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08.04.16

Links 4/8/2016: Microsoft Wiping Dual Boot (Linux) Partitions

Posted in News Roundup at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A New Project for Linux at 25

    After Linux took off (as GPL’d free software), I could see clearly how freedom worked because the means were there—not just for demonstrating it to everybody, but for developing more and more with it. I suspect the same could be true for promise-based financial dealings such as rent and buy.

    So my request here is to help Kevin debug the case he makes for his ideas, while putting them to work.

  • Some news from LWN

    Nate will continue to contribute articles to LWN. But we suspect that the intricacies of Béziers, brush strokes, and kerning are going to take a lot of time and attention, meaning that we will be needing somebody to help fill his shoes. Thus, LWN is hiring. If you would like to write full-time for one of the most discriminating readerships in the world — but also one of the most interesting, engaged, and supportive readerships — we would like to hear from you. This is your chance to make your mark on one of the community’s oldest publications.

    Speaking of “oldest,” the basic format of LWN’s Weekly Edition has changed little over the last 18 years. Some pages have come and gone (long-time readers will remember the desktop page, or the once-interesting “Linux in the News” page), but substantive changes have been few indeed. That format has served us well over the years; among other things, it helps us to ensure that each edition covers a wide range of topics. But it can also be somewhat limiting; it is a sort of treadmill of slots to be filled each week that makes it hard to focus on specific areas in response to what is happening in the community.

  • Desktop

    • Making the switch to open source as a non-programmer

      This was sometime around 2008. I wasn’t even 20 years old. I didn’t know how to code (apart from basic HTML stuff), nor did I have any particular tech skills. However, I was part of a community radio station that was embedded in an open source culture. After a full year as a member of that community, I decided it was time to fully convert and decided to install a Linux-based OS on my first ever laptop.

      My friends (and engineers-in-the-making) at Radio Zero were split between the recommended distributions, with some leaning towards Debian and others towards Ubuntu. After carefully listening to pros and cons and asking many times about whether I’d be able to actually work with any of them, I decided to go with Ubuntu.

      I was determined to install an open source OS on my computer regardless of my Dad’s* warnings about possible compatibility issues. Despite not being a programmer, or anything even remotely related, I was incredibly excited about what Linux had to offer. The promise of an operating system that was designed and developed with accessibility for all in mind, that you can tweak and improve as you please, and that is developed by and for the community sounded like a dream coming true. On top of all this, it was free. So, what was there not to like?

    • Warning: Windows 10 Anniversary Update might delete your Linux partitions [Ed: and you cannot stop the update. Sabotage, as noted yesterday]
    • Linux Users Reporting Windows 10 Anniversary Update Hoses Their Dual Boot Partitions [Ed: only to be expected from the ‘new’ Microsoft]

      If you’re a Linux user who happens to dual-boot with Windows, you should exercise extreme caution when upgrading to the just-released Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Not long after Microsoft’s latest release, reports began to hit the Web concerning issues of hard drives having their data deleted. The issue has proven to have enough credence to push Ubuntu’s Community Manager Alan Pope to shoot out a warning…

    • Partition disappears in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

      Microsoft hoped the Windows 10 Anniversary Update would literally be a revelation for all users, but shortly after installing the update, users encountered various issues. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to anticipate all the possible bugs, the list of complaints is getting longer every day.

  • Server

    • SDN: 7 Educational Opportunities

      Networking professionals hear all the time that they need to learn new skills to keep up with a rapidly changing industry. On-the-job training would be a practical option, but if your company hasn’t plunged into software-defined networking – and plenty haven’t — how do you expand your knowledge when you’re mired in CLI?

      As it turns out, the options for learning new approaches to networking are growing as SDN adoption gradually expands beyond hyper-scale Internet companies and service providers. This spring, the Linux Foundation rolled out a software-defined networking training course to address what the foundation described as a skills gap for networking pros. In launching the SDN training, the foundation said many network engineers lack experience with software virtualization.

  • Kernel Space

    • Blockchains and the public sector: Distributed ledger technology reaches the G-Cloud

      Isle of Man startup Credits has become the first to offer blockchain DLT to Britain’s public sector

      Britain’s public sector can start experimenting with distributed ledger technology (DLT) for the first time after confirmation that blockchain-as-a-service startup Credits has been enrolled as part of the latest G-Cloud 8 framework agreement.

      Credits is a small Isle of Man firm whose back story was recently covered in sister title Techworld but access to the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that comes with blockchain marks an important milestone for the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace and its public sector users.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Linux Kernel Patches Tease Upcoming AMD FreeSync Support

        It appears that Linux gamers running AMD Radeon graphics cards could soon be treated to long-awaited FreeSync support. Some eagle-eyed folks at reddit spotted interesting Kernel patches submitted yesterday that both requests the addition of a FreeSync ioctl device, and also the mechanism for activating and deactivating FreeSync with full-screen apps.

        Because this patch would be implemented in the Linux kernel itself, the FreeSync mechanism should be able to work with both the open-source and proprietary drivers. I am unsure about the state of G-SYNC in the open-source Nouveau driver, but NVIDIA’s proprietary driver has supported G-SYNC for quite some time.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.4 To 4.7 – EXT4 vs. F2FS vs. Btrfs Benchmarks

        I’ve been a bit behind on my file-system benchmarking the past few months but for your viewing pleasure today are some EXT4 vs. Btrfs vs. F2FS file-system tests on an NVMe SSD when testing the Linux 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7 kernels.

        The three file-systems were each tested on the latest four stable kernel series. In the next week or so I will provide some complementary figures using Linux 4.8 Git once the merge window is over and the release candidates begin. All of the file-systems were tested with the Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVM Express SSD.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • FCC Demands TP-Link Support Open Source Third-Party Firmware On Its Routers
  • 10 skills to land your open source dream job

    In 2014, my colleague Jason Hibbets wrote up a great article based on an excellent talk from Mark Atwood on the skills necessary to get a job with open source.

  • Which open source job skill is most in demand?
  • When Slashdot Was the Hub for FOSS News and Discussion

    Starting in the last years of the last century, when Linux and free software were first making their mark on the world, a website called Slashdot was the king-hell news and discussion site for such things, along with a variety of other topics that interested the kind of people you might meet at a LUG meeting or in the CS department of your local university. The original Slashdot tagline (no longer visible on the site) was “News for nerds, stuff that matters.” And one of the people who worked on Slashdot during those heady days was Timothy Lord, who is such a devout Linux person that he has a Tux tattoo (which we forgot to have him show in the video, darn it).

    FOSS was not the only news that interested nerds, and other stuff mattered, too, as the extensive Wikipedia Slashdot page explains. So let us go then, you and I, while FOSS Force is spread out, Prufrock-like, upon the monitor, to a distant land and time, with Timothy — and learn how things were in the days of yore, when Linux was still unknown to the masses and the people who cared about it, and about FOSS in general, were an interesting bunch we shall politely not call weirdos since many of them became our good friends over the years. But normal they were not, which was a large part of their charm — and what gave Slashdot its unique flavor.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2 “fresh” released, for Windows, Mac OS and GNU/Linux

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.2, a feature-rich major release of the best free office suite ever created – targeted to early adopters and power users – with several user interface improvements and enterprise grade features.

      At the same time, LibreOffice 5.1.5 has been released, for enterprise class deployments and more conservative office suite users.

    • LibreOffice Versions 5.2 and 5.1.5 Released

      The Document Foundation today announced the releases of LibreOffice 5.2 and 5.1.5. LibreOffice 5.2 is the latest in the Fresh branch of the popular office suite bringing a new document classification system that will help keep prying eyes out. Other improvements include a single line toolbar option, quicker access to Print to File, and several other goodies. Of course, they’re always tweaking the core code as well making for a faster and more stable experience. But wait, there’s even more…

      As security concerns increase the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program is a public-private partnership formed to secure electronic communication primarily for defense contractors and government entities. They’ve laid out specifications and frameworks that allow for more secure shared documents over the Internet. LibreOffice 5.2 adheres to these document classification specifications so it can be deployed in more sensitive projects.

    • LibreOffice 5.2 ‘Fresh’ Released, Download For Linux, Windows, and Mac
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Guess who this GNU is?
    • Guix System Distribution 0.11 Uses Linux-Libre Kernel 4.7, Supports RAID Devices

      Ludovic Courtès reports for the GNU Guix project, an open-source package management system for the GNU system, on the availability of the Guix System Distribution (GuixSD) 0.11.0.

      It appears that this is the first time we write here something about the Guix System Distribution, so we feel obliged to inform the reader about the fact that GuixSD is an advanced distribution of the GNU system powered by the Linux-libre kernel and using GNU Guix as default package manager, thus respecting user’s freedom.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Hard Drive Stats for Q2 2016

      Q2 2016 saw Backblaze: introduce 8TB drives into our drive mix, kickoff a pod-to-vault migration of over 6.5 Petabytes of data, cross over 250 Petabytes of data stored, and deploy another 7,290 drives into the data center for a total of 68,813 spinning hard drives under management. With all the ins-and-outs let’s take a look at how our hard drives fared in Q2 2016.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Portland Teachers Expose Lead in Schools

      The school superintendent in Portland, Oregon, has resigned amid a widening scandal, after news broke that the district waited months to tell the public that drinking water at two elementary schools had tested positive for lead.

      Even school employees only learned about the elevated lead levels at Creston and Rose City Park when a local newspaper ran an exposé.

      “What set all of us off initially was the cover-up,” said Belinda Reagan, president of the union that represents school clerical staff. “They lied about it. They knew. That’s a notorious manner of handling things in this district. They are not forthcoming.”

      The first two schools were just the tip of the iceberg. “Now we are finding out, as they are testing more schools, that all of them have the issues,” Reagan said.

      The four unions representing teachers, custodians, and clerical employees quickly united to put pressure on the district—and to find out how this problem went unfixed for so long. They’re demanding testing of all schools, safety protection for students and employees, and a role in the plan to make schools safe by the fall.

  • Security

    • Kaspersky Lab Launches Bug Bounty Program With HackerOne

      The security firm allocates $50,000 to pay security researchers for responsibly disclosing flaws in its security products.
      Kaspersky Lab is no stranger to the world of vulnerability research, but the company is now opening up and enabling third-party security researchers to disclose vulnerabilities about Kaspersky’s own software.

    • Reproducible builds for PaX/Grsecurity

      A series of scripts are created to do reproducible builds for Linux kernel with PaX/Grsecurity patch set.

      Thanks to:

      PaX/Grsecurity
      Debian GNU/Linux Community
      Shawn C[a.k.a “Citypw”]
      Linux From Scratch

      Without the contributions of the projects, community and people, the scripts cannot be accomplished.

    • Four flaws in HTTP/2 could bring down web servers

      SECURITY RESEARCHERS have uncovered at least four flaws in the HTTP/2 protocol, the successor to HTTP that was launched properly only in May last year, after Google rolled up its SPDY project into HTTP/2 in February.

      The flaws enable attackers to slow web servers by overwhelming them with seemingly innocent messages that carry a payload of gigabytes of data, putting them into infinite loops and even causing them to crash.

      The HTTP/2 protocol can be divided into three layers: the transmission layer, including streams, frames and flow control; the HPACK binary encoding and compression protocol; and the semantic layer, which is an enhanced version of HTTP/1.1 enriched with server-push capabilities.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Turkey’s clash of Islamists: Erdogan vs Gülen

      What does the power struggle between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and powerful Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen mean for Turks who want democracy?

    • Engineering an uprising: what the democracy rallies in Turkey tell us

      A striking feature of the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey are the mass gatherings and demonstrations that have been taking place on a nightly basis in towns across the country. But what has spurred people to take to the streets in such numbers? And how is the government’s narrative of traitors and infiltrators, in opposition to defenders of democracy, likely to shape future developments in Turkey?

      Whereas significant incidents, such as the spate of recent terrorist attacks, have generally been met by an immediate media blackout in Turkey, this time the media clearly had a crucial role to play. It was in a live broadcast on CNN Turk that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched his appeal for people to take to the streets to ‘defend their democracy’, as the military coup attempt was unfolding on July 15th. The call was made via mobile application Facetime and was then widely disseminated via social media – an irony given Erdoğan’s well-known aversion to such platforms.

      In what may have come as a surprise to those familiar Erdoğan’s polarising rhetoric, people across the country heeded the call in vast numbers. Zehra Aydogan, living in an area close to Istanbul’s main airport, reported that within an hour the streets of her neighbourhood were flooded with men and boys streaming towards the airport.

    • A secret group bought the ingredients for a dirty bomb — here in the U.S.

      The clandestine group’s goal was clear: Obtain the building blocks of a radioactive “dirty bomb” — capable of poisoning a major city for a year or more — by openly purchasing the raw ingredients from authorized sellers inside the United States.

      It should have been hard. The purchase of lethal radioactive materials — even modestly dangerous ones — requires a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a measure meant to keep them away from terrorists. Applicants must demonstrate they have a legitimate need and understand the NRC’s safety standards, and pass an on-site inspection of their equipment and storage.

      But this secret group of fewer than 10 people — formed in April 2014 in North Dakota, Texas and Michigan — discovered that getting a license and then ordering enough materials to make a dirty bomb was strikingly simple in one of their three tries. Sellers were preparing shipments that together were enough to poison a city center when the operation was shut down.

    • More than 400 government files missing from National Archives

      More than 400 government documents have gone missing from the National Archives in the last four years.

      They include Foreign Office files from the 1970s on “military and nuclear collaboration with Israel” and a 1947 letter from Winston Churchill.

      One MP from the parliamentary group on official archives told the BBC he was “concerned” by their loss.

      The National Archives said it was running a “robust” programme to locate the documents.

      A response by officials to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC showed that 402 historical files remain unaccounted for since 1 January 2012.

      They include more than 60 Foreign Office files, more than 40 from the Home Office and six from the official records of former prime ministers.

      The National Archives in Kew, London, holds more than 11 million official documents, many of which have been transferred from government departments and are often opened as public records after 30 years.

    • Trump asks why US can’t use nukes: MSNBC

      Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert advising him why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said on the air Wednesday, citing an unnamed source who claimed he had spoken with the GOP presidential nominee.

      “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them,” Scarborough said on his “Morning Joe” program.

      Scarborough made the Trump comments 52 seconds into an interview with former Director of Central Intelligence and ex-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden.

    • Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves

      Olympic thieves have robbed Denmark’s team of mobile phones, clothes and sheets, and even had the cheek to deprive Morten Rodtwitt, the country’s Olympic boss of his iPad.

      “It’s extremely irritating,” Morten Rodtwitt, Denmark’s chef de mission in Rio, told Berlingske.

      “In connection with the many extra workers, cleaners and housekeepers who have been squeezed into the Olympic village because of our requirements and requests, we have been subjected to a series of thefts,” he told TV2.

      The thefts come on top of a string of problems with the athletes rooms which have forced the Danish delegation to complain of no fewer than 150 issues with their 36 apartments.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton And Climate Change: Pro-Fracking Businessman Hosts Clinton Fundraiser In Colorado

      Before a campaign stop at a boutique tie manufacturer in Denver and a rally, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton raised money from a deep-pocketed donor with a potential interest in one of the most controversial issues facing voters in Colorado this November.

      Clinton attended an Aspen fundraiser Tuesday hosted by Charif Souki, who amassed his fortune working for natural gas companies including one he founded last year, Tellurian Investments. The debate about fracking is intensifying in Colorado. In recent months, activists in the swing state have been pushing ballot initiatives to limit the practice while the oil and gas industry has pushed back with a multimillion-dollar campaign.

      Under Clinton, the U.S. State Department was a major proponent of fracking, and her campaign has benefited from millions of dollars from donors connected to the oil and gas industry, according to a recent report from Greenpeace. By some estimates, Clinton raised at least $650,000 at the fundraiser with Souki, based on the number of people in attendance and the price of admission.

      During the primary season, Clinton refused to say that she would completely ban fracking as president but implied that with the various restrictions she supports, including the ones being fought for in Colorado, there wouldn’t be a lot of land left over for fracking developments.

    • Lawsuit Challenges Plan to Turn California Aquifer Into Dump for Oil Waste

      The Center for Biological Diversity today sued California regulators for supporting a so-called “aquifer exemption” plan to turn underground water in the Price Canyon area of San Luis Obispo County into a permanent disposal site for oil wastewater and other fluids. There are at least 100 water supply wells for drinking water and crop irrigation within a mile of this aquifer.

      Today’s lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, faults regulators for not analyzing the aquifer exemption plan’s risks as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The suit asks the court to set aside the state’s approval of the aquifer exemption and halt oil company injection into this underground water until regulators have complied with CEQA.

  • Finance

    • Time Inc. Plans to Lay Off Over 100 Workers

      Time Inc., which in recent weeks has undergone a major corporate reorganization and a retooling of its sales and marketing staff, is laying off an estimated 110 people across all areas of the company, according to people familiar with the situation.

      As part of its reorganization efforts, Time Inc. has created new teams to focus on specific advertising categories in a bid to sell more advertising and advertising services to marketers across all its titles.

    • Bookmakers have lost faith in Article 50 ever being triggered
    • “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers”: How Private Equity Profits off Our Daily Lives

      When you woke up this morning, chances are your morning routine was touched in some way by a private equity firm. From the water you drink to the roads you drive to work, to the morning newspaper you read, Wall Street firms are playing an increasingly influential role in daily life. So says a compelling new article in The New York Times, “This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity.” For more, we speak with New York Times reporter Danielle Ivory, one of the contributors to the series as well as co-author of the recent article “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers.”

    • Why Austerity?

      In uncertain economic times, austerity is oft prescribed as a panacea to a nation’s economic ills. International organisations, business groups, mainstream political parties and the media lead the cheer squad about nations needing to live within their means. To the person on the street, there is logic to it; in household finance, earning more than you spend is seen as prudent, therefore governments should follow the same formula.

      The trouble is, if you have ever studied a reasonable mainstream version of economics, you would know that in uncertain economic times, governments need to go into deficit to sustain economic growth. Although the aforementioned groups would have you believe otherwise, this is not a radical notion. In fact, it is largely attributed to a stuffy product of the British establishment, the economist John Maynard Keynes and his concept of the circular flow of income.

    • U.K. Interest Rates: A Record Low

      Britain’s central bank cut Thursday interest rates from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent—their lowest levels ever since the Bank of England was established in 1694. The cut is also the first since March 2009, when the world was in the midst of the great recession.

      The move Thursday is an attempt to boost the U.K.’s economy after the unease caused by the Brexit vote.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • CNN hosting Green Party town hall

      CNN announced Wednesday it will host one of its town hall events with the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein and her presumptive running mate, Ajamu Baraka.

      The hour-long event will be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The event will broadcast live on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Espanol and online via CNNgo.

      Stein has consistently polled as the fourth-most popular option in the presidential race, after Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson. In the most recent CNN/ORC poll, Stein received 5% support nationwide, four points behind Johnson, her nearest competitor.

    • Folded, Spindled, Mutilated: The Unspooling of Donald Trump

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had a baby thrown out of his rally in Virginia Tuesday night. No, really, he did. “Don’t worry,” he said, “the mom’s running around, don’t worry about it. It’s young and beautiful and healthy, that’s what we want. Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.”

      You’re supposed to kiss the babies, jackass, not have them bodily removed. That was, by far and away, the least weird thing to happen on Planet Trump in the last 140 hours.

      Khizr and Ghazala Khan’s tectonic appearance at last week’s Democratic National Convention transmuted Trump into a national punchline, again, for many prospective voters. He picked a fight with a Gold Star family and they ate his lunch on national television. The simple fact of the Khan family and the fallen soldier son they honor daggers home the lesson: Mess not with the righteous, lest you be shredded like cheese in the medium you thought you commanded.

    • Former NSA head Hayden: I may not vote this fall
    • New Ad Shows GOP Leaders Slamming Trump’s Ability To Be Commander-In-Chief

      A new ad from Priorities USA isn’t relying on Democrats to make the case against Donald Trump. Instead, it’s a who’s who of Republican leaders, from Mitt Romney to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, all arguing that the Republican nominee is a “clear and present danger” to the United States.

    • The Party That Lost Its Soul

      “What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer?”

      The headlines from President Obama’s excoriation of Donald Trump on Tuesday rightly highlighted his flat declaration that the Republican nominee is “unfit to serve as president.” But the challenge to Republican leaders who fell in line behind Trump was even more devastating.

      Obama was not simply condemning a man whose brutal cruelty finally came home to anyone with a heart after Trump’s attacks on a Gold Star family. The president was also indicting the entire GOP leadership for courting the extremism that led to Trump and for acquiescing in his nomination.

      Let’s focus on the most revealing aspect of this week’s turmoil within a party now aghast over the unstable egotist at the top of its ticket.

    • Pundits Lament Loss of a Reasonable, Competent GOP That Never Was

      So, for decades Republicans were strategically pretending to be doofuses—Boot claims, for instance, that Dwight Eisenhower sometimes “resorted to gobbledygook in public…in order to preserve his political room to maneuver”—but have now been taken over by a real one. Ignoring for the moment the raw cynicism of this admission (consistent with the intellectual godfather of neoconservatism Leo Strauss’s theory of “the noble lie”), it’s important to note that “stupidity” in this context is simply a matter of marketing, not substance. Boot is right that Trump’s ignorance of the most basic facts is, on its own, disturbing, but what did the “thoughtful” GOP of the past get us?

      Lamenting the lost reign of “Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and George F. Will,” Boot offers, as exemplar of a remaining link to the party’s proud history in “the realm of ideas,” House Speaker “Paul Ryan, who devised an impressive new budget plan for his party.” Never mind that the plan impresses by zeroing out government agencies wholesale while taking food from the mouths of the poor; or that Ryan mindlessly votes in favor of every war, and has spent every moment in Congress making life harder for the poor, people of color, LGBT and women. In Boot’s world, pandering to voters’ ignorance in order to make life harder for the most vulnerable is A-OK, but a politician actually being ignorant calls for outraged denunciation.

      And what does it mean to be “stupid,” anyway? Boot, who presumably considers himself part of the right-wing intelligentsia, was a staunch advocate of the Iraq War, which led to the deaths of over a million people and directly resulted in ISIS. He defended the war as late as 2013. He called for war against both Iran and Syria in 2011. In October 2001, he made “the case for American empire.” If this is the deliberative thoughtfulness Trump is deviating from, then it’s simply a different kind of stupid, not an absence of it.

    • Donald Trump’s Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson Says a Lot of Things That Are Not True

      Let this news, and the fact that it is news, sink in: Katrina Pierson, the former Tea Party activist who is now Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, admitted on Wednesday that Barack Obama was not the president of the United States in 2004.

      The reason it was considered necessary to extract this concession to reality from Pierson is that she had insisted, during an interview with CNN the night before, that President Obama was responsible for the death of Capt. Humayun Khan, an American soldier who was killed in Iraq five years before he became commander-in-chief.

    • Can Jill Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution

      Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

      Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports a basic income guarantee; the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

    • DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign

      If you supported Hillary Clinton, it probably won’t bother you that the Democratic National Committee is revealed in these documents to have essentially acted as an arm of the Clinton campaign during the contested primary season.

      Most people guessed at this anyway. But it wasn’t until these documents were dumped last week under mysterious circumstances that the extent to which the party both advocated for Hillary and against her opponent Bernie Sanders was made plain.

      Nowhere is the discrepancy on greater display than in an episode involving the DNC’s reaction to a May 2nd article by Politico reporters Ken Vogel and Isaac Arnsdorf, which itself pointed at a backdoor advantage for the Clinton campaign.

      The exchanges over this Politico story were barely mentioned in the wake of the DNC leak, except by right-wing media that shortsightedly dinged Vogel for submitting a draft of his piece of the DNC before publication, suggesting “collusion.”

      Vogel maybe shouldn’t have sent a whole copy for review, but his intent wasn’t to give the DNC or Hillary a break – far from it. It seems pretty clear that he wanted to make sure he didn’t miss with a piece full of aggressive, original reporting that took on a very powerful target.

      In the piece, headlined “Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties,” Vogel and Arnsdorf discovered an anomaly in Federal Election Commission filings.

      A joint fundraising committee called the Hillary Victory Fund, ostensibly designed to funnel money from rich donors to local party committees, had in fact been used as a cut-out to funnel money back to the national party and the Clinton campaign.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Bizarre Decision Keeps Hope Alive In Enigma Software’s Defamation Suit Against BleepingComputer

      Enigma Software joined the long line of aggrieved companies who feel that legal threats and questionable lawsuits are the best form of reputation management. It sued BleepingComputer over a “defamatory review” — which was actually just a forum post by a member that detailed (with supporting links) its questionable SpyHunter software and its “rogue tactics” over the years.

      In addition to the defamation claims, Enigma Software also argued that BleepingComputer only did this to steer site readers towards its own products, alleging a handful of Lanham Act violations.

      Unfortunately, Enigma Software’s dubious claims have survived a motion to dismiss by BleepingComputer, thanks to some similarly dubious reasoning [PDF] by the judge presiding over the case. Not only are the Lanham Act claims given far too much credence (thanks to some twisted judicial analysis that assumes that because trademark is a part of the Lanham Act, false advertising claims under the Lanham Act are also intellectual property claims, exempt from Section 230 of the CDA), but the court’s decision to allow the lawsuit to process also punches a few more holes in Section 230 protections.

      Because the author of the post was a third-party contributor, BleepingComputer should not have been held responsible for the content of the post. However, the court appears to be bothered that the user in question was referred to as a “staff member” by BleepingComputer, even if it was actually a volunteer administrative post and BleepingComputer did not directly control the content of the user’s contributions.

    • Banning a bully is not political censorship [Ed: The Yorker calls Milo Yiannopoulos “a bully”. I think they attribute to HIM what OTHER people did.]
    • The Censorship Monster: Who’s Afraid Of A Queer Nipple In The Digital Age?

      Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

      I’d like to share with you a very personal account of censorship in the digital age.

      About a month ago, during the Gay Pride weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual NYC Dyke March, with its festive climax in one of my favorite Downtown spots, the Washington Square. Being an integral and proud part of the community of several thousand march participants and spectators, I documented the happy lesbians parading around and flashing their breasts in the fountain.

      It was a cheerful, peaceful and liberating event, much-needed after a couple of dreadful weeks following the devastating news of the Orlando mass shooting. To commemorate this exciting moment, I posted a picture on my Instagram of one happy bull dyke with a cool hairdo wearing nothing but a patriotic American bikini — the ideal poster girl for this year’s NYC Dyke Pride.

    • Censorship is crucial in giving the readers the correct information-Kambwili [Ed: fact-checking!=censorship]

      Dr Kambwili said although the public media had been given the authority to cover opposition political parties, it was important to censor the information that would be disseminated to the public to avoid raising alarm.

    • Google slammed for removing Palestine from its maps

      The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum has denounced Google for deleting the name of Palestine from its maps and replacing it with Israel.

      In a statement released yesterday, the forum said Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps on 25 July “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”

      “The move is also designed to falsify history, geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world.”

      The forum said the move was “contrary to all international norms and conventions”, stressing that Google should back track on its actions.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The 28-Year-Old Activist Who Took on Facebook. And Won

      A new U.S.-European Union data-privacy accord that took hold this week could have been a reason to celebrate for Max Schrems, the 28-year-old whose successful landmark lawsuit against Facebook last year led to the new rules affecting more than 4,000 companies. Instead, he’s saying the new rules should be thrown out as well.

      Schrems says the new framework is muddled, allowing mass amounts of data collected by American technology companies to continue making its way to U.S. national security agencies. He expects the new policy to be struck down again by courts, leaving global companies further in limbo. “Privacy Shield is the product of pressure by the U.S. and the IT industry – not of rational or reasonable considerations,” Schrems said in a statement after the rules, which began Aug. 1, were passed by European lawmakers last month. “It is very likely to fail again.”

    • Oliver Stone asks moviegoers to power down phones—and leave them off [iophk: "may quiet the ringing and texting but smartphones don't fully power down"]

      We’re all used to warnings and promos ahead of films, from candy-filled “let’s all go to the lobby” sequences to a polite-yet-firm reminder to power phones off. Sometimes, those sequences get a cute touch-up (my favorite is probably this wild, vulgar parody from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film), but starting this week, moviegoers can expect something a little darker—as in, a harrowing warning that sounds like it might have been written by Edward Snowden.

      It wasn’t, however. Instead, the message was written, and is delivered, by Snowden film director and script co-writer Oliver Stone.

      The Oscar winner appears in the one-minute clip, seated in a lovely den—complete with decadent furniture and giant bottles of assumedly fine liquors—with a smartphone in his hand. He starts describing the many things “this amazing little device” can do, from mass communication to cat-video streaming (and we’re shown a few kitties briefly to make the point).

    • Breaking through censorship barriers, even when Tor is blocked

      While Tor Browser provides many security and privacy properties and features, not everyone around the world has the luxury to connect to use it. By default, Tor Browser makes all of its users look alike by spoofing UserAgent (and other methods) to avoid fingerprinting attacks. However, it doesn’t hide the fact you’re connecting to Tor, an open network where anyone can get the list of relays. This network transparency has many benefits, but also has a downside: Many repressive governments and authorities benefit from blocking their users from having free and open access to the internet. They can simply get the list of Tor relays and block them. This bars millions of people from access to free information, often including those who need it most. We at Tor care about freedom of access to information and strongly oppose censorship. This is why we’ve developed methods to connect to the network and bypass censorship. These methods are called Pluggable Transports (PTs).

      Pluggable Transports are a type of bridge to the Tor network. They take advantage of various transports and make encrypted traffic to Tor look like not-interesting or garbage traffic. Unlike normal relays, bridge information is kept secret and distributed between users via BridgeDB. If you’re interested in helping censored users, you can become a bridge operator. And if you’re a developer and have interesting ideas on how to make new PTs or want to contribute code, we’ve some good documents to get you up to speed.

      And finally, if you’re a censored user and want to take advantage of PTs, I’ve good news for you. They’re already included in Tor Browser and this how-to graphic should help you configure it to bypass censorship.

    • Snapping up cheap spy tools, nations ‘monitoring everyone’
    • Microsoft Brings Blockchain to Azure Testing Environment [Ed: NSA leader in Blockchain is a bad move]
    • Microsoft releases Blockchain-as-a-Service platform for developers
    • The Rise Of More Secure Alternatives To Everyone’s Favorite Chat App, Slack

      Like a ton of people and companies, we’ve been using Slack here. While we saw some folks claim it was revolutionary, we found it to be a nice, but somewhat marginal, upgrade to our previous use of Skype chat rooms. But, over time, it has certainly gotten comfortable, and there have been some nice feature add-ons and integrations that have made it a pretty cool service overall — though if you really want to use it to its fullest extent and switch to the paid version, it can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly. I also am in a bunch of other group Slack chats, as it’s basically become the platform of choice for group discussions.

      However, in these days where hacked emails are in the headlines, I can see why some might get nervous about using a tool like Slack. Not that there have been any known breaches of Slack that I’m aware of, and I’m sure that the company takes security very seriously (it would undermine its entire business if it failed on that front…), it’s been interesting to see other options start to pop up, which might be more appetizing for those who are extra security conscious.

    • “IT’S TIME” — Edward Snowden Just Issued A Mysterious Warning On Twitter

      The NSA whistleblower posted a puzzling tweet on Aug 3. He said, “It’s time” and requested his former colleagues, probably who were working with NSA, to reconnect with him. Snowden also mentions the name of Barton Gellman.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Canadian Judge Tosses Case After Finding Law Enforcement Entrapped Supposed Terrorists

      It’s not just FBI agents playing with Home-Grown Terrorist™ Erector Sets. It’s also Canada’s top law enforcement agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. When there apparently aren’t enough actual terrorists to be found, agencies like these need to front the $40 at Wal-Mart for terrorist supplies, or dupe someone with an IQ of 51 into becoming the latest Indictment Du Jour.

      Despite this, courts have largely gone along with the charade. It’s almost impossible for someone to successfully raise an entrapment defense, whether it’s a group of senior citizens who’ve been molded by undercover agents into an ad hoc terror unit or a bunch of easily-impressed thugs being hounded into stealing nonexistent drugs from fake stash houses.

      Up in Canada, though, the law enforcement game may be played by the same rules, but one court isn’t willing to encourage the RCMP’s Build-a-Terrorist shenanigans.

    • Widely Reported D.C. Metro Police “Terrorism” Arrest Involved Gift Cards, Not Violence

      The FBI “terrorism” arrest of a Washington, D.C., Metro police officer making headlines all over the world on Wednesday actually involved a man who sent $245 worth of gift cards to an FBI informant he thought was his friend.

      Nicholas Young, a 36-year-old Virginia man, had previously tried to dissuade the informant from joining ISIS, even as the informant spent years cultivating him and waiting for him to do something illegal.

      Young was accused of attempting to provide material support to the militant group the Islamic State. News reports highlighted his job prominently and announced that he had been accused of “helping ISIS” — making it sound like he was about to blow up the subway.

    • Reclaiming Europe from the powers that be: an interview with Barbara Spinelli MEP

      If we really care to defend the European project, it is completely unreasonable to start institutional revisions before having radically changed the policies that brought us to this multi-faced crisis, so similar to the one of the 30s, in the first place. And the root-cause is not only in the EU’s economic-financial make-up but also in its democratic failure, the disintegration of societies, and a loss of orientation and hope experienced collectively by European citizens.

    • Gassing of Indigenous youth in Australian detention system reeks of colonialism

      Last week, shocking footage depicting security personnel in a Northern Territory (NT) juvenile detention center teargasing and torturing indigenous detainees made headline news in Australia. In contrast to the uproar it has now engendered, this incident was actually first reported two years ago and attracted little outcry from a largely disinterested Australian public. Despite the tireless efforts of indigenous and social justice advocates, the vast majority of Australians remain reluctant to address the elephant in the room: that the use of mass incarceration among indigenous people in Australia is a tool of ongoing colonization.

      It’s been 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made 339 recommendations on how the government could finally take action on the systematic discrimination and grave maltreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian justice system. One of the foremost recommendations was that incarceration should be used as a last resort.

    • Labor’s Stockholm Syndrome: Why Unions Must Stop Backing Anti-Labor Candidates in the Primaries

      Stockholm syndrome: Feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor.

      In the 2016 Democratic primary, US labor unions overwhelmingly endorsed Hilary Clinton and invested millions of dollars in ensuring her nomination. Few eyebrows were raised, despite Clinton’s questionable record and platform towards workers. Why not? Organized labor’s support for political enemies of unions and workers is so common it has become expected. The labor movement suffers from a political Stockholm syndrome, embracing the very politicians who attack them. The embrace of Hillary Clinton, openly hostile to the current campaigns of some of the very unions who endorsed her, exposes the self-destructive absurdity of the situation. An intervention is needed or unions will be hard-pressed to reverse their current decline if they do not shake the Stockholm syndrome and adopt different political strategies.

      Endorsing less-than-friendly politicians is nothing new for US unions but the widespread endorsement of Hilary Clinton is a reductio ad absurdum of the practice. Clinton, in addition to maintaining a general anti-labor slant, has opposed the principal campaigns of some of the very unions endorsing her.

      For example, how did the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) respond to Clinton’s refusal to support a $15 minimum wage, something the SEIU has invested many years and untold millions of dollars into? By enthusiastically endorsing her, investing millions of dollars into her campaign (SEIU has already given her more than $2 million), and vigorously mobilizing its members to vote and volunteer for Hillary as their champion.

    • Freedom Square: Making Black Lives Matter

      In Chicago, the #LetUsBreathe Collective has transformed a lot adjacent to the Homan Square facility, exposed as a Chicago Police Department “black site” by The Guardian last year, into a beautiful organizing space aptly called Freedom Square. While the city continues to divest social resources from our communities, this site of torture has become a site of freedom and visionary love in a neighborhood that is over-policed and over-incarcerated. According to Million Dollar Blocks, North Lawndale committed nearly $241 million to incarceration in 2005-2009.

    • The Constitution: Still a Bestseller After All These Years

      Throughout our 96-year history, the Constitution has guided so much of what we do at the ACLU — we strive to help people understand and care about our founding document and show how it’s relevant in our everyday lives. And suddenly, during this year’s election cycle, the Constitution ended up being an especially hot topic.

      After Khizr Khan’s speech urging Donald Trump to read the Constitution, we decided to offer our pocket Constitutions free of charge from ACLU’s online store. We received a more enthusiastic response than we ever could have imagined, with over 100,000 copies ordered in the span of a few days! Thanks to this unprecedented demand, we are officially sold out of pocket Constitutions.

      We’re thrilled to discover so many fellow Constitution nerds.

    • Israeli Racism Unmasks Netanyahu Goodwill Video

      Was it meant as an epic parody or an insult to his audience’s intelligence? It was hard to tell.

      Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to apologise for last year’s notorious election-day comment, when he warned that “the Arabs are coming out to vote in droves” – a reference to the fifth of Israel’s population who are Palestinian.

      In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. They needed to “work in droves, study in droves, thrive in droves,” he said. “I am proud of the role Arabs play in Israel’s success”.

      Pointedly, Ayman Odeh, head of the Palestinian-dominated Joint List party, noted that 100,000 Bedouin citizens could not watch the video because Israel denies their communities electricity, internet connections and all other services.

    • Chinese activist Hu Shigen jailed for subversion

      A Chinese activist has been jailed for more than seven years for subversion, the second person jailed in two days in a crackdown on legal activism.

      Hu Shigen pleaded guilty in Tianjin to “damaging national security and harming social stability”, said state media.

      On Tuesday, Zhai Yanmin was found guilty of subversion and handed a three-year suspended jail sentence. Two more activists also face trial.

      The cases have been widely seen as an attempt to silence government critics.

      Around 300 lawyers and activists have been arrested since last year as part of the nationwide campaign. About 20 are still detained.

    • When Children Witness Violence at Home

      When violence rocks a household, most often a woman bears the blows. But even if they’re just onlookers, children can become victims, too.

      Some youngsters are amazingly resilient—after witnessing the horrors of domestic violence, they grow up without suffering from trauma.

      In other cases, children don’t get over what they see at home. Their exposure to violence scars them mentally and emotionally, and the damage can last a lifetime.

      As school starts in the United States this fall, an ambitious national campaign will address the effects of domestic violence on children. Its goal is to raise awareness among adults who work with them, including teachers, coaches and social workers. The campaign will complement existing programs that help young people build resilience.

    • The blackness within.

      It’s the most unsettling memory of my childhood.

      Watching my father physically drag my mom out of bed, her body thumping onto the floor, and him throwing clothes at her while screaming. Every few words, he would hurl an item of clothing at her.

      For Christ’s sake Lois, get out of the *** ****** bed and take care of this ******* house. He stood over her, glaring while my mother curled into a fetal position and sobbed. He turned around and saw me in my doorway across from their bedroom. I quickly pulled my arms around myself in a protective posture and dropped my gaze to the floor. The hard slap to the side of my head never came.

      He didn’t say a word to me. He left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him and stomped down the stairs and out the kitchen door. The glass in that outer kitchen door shattered violently as he slammed it for punctuation. I waited to even move until I heard the engine of his old truck fire to life and the sound of tires on gravel as he left our driveway onto the main road.

      It wasn’t until I turned to go back into my bedroom, I realized I had urinated in my pajamas.

    • During Fatal Standoff, Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman’s Account

      Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old black woman, after an hours-long standoff on Monday — during which Facebook and Instagram, at police request, temporarily shut down Gaines’ accounts.

      Gaines, who police say was armed with a shotgun, is the ninth black woman shot and killed by police so far this year, The Washington Post reports. Her 5-year-old son was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. The case has attracted a significant amount of attention on social media.

    • Facebook account deactivated as Baltimore woman posts during deadly standoff

      In the midst of a five-hour standoff that turned deadly, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County Police Department to take offline the social media accounts belonging to a woman who wielded a shotgun at officers.

      Baltimore County Police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her 5-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

    • Korryn Gaines: Video by mother killed during stand-off with police shows son saying ‘they trying to kill us’

      A mother who was involved in an armed stand-off with Maryland police had been posting live videos to social media before she was shot dead in a raid which also saw her five-year-old son wounded.

      Korryn Gaines, 23, barricaded herself in her apartment for five hours and allegedly pointed a shotgun at officers who were trying to arrest her over a missed court appearance.

      Videos posted to Facebook and Instagram showed Ms Gaines talking to armed police stood in the doorway to her home, as well as to her son.

      And it has now emerged that Facebook granted an emergency request from police to have Ms Gaines’ profile shut down during the stand-off, amid fears public comments on her videos could undermine negotiators’ efforts.

    • Petition Against Female Genital Mutilation Provokes An Angry Backlash

      For many minorities, what happens in the community stays in the community.

      But last winter, 17 Indian women from a tiny sect of Islam blew the lid off a guarded secret, spurring scrutiny, controversy, debate and vituperative abuse. Since then, online and off, they’ve been called sexually promiscuous, non-believers and traitors to their faith.

      Their crime? They authored a petition asking the government of India to outlaw female circumcision.

      Until the petition went public in December, many Indians didn’t know female genital mutilation — or FGM — happens in the country at all. In India, the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims are the only community that practices female genital mutilation in the form of circumcision, a practice they call khatna that dates back 1,400 years, according to the clergy. There are about a million Dawoodi Bohra Muslims globally; the majority live in India and some in Pakistan, with diaspora populations across the world.

      “Nobody talked about it at all. It was never a part of conversation, ever. It was such a secret, such a top secret,” says Masooma Ranalvi, one of the women who spearheaded the petition. “Sexuality is not anything you talk about with anyone. What happened to me as a child, what part of me was cut or why was it cut, was never something I talked about with my mother or my sisters. My elder sisters had both been through it in a similar way — exactly the same procedure, my grandmother took them as well. We never communicated with each other, then or as adults. It remained between you and the grandmother that took you for it.”

      Ranalvi, who runs a publishing house in Delhi, says she was in college when she realized what had been done to her.

    • Ukip leadership hopeful Lisa Duffy wants ‘total ban’ on Muslim schools

      A “total ban” on Muslim state schools has been called for by Lisa Duffy, the Ukip leadership hopeful.

      Ms Duffy, who is expected to be announced as once of the candidates in the party’s leadership race at noon today, has called for Islamic faith schools to be shut down in a bid to tackle radicalisation.

    • Men-only sessions in Luton pool a ‘cultural thing’

      Luton’s olympic swimming pool has began hosting gender-segregated swimming sessions because of “cultural” reasons, it has been alleged.

      Users of the competitive pool at Inspire Sports Village in Stopsley – built with taxpayer-funded Olympic money – were given sudden notice that there would be men-only sessions on Friday evenings from July 29.

      Women-only sessions will also take place on a Friday evening, but in the smaller community pool.

      One outraged female swimmer told Luton News: “The Friday night session for everyone is now closed because of the listed men-only sessions.

      “I have asked a team leader about it – as there are no managers at the weekend – and he said it was a ‘cultural thing’.”

      Women who do not want to use the community pool are reportedly told to use Lea Manor or Lewsey Pools.

      The woman added: “Why has one section of the community in Luton been allowed to dominate and take over the best pool in the borough?

      “Why can’t they instead have booked Lea Manor or Lewsey pools?

    • Archbishop Warns Europe Migration Crisis Fueled by Muslims’ ‘Will to Conquer’

      One of the most important prelates in the Catholic Church in Hungary has warned that the enormous waves of migrants rolling into Europe are due in no small part to a Muslim “will to conquer,” by expanding their territory into the continent.

    • Police study: Finland’s private sector more corrupt than public

      Corruption is on the up in Finland—and the private sector leads the way. That’s the main finding in a new report from the Police University College, which looked at how prevalent different forms of corruption are across business and the state sector.

  • DRM

    • Classified! LibreOffice 5.2 adds document access control

      LibreOffice 5.2, the newest version of the open source productivity suite, is aiming at becoming a tool of government and professional organizations, not merely a free substitute for Microsoft Office.

      Most notably, Version 5.2 supports the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP) standards for document classification. These standards describe the sensitivity of the information in a document and how heavily its access should be restricted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Report: Operating Systems Should Actively Block Pirated Downloads

        Apple, Google and Microsoft, are in an ideal position to deter piracy, according to a new report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The controversial report opts for voluntary or mandatory blocking of pirated content on the operating system level.

      • Pensioner fills in crossword puzzle art exhibit, claims copyright of “new” work

        The lawyer of a 90-year-old woman, who mistakenly started filling in an art exhibit in the form of a crossword puzzle, claims that she holds the copyright of the “new” work. The 1977 creation by the 20th-century artist Arthur Köpcke was lent to Nuremberg’s Neues Museum by a private collector, and is said to be worth around £68,000.

        The retired German dentist, Hannelore K.—her full name has not been released—visited the gallery along with other pensioners last month. During a half-hour interview with the local police following the discovery of her additions to Köpcke’s creation, the woman said that she started filling in the artwork’s crossword puzzle because it bore the phrases “Insert words” and “so it suits.”

08.03.16

Links 3/8/2016: Fedora Flock Starts, ownCloud Hiring, LibreOffice 5.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Is Windows 10 Anniversary Update Deleting Linux Partitions? [Ed: Microsoft Loves [to Sabotage] Linux]

      Yikes — if you plan on installing the Windows 10 Anniversary update on your PC you may want to be extra careful.

      It seems that the latest version of Microsoft’s OS has attention issues. Not content with forcing itself on users who didn’t want it, it may be taking even more drastic steps of hosing other operating systems entirely!

      A handful of reports surfacing on social media suggest, anecdotally, that the Windows 10 anniversary may interfere with, affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk.

    • Linux desktop marketshare has grown for three consecutive months [Ed: Net Applications, for the uninitiated, is Microsoft-connected, so expect real numbers to be a lot higher]

      Not strictly gaming related, but we do cover other important or interesting things here and there. According to netmarketshare [Net Applications] for three months straight Linux marketshare has gone up.

      2016
      April: 1.65%
      May : 1.79%
      June : 2.02%
      July : 2.33%

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Docker 1.12 Advances Mac and Windows Desktop Editions

      Lots of container technology news is rolling in this week. Mesosphere announced support for the Confluent Platform for data streaming management, and heralded that “the time is now for Container 2.0.”

      Meanwhile, many more users are taking to Docker’s recently unveiled version 1.12 of its core software-containerization system today, accompanied by the first full desktop editions of the software for development on Mac and Windows machines.

      Docker for Mac and Docker for Windows have graduated from beta and are now stable and ready for production.

    • ALSA 1.1.2 Released

      The alsa-lib 1.1.2 release adds some improvements to the control API, thread safety to the PCM API, mixer and PCM API changes, topology API improvements, and a range of other changes. Alsa-utils 1.1.2 was also released and it mostly contains changes to its Basic Audio Tester (BAT).

    • Encrypted File Sharing Service Tresorit Offers Linux Desktop Client, But…

      On Thursday I received an email from Eszter Szilva, a PR manager at Tresorit, which is an “end-to-end encrypted file sharing service.” She was offering an invitation to take a peek at the company’s just released client for GNU/Linux. I must admit I was a little excited by this, despite the fact that I already figured the service was also end-to-end proprietary. I was willing to ignore that, thinking it’s about time for companies to start treating Linux users with the same respect given to users of other operating systems.

      A quick gander at the company website told me the service encrypts files client-side before uploading using AES, the Advanced Encryption Standard established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. The company uses servers located in Ireland and the Netherlands, which is an important plus for those trying to stay out of the long reach of the US government. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and user data is protected under Swiss privacy laws, which offer more protection than in the US or even the EU.

    • syslog-ng 3.8 – what changed?

      Almost a year has passed since the last major syslog-ng release. The first beta of the upcoming 3.8 release was published last week. This brought many changes both in terms of new features and in packaging. To encourage testing I would like to highlight some of the most important new features. Most people prefer using packages, so I also collected what changed in packaging.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ZeMarmot at GUADEC 2016

        We are all happy users of GNOME here, and this is the first time we will be in GUADEC, so this is pretty exciting. Both Aryeom, the film director, and myself, Jehan, are sponsored by the GNOME Foundation to present our film, produced with FLOSS, in room 1, on Sunday, August 14. We will talk about the movie, its current status, about our work on GIMP too, how GNOME and Free Software works in a media creation workflow, and so on. So we hope you will be many to check this out if you are around!

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 Essential Open Source DevOps Projects

    This is very short list of projects in the DevOps space; many other projects are available, with each one catering to a certain use case. What’s most impressive is that all of these projects are fully open sourced. It’s more or less become a phenomenon. The success of the Linux development model has made even hard-core proprietary companies comfortable with the idea of open sourcing such projects.

    When you talk about the DevOps movement, open source is the de facto development model. It has become so commonplace that no one even really mentions it. We have started to take it for granted that “it has to be open source.”

  • Why open sourcing your software is a smart business decision

    Proprietary software developers beware: open source has become mainstream with non-tech brands like Nike rushing to prove their open source credentials by publishing open source projects and sharing code on GitHub.

    Meanwhile, Facebook has just open sourced the spec for Surround 360, its 3D-360 hardware and software video capture system. It is therefore a small surprise that the 2016 annual ‘Future of Open Source‘ survey revealed that 65% of respondents have increased their use of open source software compared with 60% in 2015.

  • How-to Video Training: Open Source Component Management and Intelligence

    As a developer I am constantly chasing new tools and enjoy learning new things. I read a lot of blog posts, tutorials, and documentation. And, I listen to podcasts and attend webinars as well. More and more I find that watching videos of conference and webinar presentations is great. But even better are shorter, focused videos that give you a chance to quickly learn something new.

  • ownCloud is hiring!

    After the recent news, we are now back on stage and with this blog we want to point you to our open positions. Yes, we are hiring people to work on ownCloud. ownCloud is an open source project, yes, but ownCloud GmbH, the company behind the project, provides significant people’s power to expand the project to serve the needs for both the community and ownCloud GmbH’s customers. So if you ever dreamed of getting paid for work on open source, read on.

  • Enterprises increasingly joining open source ecosystem – Wikibon

    A new wave of open source participation is growing among large traditional enterprises not normally considered technology developers, writes Wikibon Lead Cloud Analyst Brian Gracely. Companies like Capital One Financial Corp., Nike Inc., Deere & Co. and General Electric Co. are joining open source consortia both as users of and contributors to major initiatives.

    They are doing this for the same basic reason that IT vendors such as IBM, Google and Intel have become major drivers of Apache open source projects – it allows them to participate with outside teams on developing software they need, creating better solutions to their needs faster and at less cost.

  • Comma.ai open-sources the data it used for its first successful driverless trips

    Comma.ai, the startup that George Hotz (aka Geohotz) founded to show that making driverless vehicles could done relatively cheaply using off-the-shelf components and existing vehicles, has open-sourced a dataset of 7.25 hours of highway driving.

    It might not seem like a lot, but in terms of comparative datasets for highway driving out there, it is. And it’s what Hotz used to build the initial successful self-driving demo used to ferry Bloomberg around for comma.ai’s big public debut.

    “When I started this project, I didn’t want to have to put things in cars – I just wanted to play with the machine learning,” explained Hotz in an interview. “But I looked around and there was no good source of data to do that.”

  • comma.ai releases 7 hours of self-driving car data, calls for Tesla, Google and others to do the same

    comma.ai CEO George Hotz recently praised Tesla, Google and Otto for being fairly opened about their self-driving car programs, but he is taking his own company a step further in openness with the release of a dataset of 7.25 hours of comma.ai’s prototype at work.

    We’ve often discussed at Electrek how data will be extremely important in the race to create a fully self-driving car, and also in the race to get such a system approved by regulators, which is why comma.ai’s move here is particularly interesting.

    Back in May, we talked about Tesla adding an impressive ~1 million miles of data every 10 hours due to its important fleet of about 100,000 cars equipped with Autopilot sensors. On the other hand, Google has just over 1 million miles of data since launching its program in 2009 due to its smaller fleet, but it’s arguably collecting more data per mile due to using more sensors than Tesla.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released with Interface Refinements, New Features

      Today, August 3, 2016, The Document Foundation non-profit organization has had the great pleasure of announcing the general availability of the LibreOffice 5.2 open-source and cross-platform office suite software.

    • LibreOffice 5.2 Released, This Is What’s New
    • LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released
    • LibreOffice 5.2 released

      LibreOffice 5.1.5 “still” announced, for enterprise class deployments

      Berlin, August 3, 2016 – The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.2, a feature-rich major release of the best free office suite ever created – targeted to early adopters and power users – with several user interface improvements and enterprise grade features.

      At the same time, LibreOffice 5.1.5 has been released, for enterprise class deployments and more conservative office suite users.

    • LibreOffice under the hood: a year of progress from 5.0 to 5.2

      Today we release LibreOffice 5.2.0, the next step in our journey, and what will become the base of the increasingly stable 5.2.x series. There is a fine suite of new features for people to enjoy – you can read and enjoy all the great news about the user visible features from many great hackers, but there are, as always, many contributors whose work is primarily behind the scenes, and a lot of work that is more technical than user-facing.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Brendan Eich’s Innovative Brave Browser Gets Funding

      Brendan Eich, formerly CEO of Mozilla, has been busy with Brave Software and the new Brave browser, which is getting a lot of notice as an open source browser that blocks online ads and other trackers. As TechCrunch noted: “Unlike traditional web browsers where ad-blocking takes place via a third-party add-on or extension, Brave’s browser has this technology built in, claiming not only to offer users more privacy, but also increased speed and performance – especially when surfing the mobile web.”

      It’s also significant that the Brave browser is a blockchain-enabled browser with hardened security, enhanced speed and micropayment capabilities. Now, Brave Software has announced that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Investors in the round include Founders Fund’s FF Angel, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and Digital Currency Group.

    • Patreon

      I’ve been funded for two years by the DataLad project to work on git-annex. This has been a super excellent gig; they provided funding and feedback on ways git-annex could be improved, and I had a large amount of flexability to decide what to work on in git-annex. Also plenty of spare time to work on new projects like propellor, concurrent-output, and scroll. It was an awesome way to spend the last two years of my twenty years of free software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Poland to boost sharing and reuse of software

      Poland’s Ministry of Digital Affairs is nudging the country’s public administrations to share and reuse ICT solutions. In July the ministry published draft clauses for contracts and procurement, asking citizens to comment. The clauses do not explicitly stipulate the use of free and open source software licences. However, the ministry emphasises that when developing software, public administrations should own the code and have the right to share and redistribute it.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Is Erdogan really stronger after failed coup?

      The prevailing view among punditry and the media, both Turkish and international, is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged much stronger from the July 15 coup attempt and is now empowered to steer the country as he likes.

    • Why Do Liberals Keep Calling Donald Trump a Dove?

      While the Democrat made the case for liberal militarism, the Republican attacked the interventionist status quo. “Yeah, I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s gotta be,’” he said, as if he’d read his Chomsky. “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called ‘nation-building,’” he continued, lashing out at occupations that had killed U.S. troops and civilians alike. “I think what we need to do is convince the people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here.”

      That was in 2000 and that Republican, George W. Bush, put America’s perceived interests first after winning the race for the White House—by ignoring effete international prohibitions against aggressive war, bypassing the United Nations, and unilaterally invading Iraq. Now, 13 years later, there is another Republican, Donald Trump, railing against the “arrogance” of U.S foreign policy in a race against a Democrat whose record is marked by support for war, including the one launched by the last conservative critic of liberals with bombs.

    • Donald Trump asked 3 times in 1 hour why U.S. doesn’t use its nuclear weapons
    • This ‘Morning Joe’ Discussion About Trump And Nuclear Weapons Is Terrifying
    • Trump’s ‘erratic’ behavior could test nuclear protocols, former head of CIA and NSA says
    • The Mystery of Turkey’s Failed Coup

      The failed Turkish coup and President Erdogan’s harsh reprisals have left more questions than answers, including who was really behind the botched putsch and why, reports Joe Lauria.

    • The War That Won’t Go Away

      “Amid ‘Sacrifice’ Debate, a Look at How Trump Avoided War” (New York Times, August 1, 2016), attempts to cast doubt and suspicion on Trump’s motives as a student and young man when he successfully got out of military service during the Vietnam War. The article takes Trump’s statements about his health and deferments during that period and shows the inconsistencies in how Trump describes his history vis-a-vis the draft. But the problems here are twofold. Mr. Trump seems to have a problem in general with inconsistencies and outrageous statements in almost every policy pronouncement he makes on the campaign trail. In the case of Vietnam and the draft, however, he was doing what hundreds of thousands of other young men did during that unpopular war to get out of serving in the military. To judge Trump by the standards of 1968 or 1969 is to take the current views about war and apply them retroactively to that era.

    • As US Attacks Libya Again, Peace Group Tells Obama: ‘Stop the Bombing’

      Citing the disastrous bombing campaign in 2011 that pushed the nation into political chaos and bloody violence, anti-war groups are calling for an immediate end to a new wave of airstrikes on Libya approved by U.S. President Barack Obama.

    • We Refuse To Be Targets in This Nuclear World

      Despite our unsuccessful local efforts, we do not wish be targets any more. We believe the millions of human beings who are tired of dreaming the nuclear nightmare need to be brought into the process. We are not alone in this goal. Mayors of 5300 cities across the world have asked that their cities not be targets any more—targets of national military decisions in which their communities have no voice or role. We are proposing the creation of an international campaign that stands up to say “We refuse to be targets”—to ask governments in the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, Pakistan, India, Israel and other countries having, or contemplating having nuclear weapons across the world, to cease and desist.

      We need a new Nuclear Freeze and then systematic reductions with a protocol for controlling fissionable materials. Our suggestion would be that the campaign advocate for gradual reductions: first of 25% or more (which has at least been proposed for US/Russian bilateral reductions to follow-up the New START agreement), then of 50%, then of 75%, and finally of 95% both in nuclear warheads and in fissionable materials. This would require the creation of infrastructure for monitoring and verifying compliance with agreed reductions.

    • What Khizr Khan Said That Wasn’t About Trump and You Probably Won’t Hear

      On Monday, the same day the U.S. started its new campaign in Libya—a move one antiwar group said will only further “entrench divisions and intensify violence” in the region—the Khans gave an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

      Asked by host Chris Matthews, “What do you think when you, or feel, when you see us attack Iraq or go into Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden, or we go attack with bombs Libya? We’re bombing Syria now—all Islamic countries. What do you feel as an Islamic man?”

      Khizr Khan replied, “As a Muslim-American, not just as Islamic man—as a Muslim American, I feel that these policies are not in the interest of United States of America, and we see the result of it. We are more vulnerable now. We have created a chaos and—for ourselves.”

      “Well, you know you’re speaking to the choir,” Matthews responded. (In fact, “Matthews’ record isn’t entirely consistent” on being against either the war in Iraq or on avoiding a military approach to confronting ISIS, Norton notes.)

      “I wish this country would have listened to Chris Matthews when he was talking, when he was preaching,” Khan said, “we could have saved ourselves from this quagmire.”

      This section of the interview, Norton points out, “is not included in the isolated clips for the episode on MSNBC’s website. One has to watch the full episode to see it.”

      The situation may remind some of how the corporate media chose to portray Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate and children’s education advocate who was attacked by the Taliban. She met with President Barack Obama at the White House and told him that “drone attacks are fueling terrorism.” Yet, as Peter Hart wrote at FAIR in 2013, that “didn’t register in a corporate media that followed Malala’s visit, and her story, very closely.”

    • Dear Trumpists: Khizr Khan is not ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ and it wouldn’t matter if he Were

      A Trump adviser is trying to smear Khizr Khan, the Pakistani-American legal consultant who spoke at the DNC, as a “Muslim Brotherhood agent.”

      This ignorant discourse is only possible because people just have no idea what they are talking about. It wouldn’t fly if done about Western Christians. So for instance we would know that most Swedes are fairly liberal Lutherans and most Spanish are Catholic. Among far right wing Catholics in Spain you have the secretive cult, the Opus Dei. What the Trump people are doing is he equivalent of charging that a liberal Swedish Lutheran is an Opus Dei agent. That charge wouldn’t make any sense to anyone who knew about ethnicity and Christianity in the West. A liberal Swedish Lutheran couldn’t be Opus Dei.

      I’m not sure it will do much good, but let me try to explain why a liberal Pakistani wouldn’t be Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood as a movement began in Egypt in 1928. It began as a reassertion of Arab Muslim values in the wake of the 1880-1922 direct British occupation of Egypt, and the subsequent British hidden hand in Egyptian affairs through 1956. The Brotherhood is vague about the kind of government they want, but when they had a chance in 2011-13, they supported democratic elections.

    • My Response to Bill Clinton: On (My) Liberty and (Your) America

      According to the results of a recent Economist/YouGov poll, a majority of Americans believe that Islam, more than any other religion, encourages violence. Republicans are particularity anti-Muslim (74 percent shared these views) but a sizable number of Democrats (41 percent) hold such toxic ideas about Islam and its followers, as well.

    • Justice Department Officials Raised Objections on U.S. Cash Payment to Iran

      Senior Justice Department officials objected to sending a plane loaded with cash to Tehran at the same time that Iran released four imprisoned Americans, but their objections were overruled by the State Department, according to people familiar with the discussions.

      After announcing the release of the Americans in January, President Barack Obama also said the U.S. would pay $1.7 billion to Iran to settle a failed arms deal dating back to 1979. What wasn’t disclosed at the time was that the first payment would be $400 million in cash, flown in as the prisoners were released, as The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • After Louisiana Flooding, the Red Cross Draws a Deluge of Complaints

      Three months after record floods swept through Louisiana in March, the government officials in charge of disaster response set up a post-mortem with area Red Cross staffers.

      The meeting’s purpose: Airing officials’ many complaints with the charity’s performance.

      “Basically, during the Miss. River flooding and the recent severe weather events, most of the Parishes who reached out to the American Red Cross were not happy with the assistance they received or did not get some or any assistance that was requested from them,” a parish emergency manager wrote in an email eliciting the specifics of local officials’ experiences.

      He compiled their responses into a page of talking points for the June 28 meeting. Among the most common gripes: That there had been so much turnover at the Red Cross that government emergency managers didn’t know who to call for assistance; that Red Cross staffers didn’t call emergency managers back; and that the Red Cross didn’t provide enough shelter support.

    • Fracking For President WTF?

      Like your choices weren’t pitiable enough before, now some gas and oil industry pimps in Texas have launched a mock independent bid for the presidency on behalf of – wait for it – fracking. The stunt is part of FrackFeed.com, a new website by the “grassroots” (read astro-turf industry front) group North Texans for Natural Gas (NTNG), which with the support of four energy companies seeks to “give a voice to those who support natural gas.” Aimed at millennials and dedicated to the gonzo proposition that fracking brings you everything good in life – gas, A.C., housing, health care, vacations, burgers, Christmas, celebrity life styles and don’t forget clean water – the site uses laughable memes, quizzes, listicles and other fun stuff to “explain the benefits of fracking to a new generation of Americans.” “Energy is everywhere,” it exclaims, and if you look around you’ll find life itself on God’s green earth, including the toxic water, is “Brought To You By Fracking.”

    • Mega-Utility Dodges $500M ‘Bullet’ as Feds Slash Potential Fine for Pipeline Explosion

      A federal judge on Tuesday night quietly slashed a potential $562 million fine against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) for the privately owned, publicly regulated utility’s role in a 2010 deadly natural gas pipeline explosion near San Francisco.

      The incident six years ago “sent a giant plume of fire into the air, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno,” the Associated Press recalls.

      As Common Dreams noted at the time, “In the weeks before the catastrophe, residents had been reporting gas odors and had voiced fears about a leak. But this brought no action from the company. A state assemblyman from the San Bruno area noted that the torn pipeline was over 60 years old, having been installed in 1948. He criticized PG&E for its poor maintenance and lax response. After the explosion, it took the company almost three hours to shut off the gas supply.”

    • Prosecutors in PG&E case abruptly reduce potential fines

      Abruptly and without explanation, federal prosecutors slashed potential criminal penalties for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. from $562 million to $6 million Tuesday while a jury was considering whether the company violated safety laws both before and after the lethal 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

      The decision was made public in a court filing as both sides awaited the jury’s verdict in federal court in San Francisco.

      Prosecutors had maintained, in filings before and during the trial, that California’s largest utility could be punished for any convictions with penalties equal to twice the amount it saved by shortcutting safety laws. They said those savings could be measured by the $281 million that PG&E estimated it would cost to comply with safety standards after the San Bruno explosion — leading to a potential fine of $562 million if the federal jury in San Francisco returned guilty verdicts.

    • Missoula Wins Right to Control Its Own Water in Victory Against Privatization

      Missoula, Montana scored a major victory for community ownership of public resources when the state’s supreme court ruled 5-2 on Tuesday that the city’s use of its water system was “more necessary” than its use by a private company.

      The city has been embroiled in a costly, years-long legal battle over control of its water supply. Missoula previously argued it has the right to use its powers of eminent domain to purchase Mountain Water Co. from then-owner the Carlyle Group—which has since sold the water company to Canada-based Liberty Utility—an argument which the Missoula County District Court agreed with last June.

      Now, their argument has been vindicated, as the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday found the lower court’s “detailed factual findings” supported the eminent domain decision.

    • Montana Supreme Court clears way for city’s Mountain Water purchase

      The city of Missoula won its eminent domain case to buy Mountain Water Co. in a 5-2 decision Tuesday from the Montana Supreme Court.

      In the majority’s opinion, Justice Patricia Cotter said the state high court gave the record an “exhaustive review” and found the lower court’s “detailed factual findings” supported public ownership.

    • Is Solar Energy Really Too Expensive?

      Utilities are lobbying against the expansion of rooftop solar, and that’s no good for anyone.

    • Energy-wise buildings can cut gas imports

      A renovation programme to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings in Europe could create a million jobs, provide warmer homes, more comfortable factories and offices, reduce fuel bills across 28 countries, and cut imports of Russian gas, researchers say.

      This is because buildings are currently the biggest single emitter of GHGs in Europe. Many have inefficient heating and cooling, combined with poor insulation.

      But with existing technology and political will, they could be transformed into energy producers and become carbon-neutral, says a report produced by OpenEXP, an international group of experts helping policymakers to reach sustainable development goals.

    • 6 Signs the Big Global Switch to Solar has already Begun

      China has installed 20 gigawatts of new solar power just in the first half of this year. This achievement beats analysts’ expectations by a wide margin. China wants to add 20 GW of new solar every year for the next four, but apparently could do twice that. At the end of 2015, China had about 40 gigawatts of installed solar power, so in just six months it has added half again as much. It already surpasses the previous solar champ, Germany.

      The Crescent Dunes “concentrating solar power” plant in Nevada, operated by a Santa Monica firm, is using molten salt as a battery so that it can generate electricity 24/7. It is the first such plant to use solar energy to melt the salt directly instead of via oil, e.g,, which is a huge advance in efficiency. All electricity plants are just a way to turn turbines using boiling water. If you can turn the turbines with molten salt heated hours ago by the sun, then you can make electricity all day and all night. The Crescent Dunes plant can power 75,000 homes. All those critics of solar power who maintain that it needs gas or nuclear for baseload generation when it is dark or very overcast can now find some other talking point. Solar can do it all. Concentrating solar power costs as little as 10 cents a kilowatt hour, making it competitive with nuclear both in cost and in non-intermittency. Photovoltaic cells plus battery storage may ultimately be cheaper but this means that at the very least we have a relatively inexpensive solar technology that isn’t intermittent.

  • Finance

    • Let’s Understand Why We’re So Finished Economically

      The myth of the American Dream is the dominating factor in keeping people mostly complacent in the United States. You know it — work hard, and your life will improve. Well, maybe not your life, but your kids’, or at least your grandkids’. If that doesn’t work, it is the fault of the Irish immigrants, or the darn Chinese, or those welfare freeloaders. Ask Donald Trump how it all works.

      The thing that makes the myth so powerful is that the tiny percent that is true sounds better than the 99 percent which is a lie. As long as near-constant growth could be assured, enough pieces would fall to the the lower and middle classes to make the Dream seem real. It helped that a kindly media would promote the heck out of every exception, whether it was the shoeshine boy in the late 19th century who went to college, or the plucky guys who invented some new tech in their garage and became billionaires. See, you can do it too, just like if we run hard enough, everyone can be in the Olympics. It’s just a matter of wanting it, believing in yourself, having passion and grit, right?

    • Our Revolution Marches On as Washington’s Jayapal Nabs Primary Win

      Pramila Jayapal, one of the standard-bearers for Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution movement, won a decisive victory in the primary race for Washington’s 7th Congressional District Tuesday night and will advance to the November general election.

      Jayapal, an Indian-born state senator who was endorsed by Sanders in April, won 38 percent of the vote. The Seattle Times reported late Tuesday that rivals Joe McDermott and Brady Walkinshaw were “neck and neck,” taking—by the latest count—21.5 percent and 20.9 percent respectively. The top two will advance to the fall election.

    • There’s a Hunger Problem in Every County in America—and It’s Solvable

      Loudoun County is a suburban area with colonial roots, nestled about 45 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. It boasts the nation’s highest median household income at nearly $124,000 per year. It also has 14,000 residents who struggle with food insecurity, or a lack of reliable access to affordable and nutritious food.

      Elizabeth and her daughter, Jennifer, are Loudon County residents that struggle with hunger. Both women once had full-time jobs, but Elizabeth was let go from her job as a car mechanic when she injured her wrist. Then, Jennifer had to quit her job to help care for Elizabeth’s four-year-old daughter.

    • In Wealthy Vancouver, Mayor Promises to Turn Tent City into Subsidized Housing

      The mayor of Vancouver, B.C., announced late Tuesday that an empty lot, the site of a tent city of homeless residents and affordable housing activists, will be transformed into subsidized housing for seniors and people on welfare.

      The announcement marked a rare progressive victory in a city marred by rapid gentrification, a years-long housing crunch, and an influx of foreign money that has transformed the coastal community into a “playground for the rich.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Cornel West: Trump Will Be a Neofascist Catastrophe and Clinton a Neoliberal Disaster

      Polls indicate that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a four-point bounce from the heavily scripted Democratic Party Convention. But it is hard to know the depth and intensity of support from Sanders activists passionate enough to earn themselves a place at the convention. Those are the kinds of activists that could help Clinton the most come November. Yet, an informal survey of dozens of Bernie delegates indicates a lack on enthusiasm for the Clinton cause. No doubt, the decision by prominent Bernie booster Cornel West to go for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein won’t help.

    • Can Jill Carry Bernie’s Baton? A Look at the Green Candidate’s Radical Funding Solution

      Bernie Sanders supporters are flocking to Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party presidential candidate, with donations to her campaign exploding nearly 1000% after he endorsed Hillary Clinton. Stein salutes Sanders for the progressive populist movement he began and says it is up to her to carry the baton. Can she do it? Critics say her radical policies will not hold up to scrutiny. But supporters say they are just the medicine the economy needs.

      Stein goes even further than Sanders on several key issues, and one of them is her economic platform. She has proposed a “Power to the People Plan” that guarantees basic economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities; living-wage jobs for every American who needs to work; an improved “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance program; tuition-free public education through university level; and the abolition of student debt. She also supports the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, separating depository banking from speculative investment banking; the breakup of megabanks into smaller banks; federal postal banks to service the unbanked and under-banked; and the formation of publicly-owned banks at the state and local level.

    • Leaked DNC Emails Confirm Anti-Sanders Conspiracy

      The release by Wikileaks of a trove of emails from high-ranking Democratic Party officials has confirmed what many Americans – both progressive and conservative – have suspected throughout this election cycle: that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) actively conspired against Bernie Sanders in an attempt to ensure the nomination for Hillary Clinton.

      But it wasn’t simply party apparatchiks like the disgraced Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the recently resigned Chair of the DNC and close ally of Clinton, but also their trusted cronies in the corporate media who actively collaborated with DNC officials to ensure that nothing too critical of Hillary would make it into the Mighty Wurlitzer of contemptibly ‘respectable’ journalism. Indeed, what the Wikileaks revelations expose to the world is the fact that there’s nothing democratic about the Democratic Party, or America’s alleged democracy in general.

    • China and Africa: handling ‘otherness’

      Take one example. For years, the complaint by many outside China during the era of great enclosure under Mao Zedong was that the place was written about as though it were on another planet. People who managed to enter went to observe, maintaining an outsider’s distance as they gazed in at lives they perceived to be either suffering or deluded. In recent years, however, this example of outsider’s language has undergone a metamorphosis from pity to criticism. Martin Jacques, Frank Dikötter and others have examined how Chinese writings themselves contain deep strains of racial and cultural superiority vis-à-vis ‘the other’. But whilst Chinese mainstream discourse does convey a sense of superiority, that isn’t by any means the full story. Countering the notion of a proud, ancient continuous civilisation is an opposing sense of resentment and victimhood, born in the modern era and currently expressed in narratives of colonial oppression promoted by the Chinese government.

    • The Citizens United Playbook

      How a Top GOP Lawyer Guided a Chinese-Owned Company Into U.S. Presidential Politics

    • Power Couple

      Meet the Chinese Husband-and-Wife Team Whose Company Spent $1.3 Million Trying to Make Jeb Bush President

    • Cracks in the Dam

      Three Paths Citizens United Created for Foreign Money to Pour Into U.S. Elections

    • A “Desperate” Seller

      Gary Locke, While Obama’s Ambassador to China, Got a Chinese Tycoon to Buy His House

    • Trumped

      Well, you can’t, in fact. Claiming that Hillary Clinton won the 2016 primary is like claiming Bush won the 2000 election. It’s one of those things that everyone will say, using it as shorthand, and repeating it until everyone forgets that the thing was stolen. So, let me rephrase: How can you get people to pretend en masse that you won the 2016 Democratic presidential primary despite lugging around the same baggage as 8 years before only now stuffed with putrid rotting flesh?

    • Green Alert: Presidential Hopeful Dr. Jill Stein Taps Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Her VP Pick

      Green Party presidential hopeful Dr. Jill Stein has tapped Ajamu Baraka as her vice presidential pick for the upcoming 2016 election.

    • Baseless “Anti-Vax” Attacks Against Dr. Jill Stein Distract from Her Call to End the Corrupting Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry Within the FDA

      Dr. Jill Stein has repeatedly articulated her support for vaccinations in interviews and online. The online fact-checking website Snopes.com has debunked accusations claiming Dr. Stein opposes the use of vaccines. The conspiracy theory that Dr. Stein is “anti-science” is becoming a bizarre new counterpart of the “birther”controversy that hounded President Obama’s candidacy in 2008.

      Stein noted, “Anyone who supports vaccinations and wishes to prevent dropping vaccination rates should be concerned about the erosion of public trust caused by the corrupting influence of the pharmaceutical industry in regulatory agencies and government in general.”

      Dr. Stein voices widely-shared concerns that the pharmaceutical industry exerts undue influence in our regulatory institutions – as well as on the politicians to whom they donate.

    • Hillary Clinton’s campaign: ‘We’ll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference’

      When is Hillary Clinton going to hold that long-awaited news conference — the first of 2016? Whenever she feels like it.

      This has always been true, of course. The media can’t force her into one. But the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign hasn’t been quite so blunt about it.

      Until now.

      “We’ll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference,” Clinton pollster Joel Benenson said on ABC News on Thursday evening.

      Okay then. This is the Clinton campaign flaunting its control, reminding the media who calls the shots.

    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein names running mate

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has named Ajamu Baraka, an international human rights scholar and activist, as her running mate.
      “Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come — an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice,” Stein said in a statement Tuesday. “Ajamu’s life’s work has embodied the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

      Stein, a doctor, is expected to be formally nominated as the Green Party’s presidential candidate Saturday at its national convention in Houston.

    • Mark Crispin Miller

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour in discussion with Mark Crispin Miller, NYU professor, author, and media critic. Their conversation included both critiques of corporate media’s recent performance (such as coverage of the presidential campaign), and ongoing developments that threaten freedom of the press and of thought.

    • What Price Victory?

      Virtually the entire political class has now united to defeat Donald Trump, with Morning Joe today staging a Michael Hayden appearance that served largely to allow Scarborough to tell the story of Trump asking three times in a foreign policy briefing why the US couldn’t use its nukes. As Dan Drezner pointed out on Twitter, Scarborough says the event happened months ago — when the primary was still going on — but has just now staged its telling.

      Beating Donald Trump is important. He’s a racist who aims to win by promising white working class people they can resume persecuting people of color again, and he is dangerously inconsistent. That said, he does want to spend lots on infrastructure and protect workers from the ravages of globalization, something often forgotten in depictions of him as entirely policy free.

      But the transpartisan obsession with beating Trump has largely applauded two developments that, for liberals, for democrats, for those who believe in peace, for progressives, should be a worry.

      First, the Neocon establishment has come out in enthusiastic support for Clinton, with ideologue Eliot Cohen orchestrating serial efforts (one that even includes John Yoo!!) to oppose Trump. They point to Trump’s erratic nature and more recently the theories of Putin’s influence. They do so even in the face of a report that Paul Manafort, through whom any Putin influence would be managed, is checking out.

      [...]

      And even while the focus has been on Russia’s alleged influence with Trump, there has been no focus on Hillary’s unquestioning support of Saudi Arabia (the country that had ties to 9/11) and Israel. Or on Hillary’s equally troubling policy proposals, such as starting a No Fly Zone over Russian planes. As Will Bunch noted in a great column, Democrats have become the party that shuns people who chant No More War.

    • The Populist Insurgency is Ratcheting Up

      “We” being the millions of young people, mad-as-hell working stiffs, independents, deep-rooted progressives, and other “outsiders” who felt The Bern and forged a new, game-changing, populist force of, by, and for grassroots Americans. True, this progressive-populist coalition did not win the White House on its first go ’round behind the feisty Sanders insurgency (which the the smug political establishment had literally laughed at when he began his run). But they are not laughing now, for even they can see the outsider revolt against the power elites won something even more momentous than the 2016 election: The future.

    • Why the Shake-up at the Democratic National Committee Is Doomed

      The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued Tuesday with the departure of three senior officials.

      But purging the DNC of top officials won’t remedy the DNC’s problems. Those problems aren’t attributable to individuals who didn’t do their jobs. To the contrary, those individuals probably fulfilled their responsibilities exactly as those jobs were intended to be done.

      The DNC’s problems are structural.

      The Democratic National Committee – like the Republican National Committee – has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

    • With Clinton at Helm, Democratic Party Again a ‘Plaything of the Super-Rich’

      It appears that nothing is holding her back now that Hillary Clinton has officially become the Democratic nominee for president. With “cash machine” Tim Kaine by her side, the Democratic ticket’s fundraising operation is in full swing, and the money—Big Money—is pouring in.

      On Tuesday, the campaign announced a record take of $90 million last month for the candidate and the Democratic Party, not including that brought in by the Super PACs supporting her bid. Republican nominee Donald Trump raised a reported $80 million last month.

      According to CNN, “Clinton will look to match her July haul with a series of August fundraisers, including star studded late-August events hosted by Oscar-winning actors and tech billionaires like Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.”

    • Tim Kaine’s other role: Cash machine

      When newly minted vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine first showed his face in Philadelphia at the Democrats’ convention last week, it wasn’t on stage at the Wells Fargo Center. It was in the tony private suites high above the festivities, where he dropped in on a handful of the campaign’s highest-flying fundraisers.

      That was no coincidence. Much has been made of the Virginia senator’s suburban dad-like mien and his Spanish-speaking skills as he’s started to attack Donald Trump, but Kaine also brings to Hillary Clinton’s ticket an under-appreciated resume point: his stealth status as one of the Democratic Party’s most powerful fundraisers.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Study: Trolls Are Even Worse When Using Real Names

      Now, this is just one report on one dataset, and there may be a variety of other factors at play. But it certainly matches with our own experience here as well. The idea that people only act like jackasses because they’re anonymous just doesn’t fit with the pattern we’ve seen in the over 1 million comments we have on this site. Yes, sometimes there are anonymous jerks, just like there are sometimes named jerks. But on the whole, anonymity doesn’t seem to magically lead to worse comments.

    • Censor Boards in India, Pakistan Very Myopic: John Abraham

      Actor John Abraham, whose latest release Dishoom could not release in Pakistan as the country’s censor board members failed to reach a unanimous decision on it, says he is neither disappointed nor surprised as he feels that the censor boards across both the countries have been “very myopic”.

      Asked his opinion on the fate of Dishoom in Pakistan, John told IANS over phone from Mumbai: “Well, I think censorship generally across the board in both countries has been very myopic and consistently myopic. So, I am not disappointed, but I am also not surprised.”

      John, who plays a police officer in the film, shared that Dishoom is neither biased nor an anti-country movie. It is all about entertainment.

    • Anurag Kashyap to conduct masterclass on censorship in Melbourne

      After locking horns with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) recently over ‘Udta Punjab’, Anurag Kashyap’s stock continues to rise. His take-no-prisoners stance on the ‘Udta Punjab’ issue has endeared him to young filmmakers and moviegoers alike. Known for making the right noise at crucial moments, the filmmaker has now been invited to conduct a masterclass on censorship and its impact on Indian cinema in Melbourne as he will be attending the Indian Film Festival there from August 11 to 21.

    • Turkey’s media crackdown has reached the Netherlands

      Following last month’s failed coup, journalists in Turkey are facing the largest clampdown in its modern history. Journalists covering the events from abroad have not escaped unscathed, including a number in the Netherlands who have faced threats and attacks.

      Unusually, the journalists of the Rotterdam-based Turkish newspaper Zaman Today welcomed the increased police presence. Long before the military coup that failed to remove Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power, the government had been targeting journalists. But today a Dutch police officer drops by frequently to check if Zaman’s journalists are alright. It makes journalist Huseyin Atasever, who has been working for the Dutch Zaman since 2014, feel safe. Or at least safer than he has felt in a while.

      On the morning of Tuesday 19 July Atasever was on his way to Amsterdam when he received a phone call. A Turkish-Dutch individual had been abused by Erdogan supporters at a mosque in the city of Haarlem. Atasever decided to go there immediately.

    • Canadian Comedian Plans To Appeal $42k For A Joke That Insulted Someone

      Okay, okay, I know that Canada doesn’t have a First Amendment like we do down here — even if people like to joke about it being the 51st state — but it still seems quite bizarre that comedian Mike Ward has been told to pay $42,000 for making an offensive joke about a singer named Jeremy Gabriel. Ward is planning to appeal, but the fact that he’s been found guilty of a “human rights” violation seems ridiculous enough.

    • Comedian Mike Ward ordered to pay $35K to Jérémy Gabriel

      Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that comedian Mike Ward must pay Jérémy Gabriel $35,000 for making jokes that violated his rights.

      Ward has been ordered to pay the former child singer with disabilities $25,000 in moral damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.

      He will also need to pay Sylvie Gabriel, Jérémy’s mother, a total of $5,000 for moral damages and $2,000 for punitive damages.

    • The Summer Blockbuster That’s More About Politics Than You Think

      Meanwhile, the trolls went after not only the movie, but its stars as well. Leslie Jones, a strong black actress and comedian from Saturday Night Live, complained to Twitter that she was being targeted by racist tweets that compared her to an ape and worse. It got so bad that Twitter finally rescinded the accounts of some of the trolls, including that of Milo Yiannopoulos, a writer for the extremist, right wing, Trump-supporting Breitbart site.

      Of course, Yiannopoulos complained that he was a victim of political correctness and left-wing censorship. Finally, Jones herself had enough and quit Twitter, saying, “I feel like I’m in a personal hell.” Leaping to her defense, original Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd called the trolls “losers” and “insignificant gnats,” adding: “I would say that you’re looking at obese white men between 50 and 60 who are active Klan members or members of the Aryan Nation, and there are millions of them.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Jersey Man Files Lawsuit Over Pokemon Go After A Few Players Politely Knocked On His Door

      Since Pokemon Go launched last month, we’ve seen an endless stream of players oddly forget that “augmented reality” doesn’t mean the rules of traditional reality no longer apply. Players have spent the last month playing the game in some admittedly “inappropriate” places, while wandering in and out of private property or unsafe areas in a quest to capture virtual monsters.

      [...]

      Apparently fed up with the phenomenon (or just looking for a payday), a New Jersey man last Friday filed a lawsuit in California federal court against Niantic Labs and Nintendo. The 16-page complaint is quick to play up complaints about Pokemon Go players catching monsters in places like the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and says the game makers actively invited “unwanted incursions” on to private property when they populated reality with augmented reality monsters…

    • Massive new study lifts the lid on top websites’ tracking secrets

      So, just how tracked are you? Plenty, according to the largest, most detailed measurement of online tracking ever performed: Princeton University’s automated review of the world’s top 1,000,000 sites, as listed by Alexa.

      But you probably knew there’s a whole lotta trackin’ goin’ on. What’s interesting (and sometimes surprising) are the details. Princeton’s Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan have captured the clearest picture of third-party web tracking that we’ve ever seen.

      To begin, huge numbers of folks are trying to track you: 81,000+ third-party trackers appeared on at least two of the top million sites.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Old but relevant today] For CIA, Truth About Torture Was an Existential Threat

      For the CIA officials involved in torture, one thing was clear from the very beginning: The only way they would be forgiven for what they did was if they could show it had saved lives.

      It was the heart of their rationale. It was vital to public acceptance. It was how they would avoid prosecution.

      The executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s grindingly exhaustive torture report released Tuesday indelibly captures CIA officials turning their back on human decency, and it all starts with a “novel” legal defense floated in November 2001 by CIA lawyers – and arguably prompted by their White House masters, lurking offstage – that the “CIA could argue that the torture was necessary to prevent imminent, significant, physical harm to persons, where there is no other available means to prevent the harm.”

      Specifically, they pointed out: “states may be very unwilling to call the U.S. to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”

    • Obama’s CIA Director Wants to Stick Around for Clinton

      If Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidential election in November, John Brennan would like to continue his post as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Current and former U.S. intelligence officials tell me Brennan has signaled in private conversations that he loves the job and would like to keep it if she’s elected. Plus, Brennan does not want to be perceived as a lame-duck director, particularly as he leads an ambitious plan to restructure the agency.

      At the same time, Brennan has all but taken himself out of consideration to serve in a Trump administration. Speaking last month at the Brookings Institution, he said he would not execute an order to torture captured terrorists or target the families of terrorists, as Trump has promised he would authorize if elected president.

    • Eli Lake’s Portrayal of the CIA Director Campaign: Drones, Benghazi, and … ?

      I thought maybe Brennan wanted to stick around to make sure he gets credit for bettering Allen Dulles’ record for regime change (after all, it’s not clear how the regime change conducted while Brennan was at the White House gets counted in these things).

    • Arizona Law Enforcement Charging Innocent Car Owners $2,000 To Reclaim Their Wrongfully-Seized Vehicles

      If you’d like some more evidence on how civil asset forfeiture has become legalized theft, you need only look at this investigative report by Curt Prendergast for Tuscon.com. Not only is it extremely easy for the government to claim assets are tied to criminal activity, but the obstacles placed in front of individuals to reclaim seized assets are numerous and expensive to navigate — sometimes outweighing the value of the items seized.

      On top of that, even when the state loses, it still wins. Arizona residents who have seen their vehicles seized for extremely tenuous connections to criminal activity are still forced to pay an incredible amount of money to reclaim items the state has agreed to return to their owners.

    • Tucson-area seized vehicles are returned — for a price

      The fortunes of a local woman took a disastrous turn when she loaned her car to her son so he could take her granddaughter to school.

      Her son was arrested on suspicion of credit-card fraud in Oro Valley and police seized the woman’s orange 2005 Mini Cooper, which she said in court documents she needed to drive to her $14-an-hour job at Red Lobster.

      She hired a lawyer — the court does not provide lawyers in civil matters — to challenge the seizure and subsequent forfeiture proceedings. Authorities agreed on July 7 to return her car, but first she had to pay $2,000 into the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund, with $1,500 going to Oro Valley police and $500 to the County Attorney’s Office.

    • Court Throws Out Terrorism Conviction in Canada, Citing Police Entrapment

      Sting operations — in which an undercover agent or informant provides the means and opportunity to lure otherwise incapable people into committing a crime — have represented the default tactic for counterterrorism prosecutions since the 9/11 attacks.

      Critics believe these stings amount to entrapment. Human Rights Watch, for instance, argues that law enforcement authorities in the U.S. have overstepped their role by “effectively participating in developing terrorism plots.” Nonetheless, U.S. courts have rejected entrapment defenses, no matter how hapless the defendants.

      In Canada, however, the legal standing of counterterrorism stings has suddenly shifted. Last week, a high-ranking judge in British Columbia stayed the convictions of two alleged terrorists, ruling that they had been “skillfully manipulated” and entrapped by an elaborate sting operation organized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

      “The specter of the defendants serving a life sentence for a crime that the police manufactured by exploiting their vulnerabilities, by instilling fear that they would be killed if they backed out, and by quashing all doubts they had in the religious justifications for the crime, is offensive to our concept of fundamental justice,” the judge wrote. “Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.”

      This is the first time that a counterterrorism sting — whose tactics were developed by the FBI through modifying those of undercover drug stings — has been thrown out of court whole cloth in Canada or the U.S.

      Supreme Court Justice Catherine J. Bruce was ruling in the case of John Nuttall and his common-law wife, Amanda Korody, two drug addicts who lived on the streets in British Columbia. As part of sting operation in which the RCMP paid at least 200 officers a total of more than $900,000 Canadian in overtime, law-enforcement agents encouraged the couple to place pressure-cooker bombs at the British Columbia parliament building on Canada Day 2013.

    • 18-Year-Old Arrested on Terrorism Charges Is Mentally “Like a Child”

      An 18-year-old recently arrested on terrorism charges in Arizona has the mental capacity of a child and had been in regular contact with the FBI for years before his arrest, according to family members, former teachers, and medical documents reviewed by The Intercept. Mahin Khan was arrested July 1 on charges of plotting to support the Taliban as well as the militant group the Islamic State and commit acts of terrorism in the local community.

      People close to Khan say that he suffered from serious mental and emotional illnesses and that the FBI was aware of this, having met with him regularly since he was a young teenager. According to medical records and statements from family members, he was first referred to the FBI after sending a threatening email to one of his teachers at the age of 15. After an initial meeting with the FBI, he spent 45 days at an inpatient psychiatric facility for evaluation. His family says this stay at the facility was coordinated with FBI officials. Agents reportedly continued to meet with Khan regularly after he returned home and continued to do so up until the time of his arrest.

    • Black Lives Movement Answers the Question: What Are Your Demands?

      In the midst of an election year in which issues of race and policing have often taken center stage, the most comprehensive and detailed policy platform on how to tackle them has come not from candidates or elected officials, but from a movement that found its voice on the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and dozens of other cities.

      The Black Lives Matter movement erupted spontaneously in nationwide protests following the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In its early days, it was propelled by pain and rage, with little organization, but in the weeks and months that followed it grew coordinated and strategic, while never losing the horizontal, inclusive quality that allowed it to scale up so rapidly.

      As community organizations and individuals operating under the Black Lives Matter principle denounced police violence, racism, and lack of accountability, they also took on broader issues affecting black communities: mass incarceration, access to clean water, economic justice. While the number of mostly black and brown people killed by police continued to grow, street protests have been sporadic. But away from the spotlight, a movement that made its name by way of protest continued to organize, and this week released a comprehensive policy platform, “A Vision for Black Lives,” that is at once an exhaustive indictment of the nation’s systemic racism and a clear-eyed presentation of concrete solutions to the problem.

    • Outcry Swells After Military Threatens to Punish Chelsea Manning ‘Essentially for Living’

      Since news emerged last week that imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning is facing new criminal charges and further punishment from the U.S. Army for attempting suicide, public outcry has been swift.

      Civil liberties group Fight for the Future has received over 30,000 signatures on a petition that demands the new charges be dropped and that Manning be provided with adequate healthcare.

      A separate petition demanding that Manning be spared solitary confinement garnered over 2,000 signatures in a matter of hours.

    • Chelsea Manning Faces Indefinite Solitary Confinement & Extra Prison Time After Suicide Attempt
    • Tell the Army Not to Put Chelsea Manning into Solitary Confinement for Attempting Suicide
    • Petition Demands Army Not Put Chelsea Manning in Indefinite Solitary Confinement for Attempting Suicide
    • From Rio, Olympic Refugee Team Urges Compassion for Displaced People

      It’s hard to imagine good news emerging from environmental chaos in Brazil and warfare around the globe, but a team of refugees competing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this month stood in the spotlight on Tuesday, and took the opportunity to urge compassion for displaced people worldwide.

      The 10 athletes on the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) were given a standing ovation as they joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

      “We are ambassadors for the other refugees. We cannot forget this chance that you gave us,” said Yiech Pur Biel, a track and field athlete originally from South Sudan. “We are not bad people. It’s only a name to be a refugee.”

      Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer, said this year’s games make clear that people displaced from their home countries can still contribute to society—countering an argument that has been waged by rightwing opponents of open borders.

    • Amid City Hall Protests, NYPD Chief Bill Bratton Resigns, But “Broken Windows” Continues Nationwide

      New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has announced he is resigning next month. Bratton was a lead advocate of the so-called broken windows theory that called for officers to crack down on minor infractions in an attempt to decrease more violent crime. Over the past four decades, Bratton has served as New York police commissioner twice as well as the head of the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. Supporters of Bratton credit him with lowering crimes rates, but critics say broken windows policing unfairly targets communities of color. In a statement, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi told Democracy Now!, “William Bratton is the key architect of programs that have terrorized our communities for decades. His implementation of broken windows theory has wreaked havoc on communities from Los Angeles to New York City and beyond.” Bratton resigned just one day after hundreds of activists gathered outside New York City Hall demanding the defunding of the New York Police Department and his firing. Protests against William Bratton have been escalating ever since the police killing of Eric Garner two years ago. We speak to Trinity College professor Christina Heatherton, Darius Charney of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Nabil Hassein of Millions March NYC.

    • NYPD Chief Bill Bratton’s Next Stop: Private Consulting Firm Tied to the Clintons

      On Tuesday, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced he is resigning next month. Bratton has served as the NYPD commissioner twice. He’s also served as head of the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. But Bratton’s resignation doesn’t mean he’s retiring. His next job will be at Teneo Holdings, a global private consulting firm with controversial ties to Hillary Clinton. Bratton will be the chairperson of a new branch of the company called Teneo Risk. For more, we speak with Christina Heatherton, assistant professor of American studies at Trinity College. She’s co-editor of “Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.”

    • Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state

      Israel may not be Nazi, nor even a fascist state. Yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. Just consider these acts of evil perpetrated by the state…

      After we’ve cited nationalism and racism, hatred and contempt for Arab life, the security cult and resistance to the occupation, victimhood and messianism, one more element must be added without which the behavior of the Israeli occupation regime cannot be explained: Evil. Pure evil. Sadistic evil. Evil for its own sake. Sometimes, it’s the only explanation.

      Eva Illouz described its signs (“Evil now,” Haaretz Hebrew edition, July 30). Her essay, which challenges the idea of the banality of evil, considers the national group as the source of the evil. Using philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept, she finds a “family resemblance” between the Israeli occupation and history’s evil regimes. This similarity does not mean that Israel is Nazi, nor even fascist. And yet it is a member of the same terrible family, the family of evil states. It’s a depressing and brilliant analysis.

      The evil that Illouz attributes to Israel is not banal, it cannot happen anywhere, and it has political and social roots that are deeply embedded in Israeli society. Thus, Illouz joins Zeev Sternhell, who warned in his impressive and resounding essay about the cultural soil out of which fascism is now growing in Israel (“The birth of fascism,” Haaretz Hebrew edition, July 7).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Simply not credible: The extraordinary verdict against the body that hopes to run the internet

      In an extraordinary judgment, the organization that hopes to take over running the top level of the internet later this year has been slammed by an independent review as at best incompetent and at worst deliberately mendacious.

      The decision [PDF] by ICANN’s Independent Review Panel (IRP) over the organization’s decision to refuse “community” status for three applications covering business suffixes has exposed a level of double-dealing that many suspected occurred in the non-profit organization but has been difficult to prove.

      The ICANN Board Governance Committee (BGC) in particular comes under fire for having repeatedly failed to carry out its duties.

      Despite serious allegations being made against ICANN’s staff and the “independent” evaluator it had selected – the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – the panel found that the BGC did not carry out any investigation. Instead it had relied solely on material supplied by ICANN’s legal team – the very people at the center of the complaints.

Links 3/8/2016: KDE Plasma 5.7.3, DragonFly 4.6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Thoughts on iPad-only the new desktop Linux

    Martin says people who use only iPads for their computing do it because it’s a challenge. He says: “Figuring things out is part of the allure”. This, he says, is just like things were — maybe they still are — with desktop Linux.

    [...]

    So while Martin is right about iPad-only pioneers doing it for the challenge, their curiosity and exploration isn’t a waste of time. iPads and other tablets are the future of personal computing, it may take years until they are the mainstream, but the pioneers will help us get there sooner.

  • Desktop

    • The revenge of Linux

      I have been seeing Linux get space in data centers. Some adventurous sysadmins start boxes to help in everyday tasks for monitoring and managing the infrastructure, and then Linux gets more space as DNS and DHCP servers, printer management, and file servers. There used to be lots of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and criticism about Linux for the enterprise: Who is the owner of it? Who supports it? Are there applications for it?

      But nowadays it seems the revenge of Linux is everywhere! From developer’s PCs to huge enterprise servers; we can find it in smart phones, watches, and in the Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Raspberry Pi. Even Mac OS X has a kind of prompt with commands we are used to. Microsoft is making its own distribution, runs it at Azure, and then… Windows 10 is going to get Bash on it.

    • GNU/Linux Climbing In Germany

      It’s been a while since I cranked out a nice SVG… so I looked at GNU/Linux desktop OS usage according to StatCounter and found Uruguay is doing as usual but I zeroed in on Germany which has broken out above 3% share of page-views. That’s serious.

  • Server

    • With Linux for Ladies, Rackspace Aims to Bring More Women to IT

      The tech industry is notorious for its boys’ club history, problems with misogyny, and gaps in pay equality between men and women.

      In San Antonio, cloud computing giant Rackspace is leading one effort to help turn around the persistent gender problem in tech. Three years ago, Rackspace opened a technical career school called Rackspace Open Cloud Academy, which offers a nine-week training program that is open to the public and meant to help people learn how to become computer system administrators or to work in network operations.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC schedule is up!

        If you want to blog about GUADEC and tell everyone that you’re going or speaking there, you can find the badges (and the slide templates) on the website.

  • Distributions

    • Korora vs GeckoLinux

      With all the debate going on regarding the benefits of using Ubuntu vs Linux Mint, it’s easy to forget that there are other great distributions for newer users. In this article, I’ll be comparing two distros based on Fedora and OpenSUSE. The two distros I’ll be comparing today are known as GeckoLinux (I selected the OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 version built from Suse Studio) and Korora (based on Fedora 24).

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Linux Ships with KDE 4, Plasma 5, GNOME and MATE Flavors

        On August 2, 2016, the ROSA Labs was more than happy to inform us about the availability of the ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 GNU/Linux operating system designed especially for Russian-speaking users.

        Based on the latest ROSA 2014.1 platform, the ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Linux distribution ships with no less than flavors featuring the KDE 4, KDE Plasma 5, GNOME, and MATE desktop environments, and two years of extended support, which means that you’ll receive software updates and security patches until Fall 2018.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo-Based Pentoo 2015.0 Linux Distro for Ethical Hackers Gets New RC Release

        The Pentoo Linux development team proudly announces today, August 2, 2016, the availability for download of the fifth Release Candidate (RC) build towards the Pentoo 2015.0 GNU/Linux operating system.

        We don’t write so often about the Pentoo GNU/Linux operating system because new releases are being made available to the public online when a new DEF CON event (the world’s largest annual hacker convention) is taking place. So yes, it’s now a tradition to see a new Pentoo release around a DEF CON conference.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project Enhances the Anonymity and Security of Debian Linux Users via Tor

        The Debian Project, through Peter Palfrader, announced recently that its services and repositories for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system would be accessible through the Tor network.

        To further enhance the anonymity and security of users when either accessing any of the Debian online services, such as the Debian website or Wiki, as well as when using the Debian GNU/Linux operating system, the Debian Project partnership with the Tor Project to enable Tor onion services for many of their services.

      • digest 0.6.10

        A new release, now at version number 0.6.10, of the digest package is now on CRAN. I also just prepared the Debian upload.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source & Cloud Native: Why should Your Business Care?

    Open source software (OSS) and the pace of change that it allows a developer to innovate and optimize their capabilities more than ever before. In addition, the move to mobile first and platform independent development practices cause businesses to rethink their development frameworks. I’m convinced that this, more than anything else has lead Cloud Native architectures to the forefront. Cloud Native is defined as the software architecture framework that consist of containers, Distributed Orchestration and Management, Micro-services Architecture.

  • UK Government Recruits Chief Open Source Penguin
  • How to fix a bug in open source software

    We’re all on the same team, and all working towards the same goal of making our open source software better. Your small contributions make a big impact.

    How open source software is supported is just as important as how well it works. Given the choice between building awesome new features or carefully reading and responding to 10 bug reports, which would you choose? Which is more important? When you think of open source maintainers what do you see? I see issues. I see dozens of open bug reports that haven’t been responded to in days. I see a pile of feature requests waiting to be worked on. Now when I open those issues, I see maintainers spending most of their time trying to get the information they need. “What version are you using? Was it working before? Can you give me an example app?”

  • Using strategic design to improve user and developer experiences

    Your organization probably relies on multiple open source projects. Using strategic design to understand the big picture problems your organization faces may allow you to improve the user experience and design of your IT systems.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 48 ships, bringing Rust mainstream and multiprocess for some

        Firefox 48 shipped today with two long-awaited new features designed to improve the stability and security of the browser.

        After seven years of development, version 48 is at last enabling a multiprocess feature comparable to what Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have offered as stable features since 2009. By running their rendering engines in a separate process from the browser shell, IE and Chrome are more stable (a Web page crash does not take down the entire browser) and more secure (those separate processes can run with limited user privileges). In order to bring the same multiprocess capability to Firefox, Mozilla started the Electrolysis project in 2009. But the organization has taken substantially longer than Microsoft, Google, and Apple to ship this feature.

      • Firefox 48 Finally Available For Download, Comes With Electrolysis And Rust

        Mozilla has finally debuted the long-awaited Firefox 48 web browser.

      • Good News From Mozilla
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 4.6 released

      DragonFly version 4.6 brings brings more updates to accelerated video for both i915 and radeon users, home-grown support for NVMe controllers, preliminary EFI support, improvements in SMP and networking performance under heavy load, and a full range of binary packages.

    • DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 Launches with Home-Grown Support for NVMe Controllers

      Today, August 2, 2016, the development team behind the BSD kernel-based DragonFly BSD operating system proudly announced the official availability of the DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 update.

      DragonFly BSD 4.6.0 appears to be a major release that ends the development of the 4.4 series of the acclaimed BSD distribution and promises to introduce lots of goodies to users of this computer OS. Prominent features include initial UEFI support, in-house built support for NVMe SSD devices, as well as SMP and networking improvements.

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.6 Rolls Out NVMe Support, Better SMP Performance
  • Public Services/Government

    • Spain’s Valencia reuses Greek PC-lab software

      It’s a textbook example of public administration software reuse. The city of Valencia (Spain) is one of the many users of Epoptes, software for managing school PC-labs, developed as open source in Greece since 2008. The software is improved by staff members of the city’s IT department, sharing their code publicly. Meanwhile in Greece, the future development of Epoptes is in limbo.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ArmSwinger is an Open Source VR Locomotion System Releasing This Week

        Virtual reality has many strengths. It’s immersive, powerful, engaging, and a seriously fun experience. However, as the industry continues to grow its weaknesses are also beginning to come to light as well. One of the most significant of these is the concept of locomotion mechanics, or physical navigation inside of a VR experience.

        Recently, we featured some groups that have tried to bridge this gap by building systems that translate running in place into forward momentum in VR. There are also treadmills like the Virtuix Omni that provide a hardware solution to the issue. However, Electric Night Owl, LLC is working on their own solution as well.

Leftovers

  • Steven Woolfe expelled from Ukip leadership race

    “We also implore members of Ukip and the electorate to request the publication of the NEC’s communications in order to determine whether the committee is guilty of conflicts of interest or even corruption.

  • Science

    • Why Gamma Ray Bursts Are the Most Epic of All Apocalyptic Scenarios

      Asteroid impacts. Nuclear war. Unhinged climate change. These are all respectable, solid entries into the great pantheon of doomsday scenarios that could wipe out life on Earth.

      But when it comes to sheer destructive flair, gamma ray bursts (GRBs) take the apocalyptic cake. Forged in catastrophic cosmic disruptions like supernovae and neutron star mergers, GRBs are the brightest phenomena in the universe. Capable of releasing more energy in a single second than the Sun will in its entire lifetime of ten billion years, these bursts are essentially the universe’s unique riff on projectile barfing.

    • ‘Finks’ Explores the Blurred Line Between Propaganda and Literature

      Arguing that an association with secret institutions like the C.I.A. would inevitably lead to “rot,” Humes advised Plimpton that, for the integrity of the magazine, he should make Matthiessen’s ties during the magazine’s founding public. Citing Edmund Burke’s line “that it is enough for evil to triumph that good men do nothing,” Humes wrote, “I have deeply believed in the Review and all that we hoped it stood for, but until this matter is righted I feel I have no honorable choice but to resolutely resign. Even if I have to split an infinitive to do it.” He went on to suggest that Matthiessen might ”laugh the matter off in print in a manner calculated to restore our tarnished escutcheon…” Under these circumstances, he would stay. Barring that, however, “I should like my name removed from the masthead. I’m sure it will not be missed.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Depressing Reason Bottled Water Is About to Outsell Soda for the First Time

      The recent crisis in Flint, Michigan that left children and parents without safe tap water due to dangerous levels of lead from old pipes highlighted the significant lapses in basic U.S. infrastructure.

    • 6 Dark Secrets Of Being An Olympic Athlete Nobody Tells You

      It’s the Olympics: that time of year when we sit back and watch our finest, most glistening athletes run, jump, and throw their hearts out trying to convince the world that we don’t deserve to be the international shorthand for “childhood obesity.” However, while you might think that the worst thing that can happen to an Olympic athlete is having to raise the Kardashian kids, it turns out that the job comes with so much depressing baggage that Foxcatcher seems like a slapstick buddy comedy by comparison. What sort of baggage? Well …

    • How One GMO Nearly Took Down the Planet

      On Friday, President Obama signed bill S.764 into law, dealing a major blow to the movement to require GMO labeling. The new law, called the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” (DARK) Act by food safety groups, has at least three key parts in it that undermine Vermont’s popular GMO labeling bill and make it nearly impossible for you and me to know what’s in our food.

      The law claims to set a federal labeling standard by requiring food producers to include either a QR bar code that can be scanned with a phone, or a 1-800 number that consumers can call to find out whether a product contains genetically modified ingredients.

  • Security

    • Security Issue in Windows leaks Login Data [Ed: designed for back door access]

      An issue in all Windows systems might leak the user’s Windows login and password information. This is especially critical if the user is using a Microsoft account because this is linked to a number of other services the user may be using.

    • Get ready for an Internet of Things disaster, warns security guru Bruce Schneier

      Security guru Bruce Schneier, the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions, has warned that the ‘craze’ for connecting devices to the internet with little thought about security will result in a major disaster.

      Schneier warned that “integrity and availability threats” are much worse than “confidentiality threats” with devices connected to the internet.

      “It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped upon to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door – or prevent you from opening your door. A hacker who can deny you control of your car, or take over control, is much more dangerous than one who can eavesdrop on your conversations or track your car’s location,” Schneier wrote.

      He continued: “With the advent of the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems in general, we’ve given the internet hands and feet: the ability to directly affect the physical world. What used to be attacks against data and information have become attacks against flesh, steel, and concrete.”

    • New Presidential Directive on Incident Response

      Last week, President Obama issued a policy directive (PPD-41) on cyber-incident response coordination. The FBI is in charge, which is no surprise. Actually, there’s not much surprising in the document. I suppose it’s important to formalize this stuff, but I think it’s what happens now.

    • Kazakh dissidents and lawyers hit by cyber attacks: researchers

      Hackers believed to be working on behalf of Kazakhstan government officials tried to infect lawyers and other associates of exiled dissidents and publishers with spyware, according to a report to be presented at this week’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

      The hacking campaign was part of a complicated tale that also involved physical surveillance and threats of violence – a rare instance of cyber attacks coming alongside real-world crimes.

      It is also unusual in that the campaign involved an Indian company that was apparently hired by the hackers, and it targeted Western lawyers along with alleged opponents of the Kazakh government.

      A spokesman at the Kazakhstan embassy in Washington did not respond to emailed questions.

    • Bruce Schneier: major IoT disaster could happen at any time

      THE CRAZE for connecting anything and everything and controlling it over the internet will result in a major disaster without better built-in security, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

      Furthermore, if secret services really are trying to influence elections by hacking the systems of political parties and releasing embarrassing emails, they will almost certainly attempt to hack into the increasing number of internet-connected voting machines for the same ends.

      Schneier is the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions.

      “It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped on to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door or prevent you opening your door,” Schneier wrote in an article published by Motherboard.

    • Linux botnets on the rise, says Kaspersky DDoS report [Ed: Kaspersky marketing with dramatic and misleading headlines]
    • Hackers break into Telegram, revealing 15 million users’ phone numbers

      Iranian hackers have compromised more than a dozen accounts on the Telegram instant messaging service and identified the phone numbers of 15 million Iranian users, the largest known breach of the encrypted communications system, cyber researchers told Reuters.

      The attacks, which took place this year and have not been previously reported, jeopardized the communications of activists, journalists and other people in sensitive positions in Iran, where Telegram is used by some 20 million people, said independent cyber researcher Collin Anderson and Amnesty International technologist Claudio Guarnieri, who have been studying Iranian hacking groups for three years.

      Telegram promotes itself as an ultra secure instant messaging system because all data is encrypted from start to finish, known in the industry as end-to-end encryption. A number of other messaging services, including Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp, say they have similar capabilities.

    • Best Password Manager — For Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS and Enterprise

      Security researchers have always advised online users to create long, complex and different passwords for their various online accounts. So, if one site is breached, your other accounts on other websites are secure enough from being hacked.

      Ideally, your strong password should be at least 16 characters long, should contain a combination of digits, symbols, uppercase letters and lowercase letters and most importantly the most secure password is one you don’t even know.

    • Microsoft takes five months to replace broken patch

      Microsoft has issued a replacement for a buggy release of Windows Server Operating System MP, code that underpins efforts to proactively monitor Windows Server.

      The last version – 6.0.7303.0 – should have been innocuous. But users quickly noticed lots of problems, especially regarding recognition of disk clusters, leading Microsoft itself to issue a recommendation that you not install the software.

      That was back in late February 2016. On July 27th, Microsoft quietly released it’s completed version version 6.0.7316.0 and on August 2nd announced its existence to the wider world.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sunni radicals blow up 16th century Sufi mosque in Yemen

      Sunni Islamist radicals in Yemen have blown up a 16th century mosque housing the shrine of a revered Sufi scholar in the city of Taez, a local official said on Monday.

      Gunmen led by a Salafist local chief known as Abu al-Abbas blew up the mosque of Sheikh Abdulhadi al-Sudi on Friday night, the official said, confirming media reports of the attack.

      Yemen’s commission for antiquities and museums condemned the destruction of the site that is considered the most famous in Taez.

      It said the mosque’s white dome was “one of the biggest domes in Yemen and one of the most beautiful religious sites in old Taez”.

      Images of the site before destruction showed a white square-shaped, single-storey structure topped by a large central dome circled by smaller ones.

    • Saudi Arabia yet to sway U.N. over Yemen coalition blacklisting

      Two months after the United Nations blacklisted a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen, Riyadh has not provided enough proof that it should be permanently removed from the register, U.N. diplomatic sources said on Monday.

      U.N. officials plan to travel to Riyadh to obtain more details on various issues, such as rules of engagement, one of the sources said.

      A U.N. annual report on children and armed conflict said the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year, killing 510 and wounding 667. The Saudi-led coalition includes United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.

    • U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

      The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

    • How the Saudis turned Kosovo into fertile ground for ISIS

      Every Friday, just metres 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 funds and blamed for spreading Wahhabism, the conservative ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia, in the 17 years since a United States-led intervention wrested Kosovo from Serbian oppression. Since then – much of that time under the watch of US officials – Saudi money and influence have transformed this once-tolerant Muslim society at the hem of Europe into a fount of Islamic extremism.

      Kosovo now finds itself, like the rest of Europe, fending off the threat of radical Islam. In the past two years, police have identified 314 Kosovars – including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children – who have gone abroad to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That is the highest number per capita in Europe. They were radicalised and recruited, investigators said, by extremist clerics and secretive associations funded by Saudi Arabia and other conservative Arab Gulf states using an obscure network of donations from charities, private individuals and government ministries.

    • Vihara, pagodas burned down, plundered in N. Sumatra

      Hundreds of people plundered and burned down several Buddhist temples or vihara in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, on Friday evening. No fatalities or injuries occurred in the anarchic acts, which took place until early Saturday.

      It is estimated that the attacks have caused billions of rupiah in losses.

      North Sumatra Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Rina Sari Ginting said the riots began when a 41-year-old of Chinese descent, only identified as Meliana, reprimanded an administrator of the Al Maksum Mosque to lower its microphone volume.

      Rina further said Meliana had previously conveyed similar warnings to the administrator, hence, the mosque’s congregation members visited her house following her complaint for the umpteenth time on Friday evening.

      The meeting between Al Maksum congregation members and Meliana heated up, forcing Tanjung Balai Police officers to safeguard Meliana and her husband at the police station. Angry mobs continued to flock to Meliana’s house, however. Some had even attempted to burn down the house but it was prevented by people living in the neighbourhood.

    • The U.S. Military Pivots to Africa and That Continent Goes Down the Drain

      Someday, someone will write a history of the U.S. national security state in the twenty-first century and, if the first decade and a half are any yardstick, it will be called something like State of Failure. After all, almost 15 years after the U.S. invaded the Taliban’s Afghanistan, launching the second American Afghan War of the past half-century, U.S. troops are still there, their “withdrawal” halted, their rules of engagement once again widened to allow American troops and air power to accompany allied Afghan forces into battle, and the Taliban on the rise, having taken more territory (and briefly one northern provincial capital) than at any time since that movement was crushed in the invasion of 2001.

      Thirteen years after George W. Bush and his top officials, dreaming of controlling the oil heartlands, launched the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (the second Iraq War of our era), Washington is now in the third iteration of the same, with 6,000 troops (and thousands of private contractors) back in that country and a vast air campaign underway to destroy the Islamic State. With modest numbers of special operations troops on the ground and another major air campaign, Washington is also now enmeshed in a complex and so far disastrous war in Syria. And if you haven’t been counting, that’s three wars gone wrong.

      Then, of course, there was the American (and NATO) intervention in Libya in 2011, which cracked that autocratic country open and made way for the rise of Islamic extremist movements there, as well as the most powerful Islamic State franchise outside Syria and Iraq. Today, plans are evidently being drawn up for yet more air strikes, special operations raids, and the like there. Toss in as well Washington’s never-ending drone war in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, its disastrous attempt to corral al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen (leading to a grim and horrifying Saudi-led, American-supported internecine conflict in that country), and the unending attempt to destroy al-Shabaab in Somalia, and you have at least seven wars and conflicts in the Greater Middle East, all about to be handed on by President Obama to the next president with no end in sight, no real successes, nothing. In these same years Islamic terror movements have only spread and grown stronger under the pressure of the American war machine.

    • Khizr Khan and The Triumph of Democratic Militarism

      Against the wishes of her New York Democratic constituents, Hillary Clinton voted with Senate Republicans to invade Iraq. (It was a pivotal vote. Without Democratic support, George W. Bush’s request for this war of aggression would have failed.)

      Humayun Khan, 27, was an army captain who got killed during that invasion.

      Eight years later, the dead soldier’s parents appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention — not to protest, but in order to endorse one of the politicians responsible for his death: Hillary Clinton.

    • “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”

      At this point most people appear to know that something is terribly, terribly wrong in the United States of America. But like the proverbial blind man describing the elephant, Americans tend to characterize the problem according to their economic status, their education and interests, and the way that the problem is impacting their peer group. So we hear that the biggest crisis facing America today is:

      Corruption
      Immigration
      Economic inequality
      Climate change
      Lack of respect for law enforcement
      Institutionalized racism
      Islamic terrorism
      The greed and recklessness of Wall Street banks
      Those damned far-right Republicans
      Those damned liberal Democrats
      Political polarization

    • Coup talk in Ukraine

      The war in the east, the rise of paramilitaries and polarised public opinion are feeding fears of a violent seizure of power in Kyiv. Could Ukraine follow in Turkey’s footsteps?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change is Here and Now, Dire NOAA Report Warns

      Environmental records of all kinds are being shattered as climate change takes effect in real time, scientists warned on Tuesday.

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) released its annual State of the Climate report with the dire warning that 2015 was the hottest year on record since at least the mid-to-late 19th century, confirming the “toppling of several symbolic milestones” in global temperature, sea level rise, and extreme weather.

      “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist at Penn State, told the Guardian. “They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”

      Last year’s record heat was fueled by a combination of the effects of global warming and one of the strongest El Niño events on record since at least 1950, NOAA said.

      “When we think about being climate resilient, both of these time scales are important to consider,” said Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “Last year’s El Niño was a clear reminder of how short-term events can amplify the relative influence and impacts stemming from longer-term global warming trends.”

    • A Single Bad Fire Season Sent Smoke Halfway Around the Planet

      For several months last fall, Indonesia choked under a blanket of smog fueled by one of the worst fire seasons in its history. But smoldering peatlands didn’t limit their pollution to the island nation: they sent smoke halfway across the world.

      “I’d never seen anything quite like this before,” Robert Field of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies told Gizmodo. Field is lead author on a new analysis of Indonesia’s 2015 fire season, which used data from five Earth-observing satellites to evaluate the total pollution from a spate of peat fires that were at one point emitting more carbon each day than the entire US economy.

    • The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us

      The media largely relegate the greatest challenge facing humanity to footnotes as industry and politicians hurtle us towards systemic collapse of the planet

    • New York’s “Clean” Energy Plan Props Up Dirty, Dangerous Nuclear Power

      New York state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES), approved Monday, is being hailed as a “monumental step forward” toward a renewable energy future.

      But it’s also generating controversy, as it props up the state’s faltering nuclear industry to the tune of about $500 million a year in subsidies—and potentially lays out a blueprint for other states to do the same.

    • NY OKs energy plan with nuclear bailout

      A state board unanimously approved a clean-energy plan Monday that will boost renewable energy use while rescuing upstate nuclear power plants with a multi-billion-dollar subsidy.

      The state Public Service Commission voted 4-0 Monday to adopt the Clean Energy Standard, a three-tiered plan mandating the state’s long-held goal of getting 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and implementing a 40-percent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030.

      Ratepayers will see their bills increase to cover the cost of the 12-year plan, which will require utilities to purchase electricity at an elevated rate from three upstate nuclear facilities, including the R.E. Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County.

    • Updated: New York PSC approves 50% clean energy standard, nuclear subsidies

      The New York Public Service Commission voted today on a 50% renewable standard that officials say will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030, ensure the state’s power mix is diverse, and attract billions in clean energy investment.

    • New York’s Woeful $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bailout Package

      The New York State Public Service Commission—in the face of strong opposition—this week approved a $7.6 billion bail-out of aging nuclear power plants in upstate New York which their owners have said are uneconomic to run without government support.

      New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—who appoints the members of the PSC—has called for the continued operation of the nuclear plants in order to, he says, save jobs at them. The bail-out would be part of a “Clean Energy Standard” advanced by Cuomo. Under it, 50 percent of electricity used in New York by 2030 would come from “clean and renewable energy sources”­with nuclear power considered clean and renewable.

      “Nuclear energy is neither clean nor renewable,” testified Pauline Salotti, vice chair of the Green Party of Suffolk County, Long Island at a recent hearing on the plan.

      “Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close. But under the guise of ‘clean energy,’ the nuclear industry is about to get its hands on our money in order to save its own profits, at the expense of public health and safety,” declared a statement by Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy, based in upstate Syracuse with a chapter in New York City. Moreover, she emphasized, “Every dollar spent on nuclear subsidies is a dollar out of the pocket of New York’s electricity consumers­residents, businesses and municipalities” that should “instead” go towards backing “energy efficiency, renewable energy and a transition to a clean energy economy.”

  • Finance

    • Amid Fierce Opposition, Obama and Big Biz Still Resolute in Pushing TPP

      While critics have begun to sound the death knell for the contentious Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. President Barack Obama doubled down his support for the corporate-backed trade agreement.

      During a Tuesday press conference after meeting with the Prime Minister of Singapore—one of the 12 nations involved in the pact—Obama said that he is “reaffirming” his commitment to the TPP, declaring himself a “strong supporter” of the deal.

      Eschewing criticisms that it would “leave many people behind,” Obama said the TPP provides an “opportunity to grow our economies and write the rules for trade in the 21st century in a way that is equitable. It gives us a chance to advance American leadership, reduce economic inequality, and support good paying jobs, all while strengthening critical strategic relationships in a vital region.”

    • Obama: I’m a strong supporter of the TPP trade deal
    • Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact is unique opportunity for US: PM Lee
    • Obama: I’m still president and I support TPP trade deal
    • Brexiteers and the story of the would-be time-traveller

      There are some Brixiteers who think Brexit is easy.

      [...]

      My view, for what it is worth, is that Brexit will not be easy.

      But if the proponents of an easy Brexit are right, then the view that Brexit is hard will be disproved soon enough.

      So there is no point arguing about it.

      Like the wise adult of the story, perhaps one should just say to the proponents of an easy Brexit: have a go, and see what happens.

    • Lawmakers to Question Executive of New Jersey’s Controversial Student Loan Agency

      The New Jersey State Senate has announced it will hold a hearing to examine the state’s student loan agency, which administers the largest state-based loan program in the country and one that employs aggressive and unforgiving collection practices.

      A ProPublica and New York Times investigation has shown that New Jersey’s loan program charges higher interest rates than similar federal programs, and that its officials, armed with the power of the state, have garnished wages, rescinded tax refunds, and even sought repayment from families whose children have died. The state’s student loans now total $1.9 billion.

      The hearing, set for Aug. 8, will be led by New Jersey state Sen. Robert Gordon, chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee, and New Jersey state Sen. Sandra Cunningham, chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee.

      “We need to be sure we are properly advising prospective borrowers and not aggressively targeting students and families that are having financial difficulties,” Gordon said in an emailed release. “The state should be supporting students and young workers in particular, not putting up additional barriers to their future success.”

    • Sovereignty? This government will sell us to the highest bidder

      What does it mean to love your country? What does it mean to defend its sovereignty? For some of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, it means reducing the United Kingdom to a franchise of corporate capital, governed from head offices overseas. They will take us out of Europe to deliver us into the arms of other powers.

      [...]

      Fox looks to me like a corporate sleeper cell implanted in government. In 2011, he resigned his post as defence secretary in disgrace after his extracurricular interests were exposed. He had set up an organisation called Atlantic Bridge, financed in large part by a hedge fund owner. It formed a partnership with a corporate lobbying group called the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is funded by tobacco, pharmaceutical and oil companies. Before it was struck off by the Charity Commission, it began assembling a transatlantic conclave of people who wished to see public services privatised and corporations released from regulation.

      He allowed a lobbyist to attend his official meetings, without government clearance. He made misleading statements about these meetings, which were later disproved. It seems extraordinary to me that a man with such a past could have been brought back into government, let alone given such a crucial and sensitive role. Most newspapers have brushed his inconvenient history under the political carpet. He is, after all, their man.

    • Pope Francis: Capitalism is ‘Terrorism Against All of Humanity’

      Pope Francis surprised reporters on a flight from Krakow to the Vatican late Sunday when he blamed the “god of money” for extremist violence in Europe and the Middle East, saying that a ruthless global economy leads disenfranchised people to violence.

      “Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person,” the pope told reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity.”

      The pope was responding to a journalist’s question about whether there is a link between Islam and terrorism, particularly focusing on the fatal attack on a priest by Muslim extremists in France last week.

      “I ask myself how many young people that we Europeans have left devoid of ideals, who do not have work. Then they turn to drugs and alcohol or enlist in [the Islamic State, or ISIS],” he said, Reuters reports.

    • Leftwing insurgencies led by Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders won’t melt away

      Just one subject was on most people’s lips – the Sanders delegates and how they could be controlled. Many of the people I met were interested in Jeremy Corbyn, who they saw as Britain’s answer to Sanders.

      There are many similarities between Corbyn and Sanders. Both, having ploughed their own furrow in progressive politics for over 30 years, have suddenly found themselves at the centre of events. Sanders came within touching distance of getting his party’s nomination and defeating the mighty Clinton machine. Corbyn actually leads his party. But he is embroiled in open warfare with the Westminster elites – political, journalistic and those in the rarefied world of thinktanks.

      Both are happy to call themselves socialist. Under New Labour that was the kiss of death for a political career. In the US, it is more dangerous still: in living memory, being accused of being a socialist was enough to get you witch-hunted out of public life.

      Both have similar political programmes. Defending or arguing for a health service free at the point of use is vital for both – although Sanders can only dream of a US version of the NHS. Both believe in social justice. They campaign ferociously for the 99% versus the 1%. They battle the power of the big banks and financial institutions. Both believe in a higher minimum wage and investment in infrastructure. Both were early advocates of action on climate change. And it is also worth pointing out that both seem most comfortable when not wearing a tie.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • There Are No Democratic or Green Saviors: Get in the Streets!

      Regardless of the outcome of November’s U.S. elections, what will count most is what happens in the streets. As Frederick Douglass put it plainly a century and a half ago, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will.”

      All the advances of the 20th century (most of which are being steadily eroded in these early years of the 21st century) came about through organized movements, forcing elected officials to react.

    • DNC Achieved Unity Through Forced Conformity And Manufactured Consent

      After returning home from the Democratic convention, I was shocked to learn that friends and family who followed the extravaganza had no idea that there were protests on the inside.

      How was this possible? I was there. I witnessed the tension. Each day of the convention was marred by protests, with hundreds of Sanders delegates chanting, booing, walking out, and waving signs in defiance of Hillary Clinton’s coronation.

      I reviewed the media coverage I missed while I was in the convention bubble.

      After “a bruising primary season,” the Clinton and Sanders camps “pulled together and orchestrated a week relatively free of public controversy,” reported the Washington Post.

      “It looks like a mess, but the Democratic Party is more unified than it seems,” blared Vox.

      “[W]hat had been a raging boil on Monday was by Thursday morning just a simmer,” observed Politico, marveling at the DNC for “creating opportunities to publicly make peace between the party’s rival factions.”

    • Wasserman Schultz Faces FEC Complaint from Progressive Challenger

      With less than a month before the Florida congressional primary on August 30, incumbent Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing a potential Federal Elections Committee (FEC) complaint from progressive challenger and law professor Tim Canova.

      Canova alleges that evidence in WikiLeaks’ release of internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) show Wasserman Schultz using DNC resources to strategize against his congressional campaign. Wasserman Shultz resigned as party chair last month after the emails showed the DNC favoring Hillary Clinton’s campaign over Bernie Sanders’. The congresswoman now works for Clinton’s campaign.

      “It’s very clear that Wasserman Schultz was using the DNC resources to monitor my campaign and to strategize on how to crush the campaign,” Canova said on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” Monday.

      “That’s a violation of federal law,” Canova added. He said he plans to file the FEC complaint soon.

    • Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger to file FEC complaint

      Outgoing Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s primary challenger is planning to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), alleging that she used DNC resources to target his campaign.

      Tim Canova, a law professor, said his campaign’s lawyers have found evidence of this as they sift through the tens of thousands of stolen DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks, which showed top aides undercutting Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign in the Democratic presidential primary.

    • DNC CEO resigns in wake of email controversy

      The CEO of the Democratic National Committee and two other high-level staffers left the organization on Tuesday in the wake of the committee’s hacked email controversy.

      Amy Dacey is the highest-ranking official at the DNC to step aside due to the matter, a senior Democratic official said. The DNC also announced the departure of CFO Brad Marshall and and Communications Director Luis Miranda in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

      Dacey is well-respected by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC circle, a source familiar with the resignation said. But the committee is looking to clean house in the wake of leaked emails that appeared to show the committee favoring Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary.

    • Top DNC staffers out following email scandal

      Amy Dacey, the chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee, and two other top officials are leaving their positions, the party announced Tuesday. Their departures follow the uproar over hacked party emails that came to light ahead of last week’s Democratic convention

      Luis Miranda, the party’s communications director, and Brad Marshall, chief financial officer, are also exiting the DNC.

      The statement announcing the staff changes praises the outgoing aides and makes no mention of the email issue.

    • Three More DNC Officials Out Amid Email Scandal

      Three top Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials have stepped down in the wake of the email scandal that has already forced the ouster of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda, and chief financial officer (CFO) Brad Marshall all resigned on Tuesday after facing scrutiny for emails that critics say showed favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the presidential primaries. Marshall was particularly criticized for suggesting questioning Sanders’ religion to sow dislike of him among the public.

      Interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile apologized on Tuesday for what she called “insensitive and inappropriate emails.”

    • Heads roll at the DNC

      With just three months until Election Day and the Democrats’ official party apparatus struggling to right itself from months of dysfunction and the scandal caused by the WikiLeaks email hack, interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile cleaned house Tuesday with the ouster of three top officials.

      CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda and chief financial officer Brad Marshall are all leaving the organization, the DNC announced Tuesday afternoon, shortly after staffers were informed of the changes in a meeting. The announcement praised all three outgoing officials, but people familiar say the departures were heavily encouraged.

    • Meet the Press Grills WikiLeaks on Source, Ignores Substance of DNC Emails

      On Sunday morning, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd (7/31/16) had on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to discuss his recent leaking of 20,000 emails from within the Democratic National Committee showing an institutional preference in favor of Hillary Clinton. Todd asked Assange a total of eight questions, all of which were about alleged foreign hacking of the DNC, never asking about the substance of the leaks.

      Here are the questions in order:

      “Are you concerned that if foreign government uses your entity that you have now seen WikiLeaks get weaponized?”
      “The easiest way to clear this up, Mr. Assange, would you be able to say categorically that a foreign government did not hand you this material?”
      “But it is helpful to know if a foreign government is involved, isn’t that crucial information to civilians?”
      “Mr. Assange, you say you can’t go around speculating. Do you not know [if Russia leaked the documents to you]?”
      “Let me ask you this. Do you, without revealing your source on this, do you accept information and leaked documents from foreign governments?”
      “But isn’t the right of the public to know the motive also, to know the motive of the maker?”
      “Does that not trouble you at all, if a foreign government is trying to meddle in the affairs of another foreign government?”
      “That doesn’t bother you [foreign governments meddling in US elections]? That is not part of the WikiLeaks credo?”

      [...]

      Although it was clear Assange wouldn’t answer Todd’s question about WikiLeaks’ source—”We don’t give any material away as to who our sources are,” he repeatedly pointed out—Todd persisted again and again. Which would have been fine if he had followed up with the questions about the DNC leak itself and what other leaks Assange might have in store—but instead it was 100 percent Russia, 100 percent Cold War plot, 100 percent anything other than the substance of the leaks themselves.

    • Who Leaked the Damning DNC Emails? What Difference Does It Make?

      The Democratic National Committee under Debbie Wasserman Schultz in fact served as the Hillary Clinton Coronation Organizing Committee, operating, step by step, to ensure that the front-runner would become the party’s nominee.

      [...]

      Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who finally—after months of protests against her due to her (obvious) partiality while she insisted (looking guilty) that she was “neutral”—resigned as DNC chair in the wake of the email scandal, rewarded immediately (as though to deliberately further enrage the Sanderistas) with a post in her campaign, could perhaps now be tasked with building the case that Donald Trump is a Russian agent.

      And the content of the emails? The suggestion that Sanders’ lack of religious belief could be used by the DNC to help Hillary? What difference does it make? Isn’t it obvious that the bigger question is Putin, and Russian expansionism, and the need to elect a woman strong enough to risk World War III?

      The howls of indignation at Russian hacking of U.S. citizens” communications! Have whistle-blowers not made it known to us that the NSA maintains records on the phone calls and internet activity of virtually everybody, everywhere? That they have capacities unknown to the bad old KGB and Stasi? That they routinely monitor the communications of Angela Merkel, the pope, the UN Secretary General etc. without any sense of shame?

      The rational person’s response has to be: What difference does it make who hacked those emails and made them public? What’s true is true. The whole U.S. political process is rigged. We need to grasp that.

      The youth who drove the Sanders campaign have every reason to reject the rigged system itself. Millennials were just reaching adulthood when, in 2000, George W. Bush became president with a minority of the popular vote, when the Supreme Court intervened to prevent a vote recount in Florida. The unelected president went on to invade two countries and left office deeply unpopular, exposed as a liar and mass-murderer. Youth helped bring Obama into power as the progressive, peace candidate. But he turned out to be the Drone President, the president who incomprehensibly made the incomparably hawkish Hillary Clinton his Secretary of State.

    • For Corporate Media, Bloomberg Is the Better Billionaire

      On the third night of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the stage to tout his non-partisanship and call for a “sane, competent person” for president. It was a celebration of conservative centrism, and so was the establishment media’s reaction—to a politician who is also one of the nation’s most powerful media moguls.

    • Donald Trump and Islamic State Agree: No Room for People Like Khizr Khan

      When Khizr Khan stood up to speak at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, his family story was not widely known. Neither he nor his wife was a figure of public prominence, nor had he spoken at any major political events in the past. But, waving a copy of the United States constitution, Khan addressed Trump in evocative terms that resonated across the country, asking the GOP candidate if he had “ever even read the U.S. constitution” and telling Trump that he had “sacrificed nothing, and no one.”

      The sacrifice that Khan was referring to was that of his son, Humayun Khan, an Army captain who was killed while stationed in Iraq in 2004. In the days since the DNC ended, Khan’s speech has dominated public discussion about the election campaign. He has promised to continue speaking out until the Republican Party leadership repudiates Trump for his proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.

    • Weekend of our Discontent: Trump, Clinton Spar Over Dueling Controversies

      On the campaign trail Donald Trump insulted the family of a dead US soldier and Hillary Clinton repeated claims that were debunked weeks ago by none other than the Director of the FBI.

      The events capped off a weekend in an election characterized by sweeping discontent with the nominees of both major parties. Recent polls show growing numbers of Americans considering third party options.

      First it was Trump’s turn to horrify the nation, with numerous attacks, in press interviews and tweets, against the parents of Humayan Khan, a US soldier and Muslim who died fighting in Iraq in 2004, and was posthumously decorated for valor.

      Khan’s parents Khizr and Ghazala, were featured during last week’s Democratic National Convention. Khizr criticized Trump for not having made any sacrifices to the country, and questioned whether or not the GOP nominee had ever read the Constitution.

      Trump responded by insinuating that Ghazala Khan, who stood by her husband as he addressed the convention, was prohibited from speaking.

    • The un-Democratic National Committee

      WIKILEAKS’ RELEASE of nearly 20,000 e-mails and more than 8,000 attachments from seven officials on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) just before the party’s convention meant a quick end for Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s position as DNC chair, after the e-mails revealed favoritism toward the Clinton campaign and organized hostility to rival Bernie Sanders.

      But if the e-mails–and the convention itself–show anything, it’s the undemocratic nature of the whole Democratic Party, and firing one official won’t come close to fixing that.

      The e-mails paint a picture of a party infrastructure that was not only rigged for the establishment choice in the presidential nomination race, but that trades lucrative donations for access on a daily basis.

    • What Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Doesn’t Want You to Know About the Convention

      A report of how Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign gave wealthy donors privileged seating and other special access at the Democratic National Convention can’t be dismissed by retorting that men have always done such things, too.

      Of course, they have. When President Obama campaigned to become the nation’s first black president in 2008, many of us silently excused his decision to forgo public campaign financing and rely on wealthy donors. After all, white male presidential candidates had always done that, too.

      Sure enough, upon being elected, Obama chose financial and economic advisors, such as Laurence Summers and Timothy Geithner, who helped him to rescue the wealthy more than to change the financial and economic system that favors them beyond all reason or justice.

    • Isn’t It Ironic?: Koch-Backed Group Rails Against Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics

      After spending countless millions fighting to protect unlimited secret money in elections, the Koch political network has adopted a surprising new approach: railing against the corrupting influence of money in politics.

      New ads from the Koch-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund attack Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in Nevada and Virginia for allegedly supporting policies that benefited their campaign supporters, even as the Koch network fights to keep campaign spending secret.

      “After taking $70,000 from taxi companies, [U.S. Senate candidate] Catherine Cortez Masto drove Uber out of Nevada,” says one ad, which reportedly cost $1.2 million to air. It comes on the heels of another $1.2 million ad buy in the race making similar claims and asserting that Cortez Masto “put campaign donors ahead of Nevadans and protected special interests instead of us.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Exclusive: Survivors of Islamic Sexual Abuse Support Group Founder Banned From Facebook For ‘Islamophobia’

      The founder of a support group for victims of Islamic sexual grooming gangs has been banned from Facebook for 30 days after she posted a video calling out the media for focusing on Islamophobia in the wake of a wave of Islamic terrorist attacks.

      Toni Bugle, founder of Mothers Against Radical Islam and Sharia (MARIAS) has spent the last few years supporting the victims of Islamic persecution including gay apostates, women fleeing Islamic marriages, and girls dealing with years of abuse by sexual exploitation gangs.

      Many of those she talks to have been turned away by social services and local authorities who don’t want to deal with the fall-out from Islamic persecution.

      But after she posted a twenty-minute live video to her personal Facebook page last Wednesday she was banned from Facebook for 30 days, she believes following an accusation of Islamophobia.

    • Houston Law Firm Sues Student With Severe Back Injuries For $200k After She Posts Negative Reviews To Yelp, Facebook

      A Houston law firm has decided to make its mark on the world much in the same way a rogue house pet makes its mark on an expensive Oriental rug. The Tuan A. Khuu law firm has decided it has “no choice” but to sue a 20-year-old student suffering from two broken bones in her back following a collision with two vehicles — one of them being the drunk driver who started the chain reaction.

      [...]

      In addition to the inevitable Streisanding, the Khuu law firm has also jabbed a stick into a hornet’s nest of lawyers with low tolerance for bullying bullshit. So far, the law office’s decision to sue a student for $200,000 has already attracted offers of assistance from Popehat’s Ken White, First Amendment Badass (Texas Div.) Mark W. Bennett, and Scott Greenfield, whose undying curmudgeonliness (and undying AOL email address) are perfectly complemented by the number of fucks he gives about jabbing back at stupid attorneys. If this is just the initial response to the Khuu office legal threats, it’s time to invest heavily in popcorn futures.

      The immediate good news is that Lan Cai is now represented, pro bono, by Houston attorney Michael Fleming. Fleming hopes to flip this bogus lawsuit back on the Khuu law firm by using Texas’ anti-SLAPP law — the Texas Citizens Participation Act — and extract $50,000 from the firm for the trouble it’s caused. He also points out that the firm’s reputation was pretty much an open sewage line well before Cai expressed her opinion, so it’s unlikely the office can prove yet another negative review caused any actual damage to the firm itself.

    • NightSide – Censorship On Campus

      The University of Houston Student Vice President is facing sanctions over a Facebook post in the immediate aftermath of the Dallas attack that read in part, “all lives matter”. As a result of this “controversy” she was temporarily suspended and must attend cultural sensitivity training. Harvey Silverglate, an expert on free speech issues, joins NightSide to give his take.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Global Surveillance Industry Database Helps Track Big Brother Worldwide

      Offering a groundbreaking glimpse of the global surveillance industry—the tools it employs, the extent of its reach, and the accountability it largely evades—human rights watchdog organization Privacy International on Tuesday released a searchable database and accompanying report that track Big Brother worldwide.

      The initiative “provides much needed information about a secretive industry which has grown to meet government demand for more surveillance power,” said Edin Omanovic, research officer at the U.K.-based Privacy International. “State surveillance is one of the most important and polarizing issues of our time, yet the secrecy around it means it’s a debate lacking reliable facts.”

      The Surveillance Industry Index (SII), based on data collected by journalists, activists, and researchers across the world and co-developed with the pro-transparency software group Transparency Toolkit, aims to change that.

    • Surveillance of Everyone: Europe’s “Smart Borders” Would Automatically Monitor Individuals

      Walls and wire fences are not all that’s being built at Europe’s borders. The European Commission and Security Companies dream of “smart borders”: a multitude of automated and interconnected files and control apparatuses able to follow each individual. The program’s objective? Counter-terrorism and keeping migrants out. But these structures — the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated — risk straining public finances, while threatening civil liberties and private life, should some states decide to pass from border control of each person to surveillance of everybody.

      With respect to security policy, the least one may say is that the European Union and its member states do not lack for ideas. The European Union’s borders are governed by a plethora of measures and apparatuses with an equal number of obscure acronyms: SIS, the Schengen Information System, assembles data on wanted or disappeared persons; VIS is the information system concerning visa applications; EURODAC is a fingerprint database for the administrative management of asylum applications.

    • O2 customer data sold on dark net

      The data was almost certainly obtained by using usernames and passwords first stolen from gaming website XSplit three years ago to log onto O2 accounts.

      When the login details matched, the hackers could access O2 customer data in a process known as “credential stuffing”.

      O2 says it has reported the case to police, and is helping the inquiry.

      It is highly likely that this technique will have been used to log onto other companies’ accounts too.

    • FBI Official Compares Encryption Guru Moxie Marlinspike To The KKK, Refuses To Discuss Him

      By now, hopefully, you already know about Moxie Marlinspike, the security researcher/encryption guru/creator of the important open source encrypted messaging protocol Signal. However, it’s still worth reading Andy Greenberg’s big profile on Moxie over at Wired (and, no, he still will not reveal his original name or much more about his history). The whole thing is a good read, but there’s one crazy part, where Greenberg asks an FBI official for their thoughts on the guy who is making encryption that he deliberately says he hopes will be used to keep the FBI from spying on certain conversations. The FBI, not surprisingly, is not a fan. But, still, it seems like quite a leap to then make an analogy with the KKK…

    • Documents Show FISA Court Refusing To Grant FBI’s Requests To Scoop Up Communications Along With Phone Metadata

      A handful of FOIA documents [PDF] obtained by EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) are shedding some new light on the FISA court and its relationship with the FBI. The good news is that the court is not quite the rubber stamp it’s often been portrayed as. Even though a vast majority of requests are improved, there appears to be a significant amount of modification happening behind the scenes.

    • Tor 0.2.8.6 is released

      Hi, all! After months of work, a new Tor release series is finally stable.

    • Tor browser a bit too unique?

      Ok, this is scary: tor browser on https://browserprint.info/test — “Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 8,440 tested so far. Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 13.04 bits of identifying information.”

    • Your battery status is being used to track you online

      A little-known web standard that lets site owners tell how much battery life a mobile device has left has been found to enable tracking online, a year after privacy researchers warned that it had the potential to do just that.

      The battery status API was introduced in HTML5, the fifth version of the code used to lay out the majority of the web, and had already shipped in Firefox, Opera and Chrome by August 2015. It allows site owners to see the percentage of battery life left in a device, as well as the time it will take to discharge or the time it will take to charge, if connected to a power source.

    • This Popular Ad Blocker Now Works With Microsoft’s Edge Browser
    • FBI Director Lauds Whistleblowers’ Role in Culture of ‘Humility’

      Asked about resistance to whistleblowers, Horowitz said, “A lot of the perception is that you keep your dirty laundry within the organization, which is why being a whistleblower takes courage.”

    • New online tool reveals how the global surveillance industry is watching you

      Repressive regimes are now routinely acquiring powerful surveillance technology from private firms in democratic nations. In the United States, police bypass the security of private citizens’ cellphones using a handheld device produced more than 5,000 miles away in Israel.

      It’s a tangled web—one that few truly have the bandwidth to explore.

      That’s why this week, Privacy International (PI), alongside Transparency Toolkit, launched the Surveillance Industry Index (SII), a searchable database containing records on over 520 surveillance companies. Relying on various technical, governmental, and investigative reports, the database reportedly includes “over 600 reported individual exports of specific surveillance technologies.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Clerk printed lottery tickets she didn’t pay for but didn’t break hacking law

      The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that while a convenience store clerk was guilty of stealing lottery tickets through the store’s computer system, she did not violate the state’s anti-hacking law while doing so.

      In the case, known as State v. Nascimento, Oregon’s highest court ruled late last month that a hacking conviction against the defendant should be overturned, and the court sent the case back down to the lower court for reconsideration. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which appeared on Caryn Nascimento’s behalf during the case as an amicus curae (friend of the court), announced the narrow victory on Tuesday.

      According to the Supreme Court’s decision, the case dates back to 2007, when Nascimento began working at Tiger Mart, a small convenience store in Madras, Oregon, about 120 miles southeast of Portland. In late 2008 and early 2009, a company vice president began investigating what appeared to be cash shortages at that store, sometimes about $1,000 per day. After reviewing video recordings that correlated with Nascimento’s work schedule, this executive began to suspect that she was buying lottery tickets but not paying for them.

      Eventually, Nascimento was charged not only with aggravated first-degree theft but also of violating the state’s computer crime law, which includes language that “any person who knowingly and without authorization uses, accesses or attempts to access any computer, computer system, computer network, or any computer software, program, documentation or data contained in such computer, computer system or computer network, commits computer crime.”

    • State-funded Muslim school which ‘segregates’ genders in legal bid to block Ofsted report

      An Ofsted inspection judged the unnamed school to be “inadequate” – the lowest rank available – and criticised it for segregating boys and girls.

      Referred to as ‘school X’, inspectors from the Government body found the school stocked books containing negative views about women.

      A judge revealed the school library had literature which “contained derogatory views about, and incited violence towards, women”.

      The education establishment has now taken its battle to the High Court to stop the report being published.

    • Turkey, the EU and the death penalty: a chequered history

      The abolition of the death penalty has been arguably the most symbolic result of Turkey’s EU accession process. To see it revoked would be a sad, backwards step for Turkey and for the EU.

    • Delaware Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional

      In a landmark decision (pdf), the Delaware Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional.

      The majority found that the state’s death penalty violated the Sixth Amendment, as it allowed a judge to override a jury’s recommendation of a life sentence and impose a death sentence instead.

      The ruling followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in January that overturned portions of Florida’s death penalty statute for the same reason. That decision, Hurst v. Florida, found that “[t]he Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.”

      In Tuesday’s ruling, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. wrote: “I am unable to discern in the Sixth Amendment any dividing line between the decision that someone is eligible for death and the decision that he should in fact die.”

    • Jeff Wood Didn’t Kill Anyone, but Texas Is About to Execute Him Anyway

      Texas is among five states that approve “actively” pursuing the death penalty for an accomplice who lacked intent to kill; the vast majority require intent as a prerequisite to seeking the death penalty against a party to a crime.

      Put simply, Texas’s law is unjust, Been told supporters outside the governor’s mansion, because it “punishes affiliations” and not actions. “How does it get more unfair than that?” he asked the crowd, tearing up as he spoke. “My uncle is a victim of the Texas system. He is sentenced to be executed for a crime he did not — did not — commit.”

    • Victory! Oregon Supreme Court Agrees that Violating a Company Rule is Not a Computer Crime

      Can you imagine being prosecuted for checking personal email while at work because your employer says you can only use your computer for “company business”? Of course not. Violating a company rule is not—and should not be—a computer crime. Prosecutors have tried to use the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and parallel state criminal laws to target violations of company rules, but courts are increasingly calling foul on the misuse of statutes intended to criminalize computer break-ins.

      The Oregon Supreme Court is one of them, saying “no” to prosecutors who tried to hold Caryn Nascimento liable under Oregon’s computer crime law for a violation of her employer’s computer use policy. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case, State v. Nascimento, and the court specifically cited our argument that “the state’s reading of the statute—which arguably criminalizes any computer use in violation of an employer’s personnel or computer use policies—is unworkably broad because it gives private entities the power to decide what conduct in the workplace is criminal and what is not.”

      Nascimento worked as a cashier at the deli counter of a convenience store. As part of her job, she was authorized to access a lottery terminal in the store to sell and validate lottery tickets for paying customers. Store policy prohibited employees from purchasing lottery tickets for themselves or validating their own lottery tickets while on duty. A store manager noticed a discrepancy in the receipts from the lottery terminal and discovered that Nascimento had printed lottery tickets for herself without paying for them. She was charged and convicted with not only first-degree theft, but also computer crime on the ground that she accessed the lottery terminal “without authorization.”

    • “Stop the Cops & Fund Black Futures”: Voices from First Day of New York City Hall Park Occupation

      On Monday, hundreds of activists gathered at New York City Hall demanding the defunding of the New York Police Department, the firing of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and reparations for victims of police brutality. Democracy Now!’s Charina Nadura and Andre Lewis were at the park speaking to protesters.

    • Movement for Black Lives Calls for Reparations & “End to War Against Black People”

      While all eyes have been on the Republican and Democratic platforms decided at the national conventions earlier this month, a broad coalition associated with the Black Lives Matter movement has released a platform of its own, demanding reparations and an “end to the wars against Black people.” The list of demands from the Movement for Black Lives platform also includes the abolition of the death penalty, legislation to recognize the impacts of slavery, as well as investments in education initiatives, mental health services and employment programs. The publication comes just a week before the second anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked months of protests and catalyzed a national conversation about police killings of unarmed African-American men. For more, we speak with Ash-Lee Henderson, regional organizer for Project South and a member of the policy table leadership team of the Movement for Black Lives.

    • Dozens of Syrians forced into sexual slavery in derelict Lebanese house

      Rama said she learned from the other women at the shelter that that was how many of them were brought to the house, some living there for four years. Their torture often consisted of being tied to a table that was set up like a crucifix, and beaten with a cable. If they fainted, they were shocked into consciousness with an electric prod.

      The women, 29 of whom lived in Chez Maurice with the others in a nearby house, were forced to have sex as many as 10 times a day on weekdays. Rama said the number of customers often doubled on weekends.

      She said women who had not yet lost their virginity when they arrived at the shelter had their hymens broken with a bottle.

      Those who said no to customer requests, including for unprotected sex, had marks registered under their names by the female guards in the house, and would be punished with beatings. They had to collect at least $50 in tips from customers a day, and that money – as well as the hourly rate the brothel charged—was all confiscated from the women.

      Rama said the women told each other in hushed tones the story of two other women who died in the house, and were buried in unmarked graves before she arrived. When [Imad al-] Rihawi, the network’s alleged enforcer [and a former interrogator in Syria’s feared air force intelligence service], heard them discussing the tale, he beat one of the women 95 times on her legs with a cable, she said.

      She said the women who got pregnant after having unprotected sex with customers were taken to have abortions, which are illegal in Lebanon, often months into the actual pregnancy. Police officials have arrested the doctor responsible, who operated a clinic in the northern Beirut suburb of Dekwaneh, where investigators say he performed as many as 200 abortions on women enslaved in the network.

      The women worked in two shifts between 9am and 6am the following day. Many had lost family members in war, or otherwise had nobody to look after them, Rama said. Some of the girls were as young as 18 and the oldest were in their mid-30s.

    • Yes, You Read That Correctly: China Says It’s OK For Members Of The Public To Record The Police

      Although this move might be seen as the Chinese authorities giving new powers to the people against the police, it’s probably better thought of as using the people to root out the bad apples of the kind mentioned in the SCMP piece. As such it’s of a piece with President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corrupt officials who abuse their power, seen most recently in the sentence of the top Chinese general Guo Boxiong, who was jailed for life for taking bribes.

      In other words, while citizens use this new permission to aid Xi in his purge of unwanted elements in the system, they will be welcome to record the police as much as they like. However, if they start making life awkward for the authorities by passing around the “wrong” kind of recordings, we can probably expect this newfound power to be rescinded quite quickly.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Washington State Sues Comcast For Routinely Ripping Off Its Customers

      Washington State has sued Comcast for, well, being Comcast. A new lawsuit filed by the state this week (pdf) accuses the cable giant of 1.8 million violations of Washington state’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA), including misrepresenting the scope of the company’s “Service Protection Plan,” charging customers improper service call fees and improper credit screening practices. More specifically, the lawsuit states that Comcast misled more than 500,000 Washington State customers by charging them $5 per month for this protection plan, then intentionally hitting them with fees for services the monthly fee should have covered.

  • DRM

    • EFF at the Eleventh Hope

      Last weekend EFF took part in the Eleventh Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conference in New York City and got to meet so many of our wonderful supporters. We’ve collected the HOPE talks given by EFF staff below, with the official program abstract, video, and where applicable, the original slides. Once you’re done watching those, you can also try your hand at our Capture The Flag competition—the challenges are still up at https://eff-ctf.org, even though the contest is over.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • USPTO Rejects Whole Foods ‘World’s Healthiest Grocery Store’ Trademark Because Naaaaaah

        We’ve talked surprisingly little about Whole Foods here at Techdirt. I suppose that the hipster’s grocery paradise has somehow evaded most of the trappings of intellectual property concerns. Good on them for that. Less good is the company’s recent simultaneous attempts to expand internationally while also applying for a trademark with the USPTO for “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Neither are going very well, it seems, and it turns out they’re interrelated.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Rules Whole Site Blocking Justifiable in Piracy Fight

        Forcing ISPs to block entire websites to tackle Internet piracy is justifiable, a court in India has ruled. The decision by the Delhi High Court means that copyright holders will not have to target specific URLs when attempting to stop infringement on sites that are involved in widespread piracy.

      • How copyright is irreparably, fundamentally incompatible with privacy

        Copyright and privacy cannot coexist. Society is at a crossroads where only one of these will exist in the future, and the copyright industry has been working hard to erode privacy to protect its obsolete business. It’s time to acknowledge the conflict and accept that copyright enforcement need to be actively prevented in order to safeguard fundamental rights.

08.02.16

Links 2/8/2016: Chrome 52 and Firefox 48 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • IBM’s Wager on Open Source Is Still Paying Off

    When IBM got involved with the Linux open source project in 1998, they were betting that giving their code and time to the community would be a worthwhile investment. Now, 18 years later, IBM is more involved than ever, with more than 62,000 employees trained and expected to contribute to open source projects, according to Todd Moore, Vice President of Open Technology at IBM, speaking at ApacheCon in May.

    “It became apparent that open source could be the de facto standards we needed to be the engine to go out and drive things,” Moore said in his keynote at ApacheCon. “[The contributions] were bets; we didn’t know how this was going to come out, and we didn’t know if open source would grow, we knew there would be roadblocks and things we’d have to overcome along the way, but it had promise. We thought this would be the way of the future.”

  • The Open Source World of Today: How We Got Here

    Is the closed-source system on its last legs? Maybe not just yet, but we’re pretty close to it. Consider the phenomenal growth in the last five years of new open source technologies and processes, such as containers, Hadoop and databases like MongoDB, ElasticSearch and Redis. An entirely new set of architectures, most of them open source, have sprung up, spawning fresh business models and robust ecosystems.

    The open source stack and all that it engenders is driving the closed source, proprietary stack toward irrelevance and economic infeasibility. Take, for example, the great success of Docker with containers and its resulting ecosystem. Its popularity is largely a result of its open source model that reflects the ascendance of software engineers in the creation and deployment of software. And Docker is giving closed source VMware a headache as a result.

  • Are Open Source Applications Your Best Option?

    That’s because one of the major attractions of open source software is that you’re not stuck with the features it comes with. Instead of paying a corporation a license fee for the product it chooses to offer you, you can pay a developer to take the open source code and add exactly the features you need so the result meets your requirements exactly.

    That’s the theory anyway, but it’s important to remember that software choice is not always about features and there are certain applications for which open source software may be the wrong choice.

  • Events

    • Wireless Workshop Accepted into 2016 Linux Kernel Summit and Linux Plumbers Conference
    • Wireless Workshop accepted into the 2016 Linux Kernel Summit and Linux Plumbers Conference

      It might well be that wireless networking recently made the transition from an ubiquitous networking technology to the dominant networking technology, at least from the viewpoint of end-user devices. Part of this trend is the use of wireless in automobiles, and this workshop will look at Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE), also know as IEEE 802.11p. In addition, the bufferbloat problem is starting to focus on the more difficult wireless environment, and to that end, this workshop will discuss FQ/Codel integration, testing, and development. As usual, the workshop will encompass the full 802.11 stack, not just the kernel portions, and therefore wpa_supplicant will also be on the agenda.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 52 for Android arrives with smoother video playback, faster load times, and better battery life

        Following the release of Chrome 52 for desktop two weeks ago, Google last week also launched Chrome 52 for Android. For whatever reason, the company didn’t share what’s new until today. You can download the new version from Google Play.

        Chrome 52 for Android makes video playback feel smoother, load faster, and consume less battery. More specifically, video playback has been improved for speed and power efficiency, meaning you should expect smoother playback and faster load times (so videos will start playing sooner, instead of pausing briefly before starting). Your Android device’s battery should also last longer if you consume a lot of video online.

    • Mozilla

      • Exciting Improvements Delivered Today in Firefox for Desktop and Android

        Today we’re proud to announce the initial rollout of multi-process Firefox for Desktop to our general audience. With this, we’re taking a major step forward in improving Firefox for Desktop. Users should experience a Firefox that is less susceptible to freezing and is generally more responsive to input, while retaining the experience and features that users love.

        In Firefox 48, we aim to slowly enable multi-process Firefox (also known as Electrolysis or e10s) for release users, starting with one percent and ramping up to nearly half the Firefox Release if things go as expected. e10s promises to offer a major improvement to your browsing experience by separating Web content and Firefox UI processes. This means when a web page is consuming a large part of your computer’s processing power, your tabs, buttons and menus won’t lock up. Wondering if your Firefox instance has enabled e10s? Type “about:support” into the URL bar. If e10s is active, you’ll see “1/1 (Enabled by default)” under the Multiprocess Windows line item.

      • Announcing the Second Cohort of Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows

        That’s why Ford Foundation and Mozilla launched the Open Web Fellows program two years ago: To empower a network of leaders capable of defending the open web. The Open Web Fellows program places bright technologists and activists on the front lines of the open internet movement. Last year, Ford and Mozilla placed six fellows at leading NGOs like Amnesty International and the ACLU, where they used their tech savvy to fight for issues like freedom of expression and gender equality online.

      • Firefox 48 Released, This Is What’s New (Updated)

        Mozilla Firefox 48 features new security settings, improves WebRTC, and makes it easier to find bookmarked content from the Awesome bar.

      • Mozilla Firefox 48.0 Now Officially Available

        Firefox 48 takes the first Rust code into production within this web browser, Electrolysis is beginning to be turned on by default, a variety of WebRTC improvements, improved Linux Canvas support, various security improvements, enforcing that add-ons be signed/verified through Mozilla, and more.

      • See what’s new in Firefox!
  • SaaS/Back End

    • Network Virtualization Merging LANs & WANs

      For as long as anyone in the networking world can remember, management of local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) has been distinctly different. LANs were primarily the responsibility of local IT departments, while WANs have been made up of MPLS and Internet connections controlled by carriers. Network virtualization (NV) is starting to blur the lines between the LAN and the WAN.

    • Sparkling Water: Bridging Open Source Machine Learning and Apache Spark

      Although many people have experience with the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence through applications in their pockets, such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, the scope of this technology extends well beyond the smartphone. H2O.ai, formerly known as Oxdata, has carved out a unique niche in the machine learning and artificial intelligence arena because its primary tools are free and open source, and because it is connecting its tools to other widely used data analytics tools. As a case in point, H2O.ai has now announced the availability of version 2.0 of its open Sparkling Water tool. Sparkling Water, H2O.ai’s API for Apache Spark, allows users of Spark to leverage very powerful machine learning intelligence.

    • Convox takes DevOps deliberation out of cloud infrastructure planning

      Convox might sound like a great name for an industrial toilet cleaner, except it isn’t. The name actually belongs to a piece of software (yes, it’s makers would like us to say ‘platform, but please don’t write in) designed to help with deploying, managing and monitoring applications in cloud infrastructures. But there are plenty of tools in that space — so, so what?

    • Keynote: Apache OpenTech is Fueling Tomorrow’s Game Changing Innovations – Todd Moore
    • Container Format Dispute on Twitter Shows Disparities Between Docker and the Community

      Should the Docker container image format be completely standardized? Or should Docker not be held back from evolving the format ahead of the open specification? This was the topic of a heated Twitter tussle last week between Google evangelist Kelsey Hightower and the creator of the Docker itself, Solomon Hykes.

      Hightower wants to see the Docker format image be completely standardized, so companies, including Docker, can build additional functionality atop of the specification. Hykes, however, balked at full standardization, asserting that the format is still too new and evolving too quickly.

    • With New Partners, Mesosphere Takes Aim at “Container 2.0″ [Ed: Do not forget that Mesosphere is controlled by Microsoft (money strings)]
    • Mesosphere Declares ‘Container 2.0,’ the Stateful Era
    • MesosCon Europe
  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • MOOCs platform: Not all is open or SWAYAM about it

      A Rs 38 crore mandate awarded by the Union HRD Ministry in June to an affiliate of Redmond-based Microsoft Corp for developing a flagship web-based education platform is coming under increasing fire in the academic circles — both for the manner in which the contract was handed out and on the choice of proprietary software over free open source options already being deployed by premier educational institutions in the country.

      Microsoft was selected as the technical partner for the HRD ministry’s SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) platform based on the recommendations of a “technical committee”, presumably after the tendering process for selecting a system integrator for SWAYAM —a MOOC or massive open online courses platform — floated thrice through the e-procurement platform since November last year failed to elicit any response. While the Ministry of Human Resource Development has cited the decision of a “technical committee” behind its choice of proprietary software over open source software and that selecting Microsoft does not run foul of the rulebook, the deal has raised eyebrows over the lack of objective criterion on how the decisions were taken in the first place.

      The choice of proprietary software, entailing costs of Rs 38 crore and more for tools such as SQL (structured query language), is being questioned on the grounds that the selection of proprietary software on payment basis was done despite a clear option of going in for open source platforms such as Open EdX. For instance, Open edX — an open-source, not-for profit platform floated by MIT and Harvard University that was released as open source in March 2013 to act as the WordPress for MOOC platforms — is used across at least 126 universities and organisations globally. Even more intriguing is the fact that an MoU is already in place between IIT Bombay and edX, under which edX released complete platform code in open source. The signing of the MoU in June 2013 was actually facilitated by the Ministry of HRD. Open source platforms such as Open edX allow users to use plug-ins to expand the core functionality, thereby imparting tremendous flexibility when it comes to scaling up the platform or modify it to suit the specific requirements of a particular college or university. Since January last year, IIT Bombay decided to opt for Open edX and launch a customised version called IITBX as an extended online educational services for the benefit of Indian learners and training workshops for teachers, wherein the premier engineering institute has added significant functionality to the Open edX platform to create and offer MOOCs. Similarly, IIT Madras had a Google-based Course Builder platform ported in their own computer infrastructure while IIT Kanpur had a homegrown platform called MOOKIT, based again on open source software.

    • Black Duck Announces Creation of Global Center for Open Source Research & Innovation [Ed: A Microsoft proxy declares itself “Global Center for Open Source Research & Innovation”]
    • Black Duck Launches Promising Open Source Innovation Center [Ed: Microsoft proxy wants to become world authority on Microsoft's competitors]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Combining individual powers to make team collaboration easy

      Collaboration can seem intimidating at first. I get it. Thinking about having to collaborate with others on a project used to give me that same sinking feeling I got every time a teacher announced a group project. When not everyone is invested, the passionate people—the ones who understand the importance of the mission and are willing to give their time and effort—end up doing twice the amount of work as they carry everyone else along (and I always wanted good grades, so I did a lot of carrying).

    • WikiHouse’s lead architect on how open-source idealism could cure a sickly building market
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HardwareX Is A Scientific Journal For Open Hardware

        Disruption is a basic tenet of the Open Hardware movement. How can my innovative use of technology disrupt your dinosaur of an establishment to make something better? Whether it’s an open-source project chipping away at a monopoly or a commercial start-up upsetting an industry with a precarious business model based on past realities, we’ve become used to upstarts taking the limelight.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mexican rape victim, 13, refused access to abortion

      Health officials in northern Mexico have refused to authorize an abortion for a 13-year-old girl who was raped by a family acquaintance after a judge downgraded the crime to a charge of sexual coercion.

      Abortion is banned in Sonora, apart from in cases of rape. But human rights advocates say the decision violates federal health regulations introduced earlier this year which guarantee rape victims unrestricted access to safe abortion services – regardless of where they live and whether the crime was reported or not.

    • CDC Issues Unprecedented Travel Warning for US City Over Zika Spread

      For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel warning for a continental U.S. city, as Miami grapples with a burgeoning Zika outbreak.

      Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this week that an additional 10 people in the state have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus, bringing the total to 14.

      CDC Director Tom Frieden warned pregnant women against traveling to the “transmission area” and advised people already in the area to take extra precautions against mosquito bites.

    • With 10 new Zika cases in Miami, CDC advises pregnant women to avoid Wynwood

      Federal health officials on Monday advised pregnant women to avoid a Miami neighborhood — marking the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against travel to any area within the continental United States — as a Zika outbreak in South Florida has led to 10 more local cases spread by mosquitoes.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Targeting the Islamic State in Libya

      Bottom Line Up Front:

      • On August 1, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Libyan city of Sirte.

      • The airstrikes, requested by the Libyan Government of National Accord, appear to be the beginning of a sustained military campaign.

      • The U.S. has long planned to increase direct military action in Libya to prevent the Islamic State from further entrenching itself along the coast.

      • Libya does not present the same growth potential for the Islamic State as Iraq and Syria, though systemic extremism and lawlessness ensure the group will linger in Libya for years.

    • Reminder: Puget Sound has a ton of nuclear weapons

      The ad pierces your consciousness and catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of King County Metro buses, it hurls you momentarily back in time, to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did the era never end?

      The ad — sponsored by activists from the Poulsbo-based Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action — reads: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”

      Behind this text is a map, depicting the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap, located on the eastern shore of Hood Canal. An estimated 1,344 nuclear warheads are contained in this complex, according to Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

      This is arguably the biggest single concentration of nuclear warheads not only in the U.S., but in the world.

    • Top Five Ways to tell if a Terrorist is still al-Qaeda despite name Change

      The leftist Beirut newspaper al-Safir comments scathingly on the name-change of the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front led by Abu Muhammad al-Julani, to the Syria Conquest Front.

      Here are some reasons that the name change isn’t going to work:

      1. Al-Julani got permission from 9/11 mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of old al-Qaeda, to sever public ties with him because, you know, being in a command line to al-Qaeda was a PR problem for the Syrian guerrilla opposition to the Syrian regime. But if you have to get permission from al-Qaeda to change your name, then guess what? You’re still al-Qaeda.

      2. In the announcement of the name change, as al-Safir points out, there was no explicit renunciation of the ties between al-Julani and al-Qaeda or of the pledge of fealty al-Julani gave al-Zawahiri. (Or I might add, any apology for having hooked up with al-Qaeda, ). He just said that a new organization has been formed that has no relations with any foreign quarter.

    • Is the French Press Right to stop Printing Pictures, Names of Terrorists?

      47 people were shot in Chicago last weekend without generating headlines elsewhere in the country.

    • The US is bombing Libya again. It’s a too-familiar vicious cycle

      Just five years after bombing Libya to dispose of Muammar Gaddafi, the US is now officially bombing the country again, this time against alleged Isis terrorist strongholds that cropped up in the power vacuum created by the last bombing.

      It’s yet another episode of the War on Terror Circle of Life, where the US bombs a country and then funnels weapons into the region, which leads to chaos and the opportunity for terrorist organizations, which then leads more US bombing.

      Like usual in the Obama administration’s wars, there was no congressional vote on the latest airstrikes in Libya and no declaration of war, as required by the constitution. The administration is pinning the legal authority for this military incursion on the 2001 Authorization for Military Force that was meant for Afghanistan and the perpetrators of 9/11, al-Qaida. Isis, of course, didn’t exist until years later, and the two groups are now enemies, but those technicalities don’t seem to bother the Obama administration, which is continuing to expand US military presence abroad with little to no public input.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Federal Officials Investigating Massive EPA Spill That Turned River Orange

      Federal officials are launching a criminal investigation into the 2015 Gold King Mine spill that sent millions of gallons of toxic waste into a Colorado waterway and memorably turned portions of the state’s 126-mile Animas River orange.

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which caused the spill, made the announcement Monday as it sent letters to members of U.S. Congress to update them about the agency’s own analysis of the spill, according to the Denver Post.

      EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said the probe, launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, part of the Department of Justice, was “based on requests from several members of the House and Senate.”

    • Criminal investigation into Gold King spill confirmed; EPA’s tab reaches $29M
    • Two Towns Battle Colorado for Freedom to Ban Fracking

      Two of Colorado’s leading critics of natural gas drilling say they didn’t know much about fracking until it arrived in their towns.

      “If you had asked me about community rights or fracking, you would have drawn a blank stare,” said Clifford Willmeng, board member of the Colorado Community Rights Network and a resident of Lafayette, a town just outside of Boulder.

      Tricia Olson agrees. Founder and executive director of the grassroots group Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development, Olson began looking into fracking when she learned that it was coming to her neighborhood. She didn’t like what she found.

  • Finance

    • Public service austerity broadcasts

      Public service broadcasters are implicated in legitimising neoliberal policies in response to political and economic crisis. The coverage of RTÉ, for example, invited Irish viewers to cheer on the forces of technocratic fiscal responsibility.

    • Unlike US, Ireland Just Sent Three Bankers to Jail for Role in 2008 Crisis

      A Dublin court has sent three former senior banking executives to jail for committing “sham transactions” in an effort to deceive customers and shareholders during the 2008 financial crisis.

      “The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis,” as Reuters reports.

      Former Anglo Irish Bank executive John Bowe got a two-year sentence, former Irish Life and Permanent chief executive Denis Casey was given a sentence of two years and nine months, and Bowe’s colleague and former Anglo executive Willie McAteer got three and a half years.

    • Former bankers sentenced to jail over Anglo fraud scheme

      Three former bankers were in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin last night after receiving jail sentences for their roles in a €7 billion fraud committed at the height of the banking crisis in 2008.

      Judge Martin Nolan said the senior executives had taken part in a “dishonest, deceitful and corrupt” scheme to make Anglo Irish Bank’s finances look stronger than they were.

      Former Anglo executive Willie McAteer (65) was sentenced to 3½ years while his ex-colleague John Bowe (52) received a two-year term. Denis Casey (56), the former group chief executive of Irish Life and Permanent, was jailed for two years and nine months.

    • Latest Senate Food Workers Victory Highlights Perils of Privatization

      The long-abused cafeteria workers of the U.S. Senate, who risked their jobs to fight to earn a living wage only to have the private contractor that runs the cafeteria renege on an order to increase their pay, won a key victory this week.

      The Labor Department declared that the contractor had engaged in wage theft from 674 of its workers, deliberately misclassifying them so that they would earn less than their actual work entitled them to earn. The contractor also forced employees to do unpaid work “off the clock.” As a result, the multinational conglomerate Restaurant Associates and a subsidiary will have to give the workers back pay totaling $1,008,302.

    • Clinton, Trump and Budget-Busting Tax Cuts

      At the Democratic convention we got some insights into the Clinton campaign’s line of attack on Donald Trump. While they rightfully intend to confront his racism, sexism and xenophobia, the Clinton campaign also seems prepared to attack Trump’s “budget-busting” tax cuts. This is an area where caution would be advised.

      The basic story is that, in the usual Republican tradition, Trump wants to give huge tax cuts targeted primarily to the wealthy. According to calculations from the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, these tax cuts will cost $9.5 trillion in lost revenue over the next decade before accounting for interest.

      Of course $9.5 trillion is a REALLY BIG NUMBER, and you can often scare people with really big numbers. But if we want to be serious about matters, we need to put this number in some context. The Congressional Budget Office projects that over the next decade, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be roughly $240 trillion. That means that the amount of revenue lost due to Donald Trump’s tax cuts plan will be just under 4 percent of GDP. Given that we now spend 3.5 percent of GDP on the military, this is real money.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Record: An American Horror Story

      This essay documents Hillary Clinton’s history and record as an agent of Wall Street, war, racial violence and inequity, economic inequality and conservative ideology. While Clinton’s early Republican Party history is well documented, it is unfair to judge her (or anyone) based on the political views of her youth. Like Clinton, all people are heavily influenced by the beliefs and values of their parents, local communities, religion, cultural and social identities as well as U.S. dominant culture. Based on various factors, many people with conservative backgrounds are able to develop progressive and humanistic world views over time based on personal struggle, a capacity for empathy, and an expanded sense of consciousness through education and life experience. None of this appears to have happened for Hillary Clinton. Instead, she stayed the course as she and her husband pioneered the “New Democrat” (Centrist Democrats) movement and steered the party toward a neoliberal “Third Way” (dogmatic free-market and moderately liberal social policies). Yet, when it comes to the Clintons, many of their social policy positions are also distinctly conservative.

    • Where will the night tube go?

      The decline of independent nighttime venues in London threatens to render this £17 million project useless.

    • Signs of the Coming Economic Crash

      Eight years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the economy is doing much better in many important ways. We have now seen almost 80 straight months of job growth, unemployment is down below 5 percent and some numbers suggest that wages are ticking upwards, however slowly. But make no mistake: The next crash is coming. It’s not a question of “if.” It’s a question of “when.”

      And that’s because the underlying cause of the 2008 crisis is still with us today — the economy is too financialized.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Real Reckoning

      They want to return to business as usual because many of them make their bread on that business – working for big corporations, Wall Street, or wealthy individuals as political consultants, lobbyists, corporate lawyers, government-relations specialists, public-relations specialists, trade association staff, and paid experts.

      [...]

      In a Gallup poll taken in mid-July, before the conventions, 82 percent said America was on the wrong track.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Selects Human-Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Running Mate

      Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate running for President against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, announced Monday that she has selected Ajamu Baraka, a human-rights activist and intellectual, as her prospective Vice President.

      Stein, a doctor turned politician who also ran for the country’s highest office in 2012, described Baraka as an “activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution” in a statement.

    • Sanders supporters turn to Jill Stein: ‘You should vote your conscience’

      Bernie Sanders may have endorsed Hillary Clinton, praised Hillary Clinton, and urged his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton, but it seems even the maverick Vermont senator has been unable to convince his fans, many of whom say they are planning to cast their ballot for the Green party candidate Jill Stein instead on 8 November.

      Support for Stein, who won 469,501 votes as the Green party nominee in 2012, was impossible to escape at the Democratic national convention last week. Inside the Walls Fargo Center, some Sanders delegates dressed in green and wore Green party pins.

      Outside the hall, hundreds of Sanders supporters – in Philadelphia to demonstrate against Clinton’s nomination – attended a Green party rally at which Stein accused the Democratic party of derailing Sanders’ campaign.

      Vanessa Perez was among the protesters outside the Wells Fargo arena. Originally a Sanders supporter, she plans to vote for Stein in November and will canvass for the presumptive Green party nominee over the next three months.

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Names Activist Ajamu Baraka as Her VP

      Ajamu Barakaan is an activist known for fighting for Black and Indigenous rights in the U.S. and abroad.

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein announced Monday that Ajamu Baraka will be her vice presidential running mate.

    • Green Party’s Stein picks human rights activist as running mate

      Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has chosen human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate.

      Baraka was founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs.

      He’s served on boards of several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International (USA) and the National Center for Human Rights Education. He’s also served on boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Africa Action; Latin American Caribbean Community Center; Diaspora Afrique and the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

    • Obama Says Republicans Should Withdraw Support for Trump

      In his strongest denunciation of Donald J. Trump so far, President Obama on Tuesday said Mr. Trump was “unfit to serve as president” and urged the leaders of the Republican Party to withdraw their backing for his candidacy.

      Mr. Obama said the Republican criticisms of Mr. Trump “ring hollow” if the party’s leaders continue to support his bid for the presidency this fall, particularly in light of Republican criticisms of Mr. Trump for his attacks on the Muslim parents of an American soldier, Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq.

      “The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Mr. Obama said at a news conference at the White House.

      Mr. Obama said that in addition to Mr. Trump’s comments about the Khan family, the Republican nominee had demonstrated that he was “woefully unprepared to do this job.” The president said Mr. Trump lacked knowledge about Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

    • Trump Attacks Muslim Mother of Slain U.S. Soldier in Comments “Beyond Limit of Human Decency”

      Last week at the Democratic National Convention, one of the most powerful speeches came from Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. soldier who died serving in Iraq in 2004. Onstage in Philadelphia, Khan asked Donald Trump whether he’d ever read the U.S. Constitution, and he offered Trump his own copy. In response, Trump attacked Khizr’s wife, Ghazala Khan, who appeared onstage alongside her husband. Trump’s comments sparked widespread outrage—including from the Khans themselves, who denounced Donald Trump, saying he is “totally unfit for the leadership of this country.” For more, we speak with Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates.

    • Jill Stein Chooses Human Rights Activist Ajamu Baraka as Running Mate

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has chosen her vice-presidential running mate: human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Baraka. Baraka is presently a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is the founding executive director of the U.S. Human Rights Network. The Green Party’s presidential convention begins on Thursday in Houston, Texas.

    • Why Sanders’ ‘Berners’ Kept Up the Heat

      For the fourth straight day of the Democratic convention, I’m sitting in the California delegate section, anxiously taking in the start of the final night’s program.

      In a couple of hours, Hillary Clinton will finally accept her nomination as the first female presidential nominee, breaking the glass ceiling. It will be a historic exclamation point for women and the country at large; the red, white and blue balloons are in flag formation on the ceiling, ready to drop; the whole stadium is vibrating with excitement.

      Just as I am settling in, I feel a nudge on my shoulder and then my neighbor, a 20-something, blond girl in jeans and a neon green Bernie Sanders “Enough is Enough” T-shirt, points to a newly installed, gray, speaker-type thing on the wall behind us. This contraption definitely wasn’t there yesterday. My fellow California Sanders delegate explains that it’s a white noise machine—installed last night to drown out our section’s chanting. “Wow,” I think, “I really am in the eye of the storm.” Yes indeed, there can’t be any more appropriate symbol of this choreographed and sanitized convention than the foreboding, dull-gray piece of supposed suppressive technology humming 10 feet above me.

    • High-Powered Debate on a Woman President and What the Democratic Party Might Be Willing to Do

      Hillary Clinton has been long enough in politics that she has her own independent track record, as secretary of state, as a warmonger and as a lobbyist-in-chief for big business and for multibillionaire interests. I don’t see how we can, in any honesty, expect a woman who takes, you know, a quarter of a million dollars for every speech that she makes to Goldman Sachs, you know, who has been a rapacious factor in the global economic crisis, as somebody who will represent the interests of ordinary people. But I think, you know, again, we need to move away from an individualized and personalized narrative of politics to the larger context in which all of this is happening. The real problem here is not just her, but the fact that the Democratic Party and the establishment that controls it has a long track record of a systematic betrayal of the interests of working people and, you know, not to mention war abroad.

    • Don’t Fall for It: The Nader Myth and Your 2016 Vote

      Once again, fear is being ramped up to manipulate progressive voters into voting for what they do not want, Hillary Clinton, instead of someone who represents their values. The fear of Trump is the card being played this year and to justify it people are being told that Gore lost to Bush in 2000 because of third party candidates. One of the most effective pieces of political propaganda in this century has been the Nader Myth, which says that Al Gore lost in 2000 because Ralph Nader ran for president.

      This myth is repeated by many Democratic Party operatives and people in the media, who are essentially serving as Democratic Party spokespersons. Since the Democratic Party’s method of convincing people to vote for Hillary Clinton is fear of Trump, people should be prepared with the facts around the 2000 election so they can dispel the Nader Myth.

      Ben Jealous Calls for the Facts, Then Ignores Them

      One recent example was Ben Jealous, the former Sanders’ supporter who has endorsed Hillary Clinton and, as a result, got a spot on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. He debated Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, on Democracy Now and brought up the Nader Myth, saying:

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • DMCA Takedown Company Thinks It’s Making A Point With ‘Transparency Report’ — Really Just Looks Like A Jackass

      If you went to that website, for at least a little while, Remove Your Media was posting full details of people who filed counternotices to some of its DMCA takedowns. These postings made no effort whatsoever to redact personal information such as emails and phone numbers (TorrentFreak has an image where it redacted the info itself).

      The “point” that Remove Your Media is so weakly trying to make is that there is a tiny group of copyright extremists who think that Lumen / Chilling Effects is itself a source of piracy because in posting DMCA notices, it leaves the links that copyright holders are demanding be taken down (it’s noteworthy that Lumen does redact personal information, though). Of course, these are apples to oranges differences. The reason that Lumen leaves up those links is because the whole point of Lumen is to act as a clearinghouse of data for people to understand how the DMCA is used. And, in fact, it’s been an invaluable tool for us and other researchers in finding examples of DMCA abuse. That would be significantly more difficult if the links in the notices were redacted. In fact, it would take away nearly all of the value of the database.

    • Melbourne Has Invited Anurag Kashyap To Conduct An Extensive Masterclass On Censorship!

      The world has seen enough of Anurag Kashyap v/s Censorship battles. Anurag Kashyap’s films have faced Censor board’s axe a couple of times but he has always fought till the end to make sure that his films reflect his originality.

    • How The Olympics Bullshit Ban On Tweeting About The Olympics Is Harming Olympic Athletes

      Every couple of years as the Olympics gears up again, we end up posting a series of stories about massive bullshit overclaims by the Olympics concerning trademark law. And none of it is actually about what trademark law allows. It’s all about the Olympics’ weird infatuation with making sure no company that doesn’t give them a ton of money first can “associate” with the Olympics. Again, that’s not how trademark law actually works, but few companies are willing to stand up to the International Olympic Committee or the US Olympic Committee. This year, the crackdown seems even more ridiculous than usual, with letters being sent to companies who are helping and sponsoring athletes stating that, unless they’re official sponsors with the US Olympic Committee, they can’t even tweet anything mentioning the Olympics. Companies that had sponsored athletes were being forced to blur out or delete social media posts about their own athletes because their racing bibs said “Olympics” on them.

    • Opposition Bloc demands Ukrainian authorities should curb corruption, stop censorship and lawlessness

      The Opposition Bloc party has demanded the Ukrainian authorities heed conclusions made by the international community about corruption, justice system and freedom of speech in Ukraine and stop political prosecution of the opposition.

      “Ukraine remains a non-free country dominated by corruption, censorship, and where there is no fair justice. High-profile murders of journalists and opposition figures still haven’t been properly investigated and resolved. Attacks of political radicals on the offices of mass media have become usual practice,” the party said in a statement published on Tuesday.

    • Trump Can’t Stop Attacking the Press—He Still Thinks It Is a Reality Show He Controls

      Donald Trump has a pretty complicated relationship with the press. On one hand, the Republican nominee knows the value of free media; at least part of his meteoric rise to the top of the ticket can be attributed to the billions of dollars worth of free media he’s received throughout his campaign. On the other hand, he routinely bullies and berates journalists for pointing out his least favorite thing (the truth), and occasionally gets off mocking reporters with disabilities and/or vaginas.

      Given Trump’s troubling treatment of the press throughout the primaries (when he first floated the idea of “open[ing] up” libel laws to increase his ability to sue reporters), it’s no surprise that the relationship has grown even more turbulent since he became the official candidate of the Grand Old Party and brought on VP pick Mike Pence. Here are some of the more egregious attacks the Trump/Pence campaign has waged against the press.

    • Facebook blocks Michael Savage for posting news on Islamic crime

      Facebook has temporarily blocked talk-radio host Michael Savage from posting stories to his page after he put up a link to a story about a Muslim migrant killing a pregnant woman in Germany.

      A message from the social media giant on Savage’s page said: “You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies, so you’re temporarily blocked from using this feature.”

    • Clinton bikini/niqab mural becomes black wall as Melbourne authorities win censorship battle

      A mural of a scantily-clad Hillary Clinton created by an Australian artist was briefly changed into a Muslim woman dressed in a niqab, following a complaint by the local council. However, the latest makeover also left the authorities unimpressed.

    • Hillary Clinton mural censored by Melbourne street artist with niqab
    • Street Artist Censored by Instagram After Provocative Mural of Hillary Clinton Goes Viral
    • Melbourne graffiti artist sprays burqa over provocative Hillary Clinton mural
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Edward Snowden Attacks Wikileaks For Being Reckless With Information

      However a core principle of Wikileaks is that it should publish all information it receives without vetting its suitability.

      The organization responded by suggesting that Snowden was trying to woo Hillary Clinton for an official pardon, (meaning he could return to the US,) arguing that “opportunism won’t earn you a pardon from Clinton & curation is not censorship of ruling party clash flows.”

    • NSA certifies Raytheon encryption [Ed: Cross-pollination with the military-industrial complex, implicating the Internet]
    • What Europe Got Wrong About the NSA [Ed: CFR is shaming Europe into mass surveillance]
    • NSA Director Rogers On DNC Hacking, Cyberwarfare And ISIS [Ed: Funded by plutocrats like Bill Gates, NPR gives the NSA a propaganda platform]

      Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, and NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talk about the state of cybersecurity, the recent hacking into Democratic Party systems and ISIS strategy.

    • Disney is watching you: park patents footwear tracking system to monitor guests

      In a move that sounds like something from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Disney World is developing new foot-tracking technology that would allow it to follow customers around its attractions.

      The Walt Disney Company, owner of the Disney theme parks, has secured a patent for the system, which would scan and photograph customer’s shoes and allow park authorities to track punters through the Magic Kingdom.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • State Supreme Court Says Secret Software Used In Sentencing Determinations Not A Violation Of Due Process Rights

      An algorithm is deciding certain criminal defendants should spend more time in prison. And that determination can’t be fully challenged because the code belongs to a private company which provides the software to the government.

      Eric Loomis was determined to be a “high risk” defendant, based on something called a “COMPAS score.” COMPAS — Criminal Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions — cranks out Presentence Investigation Reports for use in the courtroom, utilizing a number of factors to generate a score that lets judges know how likely the defendant is to re-offend.

      The problems with this system are numerous. For one, the code is proprietary, so defendants aren’t allowed to examine the factors that lead to this determination, unlike other sentencing guidelines created by the government, which are open to the public to examine.

    • Outlining Key Demands, Vision For Black Lives Calls for Complete System Change

      More than 50 organizations representing people of color across the United States on Monday put forth what they say is their “shared vision of the world we want to live in,” in the form of a comprehensive policy document that calls for nothing short of “a complete transformation of the current system.”

      “In recent years we have taken to the streets, launched massive campaigns, and impacted elections, but our elected leaders have failed to address the legitimate demands of our Movement. We can no longer wait,” reads the platform, published by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), which is a coalition of groups including Color of Change, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter Network, Highlander Research and Education Center, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and many others.

    • Courts Strike Down Voter Restriction Laws That Target African Americans with “Surgical Precision”

      Voting rights advocates have won a number of major victories that could reshape the November election. Over the past 10 days, a series of court rulings have struck down new voting restrictions in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas. In North Carolina, judge Diana Motz wrote, “We cannot ignore the recent evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.” Meanwhile in Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge James Peterson also struck down a voting rights law, writing that the objective of the law was to “suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans.” A week earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down a Texas law which has been described as the nation’s most restrictive voter ID law. For more, we speak with Ari Berman, senior contributing writer for The Nation, where he covers voting rights. Berman’s recent piece for The Nation is called “The Country’s Worst Anti-Voting Law Was Just Struck Down in North Carolina.”

    • Amnesty International: Turkish Authorities Are Committing Mass Torture in Crackdown

      The global watchdog organization Amnesty International says it has received “credible evidence” that the Turkish state under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is committing mass torture — including rape — in a crackdown following an alleged coup attempt.

      “Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them,” the organization reported on Sunday. “In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.”

      Basing its findings on anonymous interviews with lawyers, doctors and “a person on duty in a detention facility,” Amnesty International continued: “Detainees are being arbitrarily held, including in informal places of detention. They have been denied access to lawyers and family members and have not been properly informed of the charges against them, undermining their right to a fair trial.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband Industry Formally Tries, Once Again, To Kill Net Neutrality

      If at first you don’t succeed, try to waste everybody’s time in perpetuity. That’s apparently the plan of the broadband industry, which has formally unveiled its latest attempt to kill U.S. net neutrality rules and the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecom Act. As leaks had suggested, multiple broadband providers and trade organizations have requested an en banc review from the full 9-member DC Circuit Court of Appeals in the hopes of overturning last June’s massive FCC legal win.

Links 2/8/2016: Kodi 17 Alpha 3, OpenSSH 7.3, TP-Link Forced to Open Up

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Middle School Students Aim to Change the World With Linux

    The end of March of 2016 had arrived, and parent teacher conferences were in full swing at Community School of Excellence in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Parents came into the school for their appointments with their children’s teachers, and they sat down and discussed grades, behavior, and classroom activities. This time, however, was a little different. While the teachers were talking with the parents, one additional question was asked by teachers of parents: Do they need a computer at home for their children to use for school work? Parents who said “yes” were then sent down to talk to our school’s Linux club, the CSE Asian Penguins.

  • 10 reasons you shouldn’t upgrade to Windows 10 [iophk: "Mentions Chrome/Linux and Android/Linux but could have used a mention of GNU/Linux too"]
  • August 2016 Issue of Linux Journal
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Container adoption remains in its infancy – but businesses should get ready for the next wave of virtualisation

      There has been a surge of interest in containers in recent years, particularly in the wake of Docker’s popularity among developers. Many are now suggesting that the virtualisation technology could eventually replace the hypervisors which have become near-ubiquitous in enterprise data centres.

      Simply put, containers offer a lightweight alternative to virtual machines, offering even greater resource utilisation, simplified management and the ability to quickly move applications betwee servers.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Logs Search Provider

        In this post I will be telling you about the search provider for the GNOME Logs as implemented by me in the last two weeks.

      • Looking forward to GUADEC

        GUADEC is approaching quickly and we just spend a whole day finalizing the planning so that everything will go smoothly during the conference. A few announcements for the conference are still in the pipeline including the social events and the complete talk schedule. So watch out for more announcements during the next two weeks.

      • Days Grid

        This is for the progress on the calendar. So far, you have seen a zoomed in version of the header of the calendar. So let’s zoom it out a bit.

      • Rejoice! Arc GTK Theme Will Be Available in Ubuntu 16.10

        If you love the Arc GTK theme, but don’t love needing to hunt down an install package every time you perform a fresh install, you’re going to love Ubuntu 16.10.

      • Beautiful Arc GTK Theme Now Available in the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Repos

        It would appear that the popular and beautiful Arc GTK Theme created by Horst3180 has finally landed in the software repositories of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.

  • Distributions

    • Submit Your Top 5 Linux Distributions

      Last week I wrote a list of the 5 Linux distributions I recommend for the everyday linux user.

      As expected I am receiving comments asking why I didn’t include this distribution or that distribution.

      I am therefore opening the floor to you guys and girls.

    • New Releases

      • 4MRecover 19.0 Data Recovery Live CD Enters Beta, Includes TestDisk 7.0

        Today, August 1, 2016, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia about the availability of the Beta milestone of the upcoming 4MRecover 19.0 data recovery Live CD.

        Based on the latest Beta release of the 4MLinux 19.0 GNU/Linux operating system, 4MRecover 19.0 is now ready for public testing and it appears to include the usual TestDisk 7.0 and PhotoRec 7.0 utilities for recovering lost partitions and files from damaged disks and removable drives.

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 out now

        Simplicity Linux is well know for it’s lightweight nature and support for netbooks. The team behind this wonderful distribution has annonced the release of Simplicity 16.07. This distribution is based on Puppy Linux but this time there is a little twist. This time Simplicity Linux is avaialble in Debian based version too. Simplicity 16.07 is released in dektop and mini editions which are based on Puppy Linux and it uses LXDE as default desktop environment. As we said earlier there is X version of Simplicity 16.07 which is based on Debian via AntiX distribution.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2016.08.01 Is Now Available for Download, Ships with Kernel 4.6.4

        It’s the first day of August 2016, and, for us, Arch Linux users, it means that we can get our hands on a new ISO respin that can be used to deploy the popular GNU/Linux operating system on PCs without going to all the trouble of downloading lots of updates.

        Yes, you’re reading it right, Arch Linux 2016.08.01 is now available for download today, August 1, 2016, distributed as a dual-arch, bootable ISO image that supports installations on 64-bit and 32-bit computers and includes all the up-to-date core components that have been pushed to the distro’s main software repositories since July 1.

        However, Arch Linux 2016.08.01 ships with a kernel from the Linux 4.6 series, as the distribution’s maintainers have not yet moved to the latest Linux 4.7 kernel branch. Linux kernel 4.6.4 powers the Arch Linux 2016.08.01 ISO image, despite that fact that the latest release from the series is Linux kernel 4.6.5.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Retiring as a Debian developer

        This is a repost and update of my retirement letter sent privately to Debian last month, July 10, 2016. At that time I received many notes of appreciation and good wishes which I treasure. Now, I’d like to say goodbye to the broader Debian community and, as well, indicate which of the cleanup items have since been addressed in strikethrough style and with annotations.

      • Debian and Tor Services available as Onion Services

        We, the Debian project and the Tor project are enabling Tor onion services for several of our sites. These sites can now be reached without leaving the Tor network, providing a new option for securely connecting to resources provided by Debian and Tor.

        The freedom to use open source software may be compromised when access to that software is monitored, logged, limited, prevented, or prohibited. As a community, we acknowledge that users should not feel that their every action is trackable or observable by others. Consequently, we are pleased to announce that we have started making several of the various web services provided by both Debian and Tor available via onion services.

      • Doha and the past year in APT

        One of the more interesting topics that I attended was the ‘apt’ talk . There are 3-4 tools in the Debian world i.e. apt, aptitude, apt-get, dpkg and dselect. More often than not people know aptitude and apt-get whereas the rest of the packages are not thought so much about. What I somewhat suspected about the history of apt was revealed to be true today, courtesy David K.

      • Reproducible builds: week 65 in Stretch cycle
      • Free software activities in July 2016
      • Techno TV broadcasting live across Norway and the Internet (#debconf16, #nuug) on @frikanalen

        Did you know there is a TV channel broadcasting talks from DebConf 16 across an entire country? Or that there is a TV channel broadcasting talks by or about Linus Torvalds, Tor, OpenID, Common Lisp, Civic Tech, EFF founder John Barlow, how to make 3D printer electronics and many more fascinating topics? It works using only free software (all of it available from Github), and is administrated using a web browser and a web API.

      • AppRecommender: A package recommender system

        Hello, my name is Lucas Moura and this post will present AppRecommender. This project is a package recommender system for Debian systems. The intent of this application is to look for packages that users have already installed in their system and recommend new useful packages based on them. This approach is similar as the one seen on Netflix or Amazon, where the movies or goods that a user has already seen determine other items that will be recommended.

      • AppRecommender: My Google Summer of Code project

        AppRecommender is a package recommender system for Debian.

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” Gets the Latest Debian Security Fixes, Update Now

          The Parsix GNU/Linux development team informs the community about the availability of new security updates for their Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system.

          There’s been a lot of updates released upstream, on the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 “Jessie” software repositories during the month of July 2016, and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” users have now received them all, starting with the massive Linux 4.1.28 LTS kernel update.

          Among the packages that received security fixes during the month of July, we can mention Apache2, MariaDB 10.0, PHP5, collectd, Xen, libgd2, libdbd-mysql-perl, NTP, Perl, phpMyAdmin, OpenSSH, Squid3, MySQL 5.5, Pidgin, Horizon, python-django, and mysql-connector-java.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • BQ’s Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is an underwhelming tablet [Review]

            The Aquaris M10 is very much a first attempt for BQ and you would expect future iterations to have some significant improvements. It’s also hard to find compelling reasons why iOS or Android fans would want to switch over to an Ubuntu tablet, but those familiar with the operating system should be excited to finally have their needs met in the tablet market.

            One positive factor is that switching between tablet and desktop mode works very well for the most part, so can definitely fulfill professional needs as much as casual ones. This could be a viable option for someone who wants that flexibility and isn’t too fussed about some of the more superficial features.

            Aspects such as the cameras, display and build quality could all be improved, but are about right for the price point in this unspectacular but solid device.

            With the HD version costing €229.90 (£187) and the full HD tablet coming in at €279.90 (£227), the M10 offers decent value for money and provides a solid platform for BQ to build on in the future.

          • So Far Ubuntu Phone Hasn’t Tempted Me, But Would Highly Consider A Tizen Device

            With writing this weekend about switching to an S7 Edge powered by Android as my primary smartphone, it generated a flurry of comments in the forums and elsewhere with people wanting to share their two cents.

          • Win an Ubuntu Linux laptop in the System76 ‘Pop Quiz’ giveaway

            The upcoming school year is quickly approaching, meaning many parents and students are busy shopping. While some kids still need old-school things like pens and paper, the really fun thing to buy is a new laptop.

            Understandably, money is tight for many folks, meaning a quality computer might not be in the budget. Luckily, System76 is giving away one of its most popular Linux-based laptops — the Lemur. The pre-installed Ubuntu operating system is absolutely brilliant for education, making it a sweet prize for the winner. If you are interested in entering, you can find out the details below.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” MATE

              That is where my time with Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” MATE ended. Overall, I can still give this a good recommendation for people who have at least a tiny bit of experience with Linux and may be looking for a stable, easy-to-use system. However, the usability issues I encountered, while each fairly minor, added up to the extent that I don’t feel as confident recommending this to total newbies (because while I would be able to work through these issues easily by myself, I don’t expect the same of a newbie), unless they have a more experienced friend helping them to install this (though after that, they should be OK on their own). To be able to retake the newbie demographic, I think this distribution needs just a bit more polish; I’d be excited to see what the future point releases hold, and I hope that these issues do get addressed.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Become a Better Open Source Advocate by Becoming a Better Human Being

    The best role models for any cause, open source or otherwise, are people you would admire even if they didn’t support your cause. In other words, your support of open source will be more meaningful if you strive to be a good person.

  • How Open Source is Shaping the Future of Wireless

    Most developers aren’t impressed by the ease of use of wireless protocols – they were originally invented by large corporations and heavily patented, which blocked individual developers from innovation. You had to have very deep pockets to bring any alternative to market.

  • FCC forces TP-Link to support open source firmware on routers

    Networking hardware vendor TP-Link today admitted violating US radio frequency rules by selling routers that could operate at power levels higher than their approved limits. In a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine, comply with the rules going forward, and to let customers install open source firmware on routers.

    The open source requirement is a unique one, as it isn’t directly related to TP-Link’s violation. Moreover, FCC rules don’t require router makers to allow loading of third-party, open source firmware. In fact, recent changes to FCC rules made it more difficult for router makers to allow open source software.

  • FCC settlement with Wi-Fi router maker a win for open source advocates
  • TP-Link fined $200k, told to be nice to wireless router tinkers after throwing a hissy fit
  • FCC Demands TP-Link Support Third-Party Router Firmware
  • TP-Link settles with the FCC over risky WiFi router power levels
  • FCC settlement means TP-Link routers might support third-party firmware after all
  • FCC Settles WiFi Router Power Investigation
  • TP-Link to allow third-party firmware on routers
  • TP-Link To Pay Up In Wi-Fi Router Settlement With FCC
  • Apache Mesos turns 1.0, but it’s no Kubernetes clone
  • Events

    • Top Reasons The Open Source Community Attends Events

      It should go without saying that there is no substitute for face to face collaboration. And what is open source if not the ultimate example of collaboration? Open source events provide a wide range of opportunities for the community to connect, and the end result of all of this is good for the community and good for business.

    • 2nd annual Open Source Open Society

      Using open source to improve how business and Government work at 2nd annual Open Source Open Society

    • Last day for SeaGL talk submission

      SeaGL conference in Seattle in November is still looking for speakers and today is the last day to submit talks. This is an all inclusive conference, featuring Allison Randal, President of the Open Source Initiative as the keynote speaker.

    • Last chance to submit linux.conf.au talks
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • In the browser election, Chrome leads by a landslide

        Chrome reached a major milestone last month when it was used by more than half of those browsing from a personal computer, data published Monday showed.

        According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, Chrome’s user share grew by more than 2 percentage points in July, the fourth time in the last six months that its gains were of that size, to end the month at 51%.

        In the last 12 months, Chrome has added 23.1 percentage points to its user share, starting that stretch with less than 30% and ending by owning a majority of the worldwide desktop browser market. Only two browsers have controlled more than half of the global browser share this century: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), which held a majority until December 2015, and now Chrome.

        As throughout 2016, most of Chrome’s July gains came at the expense of Microsoft’s browsers. IE and the newer Edge collectively lost 2.1 percentage points, dropping to 34.7%, a record low. Apple’s Safari shed one-tenth of a point, falling to 4.5%, its lowest level since November 2015.

    • Mozilla

      • Working for Women’s Economic Empowerment with the United Nations High Level Panel

        Mozilla Foundation Webmaker Program, Indonesia (photo credit: Laura de Reynal)

        It is critical to ensure that women are active participants in digital life. Without this we won’t reach full economic empowerment. An explicit focus on women and digital life is necessary for economic empowerment because the statistics are striking: over 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not own mobile phones. Women in South Asia are 38 percent less likely to own a phone than men; in Africa, they are 50 percent less likely to use the internet.

        This is the perspective and focus I bring to the UN High Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, an initiative of the United Nations that aims at unlocking the power of women to work and achieve their financial independence. You can read here about my participation to the Panel.

        I joined fellow Panel members in Costa Rica a few weeks ago for a meeting hosted by Costa Rica President, Luis Guillermo Solis. Many thanks to President Solis for leading the meeting with both commitment and authenticity!

  • SaaS/Back End

  • CMS

    • Govstrap.io enables rapid deployment of UK government websites

      United Kingdom government websites can now be deployed within minutes by re-using the familiar theme produced by Government Digital Services (GDS) in combination with the Bootstrap framework.

      The open source software specialist OpusVL has made it possible to take the official Gov.UK website theme, which is under the MIT license, and reproduce it quickly and easily using Bootstrap, which originated from Twitter. Bootstrap is an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework for creating front end websites and applications. With an increase in the variety of devices used to view websites, Bootstrap is a standard tool kit for building responsive design, and enabling websites to be mobile- and tablet-friendly.

    • Concrete5 Releases Version 8 Beta, More Open Source CMS News

      Portland, Ore.-based concrete5 released its version 8 beta for testing and feedback. It’s good for site builders who are comfortable reporting and fixing bugs, and who are prepared to build their test sites from scratch. Just remember: Beta releases are never recommended for production websites.

      Technology evangelist Jessica Dunbar called it “a key milestone and is the work of more than 230 contributors.” To find out about the new features, see what’s in store for version 8.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • OpenSSH

    • OpenSSH 7.3 Released, Adds ProxyJump & IdentityAgent Options

      OpenSSH 7.3 was released today by the OpenBSD camp with some security fixes while also providing a few new options and other features.

    • OpenSSH 7.3 released

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete SSH protocol 2.0 implementation and includes sftp client and server support. OpenSSH also includes transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and 1.5 protocols that may be enabled at compile-time.

    • OpenSSH 7.3

      OpenSSH 7.3 has just been released. It will be available from the mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    • OpenSSH 7.3 Officially Released, Now Refuses RSA Keys Smaller Than 1024 Bits

      On August 1, 2016, the OpenBSD project proudly announced the availability for download of the OpenSSH 7.3 and Portable OpenSSH 7.3p1 open source software projects.

      OpenSSH is a 100% complete, freely distributed, and open-source Secure Shell (SSH) 2.0 protocol implementation for GNU/Linux and UNIX-like operating systems. It comes pre-installed with SFTP client and server support, as well as transitional support for the legacy SSH 1.3 and SSH 1.5 protocols, which can be enabled during compilation.

  • Public Services/Government

    • France pilots open source-based cloud services

      The French government is trying out various open source-based alternatives for building its own cloud computing infrastructure, writes SGMAP. “Free software enables modernisation of IT systems, including its most important new projects”, writes the government modernisation unit.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SoldiPubblici one of OGP showcases awarded star status

      SoldiPubblici, an open data portal providing the public with information on Italian government expenditure, has been acknowledged as a “star” commitment by the Open Government Partnership (OGP). In the evaluation report ‘Star Reforms in the Open Government Partnership’ star status is given to a selection of commitments from OGP Action Plans to which the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) awarded star status in their latest reporting cycle. “These showcases represent exemplary reforms that have a potentially transformative impact on citizens in the country of implementation.”

    • UK and Finland Europe’s eGovernment leaders – UNPAN

      The United Kingdom and Finland are Europe’s eGovernment leaders, according to the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) 2016 UN eGovernment Survey. The list of top 10 eGovernment countries is completed by Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Estonia, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

    • UNPAN reports improvements for most EU countries

      The United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) 2016 UN eGovernment Survey shows improvements in most of the lower ranking EU Member States. While in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania, eGovernment services improved, these were lower than the European average.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Obama Signed Into Law Controversial GMO Labeling Bill. Now What?

      What’s an advocate of clear GMO labeling to do now that President Barack Obama has signed into law the food industry-supported measure dubbed the DARK Act?

      One option, according to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), is to join roughly half a million people who’ve said they will boycott brands that won’t label their products—in a clear way for everyone to see—that have been produced with genetic engineering.

      When Obama on Friday signed the measure “paid for and written by corporations who clearly have something to hide,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of OCA, the president “succumbed to industry pressure to betray the 90 percent of Americans who want GMOs labeled.”

      Congress passed the measure, which supercedes Vermont’s historic labeling law, last month, and now, as the Associated Press reports, the “Agriculture Department has two years to write the rules.”

    • Rural counties across the US becoming a powder keg for HIV outbreak

      A man was lying sedate after injecting drugs. His fellow users, to amuse themselves, threw needles at him like a human dartboard to see if they would stick, according to a recent police report in Wolfe County, Kentucky.

      “Back in the day, all we had to worry about was people drinking or smoking weed,” said special deputy Gary Smith, who is entering his 25th year with the Wolfe County sheriff’s department.

      But with a growing US opioid epidemic that has escalated the number of injection drug users, the bucolic county has become acutely at risk from another public health problem.

      Wolfe County tops the list of places that are most vulnerable to an HIV outbreak.

      A new alarm for the HIV epidemic sounded early last year when a small, rural town in Indiana was beset with a staggering 188 cases of the hard-to-control disease – and the sirens have been heard in similar towns across the country.

    • New Cold War at the Olympics

      The Western media’s Russia-bashing has become epidemic, creating a dangerous dynamic as the world plunges into a new Cold War, with even sports becoming a propaganda arena, as Rick Sterling explains.

    • Superbugs, Sewage, and Scandal: Are Rio Olympics Poised for Disaster?

      A biology professor has simple advice for athletes and tourists descending on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympics’ start on Friday: “Don’t put your head underwater.”

      Dr. Valerie Harwood, chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida, remarked on the dangers posed by Rio’s water to AP, which reported Monday that a 16-months-long study revealed that “the waterways of Rio de Janeiro are as filthy as ever, contaminated with raw human sewage teeming with dangerous viruses and bacteria.”

    • Rio 2016: Swimmers need to ingest only three teaspoons of water to be almost certain of contracting a virus

      A report commisioned by the Associated Press has revealed that water in Rio’s Olympic and Paralympic venues holds viral levels 1.7m times what would be considered alarming in the United States and Europe just five days before the Games get underway

    • 40 now hospitalised after anthrax outbreak in Yamal, more than half are children

      The concern among experts is that global warming thawed a diseased animal carcass at least 75 years old, buried in the melting permafrost, so unleashing the disease.

      A total of 40 people, the majority of them children, from nomadic herder families in northern Siberia are under observation in hospital amid fears they may have contracted the anthrax. Doctors stress that so far there are NO confirmed cases.

      Up to 1,200 reindeer were killed either by anthrax or a heatwave in the Arctic district where the infection spread.

      Specialists from the Chemical, Radioactive and Biological Protection Corps were rushed to regional capital Salekhard on a military Il-76 aircraft.

      They were deployed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to carry laboratory tests on the ground, detect and eliminate the focal point of the infection, and to dispose safely of dead animals.

    • Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death
    • Crime In The Fields: How Monsanto And Scofflaw Farmers Hurt Soybeans In Arkansas

      The story starts with Monsanto because the St. Louis-based biotech giant launched, this year, an updated version of its herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds. This new version, which Monsanto calls “Xtend,” isn’t just engineered to tolerate sprays of glyphosate, aka Roundup. It’s also immune to dicamba.

      Monsanto created dicamba-resistant soybeans (and cotton) in an effort to stay a step ahead of the weeds. The strategy of planting Roundup-resistant crops and spraying Roundup to kill weeds isn’t working so well anymore, because weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate. Adding genes for dicamba resistance, so the thinking went, would give farmers the option of spraying dicamba as well, which would clear out the weeds that survive glyphosate.

      There was just one hitch in the plan. A very big hitch, as it turned out. The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet approved the new dicamba weedkiller that Monsanto created for farmers to spray on its new dicamba-resistant crops. That new formulation of dicamba, according to Monsanto, has been formulated so that it won’t vaporize as easily, and won’t be as likely to harm neighboring crops. If the EPA approves the new weedkiller, it may impose restrictions on how and when the chemical may be used.

      But, Monsanto went ahead and started selling its dicamba-resistant soybeans before this herbicide was approved. It gave farmers a new weed-killing tool that they couldn’t legally use.

      Monsanto says it did so because these seeds weren’t just resistant to dicamba; they also offered higher yields, which farmers wanted. In an email to The Salt, Phil Miller, Monsanto’s vice president for global regulatory and government affairs, wrote that “there’s incredible value in the Xtend technology independent of herbicide applications: There is great demand for strong yield performance and our latest industry leading genetics.” Monsanto says it also made it clear to farmers that they were not allowed to spray dicamba on these dicamba-resistant beans.

      Farmers themselves, however, may have had other ideas. Robert Goodson, an agricultural extension agent in Phillips County, Ark., believes that some farmers were hoping that the EPA would approve the new dicamba weedkiller in the course of the growing season, so they’d get to spray it over their crops.

  • Security

    • Securing Embedded Linux

      Until fairly recently, Linux developers have been spared many of the security threats that have bedeviled the Windows world. Yet, when moving from desktops and servers to the embedded Internet of Things, a much higher threat level awaits.

      “The basic rules for Linux security are the same whether it’s desktop, server, or embedded, but because IoT devices are typically on all the time, they pose some unique challenges,” said Mike Anderson, CTO and Chief Scientist for The PTR Group, Inc. during an Embedded Linux Conference talk called “Securing Embedded Linux.”

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Packt security bundle winner announced!
    • Everyone has been hacked

      Unless you live in a cave (if you do, I’m pretty jealous) you’ve heard about all the political hacking going on. I don’t like to take sides, so let’s put aside who is right or wrong and use it as a lesson in thinking about how we have to operate in what is the new world.

      In the past, there were ways to communicate that one could be relatively certain was secure and/or private. Long ago you didn’t write everything down. There was a lot of verbal communication. When things were written down there was generally only one copy. Making copies of things was hard. Recording communications was hard. Even viewing or hearing many of these conversations if you weren’t supposed to was hard. None of this is true anymore, it hasn’t been true for a long time, yet we still act like what we do is just fine.

    • Android Security Bulletin—July 2016
    • The July 2016 Android security bulletin
    • How To Use Google For Hacking?
    • Securing Embedded Linux by Michael E. Anderson
    • Botnet DDoS attacks in Q2: Linux Botnets on the rise, length of attacks increase

      Kaspersky Lab has released its report on botnet-assisted DDoS attacks for the second quarter of 2016 based on data provided by Kaspersky DDoS Intelligence*. The number of attacks on resources located on Chinese servers grew considerably, while Brazil, Italy and Israel all appeared among the leading countries hosting C&C servers.

    • Cisco Cybersecurity Report Warns of Serious Ransomware Dangers
  • Defence/Aggression

    • MH370 flight was deliberately flown into ocean, crash expert says

      Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was deliberately flown into the sea, an expert air crash investigator has claimed.

      Larry Vance said photos of the plane’s flaperon found on a beach 2,500 miles from the search area show “definite evidence” it was extended at the time of the crash, suggesting the pilot brought the plane down in the ocean.

      “Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight,” Mr Vance told Australia’s 60 Minutes programme.

    • MH370 was flown into water ‘deliberately’, says senior crash expert

      One of the world’s leading air crash investigators says he believes flight MH370 was “deliberately” crashed into the sea by a rogue pilot in a possible murder-suicide bid.

      Larry Vance said erosion on the edges of recovered wing parts suggested the plane was lowered to its doom in a controlled fashion.

      The erosion was caused by a part of the plane’s wing – called a flaperon – being exposed to the elements when it was extended.

    • U.S. Says New Bombing Campaign Against ISIS in Libya Has No “End Point at This Particular Moment”

      The U.S. launched a major new military campaign against ISIS on Monday when U.S. planes bombed targets in Libya, responding to requests from the U.N.-backed Libyan government. Strikes took place in the coastal town of Sirte, which ISIS took in June of last year.

      The strikes represent a significant escalation in the U.S. war against ISIS, spreading the conflict thousands of miles from the warzones in Syria and Iraq.

      All of these attacks took place without Congressional authorization or even debate.

      “We want to strike at ISIL anywhere it raises its head,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. “Libya is one of those places.” He said the airstrikes “would continue as long as [the Libyan government] is requesting them,” and that they do not have “an end point at this particular moment in time.”

    • US Launches Airstrikes in Libya in ‘Deeply Concerning’ New Offensive

      The U.S. on Monday launched airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya, expanding its war in the region in what the Pentagon indicated will be a long-term offensive against the militant group and what critics said was a “deeply” concerning move.

      Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Monday that she was “deeply concerned about the expansion of U.S. airstrikes in Libya. The U.S. military continues to become more engaged in the Middle East, despite the lack of a Congressional debate or specific authorization.”

    • US Airstrikes Hit Libya To Bolster UN-Created Government

      The Pentagon has announced today that the US has begun conducting military airstrikes against Libya with the stated intent of defeating ISIS in that country. According to the Pentagon spokesman, the Libyan “Government of National Accord” requested that the US begin airstrikes against what they claim is an ISIS stronghold in the Libyan town of Sirte, the birthplace of murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

    • Empire’s Chain Reaction

      Donald Trump suggested that his campaign may take away press credentials from The New York Times, his latest attack on the media over the course of his presidential campaign.

      At a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, the Republican presidential nominee called the Times’ coverage of him “very dishonest” and suggested adopting the same ban on the newspaper as he has on The Washington Post. Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials in June after the newspaper published an article critical of Trump’s statements about a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

      “It’s gotten a little better,” he said about the Post’s coverage. “I should do it with the Times.”

      Over the course of the election, Trump’s campaign has banned nearly two dozen news organizations from campaign events, including POLITICO, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Univision and The Des Moines Register. The bans, which have been criticized on First Amendment grounds, have been enforced unevenly. Trump has told CNN that, if elected president, he would not interfere with the White House press credentialing process.

    • Past Time To Rethink NATO

      On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee.

    • “Pow, Pow, Yous Are Dead!”

      And then, of course, there were my kids, my husband, and those “guns.” As a boy, Patrick wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns. Instead, he, his parents, and their friends would go to the mall during the Christmas buying spree to put “Stop War Toys” stickers on Rambo and G.I. Joe action figures. When he went to his friends’ houses, he had to tell them that war toys were verboten.

      I grew up in a similar family of activists. We, too, were forbidden toy guns and other war toys. My brother and I were more likely to play games like “protester at the Pentagon” than cops and robbers. I’ve been thinking recently about why toy guns didn’t have a grip on our imaginations as kids. I suspect it was because we understood — were made to understand — what the big gun of U.S. militarism had done in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Indochina, and throughout Central America. Our dad had seen the big gun of war up close and personal. His finger — the same one he pointed at us when we were in trouble — had pulled the trigger again and again in France during World War II. He was decorated there, but had zero nostalgia for the experience. He was, in fact, deeply ashamed of the dashing figure he had once cut when home from the front. And so, dad screwed up a new kind of courage to say no to war and violence, to killing of any kind. His knowledge of war imbued his nonviolent peace activist mission with a genuine, badass, superhero style swagger.

      Our parents — our community of ragtag, countercultural Catholic peace activists — made that no-violence, no-killing, no-matter-what point again and again. In fact, my early experience of guns was the chilling fear of knowing that, in protest, my father, mother, and their friends were walking into what they called “free fire zones” on military bases, where well-armed, well-trained soldiers were licensed to kill intruders. So we didn’t point toy guns at each other. We didn’t pow-pow with our fingers or sticks. We crossed those fingers and hoped that the people we loved would be safe.

      Our inner city Baltimore neighborhood, where crack cocaine madness was just taking hold, drove that point home on a micro level. Our house was robbed at gunpoint more than once — and we had so little worth taking. We watched a man across the street bleed to death after being stabbed repeatedly in a fight over nothing. People from our house ran to help and were there for far too long before an ambulance even arrived. We knew as little kids that violence was no laughing matter, nor child’s play. It was serious business and was to be resisted.

    • Russian & Iranian Press deplore Hillary Clinton Hawkishness; Israelis complain she’s Dove

      How is the international press responding to the Democratic National Convention and the formalization of Hillary Clinton’s status as the party’s standard-bearer in the presidential campaign?

      BBC Monitoring helped me find these reports, which I’m paraphrasing or quoting from their translation:

      Boaz Bismuth in the Hebrew edition of Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today), which is pro-Netanyahu, criticized the Democrats for their message that the US is unprecedentedly strong. He wrote that polls show Americans to be concerned about terrorism and rising crime. Then he pointed to the Syrian government siege of east Aleppo (with Russian aerial help) as another thing the US has to worry about.

      This newspaper is given away free and is owned by allegedly corrupt US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, so its talking points are Republican ones. Actually, crime is not rising in the US; violent crime is at historic low. And, while the siege of east Aleppo is troubling from the point of view of human rights (you’re not allowed to starve out civilians), it is hard to imagine most Americans caring, one way or another.

    • Pope and French Muslims try Muslim-Christian outreach instead of ‘War on Terror’ Polarization

      AFP reported from the papal airplane on Pope Francis’s remarks about Islam in the wake of the brutal murder of an elderly priest by two teenagers of North African heritage in Normandy last Tuesday. Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) claimed responsibility.

    • We Can’t Bomb Our Way to Better Schools

      From the left and the right, policy proposals are flying fast and furious. It is an election year, after all. But one topic is completely off the agenda from both sides of the party line: decreasing military spending.

      Today’s political candidates are universally unwilling to discuss the military budget, overseas aggression, nuclear weapons, militarism, or imperialism—except to recommend more of it.

      The problem is, we can’t bomb our way into better schools.

      Year after year, we continue to pour our tax dollars into the war budget at the expense of other social programs. And, even as we overfund the military contractors, we also fail to care for our veterans and renege on our recruitment promises of education and jobs for the youth. Neither of the two major-party presidential candidates will discuss ending the endless war, bringing our troops home, or investing in improving the infrastructure, education, and opportunities here at home.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 15 fire-linked firms escape prosecution in Indonesia’s Riau

      On July 23 the local police headquarters in the Sumatran province of Riau released SP3 notices related to 15 companies that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had listed in connection with last year’s fires. A SP3 is an official police document that confirms a case has been closed. No charges will be brought against any of the 15 firms.

      “We are very disappointed with the issuance of the SP3,” said Riko Kurniawan, the executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Riau province. It showed the police “lacked seriousness” in their pursuit of errant companies, he told Mongabay.

      “This is one of the indicators to show how serious the government is — particularly law enforcement — to tackle forest fires,” added Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Teguh Surya.

      The El Nino weather event in 2015 prolonged the dry season and fueled annual fires that incinerated more than 2 million hectares in Indonesia. Much of what went up in smoke was highly combustible peat stored within marshes near the coastal areas of Riau, South Sumatra and West Kalimantan provinces.

      The result was a national health emergency and a disastrous spike in Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. At one point Indonesia’s chief security minister said Indonesia would commandeer ships from the state ferry company to evacuate the helpless in their thousands.

    • NOAA helps save nearly 100 wetland acres for Michigan restoration

      The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water, making habitat restoration critically important for severely degraded industrial areas near their shores. In Michigan, NOAA has moved that goal forward by supporting the recent purchase of 98.8 wetland acres near Muskegon Lake, which feeds directly into Lake Michigan.

    • Forest restoration gets a cutting edge

      Research by scientists from the UK and Tanzania has revealed that assisted ecological restoration can lead to dramatic increases in growth of new and established trees – helping to mitigate climate change and boost biodiversity.

      All that is required, they say, is effective control of lianas, the fast-growing, woody climbing vines that, left to their own devices, quickly take over forest in which most or all of the merchantable timber has been cut, and crowd out emerging tree seedlings.

    • Melting Permafrost Releases Deadly, Long-Dormant Anthrax in Siberia

      A Russian heatwave has activated long-dormant anthrax bacteria in Siberia, sickening at least 13 people and killing one boy and more than 2,300 reindeer.

    • Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

      The boy, Denis, died on Saturday from the virulent intestinal form of anthrax after eating infected venison. His grandmother died a day earlier, but as yet the cause is not established.

      Eight other people are now confirmed to be suffering from anthrax, including three children, according to preliminary diagnoses in the outbreak on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia.

      The dead boy was a member of a reindeer herding family.

      A total of 72 people are now in hospital, a rise of 32 since Friday, under close observation amid fears of a major outbreak. 41 of those hospitalised are children as Russia copes with a full scale health emergency above the polar circle which has also killed thousands of reindeer.

    • Once-in-a-Millenium Rainfall Descends on Maryland, Killing 2

      An entire month’s worth of rain fell on Ellicott City, in Howard County, Maryland, within two hours late Saturday evening, causing catastrophic flash floods that killed two people and forced over 100 others to be rescued.

      The local Patapsco River rose more than 13 feet, according to The Weather Channel. A state of emergency was declared Sunday in Howard County, where the community of 65,000 is located.

      Local resident Joyce Healy told NBC that she was driving on Ellicott City’s Main Street when she saw a Mercedes-Benz “floating back down the road.”

      “I’ve never seen anything like this, ever—the devastation down here,” Healy said.

      Howard County executive Allan Kittleman characterized the flooding as “a terrible, terrible, horrific incident” in comments made to NBC on Sunday afternoon, adding that “it looks like a war zone.”

  • Finance

    • Facebook May Owe $5 Billion to the Internal Revenue Service
    • Donald Trump Ducks Tax Disclosure

      As Donald Trump’s tweets pile one atop another, generating sensational headlines, issues of true substance are tending to get lost in the shuffle. None is more important for voters to keep in mind than the failure of Mr. Trump to disclose his full income tax returns, something he is not likely to do by Election Day.

      He is the first major party candidate since 1976 — since Watergate, essentially — to deny voters that vital measure of credibility. It is not required by law that candidates furnish their returns. But Americans have come to expect it.

      The interest in Mr. Trump’s case is particularly high. He is running for the White House partly as a business wizard, but is he really as rich and talented as he boasts? Is he as philanthropic as he claims with his reputed billions? Has he truly no conflicts of interest in Russia, whose computer hackers he has bizarrely invited to spy on Hillary Clinton, his campaign rival?

      These questions are of Mr. Trump’s own making, and a timely release of his tax returns would provide some answers. “There’s nothing to learn from them,” he tried to insist in May, arguing that he would not make the returns public until after an Internal Revenue Service audit is complete.

      But the I.R.S. says Mr. Trump is free to release the returns at any time and to defend their accuracy, just as President Richard Nixon did while he was undergoing an audit. In the past, Mr. Trump has not hesitated to attack the I.R.S. as “very unfair,” but now he stands before the voters using the agency as a shield against disclosure.

    • Theresa May’s Brexit shake-up of Whitehall sending “mixed messages” to the EU

      Institute for Government says Department for International Trade’s remit is at odds with comments from new prime minister Theresa May

    • Nothing simple about UK regaining WTO status post-Brexit

      In the weeks that preceded the UK’s EU referendum, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo broke his silence over the UK leaving the EU (Brexit), first with the Financial Times, followed by Reuters, the Guardian, and others. One of his key points was that the UK would face complex talks in the World Trade Organization. What did he mean?

    • Return to the Commonwealth? UK-Africa trade after Brexit will not be straightforward

      In a speech to the Institute of Chartered Engineers in February, David Davis MP – now Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – told the audience: ‘The only Commonwealth country to enjoy a free trade agreement with the EU so far is South Africa.’ In fact, there are free trade agreements either awaiting adoption or in force between the EU and 32 Commonwealth countries. Regardless of its accuracy, Davis’s assertion reflects a broader narrative put forward by the ‘liberal leavers’ in the Brexit campaign. Their argument was that membership of the‘protectionist’ EU constrains the UK’s ability to make trade links with the wider world – and particularly with Britain’s apparently natural partners in the Commonwealth.

    • Leaving the EU customs union: what is involved?

      A key issue from a trade perspective will be whether or not the UK stays in the EU customs union when it leaves the European Union (EU).

      The customs union is an important element of the EU Single Market. Under its rules, the EU operates as a trade bloc, operating common external tariffs and customs barriers, and negotiating trade deals as one. As a member of the customs union, the UK is not allowed to negotiate other bilateral trade deals – which is why Liam Fox has argued that it needs to leave.

    • Don’t listen to the fearmongers: our Brexit negotiations are in safe hands

      When Michel Barnier was appointed EU commissioner for financial services in 2009, I admit I was worried. After all, President Sarkozy could not hide his satisfaction that a Frenchman would be in charge of the City of London, ready to launch an onslaught of new financial regulation. Some of our newspapers called Barnier the “most dangerous man in Europe”.

    • Lords could delay Brexit decision, says Tory peer

      The House of Lords could halt or delay an attempt to activate Article 50 and enact Brexit, a Tory peer has said.

      Baroness Wheatcroft said she felt it was “imperative” to not activate Article 50.

      Speaking to The Times, she said she hoped that delays in the Lords of any potential Brexit legislation would result in a second referendum.

      A legal challenge as to whether the government can trigger Article 50 without the authorisation of Parliament will be heard in the autumn.

    • CNN and Fox News Are Finally Covering the TPP After Ignoring It for Two Years

      Up until recently, cable news outlets almost completely ignored the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the 12-nation government agreement that would dramatically expand corporate and investor rights at the expense of medical affordability, the environment, and labor rights.

      The impact of this news blackout was devastating on Americans’ ability to understand what the agreement entailed. A June 2015 New York Times poll found that 78 percent of Americans said they had heard or read “not much” or “nothing at all” about the TPP.

    • Is Hillary Double-Talking on Trade Deals?

      Hillary Clinton is promising to take a tougher stand on U.S. trade deals, but is that just campaign talk to appease supporters of Bernie Sanders and steal some backing away from Donald Trump, asks JP Sottile.

    • We need to reach out

      Like many campaigners in Scotland, and up and down the length of the UK, I’m shattered. Exhausted after years of pounding pavements delivering leaflets; spending every waking minute organising meetings; writing post after post trying to persuade friends, colleagues and twitter trolls of the rights and wrongs of our respective positions; even standing for election. Exhausted because after all these years of work, at times I find myself wondering whether any of it was worth it.

      In the Brexit-destined Britain of today, it feels impossible to be inspired and hopeful about the better future we’ve been working for. But whilst giving up and stepping back is as tempting as lying on a beach in the sun for a month, there is a way to build that future without destroying ourselves in the process.

    • Washington State: Charter School Backers Want to Oust Judge Who Authored Anti-Charter Decision

      Voters of Washington State, wake up!

      The billionaires who have been trying to privatize your public schools are up to their old tricks.

      Bill Gates and his pals have been pushing charters schools since the late 1990s. There have been four referenda on charter schools in Washington State. The privatizers lost the first three, but swamped the race with millions in their 2012 campaign and won by a razor-thin margin, defeating the NAACP, teachers, parents, the League of Women Voters, and school board members.

      Defenders of public schools sued to stop public money from going to privately managed charter schools. In 2015, Washington’s highest court agreed with them that charters are not common schools, as required by the state constitution, because their boards are not elected. Funding charter schools with public money, the high court ruled, was unconstitutional.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections

      Hillary Clinton touts her tenure as secretary of state as a time of hardheaded realism and “commercial diplomacy” that advanced American national and commercial interests. But her handling of a major technology transfer initiative at the heart of Washington’s effort to “reset” relations with Russia raises serious questions about her record. Far from enhancing American national interests, Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in this area may have substantially undermined U.S. national security.

    • How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump

      Few political consultants have had a client fail quite as spectacularly as Paul Manafort’s did in Ukraine in the winter of 2014.

      President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who owed his election to, as an American diplomat put it, an “extreme makeover” Mr. Manafort oversaw, bolted the country in the face of violent street protests. He found sanctuary in Russia and never returned, as his patron, President Vladimir V. Putin, proceeded to dismember Ukraine, annexing Crimea and fomenting a war in two other provinces that continues.

      Mr. Manafort was undaunted.

      Within months of his client’s political demise, he went to work seeking to bring his disgraced party back to power, much as he had Mr. Yanukovych himself nearly a decade earlier. Mr. Manafort has already had some success, with former Yanukovych loyalists — and some Communists — forming a new bloc opposing Ukraine’s struggling pro-Western government.

    • Paris strikes astonishing partnership with secret Isis sponsor tied to Hillary Clinton [EXCLUSIVE]

      The City of Paris has struck a corporate partnership with French industrial giant, Lafarge, recently accused of secretly sponsoring the Islamic State (Isis or Daesh) for profit.

      Documents obtained by several journalistic investigations reveal that Lafarge has paid taxes to the terror group to operate its cement plant in Syria, and even bought Isis oil for years.

      Yet according to the campaign group, SumOfUs, Lafarge is the corporate partner and sand provider to the City of Paris for this summer’s Paris-Plages urban beach event. The project run by Office of the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, will create artificial beaches along the river Seine in the centre and northeast of Paris.

      Lafarge also has close ties to Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Apart from being a regular donor to the Clinton Foundation, Clinton herself was a director of Lafarge in the early 1990s, and did legal work for the firm in the 1980s. During her connection to Lafarge, the firm was implicated in facilitating a CIA-backed covert arms export network to Saddam Hussein.

    • Killary
    • DNC Breach extended to systems used by Clinton campaign

      An analytical system hosted by the Democratic National Committee and used by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team was accessed by hackers. In a statement issued by the Clinton campaign, a spokesperson said that a network intrusion had exposed data on the system maintained by the DNC, but that the campaign organizations’s own systems did not appear to have been breached. No financial or personal identifying data other than voter information was stored on the analytical system.

    • How Hillary Clinton helped create Donald Trump – and how he could destroy her

      Hillary Clinton should have been a safe bet for President. Yet now she is fighting her own shadowy reflection in Donald Trump – a spectre she and her party helped create. With just 100 days until the vote, how did we get here? What happens next? And what does this election show us about America today?

    • NSA whistleblower: The agency has all of Hillary’s deleted emails
    • Did “Another Snowden” Leak Hillary Clinton’s Emails?
    • Former NSA analyst: Clinton email leak may have come from the U.S.
    • Blaming Russia For the DNC Hack Is Almost Too Easy

      A critical look exposes the significant flaws in the attribution. First, all of the technical evidence can be spoofed. Although some argue that spoofing the mound of uncovered evidence is too much work, it can easily be done by a small team of good attackers in three or four days. Second, the tools used by Cozy Bear appeared on the black market when they were first discovered years ago and have been recycled and used against many other targets, including against German industry. The reuse and fine-tuning of existing malware happens all the time. Third, the language, location settings, and compilation metadata can easily be altered by changing basic settings on the attacker’s computer in five minutes without the need of special knowledge. None of technical evidence is convincing. It would only be convincing if the attackers used entirely novel, unique, and sophisticated tools with unmistakable indicators pointing to Russia supported by human intelligence, not by malware analysis.

      The DNC attackers also had very poor, almost comical, operational security (OPSEC). State actors tend to have a quality assurance review when developing cyberattack tools to minimize the risk of discovery and leaving obvious crumbs behind. Russian intelligence services are especially good. They are highly capable, tactically and strategically agile, and rational. They ensure that offensive tools are tailored and proportionate to the signal they want to send, the possibility of disclosure and public perception, and the odds of escalation. The shoddy OPSEC just doesn’t fit what we know about Russian intelligence.

      The claim that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian false flag operation may not hold up either. If Russia wanted to cover up the fact it had hacked the DNC, why create a pseudonym that could only attract more attention and publish emails? Dumping a trove of documents all at once is less valuable than cherry picking the most damaging information and strategically leaking it in a crafted and targeted fashion, as the FSB, SVR or GRU have probably done in the past. Also, leaking to Wikileaks isn’t hard. They have a submission form.

      Given these arguments, blaming Russia is not a slam dunk. Why would a country with some of the best intelligence services in the world commit a whole series of really stupid mistakes in a highly sensitive operation?

    • Hillary Clinton Lies About Emails, Again

      In one of her first post-convention interviews, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace that “[FBI] Director Comey said my answers [regarding the email scandal] were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”

      This is flatly not true and, more to the point, Hillary Clinton knows it is flatly not true.

    • Campaign says Clinton didn’t mean to mislead with her various email explanations

      Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign struggled Monday to square her claims that she told the truth about her secret email account with the sworn testimony of the FBI director last month, as top Clinton aides insisted that Mrs. Clinton didn’t mean to mislead voters with her various explanations.

      [...]

      Media fact-checkers rejected Mrs. Clinton’s explanation Monday. PolitiFact rated it a “Pants on Fire,” and The Washington Post gave it “four pinocchios.” Both of those are the worst ratings on their respective scales.

    • Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order

      The day after Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic National Convention and urged his supporters to work to ensure his former rival wins the presidential race, we host a debate between Clinton supporter Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Clinton, and Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who backs Sanders.

    • The Audacity of Hope and Hacks

      The conventions underscore that both parties’ identities are shifting rapidly.

    • 20 Reasons Black Women & Men Should Consider #JillNotHill This November
    • Green Party candidate Jill Stein announces VP running mate

      Dr. Stein made it official Monday on Twitter, saying she was “Honored to announce human rights champion Ajamu Baraka as my VP running mate!”

      On Baraka’s personal website, he is described as having “roots” in “the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.” He was, until 2011, the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network. His work has been primarily in the humanitarian sector, and he has partnered with Amnesty International in the past. He is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.

    • Jill Stein Picks Long-Time CounterPuncher Ajamu Baraka as Her VP Running Mate

      Green Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein has offered her vice-presidential bid to international human rights scholar and activist Ajamu Baraka.

      “I am honored and excited to announce that my running mate in the 2016 presidential election will be Ajamu Baraka, activist, writer, intellectual and organizer with a powerful voice, vision, and lifelong commitment to building true political revolution,” Stein announced.

      “Ajamu Baraka is a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come – an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice. Ajamu’s life’s work has embodied the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Stein continued. “In this hour of unprecedented crisis, we are honored to lift up a unified movement for justice in the only national political party that is not held hostage by corporate money, lobbyists and super-PACs. We look forward to bringing this agenda for justice to the American people in the exciting race ahead.”

    • After Reports to the Contrary, Tim Kaine Says He Still Supports the Hyde Amendment

      In an interview Friday morning with CNN, Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine said that he still supports the Hyde Amendment. Kaine said that, despite reports, “I have not changed my position,” on the bill which bans the use of federal money on abortion services.

      At the beginning of the Democratic National Convention, spokespeople for both Clinton and Kaine said that he would support a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. Clinton committed to repealing Hyde early in her campaign, and the Democratic platform reiterated that position. The amendment, which primarily impacts Medicaid recipients, has long been the target of pro-choice activists who argue that it targets the reproductive health care of poor women.

      Kaine has long been vocal about his personal reservations on abortion, but as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-choice groups have stressed, his voting record in the Senate is “100 percent pro-choice.” Yet Kaine’s nomination concerned some activists who pointed to his time as Virginia governor. During his tenure, Kaine signed a handful of anti-abortion bills, many of which, as Think Progress notes, are still in effect today. Among other things, Kaine signed a law that provided funding for so-called crisis clinics.

    • No Matter Who Our Next President Is, They Won’t Understand Technology

      Politico has an article with a misleading title — the return of the Luddite president — which discusses how neither of the two major party Presidential candidates are even remotely tech savvy. The headline is an unfortunate oversell. Luddites aren’t just people who don’t know anything about technology. They’re people who actively dislike certain technologies, in the belief that such advances will harm their own livelihoods. In a broader sense, the term is used to discuss people who generally dislike the march of technological progress. Again, that does not appear to be the case with either of the two candidates, who (at best) might just be described as agnostic to/indifferent to new technologies and somewhat ignorant on what that might mean from a policy perspective.

    • Meet Trump’s latest political enemy: Fire marshals

      Even before Donald Trump kicked off his town hall event Monday he gathered reporters to decry “politics at its lowest” — but he wasn’t talking about Hillary Clinton or the latest controversy swirling around his campaign, his feud with the parents of a slain Muslim US soldier.

      Instead, Trump was unleashing on the local fire marshal, accusing the city official of turning away thousands of Trump supporters without cause. It was the second time in three days Trump has lambasted a local fire marshal during a campaign rally.

      “He ought to be ashamed of himself. They turned away thousands of people,” Trump told supporters when he kicked off his rally.

    • Media’s political influence: We can bash Trump and his supporters all we want — but will it work?

      Did the media grasp the importance of the moment Thursday night as the Democratic National Convention concluded? I don’t mean the importance of the first woman major-party candidate being nominated for the presidency. On that score, I think they did pretty well.

      I mean the moment of rescue that the convention constituted — the moment at which this country, now on a fulcrum, could either tip toward authoritarianism, hopeless division and chaos, or toward a more charitable and hopeful vision of the future.

      Did the media understand what’s at stake? As Vox’s Ezra Klein bluntly put it, “This campaign is not merely a choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, but between a normal political party and an abnormal one.”

      The media, like the country itself, have a challenge, and it would not be an easy one even if they wanted to face up to it — which most in the mainstream media do not. They seem perfectly content to broadcast The Donald Trump Show, with all its wild careening and boastful bigotry, because it makes for good entertainment, as well as high ratings and readership. And while the TV convention pundits were quick to comment about how unusual this election is likely to be, they have been slow to point out that the surreal Trump is a threat to this country and to the world — an egocentric charlatan who wallows in his ignorance. We are all at risk.

    • Can mythbusters like Snopes.com keep up in a post-truth era?

      The most scenic way to find truth on the internet is to drive north of Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway, blue ocean foaming to the left, sunlit hills cresting to the right, until Malibu Canyon Road, where you take a sharp right and wind for a few miles through the oak-lined knolls and dips of Calabasas, past gated estates that are home to the likes of Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Mel Gibson, and keep going until you reach an odd-looking wood-and-brick house with a US flag on the porch: the home of David Mikkelson.

      It feels like a good jumping off point for a hike, or a pony trek. But really it is the ideal place to explore fibs like whether Hillary Clinton stole $200,000 in White House furnishings, or whether Donald Trump called Republicans the “dumbest group of voters”, or whether Black Lives Matter protesters chanted for dead cops, or whether Nicolas Cage died in a motorcycle accident, or whether chewing gum takes seven years to pass through the digestive system, or whether hair grows back thicker after being shaved, or, if you really, really must know, whether Richard Gere had an emergency “gerbilectomy” at Cedars-Sinai hospital.

      Mikkelson owns and runs Snopes.com, a hugely popular fact-checking site which debunks urban legends, old wives’ tales, fake news, shoddy journalism and political spin. It started as a hobby in the internet’s Pleistocene epoch two decades ago and evolved into a professional site that millions now rely on as a lie-detector. Every day its team of writers and editors interrogate claims ricocheting around the internet to determine if they are false, true or somewhere in the middle – a cleaning of the Augean stables for the digital era.

    • Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees
    • American Horror Story: How the Democrats found a boogeyman in Hillary’s Emails

      Bernie Sanders won the presidential nomination, but he was cheated out of it by the Democratic National Committee which is the operating body for the Democratic Party. They helped Hillary win the nomination by combining vote miscounts and appointing super delegates whom no one elected to vote for Hillary. So, she won this nomination illegitimately. All of Bernie Sanders’ supporters know that. They have turned against Hillary, and it is unlikely that many of them will vote for Clinton. The Democratic National Committee said: “Who do they dislike more than Hillary? The Russians”, as they’ve been demonizing the Russians for the last 3-4 years. So, the Americans are told to dislike the Russians. That’s why they blame Putin for WikiLeaks’ release of the emails that showed how the Democrats were cheating with votes. Hillary is a crook in many ways. But she has escaped prosecution because she is too useful for the oligarchs. So they shift all the blame onto Putin, saying that this is all a Russian plot to get Donald Trump elected. Is that what this is? I don’t think this will fool many people. It will be played with in the media because the media is not honest, not independent. It’s like the old Soviet media – it has to answer to the master and can’t say much independently. It’s not going to fool the American people that all this email thing was done by Putin.

    • NYT Leads With Russia Hack Conspiracy–Despite ‘No Evidence’ (in Next-to-Last Paragraph)

      The 11th-hour detail might send readers, scratching their heads, back to the beginning.

      “Clinton campaign officials have suggested that Russia might be trying to sway the outcome of the election,” Times reporter Eric Lichtblau writes in the second paragraph. Here, one would think, would have been the place to mention that those officials have no evidence for their claim.

      Instead this fact in consigned to the penultimate paragraph—a lonely wilderness where the vast majority of readers don’t tread—of a piece filled with weasel words and caveats like “said to,” “appears to,” “apparently,” etc. The headline of the digital version has two: “Computer Systems Used by Clinton Campaign Are Said to Be Hacked, Apparently by Russians.”

    • The Convention Film on Hillary Clinton Lied to America

      Follow the money and it is obvious that the Democratic Party as much as the GOP is now the plaything of the super-rich. GOP nominee Trump is one of the few egomaniacal outliers who think they can game the system on their own. But in this election, for the multinational corporate hustlers who view governance as a means of establishing a convenient world order supportive of their plunder, Clinton triangulation best fits the bill.

    • Election mailouts under censorship as fourth candidate barred from running

      Election mailouts submitted by two different lists containing words such as “self-determination” are being delayed by the election regulatory body. The news came as a fourth candidate was disqualified for the September election.

      Nathan Law Kwun-chung of Demosisto and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick both said the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) was consulting the Department of Justice before it can confirm whether any of the mailouts would be allowed to be sent to households for free – a privilege given to candidates.

      Law’s mailouts contained phrases like “civil referendum,” “self-determination movement,” and “autonomy is difficult under Chinese economic pressure.” Those of Chu included policies promoting the idea that Hong Kong people should determine their own political system in a democratic fashion.

    • Government condemns personal attacks against officers responsible for electoral matters

      A spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government said today (August 1) that the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), the Returning Officers (ROs), the Registration and Electoral Office and all officers responsible for electoral affairs have been handling election-related matters in strict accordance with the Basic Law and relevant legislation. This is to ensure that elections are conducted in an open, fair and honest manner.

    • Donald Trump Unleashes More Outrages and Lies at Bizarre News Conference

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump—I can’t believe I wrote those words—gave a news conference Wednesday. Shall we first count the outrages or the lies?

      I think we need to start at the top of the outrage column. Asked about the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, which many experts believe was carried out by agents of the Russian government, Trump speculated that Russia might also have hacked into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Then he asked the Russians to release any deleted emails they might have found there.

    • Occupying the DNC

      In an unusual move for a reclusive layabout, last week I took a bus to Philly to advocate for peace, justice and what I supposed was the American Way, and do my little part to make the Democratic National Convention less of a coronation for the Queen of Chaos.

      Of course, now we know—thanks to anonymous sources on wikileaks—that the DNC rigged the whole campaign in her favor, just as Bernie had been saying. She and they quickly intimated that the Rooskies were behind the hack, but they’re just sayin’ because nobody really knows except them what did it. And now we’re starting to learn how they rigged the convention for her highness too, even though they really didn’t need to.

    • Fast-Growing Corporate Evils That Should Be Media Issues…and Campaign Issues

      Corporations are viewed as untouchable by big business media giants like the Wall Street Journal, which blurts out inanities like “Income inequality is simply not a significant problem.” and “Middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before.”

      In the real world, inequality is destroying the middle class. The following four issues, all part of the cancer of corporatocracy, have grown in intensity and destructiveness in just the last few years. They should be campaign issues, given more than just lip service from corporation-funded candidates like Hillary Clinton, and given more than just passing reference in the news reports of an unresponsive, irresponsible mainstream media.

    • It’s as If They’re Trying to Lose: Democrats’ Optimism Ignores the Struggles of Millions

      Writing in 2008, months before the year’s presidential election, Ezra Klein — an ostensibly clear-headed, data-driven policy wonk — lavished effusive praise upon Barack Obama, praise that verged on the metaphysical.

      “Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate,” Klein informed readers of The American Prospect. “He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.”

      Though they so frequently congratulate themselves for their ability to jettison emotion and opinion in the service of objectivity and respectability, mainstream analysts often, as Klein did above, forget their self-professed role precisely when it would best serve the country.

      For the eventual victory of Obama in 2008 was also — as Noam Chomsky, Adolph Reed, and others noted at the time — a victory for the advertising industry: Obama’s success represented an astounding achievement for the politics of imagery and personality, for a political message that provides a kind of blank slate onto which voters can project their ideological preferences.

    • Sanders Surrogate Nina Turner Considering Green Party’s VP Offer
    • Amid DNC Scandal, Wasserman Schultz Losing Grip on House Race

      The hits keep coming for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the disgraced former chair of the Democratic National Committee, as new polling released on Sunday found that her once-longshot challenger Tim Canova is swiftly closing the gap in the primary race for her House seat.

      According to FloridaPolitics.com, the survey released by the Canova campaign found Wasserman Schultz leading her opponent 46 percent to 38 percent in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. However, after the pollsters provided more information about the outsider candidate—who has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders—to likely voters, Wasserman Schultz’s lead plummeted to just three points, 43 percent to 40 percent.

      What’s more, the survey found that 35 percent of district voters regard her unfavorably, which represents “a staggering decline from her popularity in past campaigns,” the pollsters noted. For Canova, the numbers show that he has a “real chance to win” in the August 30th Democratic primary.

      The survey of 400 random voters in Florida’s 23rd district was conducted late last week, amid the Democratic National Convention and in the immediate aftermath of Wasserman Schultz’s resignation as party chair following the damning WikiLeaks revelations that the Democratic party actively worked to undermine Sanders’ bid for the nomination.

      Wasserman Schultz, a longtime friend and ally of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, was accused throughout the primary campaign of tipping the scales in her favor.

    • Populism Even Republicans Can Get Behind

      A new campaign aims to oust every single member of Congress — from either party — who’s backed by Big Money.

    • An open letter to Hillary from a Bernie delegate

      Like most of the other Bernie Sanders delegates at the national convention last week, I don’t trust you. At the same time, we have a common interest in defeating Donald Trump. That ought to be the basis for a tactical alliance during the next 99 days — but you need to make a major course correction.

      The problem can’t be solved by staying on message and telling your pal Terry McAuliffe to keep quiet. (Have you considered gifting him a vacation to a deserted island for the next hundred days?) He let slip what so many Bernie delegates and supporters around the country already figured — we’d be fools, given your record, to believe that your conversion to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership is genuine.

      But here’s my point: Complacency about getting the votes of people who went for Bernie in the primaries is dangerous, wishful thinking. Many of the same pundits who, two weeks ago, were predicting a Democratic convention of tranquility and unity, are still citing polls that say 85 or 90 percent of Bernie voters will go for you in November. Such assessments are dubious.
      You’re in danger of a steep falloff of turnout from Bernie’s primary voters. And crucially, in swing states, turnout will make all the difference. If an appreciable number of those Bernie voters opt to stay home or vote for a third-party candidate in the fall, here comes President Trump.

      A week ago, polling analysts at FiveThirtyEight concluded that you were coming into the convention “with a real problem.” Even before the release of Democratic National Committee emails showing that the supposedly evenhanded DNC was aiding your campaign, “Clinton had about a third of Sanders supporters left to try to win over.” That’s easily a million swing-state voters.

    • Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Six More States as Signature Counts More than Double State Requirements

      Voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for Green Party presumptive Presidential nominee Jill Stein, as well as several local- and state-level Green Party candidates, in six more states as of today. Green Party ballot-access signature drives in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Jersey, Vermont, and Missouri easily surpassed, and in most cases more than doubled, the required number of signatures to secure a ballot line.

      In Kansas, 10,908 signatures were submitted, double the required threshhold of 5,000 signatures. This is the first time the Green Party will be on the ballot in Kansas since 2000.

      In Pennsylvania, around 22,000 signatures were submitted, several times over the current requirement of 5,000, which had been lowered through a successful court challenge last month.

    • Society Is Failing Our Families: Sister Simone Campbell on Inequality, Donald Trump & Women’s Health

      Last week in Philadelphia, a caravan of Nuns on the Bus pulled up to the Democratic National Convention after visiting 13 states, where they hosted conversations with ordinary Americans on both sides of the political spectrum in an effort to bridge the divide. To learn more about their journey, we sat down with the caravan’s leader, Sister Simone Campbell. She’s a lawyer and poet and the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice.

    • Popular delusions: Corbynism constructs its people

      The idea of the people is now as pervasive on the left as the idea of class once was. Its pervasiveness owes to a surge in left populism. With Corbynism, the UK caught what swept Europe post-crisis. But continental populism’s successes highlight the divergence. Syriza carefully constructed a popular platform through practical solidarity work. Podemos harnessed media messaging to articulate a popular project around points of popular grievance. Insofar as people power is possible within capitalism at all, these interventions worked.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black, White, and Blue: Working Class Self-Defeat in Somerville

      According to the Associated Press, roughly 50 police officers and their supporters rallied to protest a Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner that has been hanging outside City Hall in the predominantly white and historically working class Boston suburb of Somerville for a year. The primarily Caucasian haters of the banner chanted “All lives matter!,” “Take it down!,” and “Cops lives matter!” It was part of the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.

      According to the president of the Somerville Police Employees Association, the banner sends an “exclusionary message” and “implies that Somerville police officers are somehow responsible for racially motivated decision-making against minorities.”

      A local white firefighter claimed that BLM had become “almost synonymous with killing cops.” He’s talking the line taken by the decrepit white supremacist Rudolph Guliani (a close Donald Trump ally and adviser) on FOX News.

      But BLM is “almost synonymous with killing cops” only in the minds of people who can’t differentiate between a civil rights movement two lone gunmen. Yes, two mentally unhinged Black military veterans – one in Dallas and one in Baton Rouge – got pushed over the edge by recent videos of Black men being senselessly killed by white police officers. And yes, the ongoing epidemic of such shootings is what drove the rise of BLM. But, no, BLM activists have never advocated “killing cops.” They have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from such actions.

    • Chelsea Manning faces punishment for suicide attempt, highlighting injustice of US prison system

      The ALCU have announced that Chelsea Manning is facing disciplinary action at the military prison where she is serving her 35 year sentence. Incredibly, the military is seeking to punish Chelsea in connection with her attempt to take her own life on 5 July this year. We have written previously about how officials at Fort Leavenworth abused Chelsea’s rights by informing the media about her medical issues before her family, friends or legal team.

      Chelsea has dictated details of her charge sheet to a supporter over the phone. If convicted of these administrative charges, Chelsea potentially faces penalties including indefinite solitary confinement and reclassification out of general population, with all of the social and communicative restrictions that implies. Her chances of being granted parole may also be impacted.

    • Sadly, The Deceased Muslim Army Captain’s Mother Is Wrong: Women Are Anything But Men’s Equals Under Islam

      Sadly, women are anything but “equal” under Islam — and the Quran is supposed to be the words of Allah, brought by the Angel Gabriel to Mohammed. It is thus to be followed unquestioningly and not interpreted as a historical document. (Christians are not going around slaughtering their neighbors for adultery.)

    • Shooting of 76-year-old man by State Police a ‘tragic mistake,’ family friend says

      Sykes’ wife woke him up and he went into the living room. At that point, according to longtime family friend and attorney Rich Kaser, Sykes looked out through the French doors leading to a deck where he saw the shadow of a person outside.

      Kaser said Sykes went back into his bedroom and got his shotgun.

      Sykes “felt intruders were trying to get in and he was yelling to his wife to call 911,” Kaser said.

      What happened next is subject of investigation. Authorities say two state troopers had come to the home after mistakenly being told it was the location of a 911 hang-up call.

      According to authorities, shots were exchanged. One trooper fired four times and Sykes fired his shotgun once.

    • Wife of Raif Badawi, Imprisoned Saudi Blogger, Feels Pain From Afar

      The story of how Ensaf Haidar first encountered her husband, Raif Badawi, is an unusual version of “meeting cute.”

      In 2000, Ms. Haidar was a cloistered young woman studying the Quran in a small town in Saudi Arabia, where she lived with her family and rarely interacted with men.

      It all started with an accidental meeting. Ms. Haidar was using a borrowed phone and mistakenly returned a call from Mr. Badawi. At first she hung up, but he called back, and kept calling.

      Over time she gave in, leading to a secret, phone-based romance and eventually, marriage. Now, 16 years later, the couple’s romance endures under extraordinary circumstances — across thousands of miles, through prison walls and against the backdrop of an international fight over freedom of expression.

      Mr. Badawi, 32, has been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2012, serving a 10-year sentence for creating and posting in an online forum called Free Saudi Liberals Network. He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes, delivered 50 at a time.

      The first flogging was carried out in a public square in January 2015, provoking an international outcry. A despondent Ms. Haidar watched a cellphone video of the flogging that circulated online. The second one has been postponed many times.

    • Hungary’s Orban says “every single migrant is a terror risk”

      Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said “every single migrant represents a public security and terror risk” and made clear his country refuses to accept the quota system that the EU Commission tries to impose.

      Orban, speaking after hosting a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, said Hungary is willing to take back some migrants from Austria under European rules, but would then return them to their countries of origin, mostly Kosovo and Albania

      Orban made it clear that Hungary would take back only those migrants who first entered the European Union by registering in Hungary, in accordance with the so-called Dublin asylum rules. The return of migrants, like those from the Middle East who entered the EU through Greece, would be rejected.

    • Whipped in public just for daring to go on a date: Unmarried couples are flogged for violating Sharia law in Indonesia

      In total, three Acehnese couples were sentenced to receive public lashes for violating Sharia law in a brutal new crackdown in the region.

      Under the law men and women, who are not spouses, are not allowed to get too close due to the ‘khalwat’ offence – and punishment is by public caning.

    • Slow-motion replays can distort criminal responsibility

      Slow-motion video replays of crimes shown in courtrooms may be distorting the outcomes of trials, according to a US study.

      Researchers found that slowing down footage of violent acts caused viewers to see greater intent to harm than when viewed at normal speed.

      Viewing a killing only in slow motion made a jury three times more likely to convict of first degree murder.

      The research has been published in the journal PNAS.

      The importance of video evidence in courtrooms has grown in tandem with its supply in recent years.

      As well as the mountains of smartphone recordings, CCTV also routinely captures assaults, robberies and even murders. Some police officers even wear on-body cameras.

      Courts all over the world are willing to accept these recordings in evidence and they are sometimes shown in slow motion, to help juries make up their minds about what really happened within the often chaotic environment of a crime scene.

    • Abuses against Children Detained as National Security Threats

      The rise of extremist armed groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram has brought renewed attention to the plight of children—both as victims of abuses, and as fighters and militants. All too often, the concern and assistance governments offer abuse victims does not extend to those children caught up on the wrong side of the law or front line.

      Human Rights Watch field research around the world increasingly finds that in countries embroiled in civil strife or armed conflict, state security forces arrest and detain children for reasons of “national security.” Often empowered by new counterterrorism legislation, they apprehend children who are linked to non-state armed groups or who pose other perceived security threats, and often hold them without charge or trial for months or even years. Their treatment and conditions of detention frequently violate international legal standards.

    • Human Rights Watch Reports That US Government Tortured Children

      What kind of US government would pay two US psychologists $81 million to help the CIA devise torture techniques? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/cia-torture-contractors_n_6296758.html Only a lawless government with no respect for US law and international law.

    • Ultra-Right Annotated Edition of Pocket Constitution Tops Amazon Charts After Khizr Khan’s DNC Speech

      Following Gold Star father Khizr Khan’s powerful speech at the Democratic convention last week, sales of pocket Constitutions have skyrocketed. But the edition topping Amazon’s charts – right up there with the new Harry Potter book — comes with annotations and right-wing commentary from Glenn Beck’s favorite conspiracy theorist.

      “Let me ask you: have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” Khan said last week in Philadelphia, pulling his edition out of his pocket. “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law’.”

      But the version that Amazon is touting as a best-seller is not the one Khan held up. And readers looking for those words in the edition there will be misled. It’s published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, a fringe Mormon group focused on teaching a fundamentalist interpretation of the founding documents.

      The Washington Post, Forbes, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and PBS NewsHour have all noted the extraordinary popularity the NCCS version is enjoying on Amazon — but all failed to note the edition’s unusual features.

      The Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, simply described it as having been “printed by the nonpartisan National Center for Constitutional Studies”

      Some Amazon shoppers expressed their outrage. One reviewer wrote, “please do not get this edition.” Another warned: “tread with caution.” Yet another wrote: “Just give me the document our wise forefathers wrote, not a bunch of excess quotes and jargon to convince me they were right.”

    • An Overdue Examination of Detroit’s Forgotten Rape Kits

      Over 11,000 untested rape kits were found in a Detroit police warehouse in 2009. Some of the kits – many containing the DNA of attackers needed for prosecution — were decades old, leaving hundreds of victims without any hope for justice.

      Detroit is by no means the only city that has faced such a large backlog of rape kits in recent years. Memphis recently uncovered 12,000; Cleveland, 4,000; and Miami, nearly 3,000.

    • We must abandon the idea of legal protest

      On 16th August 1819, some sixty to eighty thousand people assembled in St Peter’s Field, central Manchester. Men and women, young and old. They had gathered to protest for greater suffrage, and for an end to the Corn Laws that had plunged many into poverty, exacerbating the disastrous effects of the famine ushered in by the Napoleonic Wars. The local magistrates, understandably alarmed, read out the following fifty three words to the few who could hear them over the din:

      “Our sovereign lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King.”

      This is the infamous Riot Act: a piece of legislation giving local authorities the power to disband groups of twelve or more people, or else. A gesture of slick political magicianship designed to transform a crowd of citizens into a dangerous mob. This particular dangerous mob, of course, did not disperse after the Act was read. So, hundreds of heavily armed militiamen set about the task of preventing tumults and riotous assemblies – with swords, with horses and with guns. Fifteen protesters were killed, and hundreds injured.

    • Scientists and engineers as partners in protecting human rights

      Growing interest in pro bono service among scientists and engineers is generating new opportunities for human rights organizations.

      When the government told residents of Temacapulín in Mexico that—as a result of dam construction—they had to leave their homes or they would drown, the community immediately reached out to human rights lawyers. But where could they turn for help understanding the engineering plans and the environmental impact assessments? How could they develop alternative proposals in their negotiations with the government?

    • The Meaning of BLM

      Police boast frequently about their own bravery. Where is that vaunted courage when they witness one of their own obviously murder an unarmed civilian? We see virtually no bold selflessness in those cases. Instead, our “good” cops act more like good Germans, silent in the face of blatant lawbreaking by their brothers in blue.

    • The European migration crisis – have we lost the moral high ground?

      The scope of the problem is gargantuan. There are more than eighteen million displaced persons and refugees in Africa, the highest this number has been in history. Eight armed conflicts have begun or intensified since 2010, resulting in a seventeen percent spike in the number of refugees and displaced persons in Sub-Saharan Africa, per UNHCR.

    • ACLU Provides Constitutions for All After Khan Disgraces Trump in DNC Speech

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is handing out free, pocket-sized U.S. Constitutions to meet a rising demand after Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim-American soldier killed in action, offered to lend his copy to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention last week.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Trade Groups are Once Again Challenging Net Neutrality Rulings

      The recent court ruling that upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules is still making waves. The rules were upheld after a three-judge panel reviewed them last summer, classifying broadband as a regulated telecommunications service. It’s that classification that is now at issue again, as trade groups CTIA, USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association on Friday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to rehear their challenge to the ruling.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Florida International University Loses Trademark Appeal Against Florida National University

        It’s too rare that we see courts get trademark questions right on the merits of actual customer confusion, so it’s nice to highlight some examples of when they do get it right. It’s even more fun when the court takes the time to add just a dash of snark and narrow-eyed language into its opinion. Such appears to be the case in an appeals ruling between Florida International University, a public college, and Florida National University, a for-profit institution. FIU sued FNU for trademark infringement and, having lost its initial case, took it to appeal. The claim FIU made is that potential students were confused between the two schools based solely on the similarity of their names.

    • Copyrights

      • Don’t Wrap Anti-Competitive Pay-TV Practices In A Copyright Flag

        The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to break cable and satellite TV companies’ monopoly over the hardware and software used by their subscribers. Those companies are fighting back hard, probably to preserve the $20 billion in revenue they collect every year from set-top box rental fees. Major TV producers and copyright holders are pushing back too. They want to control how you can search for TV shows and discover new ones, and the order in which shows appear to you. And they want to limit the features of your home and mobile TV setups, like how and when you can control the playback.

        One tactic these major media companies are using to try to derail the FCC’s proposal is to claim that allowing customers to buy pay-TV viewing technology from independent vendors (something that Congress actually ordered the FCC to do way back in 1996) somehow violates “principles of copyright law.”

        As we explained to the FCC along with top legal scholars, the plan to break the set-top box monopoly doesn’t change copyright law or allow anyone to get pay-TV content without paying for it. But by crying “copyright,” cable companies and TV producers have rallied opposition to the FCC’s plan from some members of Congress, and possibly from the Copyright Office. It’s a misleading tactic.

        Today, TV studios influence the design and features of home video equipment by specifying them as terms in the deals they make with cable companies. The cable companies have to accept those terms because under copyright law, they need permission from major copyright holders (the TV studios) to transmit programming to subscribers. And because cable companies have a monopoly over the technology on the subscriber’s end—the set-top boxes and apps that can access cable channels—the TV studios effectively have veto power over that technology.

      • Blizzard Allows Release Of Fan-Game It Initially Tried To Shut Down, Reaps Rewards It Should Have Had All Along

        We’ve dinged Blizzard quite a bit in these pages for acting overly protectionist of its intellectual property in the past. And that dinging has been well deserved, with Blizzard doing things like trying to twist copyright law as a way to combat cheat software within its multiplayer games, to use intellectual property as an excuse to shut down a World of Warcraft vanilla fan-server, and has otherwise not always acted in human or awesome ways towards its own fans.

        But sometimes, with much kicking and screaming and the insistence of making many a mistake along the way, even a company like Blizzard can manage to do what game companies like DoubleFine have already done: loosen the leash on its own IP and reap the rewards. StarCraft Universe is a fan-made mod that consists of a full new game in a genre that Blizzard had never taken the StarCraft universe into.

      • Copyright Office Intent On Changing The Part Of Copyright That Protects Libraries & Archives, Even Though No One Wants It Changed

        It’s no secret that the US Copyright Office has been acting pretty nutty lately. For decades, the office has basically carried the water of the legacy copyright/entertainment industries, but at least they would sometimes try to appear marginally balanced. Now it appears that all caution has been thrown to the wind and the entire office is actively looking to suppress and attack user rights and innovation. In just the past few weeks and months, we’ve pointed out a series of really bad ideas on reforming the notice-and-takedown safe harbors of the DMCA, a separate plan that would effectively strip tons of websites of their DMCA safe harbors by requiring them to remember to keep re-registering, and a disturbing willingness to totally misrepresent the copyright issues at play with regards to the FCC’s set-top box proposal.

        So, perhaps, we shouldn’t be all that surprised that the Copyright Office appears to be making a move to screw over libraries now, too. Section 108 of the Copyright Act has explicit carve-outs and exemptions for libraries and archivists. These are stronger than fair use, because they are clear exemptions from copyright, rather than fuzzy guidelines that have to be adjudicated in court. Section 108 is super important for libraries and archives (including the Internet Archive). So why does the Copyright Office want to change it? That’s a bit of a mystery in terms of public explanations, but it’s not hard to take some guesses.

        The Copyright Office started exploring this issue a few years back, insisting that Section 108 was “outdated” for the digital age. And while there are many aspects of copyright law that are obsolete for the digital age, the exemptions for libraries and archives were not among them. And everyone let the Copyright Office know that. And… the Copyright Office has basically ignored them all. Back in June, the Copyright Office announced via the Federal Register that it was moving forward with putting together recommendations on changing Section 108, and anyone who had comments could “schedule meetings in Washington, DC to take place during late June through July 2016.”

      • Getty Makes Nonsensical Statement On Photographer Carol Highsmith’s Lawsuit For Falsely Claiming Copyright

        First of all, huh? “The content in question has been part of the public domain for many years”? Actually, it has not. As Highsmith noted, she retained the copyright to her images, but rather did a deal with the Library of Congress to make the works available royalty free. It was basically a Creative Commons attribution license before Creative Commons existed. She still retains the copyright. So the images are not public domain.

        And, uh, even if they were, what a weird claim for Getty to make, because it was a Getty subsidiary that then threatened Highsmith for posting her own images. If Getty now claims it believes the images were in the public domain why was it shaking her down for money? This makes no sense at all.

        Finally, trying to pawn blame off on Alamy is ridiculous. Alamy is a co-defendant in the lawsuit, but LCS and Piscount are both subsidiaries of Getty, and both sent Highsmith letters demanding payment. It’s almost as if Getty’s PR people have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about.

      • Getty Images Bites Back in $1 Billion Copyright Dispute

        Last week Carol Highsmith filed a copyright complaint against Getty Images after an agent threatened the photographer for using her own photograph without their permission. Now Getty is fighting back, warning that it will defend itself vigorously if the dispute can’t be settled.

      • Peter Sunde’s Pirate Innovation Dream Won’t Happen Anytime Soon

        This week, Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde reiterated his belief that the pirate scene and its sites will need to innovate and collaborate to stay alive. Intrigued, TF spoke with several players in the torrent scene to see if something like this might emerge sometime soon. The upshot: don’t hold your breath.

      • uTorrent Quietly Ditches Rating and Comment Features

        Without alerting its users, the team behind the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent has removed the software’s widely used comment and rating functionality. It’s unclear why the functionality was stripped, but it’s possible that spam issues or legal concerns played a role.

      • Anti-Piracy Group Reveals Personal Details of Counter-Notice Senders

        In what appears to be a retaliatory move against DMCA notice archive Lumen Database, anti-piracy outfit Remove Your Media has launched a transparency report of its own. The report lists people who have sent the company DMCA counter-notices but it goes much further than Lumen by publishing their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.

08.01.16

Links 1/8/2016: LXLE 16.04.1, Simplicity Linux 16.07

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Normal People that Uses Linux IV

      Where you guys missing those small posts from which I describe my non geeky friends that for one reason or another started to use linux?

      I think there`s quite a longe time I don’t write anything about this, but then four of my non programmers, non geecky friends asked me to help them how to linux, and what where the differences – the main ones – from the other operating systems, so this time I introduce you Loli, a.k.a Pacifica.

    • Tech Support Scammer vs Kali Linux
    • Microsoft to Cut Thousands of Jobs

      Microsoft is cutting more jobs.

      The business technology giant said in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it plans to lay off an additional 2,850 workers to the previously announced 1,850 jobs it said it would slash in May.

      In total, Microsoft will cut 4,700 jobs worldwide by the end of the company’s fiscal year 2017.

  • Kernel Space

    • NFS Client Sees Some Performance Improvements With Linux 4.8

      The NFS client updates for the Linux 4.8 kernel feature a few prominent additions.

    • Btrfs ENOSPC Rework Lands For Linux 4.8, Boosts Throughput & Lowers Latency

      The Btrfs “enospc-rework” that’s been in development for several months by Facebook’s Josef Bacik is landing with the Linux 4.8 kernel.

      The ENOSPC rework is about reworking the handling for no-space checking/handling by the file-system. The existing code would encounter issues with huge latency spikes, too much being flushed, and not all of the file-system’s flushing being asynchronous. The code by Josef Bacik is making use of tickets for reservations of space on the file-system. The new ticket-based reservation approach is explained further by this patch.

    • Linux Kernel 4.1.29 LTS Is a Small Update with ALSA Fixes, eCryptfs Improvements

      Linux kernel developer and maintainer of the Linux 4.1 and 3.18 long-term supported kernel series, Alexander Levin, announced the general availability of the Linux 4.1.29 LTS kernel update.

      Looking at the appended shortlog, we can help but notice that Linux kernel 4.1.29 LTS is a small release in the Linux 4.1 LTS series, changing a total of 20 files, with 57 insertions and 77 deletions. Among the fixes, we can mention several improvements to the ALSA sound system, a few fixes to the MIPS, PowerPC, and x86 hardware architectures, as well as some enhancements to the eCryptfs file system.

    • P-State Algorithm Change, Schedutil IOWait Boosting

      While still in early form and won’t be merged for this next kernel cycle (v4.8), a series of patches were published on Sunday to improve CPU frequency selection under Linux, including an algorithm change for the Intel P-State scaling driver.

      Rafael Wysocki posted the [RFC][PATCH 0/7] cpufreq / sched: cpufreq_update_util() flags and iowait boosting patch series looking for feedback on some CPU frequency scaling related changes. Wysocki admits he hasn’t even thoroughly tested the impact of the changes yet, but is looking to see if other developers agree it would be a step in the right direction.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Releases New FirePro Unified Driver for GNU/Linux Operating Systems

        AMD released recently a new version of its AMD FirePro Software Suite (a.k.a. AMD FirePro Unified Driver) for GNU/Linux operating systems, version 15.302.2301, bringing more improvements and bug fixes.

        According to the release notes, the AMD FirePro Unified Driver 15.302.2301 update fixes a crash and some model rendering issues with the Maya 2017 computer animation and modeling software, and addresses an invalid error reported by the Tessellation control.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive on Windows

        For the past few weeks, we have been working hard to make Kdenlive work on Windows. Cross compiling using MXE has been an awesome journey :-), requiring us to cross compile most of Kdenlive’s dependencies (KDE Frameworks, MLT etc) for Windows.

        With a lot of help from Vincent and Jean-Baptiste, we have had success in building Kdenlive, MLT and all other dependencies for Windows. All that is left is just debugging a few issues on app startup, creation of the Windows installer script and we will be good to go.

      • Almost there… – Google Summer of Code
      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #8 #9

        I spent almost a week to refactoring the code. I’m using ES6 syntax and it is supporting class inheritance. One of my concern is Javascript is prototype-based object oriented programming. I’m still not sure about using Class or Prototype inheritance in Neverland. I havent decided yet so there are still redundant parts in the code base.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Maps has tiles again
      • GNOME Maps Should Now Work Again, Switches From Mapquest To Mapbox

        The GNOME Maps program has seen update in the GNOME 3.14/3.16/3.18/3.20/3.21 series with new releases to change its tiling provider so that the mapping program will work once again.

        GNOME Maps had been relying upon Mapquest for providing the maps/tiles, but they changed their service around and thus broke GNOME Maps support in the process. GNOME developers weren’t notified in advance so were left out in the cold when they lost Mapquest access.

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux explained

      Many of us know about Puppy Linux as one of the smallest Linux distributions and it is true. Back in june 2003 team behind this distribution released the first version of Puppy Linux. It is an independent Linux distribution. Let’s see some important highlights of this distribution.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 16.4, Build 160731, with KDE 4.15 together with KDE Frameworks 5.18.0 and kernel 4.6.4

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 16.4 KDE Live DVD.

      • LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” Released Based on Lubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Screenshot Tour

        After being in development for the past couple of months, the LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” GNU/Linux distribution sees an official release based on the recently announced Lubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

        Coming only a few days after the release of the RC build, the final LXLE 16.04.1 “Eclectica” build is here, available for download for 64-bit and 32-bit computers. It includes pretty much the same features that were available in the Release Candidate milestone, such as support for the Btrfs file system by default, support for multi-monitor configurations, and the implementation of an Expose-like window picker

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 now available

        We are pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 16.07. As with recent versions of Simplicity, Mini and Desktop are based on the excellent LXPup and uses LXDE as the desktop environment. However, as an experiment, X is based on Debian via the fantastic AntiX distro. It uses LXDE as the desktop environment like Mini and Desktop, but as far as features go, it is closer to Mini.

        As with our previous releases, Mini (Previously Simplicity Linux Netbook Edition) is our heavily cut down version. It comes with Flash preinstalled along with the latest version of Firefox. Desktop is our fully featured distribution, based on the same base as Mini but rather than web based applications; it comes loaded with Flash, Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GIMP, and Mplayer.

      • Linux Top 3: Simplicity 16.07, LXLE Eclectica and Lubuntu 16.10

        While GNOME and KDE are perhaps the two best known and most widely deployed open source desktop environments used in Linux, LXDE is an increasingly popular choice. In this week’s Linux Planet Linx Top 3 roundup we take a quick look at three LXDE distro released this past week.

      • Simplicity Linux 16.07 Has Arrived, Offers Flavors Based on LXPup and Debian

        Today, July 31, 2016, the Simplicity Linux developers proudly announced the general availability of the Simplicity Linux 16.07 GNU/Linux operating system for personal computers.

        Simplicity Linux 16.07 comes three months after the previous stable release, Simplicity Linux 16.04, to bring lots of updated components and the latest GNU/Linux technologies. As usual, the distribution ships with the Mini and Desktop editions based on the lightweight LXPup OS, a Puppy Linux derivative using the LXDE desktop environment.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Talk – Using Fedora in the classroom

          So I’m sitting here in Kraków, doing some last-minute preparation for my talk (Fedora in the Classroom) at the upcoming Flock conference next week.

        • You Can Now Run Flatpak Universal Apps Outside a Linux Desktop Environment

          The Flatpak developers, through Alex Larsson, announced on the last day of July 2016 that a new update of the Flatpak universal binary application format is available, version 0.6.8.

          According to the release notes, Flatpak 0.6.8 is here to introduce a bunch of goodies for those who want to either distribute their open source projects as universal binaries for GNU/Linux operating systems that support the Flatpak standalone format, or users who like an easy method of installing the latest software releases on their distributions.

        • Flatpak 0.6.8 Adds No-Desktop Mode

          Flatpak 0.6.8 was released this weekend as the newest feature release of this GNOME sandboxing tech formerly known as XDG-App.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” Officially Released Based on Debian 8.5 “Jessie”

          Today, July 31, 2016, the development team behind the Parsix GNU/Linux operating system have had the great pleasure of announcing the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik.”

        • Parsix 8.10 Screenshot Tour
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Annoucing netplan — Consolidated YAML network configuration across Ubuntu

            The purpose of the new “netplan” project is to unify and clean up networking configuration in Ubuntu. Currently, Desktop/Server installers generate ifupdown /etc/network/interfaces, MaaS/curtin/cloud-init use a YAML based format that gets translated to /e/n/i, and there is currently no simple way to pre-configure NetworkManager, and no support for networkd.

          • Ubuntu Plans For Consolidated Network Configuration

            For Ubuntu 16.10, Canonical is planning to make use of a new project to unify and clean-up network configuration across Ubuntu projects from the desktop/server/cloud versions to MaaS and other forms.

          • Ubuntu Moves Closer With Session Startup On Systemd

            With Ubuntu 16.10 developers are finally finishing their migration to systemd by switching over the starting of graphical desktop sessions from Upstart to systemd.

          • Ubuntu Phone – The Meizu Pro 5

            In many ways, for me, smart phones are the realization of a childhood fantasy: computers small enough to fit in a pocket and powerful enough to perform common computing tasks. There is a certain amount of wonder I feel when I look up trivia, get directions or play chess on a device that can sit in my pocket and only needs to be recharged once every day or two. However, while I greatly admire the technology that goes into a smart phone, the experience often suffers from dozens of small issues.

            Over the years I have tried most of the major smart phone platforms. While each had their strengths, they also introduced frustrations which sent me on to another platform. Early Blackberry phones I found bulky and difficult to navigate. While I found more modern Blackberries much more comfortable and I enjoyed their physical keyboards, the Blackberry company seems to be killing off their classic phones in favour of touch screens and giant square devices that won’t fit in my pocket. I briefly tried a few generations of the iPhone, but never felt comfortable with the interface (iOS seems to interpret my touch gestures as vague suggestions) and I found it difficult to find ways to perform common tasks. The iPhone also feels uncomfortably locked into the Apple ecosystem, making it a poor fit for me. Android is the platform I have used the longest. My first Android regularly crashed and lost its wi-fi connection. My most recent Android is much more stable, but still loses its network connection and is bundled with software I cannot remove which insists on nagging me on a regular basis. I very briefly tried a Windows phone and while I found the interface sometimes had the familiar feel of a desktop computer, the illusion of familiarity did not hold up. The Windows phone felt like a Barbie doll – a recognizable imitation of a familiar concept, but warped and stiff, ultimately something I’d be embarrassed being seen with on a date.

            For the past few years I, like many other Linux enthusiasts, have been looking forward to a more pure mobile GNU/Linux experience. Ubuntu phones started appearing in Europe last year, but the models from Bq appear to work on frequencies not compatible with (or not ideal for) North American mobile networks. Meizu has launched the Meizu Pro 5 which is available in Android and Ubuntu flavours. The Meizu phone appears to offer complete compatibly with mobile networks in Canada and the United States of America and I was eager to try it. Upon request, Canonical was kind enough to send me a Pro 5 model to explore and what follows are my impressions of the device.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18 Xfce Edition Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

              We’ve been tipped by one of our regular readers that the final release of the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Edition operating system is now available for download from the official channels.

              While there’s no release announcement at the moment of writing this article, we all know already that the ISO images of new Linux Mint versions appear on the main FTP channels a few days before project leader Clement Lefebvre informs the community about the release, so that all the mirrors get in sync with the main download server.

              Therefore, the final, production-ready Linux Mint 18 Xfce Edition ISOs are now available for download, supporting 64-bit and 32-bit PCs. Based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system and powered by the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” comes with a great set of new features.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Chomsky: Friendly Cars—So What? Enough With the Worries of a Robot Takeover!

      By the time Chomsky began teaching at MIT, the Turing Test, a test for evaluating a machine’s ability to think, was already in existence.

      “You can win $100,000 if you develop a machine that’s a program that can pass the so-called Turing Test—fool a human, fool a jury of humans, into thinking it’s a person, not a machine,” said Chomsky, referencing the average salary of humans working in the field of artificial intelligence.

      However, as Chomsky points out, “All of this work overlooks the brief sentence in Turing’s paper: The question of whether machines think is too meaningless to deserve discussion,” he paraphrased.

      On July 21, Masayoshi Son, the CEO of the Japanese technology company SoftBank, announced a partnership with Honda to develop a car that detects the driver’s emotions and can talk. According to Son, “the number of transistors on a chip is projected to exceed the number of cells in a human brain,” Bloomberg reported.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Drug Industry Will Make Hospitals Obsolete, Biotech CEO Says on DNC Panel

      The CEO of the world’s largest biotechnology trade group said at a panel discussion at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday that Americans need to take more drugs “instead of going to the hospital.”

      Jim Greenwood is the head of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents companies involved with such things as genetically engineered crops and prescription drugs.

      Speaking at an event put on by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — a think tank funded by Google, IBM, Cisco, eBay, and other corporate underwriters — Greenwood argued that high prescription-drug prices are a boon to the economy and public health.

      The U.S. already has the highest prices for drugs in the industrialized world, but Greenwood argued that prescription drugs, regardless of their price, lower overall health care costs.

    • Six More Charged in Flint Water Crisis, but Still No Accountability for Snyder

      Six additional state employees now face criminal charges for hiding unsafe lead levels leading up to the Flint water crisis—but Gov. Rick Snyder and his top officials continue to evade accountability.

      Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the charges in a press conference on Friday, in which he vowed that “the families of Flint will not be forgotten; we will provide the justice they deserve.”

      Of those charged, Schuette said: “Their offenses vary but there is an overall theme and repeated pattern. Each of these individuals attempted to bury, or cover up, to downplay or hide information that contradicted their own narrative, their story. Their story was there was nothing wrong with Flint water and it was perfectly safe to use.”

      “These individuals concealed the truth,” he said. “They were criminally wrong to do so.”

      According to news reports, those charged are Michigan Department of Health and Human Services workers Nancy Peeler, Corinne Miller, and Robert Scott and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality employees Leanne Smith, Adam Rosenthal, and Patrick Cook.

    • New charges announced in Flint water crisis

      Peeler, Miller and Scott were charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to commit misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

      Shekter Smith was charged with misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

      Cook is accused of misconduct in office, conspiracy to engage in misconduct in office and neglect of duty.

      Rosenthal was charged with misconduct in office, conspiracy to tamper with evidence, tampering with evidence and neglect.

    • Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU

      Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese.

      [...]

      The report argues that more people than ever before are eating processed foods as a large part of their diet. Bad for health, but good for the industry because sugar-rich processed foods have the highest profit margins (unlike fruit and vegetables), and the easiest way to make industrial, processed food cheap, long-lasting and enhance the taste is to add extra sugar as well as salt and fat to products.

  • Security

    • Endian Firewall Community 3.2.1 Adds Extended 3G Modem Support, Linux Kernel 4.1

      Today, July 31, 2016, the Endian Team proudly announced that the Endian Firewall Community 3.2 GNU/Linux distribution is out of Beta and ready to be deployed in stable, production environments.

      Endian Firewall Community 3.2.1 is now the latest stable and most advanced version of the CentOS-based GNU/Linux operating system that has been designed to be used in routers and network firewall devices. And it looks like it’s also a pretty major update that introduces lots of enhancements, many new features, as well as the usual under-the-hood improvements.

    • HTTPS Bypassed On Windows, Mac, And Linux

      HTTPS encryption assured users that the addresses of the websites they visit could not be monitored or viewed by data snoopers and other such malicious users. However, a new hack has broken this encryption. This hack can be carried out on any network, most notably in Wi-Fi hotspots, where this encryption is most required.

    • Intel’s Crosswalk open source dev library has serious SSL bug

      Developers using Intel’s Crosswalk SSL library: it’s time to patch and push out an upgrade.

      Crosswalk is a cross-platform library that supports deployment to Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but the bug is Android-specific.

      The library has a bug in how it handles SSL errors, and as a result, end users on Android could be tricked into accepting MITM certificates.

      As consultancy Nightwatch Cyber Security explains, if a user accepts one invalid or self-signed SSL certificate, Crosswalk remembers that choice and applies it to all future certificates.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

      If you engage with peace organizations, you will very quickly be told repeatedly that nobody gives a damn about distant mass murder, and that consequently a smart organizer will talk to them about something local, such as the local impact of the financial burden of war, or perhaps the militarization of the police, or local recruitment, or local environmental damage from military bases, etc., but mostly the financial cost.

    • Migration – follow the money

      The EU must acknowledge its part in fuelling the drivers of migration and work to stop them, including the establishment of an embargo on arms sales to the Middle East and North Africa.

    • America uses stealthy submarines to hack other countries’ systems

      When Donald Trump effectively called for Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails Wednesday, the GOP nominee’s remarks touched off a (predictable) media firestorm. Here was a presidential candidate from a major U.S. party encouraging a foreign government to target American interests with cyberspying — an act that could not only expose national security information but also potentially undermine the actual security infrastructure of the United States.

      [...]

      It’s unclear how far behind — or ahead — other navies may be when it comes to submarine-based cyber offense. Many of the cybersecurity and military experts we interviewed for this story had hardly heard of the Defense Department’s own undersea cyber capabilities.

      But, Baker said, “espionage is a game where there’s a lot of following the leader — so it’s perfectly possible it’s happening in this field as well.”

    • Brennan Calls Out the Press for Giving ISIS More Credit Than They Deserve

      Both James Clapper and John Brennan appeared at the Aspen Security Forum this week (it was Brennan’s first appearance, apparently). As I may lay out, Clapper was by far the more measured of the two. But this exchange, between Brennan and Dina Temple-Raston, deserves more attention. She notes that ISIS gets credit for attacks (she doesn’t name any, but I’d point to the San Bernardino killing and the Orlando massacre) that seem incidentally motivated at the last minute by ISIS, but generally are motivated by other issues.

    • ‘US foreign policy is a marketing strategy for selling weapon’ – Jill Stein

      Democrats and Republicans are controlled by banks, oil giants, insurance companies and war profiteers, says Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. Her party, she claims, gets no money from corporations and has liberty to really address problems.

      [...]

      The US spends a trillion dollars a year on its military, says Jill Stein. If that budget is cut it in half, the American economy will have the money it needs at home to provide for free public higher education, insure any health costs that aren’t covered already and work with other countries to address the problem of climate change – which remains one of the crucial problems globally, she believes.

      “Few people know what we pay for this catastrophic military which shoots first and asks questions later. In fact, what we have is a foreign policy which is essentially a marketing strategy for selling weapon,” she said. “We’ve had these wars for oil – which are opportunities to sell weapons and to come and dear other people’s fossil fuel resources, which is basically what our military is doing. Why do we have a thousand bases for a hundred countries around the world? This isn’t something that other countries do.”

      The reason why the US keeps doing so is to safeguard its energy supplies and their routes of transportation, Stein says.

      “This can no longer be justified – it’s all obsolete when we have a Green New Deal, which will reach 100 percent wind, water and sun clean renewable energy entirely by 2030. So, we can begin phasing down this network and stop stealing other people’s oil right now,” she said.

      The US spent six trillion dollars on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – both of which failed, the presidential candidate said.

      The US killed a million people in Iraq alone, “not winning the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East to say the least. And what do we have for it? Failed states, mass refuge migrations that are tearing apart Europe as well as the Middle East, and creating worse terrorist threats,” she added.

    • My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools

      I am half Canadian, I was brought up there, with very different values than you Americans hold, and tonight — after the endless spit ups and boasts and rants about the greatness of American militarism, and praise for American military strength, and boasts about wiping out ISIS, and America being the strongest country on earth, and an utterly inane story from a woman whose son died in Obama’s war, about how she got to cry in gratitude on Obama’s shoulder — tonight I feel deeply Canadian. Every subtle lesson I was ever subliminally given about the bullies across the border and their rudeness and their lack of education and their self-given right to bomb whoever they wanted in the world for no reason other than that they wanted something the people in the other country had, and their greed, came oozing to the surface of my psyche.

    • As Israel Prospers, Obama Set to Give Billions More in Aid While Netanyahu Demands Even More

      For all the chatter about animosity between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Washington Post reports that “a senior Israeli official will arrive in Washington next week for a final round of negotiations involving the largest military aid package the United States has ever given any country and that will last more than a decade after President Obama leaves office.” The U.S. already transfers $3.1 billion in taxpayer money every year to Israel – more than any other country by far – but the new agreement Obama is set to sign “significantly raises” that amount, and guarantees it for 10 years.

    • Lurching Toward World War III

      Anti-Russian hysteria has reached extraordinary levels in Official Washington with heated allegations about Russia hacking Democratic Party emails, but this over-the-top “group think” threatens the world’s future, explains John Chuckman.

    • Who the Muslim Father’s DNC Speech Really Pandered To

      Last Thursday night, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan paid tribute to his son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq on June 8, 2004, after he tried to stop a suicide bomber.

      As for every parent, husband, wife, brother, sister and friend who lost someone any war, I grieve with them. I am sorry for the Khan’s loss. I am a parent and can all too easily be sent to thinking about the loss of a child.

      So go ahead and hate on me. But of the almost 7,000 American families who lost sons and daughters in the last 15 years of American war of terror, why did the Democrats choose a single Muslim family to highlight?

      No one knows how many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of non-American Muslims were killed as collateral damage along the way in those wars. Who spoke for them at the Convention?

    • Turkey: US Air Base, Nuclear Bombs Surrounded By Citizens, Troops & Trucks

      Thousands of Turkish troops, citizens and police ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States Saturday night — blocking all entrances to the air base with heavy vehicles and security forces sent to secure its perimeter.

      Turkish authorities restored access to and from the key US air base early Sunday, local media reported, the day the U.S. top military official is scheduled to visit the country and tour the base.

      The Incirlik air base, located in an urban neighborhood in the southern Turkey city of Adana, reopened following a meeting with “security officials.” Incirlik air base is used by US and NATO forces to launch air strikes and drone attacks on Syria and Iraq. The US stores an estimated 50 hydrogen nuclear bombs at the air base.

      7,000 troops and police used armored cars and large trucks to block the gates earlier Sunday following intelligence that raised suspicion another coup was being plotted following the failed July 15th coup, Ihlas News Agency reported. The blockade lasted four hours, the agency said.

    • The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations

      The abortive coup in Turkey on July 15, coming at a moment of Turkish-Russian rapprochement and mounting friction with the U.S. over the Kurdish independence movement in Syria, threatens to seriously damage U.S.-Turkey relations.

      Whether or not the U.S. had anything to do with the coup, or is “harboring” its alleged mastermind, Fethullah Gulen, in Pennsylvania since 1999; and whether or not it winds up extraditing the reclusive imam to stand trial in a Mickey Mouse court, the very fact that the Turkish foreign minister warns that a U.S. failure to turn Gulen over will impact relations tells us this is serious.

      And now I notice a Turkish newspaper aligned with the Erdogan regime is implicating retired U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell in the coup.

      When the EU warns that Turkey if it re-establishes the death penalty (as Erdogan threatens to do, for people like coup plotters), it will never be accepted into the union; and when John Kerry warns that Turkey could be kicked out of NATO if it departs from “democracy”—yes, this is serious.

      And so, some background.

    • AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR GETS LONGER

      Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails.

      This was rich coming from the US that snoops into everyone’s emails and phones across the globe. Remember German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone being bugged by the US National Security Agency?

      Unnamed US ‘intelligence officials’ claimed they had ‘high confidence’ that the Russian KGB or GRU (military intelligence) had hacked the Dem’s emails. These were likely the same officials who had ‘high confidence’ that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

      Blaming Putin was a master-stroke of deflection. No more talk of Hillary’s slush fund foundation or her status as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street. All attention was focused on President Putin who has been outrageously demonized by the US media and politicians.

      Except for a small faux pas – a montage of warships shown at the end of the Democratic Convention is a blaze of jingoistic effusion embarrassingly turned out to be Russian warships!

      Probably another trick by the awful Putin who has come to replace Satan in the minds of many Americans.

    • Up to 28 Civilians Reportedly Killed in US-Led Strike in Syria

      The U.S.-led coalition has been accused of killing as many as 28 civilians, including a woman and seven children, near the northern Syrian city of Manbij on Thursday—the same area where U.S.-led airstrikes last week may have killed scores of civilians.

      “The Manbij area,” as the Associated Press describes, “has seen extensive battles between IS [Islamic State or ISIS] extremists and U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters.” It is also where UNICEF estimated last week that there are 35,000 children trapped “with nowhere safe to go.”

      According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the latest casualties came after international coalition “warplanes targeted areas in the town of al-Ghandour, which is more than 23 kilometers [14 miles] away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.”

    • The number of casualties of al-Ghandour massacre at the countryside of Manbij rises; it was carried out by the international coalition’s warplanes

      it rose to 28, including a citizen woman and seven children at least, the number of people who the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights managed to documented, they were killed when the warplanes of the international coalition committed a massacre in the town of al-Ghandour in the northwestern countryside of Manbij city east of Aleppo province, where the warplanes targeted areas in the town of al-Ghandour, which is more than 23 kilometers away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, also SOHR received information that 13 other people were killed in the same bombing, but they were not identified yet, and it is unknown whether they were civilian citizens or members from the “Islamic state”.

    • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?

      Donald Trump lashed out on Saturday against Ghazala and Khizr Khan over their speech Thursday night in which they criticized the casino and hotel moghul for his unconstitutional tirades.

      The Khans said at the Democratic National Convention in a speech they crafted, that Trump had ‘sacrificed nothing’ for America. It was read by Khizr because his wife said she would break down if she had to talk about her son Capt. Humayun Saqi Muazzam Khan’s death in action in Iraq. The Khans are originally from Pakistan but came to the US in 1980 from the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistanis make up about 12% of the population. Khizr Khan did a masters in law at Harvard University and works as a legal consultant in Charlottesville, Va. 

    • Isis is escalating its violence against Iraqi civilians. Why doesn’t the world care?

      US and coalition military forces continue to attack Isis territories in Iraq, while Iraqi ground troops prepare to retake the city of Mosul from the grip of the terrorist group. As Isis loses ground in Iraq, it escalates its violent campaign against civilians.

      On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a security checkpoint in my home city, Baghdad, killing at least 14 people. It followed the attacks on 3 July in the same city – the city I fled to become an asylum seeker in America after losing multiple family members and friends. That attack was in the Karada district, where I spent most weekends. Within minutes, my social media accounts flooded with posts from family and friends with photos of their loved ones who were out in Karada, asking for any information on their whereabouts.

      Soon after, I learned that my friend, Adel Al-Jaf, a lawyer and professional dancer who was shopping for his upcoming wedding in Karada, was one of the nearly 300 people killed in that attack. I felt overwhelmed by the news, heartbroken for Adel’s fiancée, parents and brothers, and the families of the other victims. I also felt angry for being unable to grieve and mourn death the way I could before such senseless loss became all too frequent.

    • Possible War Crime: Syrian Maternity Hospital Bombed

      A maternity hospital in Syria’s northwestern, rebel-held province of Idlib was bombed on Friday, the U.K.-based charity Save the Children said. The number of casualties is unclear at this point.

      According to human rights organization Amnesty International, it “appears to be part of a despicable pattern of unlawful attacks deliberately targeting medical facilities.”

    • Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?

      A program called Pacific Vision, funded by the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessments, eventually came up with the Air-Sea Battle concept. Virtually everything about Air-Sea Battle is classified. As the concept was being elaborated, China has mastered the art of very long range ballistic missiles – a lethal threat to the Empire of Bases, fixed and/or floating.

      What is known is that the core Air-Sea Battle concept, known in Orwellian Pentagonese as “NIA/D3”,“networked, integrated forces capable of attack-in-depth to disrupt, destroy and defeat adversary forces”. To break through the fog, this is how the Pentagon would trample over Chinese A2/AD. The Pentagon wants to be able to attack all sorts of Chinese command and control centers in a swarm of “surgical operations”. And all this without ever mentioning the word “China”.

    • Can You Confront the Death Toll in Syria?

      Wars are ugly. They destroy countries. No one comes off as angelic. The Syrian government advances toward Aleppo, bombing from the sky to open a path into the city. A car bomb goes off in Damascus, just after a mortar attack hit a restaurant in the district of Bab Touma. U.S. fighter planes hit civilians in Manjib, killing as many as 125 civilians. An Islamic State bombing in Qamishli kills 14 people as it battles Kurdish forces near the Turkish border. The map of the war is as complex as it was a year ago. The violence has not clarified anything. Gains are being made here and there for this side and that, but there is no significant path to an easy victory.

    • Mumia Abu-Jamal Calls from Prison to Comment on DNC, Black Lives Matter and Mass Incarceration

      As the Democratic National Convention enters its third day here in Philadelphia, one of the city’s most famous native sons is observing and covering the proceedings from inside a state prison facility. Former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal is a well-known prisoner and also an award-winning journalist whose writing from his prison cell has reached a worldwide audience through his Prison Radio commentaries and many books. Abu-Jamal was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, but has always maintained his innocence. Amnesty International has found he was deprived of a fair trial. Mumia Abu-Jamal joins us on the phone from the SCI Mahanoy state prison in Frackville, Pennsylvania, along with two of his supporters, actor Danny Glover and Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress.

    • “Most Progressive Dem Platform in History” Hawkish on Foreign Policy

      The Democratic Party platform may indeed be, as some have proclaimed, the “most progressive” in the history of the party—at least on various important domestic issues. But some of its foreign policy planks reflect a disturbingly hawkish worldview consistent with those of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

      Declaring that “we must defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates,” the platform calls for the United States and its allies to “destroy ISIS” strongholds in Iraq and Syria. There is no acknowledgement that these strongholds are in heavily populated urban areas, thereby risking large-scale civilian casualties, and no mention that the rise of these extremist organizations are a direct consequence of previous U.S. military interventions in the region.

      Regarding Iran, while there are many legitimate criticisms of that country’s reactionary regime, the platform appears to go overboard with its accusations, such as the claim that “Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism.” Many analysts would give that designation to Saudi Arabia, with whom the platform says the U.S. should “strengthen its security cooperation.”

      It also says the party will “push back” against Iran’s “support for terrorist groups like Hamas.” While there was a brief period of some limited past Iranian support of that Palestinian Islamist organization, there is no apparent evidence that it continues. Indeed, there are major tensions between Hamas and Iran, including support for opposite sides in the Syrian civil war. (By contrast, there is fair amount of evidence that Qatar—a U.S. ally—does provide support for Hamas, but there is no mention of that.)

    • Provoking Russia

      Are the leaders of European member states of NATO planning to follow the example of José Manuel Barroso, who became a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs after his term as president of the European Commission? Were they using the NATO summit to prepare for a career switch as consultants to General Dynamics or some other US arms manufacturer? The suggestion is of course absurd — but hardly less so than their announcement at the July summit in Warsaw that NATO will deploy a new mobile unit of 4,000 troops in Poland or one of the Baltic states — within artillery range of the home base of the Russian fleet in the Baltic, and of St Petersburg.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Did Wikileaks Do US Intelligence Bidding in Publishing the Syria Files?

      Consider this nutty data point: between CNN’s Reliable Sources and NBC’s Meet the Press, Julian Assange was on more Sunday shows today than John McCain, with two TV appearances earlier this week.

      Sadly, even in discussions of the potential that the DNC hack-plus-publication amounts to tampering with US elections, few seem to understand that evidence at least suggests that Wikileaks — not its allegedly Russian source — determined the timing of the release to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Guccifer 2, at least, was aiming to get files out earlier than Wikileaks dumped them. So if someone is tampering, it is Julian Assange who, I’ve noted, has his own long-standing gripes with Hillary Clinton (though he disclaims any interest in doing her harm). If his source is Russia, that may just mean they had mutual interest in the publication of the files; but Assange claims to have determined the timing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This year’s wildfires are bad. Climate change will make future ones worse

      Once again, it is fire season in the western United States.

      This month, the extreme fire that seems to test the bounds of our recent, place-based memory of how fires behave is the Sand Fire burning north of Los Angeles.

      Last year, there was the Butte fire in northern California and the Okanogan complex in Washington. In 2014 and 2013, the King and Rim fires in Sierra Nevada forests. The Black Forest fire in 2013 in Colorado. In 2012, the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires among others in Colorado, the Long Draw and Miller Homestead fires in Oregon and the Whitewater-Baldy complex in New Mexico. In 2011, the Wallow and Horseshoe fires in Arizona and the Los Conchas in New Mexico. The list goes on.

    • Activists say regulators going too easy on Chicago-area BP refinery

      In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed fines to be levied against BP in the wake of a March 24, 2014 oil spill into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting, Indiana that sparked a larger investigation by federal regulators.

      But in public comments filed July 12, local residents and environmental activists are saying the fines BP and the EPA agreed upon are not enough; “less than a drop in the bucket for BP,” as activist Patricia Walter put it.

      The EPA investigation after the 2014 spill found past pollution and violations, leading to the fines and other requirements currently being finalized. For the 2014 spill, BP has agreed to pay $151,899 and remedy the violations of its spill prevention and containment procedures.

    • Climate Victims – Every Second, One Person Is Displaced by Disaster

      Climate change and related extreme weather events have devastated the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of most vulnerable people worldwide– by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined. However, the unstoppable climate crisis receives just a tiny fraction of mainstream media attention. See these dramatic facts.

      “Every second, one person is displaced by disaster,” the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports. “In 2015 only, more than 19.2 million people fled disasters in 113 countries. “Disasters displace three to ten times more people than conflict and war worldwide.”

      As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural hazards; the impact will be heavy, warns this independent humanitarian organisation providing aid and assistance to people forced to flee.

      “On average, 26 million people are displaced by disasters such as floods and storms every year. That’s one person forced to flee every second.”

      “Climate change is our generation’s greatest challenge,” says Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which counts with over 5,000 humanitarian workers across more than 25 countries.

    • Concerns raised over Paris climate goals

      New analysis shows that the science underpinning the global treaty aiming to stop average temperatures rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels urgently needs more research.

    • Fight Over Fracking Heats Up at the Democratic Convention

      On Wednesday, POLITICO hosted a panel on energy at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association of the oil and gas industry. The group, whose members include EXXONMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell, lobbies against federal regulation of greenhouse gases and has tried to cast doubt on climate science.

      American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard, who welcomed everyone to the panel.

      “From the oil and gas perspective we see this as a unique historic time in our nation’s history, now that we’re not the world’s number-one oil and natural gas producer,” he said.

      [...]

      Panelists included Trevor Houser, Hillary Clinton’s top energy advisor; Heather Zichal, Former Deputy Assistant to President Obama on energy and climate; Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who is seen as a friend of the environmental movement; and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who has fought anti-fracking activists in his state.

      Environmentalists worry that fracking, a process for extracting natural gas using drilling, high pressure water, and chemicals, can poison groundwater and cause tremors in the Earth. Hickenlooper explained why he opposed a law that would have kept fracking away from people’s homes.

      “My job is to make sure that fracking is done absolutely safely,” Hickenlooper said.

    • Mike Pence Is a Loyal Friend to Polluters

      In Mike Pence, Donald Trump has picked a running mate who could be relied on to take a chainsaw to President Obama’s signature environmental policy.

      In 2015 the Indiana governor told Obama in no uncertain terms that his state would not be complying with the Clean Power Plan, which sets targets for reducing power plant emissions in each state. Pence joined a lawsuit that has succeeded in tying up the plan in court.

      He and other climate crisis-denying policymakers have benefited from a well-coordinated network of industry front groups, conservative think tanks and law firms bent on blocking the Clean Power Plan. A good chunk of the funding for this cabal comes from some of the country’s largest electrical utilities companies.

    • Landmark Human Rights Complaint Lodged Against World’s Worst Polluters

      The world’s 47 largest producers of greenhouse gases must respond within 45 days to an unprecedented legal complaint filed Wednesday by the Philippines, which alleges the fossil fuel behemoths have deprived millions of residents of the island nation of their human rights through catastrophic global warming.

    • Scorching Global Temps Astound Climate Scientists

      As wildfire rages in California, flooding affects millions in India and China, and eggs are fried on sidewalks in Iraq, scientists say global climate catastrophe is surpassing predictions

    • Worse Than Keystone XL? TransCanada’s Terrifying “Plan B”

      The pipeline giant TransCanada, stymied in its attempt to drive Keystone XL through America’s heartland, is facing renewed opposition to its “new and equally misguided proposal” to build the Energy East pipeline across Canada and ship tar sands oil via tankers along the U.S. East Coast to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

      In partnership with a number of Canadian and U.S. environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—a major player in the fight to defeat Keystone XL—on Tuesday released a new report outlining how Energy East would “effectively create a waterborne tar sands pipeline with hundreds of new oil tankers traversing the Atlantic coastline, making vast areas of the Eastern Seaboard vulnerable to a dangerous tar sands spill.”

    • NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change

      The New York Times published an astonishing article last week that blames green power for difficulties countries are facing to mitigate climate change.

      The article by Eduardo Porter, How Renewable Energy is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course, serves as a flagship for an on-going attack on the growth of renewables. It is so convoluted and inaccurate that it requires a detailed response.

  • Finance

    • Building a Progressive International

      Financialization of the economy was the goal, neoliberalism was its ideological cloak, the Paul Volcker-era Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes were its trigger, and President Bill Clinton was the ultimate closer of the Faustian bargain. And the timing couldn’t have been more congenial: the Soviet empire’s collapse and China’s opening generated a surge of labor supply for global capitalism – a billion additional workers – that boosted profits and stifled wage growth throughout the West.

    • Trump’s Trickle-Down Ticket

      Donald Trump’s VP pick signals a commitment to slashing taxes for millionaires and cutting services for everyone else.

    • Don’t forget the role of the press in Brexit

      The lies of Britain’s papers have been key to shaping the country’s current predicament

    • Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?

      As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, the vast majority of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. Money is created when loans are made, and it is extinguished when they are paid off. When loan repayment exceeds borrowing, the money supply “deflates” or shrinks. New money then needs to be injected to fill the breach. Currently, the only way to get new money into the economy is for someone to borrow it into existence; and since the private sector is not borrowing, the public sector must, just to replace what has been lost in debt repayment. But government borrowing from the private sector means running up interest charges and hitting deficit limits.

    • TPP Opposition: Make Them Do It And Hold Them To It

      Elites take “globalization” as a given because “trade” deals have pushed sovereignty off the table and locked governments out of decision-making over things like stopping offshoring of jobs and protecting domestic industries. They smirk knowingly and wink and nod when politicians respond to citizen complaints about the disastrous effect this is having on populations, regions and economies. They assume the politicians are just saying what they need to say to get votes and will rejoin them after they get that pesky election out of the way.

    • Poverty costs UK £78bn a year, Joseph Rowntree Foundation says

      The effects of poverty in the UK cost the average taxpayer £1,200 a year, and the UK £78bn in total, a report says.

      The Joseph Rowntree Foundation looked at how poverty – living on incomes below 60% of the median – affected different government services.

      The NHS bore the brunt of the costs, it said, as those in poverty were “more likely” to suffer ill health.

      The government said employment was key to beating poverty, adding that “we’ve made good progress”.

    • Impact of poverty costs the UK £78bn a year, says report

      Dealing with the effects of poverty costs the public purse £78bn a year, or £1,200 for every person in the UK, according to the first wide-ranging report into the impact of deprivation on Britain’s finances.

    • Poverty costs UK £78bn a year in pressure on hospitals and social services, research finds

      Poverty inadvertently costs the UK £78bn per year, due to lost taxes and use of public services, research has suggested. This amounts to 4 per cent of GDP or £1,200 for every person in the country.

      The study Counting the cost of UK poverty has been undertaken by researchers at Heriot Watt and Loughborough Universities along with poverty action charity Joseph Rowntree.

      It suggests public service cuts to those in poverty may be a false economy, as people struggling with lower-incomes are forced to rely on public services more.

    • Hillary’s Choice: Why Tim Kaine Isn’t a ‘Safe’ Pick

      Not so Clinton’s choice of Kaine. It indicates a degree of tone-deafness to not just the progressives that supported the presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), but to the problems lurking at the core of the current banking system. Worse, it is a wink to JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to continue with business as usual.

    • Chris Hedges and Jill Stein Speak at Socialist Convergence During Democratic Convention (Video)

      What should progressive-minded citizens do after the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia ends? Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein shared her thoughts with other speakers at the Socialist Convergence in Philadelphia. Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges read his column “The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots.”

    • The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots

      The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

      No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

      Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

    • Voices from the supply chain: an interview with the Self Employed Women’s Association of India

      JM: In India, 94% of the labour force works in the informal economy and more than 60% of women workers work in the informal economy. That is huge – it’s almost everyone! This is why it has been so important for us at SEWA to try to represent these workers, to fight for them to get recognition as workers. Women are major contributors to the national economy, yet they are legally invisible. The biggest challenge for us is therefore how to get recognition for these workers: we need voice, we need visibility and we need validity for these workers.

    • Why a second independence referendum is not inevitable in Scotland

      The consensus is that a second independence referendum is now inevitable. The SNP assertion in its 2016 manifesto of the Scottish parliament’s right to hold a referendum “if there is a significant and material change” has taken on renewed relevance, especially since the only quoted example was “being taken out of the EU against our will”.

      After the 62-38 vote to Remain in the EU in Scotland, Brexit has highlighted the democratic deficit once more. This is in addition to Trident renewal and the proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act. Post-Brexit polling has shown a 10 point bounce for independence. In this context, Alex Salmond has said that Indyref2 is ‘inevitable’ if Scotland can’t stay in the EU and that this will have to take place within the Brexit timetable.

      Unfortunately, there are a number of factors which could prevent a new referendum from taking place. These include: debates over the timing for Indyref2; the tactics currently being adopted in lieu of a new referendum and finally the drawn out negotiations over Brexit between Sturgeon, May and the EU.

    • Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake

      The referendum has done something more than what the UK’s right-wing media would have you believe. Yes, the result has divided opinion, but it has simultaneously engaged all kinds of people who were politically indifferent 6 months ago.

      In many small towns and cities, mainly places that have been persistently overlooked by Westminster and its neoliberal decision makers, there is a growing sense of civic awakening.

      For decades UK activists have been urging the masses to engage in the political processes: to respond to the deterioration of citizen’s rights and services; to fight the replacement of secure jobs with zero-hour contracts; to resist the shrinking state which impacts the poorest citizens most of all; to demand that affordable housing for all be more than an aspiration. At the very least, vote.

      Last month, the two-headed monster of the official campaigns of Leave (lies and fear) and Remain (fear and lies), both manufactured by the same duplicitous elites, faced off at the ballot. It was generally believed that the Leave camp would be defeated, that by controlling both campaigns the establishment could ensure the outcome and simultaneously provide undeniable proof that the UK is democratically run. Their certainty proved false.

      From a leftist perspective, the media coverage leading up to the 23rd June could at best be described as suffocatingly narrow. The limited width of debate wasn’t only exclusive to the mainstream; you really had to dig for arguments borne of the ‘real’ left online too. The lack of a genuine socialist voice (that could see beyond its own party politics) was suppressed cleverly by exploiting the shallow fear within the ‘soft’ left of denting its politically correct image. To vote Leave was instantly seized upon by the establishment as a vote for legitimising fascism and racism; Britain would become and “inward looking” and “regressive” nation once again. With no strong left mainstream voice to argue otherwise, that’s the way it has stayed.

      And the masses voted. The result sent tracers into the highest pantheons of world governance, exposing briefly, like in the flash of lightening, the vulnerable face of globalisation. Real democracy alone has this power, so there’s little wonder it is rarely seen – especially in countries where it is promoted it zealously.

    • Did Longtime Ally Just Blow Major Hole in Clinton’s TPP Credibility?

      Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clinton family, said this week that Hillary Clinton would support the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) if elected president, despite claiming to oppose it—before walking the comments back and then doubling down on them again.

    • Unions and Trump Face Off in Vegas, and the Unions Are Winning

      The New York-based conglomerate has the smallest heart when it comes to its employees and contractors.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s REAL point about Russian hackers: We are nearly defenseless in the cyber sphere
    • The Russians are coming

      US Democrats said they had been targeted by yet another cyber attack, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign confirmed that an analytics programme it used was breached in an earlier intrusion.

    • DNC hack part of a cyber war that’s just begun

      A relatively short drive from Sea World, roughly 6,500 military and civilian workers are engaged in a largely unseen though increasingly critical war for secret information stored in government computers.

    • Clinton’s Campaign Computer System Hacked by Alleged Russian Intelligence

      Computer system used for the Hillary Clinton campaign was subjected to a hacker attack by Russian intelligence services, media reported Saturday.

      [...]

      The Clinton campaign has blamed the hack on Russia, but Moscow refutes the allegation, naming them “absurd.”

    • Trump’s apparent call for foreign cyber hack of Clinton sparks security concerns
    • Israeli Intelligence Debunks Notion of Russia Hacking DNC Emails

      Blaming Russia is a convenient way to shift attention from a legally challenged, illegitimately anointed Democrat party nominee – the greatest threat to world peace in modern memory.

    • Why Russia keeps getting away with hacking the US

      Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is curious that Russian hacking has not been cracked down on as much as other nations.

    • NSA Hackers Believed to Be Attacking Russian Computer Networks

      Hackers working for the NSA are believed to be attacking Russian government computer networks as part of the government’s “hack back” policy, which allows for retaliation in the event that a foreign nation is implicated in an attack on “US interests,” in this case centering on claims of Russia being behind hacking of DNC computers.

    • Ghazala Khan says Trump ignorant of Islam and doesn’t know sacrifice
    • Bernie Sanders Delegates Complain of “Disrespect” on Democratic Convention Floor

      On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders reiterated his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party nominee. On Tuesday, it was made official during the roll call vote, when Sanders himself stood among his Vermont delegation and moved that Clinton be nominated by acclamation.

      But on Wednesday, some delegates in the Sanders camp complained that Democratic Party officials who manage the convention had treated them as something less than their Clinton-pledged counterparts.

      Michael Wilson, a Sanders-pledged delegate from California, told me that floor officials attempted to confiscate his delegation’s anti-TPP signs, and that he returned from a walkout by Sanders supporters on Tuesday evening to find that his seat had been taken by a nondelegate who refused to give it up.

      “It’s a disrespect not to us, but to the people who voted for us, and that we’re representing. They want to have their voices heard. But apparently there are certain subjects that are not palatable to the party authorities.”

      “I have no knowledge of those specific situations,” Lee Whack, the press secretary for the Democratic National Convention, told me on Wednesday evening, in response to complaints of disrespect from Sanders delegates. He declined to comment further. Repeated phone calls and emails to the Clinton and Sanders campaigns were not returned.

      The Sanders campaign brought many newcomers into the political process and onto the convention floor. Some amount of controlling signs and chants is a normal part of the convention process, as the party attempts to unify behind one candidate and pivot to the general election.

    • Libertarian Gary Johnson Keeps Fighting to Join the Presidential Debates (Video)

      Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, has made no secret of his desire to be onstage with Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential debates.

      Our America Initiative, an arm of the Libertarian Party, filed a lawsuit in September against the Commission on Presidential Debates, challenging its “15 percent threshold.” This threshold is reached when a candidate has the “support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.” Third parties have been included in national presidential debates only twice.

      The legal action, which includes the Green Party in its plea, appears to be stalled. Instead of the 15 percent threshold, the lawsuit reportedly “seeks to establish as the qualifying standard for debate inclusion getting on enough state ballots to have a mathematical possibility of winning the election.” Johnson supporters worry that if the issue is not settled by August, the Libertarian Party will have run out of time. s

    • DNC Ignores Muslims’ Objections, Gives Michael Bloomberg Starring Role at Convention

      Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be a primetime speaker at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, despite his support and defense of a discredited New York Police Department program that systematically spied on American Muslims in their neighborhoods and places of worship during his tenure.

      In interviews with The Intercept, Muslim attendees decried Bloomberg’s starring role at the convention, but numerous Democratic officials and lawmakers refused to condemn Bloomberg’s policies towards Muslims and expressed their delight at his appearance.

      The Clinton campaign reached out to Bloomberg about a speaking role several weeks ago but the announcement didn’t become public until late last week, after the former mayor and billionaire businessman publicly endorsed the Democratic nominee.

    • Will Bernie’s Supporters Stay Home on Election Day? We Asked Them.

      After several large street protests in the afternoon, the convention floor was mostly orderly last night, though a few delegates wore blue tape over their mouths. The pro-Bernie booing and chanting that provoked some awkward onstage ad-libbing from Sen. Al Franken and comedian Sarah Silverman midway through the program had mostly settled down by the time Sanders himself took the stage. There was a 60-person Occupy-style “mic check” after the convention adjourned. After midnight, on Packer Avenue, there were shouts of “Never Hillary!” as two Sanders supporters made their way back toward the city on foot.

    • Could Trump be Good for Peace?

      There’s no answer to that, but the Obama-Pentagon administration is not going to relax its anti-China and anti-Russia attitude, and if Hillary Clinton becomes president — she of the infamous “We came; We saw; He died” giggling interview in which she rejoiced in the savage murder of President Gaddafi of Libya — there will be more of the same. In fact, probably a lot more of the same, only harder, faster and of more financial benefit to US manufacturers of weapons systems who are doing very well, with record sales totaling 10.5 billion dollars last year, and lots more to come.

    • Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”

      Possibly I have spent too many years ‘abroad’, outside of North America and Europe. Perhaps I don’t feel ‘white’, or ‘Western’ anymore. Or who knows, maybe I never really felt too ‘Western’ anyway, thanks to my Russian and Chinese blood.

      That could help to explain why, when I listened to the acceptance speech delivered by Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, I felt detached. In fact I felt great emptiness. I understood the words and their meaning, and I was even able to analyze what these words would mean to the world, were this forceful man to be elected to the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth. But for a while, inside, I felt nothing; absolutely nothing, except, perhaps, exhaustion.

      Outside my window was a great mass of water, separating the historic Penang Island from the rest of Malaysia. Cargo ships were majestically sailing to and from the nearby port, and it was raining heavily.

      I was watching Donald Trump’s speech live on Al-Jazeera. There was hardly any choice available, as in this suddenly pro-Western country, there were no international alternative channels, for which I work for, available – no RT, no Press TV, and no Telesur.

      Trump spoke and spoke, much longer than was expected. Whenever cameras showed people listening to his speech, I felt a sense of déjà vu, that I had witnessed all this on many other occasions. Like when Obama was speaking and thousands of people were, religiously, as if in a trance, moving their lips, whispering ‘yes we can’… like when George W. Bush was being sworn in. Like…

      The Messiah has arrived! Oh, that need for a religious experience, which is so omnipotent in the United States. The evangelical, religious Trump, defending ‘little people’! How lovely, honest and unexpected. Bravo!

      [...]

      The West’s ‘small people’ only want to hear about their own misfortunes and ordeals. They want to be pitied. They want a much better deal than the one they are getting these days. If they go to the barricades, it is not to protest against the holocausts which their countries are committing all over the world. It is only to get more, more and more, for themselves, by any means available, and no matter who is really paying the bill.

    • Vote Fear and Fear Wins

      Fear is a tactic used by the despotic or the power-lusting to manipulate and control us. It is the responsibility of all citizens, left and right, to challenge it vigorously. We must question those who tell us to fear. We must confront it within our own hearts. Otherwise, on Election Day, we will find that only our fears will win.

    • Before Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm

      Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don’t more people know about her?

      Forty-four years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm made history as she announced her candidacy for the White House. Her bid for the top job was short lived, but the symbolism is as powerful today as it was then.

      She was a pioneer for her generation, a woman of many firsts – the first African American congresswoman. The first African American to run for president. The first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

      “She paved the way for me to be able to set foot on Capitol Hill,” says 22 year-old Kimaya Davis, who works for a congressional committee.

      Davis is black and secured her job after an internship with the Congressional Black Caucus. Founded by Shirley Chisholm, the Caucus represents black members of Congress.

    • Third-party support surging

      Voters now confronted with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are making something abundantly clear: they want another option.

      Surveys over the last six weeks have found a steady but noticeable jump in support for third-party candidates. The biggest beneficiary has been Libertarian Gary Johnson, who has shot up from 4.5 percent to 7.2 percent in RealClearPolitics polling averages. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also seen an uptick since June — from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

      The surge in support for a third-party candidate is adding a new element of unpredictability into the presidential race. Should voters opt for a third-party candidate in large numbers, it could potentially tip the scales in crucial battleground states.

      Pollsters and political scientists say the deep malcontent with Clinton and Trump should give both candidates pause.

    • Judge orders Trump to pay nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees for stiffing painting contractor

      Instead of Donald Trump honoring the painting contract he signed and paying this local Miami business the remaining $34,863 balance he owed them, his company just took it upon itself to say that they had been “paid enough”.

      The company slapped a lien on his Doral resort and that woke the old Trumpster up. Judge awards attorney’s fees totaling nearly $300,000. Trump still hasn’t paid the local painting business the remaining balance.

      This is Trump’s track record in business and Hillary’s ad about Trump stiffing small businesses proves this guy loves stiffing the little guy.

    • Debate commission to Trump: The dates are set

      The Commission on Presidential Debates responded to Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s complaints about the debate schedule with a message on Sunday: The schedule is set.

      “The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates,” the commission said in a statement. “It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result.”

    • Influence at the DNC: More than 60 superdelegates are registered lobbyists

      Lobbyists wield enormous influence and, depending on your point of view, can bring positive or negative changes to our government. From reptile keepers to balloon enthusiasts, everyone has a constitutional right to petition government. The power some lobbyists hold over both parties in Congress and the White House is well documented. But what’s not well documented is how lobbyists play a role in the Democratic party’s nominating process.

      As Libby Watson noted earlier this year, most delegates to the Democratic National Convention, held this year in Philadelphia, are allocated based on the vote share from primaries and caucuses held in individual states, territories and the District of Columbia. But there are also 712 so-called voting superdelegates. These individuals include former and current elected officials as well as members of the Democratic National Committee. Superdelegates can support whomever they choose and are not bound by any primary or caucus result.

      And, as we found, some of the superdelegates also happen to be lobbyists for interests like big banks, payday lenders, health care insurers and unions.

    • Clinton’s claim that the FBI director said her email answers were ‘truthful’

      Clinton is cherry-picking statements by Comey to preserve her narrative about the unusual setup of a private email server. This allows her to skate past the more disturbing findings of the FBI investigation

      For instance, when Clinton asserts “my answers were truthful,” a campaign aide said she is referring to this statement by Comey to Congress: “We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”

      But that’s not the whole story. When House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked whether Clinton had lied to the American public, Comey dodged: “That’s a question I’m not qualified to answer. I can speak about what she said to the FBI.”

    • Did The DNC Hire Actors (At Below Minimum Wage) To Work At The Convention?

      Whether the ad is real or fake is unclear, but the text suggests below minimum wage compensation (7-plus hours work for $50) and the number of walkouts from the Convention indicates perhaps a need for cheering happy seat-fillers…

    • Democrat Convention in Trouble? Claim of Actors Hired to Fill Empty Seats And Clap

      Remember the children’s story about the Emperor who wore such fine clothes that no one could see them until, finally, one little kid had the integrity to say the Emperor was “balls naked”?

      Well, now interpolate that story into an analogy for the Democratic National Convention that’s been playing to a half-empty audience. The Democrats and the media are acting like the confused or demented Emperor who thought he was wearing such fine clothing that he didn’t realize his butt was bare!

      If the Democrats have to advertise and are willing to pay $50 per person to sit in empty seats to cheer for Hillary, what does that tell you? They have lost a lot of their party base! It would appear that those who walked the political plank and left experienced a reality check on what’s really going on in party politics in the USA, however a little too late, it would seem to me.

    • WOW! DNC Fills Empty Bernie Seats at Convention with PAID ACTORS!
    • Busted! “Actors Needed” to Fill Democratic National Convention Posted on Craigslist

      The final two days of the Democratic National Convention might be filled with actors hired via a Craigslist listing to give viewers the appearance of party unity. Upwards of 700 paid actors could be replacing a significant number of Bernie Sanders supporters who had their convention credentials revoked after they staged a walk out as former President Bill Clinton took the stage to speak on behalf of his wife.

      The pressing question: Was this posted by the DNC? We can’t say for sure.

      The ad, which offers to pay “$50.00 each night” per actor for “the remainder of the convention” on Wednesday and Thursday night, was quickly taken down when People’s Pundit Daily requested a comment. However, we were still able to grab a screenshot from the web archive (H/T Google Wayback). The DNC apparently hasn’t yet learned that what goes out on the Internet (emails included) are never truly “gone” when deleted.

    • Was “Computer Network” “Analytics Data Program” Hacked at Hillary HQ VAN or Something Else?

      Several outlets have reported that Hillary’s campaign — or rather, a network the Hillary campaign uses — got hacked along with the DNC and DCCC, presumably by the same APT 28 group presumed to be Russia’s military intelligence GRU. But reports on this, coming after a day of equivocation about whether Hillary’s campaign had been hacked at all, are unclear.

      Reuters explains hackers accessed an “analytics program server” for five days (though doesn’t provide a date for that access).

    • Video Shows Arkansas Democrats Barring Bernie Sanders Delegate From Convention Floor

      Last week’s Democratic convention was expertly choreographed for television. For the most part, the party exercised tight control over signage, especially as the week went on. There was MICHELLE on Monday, AMERICA on Tuesday, OBAMA on Wednesday and HILLARY on Thursday, accompanied by a sea of flags, indoor fireworks, and a pre-rehearsed card stunt finale.

      Those watching from home had to look hard to notice that some delegates—most of them supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders—had brought in their own signs, many of them expressing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a broad and controversial trade agreement. They did so against the wishes of Sanders himself, who urged his followers by email not to protest or demonstrate at the convention “as a personal courtesy to me.”

      Most Sanders-pledged delegates obeyed, but not all. A significant minority participated in a walkout, chanted their own slogans, and battled with party loyalists to make their anti-TPP signs visible. Sanders opposed the TPP vehemently, saying that it was “designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations.” Clinton, who praised the potential benefits of the TPP as Secretary of State, has publicly expressed qualms about it as well. John Podesta, who chairs Clinton’s campaign, has said that she opposes a vote on the deal before the election and would seek “a new approach” as president.

      On Thursday morning, the Arkansas Democratic Party refused to issue a daily floor credential to Frank Klein, an elected delegate from Arkansas. Klein had held up an anti-TPP sign during Obama’s speech the night before, as had delegates from Illinois, Florida, and elsewhere. But delegates from Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s home state, were seated in the front and near the center of the convention hall, making them especially visible to news photographers and T.V. cameras.

    • The Psychopathology of Donald Trump

      Does Donald Trump only say crazy things, or does he say crazy things because he actually is crazy? In a speech delivered on the third day of the Democratic National Convention, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg openly questioned the GOP candidate’s sanity on prime-time television.

      More importantly, if less sensationally, the issue of Trump’s emotional stability has also been raised by a growing number of influential and highly respected mental-health practitioners. They have done so out of a sense of urgency, even in the face of a code of conduct promulgated by the American Psychiatric Association that cautions psychiatrists against making public statements about public figures whom they have not formally evaluated.

      Ordinarily, as someone licensed to practice law rather than psychology, I’d stay out of the debate and remain in my comfort zone of traditional legal and political commentary, committed to exposing the policy shortcomings of both major-party candidates and their surrogates. But Donald Trump has secured the GOP nod for president. He’s one election away from being the commander in chief of the most powerful nation the planet has ever seen. As such, he, like Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, deserves heightened scrutiny, both as to policy and personality.

    • The Agony of Being a First Time Undecided Voter

      My biggest problem with Dr. Stein is that there just doesn’t seem to be a clear path to victory. No one other than George Washington has ever won a third party bid for President. Even Ralph Nader who got millions of votes ended up not winning a single district or a single electoral vote.

      I’m also disturbed by talk among Green Party members, even Stein herself, saying it doesn’t matter if they win. They just want to have a good showing. They just want to increase the power of the Green Party for the next election cycle and show the establishment that they aren’t to be taken lightly.

      I’m all for that, but a Trump Presidency is too high a price to pay for it.

      If Jill Stein could provide a clear and believable path to victory, I would vote for her in a second. I would campaign. I would do everything I could to help her win. But as it stands this isn’t even a Hail Mary. It’s not like throwing the ball from one end of the field to the other hoping for a touchdown. It’s like throwing the ball from the parking lot, from the highway, from a neighboring state!

      However, voting for Clinton is repugnant.

      She represents everything I want to change about American politics. She is the establishment, the status quo.

    • The party platform they won’t stand on

      But a closer look reveals that the 2016 platform is far less progressive than Sanders delegates argued for.

      For example, the platform calls climate change an “urgent threat” and proposes that the U.S. should be powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2050. But every one of Sanders delegate Bill McKibben’s proposals on how to get there were voted down: no carbon tax, no ban on fracking, no to keeping fossil fuels in the ground. In short, nothing tangible to back up the rhetoric.

      On the Middle East, the platform declares, “We will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel.” Proposed language from Cornel West and Maya Berry calling for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements” was blocked.

      Even the much heralded and certainly welcome inclusion of support for a $15-an-hour minimum wage was more vague than it needed to be about tying the minimum wage to the inflation rate.

      Not exactly a smashing victory for progressive politics. But even if Sanders supporters had managed to win more concessions from the party establishment, would it matter? Would a President Hillary Clinton be bound in any way by the platform that delegates passed this week in Philadelphia?

    • While Publicly Seeking Unity, the DNC is Censoring a Convention and Silencing Dissent

      The Democratic National Committee professes publicly that it longs for peace and unity between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The DNC’s actions as organizers of the convention, however, have repeatedly had the opposite effect.

      To begin, no one who wanted Bernie Sanders as the nominee was ever allowed near the microphone on stage. It is an open convention, regardless of the way it’s been covered in the corporate media; Hillary Clinton did not get the required 2,383 delegates required to win outright from pledged delegates. The superdelegates are casting the deciding votes this week. Bernie Sanders, although issuing an endorsement of Clinton earlier this month, hasn’t conceded the race nor released his delegates and so he could become the nominee.

      Nevertheless, the entire first day of the convention — ostensibly the “Bernie Day” — featured no speakers who favored a Sanders nomination. Several one-time Sanders supporters who now favor Clinton were allowed to speak.

      “Instead of having both candidates’ surrogates make their case, even if the outcome seemed obvious, Monday only featured speakers who advocated voting for Hillary,” said Justin Baird, from the convention floor, a Sanders delegate and whip from Washington state. “It was painfully obvious that if that was Bernie Day, it was really just another Hillary Day, and it riled nearly half the delegates.”

      Simply allowing a few Sanders supporters — Nina Turner, for instance, or Tulsi Gabbard, or even Jane Sanders — to speak Monday would have immediately increased feelings of unity. Instead, the convention got off on the wrong foot, fomenting feelings of suppression right away, even before Bernie gave his heart-rending “three minute ovation” speech later that night.

    • Fact Check: Trump’s Fiction, Clinton’s Spin

      As the Democratic National Convention wrapped up its final day with Hillary Clinton’s history-making acceptance speech, Donald Trump also took the spotlight by giving a controversial speech on the Iran nuclear deal. Eyes around the nation were on both candidates, but which one gave a more authentic speech?

      Luckily, the AP has some answers. Christopher S. Rugaber and Bradley Klapper broke down the inaccuracies and twists in both speeches. The result? Although Clinton “brings plenty of policy detail when stacked against the broad-brush ideas of her Republican rival, in some cases there’s less than meets the eye to what she says she will do.”

    • Riding Trump’s Wave, Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke Runs for Senate

      Immediately after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and an early Trump supporter, tweeted: “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders! Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!”

      On the heels of the Republican Party’s Convention, Duke, promising to be a voice for “European Americans,” threw his hat into the ring to run for the Louisiana Senate seat vacated by the retiring scandal-plagued David Vitter.

      “Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etc. etc.,” he said in a video announcement. “The fact is that European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate, one man in the Congress, who will represent their rights and heritage.”

    • Fundraising Arm for House Dems Hacked, Resembling DNC Attack

      Attack comes just after release of DNC emails showing officials sabotaged Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign

    • Millennial Sanders Activists Give New Energy to Southern Organizing

      Khristy Wilkinson, a 36-year-old, tattoo-adorned, stay-at-home mom, doesn’t look like your typical Eastern Tennessee politician. Before this year, she had never even considered running for public office, but says that she was inspired to run by the success of Bernie Sanders.

      Until recently, Wilkinson was an adjunct philosophy professor teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has been active in her community, Highland Park, for years, and has been disturbed by the changes gentrification has brought to her neighborhood.

      “I would invite some of my African American friends over and when they would leave, my neighbors would call the cops on them,” says Wilkinson. “It’s just outrageous what is happening to this neighborhood.”

    • Our DNC ‘Hunger Games’ Moments Must Not Derail the Hard Work Ahead

      There were despicable efforts by the DNC to silence dissent this week in Philadelphia, and there were moments of soaring courage, compassion and camaraderie too. For me the absolute highlight of the DNC speeches was Rev. William Barber calling us all to rise to this moment. In case no one noticed, his message could easily have been delivered if Bernie had been our nominee. It was a powerful message that created some of the few precious moments of unity during a week when the DNC remained largely tone deaf to Bernie supporters and prepared to battle us rather than working to embrace us.

    • Code Pink Activist Kicked Out of Democratic Convention (Video)

      On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, the mainstream media repeatedly focused on the convention hall full of compliant Hillary Clinton supporters. What they didn’t show was the peaceful protesters dragged out by security. Although a Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin made headlines by interrupting proceedings at last week’s Republican convention, such protests at the Democratic convention did not garner the same attention.

      Truthdig’s Sonali Kolhatkar caught one such moment on film when Ariel Gold, a Code Pink activist, was forcibly ejected from the convention hall by Secret Service. Kolhatkar spoke with Benjamin to learn the details of Gold’s ejection.

    • On Top of Emails, Leaked DNC Voicemails Show Money Buying Access

      Just before President Barack Obama delivered his speech to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, new reporting on the so-called “DNC Leak” by WikiLeaks unearthed a large batch of voicemails contained in the files which give additional texture to a scandal that has loomed large at this week’s event in Philadelphia.

      Though many of the voicemails (see the complete list of audio files here) are rather innocuous in their content, CNN reports how other “messages highlight the relationships between donors looking for favors and goodies, and the party officials trying to bring in money to their coffers.”

    • Slavery, Endless War, and Presidential Politics

      Over the past quarter century, neocons and military-industrialists have vanquished Vietnam Syndrome and the public opposition to war, achieving the solidification of endless war.

      “There was significant opposition to the First Gulf War — 22 senators and 183 reps voted against it, including Sanders — but not enough to stop the march to war,” Nicolas J.S. Davies wrote last October on Huffington Post. “The war became a model for future U.S.-led wars and served as a marketing display for a new generation of U.S. weapons. After treating the public to endless bombsight videos of ‘smart bombs’ making ‘surgical strikes,’ U.S. officials eventually admitted that such ‘precision’ weapons were only 7 percent of the bombs and missiles raining down on Iraq. The rest were good old-fashioned carpet-bombing, but the mass slaughter of Iraqis was not part of the marketing campaign. When the bombing stopped, U.S. pilots were ordered to fly straight from Kuwait to the Paris Air Show, and the next three years set new records for U.S. weapons exports. . . .

      “Meanwhile, U.S. officials crafted new rationalizations for the use of U.S. military force to lay the ideological groundwork for future wars.”

      And Barack Obama’s military budget is the largest ever. When you factor in all military-related spending, Davies points out, the annual cost of U.S. militarism is over a trillion dollars.

      Before the value of this spending is addressed, the fact of it has to be acknowledged. And no presidential candidate without the courage to do at least this — open a discussion about the costs and consequences of war — deserves my vote, or yours.

    • Hillary donors to Bernie supporters: Shut up

      Bernie Sanders and his supporters during the Democratic primary railed against Hillary Clinton’s big donors, but now those big donors are pushing back.

      There is a widespread sense among major donors who gathered here that supporters of her vanquished rival Sanders have overstepped their bounds with their protests and heckling of speakers, according to interviews with about a dozen donors and fundraisers.

      “They carried it too far,” said Michael Clark, a Washington lobbyist and donor, after a reception at the Academy of Music for the pro-Clinton big-money groups Media Matters, Correct the Record and American Bridge 21st Century. “They embarrassed Bernie at one point. They certainly embarrassed Hillary.”

    • After Lying Low, Deep-Pocketed Clinton Donors Return to the Fore

      …Democratic donors congregated in a few reserved hotels and shuttled between private receptions with A-list elected officials.

    • From Inside Ritz-Carlton, Clinton Donors Tell Sanders Backers to Give Up

      Hillary Clinton’s big-money donors have something to say to Bernie Sanders’ supporters: Go away.

      Although Clinton accepted her nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday with a speech that echoed Sanders’ populist rhetoric, her message was undercut by moments that struck a conservative chord, angering those who fear she will abandon what some saw as a leftward shift if elected president. Throughout the convention this week, Sanders delegates and allies have protested the power of money in politics—among other key progressive issues—both outside and inside the venue.

    • Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance

      Goldman got its money’s worth at the Convention, $700k for two speeches, more a promissory note on behalf of the entire Wall Street community for continued support when and if she is elected president. Clinton, an engine of self-promotion that never turns off, makes Trump’s self-promotion infantile, tiresome, and dyspeptic by comparison. A coinciding of personas, public and private, is difficult to hide, ambition-driven translating into hawkish militarism, the mutilation of national healthcare, friend to corporate and financial vested interests, outclassing Trump in service to monopoly capital.

      Was the Democratic party hypocritical in nominating Clinton for the presidency? Hardly. Its own record on war, health insurance, corporatism stands out, with the exception of the New Deal, since Kennedy’s time with comparable stands going back to Wilson, and before that, Grover Cleveland—a sordid promotion of anticommunism and red-baiting to cover its sins of omission and commission in opposing a society of authentic human welfare. Now, somehow, a woman crashing the glass ceiling—never mind her reactionary bent and danger to world peace—fits perfectly the the scenario of constant obfuscation, as the concentration of wealth-and-power as a unified structural syndrome continues apace.

    • Independence Day for the BBC?

      In an uncertain ‘Brexit Britain’, we must ensure that the BBC remains a public broadcaster, as free as possible from state interference.

    • How the Democratic Party Befriended Megacorporation Uber for Its Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has been a logistical nightmare. The Pennsylvania Convention Center and most major hotels are located in the busy city center just steps from City Hall. But the actual convention is happening miles away at the Wells Fargo Center, surrounded by metal barricades and with most driving and walking routes choked by Secret Service mandates.

      One clear winner in the challenge of transportation for the tens of thousands of delegates, party staffers, journalists, volunteers and workers to and from the convention has been the ride-sharing company Uber. Barred from operating in Philadelphia until just two weeks before the convention, the story of how Uber wound its way into a cozy spot at the Democratic convention is illustrative of the Democratic Party’s contempt for labor and the economic interests of working-class people.

      Rather than just being a backdrop for the convention, it is worth examining how the city has struggled with poverty, low wages and gentrification and how the story of Uber plays into it. The Philadelphia Inquirer examined the extent of “deep poverty” in the city—which it defines as an “income of 50 percent or less of the poverty rate”—and found that Philadelphia had “the highest rate of deep poverty among America’s 10 biggest cities.” The reason for this depressing statistic, the paper said, might be that “the city has a greater fraction of its population detached from the labor market than do many other cities.”

    • Uber Gets Special Treatment in Philadelphia, Thanks to the Democratic Party (Video)

      What would a political convention be without a little greasing of the wheels to boost local business?

      Until two weeks prior to the Democratic National Convention, Uber was illegal in Philadelphia, but the ride-sharing company cut a special deal with the city and Democratic National Committee. Activists were not happy with the move and protested on the first night of the convention.

      Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar caught up with Rebecca Hammell of the Fair Ride Philly Coalition to discuss how Uber became legal in Philadelphia and why.

      “The Philadelphia Parking Authority went behind closed doors with Uber and made a backroom deal, a secret backroom deal,” explained Hammell. “The deal itself wasn’t secret. The contents of the deal are secret. They basically agreed to not take any enforcement steps against Uber from now until Sept. 30.”

    • A Working-Class Fisherman Travels to Philly, Rooting For Bernie (Video)

      Even though Hillary Clinton is the official nominee, Ainsworth doesn’t feel she represents his interests.

    • The Time for Third Parties is Now!

      The coronation of Hillary Clinton has now been completed. The farce of the primaries, in which millions of people voted for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, only to be told that they don’t know what’s best, and that the super-delegates would select the nominee, is behind us, and even Mr. Sanders has gotten into line like the good little corporate soldier that he is. On opening night of the Democratic convention, he gave a shining endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, who stands for all the things that his ‘revolution’ seeks to destroy. But, what is any of that, when the need to keep a Democrat in the White House is so important, despite the fact that, in substance, there is little difference between the major policies of the two parties?

      We keep hearing about the most ‘progressive’ Democratic platform in history, without any mention that it is completely non-binding, and is basically just the recycled blathering we’ve been hearing for months: more money for the military; more oppression of the Palestinians; less concern about the environment, etc. Oh yes, progressive indeed!

      It is long past time for the United States to join the rest of the nations that purport to have some semblance of democracy (the fact that the U.S. simply doesn’t is a topic for another essay), and expand to more than two parties. The Libertarian Party traditionally wins the most votes, after the Republicans and Democrats. But with dozens of third parties fielding candidates for president, why on earth would any thinking person vote for either Mrs. Clinton, the epitome of elitism, corruption, arrogance and entitlement, or the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, a loud-mouthed windbag who appeals to the basest instincts of the most ignorant citizens? Why would anyone in the 99% vote for either of these charter members of the 1%?

    • Hillary Clinton needs to wake up. Trump is stealing the voters she takes for granted

      For the first time in living memory, the Republicans are outflanking the Democrats on the left. If they don’t rise to the challenge, they’ll be trounced

    • Why is the DNC Trying to Silence Nina Turner?

      An all-star list of performers, including Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson, Shailene Woodley, and Kendrick Sampson, will headline a media availability today to respond to efforts by the Democratic National Committee to silence former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, a leading and prominent African American surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Disruptions by Angry Bernie Sanders Delegates Were the Best Part of the Democratic Convention

      The most important task of Democrats at this convention was to respond to the contingent of highly vocal Sanders delegates present, who composed 46 percent of the total number of delegates in attendance and whose main issue was—and is—economic justice for ordinary Americans. Still, one speaker after another attempted to convince the disunited gathering that the Democratic Party is not in fact beholden to big business. To that end, former President Clinton, who gutted crucial welfare programs during his tenure at the White House, said, “We believe that ‘we’re all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own.’ ” Michelle Obama, who hit two key party themes—family values and economic equity—in a single sentence, said, “I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.” Even Sanders made the claim that Clinton, and by extension, the party, “understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn, impartiality and media misrepresentation

      Another academic study has found systemic bias against Jeremy Corbyn in the British media.

    • DNC betrayed Bernie Sanders and the rest of America

      In other words, the Democrats created a mess. And they are turning to Sanders — the very one they betrayed — to come in and clean it up.

      Sanders dutifully took the stage on opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday in Philadelphia and, in effect, told his supporters not to harbor any ill feelings over being stabbed in the back. He warned them against getting sidetracked and urged them to keep their eyes on the bigger issue — defeating Republican challenger Donald Trump in November.

    • The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World

      Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated on Tuesday night by the Democratic Party as its candidate for the U.S. Presidency. She may well win on November 8.

      What a tragedy for Western democracy that the leader of what is still called the free, democratic world cannot produce better candidates than Trump and Clinton through a disgustingly commercialized and corrupt political process where candidates like Jill Stein – did you ever hear of that candidate? – doesn’t have a chance because she cannot mobilize the funds.

      As a European intellectual with a life-long commitment to peace and democracy, I find little reason to celebrate.

    • Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?

      The folks supporting Donald Trump, the GOP nominee, are fairly easy to grasp. Many of them share the same racist proclivities of the voters that have turned out for GOP candidates in elections past. And many of them have the same ultranationalist affinities for authoritarian troglodyte candidates, a problem that has become a trademark of the Republican political agenda. But, oddly enough, these are not the real pariahs this election cycle. In truth, it is the leftists in this country – people who have either passed as liberals, or been tolerated by the liberal camp for the last eight years – that have been fated to be the political black sheep of 2016.

      As Hillary & Co. struggles to win the hearts and minds of millions of disenchanted Americans, her cult of curiously ignorant followers continues to bemoan the left, which will not support #her. In fact, they are so vociferous that one might think the left had actively begun stumping for Trump! Any disdain for the anti-Hillary left notwithstanding, the truth remains that HRC is the one who deserves the lion’s share of the blame for such a mediocre march towards the White House.

    • A Party of Lemmings Led by a Zombie: Why We Need to Keep Bernie Sanders’ Vision Alive

      I ran into Truthdig Editor in Chief Bob Scheer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week. I asked about his take on the Clinton delegates. I explained that I wanted to engage them on matters of policy, but I could hardly get an honest peep out of them. Bob looked at me, shrugged off my question as if to suggest that they’re not interested in that stuff, and quipped, “This is a job fair to them.”

      Indeed, just as Thomas Frank portrays in his magisterial new book “Listen, Liberal,” the core of the Clintonite Democratic Party is the American aspirational class, and they’ve transformed the Democratic National Convention into their natural habitat, the job market.

      Somehow, I missed the memo. Look, I have no illusions. I’m from the same social strata as many of the Clinton delegates—middle- and upper-middle class, well-educated, soccer over NASCAR. Almost all of my longtime friends dutifully support the Democratic Party, and while my pals went for Bernie Sanders in the spring, they will probably fall back in line for “Her” in November.

    • ‘On Contact With Chris Hedges’: Jill Stein on How, and Where, Revolution Can Actually Happen

      Stein sizes up the newly minted pair of nominees, quickly summing up the reasons why they can’t effectively lead the country out of economic or social crisis. “Putting another Clinton in the White House—that’s not the solution, that was the problem, and it’s only going to fan the flames of right-wing extremism,” Stein tells Hedges. “As Bernie Sanders himself said many times, the solution to this kind of crisis—and it’s real pain that the Trump supporters are responding to—the solution is truly progressive and transformative, just, economic revolutionary policies, and that’s what my campaign brings to the table.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Poland welcomes internet filtering

      Until June 23 Poland was a green island on the European black sea of internet filtering. Once, back in 2010, the Polish government considered this popular yet ineffective form of preventing cybercrime. But as a result of eager public debate the then Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, was advised against introducing a list of ‘forbidden websites and services’. The usual arguments used by freedom of expression advocates in other countries proved successful in Poland: Tusk decided against the costly operation, having been persuaded that even with internet filtering in place, undesirable content would still be accessible. The infrastructure and manpower costs would surmount the limited benefits of the few lay internet users actually believing the misleading 404 error message or complying with the automated ban.

      Yet only six years later that debate and all relevant arguments seem to have been forgotten. As the Warsaw NATO summit dawns, and in the face of the growing threat of terrorism in other European countries, the Polish law on ‘anti-terrorist’ measures, authored by the right wing Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc; PiS) government, has introduced the first ever Polish procedure on internet filtering, raising serious concerns about privacy, freedom of expression and other human rights.

    • Censorship of terrorist names, photos a step in wrong direction
    • Should Media Follow Self-Censorship In Not Publishing Photos Of Terrorists In Attacks
    • French media stops publishing photos of terrorists: Could US media follow?
    • French Media Censor Identities Of Terrorists – ‘To Avoid Glorification’
    • Yavuz Baydar: Silence is the enemy of democracy

      “Freedoms suspended” was the headline of Friday’s Cumhuriyet daily. It is one of the very few newspapers left in Turkey which dares to continue with critical reporting and analysis.

      Cumhuriyet explained that the emergency rule decrees give the government the ability to arbitrarily shut down media outlets suspected of “having links to structures and groups that pose a threat to national security.” Ministers are now empowered to close TV, radio, websites and, even, book publishers. Prosecutors are required to follow those orders. This means a total end of media freedom in Turkey.

      Academics, who had launched a petition calling for an end to the violence in south-eastern Turkey and advocated a return to peace negotiations, have found themselves targets of the wider with hunt, Cumhuriyet reported. Under government decrees, prosecutors are now able to issue search warrants and even seize the properties of suspects being arrested or sought for detention — without the need to have a judge approve the order.

    • Journalists Flee Turkey as Government Purge Targets Media

      The latest crackdown is “on media outlets and journalists [the government] accuses of being linked to the Fethullah Gülen movement, which it blames for the foiled military coup,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch. “In the absence of any evidence of their role or participation in the violent attempt to overthrow the government, we strongly condemn this accelerated assault on the media, which further undermines Turkey’s democratic credentials.”

    • EU Calls Turkey’s Crackdown on Media ‘Worrying’

      “The situation came to a point where local media’s fear of being arrested is leading to an increasing muzzlement of the press, thus infringing fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and the public’s right to know,” the International Federation of Journalists said.

      The IFJ said it and the European Federation of Journalists were calling on the EU “to take additional steps to hold Turkish President Erdoğan accountable for press freedom breaches.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EXCLUSIVE – NSA Whistleblower: Agency Has All of Clinton’s Deleted Emails

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has “all” of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and the FBI could gain access to them if they so desired, William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official, declared in a radio interview broadcast on Sunday.

      Speaking as an analyst, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clinton’s compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

    • Landmark changes to EU surveillance tech export policy proposed, leaked document shows

      This is an initial reaction by Privacy International to a leaked proposal by the European Commission specifically as it relates to surveillance technologies. A full analysis, including wider implications of the proposed changes, is forthcoming.

      The European Commission is proposing to amend the Dual Use regulation to control the export of surveillance technology on human rights grounds, a leaked copy of the proposal obtained by Euractiv shows.

      The landmark move comes after years of campaigning by European Parliamentarians, some EU member states, and human rights organisations, including Privacy International. It will set a global precedent on the need to reconcile trade and human rights. However, it comes years after EU companies were revealed during the Arab Awakening to have supplied various security services known to be involved in human rights abuses with sweeping and sophisticated surveillance technology.

      As a Commission proposal, it is yet to be reviewed by the European Parliament and Member State governments representatives in the Council. In those reviews, amendments will be made by both institutions until they are voted on and agreed.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling

      Economic conditions loom large and play a significant role in North Baton Rouge. One of the reasons for the boycott was to keep North Baton Rouge dollars in North Baton Rouge. But the problem was and is, there aren’t that many places to spend those dollars north of Florida Boulevard—the great dividing line between the city’s more affluent, predominantly white area and its mostly black neighborhoods. My daily drive down the highway to Southern University reveals a landscape littered with abandoned buildings, a few struggling small businesses, and a number of large and foreboding industrial sites—lately featuring buffer strips in an attempt to address public health concerns. One of the local councilwomen lamented back in March that a dollar store chain had declined to open in the area due to worries about crime. Indeed, new businesses in the area are a rarity, as many residents complain of being forced to travel to the other side of the city for entertainment, amenities, and healthcare.

    • Out of the Blue: Loved Ones Search for Answers in Shaylene Graves’ Prison Death

      Wednesday, July 27, should have been the day that 27-year-old Shaylene Graves walked out of prison a free woman. After eight years in prison, Graves, known as Light Blue or simply Blue to her friends, was looking forward to her first meal out of prison and the welcome-home party her family was planning.

      Her family never got to throw that party. At 6:30 am on June 1, Graves’ mom Sheri was sitting in her car waiting for her oldest son Michael. As they did every weekday morning, the two were planning to drive from their home in Corona to Irvine where Sheri worked as a nurse and Michael as a barber. As she was backing the car out of the driveway, Sheri’s cell phone rang. On the other line was an officer at the California Institution for Women (CIW), the prison where Shaylene was finishing her sentence. He told Sheri that her daughter was dead.

    • Comics Teach Union History and Importance of Solidarity

      Howard Zinn once wrote that “to be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness.” It’s also more than this. As the Graphic History Collective, editors of Drawn to Change – a graphic depiction of numerous Canadian labor battles waged since the 1880s — note, “hope is critical to struggles for social change.”

      Indeed it is, and the nine full-length, if short, comic books that comprise this anthology are exuberantly optimistic — even though many of the campaigns described in the collection actually sputtered or failed. Nonetheless, the intrepid spirit of those who imagined a more humane world is inspiring and offers a cogent push to the world’s workers, urging us to follow their bold example and take risks to improve our lot.

    • One Mother’s Story: How Overemphasis on Standardized Tests Caused Her 9-Year-Old to Try to Hang Himself

      For years, this story was a family secret. A mutual acquaintance, knowing from my Knight-Ridder/Tribune columns that I had repeatedly attacked the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test not just as a waste of time, money and human potential, but as child abuse, gave this mother my email address and suggested she write me. I met with the mother and child personally and can vouch for the fact that they do indeed exist.

      If failing to reach the pass-fail cut score by just one point wasn’t within every standardized test’s margin of error; if research hadn’t established that for the young, retention in grade is as traumatic as fear of going blind or of a parent dying; if standardized tests provided timely, useful feedback that helped teachers decide what to do next; if billions of dollars that America’s chronically underfunded public schools need weren’t being diverted to the standardized testing industry and charter promotion; if a generation of test-and-punish schooling had moved the performance needle even a little; if today’s sneaky, corporately driven education “reform” effort wasn’t driven by blind faith in market ideology and an attempt to privatize public schooling; if test manufacturers didn’t publish guidelines for dealing with vomiting, pants-wetting and other evidences of test-taker trauma; if the Finns hadn’t demonstrated conclusively that fear-free schools, cooperation rather than competition, free play, a recess every hour in elementary school, and that letting educators alone could produce world-class test-takers—if, if, if—then I might cut business leaders and politicians responsible for the America’s current education train wreck a little slack.

    • What’s to be done with Oxfam?

      Too small to influence economics, too bureaucratic to be social movements, banned from politics and removed from the societies they’re trying to change, where do NGOs go next?

    • How One Connecticut City’s Reform Plan Reduced Race-Based Police Stops

      The Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice, as well as the Blue Lives Matter movement in support of police officers, have brought to light persistent and widespread tensions regarding American police forces’ treatment of minorities. But improvements are possible, and small changes can make a positive difference, judging by one Connecticut community that might be viewed as a test case for how to resolve some of these conflicts.

      After the Hamden, Conn, police department was singled out in a 2015 state-sponsored study for conducting disproportionate stops of African-American motorists, Chief Thomas Wydra acted to improve relations between police officers and the minorities in the zone his department serves. Following a year of Wydra’s reform efforts, stops of African American drivers were reduced by a quarter, helping close racial gaps in traffic stops in the area.

      Before that reform was enacted, though, the police chief had qualms about defective equipment laws, which allow officers to stop motorists on minor violations ranging from dangling ornamentation on rear-view mirrors to the degree of tint on car windows. Those rather subjective guidelines often compel police officers to rely on their own discretion while conducting traffic stops.

    • To Reduce Bias, Some Police Departments Are Rethinking Traffic Stops

      Though it’s his job to enforce the law, Thomas Wydra — police chief of Hamden, Conn. — is not so sure about the laws on defective equipment.

      “You may have something hanging from your rearview mirror. That’s technically a violation,” Wydra says. “You have an attachment on your license plate. That’s technically a violation.”

    • Top 7 firsts in Women in US Politics

      As I pointed out, it is all very nice that Hillary Clinton is the first American woman to be nominated as the standard-bearer for her party’s presidential bid, but 11 Muslim women have already served.

    • Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas

      Race and racism stalk gun violence and the legislation to control guns in the history of the United States. Texas is no exception to this rule. In the 1960s the civil rights and radical struggles for racial justice at colleges provoked liberals and conservatives in the Texas Legislature to ban guns on campuses. In Texas, that consensus against civilians carrying guns on campus evaporated in 2015.

    • Danny Glover & Bernie Delegate Larry Hamm: The Sanders Movement Must Stay Mobilized to Push Change

      The address at the DNC from mothers whose unarmed African-American children were killed by law enforcement, or due to gun violence, marked an “extraordinary moment,” says New Jersey delegate Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress. But he adds, “I wish someone would have said police brutality must stop. … In the two years since the death of Michael Brown, 2,500 people have been killed by police in the United States.” We are also joined by actor and activist Danny Glover. Both men say they formerly supported Bernie Sanders and now plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. Glover notes, “What we do beyond the 9th of November is the most important thing.”

    • White Supremacy and Sanctioned Violence in the Age of Donald Trump

      Peter Thiel, the silicon billionaire and one of the six ultra-rich financial elite to speak at the Republican National Convention once wrote that he did not “believe that freedom and democracy were compatible.” This blatant anti-democratic mindset has emerged once again, without apology, as a major organizing principle of the Republican Party under Donald Trump. In addition to expressing a hatred of Muslims, Mexicans, women, journalists, dissidents, and others whom he views as outside the pale of what constitutes a true American, Trump appears to harbor a core disdain for democracy, bringing back Theodor Adorno’s warning that “the true danger [of fascism] lay in the traces of the fascist mentality within the democratic political system” (a warning quoted in Prismatic Thought). What has become clear is that the current political crisis represents a return to ideologies, values and policies based upon a poisonous mix of white supremacy and ultra-nationalism, opening up a politics that “could lead back to political totalitarianism.”

    • Slow death: Is the trauma of police violence killing black women?

      It is difficult to imagine the pain of witnessing and archiving the death of a loved one. It is even more difficult to imagine what this must be like when a police officer is pointing a gun at you in front of your four-year-old child. The only word that comes to mind for me is terror, although I am sure that is inadequate. One thing I am sure of: When Philando Castile was killed on July 6, he was not the only victim of police violence in that car. The trauma that Diamond Reynolds and her young daughter experienced marks them as victims as well.

      If we as a nation want to truly address the problem of anti-black police violence, then we must shift our national discussions from simply tallying the body count of the immediate dead to assessing the traumatic and long-term deadly effects on the living.

    • Bill Clinton Draws Flak for ‘Trumpish’ Comments on American Muslims

      Beinart continued, “Whether Clinton meant to or not, he lapsed into Trumpism: the implication that Muslims are a class apart, deserving of special scrutiny and surveillance, guilty of terrorist sympathies until proven innocent.”

    • “Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most

      Safety in American is about protecting white police officers — not black persons, or Mexican immigrants, or Muslims, or refugees, or women’s reproductive rights and health, or the safety of LGBTQ persons whom Donald Trump promised to protect from “a hateful foreign ideology.” Trump’s words resonated with knowing white Convention delegates. “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country. Believe me. Believe me.” (“Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated, Ibid) The delegates believed Trump, and cheered him on.

    • Australia’s “Abu Ghraib”-Like Torture of Jailed Children Captured in “Chilling” TV Footage

      Footage from an ABC investigation revealed juvenile detention center guards in Australia’s Northern Territory shackling, hooding, taunting, and teargassing detained children—as well as leaving them in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.

    • Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to use his powers under the newly-declared state of emergency today to close 15 universities and over one thousand schools alleged to have links to the Gulen movement, which is accused of having staged the failed military coup on 15 July.

      The extent of the closures underlines the sizable nature of the network of influential educational establishments, charitable institutions and other associations built up by followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen in the last thirty years. Those now being shut include 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions.

    • David Cameron ‘list’ sparks call for honours overhaul

      Opposition MPs have called for a complete overhaul of the honours system after a newspaper published what it said were leaked details of David Cameron’s resignation honours list.

      The Sunday Times said the ex-PM had chosen to reward cabinet colleagues who backed the losing EU Remain campaign, as well as No 10 staff and donors.

      But a one-time parliamentary aide to Mr Cameron, Sir Desmond Swayne, has dismissed claims of “cronyism”.

      Downing Street has declined to comment.

    • Making Algorithms Accountable

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

      Some have argued that these failure rates are still better than the human biases of individual judges, although there is no data on judges with which to compare. But even if that were the case, are we willing to accept an algorithm with such a high failure rate for black defendants?

      Warning labels are not a bad start toward answering that question. Judges may be cautious of risk scores that are accompanied by a statement that the score has been found to overpredict recidivism among black defendants. Yet as we rapidly enter the era of automated decision making, we should demand more than warning labels.

      A better goal would be to try to at least meet, if not exceed, the accountability standard set by a president not otherwise known for his commitment to transparency, Richard Nixon: the right to examine and challenge the data used to make algorithmic decisions about us.

    • Confessions of a Kremlin conspiracy theorist

      On 19 July, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the Moscow division of the Investigative Committee and arrested three of its senior officers over suitcase-loads of bribe money. On 25 July, the US Democratic National Committee brought Kremlin politics into the US elections after alleging that Russian intelligence are behind the hack and subsequent leak of embarrassing emails. Then, on 28 July, the Kremlin reshuffled a series of administrative positions that usually no one cares about (the governor of Yaroslavl oblast? Really?), which is now being taken as an omen of major changes ahead for Russia.

07.31.16

Links 31/7/2016: GNOME Maps Datafeed Back, Xen Vulnerability

Posted in News Roundup at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.2 Nears With Many Features

    The first release candidate to the upcoming ReactOS 0.4.2 release is now available, the project aiming to be an open-source re-implementation of Microsoft Windows.

  • Events

    • Software Freedom Kosova Conference SFK’16 Call for Speakers

      SKF | Software Freedom Kosova is an annual international conference in Kosovo organized to promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge, now in its 7th edition. It is organized by FLOSSK, a non governmental, not for profit organization, dedicated to promote software freedom and related philosophies.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Could Equal Pay, Paid Family Leave, and Pregnancy Protections Be the Issues That Bridge the Political Divide?

      The momentum to pass these critical protections for women in the states should serve as both a warning and an inspiration to Congress. Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – care about equal rights for women. So let’s hope the next Congress will pass federal laws mandating equal pay, paid family leave, and pregnancy protections.

    • Olympic Chefs Pledge to Salvage Unused Food and Feed the Hungry With It

      Some of the big-name chefs cooking for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are also activists for the hungry. Knowing full well there will be tremendous food waste at that massive event, the chefs plan to salvage as much as they can. With it, every night of the games, they will feed the hungry.

      Each day, the food preparation staff for the Olympics will have to feed an incredible 60,000 meals to 18,000 athletes, coaches and other personnel. To do that, they need a specially built kitchen that will be as big as a football field. A whopping 460,000 lbs of food will be delivered every day. Meals will be prepared and served as Brazilian, Asian, Halal, Kosher, International and Pasta/Pizza buffets.

    • Dangerous Liaisons: ChemChina’s Bid for Syngenta

      We all love to hate Monsanto. We also know that Monsanto isn’t the only poison-maker trying to pass itself off as a “farmer-friendly producer of food to feed the world.”

      Monsanto belongs to an exclusive club of dominant pesticide makers. That club, which includes Dow, Dupont, Bayer, Syngenta and BASF, is about to get a lot smaller. And a lot more dangerous.

      Bayer has been trying for months to buy Monsanto. Dow and Dupont are in talks to merge. And Switzerland-based Syngenta may soon be owned by ChemChina.

      It’s bad enough that less than a dozen multinational corporations (including Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta) control nearly 70 percent of the global seed market. If these mergers and buyouts go through, that number will shrink even further.

    • Schuette: Workers hid discovery of lead in blood

      Criminal charges leveled Friday against six current and former state employees center around allegations they altered or concealed alarming reports showing high levels of toxic lead in Flint’s water and the bloodstreams of the city’s children.

      Attorney General Bill Schuette’s prosecutors contend much of the cover-up occurred on or around the same day in late July last year.

      At the Department of Health and Human Services, prosecutors allege employees Nancy Peeler and Robert Scott “buried” an epidemiologist’s July 28, 2015, report showing a significant year-over-year spike in blood lead levels in Flint children.

  • Security

    • Xen patches critical guest privilege escalation bug

      A freshly uncovered bug in the Xen virtualisation hypervisor could potentially allow guests to escalate their privileges until they have full control of the hosts they’re running on.

      The Xen hypervisor is used by cloud giants Amazon Web Services, IBM and Rackspace.

      Inadequate security checks of how virtual machines access memory means a malicous, paravirtualised guest administrator can raise their system privileges to that of the host on unpatched installations, Xen said.

    • Xen Vulnerability Allows Hackers To Escape Qubes OS VM And Own the Host
    • The Security of Our Election Systems [Too much of Microsoft]

      The FBI is investigating. WikiLeaks promises there is more data to come. The political nature of this cyberattack means that Democrats and Republicans are trying to spin this as much as possible. Even so, we have to accept that someone is attacking our nation’s computer systems in an apparent attempt to influence a presidential election. This kind of cyberattack targets the very core of our democratic process. And it points to the possibility of an even worse problem in November ­ that our election systems and our voting machines could be vulnerable to a similar attack.

    • Data program accessed in cyber-attack on Democrats, says Clinton campaign [iophk: "Windows still"]

      A data program used by the campaign of the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, was “accessed” as a part of hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that intelligence officials believe was carried out by Russia’s intelligence services, Clinton’s campaign said on Friday.

    • A Famed Hacker Is Grading Thousands of Programs — and May Revolutionize Software in the Process

      “There are applications out there that really do demonstrate good [security] hygiene … and the vast majority are somewhere else on the continuum from moderate to atrocious,” Peiter Zatko says. “But the nice thing is that now you can actually see where the software package lives on that continuum.”

      Joshua Corman, founder of I Am the Cavalry, a group aimed at improving the security of software in critical devices like cars and medical devices, and head of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative for the Atlantic Council, says the public is in sore need of data that can help people assess the security of software products.

      “Markets do well when an informed buyer can make an informed risk decision, and right now there is incredibly scant transparency in the buyer’s realm,” he says.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Ghosts of Direct Action

      In early 2009 I was walking away from a compound a platoon from the Second Ranger Battalion had just assaulted when a staff sergeant I knew held up something in the dark. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. It was small and he was bragging about it. I tried to make it out but was soon distracted. It wasn’t until I got back to Forward Operating Base Salerno and saw his pictures that I realized that he had been showing me a square piece of flesh that he had cut out of a dead woman’s neck.

      Mutilating the corpse of a female noncombatant was just the final act in a horror show that night put on by this young Ranger. He had killed several people. One was a military-aged male, the rest were women; one looked to be about thirteen.

      Why did they die? Sadly, all too often when people die in Afghanistan that question is a lot harder to answer than it should be. There are as many truths about that mission as there were people on it. But, they didn’t have to die. It could have been avoided. And the war crime that occurred after the deaths gives you an idea of the mentality of the shooter.

    • Trading Places: Swapping the Roles of Police and Military Is Bad for the Republic

      The Dallas police chief defended using the robot-delivered bomb by saying that he would have done anything to avoid more police deaths. That is understandable reasoning but flawed, because although lives of professional law enforcement personnel are very important, the use of such indiscriminate battlefield weapons may unreasonably endanger the lives of the innocent citizens the police are sworn to protect.

      Under the rules of war, militaries are permitted to kill civilians or destroy their property, even if such collateral damage is deemed likely before an attack, if the target is militarily critical. That reasoning is unacceptable for police departments, given their primary mission of protecting the public. The militarization of police with SWAT teams, armored vehicles, etc. is threatening enough to citizens’ liberty without the unnecessary use of military-grade explosives to endanger the civilians whose welfare they are supposed to be safeguarding.

    • New Documentary Pierces the Psychology of Modern Suicide Bombers

      In a scene from Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal’s new documentary Dugma: The Button, Abu Qaswara, a would-be suicide bomber, describes the sense of exhilaration he felt during an aborted suicide attack against a Syrian army checkpoint. “These were the happiest [moments] I’ve had in 32 years. If anyone had felt exactly what I felt at that moment, Muslims would want to go through the same feeling and non-Muslims would convert just to experience it,” he enthuses to the camera, visibly elated by his attempted self-immolation.

      Abu Qaswara’s attack failed after his vehicle was blocked by obstacles on the road placed by the Syrian military. But speaking shortly after he returned from his mission, it was clear that his brush with death had filled him with euphoria. “It was a feeling more than you can imagine,” he says. “Something I cannot describe, it cannot be described.”

      [...]

      Only the few Syrians who appear in the film speak at length about their grievances over the crimes of the Syrian government. In contrast, the foreign volunteers appear largely driven by personal motivations. Liberating the local people from oppression appears at best a secondary concern. Perishing in the conflict and reaping the existential rewards of such an end takes precedence. Both Abu Qaswara and Abu Basir gave up comfortable lives to come to Syria, knowing that certain death would be the outcome of that decision. But rather than deterring them, the prospect of a rewarding death was a primary factor motivating their decision to fight.

    • “Eat, Pray, Starve”: Greg Grandin on Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton & the U.S. Role in Honduras

      On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, delivered a prime-time speech in which he spoke about the nine months he spent with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras in 1980. To talk more about the significance of Tim Kaine’s time in Honduras, we speak with Greg Grandin, professor of Latin American history at New York University. His most recent article for The Nation is headlined “Eat, Pray, Starve: What Tim Kaine Didn’t Learn During His Time in Honduras.”

    • Munich shopping centre and train station evacuated after ‘bomb threat’

      A shopping centre and train station in Munich wereevacuated after police received a ‘bomb threat’ this afternoon.

      The Pasing Arcaden shopping centre and Pasing railway station were both cleared and the area sealed off by police.

      Police are understood to have received an anonymous phone call warning a bomb has been placed in the area and officers are now on the scene.

      The area was evacuated at around 5.30pm local time (4.30pm UK time) and train services were also stopped from passing through the station.

      Police searched the area and later confirmed nothing suspicious was found and there was no threat to the public.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Government cancels 50,000 passports as global concern grows over crackdown

      The Turkish government has cancelled the passports of around 50,000 people to prevent them leaving the country as a crackdown continues following a failed coup.

      Efkan Ala, the interior minister, said more than 18,000 have so far been detained over the attempt to oust President Tayyip Erdogan, while thousands of government staff are under investigation.

      The purges have provoked alarm in the international community, presenting a major stumbling block for Turkey’s campaign to join the European Union.

    • Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism

      The new imperialism differs from the old, classical imperialism in at least four major ways.

      First, contrary to the old pattern of colonial/imperial conquests and plunders, which often proved quite lucrative to the imperium, war and military operations under the new imperialism are not even cost efficient on purely economic grounds, that is, on grounds of national interests. While immoral, external military operations of past empires often proved profitable and, therefore, justifiable on national economic grounds. Military actions abroad usually brought economic benefits not only to the imperial ruling classes and war profiteers, but also (through “trickle-down” effects) to their citizens. Thus, for example, imperialism paid significant dividends to Britain, France, the Dutch, and other European powers of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. As the imperial economic gains helped develop their economies, they also helped improve the living conditions of their working people and elevate the standards of living of their citizens.

      This pattern of economic gains flowing from imperial military operations, however, seems to have somewhat changed in the context of the recent U.S. imperial wars of choice. Moralities aside, U.S. military expeditions and operations of late are not justifiable even on economic grounds. Indeed, escalating U.S. military adventures and aggressions have become ever more wasteful, cost-inefficient, and burdensome to the overwhelming majority of its citizens.

    • The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit

      On July 28, 2002, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote a memorandum to American President George W. Bush about Iraq. “I will be with you, whatever,” Blair wrote with teenager’s diction. It was a pledge that Blair would keep through the year and into the illegal war against Iraq that the Bush administration prosecuted in 2003. Not only did this war break Iraq—a country weakened by the sanctions regime and its earlier wars—but it also severely threatened the legitimacy of the West in the eyes of the world. It took six years for an inquiry to be opened in Britain.

      Finally, after much delay, the Chilcot Report—all of 2.6 million words—has been released. It tells a great story of deceit. There is no Chilcot inquiry in the United States, where perhaps it is most needed. Both of the major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are damaged by their unity on this war. Bush led the way, but Democratic front-runner for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, voted for the war in Congress. Controversy over the lead-up to the war remains in the U.S., but none of the major political parties would like a Chilcot inquiry in the U.S.

      In the U.S., the debate over Iraq has been placed on mute. Hillary Clinton’s vote for the war means that Democrats do not want to make this an issue in the presidential election. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, had supported the war in 2003. He now says he opposes it. But his entire party bears culpability for the war. In a primary debate, Trump attacked Bush for the war. It was an unusual moment. Bush’s brother Jeb Bush was on the stage then. He defended his brother, and also stood up for his party. Trump has since been silent on the Iraq war.

    • “No More War”: Protesters Disrupt Ex-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s DNC Speech

      Protests on the floor of the convention continued on Wednesday. They reached a peak when former CIA Director Leon Panetta took the stage. While Panetta was criticizing Donald Trump’s appeal to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, many delegates started chanting “No more war!” We hear Panetta’s remarks and speak to a Bernie Sanders delegate who took part in the protest.

    • Lessons in Activism: Middle School Students Advocate for Syrian Refugees

      For the campaign around Syrian refugees, students learned about the complexities of history, the realities of ISIS and why Syrians are fleeing their country. An effective activism curriculum doesn’t deny these types of realities. Rather, it helps students find ways to defy reality with actions and in the process, learn that even the smallest acts matter. Students learned that the US announced plans to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year, but that this isn’t enough. After the Paris attacks last November, the House of Representatives immediately passed a bill that could severely limit the acceptance of people fleeing from Syria and Iraq. Students discussed the consequences of that legislation in activism class as they depicted and critiqued the SAFE Act bill. “We’d like the representative to oppose the SAFE Act, which lengthens the process for refugees to apply for asylum. We’d also like you to oppose the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (HR 4731), which gives the government the power to defund certain refugee resettlement agencies,” wrote Carolina, 13, in one of the talking points she prepared for the class’s lobbying trip to D.C. “We’d also like people in Congress to speak out against Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslims and refugees … they already have a tough life fleeing terrorism and oppressive government,” said Vidar, who is 14 years old.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ALEC in Indianapolis: ExxonMobil and the #WebOfDenial

      This month, nineteen U.S. Senators called attention to the Web of Denial, a network of front groups that oppose any productive action to combat climate change. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led the charge, building upon his weekly “Time To Wake Up” speech series on global warming, flagging the front groups that peddle climate doubt for their clients in the oil, gas and coal industries.

      One of the top groups obstructing any form of progress is the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. ALEC convened its annual meeting in Indianapolis this week, where it hooks state politicians up with lobbyists from Koch Industries (and its many nonprofit tentacles), Peabody Energy, tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and other industries looking to put pro-business policies in the hands of state politicians.

    • Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino

      On Monday July 18, a seven-year-old boy was shot in the legs in Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India, by park guards. Under the park’s long-established anti-poaching policy, guards are trained to shoot intruders on sight, and given total legal immunity for doing so. At least sixty-two people have been executed there in just nine years.

  • Finance

    • America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty

      They came to America in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia.

      America held the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream.

      Many of them chased that dream in California’s Central Valley, slowly, sometimes painfully, building lives in a new country where their language and culture were virtually unknown. Largely from poor rural farming families, they often struggled to adjust to a dramatically different society, with few relevant skills and limited support.

    • How Much Do Shady Financial Practices Cost You, Exactly?

      Average U.S. household loses over $100,000 to destructive activities of bankers and financiers

    • How to pay no taxes at all! (if you’re Apple, Google or Facebook)

      In only 7 minutes, Australian comedy show The Undercurrent explains exactly how companies like Apple, Google and Facebook use offshore registration, transfer payments, debt loading and tax havens to get a lower tax rate than nurses, starving their host countries like Australia of so much money that they’re cutting schools, medicare, public broadcasting, climate change and indigenous services.

    • Ireland jails three top bankers over 2008 banking meltdown

      Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country’s economy.

      The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

      The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 percent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

      The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.

      Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.

      Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.

    • Theresa May confirms Crown dependencies will take part in Brexit talks

      Theresa May has written to Britain’s Crown dependencies to assure them they will play a part in negotiations to leave the EU.

    • ‘These Agreements Depend on Secrecy in Order to Pass’ – CounterSpin interviews with Lori Wallach, Peter Maybarduk and Karen Hansen-Kuhn on trade pacts and corporate globalization

      This week on CounterSpin: Few ideas are as hard-wired into corporate media as the notion that so-called “free trade” agreements of the sort we have are, despite concerns, best for everyone—and, anyway, inevitable. Given that the deals are not primarily about trade, and that what freedom they entail applies to corporations and not people, you could say media’s use of the term “free trade” implies a bias—against clarity, if nothing else.

    • Hillary Clinton Talks Tough on Shadow Banking, But Blackstone Is Celebrating at the DNC

      Blackstone, the giant Wall Street private equity firm, will hold an invitation-only reception before the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The event, at the swanky Barnes Foundation art museum, includes the usual perks for attendees: free food, drink, and complimentary shuttle buses to the final night of the convention.

      What’s unusual is that the host is precisely the kind of “shadow banker” that Hillary Clinton has singled out as needing more regulation in her rhetoric about getting tough on Wall Street.

      But Blackstone President and Chief Operating Officer Hamilton “Tony” James doesn’t seem the least bit intimidated.

      James has been a stalwart supporter of Barack Obama, holding fundraisers for him at his home, even while other Wall Street titans criticized him — in fact the co-founder of James’s own company, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, once likened Obama’s push to increase taxes on private-equity firms to a “war,” saying: “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

      Last December, James hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Hillary Clinton that featured Warren Buffett. He’s made six-figure donations to the Center for American Progress, known as Clinton’s White House in exile, and sits on CAP’s Board of Trustees. And he has made no secret of wanting to hold a high-level position in a future Democratic administration, perhaps even Treasury Secretary.

    • No New Charter Schools – NAACP Draws Line in the Sand

      The resolution goes on to oppose tax breaks to support charter schools and calls for new legislation to increase charter school transparency. Moreover, charters should not be allowed to kick students out for disciplinary reasons.

      This goes against the well-funded narrative of charter schools as vehicles to ensure civil rights.

      The pro-charter story has been told by deep pocketed investors such as the Koch Brothers and the Walton Family Foundation. But the idea that a separate parallel school system would somehow benefit black and brown children goes against history and common sense.

      The Supreme Court, after all, ruled separate but equal to be Unconstitutional in Brown vs. Board of Education. Yet somehow these wealthy “philanthropists” know better.

      People of color know that when your children are separated from the white and rich kids, they often don’t get the same resources, funding and proper education. You want your children to be integrated not segregated. You want them to be where the rich white kids are. That way it’s harder for them to be excluded from the excellent education being provided to their lighter skinned and more economically advantaged peers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill’s Line

      Dr. Jill Stein’s popularity surge during the Democratic National Convention led to rumors that she opposes vaccines, but that isn’t the case.

    • Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers

      Last summer you said you would not run as a third party candidate if you did not win the Democratic nomination. You said, “the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States.” This was before the unexpected and unprecedented success of your grassroots campaign where you won 22 states and almost half of the delegates in a primary process that was stacked against you every step of the way.

      We take you as a man of your word and we certainly don’t want Trump to be president either. A Trump presidency would be a terrible step backwards for working people, people of color, immigrants, students, retirees, the LGBTQ community, the environment, and the entire world, which is why more than ever we need you to reconsider the situation and make a third party run.

      Polls show that Hillary Clinton, the official Democratic nominee, is an incredibly weak candidate in the general election. Even after spending $57 million in ads (vs. $4 million by Trump) she is trailing slightly, and Trump is actually leading in several important swing states. Frankly, Hillary Clinton does not have the credibility to take on the dangerous appeal of Donald Trump.

      For a variety of reasons, many justified and some not, people don’t trust her. We are now faced with two of the most disliked presidential candidates in the history of the country. Unfortunately, too many people are disillusioned with politics and the lack of inspiring viable candidates will only hurt voter turnout. If there was ever an opportunity to break the corporate two party duopoly, this is it. So, we respectfully ask you to consider Jill Stein’s offer of a united Green Party ticket.

      A Sanders/Stein campaign would be more popular than Hillary Clinton and more successful against Trump. If polling shows you in the lead before the election, we trust that Secretary Clinton would do the right thing and not be a spoiler.

    • Why Trump Supporters Think He’ll Win

      “You people in the Acela corridor aren’t getting it. Again. You think Donald Trump is screwing up because he keeps saying things that you find offensive or off-the-wall. But he’s not talking to you. You’re not his audience, you never were, and you never will be. He’s playing this game in a different way from anybody you’ve ever seen. And he’s winning too, in a different way from anybody you’ve ever seen.

      “Our convention worked. Donald—I’m not on the payroll, I can call him that—Donald energized his voters: people who are afraid of crime and worried about the mass immigration that’s transforming their country and displacing them. We talk a lot about polls, but you ignore the polls that don’t show what you expect to see.

      “Here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to run up vote totals like you’ve never seen in places you’ve never been. Not just coal country, either. No, we don’t have what you’d call a proper campaign. What do we need it for? Campaigns spend most of their money on TV ads that do nothing except entertain you on YouTube on your lunch hour—oh, and pay huge commissions to the consultants who make them. It’s all a waste and rip-off. If our message is exciting, our voters will get to the polls on their own. And you have to admit: Our message is exciting!

    • Will Hillary Clinton get a convention bounce in the polls? If not, she’s in deep trouble.

      Last week, halfway through the Republican convention in Cleveland, I wrote that the GOP gathering was so shambolic that it might not give Donald Trump the “bounce” he needed.

      I was right about the convention, but wrong about the bounce.

      Trump undeniably got one. In the average of national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, Trump was three points behind Hillary Clinton before Cleveland; now he’s one point ahead.

      The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed a similar swing with a more striking result: Trump seven points ahead.

      What does that mean for Hillary Clinton, whose convention in Philadelphia was smoother and snazzier? It means she’s virtually certain to get a bounce too.

    • Hillary’s Convention Con

      This immense gap has been the Clinton duo’s con job on America for many years. Sugarcoating phrases, populist flattery, getting the election over with and jumping back into the fold of the plutocracy is their customary M.O.

      An anti-Hillary campaign button sums it up. Imagine a nice picture of Hillary with the words “More Wall Street” above her head and the words “More War” below her head.

      Alert voters could see it coming at the Convention: the militarism for Hillary the Hawk on day four in Philadelphia and the arrival of the corporate fat cats. Or, as the New York Times headlined: “Top Donors Leave Sidelines, Checkbooks in Hand.”

      The best thing Hillary Clinton has going for her is the self-destructive, unstable, unorganized, fact and truth-starved, egomaniacal, cheating, plutocratic, Donald Trump (See my column “How Unpatriotic Is Donald Trump?”).

      That’s where our nation’s two-party political leadership is today. When will the vast left/right majority rise to take over and reverse the eviscerating policies and practices of this political duopoly?

    • She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention

      + First things first. I want to apologize to the Sandernistas for any impolite things I may have written about you in the past 10 months. I especially want to apologize to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you, after Bernie wiped out your votes and muted your voices, after he turned you over to the DNC’s thuggish floor managers and security guards, after he sat passively as your brave chants of “No More Drones” were drowned out by the fascist war-cry of “USA! USA!!” I want to apologize for doubting your resolve. I want to apologize without qualification. You didn’t cry when Bernie betrayed you. Not for long. You marched right back into the Wells Fargo Center intent on spoiling the party. You didn’t sour on your ideals. You refused to be domesticated. You pissed on their carpet. You shouted down their war criminals. You made this squalid affair fun for a few precious hours. And that ain’t bad. Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is cracking a smile (though perhaps not at the spectacle of Meryl Streep ripping off his wardrobe during her bewildering performance, an act so incoherent it made one long for the Absurdist theater of Clint Eastwood and his empty chair routine.)

    • Long Live the Queen of Chaos

      Bernie Sanders’ program proposals and Mrs. Clinton’s theorized move Left will be but distant memories.

    • Two (Three, Four?) Data Points on DNC Hack: Why Does Wikileaks Need an Insurance File?

      This detail is important because it says Julian Assange is setting the agenda (and possibly, the decision to fully dox DNC donors) for the Wikileaks release, and that agenda does not perfectly coincide with Guccifer’s (which is presumed to be a cut-out for GRU).

      As I’ve noted, Wikileaks has its own beef with Hillary Clinton, independent of whom Vladimir Putin might prefer as President or any other possible motive for Russia to do this hack.

      Now consider this bizarre feature of several high level leak based stories on the hack: the claim of uncertainty about how the files got from the hackers to Wikileaks. This claim, from NYT, seems bizarrely stupid, as Guccifer and Wikileaks have both said the former gave the latter the files.

      [...]

      But then there’s this detail. On June 17, Wikileaks released an insurance file — a file that will be automatically decrypted if Wikileaks is somehow impeded from releasing the rest of the files. It has been assumed that the contents of that file are just the emails that were already released, but that is almost certainly not the case. After all, Wikileaks has already released further documents (some thoroughly uninteresting voice mails that nevertheless further impinge on the privacy of DNC staffers).

    • Meet Some Sanders Delegates Who Plan To Turn Anger Into Positive Action

      Luz Sosa came to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a disappointed Bernie Sanders delegate. But she is leaving fired up to take on big political fights in her home town of Milwaukee.

      “This election was never about Bernie Sanders. These elections were about issues the American people care about,” such as “families struggling to put food on the table,” said Sosa, who is Latino outreach organizer for Citizen Action Wisconsin and an economics professor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

      “Bernie Sanders has been the voice of the movement, but the movement has always been there,” she said, and her advise to her fellow Bernie Sanders supporters “is to get involved in the organizations that are already working on the issues that Bernie had mentioned before.”

      Sosa on Wednesday was among a group of convention delegates, most of whom representing Sanders, who gathered at a reception sponsored by People’s Action and its Pennsylvania affiliate, Keystone Progress.

    • Hillary Clinton Will Be Good for Business, Predicts Chamber of Commerce Lobbyist

      When Jennifer Pierotti Lim strode up to the podium on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, she was identified as the co-founder of Republican Women for Hillary, a group of conservative activists supporting Hillary Clinton.

      Lim focused her brief comments on Donald Trump’s history of sexist comments, telling the audience that “Trump’s loathsome comments about women and our appearances are too many to list and too crass to repeat.”

      But what was even more significant is her day job as a top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; she’s the Chamber’s director of health policy.

      It was the latest indication that the U.S. big-business community may be preparing to back Hillary Clinton, which would be a truly tectonic shift.

    • In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention

      By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008.

      Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

      Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.”

      What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at costly events sponsored by the fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few.

    • Both Parties Are Playing the Mexico Card

      While it has been cast mainly as the villain, the unexpected spotlight has sent politicians and activists on both sides of the border seeking to get their message out. If they’ve learned anything from the Trump playbook in the past months, it’s that negative attention is still free publicity.

    • Revealed: AARP Is Funding ALEC

      AARP, the non-profit seniors organization that exists to promote the financial security, pensions and healthcare of those over 50, is secretly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization whose bills have acted against the interests of ordinary Americans, including retirees and their families.

      The Center for Media and Democracy has learned that AARP has recently joined ALEC, and that it is a named sponsor of the ALEC annual meeting taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 27-29, 2016.

    • Patriot Games, From Watergate to Email Hacks

      There has been a break-in at the Democratic National Committee. Documents were stolen with the apparent intention of manipulating the results of a presidential election.

    • Kshama Sawant vs. Rebecca Traister on Clinton, Democratic Party & Possibility of a Female President

      As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes history by becoming the first woman to accept a major-party presidential nomination, we speak with Rebecca Traister, writer-at-large for New York Magazine who has covered Clinton for a decade. Her most recent article is headlined “Hillary Is Poised to Make the ‘Impossible Possible’—for Herself and for Women in America.” We are also joined by Kshama Sawant, a Socialist city councilmember in Seattle who helped win a $15/hour minimum wage for all workers in Seattle.

    • Trump Gets His Talking Points From White Supremacist Twitter Accounts

      Donald Trump’s call on Russia to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails was one of the stranger moments in what’s been one of the stranger campaigns in US history.

      It was a sign that Trump is either stupid or trying to join the Ronald Reagan/Richard Nixon club of Republicans who have betrayed their country to get elected president.

      But as bizarre as it was, Trump’s “Russian request” wasn’t the most interesting part of his press conference yesterday in Tampa, Florida — that came when he accused Vladimir Putin of calling President Obama “the N-Word.”

    • Assange: ‘We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign’

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is boasting about how his group’s release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails is affecting the US presidential election — and says it has unreleased information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

      “We have more material related to the Hillary Clinton campaign,” Assange told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson 360″ Friday night. “That is correct to say that.”

      Assange has been coy about how WikiLeaks came into possession of internal Democratic party cyber information. The FBI and Justice Department are investigating a computer hack of Democratic nominee Clinton’s presidential campaign in addition to its examination of intrusions of other Democratic Party organizations, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

    • Convention Dissent: There’s Less Than Meets the Eye

      Cast your memory back exactly eight years, to the opening night of the Democratic Convention in Denver: Aug. 25, 2008. The story that night was the threat of the “PUMA” which either stood for “People United Means Action” or Party Unity My Ass.” According to Adam Nathaniel Peck writing in The New Republic, “PUMAs appeared dozens of times on cable news to defend Clinton and to promise mischief at the nominating convention and in the general election. Their anger epitomized a wider unrest that has been mostly forgotten as Obama went on to win two general elections”.

    • Fury as Trump mocks Muslim soldier’s mother Ghazala Khan

      Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has attracted outrage by mocking a dead US Muslim soldier’s mother.

      Ghazala Khan stood silently next to her husband as he attacked Mr Trump in an emotional speech to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.

      Mr Trump suggested she may not have been allowed to speak.

      Republicans and Democrats said the Republican candidate’s comments were no way to talk of a hero’s mother. Mrs Khan said she was upset by his remarks.

      Last week her husband Khizr Khan told Democrats Mr Trump had sacrificed “nothing and no-one” for his country.

    • Waving the Constitution at Those Who Ignore It

      Khan was confronting Trump about his campaign in which he had noted that “Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.” (Quotes come from this copy of Khan’s transcript.) Khan then continued, presumably in reference to banning Muslims from the US: “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.”

    • Trump – Lowlife Scum Sociopath

      Trump is evil scum without human emotions, like a venomous snake. He is not worthy of any respect, certainly not the office of POTUS. Like a venomous snake, people should avoid Trump and stay very far away.

    • Parade of Speakers at DNC Paint Trump as Unfit for Presidency in Every Way, from Billionaire Bloomberg to an ex-CIA Director

      A parade of speakers at the Democratic Convention painted a devastating picture of Donald Trump as the most unqualified, inexperienced and unpredictable nominee in anyone’s memory, urging Americans—including independents—to vote for Clinton or face dire consequences.

    • Intelligence Chief Suffers Intelligence Failure Over His Own Team’s Willingness to Brief Donald Trump

      The country’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, insisted on Thursday that there has been no hesitation within the intelligence community when it comes to giving classified briefings to the presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.

      “Is there any hesitation in the intel community to brief either of these candidates?” CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked the director of National Intelligence at the Aspen Security Forum, eliciting laughter from the audience.

      “No there isn’t,” Clapper said, going on to describe the briefing as a nonpartisan tradition. “We’ve got a team all prepared,” he said.

      But several news reports over the past several months have indicated there was dissension in the ranks when it comes to telling Trump secrets — culminating in a Washington Post story Thursday night that quoted a senior intelligence official saying, “I would refuse.”

      All of which raises the question: How good can Clapper be at ferreting out secrets from foreign adversaries if he doesn’t even know what his own staff is thinking?

      Then again, he could just have been lying. He’s done it before.

    • [Links corrected] “The Two-Party System Is the Worst Case Scenario” — An Interview With the Green Party’s Jill Stein
    • The banality of Golden Dawn

      Golden Dawn remains Greece’s third most popular party. Since 2012, the party has succeeded in maintaining the solidarity and groupness of its voters intact during a series of electoral contests (local, national, and European).

      Nevertheless, Golden Dawn’s leadership is currently standing trial on criminal accusations and this has complicated the operation of the party. The questions addressed here are: How significant is Golden Dawn as a political actor and what does this imply about Greece’s stateness? Does Golden Dawn still manage to attract voters on the basis of its opposition to immigration and how?

    • Michael Eric Dyson vs. Eddie Glaude on Race, Hillary Clinton and the Legacy of Obama’s Presidency

      On Wednesday night, President Obama addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and implored the nation to vote for Hillary Clinton. As Obama seeks to pass the torch to his secretary of state, we host a debate on Hillary Clinton, her rival Donald Trump and President Obama’s legacy between Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson. Glaude’s most recent book is “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” and he recently wrote an article for Time magazine headlined “My Democratic Problem with Voting for Hillary Clinton.” Dyson is the author of “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” and wrote a cover article for the New Republic titled, “Yes She Can: Why Hillary Clinton Will Do More for Black People Than Obama.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Battling Censorship in Lesotho and South Africa

      A newspaper editor is recovering from surgery after being nearly assassinated in Lesotho for an article he published about a high profile army commander. Meanwhile in South Africa, journalists claim victory in their censorship row with the state broadcaster, the SABC.

      The truth is mightier than the guns of darkness, a top rights group has hit out in condemning an assassination attempt on the editor of the Lesotho Times and Sunday Express.

      Lloyd Mutungamiri was attacked by two unknown gunmen on 9 July, in apparent retaliation for his article about an alleged exit package for the country’s army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

    • Proposed bill on Contempt of Court will further entrench self-censorship in Singapore

      On 30 July, Community Action Network was invited to speak at an event “Protecting our judiciary and free speech” at the Singapore Management University. This is an excerpt of the speech.

      In the last 5 years, the government has clamped down on freedom of expression in ways which we have not seen since pre-GE (General Elections) 2011. This is no doubt due to the government’s perceived threats of the influence of social media. In the cases where it has relied on case law to deal with contempt of court, it has been arbitrary in how it decided what it was, and what scandalising the judiciary meant. This proposed Bill in our view, codifies this arbitrariness even though it claims it seeks to clarify it.

    • Critics Fear Crackdown on Palestinian Free Speech as Israel Takes Aim at Facebook

      Erdan called Facebook a “monster” because it has become the platform of choice for Palestinians to denounce Israeli rule and broadcast their intention to attack Israelis. Muhammad Tarayra, the 17-year-old Palestinian behind the June 30 knife attack in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, had written on Facebook that “death is a right and I demand my right.” He expressed anger that Israeli soldiers had killed his cousin after he tried to run over them, according to Israeli news reports.

      Now, Israeli officials are seeking to pressure Facebook to take down posts similar to Tarayra’s. On July 13, Erdan and Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, submitted a bill to the Israeli Knesset that would empower courts to compel Facebook to remove content deemed violent. And amid Israel’s legislative push against Facebook — including a separate measure that would see Facebook fined if it did not remove content inciting people to terrorism — an Israeli law firm has also filed suit against the social media company in a U.S. court.

      The moves amount to a multi-pronged campaign aimed at Facebook, which has been increasingly drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli ministers have cast Facebook in the role of terror supporter and now want to force the company to police Palestinian speech they say leads to violence.

      But Israeli laws against incitement have also been used to arrest Palestinians whose Facebook posts criticize Israeli rule but do not explicitly support violence. Palestinians say that Facebook does not fuel militant attacks against Israel and that it is Israel’s decadeslong occupation and discriminatory policies against Palestinians that lead to violence.

    • Pakistan decides to contact Facebook over Kashmir posts’ censorship
    • Pakistan to contact Facebook over Kashmir posts’ censorship
    • The Facebook-Kashmir Blocks: Technical Errors, Editorial Mistakes and Invisible Censorship Galore
    • The campaign that ‘shot’ Mark Zuckerberg in the face
    • Abandoning Nuance, Facebook Is Deeming Posts On Kashmir ‘Terror Content’
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • I Con the Record Rolls Out Its 3-Page Intel Collection Efficacy Process

      Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 2.50.04 PMLast year, PCLOB suggested that the intelligence community formalize its process to assess the efficacy of intelligence collection. While it made the recommendation as part of its 702 report, the recommendation itself came against the background of Congress and the IC having decided that the phone dragnet wasn’t really worth the cost and privacy exposure.

    • Federal Judge Rips Uber Apart Over Dirt-Digging Investigation

      In December of last year, Yale environmental researcher Spencer Meyer filed suit against Uber, alleging price fixing by Uber’s drivers and founder in violation of federal antitrust law. Hardly the first person to accuse Uber of corporate malfeasance, Meyer nonetheless became the target of private investigators, working for a security company hired by Uber, who attempted to dig up derogatory information — an act the district judge hearing the case, Jed Rakoff, has now, in a 31-page order, called “blatantly fraudulent and arguably criminal.”

      Emails turned over by Uber on the judge’s instructions and summarized in the order show that on the day Meyer filed suit, Uber counsel Salle Yoo contacted the company’s chief security officer, asking, “Could we find out a little more about this plaintiff?”

      Uber investigations chief Mat Henley then selected a New York-based private investigative firm called Ergo, also known as Global Precision Research, and began working with one of its executives, Todd Egeland, Henley said in a sworn deposition. Egeland’s online bios state openly that he is a 28-year veteran of the CIA with experience in counterintelligence and cyberthreats.

      From the very start, the Uber-Ergo deal was set up to avoid potential scrutiny: Court-obtained documents reveal that both parties used Wickr, a self-deleting messaging app, and encrypted email “to avoid potential discovery issues,” although, as seen in the email message below, from Henley to two Ergo executives, including Egeland, some of the material was eventually discovered.

    • Brazil Freezes $11 Million in Facebook Assets Over WhatsApp Data Dispute

      A court in northwestern Brazil has frozen more than $11 million worth of assets belonging to Facebook, a public prosecutor said Wednesday, following the social media giant’s failure to provide the court with data on users of its messaging service Whatsapp.

      The $11.7 million in funds was frozen after Facebook declined to provide data on Whatsapp users under criminal investigation, prosecutor Alexandre Jabur told Reuters. The funds relate to fines imposed for failing to comply with the Brazilian court order.

    • ‘Deeply Troubling’: Ex-Ambassador, Intel Officials Blast Trump Russia Comments
    • Pressure Grows on Obama to Name DNC Hackers [Ed: the ‘experts’ are Microsoft-connected]

      But six U.S. officials and security experts have told The Daily Beast that the evidence linking Russia to the hack appears conclusive. Obama himself stepped closer to pinning the hacks on Russia when he told NBC News that “experts have attributed this to the Russians” and that it was “possible” the leak was designed to help the Trump campaign.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Doubt DNC’s Claim of Russian Role in Damaging E-mail Leaks

      Anyone listening to the mainstream media is convinced that Russian hackers released the thousands of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails made public by WikiLeaks. Even Donald Trump mused about the possibility of Putin’s people being behind the breach.

      Those a little more familiar with the workings of the federal government and issues of cybersecurity wonder if the “The Russians did it!” isn’t a ruse concocted by a coterie of collaborators closer to home.

      Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower currently in exile in Russia, claimed that the NSA could solve the mystery because it assuredly knows who hacked the DNC, and he tweeted on July 25 that “Evidence that could publicly attribute responsibility for the DNC hack certainly exists at #NSA, but DNI [Director of National Intelligence] traditionally objects to sharing.”

    • Hack infects Russian government computers

      Hackers struck the Russian government this weekend, reports said.

      Following data breaches on the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic Party servers that sources blamed on the regime of Vladimir Putin, a computer virus infected the networks of at least 20 Russian governmental organizations, officials with the country’s intelligence service told the BBC Saturday.

      Russia’s Federal Security Service did not say who they believe penetrated Russian networks but revealed the hack was “planned and made professionally” and also targeted defense companies and infrastructure, the report said.

      Meanwhile, the US National Security Agency’s elite hacking unit is likely tracking Russian-government cyber-spies to determine if they are responsible for the breach at the Democratic National Committee, ABC News reported.

      Federal intelligence officials said the NSA is able to “hack back” suspected organizations after an attack.

      The Obama administration has not publicly attributed the cyber attacks to Russia, which has denied involvement.

    • The NSA Is Likely ‘Hacking Back’ Russia’s Cyber Squads [Ed: Trying to make it seem reactionary… puff piece]

      U.S. government hackers at the National Security Agency are likely targeting Russian government-linked hacking teams to see once and for all if they’re responsible for the massive breach at the Democratic National Committee, according to three former senior intelligence officials. It’s a job that the current head of the NSA’s elite hacking unit said they’ve been called on to do many times before.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 911 Tapes Released in Charles Kinsey Shooting, Pokes Massive Hole in Police Narrative of What Happened

      Last week, online video surfaced of an African-American therapist lying on the ground with his hands in the air moments before he was shot by a North Miami police officer.

      Charles Kinsey, 62, was stretched out beside his autistic patient Arnaldo Rios-Soto, who had wandered away from a local group home, before he was shot in the leg by police. Authorities defended the shooting, which was prompted by a 911 call from a neighbor claiming Rios-Soto had a gun and was attempting to kill himself. Recordings of the harrowing 911 call have since been released, revealing key details missing from the original police narrative.

      In the recording, an unidentified woman can be heard telling the dispatcher that the man with the “gun” looked mentally-ill and that the object he was holding might not be a gun at all.

      “There’s this guy in the middle of the road, and he has what appears to be a gun,” the woman said in a 911 tape released late Thursday by Miami-Dade police. “He has it to his head, and there’s a guy there trying to talk him out of it.”

      “I don’t know if it’s a gun,” she continued. “But he has something the shape of a gun, so just be careful. “But he’s sitting in the middle of the road.”

      The caller also described the men in detail, telling the dispatcher “He’s a Spanish guy, young kid. Spanish guy with gray shorts and gray pants. The guy that’s trying to talk him out of it is green shirt and black shorts. But I think the Spanish guy looks like a mentally ill person.”

      A short time later, SWAT officer Jonathan Aledda fired a single shot at Kinsey, hitting him in the leg. Rios Soto, 26, sat cross-legged next to his caretaker and continued to fumble with what turned out to be a toy truck. Video of the shooting quickly went viral and sparked national outrage over yet another Black man shot at the hands of police. Luckliy, Kinsey survived.

    • Chelsea Manning Faces Charges for Trying to Take Her Own Life

      These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include, “resisting the force cell move team;” “prohibited property;” and “conduct which threatens.” If convicted, Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.

    • In America, the UN Finds the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and Association Are Being Eroded, and Race Plays a Big Factor

      The U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association completed a 17-day mission to the United States this week, and he drew some concerning conclusions about the state of those rights in this country.

      Maini Kiai covered an impressive 10 cities in 17 days. He observed protests at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and visited cities rocked by the police killings of Black men, like Baton Rouge, Baltimore, and Ferguson.

    • The NYPD Is Already a Small Army—Now It Is Hyping Terror Threats to Militarize Even More

      The NYPD is already the largest and most well-resourced police force in the United States, with more than 34,000 officers on its payroll and a budget that hovers over $5 billion annually.

      But now, the New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio are invoking the specter of ISIS-style terror and the supposed “war on cops” to spend at least another $7.5 million on military-style gear.

    • What Are the DNC Hack(s) Rated on Obama’s New Cyber-Orange Alert System?

      The question is still more problematic if you try to grade the OPM hack, which has to be far closer to a Level 4 (because of the risk it placed clearance holders under). But do you also lump it in with, say, the hack of Anthem, which is understood to be related?

      I will ask the White House tomorrow if it has ranked the DNC hack(s). But for now, where do you think it would rate?

    • Target of Contested National Security Letter Was a Muslim the FBI Wanted to Turn Informant

      The target of a federal investigation that set off a more than decadelong battle over secret subpoenas called national security letters was a Muslim prison reform advocate the FBI wanted to become an informant.

      Nick Merrill, who fought to make the information public, revealed that information for the first time at a hacker conference in New York City.

      Merrill was the head of an internet hosting company when the controversy began. He had launched a small New York-based internet service provider called Calyx Internet Access in the 1990s, and he also consulted on digital security.

      In 2004, the FBI sent him a national security letter demanding extensive records on one of his customers.

      National security letters are secret subpoenas the FBI can send to internet and technology companies to demand various types of records about their customers’ online behaviors without ever getting a court order. In Merrill’s case, that request was particularly broad — for browsing records, email address information, billing information, and more.

    • Who Would Trayvon Have Been? Becoming a Black Man in the United States

      I don’t remember what I was doing when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. I’m sure I was watching the All-Star game, as I had done since I was a kid even younger than Trayvon. I may have even made a snack run to 7-11. I almost certainly was tweeting, or at the very least reading Twitter. I may have been on deadline and convincing myself that watching the game wasn’t procrastinating but all a part of my writing process. I was probably stressing about money. I probably wasn’t thinking about dead black boys.

      I’ve had the opportunity to do a number of things Trayvon will never have the chance to, and the guilt of that weighs heavily on me. Everything Trayvon did that supposedly justified his death — wear hoodies, walk to the store at night, buy Skittles, have tattoos, smoke weed, be suspended from school — I did. I could have been Trayvon. So many of us black boys trying to become black men in America could have been. Knowing that made his death that much harder to stomach.

    • Police Incitement Against Black Lives Matter Is Putting Protesters in Danger

      From the floor of the Republican National Convention to the online pages of the Blue Lives Matter Facebook community, it is now commonplace for public officials, police and first responders to openly declare war on Black Lives Matter — the civil rights movement of our times.

      In some cases, this climate has given way to overt intimidation, with the captain of the Columbia, South Carolina fire department fired earlier this month for threatening to run over Black Lives Matter protesters, followed by the termination of three other first responders for related offenses. According to the count of Sarah Kaplan, reporting for The Washington Post, those South Carolina officials “are among at least a dozen public employees who have lashed out against protesters on social media and been punished for it.” Yet, many more appear to have faced no consequences at all.

    • Buddhist temples attacked in Sumatra

      Indonesian authorities detained seven people in northern Sumatra island on Saturday on suspicion of attacking several Buddhist temples the previous night, officials said.

      A spokeswoman for North Sumatra provincial police said the seven had led a mob that damaged at least three temples and other property in the town of Tanjung Balai, near Indonesia’s fourth-biggest city, Medan. No one was injured.

      Indonesia is a Muslim-majority nation but has a sizable ethnic Chinese minority, many of whom are Buddhist. The country has a history of anti-Chinese violence, most recently in the late 1990s amid the political and economic crisis that brought down Suharto.

      But police officials denied Friday’s attack was aimed at the Chinese community.

    • Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop: Emma Watson was wrong to call for feminist alternatives to porn

      “Like women in many other endeavours; journalism, publishing, advertising, film-making, television, there are a whole other hosts of feminists and women making amazing work, plugging away who never get showcased in mainstream media, who can’t get people to come to their sites and pay them money for what they’re doing. So when Emma Watson goes, ‘there should be this and there should be this’, no wonder those women feel very, very upset. I completely empathise.”

      Gallop has even tried to get in touch with a contact at the UN (where Watson is a GoodWill Ambassador for women) to meet the Harry Potter actress.

    • Father ‘who kept British daughter in cage in Saudi Arabia for four years’ loses legal bid to gag media

      An academic at the centre of family court litigation after being accused of imprisoning his 21-year-old daughter at their home in Saudi Arabia has failed in a bid to limit reporting of the case.

      Amina Al-Jeffery – who grew up in Swansea and has dual British and Saudi Arabian nationality – says her father, Mohammed Al-Jeffery, locks her up because she “kissed a guy”.

      Lawyers representing Miss Al-Jeffery have taken legal action in London in a bid to protect her.

      They have asked Mr Justice Holman to look at ways of coming to her aid.

    • Security Territory And Population Part 3: Security As The Basis For Governing

      Security is connected to liberalism as a form of government. This last difference helps us see the nature of liberalism as a political ideal. It promises more freedom of action, more freedom of response to realty.

    • Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford on Why the Clintons Won Over Black America

      Despite her dogged support of her husband’s bills on welfare “reform” and mass incarceration—policies that devastated black America—and her past reference to urban black youths as “superpredators,” black Americans favored Hillary Clinton generously in the 2016 Democratic primary.

    • What We Wear: Another Way to “Vote”

      For more than two decades, more and more Americans have become aware of the exploitation and violence associated with much of the globalized garment industry producing more than 95 percent of our clothes. A series of media exposures, including the 1996 revelation that TV host Kathy Lee Gifford had endorsed a clothing line produced by Honduran children in sweatshop conditions, spurred a growing consciousness of labor abuses in many countries.

    • Despite Clinton Endorsement, Bernie Lays Foundation to Carry On “Revolution”

      Sanders has started a “social welfare” 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, to support progressive groups seeking to coach and vet those who want to run for office. He touted the group, called “Our Revolution,” in an email sent to supporters earlier this week.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google Enchances Its Security By Enabling HSTS Encryption For Google.com

      Google had revealed its latest intentions to enhance encryption level of its domains. The same will be done by enabling HSTS encryption across various products preventing users from being redirected to unsafe links wrapped in the secure shell of HTTPS protocol.

    • If Theresa May wants to improve productivity, she needs to start with our broadband

      We hear a lot of talk from politicians about the urgency of improving the UK’s poor productivity. Upgrading digital connections is plainly a vital element of delivering that. How can we encourage more people to set up businesses if they cannot get reliable and fast broadband?

    • Big Telecom Wants a DC Circuit Net Neutrality Review. Here’s Why That’s Unlikely

      The nation’s largest cable and telecom industry trade groups on Friday asked a federal court for a rare “en banc” review of last month’s decision upholding US rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers.

      The industry petitions come six weeks after a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a landmark ruling affirming Federal Communications Commission rules barring cable and phone companies from favoring certain internet services over others.

      Friday’s petitions, which request a hearing by the full DC Circuit Court of Appeals, were filed by USTelecom, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, and wireless trade group CTIA, which collectively represent the nation’s largest cable and phone companies.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Top 10 Free Movie Download Websites That Are Completely Legal

        You’ll be surprised to find The Internet Archive sitting at the top of our free movie download websites. It like a goldmine for the fans of movies, music, and books. From The Internet Archive, you can download hundreds of movies for free in the form of torrents.

07.30.16

Links 30/7/2016: Sysadmin Day, Stardew Valley on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Student survey data shows Open Source training uptake amongst women and young people remains extreme

    Future Cert, the UK and Ireland representative for the LPI (Linux Professional Institute), is calling for more awareness of Open Source software training amongst the under 21s and especially women, which the industry is so desperately in need of.

    New figures from a recent Future Cert student survey reveals that the number of women and young people taking LPI Certification in Open Source computing remains extremely low.

    Of those questioned, 98% were male, and just 2% were female, taking an LPI exam. This figure is significantly less than an already low figure of around 15% to 17% of women in IT careers in general. It raises the question, what does the industry need to do to make an Open Source career attractive to women?

  • Quality in open source: testing CRIU

    Checkpoint/Restore In Userspace, or CRIU, is a software tool for Linux that allows freezing a running application (or part of it) and checkpointing it to disk as a collection of files. The files can then be used to restore and run the application from the point where it was frozen. The distinctive feature of the CRIU project is that it is mainly implemented in user space.

    Back in 2012, when Andrew Morton accepted the first checkpoint/restore (C/R) patches to the Linux kernel, the idea to implement saving and restoring of running processes in user space seemed kind of crazy. Yet, four years later, not only is CRIU working, it has also attracted more and more attention. Before CRIU, there had been other attempts to implement checkpoint/restore in Linux (DMTCP, BLCR, OpenVZ, CKPT, and others), but none were merged into the mainline. Meanwhile CRIU survived, which attests to its viability. Some time ago, I implemented support for the Test Anything Protocol format into the CRIU test runner; creating that patch allowed me to better understand the nature of the CRIU testing process. Now I want to share this knowledge with LWN readers.

    [...]

    The CRIU tests are quite easy to use and available for everyone. Moreover, the CRIU team has a continuous-integration system that consists of Patchwork and Jenkins, which run the required test configurations per-patch and per-commit. Patchwork also allows the team to track the status of patch sets to make the maintainer’s work easier. The developers from the team always keep an eye on regressions. If a commit breaks a tree, the patches in question will not be accepted.

  • Open-source Wire messenger gets encrypted screen-sharing

    Chat app Wire has been rapidly adding feature as of late as it looks to gain some traction against the myriad of competitors out there. The latest trick in its arsenal is screen sharing.

    Now you can click on the new screen-sharing button to, well, share your screen during a call (if you’re on a desktop, that is). It works during group chats too and, as with all Wire communications, is encrypted end-to-end. Wire believes it’s the first messaging app to include end-to-end encryption.

  • SPI board election results are available

    Software in the Public Interest (SPI) has completed its 2016 board elections. There were two open seats on the board in addition to four board members whose terms were expiring. The six newly elected members of the board are Luca Filipozzi, Joerg Jaspert, Jimmy Kaplowitz, Andrew Tridgell, Valerie Young, and Martin Zobel-Helas. The full results, including voter statistics, are also available.

  • Events

    • SFK 2016 – Call for Speakers

      Software Freedom Kosova is an annual international conference in Kosovo organized to promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge, now in its 7th edition. It is organized by FLOSSK, a non governmental, not for profit organization, dedicated to promote software freedom and related philosophies.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.9.4 and our vision for GIMP future

      So you may have heard the news: we recently released a new development version of GIMP, version 2.9.4 (as well as a bugfix release 2.8.18, but this is not as awesome).

  • Licensing/Legal

    • On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

      Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published “The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement”. That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

      There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly “community-oriented”, but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to “severe allegations” with regard to “the style of his license enforcement activities”.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Big Food’s Win Over GMO Labeling Bill Shows Failure of Democracy

      In 2014, Vermont passed the first legislation in the U.S. to require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. A year earlier, Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling bills though these were dependent on several other states passing similar laws.

    • Did Their Backs Hurt Your Knives?

      For the first-time ever, the platform of a major political party includes an explicit call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a federal law that has denied eligible poor and low-income women coverage for abortion care for nearly four decades. This has anti-abortion democrats saying they have been betrayed.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Finland beefs up arms exports to Middle East

      Over the last 18 months, Finland’s Ministry of Defence has awarded domestic companies 50 permits to sell weapons to countries in the Middle East. Finland is currently supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, both of which have recently bombed civilian targets in Yemen.

    • U.S. Awards $1.7 Billion Contract to Buy Radios for Afghan Army

      I always found myself giggling during the Democratic debates when Hillary would ask Bernie how he was going to pay for things like healthcare or college tuition, and then Bernie stammering to find an answer.

    • Do Civilisations Really Have to Clash?

      We are living in a world when it is normal to think that civilisations are incompatible and have to clash with each other. But this is a perversion of the truth as Dr. Paul Craig Roberts points out.

    • Hillary Clinton and Her Hawks

      Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.

    • The Fallacy of ‘Regime Change’ Strategies

      “Regime change” or destabilizing sanctions are Official Washington’s policy options of choice in dealing with disfavored nations, but these aggressive strategies have proved harmful and counterproductive, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Intervention Fail: ISIS Makes Bloody Gains in Post ‘Liberation’ Afghanistan

      Shortly after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996 (their rise to power itself a result of the 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan), we began to hear endless stories of the horrors of this student movement turned governing power. They ruled by Sharia law, they treated women badly, they even blew up ancient statues!

      The US rhetoric against the Taliban began long before the attacks of 9/11 (which were carried out largely by Saudis who trained in Afghanistan with the knowledge of the Taliban). But it was the 9/11 attacks that opened the door to a direct US intervention in Afghanistan.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • From Kalamazoo to Husky, Parallel Pipeline Disasters

      There are many parallels between last week’s heavy oil spill from a Husky Energy pipeline in Saskatchewan and the Enbridge pipeline rupture in Kalamazoo Michigan almost exactly six years ago.

      Both ruptures occurred while control room staff were restarting the flow in the pipelines.

      In both cases, “anomalies” were indicated by computers systems monitoring the pipelines.

      In both cases, the companies failed to interpret the “anomalies” as leaks.

      In both cases, significant periods of time elapsed before the companies were made aware of the leaks by members of the public seeing the oil floating down river. 17 hours for Enbridge, 14 hours for Husky.

      In both cases, diluents had been added to the pipeline to facilitate pumping.

      In both cases, emergency responses were inadequate to deal with the quantity spilled and the conditions on the rivers the spills flowed into.

    • David Perry on Disabilities and Police Violence, Harvey Wasserman on Nuclear vs. Renewables
  • Finance

    • Hedge-Fund Money: $48.5 Million for Hillary Clinton, $19,000 for Donald Trump

      Hedge funds are playing a far bigger role in 2016 than in past elections—and Hillary Clinton has been the single biggest beneficiary.

    • Facebook could face extra $5bn tax bill after US investigation

      Facebook could be liable to pay between $3 to $5bn in extra US tax after an extensive investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into the way the tech company transferred assets to Ireland.

      The tax agency has been exploring whether Facebook deliberately deployed complex financial processes designed to minimize the amount of US tax it paid.

    • Amazon boss Bezos becomes world’s third richest

      Strong earnings from Amazon and a boost to the company’s stock have made its founder, Jeff Bezos, the world’s third richest person, according to Forbes.

      Mr Bezos owns 18% of Amazon’s shares, which rose 2% in trading on Thursday. Forbes estimated his fortune to be $65.3bn (£49.5bn).

    • Why Make Something When Nothing Sells Just as Well?

      It’s a fundamental law of nature… or at least nature legislation: For every action that the government takes to protect the natural environment, there is a cleverly corrupt reaction. An investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek profiled an extraordinary case of fraud that exploited the Renewable Fuel Standard program, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2005. That’s what he gets for trying to lessen our dependence on foreign oil… sucker!

    • Challenges and opportunities of the unbanked and under-banked

      Talking about access to appropriate and affordable finance is one thing but what happens when people reject those banks? What happens if some consumers never feel banks can provide for them?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Jill Stein is not Ralph Nader 2.0; she is much, much better. She can win. Here’s why

      Progressives in America aren’t happy. In fact, for the first time in recent memory, progressives are finally good and angry at the political establishment. Leak after leak, lawsuit after lawsuit, the facts just keep rolling in like so many punches, again and again exposing how the DNC methodically shut out and shut down the first candidate many of them had gotten excited about in years. Thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, many of those dollars pinched from the tightest of household budgets, poured into what turned out to be a totally rigged election. Ouch.

    • Trump: A vote for the Green Party helps me
    • Democratic National Committee Claims That Wikileaks Has ‘Malware Embedded Throughout The Site’

      We’ve seen various organizations impacted by Wikileaks come up with all sorts of excuses and claims about why people shouldn’t use the site, but “the site is embedded with malware” is a new one. It also seems hellishly unlikely. It’s the kind of thing that someone would discover and it would destroy whatever credibility Wikileaks has left. I guess anything is possible, but this sounds like the DNC freaking out over the leaks and trying to spread bogus rumors in the hopes that it will get people to stop looking at their leaked files.

    • Julian Assange: We have more material on Clinton

      WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange speaks with CNN’s Anderson Cooper about his organization releasing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.

    • Cool Catchphrase, Hillary, But Science Isn’t About Belief

      On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton made history when she became the first woman to lead a major presidential ticket. In a speech filled with reminders of her experience and her plans for reform, one remark stood out: “I believe in science!” she said, chuckling. “I believe climate change is real, and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs.”

      Delegates filling the convention hall in Philadelphia roared in approval. Pockets of Twitter, too. Just as quickly, though, reactions turned cynical: How awful it is, in this day and age, that a presidential candidate must say she believes in science? In the retelling, Clinton’s laugh became a nod to the absurdity of the moment.

    • How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

      Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange’s grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had “enough evidence” to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn’t check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK’s ITV where it isn’t even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It’s a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge.

    • THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NO LONGER EXISTS

      The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

      The organized Democrats–the Democratic National Committee–have shown themselves to be even more venal and corrupt than the Republicans. Leaked emails document that the Democratic National Committee conspired with the Hillary campaign in order to steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. It is clear that Sanders was the choice of Democratic Party voters for president, but the nomination was stolen from him by vote fraud and dirty tricks.

      The DNC and the media whores have tried to discredit the incriminating emails by alleging that the leaked emails resulted from a plot by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in behalf of “Putin’s American agent,” Donald Trump. “A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin,” as the presstitute scum put it.

    • Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!

      Leading up to Monday’s Democratic Party convention, Hillary chose Blue Dog Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP. This was followed by the Wikileaks release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail files showing it acting as the Clinton Campaign Committee even to the point of using the same lawyers as her own campaign to oppose Bernie Sanders.

      The response across the Democratic neocon spectrum, from Anne Applebaum at the Washington Post to red-baiting Paul Krugman and the Sunday talk shows it was suggested that behind the Wikileaks to release DNC e-mails was a Russian plot to help elect Trump as their agent. Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul lent his tattered reputation to claim that Putin must have sponsored the hackers who exposed the DNC dirty tricks against Bernie.

      The attack on Trump was of course aimed at Sanders. At first it didn’t take off. Enough delegates threatened to boo DNC head (and payday-loan lobbyist) Debbie Wasserman Schultz off stage if she showed her face at the podium to gavel the convention to order. The down-note would have threatened the “United Together” theme, so she was forced to resign. But Hillary rewarded her loyalty by naming her honorary chairman of her own presidential campaign! If you’re loyal, you get a pay-off. The DNC was doing what it was supposed to do. No reform seems likely.

    • Sheriff Arpaio Paved the Way for Trump

      Before there was Donald Trump and his promise of a “beautiful wall” across the U.S.-Mexican border there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona who pushed cruel treatment of illegal immigrants and other Latinos, reports Dennis J Bernstein.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How California’s Identity Fraud Law Has Been Interpreted To Criminalize Defamation, Publicity Rights Violations And More

      Eugene Volokh has a somewhat terrifying look at how very broad interpretations of California’s identity fraud law, California Penal Code § 530.5(a) has been so broadly interpreted by the courts that it, in effect, creates a crime out of things that were normally considered, at best, civil offenses. This includes defamation, publicity rights infringements and disclosure of private facts. He discusses a few cases, but focuses on a key one that we’ve mentioned: the state of California’s recent legal win over Kevin Bollaert, a revenge porn creep. In our writeup, we were mainly concerned with how the ruling seemed to run against Section 230′s protections, but as Volokh makes clear, it’s much, much worse than that.

    • The West Kowtows to China Through Self-Censorship

      Human rights lawyer Teng Biao was commisioned to write a book reflecting on his 11 years as a rights activist in China for the American Bar Association in 2014. Last year, the ABA informed Teng that they would not be publishing the book over “concern that we run the risk of upsetting the Chinese government.” The ABA subsequently denied that as the reason for the cancellation, leading to protest from the China-focused legal rights community.

    • Melbourne graffiti artist Lushsux’s Instagram account deleted in ‘politically-motivated censorship’

      MARIBRYNONG City Council has declared that a large mural depicting US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a skimpy stars and stripes bathing suit must go.

      The huge mural is on the side of the Mr Mobility store in Footscray.

      The owner is away but a friend looking after his small business, Mitch, said she strongly disagreed with the council’s stance.

      “It’s art,” she said.

      “I can’t see any problem with someone expressing themselves with art. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

      Mitch said far more offensive images could be found on the streets, yet they were not removed.

      “I’m a woman and I’m not offended by it. It’s just a one piece bathing suit with large breasts but the nipples and private parts are covered.”

    • Removal of Repeal the Eighth mural shows that censorship cuts both ways
    • New Tool to Help Notify Users When Their Content is Taken Offline

      When user content is threatened with removal from the Internet, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to put up more of a fight than the user who uploaded it. That’s what makes it so critically important that the user is informed whenever an Internet intermediary is asked to remove their content from its platform, or decides to do so on its own account.

      Unfortunately this doesn’t consistently happen. In the case of content taken down for copyright infringement under the DMCA or its foreign equivalents, the law typically requires the user to be informed. But for content that allegedly infringes other laws (such as defamation, privacy, hate speech, or obscenity laws), or content that isn’t alleged to be illegal but merely against the intermediary’s terms of service, there is often no requirement that the user be informed, and some intermediaries don’t make a practice of doing so.

      Another problem is that even when intermediaries do pass on notices about allegedly illegal content to the user who uploaded it, this notice might be inaccurate or incomplete. This led to the situtation in Canada where ISPs were passing on misleading notices from US-based rightsholders, falsely threatening Canadian users with penalties that are not even applicable under Canadian law.

    • OPINION: Why Taylor Swift’s Instagram Censorship COULD Be A Problem For Free Speech

      But first, a caveat. The tweet was slightly misleading. It may have implied that Taylor Swift was herself somehow violating the law on free speech, which, I agree, would be odd and not really possible within our current legal system. But I said ‘violate free speech principles’ for a reason. Principles are not law. In this context, they are the idea behind a law, the reason that law exists, while not being legally enforceable themselves.

    • Te Bitcoin Subreddit Censorship Debate Reignited by Roger Ver?
    • Coinbase and Reddit CEOs Discuss Removal of Theymos as Moderator of Bitcoin Subreddit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The RCMP Is Trying to Sneak Facial and Tattoo Recognition Into Canada

      In November of 2015, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had a problem.

      At the time, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had been using its massively controversial database of biometric information—photos of people’s faces, tattoos, iris scans, and more—at “full operational capacity” for about a year. The RCMP, on the other hand, was stuck with a national fingerprint database that didn’t allow officers to scan and search people’s faces or other body parts. Canada’s federal police force was falling behind its southern counterpart.

      The RCMP had “no authority” to support new capabilities for its nationwide Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, according to an internal presentation from November 24 of 2015 that Motherboard obtained through an access to information request. Still, the police felt a pressing need to improve “interoperability with international partner systems”—in other words, to make sure their system meshed with what police in other countries were doing—but lacked an opportunity to do so.

      Undeterred, the RCMP went ahead and began working to procure a new AFIS system that could analyze and capture faces, fingerprints, palm prints, tattoos, scars, and irises—all without clear authorization or approval by the country’s federal privacy watchdog, or even a plan to implement it.

      So, yeah, the RCMP is trying to bring biometric identification to Canada without anybody noticing.

    • How synced can (and should) NSA and CIA be on cyber? [Ed: Loaded headline from this Microsoft-connected propaganda network]
    • ExpressVPN protects your on-line anonymity and privacy

      This post reviews ExpressVPN, a hosted Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. A hosted VPN service is a paid subscription service. With a VPN, all your Internet communication is encrypted and passed through a secure proxy (the VPN server) before continuing to the intended destination. To the rest of the world, the Internet traffic appears to come from the VPN server, not your home computer.

    • Smartwatch Shipments Slipped in Q2 Amid Slowing Demand [Ed: mass surveillance/mass collection devices/facilitators]
    • Enterprise Wearables: 35 Top Picks
    • Smartphone Market Flattens Out
    • IoT Security and Privacy: An Afterthought?

      Security and privacy are widely identified as major concerns for the Internet of Things (IoT), but few people discuss them in any detail.

      An exception is Jim Hunter, chief scientist and technology evangelist at Greenwaves Systems, a provider of IoT software and services. Holding several IoT-related patents and a co-chair on the Internet of Things Consortium, he works regularly with the security and privacy concerns that are often acknowledged only in passing.

      While security and privacy are often discussed in the same breath, Hunter views them as at least partly separate. According to Hunter, security concerns center on how software and hardware are designed. Too often, security is an afterthought — or as Hunter puts it, “it’s not baked into the product, but is instead sprinkled on top.”

      By contrast, he says privacy problems exist “because of the ‘I’ in Iot. “When I put information into my web browser, it brings value to someone else — this is the way that the Internet runs and the agreement we have with it. By keeping ‘Internet’ in front of ‘Internet of Things, we’re enabling companies to think things will continue to work in the same way. Companies are taking your information to the cloud and then using it to make their product(s) better or selling it to other people. The mentality that your data doesn’t have value is where the problem exists.”

      Both security and privacy problems could have been foreseen, Hunter continues — and in some larger companies, they were. But smaller companies often overlook them. “The industry itself hasn’t really been educated to the importance of security,” he says, although he adds that “the tide is turning,” partly because of platforms that offer secure infrastructure, such as Parse on Facebook and Fabric on Twitter.

    • 75 Top IoT Devices
    • 20 Russian high-profile organizations attacked by spy malware in coordinated op – FSB

      Computer networks of some 20 Russian state, defense, scientific and other high-profile organizations have been infected with malware used for cyberespionage, the Russian Security Service (FSB) reported, describing it as a professionally coordinated operation.

      “The IT assets of government offices, scientific and military organizations, defense companies and other parts of the nation’s crucial infrastructure were infected,” the FSB said in a statement as cited by the Russian media.

      The security agency said that all the cases are linked and appear to be part of a well-coordinated attack requiring considerable expertise. The coding of the malware and vectors of attack are similar to those used in previous cyber-offensive operations against targets in Russia and other nations, the report stated.

    • NSA Whistleblower Skeptical of US-EU Privacy Shield to ‘Paper Over’ Spying

      NSA whistleblower Mark Klein said that the latest US-EU agreement aimed at protecting European data privacy standards may appear to be a reform, but will unlikely change expansive US surveillance practices.

    • British Spies Used a URL Shortener to Honeypot Arab Spring Dissidents [iophk: "url shorteners, sock-puppet Twitter accounts"]

      A shadowy unit of the British intelligence agency GCHQ tried to influence online activists during the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests and the 2011 democratic uprisings largely known as the Arab Spring, as new evidence gathered from documents leaked by Edward Snowden shows.

      The GCHQ’s special unit, known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group or JTRIG, was first revealed in 2014, when leaked top secret documents showed it tried to infiltrate and manipulate—using “dirty trick” tactics such as honeypots—online communities including those of Anonymous hacktivists, among others.

      The group’s tactics against hacktivists have been previously reported, but its influence campaign in the Middle East has never been reported before. I was able to uncover it because I was myself targeted in the past, and was aware of a key detail, a URL shortening service, that was actually redacted in Snowden documents published in 2014.

    • LulzSec Member Reveals More Details About GCHQ Covert Operations

      Mustafa Al-Bassam, aka tFlow, co-founder of the LulzSec hacking crew, published today more details about how the GCHQ used the covert Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) to attack hacktivism crews, but also that they tried to influence elections in Iran and boost and help the Arab Spring uprising in Syria.

    • WhatsApp Forensic Artifacts: Chats Aren’t Being Deleted

      To test, I installed the app and started a few different threads. I then archived some, cleared, some, and deleted some threads. I made a second backup after running the “Clear All Chats” function in WhatsApp. None of these deletion or archival options made any difference in how deleted records were preserved. In all cases, the deleted SQLite records remained intact in the database.

      Just to be clear, WhatsApp is deleting the record (they don’t appear to be trying to intentionally preserve data), however the record itself is not being purged or erased from the database, leaving a forensic artifact that can be recovered and reconstructed back into its original form.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Attorney for Man With Autism Urges DOJ to Investigate North Miami Police Shooting

      An attorney for a man with autism who was placed in a psychiatric unit after witnessing another man get shot by a police officer is urging the Department of Justice to investigate the North Miami Police and state of Florida.

      Matthew Dietz, the attorney for Arnaldo Rios, wrote a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming that Rios was placed in a facility “inappropriate for his needs” after the shooting. The Arc, a national organization that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, sent a letter to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division on Thursday in support of Dietz’s request for an investigation. Arc said “it is vital that Mr. Rios secures an appropriate community placement as soon as possible.”

    • After Cracking Down On Tens Of Thousands Of Enemies, Erdogan Says He’s Dropping His 2000 Lawsuits Over Insults

      For the last few months we’ve poked fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has ridiculously thin skin. As we noted, he had filed upwards of 100 lawsuits per month against people for “insulting” him — and this included things as ridiculous as posting a meme on social media that compared Erdogan to Gollum.

      Of course, more recently (as you’ve heard) there was a coup attempt in Turkey, which failed, and Erdogan has spent the last few weeks basically using the coup as an excuse to crush all his enemies.

    • NYPD Dodges Another Legislative Attempt To Inject Accountability And Transparency Into Its Daily Work

      Law enforcement officers are pretty used to being able to stop nearly anyone and demand to know who they are and what they’re doing. Sure, there are plenty of laws that say they can’t actually do that, but the public is generally underinformed about their rights, and this works in cops’ favor. As a recent Appeals Court decision pointed out, citizens are “free to refuse to cooperate with police before a seizure.”

      Obviously, this perfectly legal act of noncompliance just won’t do, and it certainly won’t be cops pointing out to citizens the rights they have available to them. New York City legislators thought they could force this transparency on the NYPD.

    • Security Researchers Sued For Exposing Internet Filtering Company’s Sale Of Censorship Software To Blacklisted Country

      Rather than meet the situation head on, Netsweeper chose to hang back and lob a lawsuit at Citizen Lab after it published its report. Fortunately for the security researchers, Netsweeper has chosen to drop its lawsuit entirely, possibly because pursuing the questionable defamation claims would have put it up against Ontarios’s version of anti-SLAPP laws: the Protection of Public Participation Act.

      The world of security research is still a dangerous place. When researchers aren’t being arrested for reporting on their findings, they’re being sued for exposing security flaws and highly-questionable behavior. It’s a shame there aren’t more built-in protections for researchers, who tend to receive a lot of legal heat just for doing their job.

    • Yavuz Baydar: Tough times ahead for Turkey

      The latest journalist arrested in Turkey is Arda Akın, a young reporter with the Hürriyet daily, part of the “mainstream” Doğan Media Group. Arda was in the “first” arrest list, issued on Monday, which mainly consisted of investigative reporters. In May, he was among those who won the European Union Investigative Journalism Award 2016, a prestigious prize delivered every year in six Balkan countries and Turkey. In his award-winning article, Akın told of corruption related to ruling Justice and Development Party figures.

    • Body-camera video shows fatal police shooting in Ariz.

      Body-camera footage released by the city of Winslow on Wednesday shows the seconds leading up to the fatal shooting of a 27-year-old Navajo woman by a Winslow police officer, with the woman advancing toward the officer with a pair of silver scissors in her left hand.

      The video footage from March 27 shows the encounter between Loreal Tsingine and Officer Austin Shipley. Tsingine’s death on Easter Sunday drew an immediate outcry in the city and strained relations between the city and Native Americans. The Navajo Reservation borders Winslow.

      A shooting investigation was conducted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which was reviewed by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. He announced Friday that no charges would be filed against Shipley.

      The footage released Wednesday does not have audio initially. It shows Shipley leaving his patrol vehicle to encounter Tsingine, who is a suspect in a convenience-store shoplifting that had occurred minutes before. His hand movements indicate that he is giving her orders to stop and to turn around.

      He attempts to grab her hands when she turns back to face him, and Shipley takes Tsingine to the ground. As she gets up, a pair of silver scissors can be seen in her left hand.

    • ‘It’s Been Harrowing’: Alleged Hacker Lauri Love Awaits Extradition Decision

      Early in the evening of 25 October 2013, a man dressed as a UPS delivery guy arrived at Lauri Love’s family home in Suffolk holding a box. When Love’s mum answered the door, she was told that only her son could sign for the delivery. She called him downstairs, and when he emerged wearing his dressing gown, he was told that the man was in fact an officer of the National Crime Agency, and that he was being arrested on suspicion of hacking into a long list of systems, including those controlled by the US Federal Reserve, NASA, and the FBI. Love asked if he still got to keep the box.

      Almost three years later, on 25 July 2016, 31-year-old Love and his parents were at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London for the final arguments in his extradition hearing. Judge Nina Tempia is hearing the case, and will rule on 16 September as to whether the UK will allow Love to be extradited to the US where he would face three separate trials in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.

      “It’s been harrowing, this whole process,” said Love, speaking to me a couple of days later. “The US didn’t even really make any arguments, they were just casting doubt on the evidence from us.”

    • YouTubers use FGM ‘cuts’ to help raise awareness

      There are at least 200 million women and girls alive today in 30 countries that have undergone female genital mutilation.

      44 million of those who have undergone the procedure, typically performed on children under the age of five, are still younger than 14.

      The procedure is rooted in patriarchal notions of purity, modesty and appearance; but health effects include infections, chronic pain, infertility, complications during menstruation and childbirth and potentially fatal vaginal bleeding.

      Only a third of British adults are aware of these long-term effects according to new research by ActionAid UK and ActionAid Kenya.

    • Mix and Match Cyber-Priorities Likely Elevates Gut Check To National Level

      The PPD integrates response to cyberattacks with the existing PPD on responding to physical incidents, which is necessary (actually, the hierarchy should probably be reversed, as our physical infrastructure is in shambles) but is also scary because there’s a whole lot of executive branch authority that gets asserted in such things.

      And the PPD sets out clear roles for responding to cyberattacks: “threat response” (investigating) is the FBI’s baby; “asset response” (seeing the bigger picture) is DHS’s baby; “intelligence support” (analysis) is ODNI’s baby, with lip service to the importance of keeping shit running, whether within or outside of the federal government.

    • When Black Lives Surely Didn’t Matter

      Many whites counter the Black Lives Matter movement with the rejoinder “all lives matter,” a way of ignoring the ugly American history of torturing, shooting and lynching blacks, as Gary G. Kohls recalls, citing two notorious cases.

    • We, The Heart of Our Democracy

      If you just couldn’t watch Hillary – and we get it – you might have missed the electrifying call by Rev. William Barber, head of North Carolina’s NAACP and leader of its Moral Mondays, to embrace “a moral revolution of values” and continue fighting for progressives causes. Barber urged his audience to take action to stop gun violence and police brutality, to support voting rights and Black Lives Matter, to make universal health care and a $15 minimum wage a reality for all. “Some issues are not left versus right or liberal versus conservative – they are right versus wrong,” he said. Pointedly citing Jesus, “a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew” – and only briefly referencing Clinton – Barber proclaimed, “We must shock this nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy. Not now, not ever.” He left the crowd, lit up and on its exhilarated feet, with, “Lead with love…Find the glory.” Amen. And no, it’s not over.

    • Report: Fox News Allegedly Paid $3.15 Million Settlement to Woman Claiming Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her

      Over the course of the last three weeks, a steady stream of women have come forward detailing their accounts of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Ailes, who has firmly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, stepped down from his top position at the network last week, after longtime host Gretchen Carlson sued him for what she claimed was years of inappropriate behavior and retaliation for not complying with his advances.

      A number of women followed suit, sharing accounts of alleged interactions with Ailes that occurred over the span of the last half-century. Most notably, Fox News star Megyn Kelly reportedly told investigators hired by 21st Century Fox that Ailes had sexually harassed her a decade ago when she was just starting out (Ailes denied this, as well, saying that he helped her career tremendously).

      The most recent alleged account of sexual harassment by Ailes is particularly disturbing. On Friday afternoon, New York published a story about a former Fox News employee that details more than 20 years of what she called “psychological torture,” including allegations that Ailes paid her for sex, that he taped their encounters as a means of keeping her silent, and that he used promotions within Fox News as a way to keep their relationship secret.

      Laurie Luhn, who served as Fox News’s director of booking, told New York that she got in touch with the law firm conducting 21st Century Fox’s investigation, claiming that she had been harassed by Ailes since 1991 and that Fox News executives were not only aware of their relationship, but also helped cover it up.

    • ‘A Travesty’: Chelsea Manning Faces New Charges After Suicide Attempt

      U.S. whistleblower Chelsea Manning may face additional charges and solitary confinement relating to a suicide attempt earlier this month, according to her attorneys.

      The charges include “resisting the force cell move team,” “conduct which threatens,” and “prohibited property,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Thursday. If convicted, Manning could face an additional nine years on her sentence, indefinite solitary confinement, and placement back into maximum security. She may also lose any chances of parole.

      Manning is currently serving 35 years at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas military prison for helping WikiLeaks expose classified government and U.S. military documents in 2010. She confirmed her suicide attempt on July 8 after several days of being kept out of contact with her defense team.

    • Trump’s Bigotry Reminds US Media of Anywhere but Home

      Donald Trump is an objectively terrifying candidate. He’s a racist, a xenophobe and a misogynist (in a surprisingly underrated manner). He dabbles in antisemitism and mocks his opponents like a middle school bully.

      However, in their effort to critique Trump in a way that is “relatable” and generates clicks, corporate media all too often turn to lazy orientalist tropes and patriotic schlock to “other” him without having to do the messy work of ideological analysis, or running the risk of offending America’s nationalist sensibilities…

    • Technical Response to Northpointe

      Northpointe asserts that a software program it sells that predicts the likelihood a person will commit future crimes is equally fair to black and white defendants. We re-examined the data, considered the company’s criticisms, and stand by our conclusions.

    • ProPublica Responds to Company’s Critique of Machine Bias Story

      Northpointe asserts that a software program it sells that predicts the likelihood a person will commit future crimes is equally fair to black and white defendants. We re-examined the data, considered the company’s criticisms, and stand by our conclusions.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast: The Economics Of Offering Cheaper, Better Streaming TV Service ‘Unproven’

      As cable operators consolidate and AT&T and Verizon continue to hang up on millions of unwanted DSL customers they don’t want to upgrade, cable’s monopoly control over the U.S. broadband market is actually stronger than ever. In most markets, cable broadband’s “competition” still consists of either a cash-strapped telco incapable of offering speeds greater than 6 Mbps, or no competition at all. That’s why we’ve seen Comcast rush to impose usage caps on many of these captive markets; an effort to protect legacy TV revenues from Internet video — a move only made possible by a lack of competition.

      Despite this lack of competition, Comcast has at least flirted with the idea of adapting to streaming competition and offering a cheaper, more flexible streaming TV option of its own. About a year ago the company launched a product creatively-dubbed “Stream,” which for $15 a month offers Comcast broadband customers access to its traditional cable service. But despite the company’s promise that every market would see this service by the end of 2016, the rollout of this product appears to have stalled, in large part because it appears Comcast only wanted to appear innovative.

    • Comcast’s Still Not Sure There’s Any Money In This Whole “Streaming” Thing

      You might have heard that it’s 2016, and streaming your TV via the internet is all the rage. And yet despite being just as susceptible to cord-cutters as anyone (everyone) else, Comcast is still not thinking the whole streaming-TV thing is a moneymaker.

      In the company’s quarterly investor call this week (transcript), Comcast executives faced many questions about over-the-top (broadband) TV. And they were… less than enthusiastic.

      Neil Smit, the CEO of Comcast Cable (as opposed to the whole Comcast company), told investors that, “We haven’t seen an OTT model that really is very profitable for us.”

    • Blizzard withdrawing support for IPv6?

      It seems that once again Blizzard have their IPv6 connectivity for World of Warcraft not working properly. I opened a ticket and explained the issue in detail. The connectivity issue is entirely in their network. My guess is, as they seem to be using SLAAC addresses, they have simply failed to update addresses when they changed hardware and MAC. That is only a guess though.

      The impact – I could not log in to play the game for several days. I assumed they had a fault or were busy and to be honest, given that I use IPv6 for almost everything I do (google, Facebook, all A&A web sites and internal systems) and have done for about 14 years, it did not even occur to me to check if turning off IPv6 would fix it for a while. These days I rarely play, but have been off ill for a few days and though I may have a game or two.

    • Mysterious firm pays £135m for .web domain

      A MYSTERY BUSINESS called Nu Dot Co has paid a rather sizeable $135m for the right to the .web generic top-level domain (gTLD).

      The firm beat off competition from the likes of Google and web registry firms Afilias, Radix and Donuts, so it clearly means business.

      The auction went ahead despite calls from others involved that the mystery surrounding Nu Dot Co meant that ICANN, the organisation selling the gTLD, could not satisfy the condition that it must know who, or what, controls the gTLD after auction.

      However, ICANN hurriedly dismissed the claim and proceeded with the auction.

      Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, explained that the auction process was the fairest way to allocate the domain.

      “New gTLD Program auctions are the community-established, last resort method to help determine which applicant will have the opportunity to operate a particular new gTLD when multiple entities vie for the same or confusingly similar domains,” he said.

      “We look forward to seeing the community’s recommendations for the use of these proceeds.”

    • First Aereo, Now FilmOn: Another Fight for Innovation and Competition in TV Technology

      For over four years, major TV producers like Comcast, Viacom, Fox, Time Warner, and Disney, along with TV station owners like Comcast, Fox, Disney, and Sinclair, and cable companies like–well, Comcast–have fought in court to shut down new services that deliver local broadcast TV via the Internet. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that one of those services, Aereo, performed a function that was so similar to a traditional cable system that, like a cable system, it needed permission from copyright holders for the TV programs it transmitted.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Mr Justice Arnold refers questions on Article 3(b) SPC Regulation to CJEU

      What do you do if your patent is about to expire, but despite notice that Member States have agreed to grant your marketing authorization (MA) under the decentralized procedure, a MS has not yet taken the step to actually grant it? You still make your SPC application, of course.

    • Trademarks

      • Book Review: Trade Secret Protection

        As Cook notes in the introduction, “Trade secrets have only grudgingly started to form an accepted part of the world intellectual property order since TRIPs.” I’m really pleased to see more work on trade secrets. Certainly this book will appeal to the reader eager to access synopses of trade secret protection in key jurisdictions, and in particular non-English speaking ones where information may be less readily accessible. There isn’t an index, which I would have liked to have seen as it would enable cross-country comparison. However, most readers will be looking for jurisdiction-specific information, and the book’s standard chapter format and organisation by country will satisfy that need.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent is fifteen years old. What would a file sharing technology developed today look like?

        BitTorrent was developed in 2001: today’s file-sharing technology predates the launch of Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone. In those fifteen years, surveillance and repression technologies have advanced massively. If we designed file sharing today to keep up with these developments, sharing technology would be an uncensorable, untrackable, and unidentifiable peer-to-peer mesh network between mobile devices.

        Ten years ago, activists argued that file sharing was unstoppable and would adapt to any threat using mobile transmissions. However, this innovation hasn’t taken place, maybe out of a lack of urgency. Let’s examine how such a technology could work.

      • Gotta catch ‘em all without infringing copyright: Pokémon and Freedom of Panorama

        Pokémon Go requires players to search for Pokémon in the real world, a revolutionary move in the gaming industry. Pokémon are randomly generated by the game software, using GPS tracking technology. When a player is near to a Pokémon, it will appear on her phone screen in camera mode and allow her to ‘throw’ a Pokéball at it to ‘catch’ it. The screen shows the Pokémon in the surrounding environment, making it a life-like experience. While photographs of the capture are not saved to the game, players have the option of saving the photos to their phone, thereby reproducing any surrounding works of architecture or sculptures.

      • The Selfie-Taking Monkey Who Has No Idea He Has Lawyers Has Appealed His Copyright Lawsuit

        Welp. Here we go again. For many, many years, we’ve been tracking the insane legal situation of the selfie-taking monkey, whose name we were told only recently is “Naruto.” Early on in this saga, back in 2011, our focus was on how the photographer whose camera was used, David Slater, had no legitimate claim to the copyright in the image, in large part because the copyright goes to whoever took the photo, and the copyright cannot go to a monkey, because copyright law is limited to “persons.” Every so often Slater would pop up somewhere or somehow and yell about this — twice representatives of his even threatened us with completely bogus legal action.

        However, things took a turn for the even more bizarre a year ago when PETA, an organization that sometimes appears to focus more on professional trolling rather than on the “ethical treatment of animals” as its name suggests, claimed to represent the monkey (Naruto!) and sued Slater himself for falsely claiming the copyright. While we agree that Slater doesn’t hold the copyright, neither does the monkey, because no one holds the copyright.

        Amazingly, PETA, claiming to represent the interests of an Indonesian monkey, somehow secured the services of a really big name law firm, Irell & Manella, whose name should always be associated with the fact that it took this insane case. Irell & Manella (again, somehow, this is considered a respected law firm) took the nutty position that there must be a copyright in the image, and thus the monkey deserves to get it. It completely ignores the fact that not everything gets a copyright. It’s as if the lawyers at Irell & Manella don’t even understand how copyright law works.

      • Sony Hack Results in Lawsuit Over Failure to Prevent Movie Piracy

        Movie distributors obviously don’t like piracy, but a new lawsuit raises the question of whether they have any obligation to curtail it.

        On Wednesday, Sony Pictures was hit with a complaint in Florida federal court by Possibility Pictures, the producer of To Write Love on Her Arms, starring Kat Dennings and Rupert Friend. The film, which had Justin Bieber’s mother Pattie Malette serving as an executive producer to help out with marketing, was based on a true story about the treatment of a teenager suffering from depression and addiction and the launch of a non-profit to help others similarly afflicted.

      • Irony: Sony Pictures Sued For Failing To Stop Piracy

        For many years now, the MPAA and the various studios that make it up have filed various lawsuits against various internet platforms for not waving a magic wand and making piracy disappear. This also appears to be their big complaint against Google, which has bent over backwards trying to appease the industry and it’s still not enough (of course, that may be because what the industry really wants from Google is money, not stopping piracy). But now the shoe is somewhat on the other foot as Sony Pictures is being sued for failing to stop piracy. Really.

        The case stems from the infamous Sony hack from a year and a half ago, where all of Sony Pictures’ emails were released onto the internet. Possibility Pictures is suing Sony claiming the hack created a breach of contract in its failure to stop piracy of its film, To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), a 2012 movie starring Kat Dennings, based on the true story of the struggles a woman went through leading to the founding of her charity (which goes by the same name as the movie). While most people focus on the emails from the hack, it should be noted that before those emails were released, the hackers released some pre-release films… including TWLOHA. And that, Possibility claims, is a breach of Sony’s contract.

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