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05.30.16

Links 30/5/2016: Linux 4.7 RC1, Best Linux Distros

Posted in News Roundup at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Lexicon: Getting Started With Linux

    Be it the smallest Android smartphone or the biggest of servers, Linux has become the very foundation of our digital lives, something Linus Torvalds could have hardly fathomed.

  • Desktop

    • Best Linux Distro: Linux for old laptops, privacy and USB sticks

      The best Linux distro is a matter of personal taste and use case. On the following pages, we take you through four potential Linux use cases and select the best for each. We’ll look at the best overall OS for general computing, the best for an old laptop, a lightweight distro for USB drives and a privacy-focused option.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment’s EFL Getting New DRM Library

      Chris Michael of Samsung has been working on a new DRM library for the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) with a number of improvements.

      The initial implementation of this new library, Ecore_Drm2, has been added to EFL Git.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Partition Manager Now Lets Users Resize Encrypted Filesystems with LUKS

        Andrius Štikonas announced the release of the KDE Partition Manager 2.2.0 open-source partition editor software designed specifically for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, as well as the KPMcore 2.2.0 utility.

        KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore 2.2.0 are two major release, finally bringing proper LUKS (Linux Unified Key Setup) support, in the way that the software is now capable of creating LUKS volumes on disk drivers, as well as to format the inner file system, besides detecting the LUKS container.

      • KDE Partition Manager 2.2 Brings Proper LUKS Support

        The KDE Partition Manager, the promising disk partitioning application that’s become a viable alternative to GParted, is up to version 2.2.

        KDE Partition Manager 2.2 was released this week by Andrius Štikonas and its big feature is proper LUKS support. The KDE Partition Manager can now properly handle LUKS encrypted volumes with support for creating them and formatting the inner file-system, opening/closing LUKS volumes, resizing support, and more.

      • I have a problem…

        Every day, a sizable number of people posts problems on the KDE Community Forums and the ever-helpful staff does their best to solve whatever issues they’re facing. But what exactly does one do when this happens? This post provides more insights on the process.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Kicking the Tires on Arch Based Antergos

        We decided to take the Arch Linux based distribution Antergos out for a test drive. Here’s how it handled, out in traffic and on the track.

        A few months back, a fellow tech writer mentioned in an email exchange that I might try using the Arch Linux based Antergos distro as a way to grab the latest and greatest versions of popular software titles for review. Mainly because of Arch’s community repositories, in which users suggest and vote on packages to be included, many popular software titles are available within days after a new release. And since Antergos is a simple install compared to Arch, it would be easy to quickly throw up an installation on a test machine just to look at the latest and greatest from LibreOffice, GIMP and the like.

      • Antergos 2016.05.28 Screenshot Tour
    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon ARM 16.06 Linux Gets Kodi-Based Media Center Edition for Raspberry Pi 3

        Today, May 29, 2016, Sabayon ARM developer Ettore Di Giacinto announced the release of Sabayon ARM 16.06 Media Center Edition for Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 2 SBCs.

        We were expecting to see today the release of Sabayon 16.06 for computers, which is the monthly update to the Gentoo-based GNU/Linux operating system for July 2016, because the Sabayon people are always announcing a new monthly release on the 29th of each month, but this time, things were a bit different.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Building ProudCity as an open organization

        Open is at the core of ProudCity, a web platform that “lets municipalities easily launch and manage government digital services all in one place.”

        As government service providers, it is our duty to ensure cities get the most sustainable, flexible technology available, so that they can best serve their residents, businesses, and visitors. We will do this by following the ethos of what Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst calls the “open organization.”

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora loves PyCon 2016

          Will you be attending the annual Python Conference in Portland, Oregon this year? Then you should totally come and find us at the Development Sprints! Check out our PyCon 2016 Wiki page for details.

        • PHP Tour 2016 Clermont-Ferrand

          I gave a talk about “Forget mod_php”. It is about this PHP installation method, the most documented, the simplest, but which have given a bad image about Apache HTTPD Server, and encourage user, needing performance, to migrate to nginx and its threaded mode and so with FPM. But, it is also possible to use Apache in thread mode, using the worker or event MPM, also with FPM.

        • Fedora 24 alpha – Whatsie.
        • Pravin Satpute: How do you Fedora?

          Pravin Satpute started using Linux in 2004 when he was working with Dr. Nagarjuna Gadiraju of the Free Software Foundation of India. He was working on a project to develop libre fonts for Indian languages. At that time, he was using Knoppix with the KDE desktop. In 2006, he became interested in Fedora and starting using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in 2007 when he was given a laptop with RHEL 5. Quickly after receiving the laptop, he switched to Fedora 8. His childhood heroes were Steve Jobs, Ratan Tata and Sachin Tendulkar. His favorite movies are Inception and The Mummy.

    • Debian Family

      • OpenPHT 1.5.2 for Debian/sid

        I have updated the openpht repository with builds of OpenPHT 1.5.2 for Debian/sid for both amd64 and i386 architecture. For those who have forgotten it, OpenPHT is the open source fork of Plex Home Theater that is used on RasPlex, see my last post concerning OpenPHT for details.

      • vcswatch is now looking for tags

        About a week ago, I extended vcswatch to also look at tags in git repositories.

        Previously, it was solely paying attention to the version number in the top paragraph in debian/changelog, and would alert if that version didn’t match the package version in Debian unstable or experimental. The idea is that “UNRELEASED” versions will keep nagging the maintainer (via DDPO) not to forget that some day this package needs an upload. This works for git, svn, bzr, hg, cvs, mtn, and darcs repositories (in decreasing order of actual usage numbers in Debian. I had actually tried to add arch support as well, but that VCS is so weird that it wasn’t worth the trouble).

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 and 8.5 Receive the Latest Security Fixes, Update Now

          A lot of good things are happening lately for the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux operating system, and the distribution’s maintainers announced a few hours ago, May 29, 2016, the availability of new security fixes for supported releases.

          Both the stable Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” and the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” operating system have received important security fixes for various core components, including expat, libgd2, libndp, ImageMagick, libidn, jansson, IceDove, libarchive, QEMU, Wireshark, librsvg, WebSVN, libxstream-java, xerces-c, swift-plugin-s3, and atheme-services.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • QNAP and Canonical Optimize Ubuntu For IoT Purposes

            The Internet Of Things movement has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Not just enthusiasts, but also major firms in the technology sector are working on developing new IoT initiatives. A Partnership between QNAP and Canonical will help optimize Ubuntu on NAS systems for Internet of Things applications.

          • Ubuntu bq Aquaris M10 Review Part 2: Software

            In part one of our rather lengthy review, we took a look at the bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet’s hardware. Suffice it to say, it perfectly played the role of a mid-range tablet. While the device had a few ups, like its lightweight design, bright display, and substantial battery, it would have been easily passed for a mediocre slab if not for the software running on it. In this round, we take a deeper look into what makes this tablet truly one of a kind, and almost literally too. This time, we take a dive into the alien world of Ubuntu Touch.

          • Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition review

            IT’S NOT EVERY DAY that a smartphone crosses our desk running Canonical’s open source Ubuntu operating system.

            The Linux-based OS already commands millions of installations across desktops and tablets the world over, and makes a welcome change from the endless run of Android-based devices. Anticipation levels were therefore high and, on first impressions, we believed we were in the presence of a truly desirable smartphone.

          • Ubuntu Touch’s Web Browser to Improve the Google Hangouts Experience in OTA-11

            The long-anticipated OTA-11 update for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices is just around the corner, and today we’ll have a quick look at what’s coming in the Web Browser app.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Program Improves IoT Connection Security with Unikernels

    Developers can find UniK on Github.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla turns Firefox OS into IoT hub

        As an operating system, Firefox OS has undergone a massive transformation in the past 24 months – it’s far more than just a web browser nowadays. But now Mozilla is looking to take Firefox to the next level by using it as a hub for a plethora of Internet of Things projects.

        Mozilla is currently working on four IoT projects behind the scenes: Project Smart Home, Project Link, Project Sensor Web and Vaani. Each of the projects will deal with IoT technology in different ways, but all are aimed at making the end consumer’s home and devices smarter. In a blog post, Mozilla’s SVP of Connected Devices, Ari Jaaksi, posted: “Everything is connected around us. This revolution has already started and it will be bigger than previous technology revolutions, including the mobile smartphone revolution. Internet of Things, as many call it today, will fundamentally affect all of us.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Supercomputers, a global community, and more OpenStack news

      Are you interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Hovalin: An open source 3D printed violin

        A recent message on Twitter about an open source 3D printed violin sent me in search of more information about Hovalin. Much of the 3D printed universe is about robots and drones, so seeing a violin in the mix caused me to pause and wonder more about this unique project. I reached out to husband and wife team, Kaitlyn and Matt Hova.

  • Programming/Development

    • The Quiet Crisis unfolding in Software Development

      The reason I’m sharing this is because over the last ten to fifteen years I’ve noticed a quiet crisis unfolding in software development leading to low quality applications, unhappy employees and unhappy users. Silver bullet solutions keep creeping into our awareness (Scrum, anyone?) and predictably keep letting us down.

Leftovers

  • More flight delays hit Swedish airport

    Travellers at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport were beset again with delays on Saturday afternoon after technical problems with flightplan management software.

    “The flightplan management system is not working as it should,” Per Fröberg of Swedish air traffic control told Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet.

  • Microsoft Surface line hit by Sleep of Death bug

    Microsoft’s Surface line, reported as one of its better earners in its most recent quarterly results, suffers from a bug which has come to be referred to as Sleep of Death.

    When the Surface Pro 4 or the Surface tablet are put into sleep mode for a few hours or more, they are unlikely to wake up.

    The devices have to be powered back on and this means there is a risk of data corruption.

    This means that anyone who has left the system with files on which they are working open, has to shift through auto-saved versions, hoping against hope that one of those will mean that work is not lost.

  • Fearing forced Windows 10 upgrades, users are disabling critical updates instead

    Microsoft stepped on the gas in its quest to drive Windows 7 and 8 users to Windows 10 over the past couple of weeks, rolling the upgrade out as a Recommended update. Watch out! The only behavior that could deny the Windows 10 upgrade before—closing the pop-up by pressing the X in the upper-right corner—now counts as consent for the upgrade, and worse, the upgrade installation can automatically begin even if you take no action whatsoever.

    It’s nasty business, and it’s tricking legions of happy Windows 7 and 8 users into Windows 10. Over the past week, I’ve received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I’ve written over the rest of my career combined. But beyond merely burning bridges with consumers, these forced, non-consensual upgrades could have more insidious consequences.

  • Science

    • The 10 commandments for influencing policymakers

      Persuading politicians and officials to ingest the fruits of new research and then to regurgitate them in the form of sensible policy is a frustrating process at the best of times. Policymaking is intangible, diffuse and shapeshifting. One result is that too little research with lessons for policymakers hits the target.

      The government has recently performed a U‑turn on a policy that could have banned publicly funded academic researchers from campaigning for changes to the law. So this is a good moment to consider how to manage academics’ expectations while ensuring that their research has the biggest possible impact. Bearing in mind these 10 commandments – based on my own experience of policymaking – will help.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness

      What can we do about the powerful transnational agribusiness companies that have captured or at the very least heavily influence regulatory bodies, research institutes, trade agreements and governments? How can we assess the safety and efficacy of GMOs or their other technologies and products when narratives and decision-making processes have become distorted by these companies?

      Through the ‘green revolution’ chemical-intensive model of agriculture these corporations and their powerful backers promoted and instituted, they have been able to determine what seeds are to be used by farmers, what is to be grown and what inputs are to be applied. This, in turn, has adversely affected the nutritional content of food, led to the over-exploitation of water and diminished drought resistance, degraded soil, undermined biodiversity, polluted the environment, destroyed farmers’ livelihoods and so much more: with 60 years’ farming experience behind him, Bhaskar Save outlined many of these impacts in his open letter to Indian officials some years back.

      These powerful corporations increasingly hold sway over a globalised system of food and agriculture from seed to plate. And with major mergers within the agribusiness sector in the pipeline, power will be further consolidated and the situation is likely to worsen. While scientific innovation has a role to play in improving agriculture, the narrative about farming has been shaped to benefit the interests of this handful of wealthy, politically influential corporations whereby commercial interest trumps any notion of the public good.

    • GMOs As A Corporate Control Tactic

      It’s impossible to talk about GMO ethics without considering how corporations like Monsanto use GMOs as means of control.

      [...]

      But safety issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Consumer rights, state rights and the overuse of “probably carcinogenic” pesticides like Roundup are all crucial aspects in this debate. They go hand in hand with the massive consolidation within the food industry and a lack of choice at the grocery store.

      When biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta create GMO seeds, they’re also creating entire systems of food production. By creating a suite of products designed to work together – seeds for crops engineered to withstand Roundup, a probably human carcinogen, for example – they’re able to control the entire farming cycle and block out competition. Not only that, but the explosion of herbicide-resistant seeds has given way to herbicide-resistant weeds, fueling the growth of “superweeds” and ensuring that farmers must continue to buy increasingly harsh chemicals, often from the same company, to compensate.

    • NHA issues warning about selling NHS blood plasma supplier to Chinese company Creat

      The National Health Action Party issued warnings in 2013 about the potentially dangerous consequences of selling the NHS’ state owned blood plasma supplier, Plasma Resources UK (PRUK) to US private equity firm Bain Capital. Now we are issuing a warning again as it has been sold on.

      PRUK was specifically brought into public ownership in 1975, by Dr David Owen, because of the risks associated with contaminated blood under for-profit conditions.

    • Portland Students Will Drink Bottled Water For The Rest Of The School Year To Avoid Lead

      Portland, Oregon is the latest place in the country gripped by unsafe levels of lead exposure. On Friday, Portland officials announced that the school district will shut off all drinking water for the rest of the school year following reports of high levels of lead in water samples from two schools.

      Elevated levels of lead were found in six of the 56 drinking fountains and other water sources at the Creston School and eight of the 36 fountains and sinks at the Rose City Park campus, according to a local NBC news affiliate.

    • Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA

      Piecemeal, and at long last, chemical manufacturers have begun removing the endocrine-disrupting plastic bisphenol-A (BPA) from products they sell.

      Sunoco no longer sells BPA for products that might be used by children under three. France has a national ban on BPA food packaging. The EU has banned BPA from baby bottles.

      These bans and associated product withdrawals are the result of epic scientific research and some intensive environmental campaigning. But in truth these restrictions are not victories for human health. Nor are they even losses for the chemical industry.

  • Security

    • Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” Is a Linux Distro for Cryptography & Anonymity

      A few days ago, Parrot Security OS developer Frozenbox Network teased users on Twitter with the upcoming release of the long anticipated Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” distribution.

      Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux technologies and borrowing many of the packages from the Debian 8 “Jessie” stable repositories, Parrot Security OS 3.0 just received new Release Candidate (RC) ISO builds that users can now download and install on their personal computer if they want to get an early taste of what’s coming.

    • Parrot Security OS 3.0 “Lithium” — Best Kali Linux Alternative Coming With New Features

      The Release Candidate of Parrot Security OS 3.0 ‘Lithium’ is now available for download. The much-anticipated final release will come in six different editions with the addition of Libre, LXDE, and Studio editions. The version 3.0 of this Kali Linux alternative is based on Debian Jessie and powered by custom hardened Linux 4.5 kernel.

    • Regulation can fix security, except you can’t regulate security

      Every time I start a discussion about how we can solve some of our security problems it seems like the topics of professional organizations and regulation are where things end up. I think regulations and professional organizations can fix a lot of problems in an industry, I’m not sure they work for security. First let’s talk about why regulation usually works, then, why it won’t work for security.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Geopolitics versus the political marketplace: the origins of the war in Ukraine

      The United States and the European Union poured millions into democracy promotion in Ukraine, which fed what Sakwa calls a monist (ethnically purist and pro-Western) conception of the Ukrainian nation, and this directly threatened the Russian geo-political position. As evidence., he quotes Putin’s remarks on May 24 2014 when he said that: “some of the events in Ukraine directly threaten our interests, first of all with regard to security. I”m talking about Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO. As I said earlier, such an accession could be followed by the deployment of a missile strike system in Ukraine, including Crimea. Should this happen it would have serious geopolitical consequences for our country. In fact, Russia would be forced out of the Black Sea territory, a region for legitimate presence in which Russia has fought for centuries.”

    • To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

      Pellegrino’s book is a moving and grueling close-up look at the horrors experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both on the day of the bombing and in the days and years afterward. I have the heart of a dried-up raisin but even I got a little teary in places.

    • A cycle of permanent intervention in Libya

      In the aftermath of NATO’s destruction of Libya, official rhetoric fluctuated between transition and reports of violence which were swiftly brushed aside as mere consequences of a country struggling to embrace a democratic framework.

    • Obama in Hiroshima, Memorial Day and the Iran Deal

      Although it is true that Obama has been the least successful president in some time in reducing nuclear stockpiles, there is one area where he has had success in reducing world tensions, and that is with regard to Iran. Moreover, the Iran breakthrough has implications for both nonproliferation and for conventional warfare. A war on Iran was one of the central objectives of the Cheney/ Neoconservative faction in the George W. Bush White House, and had their war of aggression on Iraq not gone sour, the would have likely gone on to Tehran.

      The standing War Party in Washington has figured out how to pursue conventional wars of aggression in the face of public skittishness: They simply hype a country they want to plunder as an unconventional threat– i.e. as a country that could have nuclear weapons or even chemical and biological weapons.

    • Burn Pits: US Government Ignores 60,000 Suffering US War Vets

      There are over 60,000 U.S. veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are now sick and dying. But the Pentagon denies there is such a health crisis, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is denying these suffering men and women the benefits they desperately need and deserve.

      These veterans are not the victims of enemy fire. They are suffering from medical ailments associated with the open-air burn pits that were constructed on over 230 military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan. These fiery pits, which were hastily dug in violation of the military’s own health and environmental regulations, were used to dispose of the mountains of trash created by war. Every type of refuse imaginable was thrown into these burn pits, including such toxic materials as plastics, metals, medical waste, batteries, tires, old ordnance and even human body parts.

    • The Defense Department Is Ruining America: Big Budgets, Militarization and the Real Story Behind Our Asia Pivot

      “Our defense contractors await your business.” That was the message behind Obama and Carter’s visits to Asia.

    • Obama in Hiroshima Paints a Peace Sign on a Bomb

      President Obama went to Hiroshima, did not apologize, did not state the facts of the matter (that there was no justification for the bombings there and in Nagasaki), and did not announce any steps to reverse his pro-nuke policies (building more nukes, putting more nukes in Europe, defying the nonproliferation treaty, opposing a ban treaty, upholding a first-strike policy, spreading nuclear energy far and wide, demonizing Iran and North Korea, antagonizing Russia, etc.).

      Where Obama is usually credited — and the reason he’s usually given a pass on his actual actions — is in the area of rhetoric. But in Hiroshima, as in Prague, his rhetoric did more harm than good. He claimed to want to eliminate nukes, but he declared that such a thing could not happen for decades (probably not in his lifetime) and he announced that humanity has always waged war (before later quietly claiming that this need not continue).

      “Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind,” said Obama.

      “We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves,” he added, leaping from a false claim about the past to a necessity to continue dumping our resources into the weapons that produce rather than avoid more wars.

      After much in this higly damaging vein, Obama added: “But among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them. We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe.” He even said: “We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story. …” That’s right, but the U.S. President had already told a really bad one.

    • Pat Buchanan, Dick Cheney, and American Exceptionalism

      America has a Donald Trump problem — one that its diversity will probably defeat, at least in the short term. But underlying that Donald Trump problem is a desperate insistence on clinging to the myth of American exceptionalism, with its more offensive parts even embraced in the mainstream. For the sake of the white men who’ve relied on those myths for their sense of dignity, but also to prevent future Trumps, it is time to start replacing that exceptionalist myth with something else.

    • Tragic Valor of Marines at Con Thien

      Memorial Day is exploited by politicians glorifying war and armed services recruiting new soldiers, but it should be a time to reflect on the ugly reality of warfare and the tragic valor of the combatants, says war correspondent Don North.

    • As Chilcot Inquiry Nears, Tony Blair Hints He May Fight Verdict

      Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hinted that he would refuse to accept the verdict of the highly anticipated Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq if it concludes that he privately signed the country up for war while publicly claiming a final decision had not yet been made.

      In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Blair rejected the idea that the growth of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was fueled by the Iraq War, stating, “I understand all the issues and we’ll debate them when we get to Chilcot, but this idea that all of this comes from the decision to remove Saddam [Hussein], you’ve got to go back into this and look at the roots of it.”

      Marr then asked, “The big problem that people still think is that you planned and thought you were going to war, but didn’t tell us…. Will you accept Chilcot’s verdict on this as a fair assessment after all this time, all this evidence?”

    • Samantha Power to Receive Prize From Henry Kissinger, Whom She Once Harshly Criticized

      Samantha Power built her journalistic and academic career around human rights, criticizing powerful nations for their complicity in abuses and failure to stop acts of genocide.

      Then she joined the Obama administration, where she currently serves as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

      Early next month, Power will be receiving an award named for a man used to criticize quite harshly: former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who has been implicated in a significant number of war crimes across the globe.

      And she’ll be getting it from Kissinger himself.

      The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize is awarded annually to a European or American diplomat.

    • There Has Been A Coup In Brazil

      In Brazil the country’s largest newspaper has published a transcript of a secret recording leaked to the newspaper. The words recorded are the plot by the rich Brazilian elite, involving both the US-corrupted Brazilian military and Supreme Court, to remove the democratically elected president of Brazil under false charges in order to stop the investigations of the corrupt elites who inhabit Brazil’s senate and bring to an end Brazil’s membership in BRICS. The Russian-Chinese attempt to organize an economic bloc independent of Washington has now lost 20% of its membership.

    • Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink

      Michael Fallon is British Defence Secretary. He is adept at making the types of statements that epitomise the pro-neoliberal, militaristic rhetoric that people in the UK have become tired of.

    • Abolish Memorial Day

      Never mind remembering the lessons of Vietnam – we’ve repressed even the bitter lessons of our most recent “past” conflict, the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. No sooner had we fallen into that quicksand then we promptly forgot who pushed us in – which is why the authors of that disaster continue to function as foreign policy mavens and political seers whose reputations are considered sterling. The neocon clique, and any number of politicians of both parties who fulsomely supported that war, today act as if they have nothing to apologize for, and nothing to regret: far from being repentant, they are, if anything, proud of their advocacy, secure in the knowledge that “everyone” believed Iraq possessed “weapons of mass destruction,” and smug in the certainty that no one of any consequence has anything to gain by raising the subject.

    • This Memorial Day, Remember the Victims of Democide

      The late and lamented Rudy Rummel, a professor at the University of Hawaii and the acknowledged expert on the phenomenon of “democide,” estimated that governments murdered more than 260 million human beings in the 20th century alone. That figure excludes – and is six times as large as – military casualties in the century’s wars.

    • Can Hillary Clinton Renounce Henry Kissinger?

      In one of the defining moments in this year’s long contest for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton cited admiration of Henry Kissinger, one of her predecessors as secretary of state, renowned for opening relations with communist China and for his Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War.

    • Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms

      On May 27, President Obama will become the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where at the end of World War II the U.S. became the first and only country to drop an atomic bomb. The president will use the occasion to revive attention on the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

      Immediately, the critics assailed the president for going on an “apology tour.” The White House sought to calm the furor, assuring reporters that the president would not use the word “sorry.”

      “We said that this is not about issuing an apology,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on Thursday.

      Why not apologize? The president will visit the 30-acre Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, located directly under the spot where the bomb exploded, with a museum displaying the charred belongings of the 100,000 people who perished, as everything with one mile of the bomb blast was entirely wiped out. The short inscription on the park’s memorial arch reads, in part: “We shall not repeat the evil.”

      [...]

      But now informed observers argue that the risks of a nuclear disaster are getting worse. Tensions are rising with both Russia and China, with the U.S. deploying forces near their borders. Nuclear stockpiles contain more than 15,000 warheads. As many as 1,000 remain on hair-trigger alert. U.S. security strategy still claims the right to use nuclear weapons first, a dangerous and dumb refusal to limit their use to actual deterrence. The U.S. just activated anti-ballistic missile system in Romania that the Russians say violates the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Agreement. President Obama has signed off on a modernization of both nuclear weapons and their delivery systems with a projected cost of $1 trillion over three decades that could very likely to trigger a new arms race.

    • The Paradox Of Congo: How The World’s Wealthiest Country Became Home To The World’s Poorest People

      Foreign companies have made large investments in eastern Congo’s mines, buying from suppliers funding armed groups within the country. This type of foreign investment in the Congo’s extraction industry has led to a loss of at least $1 billion in resource revenue that could otherwise be used to reform the country’s security, health, and education sectors.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Obama promised transparency. But his administration is one of the most secretive

      Some things just aren’t cool. One of those, according to our no-drama president, is ignorance.

      “It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about,” President Obama said during his recent Rutgers University commencement address. It was a swipe clearly intended for he-who-didn’t-need-to-be-named: Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee for president.

      Okay, no argument there.

      But the Obama administration itself has been part of a different know-nothing problem. It has kept the news media — and therefore the public — in the dark far too much over the past 7 1/2 years.

    • Clinton email headache is about to get worse

      A scathing inspector general’s report this week was just the first in what is likely to be a series of official actions related to her private server stemming from the FBI, a federal courthouse and Capitol Hill.

      Clinton’s presidential campaign has failed to quiet the furor over the issue, which has dogged her for more than a year.

      In the next few weeks — just as the likely Democratic presidential nominee hopes to pivot towards a general election — it will face its toughest scrutiny yet.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Singapore raises concerns over haze at UN meeting in Africa

      Singapore has raised concerns over transboundary air pollution at a United Nations (UN) meeting involving some 120 environment ministers in Africa last week, the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said on Sunday (May 29).

      During the meeting, called the 2nd session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), Singapore’s Dr Amy Khor said air pollution stunts economic development and has adverse impacts on human health.

    • WHO: Finland’s air third-cleanest in world

      According to a fresh report from the World Health Organisation, the air in Finland is the third cleanest in the world, and one of the very cleanest parts of the world can be found in Finnish Lapland.

    • Answer given by Mr Stylianides on behalf of the Commission

      A summary report of the initial findings will soon be provided to Indonesian authorities. The report is intended for the Indonesian authorities and therefore will not be made public. Upon further request of Indonesian authorities the Commission is ready to deploy a full advisory mission providing expertise and recommendations on the topics identified in the initial findings which recommend that the advisory mission focuses on advising the Government on improving the governance practices and modern fire surveillance. In addition, a small EU Civil Protection Team (2-3 experts) could be deployed upon invitation of the Indonesian authorities during the forest fires season to assist in coordinating activities during fire response operations.

    • Reef spending spree welcome: Branson
    • Bleaching kills third of coral in Great Barrier Reef’s north
    • Mass coral bleaching cast shadow over future of Great Barrier Reef
    • Reef needs $10bn Murray Darling Basin package: conservationists
    • Climate change action vital to reef
    • Australia’s censorship of Unesco climate report is like a Shakespearean tragedy
    • Homeowners kept in dark about climate change risk to houses, says report

      The risk that houses in some areas of Australia are likely to become uninsurable, dilapidated and uninhabitable due to climate change is kept hidden from those building and buying property along Australia’s coasts and in bushfire zones, a Climate Institute report says.

      The report says there is untapped and unshared data held by regulators, state and local governments, insurers and banks on the level of risk, but that most homebuyers and developers are not told about the data and do not have access to it.

    • Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten

      Ten years ago this Sunday, one of the weirdest and most controversial disasters of the 2000s struck a densely populated area just outside the city of Sidoarjo in East Java, Indonesia. At 5:00 that morning, a slurry of dark gray mud burst from the soil and began oozing slowly across the landscape. Since that day, the flow of mud has never stopped or even paused.

      Now, a decade into the eruption, an area of almost three square miles has been buried in mud up to sixty feet deep. At the center of a vast gray mudscape, the volcano continues to spew. More than forty thousand people have lost their houses, businesses, and land, and they can never go home.

      In the wake of most volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, or other phenomena that are typically lumped under the contested “natural disaster” label, a tenth anniversary can be a good time to look back at how the recovery and healing happened.

    • Lightning strikes kill man in Poland and injure dozens across Europe

      One man has died and scores of people been injured, including children, as lightning strikes hit several parts of Europe, including a park in Paris and a football pitch in Germany.

      A bolt of lightning killed a man hiking in mountains in south-west Poland on Saturday. Storm lightning injured three others in the same region, and a 61-year-old man drowned in flash flooding.

      In Germany, more than 30 people were taken to hospital in the western village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck at the end of a junior football match. Three adults were seriously injured, including the referee who was hit directly and had to be resuscitated before being airlifted to hospital.

    • Donald Trump Tells Drought-Stricken Californians There Is No Drought

      Speaking to an audience in California on Friday, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump told the crowd “there is no drought” in their state.

      Trump claimed there isn’t a real water shortage. Instead, he said, state officials are intentionally denying water to farmers in the middle of the state — choosing to reroute the water to the ocean to protect an endangered California fish called the delta smelt.

    • The Trouble with Fracking Fiction

      The best storytelling about the fracking boom has come mostly from newspaper reporters who decided to write nonfiction books about real people and real events. Tom Wilber’s “Under the Surface,” Russell Gold’s “The Boom,” and Seamus McGraw’s “The End of Country,” present nonfiction accounts of the shale gas revolution and offer deep insights into the minds of people impacted by the industry.

      Based on her research, Haugh believes the debate over shale gas drilling is about class. The ban on fracking in New York was the result of a concerted effort by “highly educated, politically liberal environmental activists,” she says in the Q&A. “In Pennsylvania, the conversation is completely different. … The environmental arguments that won over New York voters don’t fly there. For working class people with no economic security, that kind of idealism is an unaffordable luxury.”

    • Duke Energy Flexes Political Muscle on Fracked Gas, Coal Ash

      Duke Energy is facing serious regulatory battles in its home state of North Carolina, with climate-action groups doggedly trying to block the company’s planned fracked gas plant in Asheville and the state’s environmental agency recently deciding — at least temporarily — that all of the company’s coal ash impoundments must be excavated and the waste moved to safer dry storage.

      But the power giant is fighting back with the help of friends in high places.

      On the gas plant front, Duke Energy earlier this month asked the N.C. Utilities Commission to order NC WARN and The Climate Times to post a $50 million bond to continue their appeal of the commission’s approval of the company’s proposed $1 billion gas plant on the site of a shuttered coal plant near Asheville, citing a never-before-used provision of a 1963 state law allowing the utility to seek a bond from critics challenging a power plant approval. Though the bond is supposed to offset costs stemming from a delay in starting construction, Duke Energy has not shown any evidence that the appeal would lead to delays.

    • What Happens When Kids Ask A Climate Scientist Questions

      Recently a Portland, Oregon school board voted to throw out textbooks that cast doubt on climate change. With an eye to making students more “climate literate,” schools are ditching materials that hem and haw about the human causes of global warming.

    • Unstoppable Force or Immovable Object: Which Do You Want to Be?

      What happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? In the case of the fossil fuel industry meeting the growing force of the climate movement, the answer is “change!”

      [...]

      From the Gulf Coast, to Colorado, Alaska, to Albany, communities are uniting to demand that fossil fuels stay in the ground, where they belong.

    • This is What Insurgency Looks Like

      A week before the action the Albany Break Free steering committee defined their basic message. Potentially explosive crude oil “bomb trains” roll through Albany and surrounding communities, polluting the air and contributing to the climate crisis. Primarily low-income communities of color are put at risk. The urgent need to address climate change means that fossil fuels have to be left in the ground and a transition made to a “twenty-first century renewable energy economy.” They called for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, compressor stations, and storage tanks. And they called for a just transition away from fossil fuel energy with training and jobs for affected workers, so “no worker is left behind.”

    • Environmentalists, First Nations Vow Summer of Action Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

      Environment and Indigenous rights organizations are indicating it’s going to be a long, hot summer of civil disobedience in British Columbia following a National Energy Board report released last week recommending conditional approval of Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project that allow for the transport of nearly a million barrels of bitumen per day from Alberta’s tar sands oil mines.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • DNC rejects Sanders’s request to remove committee chairs

      Senior Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials have rejected a request from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s campaign to change the leadership of two crucial committees at the national convention this summer.

      Jim Roosevelt and Lorraine Miller, co-chairs of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, dismissed a request to remove Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank as co-chairmen of the convention’s platform and rules committees, respectively.

      The campaign’s complaint, they wrote in a letter to Sanders lawyer Brad Deutsch, failed to allege a violation of the convention’s rules governing the conduct of elections or delegate selection.

    • 538 Sacrifices Integrity to Go After Sanders on Independents

      As this campaign has gone along, it seems to me that the 538 crew have at times gone beyond the realm of punditry into the realm of hackery—that is, not just treating their own opinions as though they were objective data, but spinning the data so that it conforms to their opinions.

      [...]

      So from the beginning, 538 argued, Sanders had very little chance of getting the Democratic nomination, because if he showed any signs of winning, a Democratic establishment united against him would step in to “squash” him. If that’s not the definition of a “rigged” system, what is it?

    • Memo to the President Regarding the Hillary Clinton Email Server

      The following memo was written by a group of U.S. intelligence, diplomatic, and military veterans, calling on President Obama to expedite the FBI review of former Secretary of State Clinton’s alleged email security violations so the public can assess this issue in a timely fashion.

      Clinton’s judgement — never mind the significant question of legality — is an important criterion which Americans must consider in choosing their next president.

      Yeah, it is long, but sometimes important things are complex, and need to be explained clearly. That is especially true in the case of the Clinton Emails, where the media has failed in its job of explaining how classification works, and the significance of exposing classified material.

    • With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers

      Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, and while she’s slippery, she’s no dummy. She may have played dumb when asked earlier by reporters about her server’s hard drive being wiped clean of data before she turned it over to the FBI, saying, “What, like with a cloth or something? I don’t know how it works at all,” but she surely was involved in the deletion of her private emails — over 30,000 of which were reportedly erased.

      And those erasures were made without any involvement of State Department security or legal officials. The decision, according to Clinton, on which emails were “private communications,” was made by her personal attorney, whose interest, by definition, was her and not the public or even national security for that matter.

      As the Washington Post has reported, the Clintons went from being, as Hillary Clinton has said, “dead broke” upon leaving the White House in January 2000, to earning some $230 million by this year — a staggering sum of money even in a new Gilded Age of obscene wealth. Most of this money has been little more than influence buying by corporations and wealthy people trying to curry favor with a woman who was already Secretary of State, perhaps the second-most powerful position in the US government and whom many expected to become the next president after Obama.

      The power couple’s two foundations, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, now together reportedly worth more than $2 billion, both function effectively as money-laundering operations providing salaries to Clinton family members and friends. And Hillary Clinton, particularly while serving as President Obama’s secretary of state, was in a perfect position to do favors for unsavory foreign leaders seeking to have their countries kept off of State Department lists of human rights violators, and for US businesses seeking lucrative business deals abroad. It’s those kinds of email conversations that would have benefitted from a private server, since US State Department official computers have dedicated back-up systems that would be hard or impossible to wipe, and are also by law subject to Freedom of Information inquiries from journalists and the public.

      It beggars belief to think that Hillary Clinton wasn’t hiding such conversations when she had her private emails deleted from her server.

      The FBI is known to be investigating Clinton’s private emails, with as many as 100 FBI personnel assigned to the investigation. Already, one key privately hired tech assistant who worked on Clinton’s private server, Bryan Pagliano, has become a cooperating witness, granted immunity from prosecution by the US Justice Department in that investigation (usually an indication that the FBI is expecting to indict someone else). Key Clinton aides, notably her top aide Huma Abedin, have also been interviewed by FBI agents, with the expectation that Clinton will be interviewed herself soon by federal agents. But there is no indication from the Justice Department or the FBI as to when, if ever, the results of that investigation will be released.

    • Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief

      Candidates must be able to glamorize war, rally the masses to believe war is necessary, rally the young to enlist in the military, promote nationalism, and jackboot countries to join war coalitions.

      Candidates must be proficient in pandering to fear, using the words “terror” and “terrorism” at precisely the right moments and especially when a majority of people expresses war weariness.

    • Democracy after Sanders

      The Sanders’ campaign has remained on the whole anchored on key policy issues – free university education, free universal healthcare, redistribution of wealth by taxing the rich and financial capital, among others. The tone between the two Democratic contenders has become increasingly bitter, but Sanders made it clear that, despite the big differences, he would support Clinton if she becomes the Democratic nominee. But will his supporters follow him? Various polls show that in November a significant section of Sanders’ electorate will not vote for Clinton – and a smaller proportion might even vote for Trump.

    • Socialism vs. barbarism: Only social democracy can defeat the right-wing radicalism of Donald Trump

      About a year after the launch of both Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, it’s easy to conclude that the anti-establishment backlash of 2016 was somewhat inevitable. The incredulity that many in the establishment felt when these two candidates first climbed the polls and took their respective primaries by storm has passed, and now that Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, nothing seems beyond the realm of possibility (including, terrifyingly enough, a Donald Trump presidency).

    • Did This Chinese Billionaire Try to Buy Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe?

      Virginia’s party boy-turned-governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and confidant of the Clintons, is being investigated by the FBI and Department of Justice for potentially taking illegal campaign contributions.

      The governor’s office told CNN, which broke the story, that it was not aware the investigation was under way and that it would cooperate if asked. Details are vague, but the investigation involves Chinese billionaire businessman Wang Wenliang, who now has the rare distinction of causing problems for both McAuliffe and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. It’s complicated—and it highlights just how much Clinton and McAuliffe’s questionable shared connections haunt their political dreams.

    • Revealed: The State Department’s Hidden Hillary Donors

      Hillary Clinton may have suspended her political career temporarily when she became secretary of state. But the Clinton fundraising machine was in full swing and raising millions of dollars for the State Department under her watch, an analysis by The Daily Beast has found.

    • Sub sailor’s photo case draws comparisons to Clinton emails

      A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

      Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.

    • How Donald Trump Destroyed the Interview

      What of Trump’s reputation for being a liar? “I don’t lie, I mean I don’t lie. In fact, if anything, I’m so truthful that it gets me in trouble, OK? They say I’m too truthful. And, no I don’t lie,” he told Greta Van Susteren in February. As my colleagues Michael Kruse and Noah Weiland documented earlier this month in a lengthy piece, almost everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth is provisional. Give him a few minutes, a couple hours, or even several years, and he’ll reverse most of what he has previously said.

    • The Impeachment of Donald Trump

      Pollsters and pundits have lately begun to discuss the possibility that Donald Trump could best Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. But they haven’t yet said that if that happens, Trump would soon face impeachment, or that his choice of a vice-president the most important decision in this scenario of gathering nightmares.

    • Thousands Call on DNC to Oust ‘Corporatist Tool’ Wasserman Schultz

      More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to remove embattled chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has faced increasing criticism over her leadership of the party in the 2016 election cycle.

      The petition, organized by the grassroots group RootsAction.org, castigates Wasserman Schultz for what the group describes as an attempt to “minimize competition for her candidate Hillary Clinton” and for her actions in U.S. Congress as “a pro-militarist and corporatist tool of the high bidders.”

    • 12 Fringe Conspiracy Theories Embraced By A Man Who Might Be The Next President

      There are mountains of scientific evidence that asbestos is extremely dangerous to humans. It causes cancer and kills more than 12,000 people every year.

      [...]

      Donald Trump told an audience in Fresno that “there is no drought” in California. According to Trump, the state has plenty of water but it’s being held hostage by environmentalists in government. The idea that the government is engineering the drought was popularized by professional conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.

      [...]

      Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, often implicating the Chinese.

      [...]

      Trump spent much of 2011 and 2012 raising questions about the legitimacy of Obama’s birthplace, feeding into conspiracy theories that he was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.

    • Trump Exposes the GOP’s Dirty Secret: They Build Everything by Nurturing White Rage

      Paul Ryan is angry with Donald Trump, not so much for failing to espouse conservative values, as for exposing America’s dirty little secret—white rage: that deep-seated determination to block black progress in this country. For years, conservative politicians have relied upon the cover of high-minded principles and slogans—“protecting the integrity of the ballot box,” or waging a “war on drugs” — in order to cloak their determination to restrict African Americans’ citizenship rights. The racism fueling Trump’s campaign and his followers, however, is so overt, that it is undoing decades of hard covert work by the GOP.

    • Trump Attacks Judge Overseeing The Case Against His Fake University: ‘He’s A Hater’

      Trump told his supporters he believes Judge Curiel should be removed from the case, citing the fact that Curiel was appointed to the bench by President Obama. Trump also said he believes Curiel is “Mexican.” The crowd — which had previously shouted “build that wall” — booed loudly.

    • 5 Insane Right-Wing Moments This Week: Sarah Palin Invents Bizarre Nickname for Trump

      Where does one begin when a major party nominee comes out and tells Californians that the drought they have been experiencing for several years does not exist? One place is with the woman who, if she did not start the march toward our current idiocracy, greatly accelerated it and continues to pour gasoline on its tinder pile. Sarah Palin was making the rounds for Trump this week, warming up the crowds, spewing what can only be described as some of the most moronic batsh*t the world has ever heard, with the possible exception of words uttered by the man himself.

    • Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?

      At a news conference on Tuesday, I asked Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) about Hillary Clinton’s having returned money from Muslims and refusing to meet with Arab and Muslim groups in her 2000 Senate run.

    • Why the Libertarians Might Help Tilt the Election to Hillary

      Polls are notoriously unreliable on third-party campaigns, especially this early in an election year, when low name recognition understates appeal. But it looks as if the Libertarians could easily take 5 to 10 percent of the total vote and more in key states. Almost all of this will come at the expense of Donald Trump.

    • Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity

      Last summer when I began pointing out the parallels between white supremacist tactics, fascist movements and the rhetoric of Donald Trump I felt like a lone voice in the wind. Now the concern that Trump is bringing a populist form of fascism to America is bouncing around the mainstream, from the Village Voice to the Brookings Institute. Of course, last summer I thought the Trump crazy-train would derail by Thanksgiving as Bush or Rubio became the rational choice of the Republican Party. I have never been so wrong in my life. I completely underestimated the number of deluded people willing to dive into a cult of personality. They aren’t a silent majority, they are a very noisy minority. A very noisy white minority.

    • Cornwall’s chief constable Shaun Sawyer confirms investigation into alleged Conservative election fraud

      Devon and Cornwall Police has said it will hand the investigation of alleged electoral fraud by the Conservative Party over to another force.

      The police were called on to investigate whether the party had committed fraud by failing to disclose expenses related to its election battle bus in constituencies including Camborne and Redruth, where Tory MP George Eustice was re-elected, and North Cornwall where Scott Mann won the seat for the party.

      The newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, has also been caught up in the scandal, as last year she was the election agent Torbay MP Kevin Foster, and signed the campaign’s spending return which did not include the expenses.

      Devon and Cornwall’s Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, said: “Following a programme aired by Channel 4 on 20 and 21 April, the force received allegations relating to improper electoral campaign spending returns in Devon and Cornwall in the 2015 general election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The hidden horrors in poultry plants

      THOUSANDS OF workers stand for up to 12 hours straight in freezing-cold, foul-smelling factories–aching, hurting, gasping for air, struggling to go on until their next bathroom break–while they relentlessly pull, cut and jab at dozens of chickens churning down the line every minute at dangerous speeds, repeating the same, intensive body-motions more than 20,000 times a day.

    • A New Memorial Day Tradition — Burning The Confederate Flag

      Well, I started working on the Confederate over 15 years ago, as an art project, first by recoloring it red, black and green for the black nationalism colors.

    • The Republic of Fear

      Why are so many Americans gripped by fear? Fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of the deficit, fear that the government will take away guns, fear of socialism, gay rights, and women’s rights. Despite, the Boston Marathon bombings and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, America has not been attacked by foreign terrorists in fourteen years, yet the right is deathly afraid of terrorists. It’s their number one concern. Number two is the problem of immigrants even though America is a country of immigrants. Meanwhile, the deficit has shrunk to less than 3% of GDP yet Republicans claim the deficit is bankrupting the country. The right to own a gun is written into the Constitution, yet gun-owners are afraid background checks are a step down a slippery slope to government seizing their weapons. Trump claims Hillary will repeal the Second Amendment.

    • Toppling the Status Quo
    • Amos Yee is attacked in Jurong Point

      “I witnessed the entire incident. When attacked, Amos ran all the way to the Fairprice supermarket. The man who assaulted him and his girlfriend waited outside the supermarket for him, and when he came out they grabbed him by the neck and dragged him all the way to a Japanese restaurant. Many people witnessed the incident but none came forward to help, except a Caucasian man. He asked the aggressor to let Amos go, but the aggressor just ignored him. Amos managed to get free when the aggressor held him with one hand and used the other to call his gang members on the phone.”

      The 17-year-old blogger is facing trial in Court and faces six charges of intending to wound the feelings of Muslims or Christians – via five videos and a photo – and two counts of failing to report to the Jurong Police Division for investigations. He is out on a $5000 bail.

    • Israel Police Recommend Indicting Sara Netanyahu Over Irregularities at PM’s Residence

      Netanyahu was questioned under caution – as someone who might be charged with a crime – in December 2015 by Israel Police’s Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit.

    • Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum

      Hungary’s Viktor Orbán got there first, beating the drums of fear at the prospect of reincarnated Ottoman hordes streaming through Europe in an Islamic remake of a modern continent. With the British referendum on the EU fast approaching, the demonic Turk is again taking the centre stage in terms of terrifying metaphor.

    • The ILO report on ‘decent work in global supply chains’ – much ado about nothing?

      Given that labour conditions in global supply chains have been in the public spotlight for over two decades, it is no surprise that the topic ‘decent work in global supply chains’ is on the agenda of this month’s 105th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC). However, it can be argued that the accompanying report is a missed opportunity. Whilst it is a thorough assessment of the status quo regarding labour rights and working conditions in global supply chains, it does little to move the debate forward.

      It is a well-known fact that western companies at the top of the global supply chain tree (called ‘lead firms’) not only outsource their production through global supply chains, but also their potential legal liability. They therefore reduce both their costs and their responsibilities.

    • Inquest jury finds failures in detainee healthcare

      Dr Cocco said that the brain scan appointment could have led to life-saving treatment.

    • Former NSA head on Trump: ‘He’s feeding their recruitment video’
    • Facebook posing greater privacy risks than governments: Hayden
    • UK people more tolerant of ‘aggressive intelligence actions’ than Americans says former CIA chief Michael Hayden
    • CIA ex-boss: secretive spooks tolerated in UK more than in US

      British people are not demanding more transparency from the intelligence services as loudly as Americans, the former director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA has said.

      Michael Hayden played a pivotal, leading role in American intelligence until he was replaced as director of the CIA shortly into the presidency of Barack Obama.

      In a wide-ranging talk on the fourth day of the Hay festival, Hayden addressed CIA torture, targeted killings, what he thinks about Edward Snowden and how Facebook is perhaps a greater threat to privacy than government.

    • Thousands Held in Federal Prisons for Too Long, Report Finds

      More than 4,300 federal inmates were kept in prison beyond their scheduled release dates from 2009 to 2014 — some of them for an extra year or more, according to a report released on Tuesday that highlighted wide confusion in the prison system.

      The findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general are a potential embarrassment for the United States Bureau of Prisons at a time when the Obama administration has assailed what it says are unfair and unduly harsh sentences for many inmates, particularly minorities and nonviolent offenders.

      While it is unusual for an inmate to be held past his sentence, the consequences “can be extraordinarily serious,” the report said. The delayed releases “deprive inmates of their liberty,” and have led to millions of dollars in added prison costs and legal settlements with former inmates, it concluded.

    • Lock Up the Men, Evict the Women and Children

      We have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prison population. More than 60 percent of the 2.2 million incarcerated are people of color. If these poor people were not locked in cages for decades, if they were not given probationary status once they were freed, if they had stable communities, there would be massive unrest in the streets. Mass incarceration, along with debt peonage, evictions, police violence and a judicial system that holds up property rights, rather than justice, as the highest good and that denies nearly all of the poor a trial, forcing them to accept plea bargains, is one of the many tools of corporate oppression.

    • Woman Treated Like A Criminal For Refusing To Testify Against Her Abusive Boyfriend

      A federal court has sided with a domestic violence victim who was treated like a criminal after a prosecutor threw her in jail for refusing to testify that her abusive boyfriend hit her in the face, according to court documents filed Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

      Plaintiff Kristin Loupe was called as a witness to testify against her then-boyfriend David Adams during a bond hearing in January 2014. She said that during a domestic fight, he hurt her arm “in a dispute that went too far.” When Robin O’Bannon, the Ascension Parish Assistant District Attorney, pushed for more details about the abuse and repeatedly asked whether Loupe was hit in the face, Loupe would not confirm whether that had happened.

    • BTS explainer: what is the International Labour Conference?

      This will be the 105th session of the International Labour Conference, but how many people know what it is and why it’s important?

    • The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party

      The wave of revolutionary politics that Bernie Sanders and his supporters are riding can be traced back to George W. Bush. When Bush decided to Invade Iraq in 2003 he ignited a counter protest movement of young activists that the country had not seen since the Vietnam War. The activism continued through the second Bush election when many felt inspired by Senator John Kerry’s run for president as a well-known anti-war advocate. A presidential run that failed for many reasons, one of which being Kerry positioned himself as anti-war, yet voted in favor of the Iraq invasion.

    • It’s not their fault, it’s yours! Swedish GIRLS blamed for rise in migrant sex attacks

      SWEDISH police have blamed Scandinavian teenage girls’ “Nordic alcohol culture” and Western behaviour for a steep rise in sex attacks carried out by migrants.

    • Cincinnati zoo: Parents of boy blamed as anger mounts over shooting dead of gorilla

      Visitors to Cincinnati Zoo have blamed the parents of a boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure – forcing staff to shoot and kill the rare 400-lb animals.

      As zoo officials explained that they had no alternative but to take the reluctant decision to kill the animal, a wave of outrage and anger began to focus on the as yet unidentified parents of the four-year-old, who was captured on video in the ape’s enclosure.

    • Governments Turn to Commercial Spyware to Intimidate Dissidents

      In the last five years, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates, has been jailed and fired from his job, along with having his passport confiscated, his car stolen, his email hacked, his location tracked and his bank account robbed of $140,000. He has also been beaten, twice, in the same week.

      Mr. Mansoor’s experience has become a cautionary tale for dissidents, journalists and human rights activists. It used to be that only a handful of countries had access to sophisticated hacking and spying tools. But these days, nearly all kinds of countries, be they small, oil-rich nations like the Emirates, or poor but populous countries like Ethiopia, are buying commercial spyware or hiring and training programmers to develop their own hacking and surveillance tools.

      The barriers to join the global surveillance apparatus have never been lower. Dozens of companies, ranging from NSO Group and Cellebrite in Israel to Finfisher in Germany and Hacking Team in Italy, sell digital spy tools to governments.

      A number of companies in the United States are training foreign law enforcement and intelligence officials to code their own surveillance tools. In many cases these tools are able to circumvent security measures like encryption. Some countries are using them to watch dissidents. Others are using them to aggressively silence and punish their critics, inside and outside their borders.

    • Keep Calm and (Don’t) Enable Macros: A New Threat Actor Targets UAE Dissidents

      This report describes a campaign of targeted spyware attacks carried out by a sophisticated operator, which we call Stealth Falcon. The attacks have been conducted from 2012 until the present, against Emirati journalists, activists, and dissidents. We discovered this campaign when an individual purporting to be from an apparently fictitious organization called “The Right to Fight” contacted Rori Donaghy. Donaghy, a UK-based journalist and founder of the Emirates Center for Human Rights, received a spyware-laden email in November 2015, purporting to offer him a position on a human rights panel. Donaghy has written critically of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government in the past,1 and had recently published a series of articles based on leaked emails involving members of the UAE government.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • House Republicans Move To Eliminate Net Neutrality

      A new proposal by House Republicans would effectively put an end to net neutrality while slashing funding for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The legislation would reduce the agency’s funding by more than 17 percent, likely leaving the agency crippled and incapable of enforcing its regulations.

      [...]

      Over the past two years, Rogers has received more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from the telecom industry, according to OpenSecrets.org, a resource for federal campaign contributions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WHA Gets First UN Framework Managing Non-State Actors; Countries Satisfied, Actors Concerned

      The first agreement on how to manage relationships between a United Nations organisation and non-governmental actors, such as industry, philanthropic organisations and public interest groups, was adopted on 28 May by the World Health Assembly. The framework, which had been discussed for several years, was hailed as historic by many countries, but met a mixed reaction from those primarily concerned.

    • Trademarks

      • The Nominative Fair Use “Defense” in Trademark Law: Confusion in the US Circuit Courts of Appeal

        Chief Judge Kozinski, the well-known libertarian, is the author of the excellent “Trademarks Unplugged” article. Nominative fair use is different from the classic descriptive fair use defense because the alleged infringer is essentially using the trademark of another to refer to the trademark owner. The classic descriptive fair use defense is ordinarily utilized when an alleged infringer is using the trademark of another to fairly describe the alleged infringer’s goods or services. However, nominative fair use could even apply to a fanciful mark because the alleged infringer is trying to directly refer to the trademark owner itself.

05.29.16

Links 29/5/2016: NetBSD 7.0.1, Genode OS 16.05

Posted in News Roundup at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rise of Open Cloud Architecture and Over-the-Top (OTT) Network Services
  • Amazon’s Giving Away the AI Behind Its Product Recommendations

    Amazon has become the latest tech giant that’s giving away some of its most sophisticated technology. Today the company unveiled DSSTNE (pronounced “destiny”), an open source artificial intelligence framework that the company developed to power its product recommendation system. Now any company, researcher, or curious tinkerer can use it for their own AI applications.

  • Genode OS Framework release 16.05

    The current release marks the most profound API revision in the project’s history. The new API is designed to reinforce the best practices for implementing Genode components. It is the result of countless experiments and the practical experiences made while developing over hundred genuine components during the past ten years.

  • Old projects and the free-software community

    The Community Leadership Summit (CLS) is an annual event for community managers, developer evangelists, people who work on public-facing forums, and those with a general interest in engagement or community development for free-software projects. The 2016 edition was held in Austin, Texas the weekend before OSCON. Several sessions at CLS 2016 dealt with the differences exhibited between old and new free-software projects where community management is concerned. One of those tackled the problem of how to foster community around an older software project, which poses a distinct set of challenges.

  • Events

    • Reporting on OSCON 2016

      Last week was OSCON 2016, and the first year that the conference was held in Austin, Texas. OSCON has always been an important conference for Conservancy and for me personally. In 2011, it was the first conference I ever keynoted (I was also on a keynote panel in 2008, which was the closest I’d gotten before then), and where I really started talking about my heart condition and medical devices. OSCON was also the conference where we had the first Conservancy booth and debuted Conservancy t-shirts and stickers.

    • Day -1 of PyCon US 2016

      I reached Portland two days back, was happy to see that Remy helped us to find a hotel just opposite to the conference center. As I am typing this, I can see the empty roads, and the main doors of the venue. Yesterday also I woke up by 5AM, the virtue of being in a place 12:30 hours apart from your standard timezone :) After writing the article about Microbit support in Fedora (it is still under review) I moved to the conference venue. It was very easy to find the staff room. As usual Doug,Lvh,Eric were already there, later I met Ewa, and then met Betsy for the first time. While discussing security practices when I asked, Lvh pointed out that getting golang vendored sources in the source code repository and then not updating them later, is more of a software engineering problem than a security problem as he sees.

    • Running a Hackerspace

      I wrote parts of this post after our last monthly assembly at Athens Hackerspace. Most of the hackerspace operators are dealing with this monthly meeting routinely and we often forget what we have achieved during the last 5 years and how many great things this physical space enabled to happen. But this post is not about our hackerspace. It’s an effort to distant myself and try to write about the experience of running a hackerspace.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird powered by SoftMaker

        Thunderbird, powered by SoftMaker, is a custom version of the popular email client featuring enhancements that come all in the form of extensions.

        [...]

        SoftMaker, a company best known for its SoftMaker Office suite, announced recently that it plans to include the Thunderbird email client into the 2016 version of the office suite.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The open-source generation gap

      OSI General Manager Patrick Masson was one of the session’s attendees, and he pushed back on that last point. There is too much “open-washing” these days, he said, but it does not come from the OSI. There is still only one Open Source Definition; the dilution of the term comes from others who use “open” to describe organizations, workflows, processes, and other things unrelated to software licensing. “We have open hardware and open data, but also ‘open cola’ and ‘open beer.’ That blurs over an important distinction. Not everything fits.”

      [...]

      Among the other points raised during the session, attendees noted that it was important that the community distinguish between minting new project contributors and minting new free-software activists, and that it was important for projects to put a check on flamewar-style debates—particularly those that focus on dismissing certain technologies. It is easy for experienced developers to become attached to a language or framework, but there will always be new languages and projects popping up that are the entry points for new coders. Project members deriding language Y because it is not language X may only serve to tell newcomers that they are not welcome.

    • A discussion on combining CDDL and GPL code

      Within the context of an event dedicated to discussing free and open-source software (FOSS) legalities, such as the Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), the topic of conflicting licenses was bound to come up. The decision by Canonical to start shipping the ZFS filesystem with its Ubuntu server distribution back in February led to a discussion at LLW about distributing the kernel combined with ZFS. Discussions at LLW are held under the Chatham House Rule, which means that names and affiliations of participants are only available for those who have agreed to be identified. This year’s LLW was held in Barcelona, April 13-15.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: An Interface For The Headless Linux System

        Connecting a headless Raspberry Pi to a wireless network can be quite a paradoxical situation. To connect it to the network, you need to open an SSH connection to configure the wireless port. But to do so, you need a network connection in the first place. Of course, you can still get command-line access using a USB-to-UART adapter or the Pi’s ethernet port – if present – but [Arsenijs] worked out a much more convenient solution for his Hackaday Prize entry: The pyLCI Linux Control Interface.

      • RepRap, Open Source and 3DPrinting

        The RepRap project started in 2005 by Adrian Bowyer – “Mister RepRap”, when the patent about this technology expired. 3DPrintings isn’t a new technology, history dates that the first model of stereolithography printing emerged in 1984. The main idea around RepRap projects is to produce 3DPrinters that can auto-replicate most of the parts itself. And in 2006, the RepRap 0.2 successfully printed the first part of itself and in 2008, the first 3d model was printed by an end-user. Currently, the printer more replicated and customized of the 67 printers that are listed on RepRap website, is the Prusa Mendel, the model created by Josef Průša, that was disponibility to the public in 2011 and had a lot of development since.

      • Here is a web interface for switching on your light

        Like I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to try out a more hackable wifi plug. I got a Kankun “smart” plug. Like the other one I have the software is horrible. The good news is that they left SSH enabled on it.

      • LeMaker Guitar review

        Anyone who has worked with the Compute Module will find the LeMaker Guitar immediately familiar. The system-on-chip processor, an Actions S500, sits alongside 1GB of memory, a combined audio and power management unit, and 8GB of NAND flash storage on an over-sized small-outline DIMM (SODIMM) form factor circuit board. This board then connects to a baseboard, supplied with the Guitar, which provides more accessible connectivity than the SODIMM’s 204 electrical contacts.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • For this gadgethead, the HTC Vive may force my Oculus Rift to collect dust

      In walking the long path to VR on the PC, I’ve built a new gaming computer from scratch, bought peripherals out the wazoo, and, of course, pre-ordered both an Oculus Rift and an HTC Vive so I wouldn’t have to choose between the two. If we’re including things like the peripherals I use when playing some VR games—like my Warthog HOTAS and Slaw Device pedals—then my grand total is hovering at $4,000 or so in VR-related expenses.

      That’s a hell of a lot of cheddar to drop in pursuit of gaming, but the results make me happy. There isn’t a PC VR-related thing I can’t have. If it exists for Oculus Rift or SteamVR, I can play it. And I’ve been casting that net wide, jumping from VR game to VR game, trying over the past six weeks to eat as much as I can from this new buffet of experiences.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Europe Medicines Group Joins Initiative To Fight Fake Medicines

      Fight the Fakes campaign “represents a great opportunity for a multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary collaboration,” said Adrian van den Hoven, Medicines for Europe director general. He also highlighted the fact that fake medicines are “illegal and dangerous.”

    • Shift In Discussions About R&D At This Week’s World Health Assembly

      Public health advocates – and many nations – had high hopes that this year’s World Health Assembly could finally agree on some alternative ways to fund research and development that can lead to affordable medical products by de-linking R&D costs from prices, through the long-awaited discussion of a landmark 2012 report of a WHO expert group on medical R&D. This week, that discussion has spread across the highest profile topics of the week such as antimicrobial resistance and emergencies, but some are concerned that the public health safeguards recommended by the expert group may be being left behind.

    • Reactions To WHA Resolution On R&D Financing Generally Positive

      Today, the annual World Health Assembly is poised to approve a new plan on research and development into medical products that are affordable to all. NGOs, industry and other observers welcomed the outcome.

    • The U.S. Just Got One Step Closer To A Deadly ‘Superbug’ Crisis

      On Thursday, researchers revealed that for the first time, they’ve found a case of U.S. bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics. Researchers at Walter Reed found the germ in a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman diagnosed with an E. coli infection last month. The E. coli carried a specific gene, MCR-1, that rendered it immune to the antibiotic colistin — the drug doctors turn to to kill an infection when nothing else works.

    • These Vegetables Would Have Normally Been Thrown Out. Instead, They’ll Feed Our Hungriest.

      On another day, in another life, these vegetables would have all been taken to a very different place. The eggplants — some a little too small, some a little too bruised — would have been carted to a landfill and left to rot. The cauliflower pocked with tiny dark splotches — a sign of oxidation — would have been mistaken as moldy and passed over by customers at the supermarket until they, too, joined the eggplants in the landfill. The carrots — some the size of wine bottles — might not have even made it to the supermarket, turned away because they would not have blended into the store’s uniform display. They too, probably, would have ended up in a landfill.

    • Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell

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

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

    • Seven Myths About GMOs Debunked
  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • NATO in Montenegro: Securing the Rear Before Barbarossa II?

      The strategic importance of Montenegro is inversely proportional to its size. With it, NATO will have full control of the Adriatic Sea, finish the encirclement of Serbia, and be emboldened to pursue a more aggressive stance towards Russia.

    • A helmet for a F-35 pilot costs $400,000, more than a high end Ferrari.

      Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

      It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

      [...]

      A helmet for a F-35 pilot costs $400,000, more than a high end Ferrari.

    • Putin: Romania ‘in crosshairs’ after opening NATO missile defense base

      During a visit to Greece intended to repair ties with the EU, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has “no choice” but to target Romania, which has recently opened a NATO missile defense base, and Poland, which plans to do so within two years.

      “If yesterday people simply did not know what it means to be in the crosshairs in those areas of Romania, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security. And it will be the same with Poland,” Putin said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Friday.

    • Sweden Dumps Neutrality, Signs Major Agreement with NATO

      The Agreement makes Sweden a possible host country for aggressive NATO exercises during peacetime. In addition, the Swedish government may allow NATO to invade the country if a crisis or a conflict should occur. Inevitably, Sweden will become directly involved in NATO’s armament proliferation and their aggressive provocations against Russia. Large-scale fleet exercises in the Baltic Sea will further increase the danger of confrontation and war.

    • Tony Blair will not be accused of breaking laws in Iraq War inquiry

      Tony Blair will not be accused of breaking any laws in the Iraq War inquiry report, the Telegraph can disclose.

      Sources close to the inquiry said the report – which will be published in six weeks’ time – was not set up to take a view on the legality of the acts of individuals or events. That includes whether the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was legal.

    • US military uses 8-inch floppy disks to coordinate nuclear force operations

      The U.S. Defense Department is still using — after several decades — 8-inch floppy disks in a computer system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces, a jaw-dropping new report reveals.

      [...]

      The report shows that creaky IT systems are being used to handle important functions related to the nation’s taxpayers, federal prisoners and military veterans, as well as to the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

    • New Nukes for a New Cold War

      Mythology about the rightness of dropping two atomic bombs on Japan is relevant to today’s “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the revving up of a new Cold War with Russia, says ex-Pentagon military analyst Chuck Spinney.

    • The World Reaps What the Saudis Sow

      With a population of only 1.8 million people, Kosovo has sent more of its young people per capita than any other country to fight and die in Iraq and Syria. Since 2012, some 314 Kosovars have joined the Islamic State, including two suicide bombers, 44 women and 28 children. Even Belgium, widely seen as a hotbed of extremism after the attacks on Paris and Brussels, lags behind it in the recruitment rankings. …

      The United States and NATO invested heavily in helping Kosovo gain independence from Serbia in 2008 and establish democracy. That Saudi Arabia should be using Kosovo as a breeding ground for extremists, or allowing it to be used as a breeding ground by any Saudi entity or citizen, is a cruel reminder of the contradictory and even duplicitous behavior of America’s partners in the Persian Gulf and helps to explain why its relationships with those countries have become increasingly troubled.

      Kosovo, rescued from Serbian oppression after months of NATO bombing in 1999, has been known as a tolerant society. For centuries, the Muslim majority has followed the liberal Hanafi version of Islam, which is accepting of others. Since the war, that tradition has been threatened by Saudi-trained imams, their costs paid by Saudi-sponsored charities, preaching the primacy of Shariah law and fostering violent jihad and takfirism, which authorizes the killing of Muslims viewed as heretics.

      Most Kosovars have resisted such proselytizing, and officials in Kosovo say that support for the United States and the West remains strong. Yet experts point to a number of reasons the country has been fertile ground for recruitment to radical ideology: a large population of young people living in rural poverty with little hope of jobs; corruption and an attendant lack of faith in government; and, according to a 2015 report by the Kosovar Center for Security Studies, an education system that does not encourage critical thinking.

    • Donald Trump used 9/11 funds program to net $150G payday

      Donald Trump made a pretty penny off a program to help small businesses hurt by 9/11, one of many times where The Donald took advantage of government programs to save or make money off the taxpayer.

      The self-proclaimed billionaire, who has so far refused to release his tax returns, was one of many wealthy individuals and businesses who used a loophole in a program intended to help smaller companies in lower Manhattan recover after the Sept. 11 tragedy.

      Trump got $150,000 for his swanky property at 40 Wall Street because the Empire State Development Corporation, run by the state, didn’t enforce federal guidelines on what defines a small business. Instead, the state used much looser rules that let The Donald and others including Morgan Stanley and Bank of China take money that was earmarked by Congress to help small business owners in the neighborhood recover after the tragic attacks, a 2006 Daily News expose found.

    • Rep. Jerrold Nadler Denounces Donald Trump for Taking 9/11 Small-Business Aid
    • Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars

      I am staggered by the amount of firepower the US used, and the incredible death and destruction it caused on an innocent people.

    • ISIS and Israel on the Golan Heights

      There is a strange relationship between Israel and a small sect of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) based next to the Golan Heights. The very presence of a group like ISIS so close to Israel brings up many questions.

      Firstly why has ISIS not attacked Israel – a country they have sworn to destroy – from said base? Similarly why has the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) not attacked this small and weak group of extremists on their border? The answers to such questions show the truth behind the rhetoric all actors use in this conflict.

      The Yarmouk valley is wedged between Jordan, Syria and the Israeli occupied territories of the Golan Heights. The valley consists of a few small towns, the majority of which are now controlled by the ISIS affiliated Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk or the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade (YMB). This group was established by Mohammad al-Baridi, known by his nickname ‘The Uncle’ in 2012 in southwest Syria. The group started off relatively moderate, with a close alliance to the Free Syrian Army. But the moderation quickly dissipated during the course of the Syrian civil war.

      [...]

      There seems to be very different treatment for rebel groups on the south of the Golan Heights border than for those in the north. But why would Israel, which authorised multiple bombings on Syrian militant groups, take such a relaxed view towards ISIS on their doorstep?

      Israel is focused not on ISIS and Sunni groups, but on the Shia groups in Syria. Israel’s airstrikes have hit Assad’s Shia backed regime and Hezbollah, not ISIS or al-Nusra. Correspondence between the then-Sectary of State Hillary Clinton and political advisor Jacob Sullivan about Israel’s aims in the region tried to rationalise why Israel ignores ISIS.

    • The Debate Over Whether Families Of 9/11 Victims Should Be Able To Sue Saudi Arabia

      The House’s Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Tuesday where legislators from each party took cracks at Saudi Arabia.

      The country has come under heavy criticism of late after the Senate unanimously approved legislation that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue over Saudi Arabia’s alleged connections to Al Qaeda.

    • US Spec Ops Troops on Front Line in Syria with Leftist Kurdish Insignia: AFP

      Agence France Presse got the scoop on Thursday, with their reporters in Fatisa just 19 miles from Daesh territory in northern al-Raqqa Province, Syria saying they saw some 20 US special operations troops embedded with leftist Kurdish YPG units and wearing YPG insignia. (The latter move is to prevent friendly fire incidents, signaling to the Kurds that despite their foreign appearance, they are white hats).

    • Pivoting to War

      Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies was commissioned by the Pentagon to analyze U.S. military strategy and force posture in the Asia-Pacific region and produced its report in January 2016. It was not surprising that a major recommendation was that “the United States should sustain and expand U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.” Always tell your paymasters what they want to hear, especially when it was made clear by President Obama that his “pivot to Asia” is aimed at military dominance.

    • Obama in Hiroshima: time to say ‘sorry’, and Ban the Bomb!

      President Obama should overcome political constraints in Hiroshima this week to say ‘sorry’ for the nuclear bombs, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Even more important, he must change his stance on nuclear weapons – abandoning the US’s $1 trillion WMD modernization program and lifting the threat of world-destroying nuclear conflict.

    • Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go

      It’s interesting to see a US commander crossing the border to cheer on participants in a civil war. That’s also what the American military has been doing in Iraq, where forces have been encouraging Shia militias fighting on the outskirts of Fallujah, and even providing air support to the forces of the perilously weak government in Baghdad.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling

      A schizophrenic aspect of the entire Assange affair from the Swedish perspective is the inability of the legal establishment to let go. Despite the contrarian wishes of his alleged victims; despite dissent within the Swedish legal establishment that Assange be hauled over the coals; despite the evidence, the higher authorities insist that he can be detained on suspicion of rape by prosecutors.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Anti-Parks Leaders In Utah Called Out For Hypocrisy

      The quixotic efforts of Utah politicians to seize and sell national forests and other public lands poses a dire risk to tourism and visitor spending in the state, according to a new public awareness campaign that launched this week.

    • Fact-Checking Donald Trump’s Low-Octane Energy Policy

      Time was, picturing what Donald Trump’s presidential energy policies might look like required parsing his fact-defying tweets, forehead slap-worthy comments and threats to seize Middle Eastern oil by force. Now that the presumptive Republican nominee has unveiled his “America First” energy policy, there’s less guesswork to do.

    • California Back in Big Oil’s Crosshairs as Feds Quietly OK Offshore Fracking

      Two federal agencies on Friday quietly finalized two reports, set for release next week, that found offshore fracking in California poses no “significant” risk to the environment—paving the way for oil and gas companies to resume the controversial extraction method in the Santa Barbara Channel and imperiling the region’s wildlife in the process, opponents said.

      The announcement Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (OEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement puts an end to a court-ordered ban on offshore fracking in federal waters off the coast of California. The moratorium was put into place in January as part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which challenged the Obama administration’s ‘rubber-stamping’ of offshore drilling activity without an environmental review.

    • The Funny Business of Farm Credit

      In May of 1998 we held a conference dedicated to two Government-sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In my statement to that assembly, I noted that both corporations had been enjoying good times, but cautioned that one of the unintended consequences of fat profits over a long period is the tendency of both government and private corporations to start believing in the fantasy of ever-rising profits. GSEs often escape the accountability that Congress or regulatory agencies should impose.

      Recent hearings in the U.S. House and Senate have provided some much needed oversight on another GSE―the Farm Credit System (FCS).

      The Farm Credit System was the first GSE to be established by the United States in 1916. Unlike Fannie and Freddie, the Farm Credit System can make direct loans to farmers, ranchers and others involved in agriculture. However, as The Wall Street Journal reported back in 1985: “the Farm Credit System would lend money to anyone. Herbert Ashton, an Indiana fruit farmer, recalls being wined and dined at a local country club by bankers from his local [farm credit] system bank who extolled the virtues of inflation and offered to lend him $1 million on the spot. ‘I turned it down,’ he recalls. ‘But they sounded like a soap testimonial. They were giving money to whoever passed their way, and they didn’t ask too many questions.’”

    • 1,000,000,000 Birds – Just Gone

      The just released State of North America’s Birds report is grim reading. Based on a comprehensive evaluation of species population size and trends, ranges and threat severity the assessment reaches a stark conclusion.

    • Bill Gates And Exxon Now Share The Same Climate Policy. They’re Wrong.

      Memo to Gates: It just might be time to rethink your position when the biggest corporate climate villain on planet Earth embraces your climate policy. And it might be time to rethink your message when the head of the company that has funded disinformation about climate science and solutions longer than any other says he has “had this conversation” with you and you are in total agreement.

    • Long Island as a Nuclear Park

      Meanwhile, PSEG is pushing ahead with its plan to install taller and wider utility poles throughout Long Island with their bottoms coated with pentachlorophenol or penta—a cancer-causing substance banned by nations around the world.

    • Exxon’s CEO Just Won: His Shareholders Rejected Climate Change Proposals

      After a long battle to even get on the agenda for ExxonMobil’s 2016 Annual Meeting, the company’s shareholders on Wednesday voted against four initiatives to address climate change, even while the company is facing an investigation for its climate denial activities.

      Investors were hoping to force Exxon to add a climate expert to its board, to enact a policy to avoid 2°C warming, to increase capital distributions (with the understanding that continued investment in assets likely to be stranded is not a good long-term strategy), and to report on the impact climate change policies worldwide to the company’s bottom line.

    • “When you buy coal, you have a moral right to ask where it came from”

      A new report highlights a stark truth: the UK’s dependence on international coal not only devastates the environment, but disenfranchises local communities.

    • The Environmental Implications Of A Trump Presidency

      He will also have to decide what he would actually do with U.S. energy and climate policy. He’s already offered some rhetoric about saving coal jobs, denying climate science, and bashing renewable energy. But on Thursday he is expected to reveal his agenda in keynote speech at an oil expo in Bismarck, North Dakota.

  • Finance

    • The Right Marches on Brazil

      Brazil’s interim government is orchestrating a stunning transfer of power to the country’s elites.

    • Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!

      More is never enough. By now we really don’t need yet another statement of inequality, but here goes anyway: The average ratio of chief executive pay to employee pay has reached 335-to-1 in the United States.

      And some of the highest paid CEOs were at the companies that stash the most money in overseas tax havens. Among the giant corporations that comprise the Standard & Poor’s 500, the 25 at the companies with the most unrepatriated profits hauled in 79 percent more than other S&P 500 chief executive officers, reports the AFL-CIO union federation’s Paywatch 2016 report. Just 10 corporations — Apple, Pfizer, Microsoft, General Electric, IBM, Merck, Cisco Systems, Johnson & Johnson, Exxon Mobil, and Hewlett-Packard successor HP Inc. — are believed to be holding about $948 billion in accounts outside the reach of tax authorities.

    • Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece

      Once EU’s and US’ common aim of imposing austerity and anti-popular economic restructuring on Greece has been concluded, then the two partners-um-competitors jostled the one against the other for the terms and the consequences of the necessary debt relief for Greece. Debt relief is necessary because the troika’s Economic Adjustment Program for Greece is unfeasible and Greek debt is unviable. A few days ago, IMF in its recent preliminary debt sustainability assessment had accepted this.

    • More Young Adults Live With Parents Than Not—for the First Time in 130 Years

      Live with your parents, again? Chances are you’re not lazy, nor a loser, nor any other stigma that might be hovering in your subconscious due to cultural stereotyping—you’re just a normal millennial responding to the economic realities of the age. For the first time in 130 years, more Americans between ages 18-34 are living with their parents than in any other living situation. That is according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center published May 24. The study is based on national census data from 2014.

    • Chris Hedges on the Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg (Video)

      “Liberalism, which Luxemburg called by its more appropriate name—opportunism—is an integral component of capitalism,” he said. “When the citizens grow restive, it will soften and decry capitalism’s excesses. But capitalism, Luxemburg argued, is an enemy that can never be appeased.”

      Hedges also said: “Luxemburg’s murder illustrated the ultimate loyalties of liberal elites in a capitalist society: When threatened from the left, when the face of socialism showed itself in the streets, they would—and will—make alliances with the most retrograde elements of the society, including fascists, to crush the aspirations of the working class.”

    • Minimum Wage Workers Can’t Afford Rent Anywhere In The Country

      People who make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour can’t find an affordable place to live anywhere in the country, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

      But perhaps even more surprising is that even if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour — the level low-wage workers have been demanding in a constant flow of strikes and protests and the highest level supported by Democratic lawmakers — they would still be out of luck.

    • FFII comments on TTIP human rights assessment

      Citizens in Europe and elsewhere are harassed by software patent trolls, and experience issues regarding sequential innovation, remixing, and access to knowledge and culture. The FFII has argued that the EU should bring its IP law into line with human rights obligations. [4] TTIP may undermine this through exportation of EU law.

    • Yanis Varoufakis warns that anti-immigrant rhetoric is being used to distract from austerity

      The anti-immigration tactics being used by the Leave campaign in the EU referendum amount to a “divide and rule trick”, Yanis Varoufakis has said.

      The former Greek finance minister – who faced down EU institutions in his previous job negotiating with the Troika – said the British establishment was trying to use fear of immigrants to distract from the effects of austerity.

      “Lest we forget: turning the native poor against migrant labour is a variant of the old divide and rule trick that the British establishment honed ages ago to dominate the empire,” he said.

    • Students With Nowhere to Stay: Homelessness on College Campuses

      When the College Cost Reduction and Access Act took effect in 2009, neither lawmakers nor school administrators had any idea how many college students would check the box on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — the document that determines eligibility for Pell grants, subsidized loans and work-study awards that help students pay for college or vocational training — to indicate that they were homeless.

      At last tabulation, the number was 58,000, a small percentage of the 20.2 million students presently enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate study. Nonetheless, school counselors and advocates believe the number is starkly inaccurate and represents a mere fraction of university students who actually lack a permanent home.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Feel the Hate

      It hasn’t just been about insults, put-downs, and smears. There’s also the Clinton-captive Democratic Party’s systematic and authoritarian distortion and, yes, rigging of the primary nomination process at the local, state, and national levels. There are abundant reasons to believe that Hillary has benefitted from electoral and administrative shenanigans across the (seemingly endless) primary season. The fixing process was evident in Las Vegas recently, when the Nevada Democratic Party chair “shut down debate behind a screen of uniformed police” after the party excluded 58 Sanders delegates with sudden “rules changes” clearly made to block Sanders’ rightful claim to have won Nevada. No wonder a Sanders delegate grabbed a chair and thought about tossing it.

    • Trump Backs out of Debate Against Sanders After Tech Company Offers to Pay for It

      Donald Trump reneged on his intention to debate Senator Bernie Sanders on Friday in a brief statement on his website.

    • The Surge Of Trump-Fueled Anti-Semitism Is Hitting Jewish Reporters Who Cover Him

      Granted, the newly minted Republican nominee for president has long insisted that his is not himself anti-Semitic, and regularly points out that his daughter is a Jewish convert. Yet Trump has done little to quell a rising tide of anti-Semitism among his supporters since launching his campaign last year: Trump initially refused to disavow anti-Semitic Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, a Trump surrogate implied at a rally that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders should convert from Judaism and “meet Jesus,” prominent anti-Semites went on radio shows to encourage their supporters to “get out and vote” for Trump, and a man was filmed leaving a Trump rally shouting in Cleveland shouting “Go to fucking Auschwitz.”

    • News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016

      But which social media sites have the largest portion of users getting news there? How many get news on multiple social media sites? And to what degree are these news consumers seeking online news out versus happening upon it while doing other things?

    • Bernie Calls Trump a Coward: ‘Hey, Donald, Come On Up, Let’s Have a Debate About the Future of America’

      Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making the west coast late-night rounds ahead of California’s primary, stopping by “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night for a one-on-one interview.

      Maher mentioned the great missed opportunity that was Sanders’ rumored debate with GOP nominee Donald Trump, who backed out on Friday.

      After making guttural noises, Sanders said he “would have loved” to debate Trump.

    • What’s Really Best for Israel?

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went before AIPAC this year and pandered to those who blindly support Israel’s hard-line policies, but Bernie Sanders’s more evenhanded approach is better for Israel, says Rabbi Michael Lerner.

      [...]

      As if not to be undone by the Times, Jane Eisner, editor of the center/right Jewish Forward magazine, issued a statement that insisted that Sanders unveil a full plan for how to achieve peace in Israel and Palestine. Clinton’s plan has been to give 100 percent unconditional support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    • Progressive Challenger to Wasserman Schultz Nabs Major Endorsement

      Tim Canova, the progressive challenger running to unseat embattled Democratic National Party (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on Friday was endorsed by the grassroots advocacy group Democracy for America (DFA), which called Canova a “political revolutionary.”

      In a statement on Friday, DFA chairman Jim Dean criticized Wasserman Schultz for allying with “wealthy interests” that fuel inequality and said that “if Democrats are going to be the party that confronts the wealthy and powerful who dominate our political process and enable growing income inequality, we need political revolutionaries like Tim Canova in the U.S. Congress.”

    • Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Deletions, in Detail

      Clinton praises Latin America for its high rate of economic growth, which she revealingly claims has produced “more than 50 million new middle-class consumers eager to buy U.S. goods and services.” She also admits that the region’s inequality is “still among the worst in the world” with much of its population “locked in persistent poverty” — even while the TPP that she has advocated strongly for threatens to exacerbate the region’s underdevelopment, just as NAFTA caused the Mexican economy to stagnate.

      Last October, however, she publicly reversed her stance on the TPP under pressure from fellow Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. Likewise, the entire two-page section on the conference in El Salvador where she expresses her support for the TPP is missing from the paperback.

    • Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump

      Heidegger cuts Jaspers off abruptly. “Education is irrelevant,” the moral philosopher of Nazism shouts. “Just look at his wonderful hands!”

      Moral: the smaller the hands, the more fanatic the compensation.

    • 35 protesters arrested outside Trump rally in San Diego

      San Diego police arrested 35 protesters Friday outside a Donald Trump rally after a peaceful demonstration devolved into chaos, according to police.

      Three hours into the calm protests, which drew up to 1,000 people, a number of demonstrators tried to breach an off-limits area, resulting in arrests, the police department said on Twitter.

    • Donald Trump rally sparks clashes in San Diego

      Supporters and opponents of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have clashed in the city of San Diego in California.

      Police declared a gathering outside the city’s convention centre unlawful and made 35 arrests, as stones and water bottles were thrown.

      Mr Trump was in the city near the Mexican border to hold a rally ahead of the 7 June California primary.

    • By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates

      The practice of the American political establishment has for decades been to marginalize dissenting views as a means of silencing them. The dominant Parties have long contended that eligible voters who don’t vote don’t care, and therefore don’t matter. However, a more plausible explanation for their abstention (in addition to institutional impediments to voting) is that the great majority of voters want neither of the dominant Parties in power. In other words, the American system of political and economic representation neither includes nor represents true democratic participation. The growth of registered Independent voters (graph below) at the expense of the dominant Parties adds credence to this view. So does that fact that other alleged democracies have much higher voter participation rates than the U.S.

    • No Cake for Nazis: Meet the Young Libertarian Gunning for the Millennial Vote

      This could be a big year for a Libertarian candidate. Trump and Clinton are deeply unpopular, and a recent poll found that nearly half of all voters would consider supporting a third-party candidate if Trump and Clinton are the nominees. The Libertarians already credit Trump for a surge in new party memberships and are eager to pull in disappointed Sanders fans.

    • 10 Things to Know About DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s Super Progressive Challenger
    • “Significant Security Risks”: State Department Says Clinton Broke Rules Using Private Email Server

      An internal government watchdog has concluded Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval while she was secretary of state. That was the key finding of a long-awaited report by the State Department inspector general. The report concluded that Clinton would not have been allowed to use a private server in her home had she asked department officials in charge of information security, because it posed “significant security risks.” This contradicts claims by Clinton that use of a home server was allowed and that no permission was needed. The report also criticized Clinton for not properly preserving emails she wrote and received on her personal account. According to the report, Clinton and eight of her deputies, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, declined to be interviewed for the inspector general’s investigation. Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business is also the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. We speak to journalist Michael Tracey.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Australia references stripped from UN climate change report over tourism concerns

      All references to Australia have been removed from a UN report on climate change after the Environment Department expressed concerns it could cause confusion and negatively affect tourism.

      The report, jointly published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), the Union of Concerned Scientists and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), initially contained a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef and sections on Kakadu and Tasmanian forests.

    • I’m launching a campaign to end geoblocking in the EU. Are you in?

      The EU continues taking baby steps towards a Digital Single Market, when what we need is a leap: An “anti-geoblocking” regulation that does not cover online video, like the one presented by the European Commission today, misses the mark. The Commission’s sector inquiry and the public consultation on the topic have proven just how widespread digital borders are in Europe today, and that Europeans overwhelmingly support broad action.

    • This YouTube Star Got Sued, Raised $130,000, and Wants to Change the Site Forever

      When Ethan Klein found out he was being sued by a fellow YouTube creator over a video he had produced for his channel, he never thought his personal legal battle would spark a backlash that raised tens of thousands of dollars and could change the way users of the video site fight lawsuits.

      But three days after the lawsuit was made public by Klein on May 24, YouTube creators and their fans have collected more than $130,000 to help the embattled video star and his wife (and co-star) Hila fight back against a copyright claim by another YouTube user, Matt Hosseinzadeh. And with all that money, Klein, the 30-year-old founder of h3h3productions, now has his sights set on bigger things: protecting other YouTube creators who need a legal defense but lack his own stature.

      As Klein tells it, the entire affair began when Hosseinzadeh sued him, alleging that a Klein video mocking Hosseinzadeh improperly used Hosseinzadeh’s content. In a video revealing the lawsuit, Klein vigorously defended himself, saying the footage he used was covered under fair use law.

    • Got a Beef With the Media? Pay Someone Else to Sue Them

      The revelation that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s sex tape lawsuit against Gawker sent shockwaves through the media industry. Commentators had barely recovered from the $140 million in damages awarded to Hogan. Now they were grappling with a bigger question: Is this kind of financial arrangement even legal? Could it happen to them?

    • Udta Punjab censorship: politics, not expletives, behind the move
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s Dilemma With Conservatives

      According to one of the former Facebook curators located by Gizmodo, the site that broke the story, the alleged political bias on the social network’s Trending Topics site amounted to a preference among the curators for outlets “like the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN” instead of those “like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax.” Given the respective reputations of those media outlets, in the real world, that would look like simple prudence. But, presumably because a story headlined “Anonymous Source Alleged Intelligent News Judgment in ‘Trending’ Choices” would not have resulted in a fraction of number of page views, Gizmodo bannered its “scoop.”

    • SABC’s non-coverage of violent protests compared to apartheid censorship

      There’s been wide-ranging criticism of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) decision to stop showing visuals of property being destroyed by protesters, with some comparing it to media censorship during apartheid.

      Today, the national broadcaster announced it will no longer be showing visuals of protesters destroying public property as this incites violence.

      The SABC insists this is not self-censorship but rather a duty to ensure that such footage doesn’t encourage others to follow suit.

    • S Africa broadcaster SABC condemned for ‘censorship’

      Freedom of expression groups and opposition parties have condemned the South African state broadcaster’s (SABC) decision to stop showing violent anti-government protests, claiming the move disregarded the right to dissent in the country.

    • ANC calls for debate around role of media covering violent protests
    • Sanef calls on SABC to review new policy on violent protests
    • SANEF slams SABC plan on violent protests
    • Sanef, R2K raise concern over SABC ‘censorship’
    • SABC clarifies stance on coverage of violent protests
    • SABC censorship decision questionable: Sanef
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Is this the end of decentralisation?

      In a response to this critique, Moxie wrote about how he feels that innovation can not happen as quickly and easily as needs be with federated and decentralised structures. To prove his point, he argued that the premise that the internet could not have gotten to where it is without interoperable and federated protocols is false.

    • An Entire West Virginia Town That Was Formerly a Spy Base Is for Sale

      If you have $1 million just sitting around and dream of living out the premise to M. Night Shymalan’s psychological thriller The Village, have we got a deal for you.

      An entire town, which was once part of the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance operation, includes 80 single-family homes, a fire station, a swimming pool and a bowling alley in picturesque rural West Virginia, is up for auction with bids starting at $1 million.

    • Untangling the Web: the NSA’s supremely weird, florid guide to the Internet

      Now, at 650 pages, there’s far too much to go into in depth here, but fortunately, as you can see from the table of contents…

      you don’t have to go very far before this takes a hard turn into “Dungeons and Dragons campaign/Classics major’s undergraduate thesis” territory. The preface employs a comical number of metaphors to describe what the internet is and isn’t – sometimes two a paragraph.

    • Read This Spectacularly Zany Guide to the Internet

      A version of this post titled “NSA’s ode to the Internet” originally appeared in the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter.

    • Anonabox Tunneler & Anonabox Pro: Helping You Stay Anonymous Online

      Given our open-source/Linux reader base and many of our readers being very privacy-minded, Anonabox sent over their Tunneler and Pro products for us to try out. The Anonabox Tunneler is a WiFi VPN router and the Anonabox Pro is a WiFi Tor and VPN router.

    • A Controversial Surveillance Firm Was Granted a Powerful Encryption Certificate

      A controversial surveillance company whose products have been detected in Iran and Sudan was recently issued a powerful encryption certificate by a US cybersecurity company. The certificate, and the authority that comes with it, could allow Blue Coat Systems to more easily snoop on encrypted traffic. But Symantec, the company that provided it, downplayed concern from the security community.

      Blue Coat, which sells web-monitoring software, was granted the power in September last year, but it was only widely noticed this week.

      The company’s devices are used by both government and commercial customers for keeping tabs on networks or conducting surveillance. In Syria, the technology has been used to censor web sites and monitor the communications of dissidents, activists and journalists, The Washington Post reports.

    • Beware public mobile charging points – your phone can be hacked in minutes

      Your smartphone can be easily hacked easily if you plug it in to charge via USB at a public place like an airport, cafe or on public transport.

      Researchers at security firm Kaspersky Labs found that they could install a third-party application, like a virus, onto the phone via its USB cable connection to a computer. It took them under three minutes.

    • Don’t have a Facebook account? Its advertising cookies are still following you

      Facebook will begin tracking people without Facebook accounts across the web as the social media giant expands its advertising empire.

      The company’s advertising network plans to install pieces of code known as “cookies” on internet user’s browsers, even if they do not have Facebook accounts, it has announced.

      Cookies monitor the websites that internet browsers visit and are used to target adverts at users. For example, after looking for furniture online you may see an IKEA advert on another page.

    • Tor – from its creators mouth 11 years ago

      A little more than 11 years ago, one of the creators of Tor, and the current President of the Tor project, Roger Dingledine, gave a talk for the members of the Norwegian Unix User group (NUUG). A video of the talk was recorded, and today, thanks to the great help from David Noble, I finally was able to publish the video of the talk on Frikanalen, the Norwegian open channel TV station where NUUG currently publishes its talks. You can watch the live stream using a web browser with WebM support, or check out the recording on the video on demand page for the talk “Tor: Anonymous communication for the US Department of Defence…and you.”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers

      Less than three months before Lenca leader Berta Cáceres was brutally assassinated, the social arm of Desarollos Energeticos SA (DESA)–the Honduran company leading the Agua Zarca dam project Cáceres was campaigning against–signed a contract with USAID implementing partner Fintrac, a Washington DC based development contracting firm.

      The DESA representative who was present for the public signing of the USAID agreement was none other than Sergio Rodríguez, the company’s Social Investment Manager, who is now accused of Cáceres’ assassination along with another former DESA employee and individuals with military ties. The arrests also included Douglas Geovanny Bustillo, a retired military officer and the former head of DESA’s security detail. The trial against the accused murderers began on Monday.

    • Mold-Infested Prisons Sicken Guards and Prisoners

      During much of her three years awaiting trial in New York’s Rikers Island jail, Candie Hailey was locked in a solitary confinement cell ventilated by a mold-covered air duct. The purpose of the vent was, of course, to pump fresh air into her 6-by-10-foot concrete room, but the mold infestation instead added to an array of hazards and discomforts that made her life unbearable at Rikers, where she made multiple attempts at suicide. “There was big, dark, gray, blackish mildew around the air vent and that’s where the air was coming from,” Hailey told me. “It’s what I was inhaling — it smelled like death.”

    • Defendants In Freddie Gray Case Sue Marilyn Mosby For Defamation

      Two officers charged in the case surrounding Freddie Gray’s death for failing to get the 25-year-old medical help are now suing Baltimore’s top attorney for her decision to prosecute them.

      Court documents filed by Sgts. Alicia White and William Porter claim that State Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged them “not for the purpose of prosecuting crimes that had allegedly been committed by White and Porter, but rather for purposes of quelling the riots in Baltimore.”

      Both officers blame Mosby and the state for damaging their reputations. They’re seeking at least $75,000 for defamation and invasion of privacy, arguing that “they continue to suffer mental pain and anguish, and humiliation.”

    • A War of All Against All

      If the Left is serious about changing society it has to appeal to the mainstream. To everyone’s shock, Occupy did that. But once people like the whites in Albuquerque started saying more than “We are the 99%,” many Leftists were outraged. This is naïve. How often do activists denounce American society as racist, sexist, heterosexist, anti-Black, anti-immigrant, or transphobic? Is it so hard to believe then that many who joined Occupy reflected those biases in their language, ideas, and even deeds? Rather than analyze how systemic oppression is reproduced at the molecular level and how to dismantle it, Taking Sides sows distrust, creates divisions, and encourages self-righteousness.

    • Pakistani men can beat wives ‘lightly’, say Islamic council

      A Pakistani Islamic council has sparked outrage after suggesting husbands may “lightly beat” their wives as a form of discipline in their draft of a women’s protection bill.

      In the draft bill, released on Thursday, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) said it was permissible to beat a woman lightly should he need to punish her.

    • Apparently Taiwan’s President Practices ‘Emotional’ Politics Because She’s Single

      Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen practices “emotional” and “extreme” politics because she is a single woman, according to a member of China’s political body that handles relations with the self-ruled island of Taiwan. The criticism comes at a time when tensions have been stoked between Beijing and Taipei officials after Tsai indicated that she supports formal Taiwan independence, which challenges Beijing’s “one-China” stance.

    • Why Women Don’t Play Best-Of-Five Matches At Grand Slams

      The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the tennis year, is underway at Roland Garros, which means that, like clockwork, it’s time to question whether women’s tennis players deserve equal pay — something they’ve had at all four major tournaments since 2007 and at the U.S. Open since 1973.

      That argument has been particularly heated in recent months, sparked by (now former) Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore saying women’s tennis players “ride the coattails of the men,” which No. 1 Novak Djokovic followed up by referring to the female athletes’ “hormones.” Earlier this month, Madrid tournament owner Ion Tiriac fueled the flames when he openly ogled women’s tennis players for having “long legs” but complained that he had to pay them so much money.

      These comments inspired a recent Associated Press column: “Women need five-sets tennis to win equality battle.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Beware zero ratings, the new threat to Net neutrality

      Music and video streaming services take a lot of bandwidth, and now that most people have cellular plans that charge by the amount of data they use, streaming becomes a lot less attractive. Even at home, a sizable percentage of U.S. broadband customers have data caps that work against streaming media displacing standard TV and radio.

      Thus, the carriers and Internet service providers have come up with a new notion called zero rating, best known in the form of T-Mobile’s BingeOn and Music Freedom programs.

    • House Republicans Again Target Net Neutrality With Budget Attack

      Many Republican leaders in Congress loathe US rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible—and they’re expressing their feelings by targeting the Federal Communications Commission, the agency charged with upholding those rules.

      That much became clear this week when the GOP released its fiscal 2017 financial services appropriations bill, which slashes funding for the FCC by $69 million, and severely hobbles the agency’s ability to enforce its net neutrality rules, crack down on abusive “zero-rating” practices, and move ahead with reforms designed to open up the video set-top box market.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Drug Pricing, Generics Figure Into WHO Strategies On HIV, Hepatitis

      As the 69th World Health Assembly draws to a close, member states are in the process of approving a series of draft global health sector strategies for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. And the issues involve some questions of intellectual property rights.

    • WHO Drafting Group Agrees Resolution On Health R&D

      A closed-door drafting group this evening arrived seemingly easily at agreement on a resolution on broadening work on new ways to fund research and development into medical products, according to participants. The agreement includes the creation of a new expert committee on health R&D, and calls for a WHO proposal on a pooled fund, they said.

    • WHO Reforms Health Emergency Response But Who Will Pay The Bill?

      But while states were largely favourable to the new forms, money once against appears to be the shoal on which the ship is in danger of foundering.

      [...]

      The United States and United Kingdom – WHO’s two largest overall funders – endorsed the increased budget request. So did Germany, who’s delegate admonished the committee, “Let us not fool ourselves. We knew that this would not be cost-neutral.” Australia announced it is contributing $4.3 million ($6 million AUD) and Japan will donate $50 million over 5 years.

    • Resolution On WHO Work With Non-State Actors Down To Wire

      With the end of the annual World Health Assembly looming tomorrow, member states are working away behind closed doors to finalise a resolution on how the World Health Organization shall work with outside actors going forward.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • BSA Pays Disgruntled Employees to Rat on ‘Pirating’ Bosses

        The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, is known to offer cash payments to people who help them find companies that run unlicensed software. Today we speak with an attorney who has represented more than 250 defendants in these cases, which are regularly triggered by disgruntled employees.

      • Help save Freedom of Panorama – Tag photos with #SaveFoP

        Our right to take photos of public art and buildings and share them on social media and photo sharing websites is under serious threat.

        This right is called the Freedom of Panorama and the European Commission is discussing proposals that could remove it. This could put a huge burden on people sharing or using pictures they’ve taken that contain sculptures, buildings, and skylines.

        Holiday photos, photos by professional street photographers, and images that sites like Wikipedia use to illustrate articles could all be badly affected.

        If the artist or architect is alive or died in the last 70 years, you might have to ask for their permission before sharing your photos on social media or photo sharing websites. This would be a huge and unnecessary burden.

        The Commission wants to harmonise the rules governing the sharing of theses pictures across the European Union. One of the big questions is about whether there should be Freedom of Panorama for commercial as well as non-commercial purposes. This might not seem controversial but individuals sharing pictures on Facebook, Flickr or Instagram would count as commercial sharing because the sites are commercial entities.

        UK law currently allows the sharing of these pictures without asking permission – the so-called Freedom of Panorama. But lots of European countries don’t allow it. Because photos you share can be accessed from those countries, your photos could be blocked or removed in those countries. You could even be threatened with court action by the rightsholder of the public art or building.

        Instead of placing restrictions on public photography, the EU should remove the current mess of laws and replace it with a simple Europe-wide rule allowing people to share images of public art, buildings and skylines for all purposes.

05.28.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Java Fair Game, Millennium Bug, Open Source DNA

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

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

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

  • Genode OS 16.05 Adds Rust Support, Updated Device Drivers

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

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

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

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

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

  • ONF to Release Guidelines for Deploying Secure SDN Controllers

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

  • What sets PatternFly apart from Bootstrap?

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

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

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

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

    • The Document Liberation Project: What we do

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

  • Education

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

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

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

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

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

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Study: Sweden should boost open source competence

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

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

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

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SuperTux Returns, Proprietary Open Source & More…

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

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

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

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

      • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open-Source Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Programming/Networking

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

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

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

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

    • Devops: A Culture or Concrete Activity?

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

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

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

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

    • SD-WAN Demands Different Network Monitoring

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

Leftovers

  • Your Vote at the EU Referendum Will Determine Our Future

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

  • The BBC and British branding

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

  • Science

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

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

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

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Climate Change Could Be Poisoning Your Food

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Stung by Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

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

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

    • Researcher Pockets $30,000 in Chrome Bounties

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

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

    • Risks of Citizens Suing Foreign Governments

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

    • Peace Activist and Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein Dies at 91

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

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

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

    • Imperialism’s Junior Partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • On President Obama’s Hiroshima Visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Silencing America as it prepares for war

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

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

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

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

    • Washington Uses US Troops As Lab Rats

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

    • Ticking Closer to Nuclear Midnight

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Aust pressure gets reef cut from UN report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Climate damage threatens heritage sites

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

    • The leaning tower of TISA

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

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

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

    • Protests Intensify, Spread Across France as Workers Refuse Submission

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Wells Fargo Sponsorship of Black Lives Matter Panel Draws Scorn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Economic Update: Listen, Professor Krugman

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

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

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

      No surprise there.

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

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

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary’s Gun Gambit

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

    • All Donald Trump’s Men

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

    • Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination

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

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

      Which she won’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Advice for Divided Democrats

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

    • Bernie and Utopia

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

    • Sanders Closes in on Clinton Ahead of California Primary

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

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

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

    • Like Clinton, Trump Chickens Out of Debate with Sanders

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Detroit police accused of needlessly killing dogs while searching house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • ‘Has Our Country Gone Just Mad?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • David Cameron Says He Would Welcome Trump To UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Prevent ISPs From Following Your Ev

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

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

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

    • Secret New Internet Rules in the Trade in Services Agreement

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Doesn’t Mean Unlimited Control

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

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

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

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

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

      • The life and death of the PRINCE Bill

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

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

      • Critics Pounce on Proposed PRINCE Act in Minnesota

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

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

05.27.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is in our DNA

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

  • Why Open-Source Pros Are in Great Demand

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

  • Open Source Realm Mobile Database Hits Version 1.0

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

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

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

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

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

  • An Apparent Exodus Continues At OwnCloud

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

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Google Inbox Notifications

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

  • Networking

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

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

    • Telecom Companies Collaborate Through OPNFV to Address Unique Business Challenges

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

    • Securing the Cloud With SDN

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

    • Telstra Shares PEN Plans

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

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

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

    • ETSI Open Source MANO group delivers first code package

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

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

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

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

  • BSD

    • Faces of FreeBSD 2016: Michael Lucas

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

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

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

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

  • Public Services/Government

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

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

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API

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

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

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Rust 1.9

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

    • Rust 1.9 Released

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

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How Paper Shaped Civilization

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

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

    • Bayer and Monsanto: A Marriage Made in Hell

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

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

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

    • Who Will Replace Our Century-Old Water Pipes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

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

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

    • PHP 7.0.7 Released Fixing 28 Bugs

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

    • Skimmers Found at Walmart: A Closer Look

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

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s nuclear deep: a new transparency

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

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

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

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

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

    • My Dreams Seek Revenge: Hiroshima

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

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

    • Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism

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

    • The Coming Drone Blowback

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

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

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

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

    • A 10-Minute Debate on War

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Some Light in Iraq’s Dark Tunnel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Europe Revolts Against Russian Sanctions

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

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

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

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

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

    • Clinton’s Imperious Brush-off of Email Rules

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

      [...]

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

    • New WikiLeaks Trove Further Exposes TISA’s Neoliberal Agenda

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Deadly effect of farming’s dirty needs

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

    • The Desperate Plight of Petro-States

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

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

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

    • Utah Congressman Wants To Block Proposed National Monument In Maine

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

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

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

    • We Stopped Keystone, Canada Can Stop Energy East

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

    • Meet Proterra, The Next Generation Of Bus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hope and Burnout in the Anthropocene

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

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

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

    • On Climate, Trump Promises To Let The World Burn

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Report says banks still generate billions in overdraft fees

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

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

    • I, Daniel Blake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • America’s Cosmic Tax Gap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Greek media and independent journalism under austerity

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

    • Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • REXLot Suspends Trading After Shares Tumble on Anonymous Report

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The ‘Woman Card’ Brings a Wealth of Disadvantages

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

    • Neil Young Now Okay With Donald Trump Using His Music

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

    • Writers speak out against Donald Trump

      An Open Letter to the American People

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

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

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

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

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

    • Trump and the Polls of Loathing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Minutes later, Sanders tweeted, “Game on.”

    • Jeffrey Sachs: Bernie Sanders easily wins the policy debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

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

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

    • New test for VCE literature sparks censorship concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

    • Unrepentant Facebook Censors Complaints of Censorship, Makes Tiny Tweaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Facebook and Microsoft to build private internet highway underwater

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

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

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

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

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

    • Academics Make Theoretical Breakthrough in Random Number Generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Surveillance cameras could put your home at risk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Report: Impacts of surveillance on contemporary British activism

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

    • Top Websites Using Audio Fingerprinting to Secretly Track Web Users

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

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

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

  • Civil Rights/Policing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Sharia councils face inquiry into ‘discrimination against women’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Former NBA Player Calls Out Racist Train Rider

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

    • We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture

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

    • Cancelled brain scan could have saved UK immigration detainee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Next Battle for Net Neutrality Is Getting Bloody

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

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

    • House spending bill takes swipes at FCC rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Huge Billboard Protests VPN Blocking at Netflix HQ

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

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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

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

    • Copyrights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

05.26.16

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

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source skills in high demand

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

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

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

  • Open-Source Software Companies Try a New Business Model

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

  • 3 open source alternatives to AutoCAD

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

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

  • A Template Job Posting for Open Source Office Lead

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

  • SDN and Cloud Foundry

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Cray builds Urika-GX for open source data analytics

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

    • Datadog Announces New Hadoop Monitoring Solution

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

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • OSS Funding, CentOS 6.8, Open Source Hardware

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

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

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

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

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

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

    • libbrandt GSoC kickoff

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

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Governance, one of the main sectors using open data

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Pyston 0.5 released

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

    • Pyston 0.5 Released As A Faster Python JIT

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

    • Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

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

Leftovers

  • Get ready for more ads on Google Maps

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

  • Unsafe at Many Speeds

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

  • Move to scrap university entrance exams gains speed

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

  • Science

    • NFL’s War Against Science and Reason

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

    • Big Pharma: Pushing the Edge of the Envelope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

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

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

    • Will Russia Succumb To Washington’s Economic Attack?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Evo Morales Urges ‘Democratic Revolutions Against US Empire’

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

    • Do Clinton Voters Care About War?

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

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

    • The Pentagon’s Huge Atomic Floppies

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

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

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

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

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

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Canary Watch – One Year Later

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant

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

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

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

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

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Finance

    • We Have Entered The Looting Stage Of Capitalism

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

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

    • The Financial Invasion of Greece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Republicans Demand Flint-Like Solution To Puerto Rico Debt

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

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

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

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

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

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

    • WATCH: Amy Goodman on MetroFocus (PBS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • DNC chair on thin ice

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

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

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

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

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

    • Blaming ‘Too Much Democracy’ for Trump

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

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

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

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

    • Government Report on Clinton Email Scandal Much Worse Than Expected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Five Takeaways From Democracy Spring

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

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

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

    • Television Meets History

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

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

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

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Huge, Huge Deal

      Here and there we’ve reported on the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker. As you probably know, Hogan won the case and won a massive judgment of $115 million dollars and an additional $25 million in punitive damages. While it is widely believed that the verdict is likely to be reversed on appeal or at least the judgment dramatically reduced, Gawker had to immediately place $50 million into escrow. The anticipated need to produce that sum forced Gawker to sell an undisclosed amount of the company to a Russian oligarch named Viktor Vekselberg. Simple fact: It’s hard to feel too much sympathy when a publication gets sued for publishing excerpts of someone’s sex tape. But some new information emerged this morning that, in my mind, significantly changes the picture.

    • Silicon Valley Billionaire Peter Thiel Accused Of Financing Hulk Hogan’s Ridiculous Lawsuits Against Gawker

      So here’s a crazy and unfortunate story. On Monday evening, the NY Times posted a rather weird story suggesting that there was someone with a grudge against Gawker funding the various lawsuits against the site, including Hulk Hogan’s multiple lawsuits (he recently filed another one, even more ridiculous than the first — which resulted in a $115 million verdict against Gawker that hopefully will get tossed on appeal). The NYT piece was weird in that it was pure innuendo — just saying that Gawker’s Nick Denton was increasingly sure that someone who really disliked the site was funding the lawsuits. It was surprising that the NY Times ran it given the lack of anything beyond speculation and rumor.

    • Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship in U.S. Prisons

      Like many political prisoners, the author’s freedom of speech rights are routinely curtailed. “While prisoners do have a legal right to express their thoughts and report on issues and abuses, actually getting your words out is often very hard or impossible.” U.S. prisons operate their own “kangaroo courts” that often shut down inmate communications “even if the prisoner ultimately wins appeal and has his or her communications restored.”

    • D&AD Next Photographer winner Tam Hoi Ying on challenging censorship in China

      Hong Kong-Chinese photographer Tam Hoi Ying has received this year’s D&AD Next Photographer award for a series of images which raise awareness of issues surrounding freedom of speech and human rights in China. Here, she discusses her work and how she hopes to challenge censorship

    • Copyright As Censorship: Questionable Copyright Claim Forces Indie Musician To Destroy All Physical Copies Of New Album

      Indie musician Will Toledo has a band (it’s all him, actually) called Car Seat Headrest that just (sorta) put out its first album with a label (pretty famous indie record label) after a whole bunch of self-released albums, and lots of (well-deserved) internet buzz. The album was released this past Friday… sorta. Apparently one of the songs included an homage to a song by The Cars. I’ve read a bunch of articles on this and Toledo’s own statement, and the homage is called a bunch of different things, from a “sample” to a “cover” and no one ever clarifies which it actually is. And that’s important because the legal issues are potentially different with each. But, it also doesn’t matter at all because Toledo and Matador have agreed to destroy all the physical copies of the album after The Cars’ Ric Ocasek complained that he didn’t like it. So the digital release came out, with a replacement version of the song that Toledo apparently rewrote a week before the album was released, and a new physical version will come out… sometime.

    • Car Seat Headrest LPs Destroyed Because Ric Ocasek Wouldn’t Authorize a Cars Sample

      Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Denial, will be digitally available next Friday, May 20 via Matador. The record was originally supposed to be physically released on May 20, too. However, the physical release has been delayed to the summer due to a legal issue over “Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed,” an album track containing elements of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed.” In a press release, the label writes, “Matador had negotiated for a license in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.” As a result, the currently printed copies of the record will be recalled and destroyed. The song, meanwhile, will be edited to remove the Cars reference.

    • Censorship & Upcoming Royal Society Evo Meeting

      The world is awash with the latest scientific evidence that anyone and everyone can now access on the Internet. Science in that sense has been democratized and everyone who wants to be in the know can be — including the Royal Society organizing committee — and can have an educated opinion.

    • Ekho Moskvy Chief Alleges Censorship In Cancellation Of Putin Critic’s Show

      The editor in chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, one of Russia’s most prominent independent-minded media outlets, says a popular talk show hosted by a searing Kremlin critic has been pulled off the air due to censorship by the station’s management.

      The comments by Aleksei Venediktov come amid mounting concerns that the authorities are stepping up efforts to curtail hard-hitting investigative reporting and dissenting voices anywhere in the Russian media.

    • Liberal censorship: breaking out of the echo chamber

      Universities, once recognized as bastions of tolerance and diversity, bear perhaps the greatest blame. Kristof cites studies showing that just 6 to 11 percent of humanities professors are conservatives. Fewer than one in ten social-studies professors call themselves conservative. For perspective, consider that twice that number identify as Marxists!

    • Lawmakers From The Great Theocracy Of Utah Looking To Block Porn On Cell Phones

      When we’ve talked in the past about government attempting to outright block pornography sites, those efforts have typically been aimed at sites hosting child pornography. Blocking child porn is a goal that’s impossible to rebel against, though the methods for achieving it are another matter entirely. Too often, these attempts task ISPs and mobile operators with the job of keeping this material out of the public eye, which is equal parts burdensome, difficult to do, and rife with collateral damage. Other nations, on the other hand, have gone to some lengths to outright block pornography in general, such as in Pakistan for religious reasons, or in the UK for save-the-children reasons. If the attempts to block child porn resulted in some collateral damage, the attempts to outright censor porn from the internet resulted in a deluge of such collateral damage. For this reason, and because we have that pesky First Amendment in America, these kinds of efforts attempted by the states have run into the problem of being unconstitutional in the past.

    • Meet The Social Justice Foundation That Pays For Censorship And Lies

      In addition, the foundation has partnered with Microsoft in an effort to replace standardized testing with an educational video game system that would likely bring a progressive message to millions of American students.

    • NUJ: Amendments to CMA 1998 must not restrict right to freedom of expression

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has cautioned that the proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 must not restrict the right to freedom of expression online.

      “NUJ considers it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of press since online news now play a bigger role in informing the public.

      “Clamping down on online reporting will not only maim freedom of information but also removes the democratic rights of the people,” it said in statement on Wednesday.

      Proposed amendments to the Act include mandatory registration of political bloggers and online news portals, and an increase in penalties for offences under the Act.

    • NUJ expresses concerns over proposal to amend Communication and Multimedia Act

      The NUJ said it considered it best to bring up the right to reporting and freedom of the press since online media now plays a bigger role in keeping the public informed.

    • NUJ: Proposed law could entrench censorship

      The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia has lent its support to calls against proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

    • WhatsApp ban ignites Brazil censorship fears
    • Security Researcher Revealing “Secure” Advertising Claim By DigiExam As Utterly False Threatened With Copyright Monopoly Lawsuit
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mid-2016 Tor bug retrospective, with lessons for future coding

      Recommendation 5.1: all backward compatibility code should have a timeout date. On several occasions we added backward compatibility code to keep an old version of Tor working, but left it enabled for longer than we needed to. This code has tended not to get the same regular attention it deserves, and has also tended to hold surprising deviations from the specification. We should audit the code that’s there today and see what we can remove, and we should never add new code of this kind without adding a ticket and a comment planning to remove it.

    • Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits

      Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser’s technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room.

      [...]

      When Ads Follow You Around

      By now, most Americans have experienced the following phenomenon: You look at something online—a hotel, a flower delivery service, a course at a local college—and the next thing you know, ads for that thing follow you around the internet for the next week.

      A watch you looked at now pops up next to your Facebook feed; an ad for a coffee machine you researched on Amazon now lurks on your favorite news sites. And maybe, after researching cars online, it seems that Toyota knows whenever you visit a lot, and sends ads to your phone as you walk through the dealership’s doors.

    • Dropbox Wants More Access To Your Computer, and People Are Freaking Out

      On Tuesday, Dropbox published more details about upcoming changes to the company’s desktop client that will allow users to access all of the content in their account as if it is stored on their own machine, no matter how small the hard-disk on their computer.

      In other words, you can browse through your own file system and have direct access to your cloud storage, without having to go and open a web browser nor worry about filling up your hard-drive.

      Sounds great, but experts and critics have quickly pointed out that Dropbox Infinite, as the technology is called, may open up your computer to more serious vulnerabilities, because it works in a particularly sensitive part of the operating system.

    • Is Facebook eavesdropping on your phone conversations?

      It’s irresistible, enticing and addicting. And, it’s available 24-hours a day all over the world to billions of people. Facebook beckons to users seemingly with a two-prong approach – both the pressure and pleasure to post.

      We share stories, photos, triumphs and tragedies. It is ingrained into our daily lives so deeply that studies show people check Facebook, on average, 14 times a day. With all those eyes all over the globe dialed in and the purchasing power available, the online giant has tapped into a controversial delivery of data into its intelligence gathering. It all starts with something that you may not even realize is enabled on your phone.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Must Pass the Email Privacy Act Without Weakening Amendments

      The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the Email Privacy Act on Thursday. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) plan to introduce near-identical text of the House-passed bill, H.R. 699, as substitute language for the existing Senate bill, S. 356. This manager’s amendment contains minor changes. In addition, up to eight different amendments may be offered.

      The Email Privacy Act would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to get a probable cause warrant from a judge before obtaining private content stored in the “cloud” with companies such as Google, Facebook, and Dropbox. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 699 last month by a unanimous vote of 419-0. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last September on the need to reform ECPA and codify the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2010 ruling that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained emails stored by third parties without a probable cause warrant.

    • Congrats, FBI, You’ve Now Convinced Silicon Valley To Encrypt And Dump Log Files

      Soon after the original Snowden revelations, I went around talking to a bunch of startups and startup organizers, discussing whether they’d be more willing to speak out and complain about excessive government surveillance. Some certainly did, but many were cautious. A key thing that I heard over and over again was “well, our own data privacy protections… aren’t that great, and we’d hate to call attention to that.” Every single time I’d hear that I’d point out that this should now be their first priority: clean up your own act, now and fix your own handling of people’s data, because it’s an issue that’s going to become increasingly important, and you’re being foolish and shortsighted to ignore it.

      While the Snowden revelations certainly did get some companies to improve their own practices, it looks like the FBI’s decision to go after Apple over encryption, has really galvanized many in Silicon Valley to take action to truly protect their users from snooping government officials — meaning making use of real (not backdoored) encryption and also diong other things like dumping log files more frequently.

    • We toured the NSA museum, a building dedicated to America’s secrets and spies — take a look [Ed: Pro-NSA site (not just me saying so) does a puff piece for NSA today
    • The NSA will neither confirm nor deny these are items in its gift shop[Ed: puff pieces for the NSA continue to come from BI]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A computer program rated defendants’ risk of committing a future crime. These are the results.

      Courtrooms across the nation are using computer programs to predict who will be a future criminal. The programs help inform decisions on everything from bail to sentencing. They are meant to make the criminal justice system fairer — and to weed out human biases.

      ProPublica tested one such program and found that it’s often wrong — and biased against blacks. (Read our story.)

    • Drinking Milk While Black: Middle School Kid Busted For “Stealing” Milk Carton He Was Entitled To, and Besides They Probably Have A Frig At Home Too

      A valiant police officer in Prince William County, Virginia arrested and handcuffed an aspiring thug and middle school student – who is black but obviously that had nothing to do with it – after the boy allegedly “stole” a 65-cent milk carton already available to him under a free lunch program. Ryan Turk was confronted by the school cop – wait, tell us again why we have cops in school? – in the cafeteria after he went back to the lunch line to get milk. When the officer grabbed him and charged him with stealing it, he protested – “I yanked away from him and I told him to get off me because he’s not my dad,” the perpetrator later admitted – at which point two officers handcuffed him because he “broke the rules and became disorderly.” Turk was taken to the principal’s office, where he was searched for drugs, charged with larceny and suspended from school for “acting inappropriately” – more specifically, “theft, being disrespectful and using his cell phone.”

    • A School Accused A Student Of Milk Theft. He Was Innocent But Is Still Going To Court.

      A middle school student in Virginia was handcuffed and charged with stealing a 65-cent carton of milk from his school cafeteria, local television station WTVR reported — even though the student, who’s on the school’s free lunch program, wasn’t responsible for paying for it anyway.

      The student’s mother told WVTR she’s very frustrated her son was handcuffed. “They are charging him with larceny,” she said. “I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

    • Prosecutors Still Using Race to Choose Juries in Death Penalty Cases, Despite Century of Supreme Court Rulings

      Yesterday’s 7-1 Supreme Court decision in Foster v. Chatman was a huge victory for Timothy Foster, a 49-year-old Black man who has been on Georgia’s death row for 29 years. The ruling also reflects a systemic problem with the death penalty: prosecutors’ repeated, deliberate use of race to choose jurors. This practice alone makes capital punishment so fundamentally unfair that we must end it.

    • In fighting corruption, whistleblowers must be encouraged

      Corruption is a complex phenomenon, and I think it depends a lot on which point of view you choose to look at it. I think the reality today is a reality of light and shade. Although it is true that there are many more corruption scandals –and we just witnessed a global explosion with the Panama Paper revelations–, corruption has also become a lot more visible than in the past. And that speaks well of the investigation mechanisms, and of the tools of transparency and social mobilisation in many places, which have resulted in these cases coming to light. Before there was much more opacity, I think, on the issue of corruption.

    • Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500

      It’s less than a month since the ‘Frisco Five’ began their hunger strike, with a single demand: that Police Chief Greg Suhr resign or be fired. This chief, who for five years has been crying ‘crocodile tears’ while justifying every police killing of a Black or Latino person. This chief, who for five years has been vigilantly protected by the mayor, the media and the city’s Democratic political establishment.

    • 5,600 Refugees Rescued in 48 Hours an Indictment of Crises Created by West

      As humanitarian groups plead with European officials to allow refugees safe passage—and as Europe closes its borders to asylum seekers—more and more people are risking their lives in the treacherous sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, with disastrous results.

      The Italian Coast guard announced Wednesday morning that a staggering 5,600 migrants had been rescued from treacherous waters off the coast of Libya in only the last 48 hours—straining all search and rescue agencies in the region to absolute capacity.

      On Tuesday alone, 3,000 asylum seekers were rescued in 23 separate operations.

    • DHS/ICE Knew Its World Series ‘Panty Raid’ Was A Bad Idea; Pressured To Do So Anyway

      The Kansas City Royals’ long-delayed return to competitive baseballing coincided with one of the most ridiculous raids ever conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Birdies, a Kansas City lingerie shop, was “visited” by DHS agents — working in conjunction with ICE — who seized a number of panties emblazoned with a handcrafted take on the Royals’ logo, along with the phrase “Take the Crown.”

    • Will Rhode Island Double Down on the CFAA’s Faults?

      Legislators in Rhode Island have advanced a dangerous bill that would duplicate and exacerbate the faults of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Four organizations joined EFF this week in signing a letter and supporting memo to state legislators explaining the bill’s faults and why it should not pass.

      In addition to threatening innocent activities like security research, whistleblowing in the public interest, and anyone who violates a corporate Terms of Service (TOS) agreement to access confidential information, the bill would place enormous power in the hands of prosecutors, impose steep criminal penalties without even requiring an intent to obtain financial gain, and compound the problematic vagueness of terms in existing Rhode Island state law.

    • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Takes High-School Detention to a New Level

      Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

    • Bill Would Require DNA Samples From Americans When Sponsoring Family Visas

      A new immigration bill under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee would impose unprecedented restrictions on U.S. citizens seeking to sponsor the immigration of their family members, requiring that all parties submit to mandatory DNA testing as part of their visa applications.

      H.R. 5203, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016, would require that “a genetic test is conducted to confirm such biological relationship,” adding that, “any such genetic test shall be conducted at the expense of the petitioner or applicant.”

      A public letter from the American Civil Liberties Union protesting the bill notes that its provisions would require “even a nursing mother [to] undergo DNA testing to prove the biological relationship with her infant,” and “would amount to population surveillance that subverts our notions of a free and autonomous citizenry.” It is unclear how the bill would account for adopted children, or those who for a variety of other reasons might not fully share the DNA characteristics of their parents.

    • Amos Yee makes video to hurt Muslims, but the community’s too mature for him

      Amos Yee has made an extremely provocative video with the intent of hurting the beliefs and sentiments of Muslims.

    • Amos Yee to face new charges related to religion

      Less than a year after he was released from jail for posting online an obscene image and content intended to hurt the religious feelings of Christians, teenage blogger Amos Yee is set to be charged on Thursday (May 26) with similar offences.

      The 17-year-old will face eight charges, including five for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Muslims and one for allegedly wounding the religious feelings of Christians. These charges relate to content he posted online between November last year and last Thursday.

      The remaining two charges are for allegedly failing to show up at Jurong Police Division last December and this month, despite a notice from Assistant Superintendent of Police Doreen Chong and a magistrate’s order to do so.

    • Muslim students face $5K fine if they refuse Swiss teachers’ handshakes

      Educational authorities in Switzerland ruled Wednesday that the parents or guardians of students who refuse to shake a teacher’s hand — a Swiss tradition — can be fined up to $5,000.

      The decision comes after a school in the northern town of Therwil, near Basel, agreed last month to allow two teenage Muslim boys to refuse to shake hands with their female teachers on religious grounds. The school also decided the boys would not shake hands with male teachers to avoid discrimination.

      The incident sparked a national debate — Swiss students often shake their teachers’ hands at the beginning and end of the day.

    • Police release chilling bodycam footage of the moments before unarmed father-of-two was shot dead in a hotel by Arizona police officer – but crucially omits the moment he begged for his life

      Police in Arizona have released an edited bodycam video of the night an unarmed father was shot dead by cops, although it crucially omits the moment he was killed while begging for his life.

      The shaky footage, published publicly on Tuesday, fails to show the moment Daniel Shaver, 26, was shot dead by officer Philip Brailsford in Mesa on January 18.

      Shaver, a married father-of-two from Texas, was in the city for business relating to his work in pest control.

      Police were called to his hotel after reports that someone was pointing a gun from a window on a high-up floor in La Quinta Inn & Suites on East Superstition Springs Boulevard.

      Though Shaver carries two pellet guns with him for work, he was unarmed at the time.

      In the footage released by police, all that can be seen or heard in the video is the armed response team ordering guests on the fifth floor to get out their rooms as they surrounded Room 502, Shaver’s room.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Broadband Caps Go Live This Week And Are The Opening Salvo In An All-Out War On Cord Cutters

      For a company that just spent $69 billion on DirecTV to unlock “amazing synergies” across the TV, wireless and broadband sectors, AT&T’s latest quarterly earnings subscriber tallies landed with a bit of a thud. The company actually posted a net loss of 54,000 video subscribers, a net loss of 363,000 postpaid phone subscribers, and a net gain of just 5,000 broadband customers during the quarter — suggesting that any “synergies” AT&T envisioned are going to be somewhat slow in coming, if they arrive at all.

      That AT&T spent $69 billion on a satellite TV provider on the eve of the cord cutting revolution — especially given its fixed broadband network lags cable speeds and is in desperate need of upgrade — turned numerous heads on Wall Street. But skeptics haven’t yet really keyed in to the cornerstone of AT&T’s plans or its ultimate secret weapon in the war on evolving markets: usage caps.

    • GOP budget bill would kill net neutrality and FCC’s set-top box plan

      House Republicans yesterday released a plan to slash the Federal Communications Commission’s budget by $69 million and prevent the FCC from enforcing net neutrality rules, “rate regulation,” and its plan to boost competition in the set-top box market.

      The proposal is the latest of many attempts to gut the FCC’s authority, though it’s unusual in that it takes aim at two of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s signature projects while also cutting the agency’s budget. The plan is part of the government’s annual appropriations bill.

  • DRM

    • As Netflix Locks Down Exclusive Disney Rights, The New Walled Gardens Emerge

      Back in 2012, Netflix and Disney struck a deal wherein Netflix would be the exclusive online provider of Disney content starting in 2016. And while we knew that the deal had been struck, it was only this week that Netflix announced on its blog that the exclusive arrangement would formally begin in September. As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films — you need to do it via Netflix.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leaked European Council Document On Major Evaluation Of EU Drug Affordability

      The 28 European Union member governments are preparing to request the European Commission to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the availability and affordability of EU medicinal products that could lead to changes in R&D and pricing models. An apparent first-of-its-kind, the assessment would look at market and data exclusivity, supplementary protection certificates, and intellectual property issues, according to an alleged copy of the draft Council conclusions obtained by Intellectual Property Watch.

    • Trademarks

      • SCHHH … it’s not a single brand

        The IPKat is very grateful to David Pellisé and Juan Carlos Quero of Pellisé Abogados in Barcelona, for telling him about a new reference that is fizzing its way to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

        Interested in the limits of parallel importation? Then pour yourself a stiff G&T and read on. The Barcelona Commercial Court (nº 8) in Spain has essentially asked the CJEU to rule on what happens when the owner of a trademark right has caused uncertainty as to the function of origin.

      • City Of Mesa Abusing Trademark Law To Punish City Council Candidate They Don’t Like

        Another day, another story of abusing trademark law to try to silence speech. Paul Levy has the story of how the city of Mesa, Arizona, has sent a ridiculous cease and desist letter to Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council. Apparently, his opponent in the election is the preferred choice of many current city officials, suggesting that they don’t really appreciate Whittaker’s candidacy. But the city took things a ridiculous step too far in sending that cease and desist, arguing that Whittaker’s campaign signs violate the city’s trademark on its logo.

      • Urban Outfitters With A Surprising First Win In Navajo Trademark Dispute: Navajo Isn’t Famous

        Earlier this year, we wrote about an ongoing trademark dispute between the Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters. The clothier had released a line of clothing and accessories, most notably women’s underwear, with traditional Native American prints and had advertised them as a “Navajo” line. The Nation, which has registered trademarks on the term “Navajo”, had sued for profits and/or damages under trademark law and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits companies from passing off goods as being made by Native Americans when they were not. In that post, I had focused on whether or not the term “Navajo” was deserving of trademark protection at all, or whether it ought to be looked at in the same way we consider words like “American”, “Canadian” or “Mexican”, as generic terms to denote a group of people.

    • Copyrights

      • Fan-Created Movie Subtitle Site Operator Facing Prison

        The operator of a site that hosted fan-made translated movie subtitles has been prosecuted in Sweden. Undertexter.se was raided by police in the summer of 2013, despite many feeling that the site had done nothing wrong. That is disputed by the prosecutor who says that the crimes committed are worthy of imprisonment.

      • Hollywood Writers & Copyright Scholars Point Out That Piracy Fears Over Open Set Top Boxes Are Complete FUD

        We’ve been covering for a while the ridiculous ongoing fight about the FCC’s plan to open up the set top box market to actual competition. Historically, we’ve always seen that when closed technologies are opened up, it generally leads to much more innovation that benefits everyone. But the big cable companies are freaking out, because locked set top boxes are a huge moneymaker for them: they get customers to “rent” those cable boxes for an average of $230 per year. The industry, as a whole, takes in approximately $20 billion from set top box rentals alone. And they can only do that because the market is locked down. And the cable companies don’t want to give that up.

        They’ve been trying various strategies to kill off the FCC’s plans, including the ridiculous, but frequently used, argument that opening up set top boxes will harm diversity (the opposite is actually true, but… details). But a key vector of attack on this plan has been to convince their buddies at the MPAA that open set top boxes are just another name for piracy. They’ve convinced some truly confused Hollywood types to freak out about more innovation in set top boxes meaning more piracy, leading to a series of similar op-ed pieces showing up basically everywhere. And those op-eds have influenced some of our clueless lawmakers too, who are now asking if open set top boxes will lead to a Popcorn Time revolution.

05.25.16

Links 25/5/2016: Nginx 1.11, F1 2015 Coming to GNU/Linux Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Your Occasional Reminder to Use Plain Text Whenever Possible

    I myself have lost access to many WordPerfect files from the ’80s in their original form, though I have been migrating their content to other formats over the years. I was fortunate, though, to do most of my early work in VMS and Unix, so a surprising number of my programs and papers from that era are still readable as they were then. (Occasionally, this requires me to dust off troff to see what I intended for them to look like then.)

  • Science

  • Networking

    • Disruption in the Networking Hardware Marketplace

      The idea behind software-defined networking (SDN) is to abstract physical elements from networking hardware and control them with software. Part of this is decoupling network control from forwarding functions so you can program it directly, but the main idea is that this separation allows for a dynamic approach to networking – something that the increasing disaggregation in IT makes a necessity.

    • Facebook Lauds Terragraph Cost Savings

      Facebook says its Terragraph system could revolutionize service provider economics, insisting the cost point it is targeting for the wireless technology is “significantly” less than that of rival connectivity solutions.

      Announced last month, Terragraph uses unlicensed spectrum in the 60GHz range to provide high-speed connectivity in densely populated communities. (See Facebook Debuts Terragraph & ARIES to Extend Wireless.)

      The social networking giant says it plans to make Terragaph available to service providers through its recently launched Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which is developing open source network technologies in partnership with various telecom operators and vendors. (See Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)

    • AT&T will launch SDN service in 63 countries simultaneously this year, de la Vega says

      Ralph de la Vega, vice chairman of AT&T and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, told investors during the 44th Annual JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that while he could not name the service yet, it’s something that the company could not have achieved on traditional hardware architectures.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What the Media and Congress Are Missing on Zika and Poverty

      Somewhere along the way the focus shifted. What began as coordinating a response to Zika that is rooted in smart public health policy and caring for our fellow citizens became a funding fight on Capitol Hill in which many conservatives seem completely divorced from reality—particularly the reality of low-income women and children of color living in the South.

    • Commission may offer defining criteria on hormone disruptors by June

      After a delay of more than two years, the criteria defining hormone disruptors could be presented at the meeting of the College of European Commissioners on 15 June, Le Monde reported on Friday (20 May). EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

      Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health, had promised MEPs in February to present the criteria for the definition of endocrine (hormone) disruptors by this summer. Their publication was originally planned for December 2013.

      Hormone disruptors are already mentioned in two European regulations, one from 2009 on biocides and the other from 2012 on crop protection products, but they remain undefined.

    • Initiative To Find New Antibiotics Being Launched At WHA

      A new initiative seeking to develop new antibiotic treatments is being launched today at the annual World Health Assembly. The Global Antibiotic Research and Development (GARD) is a partnership between the World Health Organization and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

      The partnership has secured the necessary seed funding to build its scientific strategy, initial research and development (R&D) portfolio, and start-up team, according to a DNDi release.

    • Marijuana social network is denied listing on Nasdaq

      The Denver-based social network has 775,000 users from the 24 states where marijuana is legal medicinally (including those states where it’s also legal recreationally), who use the platform to find like-minded people in their area, learn about nearby dispensaries, and follow pot legalization news. MassRoots has said it meets the criteria for listing on Nasdaq—it has a $40 million market capitalization value and “well over 300 shareholders” through over-the-counter markets, according to CNN Money.

      MassRoots alleges that the decision to deny the social media platform a place on Nasdaq was due to the fact that marijuana use and cultivation remains a federal crime. “On May 23, 2016, Nasdaq denied MassRoots’ application to list on its exchange for being cannabis-related,” the company wrote. “We believe this dangerous precedent could prevent nearly every company in the regulated cannabis industry from listing on a national exchange, making it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to raise capital and slow the progression of cannabis legalization in the United States.”

    • WHO Engagement With Outside Actors: Delegates Tight-Lipped, Civil Society Worried

      This week, country delegates meeting at the annual World Health Assembly are expected to come to an agreement on a framework managing the UN World Health Organization’s relationship with outside actors, such as the private sector, philanthropic organisations and civil society groups.

    • Global Health R&D Under Debate At World Health Assembly

      Panellists included David Kaslow, who oversees PATH’s product development partnerships; Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general in charge of the Health Systems and Innovation Cluster at WHO; Suerie Moon, research director and co-chair of the Forum on Global Governance for Health at the Harvard Global Health Institute; Bernard Pécoul, who leads the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi); and Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, the deputy permanent representative of Brazil to the UN organisations in Geneva.

    • Samantha Bee: In the Big Tobacco vs. Little Vape Fight, the Underdog Keeps on Puffing

      New government regulations announced earlier this month may give Big Tobacco a huge advantage over its major competitor—the vape market.

    • GMOs Are Complicated, And Our Food System Is Not Designed To Handle Complicated. That’s A Problem.

      The report comes at an important time in the overall debate about GMOs and their place in the American food system. In a country almost constantly polarized, an overwhelming majority of Americans think that GMOs should be labeled. According to a Pew poll, more than half of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe. At the same time, proponents of the technology argue that GMOs are safe for human consumption and will help farmers meet growing demands for food, even as population increases and climate change intensifies.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Kerry Threatens War-Without-End on Syria

      Alleged peace-maker John Kerry threatened to wage war-without-end on Syria – if the Middle East country does accept the US demand for regime change.

      That’s hardly the language of a supposed bona fide diplomat who presents an image to the world as a politician concerned to bring about an end to the five-year Syrian conflict.

      The US Secretary of State repeatedly sounds anxious to alleviate the appalling suffering of the Syrian nation, where over the past five years some 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced as refugees.

    • More Game-Playing on MH-17?

      The West keeps piling the blame for the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Russian President Putin although there are many holes in the case and the U.S. government still withholds its evidence, writes Robert Parry.

    • House simmers with criticism for Saudi Arabia

      House lawmakers appear eager for an opportunity to beat up on Saudi Arabia, amid persistent allegations about the kingdom’s support for international terrorism.

      Legislators from both parties took shots at the kingdom during a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, in what could presage a one-sided effort to pass legislation opening the kingdom up to legal jeopardy for alleged activity ahead of 9/11.

      “If a foreign country — any country — can be shown to have significantly supported a terrorist attack on the United States, the victims and their families ought to be able to sue that foreign country, no matter who it is,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the head of the subcommittee on Terrorism and a co-sponsor of the bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. “Like any other issue, we should let a jury decide that issue and the damages, if any.”

      “What concerns me is the Saudi government comes to us and say ‘You’re our friend and you should protect us from this statute,’ while defending every day the Wahhabi mullahs who not only preach orthodox practices of Islam, but preach violence and murder against those whom they disagree with,” added Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)

    • Tony Blair Admits His Ignorance of Middle East; Immediately Calls for New War

      Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted underestimating “forces of destabilization” in the Middle East when Britain joined the U.S. in invading Iraq in 2003, the Guardian reports, but stopped short of actually apologizing for the U.K.’s role in the Iraq War in remarks at an event on Tuesday.

    • How to Disappear Money, Pentagon-Style

      The United States is on track to spend more than $600 billion on the military this year — more, that is, than was spent at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War military buildup, and more than the military budgets of at least the next seven nations in the world combined. And keep in mind that that’s just a partial total. As an analysis by the Straus Military Reform Project has shown, if we count related activities like homeland security, veterans’ affairs, nuclear warhead production at the Department of Energy, military aid to other countries, and interest on the military-related national debt, that figure reaches a cool $1 trillion.

    • Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror

      Hillary owns Kosovo – she is not only personally responsible for its evolution from a province of the former Yugoslavia into a Mafia state, she is also the mother of the policy that made its very existence possible and which she carried into her years as Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

      As the “Arab Spring” threatened to topple regimes throughout the Middle East, Mrs. Clinton decided to get on board the revolutionary choo-choo train and hitch her wagon to “moderate” Islamists who seemed like the wave of the future. She dumped Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, whom she had previously described as a friend of the family, and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power. In Libya, she sided with Islamist rebels out to overthrow Moammar Ghaddafi, celebrating his gruesome death by declaring “We came, we saw, he died.” And in Syria, she plotted with Gen. David Petraeus to get around President Obama’s reluctance to step into the Syrian quagmire by arming Syrian rebels allied with al-Qaeda and other terrorist gangs.

    • Israel’s Army Goes to War With Its Politicians

      IN most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer last week of the post of defense minister to Avigdor Lieberman, a pugnacious ultranationalist politician, is the latest act in the war between Mr. Netanyahu and the military and intelligence leaders, a conflict that has no end in sight but could further erode the rule of law and human rights, or lead to a dangerous, superfluous military campaign.

      The prime minister sees the defense establishment as a competitor to his authority and an opponent of his goals. Putting Mr. Lieberman, an impulsive and reckless extremist, in charge of the military is a clear signal that the generals’ and the intelligence chiefs’ opposition will no longer be tolerated. Mr. Lieberman is known for ruthlessly quashing people who hold opposing views.

      This latest round of this conflict began on March 24: Elor Azariah, a sergeant in the I.D.F., shot and killed a Palestinian assailant who was lying wounded on the ground after stabbing one of Sergeant Azariah’s comrades. The I.D.F. top brass condemned the killing. A spokesman for Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff, said, “This isn’t the I.D.F., these are not the I.D.F.’s values.”

    • A Worrisome New Plan to Send U.S. Troops to Libya as ‘Advisers’

      The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Dunford, said last week that the United States is engaged in a “period of intense dialogue” that could lead to an agreement with the government of Libya that would allow U.S. “military advisers” to be deployed there in the fight against Islamic State.

      “There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface,” Dunford told The Washington Post. “We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen.”

      This plan should worry every American. If the past is any lesson, the new U.S. military advisers will likely be permanent and will presage a large combat contingent in Libya.

      U.S. military advisers first arrived in Vietnam in 1950, a move that presaged the eventual arrival of 9,087,000 military personnel, and reaching a peak in 1967 of 545,000 combat troops. The last U.S. troops didn’t leave Vietnam until 1975, and only after 58,220 had been killed. U.S. troops entered Kuwait in February 1991 to push invading Iraqi forces out of that country. Twenty-five years later, 13,500 troops remain.

    • Jeremy Scahill: Corporations Are Making a Killing Off US Targeted Killing

      If drone warfare has come up at all this election season, it’s been in passing. The candidates don’t differ much on the use of pilotless drones. But how is the face of war changing, and how do our peace movements need to respond?

      Jeremy Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist and a founding editor of The Intercept. He’s the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Dirty Wars (the book and the film), and now The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program, written with the staff of The Intercept.

    • As Hillary Clinton Defends Her Role in 2009 Coup, Is U.S. Aid to Honduras Adding “Fuel to the Fire”?

      We speak with Annie Bird about Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state during the 2009 coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. “There’s no other way to categorize what happened in 2009 other than a military coup with no legal basis,” Bird says. “The U.S. was not willing to cut off assistance to Honduras, and that is the only reason it was not called a coup, a military coup. At the time, activists like Berta called for the assistance to be cut off, and today her children are calling for it to be cut off, because the U.S. assistance is actually adding fuel to the fire and stoking the economic interests of the people behind the coup.”

    • Philippine death squads very much in business as Duterte set for presidency

      On May 14, five days after voters in the Philippines chose Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as their next president, two masked gunmen cruised this southern city’s suburbs on a motorbike, looking for their kill.

      Gil Gabrillo, 47, a drug user, was returning from a cockfight when the gunmen approached. One of them pumped four bullets into Gabrillo’s head and body, killing the small-time trader of goods instantly. Then the motorbike roared off.

      The murder made no headlines in Davao, where Duterte’s loud approval for hundreds of execution-style killings of drug users and criminals over nearly two decades helped propel him to the highest office of a crime-weary land.

      Human rights groups have documented at least 1,400 killings in Davao that they allege had been carried out by death squads since 1998. Most of those murdered were drug users, petty criminals and street children.

    • Insane NRA video warns Iran: Americans are crazier and more violent than ‘flower child’ Obama

      The National Rifle Association wants the government of Iran to take heed: The United States of America is much crazier than President Barack Obama is letting on. In a new video message that’s addressed to the “ayatollahs of Iran and every terrorist you enable,” an NRA supporter warns Iran that the real America is nothing like “our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed, Ivy League friends.”

    • Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy

      Interestingly, the question of nuclear weapons will likely also not be addressed in a substantive way. There may indeed be some discussion of the subject in general terms, but it will be veiled in the typically flowery, but utterly vacuous, Obama rhetoric. Given the opportunity, an intrepid reporter might venture to ask the President why, despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples [and] vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons,” he has presided over an administration that will spend more than $1 trillion upgrading, modernizing, and expanding the US nuclear arsenal.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists Warn of 10C Warming as we “Dial up Earth’s Thermostat”

      So far this year we have had warnings that the Great Barrier reef is “dying on our watch” due to coral bleaching caused by record temperatures; dramatic early seasonal melting of the Arctic Ocean sea ice and Greenland’s massive ice sheet; devastating wild-fires in Canada which are being linked to climate change, and month after month of record temperatures.

    • Trump’s Climate Change Denial Is Already Complicating the Paris Climate Deal

      If Donald Trump wins and pulls the U.S. out of its climate change commitments, some countries wonder, why should they keep their own?

    • Into the Zone

      This is the countryside of Fukushima. Five years after the nuclear meltdown, it remains full of radiation, and virtually empty of people.

    • World could warm by massive 10C if all fossil fuels are burned

      Arctic would warm by as much as 20C by 2300 with disastrous impacts if action is not taken on climate change, warns new study

    • Businessman’s arrest for forest fires is “slap in the face” for Indonesian government

      Tensions between Indonesia and Singapore are simmering as a kerfuffle is developing over the decision by a Singaporean court to grant a warrant to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for an Indonesian businessman suspected of involvement in last year’s forest fires. The warrant was obtained after the businessman, whose identity remains hidden, failed to turn up for an interview with the Singaporean authorities while he was in the city-state.

      The saga took an interesting twist as Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied its counterpart’s repeated claims that a formal complaint against the warrant had been lodged by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.

      The reason for Indonesia’s umbrage remains unclear, although implicit in the protest was the notion that Singapore had tried to force Indonesia’s hand in acting against responsible parties for last year’s environmental disaster, which saw much of South East Asia engulfed in a haze. Jakarta’s reaction suggests that it deemed Singapore to have overstepped its scope of action. By contrast, Singapore’s NEA felt that it had every right to prosecute those deemed responsible, based on the 2014 Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.

    • Shock and Awe, The Chevron Way

      With pockets deep enough, you can buy justice. That’s what Chevron assumes since they lost a $9.5 billion verdict at the Supreme Court of Ecuador in 2013. But can Chevron justify their mockery of the justice system at the shareholder meeting on Wednesday, May 25th? Some shareholders are gearing up for a battle.

      The funds from the $9.5 billion judgment are needed to set up a health programme for the tens of thousands of victims of Chevron’s toxic dumping in Ecuador, and to clean up a contaminated part of the Amazon rainforest bigger than Lake District. Chevron left Ecuador years ago, but it “forgot” to take home 16 billion gallons of toxic waste that contaminates streams and rivers relied on by local inhabitants for their drinking water, bathing, and fishing.

    • Ecuador Activist Accuses Chevron of ‘Harassment and Defamation’

      Santiago Escobar began getting death threats after he revealed information against the oil giant. Now he says publications financed by Chevron are trying to smear him.

    • Anti-Frackers Vow Fierce Resistance as UK Goes Back ‘Up for Shale’

      Furious environmental campaigners vowed to fight back on Tuesday after councilors in North Yorkshire approved the UK’s first fracking permit in five years.

      The North Yorkshire County Council on Monday approved Third Energy’s application to frack the fields near the North York Moors National Park—just days after people across the country celebrated five years of being “frack-free.”

    • ExxonMobil tried to censor climate scientists to Congress during Bush era

      ExxonMobil moved to squash a well-established congressional lecture series on climate science just nine days after the presidential inauguration of George W Bush, a former oil executive, the Guardian has learned.

      Exxon’s intervention on the briefings, revealed here for the first time, adds to evidence the oil company was acutely aware of the state of climate science and its implications for government policy and the energy industry – despite Exxon’s public protestations for decades about the uncertainties of global warming science.

      Indeed, the company moved swiftly during the earliest days of the Bush administration to block public debate on global warming and delay domestic and international regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to former officials of the US Global Change Research Program, or USGCRP.

      The Bush White House is now notorious for censoring climate scientists and blocking international action on climate change by pulling the US out of the Kyoto agreement.

    • China’s New Dietary Guidelines Could Be Good News For The Climate

      Chinese food has fans around the world, but in China it’s creating a problem. A recent study found obesity and other diet-related diseases are skyrocketing.

      Recently, the Chinese government took a major step to reverse that trend by issuing a new set of dietary guidelines.

      While dietary experts will weigh in on the nutritional aspects, buried in the pages is a recommendation with potentially huge implications for climate change.

    • Gulf Coast Activist Crashes Shell Meeting to Decry Destruction of Her Home

      Just two weeks after Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore drilling operations released nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the water off the Louisiana coast, an Indigenous activist from the Gulf region spoke out at Shell’s annual shareholders meeting in the Netherlands on Tuesday, highlighting the company’s history of environmental devastation in the place she calls home.

      “In the late 90s, after learning that their community was plagued by an open-air, toxic, oil-field waste facility, I began documenting my Houma relatives living in a small, mostly American Indian and Cajun community called Grand Bois, located just south of Houma, Louisiana,” Monique Verdin told Common Dreams via email. “As I was taken further and further down the bayous I also became more and more aware of our rapid land loss and the other environmental impacts caused by the oil and gas industry.”

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Calls On Americans To Fight Wall Street

      On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) headlined an event that launched a new coalition calling itself “Take On Wall Street.”

      The group includes lawmakers like Warren, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), labor leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten, as well as civil rights groups, community groups, and the organizing giant Move On. It aims to put pressure on lawmakers at all levels to pass stricter rules governing the financial system.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

      Take On Wall Street will formally announce its campaign launch at an event Tuesday night, which will feature a headlining speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), an outspoken proponent of financial reform.

    • Obama Overtime Plan Won’t Hurt Businesses, Executives Admit

      Business interest groups and their allies engaged in hyperbolic rhetoric about the supposed negative impact of overtime regulations before they were announced last week. By changing a salary threshold, the new rules will make millions of workers newly eligible to be paid for their overtime hours.

      “Businesses will be forced to look for cuts in the face of such massive costs,” Competitive Enterprise Institute policy analyst Trey Kovacs predicted. Right-wing economist analyst Michael Carr even worried that the overtime rules could help start another recession.

    • Apple, Microsoft and Google hold 23% of all U.S. corporate cash, as tech sector accumulates wealth

      Apple, Microsoft and Google are the top three cash-rich U.S. companies across all sectors of business, not including banks and other financial institutions — holding a combined $391 billion in cash as of the end of 2015, or more than 23 percent of the entire $1.68 trillion held by the nation’s non-financial corporations.

    • McDonald’s ex-CEO: $15/hr minimum wage will unleash the robot rebellion

      For years, economists have been issuing predictions about how automation will impact the world’s job markets, but those studies and guesses have yet to make a call based on what would happen if a given sector’s wages rose. Instead, that specific guesswork mantle has been taken up by a former McDonald’s CEO, who declared on Tuesday that a rise in the American minimum wage will set our nation’s robotic revolution into motion.

      In an appearance on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria, Ed Rensi claimed that a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would result in “job loss like you can’t believe” before ceding ground to our new robotic overlords. “I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday, and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry—it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”

    • CEOs Paid 335 Times Average Rank-and-File Worker; Outsourcing Results in Even Higher Inequality

      CEO pay for major U.S. companies continues to soar as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs increases. Outsourcing has become a hot presidential election topic with candidates calling out corporations who say they need to save money by sending jobs overseas. Meanwhile, according to the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $12.4 million per year in 2015 – 335 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker.

    • ‘Desperate’ Verizon Seeks Scabs to Offset Labor Strike

      Telecom giant Verizon has put out an urgent call for temporary employees as the company’s bitter feud with thousands of striking workers enters its seventh week.

      Last month, some 40,000 Verizon technicians and service employees walked off the job after a year of labor negotiations failed to produce a new contract.

      The workers, who are represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, argue that Verizon wants to freeze pensions, slash benefits, and outsource jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. The unions also say that the company has refused to negotiate improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions for a group of Verizon Wireless workers who joined CWA in 2014.

    • Takin’ It to the Streets—Brazilians Protest President’s Ouster

      Another Temer miscue was appointing Brazil’s first all-white, all-male cabinet in seventy years, going back even further than the military dictatorship of 1965-1984. The move, in a land that is majority Afro-Brazilian, has angered and energized women and Afro-Brazilians opposed to Temer’s government.

    • Brazil’s New Government Is Already Planning to Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Poor

      Just days after the Brazilian Senate voted to suspend former President Dilma Rousseff and subject her to an impeachment trial, the country’s new right-wing government is already planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

    • The Embarrassing Referendum

      Personally I remain an EU enthusiast, but I am horrified by the arguments being put forward by the Remain campaign, and even more by the personalities associated with it. I could never display a Remain poster in case people felt I agreed with David Cameron. I strongly suspect that explains the mass public apathy, which friends tell me is no different down south. Whatever their views on the EU, people do not want in any way to be associated with George Osborne, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Tony Blair or Peter Mandelson on one side, or with Ian Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson et al on the other.

    • Study confirms that the national press is biased in favour of Brexit

      A new research study has confirmed what most people, including this commentator, knew: national press coverage of EU referendum campaign has been “heavily skewed in favour of Brexit.”

      The bald figures produced by researchers at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism tell the story: 45% of 928 referendum articles it studied were in favour of leaving while 27% backed the remain case.

      Some 19% were categorised as “mixed or undecided” and 9% were designated as adopting no position.

    • Obama Visits Vietnam To Promote TPP. Wait, VIETNAM? Really?

      President Obama is in Vietnam promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Vietnam? Really?

      A year ago the post “Obama To Visit Nike To Promote the TPP. Wait, NIKE? Really?,” noted how Nike pioneered moving jobs out of the country to take advantage of low wages and lack of environmental protections in places like Vietnam, which led to many of the problems in our economy today. It seemed that Nike was possibly the worst company to use to support claims that TPP would benefit the American economy.

    • Sanders Bucks Dem Leaders, Calls for Opposition to Puerto Rico Bill

      In a message to fellow Senate Democratic caucus members, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday called for the defeat of emergency legislation to address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.

      A bill introduced last week by House Republicans would require the island territory to give up its budget-making autonomy in exchange for debt relief. The measure has the tentative support of the Obama administration and Democratic leadership.

      Puerto Rico is currently $72 billion in the hole, and already defaulting on financial obligations. Sanders, a presidential hopeful, said in a statement that the proposed initiative would “make a terrible situation even worse.”

    • INTO THE WORLD OF WORK

      What do you need to know – about the new world of work, but also about yourself – as you graduate and launch yourself into the world of work? We made a short film of my last class of the semester, where I speak to graduating seniors about these questions and more. If you’re a graduating senior (or know one) we hope this is helpful.

    • Warren Incensed at GOP Effort to Gut Financial Protections for Retirees

      The Labor Department rule, issued last month, requires financial advisors to adhere to a “fiduciary standard” that places client interests ahead of potential profits for themselves.

    • Armed with Policy Solutions and Populist Rage, Campaign Vows to ‘Take on Wall Street’

      On Tuesday, a coalition of more than 20 progressive activist and labor groups is launching a new campaign to reform the financial industry.

      The group, Take on Wall Street, aims to utilize public anger at the banking industry and the momentum of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the efforts of groups like the AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of America (CWA), to introduce an agenda that would change the way the financial sector operates.

    • Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?

      When the price of oil slumped, it was therefore inevitable that Venezuelans would see a downturn. Indeed, in some ways, the current crisis isn’t anything new: Venezuela has experienced boom and bust cycles coinciding with oil prices since the 1970s. With historically high oil prices, Chavez had luck on his side during his golden years, while Maduro has drawn a short straw. However, it’s worth noting that no other petro state in the world is facing the same kind of crisis that has hit Venezuela. Back luck aside, the Maduro administration could avoided the current conditions by reforming monetary policy in 2013 or 2014. While low productivity or anti-government sabotage are issues that can’t be resolved overnight with the wave of a hand, monetary policy could have been shored up in a relatively short period of time. Unlike international oil prices or long term issues like Dutch Disease, the Maduro administration had meaningful agency here, but failed to act. If serious reforms had been enacted, Venezuela would still be facing a nasty downturn, but probably not a fully fledged economic and political crisis. Likewise, even if the oil crash never happened, Venezuela would almost certainly still be heading towards a crisis sometime down the road anyway, largely thanks to failed monetary policy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The massive scale of the Clintons’ speech-making industry

      Last week, Hillary Clinton’s campaign released her most recent personal financial disclosure, detailing ways in which she and her husband earned money in 2015. Most of their income came from book royalties and giving paid speeches. Bill Clinton, for example, gave a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers in March 2015, being paid $325,000 for his time.

    • LISTEN: Amy Goodman on NPR’s Weekend Edition

      NPR’s Scott Simon asks Amy Goodman about Bernie Sanders’ chances of getting the delegates he needs to claim the Democratic nomination.

    • Americans’ Dislike for Trump and Clinton Bolsters Sanders’ Superdelegate Pitch

      Most Americans can’t stand the frontrunner of either major political party, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday has found.

      Almost 60 percent of respondents said they “dislike” or “hate” Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and 63 percent said the same about Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      In fact, the poll found that the roughly one-third of respondents on either side of the political aisle were voting for their candidate solely to defeat the other nominee.

    • Why I Am #NeverHillary

      It’s one hell of a choice. The more I delve into Donald Trump and his past (to research my biography, which comes out in June), the more scared I get. Nevertheless, there is no way I’ll vote for Hillary. I won’t vote for her if she stops shaking down rich right-wing Republicans for donations. I won’t vote for her if she adopts Bernie’s platform. I won’t vote for her if she names Bernie her vice president. I won’t even vote for her if Bernie invites me to spend the summer with him and Jane in Vermont.

      #NeverHillary. That’s me.

      There are millions of us.

    • Bernie’s not-so-secret-weapon

      For months, Bernie Sanders and his supporters have pointed to polls that show him running comfortably ahead of Donald Trump in November. But now that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump has disappeared — and the two likely nominees are now running neck-and-neck in national polls — his argument is gaining new resonance.

      Clinton and her campaign argue that the Vermont senator hasn’t undergone the kind of scrutiny that Clinton and Trump have — and that his poll numbers are over-inflated compared to candidates who have faced intense political attacks from the other party.

    • I watched Hillary Clinton’s forces swipe Nevada: This is what the media’s not telling you

      It probably wasn’t the best time for me to go to Vegas. My beloved father had just died the week before, and I was feeling hazy and vulnerable, prone to weeping at the slightest provocation. Grief made me feel like I had no skin and no brain; grief had turned me into a cloud, and I was in that floaty state when I got on the plane with my husband—a state delegate headed to the Nevada Democratic Convention—and our 6-year-old son. I wasn’t sure what would happen once we got to Vegas, whether all the lights and bells would hammer me back into my body, or whether I would drift even further away from myself, hover like the cigarette smoke over the casino floor.

      I had wanted to be a delegate, myself, but knew I was going to be out of town during the county convention in April, so I didn’t put my hat in the ring at the February caucus, where I had served as a precinct captain for Bernie. It was my first election season in Nevada, my first caucus, and the whole process seemed wild to me, taking what was normally such a private experience—voting quietly in an individual booth—and turning it into a political game of Red Rover, people taking sides in a room, trying to sway folks to come over to their side, their candidate; it was a civil game in our precinct, but I could see how easily things could turn nasty. I was grateful my husband had volunteered himself to be a county delegate, and was excited when he got the email that he was chosen to be a state delegate, as well. Nevada has a strange three-tier system—Hillary had won a majority at the February caucus, but more Bernie delegates showed up at the county caucus, negating Hillary’s win, so the race for delegates at the state convention promised to be a tight one. I looked forward to seeing the process in action; I never expected that process would become so chaotic and surreal, although I had become used to surreal of late.

      We arrived late Friday night and all around me, women were dressed to the nines and looking miserable. My heart broke for them. I wanted to know their stories; why were they so unhappy? The weight of crumbling expectations seemed to fill the smoky air. I found myself sending little silent affirmations to all these sad, fancy women—You are beautiful, I beamed to them. It will be okay. Perhaps I was channeling my dad, who always did whatever he could to make people feel better about themselves.

    • Study: One Out Of Every 178 Posts To Chinese Social Media Is Government Propaganda

      In Russia, we’ve talked about how Vladimir Putin employs a massive army of Internet trolls to ridicule and shout down political opponents and critics. In China, the government’s tactics are notably different. According to a new study out of Harvard (pdf), the Chinese government posts about 488 million fake social media comments — or roughly one day of Twitter’s total global volume — each year. In China, these propagandists have historically been dubbed the “50 Cent Party,” because it was generally believed they were paid 50 Chinese cents for every social media post.

    • Across Europe, distrust of mainstream political parties is on the rise

      The narrow defeat – by just 0.6 percentage points – of the nationalist Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer in this week’s Austrian presidential elections has focused attention once more on the rise of far-right parties in Europe.

      But despite what some headlines might claim, it is oversimplifying things to say the far right is suddenly on the march across an entire continent. In some countries, the hard right’s share of the vote in national elections has been stable or declined.

      In others – particularly the nations of southern Europe, which, with memories of fascism and dictatorship still very much alive, have proved reluctant to flirt with rightwing extremism – it is the far left that is advancing.

      Some rightwing populist parties are relatively new, but others have been a force to be reckoned with for many years now, sometimes – as in France – enjoying a large share of the vote but being unable, as yet, to break through nationally.

    • Bernie Sanders Draws Thousands at ‘A Future to Believe In’ Rally

      The California primary is only eight days away, and Bernie Sanders isn’t slowing down.

      If anything, the 74-year-old Vermont Senator is picking up the pace as he tours California this week, stopping at as many as three cities a day for rallies and events.

      On Monday night, Sanders held a rally on the football field of Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. The Sanders campaign estimated a turnout of 10,000 people—and the numbers may have swelled to more than that, considering the vast numbers of people who turned up but couldn’t fit inside the football field. Sanders told ABC News that he hopes to speak with “200,000 Californians at rallies statewide.”

    • Tim Canova on Bernie Sanders’ Endorsement, Challenging Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Video)

      Canova, a lawyer and activist who supported the Occupy Wall Street movement and opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, among other causes, recently received a big boost in the form of an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, with whom Canova has worked previously. Sanders’ backing has helped Canova’s cause, both financially and in terms of publicity, as has the scrutiny focused on Wasserman Schultz in the ongoing controversy about her leadership of the DNC vis-a-vis Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s bids for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    • Elites vs. Too Much Democracy: Andrew Sullivan’s Afraid of Popular Self-Government

      British expatriate writer Andrew Sullivan recently returned to the public eye with a piece that has aroused considerable comment, some of it reasonably on point, and some bloviatingly incoherent.

      What is all the fuss about? Sullivan, in critiquing the Donald Trump phenomenon and the political factors that gave rise to it, makes a few good points, but buries them under a ridiculous premise: The culprit responsible for Trump is too much democracy, and the cure is more elite control of the political process.

    • Sanders: Yes, A Convention About Real Issues Might Be ‘Messy’

      DNC should focus on welcoming energized newcomers, not attending private fundraisers hosted by big donors and corporate lobbyists

    • The BBC has lost touch: here’s how it could re-connect

      A filmmaker advises BBC news staff on how to better engage with the harsh realities of life for many in Britain.

    • Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?

      Like Obama, Hillary Clinton is a liberal internationalist and a strong believer in American exceptionalism, meaning she is convinced that the world looks to America for leadership, that US involvement everywhere is unavoidable as well as desirable, that US-based multinational corporations are a positive force for global development, and that the US should be ready to commit force in support of humanitarian ideals and American values—but not necessarily in accordance with US or international laws—as much as because of concrete strategic interests. It’s the traditional marriage of realism and idealism that we find in every president (though a Trump presidency would drop the idealism). But each president, as Henry Kissinger once said, inclines somewhat to one side or the other, and in Hillary Clinton’s case, she is more the realist than Obama—more prepared, that is, to commit US power, unilaterally if she believes necessary, in support of a very broad conception of national security.

    • Shock Poll: Sanders Ahead of Trump by 15 Points, Hillary Just by 3

      A shocker. A new NBC News/Wall St Journal poll has Bernie up 54 to 39 over Donald Trump.

      Meanwhile, according to the same poll, Hillary Clinton no longer has a double digit lead over Donald Trump like she did just a month ago — her lead over Trump is just 3 points.

    • Sanders Endorses Down-Ticket Democrats Running for ‘Bold Change’

      “These candidates are standing up against the wealthy interests and biggest corporations, and putting working families first.”

    • Green Party’s Jill Stein Shares Her “Plan B” for Bernie Sanders Supporters: A Green New Deal

      As Bernie Sanders’ voters begin facing the question of whether or not to support Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton if she becomes the party’s nominee, many of his supporters have pledged never to support her. In fact, voters in both major parties are seeking alternatives in this year’s presidential election — and third-party candidates are seeing an explosion in social media interest in their campaigns.

    • Donald Trump: He can’t win, can he?

      In a book published in 2004, Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington argued that Latino immigration was endangering the American way of life. Trump has campaigned on a shrill version of the same sinister idea.

    • Progressive women are running for office all over the country

      Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first woman president has gotten far more attention in the media, but there are hundreds of female candidates running for office in 2016. And although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is rightly credited for calling attention to the fundamental unfairness of our rigged economic and political systems, inspiring women such as Zephyr Teachout, Pramila Jayapal and Lucy Flores are carrying the mantle of progressive populism in congressional races across the country. Notably, Sanders has endorsed and fundraised for all three women in their upcoming primaries, recognizing them as important allies in the battle to create progressive change.

    • ‘Fighting For Every Last Delegate,’ Sanders Requests Kentucky Primary Recanvass

      A recanvass is not the same thing as a recount “but a review of the voting totals,” notes AP.

      If the process finds that Sanders actually won the primary, it would mean that one delegate will go to Sanders instead of Clinton.

    • Sanders campaign requests Kentucky vote recanvass

      Clinton holds 1,924-vote lead over Sanders out of 454,573 votes cast…

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Web Sheriff Abuses DMCA In Weak Attempt To Hide Info Under UK High Court Injunction, Fails Miserably

      Last week, Twitter engaged in some dubious behavior on behalf of a few super-secret someones who’d rather the press didn’t discuss their sexual activity. Twitter was apparently firing off “letters of warning” to users who had dared break an injunction issued by the UK Supreme Court forbidding anyone in the media from discussing a threesome involving a prominent British celebrity.

      There was very little legal force behind the “warning letters” (despite threats from local authorities) and Twitter users were under no obligation to comply with the company’s request. The fact that Twitter even bothered to issue these highlights the utter futility of injunctions/super-injunctions of this variety, which are really just a way for British citizens of a certain level of importance to control local media. It doesn’t really matter if the UK’s highest court upholds a super-injunction if it has no way of enforcing it beyond its super-limited purview.

    • Fantastic: Now British Firms Are Getting In On The Bogus Website/Bogus DMCA Notice Scam

      Here we go again: intellectual property laws being abused to silence critics. In this case — which resembles the tactics exposed by Pissed Consumer recently — bogus copyright claims contained in bogus DMCA notices are being used to remove negative reviews from websites.

      In this case, it’s a British firm — one that first tried to abuse that country’s oft-abused defamation laws.

    • Glenn Beck and other conservatives are in denial about Facebook censorship — so how do we fight back?

      Twitter was recently caught for shadowbanning conservatives and now it’s been leaked that Facebook is equally biased. You can’t have right wing opinions anywhere these days without mass amounts of backlash and censorship.

    • Mapping Media Freedom marks second year of monitoring censorship in Europe

      Journalists have been murdered and burned in effigy. Reporters have been publicly discredited by government officials, prosecuted for under anti-terrorism laws and excluded from public meetings on the refugee crisis. We’ve even recorded journalists being menaced with mechanical diggers.

      Mapping Media Freedom launched to the public on 24 May 2014 to monitor media censorship and press freedom violations throughout Europe. Two years on, the platform has verified over 1,800 incidents, ranging from insults and cyberbullying to physical assaults and assassination.

    • Google To France: No You Don’t Get To Censor The Global Internet

      As we’ve been covering here at Techdirt, French regulators have been pushing Google to censor the global internet whenever it receives “right to be forgotten” requests. If you don’t recall, two years ago, there was a dangerous ruling in the EU that effectively said that people could demand Google remove certain links from showing up when people searched on their names. This “right to be forgotten” is now being abused by a ton of people trying to hide true information they just don’t like being known. Google grudgingly has agreed to this, having little choice to do otherwise. But it initially did so only on Google’s EU domain searches. Last year, a French regulator said that it needed to apply globally. Google said no, explaining why this was a “troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.”

      French regulators responded with “don’t care, do it!” Google tried to appease the French regulators earlier this year with a small change where even if you went to Google.com, say, from France (rather than the default of Google.fr), Google would still censor the links based on your IP address. And, again, the French regulators said not good enough, and told Google it needed to censor globally. It also issued a fine.

    • Timeline of Amos Yee’s latest arrest by the Singapore Police Force over Section 298 of penal code

      TOC understands that Amos has uploaded a video titled “Refuting Islam With Their Own Quran” on 19 May 2016. The video is taken off of Youtube within an hour (possibly for violating Youtube community standards). Amos then re-uploads the video on Vimeo.

    • EU:s EPP group calls for Internet censorship

      If we introduce far-reaching online censorship you can be absolutely sure that it will be extended beyond its’ original purpose.

    • Myanmar court convicts man over penis tattoo poem

      A court in Myanmar has sentenced a young poet to six months in jail for defaming former president Thein Sein, making him one of the first political activists sentenced since Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April.

      Maung Saung Kha, 23, used his Facebook account to publish a poem about having a tattoo of a president on his penis. He was charged for defaming Thein Sein under telecommunications laws, used to curb free speech in several other recent cases.

    • Mohawk Regional releases yearbooks in censorship flap; will reprint page that was removed

      The yearbook was supposed to have been released on Friday, but was held back at the last minute by Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, who had previously ordered a single page cut from each book so as not to “harm the well-being of several students.”

      The page contained a photograph of former teacher Ivan Grail, who earlier this year was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with students, said Sarah Wunsch, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

      Grail was placed on paid leave in March. His current employment status is not known. Buoniconti did not respond to an email and telephone message from The Republican seeking comment.

    • Lessons in Censorship

      Public schools, we all agree, should teach civics and promote democracy, including respect for constitutional rights. Unfortunately, regardless of the official curriculum, schools routinely teach students through censorship and punishment that those in charge decide what may be said.

      In Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, George Washington University law professor Catherine Ross presents and analyzes dozens of legal cases concerning the free speech rights of students in K-12 public schools. She also provides a convincing critique of the state of the law, an urgent warning about what students experience in school, and concrete suggestions for protecting student speech.

      Ross does not address censorship of college students, which has been much in the news over the past year. But her book is an important reminder that censorship of students begins long before they get to college. She organizes her presentation around five key U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

    • Censorship or justified Concern?

      While the University accepted that the proposed conference was a legitimate academic event, it became increasingly concerned by the end of March 2015 that the conference speakers had a ‘distinct leaning’ to one point of view (essentially anti-Israel) rather than the original intention of a balanced exchange of views, and more significantly that there was an unacceptably high risk of disorder if the conference were to go ahead.

    • Campus censorship is holding women back

      That a significant proportion of female students is willingly supporting censorship is very depressing. But it’s hardly surprising. The vast majority of censorship on campus is aimed at protecting women from offence. spiked’s 2016 Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) found that almost a third of UK universities banned the Sun and the Daily Star, as part of the No More Page 3 campaign, and 25 banned the controversial pop song ‘Blurred Lines’. All of this is done in the name of cleansing campus of ‘demeaning’ representations of women.

    • Facebook changes policies on Trending Topics after activist accused site of right-wing censorship – and blames any bias on rogue employees
    • Facebook Censorship Concerns Could Hurt Engagement, Advertising Dollars
    • Facebook denies systemic bias in Trending Topics but changes how they are chosen
    • Facebook Makes ‘Trending Topic’ Change Following Conservative Backlash
    • Facebook Inc makes changes to ‘Trending Topics’ policies after conservative criticism
    • Facebook’s ‘sweeping’ reforms to trending topics won’t actually change much
    • Facebook tweaks ‘Trending Topics’ policy: Will it restore faith in neutrality?
    • Facebook denies ‘systematic’ content bias, but admits possibility of rogue employees
    • Facebook Trending Topics Will Undergo Changes Following Allegations of Political Bias
    • Facebook is tweaking Trending Topics to counter charges of bias
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Another Court Finds FBI’s NIT Warrants To Be Invalid, But Credits Agents’ ‘Good Faith’ To Deny Suppression

      Yet another court has found that the warrant used by the FBI in the Playpen child porn investigation is invalid, rendering its NIT-assisted “search” unconstitutional. As USA Today’s Brad Heath points out, this is at least the sixth court to find that Rule 41′s jurisdictional limitations do not permit warrants issued in Virginia to support searches performed all over the nation.

      While the court agrees that the warrant is invalid, it places the blame at the feet of the magistrate judge who issued it, rather than the agents who obtained it.

    • British govt hackers report vulnerabilities to Apple [Ed: Yet another one of those “saves the day” puff pieces]

      Britain’s main spy agency has reported two serious operating system vulnerabilites to Apple, as concerns over government stockpiling of zero-day exploits continue.

    • Huge Scale Of Road Camera Surveillance Revealed

      The massive scale of surveillance cameras on the UK’s roads has been revealed in new figures obtained by Sky News.

      Automatic number plate recognition – or ANPR – technology uses cameras to scan number plates and log car journeys.

      Whenever a car passes a camera, its registration is scanned and added to a central database, accessible by police forces.

    • Consumers Demanding Online Privacy in Light of Snowden Leaks

      He pointed to companies in Germany that market their social networking services by underscoring their commitment to enhanced privacy, meaning that the security of personal information has become something that can be sold.

    • The U.S. Surveillance State

      It was the most significant government leak since the Pentagon Papers and revealed an unprecedented level of spying by the U.S. state on the American people and those far beyond the America’s borders. We’ll feature highlights from the Academy Award-winning documentary film “Citizenfour” about whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations of massive NSA surveillance.

    • Where The 2016 Candidates Stand On Cybersecurity And Civil Liberties

      While Trump wants to strengthen the government’s surveillance and cyberattack capabilities, the Democrats have fought for civil liberties.

    • Pentagon Whistleblower’s Disclosures Put a Lie to Obama, Clinton Claims About Snowden

      Mark Hertsgaard broke the story of Pentagon whistleblower John Crane in his new book, “Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.” The book details how senior Pentagon officials may have broken the law to punish National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. “I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning,” Hertsgaard said.

    • ‘Lots of surprises inside’: Activist David Miranda tells RT about planned mass Snowden file leak

      On August 18, 2013, Miranda’s life was turned upside down when he was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for 12 hours under anti-terrorism laws. This came after his partner Glenn Greenwald had published numerous documents released by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      Now the Brazilian-born Miranda says the public has the right to “see what is inside” the documents, which he plans to leak within the next few weeks, despite coming under pressure from governments not to publish the files.

    • Edward Snowden wants you to give a damn about privacy

      In October last year the Government passed the metadata legislation, with bipartisan support, that forces all telecommunications companies to keep the records of their customers for two years.

    • A new study shows how government-collected “anonymous” data can be used to profile you

      After Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, showed the world that intelligence agencies in the US and the UK were monitoring call records on a massive scale, there was a collective gasp, but then mostly silence. There was outrage at the discovery that elected governments had been snooping on law-abiding citizens, but there was also confusion about what information, exactly, those governments were gathering, and what they could use it for.

    • We Asked Edward Snowden if Online Privacy Has Improved Since His Massive NSA Leak

      This Friday, May 27, HBO will air a new episode from season four of our Emmy-winning show. On the last episode, we met the team of female volunteers working to eradicate polio in Pakistan, as well as expert disposal teams trying to detonate unexploded land mines in Southeast Asia. This week we head to Russia to meet Edward Snowden to discuss the current state of digital privacy and government surveillance in America.

    • Scoop: VICE on HBO on Friday, May 27, 2016

      “State of Surveillance” The show is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, igniting a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple fought an FBI court order seeking to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Before Snowden Illegally Suppressed By Pentagon
    • FSB’s Snowden War:Using the American NSA against Itself [Ed: The idea that if one distrusts corporate/Western media, then one is fooled by Russia and alternative media is “Russian propaganda”]

      It is important to note that this form of intelligence media propaganda is not effective in isolation. It was not Russian propaganda that caused widespread distrust of the US government. However, the FSB and Russian media conglomerates are able to effectively profit from the damning Snowden disclosures by casting the US in a suspicious, negative light, while at the same time minimizing its own supposed flaws and political sins. More study should be devoted in future to this softer but still significant aspect of US-Russian relational conflict.

    • Observations and thoughts on the LinkedIn data breach

      Last week there was no escaping news of the latest data breach. The LinkedIn hack of 2012 which we thought had “only” exposed 6.5M password hashes (not even the associated email addresses so in practice, useless data), was now being sold on the dark web. It was allegedly 167 million accounts and for a mere 5 bitcoins (about US$2.2k) you could jump over to the Tor-based trading site, pay your Bitcoins and retrieve what is one of the largest data breaches ever to hit the airwaves.

      But this is not a straightforward incident for many reasons and there are numerous issues raised by the data itself and the nature of the hack. I’ve had a heap of calls and emails from various parties doing stories on it over the last week so I thought I’d address some of those queries here and add my own thoughts having now seen the data. I’ll also talk about Have I been pwned (HIBP) and the broader issue of searchable breach data.

    • Five Years of Cookie Law: Politicians’ good intentions and incompetence create security, privacy nightmare

      Five years with the “cookie law”, taking effect in 2011, shows how politicians’ good intentions – when coupled with incompetence – can create a security and privacy nightmare. It was supposed to give users choice, privacy, and security. Its effect, over and above causing developer facedesks and headaches, has been the exact opposite.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs

      Truman, for instance, on civil rights: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” (He regularly referred to Jews as kikes, to Mexicans as greasers.)

      When Oppenheimer expressed to Truman his misgivings about having developed the atomic bombs, the president told his chief of staff, “I don’t want to see that son of a bitch in this office ever again.” He later called Oppenheimer a “crybaby scientist”.

    • Federal Judge Catches DOJ Lying, Sanctions Lawyers With Mandatory Ethics Classes

      The lies the DOJ told involve a 2014 DHS directive that changed its handling of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DOJ told the court and opposing counsel that no action under the new guidelines would commence until February 2015. These statements were made both orally (January 15, 2015) and in a filing (December 19, 2014). But in reality, the guidelines were already being used to process immigrants, resulting in over 100,000 modified DACA applications being granted or renewed by the DHS prior to either of these statements.

      This was caught by the court in April 2015, but the DOJ insisted its statements weren’t lies, but rather the “innocent mistakes” of poorly-informed counsel, shifting the blame towards the DHS. Months later, the real truth has come out.

      [...]

      This isn’t the DOJ lying about a minor procedural detail. This is the DOJ lying about the DACA modification central to the states’ lawsuit against the US government. To purposely mislead the court and the defendants about the status of DACA applicants cannot be waved away with claims of foggy memories. It also cannot be waved away with claims that the DOJ had no idea so many applicants were already being processed using guidelines still being contested in federal court.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the court is limited to what it can do in response to the DOJ’s misconduct. Holding the DOJ responsible for the involved states’ legal fees would result in the participating states effectively paying their own legal fees. It would be nothing more than moving around money collected from taxpayers and, thanks to federal taxes, robbing plaintiffs to pay plaintiffs. Instead, Judge Hanen has ordered that any DOJ lawyer who has — or will — appear in the courts of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit attend legal ethics courses. The courses will be provided by a legal agency unaffiliated with the DOJ, and the DOJ itself will be required to provide annual reports to the court confirming these courses are being attended.

    • 1,000 fake 999 calls by G4S to raise performance figures

      Another day another scandal at G4S, this time it has been claimed that staff made fake calls to a 999 emergency contact centre to ensure they met targets of answering 92 per cent of calls within ten seconds.

      This dire situation took place between November and December 2015 reports the Daily Mirror.

      There have been five staff who are now on suspension after they supposedly made over a thousand “test calls” at quiet times to ensure they were picked up quickly.

    • Judge Rules Edward Nero ‘Not Guilty’ in Freddie Gray Case, but Social Media Disagrees

      A judge has found Officer Edward Nero not guilty on all charges in the Freddie Gray case on Monday, but many on social media disagreed with the verdict.

      Nero was one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the 2015 arrest and death of Gray. Nero was accused of assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

    • Oklahoma’s Insane Rush to Execute

      Ever since the dramatic last-minute halt of the execution of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma last fall, exactly what happened that day has remained a mystery. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court had given the green light for Oklahoma to proceed with the execution using a protocol the justices had upheld just months before, in Glossip v. Gross. Outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary that afternoon, Glossip’s lawyers, his family, and members of the press were all convinced the execution was imminent. Inside, witnesses thought they were about to be escorted to the death chamber. Glossip, meanwhile, stood in his boxer shorts inside a holding cell, waiting to be taken to the gurney.

      Instead, just before 4 p.m. on September 30, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallin — who had repeatedly denied relief for Glossip despite his vociferous claims of innocence — suddenly intervened, stopping the execution while making an embarrassing admission: The state did not have the correct execution drug in its possession. In a short statement, Fallin announced a temporary stay of 37 days to determine whether a drug named potassium acetate was “compliant” with the state’s lethal injection protocol.

    • When a Killer Cop Retires: The Resignation of Dante Servin

      On May 19, organizers and community members around the United States engaged in #SayHerName actions in support of women and femmes who have been harmed by state violence. This national day of action should have coincided with the start of the termination proceedings for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned on May 17, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin: as the last stage in his firing process.

    • The “Moscow Consensus”: Constructing autocracy in post-Soviet Eurasia

      Across the former Soviet Union, a new type of authoritarianism has become the default — with commerce, parliaments, military, media and civil society used to consolidate elite economic and political power.

    • T.S.A. Replaces Security Chief as Tension Grows at Airports and Agency

      Facing a backlash over long security lines and management problems, the head of the Transportation Security Administration shook up his leadership team on Monday, replacing the agency’s top security official and adding a new group of administrators at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

      In an email to staff members, Peter V. Neffenger, the T.S.A. administrator, announced a series of changes that included the removal of Kelly Hoggan, who had been the assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations since 2013.

      Beginning late that year, Mr. Hoggan received $90,000 in bonuses over a 13-month period, even though a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security showed that auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time in 70 covert tests.

    • How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism

      I opened Twitter recently and saw 20+ notifications. Most of the time that means the new generation of white nationalist Twitter trolls are filling my feed with racist and anti-Semitic cartoons. It was the trolls, but this was different. They were celebrating my use of the word “anti-white” in a tweet. They saw it as a victory that a “mainstream conservative” was using this term that for so long has been their calling card.

      They had a point. Until recently I would have been unlikely to use the term. Not because I didn’t believe some people harbored animosity towards whites, but because that was a fringe attitude removed from power, which represented little real threat. That is no longer the case. Progressive rhetoric on race has turned an ugly corner and the existence of “anti-white” attitudes can no longer be ignored.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Freedom of choice of terminal, key issue for Net Neutrality

      La Quadrature du Net publishes an article from Benjamin Bayart, member of the Strategic Directions Council of La Quadrature du Net. This article was written on behalf of the Federation FDN and was initially plublished in French here.

    • Transition Of Core Internet Functions (IANA) Oversight From US Government No Done Deal

      Will the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) be able to handover oversight over the management of the DNS root zone and other core databases of the internet in September? At a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee in Washington today, proponents and opponents showed off and Senator Marco Rubio, former presidential candidate, strongly supported a delay.

    • Reddit, Mozilla, Others Urge FCC To Formally Investigate Broadband Usage Caps And Zero Rating

      We’ve noted how the FCC’s latest net neutrality rules do a lot of things right, but they failed to seriously address zero rating or broadband usage caps, opening the door to ISPs violently abusing net neutrality — just as long as they’re relatively clever about it. And plenty of companies have been walking right through that open door. Both Verizon and Comcast for example now exempt their own streaming services from these caps, giving them an unfair leg up in the marketplace. AT&T meanwhile is now using usage caps to force customers to subscribe to TV services if they want to enjoy unlimited data.

      In each instance you’ve got companies using usage caps for clear anti-competitive advantage, while industry-associated think tanks push misleading studies and news outlet editorials claiming that zero rating’s a great boon to consumers and innovation alike.

      The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t ban usage caps or zero rating, unlike rules in Chile, Slovenia, Japan, India, Norway and The Netherlands. The FCC did however state that the agency would examine such practices on a “case by case” basis under the “general conduct” portion of the rules. But so far, that has consisted of closed door meetings and a casual, informal letter sent to a handful of carriers as part of what the FCC says is an “information exercise,” not a formal inquiry.

    • Medium, Mozilla, and Kickstarter Signed a Letter Against Zero-Rating

      A coalition of leading open internet advocates is pressuring federal regulators to crack down on the controversial broadband industry practice of “zero-rating,” calling it a threat to net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible.

      Zero-rating refers to a variety of practices that broadband companies use to exempt certain internet content and services from data caps, effectively favoring those services by giving consumers an economic incentive to use them instead of rival offerings.

    • AT&T Begins Capping Broadband Users Today

      Just a reminder to AT&T customers: the company’s usage caps on U-Verse broadband connections take effect today. When AT&T originally announced broadband caps on fixed-line connections back in 2011, it capped DSL customers at 150 GB per month and U-Verse customers at 250 GB per month. But while the DSL customer cap was enforced (by and large because AT&T wants these users to migrate to wireless anyway), AT&T didn’t enforce caps for its U-Verse customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What does the timing of the US Defend Trade Secrets Act and EU Trade Secrets Directive really mean for companies? [Ed: Those who promote UPC (for big foreign corporations, AmeriKat in this case) also promote ‘law’ for corporations to punish staff]

      So with two new trade secrets laws on both sides of the Atlantic, what does this really mean for companies seeking to protect and enforce their valuable trade secrets?

    • Copyrights

      • Australia Officially Abandons Three Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme

        After indications earlier this year that copyright holders and ISPs were having serious problems reaching agreement on who will pay for the three-strikes anti-piracy regime, the project has now officially been canned. In a letter to the Australian Media and Communications Authority, the Communications Alliance and rightsholders have confirmed its demise.

      • Hollywood Withdraws Funding for UK Anti-Piracy Group FACT

        The UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft has received a major blow after the Motion Picture Association advised the anti-piracy group it will not renew its membership. The termination of the 30-year long relationship means that FACT will lose 50% of its budget and the backing of the six major Hollywood movie studios.

      • Hollywood Writers: Set-top Box Piracy Fears Are Overblown

        Copyright holders and cable companies are fiercely against FCC’s plan to open up the set-top box market. They fear that this will facilitate piracy and degrade security. As a notable exception, the Writers Guild of America West contradicts these concerns, arguing that more choice for consumers is likely to benefit all sides.

      • How Piracy Became a Cause Celebre in the World of Academics

        In October 2008, two of the big names in academic publishing, Elsevier and Thieme, celebrated victory against an “international piracy scheme involving the unlawful copying, sale, and distribution of scientific journals.”

        In the defeated scheme, a Vietnamese entrepreneur had used throwaway email accounts to pose as a salesman. He contacted academics, offering discounted access to subscription journals. The unsuspecting marks made payment through fake websites that mimicked the publishers’, and received paper printouts of the journals in the mail.

        Now, another international piracy scheme commands the attention of Elsevier—but this one looks more like a Silicon Valley startup than a black market.

      • Sony Thinks It Can Charge An ‘Administrative Fee’ For Fair Use

        Mitch Stoltz, over at EFF, has been writing about a ridiculous situation in which Sony Music has been using ContentID to take down fair use videos — and then to ask for money to put them back up. As Stoltz notes, the videos in question are clearly fair use. They’re videos of lectures put on by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, teaching people about bluegrass music. They’re hourlong lectures in a classroom setting, that do include snippets of music here and there as part of a lecture, with the music usually less than 30 seconds long.

05.24.16

Links 24/5/2016: CRYENGINE Source Code is Out on GitHub, Jono Bacon Leaves GitHub

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ask Safia: How do I move from a proprietary software background into open source?

    Your inexperience with open source tools definitely is not going to prevent you from participating in the open source community. Regardless of the closed nature of the platforms that you’ve worked with previously, you have all the skills needed to be a valuable open source contributor. If you’ve learned a thing or two about documentation, consider addressing documentation issues on projects. If you had experience in QA or testing, you can start off by user testing the software and identifying areas for improvement or for improving code coverage. Valuing your skill set and the nature of the environments that you have worked in is important.

  • Apache Elevates TinkerPop Graph Computing Framework to Top Level

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Now, the foundation has announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale.

    “Graph databases and mainstream interest in graph applications have seen tremendous growth in recent years,” said Stephen Mallette, Vice President of Apache TinkerPop. “Since its inception in 2009, TinkerPop has been helping to promote that growth with its Open Source graph technology stack. We are excited to now do this same work as a top-level project within the Apache Software Foundation.”

  • Why a Buffer developer open sourced his code

    If you look for the official definition of open source, you’ll likely stumble upon this outline from the board members of the Open Source Initiative. If you skim through it, you’re sure to find some idea or concept that you feel very aligned with. At its heart, openness (and open source) is about free distribution—putting your work out there for others to use.

    It’s really about helping others and giving back.

    ​When we started to think about open source and how we could implement it at Buffer, the fit seemed not only natural, but crucial to how we operate. In fact, it seemed that in a lot of ways we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t start to look more seriously at it.

    But what I didn’t quite realize at the time were all the effects that open source would have on me.

  • Events

    • How to make a culture change at your company

      I attended an interesting talk by Barry O’Reilly at the Cultivate pre-conference at OSCON 2016 about “how to push through change in an enterprise.” Though I think the title should have been: “What the enterprise can learn from open source.”

    • Two OSCON Conversations, And A Trip Report Between Them

      My last visit to OSCON was in 2011, when I had worked for the Wikimedia Foundation for under a year, and wanted to build and strengthen relationships with the MediaWiki and PHP communities. I remember not feeling very successful, and thinking that this was a conference where executives and engineers (who in many cases are not terribly emotionally passionate about open source) meet to hire, get hired, and sell each other things.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Struggling to open a document or photo? Here’s how to do it

      Things are a bit trickier if you have a file from a productivity application you don’t have access to —such as a Word document and no Word application, either to open it or re-save it. The solution is still simple, though — download Libre Office. Libre Office is a free and fully functional office suite that’s more than a match for Microsoft Office, and it can open (and save in) Office file formats.

  • Networking/SDN

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD/loongson on the Lemote Yeeloong 8101B

      After hunting for Loongson based hardware for the first half of 2015, I was finally able to find an used Yeeloong in July, in very good condition. Upon receiving the parcel, the first thing I did was to install OpenBSD on this exquisitely exotic machine.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Call for GIMP 2.10 Documentation Update

      With the upcoming GIMP 2.10 release we intend to finally close the time gap between releases of source code, installers, and the user manual. This means that we need a more coordinated effort between the GIMP developers team and the GIMP User Manual team.

      For the past several months we’ve already been working on GIMP mostly in bugfix mode. It’s time to start updating the user manual to match all the changes in GIMP 2.10, and we would appreciate your help with that.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Mobile Age project: making senior citizens benefit from open government data

        On 1 February 2016, ten European partners launched the Mobile Age project. Aiming to develop inclusive mobile access to public services using open government data, Mobile Age targets a group of citizens that are usually marginalised when it comes to technical innovations but which is rapidly growing in number and expectations: European senior citizens.

        While more and more public services are made available online only, older persons’ needs and wishes towards digital services are rarely understood and taken in account. This deficit is often exacerbated by their lower digital skills and poor access to the internet. In order to cope with this, Mobile Age is based on the concept of co-creation: it will develop mobile open government services that are created together with senior citizens.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Protecting IP in a 3D printed future

        3D printing might just change everything. At least John Hornick, who leads Finnegan’s 3D printing working group and wrote 3D Printing Will Rock the World, certainly thinks so. Introduced by Bracewell Giuliani’s Erin Hennessy, Hornick spoke to INTA registrants yesterday morning about the dramatic consequences he believes the proliferation of 3D printing could have for intellectual property.

  • Programming/Development

    • Google reveals nationalities of students in open source-focused Summer of Code 2016

      Every summer, many students get excited for some well-deserved time off from studies; well, if their region practices such a vacation, that is. In some cultures, school is year-round. While this is unfortunate from the standpoint of socializing and having fun, it arguably keeps the students on track for great success.

      For students that are particularly motivated and education-focused, Google hosts its legendary Summer of Code. This program pairs future developers with open source projects. Not only do these young folks learn, but they get to contribute to the projects as well. Today, the search giant shares the nationalities of the students participating in Summer of Code 2016. For the first time ever, Albania has a representative — woo-hoo! This may surprise you, but the USA is not the most-represented nation. The top country, however, may shock you — or not.

    • Google GSoC, Outreachy Kick Off Their Summer 2016 Coding Projects

      Yesterday marked the official start of the projects for this year’s Google Summer of Code and the summer round of the Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women) projects.

      The Google Open-Source Blog announced the start of GSoC 2016 with this being their 12th year and having around 1,200 students with 178 different open-source organizations participating.

    • Japan Just Made Computer Programming A Compulsory Subject In Its Schools

      With an aim to improve children’s creative and logical thinking, Japan has decided to make programming a compulsory subject in its schools. To start this program from 2020, the Japanese government has constituted panels to decide the programming syllabus and incorporated the matter in its growth strategy agenda.

    • GitLab Container Registry

      Yesterday we released GitLab 8.8, super powering GitLab’s built-in continuous integration. With it, you can build a pipeline in GitLab, visualizing your builds, tests, deploys and any other stage of the life cycle of your software. Today (and already in GitLab 8.8), we’re releasing the next step: GitLab Container Registry.

      GitLab Container Registry is a secure and private registry for Docker images. Built on open source software, GitLab Container Registry isn’t just a standalone registry; it’s completely integrated with GitLab.

    • Moving on From GitHub

      Last year I joined GitHub as Director Of Community. My role has been to champion and manage GitHub’s global, scalable community development initiatives. Friday was my last day as a hubber and I wanted to share a few words about why I have decided to move on.

      My passion has always been about building productive, engaging communities, particularly focused on open source and technology. I have devoted my career to understanding the nuances of this work and which workflow, technical, psychological, and leadership ingredients can deliver the most effective and rewarding results.

      As part of this body of work I wrote The Art of Community, founded the annual Community Leadership Summit, and I have led the development of community at Canonical, XPRIZE, OpenAdvantage, and for a range of organizations as a consultant and advisor.

    • My time with Rails is up

      Last year I made a decision that I won’t be using Rails anymore, nor I will support Rails in gems that I maintain. Furthermore, I will do my best to never have to work with Rails again at work.

      Since I’m involved with many Ruby projects and people have been asking me many times why I don’t like Rails, what kind of problems I have with it and so on, I decided to write this long post to summarize and explain everything.

      This is semi-technical, semi-personal and unfortunately semi-rant. I’m not writing this to bring attention, get visitors or whatever, I have no interest in that at all. I’m writing this because I want to end my discussions about Rails and have a place to refer people to whenever I hear the same kind of questions.

    • An overview of Lean, Agile and DevOps

      The lunch of big corporate IT is being stolen by smaller, nimbler companies. Big IT, with its greater resources, should have crushed the competition. Rather it is playing catch-up. But things are changing. There is a quiet revolution in corporate IT. Big organisations are learning from small companies and are beginning to use it at scale. Goliath is back but acting like David.

Leftovers

  • Time for a new Acronym for Mobile, Digital, Media & Tech: Our New Tech Industry Sectors Are: SCIAM – Social Media, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Analytics, and Mobile

    There are plenty of great acronyms in our industry. For example a recent one is SMAC (Social, Mobilty, Analytics and Cloud) which is a nice way to remember what all are the real hot tech ‘industries’ already viable in tech (compared to emerging promising tech which is not yet established as a viable global (and profitable) industry such as 3D printing, drones, augmented reality, virtual reality, nanotechnology etc. Most of those will probably also grow to be big but they are TRIVIAL in size, compared to say Social Media – haha Facebook alone is bigger than global 3D printing industry plus drones plus AR plus VR plus nanotechnology combined). Recently I have been thinking about this and calculating and doing some deep analysis, and have now started to discuss my thoughts in my private customer seminars. Eventually this will become a public conference item and a chapter in an upcoming book. But right now, I want to just introduce a new acronym for our industry. The problem with SMAC is that it is clearly missing a major component… where is IoT? Where is one of the biggest tech opportunities – definitely already a giant global industry – the Internet of Things? All the stuff about Smart Cities and Connected Cars – thats all part of the IoT slice of the tech future – and that CERTAINLY is of the scale to be included within ‘SMAC’ for example. I have the solution. Easy:

  • The UKIP MEP using Brussels privilege to frustrate a UK court process and an Act of Parliament

    23rd May 2016

    In a High Court judgment handed down last week we have the splendid irony of a UKIP MEP using the privileges of the European Parliament so as to stay a case in the English courts where the court is applying an Act of Parliament.

    The case is one about libel damages and the statutory provision is that which governs “offers to amend” under the Defamation Act 1996.

    One would think that this is exactly the sort of Brussels interference with national legal sovereignty – the court process and the effect of primary legislation – that UKIP would be against.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Federal Government Must Stop Catholic Hospitals From Harming More Women

      Unfortunately, it’s increasingly a common story. A woman who is expecting a baby rushes to the hospital knowing that something is going horribly awry. Her heart rate is elevated, and she is bleeding. Sadly, the pregnancy is doomed. Crying and upset, she realizes she needs an abortion because she knows the pregnancy won’t make it to term. And she knows she is getting sicker.

    • Putin is Taking a Bold Step against Biotech Giant Monsanto

      Russia’s Vladimir Putin is taking a bold step against biotech giant Monsanto and genetically modified seeds at large. In a new address to the Russian Parliament Thursday, Putin proudly outlined his plan to make Russia the world’s ‘leading exporter’ of non-GMO foods that are based on ‘ecologically clean’ production.

    • Monsanto’s 50 Years of Death From Above and Below Is About to End

      For over 20 years, Monsanto has exercised almost dictatorial control over American agriculture. But many people now believe the company is contaminating our food supply and destroying the environment–and public opinion has increasingly turned against the company.

      Now, for the first time in those two decades, the number of acres planted with genetically modified (GMO) crops is down. Efforts to label GMO foods are gaining momentum. Family and community farms are taking off. Nearly 40 countries have banned GMO crops and use of Monsanto’s keystone product, Roundup (glyphosate), may not be re-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, while the European Union has done so on a restricted basis.

    • ‘March Against Monsanto’ Activists Rally in Cities Around the World (Video)

      Hundreds of thousands of anti-GMO activists took the streets in hundreds of cities around the world calling for bans on genetically modified food.

    • Monsanto Threatens Argentina Over Recent Food Inspection Decision

      In yet one more example of how Monsanto will stop at nothing to achieve total domination of the food supply, the major agricultural corporation is now attempting to use its toxic product as leverage against the Argentinian government.

      After a dispute between Monsanto and Argentina regarding the inspection of genetically modified soybeans, Monsanto has now announced that it intends to suspend future soybean technologies in Argentina. Monsanto’s move will leave many Argentine farmers who used the company’s biotech products without the new Xtend technology scheduled to be deployed in Argentina allegedly aimed at increasing soy yields as well as controlling glyphosate-resistant, broad-leaf weeds, another problem created by Monsanto itself. The dispute centered around the fact that Monsanto was demanding that private exporting companies act as inspectors to ensure that agricultural products trademarked to the company (although even this is disputed by farmers) were not being sold. The Argentine government ruled that only the government had the authority to act as a food inspector.

    • NYPD Commissioner Has Some ‘Extremely Dubious’ Claims About Marijuana

      NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said on a local radio show over the weekend that marijuana is responsible for the “vast majority” of New York City’s violence, adding that it makes him “scratch [his] head” as to why states want to legalize marijuana.

      “Interestingly enough here in New York City, most of the violence we see — violence around drug trafficking — is involving marijuana,” Bratton said. “Here in New York the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in the use of heroin now in the city.”

    • [Last month] ‘Karoshi’ cases on rise in Japan

      In a country that has no legal limits on working hours, an increasing number of people are taking their lives or dying from work-related stress

    • When the drugs don’t work

      How to combat the dangerous rise of antibiotic resistance

    • WHO Director Advocates Strong Health Systems, Warns Against Profit-Oriented Mechanisms

      The World Health Assembly opened today with World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan repeating that this year has a record number of agenda items and over 3,000 participants. She slapped at profit-seeking mechanisms leading to “slow-motion disasters,” which put economic interests above concerns about well-being. In particular, she underlined the lack of research and development for antimicrobial treatments and the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases.

    • Health Systems, Collaboration, Research Funding Before Innovation, Speakers Say

      The fight against epidemics cannot only rely on innovation, according to speakers at an event organised by the pharmaceutical industry alongside the annual World Health Assembly’s opening day. Strong health systems, collaboration of all stakeholders, preventive measures, and the ability to fund research are prerequisite to innovation, they said.

      The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) organised an event on the side of the 69th World Health Assembly on 23 May, looking at how global health threats such as the Ebola and Zika viruses prompt innovation.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • What’s the point of (InfoSec) Certifications?

      When I did the GSE, I absolutely loved the hands-on lab more than anything-else I’d done in the world of SANS or GIAC, outside of Mike Poor’s 503 Packet Work book (if you like packets, this is heaven, literally :) ) and the “Capture the Flag” exercises created by Ed Skoudis in 504 and 560. I’ve also had some amazing instructors like Arrigo Triulzi (Arrigo teaching SEC504 actually convinced me that my future was in InfoSec) and Stephen Sims, however, I am questioning more than ever the value of certifications and to a lesser degree the training courses (which are priced to be exclusive to a tiny minority who are already fairly well off or lucky – I often recommend Coursera or the Offensive Security stuff to candidates when cost is a real issue).

    • Linux Kernel Website Kernel.org Banned By Norton

      Symantec’s automated threat analysis system, Norton Safe Web, claims that Linux kernel’s website kernel.org contains 4 threats and shows a red flag to the users. Looking at Norton’s past record, this threat detection could be just another false warning.

    • Oplcarus: An Anonymous Hacker Reveals The Motivation Behind Latest Attacks

      Here is an account of the operation against banks and financial institutes, named “OpIcarus”, by Anonymous. It reveals the purpose of the cyber attacks, their targets, and the future of OpIcarus operation as told by one of the Anonymous hacktivists with an online name of “The Voice” .

    • Systemd Reverts Its Stance On Letting Users Access Frame-Buffer Devices

      Last week’s release of systemd 230 ended up shipping with a change that made it more easy for processes running as a user to snoop on frame-buffer devices. That change has already been reverted for the next systemd update.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn ‘still prepared to call for Tony Blair war crimes investigation’

      Jeremy Corbyn is prepared to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq War, according to reports.

      The Chilcot Inquiry into conflict will be released on 6 July this year after years of analysing evidence about how the Government acted in the run-up to and during the conflict.

      During the Labour leadership election Mr Corbyn said he was convinced the Iraq War was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial.

    • Tony Blair calls for ground forces to fight ‘proper’ war against Isis

      Isis will not be defeated without the deployment of ground forces against them, Tony Blair has said.

      Speaking at an event hosted by Prospect magazine, the mastermind of Britain’s involvement in 2003 invasion of Iraq reiterated his call for greater military involvement in the conflict.

      “If you want to defeat these people, you’re going to have to go and wage a proper ground war against them,” he said.

    • Turkey´s Kurdish peace process: regional implications

      In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish People´s Democratic (HDP) Party won an unprecedented 13 percent of the national vote during Turkey’s General Election on June 7, 2015. For the first time since 2002, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority. Though this trend was reversed in the November election, with the AKP regaining political dominance and exhibiting increasing authoritarian tendencies, Turkey´s political landscape had clearly shifted. The growing influence of Kurds in the country both politically and militarily, for better or worse, means Turkey is holding the key to either fostering peace and stability in the region, or more violence and chaos.

      These political developments in Turkey are influencing the peace negotiations with the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which are currently at a standstill. The Kurdish conflict and recent developments in Turkey are also affected by larger conflict dynamics in the region; even though Kurds’ situation varies from country to country, they are all in the end interconnected. The escalating violence in Syria has displaced millions, resulting in an influx of refugees to Turkey, the region, and particularly to Europe. This has focused international attention on the need for a political solution both in Turkey and in Syria.

    • Dear Grads, Don’t Join the Military

      There are many reasons why it is immoral to place yourself in a position in which you are compelled to kill on command, or to facilitate such killing. But in this letter, I will focus on why, even if you accept the morality of war, you should stay out of military life for the sake of your own personal development and flourishing.

    • Is Scarborough Shoal Worth a War?

      If China begins to reclaim and militarize Scarborough Shoal, says Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III, America must fight.

      Should we back down, says Aquino, the United States will lose “its moral ascendancy, and also the confidence of one of its allies.”

      And what is Scarborough Shoal?

      A cluster of rocks and reefs, 123 miles west of Subic Bay, that sits astride the passageway out of the South China Sea into the Pacific, and is well within Manila’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

      Beijing and Manila both claim Scarborough Shoal. But, in June 2013, Chinese ships swarmed and chased off a fleet of Filipino fishing boats and naval vessels. The Filipinos never came back.

      [...]

      High among them is that the incoming president of the Philippines, starting June 30, is Rodrigo Duterte, no admirer of America, and a populist authoritarian thug who, as Mayor of Davao, presided over the extrajudicial killing of some 1,000 criminals during the 1990s.

      Duterte, who has charged Aquino with treason for abandoning Scarborough Shoal, once offered to set aside his country’s claim in exchange for a Chinese-built railroad, then said he might take a jet ski to the reef to assert Manila’s rights, plant a flag and let himself be executed to become a national hero.

    • Why is the government so close to BAE Systems?

      The British government has a very cosy relationship with the people arming Saudi Arabia.

    • Trajectory of US Policy in Vietnam Offers a Roadmap for the Mideast

      The pivot is an attempt by the United States to contain China by supporting countries in East Asia against its rising power and also to augment U.S. military forces and bases in the region. Yet the pivot has never been fully completed because the United States has been bogged down needless nation-building wars in the greater Middle East for a decade and a half.

      Obama, supposedly the antiwar president, has failed to recognize that Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are unwinnable nation-building quagmires. The war in Afghanistan – of which the assassination of Taliban leader Mansour in Pakistan is a part – has surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. Obama first surged US force levels there and then halted a promised complete withdrawal to continue the fight indefinitely against the Taliban with 11.000 American troops. In Iraq, initially, Obama wisely carried out George W. Bush’s timetable for complete American withdrawal and then decided to send US forces back in to fight ISIS (5,000 troops and increasing), which is largely a threat to the Mideast and Europe. Obama has also sent a limited number of US forces into Syria for the same purpose.

    • What The Gun Industry Thinks Women Want

      Across the exhibit hall with “seven acres of guns and gear” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville this weekend, the gun industry’s attempts to market to women were not hard to spot. Just look for the pink.

    • Will The November US Presidential Election Bring The End Of The World?

      If Hillary becomes US president, the neoconservative threat to Russia will escalate. The Atlanticist Integrationists will be eliminated from the Russian government, and Russia will move to full war standing.

      Remember what an unprepared Russia did to the German Wehrmacht, at that time the most powerful army ever assembled. Imagine what a prepared Russia would do to the crazed Hillary and the incompetent neoconservatives.

    • Hammering for Peace

      As one of the manufacturers with the largest share of the global Unmanned Aerial Systems market, (18.9%), Northrop Grumman profits immensely from peddling complex weapon systems often designed to be eyes in the skies monitoring targets for assassination. This kind of surveillance and extrajudicial execution generates intense anger and backlashes in other lands. It also promotes proliferation of robotic weapons. But the U.S. military and acquiescent institutions encourage us to feel that we’ve been made safer by complex weapons of destruction, and we should instead be frightened of a young woman wielding a sledgehammer to break a plate glass window.

    • US Centcom Commander in Syria to Coordinate Kurds, Arabs against ISIL

      Robert Burns of AP reported on the visit inside Syria of the head of the US Middle East Command (Centcm), Army Gen. Joseph Votel, to assess the progress in US training of the Syrian Democratic Forces division. It is said to comprise 25,000 Kurdish fighters of the leftist YPG or People’s Protection Units along with 5,000 or 6,000 Arab fighters allied with the Kurds against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL).

      A few dozen US troops are on the ground there, training the SDF, but the latter complain that Washington has provided them with no medium or heavy weaponry.

    • Obama in Hanoi: Vietnam Arms Embargo to Be Fully Lifted

      What other nation on earth would signal its intent to “bury the hatchet, and what it believes to be the start of a new relationship, other than the United States, by lifting an arms embargo?

      The United States is rescinding a decades-old ban on sales of lethal military equipment to Vietnam, President Obama announced at a news conference in Hanoi on Monday, ending what the New York Times called “one of the last legal vestiges of the Vietnam War.”

      “The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations,” Obama said. “It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalization with Vietnam.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Elephants continue to suffer in ‘humane’ wildlife sanctuaries

      For 15 years she ferried tourists around Cambodia’s famous landmarks before dropping dead at the side of the road.

      As holiday-goers posed for photos and made their wish of riding an elephant come true, the elderly animal who was thought to be aged 40 to 45, dutifully plodded on.

      But three weeks ago on Apr. 22, as the sweltering summer heat reached 40 degrees Celsius, Sambo suffered a heart attack and died on her way to famed Siem Reap temple Angkor Wat.

    • North Yorkshire council backs first UK fracking tests for five years

      Fracking is set to take place in Britain for the first time in five years after councillors approved tests in North Yorkshire, sweeping aside thousands of objections from residents and campaigners.

    • What’s the True Cost of Fracking? This Eye-Opening Infographic May Surprise You

      Arsenic. Cadmium. Chromium. Radon. Lead. These are just a few of the toxins used in hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, a controversial drilling process to retrieve oil and natural gas from shale deposits under the surface of the Earth.

      Concerns about the process have been mounting, as studies have linked it to a host of environmental and public health problems, from increased infant mortality and low birth weight babies to the release of cancer-causing radioactive gas, contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Fracking also releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    • Brexit campaign leadership dominated by climate-sceptics

      The group’s three leaders Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and figurehead Lord Nigel Lawson have cast doubt over man-made climate change, which is backed by most of the world’s credible experts.

      Lawson founded the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 and is a noted climate sceptic. Both the foundation, which broke UK Charity Commission rules for anti-climate bias, and Vote Leave share rich donors.

    • Programmers Aren’t Writing Green Code Where It’s Most Needed

      Confession? I don’t write green code. I mean, it might be green code just by coincidence, but I’ve never really thought too much about the relative energy consumption demanded by this design pattern or algorithm versus some other. Sadly, this is true even when I’m working with actual hardware and low-level software, such as that written in plain C for embedded devices (in my case, for an Arduino board or other microcontroller platform). What’s more, I don’t think the green code idea has ever come up in my years of computer science classes.

      I’m hardly the exception, according to a paper presented this week at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. In interviews and surveys conducted with 464 software engineers from a range of disciplines—including mobile, data center, embedded, and traditional software development—researchers found that where green coding most matters, its practice is rare.

    • Study: Humans to blame for big water losses in region

      A new study blames human-caused evaporation for water losses in the Colorado River Basin.

      More water is lost across the seven-state basin to evaporation due to human factors such as irrigation during July — about 8.5 million acre-feet — than what flows downriver from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in an average year, says the study, from seven researchers in Southern California, Taiwan and China.

    • GE to Invest $1.4 Billion in Saudi Arabia

      General Electric Co. on Monday announced a raft of investments worth at least $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia as the Persian Gulf kingdom seeks to reduce its oil dependence by further opening up its economy to international businesses.

    • Saudi Arabia asserting writ in region like mafia crime family

      What passes for a government in Saudi Arabia has just threatened that unless things change in Syria they will resort to ‘Plan B’, thus proving that the arrogance and impertinence of this medieval dictatorship knows no bounds.

      Let us be clear: if the religious extremism that has engulfed the Arab world in recent years is a snake, responsible for the most heinous and wanton acts of brutality and barbarity it has ever experienced, the head of this snake lies in Riyadh.

      This is not to argue that Saudi Arabia should be lined up for invasion and occupation – surely we’ve seen enough of such invasions and occupations to know they only make the situation worse rather than better. But it does require that countries such as the US, UK, and France reappraise foreign policies that have long placed an emphasis on maintaining close relations to a government that has done more to destabilize the region with the poison of religious sectarianism than any other.

    • Parts of New Orleans Are Sinking Fast, Study Finds

      New Orleans is sinking fast — with one neighborhood losing as much as an inch per year, a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research found.

      The study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2012 and published last week, used GPS and radar, including one device that captured images from seven miles above ground.

      The most threatened section of the already-below-sea level city is Michoud, a neighborhood that sits between Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Borguen, and is being swallowed up at a rate of half an inch to just over one inch per year, the researchers found.

      Another neighborhood, the Upper 9th Ward, is losing just under half an inch to nearly one inch per year.

    • North Yorkshire fracking vote: Council approves fracking in Ryedale

      The North Yorkshire County Council planning committee voted seven to four in favour of an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton

    • Brazil prepares to roll back green laws

      Taking advantage of Brazil’s present political turbulence, as the battle to impeach President Dilma Rousseff reached its climax, reactionary politicians were quietly rolling back environmental and indigenous protection laws in defiance of the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

      Environmentalists say that if the bill known as PEC (constitutional ammendment project) 65/2012, now at the Senate committee stage, is approved, it means that major infrastructure projects will be able to go ahead regardless of their impacts on biodiversity, indigenous areas, traditional communities and conservation areas.

      Instead of a careful if somewhat slow licensing process which involves scientific assessments including biological, botanical, anthropological and archaeological studies, developers will merely have to present a proposed study of environmental impact to be allowed to begin – without actually having to carry out the study. And once a project is under way it cannot be cancelled or suspended by the environmental protection agencies.

    • Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents

      The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 35 miles from midtown Manhattan. About 18 million people live within 50 miles of the site. The two reactors at the site are over 40 years old – ancient in nuclear years. Recently Indian Point has been plagued by increasing problems; nearly 25% of the bolts in the reactor vessel were found to be damaged or missing and 65,000% spike in tritium levels one of its test wells. These mechanical problems raise the concern of a catastrophic meltdown. Any large release from the red-hot cores or pools of nuclear waste were to occur from human error, mechanical failure, or act of sabotage, would exceed Chernobyl or Fukushima in fatalities.

    • “Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street

      On Sunday, May 15, more than a hundred climate change kayaktivists took to the waters of Padilla Bay in Anacortes, Washington, risking arrest to land on the banks of the Tesoro oil refinery. In the shadow of the refinery smoke stacks, they unfurled banners calling attention to the potentially lethal risks that fossil fuel workers confront each day on the job. “Seven Dead, No More Casualties, Tesoro Explosion April 2, 2010” read one banner focused on Tesoro’s checkered workplace safety record. “Solidarity is Strength, We are all workers,” read another banner. Yet another called for a “Just Transition,” as kayaktivists knelt on the ground, paddles in hand, in what organizers described as a demonstration of respect for the workers killed at the refinery, and for those still working in the refinery. The messaging on the banks of the refinery signaled the central challenge that climate change activists confront in trying to find common ground—if not common cause–with refinery workers.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament to tackle virtual currencies and Blockchain

      This week, the European Parliament will debate (Wednesday) and vote (Thursday) on a report on virtual currencies.

      First of all, this is a report – not legislation. But it will be handed over to the European Commission for consideration.

    • Make Scandinavia one nation, says Norwegian tycoon

      Speaking with Swedish daily Göteborgs Posten, the Norwegian owner of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group was full of praise for his country’s eastern neighbours, hailing their capacity for innovation and suggesting that combining that with Norway’s sense of adventure could be a recipe for success.

      Stordalen went on to suggest that Norway should incorporate not only Sweden but Denmark as well and create one nation out of the three Scandinavian countries.

    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg replacing 4 next-door Palo Alto homes

      Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.

      Zuckerberg bought the homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2013 after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.

      Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties.

      One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal. Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.

    • Fast Food Workers Are Starting To Win The Fight For $15. What About The Battle For Union Rights?

      Ever since fast food workers staged their first strike in 2012, their basic demands have been twofold: an increase of their pay to at least $15 an hour, and the right to form a union.

      They’ve made significant headway on the first demand, helping to secure the passage of a $15 minimum wage in two states and a handful of cities. But now they plan to make good on the second half.

    • Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

      The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

      The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

      However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

    • Uber’s Conscientious Objectors

      One Saturday night after staying out too late in the West Village’s seedy bars, a close friend asked me to share an Uber with her back to Brooklyn.

      A pit developed in my stomach. I couldn’t untangle what exactly about the app made me uncomfortable, but I felt guilty about taking an Uber. There’s the cost, for one thing. The app seems like a luxury in Manhattan, where taxis are plentiful and the subway runs all night. But that wasn’t it. I just had a feeling that Uber, the company, was bad.

    • The New Agenda For Taking On Wall Street

      More than 20 progressive organizations representing millions of voters are putting their weight behind a five-point agenda for the next stage of Wall Street reform. What these groups will formally announce Tuesday, in an event featuring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sets a high but practical standard for what a candidate would have to embrace to be considered a progressive on reining in the financial sector.

      [...]

      It also comes as many in the Wall Street financial community turn to Clinton as the sane alternative to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the general election campaign. These money interests will want Clinton to assure them that her get-tough rhetoric is nothing more than political red meat to assuage an angry populist electorate; their hope is that if the pivot to a centrist posture doesn’t happen in the general election, it will surely happen once she secures the presidency. But broad support for the Take On Wall Street agenda will limit Clinton’s ability to pivot, especially if this agenda helps elect new Senate and House members committed to not allowing Wall Street to keep rigging the economy against the rest of us.

    • Two Decades Later, Democrats Say Giuliani Was Wrong About Rent Limits

      Since 1995, developers in lower Manhattan have relied on a letter written by former Mayor Giuliani to justify receiving tax breaks without rent restrictions. Former lawmakers who wrote and voted for the law say the practice violates the intent and clear meaning of the statute.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Bernie Sanders Will Be a Significant Force at the Democratic Convention

      The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July seems set to continue the fierce nomination battle—and launch a major debate about what the party stands for.

      Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, won the Oregon primary handily on Tuesday and was barely edged out in Kentucky. Last week, he took West Virginia by almost 16 percentage points. Yet, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are already calling for him to stand down.

    • Mob Politics: the Democrats Have a Problem and It’s Not the Sandernistas

      It’s the entire fault of Bernie’s kids, have you heard? A wild mob of them in Nevada went on a rampage during the Nevada Democrat Convention and hurt “Democracy” as we know it.

      To hear the horrific description of events, they nearly killed it dead.

      They wrote nasty social messages to a VIP!

      They did some other bad stuff, unlike anything Hillary Clinton’s robots would do. Voting and delegate stuff, trying to steal the limelight—and perhaps an election.

      They’re as bad as pro athletes going off the handle on Twitter!

      Millennials and other Sanders’ supporters are suddenly the degenerate generation if you hear it told by the Democratic National Committee and the lackluster scribes working for the mainstream media.

      Sounds like a night of cocktails and toadying around got out of hand.

      It is both intriguing and disgusting the way Clintonites and the Madam’s corporate-media backers attack Sanders’ campaign and youthful supporters while repeatedly letting her off the hook for her crookedness, the likes of which we have not seen since the infamous “Robber Barons” came on the American scene after the Civil War.

      Well, crooks love other crooks they say.

      What is wrong with this picture? It’s a sad commentary on where we are—and a “fuck you” in the face of reality.

      Let’s measure this overblown Nevada riot of rudeness in coffee spoons, shall we? Forget Clinton and Bernie for a second, though they are both major shareholders in the madness; let’s consider the way things are and have been for too long.

    • Virginia Republicans Sue To Stop 200,000 Ex-Felons From Voting

      Republican lawmakers in Virginia filed a lawsuit Monday to block the governor from restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 residents with felony convictions. The case now before the Virginia Supreme Court argues that the Gov. Terry McAuliffe exceeded his constitutional power by signing an executive order restoring the full civil rights of all residents who have already served their felony sentences and completed supervised parole or probation. Until April, Virginia had been one of just four U.S. states that permanently disenfranchised most people with felony convictions.

      “The Governor is authorized to restore the voting rights of any convicted felon through an individualized grant of clemency, but he may not issue a blanket restoration of voting rights,” the lawsuit states.

    • Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign

      Early last Fall, I received a surprising circular email from a high union officer and erstwhile leader of SDS, way back in the early 1960s. It contained an urgent appeal: get behind Hillary, because this is an era for defensive struggles. The letter-writer had also been an early and articulate opponent of the US invasion of Vietnam. I puzzled at his conversion to the War Candidate. I winced, some months later, as his union staffers crossed the border from my own Wisconsin to work feverishly in Iowa against….the labor candidate, Bernie Sanders, who lost by a hair (perhaps a hair that did not exist!). And again back in Wisconsin, where the best or worst efforts of his union, joined to the purported idealists of the labor movement, SEIU, failed somehow to keep the state in line for Hillary. They could not carry the working class vote.

    • This is How the Strongman Wins: Donald Trump’s Single Greatest Weapon is America’s Hatred for its Press

      Distrust in the media is at an all-time high, and Trump plans to ride that enmity all the way to the White House.

    • Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade

      The Obama administration wants Americans to believe that it is fiercely anti-corruption. “I have been shocked by the degree to which I find corruption pandemic in the world today,” declared Secretary of State John Kerry at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on May 12. Kerry sounded like the French detective in Casablanca who was “shocked” to discover gambling. Six years ago at the United Nations, President Obama proclaimed that the U.S. government is “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” Maybe he forgot to send Kerry the memo.

    • A Harvard MBA Guy Is Out to Bring Down the Clintons

      In a 9-page letter dated yesterday and posted to his blog, Ortel calls the Clintons’ charity the “largest unprosecuted charity fraud ever attempted,” adding for good measure that the Clinton Foundation is part of an “international charity fraud network whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion, measured from 1997 forward.” Ortel lists 40 potential areas of fraud or wrongdoing that he plans to expose over the coming days.

    • Chris Hedges: Taxpayers Pay for Primaries, but DNC Determines Rules in Order to Steal Votes (Video)

      “It is our job to make the powerful frightened of us,” the Truthdig columnist said in a discussion about the future of the Bernie Sanders movement held at the Left Forum in New York City. “That is what movements do. Movements keep power in check, and as any good anarchist will tell you, power is always the problem, no matter who holds it.”

    • How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

      “Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

      Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

    • NYT: Protesters and Prosecutor Should Be Friends

      The editorial board argued Thompson had stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana cases (marijuana has been decriminalized since 1977), launched a warrant-clearing program (a renaming of a similar program started under his predecessor) and pushed to reverse wrongful convictions (not including his convictions). Speaking to public defenders in Brooklyn, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find any who shared the sentiment that Thompson is anything other than an enforcer for a criminal justice system that still crushes people of color. Dozens of attorneys staged a protest in front of his office (another set of critics the editorial board ignored) to rail against Thompson and his aggressive prosecution of poor New Yorkers.

      The Times editorial board acknowledged that “Mr. Thompson’s critics say he continues to seek unfairly harsh sentences for poor and black defendants, refusing to extend to them the leniency he offered Mr. Liang.” But, they countered, “the facts of every case are different, and need to be considered individually.”

      They’ve obviously never spent much time in Brooklyn criminal court, which still looks and operates like a conveyor belt of punishment with an overwhelming amount of black and brown bodies being loaded onto it. One lawyer told me that her clients get worse plea deal offers under Thompson than they did under the former Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes, whose record Thompson ran against. In fact, she said, Thompson might be the most hard-charging district attorney in the city when it comes to punishing low-level offenders, the majority of whom are poor people of color.

    • Clinton’s ‘Broken Promise’ on California Debate Called ‘Insult’ to Voters

      Bernie Sanders calls it an “insult” to the people of California while many others consider it a promise broken.

      With no apparent upside for her campaign and despite an agreement earlier this year, Hillary Clinton has said she will not participate in a debate with Sanders in California ahead of that state’s crucial primary next month.

      “We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said in a statement.

    • Twilight of the Grifter: Bill Clinton’s Fading Powers

      In the warm twilight of a spring evening 15 years ago, in the quiet, green garden of Rhodes House at Oxford, I watched Bill Clinton give an impromptu talk to a group of graduate students who had gathered around him with their glasses of wine after an official function earlier in the day. (I was there in a service capacity.) He was pushing the same line he espoused last week while campaigning for Hillary, when he declared that he had “killed himself” to get a state for the Palestinians at the high-stakes Camp David summit in 2000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Social media is a powerful tool in conflicts, warns Ahtisaari [iophk: "Is he hinting at Chinese-style government astroturfing?"]

      Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari has expressed his concerns about the role of social media in the distortion of history.

      Ahtisaari reminded in his address in a conference organised by Historians without Borders that the abuse or deliberate misinterpretation of history is not exclusively a feature of the past but continues today especially on social media platforms.

    • Fox In The Henhouse: Uses Someone Else’s YouTube Clip In Family Guy, Then Takes Down The Original

      At the recent Copyright Office roundtable on the DMCA, a representative from Fox was adamant about pushing for stronger punishment for sites that hosted infringing content. But she also made sure to respond to a point raised earlier about abusive takedowns. Someone had pointed out that in 2013, Fox had issued a bogus DMCA notice that took down a copy of Cory Doctorow’s excellent book Homeland, because its robotic censors couldn’t distinguish Cory’s novel from its TV show of the same name. Before launching into her speech pushing for expanding copyright laws to provide more power for censorship, she wanted to “explain” what happened with Cory’s book, and said that it happened because Doctorow’s book “was on torrent sites” — as if this made it okay. That leaves out the kind of important fact that Doctorow released the book under a Creative Commons license that allowed it to be shared anywhere, including torrent sites.

      [...]

      Yes, of course, after TorrentFreak posted about this late last week and the news started to spread, the takedown was lifted — either by Fox or by YouTube itself — but it again highlights the problems with these demands for automated filtering or notice-and-staydown systems. They don’t work very well in many, many situations. And they create complications like this one — and not everyone will get a site with a large following to write a story about it, getting enough attention to get the situation fixed. So many people on the copyright legacy side of things keep insisting that it’s “easy” to just take down actually infringing stuff. Yet, time and time again, that’s been shown to be wrong. There are lots of mistakes, and when you’re talking about expression, we shouldn’t tolerate systems that allow someone to automatically censor speech.

    • How Journalists Are Fighting Censorship in Ecuador

      Together the group created an app to give a voice back to the people in the face of laws that aim to eliminate freedom of speech opportunities. MashiMachine is a web and mobile app that allows citizens to share to put the words they’d like to hear into Correa’s mouth.

    • Draft Law Orders Google to Remove Pirate Site Unblocking Advice

      A draft bill just published by the Russian government foresees a future in which search engines more aggressively censor search results to protect copyright. Companies such as Google will be given just three days to remove links to proxy and mirroring services and also those that facilitate access to any site providing blockade circumvention tutorials.

    • Self-Proclaimed ‘Badass Lawyer’ Loses Defamation Suit Against Parody Twitter Account

      Another defamation lawsuit against a parody account has failed, brought on by a lawyer who should have known better but didn’t. Todd Levitt — self-proclaimed “Badass Lawyer” — has a verifiable history of bad decisions that perhaps made this sort of bogus litigation a foregone conclusion, however.

      Levitt tried to fire up his own reality show, which would have presumably covered such lawyeriffic behavior as singing karaoke with college students, inviting comparisons to TV’s sleaziest lawyer (Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad), creating a Top College Lawyers website solely for the purpose of awarding himself the title of “Top College Lawyer,” and somehow mistaking alleged defamation for a criminal offense.

    • Apple backpedals on politically charged Palestinian game
    • Apple backtracks over game set in Gaza