but a mere fundraising vehicle for the national Democratic Party. The Bernie Sanders campaign just might grow into something more lasting. Naturally, Nader himself has some thoughts on Sanders’s next steps.

      “What Bernie Sanders should do if he doesn’t win is turn himself into a civic mobilizer,” Nader says.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Real Reason Why All The People Trump Wants To Put On The Supreme Court Are White

      Wednesday afternoon, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a list of 11 conservative judges that he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if elected president. All are them are white.

      To a certain extent, this is a window into Mr. Trump’s priorities. In May of 2001, President George W. Bush announced his first 11 nominees to the federal bench. The nominees included two African-Americans and one Latino, in an apparent nod to the fact that the optics of diversity matter, even in a Republican administration. Trump, by contrast, does not appear to see the value in making even a token appeal to racial diversity.

    • Did Francis Just Blindside Conservatives on Women’s Ordination?

      Three years, two synods, dozens of bishop attendees, hundreds of pages of documents, innumerous small committee meetings, and endless amounts of angst went into Pope Francis’ decision to more or less keep the status quo on the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be admitted to communion.

    • Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People

      During the run-up to America’s war against Iraq, I told audiences that Bush would certainly win reelection. Some people broke down in tears.

      That’s my job: telling people things they prefer not to hear, especially about the future. Being Cassandra isn’t much fun. Because we live in a nation in decline and yielding to incipient fascism, the more I’m right — i.e., most of the time — the more I annoy my readers.

    • Suyapa Portillo on Central American Refugees, Michael Ratner on Alberto Gonzalez
    • Ibsen and Whistleblowers

      As a result, over the last 15 years we have seen scandal heaped upon intelligence scandal, as the spies allowed their fake and politicised information to be used make a false case for an illegal war in Iraq; we have seen them descend into a spiral of extraordinary rendition (ie kidnapping) and torture, for which they are now being sued if not prosecuted; and we have seen that they facilitate dodgy deals in the deserts with dictators.

    • Despite Confession, CIA’s Role in Mandela’s Capture Can Still Hardly Be Told

      Now we have news, from the Sunday Times of London (5/15/16), that shortly before his recent death, Donald Rickard himself admitted it, and proudly. It was righteous because Mandela was believed to be a Communist, Rickard told a British filmmaker. “Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”

    • The Widening Cracks in Zionism

      What happens when ideologically driven leaders start to lose their following? Well, they get very upset because those who are supposed to affirm everything the movement stands for are now having doubts. Such doubters are dangerous to the supposed true faith and so are usually dealt with in one of two ways: (1) the ideologues in charge attempt to marginalize the disaffected by denigrating them and then casting them out of the fold or (2) if we are dealing with totalitarian types, they send the dissenters off to a gulag, or worse.

    • Racism from above in Appalachia

      There’s been buzz since Bernie Sanders won West Virginia’s primary last week about the nature of the white working class. Touching it off were a series of polls showing high support for Trump among the voters who handed Sanders a nearly 16 point lead in the 97.3 percent white state. Almost 40 percent of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump in November, compared with a third of primary voters overall. The same night, Trump won 77 percent of the vote. For liberal pundits, the upshot seemed clear: Even when they dress up as socialists, white working-class voters are more committed to white supremacy than economic populism.


      In few places has that statement been more true than in Appalachia. As the lines of today’s two-party system continue to shift into uncertain territory, movements eager to continue the political revolution — and win over white working class voters, away from Trump — might do well to pick up Haney-López and McGhee’s call.

    • Explosive Report Shows How Oklahoma Used The Wrong Drug In Charles Warner’s Execution

      Charles Warner was executed in January 2015 by a three-drug cocktail: a sedative, a paralytic, and a drug that stopped his heart. According to approved protocol — and the state’s official post-execution records — the last, lethal drug was supposed to be potassium chloride. However, Warner was mistakenly executed with potassium acetate, a mistake that wasn’t discovered until the scheduled execution of Richard Glossip in September 2015.

    • Pakistan’s Senate Gets Smart About Terrible Cyber-Crime Bill

      Over the last few months, Pakistan’s Internet community has been fighting to stop the passage of one of the world’s worst cyber-crime proposals: the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB). Thanks in part to the hundreds of messages sent to Pakistan’s senators, they secured a major victory this week—public assurances from key members of Pakistan’s Senate that they will oppose the bill in its entirety. There’s still work to be done, but it’s a strong sign that public opposition is working.

    • Journalists Arrested In Ferguson Promise Not To Promote The Settlement

      Back in 2014, as the protests in Ferguson, Missouri were the main story everyone was following, we noted a troubling pattern of police in the area arresting journalists on no basis whatsoever. This happened even after a court told them to knock if off. And yet, the fallout from this is still happening. For reasons that still don’t make any sense at all, prosecutors have charged two journalists — Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery — with trespassing, after they failed to leave a McDonald’s fast enough (they were leaving, just apparently not fast enough).


      Meanwhile, some other journalists who had been detained had already filed a lawsuit over the unlawful detention and, on Wednesdsay, it was announced that a settlement has been reached in which law enforcement officers will receive more training.

    • Bill Clinton to Poland and Hungary: Do As We Say on Immigration, You Dirty Little Putins!

      Shortly after World War II, after the Soviet Red Army liberated Hungary from Nazi occupation, the Hungarians held their first election in six years. The November, 1945 vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for a coalition led by the agrarian, anti-communist Hungarian Smallholders Party. This victory at the ballot box infuriated Hungary’s Communist Party and Hungary’s new occupying Soviet overlords. Little by little, in what became known as “salami tactics,” the Hungarian communists chipped away at the ruling coalition – slicing off one piece of salami (coalition partner) at a time until nothing was left. Once accomplished, a new election was held in which the Communists captured power and ruled for 40 years from the barrel of a Soviet tank (literally in 1956).

    • Occupied Canada: Indigenous & Black Lives Matter Activists Unite to Protest Violence & Neglect

      We host a roundtable discussion in Toronto about how indigenous and Black Lives Matter activists in Canada are working together to address state violence and neglect, and media coverage of their efforts. Last month, First Nations people occupied the offices of Canada’s indigenous affairs department to demand action over suicides as well as water and housing crises in their communities. The protests came after the Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over attempted suicides. Protesters set up occupations inside and outside the offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg and Gatineau, Quebec. Among those who took part in the occupation of the office here in Toronto were local Black Lives Matter activists who just weeks earlier had launched a 15-day encampment outside police headquarters following news there would be no criminal charges for the police officer who fatally shot a South Sudanese refugee named Andrew Loku last July. Among those who turned out in force at the encampment outside Toronto police headquarters were First Nations activists. We are joined by Erica Violet Lee an indigenous rights activist with the Idle No More movement and a student at the University of Saskatchewan; Hayden King, an indigenous writer and lecturer at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy in Ottawa; LeRoi Newbold, a member of the steering committee for Black Lives Matter Toronto and director of the Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School Project; and Desmond Cole, a journalist and columnist for the Toronto Star and radio host on Newstalk 1010.

    • San Francisco Police Chief Forced Out After Killing of Black Woman by Police Officer

      San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was forced to resign by the city’s mayor on Thursday after an officer fatally shot a Black woman who crashed a stolen car.

      For months, Suhr and Mayor Ed Lee have faced mounting criticism—including an internationally publicized hunger strike demanding Suhr’s resignation—after the city police kept repeating a pattern of shooting and killing non-white San Franciscans in confrontations with the cops.

    • Israeli Defense Minister Resigns, Citing Extremism & Racism in Israel

      The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, has resigned, saying, “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society.” His resignation comes only days after Ya’alon’s deputy chief of staff, Major General Yair Golan, compared modern-day Israel to “nauseating trends” in Nazi-era Germany. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now offered the position of defense minister to the right-wing, ultranationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman is considered to be one of the most hawkish politicians in Israel.

    • How the Mainstream Media’s Islamophobia Fuels Endless War

      Longtime advocates for peace say their work has gotten a lot harder ever since ISIS (also known as Daesh) became a household name, and that has a lot to do with how the media covers violent extremism, according to a new report by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

      AFSC researchers looked at 600 news stories published by 20 national outlets in the United States last year and discovered a pervasive tendency toward painting violent extremism as an inherently Islamic problem that is only solvable with the use of force.

    • Political Judiciary in Argentina

      The parallels with the right-wing opposition strategy in Brazil are striking. In Brazil, the right-wing coalition has just formed a new government while they impeach President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT). Like the Kirchners in Argentina, the PT also presided over a large improvement in living standards in Brazil, most of which have not been lost in the last couple of years of recession. Dilma is being impeached for an accounting maneuver that is not a crime, and had been done by previous presidents as well as governors. In both Brazil and Argentina, a hostile, oligopolized, anti-government mass media has been used to make these non-crimes look like they are somehow tied to corruption. In both countries, the investigation is led by a blatantly partisan judge (Sergio Moro in Brazil). And the smearing of Lula da Silva, who was perhaps the most popular president in the history of Brazil, is also meant to prevent his candidacy in the next presidential election (2018).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Once Again With Feeling: Cord Cutting Is Not A ‘Myth’

      For years we’ve noted how the cable industry (and companies that feed off of it like Nielsen) have been in stark, often comic denial about the changes happening in the legacy cable sector. But every few months or so, a select rotation of news outlets also feel compelled to pooh pooh the entire notion of cord cutting, broadly declaring that the idea is a “myth” perpetuated by a select cadre of mean bloggers hellbent on confusing the public for some unfathomable reason. More often than not it’s the editors trotting out the “myth” headline to gain hits, despite the story itself doing a piss poor job actually debunking the concept.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ICTSD: Specialised Intellectual Property Courts – Issues And Challenges

      Professor Jacques de Werra (University of Geneva) wrote the lead article of this second issue. As highlighted by the author, under the TRIPS Agreement countries have the option to create specialised intellectual property courts and on this basis, countries are free to decide what types of judicial body or bodies have the jurisdiction to hear disputes. In this respect, the experience in both developed and developing countries varies. Jacques de Werra concludes that how advantageous or necessary it is to establish specialised courts in a given jurisdiction depends on a number of factors that go beyond intellectual property. Rather, this determination should take into account more general factors, including economics, the legal system and societal characteristics. Thus, the creation of specialised IP courts cannot be recommended in all circumstances.

    • Tackling OEM infringement in China

      Huang Hui and Paul Ranjard of Wan Hui Da discuss the implications of the recent PRETUL decision of the Supreme People’s Court in China

    • Can Patents Ever Be “Ever-Greened”? The Answer…They Are “Never-Greened”

      Let’s assume a molecule has been patented in a country by Patent No.1. Let’s further assume that a derivative of the said molecule is patented by Patent No.1A and that a device to dispense the said molecule is patented by Patent 1B in the same country. It is further assumed that the patent office has granted the three patents after the due process of examination as per the Patent Law in that country. The figure illustrates that every patent expires at the end of its term [or at the end of the term extension if any]. It is obvious from the figure that the claims of Patent No.1 are not enforceable after its patent term. Similarly the claims of Patent No.1A are not enforceable after the patent term of Patent No.1A, and similar is the case of the claims of Patent No.1B. It is fallacious to conclude that the protection via the claims of Patent No.1 are so called “ever-greened” till the term of Patent No.1B as has been surprisingly concluded by several authors. A generic player would be free to use the claims of Patent No. 1 immediately after the expiry of Patent No.1. Claims of Patent No. 1A and/or Patent No.1B would not come on the way of the user to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1 under such circumstances. The only requirement of any person wishing to enter the market with a product based on claims of Patent No. 1 would be to satisfy the regulatory requirement of that specific country. The claims of Patent No. 1 do not get ever-greened. Further, a generic player would not be permitted to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1A or Patent No. 1B during their respective patent terms though nothing stops the generic player from exploiting the claims of Patent No. 1 which has expired.

    • IPOPHL Interview: The view from the Philippines

      It is four years since the Philippines joined the Madrid Protocol, and the Director General has observed an annual increase of 20% to 30% in the number of overseas filings with IPOPHL. New filers account for 80% among the Madrid filers in the past four years. “The figures are likely to infer that accession to the Madrid Protocol has had a positive impact on Philippine ­business,” she says.

    • Trademarks

      • Zendesk and the Art of Trademark Trolling

        Zen. The word has come to be associated with simplicity, intuition, and a sense of enlightenment. It originates from a branch of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation and self-reflection as the way to achieve enlightenment.

        Naturally, given the cultural cachet of the word, it’s been adopted to various degrees by businesses and other organizations. One of these is Zendesk, maker of customer helpdesk software that businesses use to answer and resolve customer questions and complaints.

        Zendesk is quickly becoming famous for another activity: bullying small companies into changing their name if it contains the word “zen.”

        We recently became aware of Zendesk’s tactics via the ordeal of a WordPress plugin called Comet Cache, formerly known as ZenCache. To put it very simply, Comet Cache allows websites running on the WordPress platform to create a temporary storage area where users visiting the site can quickly find the information they’re looking for, rather than fetching the data every time from the database, which can be quite expensive when accounting for computing power and other resources.

      • Appeals Court Muddies Trademark Nominative Fair Use Doctrine

        The nominative use doctrine allows third party references to trademark owners using the trademarks they chose as their preferred descriptors. Without a robust and well-functioning nominative use doctrine, trademark owners can have too much control over their brands — they can shut down the advertisement of complementary or competitive offerings and potentially even critical scrutiny of the brands. Unfortunately, Congress never adopted a statutory nominative use doctrine for trademark infringement, and the doctrine seemingly baffles the courts. As a result, the circuits have created a patchwork of nominative use doctrines. A ruling this week from the Second Circuit exacerbated this problem.

    • Copyrights

      • Chile’s New Copyright Legislation Would Make Creative Commons Licensing Impossible For Audiovisual Works

        Techdirt has written many times about the way in which copyright only ever seems to get stronger, and how different jurisdictions point to other examples of excessive copyright to justify making their own just as bad. In Chile, there’s an interesting example of that kind of copyright ratchet being applied in the same country but to different domains. It concerns audiovisual works, and aims to give directors, screenwriters and others new rights to “match” those that others enjoy. Techdirt has already written about this bad idea in the context of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.


        According to Villarroel, the legislation is being promoted by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — and by Chilean collecting societies. By an amazing coincidence, the new licensing fees will all be administered by the latter. Villarroel first wrote about this move last year, when the legislation was approved in Chile’s House of Representatives. Despite the delay, it is apparently back on the agenda, and will be considered by the Senate, the country’s upper house, soon.

      • Dallas Buyers Club Demands Accused Pirate Take Polygraph, Asks For Judgment When He Agrees Anyway

        Anyone who has spent time with us here at Techdirt will be familiar with Voltage Pictures, the movie studio that perhaps is more famous now for being a copyright settlement troll than it is for having produced the movie Dallas Buyers Club. The studio has quite the reputation for sending settlement letters to those it accuses of having pirated the movie, typically with offers to settle for amounts in the thousands, and armed with the evidence of an IP address and nothing else. The frightened masses too often fork over the demanded settlement, not realizing that having an IP address is not evidence enough to prove guilt. It’s a bullying business model that drips of sleaze.

      • EFF at Copyright Office Roundtables Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco

        San Francisco—On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24-25, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Kit Walsh and Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz will participate in public roundtable discussions about the impact of U.S. copyright law on freedoms to investigate and improve the software embedded in everyday products, devices, and appliances.

      • John McCain, Forgetting His Own Support Of Fair Use On YouTube, Tries To Use Copyright To Take Down His Own Ad

        You may recall that, back during the 2008 Presidential election, the Presidential campaign of John McCain sent YouTube a letter, complaining that the video site did not take fair use into account when deciding to pull down videos after receiving copyright complaints. Apparently, some people had been issuing copyright claims on videos related to his campaign that he believed were fair use, and he was quite upset about it. In particular, McCain was upset about videos his campaign had uploaded that included news clips that were taken down. He insisted this was not just fair use, but that YouTube was an important platform for political speech, and should be much more careful before pulling down political videos.


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.