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05.28.16

Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

Posted in News Roundup at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Java Fair Game, Millennium Bug, Open Source DNA

    The top story today was the court decision in Oracle vs Google for copyright infringement. Everyone is celebrating but Oracle. In other news Phoronix.com reported today that Linus is questioning the benefits of new Y2038 patches and Bryan Lunduke said that Open Source has been in our DNA since cave painting days. The Open Source Initiative released an Open Source License API and The Document Foundation posted a video explaining The Document Liberation Project.

  • Open-source vs. Proprietary – Keeping Ideology Out of the Equation

    Most users of software sensibly employ a mixture of software tools that span open-source, closed-source, proprietary, ‘free’ and in-house. Many modern software developers also decide to use a hybrid of open-source and proprietary models within an integrated code-base. Advocating either open-source only, or commercial only, software dogmas are both narrow-minded and unhelpful in allowing the researcher or the business the freedom to deliver the best outcomes.

  • Genode OS 16.05 Adds Rust Support, Updated Device Drivers

    Genode OS 16.05 has been released, the research Opearing System Framework project that’s been making very good progress over the years and has a loyal open-source following.

    Genode OS 16.05 has a new API for implementing Genode components, improved documentation, all ported Linux kernel drivers were re-based to their state from Linux 4.4.3, added support for the Rust programming language, new ACPI features, and support for using GDB with the 64-bit version of their NOVA hypervisor.

  • Twitter open-sources Heron for real-time stream analytics

    Heron, the real-time stream-processing system Twitter devised as a replacement for Apache Storm, is finally being open-sourced after powering Twitter for more than two years.

    Twitter explained in a blog post that it created Heron because it needed more than speed and scale from its real-time stream processing framework. The company also needed easier debugging, easier deployment and management capabilities, and the ability to work well in a shared, multitenant cluster environment.

  • ONF to Release Guidelines for Deploying Secure SDN Controllers

    The Open Networking Foundation’s security working group is preparing to release guidelines for designing and deploying secure software-defined networking (SDN) controllers. The guidelines are currently in review and will be published in June, according to Sandra Scott-Hayward, vice chair of ONF’s security project.

  • What sets PatternFly apart from Bootstrap?

    Last June, Opensource.com gave readers a behind the scenes look of PatternFly, how it came to be, and why developers should know about the project. This time around, I thought it was important to hear from the people who are actually using PatternFly. This series aims to learn more about PatternFly through the eyes of the developer.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Sun, sea, and open source: How Spain’s Balearic islands are trying to turn into a tech paradise

      However, work remains to be done, especially on civil servants’ desktops. “We started by replacing MSN Office”, explains Villoslada. “Thanks to free office suite LibreOffice 5, we may overcome compatibility problems with documents coming in from different versions of MSN Office. We already have 1,000 Office licenses which are not necessary anymore, and we plan not to renew over 5,500 licenses purchased in 2007″, he adds.

    • The Document Liberation Project: What we do

      While The Document Foundation is best known for LibreOffice, it also backs the Document Liberation Project. But what exactly is that? We’ve made a short video to explain all…

  • Education

    • Using Open Source Software, Powering Potential and the Raspberry Pi Foundation Bring Technology to Schools in Tanzania

      Thanks to open source, Powering Potential and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are able to bring computers and a library of digital education content to rural schools in the East African nation of Tanzania. Recently, the Foundation funded a project now distributing Raspberry Pi computers with uploaded educational content alongside portable projectors and screens to 56 schools across the Zanzibar archipelago and two mainland regions of Tanzania. The Segal Family Foundation also provided matching funds, which enables the project to give computer training as well.

      With a five-fold increase in the number of students in the decade following 2003, the nation is struggling to provide more schools, classrooms, teachers, desks, and textbooks. Yet whenever you visit rural secondary schools in Tanzania, you will find eager girls and boys in roughly equal numbers outfitted in uniforms with ready smiles.

    • EBSCO Information Services Continues to Support Open Source Technology for Libraries

      EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) continues to provide support in advocating open source and open access. EBSCO has agreed to provide additional financial support to Koha, the world’s first full-featured, free open source Integrated Library System (ILS) that is used worldwide by more than 15,000 libraries of all types.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Sweden should boost open source competence

      Sweden should bolster its competence on the use of open source and open standards in public administrations, a study for the country’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation recommends. Public administrations must also be required to consider switching to free and open source alternatives, when procuring ICT solutions, and justify why they continue to use proprietary software.

    • Amen! Sweden Will Prefer FLOSS
    • Italy to develop 3-year government ICT strategy

      Italy will define a three-year ICT strategy for public administrations, Antonio Samaritans, General Director of the country’s Agency for the Digitalisation of the Public Sector (Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale, AGID), announced this week. This includes the development of information systems that can be used by all public administrations, the agency announced in a statement.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SuperTux Returns, Proprietary Open Source & More…

      Also included: Google in a TKO over Oracle, four distro releases and Microsoft’s latest trick to force Windows 10 upgrades.

    • An intro to Linux commands, the EU’s open source mathematics toolbox, and more news
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open source wifi enabled 3D printer controller Franklin speeds up with new release

        3D printing hit the mainstream a few years ago thanks in part to the open-source 3D printer market. The origins of this transition had to do with expiring patents held by the traditionally held commercial 3D printing companies. Since then, several small businesses have sprung up around the emerging low-cost 3D printer market. Some of these companies embraced the open-source mentality, while others are seeking shelter with patents.

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open-Source Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis

        Hands can grab things, build things, communicate, and we control them intuitively with nothing more than a thought. To those who miss a hand, a prosthesis can be a life-changing tool for carrying out daily tasks. We are delighted to see that [Alvaro Villoslada] joined the Hackaday Prize with his contribution to advanced prosthesis technology: Dextra, the open-source myoelectric hand prosthesis.

      • BCN3D Technologies releases open source files for BCN3D Sigma 3D printer

        As our readers will know, an important part of the 3D printing community is the idea of accessibility. Of course, it is more than just an idea, as everyday makers around the world share their 3D designs and models for free, and even 3D printing companies exercise an open-source philosophy with DIY 3D printers and accessible models. Recently, Barcelona based 3D printer developer BCN3D Technologies decided to further embrace the additive manufacturing open-source philosophy with their latest initiative, Open Source 360º. As part of the initiative, the company has announced that it will share all of its engineering, design, and fabrication information used in the manufacturing of their flagship product, the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer.

      • Shellmo: Aquatic 3D printed robot for fun and education

        Recently I came across a very interesting open hardware project called Shellmo. What caught my eye was that it’s a 3D printed crustacean that seems to have no apparent real world use, though with a little creativity I can see educational implications.

        Shellmo is a unique, almost cartoon-like creatures that could captivate the imagination of children while at the same time affording them an opportunity to 3D print their own robot. With the current emphasis on STEM in education, Shellmo appears to be the kind of project that would stimulate student interest.

  • Programming/Networking

    • 10 Best Cheat Sheets That A Programmer Must Have
    • Thoughts on JSRs, TCKs, and Open Source

      In the Java EE umbrella every piece of technology is standardized under a JSR (Java Specification Request). The Expert Groups of the JSRs have to deliver the specification, a Reference Implementation, and a TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit). For most of the JSRs, the TCK is licensed as closed-source software and is not available for the public.

    • Omniscient DevOps? JFrog introduces Xray
    • Ciena Intros Blue Planet DevOps Toolkit for SDN/NFV

      The kit consists of a set of software development tools and community resources that allow operators to integrate network resources such as devices, functions, or domains (physical or virtual), as well as customize service templates, with the Blue Planet Network and Service Orchestration software.

    • Devops: A Culture or Concrete Activity?

      In traditional software development, the professionals who were responsible for building a company’s applications were referred to as development. The team that tested the applications was QA management. At this point, the program would be handed off to operations, which would then be responsible for maintenance and update management.

    • Rise of Open Cloud Architectures and Over-the-Top Network Services
    • Vodafone Demands More From NFV Vendors

      Big Communications Event — Vodafone is making significant progress towards the implementation of its Ocean virtualization strategy but is still encountering some significant challenges as it works with the vendor community on its plans.

      That was one of the key messages from the Vodafone’s head of SDN and NFV, David Amzallag, during his keynote presentation at the Big Communications Event (BCE) here this week.

    • SD-WAN Demands Different Network Monitoring

      ThousandEyes, a company that does network monitoring, says software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is making visibility more difficult, so it has created agent-to-agent tests to make it easier to pinpoint issues in both the forward and reverse paths.

Leftovers

  • Your Vote at the EU Referendum Will Determine Our Future

    The EU referendum on June 23 will be one of the most significant decisions British citizens will ever have to make. The outcome will affect how the UK is governed, national security, the economy, human rights, the environment, culture… every aspect of our lives. It will define what it means to be British and could alter this country’s relationship with the world for generations to come.

  • The BBC and British branding

    The corporation’s claims to the public and to neutrality are crucial for the British state and its power across the globe.

  • Science

    • USA Today Fail: Trump Science Column by Corporate Front Group

      USA Today fell to a new low in science and election coverage this week with a column speculating about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s science agenda, written by two members of a corporate front group that was not identified as a corporate front group.

      The column, “Would President Trump Be a Science Guy?”, was authored by Hank Campbell and Alex Berezow of the American Council on Science and Health, a group that promotes various corporate agendas via its science commentaries while secretly receiving significant funding from corporations, according to leaked documents reported by Mother Jones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Climate Change Could Be Poisoning Your Food

      By now, it’s fairly well-established that climate change is going to be a major challenge for food production.

      Rising temperatures are set to severely damage crop yields, lessen the nutritional value of important crops, and make large portions of the planet inhospitable to crop production. And some studies argue that it won’t be easy to innovate our way out of these problems, with data suggesting that developed countries have a more difficult time maintaining yields during droughts and heat waves — two things set to increase with climate change — than developing countries.

    • Ross Eisenbrey on Overtime Pay, Patty Lovera on Monsanto Protests

      This week on CounterSpin: “Federal Regulations Work Overtime to Kill American Prosperity”—you see what they did there; that’s Reason magazine on new Labor Department rules that mean more people will get overtime pay when they, well, work overtime. We’ll get a different take from Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute.

    • For Many of Connecticut’s Disabled, Home Is Where the Harm Is

      The woman was sent to a Connecticut emergency room 19 times in 15 months. Her injuries were ghastly. She swallowed pieces of razor blades. She burned herself. She inserted pins, nails, metal can lids and other objects inside her vagina and rectum.

      She was developmentally disabled; living in a group home overseen by Connecticut state authorities. Each of her injuries should have been investigated by the state. None of them were.

      The woman’s experience is part of a federal report formally released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. Hers were among more than 300 emergency room visits examined by federal investigators between January 2012 and June 2014.

    • Stung by Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets

      The vast majority of reviews on Yelp are positive. But in trying to respond to critical ones, some doctors, dentists and chiropractors appear to be violating the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA.

    • Woman found to harbor infection resistant to antibiotic of last resort

      For the first time, doctors have diagnosed an American with an infection that can’t be treated with an antibiotic of last resort, an ominous development in the battle against antibiotic resistance, according to a new study.

      The antibiotic, colistin, is used when infections become impervious to all other drugs, including a class of antibiotics called carbapenems. Colistin, which was approved in the 1950s, fell out of favor in the 1970s because of its toxicity. Doctors have resumed using it when nothing else works.

      In the past six months or so, scientists have found bacteria that are resistant to colistin in more than two dozen countries, said study co-author Patrick McGann, a senior microbiologist at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Given the danger of colistin-resistant bacteria, doctors at Walter Reed decided to begin testing samples from the U.S.

    • The superbug that doctors have been dreading just reached the U.S.

      Colistin is the antibiotic of last resort for particularly dangerous types of superbugs, including a family of bacteria known as CRE, which health officials have dubbed “nightmare bacteria.” In some instances, these superbugs kill up to 50 percent of patients who become infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called CRE among the country’s most urgent public health threats.

    • Dreaded ‘Nightmare Bacteria’ Resistant to All Antibiotics Is Finally Here

      A so-called superbug immune to all antibiotics was discovered for the first time in a person in the U.S., reports a study published Thursday in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

      The discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria,” the study’s authors warned.

    • German Cops Bust Dude Who Bought Weed on Silk Road Years Ago

      We’ve seen plenty of high profile and often technical busts on dark web sites targeting dealers, users, and administrators. In a recent case, German cops tracked down a marketplace user who placed orders for just a few grams of cannabis at a time, three years ago.

      A German user of the original Silk Road and another dark web market was recently fined over €3,000 for ordering cannabis 17 times, according to independent researcher Gwern Branwen. Branwen said in a Reddit post that the buyer contacted him recently. He also uploaded an apparent March 2016 letter from German law authorities detailing the transactions. (Names and other information have been redacted from the letter, so Motherboard was unable to contact its supposed recipient).

    • Big Pharma Sells Risky Meds We Don’t Need for Disorders It Made Up That We Don’t Have

      “Intermittent explosive disorder.” “Overactive bladder disorder.” Professional medical societies and paid drug industry researchers have loaded society up with new definitions of alleged ill health from which drug companies can profit when millions of otherwise well people are labeled as ailing.

      “In 2003 and again in 2010,” for example, write MedPage Today editor Kristina Fiore and Milwaukee Journal reporter John Fauber, “the American Diabetes Association tinkered with the definition of a condition known as prediabetes, which independent doctors say is an unneeded label that has led to overtreatment with drugs, exposing patients to risks without proof of real benefit.”

      “The changes, which twice lowered the threshold for hemoglobin A1C, increased the number of people fitting the diagnosis from 17 million to 87 million. Indeed, a March report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research estimated that 46% of Californians—13 million people—had prediabetes.”

      “A Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation found the ADA has long received more than $7 million in current annual funding. In addition, nine of the 14 experts who authored the 2010 change worked as speakers, consultants or advisers to companies that marketed diabetes medicines.”

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Judge Says The FBI Can Keep Its Hacking Tool Secret, But Not The Evidence Obtained With It

      Michaud hasn’t had the case against him dismissed, but the government will now have to rely on evidence it didn’t gain access to by using its illegal search. And there can’t be much of that, considering the FBI had no idea who Michaud was or where he resided until after the malware-that-isn’t-malware had stripped away Tor’s protections and revealed his IP address.

      The FBI really can’t blame anyone but itself for this outcome. Judge Bryan may have agreed that the FBI had good reason to keep its technique secret, but there was nothing preventing the FBI from voluntarily turning over details on its hacking tool to Michaud. But it chose not to, despite his lawyer’s assurance it would maintain as much of the FBI’s secrecy as possible while still defending his client.

      Judge Bryan found the FBI’s ex parte arguments persuasive and declared the agency could keep the info out of Michaud’s hands. But doing so meant the judicial playing field was no longer level, as he acknowledged in his written ruling. Fortunately, the court has decided it’s not going to allow the government to have its secrecy cake and eat it, too. If it wants to deploy exploits with minimal judicial oversight, then it has to realize it can’t successfully counter suppression requests with vows of silence.

    • Researcher Pockets $30,000 in Chrome Bounties

      Having cashed in earlier in May to the tune of $15,500, Mlynski pocketed another $30,000 courtesy of Google’s bug bounty program after four high-severity vulnerabilities were patched in the Chrome browser, each worth $7,500 to the white-hat hacker.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Cornel West Accuses Israeli PM Netanyahu of “War Crimes”

      Meanwhile, racial justice scholar and activist Cornel West, who is one of Bernie Sanders’ five appointees to the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee, has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “war crimes” in the continued occupation of Palestinian territories. This comes as Netanyahu moves his government even further to the right with the addition of the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party. Professor West and another Sanders appointee, James Zogby, are looking to incorporate opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories into the Democratic Party platform when the drafting committee meets at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

    • Risks of Citizens Suing Foreign Governments

      Well-meaning legislation would permit 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the terror attacks but the principle of individuals suing foreign governments is fraught with problems, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Peace Activist and Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

      Holocaust survivor and peace activist Hedy Epstein has died at the age of 91. Epstein was born in Germany and left in 1939 on a Kindertransport to England. Her parents died in Auschwitz. She later returned to Germany to work as a research analyst for the prosecution during the Nuremberg trials. She was involved in civil rights and antiwar movements throughout her life. In 2011, she was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and was a passenger on the U.S.-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope. She was a frequent guest on Democracy Now! She first appeared on the program in 2009, as she and other activists were planning for the Gaza Freedom March.

    • “I Want the World to Wake Up”: Hiroshima Survivor Criticizes Obama for Pushing New Nuclear Weapons

      Extended interview with Setsuko Thurlow, who survived the Hiroshima atomic bombing, about the bombing of 1945 and her push to eliminate nuclear weapons. On August 6, 1945, Thurlow was at school in Hiroshima when the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on a civilian population. She has been an anti-nuclear activist for decades.

    • Imperialism’s Junior Partners

      On May 12, Brazil’s democratic government, led by the Workers’ Party (PT), was the victim of a coup. What will the other BRICS countries (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) do?

      Will they stand by as the reactionaries who took power in Brasilia pivot closer to Western powers, glad to warm Dilma Rousseff’s seat at the BRICS summit in Goa, India in five months’ time? Or take a stronger line, following the lead of Latin American progressive countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and El Salvador)?

      Here in South Africa, few expect Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) government to react constructively on the international stage. Making waves isn’t likely at a time when Standard & Poors and Fitch are on a South Africa visit, deciding whether to downgrade the country’s credit rating to “junk” status, as happened in Brazil late last year.

      This is a shame because the last two weeks have offered excellent opportunities for diplomatic rebellion: revelations have emerged implicating the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in assisting the apartheid state’s 1962 arrest and twenty-seven-year imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. This isn’t exactly surprising; the State Department did keep Mandela on its terrorist watch list until 2008.

    • Senator Scolds Obama for “Preaching Nuclear Temperance From a Bar Stool”

      While President Obama called for a “moral awakening” in Hiroshima and restated his ambition for a nuclear-weapon free future, back in Washington, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., criticized him for moving forward with a costly plan to renovate the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

      “The U.S. cannot preach nuclear temperance from a bar stool,” Markey wrote in a Boston Globe opinion piece.

      Obama’s Hiroshima speech was reminiscent of the one he gave in Prague, only three months into his presidency, when he announced that he would “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

      In 2010, he negotiated a treaty that limited the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed, strategic nuclear weapons each.

      But that was as far as he would go. Obama is set to maintain the U.S. arsenal of 1,528 deployed warheads — almost half of which are on 30-minute alert — despite a 2013 White House assessment that he could safely reduce the U.S. arsenal by a third.

    • On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit

      President Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima since the bombing 71 years ago in 1945.

      Japan seeks not an apology or reparation but an awareness and intimate connection to the common humanity we all share and that is at once threatened by the continued existence of nuclear weapons.

      Any nation that continues to keep these weapons is not more secure or powerful but rather a bully ready to threaten others and indeed themselves.

    • Defending Israel’s Attacks on Civilians—A Harbinger for Clinton’s Presidency?

      Going well beyond the normal “pro-Israel” rhetoric expected of American politicians, she has defended Israeli attacks on heavily-populated civilian areas as legitimate self-defense against terrorism, even in cases where the Obama administration and members of Congress—including Sanders—have raised objections.

      Her statements raise serious questions as to what kind of rules of engagement she would support for U.S. forces in the “War on Terror.”

    • The Brazilian Coup and Washington’s “Rollback” in Latin America

      It is clear that the executive branch of the U.S. government favors the coup underway in Brazil, even though they have been careful to avoid any explicit endorsement of it. Exhibit A was the meeting between Tom Shannon, the 3rd ranking U.S. State Department official and the one who is almost certainly in charge of handling this situation, with Senator Aloysio Nunes, one of the leaders of the impeachment in the Brazilian Senate, on April 20. By holding this meeting just three days after the Brazilian lower house voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Shannon was sending a signal to governments and diplomats throughout the region and the world that Washington is more than ok with the impeachment. Nunes returned the favor this week by leading an effort (he is chair of the Brazilian Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur, the South American trade bloc.

    • Silencing America as it prepares for war

      Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

      The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

      “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

      The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

    • Washington Uses US Troops As Lab Rats

      Civilians, not soldiers, are always the vast majority of war’s casualties. People die not for freedom and democracy but in order for armaments manufacturers to make large fortunes. General Smedley Butler said that his US Marines died for the sake of the profits of the United Fruit Company and some lousy bank investment—truth that you never hear on Memorial Day or July 4th.

    • Ticking Closer to Nuclear Midnight

      President Obama embraced Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima bomb, but his policies, such as heightening tensions with Russia, have raised the potential for a far worse nuclear catastrophe, explains Jonathan Marshall.

    • During Historic Hiroshima Visit, Obama Didn’t Apologize, but Here’s What He Could’ve Said

      With President Obama’s historic visit Friday to Hiroshima, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese city that was the target (some might say victim) of the first atomic bombing, in August 1945. Many Japanese, and most people in the world, consider Hiroshima to be a milestone in human history, a chilling symbol of how science and technology, capable of such creativity and creation, can also deliver terrible forms of destruction and cruelty. Of course, the bar for his speech, at the city’s Peace Memorial Park, was set very high.

    • NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes

      Liberals and left-leaning individuals in the U.S. trust NPR more than any other news outlet. And, I certainly consume NPR news more than any other mainstream source, usually listening to it at least twice daily, though I abhor its coverage of international events. For these reasons, and with the reader’s forbearance, I have chosen to single NPR out to look at how we in the U.S. are collectively misled into ignoring or accepting our own government’s atrocities.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The New State Department Report on Hillary’s Email, and Why it Matters

      The State Department Inspector General’s (IG) investigation report leaked out a day early on May 25 makes a number of significant points. These matter, and need to be considered by anyone voting in November.

      [...]

      The other shoe has yet to drop. Though the Inspectors General from the intelligence community have stated unequivocally that Clinton did handle highly classified material on her unsecured server, the FBI report on the same matter has not yet been released.

      For those who wish to defend Clinton with the “but everybody did it” argument, Condoleezza Rice did not send any emails on any unsecured system at all. Powell and Albright sent a handful in the early days of the web. All of them cooperated in the State IG investigation. None of them ran a fully private system for four years and most importantly, none of them are asking us to trust them now running for president.

      If your support is whittle down to a sad Hillary is down to “well, she’s not Trump,” do be careful what you wish for. She’s not Trump, but she is all of the above.

      [...]

      BONUS: If Bernie Sanders will not discuss any of this publically, he does not want to be president.

    • Did the Clinton Email Server Have an Internet-Based Printer?

      The Associated Press today points to a remarkable footnote in a recent State Department inspector general report on the Hillary Clinton email scandal: The mail was managed from the vanity domain “clintonemail.com.” But here’s a potentially more explosive finding: A review of the historic domain registration records for that domain indicates that whoever built the private email server for the Clintons also had the not-so-bright idea of connecting it to an Internet-based printer.

    • MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinksi: It Feels Like Hillary Clinton ‘Is Lying Straight Out’

      MSNBC hosts and analysts severely and unanimously criticized Hillary Clinton on Thursday after the Obama-appointed inspector general of the State Department that she once led published a damning report contradicting her repeated claims that she was allowed to conduct official correspondence on a private email server.

      The rebuke is remarkable because with a few exceptions MSNBC has treated Clinton favorably in the 2016 primaries.

      “I really don’t want to be the one delivering this, but I’ve got to tell you, this is really hard to believe. It feels like she’s lying straight out,” host Mika Brzezinski said in a discussion on “Morning Joe.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • G7 Wants to Kill Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2025, But We Could Do It ‘Twice as Fast’

      For the first time, the G7 has set an actual deadline for ending massive fossil fuel subsidies: the year 2025.

      But while it’s great to “finally have an endgame for these perverse incentives,” as Overseas Development Institute research fellow Shelagh Whitley wrote on Friday, “we could easily get there twice as fast.

    • In Oil-Soaked Niger Delta, ‘Avengers’ Bombing Pipelines in Struggle for Compensation

      In the oil-rich Niger delta, where communities suffer “enormous” effects from decades of spills, a militant group claiming responsibility for a spate of attacks on oil infrastructure now appears to have the backing of some community members.

      The group, Niger Delta Avengers, whose links and sponsors are unclear, said it was responsible for blowing up Chevron’s main electricity power line, which grounded the oil giant’s activities in Nigeria, the company said Thursday, while another attack on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline took place late Thursday.

      The Avengers, the Guardian reports, “say they are fighting to protect the environment and to win locals a bigger share of the profits.”

    • Hillary Clinton Tried to Push Fracking on Other Nations When She Was Secretary of State, New Emails Reveal

      Emails obtained by The Intercept from the State Department reveal new details of Hillary Clinton’s behind-the-scenes efforts to export fracking—a method of extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits—to foreign countries during her tenure as Secretary of State. The emails, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, could be particularly damning in light of Clinton’s recent attempts to ally herself with the anti-fracking movement.

    • Fox’s Special Report Claims Scientific Consensus On Climate Change Is “Subject Of Vigorous Debate”
    • Greenwashing or Progress? Exxon Shareholders Issue Calls for Climate Accountability

      At ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas this week, activist shareholders and investors demanded the company own up to its deceptive practices regarding climate disruption and begin to implement adaptations and regulations to mitigate climate disruption’s impacts.

    • Exxon investors aim to force reckoning with impact of climate change policies

      Group of largest shareholders will vote for resolution calling on firm to publish annual assessment of business impact of policies such as Paris Agreement

    • New Team Trying to Stop Another Year of Massive Indonesian Wildfires

      Indonesian organizations are teaming up for the massive task of preventing forest and ground fires that blanket the region in haze every year during the dry season.

      Last year, fires in the peatland forest of Sumatra and Kalimantan created an environmental crisis due to an extended drought and El Nino weather conditions.

      In Palangkaraya, the Central Kalimantan capital, the haze was so bad schools and businesses closed and thousands suffered respiratory and eye problems.

    • Australia’s Removal From UN Climate Change Report Labelled ‘Scientific Censorship’
    • Censorship of UN climate report to edit out Great Barrier Reef leaves questions for Hunt
    • Australia cut from UN report on climate threat to avoid damaging reef tourism
    • Coalition’s great big climate hoax turns to outright denial

      The far right of the Coalition has maintained enormous ideological discipline to insist – in the face of ever mounting evidence to the contrary – that climate science is a giant hoax.

      That climate denial – still evident in most of the conservative rump of the party, even if Barnaby Joyce now wonders if “climate change might be real” after staring at a dry creek bed on his family property – has now seeped through to everyday government.

      Two events this week highlight how this ideological intransigence retains its hold over the Turnbull administration.

    • Aust pressure gets reef cut from UN report

      Australia has pressured a United Nations agency into removing the Great Barrier Reef from a report detailing climate change risks on world heritage sites.

      That’s despite mass bleaching at the world’s largest coral reef, which scientists strongly link to global warming.

      Australia is not mentioned in the 87-page UNESCO report that lists other sites in the Asia-Pacific region and which says coral reefs are “particularly vulnerable” to climate change.

    • Stonehenge and Statue of Liberty ‘in direct and immediate danger’ from climate change

      Some of the world’s most famous heritage sites – from the Statue of Liberty and Venice to the Galapagos Islands – are threatened by climate change , a report has warned.

    • Solar Surges: Renewable Energy Jobs Topped 8 Million in 2015

      On the heels of clean fuel milestones in Germany and Portugal , a new report finds that the renewable energy industry employed over 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015.

      According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual review, that figure marks a 5% increase from the previous year. China led the pack, accounting for 3.5 million jobs. Brazil and U.S. ranked second and third, respectively, for the highest number of renewable energy jobs.

    • Sanders, Warren Blast Republican Efforts to Derail #ExxonKnew Probe

      Republican efforts to stifle any federal inquiry involving climate change should be considered “Exhibit A among the reasons why the Department of Justice should take a full and honest look at possible fraud in the fossil fuel industry’s climate denial operation,” leading progressive senators said Thursday in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

      The letter from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) provides a counterpoint to a separate missive (pdf) issued Wednesday by five Republican senators including Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

      That letter called on Lynch to drop any federal investigations into whether oil companies like ExxonMobil committed fraud when they worked to downplay the science and impact of climate change. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has suggested it is considering such a probe.

    • Climate damage threatens heritage sites

      Scientists warn that some of the jewels in the crown of the world’s natural and man-made treasures face decay and destruction because of climate change.

    • UN World Heritage Sites Imperiled by Climate Change, New Report Warns

      From the city of Venice to the Statue of Liberty, dozens of natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries are under direct threat from climate change, warns a shocking new report from UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

    • Arizona’s Getting Hotter, But State Leaders Oppose Solutions

      On average, 2,000 Arizonans visit the emergency room because of heat-related illnesses every year. Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse because it’s only getting hotter. This April was just named the hottest on record, making it the 12th consecutive month to break a temperature record. Last year was named the hottest year on record, and at this pace 2016 is set to top it. This week, the Obama administration recognized Extreme Heat Week — something Arizonans have become well-acquainted with in recent years.

  • Finance

    • Yanis Varoufakis talks about Privatization, Human Rights & Capitalism with acTVism Munich

      In this interview with the former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), Yanis Varoufakis, a host of issues are discussed which include privatization, human rights, media, his experience with the EU and capitalism’s ability to reform.

    • The leaning tower of TISA

      The news out of Geneva on Thursday is that multiple countries participating in the Trade in Services Agreement aren’t happy with the European Union. At a meeting where the EU presented its latest market offer, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, Peru, Australia and New Zealand all complained about the level of market access the EU is offering, according to senior officials involved with the talks.

    • Twitter loses two more top execs, reportedly dissolves commerce division
    • Two Top Execs Leaving Twitter
    • America’s Worst Laid Plans

      The U.S. government seeks to impose neo-liberal economics on the world even though those “free-market” policies funnel global wealth to a tiny fraction at the top, cause widespread despair and spark political turmoil, Michael Brenner explains.

    • Protests Intensify, Spread Across France as Workers Refuse Submission

      Amid ongoing blockades and intensifying clashes with police, protests against President François Hollande’s controversial set of labor reforms deepened on Thursday as workers in France’s nuclear plants joined the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in a nationwide strike.

      Fueled by “a groundswell of public anger,” as the Associated Press put it, the strikes have already shut down France’s gas stations forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

      “After oil refinery shutdowns, ” Euronews reports, “Thursday’s strikes at nuclear sites have taken the stand-off one stage further. Power cuts are not expected but tension is growing as France prepares to host the Euro 2016 football tournament in two weeks time.”

    • In Nine Democratic Debates, Not a Single Question About Poverty

      Over 45 million Americans live in poverty—but you wouldn’t think potential leaders of the country are expected to know or care anything about this, listening to the questions asked by the elite journalists who moderated the Democratic debates this primary season.

      A FAIR analysis of all nine democratic debates over the past seven months shows that not one question was asked about poverty. By contrast, 30 questions were asked about ISIS or terrorism (almost half of them concentrated in the December 19 debate, which took place days after the San Bernardino shootings) and 11 questions were asked Russia. Ten questions were asked about socialism or communism, all of which were directed at Bernie Sanders.

      The candidates themselves have brought up poverty, either in their prepared remarks or in response to more abstract questions about the economy. Sanders brought up poverty in all but two debates, broaching the topic 12 times, or approximately 1.3 times per debate. Clinton brought up the issue five times in total, or a little more than once every other debate.

    • Wells Fargo Sponsorship of Black Lives Matter Panel Draws Scorn

      Wells Fargo’s sordid practice of steering minorities into exploitative mortgages burst into public view after the housing crash in 2008. But to a black business group the bank has partnered with — by donating nearly half a million dollars — it’s ancient history.

    • ‘On Like Donkey Kong’: How a Dubious Super PAC Boosted a Questionable Penny Stock

      A little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton’s imminent entry into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was setting off political and financial ripples around the country. One of the most unlikely was a spike in the stock price of an obscure Las Vegas company that once built tables for beer pong.

      The company, CrossClick Media, had been issuing press releases for months, saying it had won a contract to run call centers and other services for a super PAC called Voters for Hillary. Getting hired by the PAC was “a milestone” for CrossClick and would lead to growing revenue “predicated largely on Ms. Clinton becoming a Presidential candidate and the Company pursuing other clients for our services,” the firm’s chief executive had declared in December 2014.

      Excited posts about CrossClick’s bright future started filling Internet message boards popular with investors in so-called penny stocks, which, like CrossClick, trade for less than five dollars per share.

      “Soon the 1st lady announces her candidacy and it’s on like Donkey Kong,” read a comment posted March 28, 2015, on a site called InvestorsHub. “Hope you have some shares :)”

      Days after Clinton announced, a person with the same user name wrote, “We are in the midst of our biggest gain day yet. You’re close to changing your life, so hang tight! XCLK is the new hot riser!”

    • Even the IMF—the IMF!—Turns on Neoliberalism

      New paper by three IMF economists finds that policies of capital account liberalization and austerity fuel inequality, which in turn hurts growth—”the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting.”

    • Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested With Her Son-in-Law

      When Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law sought funding for his new hedge fund in 2011, he found financial backing from one of the biggest names on Wall Street: Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

      The fund, called Eaglevale Partners, was founded by Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky, and two of his partners. Blankfein not only personally invested in the fund, but allowed his association with it to be used in the fund’s marketing.

    • Emails Show TPP ‘Collusion’ Between Big Banks & Obama Administration

      A series of emails released Friday show what activists describe as “collusion” between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Wall Street executives to push for the passage the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      The emails (pdf), obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the group Rootstrikers, which organizes against money in politics, include a message to Froman from a managing director at Goldman Sachs urging him to push for “robust commitments” on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions—which allow private corporations to sue governments for perceived loss of profits—to be included in the divisive trade deal.

      “I wanted to underscore how important it is for the financial services industry to get robust commitments on ISDS in the agreement… denying our industry the same rights as enjoyed by every other sector would be terribly unfortunate,” the email states.

      Another mentions it would be “good for the U.S.” if lawmakers in U.S. Congress passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast track,” which would allow the president to send trade deals to the House and Senate for a yes-or-no vote, rather than allowing them to make amendments to the agreements.

    • Economic Update: Listen, Professor Krugman

      This episode discusses ride-share companies, the latest from the pope and evidence against Professor Paul Krugman’s rosy view of inequality. We also examine why markets shouldn’t undermine a co-op-based economy, and European leaders’ failed policies on Greece.

    • Sanders Has Always Wanted to Debate Trump—or Any Other Representative of the ‘Billionaire Class’

      Bernie Sanders relishes ripping on Donald Trump, describing the billionaire as “someone who must never become president of this country.”

      No surprise there.

      Sanders has run his entire 2016 presidential campaign in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics—proudly declaring that his run is paid for by small donors and “not the billionaires.” In fact, Sanders has run his entire political career in opposition to plutocracy, oligarchy, and billionaire-dominated politics. He has, as well, spent decades critiquing a media system that pays more attention to “lifestyles of the rich and famous” celebrity than the real-world issues facing working-class Americans. That’s made Trump, a billionaire byproduct of the media’s cult of celebrity, a preferred target for the senator, who rips the Republican’s rhetoric as “shameful” and complains that “every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remarks.”

    • After Six-Week Strike, Verizon Workers Claim Major Victory as Deal Reached

      After a nearly six-week strike, Verizon workers are celebrating a huge victory on Friday after a deal was reached in principle with the telecom giant that will bring gains for union members and end one of the nation’s largest work stoppages in recent history.

      The deal, announced Friday afternoon by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, reportedly includes a four-year contract between Verizon and its two biggest unions, CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary’s Gun Gambit

      In their view, and in the view of “liberal” corporate media, Bernie Sanders and the masses of people his campaign has mobilized are merely nuisances, not worth taking seriously. They livened up the primary season for a while, but now they are pointlessly standing in the way of the Queen’s coronation.

    • All Donald Trump’s Men

      Donald Trump claims to fight for the little guy against a rigged system, but the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has turned to political operatives who have scammed money for the rich and powerful, says Michael Winship.

    • Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination

      MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has revealed that the major television networks plan to call the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton during the day on June 7th — hours prior to the close of polls in California — on the grounds that Clinton has “clinched” the nomination as soon as she crosses the 2,383-delegate threshold via both pledged delegates (who are already committed to her) and super-delegates (who cannot, by Democratic Party rules, commit themselves to her or be tallied until July 25th).

      In other words, as recently indicated by Mark Murray, NBC’s Senior Editor for Politics, the networks will make the news on June 7th rather than report it — as, per the Democratic National Committee, the final and indeed only authority on the tabulation of super-delegates, Clinton cannot clinch the nomination on June 7th unless she wins 78.3 percent of the pledged delegates on that date.

      Which she won’t.

      No more than Sanders will get 70 percent of the pledged delegates on June 7th.

    • Bernie Sanders supporters sue to have California’s voter registration extended until election day

      A federal lawsuit alleging widespread confusion over California’s presidential primary rules asks that voter registration be extended past Monday’s deadline until the day of the state’s primary election on June 7.

      “Mistakes are being made,” said William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday.

    • Bernie Sanders Supporters Sue Over California’s Voter Registration Rules

      William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney, told the L.A. Times, “Mistakes are being made.” As RT notes, there are more than 4.1 million California voters who are registered without a party preference—and it has been shown that independent voters lean toward Sanders.

    • The Arrogant Ignorance of Campbell Brown: Education Journalism in Decline

      TV Networks such as NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo have broadcast various education segments on “Nightly News” and “Today” underwritten by Bill Gates and Eli Broad.

      The Education Writers Association – which boasts more than 3,00 members – receives money from Gates and Walton. The L.A. Times receives funds from Broad for its Education Matters Digital initiative.

      On-line publications also have been infiltrated. The Education Post took $12 million in start-up funds provided by Broad, Bloomberg and the Waltons. The site focuses on “K-12 academic standards, high-quality charter schools and how best to hold teachers and schools accountable for educating students,” according to the Washington Post.

      Even well-respected education blogs including Chalkbeat and Education Week are funded in part by the Waltons (in the latter case, specifically for “coverage of school choice and [so-called] parent-empowerment issues.”) Education Week even tweets out paid advertisements for Teach for America as if they were news stories!

      We’ve all seen “Waiting for Superman,” the infamous union bashing, charter loving propaganda film packaged as a documentary. Its popularity was helped with outreach and engagement funds by the Waltons and a host of other privatizers. It’s far from the only effort by market-driven billionaires to infiltrate popular culture with corporate education reform. They tried to sell the parent trigger law with “Won’t Back Down,” but no one was buying. Efforts continue in Marvel Studios television shows.

      A plethora of teachers, academics and other grassroots bloggers have taken to the Internet to correct the record. But they are often ignored or drowned out by the white noise of the same corporate education reform narratives being told again-and-again without any firm footing in reality. In fact, after blogger and former teacher Anthony Cody won first prize from the Education Writers Association in 2014 for his criticism of Gates, the organization banned bloggers from subsequent consideration.

    • Donald Trump: Caligula of the Lowest Common Denominator Empire?

      If this awful parody of democracy was not tragic for Americans, it would be rather comical. In early December 2010 I wrote a commentary entitled “The US Empire is Collapsing, and Americans Will Be the Last to Know.” In 2016, in the extremely unlikely case Trump gets (s)elected, could he be the Caligula of the new Rome? Even though the process has gained momentum, Americans still do not know that their empire is doomed. They do not know that the United States of America is not a democracy with the Democrats on one side and the Republicans on the other side, but instead a global empire run by oligarchs and plutocrats; most do not know that Bill and Hillary Clinton are good friends with Donald Trump; they do not know that almost all of politicians elected for office are not public servants, but instead are working of the behalf of worldwide corporate interests; Americans do not know that they have been conned for almost four decades into the notion that their vote matters; they do not know that the so called “leader of the free world” is not much more than an anchor man with a law degree reading a teleprompter; they do not know that he doesn’t lead anything, but he is instead the global corporate spokesperson of their enslavement; they refuse to know that they not only live but actively export a police state which still prints on its currency, In God We Trust; they do not know that the corporate empire of chaos, whomever its figurehead is, is joyfully leading us all to oblivion.

    • Advice for Divided Democrats

      It’s true that Bernie’s chances are slim, but it’s inaccurate to say he has no chance. If you consider only pledged delegates, who have been selected in caucuses and primaries, he’s not all that far behind Hillary Clinton. And the upcoming primary in California – the nation’s most populous state – could possibly alter Sanders’s and Clinton’s relative tallies.

    • Bernie and Utopia

      Bernie’s got flaws, no doubt. For instance, he shouldn’t talk about breaking up the banks; he should talk about nationalizing them. And he should talk about nationalizing (or, better yet, internationalizing) more than just that – not to mention debt amnesty. In spite of these shortcomings, however, he’s the only presidential candidate who could, however slightly, help the U.S.A. to clean up its act. Sure, Sanders most likely won’t be able to get much accomplished. At least, though, he’d prevent Clinton or Trump from accomplishing their maniacal plans. And just doing that would help the U.S.A. to clean up its act – even though what we really need is for the U.S.A. to change its act altogether.

    • Sanders Closes in on Clinton Ahead of California Primary

      The timing couldn’t be worse for Clinton, who is losing ground in hypothetical match-ups against the presumed Republican nominee. A Real Clear Politics general election poll from May 24 shows Clinton eking out a win against Trump 43.2 to 42.8. The same poll has Sanders beating Trump by over 10 points.

    • As Sanders Campaigns in California to Change the Democratic Party, How Far Can He Push It?

      Can Bernie Sanders change the Democratic Party from the inside out? Several campaign developments this week have posed that question. The Sanders campaign’s latest TV ad before California’s June 7 primary features Sanders asking, “What choice do Californians have in this election?” His reply, “The biggest one of all. You have the power to choose a new direction for the Democratic Party.”

    • Like Clinton, Trump Chickens Out of Debate with Sanders

      Looks like Donald Trump took a page from Hillary Clinton’s book and chickened out.

      The presumptive GOP presidential nominee said Friday afternoon that he would not debate Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, despite having said one day prior that he’d “love to debate Bernie.”

      Sanders’ rival for the Democratic nomination said earlier this week that she would not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s primary next month, despite having agreed to do so previously.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New York City has been shining surveillance lights on its black population for the last 300 years

      There are more than 250,000 streetlights in New York City, and while the recent change to LED bulbs have made them a nuisance for some residents, they don’t make the people whose windows they illuminate feel watched. But some residents of the city’s public housing have recently had to deal with a harsher light shining on them.

    • A Big Win for Women Who Seek Care at Catholic Hospitals in Illinois

      Illinois passes a bill to protect women at religious hospitals that routinely deny care.

    • Heads Up Internet: Time to Kill Another Dangerous CFAA Bill

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal “anti-hacking” statute, is long overdue for reform. The 1986 law—which was prompted in part by fear generated by the 1983 techno­thriller WarGames—is vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today. Unfortunately, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Lindsey Graham are on a mission to make things worse. They’ve proposed (for the second time) legislation that fails to address any of the CFAA’s problems while simply creating more confusion. And they may try to sneak their proposal through as an amendment to the Email Privacy Act—the very same sneaky tactic they tried last year.

      Their latest proposal is ostensibly directed at stopping botnets. It’s even named it the “Botnet Prevention Act of 2016.” But the bill includes various provisions that go far beyond protecting against attacks by zombie computers:

      First, the bill would expand the CFAA’s existing prohibition against selling passwords to trafficking in any “means of access.” The broadening is unnecessary and misguided, as other statutes—like the U.S. code section concerned fraud in connection with access devices—already cover what the authors seem to be targeting. The bill also doesn’t define “means of access,” another sign of its poor drafting. With no guidance, it’s unclear how broadly prosecutors or courts will apply this provision. The provision could make criminals of paid researchers who test access in order to identify, disclose, and fix vulnerabilities.

    • Official RNC Protest Rules Designed to Stifle Demonstrators, Groups Say

      The city of Cleveland’s rules for the Republican National Convention (RNC), released Wednesday, are “unacceptable and far too restrictive,” according to advocacy groups and protest organizers.

      The convention, which runs July 18-21, is expected to attract scores of protesters. For example, a coalition of social justice groups is organizing a large End Poverty Now march for July 18, and a political action group founded by American Muslim doctors and young professionals in the Midwest, Stand Together Against Trump (STAT), is planning for a 10,000-person march and rally in downtown Cleveland on July 21—the day Donald Trump is expected to formally accept the party’s nomination after surpassing the necessary delegates on Thursday.

      According to the Washington Post, “there are at least 10 applications on file for major parades, protests, and news conferences beginning the week before the convention.”

      Politico reports: “The planners of those events insist they’re taking precautions to encourage nonviolence, but some fear that the strong feelings Trump engenders among supporters and detractors alike will create a combustible atmosphere.”

    • California Supreme Court Overturns Murder Conviction Based on Flawed Bite-Mark Evidence

      In a unanimous ruling released Thursday, the California Supreme Court overturned the 1997 conviction of Bill Richards for the murder of his wife, Pamela, finding that false forensic testimony had impacted the outcome of his trial. “Needless to say, we are thrilled,” said Richards’s attorney Jan Stiglitz, a founder of the California Innocence Project, which has represented Richards for the last 15 years. “It’s been a long time coming.”

      Richards’s controversial conviction for Pamela’s grisly 1993 murder has long been considered a clear case of wrongful conviction that was based on the discredited science of bite-mark analysis. Indeed, it took the state four attempts to convict Richards — two full trials ended in a hung jury and a third ended in a mistrial during jury selection — and prosecutors were successful only after putting on the stand a legendary forensic dentist who testified that Richards’s highly unique lower dentition was a match for a bite mark found on Pamela’s hand. The dentist, Norman “Skip” Sperber, told the jury that based on his 40-plus years in the field, he could say that out of 100 people, only “one or two or less” would have the same “unique feature” in their lower teeth.

    • Robert Scheer and Sandy Tolan Confront the Grimness of Life in the West Bank

      In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” Truthdig editor in chief Robert Scheer speaks to Sandy Tolan, a University of Southern California professor of journalism and author of the book “Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land,” about music’s role in the life of children in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the lack of media coverage of the grim daily reality there.

    • Detroit police accused of needlessly killing dogs while searching house

      They came to serve a warrant on a suspected drug house, but what a lawsuit filed in federal court claims is Detroit police officers systematically shot and killed three family pets.

      When police came to serve the warrant at a home on Sussex Street on Detroit’s west side, the owner claims she told them there were dogs in the house and she would put them away.

    • Consumers believe they have more rights than they really do in digital media

      ownershipTo buy or to license? That is the question that’s stumped a lot of e-book and other digital media consumers over the years, recently culminating in an author’s lawsuit against Simon & Schuster over sales versus licensing revenue. But just how badly has it stumped consumers? A pair of law school researchers undertook to find out, and the 60-page report on their study is fascinating reading.

    • Rare Media Interest in Native American Views–on Behalf of Indian Mascots

      It’s naturally worth listening to a range of Native American people, but that happens so rarely in media that an instance like this merits some scrutiny. For some, the word to describe these results would not be the one the Post chose—”unambiguous.”

      Jaqueline Keeler noted in The Nation (5/25/16) that more than half of respondents were over 50, when Native Americans have a median age of 26—or some 10 years younger than the general US population. The Post says they weighted the results numerically, but those were still the comments reflected in the report. No respondents were under 18, and that might be justified methodologically—you need to follow certain protocols to interview minors—but it does leave a hole in the data’s meaning, given that it leaves out the Native American students attending the 2,000 high schools in the US that use Native Americans as mascots, and that the White House has reported face discrimination connected to it.

    • ‘Has Our Country Gone Just Mad?’

      Michael Ratner, who passed away last week at the age of 72, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, investigated, defended and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses around the world. He didn’t inspire hundreds of lawyers because he won cases, but because he saw law as an instrument of justice.

      Ratner brought the first challenge under the War Powers Resolution Act to the use of US troops in El Salvador, he prosecuted US officials on behalf of Nicaraguans murdered by the Contras, and he made CCR the first human rights organization to stand up for the rights of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. His work will live on.

      Here’s Michael Ratner interviewed by CounterSpin’s Steve Rendall in November 2004 on the occasion of Alberto Gonzales’ nomination to be US Attorney General.

    • Virginia Cabbie Faces 48 Years in Prison After Driving Aspiring Terrorist To Airport

      A federal grand jury charged a 26-year old Virginia taxi driver with helping provide support for terrorists after he transported one of his associates, a would-be member of Islamic State, 90 minutes to the airport.

      The cabbie, Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, was also charged with making false statements to federal agents. He faces up to 48 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines — more than twice the maximum of 20 years faced by the budding terrorist he transported.

    • David Cameron Says He Would Welcome Trump To UK

      But Senate Republicans aren’t the only people in the world walking back their criticisms of the man now confirmed as the Republican Presidential candidate. Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who previously called Trump “stupid”, said he would welcome Trump should he visit the UK during the run up to the presidential elections. While that is a far cry from an endorsement, it is a shift in position after Cameron responded to Trump’s proposed Muslim-ban by saying that Trump would “unite us all against him.”

    • ‘What Happens to These Hundreds of Thousands of People That Are Being Deported?’

      Disturbing words from a young woman explaining to Al Jazeera why she made the perilous trip from El Salvador to the US. After being kidnapped and assaulted at age 16 by armed men, she became one of tens of thousands of children coming into the US without a guardian from the three Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—known as the Northern Triangle. Most are fleeing a level of violence that’s hard to fathom, but the Obama administration is stepping up raids and deportations, which officials tell the New York Times are aimed mainly at Central American mothers and children.

    • EU Turns to Sudan’s Wanted War Criminal to Stop Flow of Migrants from Africa

      Explosive classified documents obtained by German reporters show that the EU is working out a plan to fund the construction of detention centers and provide refugee processing equipment to various African countries, including Sudan, in an effort to stem the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe.

    • “Civil Disobedience is Survival”: Ireri Carrasco Sues Obama Admin for Denying Her DACA over Protests

      In Chicago, a migrant justice activist is suing the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to renew her DACA protection because of her activism. Twenty-nine-year-old Ireri Unzueta Carrasco received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013. DACA is the Obama administration’s program shielding some undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children from deportation if they meet certain conditions. Even though Unzueta Carrasco says she met those conditions, the Department of Homeland Security denied her DACA renewal because of her participation in acts of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to halt its record deportations. We’re joined by Ireri Unzueta Carrasco.

    • Prevent ISPs From Following Your Ev

      Blasting a military that continues to act with impunity and a willfully blind judiciary that continues to serve as “the Occupation’s fig leaf,” Israel’s foremost human rights organization B’Tselem has declared that “there is no longer any point” in seeking justice for Palestinians through complaints to military courts they long hoped would serve as “a path to accountability.” The decision to stop cooperating with an intransigent military judicial system is the latest sign – along with the appointment of uber-hawk defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and the growing power of zealous settlers – that Israel is still moving inexorably toward its most right-wing incarnation ever.

    • New York City Homeless Take Action Against Police Efforts To Break Up Their Communities

      Last summer, the New York Police Department (NYPD) began a concerted effort to target a growing community of homeless people living on the streets of East Harlem, issuing “move along” orders and threatening arrest, tickets, or the destruction of their property if they didn’t comply. Now the homeless and advocates are fighting back against the practice.

    • In Memory of Michael Mariotte—Activist, Journalist, Musician

      Long-time anti-nuclear activist, journalist and punk rock drummer Michael Mariotte died May 16 at the age of 63 in his home in Kensington, Md., after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Mariotte was executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) in Takoma Park, Md., for 27 years. Under Mariotte’s leadership NIRS became a key information resource for anti-nuclear activists around the world.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Millions Annoyed As Frontier Bungles Acquisition of Verizon Customers Across Three States

      In February of last year, Frontier Communications announced it would be buying Verizon’s unwanted fiber (FiOS), DSL, and phone customers in Florida, Texas, and California for $10.5 billion. The deal was yet another chapter in Verizon’s effort to give up on fixed-line networks it no longer wanted to upgrade, as it focused on more profitable (read: usage capped) wireless service. The deal was, as Frontier’s CEO stated at the time, a “natural evolution for our company and leverages our proven skills and established track record from previous integrations.”

    • Secret New Internet Rules in the Trade in Services Agreement

      This week new materials from the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) were released by Wikileaks, revealing that negotiators from around the world have been continuing to craft new rules that will affect all Internet users, without public scrutiny or consultation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Doesn’t Mean Unlimited Control

        True competition could finally come to the market for TV set-top boxes thanks to a new set of proposed rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” rule, you’ll be able to use a device from any manufacturer to connect to your cable or satellite TV service.

        Disappointingly—but not surprisingly—the cable industry has not responded well. Cable and satellite providers’ comments on the proposed rule have followed a predictable pattern: cable operators and their TV studio subsidiaries think that copyright law affords them complete control over the devices that we use to consume their content.

      • Star Trek Fan Film Axanar Lawyers Tell Court About JJ Abrams Claims Of Paramount Dropping Suit, Express Confusion

        Over the weekend, the internet blew up over the story that Paramount and CBS were going to drop their silly lawsuit over a professional looking Star Trek fan film. The news was “broken” by the producer of the next official Star Trek film, JJ Abrams, sitting alongside the director of that film, Justin Lin, at a Star Trek fan event. Lin had previously expressed support for the fan film on Twitter, and Abrams claimed that Lin urged Paramount to settle, and that “within a few weeks” there would be an announcement that the case had been settled.

        Of course, between now and “within a few weeks,” the case is still going on… and the folks behind the fan film, called Axanar, had to file their reply to the amended complaint. And they have. And, as per usual with these things, it goes through and rebuts various claims and then tosses in a bunch of counterclaims. Normally we’d go through and analyze the more interesting/important claims, but given that there’s still a pretty good chance the whole case is going away shortly, we’ll skip all that and jump to the part where Axanar’s lawyers point to the JJ Abrams/Justin Lin statements and basically throw their hands in the air and say “we don’t know what to do about this.”

      • The life and death of the PRINCE Bill

        The recent passing of Prince left many fans in mourning and potential heirs clambering for a piece of his estate. The singer, who died intestate, left behind a wealth of copyright protected works. His right to publicity, however, did not survive him, as the common law right in Minnesota, where Prince was domiciled, only applies to the living.

        The Minnesota State Legislature hastily attempted to pass a bill to change this, by creating a post-mortem right of publicity. On May 9, the Bill, entitled Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act, was put forward, two weeks before the end of the Legislature’s session on May 23. The bill was subsequently pulled amid concerns that it was not properly thought out and could have unintended consequences, but this Kat commends the carefully created name.

      • Critics Pounce on Proposed PRINCE Act in Minnesota

        In the wake of the death of Prince, lawmakers in Minnesota have introduced legislation named after the pop star that establishes a right of publicity for celebrities in the state and their heirs.

        Keith Harris, a writer and attorney in Minneapolis, has an article in MinnPost looking at the reaction to the bill. Minnesota wouldn’t be the first state to codify rights of publicity, but some IP experts are critical of the broadly worded proposal.

05.27.16

Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

Posted in News Roundup at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is in our DNA

    The same thing that compels us to make Linux (and many other projects) free and open source is present in many of humanity’s greatest achievements

  • Why Open-Source Pros Are in Great Demand

    The majority of hiring managers predict that the demand for open-source IT professionals will rise more than other recruitment-based areas of interest over the next six months, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The resulting report, “Moving Toward Professionalization: Rising Need for Open-Source Skills in 2016,” indicates that these managers struggle to fill open-source positions, especially when trying to find candidates with needed cloud, networking and/or security experience. Meanwhile, when considering an offer, open-source professionals said they’re most interested in working on appealing projects with cutting-edge technology challenges. Money and perks are of secondary interest, even though, given the hot market, many open-source specialists are able to negotiate a great compensation package. According to the report, “In the last decade, open-source development has experienced a massive shift: Once a mostly community and volunteer-based concern, the model has since become a mainstay of the IT industry. Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and speed at adapting to a changing market have made open source vital to modern companies, which are now investing zealously in open source and open-source talent. More and better code is the way forward, and the skilled professionals who can make it happen are highly in demand.” More than 400 hiring managers and 4,500 open-source professionals took part in the research.

  • Open Source Realm Mobile Database Hits Version 1.0

    Citing advantages over the SQLite and Core Data databases commonly used in iOS and Android apps, Realm today launched version 1.0 of its namesake “mobile-first database.”

  • Realm has hit the version 1.0 milestone, and now reaches over 1 billion users

    As mobile databases go, Realm was already a fan favorite. Now we get an idea of just how popular it really is, as the company notes it now reaches one billion iOS and Android users via 100,000 active developers.

  • Rackspace Adopts OX’s Dovecot Pro Open Source IMAP Email Platform

    Dovecot, the open source email platform from Open-Xchange, received a significant endorsement this week from Rackspace, which announced that it will use the company’s Dovecot Pro product for email hosting.

  • An Apparent Exodus Continues At OwnCloud

    This week we’ve now seen the announcements by Jos Poortvliet, Lukas Reschke, Björn Schießle, and Arthur Schiwon are among those leaving ownCloud Inc. Each of their blog posts confirm they are leaving but don’t shed much light on the underlying situation at the company.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Google Inbox Notifications

        I made a Firefox addon that brings that functionality to Google Inbox. It gives you a notification when new mail arrives and updates the pages title with the unread mail count. You can get it here!

  • Networking

    • Accelerating and Maintaining NFV Adoption: Prodip Sen, HP and OPNFV
    • AT&T: OPNFV Can Bring Open Source Sanity

      The Big Communications Event — It will be up to one open source group, the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), to provide a “fair playing field” to sort the multiple industry open source initiatives around orchestration, an AT&T executive said here Wednesday.

    • Telecom Companies Collaborate Through OPNFV to Address Unique Business Challenges

      Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is an emerging alternative to using dedicated hardware appliances, particularly for service providers, where quick, flexible responses to traffic pattern shifts and user demand changes are essential. It implements network tasks like access security, load balancing, and packet filtering as software modules suitable for virtualized cloud environments.

    • Securing the Cloud With SDN

      It’s becoming clear that rising network security threats will drive increasing integration between network virtualization (NV) and security, as we’ve long predicted here. This means that software-defined networking (SDN) will become a key technology for securing the cloud.

    • Telstra Shares PEN Plans

      Just one year after Telstra completed its acquisition of Pacnet, the Australian-based service provider is taking big steps to expand its global footprint using its PEN platform built on SDN.

    • Cisco Looks to Open Source for ‘Badder Ass’ Internet

      Big Communications Event — Cisco needs open source to build a “badder ass” Internet — a network with sufficient performance, reliability and security for major business applications, a company executive said.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group delivers first code package

      The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) announced that its new ETSI Open Source MANO group has delivered its Release 0 code package, a month ahead of schedule. The institute said OSM Release 0 integrates the seed code supplied by Telefonica, RIFT.io, Canonical and others into a documented package of running code. Release 0, which is available now for download from the OSM project website, meets the commitment made at MWC 2016 to deliver working code that enables end-to-end service instantiation and represents a number of significant steps forward since the MWC demo.

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group releases initial code package
  • Education

    • American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong

      To truly impact an children’s cognitive development, and prepare them for future computing jobs that may not even exist yet, we must move beyond pop computing. I strongly believe that learning computing should become mandatory in all schools, and should be viewed in the same context as reading and writing. Students must be challenged and encouraged to think differently in each grade level, subject matter, and read/write various computing projects every day in their academic life. With this mindset and approach we’ll help this generation of students fill those one million jobs, all of which require so much more than dragging and clicking.

  • BSD

    • Faces of FreeBSD 2016: Michael Lucas

      Back by popular demand, we’re again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. Regardless, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

    • pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD Firewall Update Patches Web GUI Security Issue, Seven Bugs

      Released a week ago as the first maintenance build in the 2.3 stable series, pfSense 2.3.1 received its first update, bringing a patch for a major security issue in the Web GUI, as well as seven other bug fixes.

      pfSense 2.3.1 was a major point release of the FreeBSD-based network firewall distribution that introduced over 100 changes, but pfSense 2.3 brought a new pkg system that lets the project’s maintainers update only individual parts of the system.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Upcoming governance workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement

      On the 15th June, 2016, DG Connect and DG Growth wil be co-hosting an interactive workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement. This catalogue of standards is being developed to assist public procurers implement interoperable ICT solutions across Member States, as well as reducing incidence of vender lock-in, and ultimately to assist in the continued development of the Digital Single Market.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API

      Over the last 19 years, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an Open Source license, and a list of licenses which are known to be compatible with the OSD.

      This is taken to its logic next step this year, with the OSI providing a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses at api.opensource.org. This will allow third parties to become license-aware, and give organizations the ability to clearly determine if a license is, in fact, an Open Source license, from the authoritative source regarding Open Source licenses, the OSI.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Rust 1.9

      The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.9. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.9 Released

      Rust 1.9 brings controlled unwinding support, support for deprecation warnings, new targets (MIPS Linux Musl C library and i586 Windows MSVC), compile-time improvements, more library stabilization work, and new Cargo features.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How Paper Shaped Civilization

      Over centuries, writing moved across more than a dozen materials. Clay tablets dominated for three thousand years—“a considerably longer period than the reign of paper up until now,” Kurlansky writes—because they had the advantage of being inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. But the tablets’ lack of portability was a problem. People turned to papyrus, the reedy plant found in marshy areas, but that disintegrated easily, and much of the world’s supply was too spindly for making high-quality writing sheets. Wax was one alternative, but it was best for disposable writing, so parchment was next in line, made by scraping and processing animal skins. As many as two hundred animals were needed to make a single book.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Most Drugs Aren’t Tested on Pregnant Women. This Anti-nausea Cure Shows Why That’s a Problem

      For years, Zofran was the most popular morning-sickness medication in the U.S. Now it’s being accused of causing birth defects. The larger issue is a drug-safety system that excludes women from clinical trials, potentially putting them and their babies at risk.

    • Scientists Just Discovered Exactly What Air Pollution Does To Your Arteries

      Air pollution has been linked to heart disease for years, prompting concern as well as some skepticism, as the physiological steps showing a cause-and-effect have gone less understood. But now, a multi-year study has for the first time documented that air pollution thickens blood and hardens arteries, a condition that causes cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.

      “What’s new here is the linkage between air pollution and actual evidence of progression of atherosclerosis, the underlying disease process that leads to most [heart] attacks and strokes,” Joel Kaufman, lead author and University of Washington professor, told ThinkProgress. “The study provides important new information on how pollution affects the main biological process that leads to heart disease.”

    • Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

      The two multinationals that teamed up during the Vietnam War to poison millions of people with its Agent Orange herbicide—St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto and Germany’s Bayer AG—are looking to become one.

      Bayer has announced a bid to buy Monsanto in a deal that would expand Bayer’s GMO and pesticide holdings and add drugs to Monsanto’s global portfolio. Monsanto has rejected the latest bid, but the two are still in talks.

      If Monsanto, perhaps the most hated GMO company in the world, joins hands with Bayer, one of the most hated Big Pharma corporations on Earth (whose evil deeds date back to World War I and the Nazi era), the newly formed seed-pesticide-drug behemoth would have combined annual sales of $67 billion.

    • Who Will Replace Our Century-Old Water Pipes?

      The water that comes out of your tap is clean, right?

      It should be. But in the United States, we can’t afford to keep taking for granted that safe, clean water flows from our taps.

      The crisis in Flint, Michigan is the leading edge of a desperate situation for our tap water in communities across the country as our water infrastructure crumbles. That’s why Food & Water Watch has worked with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to introduce the WATER Act, one big step to ensure our water’s safety for generations to come.

    • Nebraska Drug Warriors Lose Bust Thanks To Jurisdictional Limits On Criminal Conspiracy Charges

      The legalization of marijuana in a few states has led to some interesting law enforcement problems. To date, most of the “solution” appears to be camping out on the borders and seizing drugs from travelers headed out of the state. The lack of legalization on a federal level inflates drug bust stats but doesn’t do much for visitors to pot-friendly states whose purchases are completely legal, but their possession — once crossing the border into a neighboring state — suddenly isn’t.

      The legality of the transaction at the point of purchase also makes for some rather unusual court decisions, like the one highlighted by Noel Erinjeri of Fault Lines. Two Minnesota natives were traveling to Colorado to purchase some weed when they were stopped by Lancaster County (NE) Sheriff’s deputies, resulting in their arrest and seizure of the cash they were carrying.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Paul Vixie on IPv6 NAT, IPv6 security and Internet of Things

      Internet pioneer Paul Vixie spoke with SearchSecurity about IPv6 NAT, IPv6 and the Internet of Things, and the long, thankless path to deploying IPv6.

    • PHP 7.0.7 Released Fixing 28 Bugs

      As is the case with a .xy update, this is mostly a bug fix update, with at least 28 different issues being fixed in an effort to make PHP 7.x more stable. Though the PHP project hasn’t identified any specific security vulnerabilities that are fixed in the update, I see at least one with bug #72162.

    • Skimmers Found at Walmart: A Closer Look

      Recent local news stories about credit card skimmers found in self-checkout lanes at some Walmart locations reminds me of a criminal sales pitch I saw recently for overlay skimmers made specifically for the very same card terminals.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s nuclear deep: a new transparency

      For its part, the UK’s ministry of defence may claim to be unconcerned by the prospect of the Trident system being no longer able to remain hidden in the depths. But the global trend is very much towards the oceans’ increased transparency. That process is already well underway. How much further will it go over the twenty-year timespan for developing and deploying a new class of missile submarines?

    • Greenpeace Calls Out Obama’s Double Standards for a Nuclear-Free World at Hiroshima Visit
    • Obama’s Historic Hiroshima Visit Underscores Nuclear Hypocrisy

      President Barack Obama on Friday will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit to Hiroshima, Japan—a visit, according to anti-nuclear campaigners, that “rings hollow without far bolder efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.”

      During his visit, Obama will reportedly offer no apology for the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on the Japanese city 71 years ago, which killed 140,000 people, though lingering effects, both physical and psychological, remain today.

      At the start of his presidency, in 2009, Obama gave a speech in Prague during which he called for world without nuclear weapons and said, “the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.”

    • My Dreams Seek Revenge: Hiroshima

      Unlike President Obama, who today is the first sitting president to ever visit the site of the first atomic bombing, I’ve visited Hiroshima many times while living in Japan.

      The thing that always struck me about Hiroshima was simply being there. The train pulled into the station under an announcement that you had arrived in Hiroshima. It was another stop on the bullet train’s long run from Osaka to Fukuoka, so they called out the name as if it was just another stop. I’d get off the train, step out into the sunlight — that sunlight — and I was in Hiroshima. I had the same feeling only once before, taking a bus out of Munich and having the driver announce the next stop as Dachau. Somehow such names feel wrong being said so prosaically.

    • Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism

      The issues of anti-Semitism and support for Israel reared their serpentine heads once again when major candidates either attended, or refused to attend, the yearly conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016. AIPAC is seen by many as the single most important molder of public opinion regarding Israel in the US. Ben Norton wrote in Salon that Hillary Clinton “sounded indistinguishable from that of a neocon,” when she spoke before the AIPAC conference about Israel and the greater Middle East. Bernie Sanders did not speak at that conference, and has been the only major candidate with a critical stand on the issues surrounding the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    • The Coming Drone Blowback

      The targeted assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour last weekend wasn’t just another drone strike.

      First of all, it was conducted by the U.S. military, not the CIA, which has orchestrated nearly all drone strikes in Pakistan.

      Second, it didn’t take place in Afghanistan or in the so-called lawless tribal region of Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA. The guided missile turned a white Toyota and its two passengers into a fireball on a well-traveled highway in Balochistan, in southwest Pakistan.

      Prior to this particular drone strike, Pakistan allowed the United States to patrol the skies over the northwest region of FATA, a Taliban stronghold. But President Obama decided to cross this “red line” to take out Mansour (and a taxi driver, Muhammad Azam, who had the misfortune to be with the wrong passenger at the wrong time).

    • A 10-Minute Debate on War

      And this is the state of American democracy during an election year: a 10-minute debate in Congress about the future of war and a reckless cowboy’s logical conclusion that since we’ve made a whole lot of nuclear weapons — we have over 7,000 in the stockpile right now — a president ought to have the right to use one or two if he’s really annoyed with another country’s behavior. No doubt this is how you make America great again.

      In other words, the United States is under the almost total control, politically and emotionally, of a confluence of economic and military interests that go by various names: the military-industrial complex, the Deep State. And the defense budget, of course, quietly passes in Congress, releasing a new round of unquestioned funding — more than $600 billion — for the Department of Defense to use as it sees fit. Funding is scarce for everything from schools to lead-free water pipes to addressing the Zika virus. But nukes and weapons development and the war on terror continue unchallenged.

      Lee asks: “Since 1991, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars, dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs and lost thousands of brave servicemen and women in Iraq. Do you feel any safer? Are we any safer?”

    • The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?

      What is the Syrian death toll now? 400,000? Less? More? While the aphorism “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic”, has been attributed to many, it is likely none foresaw the inverse utility of this concept for shaping narratives in an age of humanitarian intervention. Statistics are now weapons in themselves. Raw numbers are ambiguous; as journalist Sharmine Narwani writes, “It doesn’t tell us who is killing and who is dying. And that information matters – the global political response to a genuine civil conflict would be different than to a genocide committed by a ruthless authority.”

      When the United States’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released its eighth summary of the Syrian death toll in mid-2015 it painted this confused picture: 230,000 total deaths, between 150,000 and 160,000 ‘opposition deaths’ (civilian and military), a further 98,000 ‘other’ civilian deaths, and a very precise 18,476 ‘regime’ deaths – an actual minimum total of 266,476.

    • Some Light in Iraq’s Dark Tunnel

      The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 blasted apart the country’s political structure and left behind widespread chaos, but Iraqis may be slowly digging out of the wreckage, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • The New York Times’s (and Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on Israel

      In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey Governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.

    • USA Still Uses Floppy Disks To Control Its Nuclear Missiles And Bombers

      According to a report of the US Government Accounting Office, many important government institutions are still using more than 50-year-old systems to perform important tasks. While the U.S. Defense Department uses 8-inch floppy disks to handle the function of its nuclear force operations, the Treasury Department calculates tax returns on a 56-year-old IBM mainframe computer.

    • A European army is exactly what the EU and UK needs

      Germany has been among the most vocal opponents of Brexit. So it was perhaps surprising that it was from here that a mini-missile was launched into the referendum campaign, with leaked details of a defence White Paper pushing the creation of a European Army.

      For the UK’s flailing Brexiteers, this was just what was needed. Veterans for Britain duly popped up to warn of the threats to UK sovereignty and to Nato, the alliance that had kept the country safe through the Cold War and beyond.

    • James Bovard on the Cost of the War on Terror
    • Natural borders, beware a dangerous idea

      Whatever borders follow the ongoing violence and war, they must under no circumstances be ‘natural’.

    • Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

      From ministerial offices to barricades on the streets, Europe is in open revolt against anti-Russian sanctions which have cost workers and businesses millions of jobs and earnings. Granted, the contentious issues are wider than anti-Russian sanctions. However, the latter are entwined with growing popular discontent across the EU.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • State Dept. IT staff told to keep quiet about Clinton’s server

      Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server ran afoul of the government’s IT security and record retention requirements, according to a report by the department’s inspector general released today.

      This use of a private email server did not go unnoticed within the Department of State’s IT department. Two IT staff members who raised concerns about Clinton’s use of a private server were told not speak of it.

      Clinton was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 and during that period she used a private email server in her New York home.

    • Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules

      The State Department’s Inspector General issued a blunt report criticizing Hillary Clinton’s imperious refusal to follow email rules as Secretary of State, adding to Clinton’s credibility problem, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

      [...]

      It turns out that she deliberately chose to use a hacker-friendly, unprotected email server, and not so much for convenience – unless you define “convenience” as the ability to operate in total secrecy with no possibility of being held accountable for your policies or behavior. In one email to an aide, Clinton explained, “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

    • ‘Smart Grid’ Company Demands MuckRock Turn Over Info On Anyone Who Might Have Seen Public Records Docs Involving It

      The replacement of regular meters with potentially-invasive “smart meters” is due to begin in 2017, despite concerns about health and privacy. As the EFF points out, the power company’s ability to record pinpoint data on customers’ power use may seem innocuous, but it’s not nearly as benign if that information is shared, either purposefully or inadvertently.

      [...]

      Multiple documents were provided to Mocek by Seattle City Light, including documents related to the company awarded the smart meter contract: Landis+Gyr. Landis+Gyr isn’t happy the city of Seattle has made these documents public, so it’s logically responded by suing MuckRock. Yes, it’s also suing the city and the utility, but for some reason has decided MuckRock (and Phil Mocek) should be included in the litigation, despite them only being the recipients of documents Landis+Gyr wants to keep out of the public’s hands.

      It’s seeking to have future planned responses from the city involving its “trade secrets” blocked. (Seattle plans to release another batch of documents to Mocek on May 26.) But it’s also making requests pertaining to MuckRock that are both chilling and completely ridiculous. Not only does Landis+Gyr want the documents taken down, but it also wants info on every MuckRock reader who may have viewed them.

    • New WikiLeaks Trove Further Exposes TISA’s Neoliberal Agenda

      Docs reveal trade deal negotiations have gone ‘very far from legitimate trade concerns into the territory of a sweeping deregulatory political agenda’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Deadly effect of farming’s dirty needs

      Farming is a dirty business – so dirty now that, according to new research, air pollution from agriculture in the form of fine particles of lung-choking dust outweighs all other human sources of that kind of pollution.

      These particles are calculated to cause around 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide − and most of this lung-penetrating murk is from fertilisers. Back in 1950, the world produced 20 million tons of artificial fertilisers, but farmers now spread on their fields every year around 190 million tons.

      Ammonia from the nitrogen-based compounds gathers in the air, and combines with the sulphates and oxides of nitrogen from the combustion of fossil fuels and wood smoke to make tiny aerosols, each around one-thirtieth of the thickness of a human hair.

    • Hundreds of Millions to Be Displaced by Climate Change, French Minister Warns

      Calamitous global conflict as a result of climate change will produce hundreds of millions of refugees by 2100, said France’s environmental minister Ségolène Royal to representatives from 170 countries at the UN environment assembly in Nairobi on Thursday.

      [...]

      “The difficulty of having access to food resources leads to massive migration, south-south migration,” she said, referring to migration between developing countries.

      “The African continent is particularly hit by this south-south migration,” Royal continued. “If nothing is done to combat the negative impact of climate change, we will have hundreds of millions of climate change migrants by the end of the century.”

    • The Desperate Plight of Petro-States

      Some petro-states like Venezuela and Iraq already appear to be edging up to the brink of collapse. Others like Russia and Saudi Arabia will be forced to reorient their economies if they hope to avoid such future outcomes. Whatever their degree of risk, all of them are already experiencing economic hardship, leaving their leaders under growing pressure to somehow alter course in the bleakest of circumstances — or face the consequences.

    • Congressman to Red Cross: ‘How Do You Get Lost Going to a Disaster Area?’

      Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the congressional committee that oversees the Red Cross, sent a three-page letter to the charity’s CEO on Monday demanding that she explain why the Red Cross struggled to respond to record flooding in Mississippi this spring.

    • Utah Congressman Wants To Block Proposed National Monument In Maine

      Despite Bishop’s criticism of a potential Maine Woods national monument, polling shows that two-thirds of Maine residents support creating a unit of the national park system in the Katahdin region. More than 200 Maine businesses have signed a letter stating their support for a park.

    • In ‘Epic Fight for Justice,’ Activists Descend on Chevron Meeting

      Chevron CEO John Watson became “visibly flustered” at his company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, after being confronted by an Indigenous leader whose community has been gravely affected by the oil company’s pollution in the Amazon.

    • We Stopped Keystone, Canada Can Stop Energy East

      Since I last visited Canada to share my experiences dealing with TransCanada as a rancher along the proposed Keystone XL path, and as a member of Bold Nebraska, a lot has changed. President Obama has since put the final nail in the coffin of Keystone XL, listening to the voices of ranchers, Indigenous communities and climate activists united in their opposition to the tar sands, or oil sands, pipeline.

    • Meet Proterra, The Next Generation Of Bus

      “Everything that has an urban drive cycle will ultimately be an electric vehicle.” That’s what Ryan Popple, the president and CEO of Proterra, the leading U.S. electric bus company, explained to me in a recent interview.

      The future of transit isn’t cleaner diesel, hybrids, natural gas, or hydrogen fuel-cell buses, argues Popple. The rapidly dropping price for electric batteries combined with new fast-charging technology appears to render the competition obsolete. Right now, the biggest question isn’t which technology will win in the bus market — it’s how quickly all-electrics will take over, and whether Proterra can keep ahead of the Chinese competition, like electric vehicle giant BYD.

    • Deadlock over political coercion at work causes 3 FEC commissioners to issue scathing statement

      The complaint stemmed from a piece The New Republic published on Oct. 4, 2012, about how Murray Energy required all employees to attend a Mitt Romney campaign event. Attendance was mandatory, even though the company shut down the mine and those workers reportedly were not paid for that day.

    • How coal shipping accidents are damaging coral reefs around the world

      Just a few kilometres from the wild south-western coast of Madagascar, home to part of the world’s third largest coral reef system, the coal-laden New Mykonos ship has sunk and is slowly breaking apart.

      The sinking of the coal vessel comes as a new scientific study published in Nature warns of the damaging effects of coal on coral, seagrass and fish.

      Back in late February the Panamanian-registered New Mykonos left the Richards Bay Coal Terminal in South Africa and set sail for the Indian port of Vizag with 160,000 tonnes of coal aboard.

    • Burned By Slow Government Response To A Polluter, Residents Mistrust Cleanup Efforts

      When residents don’t trust the company who poisoned their water and soil, and they don’t trust the government agencies mandated to stop the company, they’ll either ignore everything and hope for the best, or they’ll take matters into their own hands.

      Both reactions are in abundance in Vernon, California near the site of a now-shuttered battery recycling plant now owned by Exide Technologies. Exide and the plant’s previous owners knowingly leached lead and other carcinogens into the soil, air and water in surrounding residential neighborhoods, a problem made much worse by inadequate government oversight.

      State regulators repeatedly warned Exide Technologies, which ran the Vernon battery smelting facility since 2000, and its previous owners that the plant was releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. Exide responded only by paying fines and continuing business as usual.

      The fines were small considering the scope of the damage. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that, over more than 15 years, Exide paid $869,000 in penalties and that “most of the fines were assessed in the last two years.”

    • Student Activism Pushes UMass to Become First Major Public University to Divest

      University of Massachusetts students—who just over one month ago were arrested for demanding that their school divest from fossil fuels—were validated on Wednesday after it was announced that the school would become the first major public university to pull its direct holdings from polluting industries.

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, which oversees the endowment, valued at $700 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

    • Our Lives are on the Line: Protesters Blockade Planned Pipeline Site Near Nuclear Plant Outside NYC

      In Peekskill, New York, just about an hour north of New York City, residents have launched a blockade in efforts to stop the construction of a gas pipeline slated to run only hundreds of feet from the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant. The proposed project has sparked concerns from residents and nuclear experts that a pipeline break could cause a catastrophic nuclear disaster that would threaten the entirety of New York City. The pipeline is being built by Spectra Energy and is officially known as the Algonquin Incremental Market Project, or AIM pipeline. Well, only hours ago, Peekskill residents and activists escalated the campaign to stop this pipeline’s construction by installing a fully sustainable shipping container at the entrance of Spectra’s work yard—complete with two activists living inside. Democracy Now! was there as the blockade was launched.

    • EU referendum: Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn to join forces in climate change warning

      Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband will publicly join forces to warn that Britain’s membership of the European Union is vital in the fight against climate change.

      In their first major appearance together since the Labour leader took over the party eight months ago, Mr Miliband and Mr Corbyn will share a platform together at Raventhorpe solar farm to emphasise the central role the pair believe the EU has had in tackling climate change.

      The intervention by Mr Miliband, who led the Labour party to a bruising election defeat in May last year, could also quell rumours about of tensions between the two men.

    • Hope and Burnout in the Anthropocene

      Between May 3 and May 16, thousands of people gathered in 20 acts of civil disobedience spanning 6 continents, to protest society’s continued reliance on fossil fuels. Dubbing their collective action “Break Free 2016,” they placed themselves in the paths of oil trains, coal ships and mining equipment, in an effort to convince those in power of the urgency of action on climate change.

    • Climate Action is Needed Whether Exxon Likes it or Not.

      Last week, we were among a handful of organizations who received a letter signed by 13 members of Congress claiming that we may be violating Exxon’s right to free speech. They’re requesting that we divulge any communication we may have had with state officials and many private organizations with regard to looking into what Exxon knew about climate change and when. At face value this request is a threat to constitutional rights. The signers of the letter clearly want to send a message that advocacy organizations and others should only pursue their rights to petition the government, exercise free speech and enjoy freedom of association at their own peril. In short, it’s a blatant attempt to use governmental power to find and deter anyone that shares our values and wants to join us in our efforts.

    • On Climate, Trump Promises To Let The World Burn

      President Obama’s climate change policies would be undone. Regulations on greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated. The Keystone XL pipeline would be built. There would be no international agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change.

      That is what Donald Trump’s energy policy would look like should he be elected president, the presumptive Republican nominee promised on Thursday before a pro-fossil fuel development crowd in Bismark, North Dakota.

      In a speech laying out his energy agenda for the United States, Trump promised to undo essentially every major policy developed in the last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.

    • Treating cattle with antibiotics affects greenhouse gas emissions, and microbiota in dung and dung beetles

      Antibiotics are routinely used to improve livestock health and growth. However, this practice may have unintended environmental impacts mediated by interactions among the wide range of micro- and macroorganisms found in agroecosystems. For example, antibiotics may alter microbial emissions of greenhouse gases by affecting livestock gut microbiota. Furthermore, antibiotics may affect the microbiota of non-target animals that rely on dung, such as dung beetles, and the ecosystem services they provide. To examine these interactions, we treated cattle with a commonly used broad-spectrum antibiotic and assessed downstream effects on microbiota in dung and dung beetles, greenhouse gas fluxes from dung, and beetle size, survival and reproduction. We found that antibiotic treatment restructured microbiota in dung beetles, which harboured a microbial community distinct from those in the dung they were consuming. The antibiotic effect on beetle microbiota was not associated with smaller size or lower numbers. Unexpectedly, antibiotic treatment raised methane fluxes from dung, possibly by altering the interactions between methanogenic archaea and bacteria in rumen and dung environments. Our findings that antibiotics restructure dung beetle microbiota and modify greenhouse gas emissions from dung indicate that antibiotic treatment may have unintended, cascading ecological effects that extend beyond the target animal.

  • Finance

    • Clean-Energy Jobs Surpass Oil Drilling for First Time in U.S.

      The number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered.

    • Good News: Turns Out Most People Don’t Want to Give Their Business To A Small Insecure Money-Grubber

      Savagely telling it like it is, our favorite woman warrior Elizabeth Warren shredded the presumptive Drumpf this week in a speech at the Center for Popular Democracy’s annual gala. Citing his newly revealed and fabulously revealing remark in a 2007 interview that he was kinda looking forward to the idea of a housing meltdown” – who SAYS these things out loud?!? – because he could rake in the profits, Warren called him out not just as a sorry specimen of manhood but as a small, cruel, greedy, amoral human being who’s spent his whole life saying to hell with the social contract most sentient beings at least acknowledge. Now, after his lifetime of fuck yous, it seems, Warren is ready to return the favor.

      Noting Drumpf admitted he was “drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” she rhetorically asked, “What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street,” to lose their jobs and pensions and sometimes end up living in a van? She then furiously responds, “I’ll tell you exactly what kind. A man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it.” Warren went on to blast Trump for suggesting he’d dismantle Dodd-Frank because he is “worried about helping poor little Wall Street,” adding, “Let me find the world’s smallest violin to play a sad, sad song.” Oh yes. She’s good.

    • India says Apple must sell locally-sourced goods to set up stores: source

      India has said Apple Inc must meet a rule obliging foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wishes to open stores in the country, a senior government official told Reuters.

      Apple is hoping to expand its retail presence in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, at a time when sales in the United States and China have slowed.

      A change in legislation last year exempted foreign retailers selling high-tech goods from the rule, which states 30 percent of the value of goods sold in the store should be made in India.

    • Foxconn replaces ’60,000 factory workers with robots’

      Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has reportedly replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots.

      One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

      Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

    • Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in tax than the very richest

      Britain’s poorest people pay more of their income in taxes than the very richest, official figures reveal.

      The worst-off tenth of households handed 47% of their money back to the government in 2014/15 – up from 43% two years earlier.

      Yet the richest tenth paid just 34%, down slightly from 35% in the two years previously.

      The gulf was laid bare today in annual figures by the Office for National Statistics which show the richest 10% earn £108,000 while the poorest earn just £4,467.

    • Report says banks still generate billions in overdraft fees

      A new federal law implemented six years ago was supposed to resolve the issue of bank overdraft fees, which often blindsided consumers with unexpected expenses.

      Before the law was passed, a consumer making a debit card purchase, and not having sufficient funds to cover the purchase, would be automatically “loaned” the funds to cover the purchase. The bank would then charge the consumer a fee of $30 or so for that service.

    • I, Daniel Blake

      More space has been devoted by the mainstream media in the last week to the terrible effects of “austerity” on the vulnerable, than in total since the Westminster election.

    • Bank of America’s Winning Excuse: We Didn’t Mean To

      Back in the late-housing-bubble period, in 2007, Countrywide Home Loans, which was then the largest mortgage provider in the country, rolled out a new lending program. The bank called it the “high-speed swim lane,” or HSSL, or, even more to the point, “hustle.” Countrywide, like most mortgage lenders, sold its loans to Wall Street banks or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage giants, which bundled them and, in turn, sold them to investors. Unlike the Wall Street banks, Fannie and Freddie insured the loans, so they demanded only the ones of the highest quality. But by that time, borrowers with high credit scores were getting scarcer, and Countrywide faced the prospect of collapsing revenue and profits. Hence, the hustle program, which “streamlined” Countrywide’s loan origination, cutting out underwriters and putting loan processors, whom the company had previously deemed not qualified to answer borrowers’ questions, in charge of reviewing loan applications. In practice, Countrywide dropped most of the conditions meant to insure that loans would be repaid.

    • Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
    • Demanding ‘What We Need to Survive,’ Workers to Descend on McDonald’s Shareholders Meeting

      As McDonald’s prepares to hold its annual meting on Thursday, low wage workers—buoyed by successes from the “unstoppable” Fight for $15 movement—are gearing up to confront the burger giant and again demand a decent wage and union rights.

      On Wednesday, in addition to a mid-day strike at the flagship Rock N Roll McDonald’s in Chicago, organizers say thousands of underpaid workers will stage a protest at the company’s headquarters just outside the city, in Oak Brook, Illinois.

      The suburban location will be the site of a second rally and march on Thursday as well as the shareholder meeting takes place.

    • The TPP Has Always Been About Corporate Dominance, Not Trade or Economic Growth

      A report released by the U.S. International Trade Commission last week found, as Deirdre Fulton notes, “that the controversial trade deal” — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known by some as NAFTA on steroids) — “will produce negligible economic benefits while damaging most Americans’ jobs and wages.”

      To a large extent, the report falsifies — or, at least, calls into question — many of the key premises of the Obama administration’s argument in favor of the far-reaching pact.

      President Obama, himself, has stepped into the fray and lobbied aggressively for the agreement, often demeaning those who speak out against it. He has made it clear that he views the passage and implementation of the deal as a crowning achievement that will ultimately cement his legacy as an advocate of free trade and economic development worldwide.

      He has insisted that the deal will boost growth, create jobs, “promote American values,” “protect American workers,” and erode unnecessary trade barriers.

      The agreement’s contents, however, differ wildly from the advertised product.

      Indeed, much of the discussion of the deal’s potential effects on economic growth is, in fact, a red herring, a distraction that prevents discussion of the underlying purpose of trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    • CUNY Professors and Staff Consider Future Strike to Defend Public Education Funding

      Higher education in the United States is facing serious problems with state disinvestment, lack of protections for adjuncts and low pay for faculty, among other reasons. The situation is no different at the City University of New York (CUNY), where the problems have affected professors, staff and students for decades. But 92 percent of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union representing more than 25,000 CUNY professors and staff, decided earlier this month to approve use of a strike to fight not only for a new contract, but also to ensure a quality education for students.

    • New Mexico Officials Accused Of Tampering With Documents To Deny Citizens Emergency Food Stamps

      Kimberly Jones knows just how hard it is to wait for emergency food stamps to come through. New Mexico is supposed to grant people in dire financial situations expedited benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within seven days, rather than the 30 it takes to process regular applications. But it often doesn’t work out that way.

    • America’s Cosmic Tax Gap

      That wouldn’t matter all that much if the IRS had plenty of agents out in the field doing in-depth audits. But the IRS has been losing staff. The tax agency had 50,400 full-time-equivalent enforcement staff available in 2010. The 2016 figure: only 38,800.

    • Average CEO Raise Last Year Amounted to 10x What Most Workers Made in Total

      It was another banner year for chief executives at the biggest companies.

      For its latest annual study of CEO compensation, the Associated Press, using data from Equilar, looked at what 341 executives at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index brought home from salary as well as other perks like stock awards and deferred compensation.

      The study found that the median compensation was $10.8 million, up from $10.3 million the CEOs took in the year before.

    • CEO pay climbs again, even as their stock prices don’t

      CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That’s almost double the typical American worker’s, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero.

      The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That’s up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier.

    • Greek media and independent journalism under austerity

      In Greece, the media landscape under austerity has created bleak conditions for journalism and media freedom; a post-austerity agenda could change this situation.

    • Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability

      As much as the Clinton machine may welcome their stay at Hotel California in early June, they might check out any time they like only to find themselves never leaving the Trump-leads-the-national-average-poll syndrome.

      This was never the original script, as Manifest Destiny was supposed to have – finally – fully entitled the Queen of the Perma-Smirk to the Presidency. What has she done to deserve this? Well, a myriad of factors come into play. Let’s cut to the chase and follow the money.

      Now that I found you I can’t let you go

      While still in the Senate, the Queen of Chaos manifested a vague interest in going after tax havens, as in “people who create a mailbox, or a drop, or send one person to sit on the beach in some island paradise and claim that it is their offshore headquarters.” But – and that’s a crucial “but” – no bills proposed by Hillary ensued. After all, what to do about the Clinton machine’s virtually unlimited access to a pool of vast, non-transparent funds?

      The Clinton machine could not be savvier on onshore/offshore tax havens. Six years ago their home in Chappaqua, New York, of subterranean email fame, was conveniently placed in a “residence trust.”

      Bill Clinton for his part spent a wholesome five years as just a mere adviser to $3.2 billion-worth playboy Ron Burkle – now reduced to the status of former Clinton pal. While the friendship lasted, Burkle’s investment fund registered in Dubai and the Cayman Islands added at least $15 billion to Bill’s piggy bank.

    • Los Angeles Is Considering Taxing Millionaires to Help Homeless People, and More

      In today’s On the News segment: Los Angeles is considering taxing millionaires to help homeless people; global unemployment is expected to overtake 200 million people for the first time on record by the end of 2017; a new poll shows that two-thirds of all Americans would struggle to cover a $1,000 crisis; and more.

    • This Confirms It was a Coup: Brazil Crisis Deepens as Evidence Mounts of Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff

      A key figure in Brazil’s interim government has resigned after explosive new transcripts revealed how he plotted to oust President Dilma Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. The transcripts, published by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, document a conversation in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower house voted in favor of impeaching President Rousseff. Romero Jucá, who was then a senator but became a planning minister after Rousseff’s ouster, was speaking with a former oil executive, Sérgio Machado. Both men had been targets of the so-called Car Wash investigation over money laundering and corruption at the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In the conversation, the men agree that ousting President Rousseff would be the only way to end the corruption probe. In the transcript, Jucá said, “We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped.” Machado then reportedly said, “The easiest solution is to put Michel in”—a reference to Vice President Michel Temer, who took power once Rousseff was suspended. We speak to Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.

    • Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment

      According to recent internal documents, provided by WikiLeaks, on several occasions Michel Temer was an embassy informant for U.S. intelligence. Temer secretly shared information to the U.S. Southern Command concerning the 2006 election of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the vitality of his center-left Workers’ Party. Temer assured the Defense Department that despite Lula’s clear path to reelection the president would have to negotiate with the opposition, the Brazilian Democratic Workers Party (PMDB), who had just won most governorships and the Senate. He also assured the U.S. that the PMDB would soon coalesce with Brazil’s right wing parties, therefore greatly minimizing the Workers’ Party platform. Additionally, Temer also criticized the social programs being implemented by Lula and the Workers’ Party, claiming Lula was too concerned the poor and not concerned enough about “economic growth.” In these communications a thin line was drawn between espionage and informant. Temer’s loyalty seemed to be with the United States and capital and not to Brazil and democracy.

    • Clinton accuses Trump of “rooting” for a crash caused by her own donors

      A new attack ad put out by the Hillary Clinton campaign this week achieves the near-impossible, making Donald Trump look wronged and (almost) like a victim. More believably, it makes the Democrats look sleazy and disingenuous in comparison.

      [...]

      This ad is disingenuous in a dozen different ways. For one thing, the destruction that the Clinton campaign describes was not caused by people swooping in after the bubble burst, buying at the bottom of the market.

    • To Avoid Regulations, Uber Describes Itself as Either, Neither and Nor

      Uber is a traditional employer recruiting employees. Or Uber is a non-employer facilitating the work of independent contractors. Or Uber is a technology company supplying an app to small businesses.

      It depends on which lawsuit you read. The company, valued at over $62 billion, changes its description of what it does depending on what best allows it to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

    • Poultry And Meat Workers Face Some Of The Cruelest Working Conditions In The Country

      “The conditions that these workers are forced to endure is an outrage, and have no place in our nation,” Casey said, according to The Hill. “This is a matter of basic justice. The meat and poultry industry must quickly take substantial steps to improve the workplace conditions for those in this industry.”

      Latinos and immigrants make up a large part of the meat and poultry industry workforce, according to a 2005 human Human Rights Watch report. But because some of the immigrants are undocumented, they often “suffer violations of their rights but are afraid to challenge them,” which allows employers to exploit them with bad pay and dirty, dangerous working conditions.

      Jose Gaytan, an immigrant from Mexico, began working in slaughterhouses at the age of 19 because he thought the job would pay well. He began to feel his hands change from the effects of his job to “pull the tenderloin, which is where the filet mignon comes from,” he previously told ThinkProgress. Every night, his hands would “sting” and hurt.

      Pedro, a poultry worker at a Tyson plant in North Carolina, processes 45 to 60 chickens every minute. To treat his hands — which get so swollen from handling the chickens that he has to wear 3XL-sized plastic gloves — a nurse told him to take ibuprofen and to soak his hands in Epsom salt and hot water.

      Although Pedro and Jose have to work through the pain, they are actually among the fortunate in the meat industry. Other workplace injuries in this sector have resulted in fatalities. The new GAO report found that between 2004 and 2013, 151 workers died on the job, with transportation incidents cited as the most frequent cause of death.

    • REXLot Suspends Trading After Shares Tumble on Anonymous Report

      REXLot Holdings Ltd. suspended its shares from trading in Hong Kong after they tumbled on a research report questioning the lottery machine maker’s accounting.

      REXLot sank 9.3 percent to 44 Hong Kong cents, the lowest intraday level since August 2012, before the stock was halted from trading at 11:33 a.m. local time. Volume was about quadruple the three-month daily average. Anonymous Analytics rated the company a strong sell with a target price of 12 Hong Kong cents in a report today, saying REXLot exaggerates its revenue and the amount of cash on its balance sheet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The ‘Woman Card’ Brings a Wealth of Disadvantages

      I am no fan of Hillary Clinton, simply because she is a neoliberal centrist wolf cloaked in progressive sheep’s clothing. However, she has many advantages propelling her toward the Democratic nomination, including the support of her party’s establishment, Wall Street executives and even Republicans.

    • Neil Young Now Okay With Donald Trump Using His Music

      That familiar situation played itself out again last June, when iconic singer-songwriter—and big-time supporter of Bernie Sanders—Neil Young told Donald Trump to cease and desist using his classic song “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Since then, the billionaire has become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, resulting in an awful lot of backtracking on the part of big-money donors and former political foes. Amid this group, surprisingly, is Neil Young, who is now apparently totally okay with the Donald using his music.

    • Writers speak out against Donald Trump

      An Open Letter to the American People

    • Sanders to Trump: Let’s Debate in ‘Biggest Stadium Possible’

      Donald Trump has doubled down on his challenge to debate Bernie Sanders, telling reporters in Bismarck, North Dakota on Thursday that he would agree to a one-on-one with the Vermont senator for “something over $10 million.”

      “If we can raise for maybe women’s health issues or something, if we can raise $10 or $15 million for charity,” he said. “We have had a couple of calls from the networks already and we’ll see.”

    • Happy 25th birthday, TV-2, or the rise and fall of independent Russian TV

      This month TV-2, an independent TV channel in the Siberian city of Tomsk, turns 25 years old. It hasn’t been on the air for 18 months.

    • Trump and the Polls of Loathing

      Caught between a cynical Clinton machine and a shape-changing reality television show, US politics has featured its latest twist in the saga of surges and poll ratings. Now, we are being told that Donald Trump does have a chance against Hillary Clinton, spluttering ahead in some of the figures.

      There should be no sharp intake of breath on this. Reactionary politics and a certain voodoo mastery of reality was already perfected by Ronald Reagan when he secured the White House and ensured the irrevocable decline of an ailing empire. Making America great has remained the caption of failed politics, but it seems entirely at home in the Trump argot.

    • The Bruenig Firing: ‘Civility’ As A Tool To Control Political Dissent

      The idea that political civility is a necessary element of political discourse—one which is meant to emulate a kind of ideal courtroom politesse—is a bourgeois conviction. Expressions of civility are said to uphold democratic standards and tame violent language, and are therefore considered hallmarks of respectability and, mostly importantly, of enlightenment.

      In a report from 2004 entitled Democracy Online, Zizi Papacharissi, professor and communications department head at the University of Illinois at Chicago, described George Washington’s work on the subject of civility as a guiding factor in the conceptualization of the characteristics of consummate citizenry. Papacharissi writes that this “model of civility…was integral to American citizenship and democracy,” guiding one’s morality, and above all, helped to “cool hot passions of citizenry.”

      This civility model is designed to restrain and adjudicate what’s often characterized as being the savagery of political disobedience. For those who depart from this standard, there may be material consequences.

      On May 20, the progressive public policy organization, Demos, fired Matt Bruenig, a popular writer who covered poverty and inequality.

    • Read Between the Lines: The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent

      Everyone seems to think Bernie Sanders is finished. The establishment wants him out, Hillary Clinton has moved onto the general election and pundits clamor over the mathematical impossibility of his nomination. Even Donald Trump, who likely has ulterior motives, has called attention to this reality. But through all of this, one individual appears unfazed: Bernie Sanders himself. He has been called to back away and give up, but he has done just the opposite. If anything, he has further embroiled and empowered himself and his movement with his recent rhetoric.

    • Who’s Lobbying for Millennial Interests? Meet the “AARP for Young People”

      Millennial voters have gotten a bad rap when it comes to politics. They’re often brushed off as self-obsessed and disengaged, a stigma rooted in their abysmal turnout in recent elections. Just 21 percent of millennials voted in the 2014 midterms.

    • ‘Game On’: With Clinton Refusing, Sanders Agrees to Debate Trump in California

      Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have seemingly agreed to a one-on-one debate ahead of California’s primary on June 7—or, as Politico puts it, “the debate the world has been waiting for.”

      Appearing on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night, Trump said he would debate Sanders if the proceeds from the event went to charity.

      “If I debated him it would have such high ratings,” the presumptive Republican nominee said.

      Minutes later, Sanders tweeted, “Game on.”

    • Jeffrey Sachs: Bernie Sanders easily wins the policy debate

      Mainstream U.S. economists have criticized Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s proposals as unworkable, but these economists betray the status quo bias of their economic models and professional experience. It’s been decades since the United States had a progressive economic strategy, and mainstream economists have forgotten what one can deliver. In fact, Sanders’s recipes are supported by overwhelming evidence — notably from countries that already follow the policies he advocates. On health care, growth and income inequality, Sanders wins the policy debate hands down.

    • Neck-and-Neck in California as Sanders Virtually Erases 50-Point Deficit

      Less than two weeks before California’s critical Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in that state, according to a poll released Wednesday.

      The same poll (pdf) shows Sanders outperforming Clinton in a hypothetical match-up against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), shows that among Democratic primary likely voters, 46 percent support Clinton and 44 percent support Sanders. Sanders leads Clinton among those who are very liberal (64% to 35%) as well as among younger voters (66% to 27%). Latino voters are slightly more likely to support Clinton (52% to 43%), while white voters are more divided (47% Clinton, 41% Sanders).

      The San Jose Mercury News points out: “Sanders started the campaign a year ago trailing Clinton in California by more than 50 percentage points in early polls, but he had pared down her lead to single digits earlier this year. PPIC’s last poll in March found Sanders trailing by seven percentage points.”

    • Amid Election Chaos, Communities Show Where the Real Power Is

      Economic pain is the most obvious reason so many feel alienated. Many economists tell Americans we should be celebrating the recovery, but I found communities stuck in poverty and debt and lacking affordable health care, decent housing, and even safe water. We are told it is our own fault if we are struggling, even though the structure of the economy has shifted profoundly to the advantage of the superrich.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • European Parliament prepares for actual Internet Censorship using “Terrorism” as justification buzzword

      Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, groups in the European Parliament wants to give police the power to censor the Internet and even individual accounts with social media providers at will. This is not just a stark attempt to justify sharp reductions in liberty with the buzzword “terrorism”, it also flies in the face of the most fundamental anti-censorship principles. The Directive (sort of a European Federal Law) isn’t completed yet, but is starting to take shape, and it’s looking horrifying.

    • New test for VCE literature sparks censorship concerns

      Books, plays and films studied for VCE will soon be screened to ensure they don’t offend religious and cultural groups.

      Education Minister James Merlino has ordered the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) to review its text selection process for VCE English, literature, drama and theatre studies.

      A spokesman for Mr Merlino said the Minister requested to “extend” the guidelines to “ensure that the views and sensitivities of cultural and religious groups are considered”.

      This comes after two Jewish groups slammed the inclusion of a play on the VCE drama list, Tales of a City by the Sea, which depicted life during war in Gaza, and was written by Palestinian playwright Samah Sabawi.

    • A WTO challenge to China’s internet censorship is long overdue [Ed: Corporate lobby (AEI) wants to expand the Empire of Corporations to China and uses censorship as WTO excuse]
    • The Great Rap Censorship Scare of 1990

      Jack Thompson, a conservative lawyer from Coral Gables, spearheaded a campaign to restrict sales of the album in Florida’s Broward County, eventually leading to a U.S. District Court ruling that declared the album’s lyrics obscene. A record store owner in Ft. Lauderdale was subsequently arrested for selling As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and members of 2 Live Crew were detained and charged with obscenity after a show at an adults-only club in Hollywood, Florida.

    • Looking To Destroy A Media Organization Through Lawsuits Is A Big Deal Even If You Don’t Like The Media Organization

      So I had thought that our post yesterday about Peter Thiel allegedly financing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker would be the only time we posted about that story, but a few things have happened that seem to merit a further post. First, Thiel has admitted to it, and insisted that he views it as “philanthropy.” There are a number of claims that Thiel makes that are quite troubling. First, he admits that he didn’t just back Hogan, but rather gave lawyers money to go hunting for anyone who might want to sue Gawker, directly out of spite.

      [...]

      Incredibly, Thiel, who has given a large amount of money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and who has claimed to be a big supporter of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, pulled a classic “I support freedom of speech, but…” line in response to questions along those lines, basically saying that he doesn’t think Gawker counts.

    • Facebook admits: ‘Rogue employees’ may be behind censorship of conservatives

      After investigating itself, the social media giant Facebook said it saw no “systematic political bias,” but admitted that “rogue employees” may be behind the censorship of conservative news on the site, the Washington Times reported Monday. Facebook also said it couldn’t rule out the possibility these rogue employees unintentionally acted with malice in “isolated improper actions.” The report did not specify what these “actions” might have entailed.

    • Unrepentant Facebook Censors Complaints of Censorship, Makes Tiny Tweaks

      It’s been over a week since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with leaders of conservative media to calm down accusations that the social media site was censoring conservative news and opinion. After the meeting one of the attendees, Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell “characterized the meeting between Zuckerberg and conservative leaders as generally positive and ‘cordial’ – but, also expressed a cautious wait-and-see reaction to Facebook’s promises of reform, citing the social media giant’s loss of public trust.” He also said “We’ll see how the [internal] investigation turns out”

    • Twitter abuse – ’50% of misogynistic tweets from women’

      Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.

      Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.

      It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.

    • Hong Kong cartoonist drops publisher amid charges of self-censorship

      A Hong Kong cartoonist claimed he is the victim of “self-censorship gone too far” after a publisher wanted to edit or delete content in his new political satire book.

      Artist Ar To said on Facebook Thursday that he couldn’t reach a compromise with the publisher, whom he did not wish to name. He is now seeking a new publisher who will issue the book without any changes.

    • ‘Satya’ to ‘Veerappan’: Watch Ram Gopal Varma talk about cinema, censorship

      Among other changes they demanded, Varma reveals that the Censors asked him to cut out a line from the film in which the real-life bandit Veerappan points out that LTTE chief Prabhakaran killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Varma says the Censors expressed concern that these words uttered as a statement of fact could hurt Tamil sentiments and asked him to replace them with a speculative sentence about Prabhakaran’s role in Rajiv’s assassination.

    • ‘Don’t you know that you’re toxic?’

      Amos Yee is back: After an apparent short escape to Australia and less than a year since his jail stint, the controversial teen blogger with a potty mouth will be charged in court today. He faces eight charges, including five for hurting the feelings of Muslims and Christians. If convicted, he could go to jail for up to three years and be fined.

    • Singapore teenage blogger Amos Yee back in court for ‘insulting Islam’
    • Singapore blogger faces fresh insulting Islam charges
    • Local blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to 8 new charges
    • Amos Yee claims trial to 8 charges, bail extended
    • Amos Yee back in court, faces eight new charges
    • Teenage blogger Amos Yee faces 8 new charges
    • Teen blogger Amos Yee to claim trial to eight charges
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Shield must be Schremsproof, says one MEP—others wave it through

      MEPs have expressed concern about the many “deficiencies” in the current text of the Privacy Shield data-sharing deal with the US, and urged officials to negotiate a better agreement.

      In a non-binding resolution passed by 501 votes to 119 with 31 abstentions on Thursday, politicos urged the European Commission—which is the executive wing of the EU—to address issues such as US authorities’ access to data; the possibility of collecting bulk data in “exceptional cases” contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; the independence of a proposed US ombudsperson, and the complexity of the redress system.

      The Privacy Shield deal is expected to replace the now defunct Safe Harbour mechanism to allow the transfer of European personal data to the US. Safe Harbour was ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice last October in the Max Schrems case. Many MEPs acknowledged that Privacy Shield was a substantial improvement on the previous system, however gaps opened up between political groups on how to approach it.

    • Microsoft and Facebook building underwater transatlantic ‘MAREA’ data cable [Ed: surveillance companies take control of the Internet backbone/infrastructure]

      As the world’s need for high-speed internet grows, there will be an increasing strain on existing infrastructure. While both the internet and the web can create a border-free exchange of data, something still needs to connect continents so that it can be shared. While you will likely never see it with your own eyes, there are actually data cables under the sea which connect large masses of land.

      Today, Microsoft and Facebook announce a partnership to build a transatlantic subsea data cable. Called ‘MAREA’, it will connect the United States to Europe. More specifically, it will connect the State of Virginia to the country of Spain. The project will begin this August, with a targeted completion date of October 2017.

    • Facebook and Microsoft to build private internet highway underwater

      The two technology companies announced on Thursday they are to install an undersea cable from the east coast of the US to Spain to help speed up their global internet services.

      Fast connectivity is particularly important to Facebook, which wants to encourage users across the world to broadcast live video and meet in virtual reality. Both activities can consume vast amounts of bandwidth.

    • Facebook and Microsoft team up to lay a massive internet cable across the Atlantic
    • Audio fingerprinting being used to track web users, study finds

      A wide-scale study of online trackers carried out by researchers at Princeton University has identified a new technique being used to try to strip web users of their privacy, as well as quantifying the ongoing usage of some better-known tracking techniques.

      The new technique unearthed by the study is based on fingerprinting a machine’s audio stack via the AudioContext API. So it’s not collecting sound played or recorded on a machine but rather harvesting the audio signature of the individual machine and using that as an identifier to track a web user.

    • Academics Make Theoretical Breakthrough in Random Number Generation

      Two University of Texas academics have made what some experts believe is a breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding implications for cryptography and computer security.

      David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

    • Mission: Montreal! (Building the Next Generation of Onion Services)

      A few weeks ago, a small group of Tor developers got together in Montreal and worked on onion services for a full week. The event was very rewarding and we wrote this blog post to share with you how we spent our week! For the record, it was our second onion service hackfest, following the legendary Arlington Accords of July 2015.

    • Billionaire’s revenge: Facebook investor Peter Thiel’s nine-year Gawker grudge

      Billionaire Silicon Valley investor, Donald Trump delegate and Facebook board member Peter Thiel has made secrecy his brand. So when it emerged that Thiel appeared to be bankrolling former wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, many people were surprised.

      Yet by publicly outing him as gay in 2007, Gawker founder Nick Denton shattered the privacy of Thiel’s fiercely guarded personal life and techno-libertarian vision. And Thiel, it turns out, can hold a grudge.

    • The name’s Mum – Spy Mum: Government recruiting middle-aged mums to be SPIES because of their ‘skills and mindset’
    • British spy chiefs’ mission to recruit female spooks
    • Wanted – Middle aged mothers to spy for MI5 (flexible hours available): Intelligence agencies target women after being told to become more diverse
    • Spy chiefs’ Mumsnet mission to recruit Jane Bonds [Ed: femmewashing day (appealing to women they spy on)]
    • Less than 10% of Germany’s SIGINT Spying Targets Terrorist

      Among the things I did was attend a presentation from Konstantin von Notz, one of the Bundestag members who is investigating Germany’s SIGINT spying in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

    • Surveillance cameras could put your home at risk

      FOX23’s Michelle Linn is taking a closer look at how security cameras could let anyone watch you
      Security experts say some websites give people access to security cameras

      For less than $200 people can install a security camera and keep an eye on what’s happening, but FOX23 found out it’s very easy for anyone to see what’s going on at their house.

    • Surveillance technology has advanced far beyond the laws that govern it

      Last week, we filmed our second episode of Ars Technica Live in Oakland, California, and we had a tremendously interesting conversation with UC Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, who researches surveillance technology and policing. Right out of the gate, Joh made it clear that the problem isn’t surveillance per se—governments “need surveillance,” she said, to figure out what its citizens require in terms of benefits, help, and security. The problem is when this surveillance becomes invasive, and the government inhibits freedom of expression and punishes unconventional behavior. How do we balance the need for surveillance and the need for free expression and privacy in a democratic society?

      Joh talked a lot about the future legal landscape we’re creating with cutting-edge technologies like self-driving cars, facial recognition, and body cams. When you’re talking about law and policy, the issue is always that adoption of devices like body cams tends to precede careful thought about what rules will govern them. After the Ferguson protests, for example, police departments started using body cams as an accountability measure. But there are no federal guidelines for how cops will use these cams. Will they be able to turn them off whenever they want? Who has access to the data they collect? Can they use facial recognition in body cams? All of these questions remain unanswered, yet body cams are in widespread use across the US.

    • Secret Text in Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access to Email Records

      A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.

      If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs—most commonly information about the name, address, and call information associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.

      Since a 2008 Justice Department ruling, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transaction records” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.

    • Report: Impacts of surveillance on contemporary British activism

      St Andrews University and openDemocracy interviewed 25 activists, and surveyed more than a hundred, about the impacts of surveillance on activism in the UK. Here are our findings.

    • Top Websites Using Audio Fingerprinting to Secretly Track Web Users

      Despite browsing incognito, blocking advertisements, or hiding your tracks, some websites monitor and track your every move online using a new web-tracking technique called Audio Fingerprinting.

      This new fingerprinting technique can be utilized by technology and marketing companies to deliver targeted advertisements as well as by law enforcement to unmask VPN or Anonymous users, without even decrypting the traffic.

    • Government still holding on to 5 years of NSA phone-snooping metadata

      The National Security Agency’s phone-snooping program ended six months ago this Saturday, but the government is still holding on to the mountain of data it piled up over the previous five years, worrying civil liberties advocates who say it’s time to start expunging the legally questionable information.

      Government officials say they no longer access the information, but the intelligence community’s past behavior has some civil libertarians skeptical of those assurances. And the mere existence of the data, which includes the time, duration and numbers involved in phone calls, worries critics who say there’s no reason for it to be sitting under government control.

    • Feds say they have no evidence of any NSA surveillance of refuge occupiers

      Federal prosecutors say they have no evidence that any national security surveillance was used to investigate the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said intelligence agents made no wiretap interceptions in the case, and he’s not aware of any electronic surveillance by national security agencies targeting the 41-day occupation of the refuge in Harney County.

      [...]

      The surveillance under question falls under what’s called Executive Order 12333, a Reagan-era directive signed in 1981 to extend the powers of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of federal agencies to cooperate with CIA requests for information.

    • America shut down the original NSA because ‘gentlemen do not read each other’s mail’ [Ed: B-I puff pieces for NSA continue]
    • Don’t Spy On Us: British surveillance campaign ignores BND and NSA and resorts to orientalism

      Stereotypes about the “threat from the east” should have been buried along with the Cold War. Regrettably, they are seeping back into Western discourse. Such crude pigeonholing coarsens debate as a new British poster campaign proves.

      Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are the poster boys for a new British anti-surveillance advertising campaign. Meanwhile, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel are absent – never mind the ample proof showing that the NSA and BND routinely spy on ordinary citizens.

      The BND is so generous with Germans’ most private information it routinely passes it on to NSA colleagues. On the other hand, there is no proof the Russian and Chinese services have developed, or are deploying, data gathering schemes similar to their Western counterparts.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • G4S promises (again) to repaint asylum seeker red doors and relocate families at risk

      Back in January I helped The Times expose racial abuse of asylum seekers whose landlords in the north east of England — the security company G4S and its subcontractor Jomast — had painted their front doors a distinctive red.

      People who had fled their home countries to escape persecution reported having dog excrement pushed through their letterboxes and graffiti daubed on their doors, because their homes were so easy to locate.

    • Will Canada Recognise Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Developing Countries Too?

      While Canada’s long-awaited support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples brought hope and celebration last week, it’s not yet clear whether the rights of Indigenous people in developing countries harmed by Canadian mining companies will also be included.

      The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, told IPS that Canada’s support for the Declaration is a “breath of fresh air.”

      For almost a decade, Ottawa had voted against the Declaration, a global set of collective human rights covering an array of indigenous issues. The Conservative government that was voted out last year claimed that the provision requiring government to consult indigenous groups before making any decision that might impact their way of life or their ability to exercise rights over traditional lands and territories would amount to a indigenous veto on major resource projects. Signing the Declaration would be ignoring the human rights of non-indigenous Canadians, it asserted.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Theresa May launches review of Sharia law in England and Wales

      The Government has announced the launch of its long-awaited independent review into Sharia law in England and Wales, to be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui.

      It said that there is “evidence some Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way, seeking to legitimise forced marriage and issuing divorces that are unfair to women”. A statement released by the Home Office claimed this was “contrary to the teachings of Islam.”

    • Sharia councils face inquiry into ‘discrimination against women’

      Home Secretary Theresa May has launched an independent inquiry into the state of Sharia law in the UK to examine whether Islamic courts are being used to support forced marriage and issue unfair divorces.

      The government is concerned that some Sharia councils in Britain may be misusing the religious legal code to cause “harm” in communities.

      The Home Office announced the review, which will be chaired by Islam expert Professor Mona Siddiqui, on Thursday.

      The inquiry is part of the government’s counter-extremism strategy and is expected to be completed by 2017.

    • Holocaust Survivor and Human Rights Activist Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

      Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 91, died at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on May 26, 2016. An internationally renowned, respected and admired advocate for human and civil rights, Hedy was encircled by friends who lovingly cared for her at home.

      Born August 15, 1924, in the Bavarian region of Germany, her lifelong commitment to human rights was formed by the horrific experiences she and her family endured under the repressive Nazi regime.

    • NYPD Commissioner Calls Rappers ‘Thugs,’ Blames Them For Violence At Concert

      By calling rappers “thugs” Bratton is relying on coded language with specific, racist associations for black men.

    • Former NBA Player Calls Out Racist Train Rider

      On Friday, Thomas posted an account on Facebook about an experience he had while riding a train in an unnamed city. He wrote that he asked to sit in the empty seat next to a white woman, and she told him it was taken. Moments later, however, when a white man asked for the same seat, she moved her things for him.

    • We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture

      The police kill protestors all over the country and vulnerable groups like prisoners, sex workers, street traders and squatters are ruled with violence all over the country. But while the most egregious single incident of rule by violence was, of course, the massacre of striking workers at Marikana near Rustenburg in 2012 the problem of political violence is particularly acute in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is usually assumed that this is rooted in the militarisation of politics in this part of the country during the last years of apartheid.

    • Cancelled brain scan could have saved UK immigration detainee

      Inquest, Day Four: Neurologist testifies that he might have saved 25 year old Bruno Dos Santos.

    • How Anti-Choice Groups Push Message “Directly Into Women’s Phones”
    • Saudi Cleric Says Posing for Photos With Cats Is Forbidden

      A prominent Saudi cleric has declared photographs with cats, and other animals, forbidden unless completely necessary due to an upsurge in Saudis “who want to be like Westerners.”

      On a televised broadcast, Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, was told about “a new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.”

    • Woman left with horrific burns after acid attack for rejecting marriage proposal

      A young Pakistani woman had her skin burned off in a brutal acid attack for turning down a marriage proposal.

      Saima Mehmood, 21, from North Karachi, had acid thrown in her face as punishment for refusing to marry a suitor, leaving her with horrific injuries.

      The victim recently got engaged to another man, resulting in the revenge attack, according to The Express Tribune.

    • Elderly Christian woman stripped naked and paraded through streets by mob

      The 300-strong mob of Muslim men in rural Egypt also burned down seven homes belonging to Orthodox Coptic families, over rumours of an affair between a local Christian man and a Muslim woman

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Releases Plans To More Directly Regulate Internet, Pretending It’s Not Regulating The Internet

      Well, this isn’t a surprise. After all, we warned you that it was likely to happen, and we helped get together folks to warn the EU Commission that this was a bad idea, but the EU Commission has always seemed dead set on a plan that they believe will hold back big successful American internet firms, while fostering support for European ones. This week they made their first move by releasing details of some of their plans. This is all part of the “Digital Single Market” plan, which, in theory, makes a ton of sense. The idea is to knock down geographical regulatory barriers on the internet, such as geoblocking. And the first part of the EU’s plan is right in line with that idea and makes perfect sense. It talks about getting rid of geoblocking and also making cross-border delivery of packages easier and less expensive — basically making e-commerce work better. That’s all good.

      But it’s the second part that is concerning, and that’s where they start talking about updating “audiovisual rights” and the regulation of “online platforms.” The audiovisual rights stuff is getting most of the press attention, because of silly rules like requiring video platforms to promote more European-created content.

    • As Expected, Verizon’s Attempt To Woo Millennials Is Falling Flat On Its Face

      For years now Verizon has made it clear that it no longer wants to be in the fixed-line broadband business. Despite countless billions in taxpayer subsidies and numerous unfinished obligations, the company has all-but frozen serious fiber deployments. It has also been either selling off unwanted DSL customers to smaller, ill-equipped telcos (which which almost always ends poorly for everybody except Verizon accountants and lawyers) or has quite literally tried to drive unwanted users away with both rate hikes and apathy.

      Instead, Verizon executives decided to try and transform the stodgy old telco into a sexy new Millennial-focused advertising juggernaut. So far that has involved launching the company’s Millennial-targeted “Go90″ streaming video service, spending $4.4 billion on acquiring AOL, trying to acquire the drifting wreckage that is Yahoo, and developing controversial stealth ad tracking technology to build covert profiles of customer behavior as they wander around the Internet.

    • How the Internet works: Submarine fiber, brains in jars, and coaxial cables

      But how does it work? Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet.

    • Cities Rushing To Restrict Airbnb Are About To Discover That They’re Violating Key Internet Law

      Fights over tech policy are going increasingly local. Most technology regulations have been federal issues. There have been a few attempts to regulate on the state level — including Pennsylvania’s ridiculous attempt to demand ISPs filter out porn in the early 2000s. But state legislators and Attorneys General eventually learned (the hard way) that federal law — specifically CDA 230 — prevents any laws that look to hold internet platforms liable for the actions of their users. This is why state Attorneys General hate Section 230, but they need to deal with it, because it’s the law.

      It’s looking like various cities are now about to go through the same “education” process that the states went through in the last decade. With the rise of “local” services like Uber and Airbnb, city by city regulation is becoming a very, very big deal. And it seems that a bunch of big cities are rapidly pushing anti-Airbnb bills that almost certainly violate Section 230 and possibly other federal laws as well. In particular, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are all pushing laws to further regulate platforms for short term housing rentals (and yes, the SF effort comes just months after another shortsighted attempt to limit Airbnb failed).

    • House Budget Bill Guts Net Neutrality, Kills FCC Authority — All Because The FCC Dared To Stand Up To Comcast & AT&T

      We’ve noted a few times now that ever since the FCC passed net neutrality rules, loyal ISP politicians in the House and Senate have been engaged in a full-court press to punish the agency for daring to stand up to big broadband ISPs. That has involved an endless parade of taxpayer-funded hearings pretending to be about agency transparency and accountability — but are really just about publicly shaming the agency. It has also involved a laundry list of bills that attempt to thoroughly gut FCC funding and authority under the pretense of saving the country from a power-mad FCC.

    • The Next Battle for Net Neutrality Is Getting Bloody

      Net neutrality is a slippery subject. Months after the government appeared to get greedy telecom companies in check, carriers have come up with another clever trick to make more money and jeopardize the open internet. The latest trick is something called zero-rating, and your mobile carrier probably already uses—or abuses—this net neutrality loophole.

      This week, 58 tech companies, including Reddit, Yelp, and Kickstarter, asked the FCC in a letter to lead a transparent discussion about zero-rating practices. Basically, they want the same open discussion that spurred 4 million people to send comments to the FCC because they believe zero-rating policy could have a dramatic effect on the health of net neutrality in the US.

    • House spending bill takes swipes at FCC rules

      Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are pushing a spending bill that would temporarily block a slate of controversial regulations at the Federal Communications Commission.

      The panel’s Financial Service and General Government spending bill would block the agency from enforcing its net neutrality rules until a court challenge is over, and it would block the commission from using those rules to regulate broadband prices.

      In addition, the spending bill would force the FCC to complete a study before it finishes writing its regulations to open up the TV set-top box market. It would also force the commission to post the text of new rules on its website for 21 days before any vote.

      A House Appropriations subcommittee advanced the bill Wednesday, which will later get taken up by the full committee.

      The bill is largely a GOP wish list. Similar provisions to blunt the agency’s internet service regulations were included in last year’s spending bill. But they were stripped out of a final deal that make it to President Obama’s desk.

      Republicans are almost universally against the FCC’s net neutrality rules approved last year, which reclassify internet service providers under strict common carrier regulations. The new authority gives the agency power to ban internet service providers from blocking, throttling, create fast lanes or unreasonably discriminating against certain kinds of internet traffic.

    • Jesper Lund – Internet Regulation: A Danish Perspective
  • DRM

    • Huge Billboard Protests VPN Blocking at Netflix HQ

      Netflix’s ongoing VPN crackdown is meeting fierce resistance from concerned users around the world. Today, privacy activists are driving a massive billboard around Netflix’s headquarters, hoping the company will respect their privacy and reverse the broad VPN ban.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Threatening someone with IP infringement? Law Commission explains what you need to know about the new IP (Unjustified Threats) Bill

      No threats action can be brought against a professional adviser acting for a client in a professional capacity providing legal or attorney services for which they are regulated.

    • Copyrights

      • Should it be legal to resell e-books, software, and other digital goods?

        One of the most interesting questions in the world of modern entertainment may soon be pondered at Europe’s top court: can people resell the e-books that they buy?

        This question is vital in the digital era, and relevant not just to the world of book publishing, but also the realms of music, film, and games. You’re able to resell the CDs and DVDs that you buy, so why can’t you do the same with downloaded copies of albums and movies?

        The case involves a Dutch second-hand e-book platform called Tom Kabinet, which took a previous ruling by the European Court of Justice, involving second-hand software, as the go-ahead for its own business model. Since 2014, Tom Kabinet has been at war with the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), which sees it as a threat to the entire book industry.

      • Bankruptcy Fight May Be The Least Of Team Prenda’s Concerns, As The FBI Comes Knocking

        Of course, it’s been three years since then and a few things have happened. One of the three main members of Team Prenda (though, probably the least involved of the three) passed away. But the other two are both facing bar complaints over ethical violations. Paul Hansmeier also famously tried to declare bankruptcy, but appears to have lied to the court in the process. Fight Copyright Trolls just recently had an update on that case, and suffice it to say, it’s hilarious. Hansmeier has not just lost his lawyer after she told the court that she could no longer represent him and be a servant of the court (i.e., heavily hinting that Hansmeier was likely asking her to lie to the court), but he’s also lashed out at the trustee handling his bankruptcy for… buying a new car.

        And, of course, both Hansmeier and Steele have moved on to a revamped version of the same old trolling trick, but this time using the Americans with Disabilities Act as the fulcrum, rather than copyright law.

05.26.16

Links 26/5/2016: CentOS Linux 6.8, Ansible 2.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source skills in high demand

    The open source job market is booming and companies need talent to drive their business. Here are the five most in-demand skills for open source IT professionals.

  • 7 Essential Skill-Building Courses for the Open Source Jobs Market

    Dice and The Linux Foundation recently released an updated Open Source Jobs Report that examines trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report clearly shows that open source professionals are in demand and that those with open source experience have a strong advantage when seeking jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, 87 percent of hiring managers say it’s hard to find open source talent.

  • Open-Source Software Companies Try a New Business Model

    Early open-source software companies adopted a strategy of selling services to support technology freely available on the Web. Red Hat, which has about $2.0 billion in annual revenue, demonstrated that open-source software companies could scale, but it is one of several exceptions to the rule, according to Jake Flomenberg, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners.

  • 3 open source alternatives to AutoCAD

    CAD—Computer aided design, or computer aided drafting, depending on who you ask—is technology created to make it easier to create specifications for real-world objects. Whether the object you’re building is a house, car, bridge, or spaceship, chances are it got its start in a CAD program of one type or another.

    Among the best-known CAD programs is AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, but there are many others out there, both proprietary and open source alike. So how do the open source alternatives to AutoCAD stack up? The answer depends on how you plan to be using them.

  • A Template Job Posting for Open Source Office Lead

    I ran into several folks this past week at OSCON who expressed a keen interest in creating a dedicated role for Open Source at their respective companies. So what was stopping them? One simple thing: every single one of them was struggling to define exactly what that role means. Instinctively we all have a feeling of what an employee dedicated to Open Source might do, but when it comes time to write it down or try to convince payroll, it can be challenging. Below I have included a starting point for a job description of what a dedicated Open Source manager might do. If you are in this boat, I’d highly recommend that you also check out the slides from our talk at OSCON this year. In addition, the many blog posts we’ve published about why our respective companies run Open Source.

  • SDN and Cloud Foundry

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cray builds Urika-GX for open source data analytics

      High Performance Computing Supercomputer (HPCS) outfit Cray is one of those special companies.

    • Datadog Announces New Hadoop Monitoring Solution

      There are many more enterprises running Hadoop at scale now, and for a lot of them, monitoring has become important. Toward that end, there are new front ends and dashboards that make monitoring easier. Datadog, which has a SaaS-based monitoring platform for cloud applications, has announced support for Hadoop with a focus on monitoring.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • OSS Funding, CentOS 6.8, Open Source Hardware

      Johnny Hughes announced the release of CentOS 6.8 topping the Linux news today. Slackware-current received more updates today and Alicia Gibb announced a new Open Hardware certification. Jeremy Garcia offered some financial assistance to Open Source projects “in need of funding” and Gentoo developer Andreas Huettel today said, “Akonadi for e-mail needs to die.”

    • Are You Involved With an Open Source Project That’s In Need of Funding? I May Be Able to Help.

      With that in mind, are you involved with an Open Source project that would benefit from a targeted donation to accomplish a specific goal or task? If so please contact me with details and we’ll see if Linux Fund is a good fit. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me directly or post here.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Here I am casually using GDB with Infinity
    • Rust implementation of GNUnet with GSoC

      I will be participating in Google Summer of Code this year with GNUnet. The project is on improving the Rust implementation of GNUnet utils. The primary objective is to add asynchronous IO in a way that is general, extensible and resemble the original GNUnet API.

    • libbrandt GSoC kickoff

      I was accepted for a Google Summer of Code project and will be developing an auctioning library. During the community bonding period I have so far read four papers relevant to the topic, choosen a few algorithms with slightly different properties which I want to implement and reconstructed one of them within the pari/gp CLI (see attachment). I also started with a first draft of the library interface which will be published in a git repository shortly.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Governance, one of the main sectors using open data

        Governance, data and information technology, and research and consulting are the three sectors that most frequently use open government data across all regions, the Open Data Impact report reveals.

        The report, published in May, aimed at assessing the use of open data from the perspective of the people and organisations that use it – unlike the Open Data Barometer or Open Data Index which assess open data supply and quality in the world.

        “In the governance sector, uses focus on government accountability and transparency, providing services to government agencies, or improving governance and policy on specific issues”, whereas “data/ information technology organisations work to make open government data more useful and applicable for other businesses”, the report notes. “In a similar way, organisations that offer research and consulting services help other organisations and companies succeed and create economic and social value ”, the report added.

      • Matt Hancock (UK) pledges transparency through open data at OGP meeting

        Promoting transparency through open data was at the center of a visit by Matt Hancock, UK Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, to South Africa for an OGP Steering Committee meeting in May.

        Matt Hancock reaffirmed the UK government’s commitment to transparency and noted that the country was recently ranked first in the Open Data Barometer of the World Wide Web Foundation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Pyston 0.5 released

      Today we are extremely excited to announce the v0.5 release of Pyston, our high performance Python JIT. We’ve been a bit quiet for the past few months, and that’s because we’ve been working on some behind-the-scenes technology that we are finally ready to unveil. It might be a bit less shiny than some other things we could have worked on, but this change makes Pyston much more ready to use.

    • Pyston 0.5 Released As A Faster Python JIT

      The Dropbox engineers working on their Pyston project as a high-performance JIT implementation today announced version 0.5 of the software.

    • Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

      One rumor FOSS Force has heard puts him on his way back to Canonical. In his blog post, Bacon hints that he has some plans, “I have a few things in the pipeline that I am not quite ready to share yet, so stay tuned and I will share this soon.”

Leftovers

  • Get ready for more ads on Google Maps

    The search giant adds new ways for brands to lure people using its maps service. What this could mean for you: more stops at McDonald’s during road trips.

  • Unsafe at Many Speeds

    Visual Evidence looks at the ways design and data visualization can create or solve real-world problems, from making weather warnings easier to read to finding meaning on the bottom of our shoes. This week, we’ll transform some data on an everyday — some might even say, pedestrian – topic into a more visual and interactive form.

  • Move to scrap university entrance exams gains speed

    The hectic rush every spring as thousands of frazzled university applicants attend entrance exams has engendered even more talk than usual this year, as several fronts are pressing for dropping the demanding tests all together. The problem is finding a suitable replacement that would still be a fair determinant of applicant merits.

  • Science

    • NFL’s War Against Science and Reason

      As a powerful corporation and cultural icon, the NFL expects to always get its way whether muscling aside concussion scientists or ignoring science in a witch hunt against one of its best quarterbacks and teams, writes Robert Parry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Unaffordable Medicines Now Global Issue; System Needs Change, Panellists Say

      At a side event to this week’s annual World Health Assembly, a member of the Netherlands Ministry of Health delivered an unexpected speech on access to medicines, calling for more clarity in the setting of medicine prices, looking inside and outside of the patent system for solutions, and praising de-linkage. Other panellists viewed partnerships as a key ingredient to fill research and development gaps. And a representative from the Gates Foundation advised against a hasty switch to new system.

      Yesterday, an event co-organised by Health Action International, Medicines for Malaria Venture, and Oxfam gathered four speakers asked to discuss ways to achieve affordable access to health technologies.

    • Big Pharma: Pushing the Edge of the Envelope

      Wall Street’s drive for profits is hiking drug prices, says Caroline Poplin, MD, JD

    • GOP Lawmakers Capitalize on Zika Threat to Pass Bill Dubbed ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act

      Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.)., meanwhile, said it “is a sham.”

      “It is nothing but trying to weaken the environmental regulations. It exempts, a broad exemption, of toxic pesticides from the Clean Water Act,” she said to PBS Newshour Monday, adding that the bill stands to “pollute our rivers and contaminate our water.”

      Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.) spoke out against the measure on the House floor Tuesday, calling it “misguided” and “harmful.”

      “I am very concerned about the effect of these pesticides on the health of our rivers, on our streams, and especially the drinking water supplies of all our citizens, including pregnant women,” Napolitano added.

      Slamming the repeated iterations of the bill that threatens “to undo protections that safeguard our environment and public health,” Hoyer said that to “bring the same bill back to the Floor last week and again today, renamed with ‘Zika’ in the title, is one of the most egregious displays of dishonesty I’ve seen while serving in the House.”

      “It is an act that seeks to provide political cover for Republicans who refused to act on President Obama’s urgent request for funding to address the Zika outbreak in a serious way. House Republicans might as well bring this bill to the Floor and rename it the ‘Making Pesticides Great Again’ Act, because in truth it would remove virtually all federal oversight concerning the use of chemical pesticides to ensure they do not end up in our water supply,” he charged.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Big Stink, Necessary Evil’: A Poem That Will Change Your Perspective on the Atomic Bombings (Audio)
    • “American Sniper” Chris Kyle Distorted His Military Record, Documents Show

      No American has been more associated with the Navy SEAL mystique than Chris Kyle, known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. His bestselling autobiography, American Sniper — a story of honor, glory, and quiet heroism — has sold more than a million copies. The movie adaptation became the highest-grossing war film in American history.

      “All told,” Kyle wrote in his book, “I would end my career as a SEAL with two Silver Stars and five Bronze [Stars], all for valor.”

      But Kyle, who was murdered by a fellow military veteran several years after leaving the Navy, embellished his military record, according to internal Navy documents obtained by The Intercept. During his 10 years of military service and four deployments, Kyle earned one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars with Valor, a record confirmed by Navy officials.

    • Will Russia Succumb To Washington’s Economic Attack?

      If Russia is going to allow the West to control its economy, it may as well allow Washington to control its armed forces.

    • Former 9/11 Commissioner Won’t Rule Out Saudi Royal Family Foreknowledge of 9/11 Plot

      A former member of the 9/11 Commission on Tuesday left open the possibility that the Saudi royal family knew about the 9/11 terror plot before it happened.

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked members of the panel at a House Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing to raise their hands in response to this question:

      “How many of you there believe that the royal family of Saudi Arabia did not know and was unaware that there was a terrorist plot being implemented that would result in a historic terrorist attack in the United States, in the lead-up to 9/11?”

      Two of the four panelists raised their hands, but Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commission member and a former congressman from Indiana, did not. Neither did Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    • After ‘Destroying’ Canada, Stephen Harper Leaving Politics to ‘Make His Fortune’

      News that former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be leaving politics presumably to “make his fortune” was met with derision and delight from his many critics who say that the conservative MP “destroyed the social fabric of Canada.”

      Harper is expected to resign from federal politics before Parliament resumes in the fall. According to the Globe and Mail, which broke the news Wednesday, he plans to “pursue new interests on corporate boards and the establishment of a foreign policy institute,” which, according to an undisclosed source, “won’t be academic or domestic-policy focused…but directed largely at global ‘big picture’ issues.”

    • Harper will step down as MP before Parliament’s fall session

      Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Harper pushed austerity and balanced budgets at the G20 summits, a view not shared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government expects to run a $30-billion deficit this fiscal year.

    • Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army

      In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defence minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.”

      He was referring partly to his expected successor: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose trademark outbursts have included demands to bomb Egypt and behead disloyal Palestinian citizens.

      But Yaalon was also condemning extremism closer to home, in Netanyahu’s Likud party. Yaalon is to take a break from politics. With fitting irony, his slot is to be filled on Likud’s backbenches by Yehuda Glick, a settler whose struggle to destroy Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple has the potential to set the Middle East on fire.

    • Let Obama’s Hiroshima visit open up debate in the U.S. about the nuclear attacks

      Years ago, when I lived in San Diego, I saw a Cadillac with a homemade sign taped to the window that read “If there was not a Pearl Harbor, there would not have been a Hiroshima.” The car’s specialized license plate indicated that the owner was a Pearl Harbor veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart. The combination of messages perfectly encapsulated what is often the American understanding of the atomic bombs: necessary, just and, above all, uncomplicated.

      Tomorrow, Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima. It is a powerful moment for both Americans and Japanese. As a historian, I hope we can see this visit as an opportunity to open up the debate on the standard narratives of the nuclear attacks.

    • A Year Ago, I Crossed the DMZ in Korea. Here’s Why.
    • Evo Morales: Latin America Must Fight US Coups with ‘Democratic Revolution’

      Bolivian President Evo Morales called on leftist governments in South America to counter U.S. plans to control the region with a “democratic revolution.”

      “In some countries it should be like a wake-up call where [governments] must start permanent conferences to relaunch democratic and cultural revolutions for Latin America and the Caribbean [region],” Morales said during an interview in Cuba on Monday night with the program Cubavisión, according to TeleSUR.

    • Evo Morales Urges ‘Democratic Revolutions Against US Empire’

      The Bolivian head of state further warned that several socialist governments in the region are facing “a battle against the empire” which has launched a campaign to discredit and destabilize those governments.

    • Do Clinton Voters Care About War?

      In America, we do not lock up our murdering politicians. We rarely prosecute or impeach them. The only scandals that stick are sex ones. Serious voters, writers, pundits, and anyone else who feels as if they have deep principles invariably buckle under the partisan weight of the political system.

      She hasn’t yet been coronated, but Hillary Clinton is surely about to win the Democratic nomination. Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders has given her an amusing amount of trouble. And though he’s voted for deaths abroad as well, he hasn’t voted for as many as Clinton. (This is not an argument for Sanders, but it is unquestionably an argument against Clinton.) Still, she’s got this thing in the bag, because she’s got party loyalty, and she may even win the hearts of a few lost, sad little neocons running away from Donald Trump.

    • The Pentagon’s Huge Atomic Floppies

      When you hear the phrase “floppy disk,” your mind (assuming you’re of a certain age) flashes back to those ubiquitous 3.5-inch versions that were AOL’s Johnny Appleseed in the mid-1990s, spreading “You’ve Got Mail!” across the land. Only the aged among us can recollect what came before: the behemoth 5.25-inch models that owned the (tiny computer universe of the) 1980s.

    • US nuclear force ‘still uses floppy disks’ [iophk: "Newer is not better. Different is not better. Only better is better. Let's hope that the new stuff is not infected with Microsoft"]

      The US nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and floppy disks, a government report has revealed.

      The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon was one of several departments where “legacy systems” urgently needed to be replaced.

      The report said taxpayers spent $61bn (£41bn) a year on maintaining ageing technologies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Canary Watch – One Year Later

      Along the way, the project has been part of the massive popularization of the concept: we began with just eleven canaries listed, and now just a year later we have almost seventy. In the course of tracking those, we have learned many lessons about the different types of canaries that are present on the web, as well as what happens when a canary goes away.

      In that way, the Canary Watch project has been a major success, and we’ve decided that it has achieved the goals we set out for it. As of today we will no longer accept submissions of new canaries or monitor the existing canaries for changes or take downs.

    • Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn’t Delivered Yet

      President Obama took office promising to usher in an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability in the federal government.

      Back in 2009, when he said federal agencies “should take affirmative steps to make information public,” he promised that the administration would make openness a centerpiece of its agenda.

      But as the curtain closes on Obama’s second term, many of his lofty promises remain unfulfilled.

    • Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

      A Swedish lower court upheld on Wednesday the arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, saying the stay at Ecuador’s London embassy did not equal detention.

      Assange, 44, is wanted by Swedish authorities for questioning over allegations, which he denies, that he committed rape in 2010.

    • Report: Swedish Police Excuse Migrant Rape, Blame ‘Nordic Alcohol Culture’ And ‘Ignorance’

      A Swedish police report into rape and sexual assault committed by migrants has blamed “Nordic alcohol culture,” “ignorance” and the “non-traditional gender roles” of European women for the growing problem.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes

      Major insurer calls for an end to government subsidies that encourage expensive house-building schemes in areas of the US at high risk of floods and storms.

    • Activists and Investors Hold Exxon’s Feet to the Fire for Climate Crimes

      Exxon shareholders on Wednesday rejected a resolution that would have forced the oil giant to calculate and report the impact of climate change on its long-term business prospects, as well as other climate-related proposals, in some cases by an “overwhelming majority.”

      DeSmog Blog’s Steve Horn reports that “shareholders voted against one that called for the company to limit global warming to 2-degrees Celsius, with 18-percent voting for it and 82-percent against it. Further, 79-percent of shareholders voted against a resolution calling for the company to insert a climate expert on its Board.”

    • Striking Workers Shut Down France’s Oil Depots, Move to Blockade Nuclear Plant

      Striking workers with the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), one of France’s largest unions, are clashing with French government forces after the union members blockaded oil refineries and depots in response to President François Hollande forcing unpopular labor reforms through parliament earlier this month.

      Hollande’s proposed legislation would make it easier to fire employees, increase employees’ work hours, and move jobs offshore, in defiance of France’s long history of labor protections.

      The blockades shut down a quarter of the France’s gas stations and forced the country to dip into reserve petrol supplies.

  • Finance

    • We Have Entered The Looting Stage Of Capitalism

      Having successfully used the EU to conquer the Greek people by turning the Greek “leftwing” government into a pawn of Germany’s banks, Germany now finds the IMF in the way of its plan to loot Greece into oblivion .

      The IMF’s rules prevent the organization from lending to countries that cannot repay the loan. The IMF has concluded on the basis of facts and analysis that Greece cannot repay. Therefore, the IMF is unwilling to lend Greece the money with which to repay the private banks.

    • The Financial Invasion of Greece

      The IMF is preparing to bail out Ukraine, to say you don’t have to pay your debts that you owe to Russia or any governments that the U.S. doesn’t like. You have to sell off your land to George Soros and the people whom the U.S. government does like. Look at the duel standard that the IMF is imposing on Greece compared to what it’s doing for the Ukrainian government. You see that the IMF has become a tool of the New Cold War and the Syriza people and the Greeks can do is point out how unfair this is and to try to let the world know that what is happening is a movement way to the right wing of the political spectrum and that finance is war.

    • Lawsuit accusing 16 big banks of Libor manipulation reinstated by US court

      A US appeals court on Monday reinstated a civil lawsuit accusing 16 major banks of conspiring to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate. The ruling, which overturns a 2013 decision, could bankrupt the institutions, the judges warned.

      A lower court judge erred in dismissing the antitrust portion of private litigation against Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and others on the ground that the investors failed to allege harm to competition, according to the US circuit court of appeals in Manhattan.

      Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and is used to set rates on credit cards, student loans and mortgages. It is calculated based on submissions by banks that sit on panels.

    • Bernie Sanders Makes Hay With His Old-School Oratory Skills

      They were insistent that Sanders stay in the race against Hillary Clinton. “We haven’t had our primary yet,” Ewald said. “It should all count,” echoed Selden. “I think he should stay. He has to. The only people who want him to stop are the big corporations.”

    • 39,000 Verizon Workers Mark Six Weeks on Strike in Biggest U.S. Labor Action in Years

      Today marks six weeks since nearly 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Virginia, marking one of the biggest U.S. strikes in years. The workers have been without a contract since August amid attempts by Verizon to cap pensions, cut benefits and outsource work to Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam admitted the company’s second-quarter earnings may take a hit because the strike has resulted in the company falling behind on new internet and television installations. This comes as financial analysts are projecting the strike will cost Verizon $200 million in profits this year and a loss of $343 million in revenue in the second quarter alone. The Verizon strike is being organized by two unions: the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We speak to Verizon worker Pamela Galpern and Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America.

    • Pentagon Cafeteria Workers Faced Retaliation From Managers After Going On Strike

      Food service managers at the Pentagon have been illegally retaliating against workers for going on strike, attorneys for the National Labor Relations Board have found.

      Multiple employees at a Pentagon cafeteria managed by Seven Hills, Inc., participated in strikes alongside other federal contract workers across the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The campaign is the first of its kind, and has already won the support of the Obama administration in both word and deed.

    • The Other Big Surprise of 2016 Is the Return of Democratic Socialism

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

    • Republicans Demand Flint-Like Solution To Puerto Rico Debt

      Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) explains how Wall Street financial interests contributed to the economic crisis in Puerto Rico at the “Take On Wall Street” campaign event Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol.

      In 2008 Wall Street got in over its head, and the U.S. government and Federal Reserve stepped in with trillions of dollars to bail them out. Now Puerto Rico has debt that it cannot pay. Instead of helping, though, Republicans in Congress are demanding increased austerity and an unelected “oversight board” that sets aside democratic governance – the same way Republicans imposed unelected government on Michigan cities like Flint. (We know how that turned out.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Myth That Sanders Hasn’t Been Criticized Won’t Go Away

      This line of argument has been advanced by, for example, everyone from Slate’s Michelle Goldberg to the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky to MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid. The problem is this Beltway dogma is based entirely on rhetorical sleight-of-hand, conventional wisdom and unfalsifiable assumptions.

      The refrain that the Clinton campaign hasn’t run a negative attack on Sanders, thus protecting him from the sort of criticism that lies ahead, is just a lie — one that normally reserved PolitiFact (5/22/16) deemed Clinton’s claim to this effect “false.” This argument has been repeated by several pundits, notably Goldberg (5/2/16), who wrote, “Clinton has not hit Sanders with a single negative ad.” Tomasky (5/24/16) added, “While [Sanders] all but called Clinton a harlot, she’s barely said a word about him.”

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman on MetroFocus (PBS)

      Amy Goodman appears on the PBS show MetroFocus and breaks down all that is wrong with the media’s coverage of Election 2016.

    • 72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election

      A 72-year-old college professor named Alexander van der Bellen, running for president as the candidate of the leftist Austrian Green Party, a fringe party that had never been considered a serious contender in post-war Austrian politics, just won a narrow victory over Norbert Hofer, a right-wing candidate of the neo-fascist Freedom Party who had been favored to win.

    • If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent

      As of late I have not been particularly kind to Senator Sanders‘ ability or even intentions to truly fight for what desperately must be done to salvage a vague sense that democracy is not a complete illusion in the United States of America. Early on, when he threw his hat into the election circus ring, we made proper official interview requests to the Senator from Vermont through his Senate staff, and were never granted the courtesy of any sort of response. In several columns we have called him a “Hillary Clinton seat warmer” a “limp candidate” and other unflattering names. As the primary charade is about to end, Bernie Sanders still has a chance to not let his many supporters completely down. Sanders still can be a real contender, but the window of opportunity is closing extremely quickly.

    • Dems Reportedly Asking: Has Debbie Wasserman Schultz Become ‘Too Toxic’?

      Democratic Party insiders are reportedly discussing whether to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before this summer’s nominating convention in Philadelphia.

      “There’s a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill. “There’s too much water under the bridge for her to be a neutral arbiter.”

    • DNC chair on thin ice

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is on increasingly thin ice as she risks losing key support to stay in her job.
      Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s leading supporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as “part of the problem.” She said the Florida congresswoman is playing a “starring role” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July, which is unusual for someone in her position.

    • Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz Pick Influence Peddlers to Guide DNC Platform

      Three professional influence peddlers, including a registered corporate lobbyist, have been chosen by Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., to serve on the committee responsible for drafting the party’s platform.

      The 15-member panel has six members chosen by Clinton, five chosen by Bernie Sanders and four chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

      Wendy Sherman and Carol Browner, two of the representatives chosen by Clinton, work at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a “government affairs” firm that was created in 2009 through a merger with Madeleine Albright’s consulting company and Stonebridge International, a defense contractor lobbying shop.

    • Blaming ‘Too Much Democracy’ for Trump

      The latest lament of the neocon establishment is that America is suffering from too much democracy – leading to Donald Trump – but the opposite is more to the point, how elite manipulation set this stage, explains Mike Lofgren.

    • Hillary Clinton ripped by State Department inspector over e-mail flap

      The Republican Party and Donald Trump just got some fresh campaign fodder. A State Department inspector general report released Wednesday concludes that Hillary Clinton sidestepped security by running a private e-mail server when she was Secretary of State.

      The 83-page report by Inspector General Steve Linick noted that the Office of the Secretary has had “longstanding, systemic weaknesses related to electronic records.” What’s more, the report (PDF) concludes the office hasn’t addressed these issues fast enough.

    • Government Report on Clinton Email Scandal Much Worse Than Expected

      Hillary Clinton and her top aides failed to comply with U.S. State Department policies on records by using her personal email server and account, possibly jeopardizing official secrets, an internal watchdog concluded in a long-awaited report (pdf) on Wednesday.

      Clinton also never sought permission from the department’s legal staff to use the server, which was located at her New York residence, a request which—if filed—”would not” have been approved, the report by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) states.

    • Hillary Clinton Is Criticized for Private Emails in State Dept. Review

      The State Department’s inspector general on Wednesday sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying that she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.

      The report, delivered to members of Congress, undermined some of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements defending her use of the server and handed her Republican critics, including the party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, new fodder to attack her just as she closes in on the Democratic nomination.

    • Sanders Calls for Kentucky Vote Review, Clinton Nixes California Debate

      Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are revving up their campaigns in anticipation of the California primary, which will be held on June 7. This week, their pre-California strategies are growing clear: Sanders is attempting to engage with Hillary and create campaign momentum, whereas Clinton is continuing to go after Trump while trying to ignore any hindrances to her own campaign. Midway through this week’s madness, let’s look at what’s happening with both the Democratic nominees.

      On Monday, it was announced that Sanders would pick members for the platform-writing portion of the Democratic Party. The Washington Post reports that of the 15 members in the body, Clinton will appoint six and Sanders will appoint five. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Convention’s chair, will appoint the remaining four.

    • Transgender Group ‘Perplexed’ At Why Clinton Won’t Fill Out Questionnaire

      A national group for trans people in the United States is waiting for Hillary Clinton to complete a survey on where she stands on issues. On the other hand, the group is not waiting for Bernie Sanders. He followed through on his commitment to fill out the questionnaire.

    • Five Takeaways From Democracy Spring

      April 2016 was a turning point for democracy in the United States.

      Under the banner of Democracy Spring, thousands of Americans decided to fight back against a broken democratic system that represents only the wealthiest in society. They gathered in Washington, D.C. to march, rally, and risk arrest (over 1300 people were arrested on the Capitol steps) to get big money out of politics and ensure that every American has the right to vote.

      These protestors had clear demands, endorsing four pieces of legislation already introduced in Congress.

    • Television Meets History

      “All The Way,” an HBO biopic of LBJ from his first days of presidency through the election victory of 1964, aired on Saturday to the delight of critics and, one suspects, also most of the viewers. The adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony award-winning 2014 theater piece is certainly timely, in the fifty-year anniversary sense alone, but it has a lot more going for it. Jay Roach, who memorably directed Bryan Cranston, star of this film, as Dalton Trumbo in an earlier biopic, here has crafted a Lyndon Johnson true to the life, vulgar and manipulative but in many ways the loyal son of the New Deal that Johnson imagined himself.

      What may it mean to people not yet born fifty years ago, most of all to today’s young, economically sunken and political restless population? How do they (or we) understand a political crisis of the two party system in the face of another political crisis, at least as intense? And what do we make, on the Democratic side in particular, of rivals who hearken back to that political era, where they developed their ideas and hardened themselves for an extended upward climb?

      It would seem especially difficult for mainstream Democrats, now in a rush to get Bernie Sanders into the concession mode, to imagine a teenage Hillary Clinton as the Goldwater Girl of suburban Chicago, 1964. Respectable Republican suburbanites mostly disdained use of the N Word as evidence of lower class vulgarity. But Barry Goldwater’s insistence that the Constitution forbade “forced” integration of schools and other public facilities had a special resonance for the Country Club set. As suburbs sprouted, racial covenants had sprouted with them way back to the 1920s, marking off large, mostly prosperous living space—especially compared to the tax-starved cities—from the taint of a non-white presence. Hillary Rodham’s own Park Ridge was a prime case in point: 99.9% white in 1960, its residents undoubtedly wished to keep it that way.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Huge, Huge Deal

      Here and there we’ve reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker. As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced, Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It’s hard to feel too much sympathy when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone’s sex tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind, significantly changes the picture.

    • Silicon Valley Billionaire Peter Thiel Accused Of Financing Hulk Hogan’s Ridiculous Lawsuits Against Gawker

      So here’s a crazy and unfortunate story. On Monday evening, the NY Times posted a rather weird story suggesting that there was someone with a grudge against Gawker funding the various lawsuits against the site, including Hulk Hogan’s multiple lawsuits (he recently filed another one, even more ridiculous than the first — which resulted in a $115 million verdict against Gawker that hopefully will get tossed on appeal). The NYT piece was weird in that it was pure innuendo — just saying that Gawker’s Nick Denton was increasingly sure that someone who really disliked the site was funding the lawsuits. It was surprising that the NY Times ran it given the lack of anything beyond speculation and rumor.

    • Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship in U.S. Prisons

      Like many political prisoners, the author’s freedom of speech rights are routinely curtailed. “While prisoners do have a legal right to express their thoughts and report on issues and abuses, actually getting your words out is often very hard or impossible.” U.S. prisons operate their own “kangaroo courts” that often shut down inmate communications “even if the prisoner ultimately wins appeal and has his or her communications restored.”

    • D&AD Next Photographer winner Tam Hoi Ying on challenging censorship in China

      Hong Kong-Chinese photographer Tam Hoi Ying has received this year’s D&AD Next Photographer award for a series of images which raise awareness of issues surrounding freedom of speech and human rights in China. Here, she discusses her work and how she hopes to challenge censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Questionable Copyright Claim Forces Indie Musician To Destroy All Physical Copies Of New Album

      Indie musician Will Toledo has a band (it’s all him, actually) called Car Seat Headrest that just (sorta) put out its first album with a label (pretty famous indie record label) after a whole bunch of self-released albums, and lots of (well-deserved) internet buzz. The album was released this past Friday… sorta. Apparently one of the songs included an homage to a song by The Cars. I’ve read a bunch of articles on this and Toledo’s own statement, and the homage is called a bunch of different things, from a “sample” to a “cover” and no one ever clarifies which it actually is. And that’s important because the legal issues are potentially different with each. But, it also doesn’t matter at all because Toledo and Matador have agreed to destroy all the physical copies of the album after The Cars’ Ric Ocasek complained that he didn’t like it. So the digital release came out, with a replacement version of the song that Toledo apparently rewrote a week before the album was released, and a new physical version will come out… sometime.

    • Car Seat Headrest LPs Destroyed Because Ric Ocasek Wouldn’t Authorize a Cars Sample

      Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Denial, will be digitally available next Friday, May 20 via Matador. The record was originally supposed to be physically released on May 20, too. However, the physical release has been delayed to the summer due to a legal issue over “Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed,” an album track containing elements of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” In a press release, the label writes, “Matador had negotiated for a license in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.” As a result, the currently printed copies of the record will be recalled and destroyed. The song, meanwhile, will be edited to remove the Cars reference.

    • Censorship & Upcoming Royal Society Evo Meeting

      The world is awash with the latest scientific evidence that anyone and everyone can now access on the Internet. Science in that sense has been democratized and everyone who wants to be in the know can be — including the Royal Society organizing committee — and can have an educated opinion.

    • Ekho Moskvy Chief Alleges Censorship In Cancellation Of Putin Critic’s Show

      The editor in chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, one of Russia’s most prominent independent-minded media outlets, says a popular talk show hosted by a searing Kremlin critic has been pulled off the air due to censorship by the station’s management.

      The comments by Aleksei Venediktov come amid mounting concerns that the authorities are stepping up efforts to curtail hard-hitting investigative reporting and dissenting voices anywhere in the Russian media.

    • Liberal censorship: breaking out of the echo chamber

      Universities, once recognized as bastions of tolerance and diversity, bear perhaps the greatest blame. Kristof cites studies showing that just 6 to 11 percent of humanities professors are conservatives. Fewer than one in ten social-studies professors call themselves conservative. For perspective, consider that twice that number identify as Marxists!

    • Lawmakers From The Great Theocracy Of Utah Looking To Block Porn On Cell Phones

      When we’ve talked in the past about government attempting to outright block pornography sites, those efforts have typically been aimed at sites hosting child pornography. Blocking child porn is a goal that’s impossible to rebel against, though the methods for achieving it are another matter entirely. Too often, these attempts task ISPs and mobile operators with the job of keeping this material out of the public eye, which is equal parts burdensome, difficult to do, and rife with collateral damage. Other nations, on the other hand, have gone to some lengths to outright block pornography in general, such as in Pakistan for religious reasons, or in the UK for save-the-children reasons. If the attempts to block child porn resulted in some collateral damage, the attempts to outright censor porn from the internet resulted in a deluge of such collateral damage. For this reason, and because we have that pesky First Amendment in America, these kinds of efforts attempted by the states have run into the problem of being unconstitutional in the past.

    • Meet The Social Justice Foundation That Pays For Censorship And Lies

      In addition, the foundation has partnered with Microsoft in an effort to replace standardized testing with an educational video game system that would likely bring a progressive message to millions of American students.

    • NUJ: Amendments to CMA 1998 must not restrict right to freedom of expression

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has cautioned that the proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 must not restrict the right to freedom of expression online.

      “NUJ considers it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of press since online news now play a bigger role in informing the public.

      “Clamping down on online reporting will not only maim freedom of information but also removes the democratic rights of the people,” it said in statement on Wednesday.

      Proposed amendments to the Act include mandatory registration of political bloggers and online news portals, and an increase in penalties for offences under the Act.

    • NUJ expresses concerns over proposal to amend Communication and Multimedia Act

      The NUJ said it considered it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of the press since online media now plays a bigger role in keeping the public informed.

    • NUJ: Proposed law could entrench censorship

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia has lent its support to calls against proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

    • WhatsApp ban ignites Brazil censorship fears
    • Security Researcher Revealing “Secure” Advertising Claim By DigiExam As Utterly False Threatened With Copyright Monopoly Lawsuit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mid-2016 Tor bug retrospective, with lessons for future coding

      Recommendation 5.1: all backward compatibility code should have a timeout date. On several occasions we added backward compatibility code to keep an old version of Tor working, but left it enabled for longer than we needed to. This code has tended not to get the same regular attention it deserves, and has also tended to hold surprising deviations from the specification. We should audit the code that’s there today and see what we can remove, and we should never add new code of this kind without adding a ticket and a comment planning to remove it.

    • Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits

      Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser’s technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room.

      [...]

      When Ads Follow You Around

      By now, most Americans have experienced the following phenomenon: You look at something online—a hotel, a flower delivery service, a course at a local college—and the next thing you know, ads for that thing follow you around the internet for the next week.

      A watch you looked at now pops up next to your Facebook feed; an ad for a coffee machine you researched on Amazon now lurks on your favorite news sites. And maybe, after researching cars online, it seems that Toyota knows whenever you visit a lot, and sends ads to your phone as you walk through the dealership’s doors.

    • Dropbox Wants More Access To Your Computer, and People Are Freaking Out

      On Tuesday, Dropbox published more details about upcoming changes to the company’s desktop client that will allow users to access all of the content in their account as if it is stored on their own machine, no matter how small the hard-disk on their computer.

      In other words, you can browse through your own file system and have direct access to your cloud storage, without having to go and open a web browser nor worry about filling up your hard-drive.

      Sounds great, but experts and critics have quickly pointed out that Dropbox Infinite, as the technology is called, may open up your computer to more serious vulnerabilities, because it works in a particularly sensitive part of the operating system.

    • Is Facebook eavesdropping on your phone conversations?

      It’s irresistible, enticing and addicting. And, it’s available 24-hours a day all over the world to billions of people. Facebook beckons to users seemingly with a two-prong approach – both the pressure and pleasure to post.

      We share stories, photos, triumphs and tragedies. It is ingrained into our daily lives so deeply that studies show people check Facebook, on average, 14 times a day. With all those eyes all over the globe dialed in and the purchasing power available, the online giant has tapped into a controversial delivery of data into its intelligence gathering. It all starts with something that you may not even realize is enabled on your phone.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Must Pass the Email Privacy Act Without Weakening Amendments

      The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Email Privacy Act on Thursday. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) plan to introduce near-identical text of the House-passed bill, H.R. 699, as substitute language for the existing Senate bill, S. 356. This manager’s amendment contains minor changes. In addition, up to eight different amendments may be offered.

      The Email Privacy Act would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to get a probable cause warrant from a judge before obtaining private content stored in the “cloud” with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 699 last month by a unanimous vote of 419-0. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last September on the need to reform ECPA and codify the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained emails stored by third parties without a probable cause warrant.

    • Congrats, FBI, You’ve Now Convinced Silicon Valley To Encrypt And Dump Log Files

      Soon after the original Snowden revelations, I went around talking to a bunch of startups and startup organizers, discussing whether they’d be more willing to speak out and complain about excessive government surveillance. Some certainly did, but many were cautious. A key thing that I heard over and over again was “well, our own data privacy protections… aren’t that great, and we’d hate to call attention to that.” Every single time I’d hear that I’d point out that this should now be their first priority: clean up your own act, now and fix your own handling of people’s data, because it’s an issue that’s going to become increasingly important, and you’re being foolish and shortsighted to ignore it.

      While the Snowden revelations certainly did get some companies to improve their own practices, it looks like the FBI’s decision to go after Apple over encryption, has really galvanized many in Silicon Valley to take action to truly protect their users from snooping government officials — meaning making use of real (not backdoored) encryption and also diong other things like dumping log files more frequently.

    • We toured the NSA museum, a building dedicated to America’s secrets and spies — take a look [Ed: Pro-NSA site (not just me saying so) does a puff piece for NSA today
    • The NSA will neither confirm nor deny these are items in its gift shop[Ed: puff pieces for the NSA continue to come from BI]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A computer program rated defendants’ risk of committing a future crime. These are the results.

      Courtrooms across the nation are using computer programs to predict who will be a future criminal. The programs help inform decisions on everything from bail to sentencing. They are meant to make the criminal justice system fairer — and to weed out human biases.

      ProPublica tested one such program and found that it’s often wrong — and biased against blacks. (Read our story.)

    • Drinking Milk While Black: Middle School Kid Busted For “Stealing” Milk Carton He Was Entitled To, and Besides They Probably Have A Frig At Home Too

      A valiant police officer in Prince William County, Virginia arrested and handcuffed an aspiring thug and middle school student – who is black but obviously that had nothing to do with it – after the boy allegedly “stole” a 65-cent milk carton already available to him under a free lunch program. Ryan Turk was confronted by the school cop – wait, tell us again why we have cops in school? – in the cafeteria after he went back to the lunch line to get milk. When the officer grabbed him and charged him with stealing it, he protested – “I yanked away from him and I told him to get off me because he’s not my dad,” the perpetrator later admitted – at which point two officers handcuffed him because he “broke the rules and became disorderly.” Turk was taken to the principal’s office, where he was searched for drugs, charged with larceny and suspended from school for “acting inappropriately” – more specifically, “theft, being disrespectful and using his cell phone.”

    • A School Accused A Student Of Milk Theft. He Was Innocent But Is Still Going To Court.

      A middle school student in Virginia was handcuffed and charged with stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from his school cafeteria, local television station WTVR reported — even though the student, who’s on the school’s free lunch program, wasn’t responsible for paying for it anyway.

      The student’s mother told WVTR she’s very frustrated her son was handcuffed. “They are charging him with larceny,” she said. “I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

    • Prosecutors Still Using Race to Choose Juries in Death Penalty Cases, Despite Century of Supreme Court Rulings

      Yesterday’s 7-1 Supreme Court decision in Foster v. Chatman was a huge victory for Timothy Foster, a 49-year-old Black man who has been on Georgia’s death row for 29 years. The ruling also reflects a systemic problem with the death penalty: prosecutors’ repeated, deliberate use of race to choose jurors. This practice alone makes capital punishment so fundamentally unfair that we must end it.

    • In fighting corruption, whistleblowers must be encouraged

      Corruption is a complex phenomenon, and I think it depends a lot on which point of view you choose to look at it. I think the reality today is a reality of light and shade. Although it is true that there are many more corruption scandals –and we just witnessed a global explosion with the Panama Paper revelations–, corruption has also become a lot more visible than in the past. And that speaks well of the investigation mechanisms, and of the tools of transparency and social mobilisation in many places, which have resulted in these cases coming to light. Before there was much more opacity, I think, on the issue of corruption.

    • Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500

      It’s less than a month since the ‘Frisco Five’ began their hunger strike, with a single demand: that Police Chief Greg Suhr resign or be fired. This chief, who for five years has been crying ‘crocodile tears’ while justifying every police killing of a Black or Latino person. This chief, who for five years has been vigilantly protected by the mayor, the media and the city’s Democratic political establishment.

    • 5,600 Refugees Rescued in 48 Hours an Indictment of Crises Created by West

      As humanitarian groups plead with European officials to allow refugees safe passage—and as Europe closes its borders to asylum seekers—more and more people are risking their lives in the treacherous sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, with disastrous results.

      The Italian Coast guard announced Wednesday morning that a staggering 5,600 migrants had been rescued from treacherous waters off the coast of Libya in only the last 48 hours—straining all search and rescue agencies in the region to absolute capacity.

      On Tuesday alone, 3,000 asylum seekers were rescued in 23 separate operations.

    • DHS/ICE Knew Its World Series ‘Panty Raid’ Was A Bad Idea; Pressured To Do So Anyway

      The Kansas City Royals’ long-delayed return to competitive baseballing coincided with one of the most ridiculous raids ever conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Birdies, a Kansas City lingerie shop, was “visited” by DHS agents — working in conjunction with ICE — who seized a number of panties emblazoned with a handcrafted take on the Royals’ logo, along with the phrase “Take the Crown.”

    • Will Rhode Island Double Down on the CFAA’s Faults?

      Legislators in Rhode Island have advanced a dangerous bill that would duplicate and exacerbate the faults of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Four organizations joined EFF this week in signing a letter and supporting memo to state legislators explaining the bill’s faults and why it should not pass.

      In addition to threatening innocent activities like security research, whistleblowing in the public interest, and anyone who violates a corporate Terms of Service (TOS) agreement to access confidential information, the bill would place enormous power in the hands of prosecutors, impose steep criminal penalties without even requiring an intent to obtain financial gain, and compound the problematic vagueness of terms in existing Rhode Island state law.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Bill Would Require DNA Samples From Americans When Sponsoring Family Visas

      A new immigration bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee would impose unprecedented restrictions on U.S. citizens seeking to sponsor the immigration of their family members, requiring that all parties submit to mandatory DNA testing as part of their visa applications.

      H.R. 5203, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016, would require that “a genetic test is conducted to confirm such biological relationship,” adding that, “any such genetic test shall be conducted at the expense of the petitioner or applicant.”

      A public letter from the American Civil Liberties Union protesting the bill notes that its provisions would require “even a nursing mother [to] undergo DNA testing to prove the biological relationship with her infant,” and “would amount to population surveillance that subverts our notions of a free and autonomous citizenry.” It is unclear how the bill would account for adopted children, or those who for a variety of other reasons might not fully share the DNA characteristics of their parents.

    • Amos Yee makes video to hurt Muslims, but the community’s too mature for him

      Amos Yee has made an extremely provocative video with the intent of hurting the beliefs and sentiments of Muslims.

    • Amos Yee to face new charges related to religion

      Less than a year after he was released from jail for posting online an obscene image and content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians, teenage blogger Amos Yee is set to be charged on Thursday (May 26) with similar offences.

      The 17-year-old will face eight charges, including five for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges relate to content he posted online between November last year and last Thursday.

      The remaining two charges are for allegedly failing to show up at Jurong Police Division last December and this month, despite a notice from Assistant Superintendent of Police Doreen Chong and a magistrate’s order to do so.

    • Muslim students face $5K fine if they refuse Swiss teachers’ handshakes

      Educational authorities in Switzerland ruled Wednesday that the parents or guardians of students who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand — a Swiss tradition — can be fined up to $5,000.

      The decision comes after a school in the northern town of Therwil, near Basel, agreed last month to allow two teenage Muslim boys to refuse to shake hands with their female teachers on religious grounds. The school also decided the boys would not shake hands with male teachers to avoid discrimination.

      The incident sparked a national debate — Swiss students often shake their teachers’ hands at the beginning and end of the day.

    • Police release chilling bodycam footage of the moments before unarmed father-of-two was shot dead in a hotel by Arizona police officer – but crucially omits the moment he begged for his life

      Police in Arizona have released an edited bodycam video of the night an unarmed father was shot dead by cops, although it crucially omits the moment he was killed while begging for his life.

      The shaky footage, published publicly on Tuesday, fails to show the moment Daniel Shaver, 26, was shot dead by officer Philip Brailsford in Mesa on January 18.

      Shaver, a married father-of-two from Texas, was in the city for business relating to his work in pest control.

      Police were called to his hotel after reports that someone was pointing a gun from a window on a high-up floor in La Quinta Inn & Suites on East Superstition Springs Boulevard.

      Though Shaver carries two pellet guns with him for work, he was unarmed at the time.

      In the footage released by police, all that can be seen or heard in the video is the armed response team ordering guests on the fifth floor to get out their rooms as they surrounded Room 502, Shaver’s room.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Broadband Caps Go Live This Week And Are The Opening Salvo In An All-Out War On Cord Cutters

      For a company that just spent $69 billion on DirecTV to unlock “amazing synergies” across the TV, wireless and broadband sectors, AT&T’s latest quarterly earnings subscriber tallies landed with a bit of a thud. The company actually posted a net loss of 54,000 video subscribers, a net loss of 363,000 postpaid phone subscribers, and a net gain of just 5,000 broadband customers during the quarter — suggesting that any “synergies” AT&T envisioned are going to be somewhat slow in coming, if they arrive at all.

      That AT&T spent $69 billion on a satellite TV provider on the eve of the cord cutting revolution — especially given its fixed broadband network lags cable speeds and is in desperate need of upgrade — turned numerous heads on Wall Street. But skeptics haven’t yet really keyed in to the cornerstone of AT&T’s plans or its ultimate secret weapon in the war on evolving markets: usage caps.

    • GOP budget bill would kill net neutrality and FCC’s set-top box plan

      House Republicans yesterday released a plan to slash the Federal Communications Commission’s budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, “rate regulation,” and its plan to boost competition in the set-top box market.

      The proposal is the latest of many attempts to gut the FCC’s authority, though it’s unusual in that it takes aim at two of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s signature projects while also cutting the agency’s budget. The plan is part of the government’s annual appropriations bill.

  • DRM

    • As Netflix Locks Down Exclusive Disney Rights, The New Walled Gardens Emerge

      Back in 2012, Netflix and Disney struck a deal wherein Netflix would be the exclusive online provider of Disney content starting in 2016. And while we knew that the deal had been struck, it was only this week that Netflix announced on its blog that the exclusive arrangement would formally begin in September. As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films — you need to do it via Netflix.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leaked European Council Document On Major Evaluation Of EU Drug Affordability

      The 28 European Union member governments are preparing to request the European Commission to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the availability and affordability of EU medicinal products that could lead to changes in R&D and pricing models. An apparent first-of-its-kind, the assessment would look at market and data exclusivity, supplementary protection certificates, and intellectual property issues, according to an alleged copy of the draft Council conclusions obtained by Intellectual Property Watch.

    • Trademarks

      • SCHHH … it’s not a single brand

        The IPKat is very grateful to David Pellisé and Juan Carlos Quero of Pellisé Abogados in Barcelona, for telling him about a new reference that is fizzing its way to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

        Interested in the limits of parallel importation? Then pour yourself a stiff G&T and read on. The Barcelona Commercial Court (nº 8) in Spain has essentially asked the CJEU to rule on what happens when the owner of a trademark right has caused uncertainty as to the function of origin.

      • City Of Mesa Abusing Trademark Law To Punish City Council Candidate They Don’t Like

        Another day, another story of abusing trademark law to try to silence speech. Paul Levy has the story of how the city of Mesa, Arizona, has sent a ridiculous cease and desist letter to Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council. Apparently, his opponent in the election is the preferred choice of many current city officials, suggesting that they don’t really appreciate Whittaker’s candidacy. But the city took things a ridiculous step too far in sending that cease and desist, arguing that Whittaker’s campaign signs violate the city’s trademark on its logo.

      • Urban Outfitters With A Surprising First Win In Navajo Trademark Dispute: Navajo Isn’t Famous

        Earlier this year, we wrote about an ongoing trademark dispute between the Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters. The clothier had released a line of clothing and accessories, most notably women’s underwear, with traditional Native American prints and had advertised them as a “Navajo” line. The Nation, which has registered trademarks on the term “Navajo”, had sued for profits and/or damages under trademark law and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits companies from passing off goods as being made by Native Americans when they were not. In that post, I had focused on whether or not the term “Navajo” was deserving of trademark protection at all, or whether it ought to be looked at in the same way we consider words like “American”, “Canadian” or “Mexican”, as generic terms to denote a group of people.

    • Copyrights

      • Fan-Created Movie Subtitle Site Operator Facing Prison

        The operator of a site that hosted fan-made translated movie subtitles has been prosecuted in Sweden. Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, despite many feeling that the site had done nothing wrong. That is disputed by the prosecutor who says that the crimes committed are worthy of imprisonment.

      • Hollywood Writers & Copyright Scholars Point Out That Piracy Fears Over Open Set Top Boxes Are Complete FUD

        We’ve been covering for a while the ridiculous ongoing fight about the FCC’s plan to open up the set top box market to actual competition. Historically, we’ve always seen that when closed technologies are opened up, it generally leads to much more innovation that benefits everyone. But the big cable companies are freaking out, because locked set top boxes are a huge moneymaker for them: they get customers to “rent” those cable boxes for an average of $230 per year. The industry, as a whole, takes in approximately $20 billion from set top box rentals alone. And they can only do that because the market is locked down. And the cable companies don’t want to give that up.

        They’ve been trying various strategies to kill off the FCC’s plans, including the ridiculous, but frequently used, argument that opening up set top boxes will harm diversity (the opposite is actually true, but… details). But a key vector of attack on this plan has been to convince their buddies at the MPAA that open set top boxes are just another name for piracy. They’ve convinced some truly confused Hollywood types to freak out about more innovation in set top boxes meaning more piracy, leading to a series of similar op-ed pieces showing up basically everywhere. And those op-eds have influenced some of our clueless lawmakers too, who are now asking if open set top boxes will lead to a Popcorn Time revolution.

05.25.16

Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Your Occasional Reminder to Use Plain Text Whenever Possible

    I myself have lost access to many WordPerfect files from the ’80s in their original form, though I have been migrating their content to other formats over the years. I was fortunate, though, to do most of my early work in VMS and Unix, so a surprising number of my programs and papers from that era are still readable as they were then. (Occasionally, this requires me to dust off troff to see what I intended for them to look like then.)

  • Science

  • Networking

    • Disruption in the Networking Hardware Marketplace

      The idea behind software-defined networking (SDN) is to abstract physical elements from networking hardware and control them with software. Part of this is decoupling network control from forwarding functions so you can program it directly, but the main idea is that this separation allows for a dynamic approach to networking – something that the increasing disaggregation in IT makes a necessity.

    • Facebook Lauds Terragraph Cost Savings

      Facebook says its Terragraph system could revolutionize service provider economics, insisting the cost point it is targeting for the wireless technology is “significantly” less than that of rival connectivity solutions.

      Announced last month, Terragraph uses unlicensed spectrum in the 60GHz range to provide high-speed connectivity in densely populated communities. (See Facebook Debuts Terragraph & ARIES to Extend Wireless.)

      The social networking giant says it plans to make Terragaph available to service providers through its recently launched Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which is developing open source network technologies in partnership with various telecom operators and vendors. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

    • AT&T will launch SDN service in 63 countries simultaneously this year, de la Vega says

      Ralph de la Vega, vice chairman of AT&T and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, told investors during the 44th Annual JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that while he could not name the service yet, it’s something that the company could not have achieved on traditional hardware architectures.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What the Media and Congress Are Missing on Zika and Poverty

      Somewhere along the way the focus shifted. What began as coordinating a response to Zika that is rooted in smart public health policy and caring for our fellow citizens became a funding fight on Capitol Hill in which many conservatives seem completely divorced from reality—particularly the reality of low-income women and children of color living in the South.

    • Commission may offer defining criteria on hormone disruptors by June

      After a delay of more than two years, the criteria defining hormone disruptors could be presented at the meeting of the College of European Commissioners on 15 June, Le Monde reported on Friday (20 May). EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

      Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health, had promised MEPs in February to present the criteria for the definition of endocrine (hormone) disruptors by this summer. Their publication was originally planned for December 2013.

      Hormone disruptors are already mentioned in two European regulations, one from 2009 on biocides and the other from 2012 on crop protection products, but they remain undefined.

    • Initiative To Find New Antibiotics Being Launched At WHA

      A new initiative seeking to develop new antibiotic treatments is being launched today at the annual World Health Assembly. The Global Antibiotic Research and Development (GARD) is a partnership between the World Health Organization and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

      The partnership has secured the necessary seed funding to build its scientific strategy, initial research and development (R&D) portfolio, and start-up team, according to a DNDi release.

    • Marijuana social network is denied listing on Nasdaq

      The Denver-based social network has 775,000 users from the 24 states where marijuana is legal medicinally (including those states where it’s also legal recreationally), who use the platform to find like-minded people in their area, learn about nearby dispensaries, and follow pot legalization news. MassRoots has said it meets the criteria for listing on Nasdaq—it has a $40 million market capitalization value and “well over 300 shareholders” through over-the-counter markets, according to CNN Money.

      MassRoots alleges that the decision to deny the social media platform a place on Nasdaq was due to the fact that marijuana use and cultivation remains a federal crime. “On May 23, 2016, Nasdaq denied MassRoots’ application to list on its exchange for being cannabis-related,” the company wrote. “We believe this dangerous precedent could prevent nearly every company in the regulated cannabis industry from listing on a national exchange, making it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to raise capital and slow the progression of cannabis legalization in the United States.”

    • WHO Engagement With Outside Actors: Delegates Tight-Lipped, Civil Society Worried

      This week, country delegates meeting at the annual World Health Assembly are expected to come to an agreement on a framework managing the UN World Health Organization’s relationship with outside actors, such as the private sector, philanthropic organisations and civil society groups.

    • Global Health R&D Under Debate At World Health Assembly

      Panellists included David Kaslow, who oversees PATH’s product development partnerships; Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general in charge of the Health Systems and Innovation Cluster at WHO; Suerie Moon, research director and co-chair of the Forum on Global Governance for Health at the Harvard Global Health Institute; Bernard Pécoul, who leads the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi); and Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, the deputy permanent representative of Brazil to the UN organisations in Geneva.

    • Samantha Bee: In the Big Tobacco vs. Little Vape Fight, the Underdog Keeps on Puffing

      New government regulations announced earlier this month may give Big Tobacco a huge advantage over its major competitor—the vape market.

    • GMOs Are Complicated, And Our Food System Is Not Designed To Handle Complicated. That’s A Problem.

      The report comes at an important time in the overall debate about GMOs and their place in the American food system. In a country almost constantly polarized, an overwhelming majority of Americans think that GMOs should be labeled. According to a Pew poll, more than half of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe. At the same time, proponents of the technology argue that GMOs are safe for human consumption and will help farmers meet growing demands for food, even as population increases and climate change intensifies.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Kerry Threatens War-Without-End on Syria

      Alleged peace-maker John Kerry threatened to wage war-without-end on Syria – if the Middle East country does accept the US demand for regime change.

      That’s hardly the language of a supposed bona fide diplomat who presents an image to the world as a politician concerned to bring about an end to the five-year Syrian conflict.

      The US Secretary of State repeatedly sounds anxious to alleviate the appalling suffering of the Syrian nation, where over the past five years some 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced as refugees.

    • More Game-Playing on MH-17?

      The West keeps piling the blame for the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Russian President Putin although there are many holes in the case and the U.S. government still withholds its evidence, writes Robert Parry.

    • House simmers with criticism for Saudi Arabia

      House lawmakers appear eager for an opportunity to beat up on Saudi Arabia, amid persistent allegations about the kingdom’s support for international terrorism.

      Legislators from both parties took shots at the kingdom during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, in what could presage a one-sided effort to pass legislation opening the kingdom up to legal jeopardy for alleged activity ahead of 9/11.

      “If a foreign country — any country — can be shown to have significantly supported a terrorist attack on the United States, the victims and their families ought to be able to sue that foreign country, no matter who it is,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the head of the subcommittee on Terrorism and a co-sponsor of the bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. “Like any other issue, we should let a jury decide that issue and the damages, if any.”

      “What concerns me is the Saudi government comes to us and say ‘You’re our friend and you should protect us from this statute,’ while defending every day the Wahhabi mullahs who not only preach orthodox practices of Islam, but preach violence and murder against those whom they disagree with,” added Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)

    • Tony Blair Admits His Ignorance of Middle East; Immediately Calls for New War

      Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted underestimating “forces of destabilization” in the Middle East when Britain joined the U.S. in invading Iraq in 2003, the Guardian reports, but stopped short of actually apologizing for the U.K.’s role in the Iraq War in remarks at an event on Tuesday.

    • How to Disappear Money, Pentagon-Style

      The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year — more, that is, than was spent at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup, and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined. And keep in mind that that’s just a partial total. As an analysis by the Straus Military Reform Project has shown, if we count related activities like homeland security, veterans’ affairs, nuclear warhead production at the Department of Energy, military aid to other countries, and interest on the military-related national debt, that figure reaches a cool $1 trillion.

    • Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror

      Hillary owns Kosovo – she is not only personally responsible for its evolution from a province of the former Yugoslavia into a Mafia state, she is also the mother of the policy that made its very existence possible and which she carried into her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

      As the “Arab Spring” threatened to topple regimes throughout the Middle East, Mrs. Clinton decided to get on board the revolutionary choo-choo train and hitch her wagon to “moderate” Islamists who seemed like the wave of the future. She dumped Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a friend of the family, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power. In Libya, she sided with Islamist rebels out to overthrow Moammar Ghaddafi, celebrating his gruesome death by declaring “We came, we saw, he died.” And in Syria, she plotted with Gen. David Petraeus to get around President Obama’s reluctance to step into the Syrian quagmire by arming Syrian rebels allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist gangs.

    • Israel’s Army Goes to War With Its Politicians

      IN most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer last week of the post of defense minister to Avigdor Lieberman, a pugnacious ultranationalist politician, is the latest act in the war between Mr. Netanyahu and the military and intelligence leaders, a conflict that has no end in sight but could further erode the rule of law and human rights, or lead to a dangerous, superfluous military campaign.

      The prime minister sees the defense establishment as a competitor to his authority and an opponent of his goals. Putting Mr. Lieberman, an impulsive and reckless extremist, in charge of the military is a clear signal that the generals’ and the intelligence chiefs’ opposition will no longer be tolerated. Mr. Lieberman is known for ruthlessly quashing people who hold opposing views.

      This latest round of this conflict began on March 24: Elor Azariah, a sergeant in the I.D.F., shot and killed a Palestinian assailant who was lying wounded on the ground after stabbing one of Sergeant Azariah’s comrades. The I.D.F. top brass condemned the killing. A spokesman for Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff, said, “This isn’t the I.D.F., these are not the I.D.F.’s values.”

    • A Worrisome New Plan to Send U.S. Troops to Libya as ‘Advisers’

      The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Dunford, said last week that the United States is engaged in a “period of intense dialogue” that could lead to an agreement with the government of Libya that would allow U.S. “military advisers” to be deployed there in the fight against Islamic State.

      “There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface,” Dunford told The Washington Post. “We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen.”

      This plan should worry every American. If the past is any lesson, the new U.S. military advisers will likely be permanent and will presage a large combat contingent in Libya.

      U.S. military advisers first arrived in Vietnam in 1950, a move that presaged the eventual arrival of 9,087,000 military personnel, and reaching a peak in 1967 of 545,000 combat troops. The last U.S. troops didn’t leave Vietnam until 1975, and only after 58,220 had been killed. U.S. troops entered Kuwait in February 1991 to push invading Iraqi forces out of that country. Twenty-five years later, 13,500 troops remain.

    • Jeremy Scahill: Corporations Are Making a Killing Off US Targeted Killing

      If drone warfare has come up at all this election season, it’s been in passing. The candidates don’t differ much on the use of pilotless drones. But how is the face of war changing, and how do our peace movements need to respond?

      Jeremy Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist and a founding editor of The Intercept. He’s the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Dirty Wars (the book and the film), and now The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program, written with the staff of The Intercept.

    • As Hillary Clinton Defends Her Role in 2009 Coup, Is U.S. Aid to Honduras Adding “Fuel to the Fire”?

      We speak with Annie Bird about Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state during the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. “There’s no other way to categorize what happened in 2009 other than a military coup with no legal basis,” Bird says. “The U.S. was not willing to cut off assistance to Honduras, and that is the only reason it was not called a coup, a military coup. At the time, activists like Berta called for the assistance to be cut off, and today her children are calling for it to be cut off, because the U.S. assistance is actually adding fuel to the fire and stoking the economic interests of the people behind the coup.”

    • Philippine death squads very much in business as Duterte set for presidency

      On May 14, five days after voters in the Philippines chose Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as their next president, two masked gunmen cruised this southern city’s suburbs on a motorbike, looking for their kill.

      Gil Gabrillo, 47, a drug user, was returning from a cockfight when the gunmen approached. One of them pumped four bullets into Gabrillo’s head and body, killing the small-time trader of goods instantly. Then the motorbike roared off.

      The murder made no headlines in Davao, where Duterte’s loud approval for hundreds of execution-style killings of drug users and criminals over nearly two decades helped propel him to the highest office of a crime-weary land.

      Human rights groups have documented at least 1,400 killings in Davao that they allege had been carried out by death squads since 1998. Most of those murdered were drug users, petty criminals and street children.

    • Insane NRA video warns Iran: Americans are crazier and more violent than ‘flower child’ Obama

      The National Rifle Association wants the government of Iran to take heed: The United States of America is much crazier than President Barack Obama is letting on. In a new video message that’s addressed to the “ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist you enable,” an NRA supporter warns Iran that the real America is nothing like “our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed, Ivy League friends.”

    • Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy

      Interestingly, the question of nuclear weapons will likely also not be addressed in a substantive way. There may indeed be some discussion of the subject in general terms, but it will be veiled in the typically flowery, but utterly vacuous, Obama rhetoric. Given the opportunity, an intrepid reporter might venture to ask the President why, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples [and] vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons,” he has presided over an administration that will spend more than $1 trillion upgrading, modernizing, and expanding the US nuclear arsenal.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists Warn of 10C Warming as we “Dial up Earth’s Thermostat”

      So far this year we have had warnings that the Great Barrier reef is “dying on our watch” due to coral bleaching caused by record temperatures; dramatic early seasonal melting of the Arctic Ocean sea ice and Greenland’s massive ice sheet; devastating wild-fires in Canada which are being linked to climate change, and month after month of record temperatures.

    • Trump’s Climate Change Denial Is Already Complicating the Paris Climate Deal

      If Donald Trump wins and pulls the U.S. out of its climate change commitments, some countries wonder, why should they keep their own?

    • Into the Zone

      This is the countryside of Fukushima. Five years after the nuclear meltdown, it remains full of radiation, and virtually empty of people.

    • World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned

      Arctic would warm by as much as 20C by 2300 with disastrous impacts if action is not taken on climate change, warns new study

    • Businessman’s arrest for forest fires is “slap in the face” for Indonesian government

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

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

      The reason for Indonesia’s umbrage remains unclear, although implicit in the protest was the notion that Singapore had tried to force Indonesia’s hand in acting against responsible parties for last year’s environmental disaster, which saw much of South East Asia engulfed in a haze. Jakarta’s reaction suggests that it deemed Singapore to have overstepped its scope of action. By contrast, Singapore’s NEA felt that it had every right to prosecute those deemed responsible, based on the 2014 Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

    • Shock and Awe, The Chevron Way

      With pockets deep enough, you can buy justice. That’s what Chevron assumes since they lost a $9.5 billion verdict at the Supreme Court of Ecuador in 2013. But can Chevron justify their mockery of the justice system at the shareholder meeting on Wednesday, May 25th? Some shareholders are gearing up for a battle.

      The funds from the $9.5 billion judgment are needed to set up a health programme for the tens of thousands of victims of Chevron’s toxic dumping in Ecuador, and to clean up a contaminated part of the Amazon rainforest bigger than Lake District. Chevron left Ecuador years ago, but it “forgot” to take home 16 billion gallons of toxic waste that contaminates streams and rivers relied on by local inhabitants for their drinking water, bathing, and fishing.

    • Ecuador Activist Accuses Chevron of ‘Harassment and Defamation’

      Santiago Escobar began getting death threats after he revealed information against the oil giant. Now he says publications financed by Chevron are trying to smear him.

    • Anti-Frackers Vow Fierce Resistance as UK Goes Back ‘Up for Shale’

      Furious environmental campaigners vowed to fight back on Tuesday after councilors in North Yorkshire approved the UK’s first fracking permit in five years.

      The North Yorkshire County Council on Monday approved Third Energy’s application to frack the fields near the North York Moors National Park—just days after people across the country celebrated five years of being “frack-free.”

    • ExxonMobil tried to censor climate scientists to Congress during Bush era

      ExxonMobil moved to squash a well-established congressional lecture series on climate science just nine days after the presidential inauguration of George W Bush, a former oil executive, the Guardian has learned.

      Exxon’s intervention on the briefings, revealed here for the first time, adds to evidence the oil company was acutely aware of the state of climate science and its implications for government policy and the energy industry – despite Exxon’s public protestations for decades about the uncertainties of global warming science.

      Indeed, the company moved swiftly during the earliest days of the Bush administration to block public debate on global warming and delay domestic and international regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to former officials of the US Global Change Research Program, or USGCRP.

      The Bush White House is now notorious for censoring climate scientists and blocking international action on climate change by pulling the US out of the Kyoto agreement.

    • China’s New Dietary Guidelines Could Be Good News For The Climate

      Chinese food has fans around the world, but in China it’s creating a problem. A recent study found obesity and other diet-related diseases are skyrocketing.

      Recently, the Chinese government took a major step to reverse that trend by issuing a new set of dietary guidelines.

      While dietary experts will weigh in on the nutritional aspects, buried in the pages is a recommendation with potentially huge implications for climate change.

    • Gulf Coast Activist Crashes Shell Meeting to Decry Destruction of Her Home

      Just two weeks after Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore drilling operations released nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the water off the Louisiana coast, an Indigenous activist from the Gulf region spoke out at Shell’s annual shareholders meeting in the Netherlands on Tuesday, highlighting the company’s history of environmental devastation in the place she calls home.

      “In the late 90s, after learning that their community was plagued by an open-air, toxic, oil-field waste facility, I began documenting my Houma relatives living in a small, mostly American Indian and Cajun community called Grand Bois, located just south of Houma, Louisiana,” Monique Verdin told Common Dreams via email. “As I was taken further and further down the bayous I also became more and more aware of our rapid land loss and the other environmental impacts caused by the oil and gas industry.”

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Calls On Americans To Fight Wall Street

      On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) headlined an event that launched a new coalition calling itself “Take On Wall Street.”

      The group includes lawmakers like Warren, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), labor leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten, as well as civil rights groups, community groups, and the organizing giant Move On. It aims to put pressure on lawmakers at all levels to pass stricter rules governing the financial system.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

      Take On Wall Street will formally announce its campaign launch at an event Tuesday night, which will feature a headlining speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an outspoken proponent of financial reform.

    • Obama Overtime Plan Won’t Hurt Businesses, Executives Admit

      Business interest groups and their allies engaged in hyperbolic rhetoric about the supposed negative impact of overtime regulations before they were announced last week. By changing a salary threshold, the new rules will make millions of workers newly eligible to be paid for their overtime hours.

      “Businesses will be forced to look for cuts in the face of such massive costs,” Competitive Enterprise Institute policy analyst Trey Kovacs predicted. Right-wing economist analyst Michael Carr even worried that the overtime rules could help start another recession.

    • Apple, Microsoft and Google hold 23% of all U.S. corporate cash, as tech sector accumulates wealth

      Apple, Microsoft and Google are the top three cash-rich U.S. companies across all sectors of business, not including banks and other financial institutions — holding a combined $391 billion in cash as of the end of 2015, or more than 23 percent of the entire $1.68 trillion held by the nation’s non-financial corporations.

    • McDonald’s ex-CEO: $15/hr minimum wage will unleash the robot rebellion

      For years, economists have been issuing predictions about how automation will impact the world’s job markets, but those studies and guesses have yet to make a call based on what would happen if a given sector’s wages rose. Instead, that specific guesswork mantle has been taken up by a former McDonald’s CEO, who declared on Tuesday that a rise in the American minimum wage will set our nation’s robotic revolution into motion.

      In an appearance on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria, Ed Rensi claimed that a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would result in “job loss like you can’t believe” before ceding ground to our new robotic overlords. “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday, and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry—it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”

    • CEOs Paid 335 Times Average Rank-and-File Worker; Outsourcing Results in Even Higher Inequality

      CEO pay for major U.S. companies continues to soar as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs increases. Outsourcing has become a hot presidential election topic with candidates calling out corporations who say they need to save money by sending jobs overseas. Meanwhile, according to the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $12.4 million per year in 2015 – 335 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker.

    • ‘Desperate’ Verizon Seeks Scabs to Offset Labor Strike

      Telecom giant Verizon has put out an urgent call for temporary employees as the company’s bitter feud with thousands of striking workers enters its seventh week.

      Last month, some 40,000 Verizon technicians and service employees walked off the job after a year of labor negotiations failed to produce a new contract.

      The workers, who are represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, argue that Verizon wants to freeze pensions, slash benefits, and outsource jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. The unions also say that the company has refused to negotiate improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions for a group of Verizon Wireless workers who joined CWA in 2014.

    • Takin’ It to the Streets—Brazilians Protest President’s Ouster

      Another Temer miscue was appointing Brazil’s first all-white, all-male cabinet in seventy years, going back even further than the military dictatorship of 1965-1984. The move, in a land that is majority Afro-Brazilian, has angered and energized women and Afro-Brazilians opposed to Temer’s government.

    • Brazil’s New Government Is Already Planning to Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Poor

      Just days after the Brazilian Senate voted to suspend former President Dilma Rousseff and subject her to an impeachment trial, the country’s new right-wing government is already planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

    • The Embarrassing Referendum

      Personally I remain an EU enthusiast, but I am horrified by the arguments being put forward by the Remain campaign, and even more by the personalities associated with it. I could never display a Remain poster in case people felt I agreed with David Cameron. I strongly suspect that explains the mass public apathy, which friends tell me is no different down south. Whatever their views on the EU, people do not want in any way to be associated with George Osborne, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Tony Blair or Peter Mandelson on one side, or with Ian Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson et al on the other.

    • Study confirms that the national press is biased in favour of Brexit

      A new research study has confirmed what most people, including this commentator, knew: national press coverage of EU referendum campaign has been “heavily skewed in favour of Brexit.”

      The bald figures produced by researchers at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism tell the story: 45% of 928 referendum articles it studied were in favour of leaving while 27% backed the remain case.

      Some 19% were categorised as “mixed or undecided” and 9% were designated as adopting no position.

    • Obama Visits Vietnam To Promote TPP. Wait, VIETNAM? Really?

      President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really?

      A year ago the post “Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?,” noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that TPP would benefit the American economy.

    • Sanders Bucks Dem Leaders, Calls for Opposition to Puerto Rico Bill

      In a message to fellow Senate Democratic caucus members, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called for the defeat of emergency legislation to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.

      A bill introduced last week by House Republicans would require the island territory to give up its budget-making autonomy in exchange for debt relief. The measure has the tentative support of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership.

      Puerto Rico is currently $72 billion in the hole, and already defaulting on financial obligations. Sanders, a presidential hopeful, said in a statement that the proposed initiative would “make a terrible situation even worse.”

    • INTO THE WORLD OF WORK

      What do you need to know – about the new world of work, but also about yourself – as you graduate and launch yourself into the world of work? We made a short film of my last class of the semester, where I speak to graduating seniors about these questions and more. If you’re a graduating senior (or know one) we hope this is helpful.

    • Warren Incensed at GOP Effort to Gut Financial Protections for Retirees

      The Labor Department rule, issued last month, requires financial advisors to adhere to a “fiduciary standard” that places client interests ahead of potential profits for themselves.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

    • Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?

      When the price of oil slumped, it was therefore inevitable that Venezuelans would see a downturn. Indeed, in some ways, the current crisis isn’t anything new: Venezuela has experienced boom and bust cycles coinciding with oil prices since the 1970s. With historically high oil prices, Chavez had luck on his side during his golden years, while Maduro has drawn a short straw. However, it’s worth noting that no other petro state in the world is facing the same kind of crisis that has hit Venezuela. Back luck aside, the Maduro administration could avoided the current conditions by reforming monetary policy in 2013 or 2014. While low productivity or anti-government sabotage are issues that can’t be resolved overnight with the wave of a hand, monetary policy could have been shored up in a relatively short period of time. Unlike international oil prices or long term issues like Dutch Disease, the Maduro administration had meaningful agency here, but failed to act. If serious reforms had been enacted, Venezuela would still be facing a nasty downturn, but probably not a fully fledged economic and political crisis. Likewise, even if the oil crash never happened, Venezuela would almost certainly still be heading towards a crisis sometime down the road anyway, largely thanks to failed monetary policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The massive scale of the Clintons’ speech-making industry

      Last week, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released her most recent personal financial disclosure, detailing ways in which she and her husband earned money in 2015. Most of their income came from book royalties and giving paid speeches. Bill Clinton, for example, gave a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers in March 2015, being paid $325,000 for his time.

    • LISTEN: Amy Goodman on NPR’s Weekend Edition

      NPR’s Scott Simon asks Amy Goodman about Bernie Sanders’ chances of getting the delegates he needs to claim the Democratic nomination.

    • Americans’ Dislike for Trump and Clinton Bolsters Sanders’ Superdelegate Pitch

      Most Americans can’t stand the frontrunner of either major political party, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday has found.

      Almost 60 percent of respondents said they “dislike” or “hate” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and 63 percent said the same about Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      In fact, the poll found that the roughly one-third of respondents on either side of the political aisle were voting for their candidate solely to defeat the other nominee.

    • Why I Am #NeverHillary

      It’s one hell of a choice. The more I delve into Donald Trump and his past (to research my biography, which comes out in June), the more scared I get. Nevertheless, there is no way I’ll vote for Hillary. I won’t vote for her if she stops shaking down rich right-wing Republicans for donations. I won’t vote for her if she adopts Bernie’s platform. I won’t vote for her if she names Bernie her vice president. I won’t even vote for her if Bernie invites me to spend the summer with him and Jane in Vermont.

      #NeverHillary. That’s me.

      There are millions of us.

    • Bernie’s not-so-secret-weapon

      For months, Bernie Sanders and his supporters have pointed to polls that show him running comfortably ahead of Donald Trump in November. But now that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump has disappeared — and the two likely nominees are now running neck-and-neck in national polls — his argument is gaining new resonance.

      Clinton and her campaign argue that the Vermont senator hasn’t undergone the kind of scrutiny that Clinton and Trump have — and that his poll numbers are over-inflated compared to candidates who have faced intense political attacks from the other party.

    • I watched Hillary Clinton’s forces swipe Nevada: This is what the media’s not telling you

      It probably wasn’t the best time for me to go to Vegas. My beloved father had just died the week before, and I was feeling hazy and vulnerable, prone to weeping at the slightest provocation. Grief made me feel like I had no skin and no brain; grief had turned me into a cloud, and I was in that floaty state when I got on the plane with my husband—a state delegate headed to the Nevada Democratic Convention—and our 6-year-old son. I wasn’t sure what would happen once we got to Vegas, whether all the lights and bells would hammer me back into my body, or whether I would drift even further away from myself, hover like the cigarette smoke over the casino floor.

      I had wanted to be a delegate, myself, but knew I was going to be out of town during the county convention in April, so I didn’t put my hat in the ring at the February caucus, where I had served as a precinct captain for Bernie. It was my first election season in Nevada, my first caucus, and the whole process seemed wild to me, taking what was normally such a private experience—voting quietly in an individual booth—and turning it into a political game of Red Rover, people taking sides in a room, trying to sway folks to come over to their side, their candidate; it was a civil game in our precinct, but I could see how easily things could turn nasty. I was grateful my husband had volunteered himself to be a county delegate, and was excited when he got the email that he was chosen to be a state delegate, as well. Nevada has a strange three-tier system—Hillary had won a majority at the February caucus, but more Bernie delegates showed up at the county caucus, negating Hillary’s win, so the race for delegates at the state convention promised to be a tight one. I looked forward to seeing the process in action; I never expected that process would become so chaotic and surreal, although I had become used to surreal of late.

      We arrived late Friday night and all around me, women were dressed to the nines and looking miserable. My heart broke for them. I wanted to know their stories; why were they so unhappy? The weight of crumbling expectations seemed to fill the smoky air. I found myself sending little silent affirmations to all these sad, fancy women—You are beautiful, I beamed to them. It will be okay. Perhaps I was channeling my dad, who always did whatever he could to make people feel better about themselves.

    • Study: One Out Of Every 178 Posts To Chinese Social Media Is Government Propaganda

      In Russia, we’ve talked about how Vladimir Putin employs a massive army of Internet trolls to ridicule and shout down political opponents and critics. In China, the government’s tactics are notably different. According to a new study out of Harvard (pdf), the Chinese government posts about 488 million fake social media comments — or roughly one day of Twitter’s total global volume — each year. In China, these propagandists have historically been dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because it was generally believed they were paid 50 Chinese cents for every social media post.

    • Across Europe, distrust of mainstream political parties is on the rise

      The narrow defeat – by just 0.6 percentage points – of the nationalist Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer in this week’s Austrian presidential elections has focused attention once more on the rise of far-right parties in Europe.

      But despite what some headlines might claim, it is oversimplifying things to say the far right is suddenly on the march across an entire continent. In some countries, the hard right’s share of the vote in national elections has been stable or declined.

      In others – particularly the nations of southern Europe, which, with memories of fascism and dictatorship still very much alive, have proved reluctant to flirt with rightwing extremism – it is the far left that is advancing.

      Some rightwing populist parties are relatively new, but others have been a force to be reckoned with for many years now, sometimes – as in France – enjoying a large share of the vote but being unable, as yet, to break through nationally.

    • Bernie Sanders Draws Thousands at ‘A Future to Believe In’ Rally

      The California primary is only eight days away, and Bernie Sanders isn’t slowing down.

      If anything, the 74-year-old Vermont Senator is picking up the pace as he tours California this week, stopping at as many as three cities a day for rallies and events.

      On Monday night, Sanders held a rally on the football field of Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. The Sanders campaign estimated a turnout of 10,000 people—and the numbers may have swelled to more than that, considering the vast numbers of people who turned up but couldn’t fit inside the football field. Sanders told ABC News that he hopes to speak with “200,000 Californians at rallies statewide.”

    • Tim Canova on Bernie Sanders’ Endorsement, Challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Video)

      Canova, a lawyer and activist who supported the Occupy Wall Street movement and opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, among other causes, recently received a big boost in the form of an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, with whom Canova has worked previously. Sanders’ backing has helped Canova’s cause, both financially and in terms of publicity, as has the scrutiny focused on Wasserman Schultz in the ongoing controversy about her leadership of the DNC vis-a-vis Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s bids for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    • Elites vs. Too Much Democracy: Andrew Sullivan’s Afraid of Popular Self-Government

      British expatriate writer Andrew Sullivan recently returned to the public eye with a piece that has aroused considerable comment, some of it reasonably on point, and some bloviatingly incoherent.

      What is all the fuss about? Sullivan, in critiquing the Donald Trump phenomenon and the political factors that gave rise to it, makes a few good points, but buries them under a ridiculous premise: The culprit responsible for Trump is too much democracy, and the cure is more elite control of the political process.

    • Sanders: Yes, A Convention About Real Issues Might Be ‘Messy’

      DNC should focus on welcoming energized newcomers, not attending private fundraisers hosted by big donors and corporate lobbyists

    • The BBC has lost touch: here’s how it could re-connect

      A filmmaker advises BBC news staff on how to better engage with the harsh realities of life for many in Britain.

    • Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?

      Like Obama, Hillary Clinton is a liberal internationalist and a strong believer in American exceptionalism, meaning she is convinced that the world looks to America for leadership, that US involvement everywhere is unavoidable as well as desirable, that US-based multinational corporations are a positive force for global development, and that the US should be ready to commit force in support of humanitarian ideals and American values—but not necessarily in accordance with US or international laws—as much as because of concrete strategic interests. It’s the traditional marriage of realism and idealism that we find in every president (though a Trump presidency would drop the idealism). But each president, as Henry Kissinger once said, inclines somewhat to one side or the other, and in Hillary Clinton’s case, she is more the realist than Obama—more prepared, that is, to commit US power, unilaterally if she believes necessary, in support of a very broad conception of national security.

    • Shock Poll: Sanders Ahead of Trump by 15 Points, Hillary Just by 3

      A shocker. A new NBC News/Wall St Journal poll has Bernie up 54 to 39 over Donald Trump.

      Meanwhile, according to the same poll, Hillary Clinton no longer has a double digit lead over Donald Trump like she did just a month ago — her lead over Trump is just 3 points.

    • Sanders Endorses Down-Ticket Democrats Running for ‘Bold Change’

      “These candidates are standing up against the wealthy interests and biggest corporations, and putting working families first.”

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Shares Her “Plan B” for Bernie Sanders Supporters: A Green New Deal

      As Bernie Sanders’ voters begin facing the question of whether or not to support Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton if she becomes the party’s nominee, many of his supporters have pledged never to support her. In fact, voters in both major parties are seeking alternatives in this year’s presidential election — and third-party candidates are seeing an explosion in social media interest in their campaigns.

    • Donald Trump: He can’t win, can he?

      In a book published in 2004, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington argued that Latino immigration was endangering the American way of life. Trump has campaigned on a shrill version of the same sinister idea.

    • Progressive women are running for office all over the country

      Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman president has gotten far more attention in the media, but there are hundreds of female candidates running for office in 2016. And although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is rightly credited for calling attention to the fundamental unfairness of our rigged economic and political systems, inspiring women such as Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal and Lucy Flores are carrying the mantle of progressive populism in congressional races across the country. Notably, Sanders has endorsed and fundraised for all three women in their upcoming primaries, recognizing them as important allies in the battle to create progressive change.

    • ‘Fighting For Every Last Delegate,’ Sanders Requests Kentucky Primary Recanvass

      A recanvass is not the same thing as a recount “but a review of the voting totals,” notes AP.

      If the process finds that Sanders actually won the primary, it would mean that one delegate will go to Sanders instead of Clinton.

    • Sanders campaign requests Kentucky vote recanvass

      Clinton holds 1,924-vote lead over Sanders out of 454,573 votes cast…

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Web Sheriff Abuses DMCA In Weak Attempt To Hide Info Under UK High Court Injunction, Fails Miserably

      Last week, Twitter engaged in some dubious behavior on behalf of a few super-secret someones who’d rather the press didn’t discuss their sexual activity. Twitter was apparently firing off “letters of warning” to users who had dared break an injunction issued by the UK Supreme Court forbidding anyone in the media from discussing a threesome involving a prominent British celebrity.

      There was very little legal force behind the “warning letters” (despite threats from local authorities) and Twitter users were under no obligation to comply with the company’s request. The fact that Twitter even bothered to issue these highlights the utter futility of injunctions/super-injunctions of this variety, which are really just a way for British citizens of a certain level of importance to control local media. It doesn’t really matter if the UK’s highest court upholds a super-injunction if it has no way of enforcing it beyond its super-limited purview.

    • Fantastic: Now British Firms Are Getting In On The Bogus Website/Bogus DMCA Notice Scam

      Here we go again: intellectual property laws being abused to silence critics. In this case — which resembles the tactics exposed by Pissed Consumer recently — bogus copyright claims contained in bogus DMCA notices are being used to remove negative reviews from websites.

      In this case, it’s a British firm — one that first tried to abuse that country’s oft-abused defamation laws.

    • Glenn Beck and other conservatives are in denial about Facebook censorship — so how do we fight back?

      Twitter was recently caught for shadowbanning conservatives and now it’s been leaked that Facebook is equally biased. You can’t have right wing opinions anywhere these days without mass amounts of backlash and censorship.

    • Mapping Media Freedom marks second year of monitoring censorship in Europe

      Journalists have been murdered and burned in effigy. Reporters have been publicly discredited by government officials, prosecuted for under anti-terrorism laws and excluded from public meetings on the refugee crisis. We’ve even recorded journalists being menaced with mechanical diggers.

      Mapping Media Freedom launched to the public on 24 May 2014 to monitor media censorship and press freedom violations throughout Europe. Two years on, the platform has verified over 1,800 incidents, ranging from insults and cyberbullying to physical assaults and assassination.

    • Google To France: No You Don’t Get To Censor The Global Internet

      As we’ve been covering here at Techdirt, French regulators have been pushing Google to censor the global internet whenever it receives “right to be forgotten” requests. If you don’t recall, two years ago, there was a dangerous ruling in the EU that effectively said that people could demand Google remove certain links from showing up when people searched on their names. This “right to be forgotten” is now being abused by a ton of people trying to hide true information they just don’t like being known. Google grudgingly has agreed to this, having little choice to do otherwise. But it initially did so only on Google’s EU domain searches. Last year, a French regulator said that it needed to apply globally. Google said no, explaining why this was a “troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.”

      French regulators responded with “don’t care, do it!” Google tried to appease the French regulators earlier this year with a small change where even if you went to Google.com, say, from France (rather than the default of Google.fr), Google would still censor the links based on your IP address. And, again, the French regulators said not good enough, and told Google it needed to censor globally. It also issued a fine.

    • Timeline of Amos Yee’s latest arrest by the Singapore Police Force over Section 298 of penal code

      TOC understands that Amos has uploaded a video titled “Refuting Islam With Their Own Quran” on 19 May 2016. The video is taken off of Youtube within an hour (possibly for violating Youtube community standards). Amos then re-uploads the video on Vimeo.

    • EU:s EPP group calls for Internet censorship

      If we introduce far-reaching online censorship you can be absolutely sure that it will be extended beyond its’ original purpose.

    • Myanmar court convicts man over penis tattoo poem

      A court in Myanmar has sentenced a young poet to six months in jail for defaming former president Thein Sein, making him one of the first political activists sentenced since Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April.

      Maung Saung Kha, 23, used his Facebook account to publish a poem about having a tattoo of a president on his penis. He was charged for defaming Thein Sein under telecommunications laws, used to curb free speech in several other recent cases.

    • Mohawk Regional releases yearbooks in censorship flap; will reprint page that was removed

      The yearbook was supposed to have been released on Friday, but was held back at the last minute by Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, who had previously ordered a single page cut from each book so as not to “harm the well-being of several students.”

      The page contained a photograph of former teacher Ivan Grail, who earlier this year was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with students, said Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

      Grail was placed on paid leave in March. His current employment status is not known. Buoniconti did not respond to an email and telephone message from The Republican seeking comment.

    • Lessons in Censorship

      Public schools, we all agree, should teach civics and promote democracy, including respect for constitutional rights. Unfortunately, regardless of the official curriculum, schools routinely teach students through censorship and punishment that those in charge decide what may be said.

      In Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, George Washington University law professor Catherine Ross presents and analyzes dozens of legal cases concerning the free speech rights of students in K-12 public schools. She also provides a convincing critique of the state of the law, an urgent warning about what students experience in school, and concrete suggestions for protecting student speech.

      Ross does not address censorship of college students, which has been much in the news over the past year. But her book is an important reminder that censorship of students begins long before they get to college. She organizes her presentation around five key U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

    • Censorship or justified Concern?

      While the University accepted that the proposed conference was a legitimate academic event, it became increasingly concerned by the end of March 2015 that the conference speakers had a ‘distinct leaning’ to one point of view (essentially anti-Israel) rather than the original intention of a balanced exchange of views, and more significantly that there was an unacceptably high risk of disorder if the conference were to go ahead.

    • Campus censorship is holding women back

      That a significant proportion of female students is willingly supporting censorship is very depressing. But it’s hardly surprising. The vast majority of censorship on campus is aimed at protecting women from offence. spiked’s 2016 Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) found that almost a third of UK universities banned the Sun and the Daily Star, as part of the No More Page 3 campaign, and 25 banned the controversial pop song ‘Blurred Lines’. All of this is done in the name of cleansing campus of ‘demeaning’ representations of women.

    • Facebook changes policies on Trending Topics after activist accused site of right-wing censorship – and blames any bias on rogue employees
    • Facebook Censorship Concerns Could Hurt Engagement, Advertising Dollars
    • Facebook denies systemic bias in Trending Topics but changes how they are chosen
    • Facebook Makes ‘Trending Topic’ Change Following Conservative Backlash
    • Facebook Inc makes changes to ‘Trending Topics’ policies after conservative criticism
    • Facebook’s ‘sweeping’ reforms to trending topics won’t actually change much
    • Facebook tweaks ‘Trending Topics’ policy: Will it restore faith in neutrality?
    • Facebook denies ‘systematic’ content bias, but admits possibility of rogue employees
    • Facebook Trending Topics Will Undergo Changes Following Allegations of Political Bias
    • Facebook is tweaking Trending Topics to counter charges of bias
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Another Court Finds FBI’s NIT Warrants To Be Invalid, But Credits Agents’ ‘Good Faith’ To Deny Suppression

      Yet another court has found that the warrant used by the FBI in the Playpen child porn investigation is invalid, rendering its NIT-assisted “search” unconstitutional. As USA Today’s Brad Heath points out, this is at least the sixth court to find that Rule 41′s jurisdictional limitations do not permit warrants issued in Virginia to support searches performed all over the nation.

      While the court agrees that the warrant is invalid, it places the blame at the feet of the magistrate judge who issued it, rather than the agents who obtained it.

    • British govt hackers report vulnerabilities to Apple [Ed: Yet another one of those “saves the day” puff pieces]

      Britain’s main spy agency has reported two serious operating system vulnerabilites to Apple, as concerns over government stockpiling of zero-day exploits continue.

    • Huge Scale Of Road Camera Surveillance Revealed

      The massive scale of surveillance cameras on the UK’s roads has been revealed in new figures obtained by Sky News.

      Automatic number plate recognition – or ANPR – technology uses cameras to scan number plates and log car journeys.

      Whenever a car passes a camera, its registration is scanned and added to a central database, accessible by police forces.

    • Consumers Demanding Online Privacy in Light of Snowden Leaks

      He pointed to companies in Germany that market their social networking services by underscoring their commitment to enhanced privacy, meaning that the security of personal information has become something that can be sold.

    • The U.S. Surveillance State

      It was the most significant government leak since the Pentagon Papers and revealed an unprecedented level of spying by the U.S. state on the American people and those far beyond the America’s borders. We’ll feature highlights from the Academy Award-winning documentary film “Citizenfour” about whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations of massive NSA surveillance.

    • Where The 2016 Candidates Stand On Cybersecurity And Civil Liberties

      While Trump wants to strengthen the government’s surveillance and cyberattack capabilities, the Democrats have fought for civil liberties.

    • Pentagon Whistleblower’s Disclosures Put a Lie to Obama, Clinton Claims About Snowden

      Mark Hertsgaard broke the story of Pentagon whistleblower John Crane in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.” The book details how senior Pentagon officials may have broken the law to punish National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. “I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning,” Hertsgaard said.

    • ‘Lots of surprises inside’: Activist David Miranda tells RT about planned mass Snowden file leak

      On August 18, 2013, Miranda’s life was turned upside down when he was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for 12 hours under anti-terrorism laws. This came after his partner Glenn Greenwald had published numerous documents released by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      Now the Brazilian-born Miranda says the public has the right to “see what is inside” the documents, which he plans to leak within the next few weeks, despite coming under pressure from governments not to publish the files.

    • Edward Snowden wants you to give a damn about privacy

      In October last year the Government passed the metadata legislation, with bipartisan support, that forces all telecommunications companies to keep the records of their customers for two years.

    • A new study shows how government-collected “anonymous” data can be used to profile you

      After Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, showed the world that intelligence agencies in the US and the UK were monitoring call records on a massive scale, there was a collective gasp, but then mostly silence. There was outrage at the discovery that elected governments had been snooping on law-abiding citizens, but there was also confusion about what information, exactly, those governments were gathering, and what they could use it for.

    • We Asked Edward Snowden if Online Privacy Has Improved Since His Massive NSA Leak

      This Friday, May 27, HBO will air a new episode from season four of our Emmy-winning show. On the last episode, we met the team of female volunteers working to eradicate polio in Pakistan, as well as expert disposal teams trying to detonate unexploded land mines in Southeast Asia. This week we head to Russia to meet Edward Snowden to discuss the current state of digital privacy and government surveillance in America.

    • Scoop: VICE on HBO on Friday, May 27, 2016

      “State of Surveillance” The show is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, igniting a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple fought an FBI court order seeking to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Before Snowden Illegally Suppressed By Pentagon
    • FSB’s Snowden War:Using the American NSA against Itself [Ed: The idea that if one distrusts corporate/Western media, then one is fooled by Russia and alternative media is “Russian propaganda”]

      It is important to note that this form of intelligence media propaganda is not effective in isolation. It was not Russian propaganda that caused widespread distrust of the US government. However, the FSB and Russian media conglomerates are able to effectively profit from the damning Snowden disclosures by casting the US in a suspicious, negative light, while at the same time minimizing its own supposed flaws and political sins. More study should be devoted in future to this softer but still significant aspect of US-Russian relational conflict.

    • Observations and thoughts on the LinkedIn data breach

      Last week there was no escaping news of the latest data breach. The LinkedIn hack of 2012 which we thought had “only” exposed 6.5M password hashes (not even the associated email addresses so in practice, useless data), was now being sold on the dark web. It was allegedly 167 million accounts and for a mere 5 bitcoins (about US$2.2k) you could jump over to the Tor-based trading site, pay your Bitcoins and retrieve what is one of the largest data breaches ever to hit the airwaves.

      But this is not a straightforward incident for many reasons and there are numerous issues raised by the data itself and the nature of the hack. I’ve had a heap of calls and emails from various parties doing stories on it over the last week so I thought I’d address some of those queries here and add my own thoughts having now seen the data. I’ll also talk about Have I been pwned (HIBP) and the broader issue of searchable breach data.

    • Five Years of Cookie Law: Politicians’ good intentions and incompetence create security, privacy nightmare

      Five years with the “cookie law”, taking effect in 2011, shows how politicians’ good intentions – when coupled with incompetence – can create a security and privacy nightmare. It was supposed to give users choice, privacy, and security. Its effect, over and above causing developer facedesks and headaches, has been the exact opposite.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs

      Truman, for instance, on civil rights: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” (He regularly referred to Jews as kikes, to Mexicans as greasers.)

      When Oppenheimer expressed to Truman his misgivings about having developed the atomic bombs, the president told his chief of staff, “I don’t want to see that son of a bitch in this office ever again.” He later called Oppenheimer a “crybaby scientist”.

    • Federal Judge Catches DOJ Lying, Sanctions Lawyers With Mandatory Ethics Classes

      The lies the DOJ told involve a 2014 DHS directive that changed its handling of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DOJ told the court and opposing counsel that no action under the new guidelines would commence until February 2015. These statements were made both orally (January 15, 2015) and in a filing (December 19, 2014). But in reality, the guidelines were already being used to process immigrants, resulting in over 100,000 modified DACA applications being granted or renewed by the DHS prior to either of these statements.

      This was caught by the court in April 2015, but the DOJ insisted its statements weren’t lies, but rather the “innocent mistakes” of poorly-informed counsel, shifting the blame towards the DHS. Months later, the real truth has come out.

      [...]

      This isn’t the DOJ lying about a minor procedural detail. This is the DOJ lying about the DACA modification central to the states’ lawsuit against the US government. To purposely mislead the court and the defendants about the status of DACA applicants cannot be waved away with claims of foggy memories. It also cannot be waved away with claims that the DOJ had no idea so many applicants were already being processed using guidelines still being contested in federal court.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the court is limited to what it can do in response to the DOJ’s misconduct. Holding the DOJ responsible for the involved states’ legal fees would result in the participating states effectively paying their own legal fees. It would be nothing more than moving around money collected from taxpayers and, thanks to federal taxes, robbing plaintiffs to pay plaintiffs. Instead, Judge Hanen has ordered that any DOJ lawyer who has — or will — appear in the courts of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit attend legal ethics courses. The courses will be provided by a legal agency unaffiliated with the DOJ, and the DOJ itself will be required to provide annual reports to the court confirming these courses are being attended.

    • 1,000 fake 999 calls by G4S to raise performance figures

      Another day another scandal at G4S, this time it has been claimed that staff made fake calls to a 999 emergency contact centre to ensure they met targets of answering 92 per cent of calls within ten seconds.

      This dire situation took place between November and December 2015 reports the Daily Mirror.

      There have been five staff who are now on suspension after they supposedly made over a thousand “test calls” at quiet times to ensure they were picked up quickly.

    • Judge Rules Edward Nero ‘Not Guilty’ in Freddie Gray Case, but Social Media Disagrees

      A judge has found Officer Edward Nero not guilty on all charges in the Freddie Gray case on Monday, but many on social media disagreed with the verdict.

      Nero was one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the 2015 arrest and death of Gray. Nero was accused of assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

    • Oklahoma’s Insane Rush to Execute

      Ever since the dramatic last-minute halt of the execution of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma last fall, exactly what happened that day has remained a mystery. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court had given the green light for Oklahoma to proceed with the execution using a protocol the justices had upheld just months before, in Glossip v. Gross. Outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary that afternoon, Glossip’s lawyers, his family, and members of the press were all convinced the execution was imminent. Inside, witnesses thought they were about to be escorted to the death chamber. Glossip, meanwhile, stood in his boxer shorts inside a holding cell, waiting to be taken to the gurney.

      Instead, just before 4 p.m. on September 30, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallin — who had repeatedly denied relief for Glossip despite his vociferous claims of innocence — suddenly intervened, stopping the execution while making an embarrassing admission: The state did not have the correct execution drug in its possession. In a short statement, Fallin announced a temporary stay of 37 days to determine whether a drug named potassium acetate was “compliant” with the state’s lethal injection protocol.

    • When a Killer Cop Retires: The Resignation of Dante Servin

      On May 19, organizers and community members around the United States engaged in #SayHerName actions in support of women and femmes who have been harmed by state violence. This national day of action should have coincided with the start of the termination proceedings for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned on May 17, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin: as the last stage in his firing process.

    • The “Moscow Consensus”: Constructing autocracy in post-Soviet Eurasia

      Across the former Soviet Union, a new type of authoritarianism has become the default — with commerce, parliaments, military, media and civil society used to consolidate elite economic and political power.

    • T.S.A. Replaces Security Chief as Tension Grows at Airports and Agency

      Facing a backlash over long security lines and management problems, the head of the Transportation Security Administration shook up his leadership team on Monday, replacing the agency’s top security official and adding a new group of administrators at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

      In an email to staff members, Peter V. Neffenger, the T.S.A. administrator, announced a series of changes that included the removal of Kelly Hoggan, who had been the assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations since 2013.

      Beginning late that year, Mr. Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests.

    • How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism

      I opened Twitter recently and saw 20+ notifications. Most of the time that means the new generation of white nationalist Twitter trolls are filling my feed with racist and anti-Semitic cartoons. It was the trolls, but this was different. They were celebrating my use of the word “anti-white” in a tweet. They saw it as a victory that a “mainstream conservative” was using this term that for so long has been their calling card.

      They had a point. Until recently I would have been unlikely to use the term. Not because I didn’t believe some people harbored animosity towards whites, but because that was a fringe attitude removed from power, which represented little real threat. That is no longer the case. Progressive rhetoric on race has turned an ugly corner and the existence of “anti-white” attitudes can no longer be ignored.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Freedom of choice of terminal, key issue for Net Neutrality

      La Quadrature du Net publishes an article from Benjamin Bayart, member of the Strategic Directions Council of La Quadrature du Net. This article was written on behalf of the Federation FDN and was initially plublished in French here.

    • Transition Of Core Internet Functions (IANA) Oversight From US Government No Done Deal

      Will the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) be able to handover oversight over the management of the DNS root zone and other core databases of the internet in September? At a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington today, proponents and opponents showed off and Senator Marco Rubio, former presidential candidate, strongly supported a delay.

    • Reddit, Mozilla, Others Urge FCC To Formally Investigate Broadband Usage Caps And Zero Rating

      We’ve noted how the FCC’s latest net neutrality rules do a lot of things right, but they failed to seriously address zero rating or broadband usage caps, opening the door to ISPs violently abusing net neutrality — just as long as they’re relatively clever about it. And plenty of companies have been walking right through that open door. Both Verizon and Comcast for example now exempt their own streaming services from these caps, giving them an unfair leg up in the marketplace. AT&T meanwhile is now using usage caps to force customers to subscribe to TV services if they want to enjoy unlimited data.

      In each instance you’ve got companies using usage caps for clear anti-competitive advantage, while industry-associated think tanks push misleading studies and news outlet editorials claiming that zero rating’s a great boon to consumers and innovation alike.

      The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t ban usage caps or zero rating, unlike rules in Chile, Slovenia, Japan, India, Norway and The Netherlands. The FCC did however state that the agency would examine such practices on a “case by case” basis under the “general conduct” portion of the rules. But so far, that has consisted of closed door meetings and a casual, informal letter sent to a handful of carriers as part of what the FCC says is an “information exercise,” not a formal inquiry.

    • Medium, Mozilla, and Kickstarter Signed a Letter Against Zero-Rating

      A coalition of leading open internet advocates is pressuring federal regulators to crack down on the controversial broadband industry practice of “zero-rating,” calling it a threat to net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible.

      Zero-rating refers to a variety of practices that broadband companies use to exempt certain internet content and services from data caps, effectively favoring those services by giving consumers an economic incentive to use them instead of rival offerings.

    • AT&T Begins Capping Broadband Users Today

      Just a reminder to AT&T customers: the company’s usage caps on U-Verse broadband connections take effect today. When AT&T originally announced broadband caps on fixed-line connections back in 2011, it capped DSL customers at 150 GB per month and U-Verse customers at 250 GB per month. But while the DSL customer cap was enforced (by and large because AT&T wants these users to migrate to wireless anyway), AT&T didn’t enforce caps for its U-Verse customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What does the timing of the US Defend Trade Secrets Act and EU Trade Secrets Directive really mean for companies? [Ed: Those who promote UPC (for big foreign corporations, AmeriKat in this case) also promote ‘law’ for corporations to punish staff]

      So with two new trade secrets laws on both sides of the Atlantic, what does this really mean for companies seeking to protect and enforce their valuable trade secrets?

    • Copyrights

      • Australia Officially Abandons Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme

        After indications earlier this year that copyright holders and ISPs were having serious problems reaching agreement on who will pay for the three-strikes anti-piracy regime, the project has now officially been canned. In a letter to the Australian Media and Communications Authority, the Communications Alliance and rightsholders have confirmed its demise.

      • Hollywood Withdraws Funding for UK Anti-Piracy Group FACT

        The UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft has received a major blow after the Motion Picture Association advised the anti-piracy group it will not renew its membership. The termination of the 30-year long relationship means that FACT will lose 50% of its budget and the backing of the six major Hollywood movie studios.

      • Hollywood Writers: Set-top Box Piracy Fears Are Overblown

        Copyright holders and cable companies are fiercely against FCC’s plan to open up the set-top box market. They fear that this will facilitate piracy and degrade security. As a notable exception, the Writers Guild of America West contradicts these concerns, arguing that more choice for consumers is likely to benefit all sides.

      • How Piracy Became a Cause Celebre in the World of Academics

        In October 2008, two of the big names in academic publishing, Elsevier and Thieme, celebrated victory against an “international piracy scheme involving the unlawful copying, sale, and distribution of scientific journals.”

        In the defeated scheme, a Vietnamese entrepreneur had used throwaway email accounts to pose as a salesman. He contacted academics, offering discounted access to subscription journals. The unsuspecting marks made payment through fake websites that mimicked the publishers’, and received paper printouts of the journals in the mail.

        Now, another international piracy scheme commands the attention of Elsevier—but this one looks more like a Silicon Valley startup than a black market.

      • Sony Thinks It Can Charge An ‘Administrative Fee’ For Fair Use

        Mitch Stoltz, over at EFF, has been writing about a ridiculous situation in which Sony Music has been using ContentID to take down fair use videos — and then to ask for money to put them back up. As Stoltz notes, the videos in question are clearly fair use. They’re videos of lectures put on by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, teaching people about bluegrass music. They’re hourlong lectures in a classroom setting, that do include snippets of music here and there as part of a lecture, with the music usually less than 30 seconds long.

05.24.16

Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ask Safia: How do I move from a proprietary software background into open source?

    Your inexperience with open source tools definitely is not going to prevent you from participating in the open source community. Regardless of the closed nature of the platforms that you’ve worked with previously, you have all the skills needed to be a valuable open source contributor. If you’ve learned a thing or two about documentation, consider addressing documentation issues on projects. If you had experience in QA or testing, you can start off by user testing the software and identifying areas for improvement or for improving code coverage. Valuing your skill set and the nature of the environments that you have worked in is important.

  • Apache Elevates TinkerPop Graph Computing Framework to Top Level

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Now, the foundation has announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale.

    “Graph databases and mainstream interest in graph applications have seen tremendous growth in recent years,” said Stephen Mallette, Vice President of Apache TinkerPop. “Since its inception in 2009, TinkerPop has been helping to promote that growth with its Open Source graph technology stack. We are excited to now do this same work as a top-level project within the Apache Software Foundation.”

  • Why a Buffer developer open sourced his code

    If you look for the official definition of open source, you’ll likely stumble upon this outline from the board members of the Open Source Initiative. If you skim through it, you’re sure to find some idea or concept that you feel very aligned with. At its heart, openness (and open source) is about free distribution—putting your work out there for others to use.

    It’s really about helping others and giving back.

    ​When we started to think about open source and how we could implement it at Buffer, the fit seemed not only natural, but crucial to how we operate. In fact, it seemed that in a lot of ways we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t start to look more seriously at it.

    But what I didn’t quite realize at the time were all the effects that open source would have on me.

  • Events

    • How to make a culture change at your company

      I attended an interesting talk by Barry O’Reilly at the Cultivate pre-conference at OSCON 2016 about “how to push through change in an enterprise.” Though I think the title should have been: “What the enterprise can learn from open source.”

    • Two OSCON Conversations, And A Trip Report Between Them

      My last visit to OSCON was in 2011, when I had worked for the Wikimedia Foundation for under a year, and wanted to build and strengthen relationships with the MediaWiki and PHP communities. I remember not feeling very successful, and thinking that this was a conference where executives and engineers (who in many cases are not terribly emotionally passionate about open source) meet to hire, get hired, and sell each other things.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Struggling to open a document or photo? Here’s how to do it

      Things are a bit trickier if you have a file from a productivity application you don’t have access to —such as a Word document and no Word application, either to open it or re-save it. The solution is still simple, though — download Libre Office. Libre Office is a free and fully functional office suite that’s more than a match for Microsoft Office, and it can open (and save in) Office file formats.

  • Networking/SDN

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong 8101B

      After hunting for Loongson based hardware for the first half of 2015, I was finally able to find an used Yeeloong in July, in very good condition. Upon receiving the parcel, the first thing I did was to install OpenBSD on this exquisitely exotic machine.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Call for GIMP 2.10 Documentation Update

      With the upcoming GIMP 2.10 release we intend to finally close the time gap between releases of source code, installers, and the user manual. This means that we need a more coordinated effort between the GIMP developers team and the GIMP User Manual team.

      For the past several months we’ve already been working on GIMP mostly in bugfix mode. It’s time to start updating the user manual to match all the changes in GIMP 2.10, and we would appreciate your help with that.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Mobile Age project: making senior citizens benefit from open government data

        On 1 February 2016, ten European partners launched the Mobile Age project. Aiming to develop inclusive mobile access to public services using open government data, Mobile Age targets a group of citizens that are usually marginalised when it comes to technical innovations but which is rapidly growing in number and expectations: European senior citizens.

        While more and more public services are made available online only, older persons’ needs and wishes towards digital services are rarely understood and taken in account. This deficit is often exacerbated by their lower digital skills and poor access to the internet. In order to cope with this, Mobile Age is based on the concept of co-creation: it will develop mobile open government services that are created together with senior citizens.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Protecting IP in a 3D printed future

        3D printing might just change everything. At least John Hornick, who leads Finnegan’s 3D printing working group and wrote 3D Printing Will Rock the World, certainly thinks so. Introduced by Bracewell Giuliani’s Erin Hennessy, Hornick spoke to INTA registrants yesterday morning about the dramatic consequences he believes the proliferation of 3D printing could have for intellectual property.

  • Programming/Development

    • Google reveals nationalities of students in open source-focused Summer of Code 2016

      Every summer, many students get excited for some well-deserved time off from studies; well, if their region practices such a vacation, that is. In some cultures, school is year-round. While this is unfortunate from the standpoint of socializing and having fun, it arguably keeps the students on track for great success.

      For students that are particularly motivated and education-focused, Google hosts its legendary Summer of Code. This program pairs future developers with open source projects. Not only do these young folks learn, but they get to contribute to the projects as well. Today, the search giant shares the nationalities of the students participating in Summer of Code 2016. For the first time ever, Albania has a representative — woo-hoo! This may surprise you, but the USA is not the most-represented nation. The top country, however, may shock you — or not.

    • Google GSoC, Outreachy Kick Off Their Summer 2016 Coding Projects

      Yesterday marked the official start of the projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code and the summer round of the Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women) projects.

      The Google Open-Source Blog announced the start of GSoC 2016 with this being their 12th year and having around 1,200 students with 178 different open-source organizations participating.

    • Japan Just Made Computer Programming A Compulsory Subject In Its Schools

      With an aim to improve children’s creative and logical thinking, Japan has decided to make programming a compulsory subject in its schools. To start this program from 2020, the Japanese government has constituted panels to decide the programming syllabus and incorporated the matter in its growth strategy agenda.

    • GitLab Container Registry

      Yesterday we released GitLab 8.8, super powering GitLab’s built-in continuous integration. With it, you can build a pipeline in GitLab, visualizing your builds, tests, deploys and any other stage of the life cycle of your software. Today (and already in GitLab 8.8), we’re releasing the next step: GitLab Container Registry.

      GitLab Container Registry is a secure and private registry for Docker images. Built on open source software, GitLab Container Registry isn’t just a standalone registry; it’s completely integrated with GitLab.

    • Moving on From GitHub

      Last year I joined GitHub as Director Of Community. My role has been to champion and manage GitHub’s global, scalable community development initiatives. Friday was my last day as a hubber and I wanted to share a few words about why I have decided to move on.

      My passion has always been about building productive, engaging communities, particularly focused on open source and technology. I have devoted my career to understanding the nuances of this work and which workflow, technical, psychological, and leadership ingredients can deliver the most effective and rewarding results.

      As part of this body of work I wrote The Art of Community, founded the annual Community Leadership Summit, and I have led the development of community at Canonical, XPRIZE, OpenAdvantage, and for a range of organizations as a consultant and advisor.

    • My time with Rails is up

      Last year I made a decision that I won’t be using Rails anymore, nor I will support Rails in gems that I maintain. Furthermore, I will do my best to never have to work with Rails again at work.

      Since I’m involved with many Ruby projects and people have been asking me many times why I don’t like Rails, what kind of problems I have with it and so on, I decided to write this long post to summarize and explain everything.

      This is semi-technical, semi-personal and unfortunately semi-rant. I’m not writing this to bring attention, get visitors or whatever, I have no interest in that at all. I’m writing this because I want to end my discussions about Rails and have a place to refer people to whenever I hear the same kind of questions.

    • An overview of Lean, Agile and DevOps

      The lunch of big corporate IT is being stolen by smaller, nimbler companies. Big IT, with its greater resources, should have crushed the competition. Rather it is playing catch-up. But things are changing. There is a quiet revolution in corporate IT. Big organisations are learning from small companies and are beginning to use it at scale. Goliath is back but acting like David.

Leftovers

  • Time for a new Acronym for Mobile, Digital, Media & Tech: Our New Tech Industry Sectors Are: SCIAM – Social Media, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Analytics, and Mobile

    There are plenty of great acronyms in our industry. For example a recent one is SMAC (Social, Mobilty, Analytics and Cloud) which is a nice way to remember what all are the real hot tech ‘industries’ already viable in tech (compared to emerging promising tech which is not yet established as a viable global (and profitable) industry such as 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, virtual reality, nanotechnology etc. Most of those will probably also grow to be big but they are TRIVIAL in size, compared to say Social Media – haha Facebook alone is bigger than global 3D printing industry plus drones plus AR plus VR plus nanotechnology combined). Recently I have been thinking about this and calculating and doing some deep analysis, and have now started to discuss my thoughts in my private customer seminars. Eventually this will become a public conference item and a chapter in an upcoming book. But right now, I want to just introduce a new acronym for our industry. The problem with SMAC is that it is clearly missing a major component… where is IoT? Where is one of the biggest tech opportunities – definitely already a giant global industry – the Internet of Things? All the stuff about Smart Cities and Connected Cars – thats all part of the IoT slice of the tech future – and that CERTAINLY is of the scale to be included within ‘SMAC’ for example. I have the solution. Easy:

  • The UKIP MEP using Brussels privilege to frustrate a UK court process and an Act of Parliament

    23rd May 2016

    In a High Court judgment handed down last week we have the splendid irony of a UKIP MEP using the privileges of the European Parliament so as to stay a case in the English courts where the court is applying an Act of Parliament.

    The case is one about libel damages and the statutory provision is that which governs “offers to amend” under the Defamation Act 1996.

    One would think that this is exactly the sort of Brussels interference with national legal sovereignty – the court process and the effect of primary legislation – that UKIP would be against.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Federal Government Must Stop Catholic Hospitals From Harming More Women

      Unfortunately, it’s increasingly a common story. A woman who is expecting a baby rushes to the hospital knowing that something is going horribly awry. Her heart rate is elevated, and she is bleeding. Sadly, the pregnancy is doomed. Crying and upset, she realizes she needs an abortion because she knows the pregnancy won’t make it to term. And she knows she is getting sicker.

    • Putin is Taking a Bold Step against Biotech Giant Monsanto

      Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking a bold step against biotech giant Monsanto and genetically modified seeds at large. In a new address to the Russian Parliament Thursday, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.

    • Monsanto’s 50 Years of Death From Above and Below Is About to End

      For over 20 years, Monsanto has exercised almost dictatorial control over American agriculture. But many people now believe the company is contaminating our food supply and destroying the environment–and public opinion has increasingly turned against the company.

      Now, for the first time in those two decades, the number of acres planted with genetically modified (GMO) crops is down. Efforts to label GMO foods are gaining momentum. Family and community farms are taking off. Nearly 40 countries have banned GMO crops and use of Monsanto’s keystone product, Roundup (glyphosate), may not be re-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, while the European Union has done so on a restricted basis.

    • ‘March Against Monsanto’ Activists Rally in Cities Around the World (Video)

      Hundreds of thousands of anti-GMO activists took the streets in hundreds of cities around the world calling for bans on genetically modified food.

    • Monsanto Threatens Argentina Over Recent Food Inspection Decision

      In yet one more example of how Monsanto will stop at nothing to achieve total domination of the food supply, the major agricultural corporation is now attempting to use its toxic product as leverage against the Argentinian government.

      After a dispute between Monsanto and Argentina regarding the inspection of genetically modified soybeans, Monsanto has now announced that it intends to suspend future soybean technologies in Argentina. Monsanto’s move will leave many Argentine farmers who used the company’s biotech products without the new Xtend technology scheduled to be deployed in Argentina allegedly aimed at increasing soy yields as well as controlling glyphosate-resistant, broad-leaf weeds, another problem created by Monsanto itself. The dispute centered around the fact that Monsanto was demanding that private exporting companies act as inspectors to ensure that agricultural products trademarked to the company (although even this is disputed by farmers) were not being sold. The Argentine government ruled that only the government had the authority to act as a food inspector.

    • NYPD Commissioner Has Some ‘Extremely Dubious’ Claims About Marijuana

      NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said on a local radio show over the weekend that marijuana is responsible for the “vast majority” of New York City’s violence, adding that it makes him “scratch [his] head” as to why states want to legalize marijuana.

      “Interestingly enough here in New York City, most of the violence we see — violence around drug trafficking — is involving marijuana,” Bratton said. “Here in New York the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in the use of heroin now in the city.”

    • [Last month] ‘Karoshi’ cases on rise in Japan

      In a country that has no legal limits on working hours, an increasing number of people are taking their lives or dying from work-related stress

    • When the drugs don’t work

      How to combat the dangerous rise of antibiotic resistance

    • WHO Director Advocates Strong Health Systems, Warns Against Profit-Oriented Mechanisms

      The World Health Assembly opened today with World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan repeating that this year has a record number of agenda items and over 3,000 participants. She slapped at profit-seeking mechanisms leading to “slow-motion disasters,” which put economic interests above concerns about well-being. In particular, she underlined the lack of research and development for antimicrobial treatments and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.

    • Health Systems, Collaboration, Research Funding Before Innovation, Speakers Say

      The fight against epidemics cannot only rely on innovation, according to speakers at an event organised by the pharmaceutical industry alongside the annual World Health Assembly’s opening day. Strong health systems, collaboration of all stakeholders, preventive measures, and the ability to fund research are prerequisite to innovation, they said.

      The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) organised an event on the side of the 69th World Health Assembly on 23 May, looking at how global health threats such as the Ebola and Zika viruses prompt innovation.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • What’s the point of (InfoSec) Certifications?

      When I did the GSE, I absolutely loved the hands-on lab more than anything-else I’d done in the world of SANS or GIAC, outside of Mike Poor’s 503 Packet Work book (if you like packets, this is heaven, literally :) ) and the “Capture the Flag” exercises created by Ed Skoudis in 504 and 560. I’ve also had some amazing instructors like Arrigo Triulzi (Arrigo teaching SEC504 actually convinced me that my future was in InfoSec) and Stephen Sims, however, I am questioning more than ever the value of certifications and to a lesser degree the training courses (which are priced to be exclusive to a tiny minority who are already fairly well off or lucky – I often recommend Coursera or the Offensive Security stuff to candidates when cost is a real issue).

    • Linux Kernel Website Kernel.org Banned By Norton

      Symantec’s automated threat analysis system, Norton Safe Web, claims that Linux kernel’s website kernel.org contains 4 threats and shows a red flag to the users. Looking at Norton’s past record, this threat detection could be just another false warning.

    • Oplcarus: An Anonymous Hacker Reveals The Motivation Behind Latest Attacks

      Here is an account of the operation against banks and financial institutes, named “OpIcarus”, by Anonymous. It reveals the purpose of the cyber attacks, their targets, and the future of OpIcarus operation as told by one of the Anonymous hacktivists with an online name of “The Voice” .

    • Systemd Reverts Its Stance On Letting Users Access Frame-Buffer Devices

      Last week’s release of systemd 230 ended up shipping with a change that made it more easy for processes running as a user to snoop on frame-buffer devices. That change has already been reverted for the next systemd update.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn ‘still prepared to call for Tony Blair war crimes investigation’

      Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports.

      The Chilcot Inquiry into conflict will be released on 6 July this year after years of analysing evidence about how the Government acted in the run-up to and during the conflict.

      During the Labour leadership election Mr Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial.

    • Tony Blair calls for ground forces to fight ‘proper’ war against Isis

      Isis will not be defeated without the deployment of ground forces against them, Tony Blair has said.

      Speaking at an event hosted by Prospect magazine, the mastermind of Britain’s involvement in 2003 invasion of Iraq reiterated his call for greater military involvement in the conflict.

      “If you want to defeat these people, you’re going to have to go and wage a proper ground war against them,” he said.

    • Turkey´s Kurdish peace process: regional implications

      In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish People´s Democratic (HDP) Party won an unprecedented 13 percent of the national vote during Turkey’s General Election on June 7, 2015. For the first time since 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority. Though this trend was reversed in the November election, with the AKP regaining political dominance and exhibiting increasing authoritarian tendencies, Turkey´s political landscape had clearly shifted. The growing influence of Kurds in the country both politically and militarily, for better or worse, means Turkey is holding the key to either fostering peace and stability in the region, or more violence and chaos.

      These political developments in Turkey are influencing the peace negotiations with the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which are currently at a standstill. The Kurdish conflict and recent developments in Turkey are also affected by larger conflict dynamics in the region; even though Kurds’ situation varies from country to country, they are all in the end interconnected. The escalating violence in Syria has displaced millions, resulting in an influx of refugees to Turkey, the region, and particularly to Europe. This has focused international attention on the need for a political solution both in Turkey and in Syria.

    • Dear Grads, Don’t Join the Military

      There are many reasons why it is immoral to place yourself in a position in which you are compelled to kill on command, or to facilitate such killing. But in this letter, I will focus on why, even if you accept the morality of war, you should stay out of military life for the sake of your own personal development and flourishing.

    • Is Scarborough Shoal Worth a War?

      If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight.

      Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”

      And what is Scarborough Shoal?

      A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific, and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

      Beijing and Manila both claim Scarborough Shoal. But, in June 2013, Chinese ships swarmed and chased off a fleet of Filipino fishing boats and naval vessels. The Filipinos never came back.

      [...]

      High among them is that the incoming president of the Philippines, starting June 30, is Rodrigo Duterte, no admirer of America, and a populist authoritarian thug who, as Mayor of Davao, presided over the extrajudicial killing of some 1,000 criminals during the 1990s.

      Duterte, who has charged Aquino with treason for abandoning Scarborough Shoal, once offered to set aside his country’s claim in exchange for a Chinese-built railroad, then said he might take a jet ski to the reef to assert Manila’s rights, plant a flag and let himself be executed to become a national hero.

    • Why is the government so close to BAE Systems?

      The British government has a very cosy relationship with the people arming Saudi Arabia.

    • Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

      The pivot is an attempt by the United States to contain China by supporting countries in East Asia against its rising power and also to augment U.S. military forces and bases in the region. Yet the pivot has never been fully completed because the United States has been bogged down needless nation-building wars in the greater Middle East for a decade and a half.

      Obama, supposedly the antiwar president, has failed to recognize that Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are unwinnable nation-building quagmires. The war in Afghanistan – of which the assassination of Taliban leader Mansour in Pakistan is a part – has surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. Obama first surged US force levels there and then halted a promised complete withdrawal to continue the fight indefinitely against the Taliban with 11.000 American troops. In Iraq, initially, Obama wisely carried out George W. Bush’s timetable for complete American withdrawal and then decided to send US forces back in to fight ISIS (5,000 troops and increasing), which is largely a threat to the Mideast and Europe. Obama has also sent a limited number of US forces into Syria for the same purpose.

    • What The Gun Industry Thinks Women Want

      Across the exhibit hall with “seven acres of guns and gear” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville this weekend, the gun industry’s attempts to market to women were not hard to spot. Just look for the pink.

    • Will The November US Presidential Election Bring The End Of The World?

      If Hillary becomes US president, the neoconservative threat to Russia will escalate. The Atlanticist Integrationists will be eliminated from the Russian government, and Russia will move to full war standing.

      Remember what an unprepared Russia did to the German Wehrmacht, at that time the most powerful army ever assembled. Imagine what a prepared Russia would do to the crazed Hillary and the incompetent neoconservatives.

    • Hammering for Peace

      As one of the manufacturers with the largest share of the global Unmanned Aerial Systems market, (18.9%), Northrop Grumman profits immensely from peddling complex weapon systems often designed to be eyes in the skies monitoring targets for assassination. This kind of surveillance and extrajudicial execution generates intense anger and backlashes in other lands. It also promotes proliferation of robotic weapons. But the U.S. military and acquiescent institutions encourage us to feel that we’ve been made safer by complex weapons of destruction, and we should instead be frightened of a young woman wielding a sledgehammer to break a plate glass window.

    • US Centcom Commander in Syria to Coordinate Kurds, Arabs against ISIL

      Robert Burns of AP reported on the visit inside Syria of the head of the US Middle East Command (Centcm), Army Gen. Joseph Votel, to assess the progress in US training of the Syrian Democratic Forces division. It is said to comprise 25,000 Kurdish fighters of the leftist YPG or People’s Protection Units along with 5,000 or 6,000 Arab fighters allied with the Kurds against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

      A few dozen US troops are on the ground there, training the SDF, but the latter complain that Washington has provided them with no medium or heavy weaponry.

    • Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted

      What other nation on earth would signal its intent to “bury the hatchet, and what it believes to be the start of a new relationship, other than the United States, by lifting an arms embargo?

      The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending what the New York Times called “one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.”

      “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” Obama said. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Elephants continue to suffer in ‘humane’ wildlife sanctuaries

      For 15 years she ferried tourists around Cambodia’s famous landmarks before dropping dead at the side of the road.

      As holiday-goers posed for photos and made their wish of riding an elephant come true, the elderly animal who was thought to be aged 40 to 45, dutifully plodded on.

      But three weeks ago on Apr. 22, as the sweltering summer heat reached 40 degrees Celsius, Sambo suffered a heart attack and died on her way to famed Siem Reap temple Angkor Wat.

    • North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years

      Fracking is set to take place in Britain for the first time in five years after councillors approved tests in North Yorkshire, sweeping aside thousands of objections from residents and campaigners.

    • What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You

      Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth.

      Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Fracking also releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    • Brexit campaign leadership dominated by climate-sceptics

      The group’s three leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and figurehead Lord Nigel Lawson have cast doubt over man-made climate change, which is backed by most of the world’s credible experts.

      Lawson founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 and is a noted climate sceptic. Both the foundation, which broke UK Charity Commission rules for anti-climate bias, and Vote Leave share rich donors.

    • Programmers Aren’t Writing Green Code Where It’s Most Needed

      Confession? I don’t write green code. I mean, it might be green code just by coincidence, but I’ve never really thought too much about the relative energy consumption demanded by this design pattern or algorithm versus some other. Sadly, this is true even when I’m working with actual hardware and low-level software, such as that written in plain C for embedded devices (in my case, for an Arduino board or other microcontroller platform). What’s more, I don’t think the green code idea has ever come up in my years of computer science classes.

      I’m hardly the exception, according to a paper presented this week at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. In interviews and surveys conducted with 464 software engineers from a range of disciplines—including mobile, data center, embedded, and traditional software development—researchers found that where green coding most matters, its practice is rare.

    • Study: Humans to blame for big water losses in region

      A new study blames human-caused evaporation for water losses in the Colorado River Basin.

      More water is lost across the seven-state basin to evaporation due to human factors such as irrigation during July — about 8.5 million acre-feet — than what flows downriver from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in an average year, says the study, from seven researchers in Southern California, Taiwan and China.

    • GE to Invest $1.4 Billion in Saudi Arabia

      General Electric Co. on Monday announced a raft of investments worth at least $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia as the Persian Gulf kingdom seeks to reduce its oil dependence by further opening up its economy to international businesses.

    • Saudi Arabia asserting writ in region like mafia crime family

      What passes for a government in Saudi Arabia has just threatened that unless things change in Syria they will resort to ‘Plan B’, thus proving that the arrogance and impertinence of this medieval dictatorship knows no bounds.

      Let us be clear: if the religious extremism that has engulfed the Arab world in recent years is a snake, responsible for the most heinous and wanton acts of brutality and barbarity it has ever experienced, the head of this snake lies in Riyadh.

      This is not to argue that Saudi Arabia should be lined up for invasion and occupation – surely we’ve seen enough of such invasions and occupations to know they only make the situation worse rather than better. But it does require that countries such as the US, UK, and France reappraise foreign policies that have long placed an emphasis on maintaining close relations to a government that has done more to destabilize the region with the poison of religious sectarianism than any other.

    • Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

      New Orleans is sinking fast — with one neighborhood losing as much as an inch per year, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research found.

      The study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and published last week, used GPS and radar, including one device that captured images from seven miles above ground.

      The most threatened section of the already-below-sea level city is Michoud, a neighborhood that sits between Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Borguen, and is being swallowed up at a rate of half an inch to just over one inch per year, the researchers found.

      Another neighborhood, the Upper 9th Ward, is losing just under half an inch to nearly one inch per year.

    • North Yorkshire fracking vote: Council approves fracking in Ryedale

      The North Yorkshire County Council planning committee voted seven to four in favour of an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton

    • Brazil prepares to roll back green laws

      Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reached its climax, reactionary politicians were quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

      Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC (constitutional ammendment project) 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.

      Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study. And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.

    • Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents

      The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. About 18 million people live within 50 miles of the site. The two reactors at the site are over 40 years old – ancient in nuclear years. Recently Indian Point has been plagued by increasing problems; nearly 25% of the bolts in the reactor vessel were found to be damaged or missing and 65,000% spike in tritium levels one of its test wells. These mechanical problems raise the concern of a catastrophic meltdown. Any large release from the red-hot cores or pools of nuclear waste were to occur from human error, mechanical failure, or act of sabotage, would exceed Chernobyl or Fukushima in fatalities.

    • “Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street

      On Sunday, May 15, more than a hundred climate change kayaktivists took to the waters of Padilla Bay in Anacortes, Washington, risking arrest to land on the banks of the Tesoro oil refinery. In the shadow of the refinery smoke stacks, they unfurled banners calling attention to the potentially lethal risks that fossil fuel workers confront each day on the job. “Seven Dead, No More Casualties, Tesoro Explosion April 2, 2010” read one banner focused on Tesoro’s checkered workplace safety record. “Solidarity is Strength, We are all workers,” read another banner. Yet another called for a “Just Transition,” as kayaktivists knelt on the ground, paddles in hand, in what organizers described as a demonstration of respect for the workers killed at the refinery, and for those still working in the refinery. The messaging on the banks of the refinery signaled the central challenge that climate change activists confront in trying to find common ground—if not common cause–with refinery workers.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament to tackle virtual currencies and Blockchain

      This week, the European Parliament will debate (Wednesday) and vote (Thursday) on a report on virtual currencies.

      First of all, this is a report – not legislation. But it will be handed over to the European Commission for consideration.

    • Make Scandinavia one nation, says Norwegian tycoon

      Speaking with Swedish daily Göteborgs Posten, the Norwegian owner of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group was full of praise for his country’s eastern neighbours, hailing their capacity for innovation and suggesting that combining that with Norway’s sense of adventure could be a recipe for success.

      Stordalen went on to suggest that Norway should incorporate not only Sweden but Denmark as well and create one nation out of the three Scandinavian countries.

    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replacing 4 next-door Palo Alto homes

      Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.

      Zuckerberg bought the homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2013 after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.

      Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties.

      One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal. Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.

    • Fast Food Workers Are Starting To Win The Fight For $15. What About The Battle For Union Rights?

      Ever since fast food workers staged their first strike in 2012, their basic demands have been twofold: an increase of their pay to at least $15 an hour, and the right to form a union.

      They’ve made significant headway on the first demand, helping to secure the passage of a $15 minimum wage in two states and a handful of cities. But now they plan to make good on the second half.

    • Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

      The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

      The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

      However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

    • Uber’s Conscientious Objectors

      One Saturday night after staying out too late in the West Village’s seedy bars, a close friend asked me to share an Uber with her back to Brooklyn.

      A pit developed in my stomach. I couldn’t untangle what exactly about the app made me uncomfortable, but I felt guilty about taking an Uber. There’s the cost, for one thing. The app seems like a luxury in Manhattan, where taxis are plentiful and the subway runs all night. But that wasn’t it. I just had a feeling that Uber, the company, was bad.

    • The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

      More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector.

      [...]

      It also comes as many in the Wall Street financial community turn to Clinton as the sane alternative to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the general election campaign. These money interests will want Clinton to assure them that her get-tough rhetoric is nothing more than political red meat to assuage an angry populist electorate; their hope is that if the pivot to a centrist posture doesn’t happen in the general election, it will surely happen once she secures the presidency. But broad support for the Take On Wall Street agenda will limit Clinton’s ability to pivot, especially if this agenda helps elect new Senate and House members committed to not allowing Wall Street to keep rigging the economy against the rest of us.

    • Two Decades Later, Democrats Say Giuliani Was Wrong About Rent Limits

      Since 1995, developers in lower Manhattan have relied on a letter written by former Mayor Giuliani to justify receiving tax breaks without rent restrictions. Former lawmakers who wrote and voted for the law say the practice violates the intent and clear meaning of the statute.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Bernie Sanders Will Be a Significant Force at the Democratic Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July seems set to continue the fierce nomination battle—and launch a major debate about what the party stands for.

      Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, won the Oregon primary handily on Tuesday and was barely edged out in Kentucky. Last week, he took West Virginia by almost 16 percentage points. Yet, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are already calling for him to stand down.

    • Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas

      It’s the entire fault of Bernie’s kids, have you heard? A wild mob of them in Nevada went on a rampage during the Nevada Democrat Convention and hurt “Democracy” as we know it.

      To hear the horrific description of events, they nearly killed it dead.

      They wrote nasty social messages to a VIP!

      They did some other bad stuff, unlike anything Hillary Clinton’s robots would do. Voting and delegate stuff, trying to steal the limelight—and perhaps an election.

      They’re as bad as pro athletes going off the handle on Twitter!

      Millennials and other Sanders’ supporters are suddenly the degenerate generation if you hear it told by the Democratic National Committee and the lackluster scribes working for the mainstream media.

      Sounds like a night of cocktails and toadying around got out of hand.

      It is both intriguing and disgusting the way Clintonites and the Madam’s corporate-media backers attack Sanders’ campaign and youthful supporters while repeatedly letting her off the hook for her crookedness, the likes of which we have not seen since the infamous “Robber Barons” came on the American scene after the Civil War.

      Well, crooks love other crooks they say.

      What is wrong with this picture? It’s a sad commentary on where we are—and a “fuck you” in the face of reality.

      Let’s measure this overblown Nevada riot of rudeness in coffee spoons, shall we? Forget Clinton and Bernie for a second, though they are both major shareholders in the madness; let’s consider the way things are and have been for too long.

    • Virginia Republicans Sue To Stop 200,000 Ex-Felons From Voting

      Republican lawmakers in Virginia filed a lawsuit Monday to block the governor from restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 residents with felony convictions. The case now before the Virginia Supreme Court argues that the Gov. Terry McAuliffe exceeded his constitutional power by signing an executive order restoring the full civil rights of all residents who have already served their felony sentences and completed supervised parole or probation. Until April, Virginia had been one of just four U.S. states that permanently disenfranchised most people with felony convictions.

      “The Governor is authorized to restore the voting rights of any convicted felon through an individualized grant of clemency, but he may not issue a blanket restoration of voting rights,” the lawsuit states.

    • Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign

      Early last Fall, I received a surprising circular email from a high union officer and erstwhile leader of SDS, way back in the early 1960s. It contained an urgent appeal: get behind Hillary, because this is an era for defensive struggles. The letter-writer had also been an early and articulate opponent of the US invasion of Vietnam. I puzzled at his conversion to the War Candidate. I winced, some months later, as his union staffers crossed the border from my own Wisconsin to work feverishly in Iowa against….the labor candidate, Bernie Sanders, who lost by a hair (perhaps a hair that did not exist!). And again back in Wisconsin, where the best or worst efforts of his union, joined to the purported idealists of the labor movement, SEIU, failed somehow to keep the state in line for Hillary. They could not carry the working class vote.

    • This is How the Strongman Wins: Donald Trump’s Single Greatest Weapon is America’s Hatred for its Press

      Distrust in the media is at an all-time high, and Trump plans to ride that enmity all the way to the White House.

    • Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

      The Obama administration wants Americans to believe that it is fiercely anti-corruption. “I have been shocked by the degree to which I find corruption pandemic in the world today,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on May 12. Kerry sounded like the French detective in Casablanca who was “shocked” to discover gambling. Six years ago at the United Nations, President Obama proclaimed that the U.S. government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” Maybe he forgot to send Kerry the memo.

    • A Harvard MBA Guy Is Out to Bring Down the Clintons

      In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted to his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons’ charity the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an “international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward.” Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose over the coming days.

    • Chris Hedges: Taxpayers Pay for Primaries, but DNC Determines Rules in Order to Steal Votes (Video)

      “It is our job to make the powerful frightened of us,” the Truthdig columnist said in a discussion about the future of the Bernie Sanders movement held at the Left Forum in New York City. “That is what movements do. Movements keep power in check, and as any good anarchist will tell you, power is always the problem, no matter who holds it.”

    • How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

      “Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

      Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

    • NYT: Protesters and Prosecutor Should Be Friends

      The editorial board argued Thompson had stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana cases (marijuana has been decriminalized since 1977), launched a warrant-clearing program (a renaming of a similar program started under his predecessor) and pushed to reverse wrongful convictions (not including his convictions). Speaking to public defenders in Brooklyn, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find any who shared the sentiment that Thompson is anything other than an enforcer for a criminal justice system that still crushes people of color. Dozens of attorneys staged a protest in front of his office (another set of critics the editorial board ignored) to rail against Thompson and his aggressive prosecution of poor New Yorkers.

      The Times editorial board acknowledged that “Mr. Thompson’s critics say he continues to seek unfairly harsh sentences for poor and black defendants, refusing to extend to them the leniency he offered Mr. Liang.” But, they countered, “the facts of every case are different, and need to be considered individually.”

      They’ve obviously never spent much time in Brooklyn criminal court, which still looks and operates like a conveyor belt of punishment with an overwhelming amount of black and brown bodies being loaded onto it. One lawyer told me that her clients get worse plea deal offers under Thompson than they did under the former Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes, whose record Thompson ran against. In fact, she said, Thompson might be the most hard-charging district attorney in the city when it comes to punishing low-level offenders, the majority of whom are poor people of color.

    • Clinton’s ‘Broken Promise’ on California Debate Called ‘Insult’ to Voters

      Bernie Sanders calls it an “insult” to the people of California while many others consider it a promise broken.

      With no apparent upside for her campaign and despite an agreement earlier this year, Hillary Clinton has said she will not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s crucial primary next month.

      “We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said in a statement.

    • Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers

      In the warm twilight of a spring evening 15 years ago, in the quiet, green garden of Rhodes House at Oxford, I watched Bill Clinton give an impromptu talk to a group of graduate students who had gathered around him with their glasses of wine after an official function earlier in the day. (I was there in a service capacity.) He was pushing the same line he espoused last week while campaigning for Hillary, when he declared that he had “killed himself” to get a state for the Palestinians at the high-stakes Camp David summit in 2000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU data protection chief: We have serious concerns about Privacy Shield

      The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will issue his opinion on the controversial Privacy Shield proposals on Monday and negotiators shouldn’t expect an easy ride.

      Speaking at the presentation of the EDPS annual report on Tuesday, Giovanni Buttarelli said that his view was “in full synergy with the A29 working group opinion” that was issued last month.

      “We have serious concerns. We do. But now our task is not simply to copy and paste or repeat what our colleagues have said. We would like to be more proactive by focussing on potential solutions, for example what an ‘essentially equivalent test’ really means,” he said.

      The A29—or Article 29—group is made up of data protection authorities from across the EU and its report was extremely critical of the planned Privacy Shield deal to facilitate the transfer of EU citizens personal data to the US. The Privacy Shield plan was drawn up after the European Court of Justice ruled the Safe Harbour agreement invalid last year, saying that there were not sufficient safeguards for personal data under the voluntary scheme.

    • Exclusive: Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined Whistleblower’s Life and Set Stage for Snowden’s Leaks

      In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were “based in part, or entirely,” on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden,” and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. “To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?” asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.

    • Why the UK government’s latest Snoopers’ Charter bid is wrong

      I’d like to preface what follows by saying that I am by no means an IT expert or technologist by any stretch of the imagination. As Members of Parliament we are often asked to debate and scrutinise legislation outside of our own areas of expertise, and the Investigatory Powers Bill is such a case.

      When you are scrutinising one of the most complex and important pieces of legislation in recent Westminster history, you are very reliant on—and grateful for—experts that explain various technical provisions within the bill to help understand whether they are possible, affordable, and potentially overly burdensome on the industry.

      You also need to listen to the various agencies set out their case as to why they need these powers, and what these powers will enable them to do that they can’t do at the moment. All in order for us to judge whether or not the powers are necessary, proportionate, and in accordance with rule of law.

    • Cyber attacks a constant threat, says GCSB boss
    • New GCSB director – a consummate public servant
    • New GCSB head talks ‘next generation’ cyber programme
    • ‘Innate tension’ stops GCSB helping other agencies
    • GCSB links to NSA unsurprising – new spy boss
    • GCHQ infosec group disclosed kernel privilege exploit to Apple [Ed: Portraying GCHQ as “Good Guys” using CESG (which is more benign)]

      Communications and Electronics Security Group (CESG), the information security arm of GCHQ, was credited with the discovery of two vulnerabilities that were patched by Apple last week.

    • When Is NSA Hacking OK? [Ed: the “Good Guys” defence]

      The National Security Agency attempts to stay a step ahead of threats by occasionally using a software flaw to hack computers and online networks, but both privacy advocates and one of the agency’s top officials acknowledge the potential risks of keeping these security gaps secret.

      NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett tells U.S. News the agency alerts tech companies about discovered gaps in their cybersecurity “more than 90 percent of the time,” while government officials at several agencies vet the merits of disclosure in the remaining instances.

    • FBI Agent Testifies That The Agency’s Tor-Exploiting Malware Isn’t Actually Malware

      It wasn’t supposed to go this way. The same tactics that are causing the FBI problems now — running a child porn website, using local warrants to deploy its spyware to thousands of computers around the US (and the world!) — slipped by almost unnoticed in 2012. In a post-Snowden 2016, the FBI can hardly catch a break.

      Just recently, a judge presiding over one of its child porn cases agreed the FBI should not be forced to hand over details on its Network Investigative Technique to the defendant. Simultaneously, the judge noted the defendant had several good reasons to have access to this information. While this conundrum spares the FBI the indignity of the indefinite confinement it’s perfectly willing to see applied to others, it doesn’t exactly salvage this case, which could be on the verge of dismissal.

      In related cases, judges have declared the warrant used to deploy the NIT is invalid, thanks to Rule 41′s jurisdictional limits. If a warrant is issued in Virginia (as this one was), the search is supposed to be performed in Virginia, not in Kansas or Oklahoma or Massachusetts.

    • Beware of keystroke loggers disguised as USB phone chargers, FBI warns

      FBI officials are warning private industry partners to be on the lookout for highly stealthy keystroke loggers that surreptitiously sniff passwords and other input typed into wireless keyboards.

    • FBI Wants Biometric Database Hidden From Privacy Act

      The FBI is working to keep information contained in a key biometric database private and unavailable, even to people whose information is contained in the records.

      The database is known as the Next Generation Identification System, and it is an amalgamation of biometric records accumulated from people who have been through one of a number of biometric collection processes. That could include convicted criminals, anyone who has submitted records to employers, and many other people. The NGIS also has information from agencies outside of the FBI, including foreign law enforcement agencies and governments. Because of the nature of the records, the FBI is asking the federal government to exempt the database from the Privacy Act, making the records inaccessible through information requests.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After migrants, German nationalist party takes aim at Islam

      Weeks after declaring that there is no place for Islam in Germany, a surging nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and suggested limiting the religious freedom of the more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

      Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that they claim clash with the German constitution.

      The confrontation came days after the party — known by its acronym AfD — launched a campaign against the construction of a mosque in the eastern state of Thuringia, joining up for the first time with the group known as the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.

    • Austria election result: Alexander Van der Bellen celebrates narrow victory over right-wing candidate Norbert Hofer

      Alexander Van der Bellen has narrowly beaten his far-right rival Norbert Hofer to become Austria’s new head of state.

      Despite two different exit polls giving Mr Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party the lead, Austria’s interior minister announced independent candidate Mr Van der Bellen will become the country’s next president.

      Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said Mr Van der Bellen collected 50.3 per cent of the votes, compared to 49.7 for Mr Hofer.

    • Narooma butcher says he didn’t mean offence with bacon bomber sign

      Narooma butcher Jeff Rapley says he meant no offence with a sign meant to boost bacon sales.

      Mr Rapley earlier this month put up a sign in his shop window stating: “Eating two strips of Rapley’s award-winning bacon for breakfast reduces your chance of being a suicide bomber by 100 %”.

      A local resident who noticed the sign complained to the butcher and he removed it later that day and has not displayed it since.

    • Brother of Guantánamo Diary Author Barred from Entering U.S.

      The brother of a prominent Guantánamo Bay prisoner was denied entry to the United States this weekend as he attempted a trip to advocate for his brother’s release.

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi is one of the most famous of the 80 men left at Guantánamo. Last year, Guantánamo Diary, his brutal memoir of imprisonment and torture by the United States and its counterterrorism allies became a bestseller. Held in Guantánamo for nearly 14 years without being charged with a crime, Slahi is scheduled to go before the prison’s Periodic Review Board on June 2. The interagency panel will review his case and could possibly recommend his release.

      Mohamedou’s younger brother, Yahdih Ould Slahi, lives in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has been trying to secure his brother’s freedom for years. He was planning to come to the United States to meet with journalists and for a series of public events ahead of the review board hearing.

      Yet when Yahdih, a German citizen, arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Saturday, May 21, he was immediately taken into custody by Customs and Border Patrol. He was held overnight, questioned for hours, and then sent back to Germany on Sunday evening.

      “He was asked questions about his family, his brother, and what he knew about why his brother was in Guantánamo,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “It was a harrowing, stressful, and exhausting experience.”

    • Justice Thomas Doesn’t See Anything Wrong With Excluding Jurors Based On Race

      It is tough to imagine a more egregious case of jury discrimination than Foster v. Chatman. The prosecutor’s office in this Georgia death penalty case struck every single black member of the jury pool. They made four copies of a list of prospective jurors, highlighting every African-American on the list in green next to a legend indicating that such highlighting “represents Blacks.” An investigator working for the prosecution advised prosecutors that “if it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors,” then one in particular “might be okay.” A note on one of the prosecution’s internal documents suggested that the office did not want a particular juror to be seated because of the juror’s membership in a “Black Church.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guilty As Charged? Pakistan And The Special 301 Reports

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued its annual Special 301 Report in the last week of April. This report discusses the impediments faced by the US nationals and companies due to lack of intellectual property protection in foreign countries. This report is issued every year under Section 182 of the amended US Trade Act, 1974. Under this Section, the USTR is required to identify countries that fail in providing adequate and effective protection to intellectual property rights or restrict market access to the US nationals relying on IPR protection in the host countries. Countries thus identified are considered Priority Foreign Countries. According to this Section, a country may be considered a priority foreign country even when it is fully compliant with the WTO Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the main multilateral agreement on IP rights today. Hence, this legislation and the determinations made in the Special 301 reports prioritize protection of commercial interests of the US nationals.

    • Trademarks

      • EUIPO provides update on trademark reforms

        Representatives from the EUIPO provided registrants with a guide to the substantial changes to EU trademark law and practice that came into force in March in a Users Meeting on Sunday.

    • Copyrights

      • Google’s closing argument: Android was built from scratch, the fair way

        Google attorney Robert Van Nest made his closing argument to a panel of jurors here today, asking them to clear Android of copyright infringement allegations as a matter of “fairness and fair use.”

        “This is a very important case, not only for Google but for innovation and technology in general,” Van Nest told the jury. “What Google engineers did was nothing out of that mainstream. They built Android from scratch, using new Google technology, and adapted technology from open sources. Android was a remarkable thing, a brand-new platform for innovation.”

      • The Pirate Bay Returns To Its Original And 13-Year-Old .ORG Domain

        It looks like that after about a half-decade-long journey of shuffling domain names, The Pirate Bay website is now back to its original .ORG domain. This decision has been made after a Swedish court has ordered the seizure of two .SE domains belonging to The Pirate Bay.

      • Are academic publishers liable for ginormous damages?

        Now assume, for argument’s sake, that the teacher exception to the work made for hire doctrine does not apply after the coming into force of the 1976 Copyright Act, and universities do own the copyright in the work of their faculty, provided the individual employment contract does not stipulate anything to the contrary. The wording of the relevant § 101 Copyright Act is certainly broad to entertain this possibility. It appears that up to 1990s, most employment contracts with university professors did not address copyright ownership in works created by faculty, but maybe some reader has more insight. So we have a potential 20 year or so window in which the universities, not the professors, own the copyright in the scholarly writings of the professors.

      • Take-Two Says Tattoo Artist Can’t Get Statutory Damages Because He Only Registered Copyright In 2015

        Back when I first wrote about the copyright lawsuit between a tattoo artist and Take-Two Software, makers of the highly successful NBA2K basketball series, over the faithful depiction of LeBron James’ image including his ink, I had been hopeful that perhaps this case could be a step towards resolving whether fair use applies when presenting images of people with tattoos in creative works. And that might still happen, but the defense Take-Two has decided to start things off with won’t do the trick. Rather than asserting the work’s status as fair use, the video game maker has led with a challenge to whether the tattoo artist can claim statutory damages based on when he had registered the copyright for the tattoos in question. It’s a play on a technicality, one which seems to strangely play on what counts as an independent work.

        Solid Oak Sketches had sued for damages nearing $1.2 million, claiming eight works had been infringed upon in the game NBA 2K16, including tattoo designs for LeBron James and two other players. According to Take-Two’s most recent filing with the court, Solid Oak Sketches registered the copyright for those tattoos in 2015. The game company’s argument is that it has been depicting those players and their tattoos since 2013, therefore there is precedent that statutory damages are not in play.

      • Shameful: House Panel Votes Down Plan To Make Public Domain Congressional Research Public

        For many, many years, we’ve complained about the fact that research reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) are kept secret. CRS is basically a really good, non-partisan research organization that tends to do very useful and credible research, when tasked to do so by members of Congress. The results, as works created by the federal government, are in the public domain. But the public never gets access to most of them. The reports are available to members of Congress, of course, but then it’s up to the members who have access to them to actually release them to the public… or not. And most don’t. Back in 2009, Wikileaks made news by releasing almost 7,000 CRS reports that had previously been secret. Since at least 2011, we’ve been writing about attempts to release these reports publicly, and nothing has happened.

      • Taylor Swift’s symbolic victory: Spotify still hasn’t figured out how to turn a profit

        Like a lot of the disruptors, when the music-streaming services came onto the scene, they made a lot of noise about how they had figured out the future. The old world of CDs and recorded music was antique: They knew that listeners wanted more access to music than any record store could offer, and they would pay substantial royalties to musicians and labels. There was utopian spirit to some of the talk.

        In the case of Spotify, its Swedish founder, Daniel Ek, spoke often about his love of music and how he would save the music industry. Even as musicians like Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke, and Prince kept their music off Spotify and criticized its business model, Ek kept talking about the way giving music away for free would help everyone.

      • Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet

        Writing a bad review online has always run a small risk of opening yourself up to a defamation claim. But few would expect to be told that they had to delete their review or face a lawsuit over another part of the law: copyright infringement.

        Yet that’s what happened to Annabelle Narey after she posted a negative review of a building firm on Mumsnet.

        Narey, who is the head of programme at an international children’s charity, had turned to London-based BuildTeam for a side return extension, but almost six months later, the relationship had turned acrimonious. The build, which was only supposed to take 10–14 weeks, was still unfinished, she wrote. “On Christmas day a ceiling fell down in an upstairs bedroom,” she says, apparently due to an issue with the plumbing. “Mercifully no one was hurt. [That] there seem to be so many glowing reports out there it is frankly curious. Proceed at your own risk,” the review concluded.

05.23.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

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

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

    But it brought the house down.

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

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

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

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

  • Open Source Employment Trends

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

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

  • 10 most in-demand Internet of things skills

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

  • Open source job market booming

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

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

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

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

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

  • Open source tool manages AWS Lambda apps

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

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice

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

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

    • The Month of LibreOffice

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

  • CMS

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

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

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

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

  • Networking

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • All About the DC/OS Open Source Project

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

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

    • Wayland/Weston with XWayland works on DragonFly

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source Governance: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

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

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

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

  • European Union: a House Divided

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

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

  • Let the Games Begin—Behind the Olympic Sheen

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

  • London is finally getting the Night Tube

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

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

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

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

  • IBM layoffs continue

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

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

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

  • Science

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

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

    • High Tech Tool to Aid in Pacific Northwest Toxin Detection

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

  • Deception

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

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

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

    • Seeds of suicide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

    • TOTP SSH port fluxing

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

    • TeslaCrypt no more: Ransomware master decryption key released

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

    • Thoughts on our security bubble

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Linux 4.7 Gets a Security Boost with ChromeOS Feature

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

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Five Questions on US Foreign Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Big Breakthrough

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Does Russia Have Reason to Fear?

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

    • Poof! Our Wars are All Forgotten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Oil majors tread cautiously towards renewables

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

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

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

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

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

    • NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Colorado residents push to protect homes, river from fracking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trudeau government faces crucial decisions in coming months

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Joys of Accountancy and Tents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Americans: A Conquered People: The New Serfs

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

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

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

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

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

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

    • Locked Out of the American Dream

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

    • Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

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

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

    • What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Why Trump Might Win

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

      [...]

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

    • Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning

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

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

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

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

    • Expecting Sanders Supporters to “Close Ranks?”

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

    • How to Make the Democratic Nominating Process Actually Democratic

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

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Progressive Challenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Hating the Media Could Make the Difference in November

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

    • Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes!

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trump camp quietly courts Muslims

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Reform or Revolution

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

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

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

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

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

    • Machine Bias

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

    • Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Battle for the Soul of American Higher Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks

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

    • Cop sued for drawing gun on man filming him

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

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

    • Sanders picks pro-Palestinian activist for Democratic platform committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Unraveling of Zionism?

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

    • Speak Up for Kids in Military Detention

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

    • Chelsea Manning Appeals 35-Year Sentence For Leaking Files

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • DTSA Litigation Updates

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

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

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

      • Chilean Bid to Help Authors Will Chill Audiovisual Content Online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05.22.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

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