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Links 25/4/2016: Kodi 16.1, OpenStack Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Running Windows on System76

      By tonight, this laptop’s time as a Windows only machine will be over. As soon as I finish writing this, I plan to print a file copy of my return, which got mailed before last Monday’s deadline by the way, and also save a copy of the file that Tax Act created to a USB drive so I can move it to our desktop for safekeeping. Then I’ll be downloading the recently released Xubuntu 16.04 for a review, partitioning the hard drive to save Windows for next year’s taxes and then seeing what our new laptop can do running a real operating system.

  • Server

    • Debunked! The CIA-Docker connection

      Some readers may have been alarmed to also learn that one of the companies that presented at a summit sponsored by In-Q-Tel was Docker. But Docker’s involvement with In-Q-Tel appears limited to a government support contract for its software — a wholly uncontroversial connection between Docker and the spy agency.

  • Kernel Space

    • Inside The Mind Of Linus Torvalds — Open Source, Linux, And Power Of Code

      Linus could be very easily regarded as one of the most influential peoples of last century who created a software that serves as the foundation of the 21st-century computing. Notably, he changes the technology twice — first with the Linux kernel, and again with Git, the source code management system being used all over the world by developers to maintain their code.

    • Kernel 4.4.8 Has Been Released
    • Linus Torvalds Announces Linux Kernel 4.6 RC5, Final Release Lands Mid-May

      Just a few moments ago, April 24, Linus Torvalds made his regular Sunday announcement about the next RC (Release Candidate) build of the upcoming Linux 4.6 kernel.

      Things are looking great and safe for the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.6, and while this fifth RC build is considerably bigger than the previous one, it still remains in the normal range, at least as Linus Torvalds sees it, and Linux 4.6 might just be one of those rare releases to not even get a seventh RC.

      “If things continue this way, this might be one of those rare releases that don’t even get to rc7. At least that’s how it feels now, although to be honest I suspect that even if things continue this calm I’d do the normal rc7 just because there’s no particular hurry or reason not to,” said Linus Torvalds in today’s announcement.

    • Linux 4.6-rc5 Is Another Fairly Calm Weekly Kernel Update
    • Linux 4.6 rc5
    • Kernel 4.2.8 CKT8 Has Been Released
    • /dev/random – a new approach

      The venerable Linux /dev/random served users of cryptographic mechanisms well for a long time. Its behavior is well understood to deliver entropic data. In the last years, however, the Linux /dev/random showed signs of age where it has challenges to cope with modern computing environments ranging from tiny embedded systems, over new hardware resources such as SSDs, up to massive parallel systems as well as virtualized environments.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Reordering a Qt Quick ListView via drag’n’drop

        It is common in user interfaces to provide the user with a list of elements which can be reordered by dragging them around. Displaying a list of elements with Qt Quick is easy, thanks to the ListView component. Giving the user the ability to reorder them is less straightforward. This 3 article series presents one approach to implementing this.

      • A note to those who test kde apps building them from sources
      • Google Summer of Code,2016

        So, finally, the wait is over. The result of GSoC selections is out and Voila! my proposal has been accepted and is now a GSoC project. I would like to thank KDE community, my mentor, and co-mentors for their support and giving me an opportunity to be a part of this programme. I will be working on the project LabPlot (KDEdu) which is a KDE-application for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data. LabPlot provides an easy way to create, manage and edit plots.

      • open365, let’s declare war at Google and Microsoft

        Open365 is a public and/or private cloud designed to compete with the likes of Google Drive or Office365 by leveraging all the best free software out there.

        The service is designed to scale horizontally as well as to be resilient to components crashing or going crazy. In order to achieve this we have implemented a microservice architecure that communicate using a bus (rabbitmq) plus some other tricks so we can scale using commodity hardware horizontally. Nothing fancy, nothing revolutionary but it had to be done :)

        Finally, we’ve integrated under the same system very well know software solutions for File sinchronization, PIM (Email, calendar,contacts…) and office.



        For the last two, we re using SPICE and our HTML5/Javascript client to run those applications in the server and send only the interface to the Web browser in a really efficient way.

      • clazy: Suppressing warnings
      • Summer Is Coming

        First, we managed to kill of projects.kde.org for good. It used to run ChiliProject – which has been discontinued and no longer provides security updates – and used to be a constant source of headaches for the syasadmins, with the seemingly endless HTTP 500 ISEs we’d generate. After it went down in the middle of CKI – and resulted in a few embarrassing moments in the middle of talks – we decided it had to go.

      • Interview with Tomáš Marek

        I’m a GNU/Linux user and when I wanted to paint I always had to reboot to Windows to use Photoshop for painting, so with Krita I don’t have to use Windows at all.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Primed For Release

        The GNOME3-forked Cinnamon Desktop is ready for its 3.0 milestone.

        Linux Mint lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged version 3.0 of Cinnamon within their official Git repository on GitHub. Cinnamon 3.0.0 succeeds Cinnamon 2.8 and adds an option for showing/hiding the favorite box in the menu applet, new default application buttons, changes to the sound settings, effects on dialogs and menus are enabled by default, power setting improvements, and many bug fixes.

      • Cinnamon 3.0 Desktop Environment Tagged for Linux Mint 18, Here’s What’s New

        Linux Mint project leader and Cinnamon lead developer Clement Lefebvre has tagged the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment as ready for release on the project’s GitHub page.

        Therefore, we’re happy to inform you today, April 25, 2016, that the development cycle of the Cinnamon 3.0.0 desktop environment has ended, and it should hit the stable repositories of various GNU/Linux operating systems, such as Arch Linux, in the coming days.

        Cinnamon 3.0 has been tagged as ready for deployment in the upcoming Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” distribution, which should hit the streets this summer, sometimes around June or July, but we should be able to get an early taste in the coming weeks as the developers will announce the RC (Release Candidate) version.

  • Distributions

    • This Week In Solus – Install #27

      Welcome to the 27th installation of This Week in Solus and one I’m happy to say is actually being written and published on schedule.

    • Kali

      • Kali Linux 2016.1

        Kali Linux Kali Linux, which was formally known as BackTrack, is a forensic and security-focused distribution based on Debian’s Testing branch. Kali Linux is designed with penetration testing, data recovery and threat detection in mind. The project switched over to a rolling release model earlier this year in an effort to provide more up to date security utilities to the distribution’s users.

        I have been finding a lot of posts about Kali Linux from Linux newcomers on various forums and social media recently and this surprised me. Kali Linux is not marketed toward novice users, in fact the distribution has a fairly narrow focus (security, forensics and penetration testing) so I was eager to experiment with the distribution and see if I could find out why so many newcomers to Linux have been installing Kali as their first GNU/Linux distribution.

        Kali Linux is available in two editions, with each edition available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The main (or full) edition ships with the GNOME desktop and a large suite of security tools. The Light edition features fewer tools and the Xfce desktop. There is also an ARM port of Kali Linux. The 64-bit build of the main edition is 2.7GB in size and this is the ISO I downloaded for the purposes of my trial.

      • Kali Sana New Look & Features – Cyber Security OS
    • New Releases

      • Solus 1.2 Linux Operating System Is Coming in May with Multilib Support

        Josh Strobl from the Solus Project published earlier today, April 24, 2016, the twenty-seventh installment of the weekly “This Week In Solus” newsletter to inform the community about the latest news from the Solus OS land.

        This week’s newsletter reminds us that the second point release of the GNU/Linux operating system, Solus 1.2, is coming next month, in May, with multilib support, updated packages, and latest security patches.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Evangelizing open source: Interview with OSCON speaker Gabrielle Crevecoeur

      A recent graduate of Florida State University, Gabrielle Crevecoeur is a technical evangelist at Microsoft specializing in open source development. She will be speaking at OSCON about how to run the Johnny-Five Javascript framework on Arduino and have it sing Frozen’s hit song Let It Go. So, I caught up with her to ask some questions before her talk.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google open sources Chromium browser bug tracker

        Chrome is a proprietary software application development product… and Chromium is open source. Google draws its source code for Chrome from the Chromium project once it is happy with the stability and functionalities of features in production.

  • OpenStack

    • OpenStack’s director: Why open source cloud should be the core of your data center

      Six years ago over two days engineers from Rackspace and NASA met in Austin, Texas, for the very first OpenStack Summit. Six years later, OpenStack is returning to its roots.

      As it does so, OpenStack has cemented itself as the dominant open source IaaS platform. But at the same time, more proprietary offerings from vendors like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and VMware still seem to reign in the broader market.

    • Blueprint: Top 10 Use Cases for OpenStack SDN

      Years ago, Linux opened up the data center and made it programmable, uncorking a Genie’s bottle of previously unimagined use cases, wealth and possibilities that became known as the cloud. For years after the data center became a software-programmable cloud, networking remained the bottleneck in an otherwise programmable environment. Today, we’re seeing a similar transformation with the advent of SDN and NFV. Launching in 2010, a free and open-source software infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform for cloud computing, OpenStack, made it easier to configure cloud infrastructure by linking compute, storage, and networking resources to support a range of use cases. Now, SDN is not just supporting but driving some of the biggest innovations in cloud services. Enabling users to easily deploy and manage resources from a single pane of glass, production services that used to take months to provision are now live in mere minutes.

    • OpenStack by the numbers: Who’s using open source clouds and for what?

      The latest bi-annual survey data of OpenStack users shows a continuing march of the open source cloud software into mainstream of enterprises, but also the project’s continued challenges related to ease of deployment and management.

    • Kicking off the Summit, and more OpenStack news

      Catch up on the latest OpenStack happenings in this special summit edition of our weekly OpenStack news. Members of the Opensource.com team will be in Austin this week for the feature event, so be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn what’s happening this week in real time.

    • Akanda Releases New Version of OpenStack Astara at OpenStack Summit Austin

      Customers Can Cut the Cord With Over-the-Top Network Functions; Advanced Features for High Network Availability; and New IPV6 VPN Services for Hybrid Cloud & IOT Infrastructures

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria moves towards open source repository

      The Bulgarian parliament is likely to approve plans to start a repository for software developed by or for the government. The source code store is to be managed by a new organisation, the eGovernment Agency. The proposal has passed the first reading in the National Assembly on 15 April and is expected to be accepted by vote in May.

    • France Chooses Freedom

      It’s been a long time coming but France is now on its way to giving preference to ODF over M$’s mess of a standard for documents.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open Data Barometer 2015: 5 European countries in the Top 10

        The UK is still at the top of the barometer, but is now followed by the USA and France, both ranked second. France, which was third in 2014, received good marks in three criteria: government action, political impact and, citizens and civil rights.

  • Programming/Development

    • Q&A: Python Creator Guido van Rossum on How He Got His Start in Programming

      Guido van Rossum is the creator of Python, one of the world’s most popular programming languages. Guido was kind enough to tell us his story, from growing up and discovering computers in the Netherlands, to creating Python and landing at Dropbox in San Francisco.

    • 5 Eclipse tools for processing and visualizing data

      Gone are the days of scientists processing data by hand. Scientific tools are rapidly scaling to meet the increasing demands of their users, both in terms of complexity and sheer volumes of data.

      In various domains, highly sophisticated scientific workbenches have been developed to enable scientists and researchers to quickly make sense of their data in a reproducible way. Several scientific workbenches have been built on top of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP) framework and offer up open source environments for processing and visualizing data. The companies and institutions behind these workbenches got together to collaborate on these tools, and so the Eclipse Science Working Group was born.


  • England always dreaming

    No, this isn’t some misguided claim to England being the ‘home of football’, those days are long gone. Rather it is a means to understand how football frames both a brutish form of nationalism and the most popular version of internationalism. Sometimes at one and the same time. Football is the most global of sports because of its simplicity, its suitability to be played on almost any surface, with next to no equipment – ‘jumpers for goalposts’ will do – by bodies of any shape or size, and for the very few it is a route out of poverty from wherever they come. Football is both a global actor and a global subject. Football is played all over the world more or less according to those thirteen rules adopted more than 150 years ago. Our ‘English’ game couldn’t be more globalised : the players, the managers, the owners, the shirts sponsors, the fans, the TV audience.

  • Something Huge Is About to Go Down With Scientology That Could Destroy the ‘Church’ Once and for All

    The only daughter of rock icon Elvis Presley has been slowly pulling herself away from Scientology, to which she was introduced as a child by her mother, since at least 2008, reported Tony Ortega.

  • 14 Simple Charts For Teaching Children That Life Is Hard

    There’s a lot of harsh realities of life that people just don’t want to face. But people also love to look at pictures, especially if they think they’ll be smarter for doing so after.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fresh EU-US trade spat brewing over new plant breeding techniques

      The EU’s decision on how to regulate NPBTs is “not yet clear”, Commission officials admit.

      But in any case, time has come to “move away from a GMO-centered discussion” when it comes to innovation in plant reproductive materials, an EU spokesperson told EurActiv.com.

    • Making Polluters Pay In Flint Et Al

      Joining the furious voices of poisoned Flint residents calling for even “an ounce of accountability,” Green For All marked Earth Day by launching a national campaign calling on polluters to pay for what they break via a modified carbon tax to be invested back into the communities they trash. The campaign will start in Flint, where the Snyder administration trucked in clean water for state workers while continuing to contaminate residents, and where the many afflicted, now entirely dependent on bottled water, say they “feel like the walking dead.”

    • Journalism, Pro-GMO Triumphalism And Neoliberal Dogma In India

      Aiyar’s piece is standard pro-GMO PR. Unfortunately, this type of article is becoming all too common (see this and this). Instead of informing the public, this form of ‘journalism’ is designed to misrepresent facts and misinform the public on behalf of powerful commercial interests.

    • Ocean Pollutants Found in Tuna Weaken the Immune System

      Eating seafood tainted with a class of common, long-lasting environmental contaminants can weaken the human body’s ability to defend itself against toxic substances, a new study has found.

      A team of California scientists, led by Amro Hamdoun of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, tested how exposure to 10 persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, affected an important cellular protein found in most animals and plants.

    • ‘Poverty is a death sentence,’ Sanders declares during Baltimore stop

      Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders used a campaign stop Saturday in this economically challenged city to decry the difference between the life expectancies of the nation’s rich and poor, declaring that “poverty is a death sentence.”

      “If you are born in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhood, your life expectancy is almost 20 years shorter than if you’re born in its wealthiest neighborhood,” the senator from Vermont said, adding that “15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have lower life expectancies than North Korea. Two of them have a higher infant mortality rate than Palestine’s West Bank.”

    • CIA invests in Skincential Sciences, a firm that collects DNA painlessly

      The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via its venture capital branch In-Q-Tel has provided funding to a beauty products manufacturing company called Skincential Sciences. Wondering why the CIA would be interested in skincare products? It is because Skincential Sciences has patented a technology that painlessly collects human DNA.

    • What Do You Do When Your Family Was the Victim of CIA Mind-Control Experiments?

      In 1956, her grandmother, Velma Orlikow, checked into Montreal’s Allan Memorial Institute for postpartum depression. Orlikow was treated by renowned psychiatrist Dr Ewen Cameron, whose controversial “de-patterning” treatment—prolonged, drug-induced sleep comas, followed by multiple doses of electroshock therapy—turned out to be a part of Project MKUltra.

    • Early Lessons From Marijuana Legalization in Colorado

      So what can other countries learn from the U.S. experience with marijuana legalization?

  • Security

    • Does Your Email Provider Know What A “Joejob” Is?

      The first inklings that Google had reservations about delivering mail coming from my bsdly.net domain came earlier this year, when I was contacted by friends who have left their email service in the hands of Google, and it turned out that my replies to their messages did not reach their recipients, even when my logs showed that the Google mail servers had accepted the messages for delivery.


      The forum is primarily intended as a support channel for people who host their mail at Google (this becomes very clear when you try out some of the web accessible tools to check domains not hosted by Google), so the only practial result was that I finally set up DKIM signing for outgoing mail from the domain, in addition to the SPF records that were already in place. I’m in fact less than fond of either of these SMTP addons, but there were anyway other channels for contact with my friends, and I let the matter rest there for a while.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Pentagon’s Twisted Potlatch

      The global military-industrial complex similarly stands outside normal market economics. You can’t buy a nuke or even an F-35 on Amazon. The state intervenes in the economy in order to guarantee the production of these items and ensure that they are not available through normal market mechanisms. The state does so, moreover, not so much to make money from their sale — though this happens, too — but to reaffirm the country’s status.

    • Kagame Goes to Harvard

      Never underestimate the global myopia and indifference that lurks beneath the surface of the United States’ supposedly Leftist higher educational system. Between August of 2005 and May of 2006, I worked as a visiting professor of American History at a Midwestern public university. The U.S. was into the third year of one the most monumental, mass-murderous, and openly imperial crimes in history: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Where, I asked students and faculty, was the on-campus antiwar movement? Where were the protests and teach-ins on and against Washington’s egregious and blood-soaked assault on Mesopotamia, sold on thoroughly false pretexts and already estimated to have the caused the premature death of many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?

    • The ‘Credibility’ Illusion

      The Obama administration protects its “credibility” by refusing to budge on its claims about the 2013 Syria-sarin case or the 2014 plane shoot-down in eastern Ukraine even as the evidence shifts, writes Robert Parry.

    • Oil and Amnesia: Obama and Saudi Arabia’s “Forgotten” Ties to 9/11

      Poor old Barack. Off he goes to Riyadh to talk to his so-called ally, Saudi Arabia. The Sunni Wahhabi kingdom long ago run out of patience with the US president, who befriended Shiite Iran and who failed to destroy the Alawite (read: Shiite) regime in Syria. So why is Obama even bothering coming to the Gulf? Does he have any friends left among the kings, emirs and princes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the Emirates and Oman?

    • ‘True Cost of Covert Killings’ Demanded as Drone Strike Victims Speak Out

      The environmental engineer from Sanaa, Yemen continued his lengthy battle for justice on Wednesday, filing a federal lawsuit (pdf) in Washington, D.C. demanding his “a legal right under FOIA” for the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of State, and Department of the Treasury to provide him with pertinent information about the strike that killed his brother-in-law Salem and his nephew Waleed in 2012.

      Thus far, according to human rights organization Reprieve, which is representing Jaber, the agencies have not provided “substantive responses” to FOIA requests related to the killings.

      Reprieve points to the contrast between the administration’s treatment of Jaber with that of a 2015 drone strike that killed an American, Warren Weinstein, and an Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto.

    • Stiffing Iran on the Nuke Deal

      Secretary of State Kerry boasts about how little Iran has gotten from the nuclear deal – accessing only $3 billion of its frozen assets – but that hurts U.S. credibility and endangers the deal, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Obama may be preaching ‘tough love’ to Saudi – but arms sales tell another story

      When President Barack Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for a meeting of Gulf leaders, he was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, instead of the Saudi king. Unlike his previous visits, Obama’s arrival was not broadcast on Saudi state television with its usual pomp and circumstance. It was one sign of how livid Saudi leaders are at Obama and his administration – the decades-long Saudi-US alliance has rarely been more tense.

      Saudi rulers believe that Obama has shifted US foreign policy to be more friendly toward Iran, especially after his administration expended considerable political capital to reach a nuclear deal with Tehran last summer. Obama also reduced direct US involvement in the Middle East, resisting calls to intervene military in Syria and to send more US troops to Iraq. And Saudi leaders were particularly upset after Obama suggested in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that they should figure out ways to “share the neighborhood” with Iran.

    • War out of sight, sacrifice out of mind

      In practice, roughly 1 percent of the population bears the burden of actually fighting our wars. A country that styles itself a democracy ought to find this troubling. Yet unlike the inequitable distribution of income, which generates considerable controversy, this inequitable distribution of sacrifice generates almost none. Even in a presidential election year, it finds no place on the nation’s political agenda. In the prevailing culture of choice, those choosing to remain on the sidelines are not to be held accountable for the fate that befalls those choosing to go fight.

    • A Note on Clinton’s Faux-Concern

      Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on the 43 students for La Opinión show the media’s failure to judge her pandering rhetoric against her actual, substantive actions. When she states she is indignant about the case, she erases her role in the violence engulfing Mexico. The corporate media allows this, because their pages never print about the US-role in Mexico’s War on Drugs.

    • What We Know About The Mass Shooting In Ohio

      On Friday, officials in the Appalachian region of Ohio announced that eight people had been killed execution-style, all members of the Rhoden family. The mass shooting happened over four crime scenes within miles of each other in the early hours of Friday morning.

      The victims include seven adults and one teenager, and investigators believe the family was targeted. Each was shot in the head, “executed,” according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and some were still in their beds. DeWine released their names on Saturday evening. Three children, ages three years, six months, and four days, were the only survivors at the crime scenes.

    • Pakistan dismisses claims of ties to 2009 suicide bombing targeting CIA officers

      Declassified US diplomatic cable says bomber of listening post in Afghanistan was‘triple agent’ and top Pakistani spy agency paid $200,000 to facilitate attack

    • John Brennan, CIA chief, in Bosnia on unannounced counterterrorism visit
    • Head of the CIA arrives in Bosnia for anti-terrorism talks
    • CIA accidentally left explosives on a school bus after training exercise
    • CIA accidentally leaves ‘explosives’ material in Virginia school bus engine for a WEEK after K-9 training exercises at local school
    • CIA ‘inadvertently’ left explosive training material under school bus
    • Anniversary of an Attempt to Overthrow France’s Charles De Gaulle. Did CIA Help?

      Evidence suggests that Allen Dulles, the US Director of the CIA, and his numerous contacts deep within the French government, helped orchestrate the plot.

      Many French — along with Dulles — feared an independent Algeria would fall into the hands of Communists, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.

    • Life on a CIA Kill List in Pakistan

      VICE News meets Malik Jalal in Pakistan and London to find out about a legal action he is pursuing to get his name stripped from the kill list — and prevent further drone strikes in North Waziristan.

    • The Strange Death of Hugo Chavez: an Interview with Eva Golinger

      Eva Golinger– I believe there is a very strong possibility that President Chavez was assassinated. There were notorious and documented assassination attempts against him throughout his presidency. Most notable was the April 11, 2002 coup d’etat, during which he was kidnapped and set to be assassinated had it not been for the unprecedented uprising of the Venezuelan people and loyal military forces that rescued him and returned him to power within 48 hours. I was able to find irrefutable evidence using the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that the CIA and other US agencies were behind that coup and supported, financially, militarily and politically, those involved. Later on, there were other attempts against Chavez and his government, such as in 2004 when dozens of Colombian paramilitary forces were captured on a farm outside of Caracas that was owned by an anti-Chavez activist, Robert Alonso, just days before they were going to attack the presidential palace and kill Chavez.

    • Hidden Costs of US Air War

      When Russian air strikes kill civilians in Syria, it is big news in U.S. newspapers, but there is near-total silence when U.S. bombs kill civilians in Iraq or Syria, a human rights dilemma addressed by Nicolas J S Davies.


      Previous statements by U.S. officials have absurdly claimed that over 40,000 U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria have killed as few as 26 civilians. Speaking to USA Today, a senior Pentagon official who is briefed daily on the air war dismissed such claims, noting that heavier civilian casualties were inevitable in an air war that has destroyed 6,000 buildings with over 40,000 bombs and missiles.

    • Yes, Prince Faisal, We Need to ‘Recalibrate’ Our Relationship

      For decades the US and Saudi Arabia have shared a peculiar relationship: the Saudis sell relatively cheap oil to the United States for which they accept our fiat currency. They then recycle those paper dollars into the US military-industrial complex through the purchase of billions of dollars worth of military equipment, and the US guarantees the security of the Saudi monarchy.

      By accepting only dollars for the sale of its oil, the Saudis help the dollar remain the world’s reserve currency. This has meant that we can export inflation, finance the warfare/welfare state, and delay our day of financial reckoning.

      But it seems this longstanding entangling alliance is coming apart.

    • Obama Bows to Turkish Genocide Denial as Erdogan Calls for War on Armenia

      President Obama broke a campaign promise in refusing to honor the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians so as not to anger Erdogan, his dictatorial, terror sponsoring counterpart.

    • Turkish border guards ‘shoot eight Syrian refugees dead’ including women and children trying to reach safety

      Women and children are among eight Syrian refugees reportedly shot dead by Turkish border guards while trying to reach safety.

      Footage obtained by The Times showed survivors of the alleged attack fleeing down a mountain path for treatment to their injuries.

      One man was seen carrying his young son, who appeared to be bleeding heavily from gunshot wounds in both legs.

    • Saudi Arabia, 9/11, and the secret papers that could ignite a diplomatic war

      Twenty-eight secret pages of a report locked away in a room in the Capitol in Washington lie in the centre of a crisis between America and Saudi Arabia which threatens to have severe and widespread repercussions.

      The US Congress is considering legislation which would enable the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, presented by the West as its most valuable ally in the Middle East, over alleged links with al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks on New York and Washington.

      The issue had cast a long shadow over the recent visit of President Barack Obama to Riyadh, with the Saudis threatening to sell off $750bn of American assets they hold if the bill is passed by Congress.

    • Clooney Joins Armenians to Mark Anniversary of Massacre

      Actor George Clooney presented a $1.1 million award on the 101st anniversary of a massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks to a Burundi woman who offered sanctuary to thousands of orphans in the middle of a civil war there.

      The killing of more than 200 Armenian intellectuals on April 24, 1915 is regarded as the start of the massacre that is widely viewed by historians as the first genocide of the 20th century in which they estimate 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered.

      Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects that the deaths constitute genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

    • Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil

      To illustrate with another example of dog-whistle diplomacy: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped the country’s president, Mel Zelaya, and flew him out of the country. The White House statement in response did not condemn this coup, but rather called on “all political and social actors in Honduras” to respect democracy.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • First TransparencyCamp to take place in Europe

      TransparencyCamp Europe is to take place for the first time as part of a series of events to promote transparency and Open Government in the EU.

      The event, scheduled on June 1st 2016 in Amsterdam, is organised by the Dutch Open State Foundation and the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Netherlands holds the presidency in the first half of 2016.

    • Slovenia: a portal to monitor country’s legislative footprint

      Several civil society organisations in Slovenia have developed a portal to make legislative processes more transparent for citizens.

    • Will The Panama Papers Kill Journalism?

      During the past years, investigative journalism has changed. Pioneered by WikiLeaks, whistle-blowing has transformed from a lonely activity to a new kind of publication. From CableGate, to LuxLeaks, then to SwissLeaks and the revelations of Chelsea Manning, from Edward Snowden, Herve Falciani and Carmen Segara, today we arrived at the Panama Papers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • We Could Be Witnessing the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry—Will It Take the Rest of the Economy Down With It?

      In just two decades, the total value of the energy being produced via fossil fuel extraction has plummeted by more than half.

    • Victory: Kinder Morgan Nixes New England Pipeline Plan

      Pipeline company Kinder Morgan has suspended its plans to build a fracked gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, citing poor demand for its gas in a statement (pdf) released late Wednesday. Pipeline opponents are cheering the decision.

      The pipeline would have cost over $3 billion and spanned nearly 200 miles, according to the Boston Globe.

      “I read the announcement from Kinder Morgan that they had suspended their process” for the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, said Bob Hamilton, chairman of the board of selectmen in Rindge, N.H., which was on the pipeline’s route. “I led the room in a happy dance.”

      “They said that we would welcome them with open arms, and it was the opposite,” Elisa Benincaso of Rindge told New Hampshire’s WMUR.

    • Fox Uses Stuffed Armadillo to Persuade Viewers ‘There’s Nothing to Worry About With Global Warming’

      Fox News on Sunday invited self-styled climate expert Marc Morano to explain how a stuffed armadillo could prove that climate change was a hoax.

    • Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites

      Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham travelled to Chinchilla in South Western Queensland to investigate the impact of the coal seam gas industry on the environment as part of the Greens’ campaign to ban fracking and unconventional gas in Australia.

      “I was shocked by the force of the explosion when I tested whether gas boiling through the Condamine River, Qld was flammable,” Buckingham said. “So much gas is bubbling through the river that it held a huge flame for over an hour.”

    • “We’re wasteful”: Catherine McKenna wants Canada to step up its climate game

      Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she gets frustrated when she searches for a spot to lock up her bike on Parliament Hill.

      “I’m a huge cyclist, so it just drives me crazy that there are no bike racks out in front of Parliament Hill, because I think if you have them out there, people will see — they will be reminded — that it’s actually faster to get around by bike,” she told her parliamentary colleagues this week.

    • You can buy a cheap chicken today, but we all pay for it in the long run

      Have you ever asked yourself why an everyday “value” chicken can now be cheaper, pound for pound, than bread? Cheap chicken has become the “healthy” meat of choice for most shoppers and sales are booming, up 20% since 2000 in the UK. But is it really either cheap or healthy?

      Producers who use intensive methods are not financially accountable for the harm they cause. The apparently cheap price tag of industrial chicken does not include any of the costs related to pollution of the environment, destruction of natural capital, greenhouse gas emissions or the damage to public health resulting from such systems. It turns out that low-cost chicken isn’t cheap at all.

    • The world’s largest primate is being wiped out by war

      The population of the world’s largest primate — a gorilla subspecies that lives in a region of Central Africa beset by conflict — is collapsing.

      Back in 1998, a team of researchers estimated that 17,000 Grauer’s gorillas, also known as eastern lowland gorillas, lived in the forests of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    • Cuomo administration rejects Constitution pipeline

      The Cuomo administration has denied the water quality permits for a controversial pipeline in what has become another primary test of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s environmental legacy.

      On Friday, which is Earth Day, the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied the water quality certificate the pipeline developers need to begin construction. Most of the pipeline’s federal permits have already been approved and the project developers have already shipped all of the pieces into the state and even began clearing trees in Pennsylvania.

    • Internationational Gathering of ”Berta Caceres Lives On” Ends in Violence

      The aggressors were paid 250 lempiras, the equivalent of USD$11 dollars, by one of the companies implementing the Agua Zarca dam project, according to local residents.

    • This Earth Day, Lets Defend Earth’s Defenders

      Almost 7 weeks have passed since Berta’s murder, and the Honduran government has no answers. Much like the more than 100 environmental activists that have been killed there since 2010, her case is unlikely to be solved. In 2014, the country’s impunity rate was a shameful 96% according to Honduran NGO, Alliance for Peace and Justice. Yet, leaders claim the situation is improving and the murder rate is dropping. That’s what former Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales told a group of NGOs assembled recently in Washington. A few days later he resigned his post after being linked to the murders of several police officials when he was security minister.

    • “Grim Drumbeat” Behind Historic Climate Agreement

      As the Independent puts it “But even if countries manage to bring the agreement into effect soon, it may not be enough. Scientists say that the measures in the document might not be enough to keep temperatures below the 2 degrees Celsius limit that, if breached, could cause huge damage across the world.”

      John Sterman, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells the Independent: Even “if the Paris pledges are implemented in full, they are not enough to get us even close to a 2-degree pathway. I don’t think people understand how urgent it is.”

      There is increasing evidence that the politics is not keeping up with the world’s rapidly changing climate: As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis report in the Washington Post, there is a “grim drumbeat” behind today’s agreement…

    • Towards a post-nuclear Ukraine

      Ukraine’s energy oligarchs have a strong voice in the country’s day-to-day politics. Take the concentration of the thermal coal power market, for instance: thermal is largely steered by the DTEK conglomerate, which is Ukraine’s largest energy company, and is controlled by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man. In the past, DTEK was able to negotiate a strong position (and higher tariffs) for coal generation, which, in turn, had to be cross-financed by lower prices for nuclear power.

    • Chernobyl, and Cesium, at 30

      April 26 is the 30th anniversary of the reactor meltdown and radiation disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, which brings to mind cesium. Thirty years is how long it takes for half a given amount of cesium-137 — dispersed in huge quantities from Chernobyl (and Fukushima) — to decay into radioactive barium. This 30-year “half-life” means half of Chernobyl’s jettisoned cesium-137 is still around — over four million billion “Becquerels” in Europe alone, according to TORCH: The Other Report on Chernobyl. This cesium will persist in decreasing amounts in soil, water, and food for another 270 years.

    • Goldman Prize for a Gold Mining Opponent

      A petite woman from Peru has been honored with a huge award, the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, for years of principled resistance to the Colorado-based gold-seeking conglomerate Newmont Mining Company.

    • Climate Change Has All But Destroyed Great Barrier Reef, Study Confirms

      More than 90 percent of world’s largest living ecosystem has been hit by “severe” coral bleaching

    • Chris Hedges and Josh Fox on Holding Onto Our Humanity Amid Climate Change

      Hedges observes the similarities between his own book, “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” and Fox’s film, noting that both “empower the imagination.” While Fox acknowledges that his latest documentary doesn’t pull any punches, he says he intended it to remind viewers why the human species is “worth keeping on this planet.”

    • New Campaign Calls For Polluters ‘To Pay For What They Break’

      The California experience could be a sign that so-called polluters pay funds could multiply across the nation. After all, California is a pioneer in progressive laws and programs that other states then pick up. Yet, creating a polluters pay fund puts communities against polluters, which are often wealthy businesses or corporations that oppose more stringent laws in the first place. What’s more, Green For All proposes the Clean Power Plan, a court-challenged rule that calls for reductions in carbon emissions from the electricity sector, to be used as a vessel for the fund.

      The plan, now under a Supreme Court stay, has been opposed by many lawmakers and multiple states. However, the rule also enjoys its share of support and some states are moving forward with it. Truong said a polluters pay fund attached to the plan could bring communities to rally around the controversial rule.

    • “It’s Possible”: Koch Brother Says Hillary Clinton Might Be Best Choice for Him

      ‘We would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,’ says billionaire industrialist and far-right ideologue

    • Prominent Conservative Will Only Support Republican Candidates If They Walk Back Policy Positions

      Conservative billionaire Charles Koch said “it’s possible” Hillary Clinton could be a better president than any of the current GOP candidates.

      In an interview on ABC News’ This Week that aired Sunday, Koch said that Bill Clinton was “in some ways” a better president than George W. Bush. “As far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, it was two and a half times [greater] under Bush than it was under Clinton.”

      “So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican next time around?” asked ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

    • Philadelphia Prison System Receives Accolades from EPA

      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the City of Philadelphia today for its innovative food recovery achievements at the Philadelphia Prison System that include composting 1.35 tons of wasted food each day and saving the city $31,000 each year in landfill fees.

    • We’re flirting with apocalypse: The planet inches ever closer to the 1.5°C threshold

      Global leaders are meeting in New York this week to sign the Paris climate agreement. One of the expressed purposes of the document is to limit warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”

      A Climate Central analysis shows that the world will have to dramatically accelerate emissions reductions if it wants to meet that goal. The average global temperature change for the first three months of 2016 was 1.48°C, essentially equaling the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators in Paris last December.

      February exceeded the 1.5°C target at 1.55°C, marking the first time the global average temperature has surpassed the sobering milestone in any month. March followed suit checking in at 1.5°C. January’s mark of 1.4°C, put the global average temperature change from early industrial levels for the first three months of 2016 at 1.48°C.

    • “Global Elite’s Theater”: Paris Deal Is Mere Starting Point for Climate Justice

      The Paris climate agreement, hammered out at last December’s COP21 talks and signed Friday by close to 170 nations, is alternately being hailed as “a turning point for humanity” and denounced as “a dangerous distraction.”

      There’s no doubt that the deal “is the capstone of years and years of hard work,” as Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) president Ken Kimmell put it on Thursday.

    • Cattle in Grizzly Country

      Coexistence, commonsense and compassion must be the norm rather than the exception when we get around to removing Endangered Species Act protections for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears.

  • Finance

    • Trade backers hope for ‘watershed’ Obama visit

      President Barack Obama will try to rally reluctant Europeans behind a U.S.-EU trade deal when he touches down in Germany Sunday, but he doesn’t exactly arrive with the political trade winds at his back.

      Back home in the United States, anti-trade sentiment in both parties is the highest in a generation, and nearly all of Obama’s potential successors are hardening their views on the subject — with potential implications for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • While Workers Struggle for $15, CEOs Enjoy Obscene Pay Raises

      Interestingly, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, Easterbrooks’ 368% raise is quite consistent with the overall pay increase enjoyed by the top 0.1% of earners over the past several decades.

    • TTIP Is Dying; Here’s How to Help Finish It Off

      There are no comparable figures for the UK, but they probably wouldn’t be as good: the almost total lack of media coverage on TTIP and CETA might make cynics suspect a conspiracy, and many people in the UK have never heard of it. If asked, they would probably say they were in favour of a trade deal with the US – indeed, some surveys carried out for the European Commission ask precisely that question, and get generally favourable answers. That’s not surprising, since the problem is not so much with US trade deals in general as TTIP in particular: when people find out exactly what is in TTIP they are generally pretty appalled at what is being done in their name.

      Given the reluctance of mainstream media to provide objective information – if any – there’s not much we can do other than post to social media. One other thing we Europeans can all do is to contact our politicians expressing our concerns, and asking them some questions about their knowledge and support or otherwise for TTIP.

      Linda Kaucher, the main organiser of the Stop TTIP movement in the UK, has put together a useful sample letter for UK citizens to send to their MPs to do precisely that. It could easily be modified for other EU countries. Ideally, you could take the letter and edit it to make it more personal, but the most important thing is to send it to your political representatives so that they appreciate the strength of public opinion on the topic of TTIP and CETA.

    • Hillary’s State Department Stopped Haiti From Increasing Its Minimum Wage to 61 Cents

      The #FightFor15 movement is continuing to make gains. After steamrolling through large urban centers such as Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, now it may be coming to entire states near you. New York and California recently adopted a $15 statewide minimum wage, and both Democratic presidential candidates have advocated extending the policy nationwide.

    • Bernie Sanders Calls Out Hillary Clinton for Supporting Soda Taxes

      Kenney wants to use the money the city gets from the tax to help fund preschool programs for Philadelphia. A government program for the children? Sign Hillary Clinton up immediately! She declared her support for the soda tax this week as a way to achieve this end.

    • Calling Corporate-Backed Deals an “Indisputable” Good, Obama Makes Pitch for TTIP

      Despite the tens of thousands of people who marched against the deal in Germany ahead of his arrival and the steady drop in support for such neoliberal trade deals overall, President Barack Obama stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and defended the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and said similar past deals have been an “indisputable” benefit to the U.S. economy.

      “It is indisputable that ["free trade"] has made our economy stronger,” Obama said during a joint news conference. “It has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world.”

      Though the failure of past deals like NAFTA have become rallying cries on both sides of the partisan aisle in this year’s U.S. presidential campaign—with middle- and working-class Americans speaking out against them like never before—Obama said Sunday that “the majority of people still favor trade” and “still recognize, on balance, that it’s a good idea.”

      Offering a quite visible contradiction to that assertion, tens of thousands marched in the streets of Hanover on Saturday to let both Obama and Merkel how strong their opposition to TTIP remains.

    • Obama and Merkel Should Change Course on TTIP and Heed Bipartisan, Transatlantic Revolt Against More-of-the-Same Trade Agreements
    • Beyond the Empire of Chaos: the Life Capital Solution

      In short, life capital provides the true goods of life which are now everywhere at risk without a life-value ground and compass to guide choice and action.

    • Tom DeLay, ex-CIA director ask judge to go easy on Dennis Hastert

      Attorneys for ex-speaker Dennis Hastert on Friday filed dozens of letters of support from former colleagues, constituents and friends, asking a federal judge to consider the former lawmaker’s decades of service when he is sentenced next week on bank fraud charge.

      Hastert, 74, pleaded guilty in October to one count of illegally structuring bank withdrawals, as part of an effort to payoff one of his former student-athletes from his days as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in a small town outside of Chicago decades ago, according to prosecutors.

    • Defend Brazil!

      Dilma Rousseff, whatever your foes are saying, whatever the Empire is uttering in its toxic and cynical voice, the Workers Part (PT) changed absolutely everything!

    • Bernie’s Right on Free Tuition — We Had It Once

      Brooklyn College also welcomed a son of Polish immigrants, Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He entered in 1959 and finished his degree at University of Chicago.

      Sen. Sanders has proposed a national program of free higher education for all at public colleges and universities. New Yorkers would return to a system that had worked for a century before ending 50 years ago.

    • Swiss banker whistleblower: CIA behind Panama Papers

      Birkenfeld, an American citizen, was a banker working at UBS in Switzerland when he approached the U.S. government with information on massive amounts of tax evasion by Americans with secret accounts in Switzerland. By the end of his whistleblowing career, Birkenfeld had served more than two years in a U.S. federal prison, been awarded $104 million by the IRS for his information and shattered the foundations of more than a century of Swiss banking secrecy.

    • Everyone Knows Why Hillary Clinton Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Speeches
    • Rich list: ‘Asylum King’ who houses migrants in budget hotels enters list of richest Britons

      He has been dubbed ‘The Asylum King’ after securing lucrative Home Office contracts to house refugees in his budget hotels.

      Now Britannia Hotels founder Alex Langsam, 77, has entered The Sunday Times rich list after amassing an estimate fortune of £220 million.

      The hotel chain, which has twice been voted the worst in Britain by consumer watchdog Which?, made £14 million in profit last year as the number of asylum seekers soared to 36,000-a-year.

    • New York Times plans to cut hundreds of jobs later this year

      Times CEO Mark Thompson, who has been working to restructure the staff to meet new challenges, saw his total compensation nearly double last year — to $8.7 million.

    • Quinn: After a year of slowing sales, Silicon Valley’s future takes shape

      Silicon Valley firms, large and small, are stepping over their competitors and former tech giants to become the new dominant players.

      It’s a story captured by this year’s SV150, this newspaper’s annual survey of the region’s top tech firms.

      As the merry-go-round of the giddy boom time slows — whether just taking a breather or coming to a stop — new players are emerging from sectors such as the Internet and social media, consumer information technology and health. Semiconductors and enterprise, meanwhile, are sinking lower on the SV150 list this year.


      In Silicon Valley last year, tech companies overall boosted employee productivity by 2.2 percent.

      But productivity, determined by dividing sales by the number of employees, is a strange measure. The ratio raises as many questions as it answers.

      Did the company increase employee productivity by increasing sales or by cutting staff? The increased use of technology has often been cited as the reason companies that aren’t in the tech sector are able to increase employee productivity. If a machine can do a job faster or better, fewer employees are needed.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Countdown to the RNC Apocalypse: Republicans Still Can’t Control Trump as the Clock Ticks Down to the Convention

      But that’s for later. For now, the RNC members look like the rest of the party and many observers have for a solid year: Standing around scratching their heads, trying to figure out what the hell is going on and, wondering whether they can climb out of this mess.

    • The Corporate Media Echo Chamber

      As I mentioned above, none of this really matters to Senator Sanders and his supporters anymore, now that the media (and the immutable laws of mathematics) have announced that they are one big, all-white, hacky sack-playing bug splat after getting creamed in New York. Still, it is awe-inspiring to watch the corporate media at work.

      I can hardly wait for this year’s feature presentation, wherein Mrs Clinton and her neoliberal buddies save us all from Hitler … again.

    • Bernie Sanders Won’t Drop Out, Here’s Why

      With increasing intensity after each primary or caucus he loses — and for that matter after each primary or caucus he wins — party big-wigs call on him to concede the race and get out of Hillary Clinton’s way. Politico‘s informal April survey of anonymous Democratic “insiders” has nearly 90% wanting Sanders out no later than the DC primary in mid-June and only 10% urging him to hold out to the bitter end.

    • No One Thought It Was Possible: 12 Ways the Sanders Revolution Has Transformed Politics

      Sanders hasn’t just climbed from a 55-point deficit in national polls to being just 1.4 percent behind Hillary Clinton (who, counting her husband’s, is waging her fourth presidential campaign); he has fundamentally changed the national political landscape for the better by reviving the very best progressive traditions and principles within the Democratic Party.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Support Base as Bogus as US Democracy

      US elections, despite all the media hype and endless rhetoric about ‘democracy in action,’ are in fact little more than manufactured political theater. The country that ceaselessly trumpets democratic values and transparency practices neither when it comes to its own elections.

    • Inside the CIA’s Troubling Collaboration With Hollywood

      According to a 2012 audit report on the CIA’s engagement with the entertainment industry obtained by Leopold as part of a Freedom of Information request, the CIA has had its hand in at least 22 entertainment projects between 2006 and 2011, which run the gamut from books and movies to reality television. It’s all part of the CIA’s effort to work with entertainment professionals “to debunk myths about CIA and intelligence work, present a balanced and accurate image of the CIA and lend authenticity to entertainment industry projects,” according to the report.

    • American democracy is rigged

      The Republican and Democratic parties are functioning like two identical but competing Orwellian Ministries of Truth.

    • Everybody Wants Bernie Sanders’ ‘Precious’

      Bernie Sanders is a long way from conceding the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton. So party operatives won’t be getting their hands on his impressive, grass-roots list of voters and donors any time soon.

    • Described as ‘Most Pro-Worker in a Lifetime,’ Rank-and-File Union Backs Bernie

      Announcing democratic consensus of its members across all three regional chapters nationwide, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America said it was officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for president on Sunday.

      The 35,000-member UE—which uses “the members run this union” as its tagline—said it was support from rank-and-file members which drove the endorsement.

      “As more of our members around the country have seen and heard Bernie over the past few months, they’ve seen that his policies and priorities match our own,” said the EU’s general president Peter Knowlton in a statement. “There has been a groundswell of support for Bernie with members volunteering for the campaign.”

    • Forget Bernie Bros — the Worst Trolls Work in Corporate Media

      One of the more popular pastimes of establishment media pundits is complaining of their various “trolls”—anonymous, faceless basement dwellers who lurk online and harass with aggressive, non-stop vigor. But a recent online dust-up started by Washington Post columnist Philip Bump made something clear: When you factor in actual impact, big media pundits troll just as much as—if not more than—any random egg avatar on Twitter.


      This is the living, breathing definition of trolling: provocation for its own sake. To deliberately seek a reaction from people in bad faith. It’s something one sees often: Corporate media use deliberately antagonizing headlines to solicit outrage and generate traffic—only to turn around and feign indignation when they get precisely the reaction they sought.

      As I’ve noted before, the “Bernie Bro” label—often used to describe pro-Sanders “trolls”—isn’t entirely without merit. As in any large system, there is a cohort of sexists lurking in the broader Sanders “movement,” and it’s useful to point this out when it happens. But the term has morphed into a catch-all to describe any online dissent aimed at traditional media, namely Clinton partisans.


      It’s a symbiotic relationship, except only one side is finger-wagged and derided for promoting a “toxic atmosphere.” Indeed, generally neo-liberal (and thus pro-Clinton) Slate has made something of a joke out of writing “provocative” headlines, often referred to as “Slate pitches,” specifically designed to get a rise out of people. What is this if not trolling on a wholesale level?

      There’s a libertarianism to the discussion that is out of whack—power dynamics are never really factored in. Establishment media folks like Bump–the kind who get a “blue checkmark” when they post on Twitter, to certify that they really are who they claim to be—are the victims under siege, while random Twitter users with 40 followers are social media terrorists that must be condemned.

    • The Real Hillary Clinton

      Enough of this. Let’s meet the real Clinton.

    • Backing Bernie’s Bold Vision, Biden Knocks Hillary’s “No We Can’t” Mantra

      Although Vice President Joe Biden has promised to stay neutral on the Democratic presidential candidates this campaign season, he offered high praise for Bernie Sanders’ message in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday: Biden will “take Mr. Sanders’ aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton’s caution any day,” the newspaper reports.

    • Who Runs Strongest Against Trump? ‘That Candidate is Me,’ Says Sanders

      “Look, if we do not have a majority, it’s gonna be…hard for us to win,” Sanders told reporter Andrea Mitchell in his first interview since losing the New York primary to rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. “The only fact that I think remains uncertain is if we continue to be running significantly stronger than she is against Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican nominee will be. I think that’s a factor.”

    • Tomgram: Engelhardt, Obsession, Addiction, and the News

      Think of the 2016 presidential campaign as the political equivalent of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s loud; there are plenty of abusive special effects; the critics hate it, but the crowds turn out; a media company or three rake in the dough; and foreigners can’t get enough of this new vision of the American way of life — or is it of a Bizarro world?

    • SuperPAC to Spend $1 Million to Target Hillary Haters on Social Media

      It’s fascinating to see anybody supportive of Hillary Clinton complaining about aggressive “Bernie Bros” when hatchet man David Brock is standing around as a very obvious counterpoint.

      And those Bernie Bros are finding out right now how aggressive an effort forces connected to Brock may use to push back against them. “Correct the Record,” a PAC that was spun off of Brock’s American Bridge SuperPAC, has started a project called “Barrier Breakers” to go after anybody who says anything they don’t like about their candidate on social media like Reddit and Facebook.

    • You may hate Donald Trump. But do you want Facebook to rig the election against him?

      While the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency is a terrifying one, perhaps this is scarier: Facebook could use its unprecedented powers to tilt the 2016 presidential election away from him – and the social network’s employees have apparently openly discussed whether they should do so.

      As Gizmodo reported on Friday, “Last month, some Facebook employees used a company poll to ask [Facebook founder Mark] Zuckerberg whether the company should try ‘to help prevent President Trump in 2017’.”

      Facebook employees are probably just expressing the fear that millions of Americans have of the Republican demagogue. But while there’s no evidence that the company plans on taking anti-Trump action, the extraordinary ability that the social network has to manipulate millions of people with just a tweak to its algorithm is a serious cause for concern.

    • Bill Moyers: Meet the Rare Conservative Who Admits That Money Corrupts Politics (Audio)

      I sat down with former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter to discuss why conservatives should care about the influence of money in politics—and how they can fight to get it out.

    • Trump Has Insane General Election Optimism About States He Can’t Possibly Win

      If there’s one quality the Donald Trump presidential campaign does not lack, its confidence. In the days since Trump barreled through the New York primary, his team has been making a deliberate show of strength intended to discourage his rivals and win over skeptical Republicans. And, in characteristic Trump fashion, their pitches have an eye-catching, over-the-top quality intended to distract from the obvious lack of substance behind the product.

    • Is Hillary Clinton ‘Honest’?

      Hillary Clinton’s defenders object to the widespread public view that she is a liar by noting she scores reasonably well on the accuracy of her policy statements, but that is missing the point, says Robert Parry.

    • The Mainstream Media’s Big Disconnect: Why They Don’t Get Middle America

      To their everlasting discredit, most of the MSM Big Feet, which is what the late journalist Richard Ben Cramer labeled the self-important, pontificating political reporters and pundits who dominate our press, got it all wrong about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

    • Sanders Assures Supporters Nationwide: ‘We’re Going All the Way to California’

      Confronted on multiple weekend news shows over his campaign strategy going forward, Bernie Sanders assured his supporters in no uncertain terms on Sunday that the race for the Democratic nomination is not yet over and that every voter in upcoming state contests will have a chance to have their voice counted ahead of the party’s national convention this summer.

      “We’re going all the way to California,” Sanders told George Stephanopolous on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning.

      Sanders mentioned his campaign stop in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday and said the endemic poverty he sees in such cities is a major reason why the status quo of “establishment politics” and “establishment economics” must be overcome.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Ad Blocker-Blocking Websites Might Be Violating European Privacy Laws

      The ad-blocking wars are getting ugly again.

      In the latest phase of the conflict, several high-traffic websites have started denying entry to users whenever they detect their browsers running ad-blocking extensions like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus. These new ad-blocker-blocking scripts typically present offending readers with a choice: Either disable your blockers by whitelisting the site, or pay a small subscription fee to help keep the lights on.

      But that might not fly in Europe, where using these detection scripts could be a violation of local privacy laws, according to a letter from the European Commission.

      Under European law, websites are required to get users’ consent before they can send you cookies, the tiny blobs of data that live in your browser and allow sites to recognize and target you with ads. The letter suggests that since the law’s scope isn’t limited to cookies, scripts that scan your browser looking for ad-blocking extensions without consent might be verboten too.

    • Schools are helping police spy on kids’ social media activity

      Schools in Florida are renewing a program that monitors their students’ social media activity for criminal or threatening behavior, although it has caused some controversy since its adoption last year.

      The school system in Orange County, where Orlando is located, recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the program, which partners the school system with local police departments, has been successful in protecting students’ safety, saying that it led to 12 police investigations in the past year. The school district says it will pay about $18,000 annually for SnapTrends, the monitoring software used to check students’ activity. It’s the same software used by police in Racine, Wis., to track criminal activity and joins a slew of similar social media monitoring software used by law enforcement to keep an eye on the community.

    • Court Rebukes, Then Excuses, FBI, NSA Excesses

      Never mind the veneer-thin excuse that the illegal data was “accidentally” collected in the first place. The NSA still chose to keep the data, and then the Office of Director of National Intelligence said, “The Government has informed the Court that there was no intent to leave the FISC with a misimpression or misunderstanding, and it has acknowledged that its prior representations could have been clearer.”

      So, because officials didn’t mean to break the law and then lie about it, it’s no big deal. After all, everybody makes mistakes.

      The FBI is required to purge surveillance records of data that would violate attorney-client privilege. In cases where conversations between defendants and attorneys are scooped up, the FBI is supposed to have “such surveillance reviewed by a ‘taint team’ that can excise any legal communications, but that was not happening in all cases,” according to the report by Politico.

    • Congress to US spy chief: Tell us how many Americans were ensnared by PRISM

      Lawmakers are demanding that the Obama administration comes clean on how many Americans have been caught up in its domestic surveillance programs.

      Without that information, a bipartisan group of leading lawmakers aren’t able to fully determine what changes need to be made to US surveillance laws, some of which will expire by the end of 2017.

    • The CIA is getting serious about monitoring social media
    • The NSA Has Never Not Been Violating FISA Since It Moved Stellar Wind to FISA in 2004

      Back in 2013, I noted that FISA Judge John Bates had written two opinions finding NSA had violated 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2), which prohibits the “disclos[ure] or use[ of] information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by” FISA. Each time he did it, Bates sort of waggled around the specter of law-breaking as a way of forcing NSA to destroy data they otherwise wanted to retain and use. I suspect that is why NSA moved so quickly to shut down its PRTT program in 2011 in the wake of his upstream opinion.


      Consider what this means: between the five years between when, in fall 2004, NSA told Colleen Kollar-Kotelly it was violating her category restrictions on the bulk Internet dragnet until the time, in 2009, it admitted it continued to do so with every single record collected, between the non-disclosure of what NSA was really doing with upstream surveillance between 2008 and 2011, and between the time FISC told NSA it couldn’t keep illegally collected data for management reasons in May 2011 to the time in July 2015 it confessed it had continued to do that with 702 data, NSA has always been in violation of 50 U.S.C. §1809(a)(2) since it moved Stellar Wind to FISA.

    • NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Is Suing Norway To Prevent Extradition To US

      Whistleblower Edward Snowden filed a lawsuit at the Oslo District Court in Norway in order to seek assurance that the country will not extradite him to the United States if he attends a local award ceremony.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • To Prevent Spike In Domestic Violence Around Soccer Game, Scottish Police Remove Abusers From Homes

      Last weekend, police in Scotland prepared for the Old Firm soccer match between Glasgow football clubs Celtic and Rangers in an unusual way — by removing serial domestic abusers, who were potentially a risk to their partners, from their homes. Officials described the plan as a preventative effort aimed at reducing the spikes of domestic violence that have been associated with Old Firm games in the past.

    • We Won’t Improve Education By Making Teachers Hate Their Jobs

      Does this sound like a place you’d like to work?

      The work environment is “depressing” … “morale is at an all-time low.”

      “It feels like a lot of busy work and hoop jumping and detracts from the work.” “Every move … needs to be documented and noted.”

      “We have to respond to feedback given by an administrator who did a one-minute walk through and thought they knew what was going on … but didn’t.”

    •  The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Most Visible on Twitter But Its True Home Is the Hard Work of Organizing

      A little over a year later, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty on charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Undeterred by the legal setback, the activists—calling themselves the Dream Defenders—showed up in Tallahassee and occupied the Florida statehouse for four weeks in an effort to push Republican Governor Rick Scott to call a special legislative session to review the state’s “stand your ground” law, racial profiling, and school push-out policies, all of which the organization linked to Martin’s death. Fueled in part by participants sharing updates on Twitter, the occupation became a national story, and Selah fielded a flood of requests from media and progressive organizations. Some wanted to give an award to the Dream Defenders; others wanted to add Selah to lists proclaiming the arrival of a new generation of civil-rights heroes. (One writer said he embodied the spirit of Nelson Mandela.) Others wanted his perspective on the burgeoning racial-justice movement. After a while, Selah wanted none of it.

    • Milwaukee Teacher’s Aide Caught Abusing Child on Camera—and Adults on Facebook Blame the Kid

      It’s hard to tell from the video what led up to the violence but the boy can be heard saying something to the 39-year-old aide before the man roughly pushes him down and then climbs on top of him and holds him down, cursing at him. Neither the suspect nor the student are named by the station.

    • How the FBI May Have Tried to Turn a Muslim Civil Rights Advocate Into an Informant

      In April of 2009, amidst the capture of the one surviving Somali pirate involved in the infamous Captain Phillips hostage situation, Jamal received a text from an FBI agent he alleges was Special Agent in Charge Ralph Boelter calling him a self-promoter after Jamal spoke on the issue on a local news channel. At the time, Jamal’s organization had been in contact with the family of the accused pirate and was working on getting him a lawyer, which seems to have put Jamal back on the FBI’s radar. It quickly degenerated into a nasty exchange, with the agent appearing to pressure Jamal. (An attempt to call the phone number of the sender in the texts provided below returned a notice that the number had been disconnected)

    • Redefining the Possible for Labor

      Our best weapon to combat wealth inequality remains a strong union contract, but innovative direct action is also needed.

    • Church and State in the South Forecast U.S. Future

      Thus the church receives the nurture and protection of the state, and the masters of the state retain the ghostly powers derived from the slave era without interference by the church. This explains the South’s periodic spasms of theocratic enactments that astonish and darkly amuse the rest of the country.

    • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents

      In the wake of his big win in New York, I want to push back once more against the normalization of Trump as a legitimate presidential candidate, given his policy positions. Let us remember what the Republicans of New York voted for (there are hardly any Republicans in New York City, so it can be spared the shame).

    • Denaturalisation: a brief (French) history

      The potential insertion of denaturalisation into the French Constitution raised important questions, such as: if, in order to prevent statelessness, denaturalisation were only to apply to citizens with dual nationality, how does one reconcile denaturalisation measures with one of the most fundamental principles of democracies, i.e. the principle of equality before the law? But also: would denaturalisation be effective to combat terrorism? And would it indeed only have effect on those targeted? What does denaturalisation mean for the rest of the community? The scope of the political disagreements on the topic is best exemplified by Christiane Taubira’s resignation from her position as Minister of Justice 27 January 2016, which she presented as the expression of her resistance to the government’s plan.

    • Victims Of CIA Torture Notch Historic Victory In Legal Battle

      A lawsuit against two psychologists behind the CIA’s torture program moved forward on Friday, when a judge decided he could not throw out the case.

      “I don’t think I have any other choice,” said Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush, after rejecting the claim of the psychologists’ lawyer that the two are immune from civil liability, according to the Huffington Post.

      The lawsuit was first filed in a federal court in Spokane, Washington in October 2015 by Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian citizen, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan citizen, and the family of Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen who froze to death at a secret CIA prison in Kabul. All three men allege that they were subject to some of the harshest physical and psychological torture methods while in CIA custody.

    • Prince’s Islamophilia as a Problem: “It’s fun to be in Islamic Countries”

      Prince was in error that all Muslims dress in this Gulfie way. Actually only the small citizen populations in the Gulf– 1.4 million in the UAE, 250,000 in Qatar, 20 million in Saudi Arabia, etc., wear this kind of clothing. The other 300 million Arabs tend to wear European clothing, and they have as much choice in what to wear as any Westerner does.

    • The New Common Ground Between Populist Left and Right
    • University Official Threatens to Call Police on Reporter at Milo Protest Because Students Need ‘Safe Space’

      A female journalist and her film crew were harassed by a university official while trying to cover a protest over the appearance of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos at American University.

      Ashe Schow, a reporter for the the Washington Examiner, turned up at the protest to cover the story. However, she was soon told to stop filming by a university officia,l who on realising she was being filmed said, “Are you kidding me? Seriously I’m calling the police.”

    • Obama Urges Britain to Remain in European Union, Says UK Could Go to Back of Trade Deal Line

      Unfortunately for Johnson, he led with a debunked story about a Winston Churchill bust and suggested the half-Kenyan Obama’s “ancestral dislike of the British empire” informed his thought process. In Britain President Obama scores approval ratings in the 70s. Americans and Brits largely set aside any “ancestral dislikes” long ago. Whether Obama’s personal popularity translates to the issue of EU membership, on which polls find British voters more or less evenly split, remains to be seen.

    • Portugal Clears the Way for Extradition of Ex-C.I.A. Agent to Italy
    • Ex-CIA officer to be extradited to Italy for role in Egyptian cleric kidnapping

      A former CIA officer, now residing in Portugal, faces extradition to Italy after her alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, otherwise known as Abu Omar, in Milan 13 years ago, The Washington Post reported.

      An Italian court convicted Sabrina De Sousa, 60, in absentia along with 26 other Americans, sentencing her to four years in prison. In 2009, De Sousa avoided potential imprisonment by leaving Italy before the trial started.

    • Ex-CIA Officer Faces Extradition From Portugal To Italy For Alleged Role In Cleric’s Rendition

      More than 13 years after an Egyptian cleric was kidnapped off the streets of Milan by CIA operatives, one former agency officer now living in Portugal faces extradition to Italy, where she was sentenced to four years in prison for the abduction.

    • Exhibit One in Any Future American War Crimes Trial

      The capture, torture, and propaganda use of Abu Zubaydah is the perfect example of the U.S. government’s unique combination of willful law-breaking, ass-covering memo-writing, and what some Salvadorans I once worked with called “strategic incompetence.” The fact that no one – not George Bush or Dick Cheney, not Jessen or Mitchell, nor multiple directors of the CIA – has been held accountable means that, unless we are very lucky, we will see more of the same in the future.

    • CIA Veterans Gather To Honor Duane Clarridge, A Sometimes Unsubtle Spy

      In the early 1980s, Clarridge served as chief of the CIA’s Latin America division, a perch from which he ran the CIA’s covert war against communism in Central America. He was indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, but pardoned before the end of his trial by the first President Bush.

    • Violent groups aggravate government crackdowns on civil society

      Violent extremists in Bangladesh have been responsible for a spate of attacks against outspoken critics and bloggers. In January 2013, Asif Mohiuddin, a self-described “militant atheist” blogger, was stabbed near his office in Dhaka. Mohiuddin, a winner of a prominent award for online activism, was on an Islamist hit list because of his opposition to religious extremism. In another harrowing case in February of 2014, bio-engineer Dr. Avijit Roy and his wife Bonya Ahmed were attacked in Dhaka by machete-wielding assailants. Roy was a founder of the influential Bangladeshi blog Mukto-Mona (“Freethinkers”) and a champion of liberal values and secularism.

    • Let’s Be Clear About Andrew Jackson (and Lord Jeffery Amherst)

      Jackson told the Court (and the Cherokee) to drop dead. In 1838, Martin Van Buren (Jackson’s vice president and successor) sent in the troops. That May, some 14,000 Cherokee were forced out of their homes at gunpoint. They were imprisoned on an open field (a concentration camp!) without shelter, food, or care for their children or animals. About a thousand escaped into the hills.

      In the fall about 13,000 were “ethnic cleansed” to Oklahoma. More than a quarter died along their infamous “Trail of Tears.” They were promised the right to live in Oklahoma as long as the “rivers flow and the grasses grow.” But 50 years later their land was divided.

      Jackson’s face does not belong on our money. Harriet Tubman was a great hero who repeatedly risked her life to win freedom for others. Hopefully the idea to replace him with a black female anti-slavery activist is making Andy flip in his grave.

    • Defiantly principled: Breivik v Norway

      Last week a Norwegian court ruled that all prisoners are equal before the law and have the right to have their human rights respected. To many this was outrageous. The prisoner in question was Anders Behring Breivik. The man who in 2011 bombed the Norwegian Government Headquarters killing 8 before going on a shooting spree on Utøya Island where the Labour Youth Party were holding their summer-camp. There he killed 69 more. I could have been the 70th. Yet I stand up for Breivik’s rights as a prisoner, and as a human.

    • Behind the murder of Berta Cáceres: corporate complicity

      The corporate denial of violation of human rights in the death of Berta Cáceres reveals the web of complicities and impunity that prompted her assassination.

    • Obama vs. Britain’s ‘Isolationists’

      Indeed, the entire history of post-World War II American foreign policy is the story of US intervention in the internal affairs of nations from Western Europe to Eastasia. What other country has agencies of government devoted to bending the politics of other nations to their will?

    • Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Bangladeshi Professor’s Murder

      Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a university professor in Bangladesh on Saturday, heightening concerns about the rise of radicalism in the South Asian country.

    • ‘Green Party may have been infiltrated by Islamists’

      Lars Nicander, director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, fears that the Green Party, the junior partner of the Social Democrats in the Swedish coalition government, has been infiltrated by Islamists.

    • National Parks Are Used Mostly By Older White People: Here’s Why That Needs to Change

      It’s simple math: Today’s young people, the most diverse generation in U.S. history, will determine the future of our public lands and waters. And if they never use these places, then they’ll feel no connection to them.


      The National Park Services has a complicated relationship with race, as many of its parks followed Jim Crow laws and remained segregated through World War II.

      But that history, as well as Native American narratives about their connections to these open lands, is often missing from the stories told about our parks.

      Jourdan Keith, who founded the Seattle-based Urban Wilderness Project 13 years ago, has been trying to address this in her writing, public speeches, and wilderness excursions taken each summer with a group of local young people.

      Keith, who is African American, says she learned about the outdoors from a “European perspective,” but, as a wilderness trainer, is introducing new generations to untold stories of public lands.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Paint it Vantablack — Artists owning colours and the dark side of IP

      Also, it can be used in art. As some newspapers reported, Surrey NanoSystems has just provided British-Indian artist Sir Anish Kapoor (that of ArcelorMittal Orbit) with exclusive rights to paint using “Vantablack”. While Surrey and Sir Kapoor have not disclosed the details of the agreement, the British company confirmed that – from now on – Mr Kapoor alone can paint using Vantablack.


Links 24/4/2016: Google Summer of Code 2016, Year of the OpenBSD Desktop

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Device Tree Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Device-tree discussions are probably not quite as spirited as in the past, however, device tree is an active area. In particular, significant issues remain.

      This microconference will cover the updated device-tree specification, debugging, bindings validation, and core-kernel code directions. In addition, there will be discussion of what does (and does not) go into the device tree, along with the device-creation and driver binding ordering swamp.

    • Refactoring the open-source photography community

      Generally speaking, most free-software communities tend to form around specific projects: a distribution, an application, a tightly linked suite of applications, and so on. Those are the functional units in which developers work, so it is a natural extension from there to focused mailing lists, web sites, IRC channels, and other forms of interaction with each other and users. But there are alternatives. At Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 in London, Pat David spoke about his recent experience bringing together a new online community centered around photographers who use open-source software. That community crosses over between several applications and libraries, and it has been successful enough that multiple photography-related projects have shut down their independent user forums and migrated to the new site, PIXLS.US.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Firefox Search Worth $375M/Year to a Yahoo Buyer?

        That’s because Mozilla is highly dependent on a five-year contract with Yahoo, signed in December 2014, where it receives about $375m per year to make Yahoo the default search provider in the Firefox browser on the desktop. From 2004 to 2014, that contract was exclusively with Google; now it’s Yahoo in the US, Google in Europe, Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Year of the OpenBSD desktop

      It is a common theme in the GNU/Linux community to tout the current year as the year of the linux desktop. Every year the same thing happens. The nay sayers nag that Linux is a tiny percentage of the desktop market and that Mac OS X/Windows is superior in so many ways.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How to build a Linux router, Internet of Things devices, and more news
    • Aravena’s Small Step, Open Source’s Big Leap

      Aravena’s recent initiative to open-source four of his built projects goes a long way to promoting the public and social benefits of collaboration and information-sharing.

    • Open Data

      • CERN Makes 300TB of Large Hadron Collider Data Public

        CERN has recently released the data from the famous 2011 experiment probing the fundamental structure of the Universe to the public. These raw and processed data can be analyzed and verified using CERN Linux virtual environment on a virtual machine.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Lawsuit accuses PACER of milking the public for cash in exchange for access

        The federally run online court document access system known as PACER now finds itself listed on a federal docket. Its overseer, the US government, is a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit accusing the service of overcharging the public.

        The suit, brought by three nonprofits on Thursday, claims millions of dollars generated from a recent 25-percent increase in page fees are being illegally spent by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AO). The cost for access is 10 cents per page and up to $3 a document. Judicial opinions are free. This isn’t likely to break the bank for some, but to others it adds up and can preclude access to public records. The National Consumer Law Center, the Alliance for Justice, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program also claim in the lawsuit that these fees are illegal because the government is charging more than necessary to keep the PACER system afloat (as is required by Congress).

      • Lawsuit Filed Over PACER Fees

        For many years we’ve pointed out that the fees charged by PACER were clearly outside what the law allows. If you don’t know, PACER is the electronic filing system for the federal court system. It is great that all filings in federal cases are available online, but the interface looks like it was designed in 1998, the search is ridiculous, and (worst of all) the system charges you 10 cents per page of download — excluding judicial opinions, but including HTML pages including search results and docket reports. There is a cap of $3 per document, but that means that every time I call up PACER on a big case — say the Apple/DOJ encryption battle, there are so many filings that just to look at the docket is basically $3. That adds up.

  • Programming/Development

    • Timezones for programmers

      Timezones are typically based on geographical locations. For example, we have the IANA timezone America/Chicago which can represent Central Time for the United States.

    • When to Rewrite from Scratch – Autopsy of a Failed Software

      It was winter of 2012. I was working as a software developer in a small team at a start-up. We had just released the first version of our software to a real corporate customer. The development finished right on schedule. When we launched, I was over the the moon and very proud. It was extremely satisfying to watch the system process couple of million of unique users a day and send out tens of millions of SMS messages. By summer, the company had real revenue. I got promoted to software manager. We hired new guys. The company was poised for growth. Life was great. And then we made a huge blunder and decided to rewrite the software. From scratch.

    • Doing things that scale

      In the software world, and with internet, we can do a lot of things that scale.


  • Local govt. pleased with Danish eGovernment services

    The increasing digitisation of society requires the stable and secure running of public IT solutions, the agency writes. Denmark’s public administrations expect DIGST to professionally manage the IT systems and to keep them involved. According to DIGST, the agency’s network partners contribute to the dialogue with public administrations.

  • St George’s Day: Who actually is Saint George?

    We all know the basic story of St George, right? English knight who slayed a dragon. Or, wait, there’s a dragon on the Welsh flag, so is that a different myth? Was the dragon Welsh? How do you get to be a saint for slaying a dragon? I thought saints tended to be suffering Christians? Or is that martyrs?

    OK, so maybe we don’t know the ins and outs of St George as much as we think.

    Here’s a quick guide to help you figure out why the George’s cross is George’s cross.

    He’s not even English!

    He was a Greek Christian, born in the third century in what was then Syria Palaestina. Yep, Saint George (or Georgios) was Middle Eastern. Don’t tell Nigel Farage.

  • The case for Europe, 2016

    In an interdependent world, nationalism offers no bolt-hole. The task for all progressives is to find effective ways to engage with continental partners, creating a new blend of national and European politics.

  • Science

    • The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s

      If you’re a grad student, it’s best to read the latest report from the National Science Foundation with a large glass of single-malt whiskey in hand. Scratch that: The top-shelf whiskey is probably out of your budget. Well, Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck” is good, too!

      Liquid courage is a necessity when examining the data on Ph.D.s in the latest NSF report, “The Survey of Earned Doctorates,” which utilized figures from the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. The report finds that many newly minted Ph.D.s complete school after nearly 10 years of studies with significant debt and without the promise of a job. Yet few people seem to be paying attention to these findings; graduate programs are producing more Ph.D.s than ever before.

  • Hardware

    • Scientists can now make lithium-ion batteries last a lifetime

      Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) said that’s exactly what they were doing when they discovered how to increase the tensile strength of nanowires that could be used to make lithium-ion batteries last virtually forever.

      Researchers have pursued using nanowires in batteries for years because the filaments, thousands of times thinner than a human hair, are highly conductive and have a large surface area for the storage and transfer of electrons.

      The problem they have encountered, however, is that nanowires are also extremely fragile and don’t hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, known as “cycling.” For example, in a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and grow brittle, which leads to cracking.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Marijuana is kosher for Passover, leading rabbi rules

      Cannabis may be used for medical reasons during Passover, despite previously being forbidden

    • Colorado’s First Black Woman Pot Entrepreneur on Edibles, Incarceration & the Industry’s Whiteness

      We are broadcasting live from Denver, Colorado, where in 2012 the state voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Now 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use, and the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States. But some have questioned who stands to cash in on the billions being generated by cannabis sales. Michelle Alexander, the best-selling author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” addressed the issue in a conversation with the Drug Policy Alliance, saying, “Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?” We speak now to Wanda James, CEO of the Denver-based cannabis dispensary Simply Pure. She is the first African-American woman in Colorado to own a cannabis dispensary. She was inspired to start a dispensary by the experiences of her brother, who at 17 was locked up on a petty drug charge—and forced to pick cotton in Texas for four years to earn his freedom.

    • Celebrating 500 Years of German’s Beer Purity Law

      In Germany rules are rules—and they even apply to something as fun as beer. The Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s legendary beer purity law, turns 500 on April 23 in a sudsy celebration known as German Beer Day. Many Germans love the law, but others think it’s an outdated relic that should be chucked. Beer purity is only one part of the Reinheitsgebot story; protectionism, taxes, national pride and marketing all come into play.

    • Chart of the Day: Hillary and Bernie Duke It Out on Soda Taxes

      Finally we have a real difference between Hillary and Bernie. Hillary supports Philadelphia’s proposed tax on sugary drinks of 3 cents per ounce. Bernie doesn’t. “A tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families in Philadelphia,” he said on Thursday.

    • Flint is about how we treat the poor

      As you no doubt know, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, returned to the headlines last week with news that the state attorney general is charging three government officials for their alleged roles in the debacle. It makes this a convenient moment to deal with something that has irked me about the way this disaster is framed.

      Namely, the fact that people who look like you often get left out of it.


      As has been reported repeatedly, Flint is a majority black city with a 41 percent poverty rate. So critics ask if the water would have been so blithely poisoned, and if it would have taken media so long to notice, had the victims been mostly white.

    • The Creepy Way Processed Food Packaging Messes With Your Hormones

      A new study shows common plastic packaging steeps food in industrial chemicals.

    • Flint woman suing over poisoned water crisis found shot to death in home

      On Tuesday, police found the bodies of two women inside of a townhouse, where they also found a one-year-old who was unharmed. Both women were shot, and have been identified as Sasha Bell and Sacorya Reed, though police only said their ages are between 18 and 20 years old, WJRT reported. The child was taken into protective services.

    • Slain Woman Among People To File Lawsuits Amid Water Crisis

      One of two women found shot to death in a Flint apartment was among dozens of people who earlier filed lawsuits over lead-tainted water in the city.

      The Flint Journal reports Thursday that Sasha Bell’s case was one of 64 lawsuits filed by law firms on behalf of 144 children.

      Bell had said her child was poisoned by lead.

      Flint was under state control in 2014 when it switched from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River to save money. The corrosive river water wasn’t properly treated and caused lead to leach from old pipes into homes and businesses.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Why I gave your paper a Strong Reject

      Writing a bunch of wordy bullshit that doesn’t mean anything. Trust me, you’re not going to wow and amaze the program committee by talking about dynamic, scalable, context-aware, Pareto-optimal middleware for cloud hosting of sensing-intensive distributed vehicular applications. If your writing sounds like the automatically-generated, fake Rooter paper (“A theoretical grand challenge in theory is the important unification of virtual machines and real-time theory. To what extent can web browsers be constructed to achieve this purpose?”), you might want to rethink your approach. Be concise and concrete. Explain what you’re doing in clear terms. Bad ideas won’t get accepted just because they sound fancy.

    • Computer System Security Policy Debate (Follow-up)

      The challenge is that political people see everything as a political/policy issue, but this isn’t that kind of issue. I get particularly frustrated when I read ignorant ramblings like this that dismiss the overwhelming consensus of the people that actually understand what needs to be done as emotional, hysterical obstructionism. Contrary to what seems to be that author’s point, constructive dialogue and understanding values does nothing to change the technical risks of mandating exceptional access. Of course the opponents of Feinstein-Burr decry it as technologically illiterate, it is technologically illiterate.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘The Japanese Were Already Defeated and Were Seeking Peace’

      Media reports noted that Secretary of State John Kerry was the highest-ranking sitting US official to visit the war memorial in Hiroshima. US ambassadors have shown their respects, and Jimmy Carter went there when he was out of office. But from non-blame-assigning references to “one of the most destructive acts of World War II,” as a New York Times article had it, to an obliviously ethnocentric focus on how these commemorations have, as the Times said, “long troubled American diplomats,” nothing suggests that US media find much to grapple with.

    • New Push for Military Intervention in Libya: Who Will Control the Libyan Central Bank?

      The emails of the former Secretary of State and current Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton exposed to the world the principal reasons for the NATO intervention and destruction of Libya in 2011. We are informed by one writer who had examined these emails on the traffic between the USA and France over the imperatives for intervening in Libya. In one e mail dated April 2, 2011 Sidney Blumenthal, then an aide to Clinton informed her ‘that sources close to one of Gaddafi sons were reporting that “Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver” and the hoard had been moved from the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli closer to the border with Niger and Chad. “This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).”Blumenthal then added that “According to knowledgeable individuals, this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.” The email added: “According to these individuals, Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

    • Hillary ‘the Hawk’ Clinton

      Mark Landler has an interesting extended article in the New York Times about how Hillary Clinton came to views about the use of military force that have made her, in Landler’s words, “the last true hawk left” in this year’s presidential race.

      Landler poses the question of Clinton’s motivations as a traditional dichotomy between “calculated political maneuver” and “deeply felt core principle,” and suggests that in the case of Clinton’s hawkishness it is more the latter than the former. But much of what the article describes is less a matter of principle than of sociology.

    • Twenty civilians killed in air strikes in Iraq, Syria: U.S. military

      Twenty civilians were likely killed and 11 others injured in nine U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria between Sept. 10, 2015, and Feb. 2, 2016, the U.S. military said on Friday.

    • ISIS executes 250 women for refusing to become sex slaves

      The Islamic State, known for its brutality, has reportedly executed 250 girls in northern Iraq for refusing to become sex slaves , according to a media report.

      The girls had been ordered to accept temporary marriages to the terrorists and were murdered, sometimes alongside their families, for their refusal to be sex slaves in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul.

      ISIS began selecting women of Mosul and forced them into marrying its militants, calling it temporary marriage since it has taken control over Mosul, and the women who refused to submit to this practice would be executed, said Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Said Mamuzini.

    • The real reason the British government refuses to call Isis’s killings genocide

      George Osborne announced at a parliamentary reception this week that the Government will increase its support for the Holocaust Educational Trust by £500,000. There will also be funding, he added, for a statue of Frank Foley, a British intelligence officer who helped thousands of Jews to escape from Nazi Germany.

      The Chancellor spoke of the horrors of genocide, of taking his family to see the concentration camp at Dachau last month, and praised the courage of those who had helped the refugees at a time of peril. He raised a few smiles saying that some of the money pledged “would come from fines paid by those who fixed the Libor rates – people who showed the worst of values to those who have the best of British values”.

    • Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

      Nothing undermines the American belief in military force. No matter how often its galloping about results in resentment and mayhem, the U.S. gets up again to do good elsewhere. Failure to improve life in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya stiffens the resolve to get it right next time. This notion prevails among politicized elements of the officer corps; much of the media, whether nominally liberal or conservative; the foreign policy elite recycled quadrennially between corporation-endowed think tanks and government; and most politicians on the national stage. For them and the public they influence, the question is less whether to deploy force than when, where, and how.

    • Military Spending is the Capitalist World’s Fuel

      Not least is this the case with the United States, which by far spends the most of any country on its military. The official Pentagon budget for 2015 was $596 billion, but actual spending is far higher. (Figures for 2015 will be used because that is the latest year for which data is available to make international comparisons.) If we add military spending parked in other portions of the U.S. federal government budget, we’re up to $786 billion, according to a study by the War Resisters League. Veterans benefits add another $157 billion. WRL also assigns 80 percent of the interest on the budget deficit, and that puts the grand total well above $1 trillion.

    • Six Year Anniversary of WikiLeaks Collateral Murder; A Celebration of Free Speech

      On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks published classified military footage of a July 2007 attack by a US Army helicopter gunship in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad. The video titled Collateral Murder depicted the killing of more than a dozen men, including two Reuters staffers. At the time of release, the WikiLeaks website temporarily crashed with a massive influx of visitors, while versions popped up on YouTube, reaching millions.

      The importance of The Collateral Murder video has often been talked about from the perspective that it provided visual evidence of unaccounted US military power and brutality. Now, on the 6th anniversary of its publication, we will revisit the emergence of WikiLeaks in the public consciousness and explore the significance of this video release for the advocacy of free speech.


      The smothering of free speech has cost the public access to the real images of war. Back in the 1960’s, during the Vietnam War, pictures of wounded soldiers and dead civilians flooded through televisions into American homes. Unlike the current situation, the government had not yet learned to keep the press out of war zones, where all could see the horrific images of what in many cases amounted to war crimes.

    • Defending Democracy To the Last Drop of Oil

      The Saudis, who are also petrified of Iran, threw a fit, threatening to pull $750 billion of investments from the US. Other leaders of the Gulf sheikdoms sided with the Saudis but rather more discreetly.

      Ignoring the stinging snub he had just suffered, Obama assured the Saudis and Gulf monarchs that the US would defend them against all military threats – in effect, reasserting their role as western protectorates. So much for promoting democracy.

    • What’s Left of Palmyra — and Syria

      By pouring weapons and money into the Syrian war, the West and its Gulf state allies share in the guilt for the Islamic State’s partial destruction of Palmyra’s historic ruins, which Jeff Klein visited.

    • Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine: Home Demolitions on the Rise

      According to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, an Israeli NGO, the Israeli government has demolished 28,000 Palestinian structures since the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began in 1967, resulting in the homelessness and suffering of untold numbers of people. There is little ambiguity about the morality of this form of ethnic cleansing, and even most Israeli legal scholars agree that it is in contravention of international law. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

    • Drone Warfare and the Kill Chain

      In the current movie, starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, the human toll and moral dilemma of drone warfare are portrayed in a compelling drama of life and death.

    • After drones: the indelible mark of America’s remote control warfare

      Nabila’s favorite memories of her grandmother come from weddings. It didn’t matter who was getting married – relative or neighbor – her grandmother, Mamana, was an active participant, owing to her matriarchal perch above their village.

      Mamana was as responsible as she was festive. An uneducated woman, she was the local midwife, and served as an impromptu primary care physician, even a veterinarian, when the need arose.

    • Islamic State claims it killed Bangladeshi academic

      Prof Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, hacked to death in Rajshahi in attack similar to murders of other secular and atheist activists

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Navajo Fight Coal Strip Mine in Four Corners

      A Navajo environmental group sued the federal government this week for allowing a New Mexico coal plant and strip mine to operate for another 25 years without assessing clean-energy alternatives.

    • Looking Back on Deepwater With Journalism as Usual

      It’s standard stuff, as if the paper forgets its own reporting (9/4/14) on the ruling on Deepwater in which US District Court Judge Carl Barbieri cited not a lack of rules but a failure to respect them, calling out the entire industry as “motivated by profit” to operate with “conscious disregard of known risks.” In a case where business as usual is the problem, journalism as usual can’t be the response.

    • The Earth Doesn’t Need To Worry, But The Things That Live On It Do

      When is it time to rebrand? Fortune magazine just ran an Earth Day story “Earth Day 2016 Freebies and Deals.”

      The business magazine wants us to know that “Earth Day, historically, hasn’t been thought of as a retail holiday. But as more and more people become environmentally aware, many major stores are jumping on the bandwagon.” Now while we are nowhere near the over-commercialization that, say, Christmas has achieved, I’m still thinking that Earth Day is probably a good day not to buy anything and instead step back from hypermaterialism.

    • Five Planet-Changing Consequences of Global Warming to Consider on Earth Day—and Every Day

      The entire human population is vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change brought about by global warming, because everyone is susceptible to the effects of drought, flood, heat wave, disease, and famine. No one is immune from the risks posed by climate change.

    • Unprecedented global warming as 2016 approaches 1.5 °C mark

      Global surface temperatures could get close to the 1.5 °C-above-preindustrial limit before the Paris climate agreement even comes into effect.

      That’s alarming news, considering that the deal aspires to limit global warming to no more than this.

      Last week Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, estimated that the average global temperature in 2016 could range from about 1.1 °C above preindustrial to only slightly below 1.5 °C, based on GISS’s temperature record and its definition of pre-industrial (other records and definitions vary).

    • Fracking Executive Says Rich Neighborhoods Safe from Drill Sites

      An executive from a top shale drilling firm told attendees of a fossil fuels seminar in Pennsylvania earlier this month that fracking companies deliberately avoid setting up shop near the “big houses” of the wealthy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

      Two environmental groups, the Sierra Club and the Center for Coalfield Justice, last week sent a letter to the state Office of Environmental Justice to review Range Resources’ practices to see if it has indeed avoided rich neighborhoods and targeted low-income areas for shale gas development. Attorneys from both organizations were present at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Environmental Law Forum on April 7.

    • Fracking a Possible Cause of Disturbing Birth Defects and Deaths Found in Horses

      The vets are conducting their own study of what may be causing the epidemic of horse birth defects. The veterinary team cite the presence of a gas well adjacent to Gural’s land that was drilled by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC as the “prime suspect” in the Gural farm problems. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that the farm’s water is contaminated, although they failed to cite Chesapeake as the cause.

    • Fabulous Win for Anti-Fracking Movement as Another Major Pipeline Bites the Dust

      For the second time in less than a week, climate activists and fracking opponents in the northeast find themselves celebrating.

      The latest applause comes after a state regulatory agency on Friday—which happened to be Earth Day—announced it was denying a permit for a major fracked-gas pipeline in the state. Just days earlier, another similar project was halted in New England.

      Calling it “amazing news” and a “huge victory” for New York residents and the planet as a whole, the decision by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to reject the controversial Constitution Pipeline project was welcomed as a timely gift by Frack Action, a state coalition opposed to hydraulic drilling and further expansion of fossil fuel projects in the state.

    • Alongside 174 Nations And Holding His Granddaughter, John Kerry Signs Paris Climate Accord

      “More countries have come here to sign this agreement today than any other time in human history, and that is cause for hope,” Leonardo DiCaprio, U.N. Messenger of Peace, said during the opening ceremony which marked the beginning of the signing. DiCaprio also called climate change the “defining crisis of our time,” and called for fossil fuels to remain in the ground in an effort to cut carbon emissions.

    • A Young American Reminds Us How Badly We Are Failing Children on Climate Change

      If Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh didn’t have the look and sound of a 15-year-old, one could easily assume he was twice his real age. The indigenous environmentalist talks like a seasoned activist and well-educated adult, rather than the teenager he really is. Perhaps it is because he is so driven by passion for his cause of climate justice.

      In an interview on Rising Up With Sonali, Tonatiuh revealed that he started his political activism at age 6. He explained that it was natural for climate change to be the cause dearest to his heart because “being involved in the climate movement is protecting everything that I love.”

  • Finance

    • Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Steve Wozniak

      Apple should pay more tax, according to Steve Wozniak, the company’s co-founder.

      Speaking to the BBC, Wozniak expressed discomfort with reports that Apple avoids tax, saying that paying taxes was just “part of life” – something that “every company in the world” should do.

    • Clinton doubling down on transcripts

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is doubling down on a strategy of not releasing transcripts of speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other investment banks.

      Clinton has refused to release any of the transcripts in the face of a pressure campaign from rival candidate Bernie Sanders, who has relentlessly attacked the Democratic front-runner as being too closely tied to Wall Street.

      “She’s not going to basically create a standard that isn’t applied to anyone else in this race,” said one longtime Clinton ally and confidante of her position on releasing the transcripts.

      The issue has been an effective line of attack from Sanders, who has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls.

      It also appears to have hurt Clinton, who has seen her favorability rating in polls drop below 50 percent. Just as bad, Clinton has seen her marks fall with Americans when they are asked whether they trust her or see her as honest.

    • Elizabeth Warren’s Big Win: The New, Much-Needed Rule that Could Rein in Wall Street Slime

      Are you in the market for some good news? While everyone is being told to follow the excitement of the 2016 campaign to the exclusion of all else, out of the spotlight but not far away, the Obama administration is calmly trying to enact lasting progressive change. In the Labor Department earlier this month, consumer advocates won a big battle, as the vast middle class was “gifted” with a new requirement being placed on the financial services industry. As Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren explained, a glaring conflict of interest has been resolved in the favor of people saving for retirement. No longer can investment advisers recommend funds to their clients that reward them or their firms; instead, they must, without exception, direct customers into the best financial products, with lower or, sometimes, zero fees.

    • “Free Love – Not Free Trade”: With Obama En Route, 90,000 March Against TTIP

      Protesters wearing Obama and Merkal masks were among the tens of thousands who marched against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Hannover, Germany on Saturday. (Photo: Helga Reimund / Attac.de)

      On the eve of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany on Saturday to voice emphatic opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP), a deal they argue benefits global capitalism and corporate elites at the expense of the public good and local democracy.

      With a 1960′s “Summer of Love” theme informing the march, many participants grooved under banners reading “Freie Liebe – Statt Freihandel” (Free Love – Not Free Trade) as organizers estimated 90,000 people in attendance.

    • One of the nation’s largest pension funds could soon cut benefits for retirees

      More than a quarter of a million active and retired truckers and their families could soon see their pension benefits severely cut — even though their pension fund is still years away from running out of money.

      Within the next few weeks, the Treasury Department is expected to announce a crucial decision on whether it will approve reductions to one of the country’s largest multi-employer pension plans.

    • Greece’s Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us

      Next time you’re having an fight with somebody who doesn’t like the idea of a universal basic income, you might employ some of these arguments from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, he not only refutes the usual arguments against the concept that the government should give everyone a minimum check every month, but he makes them sound quite ridiculous.


      Varoufakis agrees with one problem—with $2,500 a month on the table, wouldn’t everyone move to Switzerland? He advocates for regulation, which is almost certainly what will happen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • BUSTED: Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million on Social Media Trolls

      A Super PAC headed by a longtime Clinton operative is spending $1 million to hire online trolls to “correct” Bernie Sanders’ supporters on social media.

      Correct The Record (CTR), which is operated by Clinton attack dog and new owner of Blue Nation Review David Brock, launched a new initiative this week called “Barrier Breakers 2016” for the purpose of debating supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders — or “Bernie Bros,” as they’re referred to in Correct the Record’s press official release — on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.

      The “Barrier Breakers” will also publicly thank Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates and fans for supporting her campaign. The paid trolls are professional communicators, coming from public relations and media backgrounds.

    • Clinton’s Image Among Democrats at New Low

      Recent activity in the presidential election campaign is clearly taking a toll on the images of the leading presidential candidates, as Hillary Clinton drops to her lowest net favorable rating among Democrats since Gallup began tracking her in July, and as both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump return to near their all-time lows among Republicans.

      We can start with the Democratic side of the ledger, where Clinton’s current net favorable rating of +36 among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents is based on 66% who give her a favorable rating and 30% who give her an unfavorable rating.

    • Trump’s Campaign Manager Admits His Boss Has Been Playing a ‘Part’ the Whole Time

      “Fixing personality negatives is a lot easier than fixing character negatives. You can’t change somebody’s character, but you can change the way a person presents himself.” – Paul Manafort

      The above quote is from Donald Trump’s new campaign manager. Along with Rick Wiley, Manafort was hired recently to “professionalize” Trump’s operation. What he says here is both revealing and profoundly wrong. How a person presents himself, or more to the point, how far a person is willing to go in order to project an image of himself, says a lot about who he is.

      If a man is willing, as Trump clearly is, to say or do anything in the name of self-promotion, if he shape-shifts and contradicts himself on a whim, if he says things he knows to be untrue and dangerous because he thinks it will win him the news cycle, does that not reveal his character? Trump is either a nihilist or a fraud. In either case, his personality and character are inextricably bound.

    • Sanders: I’ve lost because ‘poor people don’t vote’

      Confronted with poor performance in states with higher populations of low-income people, Bernie Sanders said his losses are due to those people not voting.

      “Well, because poor people don’t vote. I mean, that’s just a fact. That’s a sad reality of American society,” Sanders said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air in full on Sunday.

      Host Chuck Todd had asked about rival Hillary Clinton’s victory in 16 of 17 primary contests in states with the highest levels of income inequality.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Satellite TV is helping Iranians bypass internet censorship

      People who live in countries with a strict nationwide internet filter always come up with ways to get around it. In Iran, according to Wired, people are using satellite TV and a free anti-censorship system called Toosheh. While Iranians do use VPN to bypass the filter, their crippling internet speeds make it hard to stream videos or download bigger files. The system gives them a way to get 1GB of data within 60 minutes. Users simply have to plug a USB stick into the set-top box, access Toosheh’s channel that doesn’t show anything besides text instructions and set the receiver to record.

    • Berwick MP strongly rejects Facebook censorship claims

      Prior to that, her tweets were automatically published onto her public Facebook page, but she had received complaints due to ‘some very offensive comments’ and the idea was to publish fewer updates to Facebook to make it easier for her or her team to keep track of what was being posted by others.

      However, some Facebook users claim that their comments were hidden, not due to their being offensive, but because they were expressing political views opposed to Mrs Trevelyan’s own, for example, on the EU referendum.

    • Utah Lawmaker Says Internet Porn Violates First Amendment

      The Utah lawmaker who introduced a state resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” has taken his opposition a step further. During a conservative talk radio appearance on Friday, state Rep. Todd Weiler (R) said that the internet, essentially, violates a person’s First Amendment rights by “delivering pornography” to people who don’t want to view it.

      “Someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography,” Weiler told Tony Perkins, host of “Washington Watch” radio show. “But what about my First Amendment right not to view it?”

    • California GOP Blathers About Freedom, But Mostly Backs ‘Secrecy Lobby’

      Politicians from the party of Reagan and Lincoln should instinctively know the dangers of giving government officials unaccountable power.

    • A paean to censorship

      It takes a certain mindset for a person to believe that he or she has the right to determine what information, otherwise lawful, that the citizens of Guyana should receive.

    • Donald Trump and His ‘Micropenis’ Expose Problems With Facebook’s Censorship Policies

      California-based artist, Illma Gore, has gotten quite a bit of attention after painting Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in the nude with a very, very, small penis. Gore told LawNewz.com she’s received nasty threats from Trump supporters, and this week she says Trump’s team even told her she would be getting a cease and desist letter in the mail. Gore says the painting, which is titled Make America Great Again, was not even meant as a political statement per se.

      “The idea was to invoke a reaction from audience to inspire discussion about what is in our pants…our physical being,” she told LawNewz.com.

    • Is censorship bad for business? How trade laws could break through China’s Great Firewall

      The United States has now opened a new line of attack against China’s censorship regime. Human rights arguments aside, could China’s internet controls constitute a trade barrier? In its annual National Trade Estimate Report, the Office of the United States Trade Representative included the Chinese internet filters and blocks in a list of impediments foreign businesses face in China.

    • Does it really mean a free trade?
    • China seizes biggest share of global exports in almost 50 years
    • Chinese censorship fears over Chariots sequel about Liddell
    • Leader comment: Censorship would dishonour Liddell’s memory
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Facebook plans to take over the world

      Social network went from digital directory for college kids to communications behemoth – and it’s planning for prosperity with its global takeover

    • Facebook usage over Tor passes 1M per month

      The number of people using the Tor anonymizing browser to access Facebook has passed the one million mark this month for the first time, Facebook has announced.

      Tor (aka The Onion Router) is a network technology designed to increase the privacy of web users by encrypting and randomly routing Internet connections via a worldwide network of volunteer relays — thereby making it harder for individual web connections to be traced back to a particular user.

      Facebook created a dedicated onion address for Tor access back in October 2014, aimed at making it easier for users to connect via Tor, given that the way the network routes traffic can be flagged by site security infrastructure.

    • Lawmakers ask National Intelligence director, ‘How many citizens have you spied on?’

      American lawmakers are getting frisky when it comes to digital frisking. In a recent letter from 14 top members of Congress (including eight Democrats and six Republicans), Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked to estimate the number of Americans affected by various surveillance techniques, including email surveillance and other forms of spying. Data espionage remains one of the few issues over which there is bipartisan concern, and the letter comes as part of an ongoing examination into potential surveillance program reforms.

    • Dispatches: US Surveillance Court Opinion Shows Harm to Rights
    • U.S. administration refuses information about spying on Americans
    • Secret court takes another bite out of the 4th Amendment
    • Congress asks the NSA how often it spies on Americans
    • Spy Chief Pressed for Number of Americans Ensnared in Data Espionage
    • DOJ’s Awesome New Trick to Break into Apple Phones

      Use the sentencing process, rather than the All Writs Act, to open up a phone captured two years ago (which probably has even less usable evidence than Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone did.

      These prosecutors are really using some amazing tools these days.

    • ISP Vows to Protect Users From a Piracy Witch Hunt

      Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof says it will do everything in its power to prevent copyright holders from threatening its subscribers. The provider is responding to a recent case in which a competing ISP was ordered to expose alleged BitTorrent pirates, reportedly without any thorough evidence.

    • Facebook is going to start showing you pieces people actually read

      Facebook is changing its algorithm yet again, and this time it wants to show you more things that you’ll actually spend time reading or watching.

      The social network looks at a wealth of data when deciding which posts you actually see on News Feed, but until now it hasn’t cared too much about what you actually do when you click away from Facebook. It says that’s going to change.

    • EFF and ACLU Expose Government’s Secret Stingray Use in Wisconsin Case

      Thanks to EFF and the ACLU, the government has finally admitted it secretly used a Stingray to locate a defendant in a Wisconsin criminal case, United States v. Damian Patrick. Amazingly, the government didn’t disclose this fact to the defendant—or the court—until we raised it in an amicus brief we filed in the case. In the government’s brief, filed late last week, it not only fails to acknowledge the impact of hiding this fact from the defendant but also claims its warrantless real-time location tracking didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

      We first learned about this case when it was already on appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and filed an amicus brief arguing the Fourth Amendment protects all of us from warrantless, real-time location tracking. The government suggested to both Patrick and the trial court that it had relied on location information obtained directly from Sprint. However, we suspected they had instead used a Stingray.

    • The Government Admits 9 Defendants Spied On Under Section 702 Have Not Gotten FISA Notice

      As I noted, in his opinion approving the Section 702 certifications from last year, Judge Thomas Hogan had a long section describing the 4 different kinds of violations the spooks had committed in the prior year.

      One of those pertained to FBI agents not establishing an attorney-client review team for people who had been indicted, as mandated by the FBI’s minimization procedures.

    • Former Top Holder Aide Says Back Door Searches Violate Fourth Amendment; FISC Judge Thomas Hogan Doesn’t Care

      When I first realized that FISA Court Presiding Judge Thomas Hogan picked her to serve as amicus for the review of the yearly 702 certifications last year, I complained that she, not Marc Zwillinger, got selected (the pick was made in August, but Jeffress would later be picked as one of the standing amicus curiae, along with Zwillinger). After all, Zwillinger has already argued that PRISM (then authorized by Protect America Act) was unconstitutional when he represented Yahoo in its challenge of the program. He’s got experience making this precise argument. Plus, Jeffress not only is a long-time national security prosecutor and former top Eric Holder aide, but she has been involved in some actions designed to protect the Executive. I still think Zwillinger might have done a better job. But Jeffress nevertheless made what appears to be a vigorous, though unsuccessful, argument that FBI’s back door searches of US person data are unconstitutional.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court: Border Search Warrant Exception Beats Riley In The ‘Constitution-Free Zone

      The Supreme Court declared in 2014 that law enforcement could no longer perform searches of cellphones incident to arrest without a warrant. The exceptions to this ruling are making themselves apparent already.

      The area of the United States where the Constitution does not apply — while still being fully within the borders of the US — apparently exempts law enforcement from following this ruling in regards to cellphone searches. The Southern District of California has come to the conclusion that border searches are not Fourth Amendment searches and that the government has no need to seek a warrant before searching a cellphone.

    • VIDEO: Spoken Word Artist Saul Williams Extended Interview on His New Album, “MartyrLoserKing”

      Williams also discusses his appreciation for hacking, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and the late net neutrality activist, Aaron Swartz.

    • Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS

      Washington has always blocked reform in Latin America. Latin American peoples will remain American serfs until they elect governments by such large majorities that the governments can exile the traitorous elites, close the US embassies, and expel all US corporations. Every Latin American country that has an American presence has no future other than serfdom.

    • Students block Sather Gate on Cal Day in protest of treatment of undocumented UC students

      A group of roughly 30 student demonstrators gathered in front of Sather Gate on Saturday afternoon, protesting UC President Janet Napolitano’s treatment of undocumented students within the UC system.

      The protest was held on Cal Day, a day when the campus opened its grounds for prospective students accepted to the class of 2020.

    • Suicide Rates Are Up, But the Most Obvious Explanations Are Probably All Wrong

      For my money, we flatly don’t know what’s causing the increase in suicides over the past decade. Based on the size of the numbers and the evidence at hand, if you put a gun to my head I’d probably guess opioid abuse was the biggest cause. But I don’t know, and I’m not sure anyone else knows either.

    • Landmark Ruling Will Finally Allow Victims to Hold CIA ‘Torturers to Account’

      Ladin called it “a historic win in the fight to hold the people responsible for torture accountable for their despicable and unlawful actions.”

    • Child Brides ‘Tolerated’ In European Asylum Centres

      Some child brides are living with older husbands in asylum centres in Scandinavia, triggering a furore about lapses in protection for girls in nations that ban child marriage.

      Authorities have in some cases let girls stay with their partners, believing it is less traumatic for them than forced separation after fleeing wars in nations such as Afghanistan or Syria.

    • Open Borders? EU Commission May Pave Path to Millions of Ukrainian Migrants

      The dream of the Maidan revolutionaries -for Ukrainians to be able to travel to Europe without visas, has moved one step closer to reality, with the European Commission proposing to lift visa restrictions on Ukrainians. What might a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union look like for Ukrainians and Europeans? Sputnik investigates.

    • What Happens When Asylum Seekers Are Too Poor to Make Bail

      On April 6, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government for detaining immigrants who remain in jail simply because they are too poor to pay their bond.

    • Fed Up With Officer Violence, San Francisco Residents Go On Hunger Strike Against Police Chief

      “I’ve reached 48 hours now. After the 24-hour mark, you kind of get over the pain of hunger. We get distracted, kind of, with the people that are visiting. We’re trying to stay dry. It was raining last night,” Edwin Lindo told ThinkProgress by phone Friday morning. “I’m hanging in there.”

      Lindo is one of six hunger strikers currently sitting in front of the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, alongside local rapper Equipto, preschool teacher Maria Cristina Gutierrez, local resident Ike Pinkston, and two others. Lindo, who is also running for District 9 supervisor, is one of the four people who initiated the action on Wednesday in protest of Police Chief Greg Suhr, the embattled leader of the San Francisco Police Department.

      Under Suhr’s leadership there’s been a spate of fatal police shootings of residents of color, including Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, and Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Last year, racist and homophobic text exchanges between officers were made public, and similar messages were revealed earlier this month.

      Activists believe Suhr has failed to discipline the officers and allowed police violence to remain the status quo. In addition to Suhr’s resignation, they want the community to have a hand in vetting prospective officers and holding cops accountable. Lindo, Gutierrez, Pinkson, and Equipto wanted to take drastic action, seeing no other way to get the city leadership’s attention.

    • When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective?

      Has something gone adrift within the moral compass of our ‘news’ reporting? In the past week, 64 Afghans have been killed in the largest bomb to have exploded in Kabul in 15 years. At least 340 were wounded. The Taliban set off their explosives at the very wall of the ‘elite’ security force – watch out for that word ‘elite’ – which was supposed to protect the capital. Whole families were annihilated. No autopsies for them. Local television showed an entire family – a mother and father and three children blown to pieces in a millisecond – while the city’s ambulance service reported that its entire fleet (a miserable 15 vehicles) were mobilised for the rescue effort. One ambulance was so packed with wounded that the back doors came off their hinges.

    • Amidst Civil War Ghosts, Sanders says: ‘I Worry about Future of Democracy in America’

      While campaigning in Pennsylvania on Friday ahead of next week’s primary in that state, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took time to visit the Civil War memorial at Gettysburg and invoked the spirit of Abraham Lincoln as he expressed concern about the troubling direction the nation is now heading.

      Standing near where Lincoln, in 1863, gave one of the most famous political speeches in U.S. history about the fundamental importance of unity and democracy, Sanders expressed to reporters his deep concerns about the disintegration of those key pillars amidst surging income inequality and a sustained assault on the people’s right to have their voices heard and wishes honored by elected lawmakers.

    • Truthdiggers of the Week: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Fame

      Among the 1,400 activists arrested during the recent Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring protests were two very familiar faces and even more recognizable names: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of the international ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s.

    • Bill Moyers: Campaign Finance Reform — It’s Not Just Liberals Anymore

      Bill sits down with former Bush administration lawyer Richard Painter to discuss why conservatives should care about the influence of money in politics — and how they can fight to get it out.

    • Disturbing New Ad Reveals The Future Of The GOP Under Trump

      Mike Pape, a Republican running for Kentucky’s first Congressional district, released a new TV ad filled with ugly stereotypes about Latino immigrants, complete with huge Mario Bros.-like mustaches, fake accents, and subtitles for the actors, even though they’re speaking in English for the vast majority of the ad.

    • Breaking Through Power: Historic Civil Mobilization Now

      Ever wonder why Presidential and Congressional election campaigns fail to meaningfully connect with civil society? Candidate rhetoric is designed to attract voters and campaign contributions. Candidates go out of their way to ingratiate themselves to their corporate paymasters, whose monetized minds want nothing to do with the civil society. Civil society leaders at the national and local levels and their nonprofit citizen groups form the bedrock of democracy. These civic leaders have significant expertise and experience and are meticulous and precise in their written and oral presentations. They do not traffic in false statements that are unfortunately routine for many candidates for federal office. And unlike most major party candidates who receive round-the-clock coverage for every campaign utterance, the civic stalwarts are too often left on the sidelines by the media during the campaign season.


      These Americans did speak up in unprecedented numbers in 2002-2003 against the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq but had no infrastructure to increase their numbers and reach to the American people and the cowardly politicians in Congress.

    • More than 10.35 million people are in prison around the world, new report shows.

      There are more than 2.2 million prisoners in the United States of America, more than 1.65 million in China (plus an unknown number in pre-trial detention or ‘administrative detention’), 640,000 in the Russian Federation, 607,000 in Brazil, 418,000 in India, 311,000 in Thailand, 255,000 in Mexico and 225,000 in Iran.

    • The Film ‘In an Ideal World’ Offers a Glimpse Inside Our Broken Prison System

      Prisons “make you a racist,” even if that’s not how you were originally, one corrections officer says in the film. In fact, at one point in the movie, the warden of the prison actually describes the segregation as a tool for keeping order—though he adds that prison officials may have shot themselves in the foot by perpetuating racial divisions that aggravate tensions and can lead to violence.

    • Israeli Arab Lawmaker Refuses Holocaust Day Invite: Israel Today Is Like Germany in 1930s

      Joint Arab List MK Zoabi says that she respects the memory of those killed in the Holocaust, but that the ‘Holocaust obligates us not to be silent when racist laws are legislated.’

    • Bernie’s Most Valuable Lesson: The Democratic Party Does Not Do Enough to Represent the Values of Progressive Americans

      Over the past year, the insurgent political campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed quite a bit about the reasoning of partisan Democrats, and thus separated the progressives from the liberals. As a populist candidate who has refused support from Super PACs and big monied interests, Sanders has shined a light on the unpleasant reality that the Democratic party — and its likely presidential nominee — is almost as reliant on funding from billionaires and Wall Street as the detested Republican party is.

    • Shifty antisemitism wars

      So why is it wrong to equate anti-Zionism and antisemitism?

      First, it is comparing apples and oranges. Indeed, there have always been Jews opposed to Zionism, for different reasons. See, for example, the current work of the International Jewish Anti-Zionism Network (IJAN), or the new book by US professor Dov Waxman, which, among other things, shows how it was only after the Six-Day War in 1967, “some two decades after Israel’s founding”, that “the American Jewish pro-Israel establishment was built.”

      For Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a group with more than 200,000 online members and 60 chapters across the US, “equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism obscures the long history of Jewish anti-Zionism and diasporism.” According to the UK-based group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, fusing “Jewishness/Israel/Zionism” enables antisemitism to become “a weapon for imposing conformity on dissidents within the Jewish community.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • An Open Letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam

      Last week, I took a drastic step. Instead of going in to work at Verizon, I stood outside with a picket sign. I’m on strike because it’s time for you to listen to us.

      I’m a cable splicing technician in Roanoke, Va., which means I install and fix Internet, cable and phone service. I’m proud to say I’ve volunteered to serve wherever the need is greatest. I went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Central Florida after bad storms there.

      Yet on a work call the other day, one of the managers said technicians like me were “tools to accomplish a task.”

      Maybe that manager chose those demeaning words poorly, but that comment stung with more truth than I can easily admit.

    • Saying the Internet makes librarians obsolete is like saying the plague makes doctors obsolete
    • Upside-Down-Ternet

      My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.

    • Consumer Complaints About Broadband Caps Are Soaring

      Consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about broadband data caps rose to 7,904 in the second half of 2015 from 863 in the first half, notes a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency to obtain the data on complaints, which have spiked as a growing number of fixed-line broadband providers apply caps and overage fees to already pricey connections.

    • The Average Webpage Is Now the Size of the Original

      The web is Doomed.

      Today the average webpage is about the same size, data-wise, as the classic computer game Doom, according to software engineer Ronan Cremin.

      A compressed copy of the installer for the shareware version of Doom takes up about 2.39MB of space. Today’s average webpage, meanwhile, requires users to download about 2.3MB worth of data, according to HTTP Archive, a site that tracks website performance and the technologies they use.

  • DRM

    • EFF to FCC: Consumers Need Strong ‘Unlock the Box’ Rules That Bring Competition, Innovation to Set-Top Boxes

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt robust, consumer-friendly “Unlock the Box” rules that will give Americans access to more innovative, useful, and creative devices and software for watching pay cable and satellite television.

      The FCC’s proposed “Unlock the Box” rules will allow any manufacturer to create and market devices or apps that will connect consumers to their cable or satellite TV feeds. The proposal will lead to a new generation of navigation devices that let viewers search and play shows on cable, online services, or over-the-air broadcasts from a single clicker, app, or box.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Book Review: Shakespeare’s Cultural Capital

        In government, the UK uses Shakespeare to promoting regional tourism and a sense of ‘Britishness.’ As part of the government’s ‘Great’ campaign, which apparently contributes £1.6 billion annually to the UK, Shakespeare as a global icon enhances the UK’s cultural diplomacy. Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon, “attracts over five million visitors each year, generating revenues worth over £335 million for the local economy.”

      • UK dead-set on 10-year sentences for P2P pirates

        The UK government has confirmed that it wants to bring in legislation increasing the maximum sentence for online copyright infringement to 10 years of imprisonment, despite widespread objections and doubts about its feasibility.

        Baroness Neville-Rolfe, parliamentary under-secretary of state and minister for intellectual property, writes in her foreword to the document responding to the consultation held at the end of last year: “we are now proposing changes that include increasing the maximum sentence, but at the same time addressing concerns about the scope of the offence. The revised provisions will help protect rights holders, while making the boundaries of the offence clearer, so that everyone can understand how the rules should be applied.”

        As the UK government’s summary of responses reveals, 1,032 submissions were received, of which 938 came through the Open Rights Group. Concerns raised included the fact that there was no requirement to prove that an infringer had intent to cause harm for them to be considered guilty. That meant the proposed offence had an element of “strict liability,” which would result in somebody being held liable even if they had no intention of causing harm.

      • Kim Dotcom hints at Mega shutdown as he warns punters to pull out

        BERET-WEARING copyright controversy courter Kim Dotcom has told his Twitter users to start backing up any data and documents they might have on storage option Mega, because it looks like it is going from mega to micro following a range of problems.

        Dotcom said that the firm has suffered from the withdrawal of support by PayPal, presumably at the behest of the law or the copyright cartels. This had a significant impact on the business that was showing positive signs of growth in the storage market.

      • Why did Prince change his name to a symbol?

        When Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, it was regarded as both rebellious and foolhardy. Why did he do it?

        For a generation too young to remember his debut in the late 1970s or the impact of Purple Rain in 1984, Prince – who died yesterday – was perhaps best known as the musician who changed his name to a symbol.

        In 1993, Prince announced that he would no longer go by the name Prince, but rather by a “Love Symbol” which was a mash-up of the gender symbols for man and woman.

        “It is an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It’s all about thinking in new ways, tuning in 2 a new free-quency,” he wrote in a statement at the time.

        According to Neal Karlen, a former Rolling Stone writer who was one of the few journalists the late musician gave access to, together they wrote up a full explanation for the name change to bury in a time capsule at Prince’s Paisley Park estate in Minnesota.

        “So he said,” cautions Karlen. “I never went for any ground break.”

        The controversial decision was derided as “crazy” and “ridiculous”. Record sales declined. It presented all kinds of logistical challenges for the media, resulting in the clumsy title, “Artist Formerly Known As Prince”.

        So why did he do it?

        The symbol was a rebellion against Prince’s record label, Warner Bros. He first signed with the company back in 1977 when he was still a teenager, and together they produced some of his most famous titles, including Purple Rain and Sign O the Times.

        But after inking a new deal in the early 1990s, Prince chafed under the company’s rigid production schedule. A prolific songwriter, he wanted to release material as soon as it was ready – he had 500 unreleased songs in his famous studio vault. But Warner Bros refused, believing it would saturate the market and dilute demand for the artist’s music.

        “He felt the contracts at the time were onerous and burdensome,” says John Kellogg, assistant chair of the music business management department at Berklee College of Music. “He rebelled against that.”

        Prince compared his contractual obligations to slavery, and began performing with the word “SLAVE” on his cheek. He saw his own name as a part of his contractual entrapment.

        “Warner Bros took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing took to promote all of the music I wrote,” Prince once said in a press release. “The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros.”


Links 22/4/2016: New Stable Kernels, Nvidia 364.19 Driver

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Cloud Apps: 65 Cloudy Apps

    Open source cloud apps are the wave of the future — and the present. Cloud computing itself is no longer just a buzzword, it’s becoming simply the ways things are done. IDC predicts that public cloud spending will grow from $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 19.4 percent. That is six times faster growth than the firm expects to see for IT spending as a whole.

    The open source community is playing a major role in the growth of the cloud with projects like OpenStack, CloudStack and others providing some of the fundamental building blocks that enable both public and private cloud computing. In addition, many open source project owners make cloud-hosted versions of their software available on a software as a service (SaaS) basis, which gives them a way to monetize their projects and simplifies deployment and support for users.

  • EBSCO Supports New Open Source Project

    Software for academic libraries will be developed collaboratively

  • Putting open source to work

    A few years ago, at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, I talked about the fact that it’s a mistake only to look at companies that have implicitly monetized open source when thinking about the commercial open source ecosystem; there are many others who have built their businesses on open source software, and you wouldn’t know it to look at them. This is even truer today. You’d be hard pressed to find a single business that doesn’t rely on open source for some part of its operations.


    Open source technologies are now an integral part of the enterprise. The people, companies, and technologies have changed. Developers face new challenges, and the stack has grown infinitely more complex.

  • The gift economy at the heart of open source
  • Open Source Kafka Connect Adds More Than a Dozen Connectors

    Confluent, founded by the creators of Apache™ Kafka™, today announced growing support within the Kafka and Confluent Partner ecosystem to build and deploy new, Confluent-certified connectors through Kafka Connect. Since Kafka Connect was released in February, Confluent, Kafka core committers, the open source community and ecosystem partners have developed more than a dozen connectors including HDFS, JDBC, Cassandra and S3, with more in development from leading technology companies. Now, Kafka developers can quickly and easily connect various data sources into their stream data platforms.

  • A Protocol for Dying [Ed: Former FFII President]

    Technically, I have metastasis of bile duct cancer, in both lungs. Since February I’ve had this dry cough, and been increasingly tired and unfocused on work. In March my Father died and we rushed around arranging that. My cough took a back seat. On April 8 I went to my oncologist to say that I was really not well. She organized a rush CAT scan and blood tests.


    My kids are twelve, nine, five. Tragic, etc. etc. Growing up without a father. It is a fact. They will grow up with me in their DNA, on Youtube as endless conference talks, and in writing.

  • Automate your home with openHAB

    OpenHAB is an open source automation platform designed to use a pluggable architecture, which means that new devices and protocols can be added easily. This pluggability extends also to the persistence layer, so your system can maintain its state information on your choice of platform

  • OpenIndiana 2016.04 Released To Let OpenSolaris Live On

    OpenIndiana 2016.04 has been released as the newest version of this operating system based on Illumos and originally derived from OpenSolaris.

    OpenIndiana Hipster 2016.04 is the project’s first OS release in a half-year. Unfortunately, there aren’t many details about the new release. The release announcement simply says, “As always, there were a lot of changes since last snapshot.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack Summit in Austin is almost here!

      OpenStack comes home to Austin on Monday for the OpenStack Summit! I will be there with plenty of other Rackers to learn, collaborate, and share our story.

    • How the science of happiness can improve OpenStack teams

      What does the science of happiness have to do with OpenStack? As it turns out, a lot. An international community of contributors works on OpenStack, so the overall health of the large pool of community members influences the direction of OpenStack projects. In this interview, OpenStack Summit speaker Alexis Monville (Director, Improvement & Dissemination of the Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice) explains how contributors can increase their happiness on individual and team levels, and he offers a few resources for building healthier teams.

    • What’s the total cost of ownership for an OpenStack cloud?

      Technical discussions around OpenStack, its features, and adoption are copious. Customers, specifically their finance managers, have a bigger question: “What will OpenStack really cost me?” OpenStack is open source, but its adoption and deployment incur costs otherwise. So, what is the OpenStack TCO (total cost of ownership)? There has been no systematic answer to this question—until now. Massimo Ferrari and Erich Morisse, strategy directors at Red Hat, embarked on a project to calculate the TCO of OpenStack-based private cloud over the years of its useful life.

    • Yahoo Japan plans to build world’s largest open source private cloud

      Yahoo Japan has partnered with Pivotal to create what it calls the world’s largest private cloud platform built on open source technology. The site will run Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry on OpenStack.

    • TCS launches Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Management framework

      Tata Consultancy Services announced the launch of Mobile Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Management framework for anytime – anywhere monitoring and management for Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

    • Is open source the only road for NFV?

      Every vendor and operator seeking to play in the new world of virtualization and software -defined networking (SDN) must claim to be ‘open’. One of the driving motives for carriers to move towards a software-dominated environment is to escape the old proprietary platforms and lock-ins.

    • From Concept to Cloud: How to Leverage Open Tools

      There are many ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation, such as FLOSS Manuals, and there are good guides to open source tools all around the Internet.

    • On the Artificial Intelligence Front, Open Source Tools are Proliferating

      If you ask many people to name the technology categories that are creating sweeping change right now, cloud computing and Big Data analytics would probably be top of mind for a lot of them. However, there is an absolute renaissance going on right now in the field of artificial intelligence and the closely related field of machine learning.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • JavaZone Sells Open Source in TV Parodies

      When I found out that I was going to have the opportunity to substitute for Phil Shapiro for today’s video column, I jumped at the chance. Why? Because I want to share with you one of the great TV parodies that the JavaZone conference produces each year.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source machine learning tools as good as humans in detecting cancer cases

      Machine learning has come of age in public health reporting according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. They have found that existing algorithms and open source machine learning tools were as good as, or better than, human reviewers in detecting cancer cases using data from free-text pathology reports. The computerized approach was also faster and less resource intensive in comparison to human counterparts.

    • Machine learning can help detect presence of cancer, improve public health reporting

      To support public health reporting, the use of computers and machine learning can better help with access to unstructured clinical data–including in cancer case detection, according to a recent study.

  • Funding


  • Public Services/Government

    • Lower costs nudge Irish police towards open source

      Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána, is tentatively considering using the open source version of SugarCMR for more of its web services. The police force has been using the software for its eVetting project since 2013, after comparing its costs and support options with proprietary alternatives.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • UI faculty move toward open source text

        University of Idaho students may soon find themselves among the 1.2 million of their peers saving big money on required texts, thanks to an organization offering open source alternatives to pricey books.

      • UI celebrates Open Education Week as movement to adopt open resources picks up pace

        With the beginning of every new semester, one thing never seems to change — college textbooks are expensive, heavy, mostly required and often useless.

        At the University of Idaho, many are trying to do their part to ease that burden and Open Education Week is an attempt to demonstrate that.

        ASUI President Max Cowan said signing onto a partnership with OpenStax is one step forward the university has made this semester.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Not just for software: Bringing open-source philosophy to hardware

        Zannos spoke about Google’s announcement and what that foreshadows for OpenPOWER. “Google obviously is talking about Power9 [an IBM processor] and announced some plans that they’ll continue to share over time,” he said, adding that this speaks broadly to the wide adoption of alternative platforms.

  • Programming/Development

    • With the Rise of DevOps, Perl Shows Its Muscle

      Perl is seeing a real revival in interest. Why? Because Perl is a fantastic DevOps tool. With the rise of DevOps, Perl has once again solidified its long held reputation as the duct tape of the Internet.

      Since February 2016 Perl is back in the top 10 of the TIOBE Index and in the most recent monthly year-on-year comparison sees a healthy gain of 1.18%.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Maxwell moves on from GDS to national technology advisor role

      New position will see former government CTO expand government relationships with digital and technology industry to boost UK digital economy

      Government chief technology officer Liam Maxwell is to leave his role to take up a new post as national technology advisor.

      Maxwell’s new role is intended to beef up the government’s relationships with the digital and technical industry to boost the UK’s digital economy and provide better public services for citizens.

    • LocalGovDigital agrees 15 service standards

      Agile methodologies, consistency with other government digital services, open standards and making use of common platforms are among the key features of the final draft of the Digital Service Standard for local government, which was released by the practitioners’ group LocalGovDigital late last week.


  • Microsoft’s quiet attack on Google with Windows 10 appears to be working
  • Science

  • Layoffs

    • Microsoft shares drop as results miss expectations

      Shares in Microsoft dropped more than 5 per cent after the software company reported lower than expected revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter.

    • Intel’s lay-offs and how they may affect start-ups in Silicon Forest

      These announced lay-offs are part of Intel’s plan to move away, belatedly perhaps, from its reliance on the personal computer industry, in favor of such new growing markets as the internet of things, data centers, gaming, and programmable chips. While the jury is still out whether Intel will ultimately succeed in this pivoting of the company in the direction of these new markets, it is presumed that these centers of R&D activity will generate a lot of Intel-originating patent and related work.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Let’s Encrypt Reaches 2,000,000 Certificates

      Earlier today, the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority issued its two millionth certificate, less than two months after the millionth certificate. As we noted when the millionth certificate was issued, each certificate can cover several web sites, so the certificates Let’s Encrypt has issued are already protecting millions and millions of sites.

    • Hackers Make This Search Engine Out Of 70 Million Voters’ Data

      Did you ever imagine an easily-browsable hacked data available to public and that too in the form of a search engine? Well, here is one of those interesting hacking cases where hackers made a search engine out of the hacked data of the 70 million citizens of Philippines and anyone can easily search for everybody else.

    • How Big Is Your Target?

      In his 2014 TED presentation Cory Doctorow compares an open system of development to the scientific method and credits the methods for bringing mankind out of the dark ages. Tim Berners-Lee has a very credible claim to patent the technology that runs the internet, but instead has championed for its open development. This open development has launched us forward into a brave new world. Nearly one third of all internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project. Its place of dominance may be unsure as we approach a world with cybersecurity headlines. Those headlines do much to feed the industry of fear resulting in government efforts to close doors on open source efforts.

      This paper is a qualitative theoretical discussion regarding cyber security and open source solutions written in three parts. Its goal is to demonstrate that the use of open source technologies reduces vulnerability to cyber attacks. The first part of this paper identifies the difficulties in presenting a software consideration model capable of illustrating the full spectrum of expectations for the performance of today’s code. Previous models merely address basic requirements for execution namely security, functionality & usability. While these aspects are important they fail to take into account modern requirements for maintenance, scalability, price, reliability and accessibility of software. This part of the paper modernizes the model developed by Andrew Waite and presents a clear model for software discussion.

    • 5 Features to Look For In A Next-Generation Firewall

      Sure, the term next-generation firewall (NGFW) has been around since 2007 and the vendors have been hyping these products for a close to a decade.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How a Simple Request Got Me Blacklisted by the Pentagon

      The Department of Defense has a lot of problems — a series of wars in Iraq that never seem to fully end, a conflict in Afghanistan that just won’t end, quasi-wars in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia with no end in sight; a proliferation of terror groups around the globe; and its numerous failed, failing, and scuttled training efforts to create local proxy armies.

    • Senator Says Bombing Yemen Is Distracting Saudis From Fighting Terror

      AS PRESIDENT OBAMA meets with Gulf State leaders in Riyadh, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is questioning the Saudi commitment to fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS, warning that the war in Yemen is distracting Saudi Arabia from operations against extremists.

      The White House has defended Saudi Arabia as an “effective national security partner.” Responding to a question about Yemen on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the “United States and Saudi Arabia have worked together to apply pressure to Al Qaeda plotters in Yemen.”

      But at a Brookings Institution discussion about the U.S.-Saudi relationship on Thursday, Murphy questioned the kingdom’s commitment to combating Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, in light of the war in Yemen.

    • Obama Should Go to Hiroshima, But Not Empty Handed

      Clearly, Secretary Kerry was deeply moved, calling it “gut-wrenching” and saying “everyone” including his boss, President Barack Obama, should go there. While Kerry said he would tell the president this when he gets back to Washington, he refrained from publicly advocating the president go to Hiroshima next month when the G-7 economic summit convenes in Japan.

    • Playing Off Europe’s Muslim Fears

      Turkey and the Islamic State are exploiting the Syrian refugee flow into Europe to achieve their own ends, playing off the Continent’s fear of what a Muslim influx will do to political stability, explains Andrés Cala.

    • Obama’s UK visit: The hostile reception for US president over Brexit vote ‘meddling’

      US President Barack Obama arrives in the UK on Thursday to urge the British public to vote to ‘remain’ in the European Union in the June 23 Brexit referendum. Since the presidential visit was announced, however, critics have told him to “butt out.”

      His appearance will be welcomed by the pro-EU campaign and Prime Minister David Cameron.

      Obama is expected to reiterate his view that Britain’s “special relationship” with the US is best served by remaining in the union.

    • Trump’s Putin Fantasy

      More extraordinary still, Trump has indicated, in his selection last month of Carter Page as a foreign policy adviser, that American policy to Europe will be guided by Russian interests. Page, heretofore known as an adviser to Russia’s state gas company, has been among the prominent Americans spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s revolution in 2014 and the Russian invasion that followed. In his writings he has questioned Ukraine’s status as an independent state, which is precisely the line that Moscow took to justify its invasion. He maintains—preposterously—that Ukraine is like Quebec inside a Russia that is like Canada. Quebec is a province and Ukraine is a country. He has referred to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a signal violation of international law, as the “so-called annexation.”

    • The Imbalanced US-Saudi ‘Alliance’

      The Saudi displeasure centers in particular on wanting the United States to take its side in regional rivalries, especially its rivalry with Iran. It is not in the U.S. interest to take either side in such a contest for local influence, any more than it is for the United States to succumb to the zero-summing proclivities of Pakistan and India in their rivalry in South Asia.

    • The Fifth Estate: Foreign Lobbyists

      The American people are waking up to the fact that the 9/11 hijackers – who came to this country with little knowledge of English, and few resources – had some significant assistance from at least one foreign intelligence agency, and the Saudi connection, which is the subject of the redacted 28 pages, is now in the spotlight. In response, the Saudi lobby is manning the barricades, with articles like “Saudi Arabia Is a Great American Ally” in Foreign Policy magazine, which basically argues that we need these head-chopping barbarians because Iran is worse. On the legislative front, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Perpetual War) is blocking a Senate bill that would give the green light to a lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis. Graham and Senator John McCain have long worked hand-in-hand with the Saudis to garner US support for “moderate” Islamist rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. And when the Saudis launched their terror-bombing of Yemen, Graham was right there cheering them on – and lamenting that “they no longer trust us” because they didn’t give us a heads up.

    • Inside the Devastation of America’s Drone Wars

      In our part of the world, it’s not often that potential “collateral damage” speaks, but it happened last week. A Pakistani tribal leader, Malik Jalal, flew to England to plead in a newspaper piece he wrote and in media interviews to be taken off the Obama White House’s “kill list.” (“I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead.”) Jalal, who lives in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, is a local leader and part of a peace committee sanctioned by the Pakistani government that is trying to tamp down the violence in the region. He believes that he’s been targeted for assassination by Washington. (Four drone missiles, he claims, have just missed him or his car.) His family, he says, is traumatized by the drones. “I don’t want to end up a ‘Bugsplat’ – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone,” he writes. “More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized.”

    • Watch: Tribeca Film Festival’s ‘The Bomb’ Puts Viewers at the Center of a Nuclear Explosion

      “The Bomb” is a multimedia lesson in the unsettling reality of nuclear weapons today and premieres this Saturday in the Tribeca Film Festival. The closing night event of the festival, “The Bomb” is as much a movie as it is a white-knuckle experience.

    • Baghdad After the Fall of Saddam Hussein

      There are 55,000 US troops in and around Baghdad but they seem curiously vulnerable. They largely stick to their vehicles; there are very few foot-patrols. They establish checkpoints and search cars, but usually have no interpreters. “Mou mushkila (no problem),” one driver said when asked to open the boot of his car. “Don’t contradict me,” a soldier shouted. Military vehicles are often stuck in horrendous traffic jams (because of the electricity shortage the traffic lights are not working) making them an easy target for grenades. Just before the attack in Haifa Street, I was talking to an American soldier outside the National Museum. The tag on his shoulder read “Old Ironsides”. I asked him what unit this referred to. He replied: “The First Armoured Division, the finest armoured division in the world.” But tanks and heavy armour are not much use in Baghdad. A few hours later, a sniper shot dead another soldier as he sat in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle by the gates of the museum.

    • Canada’s $15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal: What History Tells Us

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is a “matter of principle” that Canada follows through with a $15 billion armaments deal with Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian state which funds international terrorism, stones women to death for the crime of being raped, and that leads the world in public beheadings. This decision has been sharply criticized by journalists, activists, and international organizations. In a public statement Amnesty International said that it has “good reason to fear that light armored vehicles supplied” to Saudi Arabia by Canada “are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights” in both “neighboring countries” and for ‘suppressing demonstrations and unrest within Saudi Arabia” [1]. Montreal students and a former Bloc Quebecois MP and law professor have filed a class action lawsuit to block the deal, citing that by selling weapons to countries with poor human rights records Canada is violating its own laws [2].

    • Wall Street Journal Runs Ad Denying Genocide That Killed Over 650,000 People

      April 24 is the remembrance day of the Armenian genocide, and to mark the date, a group ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, implying that Turks and Armenians lost a similar number of lives in 1915.

      One hundred and one years ago, between 664,000 and 1.2 million Armenians were systematically massacred or died from abuse by Ottoman officials. Survivors who fled have kept the story alive of what many call the 20th century’s first massacre.

    • Meet The ‘Jewish Terrorist Network’ In The West Bank

      Israeli police and security officials have announced the discovery of a right-wing network of “Jewish terrorists” in the occupied West Bank, saying they have arrested several accused of plotting and enacting attacks against Palestinians and their homes.

      On Wednesday, representatives of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet revealed they had apprehended several members of a “Jewish terrorist network” in the Palestinian territories over the past few weeks. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier who reportedly confessed to tossing a tear gas grenade into the home of a Palestinian family and throwing firebombs at another house in Mazraa al-Qabliyah.

    • The EU-Turkey deal: unjust and short-sighted

      I am pretty sure that EU politicians do not watch ISIS videos – at least not the ones in Arabic that do not feature beheadings and blood. Instead, they feature a crowd of second or third generation Europeans speaking Arabic with French, Flemish, German accents: the offspring of our ‘progressive Europe’ hating their own homeland because of a never-forgotten past of violent colonialism and an endless present of exclusion and racism. If our politicians watched these videos they would perhaps not be so confident in their approach to containing extremism and preventing terrorism.

    • The Terribly Annoyed Saudis

      Riyadh lobbied hard for a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic and was keenly disappointed by that landmark accord. President Obama’s visit to Riyadh was designed to alleviate these strains and to reinvigorate the supposed alliance. Apparently, he may follow up with a proposal for some sort of security understanding between NATO and the GCC.

    • What does a left foreign policy look like?

      Sanders’s confusion has often seemed preferable to Hillary Clinton’s murderous certainty: as secretary of state she sank an early peace deal in Syria to deepen the US proxy war, and as a candidate has outdone her hawkish self in calling for a no-fly zone, an insane policy that could lead to war with Russia. But Sanders’s ultimate lack of a policy doesn’t promise an end to the conflict, and it’s not always clear that Sanders is as war-averse as he first appears.

    • Americans Are Killing Themselves at the Highest Rate in 30 Years

      More than 42,000 Americans killed themselves in 2014, and roughly half used a firearm. These and others statistics are likely to fall below the actual rate because many suicides are recorded as accidents.

    • Major Study: Suicide Rates in the U.S. Are Soaring

      In 1999, 10.5 of every 100,000 people committed suicide. In 2014, that number increased to 24 percent, or 13 out of every 100,000 people. In the 80’s, however, the suicide rate had been dropping. The most eye-catching increases were among middle-aged people.

    • Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

      Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground.

    • How Chernobyl Led to Austria’s Nuclear-Free Utopia

      It began with a hefty dose of Mancunian envy. Manchester, it turned out, was and is “The Radical City.” On day one we visited the historic Manchester Town Hall, where presentations were made to some of the 95 city council members, every last one of whom is a member of the Labour party.

      In the entranceway, radical Mancunian women had “yarnbombed” four of the exclusively male statues with crocheted masks representing a quartet of Manchester’s top female boffins. Scenes from the Harry Potter films, we learned, were filmed in the Victorian gothic building.

      The mosaic floors feature images of bees — a nod to the city’s industrious past — and cotton flowers. Cotton milling was the region’s big industry, but when the U.S. Civil War broke out, Manchester chose to boycott imports of cotton from the pro-slavery South, at great sacrifice to jobs and livelihoods at home. A statue of Abraham Lincoln stands in the square outside, a gift of thanks to the city.


      Nuclear power plants are banned in Austria under the country’s constitution after a 1978 referendum. (Yes, Virginia, it is actually illegal to build nuclear power plants there.)

      Nuclear weapons are also banned. So is the storage of nuclear waste.

      Transportation through Austria of civil or military nuclear materials or waste has been outlawed. Any attempt to revive nuclear power in that country cannot happen without a national referendum.

    • China ‘tests terrifyingly powerful Dongfeng-41 nuclear missile’ which could destroy London in HALF AN HOUR

      China has allegedly tested a weapon of mass destruction capable of hitting London and other major European or American cities in just 30 minutes.

      The People’s Republic reportedly fired a nuke called the Dongfeng-41, which has the longest range of any missile in the world.

      It can carry up to 10 warheads over a distance of roughly 7,450 miles in just half an hour before hitting several targets at once.

      This would mean Beijing could destroy the whole of London – which is slightly more than 5,000 miles from the Chinese capital – or wipe out any city in the West.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional

      A federal judge has unsealed her ruling that National Security Letter (NSL) provisions in federal law—as amended by the USA FREEDOM Act—don’t violate the Constitution. The ruling allows the FBI to continue to issue the letters with accompanying gag orders that silence anyone from disclosing they have received an NSL, often for years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents two service providers in challenging the NSL statutes, who will appeal this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    • Trilogues: the system that undermines EU democracy and transparency

      The EU body in charge of fighting against maladministration, the European Ombudsman, decided to open an investigation to assess the need for a trilogues reform. As part of this inquiry, she opened a consultation to ask the public about its opinion and experience regarding the transparency of trilogues. On 31 March, EDRi submitted its response, where we ask for an urgent reform of trilogues, echoing the concerns voiced by an open joint civil society letter sent to the three institutions.

    • Reporter Makes FOIA Request For Obama’s Game Of Thrones Screeners

      Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are a popular topic here on Techdirt. We’ve discussed how important FOIA rules are… and how the government seems to go out of its way to try to ignore both the letter and spirit of the law. Because that’s just how secretive governments act. However, it’s certainly true that some FOIA requests are a little more ridiculous than others. Take, for example, Refinery29 reporter Vanessa Golembewski’s amusing decision to file a FOIA request for Game of Thrones Screeners after finding out that the producers have been sending advance screeners to President Obama.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US-Canada pact eases Arctic fears

      A joint pledge by the US and Canada to reduce methane emissions for oil and gas activities in the Arctic and limit fossil fuel extraction is putting pressure on Russia to follow suit.

      The pledge was in response to increasing concern across the world at the intention of the eight nations with territorial claims in the Arctic to exploit its resources, even though this risks making climate change far worse.

    • Did The Paris Climate Accord Start A Low-Carbon Landslide?

      Many years from now, the historic international Paris climate agreement could easily be seen as the moment the conversation changed.

      “One of the cool things coming out of Paris was the idea of moving from a ‘woe-is-me’ narrative to talking about the possibilities,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network. “This change of attitudes is where I think the momentum is. We are in motion.’’

      The Paris accord seems to have turned climate change “from an insurmountable problem to an opportunity,” agreed Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose administration has been at the forefront of climate change mitigation. “People in Paris witnessed a hinge of history taking place. There is a broad range of actors committed to change, and we can see the ways in which change can be made.”

    • This Earth Day, Listen Up: Mother Earth Is Calling Us Back

      Those of us who succumbed to the false promises of Western consumerism at great cost to the planet and to ourselves are Earth’s prodigal children now returning home.

    • Paris Climate Pact Signed on Earth Day: How the 2016 Election Is Critical to Its Success

      If a Republican administration is elected in November, the Paris agreement would be severely undermined.

    • Scientists Who Are Questioning Fracking’s Impact Have Oil Industry Ties, Groups Say

      As the SAB’s final peer review nears, a draft dissent from at least four board members with ties to the oil and gas industry is being challenged by the Americans Against Fracking Coalition. In a letter sent Wednesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the advocacy group, which includes Food and Water Watch along with hundreds of other organizations, said dissenting members’ connections with the fracking industry mean they “have clear conflicts of interest.” While urging the EPA to reject the dissent, the coalition claimed members “do not have any scientific basis for their dissent.”

      “The [EPA’s statement] itself is a political line without scientific basis, and so as a result, it becomes a political statement,” Hugh MacMillan, senior researcher at Food and Water Watch, told ThinkProgress.


      The letter is the latest attempt by organizations to sway the EPA against hydraulic fracturing. It comes as the industry has been on the offensive since an assistant professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati said she couldn’t detect one instance of contamination after a three-year study in Ohio. Elsewhere, however, multiple states and counties are growing wary about the consequences of unearthing oil and gas from rock by injecting water and chemicals into wells. Water contamination has been linked to oil and gas operations in Texas, Ohio, California, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, a major fracking location, two families who had been fighting to prove their water well won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit last March.

  • Finance

    • As Support Plummets, Is EU Moving Closer to Becoming ‘TTIP Free Zone’?

      Intercontinental opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) continues to grow, with a new poll out Thursday showing that support for the controversial deal has “plummeted” in Germany and the U.S. over the last two years.

      The survey (pdf), conducted by YouGov for Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation, showed that only 17 percent of Germans believe the corporate-friendly trade agreement is a good thing, down from 55 percent in 2014. Likewise, in the United States, only 18 percent support the deal, compared to 53 percent two years ago—though nearly half of U.S. respondents said they did not know enough about the agreement to voice an opinion.

    • Massive shift to freelancers from full-time employment in U.S. market

      Fifty percent (50%) of the workforce in the United States is expected to be freelancers by 2020, according to a new research report that reveals that long-term, full-time employment in the US is no longer the norm, and organisations need to make “crucial adjustments” to cope with the changing work environment.

    • ‘A Global Industry Is Raiding Treasuries All Over the Planet’

      Janine Jackson: The worry about media reaction to the Panama Papers was that the press would treat revelations of the rich and powerful’s ability to hide their wealth as somehow new or exotic. But we’re moving beyond that now with acknowledgement of, for instance, the US role as a tax haven. A few have pointed to a Reuters piece from 2011 that dubbed Cheyenne, Wyoming, “a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains.” And a piece in the Las Vegas Review Journal noted that as money launderers, Nevada’s shell companies leave its casinos in the dust.

    • Don’t Know Much About Economy–but WaPo Likes Kasich Anyway

      People who follow politics and economics would have little difficulty answering that question. For example, Mr. Kasich signed a bill prohibiting the state of Ohio from contracting for health services with Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs abortions.

      Kasich also has bizarre views on economic policy. In addition to supporting tax cuts for the rich, which the Post criticized because of the impact on the deficit, Kasich also criticized the Fed for its quantitative easing policy. According to Kasich, this only led to companies “buying up more of their stock and making the rich richer.” It is difficult to envision how Kasich thinks this process works.

      Most immediately, quantitative easing leads to lower interest rates. For believers in economics, this lead to more borrowing for things like buying homes, and both public and private investment. It also frees up money for homeowners who refinance their mortgages. This allows them to spend money on other things. Lower interest rates also mean a lower-valued dollar, other things equal. This makes our goods and services more competitive internationally, reducing our trade deficit.

    • Uber Agrees to Pay $100 Million to Drivers in Historic Class Action Settlement

      Ride-sharing giant Uber announced that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle two class action lawsuits, in which thousands of drivers alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors instead of employees.

      The California and Massachusetts lawsuits were set to go to trial in June.

      As part of the agreement, which was announced Thursday evening, drivers will keep the contractor classification, but Uber will pay out $84 million to the drivers, and an additional $16 million if the company goes public and the Uber’s valuation hits certain growth levels.

    • Harriet Tubman and the Currency of Resistance

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday that the revised $20 bill will feature the portrait of the legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born a slave, escaped to freedom and became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, as well as a campaigner for women’s right to vote. She will be replacing President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. He was a contemporary of hers, who owned slaves (one of 18 presidents who did so) and became wealthy from their forced labor. The decision was influenced by grass-roots action, Lew said, as hundreds of thousands weighed in with their suggestions for which women to honor. It also was not without controversy.

    • Why Is the Progressive Left Helping the Elite Elect Hillary?

      This is astounding. Here we are faced with the corrupt media and the corrupt party establishments determined to put in the Oval Office a tried and proven agent of the One Percent, and the progressive left is beating up on the only two alternatives!

    • New Zealand Government Trying To Streamroller TPP Through Ratification Without Proper Scrutiny Or Public Input

      Back in February, we noted that the TPP has been officially signed, and that the focus now moves on to ratification by each of the 12 participating countries. On this score, there’s been plenty of sound and fury in the US, including bizarre demands to re-negotiate TPP, but less coverage of what is happening elsewhere. As we noted, Canada’s ratification has ground to a halt as the new government there launches “widespread consultations.”

    • Blockchain Technology Could Help Solve $75 Billion Counterfeit Drug Problem

      Counterfeit drugs are a growing problem, but one company wants to use blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin, to help eradicate it by creating an open and trusted record of where drugs have come from.

      According to CoinDesk, management consulting services company Accenture proposed the initiative at a meeting of the HyperLedger Project, which is run by the Linux Foundation and seeks to build an open-source repository of blockchain code that will address current gaps in the technology.

    • The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping

      Very few of America’s 11 million restaurant workers share my story. The federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour, but in 18 states servers, bussers, and hosts are paid just $2.13—less than the price of a Big Mac. This is known as the federal “tipped minimum wage” because, in theory, these food workers will make up the difference in tips. Twenty-five states and DC have their own slightly higher tipped minimums. The remaining seven, including California, guarantee the full state minimum wage to all workers.

    • To See the Real Story in Brazil, Look at Who Is Being Installed as President — and Finance Chiefs

      But there’s one more vital motive driving all of this. Look at who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified. Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme. Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” — and a long-time IMF official — “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he would embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population: He “intends to downsize the government” and “slash spending.”

    • The Real Reason Dilma Rousseff’s Enemies Want Her Impeached

      Corruption is just the pretext for a wealthy elite who failed to defeat Brazil’s president at the ballot box

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • It’s Time to Acknowledge the Immense Power Twitter and Facebook Now Have in U.S. Elections

      A new survey from the Media Insight Project, for example, shows that just 6 percent of Americans “say they have great confidence in the press.”

    • This Poll Of Latino Voters Should Terrify The Republican Party

      The Republican presidential nominee will need as many as 40 percent of Latino voters in some states to clinch a win in November. But ever since Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump built his campaign on promises to deport the country’s 11.3 million undocumented population and claims of Mexican immigrant rapists and drug dealers, his unpopularity has soared among Latinos.

    • Watch: Trump Supporters Threaten Potential Armed Insurrection at Contested GOP Convention

      Trump says there will be riots if he is denied the nomination, a warning his supporters echo in this video.

    • New York Primary: Why is Exit Poll Data Adjusted to Match Final Voting Results?

      Tuesday night CNN projected a 52-48 Clinton win based on exit polling data at 9pm when polls closed in New York. Very similar numbers from ABC at the same time said voters by a 52-47 margin thought Clinton was more inspiring, a number you’d think would closely reflect how people voted. Clinton won the final reported tally by 16%, and by late night and early this morning, exit polling data available at CNN and elsewhere much more closely matched a mid-double digit margin for Clinton. Some of the turn arounds in terms of specific demographics were rather remarkable, especially since just 24 respondents were added to the relevant sample size.

      Earlier, Clinton lead Sanders by 14% (57-43%) with Latina and Latino voters as I reported in my exit poll live blog. This was consistent with my 56-44% projection based primarily on the average of a half a dozen polls from the week and a half before New York voted. The final exit poll, however, shows Clinton doubling her lead to a 28% win with hispanic voters. Early reports suggested Sanders was winning 69-31% with voters under 45. Final exit polling shows him winning by just 10%, 55-45%, and included him losing the 30-39 year old demographic by 4%. Sanders has not lost 30-39-year-olds anywhere outside the South, including Ohio where he won with them by 18% but lost the overall vote by 14%.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Might Win in New York After All

      The first real sign of what awaited Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential race came two years ago, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found himself in an unexpectedly heated primary fight with a liberal gadfly from Vermont. Cuomo’s opponent, Zephyr Teachout, was a Fordham law professor who volunteered at Occupy Wall Street and wrote a book about political corruption. Teachout considered the governor too corporate and too conservative. Cuomo paid her so little attention that on election night, she struggled to find a phone number to call the governor to concede.

      But Cuomo couldn’t ignore the results. Despite losing by nearly 30 points, Teachout exposed a deep fissure within the state Democratic Party. She won 32 of 62 counties, carrying some upstate areas by more than 50 points. Her running mate, Columbia law professor Tim Wu, called the primary “the first of what will be a long-running series of contests within the Democratic Party which really divide on the issue of inequality and private power.”

    • How CBS News Aided the JFK Cover-up

      With the Warren Report on JFK’s assassination under attack in the mid-1960s, there was a chance to correct the errors and reassess the findings, but CBS News intervened to silence the critics, reports James DiEugenio.

    • The Story of the Great Brooklyn Voter Purge Keeps Getting Weirder

      The first head has rolled after more than 100,000 voters were mistakenly purged from the Brooklyn voter rolls ahead of this week’s New York primary, which handed Hillary Clinton a much-needed win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk of the New York Board of Elections, was suspended “without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investigation into the administration of the voter rolls in the Borough of Brooklyn,” the agency said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.

      Anonymous city elections officials said that Haslett-Rudiano, who was in charge of the city’s Republican voter rolls, had been “scapegoated,” according to the New York Post. “It sounds like they cut a deal to make the Republican the scapegoat and protect Betty Ann,” an anonymous Democratic elected official from Brooklyn told the Post, referring to Betty Ann Canizio, who was in charge of the Democratic voter rolls.

    • New Strategy For Pro-Clinton SuperPAC: Argue With Everyone On Social Media

      We’ve seen a lot of silliness this political season, most of which I happily lay the blame for at the feet of what has to be the lamest group of candidates for President this esteemed country has ever seen. What these good-for-nothings have bred is a deeper level of hateful rhetoric and toxic partisanship than what was present already, which I didn’t even think was possible. Yet they achieved it anyway, meaning that my social media feeds are overflowing with the kind of know-nothing memes and claims about all of the candidates that have me thinking about downing a bottle of rat poison just to make my brain stop hurting. Add to all of it the involvement of SuperPACs for all of these candidates, with their un-subtle messages and self-serving advertising, and it’s enough to wonder if we should scrap this whole America thing and try to start something new from scratch.


      So, yeah, this Hillary PAC is spending a million dollars to apparently argue with people on social media, which is the kind of thing some of us do for free every day, because we’re obsessive jack-wagons unable to let anyone anywhere say something stupid and think they got away with it. But I know that I’m almost certainly wasting my time, whereas this superPAC is boasting about all of this.

    • Clinton’s Digital Task Force Breaks Barriers To Defend Her Donors

      A super political action committee, Correct The Record, which has direct ties with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, launched a “digital task force” to push out “positive content” and respond to “negative attacks” and “false narratives” spread within “online progressive communities.” The super PAC also plans to use the “task force” to “thank” and show support for superdelegates, who the campaign contends are under attack by supporters of her opponent, Bernie Sanders.

      The announcement comes as the Clinton campaign has taken on a much more strident tone. Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the Clinton campaign, contended Sanders “has been destructive and is not productive to Democrats.” After Clinton won the New York primary, a senior Clinton aide told POLITICO reporter Glenn Thrush, “We kicked his ass tonight,” and, “I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, fuck him.”

    • Bernie Sanders: the Candidate Who Came in From the Cold

      Bernie Sanders lost the moment he became entranced by the prospect that he might win.

    • Fair Game: Why Bernie Should Keep Going

      Predictably, after New York, the establishment is demanding that Bernie bow out.

    • Lying Is the Business of Right-Wing Propagandists

      Author Ari Rabin-Havt explains how modern conservatism is built on an entire industry built to lie.

    • Why Candidates Need the CIA, NSA and Their Mother to Vet Their Veep [Ed: Establishment only?]
    • How to Pick a Veep Candidate, in 5 Steps
    • ‘Historic Day for Democracy’: Voting Rights Restored for over 200,000 Virginians

      Civil rights organizations are applauding Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order on Friday restoring voting rights to roughly 200,000 Virginians by eliminating what they call a “vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past.”

      Using his authority allowed by the state’s constitution, the governor’s Restoration of Rights order allows convicted felons who’ve served their time and finished any required supervised release, parole or probation, to be able to vote, as well as be able to run for office, serve on a jury, or be a notary public.

    • In Trumpland, Who’s Conning Whom?
    • Concentrated Media Power is Real Power: We’ve Let Markets Rule the Public’s Airwaves
    • Bernie’s Sleepy Giant
    • After Sanders — a Path to Electoral Revolution
    • Sanders Campaign’s Commitment To Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Racially Charged Testimony Helped Put Duane Buck on Death Row. Will the Supreme Court Step In?

      THERE IS NO QUESTION that Duane Buck is responsible for the double murder of his ex-girlfriend and her friend in Houston, Texas, on July 30, 1995.

      That morning, Debra Gardner was at home with her two kids and three friends, including Buck’s stepsister, when Buck stormed into the home armed with a shotgun and a rifle. He began shooting: He fired at one of the friends and missed; he shot his stepsister point blank in the chest (she survived); and he fatally wounded another of Gardner’s friends, Kenneth Butler. Gardner fled from the house and Buck followed, killing her in the street as her two children looked on. Buck was arrested at the scene and laughed as he was taken away, according to one law enforcement officer. “The bitch deserved what she got,” Buck allegedly said. In 1997, Buck was tried and convicted of capital murder. He was sentenced to die.

    • What Happened When I Pushed Myself to Interview More Women

      I’m pissed at myself right now.

      I’m a science writer, and I just turned in one of my biggest articles to date. Over the course of several months I interviewed nearly a dozen researchers and scientists around the globe to get the scoop on the pretty cool uses of a new technology.

      But as my editor and I made the finishing touches on the piece, I realized something very important was off about the article.

      I didn’t interview a single woman.

      Therein we find one of journalism’s roles in the silicon divide: journalists simply don’t interview enough female sources. I’ve never found a real study of male versus female sources in science reporting, but in other topics—such as presidential politics—the number of female sources is sometimes as low as 20 percent.

    • Confirmation: the Not-So Independent Women’s Forum Was Born in Defense of Clarence Thomas and the Far Right

      HBO’s new film on demand, “Confirmation,” revisits the painful battle over the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court in spite of the testimony of Anita Hill that he sexually harassed her.

      Some pundits have attempted to disparage the film, even though it has several scenes that portray Thomas and his wife Ginny as quiet, sympathetic figures and not as the outspoken right-wing political activists that they were and are.

    • The Government Breaks Its Streak of Cutting Off CIA Torture Lawsuits

      While President Obama acted quickly to dismantle the CIA’s torture program when he took office, his administration has consistently shut the courthouse doors to the victims. But a recent government filing in a lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed the torture program — and profited enormously from it — suggests that this policy may finally be changing. For the first time, the government will not try preemptively to shut down accountability for those legally responsible for torture. As a result, in another first, on Friday those responsible for devising the CIA’s torture program will have to answer for their actions in a federal courtroom.

    • The World’s Indigenous Suicide Crises, By The Numbers

      A state of emergency was declared after 11 members of a single, remote community of Aboriginal Canadians tried to take their lives earlier this month. But as many indigenous and political leaders noted, the issue isn’t isolated to Attawapiskat Canada — it isn’t even limited to Canada.

    • Secret Court Takes Another Bite Out of the Fourth Amendment

      Defenders of the NSA’s mass spying have lost an important talking point: that the erosion of our privacy and associational rights is justified given the focus of surveillance efforts on combating terrorism and protecting the national security. That argument has always been dubious for a number of reasons. But after a November 2015 ruling [.pdf] by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was unsealed this week, it’s lost another chunk of its credibility. The ruling confirms that NSA’s warrantless spying has been formally approved for use in general criminal investigations. The national security justification has been entirely blown.

    • Once-Undocumented Wall Street Executive Now Is Helping Others Live the American Dream

      The American dream has become a harder sell in America. But Julissa Arce still believes that everyone in the United States should have the right to work hard and prosper.

    • Judge Grants Torture Victims Their First Chance to Pursue Justice

      A CIVIL SUIT against the architects of the CIA’s torture program, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge in Spokane decided on Friday.

      District Judge Justin Quackenbush denied the pair’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit launched against them on behalf of three victims, one dead, of the brutal tactics they designed.

      “This is amazing, this is unprecedented,” Steven Watt, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing the plaintiffs told The Intercept after the hearing. “This is the first step towards accountability.”

      What’s so unprecedented is that this is the first time opponents of the program will have the chance to seek discovery evidence in the case unimpeded by the government. In every other past torture accountability lawsuit, the government has invoked its special state-secrets privileges to purportedly protect national security.

    • Court Rules ACLU Lawsuit Against CIA Torture Psychologists Can Proceed
    • CIA ​torture program: victims’ lawsuit can move forward, judge says
    • Journalist Matthew Keys Faces Prison Time Over a Law You’ve Probably Broken

      Matthew Keys, a 29-year-old California-based journalist, tells Reason that he believes he was aggressively prosecuted over a rather innocuous case of internet vandalism because a federal prosecutor needed to justify the continued existence of his own job, and thus used a broad and literal interpretation of a “antiquated and draconian law” to throw the book at Keys.

      Keys, who was sentenced to two years in prison last week, was indicted in 2013 under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for the alleged crime of sharing a password with hackers affiliated with Anonymous — the decentralized network of activist techo-criminals known for creating digital mischief at the expense of governments, corporations and other poweful institutions — who briefly defaced a single page on the Los Angeles Times’ website in 2010.

      Considering Keys faced a maximum of 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines for his three felony convictions of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer, one could argue his sentence was light. But when you examine the minimal damage done by his alleged crime, any hard time at all seems excessive.

    • Why Internet voting is a terrible idea, explained in small words anyone can understand

      In this 20 minute video, Princeton computer science prof Andrew Appel lays out the problems with Internet-based voting in crisp, nontechnical language that anyone can understand.

    • Court Says Government Needs More Than The Permission Of A Couple Of Underperforming Drug Dogs To Justify Seizure Of $276,000

      The Seventh Circuit Appeals Court has done something few courts do: told law enforcement it can’t have that sweet, sweet “drug” money it lifted from two brothers for no other reason than that it felt there was something shady about its very existence.

      Police responded to a call about a home invasion at the residence of Pedro and Abraham Cruz-Hernandez. While inside the house, officers came across a handgun, a small amount of marijuana and a scale. This apparently prompted the arrival of two drug dogs, considering they’re not usually standard equipment for home invasion investigations.

      When searching the brothers’ van, police found $276,080. So, they took it. Why? Because their dogs said they could.

    • US-Funded Conservation in African Rainforests is Resounding Failure: Report

      Meanwhile, there is consistent neglect or violation of mechanisms in place to safeguard the surrounding communities’ rights to “lands, livelihoods, participation, and consultation as well as fundamental rights and freedoms, including in the context of conservation,” the group found. Communities in several protected areas reported abuse and other human rights violations, particularly by park rangers.

    • FBI warned agents not to share tech secrets with prosecutors

      The FBI guards its high-tech secrets so carefully that officials once warned agents not to share details even with federal prosecutors for fear they might eventually go on to work as defense attorneys, newly disclosed records show.

      A supervisor also cautioned the bureau’s “technically trained agents” in a 2003 memo not to reveal techniques for secretly entering and bugging a suspect’s home to other agents who might be forced to reveal them in court. “We need to protect how our equipment is concealed,” the unnamed supervisor wrote.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • At WIPO: All-Women Panel Of Broadcast Journalists Discuss Revolution In Industry

      An international panel of women at the front edge of broadcast journalism discussed the rapid changes in the broadcasting industry and the balance between quality content and the digital “snacking” that drives so much traffic. And Facebook came in for some criticism.

    • Trademarks

      • Ex-Game Maker Atari To Argue To The US PTO That Only It Can Make ‘Haunted House’ Games

        And that fall will now include going in front of the PTO’s Appeal Board to explain why Atari and Atari alone should be allowed to title a game using the phrase “Haunted House.”

      • Cadbury suffers another blow in the battle to protect purple trade marks

        Cadbury is on a seemingly perennial mission both to secure new as well as to protect existing trade mark rights in their signature purple colour for use on their chocolate products, most famously, their Dairy Milk bars. Following an opposition filed by Nestlé to the registration of one of Cadbury’s purple marks in Société Des Produits Nestlé S.A v Cadbury UK Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1174, Cadbury adopted a proactive defensive strategy with the aim of preventing revocation of another existing registration for the same purple mark.

    • Copyrights

      • CJEU says that failure to pay fair compensation for private copying is a tort

        Where can one (read: a collective management organisation) sue to obtain missing payments of the fair remuneration due for private copying?

      • UK Govt Pushes 10 Years Jail For Online Pirates

        The UK government has published its conclusions following a consultation into punishments for online copyright infringement offenses. At the earliest opportunity Parliament will be asked to increase custodial sentences up to a maximum of 10 years while ensuring that unwitting pirates are protected.

      • Kim Dotcom Warns Mega Users to Backup Their Files

        Kim Dotcom is warning users of Mega, the cloud storage company he founded in 2013, to back up their files. According to the entrepreneur, Mega is now under the control of Bill Liu, a New Zealand-based Chinese national that is currently fifth on China’s most-wanted criminal list.


Links 21/4/2016: Yvelines School on FOSS, Android N Developer Preview on Phones

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • This open source tool from MIT Data Lab will change how you see big data

    In the early days of big data, “everyone scrambled to collect and store as much data as they could,” said Datawheel co-founder Dave Landry. “In most cases, they didn’t develop the tools needed to better understand that data. That’s the challenge we are trying to tackle.”

    The rise of the mobile web, IoT, and APIs and modern databases paved the way for big data innovations. Everything in the world can be quantified, and those who scraped and logged early often benefitted from first-mover advantage. By making information easier to access and visualize, Landry said, big data can help businesses make faster and more intelligent decisions.

  • Allura Joins Numerous Projects Advancing at Apache

    The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. The organization has recently elevated a number of incubated projects o Top-Level Status, which helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

  • DHS Claims Open Source Software Is Like Giving The Mafia A Copy Of FBI Code; Hastily Walks Back Statement

    Late last week, the DHS’s Chief Information Officer Luke McCormack (or someone from his office) posted comments to GitHub arguing against the proposed policy of making 20% of its code (whatever that means) open source in the interest of better sharing between agencies. The rationale is that shared code could save tax dollars by preventing paying developers to perform redundant work. The DHS felt strongly about this and said as much using an Excel-based parade of horrors.

  • Pieter Hintjens: A Living Obituary

    I first came across Pieter Hintjens 20 years ago, in 1996. He posted to a UseNet group I followed (comp.lang.perl.announce; later announcement), about a tool he had created — Libero — which could translate state machine descriptions into runnable code, in multiple languages.

    Libero caught my attention because I was in the middle of finishing a Computer Science degree with a focus on computational theory. So I built it for OS/2, which I was using at the time, and sent Pieter email. He responded by asking if I would be interested in porting SFL, the iMatix Standard Function Library, to OS/2. By the end of 1996 and the turn of 1997 we were exchanging emails about porting SFL to OS/2.

  • Forking impressive, devs go nuts for Hazelcast

    Operational in-memory computing company Hazelcast — known for its open source In-Memory Data Grid (IMDG) — has shared its community growth numbers from the Github repository.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium Bug Tracker Now Open Source

        Chromium is Google’s open source browser, which shares much of its core browser code with Chrome, Google’s proprietary product. Now Monorail, the Chromium bug tracker, has been made open source.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How to become an advanced contributor to OpenStack

      At the OpenStack Summit taking place this month in Austin, Texas, Ildikó aims to do just that. In her talk, How to Become an Advanced Contributor, she will guide attendees through the steps of navigating the community, including some of the principles, best practices and unwritten rules of contributing to OpenStack.

      We caught up with Ildikó before her talk to learn a little bit more about some of the barriers to becoming an effective contributor and how to overcome them.

  • Databases

  • Education

    • Yvelines school completes switch to free software

      The primary school in Saint Léger en Yvelines (France) has nearly completely switched to using free software, reports the village’s deputy mayor Olivier Guillard. “Do not underestimate the task”, he advises others on the forum of Etalab, France’s open government portal, “and most of all, persist.”

    • Free The Schools!

      They still keep a few machines with TOOS for compatibility and whiteboards. My advice? Stick with projectors and Gromit and the latest version of LibreOffice. I would use Debian rather than Mint. Further, to reduce the capital costs and maintenance, use ARMed thin clients and a GNU/Linux terminal server.

  • Healthcare

    • Flexibase, the platform behind Code4Health, goes open source

      Flexibase, the building blocks behind NHS’s Code4Health programme, is now publicly available under the Open Source license, it was announced on Thursday morning.

      It can be downloaded via Github, the public code repository, and will also soon be available on Docker hub.

  • Funding

    • Sysdig raises $15M for its open-source Docker monitoring tool

      Since Docker is still relatively new to the enterprise, adopters have fewer monitoring tools to choose from than an organization using traditional virtualization software. But the gap is closing rapidly thanks to providers like Sysdig Inc., which today announced the completion of a $15 million funding round led by Accel Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.

  • BSD

    • BSD at LinuxFest Northwest

      This weekend, the Grand Old Man (or Woman — take your pick) of Linux expos in North America takes place in the upper left corner of the United States.

      For over a decade and a half, LinuxFest Northwest has flown the flag literally in Microsoft’s backyard, an annual open source event held the last weekend in April in Bellingham, Wash. LFNW features presentations and exhibits on various free and open source topics, as well as Linux distributions and applications. It usually has something for everyone from the novice to the professional.

      It has a special place in my heart as well. While I think that SCALE is the best show on the continent for obvious reasons (the SCALE Publicity Team is solely responsible, he says in jest), LFNW is my favorite show to attend, not only because of the history but because of the community vibe the show gives off at an expo that has refused to give in to the creeping corporatism to which other shows have succumbed.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The US Government and Open-Source Software

      As part of the “Second Open Government National Action Plan”, the federal government is planning to share the source code behind many of its software projects.

      To begin with, the plans call for federal agencies to share code with each other. This will help reduce development costs when government departments each work on the same functionality independently. Solving the same problem twice (or more often) is expensive and a waste of taxpayer’s money.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ‘Follow My Vote’ Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Revolutionizing Open-source Blockchain Voting Software
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Acer Joins Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) Platform

        Back in January, gaming peripheral and PC company Razer made a splash by announcing the birth of the Open Source Virtual Reality initiative, OSVR for short, at CES. The initiative, set to include a virtual reality peripheral as the hardware development kit, will boast compatibility with most existing computer systems rather than making users meet the beefy requirements of the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. The framework is, of course, open-source and can be used by any developer. Partners that sign on early, however, will play a key part in shaping the platform and helping it find its place in the mainstream VR space in the near future. According to a press release from Razer regarding OSVR, the system currently has over 350 partners, of whom the newest is computer and smartphone manufacturer Acer.

      • Acer puts its bets on open-source VR, touts support for Razer’s OSVR in latest gaming PCs

        On Thursday morning, Acer held its 2016 Global Press Conference in New York City, revealing a number of new products that should get your mouth watering. One of the announcements made during the event is that Acer plans to use technology in devices and computers that support the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) platform. The latter solutions will actually be packed with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 and Titan graphics processors, making them compatible with today’s VR products on the market.

  • Programming/Development


  • A civil military: the global future

    A new class of naval vessels customised for emergency aid could hold vital lessons for the world, starting with Britain.

  • Science

    • Almost Nothing About the ‘Apple Harvests Gold From iPhones’ Story Is True

      You may have seen a viral headline floating around over the last few days: Apple recycled $40 million worth of gold last year, which was extracted from iPhones. Almost none of what was reported is true.

      The story was everywhere, from major mainstream outlets like CNN, Fox News, and Huffington Post to tech-focused and normally very good sites such as MacRumors, Gizmodo, Quartz, and The Verge. I’ve never come across a story that has been so uniformly misreported—hundreds of outlets covered Apple’s “Environmental Responsibility Report,” and not one article I read came remotely close to getting the story right.

    • The Dark Ages Were Caused By Two Enormous Volcanic Eruptions

      In 536 CE, the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote of a thick fog that suffocated the sun and plunged all of the Mediterranean into a year of cold and darkness. The phenomenon would signal the start of one of the greatest disease pandemics in history: the Plague of Justinian. In a single year, the outbreak killed an estimated 25 million citizens of the empire. It would be another two centuries until the plague finally succumbed, but by then, 50 million people had died in its wake.

      “And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed,” wrote Procopius. “And from the time when this thing happened men were free neither from war nor pestilence nor any other thing leading to death. And it was the time when Justinian was in the tenth year of his reign.”

    • A tool to help you find your next STEM role model

      STEMM Role Models is a website that helps connect event organizers with presenters from underrepresented groups. Diversity is important to me, so the project caught my eye.

      I reached out to project lead Kirstie Whitaker, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Cambridge, to learn more. She graciously agreed to an interview, and what follows is a fascinating look at the STEMM Role Models project and its implications for open science, open source, and the future of humanity.

    • Trampling Science to Boost Nuclear Power

      When the Washington Post and New York Times are making the same corporate-friendly point, it’s safe to assume that some PR agency somewhere is earning its substantial fees.

      In this case, the subject is the need for nuclear power—and, for the Post editorial board (4/18/16), for fracking as well. Standing in the way of this in the Post’s version is favorite target Bernie Sanders, while the Times business columnist Eduardo Porter (4/19/16) blames the “scientific phobias and taboos” of “progressive environmentalists.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Thousands of Americans Are Hungry Because of Post-Prison Release Laws

      Food stamps are for hungry people, which we should not have in America. There are of course cheaters, just like there are wealthy people who cheat on their taxes. The tax cheats won’t starve to death, or see their children go hungry, but released drug felons in many states will.

      It used to be that when you served your time for a crime, your “debt to society” was considered paid, and you were ready to re-enter society. But for many released drug felons, the punishment continues long after they leave jail.

    • The Death Gap

      But here’s what we haven’t known: The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • libressl – more vague promises

      There hasn’t been a lot of noise coming out of the LibreSSL camp recently. Mostly there’s not much to report, so any talks or presentations will recover a lot of the same material. But it’s an election year, and in that spirit, we can look back at some promises previously made and hopefully make a few new ones.

    • My OpenWrt Tor configuration

      In my previous article I shared my thoughts on running Tor on the router. I described an ideal Tor router configuration and argued that having Tor on the router benefits both security and usability.

      This article is about that ideal Tor router configuration. How did I configure my router, and why did I choose the configuration? The interesting part is that it really is “just configuration”. No programming involved. Even more interesting, it’s easy too!

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK Killing Civilians for Oil Again in the King Salman Canal Project

      The UK government insists on continuing the massive supply – £2.8 billion since the start of the attack – of high tech weapons for Saudi Arabia to use against civilians in Yemen, despite opposition from the EU Parliament and every major human rights group. Furthermore UK special forces are operating inside Yemen in support of the onslaught. Thousands of civilians have died as a result, including many children.

      Given this is not exactly popular in the UK, and that after the law takes its tortuous course there will very probably be embarrassment for the government down the line, the prize which Cameron perceives must be great. Of course, western elite support for the appalling Saudi regime is a given, because Saudi cash pumps primarily into banking, armaments and high end property, the three areas most dear to the interests of the 1%.

    • Italian student’s killing pulls Egyptian family into web of deaths, dead ends

      It was still dark when Rasha Tarek saw her husband Salah for the last time.
      Salah woke up at dawn on March 24 to go to an affluent neighborhood of the Egyptian capital for a painting job, his wife told CNN.
      He was due to travel to Upper Egypt after that.
      But Tarek suspected that her husband was being unfaithful to her, so she sent her brother, father and a family friend to tag along.
      She spoke with her husband while he and the others were en route to their destination. But by 8 a.m. he stopped answering her calls. She tried the others but was unsuccessful in reaching them.

      It took almost an hour before someone answered her husband’s phone.

    • A New Anti-Assad Propaganda Offensive

      Now that Syria’s “cessation of hostilities” appears to be crumbling and rebel forces are gearing up for a fresh offensive, the mighty U.S. propaganda machine is once again up and running.

      A case in point is “The Assad Files,” an 11,000-word article in last week’s New Yorker that is as willfully misrepresentative as anything published about Syria in the last five years or so, which is saying a great deal.

    • Hillary Clinton Really Loves Military Intervention

      If anything worries me about Hillary Clinton, this is it. It’s not so much that she’s more hawkish than me, it’s the fact that events of the past 15 years don’t seem to have affected her views at all. How is that possible? And yet, our failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere apparently haven’t given her the slightest pause about the effectiveness of military force in the Middle East. Quite the opposite: the sense I get from Landler’s piece is that she continues to think all of these engagements would have turned out better if only we’d used more military power. I find it hard to understand how an intelligent, well-briefed person could continue to believe this, and that in turn makes me wonder just exactly what motivates Hillary’s worldview.

    • Clinton And Sanders Speak Differently On Palestine, Think Differently On Syria

      The same cannot be said, however, of the candidates’ policies on Syria. During the debate, Clinton spoke of her recommendation to the Obama administration to set up a safe zone in Syria. Sanders countered by recalling the ghosts of Iraq and Libya, where he said regime change has not improved conditions on the ground.

    • Hillary Clinton “goysplains” to Bernie Sanders in Passover article, accusing him of betraying his people by criticizing Israel

      With hawkish right-wing rhetoric, Clinton steadfastly defended the Israeli government. She conflated the Jewish religion with the state of Israel and condemned critics of the government as anti-Semitic.

    • Clinton Campaign Hints at Potential Woman Running Mate, Fueling Clinton/Warren Speculation

      A top official in the Hillary Clinton campaign has said that the shortlist of potential running mates for Clinton, should she secure the nomination, includes a woman, according to the Boston Globe. Naturally, this has fueled speculation about a possible Hillary Cinton/Elizabeth Warren ticket.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • What is Earth Day 2016? Everything you need to know about the environmental event

      With just two days to go until Earth Day 2016, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the planet we live on – and how to save it.

      Every year, more than one billion people across the world mark the event by showing support for environmental protection.

      Festivals, rallies and outdoor events are held in nearly 200 countries – often, with the support of A-list celebrities and political leaders.

      But why do we celebrate Earth Day? And how is it observed by people globally?

    • EU dropped climate policies after BP threat of oil industry ‘exodus’

      The EU abandoned or weakened key proposals for new environmental protections after receiving a letter from a top BP executive which warned of an exodus of the oil industry from Europe if the proposals went ahead.

      In the 10-page letter, the company predicted in 2013 that a mass industry flight would result if laws to regulate tar sands, cut power plant pollution and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy were passed, because of the extra costs and red tape they allegedly entailed.

      The measures “threaten to drive energy-intensive industries, such as refining and petrochemicals, to relocate outside the EU with a correspondingly detrimental impact on security of supply, jobs [and] growth,” said the letter, which was obtained by the Guardian under access to documents laws.

    • Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk

      “Africa’s human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global climate change.”

      This is how clear the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is when it comes to assessing the negative impact of climate change on this continent of 54 countries with a combined population of over 1,200 billion [1.2 billion] inhabitants. “No continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa.”

      Other international organisations are similarly trenchant. For instance, the World Bank, basing on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, confirms that Africa is becoming the most exposed region in the world to the impacts of climate change.

    • Volkswagen, U.S. Reach Deal in ‘Dieselgate’ Scandal

      CBS News adds that VW potentially avoids a trial thanks to this agreement, and that Breyer has set June 21 as the deadline for additional details to be worked out.

      But it may still be too early for environmental advocates to break out the champagne. “[I]t’s worth noting that further delay means that these polluting cars remain on the road—emitting up to 40 times the allowable level of pollution—for even longer,” said Mike Litt, consumer program advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, which launched a “Make VW Pay” campaign following the Dieselgate scandal.

  • Finance

    • Latest Version Of Anti-TPP, RCEP, Shows That Its Intellectual Property Provisions Are Even Worse

      Last summer, we wrote a bit about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement that is being worked on by a bunch of Asian countries, and which is often described as an “anti-TPP” or, at the very least, a competitor to the TPP. It’s being driven by China and India — two countries who were not in the TPP process. Given how concerned we were with the TPP, we had hoped, at the very least, that RCEP would be better on things like intellectual property. Unfortunately, some early leaks suggested it was even worse. And while the TPP is still grinding through the ratification process in various countries, RCEP has continued to move forward, and the bad ideas have stuck around.

    • We Can’t Save the Economy Unless We Fix Our Debt Addiction

      Our economy has increasingly been financialized, and the result is a sluggish economy and stagnant wages. We need to decide whether to stop the cycle and save the economy at large, or to stay in thrall to our banks and bondholders by leaving the debt hangover from 2008 intact. Without a debt writedown the economy will continue to languish in debt deflation, and continue to polarize between creditors and debtors. This debt dynamic is in fact themajor explanation for why the U.S. and European economies are polarizing, not converging.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Enough with the Hillary cult: Her admirers ignore reality, dream of worshipping a queen

      What is it with the Hillary cult?

      As a lifelong Democrat who will be enthusiastically voting for Bernie Sanders in next week’s Pennsylvania primary, I have trouble understanding the fuzzy rosy filter through which Hillary fans see their champion. So much must be overlooked or discounted—from Hillary’s compulsive money-lust and her brazen indifference to normal rules to her conspiratorial use of shadowy surrogates and her sociopathic shape-shifting in policy positions for momentary expedience.

      Hillary’s breathtaking lack of concrete achievements or even minimal initiatives over her long public career doesn’t faze her admirers a whit. They have a religious conviction of her essential goodness and blame her blank track record on diabolical sexist obstructionists. When at last week’s debate Hillary crassly blamed President Obama for the disastrous Libyan incursion that she had pushed him into, her acolytes hardly noticed. They don’t give a damn about international affairs—all that matters is transgender bathrooms and instant access to abortion.

    • Female Hackers Still Face Harassment at Conferences

      Security and hacking conferences provide platforms for cutting edge research into computer vulnerabilities, exploitable systems, and new defensive measures. These often vast events also let researchers and hackers rub shoulders with their friends and peers, network, and blow off steam.

      But a lingering problem remains for some women at a number of conferences: harassment and prejudice.

      In a recent example, women were targeted at an after-party of internet and human rights conference Rightscon, which took place between March 30 and April 1 in San Francisco.

    • Why aren’t more women in the pot business?

      As thousands of people light up to celebrate 420 on Wednesday, entrepreneur Jazmin Hupp will celebrate something else — a business milestone.

      Three years ago, at a 420 celebration in Colorado, Hupp decided to leave the tech industry to follow her passion and become a cannabis entrepreneur. Hailing from Ashland, Ore., Hupp is the daughter of a jazz musician and an artist (“hippies,” she said) and grew up in a “cannabis-friendly” environment. To rebel, Hupp decided to move to New York and pursue business opportunities.

      “Because I wanted to reject what my parents wanted for me, I became an entrepreneur, I became business-focused, I wanted to get those six figures,” she said.

    • First non-Muslim lashed for breaking Sharia law in Indonesian province

      For her crime, violating the tenets of a faith she does not observe, the courts offered two punishments.

      Option one: time in a grim jailhouse. Option two: nearly 30 lashes with a cane wielded by a anonymous man, hooded and clad in black robes, as her neighbors watched.

      She chose the latter.

      Such was the fate of Remita Sinaga, 60, a rare Christian living in Aceh, one of the most stridently Islamic corners of Asia. Her crime: selling bottles of booze on the sly, an illicit act under Aceh’s increasingly hardline enforcement of Sharia, or Islamic law.

    • Of Course Congress Is Clueless About Tech—It Killed Its Tutor

      When the draft version of a federal encryption bill got leaked this month, the verdict in the tech community was unanimous. Critics called it ludicrous and technically illiterate—and these were the kinder assessments of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016,” proposed legislation authored by the offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr.

      The encryption issue is complex and the stakes are high, as evidenced by the recent battle between Apple and the FBI. Many other technology issues that the country is grappling with these days are just as complex, controversial, and critical—witness the debates over law enforcement’s use of stingrays to track mobile phones or the growing concerns around drones, self-driving cars, and 3-D printing. Yet decisions about these technical issues are being handled by luddite lawmakers who sometimes boast about not owning a cell phone or never having sent an email.

    • Bernie Sanders Is Not Going to Be President of the United States—He Should Keep Running Anyway
    • Do You Think the New York Election Controversy Was Intentional?

      One day before the New York presidential primary, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the state’s Board of Elections.

      Hundreds of New Yorkers signed onto the lawsuit, alleging that their party preferences were changed without their knowledge.

      Then on Tuesday, the day of the primary, numerous reports surfaced about “broken machines and belated polling” throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

    • These Guys Are Total F**k-Ups: More Proof That the Most Powerful Republicans in America Are Nothing but Hype

      The media has continued its bizarre insistence that the GOP primary has been settled after the completely expected Donald Trump rout in New York on Tuesday,and are seemingly convinced this non-existent reset had something to do with the Trump makeover that is likewise non-existent.

    • The Democracy Movement Is Here To Stay

      SuperPACs and billionaires are bankrolling our elections, and as a result, most Americans have virtually no influence in our political system—a damning state of affairs for the world’s oldest surviving democracy.

    • An Election Stuck in the Mud

      The decline in the level of discourse in this year’s election cycle has been a disgrace, with Democrats behaving better than Republicans — one egregious GOP candidate, of course, in particular. But even supporters of the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have stooped to disingenuous arguments, gratuitous sniping and ad hominem attacks. The trolls and zealots have been out in force with their name-calling and sometimes threats of physical violence and none of it’s helping anyone.

    • No Justice at Guantánamo

      In January 2002, President George W. Bush opened the Guantánamo Bay Detention facility. It was to hold, in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s phrase, the “worst of the worst” in the War on Terror. Over time, its population rose to nearly 800 prisoners from 44 countries, some captured in Afghanistan, some traded for bounty payments by vindictive neighbors or hostile tribesmen, and some seized by CIA operatives in countries far from Taliban territory. The prison then held more al-Qaeda and Taliban followers than leaders, but many prisoners were neither: they had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Recognizing this, within a few years the Bush administration sent more than 500 of the detainees back to their countries of origin or to other countries willing to accept them.

    • U.S. Denies Entry To Syrian Aid Worker Who Came To Receive Humanitarian Award

      One might think that need not apply, however, to Raed Saleh, the head of Syria’s Civil Defense Units, a USAID-funded project also known as the White Helmets. After flying from Istanbul to Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, the 33-year-old Saleh was told his visa was canceled. He was scheduled to receive a humanitarian award from InterAction, a D.C.-based NGO.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IP Should Serve More Actors In New Ways, Keynote Speaker At WIPO Says

      The much-advertised World Intellectual Property Organization conference on the digital content market kicked off this morning with a speaker calling for the broadening of intellectual property rights income as a way forward for a sustainable economic ecosystem and reducing inequalities. The WIPO director general meanwhile said digital technology has brought new possibilities and reduced prices but also carries its load of regulatory challenges.

    • Copyrights

      • Techdirt Reading List: Moral Panics And The Copyright Wars

        Congress appears to be gearing up to really look at copyright reform again, and so it probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise that we’re starting to see a ramp up of crazy hyperbole about how horrible infringing is, how it’s destroying millions of jobs and billions in revenue. These claims seem to get even more ridiculous whenever legislation is on the line. I may do a post about some of the more recent whining about all of this, but for this week’s reading list post, I thought it might be good to point people to Bill Patry’s excellent Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. Patry has been involved in the copyright world for decades, working on copyright issues in Congress and with the Copyright Office — and also in private practice as a lawyer. He’s written a massive treatise on copyright law called Patry on Copyright as well as a treatise focusing just on fair use — both of which are frequently cited in legal decisions. He now works for Google — which causes some people to try to dismiss what he says as biased. But with his background, knowledge and experience, you’d be foolish to do so.

      • News Corp. Claims Google News Is An Antitrust Violation In Europe

        That News Corp hates Google is well known. The company’s CEO, Robert Thomson, has a history of barely comprehensible anti-Google rants, based on a confused (i.e. wrong) understanding of how the internet works. Thomson keeps claiming that Google is “stealing” News Corp content by linking people to it and sending the company traffic.


        Of course, that’s because we know what the real complaint here is: News Corp wants Google to give it money. Whatever you might think of the EU’s antitrust case against Google in other areas, this argument seems particularly ridiculous and just seems like Thomson and Rupert Murdoch’s sour grapes over the fact that Google is a successful company.

      • Public Domain Citation Book, Baby Blue, Renamed To Indigo Book, Following Harvard Law Review Threats

        We’ve been covering the ridiculous saga of the Harvard Law Review Association and its pricey legal threats to Carl Malamud for daring to publish a public domain set of legal citations. As a bit of background, legal citations tend to follow a standard found in the Bluebook, which is put out by the Harvard Law Review Association (which, confusingly, is actually made up of four top law schools). Many have criticized the Bluebook heavily, including appeals court judge Richard Posner who has ripped into the Bluebook, and suggested a much simpler form of legal citations, leading (in part) to something called the Maroonbook, from the University of Chicago Law Review. And, yet, the Bluebook has still mostly remained atop the heap, generating a ton of money for the law schools that back it. A few years ago, the Bluebook ran into some intellectual property issues, when Professor Frank Bennett sought to build support for the Bluebook into his open source citation tool, Zotero, and the Harvard Law Review Association obnoxiously said no, claiming copyright over citations (which seems… questionable).

Links 21/4/2016: KDE Applications 16.04, New *buntu LTS Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How British Gas Connected Home is moving beyond Hive and managing an “explosion” of IoT data using an open-source Apache stack

    Connected Home, the IoT offshoot of British Gas, knew it wanted an open source solution for its vastly growing pool of data and connected devices, now its looking at how to leverage this technology for its customers

    For anyone that watches television or listens to the radio in the UK, Hive is the connected thermostat device British Gas advertises with a catchy jingle which: “Controls your heating, from your phone.”

    What they won’t be aware of is the explosion of data a connected device like Hive drives back to its parent company, Connected Home, a business unit launched by British Gas in 2012 to operate along lean, start-up principles.

  • Small Business Project Management Software: A Look at ProjectLibre

    Change happens in every business. Whether it’s a move to a new office, a new product launch, or a total restructuring, careful planning is essential to execute changes smoothly. But why use project management software?

    While it’s possible to manage a small project with an Excel worksheet, small business project management software is a smarter choice. It helps you identify all the required tasks, allocate those tasks to the right people, and make sure your people complete those tasks on time.

  • Modeling Avengers: Open Source Technology Mix for Saving the World

    Cedric Brun is the CTO of Obeo, leads the EcoreTools and Amalgamation components, maintains the Modeling Package, and is a committer on Sirius, Acceleo, Mylyn. Benoit Combemale is an associate professor at the University of Rennes, and is a research computer scientist at IRISA and INRIA. He is co-author of two books, and a member of the ACM and the IEEE.

  • Open Source Blockchain Effort for the Enterprise

    The Hyperledger Project today is also announcing ten new companies are joining the effort and investing in the future of an open blockchain ledger: Blockstream, Bloq, eVue Digital Labs, Gem, itBit, Milligan Partners, Montran Labs, Ribbit.me, Tequa Creek Holdings and Thomson Reuters.

  • Events

    • First Brno Linux Desktop Meetup

      The desktop engineering team in the Red Hat office in Brno is quite large, we’ve got over 20 developers working on various desktop projects here, but there is no active community outside Red Hat. We’re also approached by students who are interested and would like to get started, but don’t know where and we’d like to have an event to which we can invite them, talk to them about it more in detail, and help them with things beginners struggle with.

    • ZeMarmot and GIMP at GNOME.Asia!

      While Libre Graphics Meeting 2016 barely ended, we had to say Goodbye to London. But this is not over for us since we are leaving directly to India for GNOME.Asia Summit 2016. We will be presenting both ZeMarmot, our animation film project made with Free Software, under Libre Art licenses, and the software GIMP (in particular the work in progress, not current releases), as part of the team. See the » schedule « for accurate dates and times.

    • Want more inclusivity at your conference? Add childcare.

      Providing conference childcare isn’t difficult or expensive, and it makes a huge difference for parents of young children who might want to come. If your community wants to (visibly!) support work-life balance and family obligations — which, by the way, still disproportionately impact women — I urge you to look into providing event childcare. I don’t have kids myself — but a lot of my friends do, and someday I might. I’ve seen too many talented colleagues silently drop out of the conference scene and fade out of the community because they needed to choose between logistics for the family they loved and logistics for the work they loved — and there are simple things we can do to make it easier for them to stay.

    • Roaming Teach-in for Digital Freedom (Washington, DC)
    • #LGM16

      Today I want to tell you about a conference that I really wanted to go to for 2 reasons: 1 – it was about open source graphics, 2 – it was in London =) You probably guessed it – it’s Libre Graphics Meeting.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Healthcare

    • Slovenia modelling new eHealth services

      To build the data model, the researchers used OpenEHR – publicly developed specifications for health information systems and building clinical models. The tool is user-friendly for both medical experts and IT specialists, says Rant. “OpenEHR helps both groups to understand one another, improving collaboration.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding


  • Public Services/Government

    • Finland organises hackathon on government budget

      “We want to inspire a broad range of experts, including economists, social scientists, behavioural scientists, designers, and of course software developers”, the ministry explains in its introduction. “We believe that the budget needs to be looked at in many different ways, and that combining different kinds of knowledge and experience, produce the best results.”

    • Study: Cross-border eGov services low on agenda

      Cross-border eGovernment services score low on national policy agendas, according to a study on cross-border cooperation between the Nordic countries. Well-organised, national eID infrastructures are not interconnected, the report says.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Ukrainian Parliament to become more open

      Launched in 2012, the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness is a set of shared principles “on the openness, transparency and accessibility of parliaments supported by more than 140 organizations from over 75 countries”, said OpeningParliament.org, the project’s platform. OpeningParliament.org defines itself as “a call to national parliaments, and sub-national and transnational legislative bodies, by civil society parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) for an increased commitment to openness and to citizen engagement in parliamentary work”.

    • Open Data

      • A Cycling Map

        For a couple of years now, I have been mapping the rural roads around here in OpenStreetMap. This has been an interesting process.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • All Star Code Summer Intensive FAQ

      The All Star Code initiative prepares qualified young men of color for jobs in the tech industry by providing mentorship, industry exposure, and intensive training in computer science. This year’s All Star Code Summer Intensive program runs from July 11 to August 19. Here, All Star Code answers our questions about the program and tells us how to get involved.

    • Q&A: Gene Kim explains the joy of devops

      Devops is one of those volatile topics that mixes human behavior patterns with technology, often yielding dramatic increases in productive output — that is, more high-quality software at a much faster pace. It’s a fascinating area. But is devops fascinating enough for a novel?

    • Decoding DevOps, Docker, and Git

      Even as accepted standards on how to do it “right” remain elusive, DevOps is a crucial element of modern IT. Corey Quinn, director of DevOps at FutureAdvisor, has immense experience in operations and DevOps. I had an opportunity to talk to him ahead of his two talks at LinuxFest Northwest 2016: Terrible ideas in Git and Docker must die: Heresy in the church of Docker.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns

    This again is absolutely not the norm. On a daily basis more British citizens have contact with foreign authorities than the total staff of the FCO. It would be simply impossible to give that level of support to everybody. Plus, against jingoistic presumption, a great many Brits who have contact with foreign police are actually criminals.

  • ‘Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies’: Vote Leave’s campaign director defies MPs

    “Can you go back to your seat please?” asked Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee as Dominic Cummings hovered menacingly over his shoulder.

    Cummings, Vote Leave’s campaign director, had no intention of going anywhere. Going back to his seat would be a victory for the cesspit of Brussels. Instead he stood over Tyrie, pointing at his phone.

    “I’ve got another meeting at four, so I’ll have to be out of here before that,” Cummings insisted, sticking it to the Man.

    “I don’t think you’ve got the hang of these proceedings,” Tyrie replied evenly. “We ask the questions and you stay and answer them.”

  • Science

    • Machine Learning and AI Coming Soon to Networking

      Machine learning and artificial intelligence have gained notoriety among the general public through applications such as Siri, Alexa or Google Now. But, beyond consumer applications, these new hot areas of innovation are bringing unbelievable benefits to the different components of IT infrastructure that enable it, said

      David Meyer, Chairman of the Board at OpenDaylight, a Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation, in his presentation at the DevOps Networking Forum last month.

    • SpaceX Falcon booster comes full circle to Cape Canaveral after landing at sea

      Eleven days after a thrilling landing at sea, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket booster is coming back to the company’s space-age garage in Florida, in preparation for engine tests and potentially the first-ever reuse of its rocket hardware.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 12 reasons why tea is better than coffee
    • Criminal Charges Filed in the Poisoning of Flint’s Water Supply

      Three Michigan state and local officials have been criminally charged for their involvement in the Flint water contamination crisis. The water crisis began when Flint’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, switched the source of the city’s drinking water from the Detroit system to the corrosive Flint River. The water corroded Flint’s aging pipes, causing poisonous levels of lead to leach into the drinking water.

    • Antibiotics Have Given Us Untreatable Gonorrhea

      Gonorrhea is like an extremely persistent garden weed. As far as sexually transmitted diseases go, it’s relatively easy to get and requires a multipronged offensive to annihilate. And even if you’ve thwarted it once already, you’re still left vulnerable to reinfection.

      So far, doctors have been pretty damn good at treating the disease, which is partially why England’s public health agency has just sounded the alarm over a rise in “super-gonorrhea” among Brits.

    • Prescription meds get trapped in disturbing pee-to-food-to-pee loop

      If you love something, set it free… so the old adage goes. Well, if the things you love are pharmaceuticals, then you’re in luck. Through vegetables and fruits, the drugs that we flush down the drain are returning to us—though we’ll ultimately pee them out again. (Love is complicated, after all)

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Red Hat Product Security Risk Report: 2015

      This report takes a look at the state of security risk for Red Hat products for calendar year 2015. We look at key metrics, specific vulnerabilities, and the most common ways users of Red Hat products were affected by security issues.

      Our methodology is to look at how many vulnerabilities we addressed and their severity, then look at which issues were of meaningful risk, and which were exploited. All of the data used to create this report is available from public data maintained by Red Hat Product Security.

    • April security sensationalism and FUD

      If you happen to follow the security scene, you must have noticed a lot of buzz around various security issues discovered this month. Namely, a critical vulnerability in the Microsoft Graphics Component, as outlined in the MS16-039 bulletin, stories and rumors around something called Badlock bug, and risks associated using Firefox add-ons. All well and good, except it’s nothing more than clickbait hype nonsense.

      Reading the articles fueled my anger to such heights that I had to wait a day or two before writing this piece. Otherwise, it would have just been venom and expletives. But it is important to express myself and protect the Internet users from the torrent of pointless, amateurish, sensationalist wanna-be hackerish security diarrhea that has been produced this month. Follow me.

    • DRAM bitflipping exploits that hijack computers just got easier
    • PacketFence v6.0 released

      The Inverse team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of PacketFence 6.0. This is a major release with new features, enhancements and important bug fixes. This release is considered ready for production use and upgrading from previous versions is strongly advised.

    • [Old] The Athens Affair

      How some extremely smart hackers pulled off the most audacious cell-network break-in ever

    • Write opinionated workarounds

      A few years ago, I decided that I should aim for my code to be as portable as possible. This generally meant targeting POSIX; in some cases I required slightly more, e.g., “POSIX with OpenSSL installed and cryptographic entropy available from /dev/urandom”. This dedication made me rather unusual among software developers; grepping the source code for the software I have installed on my laptop, I cannot find any other examples of code with strictly POSIX compliant Makefiles, for example. (I did find one other Makefile which claimed to be POSIX-compatible; but in actual fact it used a GNU extension.) As far as I was concerned, strict POSIX compliance meant never having to say you’re sorry for portability problems; if someone ran into problems with my standard-compliant code, well, they could fix their broken operating system.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya

      Yesterday Philip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, visited a naval base in Tripoli to be shown docking facilities for British military vessels. The authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly published that the 150 strong amphibious Special Purpose Task Group of commandos and special forces is in the Mediterranean on the amphibious warfare vessel Mounts Bay. Obviously purely a coincidence with Hammond’s visit!

      Just as in Syria and in Yemen it will not be admitted that British forces are in combat. In classic Cold War fashion, they are “military advisers and trainers.” There is a specific development which disconcerts me in Yemen, where the SAS operatives supporting the devastating Saudi bombings of the Houthi population have been seconded to MI6. There is a convention that military operations are reported to Parliament and MI6 operations are not, so the sole purpose of screening the SAS as MI6 is to deceive the UK’s own parliament.

    • China tests ICBM capable of striking US within half an hour

      Beijing has successfully tested a new long-range ballistic missile capable of engaging any potential target worldwide. The rocket takes just 30 minutes to cover its maximum 12,000km range and can deliver multiple strikes on any nuclear-capable state.

    • Letter from the Netherlands

      (2) The Neths. has ordered 37 fighter jets F35s with hook ups for 20 odd upgraded nukes to be stored on Dutch soil. In case of war Dutch pilots are to drop these on targets to be determined by the US. Belgium, Germany and Italy have the same arrangement.

    • War, Football, and Realism: If Any

      From the footballer’s point of view, the United States won in Iraq. It killed huge numbers of people while losing few, destroyed whole cities, and never lost a battle. Yet it got none of the things it wanted: a puppet government, permanent large military bases, and the oil. A dead loss. If anybody won, they were Israel and Iran. In Afghanistan, America as usual devastated the country and killed hugely and with impunity, thus winning the football game – but accomplished nothing.

    • Obama knows 9/11 was linked to Saudi Arabia – its massive oil reserves are behind his official visit
    • Saudi diplomats linked to 9/11 plot
    • Why the U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are Suddenly Involved in a Tense Geopolitical Drama

      There’s a reason we’re suddenly talking about 9/11 all over again.

    • US Protects Saudis From Terror Suits, Backs Suits Against Iran

      Intense debate and international diplomatic blackmail has dominated the discussion of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a bipartisan bill which would open up civil lawsuits against any foreign nations if they are found to be involved in the funding of a terrorist attack occurring on US soil.

    • President Obama Can Help Save Saudi Youth Facing Beheading

      These young men were sentenced to death for activities that, in the United States, are guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution. The fact that they were sentenced to death for actions committed as juveniles is all the more shocking.

    • How The New Yorker Mis-Reports Syria

      Only 6 percent of Americans surveyed in a new national poll say they have a lot of confidence in the media — a result driven by a widespread perception that news stories are one-sided or downright inaccurate. That finding came to mind as I heard New Yorker editor David Remnick introduce an April 17 segment on Syria on the New Yorker Radio Hour.

    • I Fought The Taliban And They Came After Me And My Family

      So there’s this guy in Afghanistan who learned English from watching old Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. When the Americans invaded after 9/11, he offered to help them by acting as an interpreter … then wound up fighting alongside Army Rangers and saving at least five American lives in the process. The moment he felt like he was finally out of danger, the Taliban came after him and his family, forcing him to flee the country.


      That means that many of the people shooting at American soldiers somewhere in Afghanistan, right now, don’t really know why Americans with guns are there in the first place. This is something you have to understand about the place if you’re wondering why we couldn’t find bin Laden the moment we landed: Afghanistan isn’t really a nation at all — it’s a sprawling hunk of land about the size of Texas, full of mountains, nomadic tribes, and villages. Most of the people there identify with their own little group and don’t give much of a shit about international politics.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • RCEP: The Other Closed-Door Agreement to Compromise Users’ Rights

      A secretive trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors could lay down new, inflexible copyright standards across the Asia-Pacific region. If you are thinking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), think again—we’re talking about the lesser-known Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). While RCEP doesn’t include the United States, it does include the two biggest Asian giants that the TPP omits—China and India. So while you won’t read about it in the mainstream U.S. press, it’s a very big deal indeed, and will assume even more importance should the TPP fail to pass Congress.

    • Noam Chomsky defends Julian Assange: “He should be given a medal”

      Assange and others established WikiLeaks in 2006. Since the release of the Chelsea Manning material, U.S. authorities began a long-term investigation of WikiLeaks and Assange, aiming to prosecute them under the Espionage Act of 1917.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • NOAA: Monthly Temperature Reports Are ‘Sounding Like A Broken Record’

      Last month was the hottest March on record by far, NOAA confirmed Tuesday. March was 2.2°F above the 20th century average. This anomaly (departure from “normal”) was “the highest monthly temperature departure among all months” in the 1880-2016 record.

      It follows the hottest February on record in the NOAA dataset, which followed the hottest January on record, hottest December on record, hottest November, hottest October, hottest September, hottest August, hottest July, hottest June, and hottest May. This 11-month streak “is the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137-year climate record.”

    • Nuclear costs in uncharted territory

      If you want a job for life, go into the nuclear industry – not building power plants, but taking them down and making them safe, along with highly-radioactive spent fuel and other hazardous waste involved.

      The market for decommissioning nuclear sites is unbelievably large. Sixteen nations in Europe alone face a €253 billion waste bill, and the continent has only just begun to tackle the problem.

    • DCI Group Subpoenaed in Expanding Exxon Climate Denial Investigation

      DCI Group, a Washington DC public relations and lobbying firm, is the latest group subpoenaed in an expanding investigation by state attorneys general into the funding of climate change denial by ExxonMobil, according to court filings reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

      ExxonMobil has now received separate subpoenas from both the New York and U.S. Virgin Islands U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and DCI Group have also been subpoenaed by the U.S. Virgin Islands for records relating to their role in helping ExxonMobil with climate change denial.

      Seventeen state attorneys general—calling themselves “AGs United for Clean Power”—held a press conference on March 29, announcing increased collaboration between the states in investigating the opposition to tackling climate change.

    • Coral are bleaching along the entire Great Barrier Reef

      Coral reefs are about as colorful as the ocean gets—except when they bleach. Overly warm water can cause corals to spit out the colorful, photosynthetic, single-celled symbiotes that live inside them and produce most of their food. If the heat passes before the corals starve to death, their symbiotes can return, bringing color and health back to the coral.

      As the globe warms, widespread bleaching events are occurring with disturbing frequency. These tend to occur during times of El Niño conditions in the Pacific, which add a temporary boost to the warming water at some reefs. The current record-strength El Niño is sadly no exception.

    • Great Barrier Reef damage: ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before’

      Scientists in Australia have revealed the “tragic” extent of coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef, releasing maps which show damage to 93 per cent of the famous 1,500-mile stretch of reefs following a recent underwater heatwave.

      Warning that the reef is now in a “precarious position”, scientists released aerial survey maps which show that the mass bleaching event is the worst in history and far more severe than previous such events in 1998 and 2002.

    • New Indonesia mill raises doubts about APP’s forests pledge

      A landmark commitment by one of the world’s largest producers of tissue and paper to stop cutting down Indonesia’s prized tropical forests is under renewed scrutiny as the company prepares to open a giant pulp mill in South Sumatra.

      To fanfare more than three years ago, Asia Pulp and Paper promised to use only plantation woods after an investigation by one of its strongest critics, Greenpeace, showed its products were partly made from the pulp of endangered trees.

      Greenpeace welcomed the announcement as a breakthrough and the company, long reviled by activists as a villain, rebranded itself as a defender of the environment, helping it to win back customers that had severed ties. At the same time, it was pressing ahead behind the scenes with plans to build a third pulp mill in Indonesia.

    • Will Asia Pulp & Paper default on its “zero deforestation” commitment?

      This study by twelve international and Indonesian NGOs shows that in spite of its high-profile sustainability commitments, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is building one of the world’s largest pulp mills in the Indonesian province of South Sumatra without a sustainable wood supply. The US$2.6 billion OKI Pulp & Paper Mills project will expand APP’s wood demand by over 50%, with much of this coming from plantations on high-carbon peatlands.

  • Finance

    • Choice? What Choice?

      It is an old photo but worth recalling. Those expressions of delight of both couples in the company of their fellow members of the ruling elite are not feigned.

    • Bill That Obama Extolled Is Leading to Pension Cuts for Retirees

      One of the many obscure provisions jammed into a last-minute budget bill in 2014 endorsed and signed by President Obama is leading to what would be the first cuts in earned pension benefits to current retirees in over 40 years.

      The Washington Post reports that the Treasury Department is on the verge of approving an application from the Central States Pension Fund – a plan that covers Teamster truckers in several states – to cut worker pensions by an average of 23 percent, and even more for younger retirees. Over 250,000 truckers and their families would be affected. Workers over 75, or those who have acquired a disability, would be exempt from the changes.

    • PMQs: Cameron vows to ‘finish the job’ on academies

      David Cameron has defended controversial plans to force all state schools in England to become academies, saying it is time to “finish the job”.

      During Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn cited opposition to the “top down reorganisation” from teachers, parents and some Tory MPs.

      He said good schools should not be distracted by “arbitrary changes”.

      Sources said the government was likely to guarantee no small rural schools would close as a result of the shakeup.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When ‘Both Sides’ Are Covered in Verizon Strike, Bosses’ Side Is Heard More

      In three New York Times stories, management was quoted eight times to workers’ four. In the Washington Post‘s two reports, the ratio was 6:2 in management’s favor. Buzzfeed‘s three articles favored the company 13 to 7, while Vox‘s lone post had four quotes from management and none from labor. In all four outlets together, there were 31 quotes from Verizon representatives, 13 quotes from workers and their representatives.

    • Donald Trump Is Right: The GOP Primary System Is Rigged

      I hate to agree with Donald Trump about anything, but he’s got a point: the Republican primary process is really unfair. Just look at New York: Kasich and Cruz won 40 percent of the vote but only 4 percent of the delegates. It’s an outrage.

    • Hillary and Trump’s Crushing New York Victories Proved One Thing: The System Is in Shreds

      New York’s primary process was exactly as high-profile, nasty and chaotic as you’d expect it to be, but in the end, it only highlighted that this election is just going to go on and on and on and on. Oh, and one more thing: that the way we elect presidential candidates is crazy.

      Seriously, why do we do things this way? In New York City, a slew of snafus and irregularities triggered a probe from the local Board of Elections, which is notorious for its incompetence. (You have to hand it to a city that can turn its police force into a monstrous high-tech army but can’t handle an election.) Millions of people across the state suddenly discovered that they were barred from voting because they weren’t registered Democrats. You can blame Sanders for not making more of a push to get his supporters to get their act in order, but New York has a ridiculously early deadline for changing your party registration. The burden should be on the state to make it easier to vote and not force people to have the equivalent of a key to a special club just to exercise a fundamental right. Of course, this is New York, the place that gave us Boss Tweed, so we shouldn’t be too shocked.

    • What Is Wrong With New York’s Voting System and How Can It Be Fixed? (Video)

      On “Democracy Now!” on Wednesday, voting rights advocates tallied the reforms New York state must implement to restore confidence in democracy after more than 125,000 Brooklyn residents were among many voters unable to cast ballots in the presidential primary on Tuesday because they’d been removed from voter rolls.

      New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said before the polls closed: “It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists.”

      On Monday, Truthdig reported that hundreds of New Yorkers filed a class-action lawsuit alleging authorities had tampered with their registration.

    • Five States Have Primaries Next Week. Will They Face The Same Problems New York Did?

      Tuesday’s presidential primary in New York served as a stark reminder that voting irregularities and restrictions are not a thing of the past and not confined to the South.

      As residents purged from the rolls in Brooklyn keep struggling to have their votes counted, the nation’s attention is turning to the states scheduled to vote on Tuesday: Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Delaware.

    • Dr. Jill Stein – Symptoms of a Sick Society
    • Bowing to America’s Oligarchs

      Apparently, other countries, but not the U.S., have oligarchs. Billionaire and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker came and went to the National Press Club with hardly a tough question on Monday.

    • The Democratic Stockholm Syndrome

      New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly for those holding their progress captive

    • The ICA and ODA: The IPA’s sham anti-truckie astroturfing operation

      IN my article last week on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), I wrote that I doubted that the people most actively opposed to these measures were owner drivers, but rather big business, which primarily benefits from lower freight costs.

    • The Primary Season That Won’t End

      An ongoing series that won’t be over any time soon.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Metadating helps you find love based on your everyday data

      This twist on speed-dating was part of an experiment run by a team at Newcastle University in the UK. They wanted to know what would happen in a world where instead of vetting potential dates by their artfully posed selfies or carefully crafted dating-site profiles, we looked at data gathered by their computers and phones. As use of data-gathering devices increases, it’s a world that’s just round the corner. The team calls it “metadating”.

    • Helen Nissenbaum on Regulating Data Collection and Use

      NYU Helen Nissenbaum gave an excellent lecture at Brown University last month, where she rebutted those who think that we should not regulate data collection, only data use: something she calls “big data exceptionalism.” Basically, this is the idea that collecting the “haystack” isn’t the problem; it what is done with it that is. (I discuss this same topic in Data and Goliath, on pages 197-9.)

    • Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others express ‘deep concerns’ over controversial encryption bill

      Coalitions representing major tech companies warn of ‘unintended consequences’ in letter to US senators

    • Keep the Pressure On: Brazilian Online Surveillance Bills Threaten Digital Rights and Innovation

      The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies is about to vote on seven bills that were introduced as part of a report by the Brazilian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry on Cybercrimes (CPICIBER). Collectively, these bills would be disastrous for privacy and freedom of expression in Brazil. That’s why EFF is joining a coalition of Brazilian civil society groups in opposing the bills. As the vote takes place on April 27, it’s crucial that we voice our concerns to CPICIBER members now.

    • Last July, NSA and CIA Decided They Didn’t Have to Follow Minimization Procedures, and Judge Hogan Is Cool with That

      Yesterday, I Con the Record released three FISA Court opinions from last year. This November 6, 2015 opinion, authorizing last year’s Section 702 certifications, has attracted the most attention, both for its list of violations (including the NSA’s 3rd known instance of illegal surveillance) and for the court’s rejection of amicus Amy Jeffress’ argument that FBI’s back door searches are not constitutional. I’ll return to both issues.

    • Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies

      Newly disclosed documents offer a rare insight into the secretive legal regime underpinning the British government’s controversial mass surveillance programs.

      London-based group Privacy International obtained the previously confidential files as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the scope of British spies’ covert collection of huge troves of private data.

      Millie Graham Wood, Legal Officer at Privacy International, said in a statement Wednesday that the documents show “the staggering extent to which the intelligence agencies hoover up our data. This can be anything from your private medical records, your correspondence with your doctor or lawyer, even what petitions you have signed, your financial data, and commercial activities.”

    • Data privacy proponents are counting on the public’s right to know

      In the latest front in the great data privacy war, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department on Tuesday, demanding that the government reveal whether it has obtained orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) compelling private companies to help investigators break into customers’ cellphones and devices.

    • ‘Terrorism investigation’ Court lets NSA collect telephone records data

      In its first ruling regarding phone records since the passage of the USA Freedom Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted the National Security Agency the powers it requested. Much of the court order was redacted, however.

    • Apple: Governments Asked For User Data 30,000 Times In Second Half of 2015
    • Apple’s Spiking National Security Requests Could Reflect USA Freedom Compliance
    • Tech coalitions pen open letter to Burr and Feinstein over bill banning encryption
    • FBI’s Back Door Searches: Explicit Permission … and Before That

      As I have pointed out, Mukasey (writing with then Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, who would also have to approve any PRISM minimization procedures) made it clear in response to a Russ Feingold amendment of FISA Amendments Act in February of 2008 that they intended to spy in Americans under PRISM.

      So it sure seems likely the Administration at the very least had FBI back door searches planned, if not already in the works, well before FISC approved the minimization procedures in 2009. That’s probably what Hogan explained in that paragraph, but James Clapper apparently believes it would be legally inconvenient to mention that.

    • Why Did Congress Let Law Enforcement Officials Lie About Encryption?

      When you testify before Congress, it helps to actually have some knowledge of what you’re talking about. On Tuesday, the House Energy & Commerce Committee held the latest congressional hearing on the whole silly encryption fight, entitled Deciphering the Debate Over Encryption: Industry and Law Enforcement Perspectives. And, indeed, they did have witnesses presenting “industry” and “law enforcement” views, but for unclear reasons decided to separate them. First up were three “law enforcement” panelists, who were free to say whatever the hell they wanted with no one pointing out that they were spewing pure bullshit.

    • FISA Court Still Uncovering Surveillance Abuses By NSA, FBI

      With multiple redactions and having survived a declassification review, another FISA court opinion has been released to the public. The opinion dates back to November of last year, but was only recently dumped into the public domain by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While the five-month delay seems a bit long, the alternative is no public release at all. The small miracle that is the public release of FISA court opinions can be traced directly to Ed Snowden and a handful of FOIA lawsuits — not that you’ll see either credited by the ODNI when handing over documents.

      The bad news is that the FISA court has uncovered still more abuse by the NSA and FBI. While there appears to be no imminent danger of the court yanking the agencies’ surveillance privileges (as nearly happened in 2008), the presiding judge (Thomas Hogan) isn’t impressed with the agencies and their cavalier attitude towards mass surveillance. The stipulations put in place to offset the potential damages of untargeted mass surveillance — strict retention periods and minimization procedures — are the very things being ignored by the NSA and FBI.

    • FBI’s PRISM slurping is ‘unconstitutional’ – and America’s secret spy court is OK with that
    • Public advocate: FBI’s use of PRISM surveillance data is unconstitutional
    • Public advocate: FBI’s use of PRISM surveillance data is unconstitutional
    • DOJ Sued Over Access to Requests for Encrypted Data
    • US government sued by activists looking for backdoor smoking gun
    • US surveillance court approves NSA phone records application
    • Watchdog Demands Info From Secret Court
    • EFF Sues DOJ for Secret Court Orders
    • EFF sues Justice Department to discover if secret orders are used to decrypt user data
    • National Security Agency now authorized to gather telephone records under new electronic spying law
    • U.S. DOJ Faces Lawsuit Demanding Disclosure of The Use of Secret Court Orders Against Tech Companies
    • EFF Sues DOJ Over Its Refusal To Release FISA Court Documents Pertaining To Compelled Technical Assistance

      Given the heightened interest in the government’s efforts to compel companies like Apple to break into their own products for them, the EFF figured it would be a good time to ask the government whether it had used FISA court orders to achieve these ends.

      Naturally, the government would rather not discuss its efforts to force Apple, et al. to cough up user data and communications. Hence the secrecy surrounding its use of NSLs, subpoenas and gag orders. Hence, also, its desire to keep cases involving All Writs Acts orders under seal if possible. Hence also (also) its refusal to discuss the secret happenings in its most secret court.

    • Joint Statement on the final adoption of the new EU rules for personal data protection

      Today’s adoption means a robust level of EU data protection standards will become the reality in all EU Member States in 2018.Member States have two years to apply the Data Protection Regulation and to transpose and implement the “Police” Directive. This timeframe gives Member States and companies sufficient time to adapt to the new rules.

      The Commission will work closely with Member States to ensure the new rules are correctly implemented at national level. We will work with the national data protection authorities and the future European Data Protection Board to ensure coherent enforcement of the new rules, building upon the work of the Article 29 Working Party. The Commission will also engage in open dialogue with stakeholders, notably businesses, to ensure there is full understanding and timely compliance with the new rules.

    • SS7 and NSA’s Redundant Spying

      But the fact that Lieu — who really is one of the smartest Members of Congress on surveillance issues — is only now copping onto the vulnerabilities with SS7 suggests how stunted our debate over dragnet surveillance was and is. For two years, we debated how to shut down the Section 215 dragnet, which collected a set of phone records that was significantly redundant with what we collected “overseas” — though in fact the telecoms’ production of such records was mixed together until 2009, suggesting for years Section 215 probably served primarily as legal cover, not the actual authorization for the collection method used. We had very credulous journalists talking about what a big gap in cell phone records NSA faced, in part because FISC frowned on letting NSA collect location data domestically. Yet all the while (as some smarter commenters here have said), NSA was surely exploiting SS7 to collect all the cell phone records it needed, including the location data. Members of Congress like Lieu — on neither the House Intelligence (which presumably has been briefed) or the House Judiciary Committees — would probably not get briefed on the degree to which our intelligence community thrives on using SS7’s vulnerabilities.

    • Nick Asks the NSA: Signaling System 7 (SS7)

      SS7 is the protocol phone companies use to talk to each other. It is an “out of band” signaling protocol, a separate communication channel used to coordinate calls and other features. For example, SS7 is the protocol involved in cellular roaming, allowing a cellphone to work effectively anywhere on the planet.

      Unfortunately SS7 has a large amount of legacy, the biggest being a design concept dating back to the old Bell telephone days with a single flat trust model. This means that a cellular company in Kazakhstan is considered just as trustworthy as AT&T.

    • GCHQ should split to offer separate cyber defence unit, says security expert

      GOVERNMENT LISTENING AGENCY GCHQ should be split into separate attack and defence units, according to a leading security expert.

      Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering in the computer laboratory at the University of Cambridge, explained that this would allow GCHQ to operate more openly, and make other public and private organisations more likely to collaborate with it.

      “The problem is that the UK government has demonstrated repeatedly that it’s not trustworthy. The Snowden documents made it clear that the British state is more interested in exploiting stuff than protecting it,” said Anderson.

    • NSA, FBI outed for violating court order to delete data

      A judge with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, where America’s intelligence agents go to get approval for secret spy operations, expressed concern top feds weren’t deleting information they collected off the Internet on unsuspecting individuals – in potential violation of law, recently declassified documents showed.

      Judge Thomas Hogan named the National Security Agency as “potentially” in violation of law, and said the office broke “several provisions” of its own internal policies, the Hill reported, citing the November 2015 opinion that was just made public. He also said he was “extremely concerned” the data hadn’t been deleted and the agency maintained its possession of such, in seeming violation of policy and law, the Hill reported.

    • Netflix CEO Says Annoyed VPN Users Are ‘Inconsequential’

      When Netflix recently expanded into 190 different countries, we noted that the company ramped up its efforts to block customers that use VPNs to watch geo-restricted content. More accurately, Netflix stepped up its efforts to give the illusion it seriously cracks down on VPN users, since the company has basically admitted that trying to block such users is largely impossible since they can just rotate IP addresses and use other tricks to avoid blacklists. And indeed, that’s just what most VPN providers did, updating their services so they still work despite the Netflix crackdown.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CMD Exclusive: Why I Chose to Get Arrested in Defense of Our Democracy

      On Monday, I joined hundreds of fellow citizens who were arrested as part of a non-violent act of civil disobedience on the steps of our U.S. Capitol.

      I stood with people of all ages and all walks of life as part of a growing movement to reclaim an America that guarantees the unimpeded right to vote for all and a government that works for the people instead of the powerful plutocrats.

      I was there as someone who has worked for Clean Elections and ethical government for 20 years, and on behalf of my colleagues at the Center for Media and Democracy. CMD serves as a watchdog against corporate influence on democracy and public policy, and it sounded the alarm on the dangerous Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court six years ago.

    • North Korea Election Monitors Leave New York in Disgust (Satire?)

      A team of North Korean election monitors left New York City in disgust, claiming that democracy was “dead to them.”

      Following a long series of primary election issues across the United States, where local scams, manipulated caucuses and voter disenfranchisement ran wild, the United Nations requested the North Koreans provide a team of election monitors (above) to oversee the highly-contested New York primary. In choosing North Korea for the job, UN officials cited the “great similarities between the North Korean and American systems.”

    • Forcing the Innocent to Plead Guilty, an American Disgrace

      A record 149 people had their criminal convictions overturned in 2015 after courts found they had been wrongly charged, according to a recent study. Nearly four in 10 of those exonerated had been convicted of murder, and the average newly-released prisoner had served more than 14 years in prison. Most of the exonerations came in only two states, Texas and New York. The National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School, found that there have been 1,733 exonerations since 1989, with the total doubling since 2011. More than two-thirds of last year’s exonerees were minorities. Five had been sentenced to death.

      There is a reason why most of the exonerations have come from two locales. District attorneys in Brooklyn, New York, and Harris County, Texas, have begun long-term reviews of questionable convictions, actions that are being watched by prosecutors and defense attorneys across the country. With 156 death row exonerations since 1973, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, this is a problem that must be addressed.

      The National Registry of Exonerations report stated further that 42 of those exonerated in 2015 had pleaded guilty, a glaring indication that the current system of seeking plea bargains simply isn’t just. Indeed, Propublica found that 98.2 percent of all federal cases end in conviction, with nearly all of those a result of plea deals.

    • UK Drug Dogs Finding Way More Sausage And Cheese Than Actual Drugs

      Drug dogs here in the US are mainly one-trick ponies, to clumsily mix a metaphor. Domesticated canines aim to please. Training of drug dogs involves giving them treats or toys upon alerting. You don’t have to be Pavlov to see how this plays out in the real world. Dogs will alert in hopes of a reward or be nudged in that direction by conscious or unconscious “nudges” by their handlers. Hence, we have drug dogs in use with horrendous track records. (But, notably, not horrendous enough to result in judicial smackdowns, for the most part.)

    • Harriet Tubman and the Currency of Resistance

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday that the revised $20 bill will feature the portrait of the legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born a slave, escaped to freedom and became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, as well as a campaigner for women’s right to vote. She will be replacing President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. He was a contemporary of hers, who owned slaves (one of 18 presidents who did so) and became wealthy from their forced labor. The decision was influenced by grass-roots action, Lew said, as hundreds of thousands weighed in with their suggestions for which women to honor. It also was not without controversy.

    • Harriet Tubman Will Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill

      Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has decided that a redesigned $20 bill will feature a portrait of Harriet Tubman, a Treasury official confirmed to The Intercept on Wednesday.

    • No Prison Time For NYPD Officer Who Killed Unarmed Man, Then Texted Union Rep Instead of Helping

      Criminally negligent homicide is a felony, which will prevent Liang from resuming his career in law enforcement, and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

    • Egyptian Policeman Kills Over The Price Of A Cup Of Tea In Latest Incident Of Police Brutality

      An Egyptian police officer shot three people after arguing with them over the price of a cup of tea in a Cairo suburb on Tuesday, leaving one of them dead. The incident raised furor among onlookers, who overturned a police car and assaulted another policeman.

      According to one witness, two vehicles carrying riot police and an armored truck quickly arrived on the scene, only to be pelted by rocks by the victims’ family.

    • Law Enforcement Forced To Hand Over $41K It Seized From Businessman At Airport, Plus Another $10K In Legal Fees

      An unidentified Techdirt reader sends in the news that Arizona law enforcement is going to be handing over $10,000 to Madji Khaleq as a result of a failed asset forfeiture attempt. This would be in addition to the $41,870 the DEA already handed back to Khaleq — every cent of the cash federal agents seized from him at the Tucson airport.

    • Brazil: Coup d’état – live on TV!

      An elected president faces impeachment just because Congress dislikes her.

    • 4 Ways Border Patrol Union’s Trump Endorsement Is Filled With Lies and Misinformation

      Since 2005, the Border Patrol has been showered with resources — including $8.4 million to sponsor a NASCAR team — that allowed it to expand its ranks at a breakneck pace. This trend has continued under the Obama administration. Unfortunately, recruitment surges by law enforcement agencies have historically led to — at best — the hiring of unqualified officers and — at worst — widespread misconduct and corruption. The Border Patrol is no exception.

    • ‘We Are Tonu’: Why has the murder of a 19 year old student sparked mass protests in Bangladesh?

      The death of Sohagi Jahan Tonu, a university student at Comilla Victoria College, led to massive protests and a social media outcry. What prevented this from just being another rape and murder case in Bangladesh?

    • Children cuffed, arrested, charged; Murfreesboro outraged

      Police handcuffed multiple students, ages 6 to 11, at a public elementary school in Murfreesboro on Friday, inspiring public outcry and adding fuel to already heightened tensions between law enforcement and communities of color nationwide.

      The arrests at Hobgood Elementary School occurred after the students were accused of not stopping a fight that happened several days earlier off campus. A juvenile center later released the students, but local community members now call for action — police review of the incident and community conversation — and social justice experts across the country use words such as “startling” and “flabbergasted” in response to actions in the case.

    • False Plagiarism Accusation Against Shaun King Shows Dangers of Online Mob Journalism

      On Tuesday afternoon, The New York Daily News published a column by its criminal justice writer, Shaun King (above), that denounced the harrowing treatment of a 37-year-old mentally incapacitated veteran, Elliot Williams, who died from neglect in an Oklahoma jail. Earlier that day, The Daily Beast had published a long, detailed, richly reported article on Williams’ death by Kate Briquelet, and King’s column was obviously based on Briquelet’s reporting.

      But as it appeared in the Daily News, King’s column provided no citation or attribution to Briquelet’s Daily Beast article. Worse, King’s column included two paragraphs that were verbatim copies from Briquelet’s article, and presented those two paragraphs without citation or even quotation marks. At first glance, it looked like a classic case of plagiarism, with King simply lifting two paragraphs and passing them off as his own. And The Daily Beast was understandably furious that their reporter’s excellent work would be pilfered without credit.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Netflix crackdown in New Zealand takes hold

      Netflix warned in January that people outside the United States trying to watch content on the American catalogue would find it difficult to reach the service through VPN, but it seems to have taken three months for the crackdown to really be felt in New Zealand.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leaked IP Chapter Of Asian FTA Reveals Tough Rules For Poorer Partners, Civil Society Says

      The alleged intellectual property chapter of a secretive regional trade agreement between an association of ten Asian countries plus six others was released yesterday by a civil society group, which says richer countries in the region are pushing for stringent IP rules.

    • Trade secrets bill clears US House Judiciary Committee

      In a busy few days for trade secrets news, the House Judiciary Committee has approved a Senate-passed trade secrets bills with no changes and Indian company Tata has been hit with a $940m damages verdict in Wisconsin

    • House Judiciary Committee Approves Senate-Passed Trade Secrets Bill

      The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a Senate-passed bill that would allow civil litigation for the theft of international trade secrets.

      Lawmakers advanced the measure, S. 1890, by voice vote.

      Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the legislation “puts forward modest enhancements to our federal trade secrets law, creating a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation that will help American innovators protect their intellectual property from criminal theft by foreign agents and those engaging in economic espionage.”

    • DTSA Moving Forward

      The House Judiciary Committee has taken the next major step toward implementation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA).


Links 20/4/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.8, Intel Layoffs

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Updates TensorFlow Open Source Machine Learning Platform

    Google’s TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computation using data flow graphs. The architecture provides the ability to deploy computation to one or more CPUs or GPUs in a desktop, server, or mobile device with a single API.

  • Capital One open sources Cloud Custodian AWS resource management tool

    Last July it started developing the tool that would become Cloud Custodian and today it announced at an AWS event in Chicago that it was making that tool available as open source on GitHub.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis and Supermicro to Deliver OpenStack Appliances

      Now, Mirantis has partnered with Supermicro, which focuses on server, storage, and green computing solutions,to deliver the Supermicro Mirantis Unlocked Appliance for Cloud Native Applications — billed as “a turnkey, rack-based appliance featuring Mirantis OpenStack, giving Supermicro customers an immediate onramp to agile development of cloud-native applications and container-based services in production.”

  • Databases

    • Firebird 3.0 is released

      Firebird Project is happy to announce general availability of Firebird 3.0 — the latest major release of the Firebird relational database.

      The primary goals for Firebird 3.0 were to unify the server architecture and to improve support for SMP and multiple-core hardware platforms. Parallel objectives were to improve threading of engine processes and the options for sharing page cache across thread and connection boundaries.

    • Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2016-W15

      One big area was charsets and collations, which were cached in the session data so far. This had bad effect of making the session data quite huge leading to performance loss on every page, while the cached information is needed only on few pages. I’ve removed this caching, cleaned up the code and everything seems to be behave faster, even the pages which used cached content in the past.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Updates VirtualBox 5.0.18

      Full-disclosure I’m both a fan and an everyday user of VirtualBox and have been for many years. Simply put, as an easy-to-use desktop virtualization tool, it works without much hassle, setup or prior knowledge.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • France improves fiscal transparency by opening tax calculator

      The fiscal calculator is used by the French fiscal authority to calculate the income tax of individuals. It is now freely accessible on GitHub and on the OpenFisca forum. OpenFisca is a social and fiscal simulator and its team is in charge of supporting the calculator.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Cloning Open-Source Hardware

        We’re great proponents (and beneficiaries) of open-source hardware here at Hackaday. It’s impossible to overstate the impact that the free sharing of ideas has had on the hacker hardware scene. Plus, if you folks didn’t write up the cool projects that you’re making, we wouldn’t have nearly as much to write about.

  • Programming/Development

    • The Operating System is the Target

      Abstracting the OS away isn’t inherently bad. Writing a program to run across multiple OS’s will need to unify the semantics of each system somehow. But making more use of the OS where appropriate can simplify a program while making it more robust and debuggable. OS’s already provide a wide range of tools to inspect what they are doing and by using the OS you get that introspection for free. Maybe next time you see yourself writing a service or tool, take a moment and see where the OS might be able to help you solve it.

    • Learn Git and GitHub Through Videos

      These days, GitHub is pretty much the warehouse district where nearly all open source projects are stored and maintained. There are some tricks to navigating the site, which can easily be mastered by watching tutorial videos.

    • 11 resources for teaching and learning Python

      If you’re looking to teach, tutor, or mentor beginning programmers, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Different learning styles, varying levels of knowledge, and a subject area that’s a moving target all conspire to see you run ragged as an instructor. Luckily, there is help available—lots of help. It comes in the form of open source textbooks, tools, and even games—all created to make being a teacher (and a learner) easier than ever before.


  • Optometrists Push For State Laws Blocking Online Eye Exams

    Billing itself as a sort of Uber-for-eye-exams, telemedicine startup Opternative recently came on the scene offering a quick, inexpensive alternative to traditional optical exams that uses your computer and smartphone. Following a 25-minute online exam, an ophthalmologist will approve your results and issue a prescription for a cost of $40. No doctor visit is required.

  • Sevens Marry Sevens: Is Online Dating Making Mixed-Attractiveness Couples More Rare?

    And with the trend in dating being a shorter time between meeting someone and dating them, with dating sites and apps playing a key role in this shift, matching people based on physical desirability because that’s how it tends to work outside of dating sites becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The algorithms will reinforce this by trimming people’s pool of candidates to their own desirability class, and we might see the end of mixed-attractiveness couples generally speaking.

    Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I’m married and never did any online dating at all, so I have zero experience with it. I do know that if I were a user of any of these sites, I would feel potentially cheated out of meeting great candidates because the algorithm thought I was too attractive or ugly to meet them. But that ultimately doesn’t matter, as the trends show that online dating isn’t going anywhere, so we might just all have to get used to seeing synced up couples from a physical standpoint.

  • Science

    • We Asked Some Experts to Score Justin Trudeau’s Explanation of Quantum Computing

      Although Trudeau was at the Institute to announce $50 million in funding which will allow those working at Perimeter to continue their work on fundamental physics, he took the time to breakdown the essence of quantum computing for a clueless journalist…


      While most applauded Trudeau’s remarkably “clear and concise” explanation of quantum computing, others deemed his description as totally off the mark.

  • Hardware

    • Intel to cut 12,000 jobs from global operations

      US tech giant Intel is shedding 12,000 jobs as it seeks to cut reliance on the declining personal computer market.

      The maker of computer chips will take a $1.2bn charge to cover restructuring costs.

      The job cuts, about 11% of Intel’s workforce, will be made over the next 12 months, Intel said in a statement.

    • Intel Confirms Major Layoff, 11 percent of Employees To Go

      Intel Corp. today announced that it would cut some 12,000 jobs—that’s 11 percent of its total workforce—by mid-2017, with the majority of those affected getting the bad news within the next two months.

      In a press release, the company said the “restructuring initiative” would “accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and the billions of smart, connected computing devices,” and that the compnay would be increasing its investments in “data center, IoT, memory, and connectivity businesses.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • From the US to Indonesia, why do we perpetuate the ‘war on drugs’?

      The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, decided to declare a state of emergency in relation to drugs. And one key measure he would take in response to this emergency was to execute everyone on death row for drug offences. So Indonesia proceeded to execute 14 people last year. They’ve recently made statements that they wish to continue with more executions. Some analysts say that this is part of a political strategy. That he was seen as someone who was not a tough man, who did not have strong standing or the confidence of party members. And so he decided to take this stance to show that he could be tough.

      It’s political convenience, it’s political gain, that governments choose to perpetuate and stay on this path.

    • Teflon Toxin Contamination Has Spread Throughout the World

      IN RECENT MONTHS, PFOA, the perfluorinated chemical formerly used to make Teflon, has been making news again. Also known as C8, because of its eight-carbon molecule, PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. Although the chemical was developed and long manufactured in the United States, it’s not just an American problem. PFOA has spread throughout the world.

      As in the U.S., PFOA has leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan, both of which were built and operated for many years by DuPont. Last year, the Shimizu facility and part of the Dordrecht plant became the property of DuPont’s spinoff company, Chemours. Just as it did in both New Jersey and West Virginia, DuPont tracked the PFOA levels in its workers’ blood in Holland and Japan for years, according to EPA filings and internal company documents. Many of the blood levels were high, some extremely so. In one case, in Shimizu in 2008, a worker had a blood level of 8,370 parts per billion (ppb). In Dordrecht in 2005, another worker was recorded with 11,387 ppb. The national average in the U.S., in 2004, was about 5 ppb.

    • Drop in dementia rates suggests disease can be prevented, researchers say

      Dementia rates in the UK have fallen by a fifth over the past 20 years despite the population ageing, scientists say.

      With changes in lifestyle and education over the last two decades thought to be among the factors responsible for the drop, the researchers believe the study highlights the benefits of taking preventative action. “Physical health and brain health are clearly highly linked,” said Carol Brayne of Cambridge University who co-authored the study.

      Nick Fox, Professor of Neurology at University College, London who was not involved in the study, agrees. “This does suggest that our risk, in any particular age in later life, can be reduced probably by what we do ten, twenty or thirty years before.”

    • NHS spends millions picking up bill after patients suffer botched treatment in private hospitals

      Thousands of patients are having to be admitted to NHS hospitals after suffering botched treatment in private hospitals.

      Private hospitals ‘are often not equipped to deal with complications from surgery’, a damning report warns.

      As many as 6,000 patients a year need NHS care after bungled treatment at a non-NHS hospital.

      Almost half of them – around 2,500 – are ‘emergency’ cases who have to be rushed to the nearest NHS hospital.

      The problem is feared to cost taxpayers millions of pounds. Last night a senior doctor branded it a ‘national scandal’.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Bernie Sanders backs bill that would let Americans sue Saudi Arabia over 9/11 terror attacks

      Bernie Sanders has backed legislation that would let Americans sue Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

      The bill is opposed by the Obama administration, but it is important to victims’ families, some of whom believe Saudi officials played some part in the attacks.

      The Democratic presidential candidate spoke in favour of the legislation on NBC’s “Today Show” ahead of the New York presidential primary.

      He said it was important to have a full understanding of the “the possible role of the Saudi government in 9/11.”

    • Saudi Arabia’s Alleged 9/11 Connection Just One of Many Reasons the U.S. Ally is a Problem

      Lawmakers from both parties, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced legislation that would require the declassification of the 28 pages, and Congress is considering a bill that would allow terror victims’ families to sue the Saudi government for “contribut(ing) material support or resources” to “acts of terrorism.” The bill essentially removes the immunity currently enjoyed by officials of foreign governments from being held liable in US courts.

      The Saudi government has threatened to divest itself of up to $750 billion in American assets if the bill passes, and the Obama administration is currently lobbying Congress to not pass the bill, citing economic and diplomatic concerns as well as potential reciprocity against US officials and citizens.

    • Obama Went From Condemning Saudis for Abuses to Arming Them to the Teeth

      Thirteen years later, Obama is making his fourth trip to Riyadh, having presided over record-breaking U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia while offering only muted criticism of the kingdom’s human rights violations.

      And don’t expect the president to speak up while he’s there. Obama last traveled to Saudi Arabia in January 2015, cutting short his trip to India after the passing of the former Saudi king, Abdullah ibn-Abdulaziz al-Saud. During that visit, Obama was criticized for not speaking out against the flogging of prominent Saudi blogger and dissident Raif Badawi. In 2014, Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam” and “going beyond the realm of obedience,” with the first flogging session taking place weeks before Obama arrived.

      In January, after a record-setting year for Saudi beheadings, Saudi authorities set off protests by executing Shia cleric and regime critic Nimr al-Nimr. U.S. response was muted. The State Department merely said the execution “risks exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced” – and then fell silent on the repression of the following protests.

    • Night-vision goggle case cause of plane crash that killed 14, Air Force says

      A solid plastic case designed to hold a set of night-vision goggles was ultimately responsible for causing the crash of an Air Force transport plane that killed 14 people in October, the Air Force announced in a statement last week.


      The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the crash, saying it shot down the aircraft.

    • Voices of Reason vs. the Doomsday Lobby

      In 2010, three high-ranking military officials including Air Force Colonel B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of the US Air Force’s Strategic Plans and Policy Division who had worked directly for the Secretary of the Air Force, published a major policy paper suggesting that the US should unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal by more than 90 percent. The paper argued, “…the United States could address military utility concerns with only 311 nuclear weapons in its nuclear force structure….” With about 1,300 warheads on Trident submarines, another 500 or so on heavy bombers like B-52s or B2s, 180 on fighter-bombers in Europe and the last 450 on top of the Minuteman rockets, cutting to 311 would clearly mean the ICBMs would go the way of the Berlin Wall (since the favored war-fighting nukes are on submarines which can be kept secret from the American public and everybody else).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • American Geophysical Union Sells Its Scientific Integrity For $35,000 In ExxonMobil Money

      Apparently you can buy the scientific integrity of the entire American Geophysical Union (AGU) for $35,000. Well, maybe you can’t, but oil giant ExxonMobil can.

      In February, 100 AGU members and other earth and climate scientists wrote an open letter to the board of 62,000-member group urging it to stop taking sponsorship money form ExxonMobil. The scientists urged the AGU to live up to its 2015 board-approved policy that says AGU will only partner with (i.e. take more than $5,000 from) organizations that meet “the highest standards of scientific integrity, that do not harm AGU’s brand and reputation, and that share a vested interest in and commitment to advancing and communicating science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.”

    • New Leak at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site is ‘Catastrophic,’ Worker Warns

      A leak at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state has prompted warnings of “catastrophic” consequences, as workers attempt to clean up more than eight inches of toxic waste from one of 28 underground tanks holding radioactive materials leftover from plutonium production.

    • U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Climbed For the Second Straight Year

      Over the last decade, the United States embraced energy efficiency and higher fuel economy standards, causing almost double-digit declines in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. But since the last drop in 2012, that trend has gone in the opposite direction for the second time in a row, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, which tracks emissions across the entire country.

    • We must remain in the EU to protect our environment

      Environmental problems don’t queue politely waiting for their passports to be checked.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fossil Fuel Financiers

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency of the United States is powered by a lot of fossil fuel money. How can this be, when nearly all of the industry’s contributions are going to Republicans? For one, the oil and gas giants are very, very wealthy, so just a small Democratic leak from the pipeline adds up quickly. Moreover, Clinton has a lot of support from the nation’s corporate lobbyists, many of whom represent fossil fuel companies. Finally, Clinton’s wealthy backers come primarily from the world of finance—hedge-fund billionaires, investment bankers, and Wall Street executives.

    • President Obama Wants to Protect Wildlife From Cruel Killing Methods, but Trophy Hunters Aren’t Happy About It

      The strong public support for the changes is a strong signal that unsporting practices like baiting of brown bears is scientifically flawed and no longer acceptable to the majority of Americans whose tax dollars support public lands. Bear baiting involves intensive feeding of bears, typically weeks in advance of hunting seasons, so that the animals become accustomed to feeding in a certain area and then become easy targets for trophy hunters waiting nearby in blinds. Bait usually consists of donuts, candy, grease, rotting garbage, corn, fish, meat and other high-calorie foods, which can be toxic and even fatal to bears and other wildlife. Chocolate and caffeine are and can be lethal even for bears who are not later killed by hunters.

    • US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early

      The US and China are leading a push to bring the Paris climate accord into force much faster than even the most optimistic projections – aided by a typographical glitch in the text of the agreement.

      More than 150 governments, including 40 heads of state, are expected at a symbolic signing ceremony for the agreement at the United Nations on 22 April, which is Earth Day.

    • Global Warming and the Planetary Boundary

      Climate change is on a fast track, a surprisingly fast, very fast track. As such, it’s entirely possible that humanity may be facing the shock of a lifetime, caught off-guard, blindsided by a crumbling ecosystem, spawning tens of thousands of ISIS-like fighters formed into competing gangs struggling for survival.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Fossil Fuel Financiers

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency of the United States is powered by a lot of fossil fuel money. How can this be, when nearly all of the industry’s contributions are going to Republicans? For one, the oil and gas giants are very, very wealthy, so just a small Democratic leak from the pipeline adds up quickly. Moreover, Clinton has a lot of support from the nation’s corporate lobbyists, many of whom represent fossil fuel companies. Finally, Clinton’s wealthy backers come primarily from the world of finance—hedge-fund billionaires, investment bankers, and Wall Street executives.

    • Indonesia Is Still Burning

      The orange-furred toddler survived one of the most destructive wildfires on record, but with a plastic tube leashing her neck to the porch of a small hut, she hardly appears to have found salvation. A villager, Kasuan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, found the orangutan cowering from wild dogs last fall, perched in one of the surviving oil palm trees in a scorched plantation near the burned forest that had been her home. The rest of her family, Kasuan tells me, perished in the epic forest fires that overtook Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, as woodlands were burned to make room for plantations that harvest palm oil, a $50 billion business. The ubiquitous ingredient is used in half of the packaged food and cosmetic products found on supermarket shelves, from Oreo cookies to Colgate toothpaste. At least nine of the highly endangered primates died during last year’s conflagrations. Three weeks before I arrive in March, three more orangutans, all of them female and one of them a baby, burned to death when the annual fires ignited months early.

      “If we didn’t rescue the orangutan from the haze and the fires, it would die like the others,” Erni, Kasuan’s wife, says. When the ape, which they named Sumbing, wasn’t tied to the post, Erni carried her like one of her own children. “I hope I can look after it and keep it healthy.”

      But the couple has no idea how to care for her when she grows into an adult weighing well over 100 pounds, if the animal survives that long. Compared with wild orangutans I’ve photographed, Sumbing’s hair and limbs look thin, and she seems frightened and depressed. She snaps at me when I first arrive but calms down when I pat her, and eventually she takes my hand for a moment. “I hope there are some authorities that will come to take care of the orangutan,” Kasuan says, contradicting his wife’s hopes, “because we can’t feed it what it needs.”

  • Finance

    • Investor-State dispute settlement undermines rule of law and democracy, UN expert tells Council of Europe

      Today before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, UN expert Alfred de Zayas explained why the investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms contained in trade agreements are incompatible with democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

      “Existing ISDS should be phased out and no new investment treaty should contain any provision for privatized or semi-privatized dispute settlement. It is wholly unnecessary in countries that are party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which commits States to due process and the rule of law,” said Mr. de Zayas.*

    • No, Bernie’s Taxes Don’t Show That He’s a Hypocrite

      Tax laws are tax laws, and there’s nothing hypocritical about following them even if you disagree with them. Just the opposite, in fact. It speaks well of Sanders that he supports changes that would hurt him personally. It’s a helluva lot more than Republicans ever do.

    • Robert Reich: Why Is Everyone Ignoring One of Sanders’ Most Important Proposals?

      Bernie’s idea to tax financial speculation is right on the money, and not even radical. What gives?

    • Is ISDS dead? No, multi-million lawsuits still on the horizon

      When put to the test, the Investment Court System, proposed by the Commission to replace the ill-fated Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS), fails to protect the right to regulate, write Cecilia Olivet and Natacha Cingotti.

      Cecilia Olivet is a researcher on trade and investment at the Transnational Institute and Natacha Cingotti is a trade campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe.

      In just a few days, the European Union will go back to the negotiating table with the United States in an attempt to salvage the small possibilities to complete a transatlantic trade and investment deal (TTIP) before President Obama leaves office.

      During the 13th round of TTIP negotiations in New York next week, a key issue will be the controversial subject of how to resolve investment disputes.

    • Australian Case Shows Why Corporate Sovereignty Isn’t Needed In TPP — Or In Any Trade Agreement

      One of central claims made by supporters of corporate sovereignty chapters in trade deals is that companies “need” this ability to sue the government in special tribunals. The argument is that if the extra-judicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) framework is not available to a company, it will be defenseless when confronted with a bullying government. A new case in Australia shows why that’s not true.

    • France threatens halt to TTIP talks barring progress in coming months
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Don’t the Candidates Talk About Afghanistan?

      Perhaps at some point the media, the voters, or the next debate moderators might inquire of the candidates what their current thoughts are.

    • 6 Policies Obama wants Saudi Arabia to Change

      He has also blamed Saudi Arabia for spreading around its intolerant, Wahhabi version of Islam, a very minority version of the religion that is puritanical and dislikes outsiders. (Probably only 40% of Saudis are Wahhabis, hence maybe 9 million of the kingdom’s 22 million citizens. There aren’t really any Wahhabis elsewhere outside Qatar and Sharjah, though millions of people have become Salafis, i.e. Sunnis who come close to Wahhabism but don’t want to leave their Sunni traditions entirely. So there are 1.5 billion Muslims, and most of them are not Puritanical or xenophobic and most of them are fine with women driving and disapprove of the full face veil (a lot of Muslim women don’t cover their heads at all). But it should also be noted that there is no statistical relationship between Wahhabism and extremism (most Wahhabis are not extremists andy more than most Shiites or Sunnis are).

    • Bernie Sanders Can Win Over Conservatives

      Now consider Clinton. Even among liberals her name is synonymous with Wall Street, and Wall Street is not synonymous with optimism for the future. The FBI continues to investigate her conduct at the State Department, and her family’s multi-billion-dollar philanthropic network means she’s conspicuously entangled with the world’s glittering, begrudged oligarchy. Do you believe her campaign is positioned to overcome the conservative distrust that a right-wing attack machine captained by Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich will relentlessly inflame among the masses? Now combine your answer with polls that suggest one-third of Sanders’ spirited supporters would neither vote for nor support Clinton in the general election and those that show her trailing him against Republicans nationally by as many as eight points.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Camp Complains to DNC Over Hillary Clinton’s Fundraising

      The line between legal and illegal presidential fundraising has gotten murkier in our post-Citizens United world. The Bernie Sanders camp believes Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee may have crossed it.

      On Monday, Bernie 2016 expressed its concerns in a letter to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The letter claims that the Hillary Victory Fund—the joint fundraising committee created by the DNC and Hillary for America (HFA)—is violating campaign finance rules.

    • Breaking Up With the Corporate Duopoly of Democracy

      In recent years, waves of whistleblowers have emerged, exposing the unprecedented scale of government and institutional corruption. From Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden, their courage and conscience not only revealed a system virtually devoid of morality, but it unmasked some of the operators of its machinery; those who act remorselessly without any regard for others.

      This callous and conniving sector of society has a name. They are psychopaths. Psychopathy expert Robert D. Hare called them “social predators”. Social worker Steve Becker depicted them as “exploitative-consciously violating individuals”. He described how a psychopath possesses an extreme sense of entitlement; an attitude of getting whatever he wants, and in his pursuit, others are simply an object that exist mainly “to satisfy his gratifications”.

    • Millions of New Yorkers Disenfranchised from Primaries Thanks to State’s Restrictive Voting Laws

      Voters head to the polls today in New York for both the Democratic and Republican primary in one of the most closely watched races of the election. But millions of New Yorkers won’t be able to vote, thanks to the state’s restrictive voting laws.

      The state has no early voting, no Election Day registration, and excuse-only absentee balloting. The voter registration deadline for the primary closed 25 days ago, before any candidate had even campaigned in New York. Meanwhile, independent or unaffiliated voters had to change their party registrations back in October—over 190 days ago—to vote in today’s closed Democratic or Republican primaries.

      Meanwhile, WNYC is reporting there are 60,000 fewer registered Democrats in Brooklyn and no clear reason why. This comes as a group of New Yorkers who saw their party affiliations mysteriously switched filed a lawsuit seeking to open the state’s closed primary so that they can cast a ballot. We speak to The Nation’s Ari Berman, author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.”

    • New Yorkers File Emergency Lawsuit To Give Voting Rights Back To 3.2 Million People

      With less than 24 hours until the presidential primary, a group of New Yorkers who saw their party affiliations mysteriously switched are filing a lawsuit Monday seeking to open the state’s closed primary so that they can cast a ballot.

      New York has the earliest change-of-party deadline in the country — registered independent voters who wanted to participate in Tuesday’s presidential primary had to change their party by last October. Many voters missed that deadline — or thought they met it, only to have paperwork get lost in the mail — and are disenfranchised as a result.

    • Trump, Clinton take New York, move closer to presidential nomination

      The voting in New York was marred by irregularities, including more than 125,000 people missing from New York City voter rolls. The city has roughly 4 million voters considered active for the primaries.

    • Clinton and Trump in a Landslide Victory in the New York State Primary

      Not only did it pit Clinton, its former U.S. senator, against Brooklyn-born Sanders, but both candidates aggressively parried. Sanders went after Wall Street and Clinton’s ties to financiers, held events where he reached out to other key constituencies (such as Puerto Ricans concerned about the island’s debt and striking Verizon telecom workers) and held rallies attended by tens of thousands of backers.

    • A Look at the Presidential Candidates’ Tax Returns

      Monday was the deadline for filing federal tax returns. The presidential candidates are also making tax-related headlines, as four of the five have already released their 2014 tax returns to the public. The takeaways? Bernie Sanders (who has made headlines for his low income compared to the rest of the 2016 candidates) pays the least, thanks to significant deductions. The Clintons, on the other hand, pay a 35.7 percent tax rate (compared to the average national rate of 14.7 percent).

    • After New York Win, Clinton Campaign Says Sanders’ Attacks Help Republicans

      Palmieri pointed to Sanders’ recent comment that Clinton is not qualified to be president—a remark Sanders quickly walked back—as well as his assertion in the last debate that he questioned her judgment. She also noted that the Sanders campaign on Monday accused the Clinton campaign of campaign finance violations.

    • Watch: Activist Whose Group Filed an Emergency Lawsuit in New York Blasts Mysterious Disenfranchisement of Thousands of Voters

      Shyla Nelson talks with The Young Turks about the federal lawsuit filed by Election Justice USA against the Department of Elections due to a giant voter purge in New York State.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How I Was Arrested by a War Crimes Tribunal — for My Journalism

      On March 24 I stood outside the United Nations war crimes tribunal in the Hague, surrounded by dozens of men and women who had survived massacres and concentration camps and rapes during the Bosnian war. I had joined the gathering on Churchillplein before the announcement of the tribunal’s verdict for Karadzic, who was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. I noticed a female security officer from the U.N. weaving back and forth through the crowd, trying to reach me. I realized, as the officer grabbed for my wrist and tried to put handcuffs on me, that my freedom was at issue on this day, too.

      “She’s crazy, she has no jurisdiction,” I shouted at a Dutch police officer who stood before me stone-faced. I didn’t try to run. I was on Dutch territory so I assumed the Dutch police would not allow a U.N. officer to arrest me. Having no police powers, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had always depended on member nations to execute its warrants—but this was about to change. Ironically, the tribunal’s first arrest by one of its own officers was going to be of a journalist who had reported on warlords and mass killers, rather than an actual war criminal.

    • Democracy Sleepwalking

      By the time the week was over, perhaps 1,200 were arrested. It may have been the largest nonviolent civil disobedience in years, but this is one more metric, like number of sponsoring organizations, to stick on a press release for media consumption. And the media know it. One high-level organizer scoffed at the mainstream media impact, noting the minimal coverage.

    • My Projection for Sanders v. Clinton in New York’s Primary

      This projection, if accurate, would keep Sanders on Another Path to Victory in terms of the pledged delegate race as I see it. The polls close tonight at 9pm eastern. By about 10pm, we should know whether I have stumbled upon a way to more accurately forecast Democratic primaries or whether I’ve been doing math to make myself feel better as a Sandernista.

    • Ben & Jerry Get Arrested At Capitol Hill Protests

      Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – more popularly known as Ben and Jerry, the guys behind the ice cream – were among hundreds of protesters arrested at the Democracy Spring rallies at the United States Capitol Building on Monday. The protests began early this month with a 140-mile march from Philadelphia to D.C. and continued with a week-long sit-in to demand Congressional action on voting rights and campaign finance. Cohen and Greenfield were among some 1,300 peaceful protesters who were arrested. Actress Rosario Dawson, who in recent months has been an active and vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders, was also among those arrested.

    • The Sanders/Clinton Split on Israel

      There is a vast difference between Sanders and Clinton on Israel. Make no mistake. A President Hillary Clinton would strengthen Israel’s noose around the necks of the Palestinian people. She would not be an honest broker in any process to bring peace to that region.

    • BREAKING: NYPD Officer Sentenced To Five Years Of Probation For Killing Akai Gurley

      Former New York Police Officer Peter Liang was sentenced to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service by New York Judge Danny Chun Tuesday, two months after a jury convicted the former officer of manslaughter and official misconduct. Just before the sentence was handed down, Chun reduced the manslaughter count to criminally negligent homicide.

    • Thousands of Israelis Rally in Support of Soldier Who Executed Wounded Palestinian

      Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Tuesday in support of an army medic who was caught on video last month apparently executing a wounded Palestinian suspect following a knife attack in the occupied West Bank.

      The medic, Sgt. Elor Azaria, 19, was charged with manslaughter by an Israeli military court on Monday for firing a single bullet into the head of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, killing him, on March 24 in the city of Hebron. Sharif was one of two young Palestinians suspected of lightly wounding an Israeli soldier in an area of the city inhabited by Jewish settlers.

    • How Israel Killed the ‘Two-State Solution’

      The radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron present what is certainly a candidate for being the ugliest face of Israel’s creeping annexation of the West Bank. And, the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has reached a point that renders the so-called Two State Solution an impossibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Did You Think the Battle Over Net Neutrality Was Over? Think Again

      A landmark decision by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that will determine the fate of US rules protecting net neutrality could come as early as this week.

      The central legal issue before the court is whether the FCC overstepped its regulatory authority in 2015 by reclassifying internet service providers, or ISPs, as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act.

      Some of the nation’s largest broadband companies have challenged the FCC’s policy, calling it “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” that “harms consumers, competition, and broadband deployment.”

      By changing the way it approaches ISPs, the FCC claimed the authority to apply utility-style regulations originally designed for phone companies to broadband providers in order to prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization deals, in which ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T favor certain content, effectively discriminating against rivals.

  • DRM

    • Netflix: VPN Blockade Backlash Doesn’t Hurt Us

      Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the recent crackdown on VPN and proxy users hasn’t hurt the company’s results. The VPN blockade only affects a small but vocal minority, according to Hastings, and there are no signs that hordes of subscribers are abandoning ship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Nationalizing Trade Secret Law

      Nationalizing Contract Law?: It is interesting that congress is moving forward so quickly with nationalizing the traditional state-law claim of trade secret misappropriation. Most trade secret cases involve an underlying breach of contract between the parties. The current bill would implicitly have courts rely upon local contract law to determine the scope of rights of the parties before then determining whether a federal claim of trade secret misappropriation exists.

    • EU-Canada Trade Deal Still Struggling, As Romania And Belgium Say They Won’t/Can’t Ratify Treaty

      Alongside the better-known trade deals that aren’t really trade deals, TPP and TAFTA/TTIP, the smaller one between the European Union and Canada, CETA, is still trapped in a strange kind of political limbo. It was “celebrated” way back in October 2014, and has been officially in the “legal scrubbing” phase where the text is tidied up and translated into all the relevant languages (lots of them for the EU). Cleverly, the EU has used this period to sneak in the “lipstick on a pig” version of corporate sovereignty in an attempt to head off revolts among EU nations worried about growing public resistance to the idea.

    • Copyrights

      • Microsoft’s Azure Awarded FACT Anti-Piracy Seal of Approval

        Azure, the cloud computing platform created by Microsoft, has become the first service of its type to gain certification from anti-piracy group Federation Against Copyright Theft. The accreditation means that Microsoft has implemented many physical and digital processes designed to thwart online pirates.

      • California Assembly Looks To Push Cities To Copyright & Trademark Everything They Can

        If you’ve followed Techdirt (or US copyright law) for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the fact that the federal government is barred from claiming copyright on any work created by the federal government (but it is able to hold copyrights that were transferred to it, which is another issue for another day). However, with state law, it’s a bit more murky. Many have (quite reasonably) argued that this same rule should apply to state laws as well. But states sometimes like to claim copyright in their works — and thus, for now, it’s officially a matter delegated to each state to decide for its own works. Remember when the state of Oregon claimed copyright in its own laws?

      • Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

        Yesterday we wrote about the fairly unsurprising, but still good, news that the Supreme Court had rejected an attempted appeal by the Authors Guild of the really excellent fair use decision by the 2nd Circuit appeals court over whether or not Google scanning books to build a giant, searchable index was fair use.

      • Copyright Experts: Fair Use is Not Getting a Fair Deal in Australia

        Fair use is one of the biggest undelivered promises of a report of the Australian Law Reform Commission to the Australian government two years ago, which recommended improvements to Australian copyright law. Instead of delivering a fair use exception, the government slapped users with onerous new enforcement provisions such as SOPA-style web blocking and data retention, along with a now-shelved attempt at a graduated response code for penalizing users suspected of infringement.

        Strangely, these new strict enforcement provisions have failed to transform Australia into a more innovative and productive economy, and so the government has finally turned its attention back to other copyright reforms such as fair use, by way of a new inquiry of its Productivity Commission. Cue the entry of Australia’s big media and entertainment conglomerates, who funded a fear-mongering report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) claiming that the introduction of a fair use exception to copyright would bring near-apocalyptic consequences for Australia’s creative sector, while failing to deliver significant benefits.


Links 19/4/2016: Kali Linux Rolling Release, PCLOS Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why the Internet of Things needs open source

    It should come as no surprise to you that the Internet of Things already depends upon open source. Many IoT devices run one form of embedded Linux or another. In fact, without Linux many IoT devices simply wouldn’t exist. What should come as a surprise to you is when companies that produce these IoT devices close up shop, they leave those devices out in the wild to die. Perfectly good hardware no longer capable of functioning…even when open source is at the heart of the device.

    This needs to change.

  • CUBA Platform is Going Open Source

    The long-awaited moment has come, and now we are happy to announce that the CUBA Platform has finally joined the free software community! From now on, the runtime part of the platform is open source and distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. This means that you will be able to create and distribute your applications for free! So, go ahead and start your CUBA application right now!

  • Events

    • Device Tree Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Device-tree discussions are probably not quite as spirited as in the past, however, device tree is an active area. In particular, significant issues remain.

    • OpenSchool 2016 in Brno

      Last week Red Hat Czech has for the first time hoster a very special event. We’ve called it OpenSchool and the purpose of the event was to explain to high school students trends in IT, trends in software development as well as why should they care about opensource. It was fairly tough for us to figure out the level of knowledge that these kids between 12-16 years of age know about IT now. Sure they use smart phones daily, are on most of social networks and intuitively use tons of different applications – but do they know how their favorite apps are developed and what powers their daily used social network in the back?

    • Event report: rootconf 2016

      Rootconf is the largest DevOps, and Cloud infrastructure related conference in India. This year’s event happened on 14-15th April in the MLR convention center, Bangalore. I traveled on the day one of the event from Pune. Woke up by 3AM in the morning, and then took the first flight to Bangalore. Picked up Ramky on my way to the venue. Managed to skip most of the (in)famous Bangalore traffic thanks to a govt holiday.

    • The night I became a hacker

      You may ask yourself, how does one become a hacker?

    • Announcing systemd.conf 2016

      After our successful first conference 2015 we’d like to repeat the event in 2016 for the second time. The conference will take place on September 28th until October 1st, 2016 at betahaus in Berlin, Germany. The event is a few days before LinuxCon Europe, which also is located in Berlin this year. This year, the conference will consist of two days of presentations, a one-day hackfest and one day of hands-on training sessions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Some Of What You Can Find On Mozilla’s Servo Roadmap

        Besides planning for the Servo and Browser.html initial release this summer there are a lot of other exciting items on the roadmap for developers working on Mozilla’s Servo next-generation engine written in Rust.

        Among the hopes for Servo in 2016 are more performance improvements, continue advancing the browser front-end (such as the current browser.html effort), fill in remaining subsystem implementations, bringing the Windows port up to scratch, moving WebRender into production quality, and begin shipping Rust/Servo components gradually within the Gecko engine. Among the performance items on the agenda for Servo this year is CSS support on the GPU, SIMD layouts, DOM wrapper fusion, and more.

      • This Week In Servo 60
  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Richard Stallman Talks GNU, Linux, Terrorism and French Politics

      What is Richard Stallman, the father of free software (if not open source) like in person? And what is he thinking now about Linux, terrorism and French politics? I gained some insight recently when the founder of the GNU operating system spoke near Paris.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Govt should nurture open source sector

      Governments that want to increase the use of open source software by public administrations should encourage the growth of an open source service sector, recommends Maha Shaikh, researcher at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick (UK). Public administrations should share their open source expert consultants.

    • OSI’s Comments to the White House Office of Management and Budget Regarding the “Federal Source Code Policy”

      Governments around the globe recognize the value of open source as both a technology solution delivering value to the public they serve, as well as an approach for development returning tax-payer investments back to the society they represent. The implementation of the Federal Source Code Policy will be a key component in “reducing Federal vendor lock-in, decreasing duplicative costs for the same code, increasing transparency across the Federal Government, and minimizing the challenges associated with integrating large blocks of code from multiple sources” (Line 30, Federal Source Code Policy).

    • Munich publishes interim report on IT performance

      The city of Munich (Germany) has published the first part of a report on improving the city’s IT performance. The report by Accenture, a consultancy, suggests that the city uses a great many software applications, making its IT too complex.

    • Munich, Revisited

      News of the death of GNU/Linux in Munich’s local government is exaggerated, apparently. A thorough review of the global IT-system finds nothing to report. What it does find is that Munich is still using too many applications even after pruning them back severely in the migration to GNU/Linux.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open Source: Licensing Pitfalls May Outweigh Benefits [Ed: certainly another attack on using common talking points]

      A common provision of such licenses, however, is that any software that derives from the open-source software must also be made publically available under the same copyleft provisions. Some of these licenses can be incompatible with one another, so that by combining code blocks with different licenses a developer would create a situation where conforming to one license violates the terms of the other license. Some licenses may conflict with a businesses’ objectives by forbidding commercialization of derivative products. And some licenses, Leach noted, are “viral” in nature in that not only is the specific software built on the open-source component to be made open source under the license, so is all other integrated software that becomes part of the product. Further, such a viral license not only “infects” the developing company’s proprietary product software, forcing it to be open source, the license can force application software created by the product’s user to also become open source under the viral license.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • This open source tool will help you use your mind to control DIY projects

      Move over pressing buttons with hands. You can now use your mind to control smartphones, robots, and even your friends’ limbs with OpenBCI, an open-source brain-computer interface.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • RuuviTag, an open-source Bluetooth Sensor Beacon, heading to KickStarter

        RuuviTag is a low power, compact Bluetooth beacon solution that can monitor its surroundings in various ways, that can be implemented to other devices and projects due to its open development.

        Aside from being just a standard proximity beacon, it can also monitor temperature, humidity, air pressure and acceleration, and can be easily adjusted to cover different kinds of needs without programming or electronic knowledge. The device can operate for several years on a single coin battery.

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 more timeless lessons of programming ‘graybeards’

      The HR departments and hiring managers in Silicon Valley have a challenge. They can’t ask an applicant’s age because their companies have lost brutal discrimination lawsuits over the years. Instead, they develop little tricks like tossing in an oblique reference to “The Brady Bunch” (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”) and seeing if the candidate gets the joke. Candidates who chuckle are deemed a poor cultural fit and are tossed aside.

    • Node.js Foundation 2016 User Survey Report

      The Node.js Foundation recently conducted an expansive user survey to better understand Node.js users (you, or maybe you :). We were interested in getting a better sense of the type of development work you use Node.js for, what other technologies you use with Node.js, how the Node.js Foundation can help you get more out of Node.js, how you learn new languages, and more.

    • Learn Computer Science And Programming With Google’s New Education Website


  • Science

    • Britain’s scientists must not be gagged

      Unless government officials make a major U-turn in the next few days, many British scientists will soon be blocked from speaking out on key issues affecting the UK – from climate change to embryo research and from animal experiments to flood defences. This startling, and highly controversial, state of affairs follows a Cabinet Office decision, revealed by the Observer in February, that researchers who receive government grants will be banned, as of 1 May, from using the results of their work to lobby for changes in laws or regulations.

      The aim of the Cabinet Office edict was to stop NGOs from lobbying politicians and Whitehall departments using the government’s own funds. The effect, say senior scientists, campaigners and research groups, will be to muzzle scientists from speaking out on important issues. The government move is a straightforward assault on academic freedom, they argue.

    • How ‘The Jungle Book’ Made Its Animals Look So Real With Groundbreaking VFX

      A small, colorful bird flutters about on screen in the opening scene of Disney’s new live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, inviting the audience into the mythical wilds with an adorable chirp and clear message on behalf of the filmmakers, which amounts to, “Look what we can do now!”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • John Oliver Shames Congress for America’s Lead Contamination Crisis

      “There is no safe level of lead,” Oliver said. “It’s one of those things that are so dangerous, you shouldn’t even let a little bit inside of you—much like heroin or Jeremy Piven. Even low-level exposure can lead to irreversible damage like lower IQ’s, anti-social behavior, and reduced attention span.”

    • Bernie and Hillary Have Very Different Positions When It Comes to Fracking

      When Bernie Sanders addressed a huge crowd in Binghamton, New York last week and proposed a national fracking ban, it was the first time I’ve heard a national leader of his prominence get the science on fracking right.

      New Yorkers know that science, because we fought tooth and nail to ensure the perils of fracking were understood. In December 2014, our voices were heard, as the health commissioner found that fracking endangered public health. Governor Cuomo famously said he would follow “the science, not emotion” on fracking, and banned it throughout New York.

    • Davison student journalists broadcast loud and clear

      Surrounded by a throng of media outlets from all over the state at a news conference with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about replacing the city’s lead-tainted water pipes, Bruns, a 17-year-old reporter with Davison Community Schools’ DTV, knew she had to ask a question. Her camera person gave her a small shove into the crowd. She asked about the cost.

      “I have to put my voice out there,” said Bruns, a junior at Davison High School. “It’s taught me a lot about putting myself out there and being confident in my questions. …We’re the only high school doing this.”

      Bruns is part of a small but ambitious group of high school journalists at DTV, Davison’s student-run cable access station. Covering Flint’s water crisis long before the national media descended on Flint, they’re getting powerful first-hand lessons about the role of the media, politics and the human toll when government fails to do its job. Davison is just 10 minutes outside Flint.

    • Investment Court System put to the test

      New EU proposal will perpetuate investors’ attacks on health and environment

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • DHS CIO walks back staff comments on open source

      Some IT professionals at the Department of Homeland Security raised eyebrows over recent comments on GitHub that suggested a proposed federal open-source policy could result in the “mafia having a copy of all FBI system code” or could give terrorists “access to air traffic control software.” The comments were attributed to the CIO’s office.

      However, DHS CIO Luke McCormack has since filed his own official comments, noting that “prior comments do not represent DHS policy or views.”

    • Microsoft PowerShell — Hackers’ New Favorite Tool For Coding Malware

      You might not know but PowerShell, the ubiquitous force running behind the Windows environment, is slowly becoming a secure way for the attackers to hide their malicious activities. Unfortunately, at the moment, there’s no technical method of distinguishing between malicious and good PowerShell source code.

    • MIT reveals AI platform which detects 85 percent of cyberattacks

      Today’s cybersecurity professionals face daunting tasks: protecting enterprise networks from threats as best they can, damage limitation when data breaches occur, cyberforensics and documenting the evolution and spread of digital attacks and malware across the world.

    • Changing your password regularly is a terrible idea, and here’s why [Ed: security advice from agencies whose modus operandi, based on leaks, is to target sysadmins and hoard all their passwords isn't good advice]

      Most administrators force users to change their password at regular intervals — every 30, 60, or 90 days, for example. But this carries no real benefits as stolen passwords are generally exploited immediately, said CESG, the IT security arm of surveillance agency GCHQ.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US-Led Coalition Against Daesh Contracts for ‘Indefinite Quantity’ of Ammo

      The US-led coalition against Daesh will buy an unspecified amount of non-standard ammunition from Orbital ATK weapons manufacturer.

    • Orbital ATK making non-U.S. standard ammo for U.S. allies

      Non-U.S. standard ammunition and mortar weapons systems are to continue to be produced by Orbital ATK under a new indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award from the U.S. Government.

    • Orbital ATK Wins Ammunition and Mortar Weapons Contract From Dept. of Defense (NYSE:OA)
    • Explaining Trump and Clinton to a Global Audience (and to Americans)

      Then across the span of a day, September 11, 2001, America changed. We became, as a nation, afraid.

      We were afraid of enemies most Americans had heard little about. We were afraid of what might happen next. We were afraid of an attack against the shopping mall, the school, the tiny place in our tiny town that didn’t show up well on most local maps, never mind one bin Laden might use. Our fears were carefully curated by opportunistic people in two successive administrations, who used that fear to manipulate democracy itself. They turned America’s vast spying apparatus inward, imposed a global gulag archipelago of torture sites and secret prisons, and institutionalizing the drone wars.

      Amid the various causes and justifications, that it is all about oil, or empire, what it is all about at the root level is fear. Fear of the latest bogeyman, fear screeches of groups on YouTube are real, and that they are ready to strike what we now all call the Homeland. That word never existed in America prior to 9/11.

    • US War Crimes in Iraq: Fallujah Residents Starving, Murdered, Besieged by US Backed Government Forces and ISIS

      Fallujah is now under siege by the US imposed Iraqi puppet government and ISIS – as people demonstrate in thousands in protest at yet another American backed administration which has brought nothing but misery to the population. Incredibly US Vice President Joe Biden and Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani have come together: “to make clear … that no attempt should be made to unseat” the current Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi. (“US, Iran Keep Iraqi PM in Place”, Reuters, 6 April 2016.)

    • Saudis have lobbying muscle for 9/11 fight

      Saudi Arabia has an army of Washington lobbyists to deploy as it tries to stop Congress from passing legislation that could expose the country to litigation over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

      The kingdom employs a total of eight American firms that perform lobbying, consulting, public relations and legal work.

      Five of the firms work for the Saudi Arabia Embassy, while another two — Podesta Group and BGR Group — have registered to represent the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, an arm of the government. PR giant Edelman, meanwhile, is working for the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority to encourage international investment.

    • Uncovering the Hidden Truths of 9/11

      This vexing issue is back in the news again thanks to CBS, whose 60 Minutes program reported on the so-called “28 Pages,” the portion of the official report on 9/11 that has been withheld from the public since 2003, through two presidencies. Many former officials, including members of Congress, long demanded Washington release the 28 Pages, to no avail. Presidents Bush and Obama have demurred because those pages reveal some very unflattering things about Saudi Arabia, our longtime ally.

    • An Interview With Gustavo Castro, Sole Witness to Assassination of Berta Cáceres

      The government wanted me under its control. It has no laws that protect victims. Nor does it have regulations or protocols or a budget to protect human rights activists. Nor does it have regulations for protected witnesses. So they wanted me under their so-called protection where there is no law that obligates them to do anything. Which is why I stayed in the Mexican Embassy. But it was a month of horrible stress and tension, in which the government, with its complete lack of regulations or protocols, could easily accuse me of anything at any moment, show up with a judicial order, and the Mexican Embassy wouldn’t have been able to do anything. One week before I arrived in Honduras, the Judicial Commission had been dissolved, so there was no legal instrument with which I could defend myself. There was no commission before which I could denounce a judge who acted illegally, because that commission had been dissolved. So I found myself in total legal defenselessness — without a lawyer, because they suspended her. And it seemed neither international pressure nor the Mexican government could do anything. So it was a state of complete insecurity and a constant violation of my human rights.

    • Saudi Arabia Coerces US Over 9/11

      Saudi Arabia is threatening to financially punish the U.S. if it holds the kingdom to account for its 9/11 role…

    • Clinton and Sanders Back Saudi-9/11 Bill, But Who Has Read ‘Missing 28 Pages’?

      Though he has access to the pages, Sanders told “CBS This Morning” on Monday that he hasn’t yet read them—nor will he, until they are publicly released.

      “The difficulty is,” he explained, “you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not.”

    • The Pretense of Nation-Building

      It is no wonder then, that U.S. intervention has fomented and fueled sectarian and tribal civil wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere. The expertise of America’s geopolitical planners has proven to be, not in the building of nations, but in the demolition of societies.

    • Tomgram: William Astore, Words About War Matter

      Since 9/11, can there be any doubt that the public has become numb to the euphemisms that regularly accompany U.S. troops, drones, and CIA operatives into Washington’s imperial conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa? Such euphemisms are meant to take the sting out of America’s wars back home. Many of these words and phrases are already so well known and well worn that no one thinks twice about them anymore.

      Here are just a few: collateral damage for killed and wounded civilians (a term used regularly since the First Gulf War of 1990-1991). Enhanced interrogation techniques for torture, a term adopted with vigor by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of their administration (“techniques” that were actually demonstrated in the White House). Extraordinary rendition for CIA kidnappings of terror suspects off global streets or from remote badlands, often followed by the employment of enhanced interrogation techniques at U.S. black sites or other foreign hellholes. Detainees for prisoners and detention camp for prison (or, in some cases, more honestly, concentration camp), used to describe Guantánamo (Gitmo), among other places established offshore of American justice. Targeted killings for presidentially ordered drone assassinations. Boots on the ground for yet another deployment of “our” troops (and not just their boots) in harm’s way. Even the Bush administration’s Global War on Terror, its label for an attempt to transform the Greater Middle East into a Pax Americana, would be redubbed in the Obama years overseas contingency operations (before any attempt at labeling was dropped for a no-name war pursued across major swathes of the planet).

    • Iraqi Refugee Kicked Off Plane for Speaking Arabic in L.A. Says Islamophobia Boosts ISIS

      An Iraqi college student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in Los Angeles this month and interrogated by the F.B.I. because a fellow passenger overheard him speaking Arabic during the boarding process.

      The student, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, was granted asylum in the United States after his father was killed by Saddam Hussein’s secret police. He told The Intercept that he wants Americans to know about what happened to him because the current wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in the United States is counter-productive, since it reinforces the propaganda of the Islamic extremists. Americans who see all Muslims as potential terrorists, he said, are “playing straight into the rhetoric of the Islamic State — they fall into the trap.”

    • Politics, racism and Israel/Palestine

      If we need to be vigilant against the evil of antisemitism, we need to be equally vigilant against the kind of virulent racism which is gaining ground in Israel.


      Anti-Zionist Jews in Israel and in the diaspora find common cause with the Palestinian Authority not because they share a desire to annihilate the Jewish state but because they oppose a militant, ultra-nationalist Zionism that ironically has the denial of Palestinian statehood at its core.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Netherlands moots electric car future with petrol and diesel ban by 2025
    • The Netherlands Could Soon Ban The Sale Of Non-Electric Cars

      In the Netherlands, gas-powered cars could soon be a thing of the past.

      The lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a motion recently that would ban the sales of non-electric cars in the country by 2025. The motion still needs to pass the Senate to become binding, but if it does, it would mean that the only non-electric cars allowed in the Netherlands would be those already on the road today: anyone in the country looking to buy a new car would have to buy electric.

      Such a law would, naturally, lead to a big increase in electric car ownership in the Netherlands. Already, the Netherlands is doing pretty well on EV purchasing: last year, Dutch residents bought more than 43,000 new electric cars, and EVs currently make up nearly 10 percent of the country’s market. The Netherlands ranks second in the world for market share of electric vehicles — behind Norway, where over 22 percent of the market is made up of electric cars. In the United States, for comparison, EVs make up 0.66 percent of the market.

    • 250 Faith Leaders Demand Nations Ratify Paris Climate Deal

      Former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres has credited faith groups for helping to advance the Paris Climate Agreement by supporting “holistic, equitable, but above all, ambitious climate action.”

    • Fossil fuels could be phased out worldwide in a decade, says new study

      The worldwide reliance on burning fossil fuels to create energy could be phased out in a decade, according to an article published by a major energy think tank.

  • Finance

    • How The American Neoconservatives Destroyed Mankind’s Hopes For Peace

      The only achievements of the American neoconservatives are to destroy in war crimes millions of peoples in eight countries and to send the remnant populations fleeing into Europe as refugees, thus undermining the American puppet governments there, and to set back the chances of world peace and American leadership by creating a powerful strategic alliance between Russia and China.

    • Lies and the Koh I Noor Diamond

      Britain annexed the Sikh Kingdom. Poor Dulip Singh was forcibly separated from his mother and exiled to Scotland, where he was held effectively a state prisoner until his death.

      It is bad enough to see senior Indians kowtowing to that lazy bald bloke and his skinny wife, on the very expensive luxury holiday I am paying for, without also seeing the Indian government playing lickspittle in court.

    • Wonks and Activists

      In other posts I wrote about how Paul Krugman, a genuine expert, was completely wrong about the impact of trade treaties, especially NAFTA. Larry Summers, a genuine expert with a lot of real-world experience, has been disastrously wrong on a number of occasions, not least of which was his loud endorsement of financial deregulation, even after the Long Term Capital Management debacle. Summers was one of the people who quashed the efforts of Brooksley Born to regulate derivatives.

    • The Obamacare “Wonks” Are Awfully Selective about Which Taxes and Costs They See

      In this passage, Cohn talks about the things that Bernie Sanders might do as President that fall short of his goal of “single payer” health care (I put that in quotes because what we’re really talking about is government paid health insurance — as providers pull out of exchanges in Obamacare we’re actually moving closer to a much more alarming sort of single payer model).

    • Panama Papers: Reigniting the Debate for a Global Tax Body

      Globally, economists estimate that $7.6tn worth of assets are held off shore and are thereby avoiding taxation – 25% more than five years ago and equivalent to 8% of the world’s total financial assets. Citizens for Tax Justice have calculated that Fortune 500 companies alone hold a record $2.4tn in offshore accounts, which they argue allows them to avoid almost $700bn in US federal income taxes. Most recently, Oxfam have estimated that the 50 largest US companies have $1.4 trillion hidden in Tax havens, which costs the US government approximately $111 each year. In the EU, governments are reportedly losing out on revenues of between 50-70bn euros ($56-79bn).

    • The Panama Papers and the 1%

      Mainstream media have had little to say about the tax evasions of global corporations, choosing instead to focus on world leaders who, personally or via family and cronies, have moved funds into companies abroad to avoid paying taxes—for instance, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, David Cameron, Nawaz Sharif, and Iceland’s Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (the only one to step down). Naturally, they all reject criticism, saying that what they did isn’t illegal (Britain, Pakistan, and Iceland), or the leaks are a Western attempt to undermine their rule (Russia), or the news isn’t fit to print (China). Largely missing from the discussion is the consequences of tax avoidance: it robs the poor—countries and people—to further enrich the wealthy. Unpaid taxes skew government budgets, reduce spending on social well being, and, for a poor country, force reliance on foreign loans that typically come with strings attached. In countries with widespread official corruption, the poor are doubly cheated.

    • Patriotic Philanthropy?

      On one hand, Rubinstein uses his wealth to preserve various artifacts of American history. On the other, he uses his wealth to convince lawmakers to maintain a preferential and fundamentally unfair tax status for himself and other millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing patriotic or philanthropic about subverting the fabric of our democracy.

    • Hooray for Hillary Clinton’s Ties to Walmart

      Senator Bernie Sanders is emailing supporters highlighting the fact that his opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton, is being supported by “enormous checks from people like Alice Walton (yes, Wal-Mart).” And it is true. Federal campaign finance records show that Walton, of Bentonville, Arkansas, gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign $2,700, and then wrote another check, for $353,400, to the “Hillary Victory Fund.”

      The support for Clinton’s campaign represents something of a political shift for Walton. Previously, her large donations had mainly gone to Republicans. The Federal Election Commission records show she donated a total of $200,000 in 2011 and 2012 to a committee backing Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, and a total of $2 million in 2004 to a group supporting President George W. Bush’s reelection. Additional contributions of more than $150,000 in the past dozen years have gone to groups supporting Republican candidates for the House and Senate.

    • Panama and the Criminalization of the Global Finance System

      Well, Panama was basically carved off from Colombia in order to have a canal. It was created very much like Liberia. It’s not really a country in the sense that a country has its own currency and its own tax system. Panama uses U.S. dollars. So does Liberia.

      The real story didn’t come out in the Panama papers. Reporters naturally focused on criminal people laundering money. But Panama wasn’t designed to launder money. It was designed to launder earnings – mainly by the oil and the gas industries, and the mining industry.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton and the Gender Card

      Not race nor gender — nor any other innate characteristic — should be the touchstone in voting for President of the United States. Yet, as I have traveled the country these past several years, I have been amazed at how many Americans have no qualms in stating that their support for President Barack Obama is based solely – or mostly – on his being black. Equally amazing is the unabashedly indiscriminate support I hear voiced by highly educated women for Hillary Clinton – “because she is a woman and it’s our turn,” as they put it.

    • Bernie Sanders Is Almost Tied Nationally and Ahead of Clinton in Three Democratic Primary Polls
    • Once Ahead by 60 Points, Clinton National Lead over Sanders Has Dwindled to Zero

      Though all political eyes in the U.S. are now focused like a laser beam on Tuesday’s New York primary, the national trends remain startling when it comes to the intense competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

      Though Clinton led Sanders by sixty points when he entered the campaign less than a year ago, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Monday shows that lead has been “all but eliminated” – with only two percentage points now separating the Democratic candidates.

      As the Journal reports, “The result continues a steady narrowing of the gap between the two Democratic candidates since January, when Mrs. Clinton led by 25 points, 59% to 34%. And it is a far cry from the way the race looked when Mr. Sanders began his campaign last year: In June 2015, a Journal/NBC poll found Mrs. Clinton leading by 60 percentage points, 75% to 15%.”

    • Bill Moyers: How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics

      When a politician talks anger and they talk fear, they are mainlining, just like a heroin addict, going straight for the most sensitive parts of the brain because fear and anger are those emotions that we really relate to. And when a politician engages and indulges people’s fears and their angers, they seem really authentic. That’s why Donald Trump seems so authentic to so many millions of people because these emotions are so strong and powerful.

    • Democrats March Toward Cliff

      It is hard to imagine someone who is viewed unfavorably by a clear majority of voters (56 percent) and with a net-negative of 24 points winning the White House, except that most voters also don’t like the top Republican choices either. Donald Trump sports a 41-point net-negative and Sen. Ted Cruz is at minus-23 points. (By contrast, of the two trailing candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders gets a net-positive 9 points and Gov. John Kasich a net-positive 12 points.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russia’s Top Investigator Wants Internet Censorship to Fight U.S. ‘Info War’
    • Top Russian investigator proposes internet censorship using Chinese experience
    • Literary censorship in schools impedes progress

      “I believe that books challenge and interrogate. They give us windows into the lives of others and give us mirrors so that we can better see ourselves. Ultimately if you have a worldview that can be undone by a novel, let me submit that the problem is not with the novel,” states bestselling author John Green in his latest YouTube video, “On the Banning of Looking for Alaska.” His response comes right after the American Library Association (ALA) released its list of the most banned or challenged books of 2015 with Green’s award-winning novel, “Looking for Alaska,” topping off the list at number one.

    • American Self-Censorship Association

      The American Bar Association is bowing to China again. Last year it barely mumbled condemnation after Beijing rounded up more than 200 lawyers and legal activists across China. Now comes news that it also nixed a book deal with a leading human-rights lawyer for fear of “upsetting the Chinese government.”

    • Teng Biao Book Canceled for Fear of “Upsetting” China

      Human rights lawyer and activist Teng Biao, living in the U.S. since 2014 as the situation for rights lawyers back in China has become increasingly bleak, has been working on the book “Darkness Before Dawn,” a reflection on his 11 years of fighting for human rights in China. The American Bar Association (ABA), which had commissioned the book in late 2014, last year wrote Teng with bad news: they would not be able to publish the book due to “concern that we run the risk of upsetting the Chinese government.”

    • Leaked Email: ABA Cancels Book for Fear of ‘Upsetting the Chinese Government’

      The American Bar Association insists the move was market-driven, but an employee email says otherwise.

    • Is the ABA Afraid of the Chinese Government?

      The American Bar Association retracted an offer to publish the book of a well-known Chinese human rights lawyer last year, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

      In a January 2015 email to human rights lawyer and author Teng Biao, one ABA employee said the book was being killed because of the “risk of upsetting the Chinese government,” according to the article in Foreign Policy. A reporter for the magazine said Teng only forwarded the ABA’s email to his publication last week.

    • China Bans Rich Kids From TV So They Can’t Embarrass the State
    • Censorship FTW! China bans Paris Hilton, minor Kardashians et al

      It might be time to reconsider the evils of China’s censorship regime, after the Middle Kingdom slapped a ban on reality TV shows featuring celebrities’ children.

      China’s not super-keen on reality shows: this 2015 speech by official Tian Jin urges their producers to make people, not celebrities, the real heroes of such programs. It also calls for reality shows to demonstrate proper socialistic values, represent historical and cotemporary Chinese culture faithfully and avoid sexing things up and thereby straying from the truth.

      State-owned outlet Xinhua now reports that the nation’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has circulated an edict effectively banning reality shows featuring celebrities’ kids from state-owned media.

    • Government denies allegations of state media censorship

      This declaration comes days after a US State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015, cited actions of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo under the heading of ‘Censorship or Content Restrictions’.

    • US Human Rights report cites PM’s “headline” concern

      Nagamootoo’s directive to the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper that all headlines must first get his office’s green-light.

      ‘In August the prime minister issued a directive that all headlines in the state-owned print media be first scrutinized and approved by his office before they are published. The directive was a response to a headline criticizing the government,” the report notes.

    • Nothing About The Story Of An Artist Being Threatened With A Lawsuit Over A Painting Of A Small-Dicked Donald Trump Makes Sense

      The Guardian had a weird story over the weekend claiming that artist Illma Gore is being threatened with a lawsuit if she sells a painting she created of a naked Donald Trump with, well, a less than average sized schlong (and I use that term, only because Trump apparently likes that word). I won’t post an image of the painting. The Guardian has the whole thing if you really feel like seeing it. But almost nothing in the story makes any sense at all.

    • Another police report made against Amos Yee – this time for insulting Islam

      Amos Yee whose whereabouts is still unknown has uploaded a photo in his Facebook. In the photo he is seen with a shawl over his head, holding up a Quran with one hand and making an extremely rude gesture with another.

    • Indonesia tells Singapore to mind its own business over the haze issue

      IN comments certain to rile Singaporean officials, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said Singapore should stop commenting on Indonesia’s efforts to combat haze and fires, and “focus on their own role.”

      Indonesia’s neighbors, Singapore and Malaysia, are frequently victims of haze from fires in Indonesian territory in what seems to be an annual affair. Jakarta has often been accused of not doing enough to address the problem, and the minister’s comments suggest that it is irritated over the criticism it receives.

      While strongly defending her government’s commitment to curbing land and forest fires, Siti questioned Singapore’s role in doing the same.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Indonesia rules out apology to victims at state-endorsed talks on 1965 massacres

      Human rights advocates are hopeful the symposium will lead to a public hearing process, so Indonesians can hear firsthand accounts from survivors and descendants of victims.

      “This is an essential element of an effective accountability process,” said Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth.

      “Dozens of countries around the world have had truth commissions shed light on past atrocities, issues that are always difficult matters to address. Why not Indonesia?”

    • Police Officer Attempts To Set Record For Most Constitutional Violations In A Single Traffic Stop

      As we’re well aware, officers need not trouble themselves as to the details of the laws they enforce. If they feel something is a violation of the law, they’re pretty much free to pull someone over and engage in some light questioning. (The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court recently declared it’s even OK for police officers to lie about the reason they’ve pulled you over.)

    • 27 Percent of New York’s Registered Voters Won’t Be Able to Vote in the State’s Primary

      New York’s restrictive voting laws hurt voters across the political spectrum, but could have a particularly chilling effect on younger Bernie Sanders supporters. “Thirty-seven percent of voters under the age of 30—the Vermont senator’s core group of supporters—aren’t registered to a political party in New York City,” writes Russell Berman in The Atlantic. There’s a good chance a surge of non-affiliated voters will show up at the polls on Tuesday, only to be turned away. (Hundreds of New Yorkers have also filed suit because their registrations have mysteriously changed from Democratic or Republican to not affiliated or independent.)

    • Only Bernie Sanders can break the power of capitalism in the US

      Defining the race as a choice between class and identity, between economic justice and social justice, was Clinton’s masterstroke. If it works, Sanders will be sunk by a combination of Wall Street money and millions of black votes in the southern states. The latter backed Clinton in some places eight or nine to one.

    • UC Davis Chancellor Survives 5-Week Sit-In Protesting Her Ties To Companies That Profit Off Students

      It’s one thing for a university chancellor to sit on a for-profit board. It’s another for a chancellor to sit on the board of a company that makes money off of students with expensive textbooks, and then move on to another that’s under investigation by the federal government.

    • #BlackLivesMatter in Britain too: why does our media care less?

      The UK media seems more comfortable talking about race issues in America than those closer to home. It is the BBC’s responsibility to challenge these double standards.

    • Pennsylvania Cop Threatens Child on School Bus: Don’t Smile or I’ll Drag You to the F*cking Police Car

      A police officer outside the city of Pittsburgh was caught on tape berating a school child on a bus for smiling at him, according to a video posted to Facebook.

      The video was posted on April 13 but the caption doesn’t give much in the way of details. It says the officer works for the North Braddock Police Department. He walks over to a child seated on a school bus and leans over threateningly.

    • Court Shoots Down Cops Attempting To Prop Up Two Warrantless Searches With A Stack Of Lies

      “Our word against yours,” says law enforcement. The accusers are almost always deemed eminently credible. Presumption of innocence and all that, but the accused are almost always deemed… incredible[?]… right up until law enforcement shows its narrative can’t hold hydrogen or oxygen, much less water. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Roughly paraphrased, this is the story: some cop saw a guy take a white grocery bag full of something and put it in his car. Surveillance commenced. The car’s driver failed to signal a turn, which was all the cops needed to begin an exploratory stop.

      As we know, law enforcement is no longer allowed to artificially prolong traffic stops until probable cause for a search develops. Instead, it must hand out its tickets and move along. Exceptions apply, of course, but that is the gist of the Supreme Court’s Rodriguez decision.

    • N.D.Okla: Material govt’s LEO witnesses to consent were so bad govt retracted their testimony, and search fails

      The government realized when they called defendant’s estranged wife near the end of the suppression hearing about the alleged consent search of their house that “As the suppression hearing unfolded over the course of two days, the credibility of certain law enforcement witnesses was called into serious question” about the search of the house. They regrouped, asked to reopen the proof, and retracted the testimony they found false. The court makes the credibility determination that all the material government witnesses aren’t believable and suppresses the consent search. Without the consent search, the search warrant fails, too. United States v. Fernandes, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17933 (N.D.Okla. Feb. 12, 2016).

    • City Council Using Open Records Requests To See What Members Are Saying About Them Behind Their Backs

      Most convicts already have diminished rights, depending on their convictions. Denying open records to ex-cons or those in prison denies them access to justice. It doesn’t happen often, but prisoners have been able to have their cases reheard by uncovering prosecutorial misconduct through FOIA requests. And let’s not forget that a man imprisoned for tax fraud blew the lid off law enforcement’s use of Stingray devices while still behind bars, thanks to incessant FOIA requests.

      The step back from the slope was one of pure capitulation: council member Emma Acosta never tabled the motion. Apparently she was well-aware the discriminatory suggestion wouldn’t survive a challenge. She instead proposed that telephone numbers of city employees should be redacted and her “no criminals allowed” suggestion was removed from the agenda.

    • Bernie Supporters Are Mostly Disappointed in Obama

      As for Bernie supporters, I don’t think they view Obama as a rebel or a truthteller. Bernie himself is careful not to criticize Obama, but a lot of his supporters see Obama as basically a disappointment: just another squishy centrist who made some incremental progress and called it a day. In the end, we still don’t have universal health care; the banks are still running things; the Republican Party continues to obstruct; and rich people are still rich. That’s the very reason we need a guy like Bernie in the Oval Office.

    • The Oregon Department of Justice Trains Agents on How to Break the Law

      After about five months of waiting, the Oregon Department of Justice last week released its internal human resources investigation conducted by the special assistant attorney general looking into the surveillance of people on Twitter using #BlackLivesMatter.

    • An Internal Report on Oregon’s Illegal Surveillance of Black Lives Matter on Twitter Leaves Us With More Questions Than Answers
    • The Oregon Department of Justice’s Illegal Surveillance Shows It Lives Inside a Bubble of Bias

      The state of Oregon last week finally released the long awaited report on its Department of Justice’s surveillance of people using the Black Lives Matter hashtag among others. The report and the 162 page appendix, the work of an independent investigator, is disturbing and reveals a range of deeply troubling issues about the Justice Department’s Criminal Justice Division, so much so, that we decided we needed to tackle it in separate posts.

    • More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ protesters arrested in D.C. – so far

      Police have calmly arrested hundreds of people in Washington, D,.C. protesting the influence of money in politics during the last week, in what several participants described as a striking display of restrained law enforcement.

      More arrests are expected Monday, the final day of protests when the focus of the non-violent protests turn to voting rights and timely consideration of the Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police have arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday.

      Mass demonstrations by a group called “Democracy Spring” began last Monday. A related group, “Democracy Awakening,” joined the efforts on Saturday and are holding often integrated sit ins and other demonstrations to protest laws it considers discriminatory, such as Voter ID laws.

    • Why Can’t The Nation & the Left Deal With Election Theft?

      To avoid the circular firing squad in which the left indulges every election year, we should make it clear that we are both members of the Green Party. We prefer Bernie to Hillary, but like Jill Stein most of all. We hope Bernie at some point will establish a substantial string of grassroots training camps so the thousands of highly active young people who are supporting him will convert those energies to great long-term community organizing.

    • Sweden’s housing minister resigns amid ‘extremist links’ row [iophk: "This is the same guy that has openly admitted to pushing an islamist agenda"]

      Turkish-born Mehmet Kaplan denies wrongdoing and says he is stepping down due to public and media criticism

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Broadband Industry Is Now Officially Blaming Google (Alphabet) For…Everything

      From net neutrality to municipal broadband, to new broadband privacy rules and a quest to open up the cable set top box to competition, we’ve noted repeatedly that the FCC under Tom Wheeler isn’t the same FCC we’ve learned to grumble about over the years. For a twenty-year stretch, regardless of party control, the agency was utterly, dismally apathetic to the lack of competition in the broadband space. But under Wheeler, the FCC has not only made broadband competition a priority, but has engaged in other bizarre, uncharacteristic behaviors — like using actual real-world data to influence policy decisions.

    • House Passes Bill Attempting To Gut Net Neutrality, Supporters Declare The Internet Saved

      As we’ve been discussing, the House has been pushing a new bill dubbed the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act” (pdf). As the name implies, the bill is being framed as a way to keep an “out of control” government from imposing new price caps on broadband, not coincidentally as the broadband industry increasingly eyes usage caps and overages to take advantage of a lack of sector competition. The bill has numerous problems, not least of which being that a special definition of “rate regulation” included in the bill would effectively prevent the FCC from doing, well, anything.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Russia: New Amendments Would Allow Use Of Inventions Without Permission Of Patent Holders

      The Russian government is considering approval of a package of controversial amendments to national legislation that would allow the use of inventions without the permission of patent holders.

    • WIPO Committee Adopts New Development Projects, Agrees Future Work, Stumbles On Technical Assistance

      The issue of technical assistance that WIPO provides to developing countries is a tough issue as developing countries have expressed concern about the nature of advice being provided – that it might favour the strict application of intellectual property rights instead of also presenting flexibilities available to developing and least-developed countries.

    • Computer generates all possible ideas to beat patent trolls

      Alex Reben came up with 2.5 million ideas in just three days. Nearly all of them are terrible – but he doesn’t mind. He thinks he has found a way to thwart patent trolls by putting their speculative ideas in the public domain before they can make a claim.

      In his project, called All Prior Art, Reben, an artist and engineer, uses software to rummage through the US patent database, which is freely available online. The software extracts sentences from patent documents and splices them into phrases that describe new inventions.

      The result is a bizarre array of contraptions that don’t quite make sense. A robotic phone book. A nasal plug adorned with magnetic jewellery. 3D-printed soap that kills pests on strawberry plants. And one of Reben’s favourites – a temperature-regulating adult nappy with a built-in hood.

    • Epic Trade Secret Case Billion Dollar Verdict

      I expect that 2016 will be the year that Congress to creates a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. Acting in rare unanimous fashion, the Senate recently passed the Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA) with republican leadership. The house is expected to follow with President Obama also indicating support. In his most recent State of the Union Address, President Obama noted that “[n]o foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to . . . steal our trade secrets.”

    • Copyrights

      • After 4 Years… Copyright Holders Still Think Megaupload is Alive

        More than four years after Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. Government, several prominent copyright holders still ‘think’ that the site is hosting infringing content. Automated bots operated by their anti-piracy partners continue to send Google numerous takedown notices for Megaupload URLs, more than it received when the site was still online.

      • A Pirate in Local Government – An Interview with David Elston
      • EU Regulators Seem To Think They Can Tell YouTube That Its Business Model Should Be More Like Spotify

        We’ve been quite concerned about new internet regulations on the way from the EU, with a focus on how internet platforms must act. As we’ve noted, the effort is officially part of the (reasonable and good!) idea of making a “Digital Single Market,” but where the process is being used by some who think it’s an opportunity to attack the big internet companies (mainly Google and Facebook). There are two EU Commissioners heading up the effort, and one, Gunther Oettinger, has been fairly explicit that he’d like to burden American internet firms with regulations to “replace” them with European equivalents. Of course, as we’ve noted, when you have giant companies like Google and Facebook, they can pretty much handle whatever regulatory burden you throw at them. It’s the innovators and the startups that will be shut out because they won’t be able to manage it. So, ironically, in trying to hold back Google and Facebook with regulations, the EU would really only entrench them as the only players able to handle those regulations.

      • Supreme Court Says It Won’t Hear Authors Guild Appeal Over Google Books Ruling

        Last fall, the 2nd Circuit appeals court gave a clear and convincing win to Google in the long-running Authors Guild case against Google’s book scanning program. And, really, the decision was a massive win for the public, in that it was a strong defense of fair use (even in commercial settings). But, of course, the still clueless Authors Guild — which doesn’t seem to actually represent the interests of most authors (many of whom have found Google Books to be a profoundly useful tool) — decided to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the case.

      • Case Closed: Supreme Court Lets Fair Use Ruling Stand in Google Books Litigation

        The Google Books case is over after a decade of litigation, leaving in its wake new guidance on the reach of the fair use doctrine and, not incidentally, protection for an extraordinary public resource for finding books and information.


Links 18/4/2016: Linux 4.6 RC4, Tomb Raider for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Keeping the Blockchain Open in the Shadow of Tech Giants

    You’ll find it parroted most in the open source community, particularly when Microsoft pulls stunts like their recent “partnering” with canonical to implement an Ubuntu-like Posix environment in Windows Ten. The phrase originates from the DOJ’s findings during the United States v. Microsoft Corp. antitrust case in 2003, as an internal standard for their technology development. Examples of Microsoft’s attempts at this methodology are pervasive in their offerings, including ActiveX and DirectX in the web and graphics software ecosystems, and recently, their involvement with the Linux community.

  • MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, Huawei Sign Open Source Agreement

    The MEF, China Unicom, ON.Lab, and Huawei are pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on using open source solutions to transform Central Offices and accelerate the industry transition to Third Network services. MOU partners will develop Proof of Concept use cases that illustrate how operators can deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated MEF-defined services by using open source software and open specification hardware. These use cases will serve as a stepping stone for deployable Third Network services that yield productivity-enhancing benefits for end customers.

  • Events

    • Mixing Linux and ZFS, LinuxFest NorthWest and More…

      It’s LinuxFest NorthWest time! I’ve never been to LFNW, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. Back in the day — we’re talking the late 1960s and early 70s — Bellingham was home to a hippie underground newspaper, Northwest Passage, that was known in counterculture circles of the day across the continent. Alas, the Passage has been gone since ’86, but its spirit seems to live on in a high techy, Linuxy sort of way at LFNW. From what I’ve seen, LFNW seems to be the most community driven and for-the–people of the major festivals in the U.S.

    • Reflections on Starting a Local FOSS Group

      Last Wednesday was no less than the third time the local FOSS group in Aalborg met. Today I’m looking back at how it all started so I thought I would share some thoughts that may help others who would like to spread free and open source software in their local area.

    • BrickHack 2016

      Last month at the Rochester Institute of Technology, BrickHack 2016 came to a close. BrickHack is an annual hackathon organized by students at RIT. Close to 300 people attend every year. This year was BrickHack’s second event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An introduction to Redox

        Back in March, a young operating system project attracted attention in the open source community. The project is called Redox and its developers are working on a Unix-like operating system written in the Rust language. The Redox operating system features a microkernel design (like MINIX), the permissive MIT license and some interesting design ideas.

        While I read a lot of opinions in March about the developers and their design goals, I encountered very little commentary on what it was like to use the young operating system itself. This lead me to become curious and download the project’s small installation ISO which is just 26MB in size.

      • Firefox 45.0.2 Has Been Released
      • Thunderbird 45.0 Has Been Released, Bringing New Features And Bug-Fixes
      • ‘BLATANTLY ILLEGAL’: 17 newspapers slam ex-Mozilla CEO’s new ad-blocking browser [Ed: means he does it right!]

        A group of the biggest US newspaper publishers — including Dow Jones, The Washington Post, and The New York Times Co. — have cosigned what they are calling a “cease and desist” letter (read it in full below) sent to the former Mozilla CEO’s new browser company.

      • A nail in the coffin for Firefox? Mozilla struggles to redefine browser

        A quiet announcement about a new Mozilla project sounded like a death knell for the Firefox browser.

        It wasn’t. But the project, called Tofino, reveals the technology challenges Mozilla faces more than a decade after Firefox’s debut. Hundreds of millions of people still use the browser, but its star is fading compared with Google’s Chrome.

        Mozilla released details about the Tofino project Friday, saying a six-person team at Mozilla will consider how to radically revamp Web browsers.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • LibreOffice


    • Richard Stallman on Free Software: Freedom is Worth the Inconvenience

      Dr. Richard Stallman is an inductee of the internet hall of fame as well as the founder of the “Free Software” movement. In the words of Robert Grüning “Richard Stallman is like the Socrates of software, the money making colleagues are the sophists.” Another member of my audience said that Stallman is like Tron – he fights for the users. Yet Richard himself disliked both characterizations and called them misleading. So I suggest you check out my Singularity 1on1 interview with Richard Stallman, learn about the Free Software movement and judge for yourself.

    • DejaGnu 1.6 released

      DejaGnu 1.6 was released on April 15, 2016. Important changes include decent SSH support, many bug fixes and a much improved manual. Many old and defunct board files have been removed.

    • Libgcrypt 1.7.0 released
  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free, high-quality education resources from the National Science Digital Library

        The use of open educational resources is growing. Open education involves making learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available to all without the restrictions of copyright and proprietary licensing models. According to U.S. Secretary of Education John King, “Openly licensed educational resources can increase equity by providing all students, regardless of zip code, access to high-quality learning materials that have the most up-to-date and relevant content.”

    • Open Hardware or OS

      • Redox: a Rust-based microkernel

        Creating a new operating system from scratch is a daunting task—witness the slow progress of GNU Hurd, for example. But it would be hard to argue that the existing systems are the be-all and end-all of how we interact with computer hardware. At least some of the deficiencies in today’s offerings can arguably be traced to the language used to implement them; C, for all its power, has some fairly serious flaws that lead to bugs and security holes of various sorts. So it is interesting to see a new entrant that uses the Rust language, which is focused on memory safety. The result is Redox, which is still far from ready for everyday use, but may provide an interesting counterpoint to Linux, the BSDs, OS X, Windows, and others.

      • Announcing Kestrel-4

        Based on the recent and wild success of the Kestrel-3 home-brew computer project, I am happy to announce my next project for the open computing masses. Say hello to the Kestrel-4.

      • An Open-Source Steam Controller Driver is in Development

        What properly holds me back from buying one is the fact I need to use Steam to use the controller, and the few games I do play aren’t available on Steam (e.g, SuperTuxKart, MAME, etc).

      • Open-source 3D printed WireBeings robot allows for voice controlled wifi functionality at a bargain

        When I was a child growing up in the 1980s robots were something found exclusively in the realm of science fiction. As time passed, the 1990s emerged and Honda’s Asimo started making appearances in tech-centric television programming on the Discovery Channel or TLC (this, during an era when those networks still focused on educational content).

  • Programming/Development

    • RFC: EfficiencySanitizer

      We plan to build a suite of compiler-based dynamic instrumentation tools for analyzing targeted performance problems. These tools will all live under a new “EfficiencySanitizer” (or “esan”) sanitizer umbrella, as they will share significant portions of their implementations.

    • Google Is Working On An Efficiency Sanitizer To Improve Performance Problems

      Derek Bruening of Google has announced the company’s interest in creating an “Efficiency Sanitizer” for LLVM/Clang for analyzing targeted performance problems.

      Worked on Google and other compoanies have been Address Sanitizer, Memory Sanitizer, Thread Sanitizer, Leak Sanitizer, Data Flow Sanitizer, and other sanitizers found in LLVM/Clang some of which have also been ported to GCC. These sanitizers have been incredibly helpful for developers in catching various problems within program code-bases, including many security issues. The latest focus being pursued by Google’s compiler engineers is on an Efficiency Sanitizer.


  • Science

    • 10 Inventors Who Died Because Of Their Own Inventions

      These people made contributions to the mankind but they would have never thought that their own creation would be held accountable for their last breath.

    • Actor Wil Wheaton Brings Love of Arts to STEM Festival

      Actor and writer Wil Wheaton wants to “add an A to the STEM acronym and make it STEAM.” He’ll be speaking at the USA Science and Engineering Festival April 16-17 in Washington about why he thinks the arts should be represented in the acronym commonly used when referring to the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

      Wheaton, 43, best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the 1980s and ’90s and more recently as a fictionalized version of himself on “The Big Bang Theory,” says that he has always been fascinated by science and technology, and has made it a goal of his to ensure that kids get the encouragement they need to pursue those fields.

    • Kettering Cosmos: How school children exposed Soviet secret

      The existence of the Plesetsk site was not admitted by the USSR for a further 17 years.

      It was reported at the time that the schoolboys had “beat the Americans” in discovering the site. Bob Christy, another pupil who participated in the experiment, thinks they probably knew of its existence, but the school’s work made sure the information was made public.

      “It wasn’t about studying the Russian space programme, it was about helping children understand space,” he said.

  • Hardware

    • Intel planning for thousands of job cuts, internal sources say

      Intel is preparing a significant round of job cuts across business units this spring, according to multiple sources inside the company familiar with its plans.

      The cutbacks will reduce employment in some parts of the business by double-digit percentages, according to Intel insiders, amounting to thousands of job cuts across the company by the end of the year. The planned downsizing could begin soon after Intel reports its first-quarter financial results Tuesday, though sources say timing and specifics remain fluid.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto’s Most Dangerous Product?

      On 13 April, the EU Parliament called on the European Commission to restrict certain permitted uses of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, best known in Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ formulation.

      Glyphosate was last year determined to be “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO, and the resolution calls for no approval for many uses now considered acceptable, including use in or close to public parks, playgrounds and gardens and use where integrated pest management systems are sufficient for necessary weed control. The resolution falls short of an outright ban called for by many and also calls for the renewal of the licence for glyphosate to be limited to just seven years instead of the 15 proposed by the Commission.

      Nearly 700 MEPs voted on the seven-year licensing of glyphosate and the vote was passed by 374 votes in favor to 225 votes against.

    • This is what a dying NHS looks like

      If you don’t believe the Tories would destroy the NHS it’s time to face reality. It’s happening right now. The NHS is critically unwell, and whether it’s deliberate or not, death’s door is open.

  • Security

    • Backdoor in JBoss Java Platform Puts 3.2 Million Servers at Risk
    • Let’s Encrypt: threat or opportunity to other certificate authorities?

      Let’s Encrypt is a certificate authority (CA) that just left beta stage, that provides domain name-validated (DV) X.509 certificates for free and in an automated way: users just have to run a piece of software on their server to get and install a certificate, resulting in a valid TLS setup.

    • Making it easier to deploy TPMTOTP on non-EFI systems

      On EFI systems you can handle this by sticking the secret in an EFI variable (there’s some special-casing in the code to deal with the additional metadata on the front of things you read out of efivarfs). But that’s not terribly useful if you’re not on an EFI system. Thankfully, there’s a way around this. TPMs have a small quantity of nvram built into them, so we can stick the secret there. If you pass the -n argument to sealdata, that’ll happen. The unseal apps will attempt to pull the secret out of nvram before falling back to looking for a file, so things should just magically work.

    • Badlock Vulnerability Falls Flat Against Its Hype

      Weeks of anxiety and concern over the Badlock vulnerability ended today with an anticlimactic thud.

    • Samba 4.4.2, 4.3.8 and 4.2.11 Security Releases Available for Download
    • The Internet of bricks

      One of the promises of the “Internet of things” is that it gives us greater control over our homes, gadgets, and more. Free software also offers that sort of promise, along with the idea that, if necessary, we can support our own gadgetry when the manufacturer moves on to some new shiny object. The currently unfolding story of the Revolv hub shows that, in many cases, these promises are empty. The devices we depend on and think we own can, in fact, be turned into useless bricks at the manufacturer’s whim.

      The Revolv “M1″ home-automation hub was one of many products designed to bring home control to the Internet. It is able to control lights, heating, and more, all driven by smartphone-based applications. The product was sufficiently successful to catch the eye of the business-development folks at Nest, who acquired the company; Nest was acquired in turn by Google, and is now a separate company under the “Alphabet” umbrella.

    • Underwriters Labs refuses to share new IoT cybersecurity standard

      UL, the 122-year-old safety standards organisation whose various marks (UL, ENEC, etc.) certify minimum safety standards in fields as diverse as electrical wiring, cleaning products, and even dietary supplements, is now tackling the cybersecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices with its new UL 2900 certification. But there’s a problem: UL’s refusal to freely share the text of the new standard with security researchers leaves some experts wondering if UL knows what they’re doing.

      When Ars requested a copy of the UL 2900 docs to take a closer look at the standard, UL (formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories) declined, indicating that if we wished to purchase a copy—retail price, around £600/$800 for the full set—we were welcome to do so. Independent security researchers are also, we must assume, welcome to become UL retail customers.

    • Combined malware threat is robbing banks of millions every day

      THE SECURITY attack dogs at IBM have uncovered two normally solo malware threats working together to rob banks in the US and Canada.

      IBM’s X-Force division has dubbed the combined malware Stealma and Louise GozNym by merging the names of the individual, but now friendly, Gozi ISFB and Nymaim.

      “It appears that the operators of Nymaim have recompiled its source code with part of the Gozi ISFB source code, creating a combination that is being actively used in attacks against more than 24 US and Canadian banks, stealing millions of dollars so far,” said IBM in a blog post.

    • Flaw-finding Ruby on Rails bot steams past humans
    • Future of secure systems in the US

      Security and privacy are important to many people. Given the personal and financial importance of data stored in computers (traditional or mobile), users don’t want criminals to get a hold of it. Companies know this, which is why both Apple IOS and Google Android both encrypt their local file systems by default now. If a bill anything like what’s been proposed becomes law, users that care about security are going to go elsewhere. That may end up being non-US companies’ products or US companies may shift operations to localities more friendly to secure design. Either way, the US tech sector loses. A more accurate title would have been Technology Jobs Off-Shoring Act of 2016.

    • Software end of life matters!

      Anytime you work on a software project, the big events are always new releases. We love to get our update and see what sort of new and exciting things have been added. New versions are exciting, they’re the result of months or years of hard work. Who doesn’t love to talk about the new cool things going on?

    • JBOSS Backdoor opens 3 million servers at risk of attacks
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Hillary’s Neocon Problem

      Hillary Clinton has a dark history in foreign policy. Indeed, if the Nuremberg principles were applied evenly, her name would certainly be on the docket, along with her former boss in the White House, who is actually less of a hawk than she. When Donald Trump publicly expressed a willingness to negotiate with Russia over international conflicts, she referred to such an idea as putting “Christmas in the Kremlin.” She’s red-baited Bernie Sanders for his support for the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions back in the 1980s. Clinton basically backs not “political realism,” but the more imperial tradition of neoconservative “American exceptionalism,” a chauvinist mindset by which the US sets the political, economic, and military priorities of the world and the places and times of its interventions, sometimes with allied support, sometimes without, at its own discretion.

    • Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

      Secretary of State Clinton was harsh on subordinates who were careless with classified information, but those rules apparently weren’t for her, a troubling double standard, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Young Iraqis Overwhelmingly Consider U.S. Their Enemy, Poll Says

      The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a public relations and market research firm co-founded by controversial strategist Mark Penn, and was sponsored by a Dubai-based affiliate of Burson Marsteller, once described as “the PR firm for evil.” Still, the undertaking, as outlined by organizers, sounds ambitious. It included 250 face-to-face interviews in three Iraqi cities, plus another 3,250 interviews in 15 other countries throughout the Arab world, all with men and women ages 18-24 “selected to provide an accurate reflection of each nation’s geographic and socio-economic make-up.” It claims an error rate of plus or minus 1.65 percent.

    • Pope Francis Takes On ‘Just War’ Theory

      The Catholic Church, which over the centuries has blessed many dreadful wars, is shifting to an anti-war position favored by Pope Francis and more in line with Jesus’s teachings, writes ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Deadly Myths: Iraq ‘Surge’ General Calls for ‘Surge 2.0’

      There is no question that the neocons in the room, whose lavish sinecures come to them courtesy of the military-industrial complex, were hyperventilating in anticipation of another major US invasion of Iraq (and Syria). War is the greatest DC jobs program and the hits just keep coming.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lawsuits Charge that 3M Knew About the Dangers of Its Chemicals

      FOR DECADES, 3M was the primary producer of C8, or PFOA, and was the sole producer of a related chemical known as PFOS. But while DuPont was caught up in a massive class-action suit over C8, 3M has largely avoided public scrutiny and serious legal or financial consequences for its role in developing and selling these industrial pollutants.

      In February, however, a state court in Minnesota, where the company is headquartered, allowed a lawsuit against 3M to move forward. And late last year, lawyers filed a class-action suit in Decatur, Alabama, home to one of 3M’s biggest plants. Both lawsuits charge that 3M knew about the health hazards posed by the perfluorinated chemicals it was manufacturing and using to make carpet coating, Scotchgard, firefighting foam, and other products — and that the company knew the chemicals were spreading beyond its sites. With PFCs cropping up in drinking water around the country and all over the world, the two lawsuits raise the possibility that 3M may finally be held accountable in a court of law.

    • WWF: Finland has spent its natural resources for 2016

      The environmental group WWF Finland says that as of today, the country has already used up its share of natural resources for the entire year. Energy production, traffic emissions and food production are the top ills.

    • We Just Crushed The Global Record For Hottest Start Of Any Year

      NASA reports that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. It beat the previous record — just set in 2015 — by a stunning 0.7°F (0.39°C). Normally, such multi-month records are measured in the hundredths of a degree

      Last month was the hottest February on record by far. It followed the hottest January on record by far, which followed the hottest December by far, which followed the hottest November on record by far, which followed the hottest October on record by far. Some may detect a pattern here.

    • Going out, I found I was really going in: John Muir’s spiritual and political journey

      However, his friends were worried. Muir’s siblings pleaded with him to abandon his “clouds and flowers” for more practical pursuits. “You must be social John,” Jeanne Carr, a transcendentalist friend and spiritual mentor had written him, trying to coax him to leave the mountains and re-enter public life. “I could envy you your solitude, but there may be too much of it.” Carr felt strongly that Muir had a singular gift for carrying the transcendentalist vision of a sacred nature to a wider public, a vision she believed could help to dismantle the industrial consensus that saw nature only as a commercial resource to be exploited.

  • Finance

    • US Corporate Tax Cheats Hiding $1.4 Trillion in Profits in Offshore Accounts

      The biggest tax dodger is technology giant Apple, with $181 billion held offshore. General Electric had the second-largest stash, at $119 billion, enough to repay four times over the $28 billion GE received in federal guarantees during the 2008 Wall Street crash. Microsoft had $108 billion in overseas accounts, with companies like Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, IBM, Cisco Systems, Google, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson rounding out the top ten.

      Overseas tax havens have been the focus of recent revelations about tax scams by wealthy individuals, based on the leak of the “Panama Papers,” documents from a single Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, involving 214,000 offshore shell companies. The firm’s clients included 29 billionaires and 140 top politicians worldwide, among them a dozen heads of government.

    • Paul Krugman Is Proof That To Be Successful Even As An “Objective” Academic You Must Serve The One Percent
    • Bernie Sanders publishes tax returns showing $205,000 earnings following Hillary Clinton’s challenge

      Bernie Sanders has revealed he earns $205,000 dollars (£145,000) a year, after being challenged by Hillary Clinton to publish his tax returns.

      Mr Sanders’ annual income, which is shared with his wife, is less than his multimillionaire rival made for three recent speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs employees.

      The banking giant paid Ms Clinton $675,000 (£475,000) for the appearances. She and her husband have an estimated net worth of $110m (£77m), far surpassing the Sanders, who are worth around $300,000 (£210,000).

    • Hillary’s Bold Plan to Financially Penalize Recidivist Super-Predators

      The other day Hillary promised she would appoint Attorneys General like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. “I will appoint an Attorney General who will continue the courageous work of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.” Given that the comments came at an Al Sharpton event, I assumed the comment meant to invoke Holder and Lynch’s efforts to reform criminal justice and, presumably, their even more laudable support for civil rights.

      Nevertheless, it was a disturbing comment, given that Holder and Lynch have also both coddled the bankers who crashed our economy. Indeed, when Hillary tries to defend her huge donations from bankers, she always points to Obama’s even huger ones, and insists that there’s no evidence he was influenced by them. But the Obama DOJ record on bank crime is itself the counter to Hillary’s claim those donations didn’t influence the President.

    • 99% Party: Sanders Supporters Shower Clinton Motorcade with 1000 $1 Bills

      Actor George Clooney hosted a couple of obscenely expensive fundraising events for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Friday and Saturday nights. 1%er couples needed to pony up $353,400 to buy access. Saturday’s event was at Clooney’s home at 7:00 pm.

      At the same time, Howard Gold, a next-door neighbor of Clooney, hosted a $27 per person fundraiser in support of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill.

      Gold, whose family founded the 99 Cents Only store chain, called his event the “99% Party.” The email invitation to the 99% party read, “Swimming pools, Movie Stars and merriment for all! This is happening right next door to Clooney’s party for Hillary!” according to The Hill.

    • Here’s a Way to Shut Down Panama Papers-Style Tax Havens — If We Wanted To

      IT WOULD HAVE been infuriating at any time of the year to learn about the massive tax evasion by the global 0.01 percent revealed by the Panama Papers leak. But it’s especially maddening for regular American schlubs to hear about it in April, just as we’re doing our own taxes.

      According to estimates by Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman in his book The Hidden Wealth of Nations, rich individuals and big corporations use various machinations to pay at least a third of a trillion dollars less than they owe every year. For everyone else, this translates directly into higher taxes, more national debt, and less government spending.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook denies that it would ever try to influence the election

      Gizmodo published a screenshot Friday of an internal poll that Facebook employees were purportedly using to decide what questions to ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a meeting in March.

    • Like it or not, Mark Zuckerberg is now Silicon Valley’s ambassador to the rest of the world

      The company’s main product announcement, its attempt to turn Messenger into a hub little programs for businesses to chat with customers, was greeted by puzzlement from users and skepticism from the developers who were the main audience for the show.

    • To Protect Hillary Clinton, Democrats Wage War on Their Own Core Citizens United Argument

      FOR YEARS, THE Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United was depicted by Democrats as the root of all political evil. But now, the core argument embraced by the Court’s conservatives to justify their ruling has taken center stage in the Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — because Clinton supporters, to defend the huge amount of corporate cash on which their candidate is relying, frequently invoke that very same reasoning.

    • Superdelegates have destroyed the will of the people: As a political activist and hopeful millennial, I won’t support a broken system by voting for Hillary

      Four years ago, I attended a College Democrats conference in Chicago. I set foot inside Obama’s campaign headquarters and felt the enthusiasm about his presidency first-hand. For the first time, I called myself a Democrat with confidence. Democracy empowered me. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the entire world.

      Throughout my college career, I was actively involved with the College Democrats. I served as president. I recruited friends to attend meetings, volunteer for voter registration drives, petition for candidates, canvass in local neighborhoods and spread the word about upcoming presidential debates. I even formed close relationships with fellow Democrats through it. Civic engagement and active citizenship was my life. I wanted to empower everyone around me to exercise their political power.


      In a truly democratic system, we’d have more competent, diverse candidates. Voting no longer provides me the indulgence and satisfaction it once did. I feel it does more harm than good with our current political climate. If I vote for Clinton as a rejection of Trump, or vote for Sanders to dodge a Clinton vote, what duty am I actually performing? When I vote for a president I don’t support, I support a flawed political system. I refuse that system.

    • New York Observer Reporter Who Resigned Over Trump Ties And Endorsement: For Me, “A Line Had Been Crossed”
    • Wall Street Journal Slimes Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Forgets About George W. Bush’s Monumental Blunders

      In an article titled “Islam and the Radical West” published in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens raises the important issue of the radicalization of Western Muslims. But as far as responsible and informed journalism goes, the piece’s credibility ends there. Stephens goes on to make a number of stereotypical and weakly supported claims regarding Islam while taking amateurish pot shots at some of America’s most important thinkers, including Noam Chomsky.

    • Yes, Hillary Clinton Is a Neocon

      Beyond sharing this neocon “regime change” obsession, former Secretary of State