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Links 18/7/2016: Vista 10 a Failure, FreeType 2.7

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft’s Windows RT security patch also stops you from loading Linux

    It was big news when Microsoft announced it was working on a version of Windows that would run on tablets with ARM-based processors… but by the time Windows RT actually launched it was a lot less exciting. Devices like the Microsoft Surface and Surface 2 couldn’t run desktop Windows apps and weren’t significantly cheaper than Intel Atom-powered tablets running the full version of Windows, and they didn’t even get better battery life.

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft blocks Linux installations

      Microsoft has closed a backdoor left open in Windows RT even though the OS is pretty much dead in the water as Vole can’t be bothered with it any more.

      This vulnerability in ARM-powered locked down Windows devices was left by Redmond programmers during the development process. Exploiting this flaw, a hacker could boot operating systems of his/her choice, including Android or GNU/Linux.

    • “Windows 10 Is A Failure” — According To Microsoft’s Own Metric [Ed: in spite of very dirty if not illegal tricks]

      Microsoft has accepted that Windows 10 has failed to perform as expected. The software giant hoped that by mid-2018, Windows 10 will be running on 1 billion devices. Now, this number seems far-fetched due the constantly shrinking PC market and poor performance of Windows 10 Mobile.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Working On Libweston-Desktop

        Wayland developers continue working on Libweston, which is aiming to make more of the Weston reference compositor reusable by other Wayland compositors. This library offers much of the boilerplate code around the Wayland protocols to allow more sharing by compositors and making it more straight-forward to get things up and running. The latest component is Libweston-desktop.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Herding Cats, or Managing Complexity

        Determined to find a rational web based development environment, something stable, that works, has support and is flexible enough to deal with future demands, as well has minimal html involved, I ended up using Angular 2 on a Meteor base.

      • Gsoc 2016 Neverland #7

        When I was working with Mediawiki, I realized its source code isnt good.

      • #29: GSoC with KDE Now – 7
      • The KApiDox poll results (at last!)
      • About my GSoC project

        My mentor gave me a task (it was one of the first ones) to refactor QMap structure, which was holding archive entries metadata, into an Archive::Entry class, which would use QProperty system. Such refactoring would bring more extensibility and allow to pass and manipulate data in more convenient ways. And of course QProperty is a big step forward for possible future using QtQuick and other nice modern Qt stuff. Today I’m finished with it. That was a huge amount of work in order to complete that task. It was not hard itself, but rather routine, because this structure was used by large part of code. Though after that I faced a tough challenge to fix all the bugs I’ve done with that refactoring. Now I’m happy I can proceed to other important things.

      • Accelerating Vector Tile Creation

        Late summer brings a couple of interesting dates for the Marble community: On the Desktop we’ll release Marble 2.0 and around the same time our Android app Marble Maps will have its first stable release. Later on in September it’s time to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Marble project!

        The common theme to the upcoming release is the introduction of the Vector OSM map: A beautifully styled map based on data from the OpenStreetMap project that spans the entire world from globe to street zoom level. In order to make this possible we’re working very hard behind the scenes to optimize both the tile data and the rendering in Marble to give you a smooth experience.

      • 17th FISL, KDE Brazil and cake!

        In this last week happened in a cold city called Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, the 17 edition of FISL, the Free Software International Forum.

        Well… KDE has always participated in this forum, and the organization gave to us all day in a room, so the KDE Community could make a lot of talks.

      • KDEPIM ready to be more broadly tested

        As was posted a couple of weeks ago, the latest version of KDE has been uploaded to unstable.

        All packages are now uploaded and built and we believe this version is ready to be more broadly tested.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GSoC 2016: The adventure begins

        Hello! I am Razvan, a technology & open-source enthusiast and I am working on what is probably the most interesting project for me so far, Nautilus. So far, this has been the highlight of my experience – lots of interesting things learned while coding and a great interaction with the community. This is mainly thanks to Carlos, captain of Nautilus, who always finds the time to help me and other contributors whenever we get stuck. On top of this, the funny chats with him and people from the GNOME community make contributing so much more enjoyable! Up until now I’ve been titled King of the Trash™, I’ve learned about some file system magic from Christian Hergert, and I’ve also been threatened by a katana-wielding GNOME samurai. Awesome, right?

      • Extraction support in Nautilus

        As a result, the output will always have the name of the source archive, making it easy to find after an extraction. Also, the maximum number of conflicts an extraction can have is just one, the output itself. Hurray, no more need to go through a thousand dialogs!

      • Improved File Extraction Coming To GNOME’s Nautilus

        As part of Google Summer of Code, improved extraction support for compressed files is being worked on for the Nautilus file manager.

      • Builder Happenings

        Over the last couple of weeks I’ve started implementing Run support for Builder. This is somewhat tricky business since we care about complicated manners. Everything from autotools support to profiler/debugger integration to flatpak and jhbuild runtime support. Each of these complicates and contorts the problem in various directions.

        Discovering the “target binary” in your project via autotools is no easy task. We have a few clever tricks but more are needed. One thing we don’t support yet is discovering bin_SCRIPTS. So launching targets like python or gjs applications is not ready yet. Once we discover .desktop files that should start working. Pretty much any other build system would be easier to implement this.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 3.0

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Linux Lite 3.0 is a lightweight distribution with the Xfce 4.12 desktop. In addition to being lightweight, it is also aimed at providing a familiar user experience for users transitioning from Microsoft Windows. In the wide array of Ubuntu derived distributions, Linux Lite has a lot of competition, so what sets Linux Lite apart from the other options? I downloaded the 955MB 64-bit install media to find out and below I share my experience with this very nice, polished distribution.

        Booting and installing the distribution is a very familiar experience for anyone who has used Ubuntu or any distribution based on Ubuntu. The standard Ubiquity installer walks the user through the install experience providing guidance and making the experience pretty straight forward. In this regard, Linux Lite 3.0 is almost identical to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

        Because Linux Lite 3.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it features version 4.4 of the Linux kernel and supports a wide variety of hardware out of the box using open source drivers. If the user needs proprietary drivers, all the drivers that are available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS can be installed. Unfortunately users who need to use the proprietary ATI Catalyst drivers will run into problems because Linux Lite 3.0, just like Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, does not support the Catalyst drivers. One other hardware related issue to note is that the Linux Lite documentation recommends switching the computer’s BIOS to Legacy mode instead of using UEFI mode and Secure Boot. The documentation states that “Linux Lite does not support or advocate the use of Secure Boot” and it notes that the distribution can be made to work with UEFI booting, but “The solution requires intermediate knowledge of Linux” and provides a link to a YouTube video which provides instructions.

    • New Releases

      • Solus 1.2.1 Releases Tomorrow

        We’re really excited to be releasing our last “traditional” release, Solus 1.2.1, tomorrow. We opted to delay by a day just to ensure we don’t push ourselves too hard after the recent Hackfest, as well as being able to take the time to do additional QA.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 7 – Daily papercut fixes

        That’s all for today. A bunch of small, innocent and possibly personal fixes that you might not like and appreciate, but they should come useful if you decide to embark on a serious day-to-day mission of using and taming CentOS. And not because it’s bad and needs extra effort compared to the Ubuntus and Mints and Fedoras of this world. Because it stays put once tweaked, in a loving, predictable fashion. Something that compels me to keep on trying despite an occasional hiccup here and there. What’s the word I’m looking for? Right. No regressions! That’s that one! Fix once and forget about it – not dread what will happen in six months. Jolly good. These fine little tips and tricks just make the whole thing even more pleasurable.

        I will expand this list as I continue exploring the CentOS 7 desktops more and more. We also have the Xfce adventure ahead of us. Truth to be told, I have never been so excited about CentOS before. Something had always been amiss. When I had modern hardware, CentOS 6 was approaching its zenith. Then CentOS 7 came about, but my laptops became outdated, and the newest box refused to boot this distro. Until now.

        With the right combo of modern – on both the hardware and software side, I can finally give CentOS its full attention. And this means more games, more tweaking, and far more detail than almost any other distro attempt. It has taken the bulk of my Linux time, and I am really enjoying the experience. So you should expect more articles, more guides. One day, we might actually nail the perfect distro formula for all eternity. Stay sweet.

      • Red Hat adds SDN support to latest cloud management platform

        Red Hat, Inc. has announced the general availability of Red Hat CloudForms 4.1, the latest version of its open hybrid cloud management solution. With support for Google Cloud Platform, Red Hat CloudForms 4.1 now supports greater choice and flexibility for customers who want to run hybrid cloud workloads on Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • New guidelines for Fedora Ambassadors and Design

          This week, some Ambassadors, CommOps, and Design Team members collaborated on improving and redefining the guidelines for how to request artwork and other art assets. As the advocates and representatives of Fedora across the globe, the Ambassadors often need many tools and resources for demonstrating Fedora. Examples of this might be fliers, banners, tablecloths, stickers, badges, and more. Until recently, the process for requesting artwork assets was not well-defined and somewhat unclear. This can cause problems when Ambassadors need something designed for an event. Sometimes it can draw out the request or end up in an accident, such as purple DVD media covers!

        • GSoC 2016 Weekly Rundown: Documentation and upgrades

          This week and the last were busy, but I’ve made some more progress towards creating the last, idempotent product for managing WordPress installations in Fedora’s Infrastructure for GSoC 2016. The past two weeks had me mostly working on writing the standard operating procedure / documentation for my final product as well as diving more into handling upgrades with WordPress. My primary playbook for installing WordPress is mostly complete, pending one last annoyance.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Hardware

    • ARM grabbed for £24.3bn by Japan’s SoftBank

      British microprocessor designer ARM, an icon of the UK’s technology sector, has agreed a £24.3bn cash sale to Japan’s acquisitive SoftBank Group in a surprise deal announced this morning in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

      The purchase by SoftBank will be one of the biggest-ever M&A deals in tech – and certainly the biggest in the UK. The agreed takeover may spark a bidding war for ARM, whose technology has become the de facto standard for mobile microprocessors, while the company represents the main competition for chip giant Intel.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Washington Is Politicizing The Olympics Again

      Washington and its Canadian vassal are trying to use a Western media-created Russian athletic doping scandal to ban Russian participation in the Olympic games in Brazil. Washington and Canada are pressuring other countries to get on board with Washington’s vendetta against Russia. The vendetta is conducted under the cover of “protecting clean athletics.”

      You can bet your life that Washington is not motivated by a respect for fairness in sports. Washington is busy at home destroying fairness to the poor, and Washington, which disregards the sovereignty of countries and international law against naked aggression, is busy abroad destroying millions of lives for hegemonic purposes.

    • Your Hands in the Soil: Tending the Garden of a Nation

      Serious gardening is meditation. It is a long pause in the cupped hand of life itself. There is a good deal of work involved in creating something from nothing, in taking a blank space and painting it green and red. I put my hands in the dirt and smell the soil between my knuckles, I feel the sun on my neck, I shoo away the early summer flies and plant at pace, seed here and seedling there. I watch the weather like a meteorologist to know when to water and when to let it ride because a soft rain beats the sprinkler any day. I watch the leaves for signs of yellow. I watch for buds and flowers. All the while, I am outside in an ocean of green and blue with hummingbirds and hawks and dragonflies, and I am also inside myself, diving deep as I perform the rote duty of tying a stalk to a stake.

    • Industry Report Tracks Innovation’s Value To AIDS Treatment In Developing Countries

      A new report launched in time for this week’s AIDS conference in South Africa analyzes factors relating to access to HIV/AIDS treatments over the past 15 years. The analysis includes a look at government policies used during that time, the contribution of generic and research-based industries, and the importance of voluntary licensing.

    • Public Health Takes a Hit Even as Uruguay Prevails in Infamous Philip Morris Investor-State Attack

      Thankfully, a years-long campaign to shame Philip Morris and the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system for the tobacco giant’s infamous ISDS attack on Uruguay ultimately prevailed, but not without leaving deep and damaging scars to global tobacco-control efforts. An ISDS tribunal ruled that Uruguay did not have to compensate Philip Morris after the firm attacked Uruguay’s public health law requiring that 80 percent of tobacco product packages feature graphic medical warning labels.

      But what happens when a government “wins” an ISDS attack should be a cautionary tale for the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP). If enacted, the TPP would double U.S. ISDS liability overnight.

  • Security

    • The sad state of Linux download security

      Installation images for many of the most popular Linux distributions are difficult or impossible to obtain securely via download.

    • Why we use the Linux kernel’s TCP stack

      Let’s start with a broader question – what is the point of running an operating system at all? If you planned on running a single application, having to use a kernel consisting of multiple million lines of code may sound like a burden.

      But in fact most of us decide to run some kind of OS and we do that for two reasons. Firstly, the OS layer adds hardware independence and easy to use APIs. With these we can focus on writing the code for any machine – not only the specialized hardware we have at the moment. Secondly, the OS adds a time sharing layer. This allows us to run more than one application at a time. Whether it’s a second HTTP server or just a bash session, this ability to share resources between multiple processes is critical. All of the resources exposed by the kernel can be shared between multiple processes!


      Having said that, at CloudFlare we do use kernel bypass. We are in the second group – we care about performance. More specifically we suffer from IRQ storms. The Linux networking stack has a limit on how many packets per second it can handle. When the limit is reached all CPUs become busy just receiving packets. In that case either the packets are dropped or the applications are starved of CPU. While we don’t have to deal with IRQ storms during our normal operation, this does happen when we are the target of an L3 (layer 3 OSI) DDoS attack. This is a type of attack where the target is flooded with arbitrary packets not belonging to valid connections – typically spoofed packets.

    • Ubuntu user forums hack leaks millions of user details [Ed: Canonical continued using proprietary software that had already been breached, now gives GNU/Linux a bad name again. Many journalists out there cannot tell the difference between operating system and forums software, never mind proprietary and Free software. How many so-called "technology" journalists still say "commercial" software instead of proprietary software, as if FOSS is non-commercial?]

      Attacker took advantage of unpatched software.

      Canonical, the parent company of popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, has disclosed that its user web forums have suffered a major data breach.

      Over the weekend, Canonical said that it had come across claims that a third party had a copy of the Ubuntu Forums database.

      The company was able to verify that a breach had taken place, with a database containing details of two million Ubuntu Forums users being leaked.

    • As Open Source Code Spreads, So Do Components with Security Flaws[Ef: Catalin Cimpanu's headline would have us believe that proprietary software has no "Security Flaws", only FOSS]

      The company that provides hosting services for the Maven Central Repository says that one in sixteen downloads is for a Java component that contains a known security flaw.

    • OpenSSH has user enumeration bug

      A bug in OpenSSH allows an attacker to check whether user names are valid on a ‘net-facing server – because the Blowfish algorithm runs faster than SHA256/SHA512.

      The bug hasn’t been fixed yet, but in his post to Full Disclosure, Verint developer Eddie Harari says OpenSSH developer Darren Tucker knows about the issue and is working to address it.

      If you send a user ID to an OpenSSH server with a long (but wrong) password – 10 kilobytes is what Harari mentions in his post – then the server will respond quickly for fake users, but slower for real users.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • You, Too, Armenia?

      Come on, give us a break, will you? Most of us are still digging out of news on France’s latest terror attack, the 28-pages released on Friday, and Turkey’s so-called coup. Couldn’t you wait until later this coming week?

      Apparently not.

      Reliable reports are even more scarce than for Turkey as Armenia is even more aggressive in its monitoring and policing of social media. What reports have emerged indicate an organized, armed hostage-taking event demanding the release of a political prisoner rather than a coup.

    • Military Regimes Shouldn’t Be Recognized

      The military upheaval in Turkey, whose final consequences are yet to be seen, highlights a major weakness in worldwide efforts to promote democracy. This event underscores the need to establish binding international legal principles to ban the recognition of military regimes as a result of coups d’état. Establishment of such principles, and the creation of the legal mechanisms for applying them, would foster democracy throughout the world.

      The circumstances in Turkey mimic several similar situations in recent history: the coming to power of governments without support from the military. Once confronted with a threat to their political hegemony, the military either overthrow the civilian government or refuses to surrender power to democratically elected civilians.

      Overt recognition by Western democracies or implied recognition through ambivalent signs of disapproval have encouraged military officers to overthrow many constitutional governments freely chosen by the people. The military relinquish power only when forced by popular will, or when its own incapacity to govern has made its position untenable.

    • Turkey coup arrests hit 6,000 as Erdogan roots out ‘virus’

      Turkey has arrested 6,000 people after a failed coup, with President Erdogan vowing to purge state bodies of the “virus” that caused the revolt.

      Mr Erdogan’s top military aide Col Ali Yazici is among those now in custody.

      The overall death toll for the weekend violence has risen to 290, the foreign ministry said. More than 100 of those were participating in the coup.

    • Fears for Turkey’s Democracy Build as Post-Coup Crackdown Continues

      The fallout from the failed military coup in Turkey extended through the weekend, as the number of people arrested rose to about 6,000 and world leaders continued urging restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said the plotters would pay a “heavy price.”

      Erdoğan on Sunday vowed to “clean all state institutions of the virus” of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish president blamed for the uprising. He said members of the “Gülen group” have “ruined” the country’s military and are being taken into custody throughout all ranks.

      “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” Erdoğan said.

      Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, has denied involvement in the revolt, which began late Friday night and was quashed by citizens responding to Erdoğan’s call to action.

    • Turkey’s Attempted Coup

      Turkey’s democracy is dead. It was dying anyway, as President Recep Tayyib Erdogan took over media outlets, arrested political opponents and journalists, and even re-started a war with the Kurds last autumn in order to win an election. But once part of the army launched a coup attempt on Friday night, it was dead no matter which way the crisis ended.

    • 6 Police Officers Shot, At Least 3 Dead in Baton Rouge Ambush

      Six police officers were shot and three are dead after a shoot-out took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sunday morning.

      The attack was said to be an ambush, after police reportedly received a call of a “suspicious person walking down Airline Highway with an assault rifle,” according to a CNN source. When police arrived, the man, reportedly clad in black and wearing a face mask, opened fire on them.
      Six law enforcement officers were shot—three are dead and three others are injured, Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola told CNN.
      The suspect, who was killed at the scene, has been identified by police as Gavin Eugene Long.

    • Police Officers Reportedly Shot in Baton Rouge

      Three police officers have been confirmed killed and at least three others were injured in a shooting Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to the sheriff’s office.

    • Two Baton Rouge police officers killed in shooting Sunday, mayor’s office confirms

      At least one police officer has been shot in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning, and there’s an active shooter situation in the area of Airline and Old Hammond highways, Baton Rouge police confirm.

    • Three Police Officers Dead in Baton Rouge Shooting

      Six police officers have been shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and three are dead, according to local news reports citing police sources.

      At a Sunday afternoon press conference following the shooting, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said that “there is no active shooter scenario going on in Baton Rouge. We believe that the person that shot and killed our officers was shot and killed at the scene.”

    • Nuclear weapons have almost been launched accidentally 13 times – it’s time to stop believing in the fantasy that Trident keeps us safe

      It is my firm view, based on the best available evidence, that renewing Trident will not only fail to improve Britain’s security, but in fact poses significant dangers to us. These weapons of mass destruction have the potential to cause death on an unimaginable scale, and they do nothing to hinder the real threat of lone gunmen or extremists. Their very presence here – and the transport of nuclear warheads on our roads – is not only a target for terrorism but a continued risk of accidents linked to human error or technical failure. A recent report from Chatham House confirms this threat, listing 13 occasions from across the world when nuclear weapons were nearly launched accidentally. These weapons present a huge risk – and there’s no evidence to suggest they keep us any safer.

      If we’re serious about ridding the world of nuclear weapons and fulfilling our obligations under the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, then genuine disarmament is non-negotiable. Keeping these weapons sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that security is dependent on being able to use weapons of mass destruction, and thus drives proliferation.

      The UN is currently working on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Britain can play a part in ridding the world of these weapons, but not if we refuse to lay down our own nuclear arms.

    • Cleveland Police Ask For Emergency Suspension Of Open Carry Laws During Republican Convention

      The request will put Governor Kasich in an awkward position. In general Republicans argue that open-carry laws are an important party of the right to bear arms and improve public safety. The research does not support this argument.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan Expands Post-Coup Crackdown To Target Judges, Key Military Leader

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is further enforcing his reputation as a shrewd political operator in the aftermath of Friday’s attempted coup, arresting some 6,000 people, including a prominent military official, connected to Friday’s events.

      General Bekir Ercan Van — the commander of the Incirlik Air Base — was just one of thousands of soldiers and members of the judiciary to be arrested. Erdogan said the coup was “a gift from God…because this will help us claim our military from these members of this gang.”

      Analysts say Erdogan is using the coup to dispose of his known opponents in government. Erdogan and his moderate Islamist party AKP was once widely hailed as a reformist leader who helped ease tensions with Kurdish separatist groups and played a positive role in regional events. But after around a decade in power, Erdogan began attempts to consolidate his power and advance his own political values and influence in Turkey. Friday’s attempted coup will likely further embolden Erdogan to crack down on his opponents in government and beyond.

    • MH-17: Two Years of Anti-Russian Propaganda

      Two years ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky over eastern Ukraine killing 298 people and opening an inviting path for a propaganda campaign toward a new Cold War with Russia, writes Robert Parry.

    • MH-17: Russia Convicted By Propaganda, Not Evidence
    • Here’s Why Activists Don’t Buy Hillary Clinton’s Justification for the Honduras Coup

      In April 2016, Hillary Clinton was asked about her role in Honduras’ 2009 coup by Democracy Now’s Juan González. The coup, which took place while Clinton was Secretary of State, ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and plunged the country into chaos. Today, Honduras is one of the most violent countries on earth, particularly for activists. On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a Honduran indigenous Lenca and a leading human rights activist and environmentalist, was assassinated in Honduras. Shortly before her death she singled out Clinton for criticism, holding her accountable for legitimizing the country’s current political situation.

    • Trump Campaign Weighs In On Open Carry At The Republican Convention

      Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governor to suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

      “I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who have permits can openly carry guns in public.

    • 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

      First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun – THEY ARE LYING.

      Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA – a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

      When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality – he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

      When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies – under oath – that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

    • The Saudis Did 9/11

      News reports about the recently released 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks are typically dismissive: this is nothing new, it’s just circumstantial evidence, and there’s no “smoking gun.” Yet given what the report actually says – and these news accounts are remarkably sparse when it comes to verbatim quotes – it’s hard to fathom what would constitute a smoking gun.

      To begin with, let’s start with what’s not in these pages: there are numerous redactions. And they are rather odd. When one expects to read the words “CIA” or “FBI,” instead we get a blacked-out word. Entire paragraphs are redacted – often at crucial points. So it’s reasonable to assume that, if there is a smoking gun, it’s contained in the portions we’re not allowed to see. Presumably the members of Congress with access to the document prior to its release who have been telling us that it changes their entire conception of the 9/11 attacks – and our relationship with the Saudis – read the unredacted version. Which points to the conclusion that the omissions left out crucial information – perhaps including the vaunted smoking gun.

    • The Trojan Drone

      Think of it as the Trojan Drone, the ultimate techno-weapon of American warfare in these years, a single remotely operated plane sent to take out a single key figure. It’s a shiny video game for grown ups — a Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty where the animated enemies bleed real blood. Just like the giant wooden horse the Greeks convinced the Trojans to bring inside their gates, however, the drone carries something deadly in its belly: a new and illegal military strategy disguised as an impressive piece of technology.

      The technical advances embodied in drone technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military strategy. However it is achieved — whether through conventional air strikes, cruise missiles fired from ships, or by drone — the United States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil. Successive administrations have implemented this momentous change with little public discussion. And most of the discussion we’ve had has focused more on the new instrument (drone technology) than on its purpose (assassination). It’s a case of the means justifying the end. The drones work so well that it must be all right to kill people with them.

    • Scores of educators held for inciting terrorism in Bangladesh

      Bangladeshi police have discovered that dozens of university professors and high school teachers have been inciting their students to engage in Islamic terrorism.

      One English teacher is quoted by a school caretaker as saying that ““Muslims are being persecuted around the world, so let us attack non-Muslims”.

    • Erdogan Had It Coming: But the Turkish Coup Failed

      Recep Tayyip Erdogan had it coming. The Turkish army was never going to remain compliant while the man who would recreate the Ottoman Empire turned his neighbours into enemies and his country into a mockery of itself. But it would be a grave mistake to assume two things: that the putting down of a military coup is a momentary matter after which the Turkish army will remain obedient to its sultan; and to regard at least 161 deaths and more than 2,839 detained in isolation from the collapse of the nation-states of the Middle East.

      For the weekend’s events in Istanbul and Ankara are intimately related to the breakdown of frontiers and state-belief – the assumption that Middle East nations have permanent institutions and borders – that has inflicted such wounds across Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world. Instability is now as contagious as corruption in the region, especially among its potentates and dictators, a class of autocrat of which Erdogan has been a member ever since he changed the constitution for his own benefit and restarted his wicked conflict with the Kurds.

    • Hello and Goodbye Turkey

      And then we got word of the military coup d’état that was launched while she was airborne that rocked Turkey and the world. Had our kid had a slightly later connection, she would have been out of luck because Ataturk Airport was shut down for about the next 24 hours. She would have to sleep there and then be jostled by thousands of anxious passengers all trying to get the hell out at the same time. Thankfully, that was not to be, and with our personal concerns out of the way, my Turkish wife and I stayed glued to all channels trying to understand what in Allah’s name was going on in the fatherland.

    • Russia, America, it’s time to talk face-to-face

      During the late 1980s, superpower leaders demagnitised international confrontation by speaking directly to the other side. Why shouldn’t we do this again?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Op-ed: TransCanada lawsuit highlights need to scuttle TPP

      The Obama administration is still trying, against the odds, to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) through the lame-duck session of Congress after the November presidential vote. The administration knows that TPP can’t pass before the election because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose it; therefore, they are hoping for a stealth Senate vote between the election and inauguration of the new president in 2017. We can therefore “thank” TransCanada for reminding us why the TPP needs to be scuttled.

    • Yes on 1 for the Sun: The Florida Anti-Solar Ballot Initiative from Utilities

      Last week, the Florida utility-backed anti-solar initiative officially launched their campaign to block solar leasing in the sunshine state with the confusing name, “Yes on 1 for the sun.” The utility-backed group running the initiative campaign, called the “Consumers for Smart Solar” has been funded by nearly $7 million in contributions from the investor-owned utilities and fossil fuel front groups to date.

      Energy & Policy Institute previously revealed that Consumers for Smart Solar is funded by utilities and front groups seeking to prevent changes to state law that would open the solar market in Florida and specifically allow third party solar leases. Third party solar accounted for 72 precent of residential solar installed across the country in 2014.

  • Finance

    • Popular Uprising Backs Striking Teachers in Southern Mexico

      In Chiapas, Mexico, what started as a fight for teachers union power has exploded into a popular movement against the privatization of public education and the entire public sector.

      Fifty thousand teachers, students, parents, and small-business owners marched at sunset July 11 through the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city of Chiapas—in just one of at least 10 protests across five states.

      Meanwhile an hour east, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, parents, students, social justice organizations, and members of civil society were gathering for the 15th night of their highway blockade.

    • This year’s GOP platform pushes federal land transfers

      The Republican Party is drafting its 2016 platform, which represents a hard swerve to the right on social issues. But other parts of its stance have long been consistent – most notably, its push for transferring federal lands to state control.


      “Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership… The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.”

    • India ‘gold man’ battered to death

      An Indian man who bought one of the world’s most expensive shirts made entirely of gold has been allegedly battered to death, police said.

      Datta Phuge shot into the global limelight in 2013 when he bought a shirt made with more than 3kg of gold and worth $250,000 (£186,943).

      A money lender based in western Pune, Mr Phuge was called “the gold man”.

      Four persons have been detained for questioning. Police suspect a dispute over money led to the murder.

    • With Wall Street Fees in Danger, Bloomberg Tries to Make Mom and Pop Afraid

      Bloomberg News is really pushing the frontiers in journalism. In order to give readers a balanced account (7/14/16) of a proposal by Rep. Peter DeFazio to impose a 0.03 percent tax on financial transactions (that’s 3 cents on every hundred dollars), it went to the spokesperson for the Investment Company Institute, the chief investment officer from Vanguard and an academic with extensive ties to the financial industry. It also presented an assertion about the savings from electronic trading from Markit Ltd. Based on this diverse range of sources, Bloomberg ran the headline:

      Democrats Assail Wall Street With Plan That May Hit Mom and Pop

      If Bloomberg were interested in views other than those of the financial industry, it might have found some people who supported the tax to provide comments for the article. Or it might have tried some basic arithmetic itself.

      Most research finds that trading is price elastic, meaning that the percentage change in trading in response to a tax is larger than the percentage increase in trading costs that result from the tax. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center assumed an elasticity of -1.25 in its analysis of financial transactions taxes.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trustworthy Hillary

      Hillary Clinton’s 6-point lead over Donald Trump in last month’s CBS News poll has now evaporated.

    • A Prime Day to Celebrate the Boss’s Business

      That was the lead on a news story in the Washington Post (7/13/16)—owned, of course, by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

      And the story discloses that parenthetically: “(Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns the Washington Post.)” But there seems to be some confusion: While welcome, disclosure is not an inoculation. We still look askance at a news story with lines like, “That the sale drew such strong spending from shoppers for a second year suggests that Amazon is making inroads establishing this as an appointment summer shopping event.”

    • ‘We Can Stand Together’: Protesters Prep for Cleveland as RNC Nears

      Cleveland, Ohio is preparing for what many expect to be a volatile Republican National Convention (RNC) on Monday, as protesters and supporters converge on the city and controversy around presumptive nominee Donald Trump and his divisive running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, continues to build.

      About 50,000 people are expected to take part in protests and rallies for the four days of the convention, from July 18-21. The Guardian reports that thousands of police officers, secret service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents “swarmed the downtown area throughout the weekend.”

      As Common Dreams reported last week, officials are readying extra jail space and keeping courts open late “in case protesters are arrested en masse.”

      Activists are rallying against Trump’s caustic rhetoric, now signature to his speeches, as well as the issues of police brutality and racism—particularly significant in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by officers in November 2014.

    • Does the Trumpence Nightmare Coalition Have a Chance? Yeah, Because It’s 2016 and Chaos Reigns

      So here we are, at a major pivot point in the unfolding narrative of America’s Stupidest Election Ever. (Admittedly I haven’t gone back and taken a hard look at “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”) Our two major political parties head into their conventions with two deeply flawed and widely disliked candidates, who despite their divergent styles and opposed positions come from the same elite caste in American life, and have known each other for years. There has been yet another presumed or probable terrorist attack in France, a gruesome event whose timing in terms of the American presidential election was coincidental, but whose symbolism was not. If the deranged Islamic radicals of Europe don’t actually support Donald Trump, they are nonetheless doing their damndest to get him elected.

    • Is there any hope for New Age politics?

      Picture a human anus superimposed on President Obama’s mouth, or a smiling Hilary Clinton attached to the giant belly of a hog, or a presidential primary debate “featuring Donald Trump comparing his genitals with those of a group of fellow frat boys.” Disgusting right? Welcome to election season in America.

    • NBC Gives Glenn Beck A Platform To Re-Mainstream Himself

      NBC’s Chuck Todd gave noted-conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck a national platform to re-mainstream himself on the July 17 edition of Meet The Press. Todd introduced Beck as “founder of the conservative website and TV network The Blaze” and a “vocal critic of Donald Trump right from the start.”

      During his appearance, Beck criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — who Beck alleged has previously criticized Trump behind closed doors — and lamented that “the problem is in our society that there’s no authenticity. You can’t trust anybody.” Beck also criticized Republican officials, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus.

    • That Far Left Entryist Takeover of the Labour Party

      At its height in the 1980’s, Militant claimed 8,000 members. In 2013 its descendant, the Socialist Party, claimed 2,500 members and crowed that it was now bigger than the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP replied, not by claiming to have more than 2,500 members, but by saying that the Socialist Party’s claim of 2,500 was inflated. The various manifestations of the Communist Party are smaller. An umbrella group, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, incorporates more or less all of these disparate elements plus much of the organised left of the Labour Party and trades union supporters. Its mailing list, which includes many Greens and other radicals like me, is 40,000 people. That is probably an exaggeration of the membership of the formal left in the UK and it should be noted that a significant proportion of that 40,000 are long term Labour members. Momentum, the Blairites’ bete noir, has only about 10,000 members.

      I have therefore watched with bemusement the claims that the 120,000 new Labour members now banned from voting, and perhaps half of the remaining 400,000 Labour electorate, are entryists from organisations of the “hard left”. Anybody who believes there are over 300,000 members of “hard left” groups in the UK is frankly bonkers.

    • The Dream is Over: Bye, Bye Bernie

      Bernie Sanders has gone over to the enemy side; it is now written in stone. Everyone who felt the Bern will have to deal with that as best they can. The dream is over.

    • ‘The Sham Is Over’: Elizabeth Warren Has the Last Word on ‘Thin-Skinned Fraud’ Donald Trump

      Outside of a humiliating defeat in November, Donald Trump’s biggest nightmare has to be the continuing attacks by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren who continually leaves him in a stuttering rage, only able to use smears about her heritage that likely cost her former opponent, Scott Brown, his seat in the Senate.

      Warren stomped all over Trump’s big day on Saturday when the presumptive GOP presidential announcing his Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his choice of a running mate.

    • Donald Trump’s Big Show: Get Ready for Wild Conspiracy Theorists and Pistol-Packin’ Bikers

      No sooner had word broken in news reports that three police officers were shot to death Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, La., than Republican presidential nominee apparent Donald J. Trump did what a brave man does: He took to social media to declare himself the “law and order candidate.” The reason for the shootings, Trump proclaimed, was a “lack of leadership” —a taunt aimed at President Barack Obama.

      Trump’s good buddy, Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist whose InfoWars radio show Trump has frequented, attributed the shootings to “Obama-sponsored terrorists.”

      Before you yell at me for alleging guilt by association, consider that on Monday in Cleveland, as the Republican National Convention gets underway here, Jones, together with Republican political operative Roger Stone, will host an “America First Unity Rally” — and that Trump has lauded Jones for his “amazing” reputation. (Well, that wasn’t exactly a lie; it is a pretty amazing thing. Consider his Space Lizard riff on Obamacare.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Its World Emoji Day, let’s talk about Microsoft’s censorship of LGBT and “profane” emoji

      Since we’ve already patted Microsoft on the back for keeping up with the trends with regards to the sheer number and variety of emoji, its time to tut at them for what appears to be a cynical move with regards to expressive emoji.

      I’ve noted this down a while back when Microsoft launched new emoji for Windows 10 but refrained from commenting on this, but this seems a good time as ever to say this; Microsoft censors emoji on their platforms.

    • How Bollywood is fighting ‘irrational’ censorship in India

      Udta Punjab is currently the eighth highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year. But a month ago, the makers of the film worried if it would ever release, due to censorship issues. BBC Asian Network’s Haroon Rashid speaks to Bollywood actors and writers about creative freedom and censorship in India.

      The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had asked the Udta Punjab filmmakers to make 94 cuts, including removal of expletives, references to cities in Punjab and any shots of drugs being consumed, ironically in a film about drug abuse.

    • POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: News censorship at SABC heads for court

      THE issue of the SABC’s self-censorship will come to the boil this week, when the high court hears an application from the Helen Suzman Foundation for an urgent interdict against a ban on screening footage of violent protests.

      Also, with a little over two weeks before the local government elections, the general political temperature in the country is likely to increase, as campaigning from all political parties intensifies.

      SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and board chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe have yet to file responding papers to the court.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Abuse victim ‘appalled at intimidation’ by church

      A British man who travelled to Verona in an attempt to forgive the Catholic missionary who sexually abused him at Mirfield seminary in Yorkshire almost 50 years ago is being prosecuted in the Italian courts on three counts of “trespassing, stalking and interference in private life”.

    • A hard truth for Leave voters: Brexit means big government

      Without the European Union’s shackles, Britain will be free to develop new products and innovate for greater success. Like a gleaming stallion racing away from the herd, the UK will leave Europe’s deadbeat economy in the dust. It’s a Brexiters’ image that also pictures Europe falling back, unable to maintain its poise while protecting the interests of unionised workers and ageing elites.

      The most recent economic figures appear to bear this out, with lower growth posing a fresh problem for Brussels and European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi, who had presumed that increases in GDP, while still only moderate, were steady and assured.

      And it’s true that policymakers in Denmark, Sweden and even some quarters of liberal Germany fear that, without the UK, Europe will turn inwards and ossify, forcing them to question their own membership.

    • Mississippi’s prison town are in danger of collapse, thanks to tiny reforms in the War on Drugs

      Towns in Mississippi and other Tea Party-ruled states with large (often private) prison industries are totally reliant on state/fed funding transfers to local prisons for cash and jobs, forced prison labor to provide local services for free, and War on Drugs arrests and minimum sentencing to fill those jails. The first tiny steps toward criminal justice reform have eroded the underpinnings of the whole system, leaving the towns facing collapse.

      Increasing vacancy rates in these prisons mean less revenue (and less free, forced labor), but the counties and towns still have to keep up payments on the bonds they floated to raise the money to build their prisons.

      Meanwhile, “fiscally responsible” states run by slash-and-burn Tea Party governors have cut services and transfer payments (except the per-prisoner/per-diem payments), eroding the towns’ infrastructure (see also), leaving the towns in a state of absolute precarity.

    • After the Horror, We Must Build One America

      “It is more dangerous to be black in America. You’re substantially more likely to be in a situation where police don’t respect you.”


      The challenge now — for every concerned American — is how we react to the injustice and the violence. We know that our justice system suffers from massive and systematic racism. It is more dangerous to drive while black. African Americans are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, more likely to be arrested if stopped, more likely to be charged if arrested, and more likely to be jailed if convicted. The budget of many small towns is based upon the fines, penalties and fees largely paid for by African-American offenders. Police, state’s attorneys and judges tend to have a shared perspective, an organizational kinship.

    • In Ukraine, not only heroes deserve justice

      A Ukrainian blogger sentenced for his scandalous views on the conflict in the Donbas has just been released.

    • Police Already Have Broad Powers to Detain Us; and the Supreme Court Gave Them Even More

      I don’t want to end up like Alton Sterling.

      Or Philando Castile. Or Eric Garner. Or Freddie Gray. Or Amadou Diallo. I don’t want to end up dead after a police stop, probably based on wrongful suspicion, which leads cowardly police officers to resort to unjustifiable force.

      I don’t want to die like this. Nobody does.

      But the statistical fact is that black men are likelier to be victims of the criminal justice system. Black men are victimized by lengthier sentences. They’re victimized daily by harassment and stop-and-frisk. And in the worst cases, they are victims of police who kill them, an act that is rarely prosecuted.

    • Continues to Rise: Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

      Muhammad Ali’s life could be summed up in a single statement: freedom is always worth fighting for.

    • Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Communism and Revolutions

      As global capitalism, with neoliberalism being a necessary accompaniment, has covered now the entire globe, it is extremely useful to revisit some of the great radical traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries — namely, anarchism and communism. What do they stand for? What are their main differences? Did Soviet Communism represent an authentic form of socialism or was it a “reformed workers’ stage” — or, even worse, a tyrannical form of stage capitalism? In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky shares his views on anarchism, communism, and revolutions in hopes that the new generation of radical activists does not ignore history and continue to grapple with questions about strategies for social change.

    • Writing as Resistance

      Ringelblum formed his small army of writers clandestinely. Nazi discovery of any writer’s involvement meant his or her immediate execution or deportation to a death camp.

    • Cleveland Protesters Counter Noise of Hate With Silence and Love

      On a day that started with news of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thousands of people gathered here on the eve of the Republican National Convention in a “a nonpartisan, no-labels, no-issue event” designed to “Circle the City with Love.”

      On Sunday afternoon, thousands of people, many in white T-shirts declaring Standing in Love, walked in two lines onto the art deco Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River. Once the marchers were in place and formed a circle, the Dixieland band stopped playing and conversation ended as the group observed a half-hour of silence. Many held hands, some prayed, and when an air horn signaled the end of the silent period, the crowd broke into good-natured cheers, exchanged hugs, and began leaving the bridge.

    • Erdogan is using this failed coup to get rid of the last vestiges of secular Turkey

      The sweeping purge of soldiers and officials in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey is likely to be conducted with extra vigour because a number of close associates of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the 265 dead. The number of people detained so far is at 6,000 including soldiers, and around 3,000 judges and legal officials who are unlikely to have been connected to the attempted military takeover.

      On Sunday, Erdogan attended the funeral of the elder brother of his chief adviser, Mustafa Varank. Varank’s older brother, Dr Ilhan Varank, studied at Ohio State University, and was the chairman of Computer and Technology Education Department at Istanbul’s Yildiz Technical University, according to Anadolu Agency (AA). It says that the 45-year-old was shot at and killed as he demonstrated in front of the Istanbul Municipality building on the night of the coup, 15 July.

    • OiThe Cyberpower Crushes Coup

      I am not a military strategist, but I have lived through a couple coups in Thailand, so I have some first hand experience of what they look like. The guide book to running a coup is still Luttwak’s Coup d’État, but it needs to be revised to reflect the use of cyberpower. In the same vein, people who talk about cyberpower need to understand what it actually is (hint: it isn’t a stockpile of exploits, it’s the ability to create and maintain advantage.)

    • The International Labour Organization: workers rights champion or 90-pound weakling?

      In 1969, at the height of its global influence, the International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the UN, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work in protecting labour rights, a vital subset of social rights. However, by the early twenty-first century, with the liberal-social democratic consensus left in tatters by the onslaught of globalization, the authors of a volume on international labour standards described the ILO as “the 90-pound weakling of UN agencies.”

      Few would deny that the ILO is having a difficult time promoting labour rights in the age of economic globalization when political actors seem to have ambivalent views about the very idea of labour rights.

      Making things more difficult for the ILO is the principle of national sovereignty that, though more porous now, remains a central feature of international relations. States are free to ignore the urgings and determinations of international organizations, including those of the ILO.

      That said, the ILO has brought a lot of its impotence upon itself. Member states are deeply reluctant to make use of the stronger measures at its disposal. For the most part, the ILO relies on its reporting mechanisms to encourage compliance with its standards and little else.

    • Why Black Lives Matter Won’t Go Away: a Primer on Systemic Racism in America

      Intellectually lazy. Willfully ignorant. Blinded by privilege. Drunk with prejudice. These are some of the words that come to mind when I think of the 30 percent of Americans in 2016 who agree “our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights to whites.” There’s no excuse for such irresponsible comments considering the mountain of statistical data showing American institutions treat citizens very differently based on race.

      The shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling have re-energized a Black Lives Matter movement that’s remained remarkably vigilant over the years. I have no interest in judging the specifics of the Castile and Sterling shootings in this piece, or in judging the police officers involved in the court of public opinion prior to official legal action being taken. Individual stories and anecdotes can be spun any which way supporters and opponents of Black Lives Matter wish. But at the end of the day, these stories are just that – stories. They are symbolically powerful, but they won’t convince many who didn’t already agree that America is racist. What I’m interested in are the comprehensive studies of racial prejudice in American political and social institutions.

    • Living in the shadows of slavery

      Everybody agrees on the importance of bringing together the study of ‘old’ slave systems with research on the contemporary marginalities and exploitation that fall under the category of ‘modern’ or ‘new’ slavery. But how to do so is a different question entirely, since each step paves the way for disagreement. ‘Old’ and ‘modern’, for example, are in quotes because they are relative terms: north Atlantic slavery is ‘modern’ compared to that of Antiquity and the Mediterranean world; and the ‘modern’ and ‘new’ slaveries that anti-slavery organisations target are new in relation to the slave systems of the 18th and 19th centuries that abolition wiped out. Yet not all agree on this naming.

    • Jail for Sharing Your Netflix Password? Understanding the Law That Could Make it a Federal Crime

      It’s become so common that it’s almost a joke. One person has a Netflix account and three other people are using it. A recent court ruling found that because of a law called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), using someone else’s password could be considered a federal crime with an extremely harsh punishment. Someone who violates the CFAA can face decades in prison and large fines.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Time Is Running Out to Save Net Neutrality in Europe

      One month after a US federal court upheld strong rules protecting net neutrality—the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible—the battle over how to protect the internet’s open, freewheeling nature has shifted to Europe.

      A coalition of prominent open internet advocates, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is mounting a last-ditch campaign urging European officials to stand up to the telecom industry and strengthen the EU’s net neutrality policy before the bloc’s regulatory public consultation period ends on Monday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Taylor Swift is taking on YouTube, and it won’t be an easy fight

        When Apple announced its plans to offer customers a three-month trial of its Apple Music streaming service, Taylor Swift kicked off. The free trial meant no royalties for artists, and Tay-Tay wrote an open letter describing the terms as “shocking” and “disappointing” – and revealed she’d be withholding her music from the platform. Her tens of millions of fans magnified her protest and the tech giant made a rapid and uncharacteristic U-turn.

        Now Swift and other music artists are publicly taking on YouTube, calling for better protections against copyright infringement and better pay for artists. But this time she’s unlikely to win.

      • Google Wipes Record Breaking Half Billion Pirate Links in 2016

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 500,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2016 thus far. This nearly equals the number of takedown notices it received for the whole of 2015. Rightsholders see the surge as evidence of a failing system, but Google clearly disagrees.


Links 17/7/2016: Lithuanian Police Switches to GNU/Linux, Blockchain on LinuxONE

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The DIY diabetes kit that’s keeping us alive

    They are using Nightscout, an open source platform developed and run by a global community of type 1 diabetics.

    Open source means it is freely available for anyone to use and modify – in this case at their own risk.

    It’s a combination of a commercial product called a Continuing Glucose Monitor (CGM), which provides constant updates, a DIY transmitter and the freely available Nightscout programming code which enables the CGM data to be shared with a cloud data storage area – where it can then be distributed to other devices.

    So both father and son now receive constant updates on their phones (and George’s smartwatch) and are able to assess George’s needs minute by minute.

    It has given George the gift of freedom – he can now join his friends on sleepovers and enjoy his favourite sports.

    Mr Samuelson acknowledges that it is not without risk.

    “I am using open source software to do calibrations. Open source software is giving me final numbers and it is not an approved algorithm – it’s not going to be exactly the same as the proprietary algorithms,” he says.

  • Preserving the global software heritage

    The Software Heritage initiative is an ambitious new effort to amass an organized, searchable index of all of the software source code available in the world (ultimately, including code released under free-software licenses as well as code that was not). Software Heritage was launched on June 30 with a team of just four employees but with the support of several corporate sponsors. So far, the Software Heritage software archive has imported 2.7 billion files from GitHub, the Debian package archive, and the GNU FTP archives, but that is only the beginning.

    In addition to the information on the Software Heritage site, Nicolas Dandrimont gave a presentation about the project on July 4 at DebConf; video [WebM] is available. In the talk, Dandrimont noted that software is not merely pervasive in the modern world, but it has cultural value as well: it captures human knowledge. Consequently, it is as important to catalog and preserve as are books and other media—arguably more so, because electronic files and repositories are prone to corruption and sudden disappearance.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox will get overhaul in bid to get you interested again

        The next update to Firefox, however, represents the first step in Mozilla’s long-term plan to get you using its web browser once again. It hopes to rekindle the interest and influence it claimed a decade ago by revamping its core, which could make complex websites like Facebook snappier but make it more difficult for attackers to launch attacks over the web.

      • Mozilla Servo arrives in nightly demo form

        The Firefox codebase dates back to 2002, when the browser was unbundled from the Mozilla Application Suite—although much of its architecture predates even that split. Major changes have been rare over the years, but recently several long-running Mozilla efforts have started to see the light of day. The most recent of these is the Servo web-rendering engine, for which the first standalone test builds were released on June 30. Although the Servo builds are not full-blown browsers, they enable users to download and test the engine on live web sites for the first time. Servo is designed with speed and concurrency in mind, and if all goes according to plan, the code may work its way into Firefox in due course.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GNU ease.js 0.2.8 released

      This is a minor release introducing transparent Error subtyping.

      This release succeeds v0.2.7, which was released 26 October, 2015. There are no backwards-incompatible changes; support continues for ECMAScript 3+.

    • A leadership change for nano

      The nano text editor has a long history as a part of the GNU project, but its lead developer recently decided to sever that relationship and continue the project under its own auspices. As often happens in such cases, the change raised concerns from many in the free-software community, and prompted questions about maintainership and membership in large projects.

  • Public Services/Government

    • FOSSA – Now we need feedback by the real experts

      The goal of the “Free and Open Source Security Audit” (FOSSA) pilot project is to increase security of Free Software used by the European institutions. The FSFE has been following the project since the early beginning in 2014. I am concerned that if the project stays on its current course the European Institutions will spent a large part of the 1 Million Euro budget without positive impact on the security of Free Software; and the result will be a set of consultancy reports nobody will ever read. But if we work together and communicate our concerns to the responsible people in the Parliament and the Commission, there might still be a valuable outcome.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Open Source License API

      Around a year ago, I started hacking together a machine readable version of the OSI approved licenses list, and casually picking parts up until it was ready to launch. A few weeks ago, we officially announced the osi license api, which is now live at api.opensource.org.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Notes from the fourth RISC-V workshop

        Many of the lowRISC team (Robert Mullins, Wei Song, and Alex Bradbury) have been in Boston this week for the fourth RISC-V workshop. By any measure, this has been a massive success with over 250 attendees representing 63 companies and 42 Universities. Wei presented our most recent work on integrating trace debug, which you’ll soon be able to read much more about here (it’s worth signing up to our announcement list if you want to be informed of each of our releases).

      • Arduino-powered Lock Automatically Locks The Door When You Open Incognito Mode

        Mike, the CEO of the Useless Duck Company, has created an Arduino-powered door lock which locks the door automatically when you open an incognito window in your web browser. In a YouTube video, Mike shows how this awesome tech works.

  • Programming/Development

    • Wait… usenet is still… alive?!?!

      So, in conclusion, Fortran is a pretty cool language. The syntax is a little different that a curly-brace guy like me is used to, but once you figure it out, it’s pretty easy to use and has a very nice feature set. Again, if you’d like to look at a functional complete example, check out my source repository on GitHub.

      I’m going to do a third post in this series where I actually build a modern web application using Fortran for the middle tier (I’m thinking I need a cool name like LAMP or BCHS so maybe FARM – Fortran, Apache, REST and mySQL?) but that’s for another day. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed learning it.

    • Coding A Text Editor In Less Than 1000 Lines Of C Programming Language

      A coder has created a text editor in C programming language in less than 1000 lines. He has shared the code on GitHub and allowed the interested programmers to take a look at it and learn.


  • S&P 500′s record highs held back by Apple’s falling stock price

    The S&P 500′s multiple record highs set this week after more than a year-long wait on Wall Street would not have taken so long had Apple Inc (AAPL.O), the index’s largest constituent, not fallen deeply from its own all-time high.

  • Science

    • Welcome to the ‘Ecological Recession’: Global Biodiversity on Unsafe Decline

      A global assessment of ecosystems across the planet shows that “exploitation of terrestrial systems”—in other words, human land use from road-building to industrial agriculture—has pushed biodiversity below “safe” levels.

      The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, finds that for 58 percent of the world’s land surface, which is home to roughly 71 percent of the global population, the level of biodiversity loss is “substantial enough to question the ability of ecosystems to support human societies.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Celebrating common sense?

      Last week, there was a bit of good news on the trade front: on July 8, tobacco giant Philip Morris lost its ridiculous case against Uruguay’s cigarette labeling laws. In 2010, the multinational company’s Swiss subsidiary—which owns its operations in Uruguay—sued the country over rules designed to discourage cigarette consumption, especially by young people. As in a similar case against Australia, the company alleged that requiring labels that emphasize the dangers of smoking lowered the value of its intellectual property rights (i.e., its trademarked labels) and therefore, its investments. The case was brought under the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism in a bilateral investment treaty between Switzerland and Uruguay. ISDS empowers companies to sue governments in private tribunals over measures that undermine their expected profits. It has become a lightning rod for controversy in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • Avoid ‘miracle’ rice, just eat a carrot!

      Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, died on September 9, 2009. Alfred G. Gilman died on December 23, 2015. Both were Nobel laureates and now both dead. Gilman was a signatory to a recent letter condemning Greenpeace and its opposition to genetic engineering.

      How many Nobel laureates does it take to write a letter? Easily ascertained — the dead Gilman and 106 others were enlisted in “supporting GMOs and golden rice”. Correct answer — 107, dead or alive.

      The laureates were rounded up by Val Giddings (senior fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation), Jon Entine (author of Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People) and Jay Byrne (former head of corporate communications, Monsanto). Real people don’t have the luxury of getting Nobel laureates to write 1/107th of a letter, “chosen” folk do. Evidently.

      Cornell University is a “chosen” institution — central to genetically modified public relations. The Cornell Alliance of Science is funded by Bill Gates, just like the failed golden rice experiment.

      The Nobel laureates accuse Greenpeace of killing millions by delaying ghost rice — something the biotech industry accuses me of doing, for the same reason. Unlike golden rice — whose failure to launch is the industry’s own failure, the opposition to genetic engineering (and hence golden rice) is very real and successful. As Glenn Stone, a rice scientist at Washington University, states: “The simple fact is that after 24 years of research and breeding, golden rice is still years away from being ready for release.”

    • Don’t Eat the Yellow Rice: the Danger of Deploying Vitamin A Golden Rice

      But such tactics are not new. Long ago, the GMO industry spent well over $50 million to promote “Golden Rice” as the solution to vitamin A deficiency in low income countries. They did so well before the technology was completely worked out, let alone tested. Let alone consumer acceptability tested. Let alone subjecting it to standard phase 2 and 3 trials to see if it could ever solve problems in the real world.

      So why has this apparently straightforward scientific project not reached completion after so many decades?

      Because the purpose of Golden Rice was never to solve vitamin A problems. It never could and never will. Its purpose from the beginning was to be a tool for use in shaming GMO critics and now to convince Nobel Laureates to sign on to something they didn’t understand.

  • Security

    • Notice of security breach on Ubuntu Forums [Ed: this is proprietary software on top of proprietary software. Shame!]

      Deeper investigation revealed that there was a known SQL injection vulnerability in the Forumrunner add-on in the Forums which had not yet been patched.

    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked! Here Is What Hacker Stole?
    • ChaosKey

      The Linux Kernel, starting with version 4.1, includes source for this driver. It should be built by default in your distribution. If your using Linux + KVM to host other Linux instances, read the VirtualMachine page to see how you can configure the guests to share the host entropy source.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The United Kingdom is sleepwalking into renewing humanity’s deadliest weapons

      On July 18, parliament will vote on renewing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system. The British public are tired of simplified, polarising campaign messages, and are fast losing faith in their elected representatives, setting the stage for a renewal of Trident by default.

      The country’s state of internal crisis cannot be an excuse for us to sleepwalk into this decision. This vote is too important and too existential to ignore due to ‘campaign fatigue’. There needs to be a deeply searching debate.

      The lifetime cost of replacing Trident, running into several tens of billions, is of course hugely relevant, as is the nation’s defence, but no less relevant is the thinking behind what it means for a nation to continue to invest in weapons of mass destruction with the capacity to kill millions.

    • France’s Smartphone App Is Criticized for Its Slow Response to Tragedy in Nice

      According to Amar Toor of The Verge, the app is supposed to send out an alert within 15 minutes of the crisis. “It is not yet clear what caused the delay,” Toor wrote, “though experts had warned that the app may struggle if cellular networks are congested following an attack.”

      Additionally, the French journalist Anaëlle Grondin tweeted that one government source cited a “technical problem” as the source of the delay.

      People in the area of the truck attack reportedly relied on Facebook for a safety check-in. Murdock notes that this is “the third time the [Facebook] feature has been used in two months, being activated following recent incidents in Orlando, Florida and Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.”

    • Trump’s VP Pick, Mike Pence, Doesn’t Know Anything About Israel’s Nuclear Weapons

      Mike Pence, who on Thursday was announced as Donald Trump’s choice for vice president, has a long record of supporting Israel. Like many of his conservative peers, however, he doesn’t always have the best answer when asked directly about Israel’s foreign policy.

      The video below is a compilation of responses from politicians who were asked direct questions about Israel by reporter Sam Husseini. “Though they’ve varied somewhat in their answers, none has actually been straightforward,” Husseini noted.

    • Syrian Troops foil al-Qaeda riposte in Aleppo as France warns al-Qaeda could replace ISIL

      Even as the Syrian army defeated a counter-offensive by al-Qaeda in Syria and its battlefield allies at Aleppo, French President Francois Hollande warned that al-Qaeda should not be allowed to replace the declining Daesh (ISIL, ISIS) in Syria.

      On Saturday and Sunday, al-Qaeda (the Nusra Front) led the fundamentalist Faylaq al-Sham and other rebel groups in an attack on the Syrian troops who have closed the last road into East Aleppo. They apparently did not believe that the Syrian Arab Army had actually come to control Castellano Road into East Aleppo, and so tried to put a military convoy down it. Syrian artillery made mincemeat of the rebel vehicles and inflicted heavy casualties on the militiamen.

    • Turkish Government Cracks Down In The Wake Of Failed Coup Attempt

      At least 265 people died in the clashes and at least another 1,440 were injured, according to published reports. Nearly 3,000 military personnel have been detained while the Interior Ministry suspended some five generals and 29 colonels.

    • Are We in for Another Increase in Military Spending?

      At the present time, an increase in U.S. military spending seems as superfluous as a third leg. The United States, armed with the latest in advanced weaponry, has more military might than any other nation in world history. Moreover, it has begun a $1 trillion program to refurbish its entire nuclear weapons complex. America’s major military rivals, China and Russia, spend only a small fraction of what the United States does on its armed forces―in China’s case about a third and in Russia’s case about a ninth. Furthermore, the economic outlay necessary to maintain this vast U.S. military force constitutes a very significant burden. In fiscal 2015, U.S. military spending ($598.5 billion) accounted for 54 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending.

    • The Long-Hidden Saudi-9/11 Trail

      The U.S. government and mainstream media are playing down the long-hidden 9/11 chapter on official Saudi connections to Al Qaeda’s hijackers, hoping most Americans won’t read it themselves, as 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser observes.

    • Declassified 9/11 pages show ties to former Saudi ambassador

      The 28 pages of newly declassified material from the 9/11 Commission released Friday by Congress show multiple links to associates of Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar, the former longtime ambassador to the United States.

      The details in the newly released documents are a mix of tantalizing, but often unconfirmed, tidbits about the Saudi Arabian ties of some of the 9/11 hijackers. They show possible conduits of money from the Saudi royal family to Saudis living in the United States and two of the hijackers in San Diego. The documents also indicate substantial support to California mosques with a high degree of radical Islamist sentiment.

    • US Declassifies Secret 9/11 Documents Known as the ’28 Pages’

      The U.S. intelligence community has officially lifted the veil on 28 classified pages from the first congressional investigation into the 9/11 terror attacks that some believe, once exposed, could demonstrate a support network inside the United States for two of those al-Qaeda hijackers.

      Today, the Obama administration declassified those documents — closely held secrets for over 13 years — and Congress released them to the public this afternoon. The FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies had kept the information secret until now, citing reasons of national security.

      The information in the pages lays out a number of circumstances that suggest it’s possible two of the 9/11 hijackers living in California had been receiving operational support from individuals loyal to Saudi Arabia in the months leading up to the attacks.

      But intelligence officials say the information was preliminary, fragmented and unfinished data that was subsequently investigated along with more complete information in subsequent 9/11 investigations.

    • Congress releases secret ’28 pages’ on alleged Saudi 9/11 ties

      The pages also say that the inquiry obtained information “indicating that Saudi Government officials in the United States may have other ties to al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups,” but the commission that authored the document acknowledged that much of the info “remains speculative and yet to be independently verified.”

    • 28 Pages Raise ‘Scores of Troubling Questions’ on US-Saudi Ties

      The just-released 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report into Saudi Arabia’s possible ties to the 9/11 hijackers have stirred speculation about the U.S. government’s continued relationship with the Gulf kingdom.

      Amnesty International criticized the White House’s statement that the pages, hidden from public view for 13 years, have not changed the government’s assessment that “there’s no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi individuals funded al-Qaeda.”

      “We stand with survivors of this crime against humanity: They deserve justice and the whole truth,” the human rights group tweeted.

      As Murtaza Hussein wrote for The Intercept, the 28 pages “redacted in parts, detail circumstantial evidence of ties among Saudi government officials, intelligence agents, and several of the hijackers,” including by providing financial and housing assistance to those living in the U.S.

    • Turkey coup attempt: Erdoğan demands US arrest exiled cleric Gülen – live
    • Stuffing Turkey

      Electricity has been cut to the U.S. Incirlik air force base, where a number of nuclear gravity bombs are kept. The bombs are not an immediate threat (read the thread at that link), but who knows this?

    • Turkey’s Lose-Lose Coup Attempt

      Turkish President Erdogan has abetted jihadist terror and cracked down on political dissent – making him a contributor to Mideast troubles – but a military coup is the wrong way to remove him, says ex-CIA official Graham E. Fuller.

    • Thousands Arrested as Attempted Coup in Turkey Reportedly Fails

      Thousands of people were arrested and at least 161 killed overnight in Turkey as an attempted military coup came to a chaotic end.

      The death toll has been estimated to be as high as 194. A reported 2,389 military officials, including high-ranking officers, were taken into custody after clashing with citizens who had heeded Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s call to “stand up” against those he called coup plotters, the BBC reports.

      The Judges and Prosecutors High Council also reportedly dismissed 2,745 judges across the country.

    • The New Cold War’s Frontline in Crimea

      Most Americans don’t have a clue what has happened in a place called Crimea or why it is on the frontlines of what is becoming a new Cold War. In fact, few even know where it is. But Crimea’s location has made it one of the most frequent battlegrounds of empires — and today is no exception.

    • Blair to Bush on 9/12/01: ‘Co-Opt’ Sympathy for War

      “It is now [September 12, 2001] that the world is in a state of shock; now that it feels maximum sympathy for the US; now that it can be co-opted most easily,” Blair wrote.

      “The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit.” So said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a July 6 statement in response to the release of the long-awaited Chilcot Report – a 2.6 million-word examination, based on dozens of interviews and hundreds of classified documents, of the UK’s decision to join the Iraq War.

      “I did not mislead this country. I made the decision in good faith on the information I had at the time,” Blair insisted.

    • After Nice, Don’t Trade Liberty for Security

      Typically, the debate following attacks like these proceeds along two dimensions. There is a proposed domestic response designed to reduce the probability of similar attacks taking place in the future. And there is a proposed foreign response to punish the ones responsible – or more realistically, to punish a lot of random people that have the misfortune of living in the general vicinity of wherever the attacker and his friends are from. But I digress.

    • Conservatives Call For ‘Truck Control’ In Wake Of Terrorist Attack In Nice

      This is not the first time Duncan has tried to shift the conversation away from guns after an attack. On the three-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, the Congressman made a “knife control” joke. In response to a report about a teacher in Paris who was stabbed by an ISIS sympathizer, Duncan tweeted, “I doubt France will respond by demanding more knife control.”

    • Toppling Lumumba: Canada’s Dark Role in the Congo

      56 years ago today the United Nations launched a peacekeeping force that contributed to one of the worst post-independence imperial crimes in Africa. The Organisation des Nations Unies au Congo (ONUC) delivered a major blow to Congolese aspirations by undermining elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Canada played a significant role in ONUC and Lumumba’s assassination, which should be studied by progressives demanding Ottawa increase its participation in UN “peacekeeping”.

      After seven decades of brutal rule, Belgium organized a hasty independence in the hopes of maintaining control over the Congo’s vast natural resources. When Lumumba was elected to pursue a genuine de-colonization, Brussels instigated a secessionist movement in the eastern part of country. In response, the Congolese Prime Minister asked the UN for a peacekeeping force to protect the territorial integrity of the newly independent country. Washington, however, saw the UN mission as a way to undermine Lumumba.

      Siding with Washington, Ottawa promoted ONUC and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s controversial anti-Lumumba position. 1,900 Canadian troops participated in the UN mission between 1960 and 1964, making this country’s military one of its more active members. There were almost always more Canadian officers at ONUC headquarters then those of any other nationality and the Canadians were concentrated in militarily important logistical positions including chief operations officer and chief signals officer.

      Canada’s strategic role wasn’t simply by chance. Ottawa pushed to have Canada’s intelligence gathering signals detachments oversee UN intelligence and for Quebec Colonel Jean Berthiaume to remain at UN headquarters to “maintain both Canadian and Western influence.” (A report from the Canadian Directorate of Military Intelligence noted, “Lumumba’s immediate advisers… have referred to Lt. Col. Berthiaume as an ‘imperialist tool’.”)

    • A Mass Murderer Becomes a ‘Terrorist’–Based on Ethnicity, Not Evidence

      Despite the absence of any evidence of a political motivation, or indeed any motive at all—generally considered to be a key part of any definition of terrorism—the Times story still referred to the Nice killings as “the third large-scale act of terrorism in France in a year and a half.” The killings, Higgins wrote, “raised new questions throughout the world about the ability of extremists to sow terror.”

      Why is the Times willing to label the Nice deaths “terrorism”—a label that US media do not apply to all acts of mass violence, even ones that have much clearer political motives (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/15/14)? In part, they seem to be following the lead of French authorities: “French officials labeled the attack terrorism and cast the episode as the latest in a series that have made France a battlefield in the violent clash between Islamic extremists and the West.”

      But quotes from French officials made it clear that such claims were little more than guesswork: The story reported that Prime Minister Manuel Valls “said the attacker in all likelihood had ties to radical Islamist circles,” citing Valls’ statement to French TV: “He is a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another.”


      French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, “was more cautious,” the Times reported: “We have an individual who was not at all known by the intelligence services for activities linked to radical Islamism,” Cazeneuve was quoted.

      Why was the Times not similarly cautious about applying the label of “terrorism” to an act whose motives it admitted knowing nothing about? It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Times believes that when the suspect is an Arab—Lahouaiej Bouhlel was a Tunisian immigrant—then allegations of terrorism require no evidence whatsoever.

    • Coup d’état attempt: Turkey’s Reichstag fire?

      On the evening of July 15, 2016, a friend called around 10:30pm and said that both bridges connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul were closed by military barricades. Moreover, military jets were flying over Ankara skies. As someone living on the European side of Istanbul and commuting to the Asian side to my university on a daily basis and spending many hours in traffic in order to do that, I immediately knew that the closure of both bridges was a sign of something very extraordinary taking place.

      To confirm the news about the military jets over Ankara, I called my parents in Ankara. They answered the phone in a panic. I could hear military jets from the other end of the phone. Not surprisingly, my 86-year-old parents had experienced military coups in Turkey before. As I was talking breathlessly with my Dad, my Mum murmured from the other line calmly but firmly: “this seems like a coup d’état.”

      From that point onwards, all hell broke loose especially in Ankara and Istanbul. The death toll in less than 24 hours after the coup attempt in Turkey is over 200. There are thousand of people who are wounded. Twitter and facebook became inaccessible during the early hours. The tv channels started broadcasting live from Ankara and Istanbul: yet, they were not sure what was going on at the outset. Shortly after, the military released a statement saying that the “military has seized all power in Turkey” through the state tv channel TRT. That is when I could not stop my tears, for memories flocked back of the September 12, 1980 coup d’état when a similar announcement was made. I had experienced that coup as a student in one of the most politically active universities in the country, the Middle East Technical University. The memories, as for many people of my generation, were painful.

    • Turkish People-Power Foils Attempted Coup

      The poorly planned junior officers’ coup in Turkey on Friday appears to have failed as I write late Friday night, though rebel military elements still hold positions in some parts of the country, including Ankara, the capital. Their allegiances and motives are still unclear.

      Remarkably, among the reasons for the failure was the determined stance of the Turkish people who stood up for their democracy, even if about half of them deeply dislike President Erdogan.

      Crowds came out into the streets in Istanbul and Ankara. Individuals stood or lay down in front of tanks.

      Some civilians even arrested mutinying troops!

      After the military faction took over state tv, crowds invaded the station and allowed its anchors to come back on line.

    • US-based Turkish cleric facing extradition over botched rebellion claims president orchestrated plot to justify a clampdown on civil rights

      A US-based Turkish cleric accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Ankara government has claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.

      Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the politician of using his contacts to develop a ‘parallel structure’ to overthrow the state.

      Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.

    • Vietnam removes protesters gathered for anti-China rally in Hanoi

      Dozens of Vietnamese who gathered for an anti-China protest in central Hanoi were taken away by authorities on Sunday as they tried to rally support for an international tribunal’s ruling rejecting Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.

      About two dozen people were bused away from around the landmark Hoan Kiem Lake in the capital even before they began their protest. There was heavy police presence around the lake with cars briefly banned from around it.

      The rally was organised by No-U group in Hanoi, which opposes China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. It came after the Hague-based permanent court of arbitration last week issued the ruling in a case initiated by the Philippines, which together with Vietnam is one of the claimants in the disputed waters.

    • Nice attack: France calls up 12,000 reservists

      France has called up 12,000 police reservists to help boost security after Thursday’s attack in Nice in which more than 80 people were killed.

      Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also appealed to “all willing French patriots” to sign up as reservists, to help protect the country’s borders.

      Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry along the seafront through crowds before police shot him dead.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US Navy banned from using sonar that harms dolphins and walruses

      A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the US Navy was wrongly allowed to use sonar in the nation’s oceans that could harm whales and other marine life.

      The ninth circuit court of appeals reversed a lower court decision upholding approval granted in 2012 for the Navy to use low-frequency sonar for training, testing and routine operations.

      The five-year approval covered peacetime operations in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.

    • Think Animals Don’t Have Emotions? Researchers Have News for You

      How might we discern an elephant’s or a mouse’s sense of the world? Elephants and mice might not tell us what they’re thinking. But their brains can. Brain scans show that core emotions of sadness, happiness, rage, or fear, and motivational feelings of hunger and thirst, are generated in “deep and very ancient circuits of the brain,” says the noted neurologist Jaak Panksepp.

      Researchers in labs can now trigger many emotional responses by direct electrical stimulation of the brain systems of animals. Rage, for example, gets produced in the same parts of the brains of a cat and a human.

    • As Congress Calls Out Fossil Fuel Deception, ExxonMobil Continues to Fund Climate Science Denial

      Last week, ExxonMobil released their much anticipated 2015 Corporate Citizenship and Worldwide Giving reports, which include voluntarily disclosed information about their corporate giving each year. Despite ongoing claims by the company to NOT be funding climate denial, the reports once again reveal that the oil and gas giant has continued to financially support many groups that work to undermine climate science, while labeling such funding as corporate social responsibility.

    • ‘The Dam Builders Could Not Stop My Mother’ So They Killed Her

      In March, my mother Berta Cáceres was murdered in her own home. Her death pains me in a way I cannot describe with words.

      She was killed for defending life, for safeguarding our common goods and those of nature, which are sacred. She was killed for defending the rivers that are sources of our people’s life, ancestral strength and spirituality.

      My mother became a woman of resistance, of struggle, so that our deep connection with nature is not destroyed; so that the life of our peoples—the Lenca Indigenous People of Honduras—is respected. Her killers tried to silence her with bullets, but she is a seed, a seed that is reborn in all men and women. She is a seed that will be reborn in the people that follow her path of resistance.

      To achieve justice for her death, I need your help.

    • Massive Fracking Explosion in New Mexico, 36 Oil Tanks Catch Fire

      This week—as thousands of Americans urge awareness to the destruction caused by oil bomb trains—an oil field in San Juan County, New Mexico erupted in flames Monday night, highlighting the continued and increasing dangers of the fossil fuel industry.

      The fire broke out around 10:15 p.m. Monday at a fracking site owned and operated by WPX Energy, setting off several explosions and temporarily closing the nearby Highway 550. Fifty-five local residents were forced out of their homes.

    • The Unyielding Grip of Fossil Fuels on Global Life

      Here’s the good news: wind power, solar power, and other renewable forms of energy are expanding far more quickly than anyone expected, ensuring that these systems will provide an ever-increasing share of our future energy supply. According to the most recent projections from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy, global consumption of wind, solar, hydropower, and other renewables will double between now and 2040, jumping from 64 to 131 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs).

      And here’s the bad news: the consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas is also growing, making it likely that, whatever the advances of renewable energy, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the global landscape for decades to come, accelerating the pace of global warming and ensuring the intensification of climate-change catastrophes.

      The rapid growth of renewable energy has given us much to cheer about. Not so long ago, energy analysts were reporting that wind and solar systems were too costly to compete with oil, coal, and natural gas in the global marketplace. Renewables would, it was then assumed, require pricey subsidies that might not always be available. That was then and this is now. Today, remarkably enough, wind and solar are already competitive with fossil fuels for many uses and in many markets.

    • UK could warm by 4°C this century

      Scientific advisers warn that, by 2100, temperatures in Britain could rise by twice as much as the internationally-agreed limit set at the Paris climate conference.

    • Climate Law Champions Are Battling The Fossil Fuel Industry In Court

      In a growing number of climate-related legal actions, concerned citizens are targeting the Carbon Majors, the world’s largest fossil fuel corporations responsible for two thirds of the human-made carbon emissions in the atmosphere today.

      These corporations have made massive profits while outsourcing the true cost of their product upon the poor who are paying with their lives, their homes, and their ability to grow food, as they begin to deal with the impacts that 1˚C of warming is already inflicting on them.

      In a new report, the Climate Justice Programme examines cases across the world and finds that climate litigation will dwarf all other litigation, including tobacco and asbestos, in terms of both the number of plaintiffs and the timeframe over which it can stretch.

    • ‘Shocking,’ ‘Plain Stupid’: Theresa May Shuts Climate Change Office

      Less than a day after becoming the U.K.’s unelected leader, Prime Minister Theresa May closed the government’s climate change office, a move instantly condemned as “shocking” and “plain stupid.”

      May shuttered the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on Thursday and moved responsibility for the environment to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The decision comes the same week as the U.K. government’s own advisers warned in a report that the nation was not ready for the inevitable consequences of climate change, including deadly heat waves and food and water shortages.

      “This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new prime minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face,” said Craig Bennett, CEO of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. “This week the government’s own advisors warned of ever growing risks to our businesses, homes and food if we don’t do more to cut fossil fuel pollution.”

    • The Little-Known Fund at the Heart of the Paris Climate Agreement

      The Green Climate Fund is supposed to finance the world’s shift away from fossil fuels. But fossil fuel-funding banks are eager to get on board.

    • Get Ready, a Potentially Record-Breaking ‘Heat Dome’ is Coming

      Temperatures in the central U.S. and Upper Midwest could reach 10 to 20 degrees above average

    • Pacific Islands Nations Consider ‘Pioneering’ Treaty to Ban Fossil Fuels

      Pacific Island nations are reportedly considering the world’s first treaty to ban fossil fuels, which would require signatories to work toward renewable energy targets and prohibit any expansion of fossil fuel mines.

      The leaders of 14 nations on the front lines of climate change are considering the treaty after an annual summit in the Solomon Islands known as the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF). The treaty would establish a “Pacific framework for renewable energy” and require “universal access” to clean energy by 2030. It would also bind leaders not to approve any new coal or other fossil fuel mines nor provide subsidies for extraction or consumption.

    • Pacific ​​islands nations consider world’s first treaty to ban fossil fuels

      The world’s first international treaty that bans or phases out fossil fuels is being considered by leaders of developing Pacific islands nations after a summit in the Solomon Islands this week.

      The leaders of 14 countries agreed to consider a proposed Pacific climate treaty, which would bind signatories to targets for renewable energy and ban new or the expansion of coalmines, at the annual leaders’ summit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF).

    • Cyclones set to get fiercer as world warms

      New analysis of cyclone data and computer climate modelling indicates that global warming is likely to intensify the destructive power of tropical storms.

  • Finance

    • Seafile now accepts bitcoin via BitPay

      We are very happy to announce that it’s now possible to pay for cloud accounts and licenses with bitcoin in our web shops. Bitcoin payments are possible via the very nice people over at BitPay.

    • The Qubes Project announces a decentralized bitcoin fund

      As part of our quest to decentralize and harden the project, we have switched today to a multi-signature wallet for our Qubes bitcoin fund. This means that no longer can a single person, not even myself, sign an outgoing transaction from our new wallet. For this to happen M out of N signatures is required (we selected N = 13, and M = 6, for the time being). The holders of the keys have been invited from among Qubes developers and supporters from all over the world. Some people might have more than one key, but still fewer than M.

    • Nicholas Wilson and the HSBC Blues

      Again, my opinion, I think HSBC USA should have been shut down for the money laundering, sanctions avoiding, and garden variety fraud disclosed in the 2010 Levin report and by the contributions of at least two US whistleblowers.

    • My thoughts on BREXIT: History is written by the victors

      Brexit has revealed a culture war, which the left has been quietly losing.

    • “Free” Trade? Fraud Alert

      It is rare these days to hear the words “market” and “trade” without the word “free” attached—especially on corporate media. I even hear colleagues who are pursuing a more localized economy use these terms without realizing that by so doing they are subtly and unintentionally promoting a political agenda they oppose.

    • Big Headlines for a Tiny Wage Hike

      Lloyd Blankfein, one of America’s most powerful bankers, a few years ago told a reporter that his Goldman Sachs financial colossus was doing “God’s work.”

      That off-hand comment would provoke an instant uproar. An embarrassed Blankfein had to quickly calm the waters. He meant his quip, the Goldman CEO assured us all, only as a joke.

      Earlier this week, one of Blankfein’s high-finance peers, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, made some headlines of his own. In a widely heralded New York Times op-ed, Dimon proudly announced that his bank is making a major move to “create more widely shared prosperity.”

    • The Blood-Dimmed Tide of Neo-Nationalism and Other Scary Simulacra

      The Greater Middle East has been successfully destabilized. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, any country not playing ball with transnational Capitalism has been brought to its knees by a series of invasions, bombings, sanctions, support for insurgencies, corruption, et cetera. Iran is currently negotiating in the hope of avoiding a similar fate. Russia, following its transformation into an autocratic capitalist free-for-all for ex-KGB men and their oligarch cronies — a transformation designed by folks like Jeffrey Sachs, Lawrence Summers, the Harvard Institute for International Development, the IMF, and other shock therapists — has been more or less surrounded by the EU and NATO, and is being pressured to get with the program. China, in spite of its playing grab-ass with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, is deep into the global Capitalism thing. Vietnam and Laos have joined the club. Cuba is even opening for business again. South America is a work-in-progress, as ever, what with the recent neoliberal “soft” coup in Brazil, the re-neoliberalization of Argentina, the destabilization of Venezuela, and so on.

      This is just a quick summary of the highlights. The point is, apart from some isolated pockets of resistance — which the corporatists will get to eventually — and the various nightmarish terrorist theme parks operating out in the imperial hinterlands, it’s one big global capitalist world … one Market under Mammon, indivisible, with privatization and austerity for most, and distractionary paranoia for all.

    • Theresa May suggests Brexit delay as she says no Article 50 until Scotland gives go-ahead

      Theresa May has indicated that Brexit could be delayed as she said she will not trigger the formal process for leaving the EU until there is an agreed “UK approach” backed by Scotland.

      The Prime Minister on Friday travelled to Scotland to meet Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, and discuss plans for Britain’s Brexit negotiation.

      In a sign that the new Prime Minister is committed to keeping the Union intact, she said she will not trigger Article 50 – the formal process for withdrawing from the EU – until all the devolved nations in the country agree.

    • How Globalization Divides Us: Perspectives on Brexit from a Dual Citizen

      When I woke up on June 24th and checked the news, I cried. Along with millions of people around the world. I’m a diehard believer in independence, freedom, democracy, and strong local economies. For some, the Brexit result represented those things. If that had been the reality, I would’ve supported it too. But like every other choice offered in the global economy these days, Brexit was a false one. Getting out of Europe does nothing to address the real problems in UK society—or the world. We’re still headed down the same destructive path together, but now more fractious and divided than ever.

    • Truthdigger of the Week: Jaime Prater, Starbucks Barista Who Got Workers a Raise

      Want a raise?

      Jaime Prater did. A Starbucks barista for nine years, the 40-year-old resident of Montclair, Calif., was paid $10 an hour and given between 22 and 25 hours of work a week—at least 11 hours short of what he needs just to make ends meet. And compared to the standards of living among the professional class, what modest ends they surely are.

      This week, Prater managed to squeeze modest raises for himself and his colleagues out of his employer, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

      “[E]ffective October 3,” Schultz wrote last Monday in a letter to employees that begins with a reference to the week of racial shootings across the country, “all partners and store managers in U.S. company-operated stores will receive an increase in base pay of 5% or greater.” This raise and an increase in the stock holdings of employees who have been with the company for more than two years “will result in compensation increases between 5% and 15%,” Schultz added.

    • Brexit Takes Root in the Caribbean

      “Brexit” has been defined by many as “a real political earthquake with national and international implications”.

      It seemed a difficult fight for the separatists, because top English leaders –headed by their Prime Minister David Cameron– led the opposition to this demand promoted by the most conservative politicians.

      The British political leadership was defeated and, with them, all of Europe, its allies and even the president of the United States, Barack Obama, who saw his position of remaining within the European Union (EU) his most loyal and powerful ally in all main issues for the US power defeated.

      The result of the referendum on Brexit, which has affected all the world in various ways, has the countries of the Caribbean region in anxious expectation, torn between forecasts and preparations, because of the ties –both historical and current– that link them to the United Kingdom.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Turkish government asked public to resist coup in text message

      As a coup against Turkey’s government took place yesterday, Turkish citizens were sent a text message that urged them to take to the streets to support democracy and resist the coup. The text message appears to have been sent out during the coup from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    • Jill Stein Just Promised To Pardon Snowden, Appoint Him To Cabinet If Elected

      Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein promises to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – whom many describe as a true American hero – not just a full pardon, but a promotion to the upper echelons of government should she win the White House.

    • Jill Stein Pledges to Grant Edward Snowden a Full Pardon and Appoint Him to Her Cabinet

      Edward Snowden, America’s #1 fugitive, would not only get a full pardon under a Jill Stein administration, but would get a promotion to one of the highest levels of government.

      “[Snowden] has done an incredible service to our country at great cost to himself for having to live away from his family, his friends, his job, his network, to basically live as an expatriate,” Stein said during a livestreamed town hall with supporters on her Facebook page.

      “I would say not only bring Snowden back, but bring him into my administration as a member of the Cabinet, because we need people who are part of our national security administration who are really, very patriotic,” Stein continued. “If we’re really going to protect American security, we also have to protect our Constitutional rights, and that includes our right to privacy.”

    • Sanders ally Cornel West backs Green candidate

      Activist Cornel West is endorsing Green Party candidate Jill Stein after previously backing Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid.

      “This November, we need change,” he wrote Thursday in an op-ed for The Guardian. “Yet we are tied in a choice between [Donald] Trump, who would be a neo-fascist catastrophe, and [Hillary] Clinton, a neo-liberal disaster.”

    • Sixty mega-donors gave 30 percent of the money raised by Donald Trump and the Republican Party

      Sixty mega-donors gave at least $100,000 each to a joint committee raising funds for Donald Trump and the Republican Party, together pouring in $15.4 million from late May until the end of June, new campaign finance records show.

    • A question of leadership

      The explanation emerges in conversation with anyone under 30 who has an ounce of idealism. Gemma Jamieson Malik, for example, a London PhD student driven by housing costs to live out of London, explains: ‘It’s not that I’m a Jeremy Corby fan. It’s that he’s opened a space for a new politics I and my friends can feel part of. He’s generated a new energy around Labour.’

    • New Poll Shows Hillary Clinton Tied With Donald Trump

      The survey also showed that both are viewed as untrustworthy by over 60 percent of voters.

    • A Citizen’s Guide to the Upcoming Conventions

      It’s also unsettling many other Americans, some of whom will be demonstrating in downtown Cleveland to protest the nomination of a man who has gone out of his way to denigrate Latinos, blacks, Muslims and immigrants.

    • Donald Trump Appeases Extreme Right With Pence Pick

      In appeasing the extreme right by choosing Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump reveals how he hopes to secure enough votes to win the presidency — and how he may have to govern in order to satisfy the GOP base.

      With his announcement of Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate, Donald Trump almost single-handedly revived a political career that was circling the bowl not long ago. Pence, once considered a contender for the GOP presidential nomination, all but ended his hopes of national office when he signed Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, and bungled his response to a backlash that cost his state millions of dollars.

    • Mike Pence Is a Smooth-Talking Todd Akin

      The guy who led the crusade against Planned Parenthood and signed anti-abortion laws will drive more women to Hillary Clinton.

    • Mike Pence Said Martin Luther King Jr. Was His Hero Growing Up. Here’s Why That Sounds Absurd.

      King stood with President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 1965 Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Yet, when it comes to voting rights, an issue that King fought hard for, you see that Indiana doesn’t make it easy for voters to get to the polls. The state only kept polling places open until 6 p.m. during the May primary, although most states keep their polls open to 8 p.m. or even later. Indiana doesn’t have any laws that require employers to allow workers to leave work to go vote.

      In contrast, King said in his 1957 speech called “Give Us The Ballot,” “So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind. It is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact. I can only submit to the edict of others.”

    • Ralph Nader on Election 2016: ‘Our Country Deserves Better’

      And, of course, Ramos asks him how he will be voting. “I always believe in voting your conscience,” Nader responds. “Not tactical votes, not ‘least worst’ votes.” This leads him to talk about Bernie Sanders’ recent endorsement of Hillary Clinton, calling it a “very astute” move. “He set her up for political betrayal,” Nader notes, adding that the strategy was “brilliant.”

    • After Sanders Endorses Clinton, ‘Political Revolution’ Faces Hard Choices

      On the other hand, despite what progressive commentators, like Joan Walsh, may claim, the Democratic primary was rigged to enable a Clinton win. Hundreds of superdelegates pledged their allegiance to Clinton before votes were cast in Iowa. A limited number of debates were scheduled to ensure voters had the least amount of exposure to Clinton opponents. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign falsely accused the Sanders campaign of “stealing” voter file data. The Hillary Victory Fund funneled millions of dollars through state parties to the DNC in what looked very much like a money laundering scheme. Democratic women supporting Sanders faced forms of retaliation.

    • Elizabeth Warren Absolutely Shreds ‘Terrifying’ Trump/Pence Ticket: ‘Two Small, Insecure, Weak Men’

      Even if Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not selected to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, she has definitely secured herself a spot in the campaign as the go-to person for unrestrained and brutally frank criticism of the GOP ticket.

      As Donald Trump prepared to formally announce Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Warren launched an all-out assault on the ticket, calling the Republican duo “two small, insecure, weak men.”

      Warren who has been a thorn in Trump’s side for weeks now — and appears to be the one who most effectively gets under his skin based on his weak rejoinders — hammered the two on Twitter for their anti-woman and anti-LGBT rhetoric.

    • How the Right Tears Down America

      So far, so good. A large number of GOP politicians, from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on down, have treated Obama since the beginning of his presidency as illegitimate and as an enemy to be maligned and legislatively blackmailed rather than treated as America’s chief executive. This attitude gave us government shutdowns, a near-default on our sovereign credit, and some of the worst congresses in history.

    • ‘He is a Faker’: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Publicly Spars with Donald Trump

      In recent media interviews, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has publicly decried the candidacy of Donald Trump for president, characterizing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as a “faker” with “no consistency” and “an ego.”

      Her unusually partisan comments earned some condemnation from centrist media commentators as well as Trump himself.

      In an interview with CNN published Tuesday, Ginsburg said: “He is a faker[...] He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • This art project uses the Khajuraho art style to comment on censorship

      Modern-day issues of censorship are juxtaposed with erotic drawings from the Khajuraho temples in a pop-up art project by Akshita Chandra, 21, a design student in Bengaluru.

    • BDS Is a War Israel Can’t Win

      Israel’s apologists would call the BDS campaign “immoral”, but the slander is laughably false

    • Turkey’s President Survives Coup Attempt, Thanks in Part to Social Media He So Despises

      The plotters failed, despite following a script that had might have succeeded in the 20th century, in part because Erdogan was able to rally support for democratic rule using 21st century tools: video chat and social media.

      After the officers claimed control of the country in a statement they forced a presenter to read on TRT, the state broadcaster, the country’s internet and phone networks remained out of their control. That allowed Erdogan to improvise an address to the nation in a FaceTime call to CNN Turk, a private broadcaster the military only managed to force off the air later in the night, as the coup unraveled. In his remarks, the president called on people to take to the streets.

    • Kashmir Held to Ransom

      Holding people to ransom; criminalizing political space; causing psychosomatic ills…

    • Starbucks and McDonald’s move to block porn from their Wi-Fi networks

      Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald’s to block porn on the chains’ Wi-Fi networks.

      Earlier this year McDonald’s (MCD) responded by putting filters in place at most of its U.S. restaurants, a change that was disclosed this week. The company had already had the filtering in place at its U.K. restaurants.

      “McDonald’s is committed to providing a safe environment for our customers,” he said. “We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families.”

    • A History of Media Control and Media Blackouts in Coups d’Etat

      With the information disarray coming out of Turkey during the (seemingly failed) military coup, we see the same pattern of attempting to control media as we’ve seen for the past 500 years, in peacetime and wartime. Revolutions come quickly or slowly, violently or peacefully, but they still follow the same pattern of attempting to control and distort the truth – only the technology differs over 500 years.

      The pattern is that the people in power rally to centralized information chokepoints to cut off and control the information flow and deny broadcasting ability to others, whereas the challengers use the power of lots and lots of volunteers to build a decentralized information flow around these chokepoints. When this succeeds, the challengers generally win. This has been repeated in coup d’état situations with the printing press, with pamphlets, with newspapers, and now, with the Internet and with social media. It’s also been used in more-or-less democratic settings where an establishment collectively tried to stonewall a challenger, as early as a century ago.

      Some would argue it’s ironic that Turkish ruler Erdoğan used social media last night to call for people to rally against the coup. On the contrary, this is completely in line with the idea that all media should be strictly controlled by a few people in power. Erdoğan used social media to broadcast his own messages, which doesn’t contradict the previous actions of limiting the same ability for everybody else. It’s perfectly in line with actions of historical autocratic rulers to disable Facebook and Twitter, except for use by the ruler.

    • Kashmir: Media persons protest against govt’s attempt of censorship

      The media fraternity took out a protest march in the Valley against the gag by the state government.

      Newspapers were not allowed to publish in Kashmir and were asked by the state government to suspend their operations for the next 3 days.

    • Florida prisons’ censorship of ‘Militant’ violates free speech rights
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Uber’s investigators admit to lying while digging up dirt on legal foes

      Ergo, the secretive, CIA-linked firm that was paid by Uber to investigate the plaintiff in one of the ride-hail startup’s many lawsuits, has now admitted to lying and illegally recording phone calls during its probe, according to Law360. Lawyers for Ergo owned up to the infractions in oral arguments in court Thursday, drawing a rebuke from the judge overseeing the case.

      Last December, Spencer Meyer filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, alleging a scheme to fix prices in violation of antitrust laws. The same day, Uber hired Ergo to investigate Meyer out of concern he posed a security risk to Kalanick. But Ergo also gathered information on Meyer’s lawyer, a move that some critics say went too far. Ergo’s lawyer argued that the firm was unaware the investigation was tied to a lawsuit, even while admitting Ergo’s investigator “dissembled and used false pretenses in his duties,” Law360 said.

    • Minutes from EU Court of Justice on #DataRetention

      On 19th July 2016, Advocate General Øe Saugmandsgaard will present the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) his opinion in the joined cases C-203/15 and C-698/15,Tele2 Sverige and Davis and Others. They concern the validity of national laws in Sweden and the UK for the retention of telecommunications data under EU law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is a very relevant question, since the Court invalidated the EU Data retention directive in 2014.

    • Brexit and Privacy

      It’s as clear as mud, what it means when a country decides to willingly pull out of a trading bloc, a policy coordination mechanism, a relatively democratic network, and a framework for the free flow of people, data, and rights. Meanwhile today the minister in charge of surveillance for the past six years will assume the leadership of the country.

      There is much speculation as to what is next. Here’s our take. Importantly, there’s a lot to be worried about, some to like, much we cannot foresee. The future has rarely been so murky.

      What I am practically certain of is that there will be renewed pushes for surveillance as a result of Brexit. And there is no meaningful political resistance. The Minister in charge of the police has today become the Prime Minister and is claiming to have a mandate of controlling borders. Such uncertain times are often fertile ground for attempts to enhance surveillance powers.

    • Hey Students, Stop Asking Noam Chomsky for Help with Your Homework

      Noam Chomsky is pretty baffled by more than half of Americans; the amount of U.S. residents who will use Facebook this year. Chomsky is in the minority. He doesn’t use social media and detests when users refer to acquaintances they have the most minute exchanges with as “friends.”

      “Adolescents,” Chomsky clarified, “Who think they have 500 friends, ‘cause they have 500 people on their Facebook account, but these are the kind of friends whose relation to you is if you say, ‘I bought a sandwich,’ they say, ‘did it taste good?’ That’s a kind of interaction, but very different from having a real friend.’”

    • Spy or Whistleblower? Should Obama Settle With Snowden?

      Edward Snowden has been living in asylum in Russia for three years. As our country prepares to elect its next president, none of the candidates are likely to have a merciful attitude toward the controversial whistleblower, nor want to begin their administration with a political act on a provocative subject that passionately divides the country.

      But President Obama has an opportunity in his final months in office, when presidents traditionally exercise their pardon and clemency powers, to direct his Attorney General to offer a reasonable settlement to Snowden through his attorneys.

    • U.S. Government Presents Draft Legislation for Cross-Border Data Requests [Ed: in the US (and allies) Microsoft gives the government back door access to all data]

      Another example involves Brazil, where Microsoft has been fined millions of dollars, and its employees threatened with criminal prosecution, for following a U.S. law that makes it a crime to obey a Brazilian court order demanding information about a suspected criminal in Brazil.

    • Feds Monitoring Activists on Facebook Ahead of Republican Convention

      Federal authorities are watching political activists organizing protests ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention, warning that “anarchist extremists” pose a threat to Cleveland.

      A “threat assessment” issued jointly by the FBI, Secret Service, and Department of Homeland Security warns law enforcement to be on the lookout for “potential indicators” of “violent anarchist extremist activity.” The indicators include “pilfering construction sites” for rocks, pipes, or bricks and “movement of newspaper containers and trashcans to create barricades” — but also carrying spray paint, eye drops, or wearing “clothing bearing anarchist symbols.”

    • Anti-Muslim Rep Seizes On Nice Attack To Call For Mass Surveillance Of Muslim Americans

      Mere hours after the horrifying attack in Nice, France on Thursday night, politicians and pundits began speculating about the religion of the attacker and calling for increased scrutiny of the Muslim community. Responding to the attack on Fox News, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) seized the opportunity to push mass surveillance of Muslim Americans, saying that holding back would be a “sign of weakness.”

    • French government rejects crypto backdoors as “the wrong solution”

      Speaking on behalf of the French government, the deputy minister for digital affairs Axelle Lemaire has rejected an amendment to the new “Law for the Digital Republic,” which called for computer companies to provide backdoors to encrypted systems. As reported by the French site Numerama, Lemaire said of the idea: “What you propose is vulnerability by design. It’s inappropriate.” She also referred to the Netherlands’ recent statement in support of encryption, and the discovery of backdoors in Juniper’s products, as reasons not to take that route.

      She pointed out that with backdoors “personal data is no longer completely protected. Even if the intention [of giving the authorities access] is praiseworthy, it opens the door to actors with less praiseworthy intentions, to say nothing of the possible economic harm that loss of credibility will cause companies that implement these flaws.” She concluded: “You are right to add to the debate, but in the government’s view, it’s the wrong solution.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 188 arrest warrants issued for members of Turkey’s supreme courts

      Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 140 Constitutional Court members and 48 members of the Council of State in the wake of Friday night’s attempted coup. Ten arrests have already been made, local media reported.

      The ten jurists detained were all members of the Council of State, which is Turkey’s top administrative court, NTV broadcaster reported.

    • Flights To Turkey Cancelled After Coup

      Flights to and from Turkey have been cancelled and Britons in the country have been advised to “stay indoors”.

    • New York nun is reported missing on vacation in Austria

      Images found on her phone suggest she was enjoying herself, taking photos and videos of the scenic Alpine countryside before she disappeared, the website reported

      Christie sent emails letting her nephew on Long Island know where she was but then the emails suddenly stopped July 6.

    • Obama has failed victims of racism and police brutality

      A long and deep legacy of white supremacy has always arrested the development of US democracy. We either hit it head on, or it comes back to haunt us. That’s why a few of us have pressed the president for seven years not to ignore issues of poverty, police abuse and mass unemployment. Barack Obama said it very well, following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, that some communities “have been forgotten by all of us”.

      And now – in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights and beyond – this legacy has comes back to haunt the whole country.

      Obama and his cheerleaders should take responsibility for being so reluctant to engage with these issues. It’s not a question of interest group or constituencies. Unfortunately for so much of the Obama administration its been a question of “I’m not the president of black people, I’m the president of everyone.” But this is a question of justice. It’s about being concerned about racism and police brutality.

    • Seattle’s ‘Liberals’ Get Chance to Finally Start Addressing Police Brutality

      This year, Washington has a second chance to address police brutality and in compliance with international human rights laws.

    • ‘Combustible’ GOP Convention: Riot Police Swarm Cleveland as FBI Tells Protesters Not to Show

      Authorities in Cleveland, Ohio, are adding fuel to an already “combustible” atmosphere, some activists say, as the city readies extra jail space and courtrooms and shuts down a local university to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons in preparation for demonstrations at next week’s Republican Party convention.

      Democracy Now! reported Thursday that city officials “say some courts will be kept open almost 24 hours per day in case protesters are arrested en masse. Authorities have also opened up extra jail space to hold protesters.”

    • Cleveland Police Union President: Allowing Guns Near Convention Is ‘Absolute Insanity’

      Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said he had concerns about the safety of officers at the upcoming Republican National Convention on CNN’s Smerconish on Saturday. In response to a question about guns being allowed near the convention, Loomis said, “That’s absolute insanity to me… My concern is for the uniformed member that is out there. They are going to be out there in the trenches.”

      Guns will not be permitted inside the Quicken Loans Arena and areas monitored by the Secret Service, but protesters coming to Cleveland will be allowed to carry guns due to the state’s open-carry laws. Items such as water guns, knives, canned food, and even tennis balls will not be allowed near the arena, however. As many as 50,000 people are expected to come to the convention area. There will be about 3,000 law enforcement officers at the convention — the same number of officers expected to be at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this month.

    • Three Years After Justice Failed Trayvon Martin

      In the three years since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin and the Black Live Matter movement was born, so many more have been lost even as so much progress was made.

      Three years ago today, full of despair, I posted my feelings on my Facebook feed.

    • A Man Burned The Flag And Got Arrested for ‘His Own Safety’

      A guy who wasn’t feeling the patriotism decided to burn an American flag and tell the world about it on Facebook — only to get arrested the next day after neighbors complained.

      Bryton Mellott, 22-years-old, of Urbana, Illinois, was taken into custody after police received calls about his Facebook posts, which included a picture of him setting the Stars and Stripes on fire (above) and a message explaining that he was “not proud to be an American. In this moment, being proud of my country is to ignore the atrocities committed against people of color, people living in poverty, people who identify as women, and against my own queer community on a daily basis.”

    • Before They Were Hashtags

      Alton Sterling and Philando Castile lost their lives to police brutality last week. While their deaths fit an all too familiar narrative for black men and women living in America, what we haven’t emphasized enough—especially in the accounts told by media—is the value their lives held.

      Before they were hashtags, these men mattered.

    • Violence, Police Authority and Black Lives Matter

      Trigger happy policing has become something of a modus operandi in the frontier mentality of law enforcement. Bullets come before negotiation; arrests are inconveniences of afterthought. In 2015, 1000 people were slain in police operations, a third of them black.

    • Sorry Conservatives, New Research from Harvard Shows a Profound Amount of Racism by Police…Not Less of It

      Philando Castile was killed by a Minneapolis-area police officer while giving him his identification. Like so many other black men, Levar Jones was also shot by a white police officer while fully complying with his commands. Eric Garner was choked to death while screaming “I can’t breathe.” John Crawford III was killed in a Walmart by police because he was carrying a toy gun that he wanted to purchase. Jonathan Ferrel was killed by a white police officer while seeking help after a car accident. 12-year-old Tamir Rice was street executed by the Cleveland police in less than 3 seconds.

      Stories and personal experiences of police thuggery and violence are so common in the black community that they constitute a type of collective memory and group trauma.

    • Israel: a turning point in anti-corruption efforts?

      War and security have long dominated public discourse in Israel, often overshadowing the country’s other pressing issues. Notable among these is the legal system’s attitude to high-level state corruption, which has played a crucial role in shaping the Israeli political landscape.

    • Pokémon Go is everything that is wrong with late capitalism

      f you were looking to have fun with some friends 50 years ago, you might have gone to a bowling alley. Maybe you would have hung out at a diner or gone to the movies.

      These were all activities that involved spending a certain amount of money in the local economy. That created opportunities for adults in your town to start and run small businesses. It also meant that a teenager who wanted to find a summer job could find one waiting tables or taking tickets at the movie theater.

      You can spend money on Pokémon Go too. But the economics of the game are very different. When you spend money on items in the Pokémon Go world, it doesn’t go into the pocket of a local Pokémon entrepreneur — it goes into the pockets of the huge California- and Japan-based global companies that created Pokémon Go.

    • Israeli Military’s New Chief Rabbi Implied Soldiers Can Rape in War, as Government Lurches to Far-Right

      The man chosen as the Israeli military’s new chief rabbi has previously implied that soldiers would be permitted to rape women in war.

      This comes at a time when the Israeli government lurches further and further to the right, with what has been called “its most hard-right government ever.”

      Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim was nominated for the top religious position in the Israel Defense Forces, of IDF, by the chief of staff on Monday.

      Karim was at the center of a media controversy in Israel in 2012, when it was revealed that, in 2003, he suggested on a religious website that soldiers were permitted to commit acts of rape during wartime.

    • Nice, France, Attack: A Gandhian Response to Serial Killers

      French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has extended the French state of emergency, which suspends key civil and human rights, in the aftermath of the gruesome truck attack on Bastille Day in Nice, which at this writing has left 80 dead and over a dozen in intensive care.

    • Those who don’t like the referendum result should demand more democracy, not less

      Like many people who passionately want the UK to remain in the European Union, I have struggled with feelings of denial about the referendum vote. I wish it hadn’t turned out the way it did. I wish I could magic it away. But it is important to recognise that what happened, happened. British people were told that they would get a chance to vote on a perfectly clear question: whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union. They were told that the decision would be decided on the basis of a simple majority of the British electorate as a whole, including expatriates, but not including those under the age of eighteen or European Union citizens resident in the UK (who voted in the Scottish referendum). The result was that 52% voted to leave.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How to set up your own VoIP system at home

      The landline phone may seem an anachronism to many, but if like me you work from home it can still be an essential business tool. Even if you’re not a regular home worker, many people still like to have a phone that’s separate to their mobile. In a family house or shared house, it can sometimes also be useful for different people to have their own number too.

      In the past, your choices were fairly stark—either multiple analogue phone lines, which is what I had when I first moved into my flat, or ISDN. While the latter was very popular in parts of Europe, it never really took off in the UK or US. BT’s pricing was part of the problem, together with a lack of equipment. Nevertheless, for many years, I used a small German ISDN PBX at home. It made it simple to separate business and work calls, and thanks to the 10 number blocks BT issued as standard with ISDN2 lines, my lodger could have a number too.

      Pricing was the killer for ISDN in the home, unless you could claim it as a business expense. Now, however, VoIP services make it much easier to provide the same sort of functionality at a fraction of the cost, and it’s much easier than you might have thought, too. Here’s how I did it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent Users Present a Goldmine of Marketing Opportunities

        Most file-sharers are aware they’re being watched but that doesn’t always have to be as bad as it sounds. Speaking with TorrentFreak, analytics company Peerlogix says it monitors millions of “well educated and tech-savvy” torrent users and leverages their content consumption habits for marketing purposes.


Links 15/7/2016: Microsoft Playing Dirty, GNOME Maps Problems

Posted in News Roundup at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Apcera Announces Support of New Open Source NATS Streaming Solution

    Apcera has announced that it is providing support for the new NATS Streaming solution, a performant, secure and simple open source messaging platform. NATS Streaming offers features that enable support for new classes of applications such as IoT and big data analytics. The platform is tightly coupled but loosely integrated with NATS, providing enterprise grade features without sacrificing NATS’ core simplicity.

  • Chef and Puppet lead the charge in open source cloud automation

    IT pros increasingly turn to Chef and Puppet for open source cloud automation and orchestration. But other options, such as TOSCA, are also worth exploring.

  • How Open Source Is Becoming the Core of All Software

    This panel discussion, recorded at this year’s OSCON in Austin, Texas, with two Cisco open source folks and a Capital One person is fascinating. Learn about how enterprises are acknowledging their use of OSS and taking greater responsibility for contributing back to it. Learn how people are more often using GitHub contributions as their resume. Learn how the open model allows companies to iterate faster in a rapidly changing world. If open source is becoming the default methodology, how is this changing mindsets within the enterprise?

  • Events

    • Submit presentations for Seattle GNU/Linux Conference

      Proposals for talks at the Seattle GNU Linux Conference are due by August 1st. SeaGL is a grassroots technical conference dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about the GNU/Linux community and free/libre/open-source software/hardware. Our goal for SeaGL is to produce an event which is as enjoyable and informative for those who spend their days maintaining hundreds of servers as it is for a student who has only just started exploring technology options. SeaGL welcomes speakers of all backgrounds and levels of experience—even if you’ve never spoken at a technical conference. If you’re excited about GNU/Linux technologies or free and open source software, we want to hear your ideas.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google Not Over Yet: Oracle Seeks Another New Trial While Google Seeks Sanctions On Oracle’s Lawyers

      Basically, Oracle is continuing to falsely pretend that fair use only applies to non-commercial use (it doesn’t), and that creating something new with an API isn’t transformative unless it’s like artwork or something (this is wrong). Oracle’s interpretation of fair use is not supported by the history or case law of fair use, and it would be shocking to see the court accept it here.

      Meanwhile, on the flip side, Google is looking to punish Oracle’s lawyers and asking for sanctions against them for revealing in open court sensitive information that had been sealed by the court.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Errata and patches released!

      Now would be a good time to check http://www.openbsd.org/errata59.html as a number of patches related to reliability and security have been released as follows.

      This appears to be in response to fuzz testing as documented further in this mailing list archive: http://marc.info/?l=oss-security&m=146853062403622&w=2

      Tim Newsham and Jesse Hertz of NCC Group appear to have done most of the research related to these discoveries so far, and I know at least one of them has had patches committed to the OpenBSD project in the past, so it is nice to see continual collaboration from professional researchers contributing back to project!

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Notes from the fourth RISC-V workshop

        The lowRISC project, which is an effort to develop a fully open-source, Linux-powered system-on-chip based on the RISC-V architecture, has published notes from the fourth RISC-V workshop.

      • New Journal Will Focus on Open Source Hardware for Science

        Mention the term open source to most people, and they’ll immediately think of community-driven software, but open source hardware concepts have been around for some time, and there is even an official Open Source Hardware (OSHW) definition that can be referred to here. Open Source Hardware refers to machines, devices, or other physical things whose design has been released to the public for modification and distribution.

        Now, to usher in more scientific hardware to the open source fold, and to reward scientists that create it, Elsevier, has launched a new open access journal: HardwareX.


  • Science

    • The L.E.D. Quandary: Why There’s No Such Thing as “Built to Last”

      The light bulb that has brightened the fire-department garage in Livermore, California, for the past hundred and fifteen years will not burn out. Instead, it will “expire.” When it does, it certainly won’t be thrown out. It will be “laid to rest.”

      “You have to use the correct terminology,” Tom Bramell, a retired deputy fire chief who has become the Livermore light’s leading historian, told me. The bulb has been on almost continuously since 1901, he said; in 2015, it surpassed a million hours in service, making it, according to Guinness World Records, the longest-burning in the world.

    • For 90 years, lightbulbs were designed to burn out. Now that’s coming to LED bulbs.

      In 1924, representatives of the world’s leading lightbulb manufacturers formed Phoebus, a cartel that fixed the average life of an incandescent bulb at 1,000 hours, ensuring that people would have to regularly buy bulbs and keep the manufacturers in business.

      But hardware store LED bulbs have a typical duty-cycle of 25,000 hours — meaning that the average American household will only have to buy new bulbs ever 42 years or so.

      The lighting industry is panicked about “socket saturation,” when all household bulbs have been replaced with long-lasting LED bulbs. There’s signs that they’re moving to limit the longevity of LED bulbs, albeit without the grossly illegal cartels of the Phoebus era. Philipps is seling $5 LED bulbs that have a 10,000 hour duty-cycle. Many no-name Chinese LED bulbs are so shoddy that they’re sold by the kilo, and buyers are left to sort the totally defective (ranging from bulbs that don’t work at all to bulbs that give people electrical shocks) from the marginally usable ones.

    • Creationist Ken Ham Offers Public Schools a Massive Discount to Bring Kids to His Ark Museum
    • What a decline of biodiversity below ‘safe’ threshold means for Earth

      About 58 percent of land on earth has dropped below the biodiversity safe limit, due largely to human land use practices, says a new study published Thursday in Science.

      The study, conducted by Tim Newbold, a post-doctoral scientist and the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London, aimed to analyze the level of biodiversity on the planet, but its impacts reach further than ecology, affecting food production, personal well-being, and the money that ties it all together.

    • Is There Really Such Thing as a ‘Safe’ Limit for Biodiversity Loss?

      Across an estimated 58 percent of the planet’s land surface, biodiversity—the rich variety of species that inhabit a given environment—has dropped below what scientists consider “safe” levels.

      That doesn’t just spell trouble for the multitude of plant and animal species that are vanishing. It will be disastrous for us humans, too.

      But there are a lot of big questions around whether there’s even such thing as a “safe” level for species loss to begin with, and where it should be set. Isn’t any species loss too much?

      “Biodiversity is essential for human well-being,” landscape ecologist Tom Oliver of the University of Reading, who wrote a commentary that accompanies the new study (both are published in Science), told me. Take, for example, the species we rely on to pollinate our food crops, he pointed out: Colony collapse disorder has been a major concern for years now, as bees die off.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Orphan Drugs Finding Home In Markets: Could Be 20% Of All Sales By 2020

      Worldwide sales for orphan drugs are forecast to reach $178 billion by 2020, according to a recent industry report. Moreover, the orphan drug market is expected to grow almost 12 percent per year, a level the broader pharmaceutical market “could only dream about” with its expected annual growth of 5.9 percent, according to Lisa Urquhart, editor of EvaluatePharma Vantage.

    • Arizona: If at First You Don’t Succeed (at Interfering With Women’s Health Care) Try, Try, and Try Again.

      It seems that Arizona is running out of ideas of how to interfere with women’s health, because lawmakers have taken to passing old laws that have already been struck down by the courts. This time, they’re trying to prevent Medicaid patients from obtaining reproductive health care, including pregnancy care, contraceptives, and cancer screenings from their chosen physician.

      Arizona already tried to do this in 2012. We sued in federal court, and won. Now that Arizona is trying again to deprive low-income women access to critical health care, we’re back in court.

    • First female-to-male Zika transmission via sex reported in New York City

      New York City’s health department on Friday reported the first female-to-male transmission of the Zika virus, which is most typically spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

      The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the report is the first documented case of sexual transmission of Zika from a woman to her male sex partner.

    • GMOs, Greenpeace and Nobel Laureates

      The signatories allege that GMO ‘golden rice’, which supposedly would save millions of people in Asia from vitamin A deficiency, has not been used because of the opposition of groups like Greenpeace. Therefore, according to the open letter’s logic, these activists are responsible for perpetuating world hunger. “How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a crime against humanity?”, ask the signers rhetorically.


      Professor Stone is no rookie latecomer who has just arrived on the scene. Since 2013 he directs a Templeton Foundation-funded study on rice in the Philippines. In his research he compares ‘golden rice’ with other rice varieties developed and planted in the Philippines, including industrial ‘green revolution’ varieties as well as traditional heirloom varieties from the mountains of Luzon island.

      Neither is he opposed to GMO’s. “Golden Rice was a promising idea backed by good intentions… In contrast to anti-GMO activists, I argued that it deserved a chance to succeed. But if we are actually interested in the welfare of poor children — instead of just fighting over GMOs — then we have to make unbiased assessments of possible solutions. The simple fact is that after 24 years of research and breeding, Golden Rice is still years away from being ready for release.”

      We still want to know where the wise Nobel laureates got the idea that Greenpeace is holding back the ‘golden rice’.

    • One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana

      There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption.

      Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. Ashley and W. David Bradford, a daughter-father pair of researchers at the University of Georgia, scoured the database of all prescription drugs paid for under Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013.

      They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.

  • Security

    • Ubuntu Forums Get Breached, 2 Million Users/Emails/IPs [Ed: Idiots at Canonical used proprietary software for forums]

      Through an SQL injection vulnerability, the Ubuntu Forums were penetrated, as disclosed this morning by Canonical.

    • Canonical Patches Security Issue on Ubuntu Forums, Passwords Weren’t Compromised

      It would appear that, on the day of July 14, 2016, the Ubuntu Forums were compromised by someone who managed to get past the security measures implemented by Canonical and access the forum’s database.

    • Here’s another really great reason to never touch Linux
    • Ubuntu Forums security breach
    • Ubuntu Linux forums hacked!
    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked, But Passwords Were Not Compromised
    • Ubuntu Forums hack exposes two million users {Ed: At Canonical vBulletin forum software (proprietary) was already cracked before. But they learned no lessons and continued to use it.]
    • Ubuntu Forums Hacked, 2 Million Users’ Details Stolen
    • Ubuntu Forums Suffer Data breach; Credit Goes to SQL Flaw
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Room for Application Security Improvement

      Using open source components is a common software development process; just how common, however, may come as a surprise — even a shock — to some. The average organization uses 229,000 open source components a year, found research by Sonatype, a provider of software development lifecycle solutions that manages a Central Repository of these components for the Java development community.

      There were 31 billion requests for downloads from the repository in 2015, up from 17 billion in 2014, according to Sonatype.

      The number “blows people’s minds,” said Derek Weeks, a VP and DevOps advocate at Sonatype. “The perspective of the application security professional or DevOps security professional or open source governance professional is, ‘This really changes the game. If it were 100, I could control that, but if it is 200,000 the world has changed.”

    • Why We Should Be a Little Paranoid About Hackers Messing With Robot Surgeons

      A few weeks ago, my colleague Victoria Turk sat down in a surgical chair, slid her fingers into something that looked like pliers, wore a pair of 3D glasses, and tried to control a robotic surgeon remotely.

      The test went smoothly—until a researcher performed a basic hacking attack on the link connecting the haptic interface device that simulated the sense of touch, and the actual robotic arms performing the fake surgery.

      This was just a harmless, controlled demonstration, but it gave us a glimpse of the future. Using robots to carry out surgeries or high-risk operations in places where it’s not safe for human doctors or technicians will give medical professionals the ability to save lives and not risk their own. But it will also add a new type of risk: what if a hacker takes control of the robot instead of the operator?

      The biggest vulnerability, as Turk discovered, is the link between the human and the robot. Researchers who are studying the cybersecurity risks of using robot surgeons believe that in a real-world scenarios, the machines will likely use the same networks we use to check Facebook or play Pokémon Go.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia Welcomes Boris Johnson as Britain’s New Foreign Secretary

      Russia has welcomed the British government reshuffle, expressing hope for a rekindling of relations with the new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

      Russia’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter to Johnson welcoming him to his new office, while spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that Moscow was not upset to see Johnson’s predecessor leave, state news agency Itar-Tass reported on Thursday.

    • After Nice, Don’t Give ISIS What It’s Asking For

      Not much is yet known about Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the 31-year-old man French police say is responsible for a horrific act of mass murder last night in the southern city of Nice. In the wake of the killings, French President Francois Hollande has denounced the attack as “Islamist terrorism” linked to the militant group the Islamic State. Supporters of ISIS online have echoed these statements, claiming responsibility for the attack as another blow against its enemies in Western Europe.

      While the motive for the attack is still under investigation, it is worth examining why the Islamic State is so eager to claim such incidents as its own. On the surface, ramming a truck into a crowd of people gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks seems like an act of pure nihilism. No military target was hit. Initial reports suggest that the killings may lead to French attacks on ISIS’s already-diminishing territories in Iraq and Syria. And French Muslims, many of whom were reportedly killed in the attack, will likely face security crackdowns and popular backlash from a public angry and fearful in the wake of another incomprehensible act of mass murder.

      But the Islamic State’s statements and history show that such an outcome is exactly what it seeks. In the February 2015 issue of its online magazine Dabiq, the group called for acts of violence in the West that would “[eliminate] the grayzone” by sowing division and creating an insoluble conflict in Western societies between Muslims and non-Muslims. Such a conflict would force Muslims living in the West to “either apostatize … or [migrate] to the Islamic State, and thereby escape persecution from the crusader governments and citizens.”

      This strategy of using violence to force divisions in society mimics the group’s tactics in Iraq, where it used provocative attacks against the Shiite population to deliberately trigger a sectarian conflict, one that continues to rage to this day.

    • Violence Haunts South Sudan as Civil War Flares

      The parched field in the town of Leer, South Sudan, was covered in a carpet of dried grass. Nearby was a sheet of corrugated metal — a roof to a home that, like most in this town, was now in ruins. Lying in the field were scattered clothes: a desert camouflage shirt in the pattern the U.S. military calls “chocolate chip,” a blue T-shirt that read “Bird Game” with characters resembling those of the video game Angry Birds.

    • Turkey coup: Erdogan government could restore death penalty, deputy leader warns

      “We will put forward a motion, which will demand the execution of those who have been involved in the coup attempt,” Mr Müezzinoğlu wrote on Twitter.

      Following his comments, #Idamistiyorum (“I want death penalty”) has become the top trend on Twitter in Turkey. The hashtag has been used more than 23,000 times.

    • Turkey Troops Say They Seize Power; Crowds Answer President Erdogan Call To Defy Them

      Gunfire and explosions rocked both the main city Istanbul and capital Ankara in a chaotic night, but by the early hours of Saturday there were indications that the coup was crumbling.

      If successful, the overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would mark one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming one of the most important US allies while war rages on its border. If it fails, the coup attempt could still destabilise a pivotal country in the region.

    • Ankara parliament building ‘bombed from air’ – state agency

      Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency has reported that bombs or shells hit the Turkish parliament building in the capital, Ankara. At least 12 people have been reportedly injured.

    • Turkish President Returns to Istanbul in Sign Military Coup Is Faltering

      A military coup attempt plunged Turkey into a long night of violence and intrigue on Friday, threatening its embattled president, leaving dozens dead and injecting new instability into a crucial NATO member and American ally in the chaotic Middle East.

      The coup attempt was followed hours later by an equally dramatic public appearance by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose whereabouts had been unknown for hours after the plotters claimed to have taken control. Flying into Istanbul Ataturk Airport from an undisclosed location early Saturday, Mr. Erdogan signaled that the coup was failing.

    • The Latest: Iran says attempted Turkey coup ‘doomed to fail’

      Iran says the attempted military coup in Turkey was “doomed to fail.”

      Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as praising the “brave defense by the people of Turkey of their democracy and elected government.”

    • Turkey coup: President Erdogan denounces ‘treason’ of attempt by military to take control of country

      An extraordinary day of violence and tension has unfolded in Europe with an attempted military coup taking place in Turkey while France was still in a state of shock after a terrorist atrocity which claimed the lives of 84 people.

      Just hours after the Turkish government had expressed sympathy over the killings in Nice it was facing a struggle for survival after a faction of the armed forces declared a takeover and looked to impose martial law.

    • EXCLUSIVE: France ‘Suppressed Reports of Gruesome Torture’ at Bataclan Massacre

      According to this testimony, Wahhabist killers reportedly gouged out eyes, castrated victims, and shoved their testicles in their mouths. They may also have disemboweled some poor souls. Women were reportedly stabbed in the genitals – and the torture was, victims told police, filmed for Daesh or Islamic State propaganda. For that reason, medics did not release the bodies of torture victims to the families, investigators said.

      But prosecutors at the hearing claimed these reports of torture were “a rumor” on the grounds that sharp knives were not found at the scene. They also claimed that maybe shrapnel had caused the injuries.

    • Whither Turkey?

      A friend of the blog passes on these comments: I have just been watching the “Breaking News” about the military coup in Turkey and have been appalled at the historical ignorance of what all of these talking heads, Wolf Blitzer, et al are telling the American people.

    • Attempted Coup in Turkey Must Be Denounced

      There should be no equivocation. The answer to Turkey’s problems is not a military coup against an elected government and a return to decades of military dictatorship. The Turkish people pouring out on the streets to resist the military are not only Erdogan supporters, and they are inspiring in their courage.

    • Saudi Ties to 9/11 Detailed in Documents Suppressed Since 2002

      After years of political wrangling, the suppressed section of a 2002 congressional report that detailed possible ties between the Saudi government and the 9/11 terrorist attacks was released today. The classified documents have been the source of heated speculation for years, as they highlighted alleged links between high-ranking members of the Saudi royal family and the 9/11 hijackers.

      Many political figures who had previously seen the report led the charge calling for its release, including former Sen. Bob Graham, who said the 28 pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia,” and Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, who said the pages “confirm that much of the rhetoric preceding the U.S. attack on Iraq was terribly wrong.”

      The suppressed pages, redacted in parts, detail circumstantial evidence of ties among Saudi government officials, intelligence agents, and several of the hijackers.

      “While in the United States, some of the September 11th hijackers were in contact with or received assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government,” reads the report, which added that FBI sources believed at least two of those individuals were Saudi intelligence agents.

      The report also mentions that numbers found in the phonebook of Abu Zubaydah, a detainee currently held in Guantánamo, could be traced to a company in Denver, Colorado, connected to former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

      One of the most notable figures mentioned is Omar al-Bayoumi, alleged by the report to have likely been a Saudi intelligence agent. Al-Bayoumi was in close contact with hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, providing them financial assistance during their time in the United States and even helping them find an apartment. Bayoumi in turn is believed to have been on the payroll of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and was regularly in receipt of large lump sums of money from the Saudi Ministry of Finance and other undisclosed arms of the government.

    • FBI Established Saudi Task Force Just before Joint Inquiry Release

      The pages are actually more damning than I expected. It lays out many damning details we already knew of: including that Bandar bin Sultan’s wife was providing money to one of the suspect Saudi intelligence people, several Saudi apparent agents provided support for the hijackers, and an apparent dry run for the attack was conducted by someone paid by the Saudis.

      One really damning detail that I didn’t know, however (or had forgotten if covered in Bob Graham’s book), is that it wasn’t until the Joint Inquiry focused on the Saudis that FBI established task force to look into Saudi Arabia’s role in the attack.

    • In 9/11 Document, View of a Saudi Effort to Thwart U.S. Action on Al Qaeda

      The long-classified document detailing possible connections between the government of Saudi Arabia and the Sept. 11 terrorist plot released on Friday is a wide-ranging catalog of meetings and suspicious coincidences.

      It details contacts between Saudi officials and some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, checks from Saudi royals to operatives in contact with the hijackers and the discovery of a telephone number in a Qaeda militant’s phone book that was traced to a corporation managing an Aspen, Colo., home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

      The document, 28 pages of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is also an unflattering portrayal of the kingdom’s efforts to thwart American attempts to combat Al Qaeda in the years before the attacks.

      But it is also a frustrating time capsule, completed in late 2002 and kept secret for nearly 14 years out of concern that it might fray diplomatic relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Subsequent investigations into the terror attacks pursued the leads described in the document and found that many had no basis in fact. But the mythology surrounding the document grew with each year it remained classified.

    • US Congress Finally Releases ’28 Pages’ of 9/11 Report

      The U.S. Congress on Friday released the previously classified 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report on potential Saudi government ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.


      The U.S. Congress on Friday released the previously classified 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report on potential Saudi government ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

      The pages were posted (pdf) on the House Intelligence Committee’s website.

      The New York Times’ Mark Mazzetti describes the document—secret for 13 years—as “a wide-ranging catalog of alleged links between Saudi officials and Qaeda operatives, from contacts that Saudi operatives in Southern California had with the hijackers to a telephone number found on the first Qaeda prisoner in C.I.A. custody that the F.B.I. traced to a corporation managing a Colorado home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington.”

      Former Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the congressional inquiry and had called for the release of the pages, told CNN, “I think of this almost as the 28 pages are sort of the cork in the wine bottle. And once it’s out, hopefully the rest of the wine itself will start to pour out.”

      “Would the U.S. government have kept information that was just speculation away from American people for 14 years if somebody didn’t think it was going to make a difference?” he added.

      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, however, said, “This information does not change the assessment of the U.S. government that there’s no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi individuals funded al-Qaeda.”

      House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said, “it’s important to note that this section does not put forward vetted conclusions, but rather unverified leads that were later fully investigated by the intelligence community.”

    • What Really Happened in Syria

      But it is especially urgent with regard to Syria, a great bleeding wound on the edge of Europe that, over the last five years, has seen as many as 470,000 deaths, generated some 4.8 million refugees, and sent out waves of terrorism that are destabilizing politics from Eastern Europe to the U.S. Not since Yugoslavia has a country collapsed more completely or calamitously.

    • Britain’s Scramble for Africa: The New Colonialism

      Africa is facing a new and devastating colonial invasion driven by a determination to plunder the natural resources of the continent, especially its strategic energy and mineral resources. That’s the message from a damning new report from War On Want ‘The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources’ that highlights the role of the British government in aiding and abetting the process.

      Written and researched by Mark Curtis, the report reveals the degree to which British companies now control Africa’s key mineral resources, notably gold, platinum, diamonds, copper, oil, gas and coal. It documents how 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) – most of them British – have mining operations in 37 sub-Saharan African countries and collectively control over $1 trillion worth of Africa’s most valuable resources.

    • As Bastille Day Attack in France Kills 84, Is the War on Terror a “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”?

      More than 84 people are dead in Nice, France, after an attack on a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the city in the French Riviera. Witnesses said a man in a large truck deliberately drove into a massive crowd watching a fireworks celebration. The truck continued driving a mile, mowing down people in the crowd. No group has taken responsibility for the attack. French media have identified the driver of the truck as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a French man of Tunisian descent who lived in Nice. Earlier today, French President François Hollande announced he would extend the state of emergency put in place after the Paris attacks which killed 130 people eight months ago. We go to France to speak with Palestinian-American playwright Ismail Khalidi in Nice and French human rights and civil liberties activist Yasser Louati in Paris.

    • Paramilitaries Continue Rampage in Colombia: the Case of El Bagre, Antioquia

      Uribe’s known paramilitary ties did not prevent the U.S. from arming his military to the teeth, nor did they prevent President George W. Bush from considering Uribe his closest friend in the region and even awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    • Stop Blaming Refugees For The Attacks In Nice

      Thursday evening as scores of people celebrated the 14th of July in Nice, France, a truck driver swerved into the crowd. At least 84 people were killed as a result and many more were injured. While certain political figures were quick to jump on blaming refugees, the attacker was identified by local media as a French resident.

      After attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, and Orlando, many political figures have used the opportunity to turn on refugees. But in each of these instances the attacker or attackers were often locals.

      In the attacks in Paris in November 2015, police identified Salah Abdeslam, Brahim Abdeslam, Omar Ismail Mostefai, Chakib Akrouh, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Samy Amimour, Foued Mohamed-Aggad, and Bilal Hadfi. All these men were French or Belgian citizens and were born in one of the two countries. While some of them are thought to have radicalized and then subsequently traveled to Syria, all had spent the majority of their lives in Europe.

    • [A bit older:] Saudi-funded mosque opens in Nice after long struggle

      A Saudi-funded mosque in Nice opened its doors for the first time Saturday, after a 15-year tussle with the local town hall.

      The Nicois En-nour Institute mosque received authorisation to open early Saturday from the local prefect, substituting for town mayor Philippe Pradal, who recently took over from Christian Estrosi.

      Estrosi was implacably opposed to the construction of the mosque and in April had secured the green light to sue the French state in a bid to block its opening in the southern city.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oil Spills Are Actually Good For Birds, Fish, And The Economy According To The Oil Industry

      “When a spill occurs, new economic activity occurs to clean-up contaminated areas, remediate affected properties, and supply equipment for cleanup activities,” a witness testified before a committee in Vancouver, WA.

    • New Rules Could Help Big Oil Escape Scrutiny at Fossil Fuel Auctions

      Lawmakers are attempting to make it even easier for fossil fuel companies to bid on public land auctions without facing disapproval from climate advocates, a move that green groups say buckles to corporate interests.

      Earlier this week, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources approved a bill that would require lease sales for offshore drilling to be held online rather than in person, as the Obama administration gears up to do the same with an onshore public land auction originally slated for a sell-off in Washington, D.C.

      All this despite the fact that climate advocates have been imploring the White House to end such leases altogether to help curtail rising greenhouse gases and fulfill its pledges as mandated by the Paris agreement.

    • Seems Like Fox News Didn’t Like the Joke About Its Crappy Climate Coverage

      “We want to call out the nefarious role Fox News plays by keeping its audience confused about the climate threat to the country and world.”

    • FEC fines Koch groups for illegal dark money

      The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced today that it will fine three dark money groups a total of $233,000 for concealing the sources of funds spent on political ads in 2010.

      Three groups — the American Future Fund, 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security — received money from the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), now American Encore. CPPR is linked to the Koch brothers — it was founded by Sean Noble, who was, at the time, central to the Kochs’ dark money efforts. As head of CPPR, he “handed out almost $137 million in 2012 alone — all of it so-called dark money from unnamed donors.” The American Future Fund spent millions during the Republican presidential primary this year to oppose Donald Trump and John Kasich. In 2013, CPPR admitted to failing to properly disclose money spent on a California ballot proposition that year.

  • Finance

    • EU-US negotiators falter on TTIP progress, destabilised by Brexit

      EU and US negotiators said on Friday (15 July) that they still needed to overcome large differences for a transatlantic free trade deal to be sealed this year, and factor in the setback of Brexit, as the UK is one of the United States’ biggest export markets.

      The two sides are trying to agree on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which supporters say could boost each economy by some €90 billion at a time when growth in China and emerging markets is slowing.

    • Greenpeace: time to hit the stop button on TTIP

      An EU opinion poll released in June shows that 67 per cent of Europeans want to see more EU action on environmental protection – yet trade deals such as TTIP, and CETA (an EU-Canada trade deal) are set to undermine European environmental, health and labour protections.

      The EU TTIP energy and climate change chapters released Thursday are disconnected from the urgency of climate change and commitments made at the Paris climate summit. The energy chapter’s main aim is to free up the trade in fossil fuels, in particular the import of high carbon US shale gas into the EU, while the climate change chapter weakens the EU’s position on the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies by carving out significant loopholes.

    • TTIP Negotiators Need Many More Nights To Negotiate – And Are Planning Just That
    • EU-US negotiators falter to make decisive progress on TTIP, destabilised by Brexit

      EU and U.S. negotiators said on Friday (15 July) that they still needed to overcome large differences for a transatlantic free trade deal to be sealed this year, and factor in the setback of Brexit, as the UK is one of the United States’ biggest export markets.

      The two sides are trying to agree on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which supporters say could boost each economy by some €90 billion at a time when growth in China and emerging markets is slowing.

    • Turkey Exchange-Traded Fund Drops Amid Military Uprising

      This chart puts Friday’s plunge of the Turkish lira, amid a possible military coup, into historical perspective. It’s the biggest one-day move since the financial crisis in 2008.

    • Austerity Neoliberalism: a new discursive formation

      Austerity does not necessarily have to be neoliberal and neoliberalism does not have any necessary connection to austerity. But taken together they represent a toxic combination, one that attacks us body and soul.

    • In Finance, Even Business as Usual Comes at Too High a Price

      A healthy financial system is crucial to a stable and productive market economy. But after decades of deregulation, the US financial system has turned into a highly speculative system that has failed spectacularly at doing its job. My new report, “Overcharged: The High Cost of High Finance,” written with Juan Montecino and published by the Roosevelt Institute, describes in detail the massive costs of this failed financial system.

      The evidence of overcharging is all around us. The most obvious, of course, is the catastrophic financial crisis of 2007-2008 that wiped away $16 trillion — 24 percent of household net wealth, led to more than 5.5 million home foreclosures, and caused skyrocketing, hope-crushing unemployment rates. When the government picked up the pieces and committed more than $20 trillion of taxpayers’ money to bail out the largest financial institutions, millions of Americans were left high and dry, angry and frustrated.

    • Uber Hired a CIA-linked Intelligence Firm to Secretly Investigate Legal Opponents

      In December 2015, Andrew Schmidt filed a lawsuit against Uber, alleging that the the ride-sharing company was in violation of anti-trust laws as a result of its surge pricing policies. The lawsuit specifically named Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

      Shortly after the suit was filed, many of Schmidt’s associates began receiving phone calls inquiring about Schmidt’s personal life. It turns out that these calls were made by a third-party investigator hired by Uber to obtain information about Schmidt and his client, Spencer Meyer.

      That company is an intelligence firm called Ergo, which was founded in 2006 by R.P. Eddy, the former director of counterterrorism at the White House National Security Council.

    • Are tourists being caught out by Sweden’s old bank notes?

      June 30th was the last day on which Sweden’s old 20, 50 and 1,000 kronor notes could be used after the country’s central bank (Riksbanken) decided to phase them out. One reason for the withdrawal is the need to add modern protection against counterfeiting.

      But The Local has been told that exchange services in foreign countries may still be handing out the old notes to their customers.

      “I have had friends visiting this month from Ukraine, Mexico and Croatia. All had exchanged their notes in their home country, but when they got here those notes weren’t valid anymore,” J Graigory, an American living in Stockholm explained.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ignorance and indifference: Delving deep into the Clinton e-mail saga

      Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency, is facing a massive backlash after an FBI investigation found her to have been “extremely careless” in the handling of classified information. The scandal surrounding her use of a private e-mail server has only grown since the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue criminal charges. Polls show that a majority of Americans believe she should have been indicted, and more recent polls place Clinton in a dead heat with the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton led by a significant margin just weeks ago.

    • Time for Nicola to Pick a Fight

      It is time for straight talking. Philip Hammond stated the plain truth when he said that Scotland could not have a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK. It is true as a simple technical truth, as I explained. If the UK leaves the EU, the only way for Scotland to remain a member is Independence. Frankly anybody who understands the first thing about the subject knows that and it is actually helpful for Hammond to explain it. I have no doubt that May gave Sturgeon the same message today. By proclaiming commitment to Unionism in the first sentence of her first speech in Number 10, and then immediately coming to Edinburgh, May could not have made her position clearer. Further there is no doubt that Hammond would have cleared his unequivocal statement with May before he made it.

    • Could Donald Trump Block Hillary Clinton’s Campaign From Visiting His Website Via The CFAA?

      In the past few weeks, we’ve written about two troubling rulings in the 9th Circuit appeals court concerning the CFAA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. That law, that was literally written in response to Ronald Reagan being freaked out by the (fictional) movie War Games, was designed to go after hackers and make computer hacking into other people’s computers a crime. The law is woefully outdated and unfortunately vague, with terms like “unauthroized access” and “exceeds authorized access.” For years, many of us have been pushing for Congress to reform the law to make it not quite so broad, because in its current setup it’s the law the DOJ relies on when all else fails. That’s why the DOJ loves it. If you did something it doesn’t like on a computer, it’ll try to use the CFAA against you.

    • Anti-Women, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ Crusader: Trump Finds ‘Perfect Match’ in Pence for VP

      “Look, I don’t know that [climate change] is a resolved issue in science today.”—Gov. Mike Pence, 2014

    • 11 Scary Things You Need To Know About Trump’s VP, Mike Pence

      A lot of people anticipated that Donald Trump would choose a running mate that could help him balance out the ticket, but that does not appear to be the case. Though he won’t officially announce his VP pick until Friday, multiple sources have confirmed that the presumptive Republican nominee will select Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

      Choosing Pence is pretty much Trump’s way of doubling down on the intolerance and far-right ideology that has characterized his campaign thus far.

    • What Readers Need to Know about Noam Chomsky’s Position on Lesser-Evil Voting

      For starters, Chomsky has long held that the US political system has intentionally offered weak candidates close in ideology, while presenting the illusion of choice, and both wings are dedicated to the business class and business run society. This is why, Chomsky states, we have an extraordinarily violent labor history.

      I also think the premise that Chomsky advocates less than evil voting is incorrect. Chomsky, in select circumstances does not advocate less than evil voting, he simply suggests, but never insists, on strategic voting. Simply put, Chomsky holds that if you live in a state that is safe for Democrats, you have the options of: voting for the Green Party, not voting, but most importantly perhaps, carrying on with democratic action and organizing, which Chomsky holds to be the more significant part of the political process. The process is entirely independent of voting and since voting should occupy about five minutes of our time, we need to keep up the important work.

    • Centrists must embrace anti-elitism or face extinction.

      Instead of aping chauvinism, centrists must respond imaginatively to the anti-political sentiment behind Brexit and the rise of far right parties.

    • The RNC Desperately Needs $6 Million Because Dozens Of Companies Have Withdrawn Donations

      The host committee is asking Sheldon Adelson to make up the deficit.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Dutchman jailed for 30 days for ‘insulting’ the king

      A court in the Netherlands has sentenced a man to 30 days in jail for insulting the king on Facebook.

      The 44-year-old Dutchman “intentionally insulted” King Willem-Alexander, accusing him of being a murderer, thief and rapist, the Dutch judiciary said.

      He was convicted of breaking seldom-used royal defamation laws.

      A Dutch political party has proposed scrapping the laws and the king has pledged to accept the outcome of any debate on the issue.

    • Turkey: Journalists’ association presents award to press freedom groups

      Index on Censorship is delighted to be one of the nine groups honoured by the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) with this year’s Press Freedom Prize.

      TGC announced on Wednesday that it was awarding a coalition of international press freedom organisations with the award “for the unique solidarity unparalleled in the past, it showed against the assaults on press freedom in Turkey, for its efforts to bring to international platforms the violation of rights and for instilling in their Turkish colleagues the feeling that they are not alone.”

    • Turkey: Charges against five journalists must be dropped

      Charges of acquiring and divulging state secrets, membership of, and administration of a terrorist organisation brought against five journalists, including four former members of Taraf newspaper’s editorial and investigative staff, must be dropped and one of the accused, Mehmet Baransu, must be released immediately and unconditionally, PEN International, English PEN, German PEN, Swedish PEN, PEN America, ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the Ethical Journalism Network, IFEX, Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists, Global Editors Network and Reporters Without Borders said in a joint statement today.

      ‘These charges are a clear infringement of the right to free expression and a free press in Turkey and must be dropped, and Baransu released. It’s yet another example of abuses by the Turkish authorities of the problematic Anti-Terror law to silence investigative journalists. The law must be reformed without delay,‘ said Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International.

    • Gordon Campbell on the censorship in South Africa

      Clearly, New Zealand is in no position to criticise the performance of any other country’s state broadcaster. (On Tuesday night, state broadcaster TV ONE lead its 6 o’clock news bulletin with a long report on the Pokemon Go game. Go figure. ) Even so, South Africa’s state broadcaster is in a real mess.

    • South African bishops call for an end to media censorship crisis

      South Africa’s bishops have called on the country’s parliament to intervene in a censorship crisis regarding the reporting of violent protests ahead of elections next month.

    • #SABC: R2K Campaign takes anti-censorship protest to Luthuli House

      The Right2Know Campaign has taken its protest against censorship at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to Luthuli House where members are handing over a memorandum calling for the removal of COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

    • ANC needs to stop the rot at SABC: R2K

      Civil right groups the Right2Know campaign and SOS Coalition on Friday afternoon held a protest outside the African National Congress’s (ANC) headquarters Luthuli House demanding that the party take direct action about the alleged censorship at the SABC.

      This comes after the SABC’s (South African Broadcasting Corporation) editorial decision to not air images of destructive protests as the broadcaster believes they perpetuate violence in communities.

    • Right2Know, ANC meet at Luthuli House

      The Right2Know (R2K) campaign on Friday vowed to continue protesting until SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng left the broadcaster.

      The organisation met African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe at Luthuli House in Johannesburg during a picket against what it said was the political capture of the SABC.

    • ‘You’ve got two choices: the door or the window’ – Jimi Matthews to SABC staff

      Former SABC acting chief executive officer Jimi Matthews told eight reporters they could choose “the door or the window” if they disagreed with the broadcaster’s new policies, according to court papers.

      The journalists, dubbed the “SABC 8″, filed an urgent application on Friday seeking direct access to the Constitutional Court. They want the SABC’s recent policies declared “unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid”, and the disciplinary charges against them dropped.

    • ‘SABC ruled by a culture of fear and silence’

      The SABC ban on footage of violent protests and crackdown on journalists who questioned it has resulted in a “culture of fear and silence” in the newsroom that effectively prevents the public broadcaster from reporting accurately …

    • Suspended SABC journalists turn to Concourt
    • SABC 8 approach Constitutional Court
    • ‘Our positions are simply intolerable’ – SABC journalists to ConCourt
    • SABC journalists approach Constitutional Court
    • Suspended SABC journalists take their fight to the Constitutional Court
    • Suspended SABC journalists stick to their guns about censorship claims
    • SABC journalists launch ConCourt challenge
    • R2K Campaign vows to continue anti-censorship protests
    • R2K Campaign vows to continue anti-censorship protests
    • ‘SABC shenanigans putting SA to shame’

      The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) says the shenanigans at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are putting the whole nation to shame, and especially the black majority.

    • Newt Gingrich: Merely Visiting An ISIS Or Al Qaeda Website Should Be A Felony [Ed: Big Brother wants not only thought control by self-censorship but also criminalisation of reading through mass surveillance]

      Either way, this is idiotic. Merely visiting a website should put you in jail? What if you’re a journalist? Or a politician? Or a researcher trying to understand ISIS? That should be a felony? That’s not how it works. This also assumes, idiotically, that merely reading a website about ISIS will make people side with ISIS. It’s also not, at all, how the law works. Same with the second part about it being a felony to host such content. We’re already seeing lawsuits against social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for hosting accounts from ISIS, and many are voluntarily taking down lots of those accounts. But making it a felony to keep them up? That’s also not how the law works.

    • Turkey Throttled Social Media During Coup In ‘Evolution’ of Internet Censorship

      A coup by “factions” of the Turkish military is underway, and social media sites including Facebook and Twitter are being slowed to a crawl inside the country, according to Dyn Research, a company that tracks the state of the global internet. YouTube is also reportedly down in Turkey, although Dyn could not confirm this.

      An hour after Dyn Research confirmed the throttling, the company confirmed that the throttle was apparently turned off.

      The latest block represents an “evolution” in how Turkey censors its internet, according to Doug Madory, of Dyn Research. While the government previously blocked access to sites at the Domain Name System (DNS) level, users could easily circumvent the blocks by using another DNS service. By throttling traffic to social media sites instead of blocking them wholesale, the effect is the same but much more difficult to get around or even detect, Madory said.

    • As Erdogan Faces Turkish Coup, The Guy Who Once Banned Social Media Sites, Forced To Address Nation Via Facetime & Twitter

      We’ve written a fair amount about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Lately, it’s mostly been about his ridiculously thin skin over insults, and his willingness to take his hurt feelings international. But, even prior to that, he had a history of irrational hating on social media. Back when he was Prime Minister, he tried to blame Twitter for social unrest, even going so far as to order it banned in the country. And, when that failed, he actually sued his own government over the failure to block content on Twitter that he disliked.

      Now, as you hopefully know from news sources other than Techdirt, as I write this, it appears that there’s a military coup going on in Turkey, trying to usurp Erdogan. As part of that effort, all those social media sites that Erdogan himself does not like, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being blocked. For Erdogan himself, that’s meant that he’s been cut off from his own means of communication to the public, leaving him to use Apple’s Facetime to call a local TV station to put him on the air…

    • New Doc Reveals the Tyranny of Political Correctness and Censorship Culture at Brown
    • College Students Don’t Want to Learn: They Want to Teach You About Identity Politics
    • Artist Frank Cho Leaves DC Comics, Attacks Censorship Of Wonder Woman Covers
    • Cover artist Frank Cho leaves Wonder Woman, accuses writer Greg Rucka of censorship
    • Frank Cho Leaves “Wonder Woman”; Blames Greg Rucka’s ‘Political Agenda’
    • Sorry, there’s no more porn with your Starbucks latte

      Starbucks said Friday it would soon add porn-blocking filters to its public, in-store Wi-Fi. The move follows McDonald’s, which disclosed this week that it had blocked the hamburger-eating public from accessing Wi-Fi-enabled porn at its restaurants.

      “Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores,” Starbucks said in a statement. “In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi.”

      The group Enough is Enough and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation have been putting pressure on companies that provide free Wi-Fi to the public to block porn sites.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mandatory registration of prepaid cards in Poland

      Mandatory registration of prepaid cards is approaching inexorably in Poland. The need to register a SIM is an implication of the anti-terror law which has just been signed by the Polish President. This means, of course, the end of anonymous SIM cards – all of them will now have to be assigned to a specific customer. When buying such a card revealing personal details, including PESEL number, will be required. Importantly, cards for minors will have to be bought by their parents. Users who have already purchased a prepaid card must report and assign them with the personal information. Cards that are not registered till 1st February 2017 will be deactivated. Such a law is in use in other European markets, e.g. in France, Germany, Spain or Turkey and in the CEE region in Bulgaria, Hungary or Slovakia, which means Poland is not any exception. More detailed information on the registration of SIM cards in Poland is expected to be released on the 25th of July this year.

    • Digital Self-Defense for Journalists: An Introduction

      Digital self-defense is becoming an important part of the journalistic toolkit. Beyond risks to everyone’s digital lives—webcam hacking, email breaches, identity theft—people who work in newsrooms have even more at stake. Newsrooms are some of the biggest targets in the world for state-sponsored digital attacks, as well as more routine threats.

      But security is not about locking everything down. It can feel overwhelming if everything is under threat. Instead it’s about making it harder to access information that is especially important to secure. There is no such thing as “perfect security.” Instead, it’s more about building stronger roadblocks, and making it harder for others to access our data without consent.

    • The Chinese surveillance company safeguarding Australian democracy

      The ballots from the 2016 Australian election are being secured by a company owned by one of China’s most important security firms, with links deep inside the communist state’s vast surveillance system.

      In 2014, the Australian Electoral Commission hired the company SecureMonitoring to provide “Security Alarm System Monitoring for AEC Warehouses and National Office”, for $360,000 over three years.

      The security of AEC warehouses — where millions of ballot papers are stored — as well as the transport of ballot papers to them was the subject of strongly critical review both by former AFP commissioner Mick Keelty in his review of lost Western Australian Senate ballot papers in the 2013 election and the Australian National Audit Office. The AEC had decided to outsource all of its logistics and storage operations on the basis that the private sector wouldn’t do it as badly as they themselves had done it.

    • UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

      During a committee stage debate in the UK’s House of Lords yesterday, the government revealed that the Investigatory Powers Bill will provide any Secretary of State with the ability to force communication service providers (CSPs) to remove or disable end-to-end encryption.

      Earl Howe, a minister of state for defence and deputy leader in the House of Lords, gave the first explicit admission that the new legislation would provide the British government with the ability to force CSPs to “develop and maintain a technical capability to remove encryption that has been applied to communications or data.”

      This power, if applied, would be imposed upon domestic CSPs by the new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, who was formerly the secretary of state for energy and climate change. Rudd is now only the fifth woman to hold one of the great offices of state in the UK. As she was only appointed on Wednesday evening, she has yet to offer her thoughts on the matter.

    • US Cyber Command readies for first troop deployment [Ed: NSA chief speaks as though he wants war and prepares troops for digital invasion. Having engaged in mass harvesting of passwords (sysadmins are the “target”), this empire now wages digital war. Given the history of the NSA's cracking at lots of friendly nations, these claims of cyberattack as “threat” are similar to police with “stop resisting”.]

      The demand for a cybersecurity component that can be deployed to protect U.S. military infrastructure and combat forces is so strong that Cyber Command will begin deploying its cyber troops even before the complete force is trained and staffed.

      Admiral Michael Rogers, director of the NSA and Cyber Command, said that even though the full complement of 6,200 troops broken in 133 teams has not yet been met, the need for these forces in the field requires that he send in what cyber soldiers he has that are fully trained to meet the threat, according to an NPR report.

    • Software Could Turn Cyberattacks Around, NSA’s Rogers Says

      The National Security Agency is working on possibly developing software to respond to digital acts of war, NSA Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers said this week at MeriTalk’s Federal Forum in Washington, D.C.

    • NSA Boss Says U.S. Cyber Troops Are Nearly Ready
    • US Cyber Mission Force Nearly Ready for Action [Ed: offensively targeting nations]
    • Rogers: National Security Agency Becoming ‘FEMA of the Cyber World’

      Following major cybersecurity breaches nationwide, the National Security Agency is increasingly being called upon to advise both government offices and the private sector, said the head of the United States’ spy agency.

    • NSA wants to hire people that plan to leave for Silicon Valley [Ed: NSA and Silicon Valley: revolving doors?]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Step Up Arrests For ‘Threatening’ Social Media Posts In The Wake Of The Dallas Shooting

      Arresting people for speech is problematic, especially when the content of the communications doesn’t rise to the level of a “true threat.” The Supreme Court’s Elonis decision says this distinction is important. It’s not enough for a person or persons to subjectively view the communication as threatening. It needs to be viewed through the “reasonable person” lens.

      In these cases, perception appears to be everything. In the wake of the Dallas shooting, it’s entirely normal for police officers to view the world a little differently. But this altered view — one that’s likely to be less skewed as time goes on — can’t be allowed to override the First Amendment and deprive individuals of their freedom to speak, not to mention their actual freedom.

      And just as certainly as law enforcement officers and officials are likely to view certain acts of blowhardiness as threatening in the immediate aftermath of a shooting targeting police officers, certain citizens are likely to vent their frustration and anger in particularly stupid ways, but without the intention or ability to carry out the perceived threat. Caution should be exercised on both sides of the interaction. However, those with the power to arrest, detain, and charge citizens for stupidity should be the more cautious of the two parties — simply because they still hold the power, despite recent events.

      Those in power should also take care to carry this out with some sort of consistency, if that’s the route they’re choosing to take. It can’t just be deployed against a bunch of nobodies who mouthed off about their contempt for law enforcement. If this is how it’s going to be handled, those who speak with the same rhetoric in defense of law enforcement need to be held accountable. Former congressional rep Joe Walsh tweeted out that this was now “war on Obama” after the Dallas shootings and yet no one showed up at his door to arrest him for threatening the President. It’s bad enough that power is being misused to silence criticism of law enforcement violence. It’s even worse when this power is deployed in a hypocritical fashion.

    • Federal Revenge Porn Bill Not As Bad As It Could Have Been, Still Probably Unconstitutional

      For the last two and half years or so, my Congressional Representative, Jackie Speier, has insisted that she was just about to introduce a federal law outlawing revenge porn. And then it wouldn’t come. There would be an article saying it was almost ready… and then nothing. Months would go by, another article would appear… and then nothing. Finally, on Thursday, Speier introduced the bill, insisting that the delay was in convincing Silicon Valley companies to sign on to it. Of course, that leaves out the fact that the reason many refused to sign on was because previous iterations of the bill were incredibly problematic and almost certainly unconstitutional. With two and half years to work on it, however, the finally introduced bill, called the Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016, or IPPA, is not nearly as bad as it could have been, nor as bad as some of the suggestions passed around by those who “consulted” on drafting the bill.

      But that doesn’t mean the bill isn’t unconstitutional.

      Let’s be clear: revenge porn is horrific. The creeps who put up revenge porn sites deserve to be shamed and mocked. The people who actually upload images to such sites or visit them are complete losers who need to get a life. But there are really important legal issues that come up when you try to outlaw such things, starting with the First Amendment. Yes, yes, as everyone will say, there are some exceptions to the First Amendment (though if you claim that shouting fire in a crowded theater is one of them, you’re going to be mocked as well). But the exceptions to the first First Amendment are very narrowly prescribed by the Supreme Court, and they’re much more narrow than most armchair lawyers believe. Looking over the list, it’s pretty difficult to see how revenge porn fits.

    • Ninth Circuit Panel Backs Away From Dangerous Password Sharing Decision—But Creates Even More Confusion About the CFAA

      Three judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have taken a step back from criminalizing password sharing, limiting the dangerous rationale of a decision issued by a panel of three different judges of the same court last week. That’s good, but the new decision leaves so many unanswered questions that it’s clear we need en banc review of both cases—i.e., by 11 judges, not just three—so the court can issue a clear and limited interpretation of the notoriously vague federal hacking statute at the heart of both cases, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Egypt standardizes sermons, tightening grip on mosques

      In a move to tighten state control over religious discourse, Egypt has launched a campaign to force Muslim clerics to read standardized government-written sermons at Friday prayers.

      Minister for Religious Endowments, Mokhtar Gomaa, gave the first-such scripted sermon Friday at Cairo’s Amr ibn al-As Mosque. Reading from a batch of notecards, Gomaa recited a sermon against corruption titled, “Bad money is a lethal poison.”

      “Our prophet has condemned the person who gives a bribe, who receives a bribe, and mediates between the two,” he said. The same sermon had been posted several days earlier on the ministry’s official website.

    • The Turkish Coup Is Live on Facebook [iophk: "for only as many seconds as FB allows it. These are not like the Usenet days"]
    • Turkey military coup: Erdoğan says ‘we will overcome this’ – live updates
    • Alex Vitale on Overpolicing, Cristina Jiménez on Immigration Ruling

      This week on CounterSpin: As the country reels from police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and a sniper’s killing of Dallas police officers, media insist there is “nationwide soul-searching” going on on the problem of racist police brutality.

    • The Great Republican Crack-up

      The disruption that the nomination of Trump represents for the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan has been cast as a freakish anomaly, the equivalent of the earthquakes that hit the other side of Ohio in recent years. But just as those earthquakes had a likely explanation — gas and oil fracking in the Utica Shale — so can the crackup of the Republican Party and rise of Trump be traced back to what the geologists call the local site conditions.

      It’s no secret the country has sorted itself into ever-more polarized camps. What is underappreciated is how much that dynamic has played out even within regions, even within a single relatively small metropolitan area like Dayton. The city along the Great Miami River, an hour north of Cincinnati, was once a bastion of moderation and heterodoxy, the sort of place where the spectrum was jumbled with conservative Democrats, liberal Republicans and everything in between. But a combination of trends — among them suburban flight, deindustrialization, the flip of the Solid South to Republicans — changed everything.

    • GOP Lawmaker Pushes For Deporting Everyone On The Terror Watch List

      One day after the horrific terror attack on civilians in Nice, France, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) took to Twitter to call on President Obama to “immediately deport” immigrants on terror watch lists.

      In a series of tweets, Duncan proposed that the president “halt the Syrian refugee resettlement program” and “immediately deport any non-citizens listed on a terror-watch list.” He later added that immigrants would be given a deportation hearing, “thus protecting due process.”

      Duncan also suggested that the United States should be “careful” with “who we’re granting citizenship to and which countries we allow immigration from,” calling for a closer scrutiny of the visa waiver program with the European Union, which allows visa-free travel between United States and European Union residents.

    • Obama blasts Gingrich’s Muslim test as ‘repugnant’

      President Obama on Friday slammed a proposal by Newt Gingrich to “test” American Muslims and deport those who follow Shariah.

      “The very suggestion is repugnant and an affront to everything we stand for as Americans,” Obama said at a reception with diplomats at the White House.

    • Race War Fraud

      Right after police officers were shot in Dallas on July 7th, so many people were trying to explain to me why racism is not the problem. I’ve heard someone proclaim “but Obama is black”. I was surprised to hear someone insisting that “all lives matter” instead of just black lives. I heard people screaming “all violence must stop”. I certainly didn’t hear such an urgent call until the Dallas sniper shooting. And a seemingly constructive argument on racism was met with “don’t be divisive”. And so on and on.

    • Barack Obama Helped Us Peer Into the Racial Divide

      President Obama gave a majestic speech in Dallas, one of the best of his presidency, at once a soaring tribute to slain police officers and an affirmation of peaceful protest. But he was wrong about one thing: On race, sadly, we are as divided as we seem.

      This condition is not due to anything Obama has said or done. He bends so far backward to avoid giving offense, even to those who richly deserve offending, that he must need regular sessions with a chiropractor. The racial divide, which has its roots in lingering claims of white supremacy, has been there all along. It was mostly silent and unacknowledged until the very fact of the Obama presidency cast it in stark and unforgiving light.

      So I am not surprised at recent polls showing that Americans believe race relations are worsening. It is as if a dark corner has been illuminated to reveal the mess that was swept there long ago and willfully ignored.

      I have long believed that the most revolutionary act the first African-American president could ever perform is to go about his official duties for all the world to see. A black man stands to deliver the State of the Union address. A black man toasts foreign leaders at glittering White House dinners. A black family crosses the South Lawn to board the Marine One helicopter and be lifted into the sky.

    • “Follow the Directions of Law Enforcement”

      As of this writing, several hundred people have been arrested in protests against the latest police murders of innocent black men. Increased resistance to state crimes will bring increased repression; this is yet another model used by Israel that the U.S. follows.

      Where will it end? At what point in the future will young black men be able to wear hoodies without the police seeing them as instant targets? When will black men of any age be able to drive their cars through any city street, or stroll along any city boulevard, without fearing for their lives? This writer is not optimistic that it will be any time soon.

    • Filmers of Alton Sterling, Eric Garner killings say police have harassed and detained them

      Hundreds of protesters have been arrested throughout the U.S. in the past week, in demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.

      The videos of the brutal police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota have reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement.

      But the bystanders who filmed and distributed the videos of the shooting of Alton Sterling say they have been detained and harassed by police for exposing the incident to the world.

      Moreover, the man who filmed the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black father who died after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD officer two years ago this week, is heading to prison for four years on unrelated charges, after he says he has endured constant police harassment.

      This bystander who recorded the viral video of Garner’s death is the only one connected to the incident who is being locked up; none of the officers involved have faced jail time. While the city’s medical examiner determined Garner’s death to be a homicide, the Staten Island district attorney declined to press charges.

    • There are two prongs in the ongoing attack on liberty and freedoms of opinion, assembly, and expression

      There are two parallel prongs being executed right now to crack down on liberty in an unprecedented fashion: freedoms of assembly, of expression, of speech, and liberty overall. To realize the importance of what’s happening, we need to see both of these prongs.

      The first prong is to introduce wide-ranging exceptions to liberty to “extremist” or “terrorist” anything. If you’re an extremist, you have no rights at all. We’re basically at that point already.

      The second prong is to gradually expand the definition of these public-appeasing rights-eliminating keywords until they include anything and anybody the government doesn’t like. We’re basically at that point already, too.

      Let’s look closer at these one by one:

      The first prong is making exceptions to universal liberty when certain keywords are present. There’s no shortage of “terrorist laws” in the world. Basically none of them make terrorism a worse crime (preparing to cause widespread devastation is already a serious crime in most or all countries); instead, they remove rights to due process for people suspected of such crimes, and frankly, for people in general.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Let’s keep the Internet equal and open for all

      Telecoms providers have not shied away from even the most shady tactics to further their agenda. They even published a “5G Manifesto” that can only be described as blackmail: They threaten not to invest in 5G networks unless net neutrality rules are weakened.

      Instead of rejecting these attempts at blackmail, Commissioner Günther Oettinger is praising the manifesto as “vital support from industry for the EU 5G action plan”.

      The relation between net neutrality and investment in infrastructure is in fact the polar opposite. Premium services with priority lanes and slower speeds for others will not lead to infrastructure improvement – equal access will. Net neutrality creates an incentive for investment in faster broadband connections by denying telecoms the ability to make money from a scarcity of bandwidth.

    • How the internet was invented

      “It had to be future-proof,” Cerf tells me. You couldn’t write the protocol for one point in time, because it would soon become obsolete. The military would keep innovating. They would keep building new networks and new technologies. The protocol had to keep pace: it had to work across “an arbitrarily large number of distinct and potentially non-interoperable packet switched networks,” Cerf says – including ones that hadn’t been invented yet. This feature would make the system not only future-proof, but potentially infinite. If the rules were robust enough, the “ensemble of networks” could grow indefinitely, assimilating any and all digital forms into its sprawling multithreaded mesh.

      Eventually, these rules became the lingua franca of the internet. But first, they needed to be implemented and tweaked and tested – over and over and over again. There was nothing inevitable about the internet getting built. It seemed like a ludicrous idea to many, even among those who were building it. The scale, the ambition – the internet was a skyscraper and nobody had ever seen anything more than a few stories tall. Even with a firehose of cold war military cash behind it, the internet looked like a long shot.

    • Comcast expands $10 low-income Internet plan

      Comcast’s Internet Essentials program that provides $10-per-month Internet service to low-income families has been expanded to make about 1.3 million additional households eligible.

      Comcast created Internet Essentials in order to secure approval of its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011 and has decided to continue it indefinitely even though the requirement expired in 2014. Comcast says the 10Mbps plan has connected more than 600,000 low-income families since 2011, for a total of 2.4 million adults and children, and provided 47,000 subsidized computers for less than $150 each.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Nintendo Cracks Down on Pokémon Go ‘Piracy’

        Millions of people around the world are totally caught up in the Pokémon Go craze. Interestingly, many of these are playing “pirated” copies of the game. Nintendo is now trying to address this issue by sending takedown requests, hoping to make at least make some pirate sources harder to find. It will be hard to catch ‘em all.

      • Nintendo Cracking Down On Pokemon Go ‘Pirates’ Despite The Game Being Free

        In these past few weeks, the world has become divided into two camps: those who are sick of hearing anything about Nintendo’s new smash mobile hit, Pokemon Go, and those who can’t get enough of it. While the media tags along for the ride and with the app shooting up the charts as the craze takes hold, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is Pokemon and Nintendo we’re talking about, two connected groups with a crazy history of savagely protecting anything to do with their intellectual property.

      • NBC’s ‘Most Live Olympics Ever’ Will Have A One Hour Broadcast Delay For The Opening Ceremony

        It’s Olympics season again. What is normally an expose of how the IOC and the USOC become the biggest IP bullies on the block has had a little spice added to it this year in the form of a host country that by all reports is woefully unprepared for its duties while simultaneously being rocked by a pest-spread disease with the delightful symptom of shrinking the brains of fetuses. And if that doesn’t make you believe that some combination of a god and/or the universe wants the Olympics to cease to be, perhaps the fact that the whole fiasco will be broadcast by NBC will.

        Yes, running in parallel with our posts about IOC bullying, you will find a history of posts about NBC’s strange attempts to turn back the clock on its broadcast of the games. Historically, this has meant limiting the live streaming of most of the events, making it as difficult to find and watch any event as possible, and delaying all kinds of event broadcasts until NBC deems that the public wants to watch them. But have heart, dear friends, for the NBC overlords have listened and have declared that these Rio Olympics will be the “most live Olympics ever.”

      • Torrent pirates beware: NBC has a patent and it’s coming after you
      • Broadcaster NBC patents torrent-tracking technology
      • Bill Introduced To Create Copyright Small Claims Court… Which Copyright Trolls Are Going To Love

        For a while now, some in the copyright community have been pushing for a copyright “small claims court” as an alternative to filing a federal lawsuit over copyright law. It’s true that, especially for small copyright holders, the cost of filing a lawsuit may appear to be rather prohibitive. But it’s not clear that a small claims court is the answer. A few years ago, we wrote about some potential concerns with such an approach, but have also admitted that if set up right, it could have some advantages. But that requires it be set up right.

        Unfortunately, a new bill has been introduced, by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, along with Rep. Tom Marino, to officially set up such a system — and it’s done in a way that looks like it will not be well-designed, and instead will lead to a massive rush of small claims, especially by copyright trolls. The bill is called the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2016, or CASE Act, and… it’s got problems.

        The “good” news, if you can call it that, is that claims that would go before this appointed tribunal, made up of copyright lawyers recommended by the Register of Copyrights and appointed by the Librarian of Congress, would have much lower statutory damages availability than the federal courts. A copyright claim in a federal court has statutory damages up to $150k, for willful infringement. In the small claims system, the maximum statutory damages would be $15k. But, really, that’s just half of today’s official statutory damages — because if there’s no willful infringement, the Copyright Act puts a cap at $30k. In the small claims world, there’s no option to claim willful infringement.

      • Why Is The UK’s Intellectual Property Office Praising National Portrait Gallery’s Copyfraud Claims Over Public Domain Images?

        That’s a tweet from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) asking how does the UK’s National Portrait Gallery in London “manage the copyright of national treasures like Shakespeare?” My initial response, of course, was “Wait, Shakespeare is in the bloody public domain, you don’t have any copyright to manage!” It seems rather easy to manage “the copyright” of Shakespeare when there is none. But it turns out the link is… even worse. It’s to a blog post on the IPO website eagerly praising the National Portrait Gallery for engaging in out-and-out copyright fraud. You’d think that the Intellectual Property Office would recognize this, but it does not.

      • Treaty For The Blind Comes Into Force… But US Refuses To Ratify Because Publishers Association Hates Any User Rights

        For many, many, many, many years, we’ve followed the rather crazy trials and tribulations of trying to get an international treaty signed to make it easier for the blind to access copyright-covered works (basically requiring countries to allow visually-impaired accessible versions to be reproduced and distributed). This is a treaty that people have tried to get in place for years and years and years, and it was blocked again and again — often by legacy copyright industries who flat out refuse to support any kind of agreement that could be seen as strengthening user rights, which they see (ridiculously, and incorrectly) as chipping away at copyright. Amazingly, despite a last minute push by the MPAA and the Association of American Publishers, an agreement was reached and signed in 2013, called the Marrakesh Agreement. As we noted at the time, we fully expected the legacy copyright industries to refocus their efforts on blocking ratification in the US, and that’s exactly what’s happened.


Links 15/7/2016: GIMP 2.8.18, EIF v. 3, Pyston 0.5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AT&T Hopes Open Source SDN Platform Will Become ‘Industry Standard’

    AT&T said it will open source the homegrown software platform powering its software-centric network that leverages software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) in the hope it will mature the fledgling technologies and become an industry standard.

  • AT&T Open Sourcing Its SDN Management Platform

    Officials with the carrier say they are releasing the ECOMP technology to the open-source community via the Linux Foundation.

    AT&T officials are following through on a promise to release the management and automation platform for the company’s software-centric network initiative to the open-source community.

  • Building an open source eVoting system: The vVote experience [Ed: watch out for Microsoft]

    There has been a lot of interest suddenly in electronic voting, so I thought I would give some insight into what’s holding it back. Between 2012 and 2014, I became intimately involved in electronic voting when I joined the Victorian Electoral Commission to build the world’s first Verifiable Voting system, shortened to ‘vVote’. This gave me insight into the requirements of electronic voting to satisfy the modern needs of democracy.

  • The first open source hypervisor for the Internet of Things is unveiled

    The prpl Foundation is set to debut its prplHypervisor – an open source hypervisor developed to secure embedded devices in the IoT via separation – at the IoT Evolution Expo in Las Vegas. The foundation, in its security guidelines, holds that the use of separation in security can play an important role in resolving the fatal security flaws that negatively impact the IoT.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • GIMP 2.8.18 Released, Mint 18 Upgrade, Leap 42.2 Tidbits

      After yesterday’s 2.9.4 release, Wilbur today announced GIMP 2.8.18. This stable release addresses security and other bugs since 2.8.16. In other news the Mint project announced their 17.3 to 18 upgrade procedure and Douglas DeMaio reported on the latest changes to Tumbleweed.

    • GIMP 2.8.18 Released

      We are releasing GIMP 2.8.18 to fix a vulnerability in the XCF loading code (CVE-2016-4994). With special XCF files, GIMP can be caused to crash, and possibly be made to execute arbitrary code provided by the attacker.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EIF v. 3: the EU hampers its own goal to promote better interoperability with harmful licensing terms

      The FSFE provided the European Commission with our input in regard to the ongoing revision of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF). The EIF aims to promote enhanced interoperability in the EU public sector, and is currently going through its third revision since 2004. Whilst the draft version gives preference to Open Standards in delivering public services, it also promotes harmful FRAND (so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory”) licensing terms for standards. In practice, these are highly anti-competitive and unfit not only for Free Software but for the whole software sector in general. In addition, the draft also ignores the proven relationship between interoperability and Free Software: many national frameworks explicitly require their national services to be based on Free Software. We asked the European Commission to address these and other shortcomings and ensure interoperability in an efficient way.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • What do we mean when we talk about open music?

      The About link indicates that the site operates under the UK copyright law, which apparently sees copyright in the work extinguished 70 years after the death of the author and in a sound recording 50 years after the performance.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • New journal HardwareX to promote open source hardware for science

        The real power of the X-Men, a team of fictional comic book superheroes, is the ability to work together and share their different skills to meet a mutual goal. Open source veterans know this approach works well in the real world of technology development, and now it is becoming mainstream in the sciences.

        There is already a huge collection of open source scientific software tools, and now there are even dozens of open source hardware tools for science (if any are missing from the wiki, please click edit and add them). In the past, open scientific hardware projects were buried in the specialty literature, and although the mechanisms of an apparatus were normally discussed, the documentation fell well short of what OSHWA has defined as open hardware.

  • Programming/Development

    • Pyston 0.5.1 released

      We are excited to announce the v0.5.1 release of Pyston, our high performance Python JIT.

    • Pyston 0.5.1 Is Making Python Code Even Faster

      In addition to Dropbox announcing the Lepton image compression algorithm, their Pyston team has announced the v0.5.1 release and it provides more performance improvements for this Python JIT.

    • New Relic Adds Application Performance Monitoring Support for Go Open Source

      New Relic has announced that it has added support for the Go programming language (Golang) to its SaaS-based application performance monitoring platform. With the addition of Go New Relic adds to the six other programming languages it supports including Java, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Ruby for polyglot application performance monitoring (APM) for cloud and microservices architectures.

    • Rogue Wave Software’s Zend Server

      The CTO at Rogue Wave Software, Zeev Suraski, says he’s never seen anything like PHP 7 in the software space—namely the halving of hardware needs after a mostly painless software upgrade. Organizations salivating to leverage this massive performance gain would be wise to investigate Zend Server 9, an application server that builds on the benefits of PHP 7, both on-premises and in the cloud.

    • Who wrote Hello world

      The comments make it clear that this is a commonplace – the sort of program that every programmer writes as a first test – the new computer works, the compiler / interpreter produces useful output and so on. It’ s the classic, canonical thing to do.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mike Pence, Cigarette Truther

      Over his political career Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) has consistently carried the tobacco industry’s water, denying the dangers of cigarettes, opposing government regulation, and slashing smoking cessation efforts. In return, they rewarded him with more than $100,000 in campaign donations.

      In 2000, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), then running for an open U.S. House seat, came out against a proposed settlement between government and the tobacco industry, calling it “big government.” In a shocking editorial, he wrote: “Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.” Pence acknowledged that smoking is not “good for you,” but claimed that two-thirds of smokers do not die from smoking related illness and “9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.” He warned of a slippery-slope in which government would soon seek to discourage fatty foods, caffeine, and SUVs.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Still Sabotaging the Iran-Nuke Agreement

      Despite this record of compliance, efforts to destroy the agreement continue. Those efforts demonstrate that most opposition to the agreement has not been motivated by the ostensible reasons, and most of the actual reasons are not ones that would be satisfied or negated no matter how well and how long Iran conforms with its obligations.

    • Donald Trump Ridiculed Iraq War Position Held By His VP Pick, Mike Pence

      During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has made the decision to go to war in Iraq a major foreign policy litmus test, concluding that Hillary Clinton was “trigger-happy” for supporting what he called a “disaster.” But his apparent vice presidential pick, Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence, was a major proponent of that conflict.

      Pence was a congressman then, and not only voted to authorize the Iraq war but was a co-sponsor of the war resolution.

      “There is a nation, some 50 nations, that stand ready to end [Iraqis’] oppression, to dry their tears, and to lead Iraq into a new dawn of civilization, a new dawn of freedom from oppression and torture and the abuse of women and the stifling of basic civil and human rights,” he told the House of Representatives on the eve of the war, offering a messianic justification for invading the country that today suffers more from terrorism than any other in the world.

    • ‘Monstrous’ Boris Johnson Named Foreign Secretary in Brexit Cabinet

      Former London Mayor Boris Johnson has been appointed as foreign secretary in the U.K.’s new post-Brexit government, headed by now-Prime Minister Theresa May.

      Johnson—whom some have likened to Donald Trump—ultimately supported the Leave campaign ahead of the U.K.’s referendum last month and compared the EU to Adolph Hitler in its attempt to unify Europe.


      German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier slammed Johnson’s conduct, saying that he had acted in a “monstrous” manner by deceiving voters before the referendum and ducking responsibility after the results came in.

    • Britain’s New Foreign Secretary Says British Colonialism In Africa Wasn’t So Bad

      Following the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, new PM Theresa May named her Cabinet Wednesday. One of the most notable names on the list was pro-Brexiter and former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was appointed Foreign Secretary.

      Critics of Johnson’s appointment have already pointed out his numerous gaffes and propensity for offending foreign leaders. Many media outlets published articles listing all the various countries that Johnson has offended during his reign as mayor.

      In April, Johnson said President Barack Obama might have an ancestral dislike of Britain. Johnson didn’t attribute this to Obama’s feelings over U.S. independence in 1776, but to his Kenyan heritage.

    • Admin. Stretches Definition of Congressional Approval for War in Lawsuit Over ISIL Campaign

      The Obama administration is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it, which alleges that the military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIL) is being illegally waged.

      In court filings this week, Department of Justice lawyers argued that the current war effort against ISIL—known as Operation Inherent Resolve—does not violate the War Powers Act. The 1973 law restricts the President’s powers to commit the US military to a sustained armed conflict for more than 60 days without Congressional approval.

      The legislature has yet to formally approve an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL, despite the fact that the administration has been carrying out regular airstrikes in Iraq and Syria for nearly two years, in a campaign that also includes special operations forces on the ground in both countries.

    • Of Cannibals: The Chilcot Report and Never-Ending War

      And so it goes that today, seven years later, the Chilcot Report is finally released. At the time I began writing this article I did not have access to the report as the Iraq Inquiry website states: “Inquiry’s report and supporting documents will go live once Sir John Chilcot has finished his public statement on 6 July.” But the prelude to this report was telling as the BBC had been laying the groundwork for the release of this report from the weekend prior highlighting the historical development of this report through various video clips and articles, publishing snippets of Sir John Chilcot stating the obvious: “Careful analysis [is] needed before war.” At the risk of sounding dismissive, why, exactly, was this person chosen to be the chairperson to the Iraq Inquiry? Chilcot, who served in the home office as Deputy Under-Secretary for the Police Department, permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office during the height of Irish troubles, various other civil service appointments in the home and cabinet offices, and private secretary to Roy Jenkins, Merlyn Rees, William Whitelaw, and head of the civil service William Armstrong, retired from civil service in 1997. Today Chilcot is the Chairman of Trustees for the independent think tank The Police Foundation which in recent years has focused upon the policing of young adults and crime reduction. One must wonder to what degree this report can be any more than a symbolic hand-slapping given the basic conflicts of interest that Chilcot represents.

    • Venezuela in Crisis: Too Much US intervention, Too Little Socialism

      Lisa Sullivan was worried: her neighbor was “up and waiting in line since 2 am, searching, unsuccessfully, to buy food for her large family.” The U. S. native living in Venezuela for decades is concerned too about Venezuela’s worsening economic and political crisis.

      Most Venezuelans have experienced major social gains courtesy of the Bolivarian Revolution, which according to its leader Hugo Chávez, president from 1999 until 2013, was a socialist revolution. Oil exports fueled these gains and currently low oil prices are shaking the foundations of Venezuela’s social democracy.

      Now as before U. S. intervention is on full display. The U. S. Senate in April passed a bill renewing economic sanctions against Venezuelan leaders originally imposed in 2014. The House of Representatives followed suit on July 6. President Obama will be signing the bill. In an executive order he declared Venezuela to be a threat to U. S. national security.

      The State Department on July 7 alerted U.S. travelers to “violent crime” in Venezuela and warned that “political rallies and demonstrations can occur with little notice.” Venezuela’s government denounced the “illegitimate sanctions” as “imperial pretensions.”

      The U.S. government backed an unsuccessful coup against the Chávez government in 2002 and since has distributed tens of millions of dollars to opposition groups. After three years, it still withholds recognition of Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s president. These actions speak of a U. S. goal of regime change.

      A document attributed to Admiral Kurt Tidd of the U.S. Southern Command and circulated in early 2016 testifies to a military component of U. S. plans. Citing the “the defeat in the [parliamentary] elections and internal decomposition of the populist regime,” the text refers to “the successful impact of our policies [against Venezuela] launched under phase one of this operation.”

    • One Year Later, Ordinary Iranians Aren’t Seeing The Benefits Of The Iran Deal

      Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that one year later, the Iran nuclear deal “has lived up to its expectations” and “made the world safer.”

      “As of today, one year later, the program that so many people said will not work, a program that people said is absolutely doomed to see cheating and be broken and will make the world more dangerous has, in fact, made the world safer, lived up to its expectations and thus far, produced an ability to be able to create a peaceful nuclear program with Iran living up to its part of this bargain and obligation,” Kerry said in Paris.

    • Illiberal tangos in central and eastern Europe

      Intransigent and often inscrutable, the far right – in its populist, radical, and extreme variants – clearly represents one of the most significant offshoots of post-war European politics. This phenomenon had already sparked the interest of observers with the first electoral exploits of the French Front National in the 1980s and 1990s. As a whole plethora of variously assorted organisations enjoyed noteworthy results ever since, the attention devoted to them has risen exponentially.

    • Tom Paine Warned About America’s Perpetual War

      Paine realized that representative government had a major flaw. It was susceptible to capture by special interests.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • A WikiLeaks Editor Talks About Julian Assange, National Security and Protecting Whistleblowers

      Sarah Harrison, investigations editor at WikiLeaks, doesn’t hold back when discussing her colleague Julian Assange and the political controversy surrounding WikiLeaks. “He stays very strong,” she says of WikiLeaks founder Assange, noting that there are “a lot of good publications coming up this year” that are keeping him busy.

      In an exclusive interview with acTVism, a nonprofit media outlet based in Munich, Germany, Harrison discusses everything from current political strife to protecting future whistleblowers.

      A British citizen, Harrison makes her views on Brexit clear: “It is very sad to me … that our MPs can stand there and say that the United Nations is ridiculous. [It] shows how much we have diverted from the rule of law in our supposed Western democracies.” She also mentions that in the U.S. government’s attempts to extradite Assange, her own emails have been compromised.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • BP Exploration Alaska and Hilcorp Alaska settle with EPA and State of Alaska for North Slope oil spills [Ed: Another settlement for a laughable price]

      …BP will pay $100,000 in state penalties and $30,000 in federal penalties to the Oil Spill Prevention Liability Trust Fund.

    • Gold’s hidden climate footprint

      The collapse of the Soviet Union left Bulgaria achieving in the 1990s what the rest of the world is working hard to manage in the 2020s, a reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions of more than 45%.

      But while a lot of inefficient mines and smelting plants have closed, the rump of the minerals industry survived. It is now expanding again, destroying pristine forests and wildlife and raising questions about Europe’s policy of transporting ore across the globe for smelting and refining.

      Vast quantities of raw material are transported by ship, but the emissions caused are not counted because shipping is not covered by the Paris Agreement of last December.

    • Fire From New Mexico Fracking Site Explosion Keeps Burning Three Days Later

      A massive fire at a fracking site in rural New Mexico that scorched 36 oil storage tanks and prompted the evacuation of 55 residents is dwindling but still burning Thursday, some three days after the first explosion was reported.

      The fire that started Monday night is mostly out, WPX Energy, the Oklahoma-based company that owns the site, reported Wednesday. However, “small fires” remained at four of the 36 tanks, the company said. No injuries have been reported and according to the company no drilling was taking place at the site prior to the storage tanks catching fire.

    • Just How Bad Are Trump’s VP Picks on Climate?

      Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax and that we should extract all of our energy sources at full capacity, whether we need to or not. You would expect him to choose a running mate that brings him back down to earth on climate, right?

    • Alaska Bakes In Heat Wave While Arctic Sea Ice Continues To Melt

      Alaska reached temperatures in the 80s, with Deadhorse reaching a record-high temperature of 85 degrees on Wednesday evening. Other cities including Bettles and Eagle reached 85, Fort Yukon hit 84, and Nenana reported 87.

    • Global Witness employees expelled from DRC under false allegations

      Two Global Witness employees have today been expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo on false accusations that they were inciting a revolt, and were in the country without permission.

      At a press conference in Kinshasa the DRC Minister of Environment Robert Bopolo Bogeza accused Global Witness of threatening national peace and stability by encouraging forest communities to rise up against the logging companies that are operating in their forests.

    • America Produces a Shocking Amount of Garbage: Find out Where Your State Ranks—and What You Can Do About It

      If you’re an average American, you produce 4.4. pounds of trash every single day, significantly more than the global average of 2.6 pounds. In a nation of nearly 324 million people, that amounts to more than 700,000 tons of garbage produced daily—enough to fill around 60,000 garbage trucks.

      The EPA estimates that Americans generated about 254 million tons of garbage in 2013. That is a shocking amount of waste. Among developed nations, only New Zealand, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland produce more municipal solid waste per capita.

  • Finance

    • Congress Exposes That DoJ Overruled Recommendation to Indict Money Launderer HSBC Over Too Big to Fail Worries

      The House of Representatives released a bombshell today out of its three-year investigation as to why the UK-based bank HSBC got off lightly for money laundering, both for with states subject to economic sanctions like Iran and Sudan, as well as narcotics traffickers. The report found that Attorney General Eric Holder “misled” Congress about the evidence against the bank, and that staff prosecutors had recommended indictment but were overruled by Holder. In addition UK regulators interfered in the case, and argued that criminal sanctions would lead to a financial nuclear winter. That was demonstrated to be false in 2014, when BNP Paribas, which apparently had fewer friends in court, pled guilty to criminal money laundering charges and paid $8.9 billion in fines.

      Or was it that the New York Department of Financial Services, which was then headed by Benjamin Lawsky, was going to embarrass the crowd in DC into doing more than it wanted to? Recall that Laswky had run rings around the Fed, Treasury, and UK financial services regulators over money laundering at another UK bank, Standard Chartered. This led to a firestorm of financial media outrage as Lawsky ordered Standard Chartered executives to appear and explain why he should not revoke their New York banking license. That would mean they could no longer clear dollar-based transactions, which would be extremely damaging to any international bank.

    • The Jobless of Marienthal: Austria’s Textile Industry and the Historical Effects of Unemployment
    • Time to Reign in the Robber Barons Again

      I’m going to let you on a little secret about many of the CEOs of the US’ largest companies: The biggest decision that they make these days, is how best to divvy up the wealth that they’ve stolen from US working families and middle class.

      Seriously, according to research by Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder at the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs in the US’ largest firms are raking in an average of $15.5 million in compensation.

      That’s an average compensation of 276 times the annual average pay of the typical worker!

    • Brexit: a dismantling moment

      I do not wish to understate the tragic consequences of the vote in the United Kingdom: either for the British or for Europe. But I am stunned by the way in which French (and foreign) headlines are presenting the facts to us: “After Brexit…”. Some rare exceptions notwithstanding, most seem to accept and agree that an exit has taken place. In reality, we are most assuredly entering a period of turbulence in which the outcome is anything but clear. It is this uncertainty that I would like to chronicle and interpret.

      Comparison, we know, is never definitive, but how can we forget that in the recent history of European politics, national and transnational referendums are never put into practise? This was the case in 2005 with the “European constitution”, in 2008 with the Lisbon treaty, and even more obviously in 2015 with the memorandum imposed on Greece. It is highly likely that we will see the same pattern this time. The British ruling class – beyond the personal conflicts which divide them tactically – is manoeuvring to delay the deadline and to negotiate the most favourable terms of “exit”. Some governments (the French most prominently, as well as the spokesperson of the Commission), are ramping up their cries of “out is out”, and “leave means leave”. But Germany is not listening with the same ear, meaning there will be no unanimity (except that of a presentational facade).

    • TPP: Australia wants to steal US medicine patents, Senator Orrin Hatch says

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal may have been signed by 12 nations, but one man stands in its way.

      With the rising tide of anti-trading sentiment within the United States, support from pro-traders has become crucial to ensure trading deals, such as the TPP, get passed.

      One important pro-trader has been Senator Orrin Hatch, US Senate Finance Committee chairman, who has been holding out on passing the TPP through the US Congress — a make or break proposition for the international trade agreement.

    • George Osborne’s austerity choked off the recovery: Brexit is his legacy

      By March 2015, George Osborne was pulling together his final budget before the general election. The austerity chancellor had already hacked billions from health, education and social security; now he planned to slash billions more. But he had prepared one massive give-away: the complete abolition of taxes on savings, worth well over £1bn in lost revenue.

    • The young are particularly distressed by Brexit – how should the rest of us respond?

      Half of voters aged 18 to 24 cried or felt like crying when they heard that the UK had voted to leave the EU, recent research by the LSE has found. Having spent much of my working life treating young people who are emotionally affected by events they cannot control, I am not surprised.

      What I find more unsettling is the hostility of some of the reactions to the news which ridiculed young people for being “hysterical”, “crybabies” or “angst-ridden teenies”. Such phrases reveal a worrying tendency in our society to both dismiss the views of young people as worthless, and to belittle the seriousness of their emotional and mental well-being. It’s a tendency that contributes to the stigma around mental illness, which in turn is one of the causes of our failure to invest in prevention or to provide adequate mental health services for vulnerable young people.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ending With a Whimper: the Political Surrender of Bernie Sanders

      The slimmest of hopes, which got extremely threadbare in the last month, was nursed that Bernie Sanders might have taken his support base and made it into a third movement. A US political scene so typified by the banking retainers, the counterfeit pioneers and fraudulent managers, could have done with a new force.

      Sanders, having watered and cultivated a genuine counter to a Democratic stream so deeply compromised, ultimately succumbed to the Clintonite machine. His July 12 message reads in part tones of regret, condescension and capitulation. There is also that sense of self-deception. “Let me begin by thanking the 13 million Americans who voted for me during the Democratic primaries.”

    • Brexit changed everything – Corbyn’s opponents are relying on an outdated plan, writes Ed M’s former media chief

      For a few brief days after the referendum the catastrophic consequences of Brexit sent a surge of energy around the Labour Party that seemed powerful enough to jolt Britain’s progressive politics into life again.

      Among Labour MPs it immediately generated a new sense of clarity and urgency about ending the experimental party leadership of someone who had failed to convince people even which side he was on in the referendum.

      And it was felt beyond Westminster too by people fearful for their future, suddenly desperate for an effective opposition to a hard Brexit and more ready to engage with Labour Party politics than at any point in their lifetime.

    • Open Letter: Technology Leaders Want To Kick Donald Trump Out Of the Presidential Race

      The various persons who have signed this letter are the pioneers of their own play areas but we would like to mention a few personalities out of the long list, namely, Steve Wozniak, David Karp, Dustin Moskovitz, Alexis Ohanian, Jimmy Wales, and the list goes on.

    • An Ultra-Capitalist Christian Sect Is Taking Center Stage At The RNC, Thanks To Donald Trump
    • Corbyn’s critics are hellbent on destroying the party they claim to love

      Say what you want about the Tories – and I have – they know how to implode with style. Their betrayals are brazen; their concessions are dramatic; their calculations are brutal. Treachery, buffoonery and incompetence on a scale few could imagine is followed by orderly transition and a leader they can live with. They may be wrecking the country, but their party has emerged intact.

      Labour, on the other hand, is a far more sad and messy affair. It cloaks its treachery with a veneer of principle and mistakes its own tantrums for strategy. Like an enthusiastic but incompetent hunter, it pursues its prey with zeal but will not, cannot finish it off. It is nowhere near running the country and the party is heading into the abyss.

    • Labour leadership poll: Angela Eagle ‘less popular than Corbyn among Labour supporters’

      Angela Eagle’s leadership bid suffered a blow today as a poll showed more Labour supporters believe Jeremy Corbyn has what it takes to be a good Prime Minister than her.

      But the Ipsos MORI survey also made grim reading for Mr Corbyn as two thirds of the public, including 54 per cent of Labour backers, say the party should change its leader before the 2020 General Election.

    • ACLU Gears Up to Fight Donald Trump’s Long List of Unconstitutional Proposals

      The American Civil Liberties Union is preparing to fight a deluge of unconstitutional acts should Donald Trump become president.

      “If implemented, Donald Trump’s policies will spark a constitutional and legal challenge that will require all hands on deck at the ACLU,” said Executive Director Anthony Romero.

      In a 27 page memo released Thursday, the ACLU accuses Trump of “police-state tactics” and says his proposals on counterterrorism, border security, and women’s rights would routinely violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments.

      The report says Trump’s plan for a border wall and “deportation force” would escalate the militarization of border communities, “promising a border security approach akin to the fortified shoot-to-kill zones dividing the Koreas.”

      And Trump’s pledge to deport 11 million immigrants within two years would require in excess of 15,000 arrests a day, which the ACLU notes could only be achieved with suspicionless arrests, electronic surveillance, and home raids on an unprecedented scale.

    • Berned Out? Don’t Mourn—Organize
    • Donald Trump Praises Dictators, But Hillary Clinton Befriends Them

      While Hillary Clinton runs ads criticizing Donald Trump for praising dictators, Clinton herself has a history of alliances with strongmen in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Honduras.

      Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top foreign policy advisor, warned last week that Trump’s “praise for brutal strongmen knows no bounds.” The Clinton campaign released a video compilation of Trump’s comments about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladamir Putin, and former Iraqi and Libyan dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.

      At a California rally, Clinton accused Trump of trying to become a dictator himself. “We’re trying to elect a President,” said Clinton, “not a dictator.”

      Practically speaking, however, the choice voters will face in November will be between a candidate who praises dictators and a candidate who befriends them.

      Clinton has described former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his wife as “friends of my family.” Mubarak ruled Egypt under a perpetual “state of emergency” rule, that involved disappearing and torturing dissidents, police killings, and persecution of LGBT people. The U.S. gave Mubarak $1.3 billion in military aid per year, and when Arab Spring protests threatened his grip on power, Clinton warned the administration not to “push a longtime partner out the door,” according to her book Hard Choices.

      After Arab Spring protests unseated Mubarak and led to democratic elections, the Egyptian military, led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, staged a coup. El-Sisi suspended the country’s 2012 Constitution, appointed officials from the former dictatorship, and moved to silence opposition.

      Sisi traveled to the U.S. in 2014 and met with Clinton and her husband, and posed for a photo. The Obama administration last year lifted a hold on the transfer of weapons and cash to el-Sisi’s government.

    • The Stench of Bernie Sanders and the “Unsafe State Strategy”

      But was it really a defeat, or was that staged rally with Hillary and Bernie the deal all along? Had Bernie simply been the DNC’s dupe and wrangled up America’s disgruntled youth into the stinky feedlot of the Democratic Party, so that Hillary wouldn’t have to do the dirty work herself? Is that why Bernie was so damn afraid to go after her email scandal in those debates? Was that why he refused to “go negative” even though the Clinton camp never held back their contempt for Bernie? Is that why Sanders refused to take on her egregious foreign policies (or was that because he supported most of them)? It really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise regardless, at the outset Bernie said he planned to back Hillary in the general election if his primary bid burned out — and Bern out it did.

    • Britain faces the biggest crisis of democracy in its history. It’s time to take power back.

      Welcome to prime minister Theresa May’s new regime: it represents perhaps the most authoritarian, racist and austerity-obsessed government in British history.

      Britain is now being run by an unelected leader presiding over a draconian surveillance-state, hell-bent on accelerating war on the poor and vulnerable, at home and abroad. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the official opposition to this regime is falling apart.

      The fight to reclaim our democracy must be ramped up. Now.

    • Ton Of Tech Industry Leaders Say Trump Would Be A Complete Disaster For Innovation

      This is a unique presidential campaign. And, as we’ve noted, Hillary Clinton’s tech platform is not great either. But, at the very least, her platform’s problem is that it’s just a bunch of vague pronouncements designed for people to read into them what they will.

    • Jill Stein shreds Sanders’ Clinton endorsement

      In another tweet, Stein wrote, “While Trump praises dictators, Hillary takes their money. Remind us again of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record?”

      As Sanders began speaking, Stein offered her own hashtags to disaffected Bernie backers. “The revolution continues with those who will fight for a government that represents all of us–not just the 1%. #HillNo #JillYes,” Stein wrote.

    • Jeremy Corbyn Wins Another Battle as the War Against His Labour Party Leadership Continues (Video)

      It’s dizzying to try to keep up with the drama of British politics in the post-Brexit era as resignations and elections seem to never-endingly roll in. Hell, in a matter of weeks the United Kingdom has somehow already been saddled with a new conservative, and let’s not forget, unelected prime minister. Now the Brexiteers have had their day, including downtrodden former London Mayor Boris Johnson, and conservatives in both the Tory and Labour parties want to continue with neoliberal austerity as usual.

      Unfortunately for them, however, one man has marvelously weathered the storm of betrayals and right-wing plots, and that man is none other than Jeremy Corbyn.

      The Labour Party leader came under fire after the European Union referendum and has been the center of what’s being called a “chicken coup” within his own party. After a no-confidence vote, it became clear that while Corbyn still had overwhelming support from unions, grass-roots movements and the Labour Party membership, his actual colleagues wanted him out.

      The architects of the coup gave a number of reasons for their attempt to rid the party of Corbyn, ranging from what they deemed his lackluster support for the Remain campaign in the lead-up to the referendum to the belief that he couldn’t win a general election if one was called. On the left some suspected that the anti-Corbyn sentiment was due to the planned release of the Chilcot Report on the Iraq War and Corbyn’s intention to apologize for the war on behalf of his party.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn: How American Censorship Impacted This Famous Line and More Iconic Hollywood Moments

      This may be the land of the free, but even America has certain restrictions on what can be seen, said and shown in Hollywood.

      While it may seem like modern film, television and music is saturated with racy sexual content, nudity, profanity and other touchy material, there are still certain limitations on the various forms of media we consume every day, though such restrictions continue to evolve as the years churn.

      For example, we know that “indecent” and “profane” content—like racy language or depictions of sexual activity—are prohibited on non-cable television and radio between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. to prevent children from seeing it, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

    • Dennis Cooper fears censorship as Google erases blog without warning

      Two weeks ago, writer and artist Dennis Cooper was checking his Gmail when something peculiar happened: the page was refreshed and he was notified that his account had been deactivated – along with the blog that he’d maintained for 14 years.

    • Google deletes artist’s blog and a decade of his work along with it

      Artist Dennis Cooper has a big problem on his hands: Most of his artwork from the past 14 years just disappeared.

      It’s gone because it was kept entirely on his blog, which the experimental author and artist has maintained on the Google-owned platform Blogger since 2002 (Google bought the service in 2003). At the end of June, Cooper says he discovered he could no longer access his Blogger account and that his blog had been taken offline.

    • Internet Free Speech for People on Supervised Release from Prison

      The First Amendment protects the right of everyone to use the Internet to criticize government officials–including people on supervised release from prison.

      Take the case of Darren Chaker, whose supervised release was revoked earlier this year because he criticized a law enforcement officer in a blog post. Specifically, he wrote that the officer had been “forced out” by a police agency. The government argues that Chaker violated the terms of his release, which instructed him not to “harass” anyone else, including “defaming a person’s character on the internet.” To us, this is a classic example of political speech that should be subject to the highest level of First Amendment protection.

      So earlier this fall, EFF joined with other free speech groups to file an amicus brief supporting Chaker, and by extension the free speech rights of everyone else on supervised release. The brief, filed in the federal appeals court for the Ninth Circuit, argues that when the government seeks to punish speech that criticizes government officials, it must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the speaker acted with “actual malice,” meaning they knew the statement was false, or they acted with reckless disregard for whether it was false. Government must meet this high standard whether it calls the criticism “defamation,” or “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” or (as here) “harassment.”

    • Staff to sue Chinese cultural ministry academy over sacking of publisher of outspoken political magazine

      Editorial staff at an outspoken and influential Chinese political magazine say they plan to sue the cultural ministry academy overseeing the journal after the sacking of its publisher.

      The statement, issued by employees at Yanhuang Chunqiu – a 25-year-old journal with a reputation for forthright articles that contest official versions of Communist Party history – came after Tuesday’s management reshuffle led to respected publisher, Du Daozheng, being sacked and also the demotion of its chief editor.

    • Original music, discussions about censorship headline new concert series

      Freedom of expression, no matter how unorthodox, is vital to a strong democracy, and the concert series, featuring original music by area bands, hopefully will also provide a venue for healthy discussion, Scott said. “We want it to be fun and inspirational.”

    • Emirati Gets 3-Month Prison Sentence Over Instagram Insult

      A state-owned newspaper in the United Arab Emirates is reporting that an Emirati man has received a three-month prison sentence and a fine after being convicted of insulting his brother on Instagram.

      The Arabic-language newspaper Al Etihad reported on Thursday that the man’s brother became upset after finding his photo on his brother’s Instagram account with an expletive as the caption.

    • ‘Parly must intervene in SABC crisis’

      “It is in the interests of the common good, and a matter of urgency, that public confidence in the public broadcaster be restored.”

    • South African bishops call for an end to media censorship crisis

      South Africa’s bishops have called on the country’s parliament to intervene in a censorship crisis regarding the reporting of violent protests ahead of elections next month.

      Bishop Abel Gabuza, head of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, has urged the parliament’s communications committee to urgently reconvene to discuss the crisis.

    • South African Reflection: Censoring protest – deja vu?
    • In Wake of Frank Cho Censorship Scandal, Political Science Professor Explains Censorship
    • Munchkinland Rejoices as Frank Cho Exits Wonder Woman Citing “Censorship”
    • Frank Cho Walks Off Wonder Woman After Sixth Cover
    • ICYMI: Wonder Woman Dates Women… Maybe?
    • Frank Cho quits over his right to draw Wonder Woman’s panties
    • Frank Cho Walks Off of Wonder Woman, Citing “Censorship” and “Political Agendas”
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Crypto flaw made it easy for attackers to snoop on Juniper customers

      As if people didn’t already have cause to distrust the security of Juniper products, the networking gear maker just disclosed a vulnerability that allowed attackers to eavesdrop on sensitive communications traveling through customers’ virtual private networks.

      In an advisory posted Wednesday, Juniper officials said they just fixed a bug in the company’s Junos operating system that allowed adversaries to masquerade as trusted parties. The impersonation could be carried out by presenting a forged cryptographic certificate that was signed by the attacker rather than by a trusted certificate authority that normally vets the identity of the credential holder.

      “When a peer device presents a self-signed certificate as its end entity certificate with its issuer name matching one of the valid CA certificates enrolled in Junos, the peer certificate validation is skipped and the peer certificate is treated as valid,” Wednesday’s advisory stated. “This may allow an attacker to generate a specially crafted self-signed certificate and bypass certificate validation.”

    • New House coalition fights rise in government surveillance

      An unusual coalition of 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats on Wednesday announced the creation of the House Fourth Amendment Caucus to protect Americans’ privacy rights against calls for increased government surveillance in the wake of terrorist attacks.

      The group named itself after the Fourth Amendment because the lawmakers fear that the government is increasingly seeking the power to search Americans’ electronic data without a warrant. They see that as a threat to the Constitutional amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

      “In the face of difficult circumstances, some are quick to pursue extreme, unconstitutional measures; the Fourth Amendment Caucus will be a moderating influence that gives voice to countless Americans whose rights are violated by these ill-conceived policies,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who joined the group led by Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Ted Poe, R-Texas.

      Privacy rights are one of the rare issues that liberals and libertarian-leaning conservatives in Congress have agreed on. Members of the new coalition oppose legislation that would force U.S. tech companies to build “backdoors” into encrypted smartphones or allow federal agents to view someone’s Internet browsing history without a warrant.

    • Maxthon Browser Sends Sensitive Data to China

      Security experts have discovered that the Maxthon web browser collects sensitive information and sends it to a server in China. Researchers warn that the harvested data could be highly valuable for malicious actors.

      Developed by China-based Maxthon International, the browser is available for all major platforms in more than 50 languages. In 2013, after the NSA surveillance scandal broke, the company boasted about its focus on privacy and security, and the use of strong encryption.

    • Here’s What We Know About the NSA’s Elite Hacking Squad

      Some of the best hackers in the world work for the NSA. They are the ones who are tasked with hacking into the most—supposedly—impenetrable targets, be it the computers of an Iranian nuclear power facility, or the cellphones of a fugitive terrorist.

      As far as anyone knows, they don’t have a cool sounding name, but they are collectively known as “The Office of Tailored Access Operations,” or TAO. They have been called “a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.” And while that name, and that description, might sound underwhelming, they’re the NSA’s elite-hacking unit, its black bag operations team.

    • NSA Boss Says U.S. Cyber Troops Are Nearly Ready
    • Rogers: National Security Agency Becoming ‘FEMA of the Cyber World’
    • Hillary Clinton And The NSA Have Heard Of This Pokémon Go Thing

      Clinton’s staff is using the game’s social popularity as a recruiting tool. They’re also using it to register voters for the upcoming election.

    • Feds ask judge to toss case about Olympics snooping claim

      The National Security Agency asked a judge Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit from a former Salt Lake City mayor who says the agency conducted a mass warrantless surveillance program during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

    • Judge to rule on lawsuit accusing NSA of spying on everyone in SLC during 2002 Olympics
    • Rocky Anderson alleges enough facts for NSA lawsuit to proceed

      Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson on Thursday went against lawyers for the National Security Administration, arguing his federal class-action lawsuit over surveillance during the 2002 Winter Olympics should proceed.

    • NSA asking judge to toss case Olympics eavesdropping claim

      Lawyers for the National Security Agency are asking judge to dismiss a lawsuit from a former Salt Lake City mayor who says the agency conducted a mass warrantless surveillance program during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

    • Ex-NSA chief: Responding to cyberattacks is a government responsibility
    • For The First Time, A Federal Judge Has Suppressed Evidence Obtained With A Stingray Device

      Evidence acquired using Stingray devices has rarely been suppressed. This is due to the fact that it’s almost impossible to challenge. The reason it’s almost impossible to challenge is because the FBI — and the law enforcement agencies it “partners” with (via severely restrictive nondisclosure agreements) — will throw out evidence and let suspects walk rather than expose the use of IMSI catchers.

      Earlier this year, a Baltimore city circuit judge threw out evidence obtained with the Baltimore PD’s cell tower spoofing equipment. And this was no run-of-the-mill drug bust. An actual murder suspect had evidence suppressed because of the BPD’s warrantless deployment of a Stingray device. Without the use of the Stingray, the BPD would not have been able to locate the suspect’s phone. And without this location, there would have been no probable cause to search the apartment he was in. You can’t build a search warrant on illegally-obtained probable cause, reasoned the judge. Goodbye evidence.

    • Microsoft Wins Major Privacy Victory for Data Held Overseas [Ed: Microsoft… blah blah… privacy. Coming from company of mass surveillance (kick-started PRISM)]
    • Huge Win: Court Says Microsoft Does Not Need To Respond To US Warrant For Overseas Data

      We’ve been following an important case for the past few years about whether or not the US can issue a warrant to an American company for data stored overseas. In this case, Microsoft refused to comply with the warrant for some information hosted in Ireland — and two years ago a district court ruled against Microsoft and in favor of the US government. Thankfully, the 2nd Circuit appeals court today reversed that ruling and properly noted that US government warrants do not apply to overseas data. This is a hugely important case concerning the privacy and security of our data.

    • Yes, ISIS Is Using Encryption — But Not Very Well

      I’ve been seeing a few anti-encryption supporters pointing to a new ProPublica report on terrorists using encrypted communications as sort of proof of their position that we need to backdoor encryption and weaken security for everyone. The article is very detailed and thorough and does show that some ISIS folks make use of encrypted chat apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. But that’s hardly a surprise. It was well known that those apps were being used, just like it’s been well known that groups like Al Qaida were well aware of the usefulness of encryption going back many years, even predating 9/11. It’s not like they’ve suddenly learned something new.

    • PM’s new Brexit chief is currently suing government over spying tactics

      Tory MP David Davis—an outspoken critic of Theresa May’s push for greater online surveillance powers, who is currently suing the government over the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA)—has been appointed as the new prime minister’s secretary of state for exiting the European Union.

      Davis, who is MP for Haltemprice & Howden, is a strong eurosceptic and has a consistent record of fighting government surveillance. In 2008, when he was shadow home secretary, he resigned from the House of Commons in order to stand on a platform of defending “British liberties.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘No Field Test is Fail Safe’: Meet the Chemist Behind Houston’s Police Drug Kits

      In 1973, L.J. Scott, Jr., was a chemist at the recently created Drug Enforcement Agency, hard at work on a critical breakthrough: a chemical mixture that could identify the presence of cocaine. The trafficking and use of the drug was exploding, and federal and local authorities wanted help confronting the problem. Scott and the DEA wanted something that could be used in the streets — cheap and handy, and, if possible, authoritative.

      Scott’s invention became part of drug test kits that agents and officers could carry with them. Scott said he spent nine months validating his new test — first in the DEA’s lab and then with detectives in the field — before declaring success. “The method proposed herein is almost impossible to misinterpret,” he wrote in an internal memo introducing the field test, “and is highly sensitive and specific.”

    • Baton Rouge Police Sued Over Arrest of Peaceful Protesters

      As The Intercept reported previously, images of officers dressed for battle confronting and arresting peaceful protesters in Baton Rouge provoked sharp reactions on social networks over the weekend.

      More video has come to light in the days since, along with firsthand accounts from protesters and journalists who were detained.

      Among the activists arrested on Sunday were Blair Imani, 22, a former student at Louisiana State University who now works for Planned Parenthood, and her partner, Akeem Muhammad, 24, who is also a former student at LSU.

    • Congress: Enjoy Your Recess, But Here Are Six Police Reform Bills You Must Pass In September

      Members of Congress: These are your constituents. These are lives that matter to families, friends, and communities, and they should matter to you too. This is why we say their names.

      We have a crisis on our hands. Excessive violence, including fatal police shootings of people of color, must end. We have been focused on bad apple cops when we really need to focus on reforming an entire system. Fairness and justice demand that we act in this moment.

    • CIA Chief Who Did Nothing to Stop Waterboarding Now Says He’d Quit if Agency Asked to Resume

      CIA director John Brennan on Wednesday vowed to resign if he was ordered by the next president to have the CIA resume waterboarding detainees—but the agency could still take up the practice.

      “If a president were to order, order the agency to carry out waterboarding or something else, it’ll be up to the director of CIA and others within CIA to decide whether or not that, that direction and order is something that they can carry out in good conscience,” Brennan said, according to The Intercept.

      “I can say that as long as I’m director of CIA, irrespective of what the president says, I’m not going to be the director of CIA that gives that order. They’ll have to find another director,” he added, according to Reuters.

      The remarks were presumably a response to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s past declarations of support for the torture method condemned by rights groups. They came at the end of a speech the CIA chief gave at the Brookings Institution.

      The Intercept observed that Brennan “did not acknowledge that Congress last year turned Obama’s anti-torture executive order into law, explicitly banning waterboarding and other forms of torture—and restricting the CIA in particular to interrogation methods listed in the Army Field Manual.”

    • Underwear Model-Turned-RNC Speaker Wants Clinton and Obama in Guantánamo

      Antonio Sabato Jr., who will speak at the Republican National Convention next week at the invitation of Donald Trump, frequently bashes Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Twitter. Last month, he said that Clinton and Obama should be sent to Guantánamo.

    • I Don’t Know Much But I Know Why Black Lives Matter

      Philando Castile and I share birthdays in July. This year, I celebrated mine with friends and family. But Castile’s friends and family are mourning his death, killed by a police officer in the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburbs after he was pulled over for a broken taillight.

      He would have been 33. I am decades older — older now, in fact, than my own father when he died.


      Visiting relatives in Texas as a boy in the early 1960s, I remember seeing whites-only drinking fountains and restrooms in a local department store. I watched the civil rights struggle of the ‘60s on TV and in the papers: George Wallace standing in the door at the University of Alabama to keep two African-American students from enrolling; three young men disappearing during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1963; the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery; the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jack and Bobby Kennedy.

    • After Week of Violence, Cleveland Prepares for Chaos at Republican Convention

      In Cleveland, officials are estimated to have spent at least $20 million in federal funds on equipment ranging from bicycles and steel barriers to 2,000 sets of riot gear, 2,000 retractable steel batons, body armor, surveillance equipment, 10,000 sets of plastic flex cuffs, and 16 laser aiming systems, which a technology retailer describes as being used for “night direct-fire aiming and illumination.” And while the city has not fully disclosed all the equipment it has acquired for the convention, Ohio’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which has been monitoring the preparations, raised concerns that police might be planning to deploy Stingray devices, used to monitor and track cellphones, as well as a Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a sonic crowd-control weapon that emits painfully loud sounds.

    • Beyond Dallas and Orlando, a Global Arc of Violence

      Surveillance, including social media monitoring and corporate collusion with authorities, will be increased. Even those who do not identify with the targeted movements will be punished to discourage them from joining. Therefore, activists must always act with an awareness of the risks at hand. Speaking recklessly in a surveillance state and putting oneself at risk for nothing serves no one. The state will use and has used whatever means it can to detain and punish those who make statements it sees as “too bold,” as well as those who are whistleblowers. All of our online communications are monitored, our protests and our most private conversations are vulnerable to infiltration. Therefore, it’s important to be careful about how we speak and what we say, lest we hope to remove ourselves completely and be subject to the whims of a state seeking to make more examples of us.

    • US Withdraws Funding for Haiti Elections

      Dismayed by the decision to rerun controversial and fraud-plagued presidential elections, the US State Department announced on Thursday a suspension of electoral assistance to Haiti. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the decision was communicated to Haitian authorities last week, noting that the US “has provided over $30 million in assistance” for elections and that the move would allow the US “to maintain priority assistance” for ongoing projects.

      Kirby added that “I don’t have a dollar figure in terms of this because it wasn’t funded, it wasn’t budgeted.” However multiple sources have confirmed that the U.S has withdrawn nearly $2 million already in a United Nations controlled fund for elections. Donor governments, as well as the Haitian state, had contributed to the fund. Prior to the US move, $8.2 million remained for elections.

    • Ex-Seattle Police Chief Condemns Systemic Police Racism Dating Back to Slave Patrols

      On Wednesday, President Obama met at the White House with law enforcement officials and civil rights leaders. President Obama hosted the meeting one week after the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and the killing of five police officers by a sniper in Dallas. While the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile made national headlines, they were not isolated incidents. According to a count by The Guardian, at least 37 people have been killed by police in the United States so far this month. That’s more than the total number of people killed by police in Britain since the year 2000. Overall, police in the United States have killed a total of 585 people so far this year. We speak to former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, author of the new book “To Protect and to Serve: How to Fix America’s Police.”

    • Baton Rouge police got military gear through controversial Defense Department program

      “I’m disappointed. So disappointed,” she told The Advocate. “It was extremely unnerving — the military-style policing.”

      In fact, the Baton Rouge Police Department is using gear initially intended for military use. It is among the many local agencies nationwide that have obtained surplus military equipment through the Defense Department’s controversial 1033 program, which came under criticism following the militarized response to protests over the August 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

    • Videotaping a Crime Is Not a Crime

      Muflahi continued, “By the time I got out of the store, they were already slamming him on top of a car and were tasering him. That’s when another officer ran and tackled him onto an SUV, then both cops slammed him on the floor.”

      Alton Sterling was on his back, on the pavement, with two large, white Baton Rouge police officers pinning him down. The officers shot Alton Sterling at point-blank range, killing him.

      Muflahi explained: “After the shooting, one of the officers that was there, I’m not sure what he said, but the other officer that was close to me had said, ‘Just f—him. Just let him lay there,” talking about Mr. Sterling. “That’s when they grabbed me and put me in the back of a cop car.”

    • Lawyer Glenda Hatchett Will ‘Aggressively Pursue Justice’ for the Family of Philando Castile

      Glenda Hatchett, perhaps best known to audiences of the former court show “Judge Hatchett,” has taken on the role of attorney representing the family of Philando Castile in court. Castile, 32, was fatally shot one week ago by a police officer near St. Paul, Minn. His girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, streamed the immediate aftermath of the incident on Facebook Live, and the footage prompted outrage and protests across the United States.

      “Valerie Castile and her family are very passionate and committed to ensuring that Philando’s death is not just another statistic,” Hatchett said in a statement this week. “She wants her son’s death to mark a time in this country’s history where reform becomes less about rhetoric and more about reality.”

      So far, no legal action has been taken, but Hatchett has said that “there will be a lawsuit.” In the video below, posted by Fusion, Hatchett speaks to reporters as the family’s attorney. “This time, ladies and gentlemen, we are telling you, must be the last time,” she says of Castile’s death.

    • End ‘Operation Streamline’: How One Human Rights Disaster is Driving Several More

      The 10-year-old, controversial “Operation Streamline,” through which immigrants who cross the border are targeted for criminal prosecution, is wasting taxpayer dollars, tearing apart families, and driving mass incarceration, according to a new report.

      The analysis from nonprofit groups Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership, released Wednesday in the form of a book (pdf), is based on interviews with judges, public defenders, advocates, activists, former prosecutors, and individuals who have been prosecuted as well as their families. “It was clear from talking to actors throughout this system that it is broken in every way,” the report reads.

    • In Historic NLRB Ruling, Temps Win the Right To Join Unions

      A new ruling will enable temporary and permanent employees to come together to negotiate with their bosses in mixed bargaining units.

      The National Labor Relations Board on Monday overturned a Bush-era standard that said a union could only organize a bargaining unit of jointly employed and regular employees if both employers consented—even if those employees worked together closely. “Jointly employed” includes temps who are hired through staffing agencies.

      The new decision allows jointly employed temps to bargain collectively in the same unit with the solely employed workers they work alongside, ruling that bosses need not consent so long as workers share a “community of interest.”

      In a 3-1 decision, the Board overturned a 12-year-old ruling in Oakwood Care Center, where the Board said that a group of temporary workers could not unionize with permanent employees without the approval of their employer and the appropriate staffing agency.

    • These Syrian Christians fled Muslim extremist harassment. Then they found it again in Germany.

      Tarek Bakhous says that’s what a roommate recently asked him with a sneer when he opened the fridge.

      Bakhous was the only Christian among 10 Syrian refugees in a shared apartment assigned by German authorities. The others were devout Muslims who didn’t drink alcohol.

      “If you think beer is forbidden,” Bakhous says he replied, “Why did you come to Germany?”

      “We’re the majority in this house,” he says his roommate replied. “If you don’t like it, you can go.”

    • Breakdown Of US Citizens Killed By Cops In 2016

      In the U.S. a total of 509 citizens have been killed this year alone by police. The body count for the previous year stands at a grand total of 990 people shot dead, according to the Washington Post. As the below infographic from Statista shows, most of those killed by police are male and white. 123 of those shot were Black Americans. This is a relatively high share, keeping in mind that close to 13 percent of Americans belong to that ethnic group.

    • What Had Philando Done?

      The fraught and moving funeral of Philando Castile drew thousands to the Cathedral of Saint Paul, where spectators lining the route of his white casket on a horse-drawn carriage declared themselves “United for Philando” and faith leaders mourning the latest victim of this country’s random racist police violence prayed for “a tiny measure of peace.” In his eulogy, the Rev. Steve Daniels Jr. of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, a son of 1950s Mississippi, questioned the persistence of racial profiling, noted that today’s protesters are rightly tired of being “wrongfully murdered,” and pointedly asked, “What had Philando done?” He added mournfully, “God has used Philando to be the face, to be the cause, to be the seed, to be the sacrifice.” Later Demetrius Bennett, who went to high school with Castile, said it’s not Castile’s death but his life and work with kids as a beloved cook at the local Montessori School should be honored: “His name should be in lights.”

    • NYT Looks at the Political Exploitation of White Supremacism–but Not Too Hard

      “Trump Mines Grievances of Whites Who Feel Lost” was the headline in the print edition (7/14/16), and that euphemistic tone continued through the piece, written by the Times‘ Nicholas Confessore; “racial conservatives” is the term it uses to characterize people who believe that, for example, “blacks suffer greater poverty because of…lack of effort.” The goal of white supremacists is, in the Times‘ own language, “that race should matter as much to white people as it does to everyone else.”

      But there is also valuable information here on the extent to which ideological white supremacists have embraced the Trump campaign, recognizing the candidate as a kindred spirit. “He is bringing identity politics for white people into the public sphere in a way no one has,” says one far-right activist. The Times documents how Trump, in turn, makes organized racists feel welcome in his movement, sometimes indirectly; the article notes, for instance, that analysis of Trump’s Twitter activity found that “almost 30 percent of the accounts Mr. Trump retweeted in turn followed one or more of 50 popular self-identified white nationalist accounts.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Jurisdiction: the taboo topic at ICANN

      In March 2014, the US government announced that they were going to end the contract they have with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to run the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and hand over control to the “global multistakeholder community”. They insisted that the plan for transition had to come through a multistakeholder process and have stakeholders “across the global internet community”.

    • With 4 Days Left, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Larry Lessig, And Barbara Van Schewick Beg Europe To Close Net Neutrality Loopholes

      Europe only has a few days left to ensure that its member countries are actually protected by real net neutrality rules. As we’ve been discussing, back in October the European Union passed net neutrality rules, but they were so packed with loopholes to not only be useful, but actively harmful in that they effectively legalize net neutrality violations by large telecom operators. The rules carve out tractor-trailer-sized loopholes for “specialized services” and “class-based discrimination,” as well as giving the green light for zero rating, letting European ISPs trample net neutrality — just so long as they’re clever enough about it.

      In short, the EU’s net neutrality rules are in many ways worse than no rules at all. But there’s still a change to make things right.

      While the rules technically took effect April 30 (after much self-congratulatory back patting), the European Union’s Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has been cooking up new guidelines to help European countries interpret and adopt the new rules, potentially providing them with significantly more teeth than they have now. With four days left for the public to comment (as of the writing of this post), Europe’s net neutrality advocates have banded together to urge EU citizens to contact their representatives and demand they close these ISP-lobbyist crafted loopholes.

      Hoping to galvanize public support, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Barbara van Schewick, and Larry Lessig have penned a collective letter to European citizens urging them to pressure their constituents. The letter mirrors previous concerns that the rules won’t be worth much unless they’re changed to prohibit exceptions allowing “fast lanes,” discrimination against specific classes of traffic (like BitTorrent), and the potential paid prioritization of select “specialized” services. These loopholes let ISPs give preferential treatment to select types of content or services, providing they offer a rotating crop of faux-technical justifications that sound convincing.

    • Republicans Attack the FCC Over Net Neutrality, Other Core Programs

      Republican lawmakers squared off against Federal Communications Commission officials during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, just days after voting to kneecap federal net neutrality rules ensuring that all content on the internet is equally accessible.

      During a heated three-hour session, GOP lawmakers grilled the five FCC commissioners about a range of agency initiatives, including proposals to increase competition in the cable set-top box market, strengthen broadband privacy protections, and expand federal Lifeline subsidies to include mobile broadband.

      The hearing was just the latest skirmish in an escalating battle between the FCC, which is controlled by a 3-2 Democratic majority, and Republicans lawmakers who have characterized the agency’s consumer-driven agenda as regulatory overreach carried out by a cadre of unelected bureaucrats.

    • Four Days to Save the Open Internet in Europe: An Open Letter

      Network neutrality for hundreds of millions of Europeans is within our grasp. Securing this is essential to preserve the open Internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress. But the public needs to tell regulators now to strengthen safeguards, and not cave in to telecommunications carriers’ manipulative tactics.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • For UNCTAD Ministerial, NGOs Call For Development Focus, Not Trade Rules Enforcement

      Days before a major meeting of the governing body of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), over 100 non-governmental organisations worldwide are calling for the organisation to maintain its development role and not help implement international and regional trade rules.

      The 14th quadrennial ministerial Conference of UNCTAD is taking place from 17-22 July in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme for this 14th edition is “From decision to action: moving toward an inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development.”

    • AstraZeneca Tries To Use ‘Orphan Drug’ Designation To Extend Patent Life Of Top-Selling Pill

      At the heart of copyright and patents there is — theoretically — an implicit social contract. People are granted a time-limited, government-backed monopoly in return for allowing copyright material or patented techniques to enter the public domain once that period has expired. And yet copyright and patent holders often seem unwilling to respect the terms of that contract, as they seek to hang on to their monopolies beyond the agreed time in various ways.

    • Copyrights

      • Google: Punishing Pirate Sites in Search Results Works

        Google released an updated overview of its anti-piracy efforts today. The company notes that many pirate sites have lost the vast majority of their search traffic due to its downranking efforts. However, Google stresses that it won’t remove entire domain names from its search results, as this could lead to overbroad censorship.

      • Interview: Nakeena Taylor of Pandora, corporate counsel, Pandora

        Before becoming a lawyer, Taylor worked in music and licensing. Taylor suggests a national database of rights owners: “We need to come up with something that will enable us to actually get the money to where it’s supposed to go, so we can start to the change the narrative of musicians feeling they are not getting their fair share.”


Links 14/7/2016: New Open SDN Platform, GNOME Board of Directors, Tor Board of Directors

Posted in News Roundup at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Best Universal Package Manager for Linux?

    In fact, considering that Flatpak, Fedora and Red Hat’s candidate for a universal package manager, was rushed out a few days after Snappy was announced, it appears that the issue is not necessity so much as a corporate rivalry that is being played out in the Linux community — the last place that it belongs.

    Still, accepting the claims about universal package managers at face value, which one would benefit Linux the most? Some choice must surely be made, or the main result of trying to implement a universal package manager, as many point out, would be to replace the longtime rivalry between Debian and RPM packages with yet another conflict between competing standards, which would remove one of the main rationalizations for raising the issue.

  • You & Linux, Small Business Distros, FreeDOS

    The Linux Voice asked readers today, “How did you discover Linux?” Many of the comments are from those who started in the mid 1990′s or earlier. ComputerWorld featured an interview with Jim Hall who’s been spearheading the project to keep FreeDOS alive and TechRadar recommended the best distributions for small business. Elsewhere, the next Slackware will use UTF-8 by default and Dedoimedo said, “Linux is slowly killing itself.”

  • Linux User? The US Government May Classify You an Extremist

    Do you use decentralized, open source software? The US government considers you an extremist.

    According to leaked documents related to the XKeyscore spying program, the National Security Agency (NSA) flags as an “extremist” anyone who uses Tor or Tails Linux, or who subscribes to Linux Journal.

  • Desktop

    • Linux 2017 – The Road to Hell

      The Year of Linux is the year that you look at your distribution, compare to the year before, and you have that sense of stability, the knowledge that no matter what you do, you can rely on your operating system. Which is definitely not the case today. If anything, the issues are worsening and multiplying. You don’t need a degree in math to see the problem.

      I find the lack of consistency to be the public enemy no. 1 in the open-source world. In the long run, it will be the one deciding factor that will determine the success of Linux. Sure, applications, but if the operating system is not transparent, people will not choose it. They will seek simpler, possibly less glamorous, but ultimately more stable solutions, because no one wants to install a patch and dread what will happen after a reboot. It’s very PTSD. And we know Linux can do better than that. We’ve seen it. Not that long ago. That’s all.

    • Voice of the Masses: How did you discover Linux?

      For our next podcast, we want to hear how you got into GNU/Linux. Where did your journey begin? Maybe you saw it on the coverdisc of a magazine somewhere, or a friend recommended that you try it. Perhaps your company switched to Linux which encouraged you to install it at home, or you simply became so enraged with Windows that you had to find something else.

    • Ubuntu MATE, Pithos and the Sounds of Popcorn

      My trusty old Sony Vaio laptop has been saddled up with Ubuntu MATE for a little over a month now. For the most part, it’s running just as smoothly as it ever did on Windows XP — and definitely better than it ran with the lovingly installed bloatware that came included with it shiny and new from the factory.

      Upon the suggestion of FOSS Force reader Jeff, I invested in a recent upgrade of RAM that fulfills its maximum potential of a single gigabyte. Compared to its performance in the past, it’s definitely noticeable. But compared to my main work computer with a humble (by modern standards) 4 GB RAM, it can feel a little sluggish if I try to do do something unreasonable — like having two programs open at once.

  • Server

    • Xen Project Release Strengthens Security and Pushes New Use Cases

      Xen Project technology supports more than 10 million users and is a staple in some of the largest clouds in production today, including Amazon Web Service, Tencent, and Alibaba’s Aliyun. Recently, the project announced the arrival of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.7. This new release focuses on improving code quality, security hardening and features, and support for the latest hardware. It is also the first release of the project’s fixed-term June – December release cycles. The fixed-term release cycles provide more predictability making it easier for consumers of Xen to plan ahead.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Released DigiKam 5.0 and completely ported with Qt5

        The photos are organized in albums which can be sorted chronologically, by folder layout or by custom collections.You can tag your images which can be spread out across multiple folders, and digiKam provides fast and intuitive ways to browse these tagged images. You can also add comments to your images.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Board of Directors Announced

        This year we had 253 registered voters, 142 of which sent in valid ballots. Elections ran during the months of May and June, and the new Board was officially announced on June 18, 2016.

        The Board of Directors is a team of volunteers who are elected for a one-year term by GNOME Foundation members. The Board is an important part of the GNOME Foundation and ensures the health of the organization by working on operational and legal items that help keep the Foundation in order. It also helps to manage the relationship with the Advisory Board and promotes the overall well-being of the GNOME Project. This year’s Board has experience that spans the GNOME project including expertise in design, development, usability, and communications.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GCC 6 & Mesa 12.0 Land In Tumbleweed, 42.2 Leap To Have GNOME 3.20
      • openSUSE Leap 42.2 to Ship with GNOME 3.20, KDE Plasma 5.6, Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS

        We told you last week that users of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release operating system received fewer yet very important milestones of essential core components and open-source applications, and now it’s time to take a look at what’s coming to openSUSE Leap 42.2 this fall.

        While openSUSE Tumbleweed users are currently enjoying cutting-edge software releases like the LibreOffice 5.2 RC1 office suite, Mesa 3D Graphics Library 12.0.0, Linux kernel 4.6.3, the PulseAudio 9.0 sound system, python3-setuptools 24.0.2, and the latest systemd init system update, openSUSE Leap users will have a surprise later this year when the 42.2 major version is announced.

      • Systemd updates in Tumbleweed, Leap to have GNOME 3.20

        The last update provided on Tumbleweed was almost a month ago and a lot has happened since then.

        Besides the release of a an Alpha 2 for openSUSE Leap 42.2 and the five-day openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg, Tumbleweed snapshots have been rolling along with 10 snapshots since the last update, which highlighted the addition of GNU Compiler Collection 6 as the default compiler for Tumbleweed.

        The latest snapshot, 20160710, brought a major release for python3-setuptools to version 24.0.2. Systemd also added some subpackages and python3-numpy squashed some bugs.

    • Slackware Family

      • Next Slackware will use UTF-8 by default

        Besides taking security updates, Patrick already started minor changes in Slackware-Current which probably have big impact for users. The first one is enabling UTF-8 support by default in /etc/profile.d/lang.{csh,sh} script which are loaded by default and also in lilo dialog. It will not prompt you about UTF-8 anymore since it will use it by default and the kernel is already UTF-8 compliance. We will have less installation dialog in the next Slackware release :)

        The second change is mesa upgrade to 12.0.1. This is requested in LQ, but surprisingly Patrick approved it. Normally, current will not be active for some time besides security updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora mirror at home with improved hardware

          It was always a dream to have a fully functional Fedora mirror in the local network which I can use. I tried many times before, mostly with copying rpms from office, carrying them around in hard drive, etc. But never managed to setup a working mirror which will just work (even though setting it up was not that difficult). My house currently has 3 different network (from 3 different providers) and at any point of time 1 of them stays down

        • Fedora 24 Release Party: Bangalore, India

          Over the past few months, many of us in the Bangalore open source community have focused our efforts of writing test cases for Fedora, organizing a few sessions where one can learn about testing, and how we can do things together. All this while, it has been fun: I’ve met new people, learned things, and realized that sharing even small pieces of knowledge and experiences makes it easier for newcomers to feel welcome.

        • FAD Kuala Lumpur

          Every year again, could be said if the budget.next not would enforce the Ambasadors to meet in summer instead of the end of the calendar year to come together and working on the budget plan for the next year. So after Singapore in December the APAC ambassadors came in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia again together. For me is the way to KL just one hour longer as to Singapore, but there is one hour time difference, so I arrived again very late.

          The first day was mostly for discussions how to cut the budget of this year so that it fits to the huge budget cut. Having 11.5k US$ budget for the whole year and paying the regional FAD out of it, means for the APAC region after the FAD and paying the media the budget is gone. The next bigger agreement was how to continue with FUDCon in APAC, if it is a good idea to switch to FUDCon APAC with an bi-annually cycle.

        • Fedora at FISL

          Today, july 12, was the first day of the seventeenth edition of FISL – International Forum Free Software, this event was my entrance door to Fedora in 2008 and in 2016 this is my seventh participation here in Porto Alegre, capital of state Rio Grande do Sul.

        • Saying Goodbye to F23 updated Respins
        • FESCo Elections: Interview with Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh)

          I’ve been a software developer working on applications and services for Linux-based systems since around the turn of the millennium. For the last eight years, I’ve been working for Red Hat in various software development roles. During that time, I’ve contributed to a number of open source projects; in particular: Fedora Server, the System Security Services Daemon, and OpenShift Origin.

        • You’re invited: FOSCo Brainstorm Meeting, 2016-07-18, 13:00 UTC

          For some time now, Fedora has discussed the idea of the Fedora Outreach Steering Committee (FOSCo), a body to coordinate all our outreach efforts. Now it’s time to make it happen!

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Getting Nautilus 3.20 Soon, Radiance Theme Fully Ported to GTK 3.20

            We reported two weeks ago on the upcoming availability of a major GTK+ 3.20 / GNOME Stack 3.20 update for the now-in-development Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating system.

            At that moment in time, Ubuntu developer Iain Lane told us that he managed to port the Ambiance theme to the latest GTK+ 3.20 technologies, and that he also updated some of the GNOME components Ubuntu is using, such as the Nautilus file manager, and Baobab disk usage analyzer tool, along with the GTK+ port of Mozilla Firefox 47.0 for Ubuntu 16.10.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Tools for Driving an Open Source Project to Success

    How can you showcase the fact that your open source project follows best practices and is secure? The Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) Badge Program is a free program that is good to know about on this front. Its Best Practices Badge is a symbol of open source secure development maturity. Projects having a CII badge showcase the project’s commitment to security, and The Linux Foundation is the steward of this program.

    Note that The Linux Foundation also has a collection of very useful free resources pertaining to open source compliance topics. For example, Publishing Source Code for FOSS Compliance: Lightweight Process and Checklists and Generic FOSS Policy can align your project’s development with best practices and policies.

  • 8 answers to management questions from an open point of view

    I recently saw the following questions on a survey about organizational management, and decided to answer them from my open organization point of view. I’d love to hear how others in the open source world would answer these questions, so leave some comments and tell us what you think!

  • IBM Forms Impactful IoT Partnership with AT&T, Focused on Open Source

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is finally ramping up in a big way, and many of the biggest tech companies are announcing partnerships. The latest two players to cozy up to each other are IBM and AT&T. They are in partnership to meld AT&T’s connectivity with IBM’s Watson and Bluemix analytics platforms. Via APIs and development environments, including a number of open source tools, the tech titans want to make life easier for developers focused on IoT.

  • How (and why) FreeDOS keeps DOS alive

    Jim Hall’s day job is chief information officer for Ramsey County in the US state of Minnesota. But outside of work, the CIO is also a contributor to a number of free software/open source projects, including FreeDOS: The project to create an open source, drop-in replacement for MS-DOS.

    FreeDOS (it was originally dubbed ‘PD-DOS’ for ‘Public Domain DOS’, but the name was changed to reflect that it’s actually released under the GNU General Public License) dates back to June 1994, meaning it is just over 22 years old — a formidable lifespan compared to many open source projects.

  • Where Open Source fits in New Zealand

    NZ Open Source Society president Dave Lane is a frequent and articulate promoter of his cause. He can also be a scathing critic of proprietary software.

    In keeping with the Open Source philosophy, his presentation from this year’s ITX conference is online.

    You can read the slides, or hit the S key to see the slides and his speaker notes.

    Lane’s presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You can copy, adapt and share the work to your heart’s content so long as you credit the author.

    It’s well worth a read if you need a crash course in Open Source. It also works as a refresher.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Next month’s Firefox 48 is looking Rusty – and that’s a very good thing

        Mozilla says it will next month ship the first official Firefox build that sports code written in its more-secure-than-C Rust programming language.

        The Firefox 48 build – due out August 2 – will include components developed using Rust, Moz’s C/C++-like systems language that focuses on safety, speed and concurrency.

  • CMS

    • How Drupal can save taxpayers’ time and money

      Providing web services for the government of one of the most populous U.S. states (Georgia) is no small task, but it’s made a bit easier thanks to Drupal, open source software, and the work of Kendra Skeene and the GeorgiaGov Interactive team.

      In her lightning talk at Great Wide Open 2016, Skeene explains the role Drupal and open source software play in the Georgia’s efforts to save taxpayer time and money.

    • Serious flaw fixed in widely used WordPress plug-in

      If you’re running a WordPress website and you have the hugely popular All in One SEO Pack plug-in installed, it’s a good idea to update it as soon as possible. The latest version released Friday fixes a flaw that could be used to hijack the site’s admin account.

      The vulnerability is in the plug-in’s Bot Blocker functionality and can be exploited remotely by sending HTTP requests with specifically crafted headers to the website.

      The Bot Blocker feature is designed to detect and block spam bots based on their user agent and referer header values, according to security researcher David Vaartjes, who found and reported the issue.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding


    • GNU Health 3.0.2 patchset released !

      We provide “patchsets” to stable releases. Patchsets allow applying bug fixes and updates on production systems. Always try to keep your production system up-to-date with the latest patches.

      Patches and Patchsets maximize uptime for production systems, and keep your system updated, without the need to do a whole installation.

    • GIMP 2.8.18 Open-Source Image Editor Released with Script-Fu Improvements, More
    • GIMP 2.9.4 Released

      We have just released the second development version of GIMP in the 2.9.x series. After half a year in the works, GIMP 2.9.4 delivers a massive update: revamped look and feel, major improvements in color management, as well as production-ready MyPaint Brush tool, symmetric painting, and split preview for GEGL-based filters. Additionally, dozens of bugs have been fixed, and numerous small improvements have been applied.

      GIMP 2.9.4 is quite reliable for production work, but there are still loose ends to tie, which is why releasing stable v2.10 will take a while. Please refer to the Roadmap for the list of major pending changes.

    • Photoshop vs. GIMP: Which Photo Editor Do You Need?

      Just about every image you encounter in the world has been manipulated or processed in some way. Headline images, fine art photography, and advertisements all rely to some extent on image editing software. Many of these manipulations are so subtle that they’re nearly imperceptible: Slight cropping, adjusting contrast, and color correction are all standard procedures. Others are more drastic, like altering shapes and removing (or inserting) certain elements.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • This open source CNC system integrates high-tech automation into backyard farming

        This story might more properly belong on RobotHugger, but with its open source DIY approach to small-scale food production, FarmBot is worth a look.

        The old-school gardener in me is battling my high-tech early adopter side over whether or not this robotic farming device is a step toward greater food sovereignty or toward a dystopian future where robot overlords rule backyard farms. Sure, it’s easy enough to learn to garden the old fashioned way, on your hands and knees with your hands in the soil, but considering that one of the excuses for not growing some our own food is lack of time and lack of skills and knowledge, perhaps this automated and optimized small-scale farming approach could be a feasible solution for the techie foodies who would like homegrown food without having to have a green thumb.

      • Tropical Labs Offers a Powerful Open Source Servo for Makers

        Joe Church from Tropical Labs wanted low cost, accurate servo motors for a project but was unable to find the right parts for his need. The team began to develop motors and recording their progress on hackaday.io. The motor project eventually turned into Mechaduino, and Tropical Labs is running a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the first run of production motors.

      • SiFive – the open-source hardware company

        Customisation periods end with ICs becoming complex and expensive and, at that point, standardisation comes in and returns ICs to affordability.

        Or that’s the theory.

        Over the years there have been many ways to bring the cost of custom silicon down – MPW, ASIC, P-SOC, FPGAs and, latterly, ARM’s offer of free access to Cortex-M0 processor IP through DesignStart which aims to deliver test chips for $16,000.

      • Open-source Bluetooth sensor beacon offers “IoT for everyone”

        Finnish startup Ruuvi Innovations has successfully crowdfunded the first fully open-sourced Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 5 ready) sensor beacon. The device, RuuviTag, is claimed to be the only sensor beacon with a one kilometer open-air range and offers unlimited possibilities for makers, developers, Internet of Things (IoT) companies and educational institutions.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘Abortion Is a Fundamental Component of a Full Spectrum of Healthcare’

      When a wire piece headlined “Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law, Dooms Women to Substandard Care” is bylined Operation Rescue, readers are tipped off as to how genuinely to take the piece’s stated concern that by reversing a Fifth Circuit ruling that upheld restrictions Texas placed on abortion providers, the Supreme Court “relegated women to second-class citizens when it comes to abortion by allowing abortionists to evade meeting basic safety standards that are proven to save lives.”

  • Security

    • David A. Wheeler: Working to Prevent the Next Heartbleed

      The Heartbleed bug revealed that some important open source projects were so understaffed that they were unable to properly implement best security practices. The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative , formed to help open source projects have the ability to adopt these practices, uses a lot of carrot and very little stick.

    • The First iPhone Hacker Shows How Easy It Is To Hack A Computer

      Viceland is known for its extensive security-focused coverage and videos. In the latest CYBERWAR series, it’s showing us different kinds of cyber threats present in the world around us. From the same series, recently, we covered the story of an ex-NSA spy that showed us how to hack a car.

      In another spooky addition to the series, we got to see how easily the famous iPhone hacker George Hotz hacked a computer.

      George Hotz, also known as geohot, is the American hacker known for unlocking the iPhone. He developed bootrom exploit and limera1n jailbreak tool for Apple’s iOS operating system. Recently, he even built his own self-driving car in his garage.

    • Beware; Adwind RAT infecting Windows, OS X, Linux and Android Devices

      Cyber criminals always develop malware filled with unbelievable features but hardly ever you will find something that targets different operating systems simultaneously. Now, researchers have discovered a malware based on Java infecting companies in Denmark but it’s only a matter of time before it will probably hit other countries.

    • 7 Computers Fighting Against Each Other To Become “The Perfect Hacker”

      Are automated “computer hackers” better than human hackers? DARPA is answering this question in positive and looking to prove its point with the help of its Cyber Grand Challenge. The contest finale will feature seven powerful computer fighting against each other. The winner of the contest will challenge human hackers at the annual DEF CON hacking conference.

    • Security advisories for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Are We in for Another Increase in Military Spending?

      At the present time, an increase in U.S. military spending seems as superfluous as a third leg. The United States, armed with the latest in advanced weaponry, has more military might than any other nation in world history. Moreover, it has begun a $1 trillion program to refurbish its entire nuclear weapons complex.

    • South Sudan is Not Africa

      This is not an article on South Sudan, which is just as well because the conflicts there are almost fractal in their complexity. The mini-war last weekend between the forces of President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar, which killed more than 270 people and saw tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships used in the capital, Juba, is part of a pattern that embraces the whole country.


      The real reason for its poverty, however, is war: the country that is now South Sudan has been at war for 42 of the past 60 years. British colonialists included it in what we now call Sudan for administrative convenience, but the dominant population in the much bigger northern part was Muslim and Arabic-speaking, while the south was mostly Christian and culturally, ethnically and linguistically African.

    • Ramstein: A Key Link in the Kill Chain

      As the U.S. military relies more and more on remote-controlled drones to kill people half a world away, one of the key links in the chain of death is in southwest Germany, the Ramstein Air Base, reports Norman Solomon for The Nation.

    • GOP Ups Ante on Clinton’s Israel Pander

      By inserting Israel-first promises in the Republican platform, GOP regulars challenge Donald Trump’s America-first policies and open a possible bidding war with Hillary Clinton over pandering to Israel, as Chuck Spinney explains.

    • Don’t Call Him “Bernie” Anymore: the Sanders Sell-Out and the Clinton Wars to Come

      The worst disservice Sanders has done to his supporters, other than to lead them on a wild goose chase for real change, is to virtually ignore his rival’s vaunted “experience.” He need not have mentioned Hillary Clinton’s Senate record, since there was nothing there; her stint as law-maker was merely intended to position her for a run for the presidency, according to the family plan. But there was a lot in her record as Secretary of State.

      As she recounts in her memoir, she wanted a heftier “surge” in Afghanistan than Obama was prepared to order. Anyone paying attention knows that the entire military mission in that broken country has been a dismal failure producing blow-back on a mind-boggling scale, even as the Taliban has become stronger, and controls more territory, than at any time since its toppling in 2001-2002.

      Hillary wanted to impose regime change on Syria in 2011, by stepping up assistance to armed groups whom (again) anyone paying attention knows are in cahoots with al-Nusra (which is to say, al-Qaeda). In an email dated Nov. 30, 2015, she states her reason: “The best way to help Israel…is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

    • In Attempt to Dodge Suit, White House Argues Funding War Makes War Legal

      A lawsuit filed earlier this year charging President Barack Obama with waging an illegal war against the Islamic State (or ISIS) was met on Tuesday with a motion from the Obama administration asking the court to dismiss it.

      In its motion to dismiss (pdf), the administration argues that congressional funding for the war amounts to congressional approval for it.

      The lawsuit (pdf) was filed in U.S. district court by Capt. Nathan Michael Smith, an intelligence official stationed in Kuwait, in May. Smith has been assigned to work for “Operation Inherent Resolve,” the administration’s name for the nebulous conflict against the terrorist group ISIS.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Koch Brothers’ Congressman Seeks To Block Efforts to Prevent Chemical Catastrophe

      Republican congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, who represents Wichita, seems to be doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers once again: He has introduced legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing or enforcing a rule to improve the safety of America’s most dangerous chemical plants. Wichita is the home of Koch Industries, which has been the most aggressive opponent of efforts to make these plants safer.

      The Obama EPA’s proposed rule, issued in March, is — in the opinion of former George W. Bush EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, experienced retired generals, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, community and labor leaders and many others — far too weak to adequately protect the public from the serious dangers represented by hazardous chemical facilities, which Senator Barack Obama once called “stationary weapons of mass destruction spread all across the country.” But at least the rule takes some steps toward requiring chemical plant operators to address the problem. And that’s apparently too much for Pompeo to tolerate.

    • Leaked: The strategy behind Shell’s low emissions PR push

      Shell is targeting journalists, policy-makers and millennials with a new strategy to position the oil major as a leading light on the path to a ‘net-zero emissions’ future, according to a leaked document seen by Energydesk.

      The document – a project brief for PR companies – outlines Shell’s aims for the communications project, which include:

      “Help ‘open doors’ in building relationships with key stakeholders in support of business objectives”
      “Build Shell’s reputation as an innovative, competitive and forward-thinking energy company of the future”
      “Brand perception and advocacy”

      The communications campaign, which the briefing suggests should include a range of interactive online media and events, centres around a scenario outlined in a recent report entitled A Better Life with a Healthy Planet: Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions.

    • Americans Are Becoming More Worried About Climate Change. Here’s Why.

      Another major public opinion analysis confirms that Americans are growing substantially more “Alarmed” and “Concerned” about global warming, while at the same time becoming less “Doubtful” and “Dismissive.”

    • GOP Subpoenas in ExxonKnew Probe Decried as Oil-Soaked ‘Abuse of Power’

      The GOP is amping up its campaign against those seeking to hold Big Oil accountable for climate deception, with House Science, Space, and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) announcing Wednesday that his panel has issued subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts attorneys general and climate groups demanding information on their ExxonKnew investigations.

    • Republicans just escalated the war over ExxonMobil and climate change

      Call it a tit for tat over subpoenas, one that escalates an ongoing spat over what the biggest U.S. oil company knew and when it knew it.

      House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said Wednesday his committee was issuing subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts state attorneys general, who have issued their own subpoenas as part of probes into whether ExxonMobil misled the public and investors about what it knew about the dangers of climate change decades ago.

  • Finance

    • Article 50 and Brexit: Are Estragon and Vladimir on the move?

      Of the three appointments, the one which should worry Remainers is that of David Davis. It is a serious appointment. He was an outstanding Chair of the main Commons watchdog committee, the Public Accounts Committee, and a competent Europe minister. He is not a politician to underestimate.

      That said: there is the irony that, because of his genuine civil liberties concerns, he is currently suing the UK government at the European Court of Justice so as to enforce EU law. Not the most appropriate thing a Brexit minister should be doing, one may say.

      But what difference will the appointment make?

    • Are Obama and Clinton Counting on Republican Majorities to Pass TPP?

      Or should we ask whether the Pope is Catholic? Why else would President Barack Obama be so determined that November/December’s lame duck Congress, with Republican majorities in both House and Senate, vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? And, why did Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s majority representatives on the Democratic platform committee block any opposition to a vote by the lame duck Congress? What else explains either phenomenon? Support for the TPP has always been majority Republican, despite considerable Democratic support in the Senate and Obama’s own unflagging dedication. If lame duck Republican majorities pass the TPP, Obama can claim his vicious, anti-worker trade legacy, and Hillary can take office without taking the heat. So much for Obama’s 2014 plea to get Cousin Pookie off the couch to vote for the Democrats.

      Horrible things often happen between presidential elections in November and the inauguration of new presidents in January. In 2000, in the final months of his presidency, Bill Clinton worked with Republicans to pass the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, the Wall Street deregulation bill that tanked the economy and allowed the banks to drive millions of Americans out of their homes. On his last day in office in 2001, Clinton pardoned fugitive commodities dealer and Glencore International founder Mark Rich, who had been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list for years for charges that included buying $200 million worth of oil from Iran while it was holding 53 American hostages in 1979 and selling it to Israel. In 2008, as Obama prepared to take office, Israel pounded Gaza with Operation Cast Lead between December 27th and January 18th. The bombardment ended just two days before Obama’s inauguration. Then, on Inauguration Day, when all eyes were on the U.S.A.’s first African American President, U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo again with U.S. blessing.

      So, why not ram through the TPP when everyone’s trying to get home for the holidays? Much as Republicans hate handing Obama any kind of victory, and much as Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Richard Burr, R-NC, and Thomas Till, R-NC, dislike exemptions that would allow TPP-participating nations to issue health warnings without compensating tobacco farmers, they might see this as their last chance too.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Wikipedia Is Shockingly Biased: 5 Lessons From An Admin

      Unless you’re one of those freaks with attentive parents and a good education, Wikipedia has probably taught you more than school and family combined. It’s society’s go-to source for knowledge, from settling disputes at the bar to cranking out term papers hours before they’re due. But as Chris, a veteran Wikipedia administrator explained to us, this is a problem. That’s because …

    • Western Propaganda for a New Cold War

      Western propaganda portrays Russia as the aggressor and NATO as the victim, but the reality looks almost opposite from the ground level, Rick Sterling found on a recent fact-finding trip.

    • A Perfect Couple: Sanders and Clinton

      So much for Mr. Sanders’ ‘progressive’ platform.

      Difficult as it is to say anything positive about the Republican Party, at least its voters thought ‘outside of the box’ this year. There was no decent candidate running, so rather than choosing some tired career politician, they selected a billionaire racist, homophobic, Islamophopic misogynist. The Democrats played by their rigged rulebook, and are about to nominate the quintessential Washington insider.

      Is there a lesser evil between these two? Hardly! Each, in his or her own way, will cause untold suffering at home and abroad; do nothing to assist those who are struggling; enrich their friends and associates, and leave a trail of blood and carnage in their wake.

    • In Campaign Against Venezuela, NYT Cites Former Member of Death Squad Alliance

      Even more bizarre is the Times editorial’s reliance on Paraguay’s foreign minister, Eladio Loizaga, a diplomat left over from the decades-long dictatorship of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner. The foreign minister is accused by Latin Americans (E’a, 8/12/13) of involvement in the hit squad operations of the World Anti-Communist League and Operation Condor.

      Loizaga, whom the Times apparently interviewed and treats favorably in its editorial (“We can’t condone any action that silences dissident voices,” the editorial quotes him), was an important Latin American member of WACL, an extreme right-wing organization incorporating fascist and Nazi elements and involved in murders around the globe.

    • The Entirely Fake Owen Smith

      Note “to pitch himself”. For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning. On Channel 4 News last night, an incredulous Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.

    • Progressives Have Raised Expectations, and Democrats Have Fought Desperately to Lower Them

      When Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008, expectations were high.

      What occupied the minds of the president-elect’s advisers, however, was not how to live up to those expectations, but how to temper them.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Boris Johnson’s career ‘defies the laws of political gravity’, say US officials

      On 14 July, the world was still digesting the fact that former London mayor and pro-Brexit conservative Boris Johnson had been assigned the role of Foreign Secretary in Prime Minister Theresa May’s new cabinet.

      That means, for better or worse, Johnson is suddenly the minister responsible for the activities of MI6 and GCHQ while also having to represent the UK in its numerous dealings abroad. The reaction, as expected, was mixed.

    • Boris Johnson is in charge of GCHQ and Twitter is …concerned

      The intelligence agency, based in Cheltenham, is the responsibility of the Foreign Secretary, the job Mr Johnson was unexpectedly given yesterday by new Prime Minister Theresa May.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • In Privacy Win, Federal Judge Rejects ‘Stingray’ Evidence for First Time

      For the first time, a federal judge has thrown out evidence obtained by police without a warrant using the controversial “Stingray” device that mimics cell phone towers to trick nearby devices into connecting with them, revealing private information.

      U.S. District Judge William Pauley said the defendant’s rights were violated when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used a Stingray to figure out his home address during a drug investigation.

    • The Pokémon Fad Shows the Unnerving Future of Augmenting Reality

      On a recent summer evening, something strange happened in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. As usual, joggers zipped along the edge of Long Meadow and dog owners did their postprandial duty. But this time they were joined by a dozen people shuffling about haphazardly, zombie eyes fixed on their glowing phone screens. This ad hoc crowd was busy catching Pokémon, the virtual creatures at the heart of the latest, out-of-nowhere smartphone craze.

    • Visiting a Website against the Owner’s Wishes Is Now a Federal Crime
    • Appeals Court: It Violates CFAA For Service To Access Facebook On Behalf Of Users, Because Facebook Sent Cease & Desist

      Another week, another CFAA (Computer Fraud & Abuse Act) ruling out of the 9th Circuit Appeals Court. This time it’s the infamous Facebook v. Power.com case that’s been going on since 2008. When we first came across the case, in early 2009, we insisted that it made no sense. Power.com was trying to set itself up as a sort of “meta” social network, or perhaps a social network management system, where users could have a dashboard for all their different social networks. Facebook didn’t like this and sued over a long list of things, including copyright and trademark infringement, unlawful competition, violation of anti-spam laws… and the CFAA. Most of the claims went nowhere, but the CFAA and anti-spam ones lived on (because Power.com had systems for sending emails to users). The copyright claims were troubling, but the CFAA claims were the ones that concerned us the most.

      Of course, it’s taken many, many years for the case to make its way through the courts, and Power.com ceased even existing about five years ago. And the latest ruling is not just a nail in the coffin, but a potentially problematic CFAA ruling. While the court tosses out the CAN SPAM arguments, it does say that Power’s actions were a CFAA violation. It’s not as bad as it could have been, because the court doesn’t say that merely violating Facebook’s terms of service violates the CFAA, but instead narrows it slightly. It says that because Facebook sent a cease and desist letter to Power, from that point on it was on notice that it was not authorized to access Facebook’s servers. It was the move to continue getting Facebook user data that sealed the CFAA claim.

    • ‘Google, FB compile more data than NSA’
    • ‘Google, FB compile more data than NSA’ [Ed: This article is not just wrong but also inane and exposes author as unaware of where NSA extracts its data from]

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Silicon Valley companies Google and Facebook now compile more information than the US’ National Security Agency.

      Speaking via a videoconference at the embassy of Ecuador in London, where he was granted asylum in 2012, Assange said the new global economic template was what he called Surveillance Capitalism.

      The Australian spoke during a Freedom of Expression seminar organised in Santiago by the Chilean College of Journalists that was celebrating its 60th anniversary.

      The cyberactivist said although the information was channelled through the two companies, the NSA still monitored the content and finally ended up “knowing everything”.

    • Agent’s Testimony Shows FBI Not All That Interested In Ensuring The Integrity Of Its Forensic Evidence

      Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski has been picking apart the FBI’s oral testimony on the NIT it deployed in the Matish/Playpen case. The judge presiding over that case denied Matish’s suppression request for a number of reasons — including the fact that Matish’s residence in Virginia meant that Rule 41 jurisdiction rules weren’t violated by the FBI’s NIT warrant. Judge Morgan Jr. then went off script and suggested the FBI didn’t even need to obtain a warrant to deploy a hacking tool that exposed end user computer info because computers get hacked all the time.

      He equated this to police peering through broken blinds and seeing something illegal inside a house, while failing to recognize that his analogy meant the FBI could let themselves inside the house first to break the blinds, then peer in from the outside and claim “plain sight.”

      The oral arguments [PDF] — using FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin’s testimony — were submitted in yet another case tied to the seizure of a child porn website, this one also taking place in Virginia and where the presiding judge has similarly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress. The DOJ has added the transcript of the agent’s oral testimony in the Matish prosecution as an exhibit to this case, presumably to help thwart the defendant’s motion to compel the FBI to turn over the NIT’s source code.

      Many assertions are made by Agent Alfin in support of the FBI’s claim that its hacking tool — which strips away any anonymity-protecting efforts put into place by the end user and sends this information to a remote computer — is not malware. And many of them verge on laughable. Or would be laughable, if Alfin wasn’t in the position of collecting and submitting forensic evidence.

    • Private Internet Access Leaves Russia, Following Encryption Ban And Seized Servers

      A few years ago, I got to travel to Moscow to present some of our research at an event. Having heard more than a few stories about internet access issues in Russia, before going I made sure that I had three separate VPNs lined up in case any of them were blocked. I ended up using Private Internet Access — which was already quite well-known and reliable. That’s my regular VPN, but I had been worried that maybe it wouldn’t work in Moscow. I was wrong. It worked flawlessly. But apparently that’s no longer the case. Just after Russia’s new surveillance bill passed, complete with mandates for encryption backdoors and data retention (along with a demand that all encryption be openly accessible for the government within two weeks), apparently Russian officials seized Private Internet Access’s servers in Russia, causing the company to send an email to all its subscribers, announcing what happened, what it was doing to fix things… and also that it was no longer doing business in Russia.

    • Tor Project Elects All-New Board of Directors
    • The Tor Project Elects New Board of Directors

      Today, the board of directors of the Tor Project is announcing a bold decision in keeping with its commitment to the best possible health of the organization.

      Says Tor’s Executive Director Shari Steele, “I think this was an incredibly brave and selfless thing for the board to do. They’re making a clear statement that they want the organization to become its best self.”

    • Tor Project installs new board of directors after Jacob Appelbaum controversy

      The Tor Project today announced that it has elected an entirely new board of directors, as the nonprofit privacy organization continues seeing the fallout from accusations of sexual misconduct by prominent former employee Jacob Appelbaum.

    • Tor Project, a Digital Privacy Group, Reboots With New Board

      The Tor Project, a nonprofit digital privacy group, on Wednesday replaced its board with a new slate of directors as part of a larger shake-up after allegations of sexual misconduct by a prominent employee.

    • In wake of Appelbaum fiasco, Tor Project shakes up board of directors

      New team includes Cindy Cohn, Biella Coleman, Matt Blaze, and Bruce Schneier.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ACLU Sues Baton Rouge Police for Violating Rights at Alton Sterling Protests

      Baton Rouge police showed excessive force when they arrived at this weekend’s Black Lives Matter demonstration in riot gear and bearing machine guns, the lawsuit (pdf) alleges. The officers also violated protesters’ First Amendment rights when they used “physical and verbal abuse and wrongful arrests to disperse protestors who were gathered peacefully to speak out against the police killing of Alton Sterling,” the ACLU wrote.

    • The Police in Baton Rouge Don’t Like It When Protesters Exercise Their Rights, So We’re Taking Them to Court

      The ACLU of Louisiana has filed an emergency order to make Baton Rouge police respect protester’s First Amendment rights.

      Since our very founding, the American people have taken to the streets and sidewalks to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, this week it’s the residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who have good reason to partake in this historical tradition. On July 5, 2016, a Black Baton Rouge resident named Alton Sterling — a man who had committed no crime — was tackled, Tasered, incapacitated, and fatally shot at point blank range by two white Baton Rouge police officers.

      The anger at Mr. Sterling’s death is immense. It is real. It is justified. And it deserves a voice.

      So in our grand American tradition, residents sought to make their voices heard, to speak truth to power about police use of force, to object to the death of Black men in police custody, and to say that Black lives matter. To do this, they spilled out onto the city’s streets and sidewalks — the very places which the Supreme Court has described as having “immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public” as the place to exercise our constitutional liberties.

      But it doesn’t appear that the law enforcement agencies in Baton Rouge care much for our Constitution, or for the liberties of its own citizens. Instead officers have shown naked hostility to the constitutional rights of the citizens they have a duty to serve. That’s why today the ACLU of Louisiana is going to court on behalf of community organizations like Black Youth Power 100 New Orleans, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, and Louisiana Chapter of the National Lawyers’ Guild to seek an emergency order to ensure that the police in Baton Rouge obey the Constitution. It’s not the first time an ACLU affiliate has stepped up to challenge the cops reacting to protests over police accountability — and while I hope it’s the last, it won’t be.

    • Was Hillary Clinton’s Email Hacked? The Case

      Hillary Clinton traveled to 19 foreign locations during her first three months in office, inlcuding China, South Korea, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and a meeting in Switzerland with her Russian counterpart. During that period of time her email system was unencrypted. She transmitted data over wireless networks in those countries, networks almost certainly already monitored 24/7 by intelligence and security officials. To say her email was not collected is to say the Russian, Chinese, Israeli and other intelligence services are complete amateurs.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Email Absolution: Two Parties, One Criminal Regime

      What was your reaction when you heard FBI Director James Comey announce to the world that the Bureau would not be recommending that charges be filed against Hillary Clinton over her handling of emails while she was Secretary of State? Did you do a humorous spit take with your coffee like some modern day Danny Thomas? Were you frozen in place like Americans were on November 22, 1963? Did your jaw hit the floor with your tongue rolling out like a flabbergasted cartoon character?

      Chances are you weren’t the least bit surprised that no charges were recommended. But what does that tell you about our political system?

      That millions of Americans weren’t remotely caught off guard by the exculpation of Hillary Clinton is less a commentary about American attitudes than it is a clear indication of the all-pervasive criminality that is at the heart of America’s political ruling class. And the fact that such criminality is seen as par for the course demonstrates once again that the rule of law is more a rhetorical veneer than a juridical reality.

      But consider further what the developments of recent days tell us both about the US and, perhaps even more importantly, the perception of the US internationally. For while Washington consistently wields as weapons political abstractions such as transparency, corruption, and freedom, it is unwilling to apply to itself those same cornerstones of America’s collective self-conception. Hypocrisy is perhaps not strong enough a word.

    • ‘Trustworthy’ Trump? Plagued by Email Controversy, Clinton’s Lead Plummets

      The race between the two presidential frontrunners remains too close to call in the final stretch leading to the two major party conventions, as new polling shows that Donald Trump has overtaken Hillary Clinton in key battleground states while her national lead has shrunk to just three points.

      A McClatchy-Marist survey released Wednesday found that in a head-to-head match-up, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is currently ahead 42 to 39, which McClatchy notes, marks the first time that support for Clinton has dropped beneath 50 percentage points.

    • FBI Agents Were Told To Sign A “Very, Very Unusual” NDA In Hillary Email Case

      The State Department restarted their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails following the DoJ’s unanimous recommendation that Attorney General Loretta Lynch not pursue criminal charges for Hillary’s negligence in handling classified documents. FBI insiders now believe a deal was struck when Bill Clinton met Loretta Lynch on a Phoenix airport tarmac in June. Agents have also said they were forced to sign a document that went above and beyond the typical NDA signed when performing investigations

      When news broke of the infamous tarmac Lynch-Clinton meeting we said: “Well then, if Lynch says it was a completely random encounter with Hillary Clinton’s husband on a tarmac (admit it, that happens often to most people), and nothing was discussed that pertains to official business, then that certainly must be the truth.”

    • Hillary Clinton and Personal Honesty

      When FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed his recommendation to the Department of Justice last week that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be prosecuted for espionage, he unleashed a firestorm of criticism from those who believe that Clinton was judged by different standards from those used to judge others when deciding whether to bring a case to a grand jury.

    • Is What’s Good For Facebook Not So Good For Democracy?

      Why the social-media honeymoon may be over for some activists.

    • As Cases Multiply, Officials Scramble to Stop Abuse of Nursing Home Residents on Social Media

      Iowa health officials recently discovered it wasn’t against state law for a nursing home worker to share a photo on Snapchat of a resident covered in feces. They are trying to change that.

    • North Carolina Bans Public Access to Police Dash Cameras

      What good are police body cameras, or police car dash cams, if the footage they record is off limits to the public? That question might best be posed to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who yesterday signed into law a bill making that footage inaccessible to the general public, including everyday citizens who were recorded in the footage and might need it to prove police misbehavior. Despite widespread outcry, including protests and submission of a petition signed by more than 3,000 people, House Bill 972 received little opposition in the Senate, where it passed by a vote of 48 to 2 before the governor gave final approval.

    • Two Years After Eric Garner’s Death, Ramsey Orta, Who Filmed Police, Is Only One Heading to Jail

      Two years ago this week, Eric Garner died in Staten Island after officers wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold. The man who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner, Ramsey Orta, is now heading to jail for four years on unrelated charges—making him the only person at the scene of Garner’s killing who will serve jail time. Last week Orta took a plea deal on weapons and drug charges. He says he has been repeatedly arrested and harassed by cops since he filmed the fatal police chokehold nearly two years ago. We speak to Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, and Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine. He’s working on a book on Eric Garner’s case.

    • CIA Director Says Next President Could Order Agency to Torture And It Might Comply

      CIA Director John Brennan said Wednesday that the next president could remove the restrictions President Obama has put on the use of drones overseas – and that CIA might comply with an order to commit torture.

      In April, Brennan told NBC News that the CIA would refuse an order to resume its torture program. But on Wednesday, speaking at a Brookings Institute event, he said he was just speaking on his own behalf.

      “If a president were to order, order the agency to carry out waterboarding or something else, it’ll be up to the director of CIA and others within CIA to decide whether or not that, that direction and order is something that they can carry out in good conscience,” he said.

      He added that he was personally opposed: “As long as I’m director of CIA, irrespective of what the president says, I’m not going to be the director of CIA who gives that order. They’ll have to find another director.”

      Brennan did not acknowledge that Congress last year turned Obama’s anti-torture executive order into law, explicitly banning waterboarding and other forms of torture — and restricting the CIA in particular to interrogation methods listed in the Army Field Manual.

    • The battle of the veil

      Last month, pictures of a young girl wearing a headscarf made with a newspaper pattern spread through the Iranian social media. The girl is in fact the niece of Iran’s jailed Green Movement leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, but that was not the reason why the picture went viral. The newspaper pattern on the scarf was the front page of the newspaper that printed the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s pledge in 1978 as its main headline: “Regarding the wearing of the veil, there will be no compulsion”.

    • Wisconsin Court: Warning Labels Are Needed for Scores Rating Defendants’ Risk of Future Crime

      The court’s ruling cited a recent ProPublica investigation into COMPAS, the popular software tool used to score defendants in Wisconsin and in other jurisdictions across country. Our analysis found that the software is frequently wrong, and that it is biased against black defendants who did not commit future crimes – falsely labeling them as future criminals at twice the rate as white defendants. (The software is owned by a for-profit company, Northpointe, which disputes our findings.)

    • Empathy Alone Won’t Stop Police Killings

      Of course empathy is important and we should encourage it. But the president falls short; empathy alone will never end the regular and widespread killing of black people in disproportionate numbers. It’s a racist system, not a few individual racist police that devalues black lives and leaves us dead so easily.

    • How This Became the Era of the Gunman

      The war abroad and the war at home are both fueled by a fear of encroaching chaos — and it’s hard to miss the racist subtext.

    • Man Who Doxxed Dozens Of People, Engaged In Nineteen ‘Swattings’, Nets Only One Year In Prison

      The treatment of all things “cyber” by the government is incredibly inconsistent. Give someone a password so they can deface a website for 40 minutes and it’s two years in jail. Doxx, SWAT, and cyberstalk multiple people and the best the court can do is two years minus time served. The end result is one year in prison for Mir Islam, who doxxed multiple celebrities and politicians, as well as called in fake threats that resulted in the swatting of at least nineteen people, including security researcher Brian Krebs, who uncovered Islam’s doxxing tactics.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Expands Usage Caps, Still Pretending This Is A Necessary Trial Where Consumer Opinion Matters

      As we’ve noted for some time, Comcast continues to expand the company’s usage cap “trial” into more and more markets. As a clever, lumbering monopoly, Comcast executives believe if they move slowly enough — consumers won’t realize they’re the frog in the boiling pot metaphor. But as we’ve noted time and time again, Comcast usage caps are utterly indefensible price hikes on uncompetitive markets, with the potential for anti-competitive abuse (since Comcast’s exempting its own services from the cap).

      This is all dressed up as a “trial” where consumer feedback matters to prop up the flimsy narrative that Comcast is just conducting “creative price experimentation.”

      Last week, Comcast quietly notified customers that the company’s caps are expanding once again, this time into Chicago and other parts of Illinois, as well as portions of Indiana and Michigan. Comcast recently raised its cap from 300 GB to one terabyte in response to signals from the FCC that the agency might finally wake up to the problems usage caps create. And while that’s certainly an improvement, it doesn’t change the fact that usage caps on fixed-line networks are little more than an assault on captive, uncompetitive markets.

  • DRM

    • A Call to the Security Community: The W3C’s DRM Extension Must Be Investigated

      The World Wide Web Consortium has published a “Candidate Recommendation” for Encrypted Media Extensions, a pathway to DRM for streaming video.

      A large community of security researchers and public interest groups have been alarmed by the security implications of baking DRM into the HTML5 standard. That’s because DRM — unlike all the other technology that the W3C has ever standardized — enjoys unique legal protection under a tangle of international laws, like the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Canada’s Bill C-11, and EU laws that implement Article 6 of the EUCD.

      Under these laws, companies can threaten legal action against researchers who circumvent DRM, even if they does so for lawful purposes, like disclosing security vulnerabilities. Last summer, a who’s-who America’s most esteemed security researchers filed comments with the US Copyright Office warning the agency that they routinely discovered vulnerabilities in systems from medical implants to voting machines to cars, but were advised not to disclose those discoveries because of the risk of legal reprisals under Section 1201 of the DMCA.

      Browsers are among the most common technologies in the world, with literally billions of daily users. Any impediment to reporting vulnerabilities in these technologies has grave implications. Worse: HTML5 is designed to provide the kind of rich interaction that we see in apps, in order to challenge apps’ dominance as control systems for networked devices. That means browsers are now intended to serve as front-ends for pacemakers and cars and home security systems. Now more than ever, we can’t afford any structural impediments to identification and disclosure of browser defects.

      There is a way to reconcile the demands of browser vendors and movie studios with the security of the web: last year, we proposed an extension to the existing W3C policy on patents, which says that members are forbidden from enforcing their patent rights to shut down implementations of W3C standards. Under our proposal, this policy would also apply to legal threats under laws like the DMCA. Members would agree upon a mutually acceptable, binding covenant that forbade them from using the DMCA and its global analogs to attack security researchers who revealed defects in browsers and new entrants into the browser market.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Sales Activity: MedCo, Helsinn, and the AIA

      In The Medicines Co. v. Hospira an en banc Federal Circuit confirmed the validity of MedCo’s Angiomax product-by-process patent claims over an on-sale challenge. More than one-year before filing the patent application, MedCo had hired a third-party supplier to provide three batches of the drug using an embodiment of the claimed processes. The question was whether this ‘supply contract’ constituted a commercial offer for sale sufficient to trigger the on-sale bar of Section 102(b) (pre-AIA). In the appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the supply contract was “for performing services” rather than a triggering sale. “[A] contract manufacturer’s sale to the inventor of manufacturing services where neither the title to the embodiments nor the right to market the same passes to the supplier does not constitute an invalidating sale.”

    • Octane: Malpractice Claims by Clients Forced to Pay the Other Side’s Fees?

      The first is that, for the first time, there is a “gap” (if you will) between zealous advocacy under Rule 11 (and other similar statutes) and the fee shifting statute. So, as a lawyer, I may be ethically required to do something that could result in my client paying the other side’s fees.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube to the music industry: here’s the money

        YouTube and the music industry are frenemies of the first order, a mutually dependent couple that can’t stop bickering in public. The major record labels are currently renegotiating their contracts with the world’s largest online video platform, and so the war of words has been heating up of late. Today, Google added a fresh data point to the back and forth, announcing in a new report on piracy that its Content ID system has paid out $2 billion to copyright holders, double what it announced back in 2014.

        Content ID is actually at the heart of the music industry’s current beef with YouTube. The system asks copyright holders to upload a file, say a music video, and then tries to automatically detect any copies of that work which are uploaded by other users. The copyright owner can ask the system to automatically report, block, or monetize videos when it detects a copy, and YouTube has argued that the music labels almost always choose the last of those options.

      • Enoch Pratt leader Carla Hayden confirmed for Library of Congress

        The longtime leader of Baltimore’s public library system was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress despite concerns from some conservative lawmakers about her past position on a law intended to limit children’s access to pornography at schools and libraries.

        Carla D. Hayden, the CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, will become the first woman and the first African-American to oversee the nation’s largest library. Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February and was confirmed by the Senate on a 74-18 vote.

      • Good News: Carla Hayden Easily Approved As The New Librarian Of Congress

        Here’s some good news. After decades of ridiculously bad management, it appears that the Library of Congress has a real leader. Dr. Carla Hayden has been approved by the Senate as our new Librarian of Congress by a wide margin, 74 to 18. And that’s despite a last minute push by the ridiculous Heritage Foundation to argue that the Librarian of Congress should not be a librarian (and one with tremendous administrative experience). Heritage Foundation’s alerts can often sway Republican Senators, so the fact that only 18 still voted against her is quite something. Hayden was also able to get past ridiculous claims that she was pro-obscenity or pro-piracy based on people who just didn’t like the idea of an actually qualified person in the position.

        She’s an exceptionally qualified librarian with administrative and leadership experience. And while I’m sure I won’t agree with everything she does, it seems like a massive improvement on the previous librarian, James Billington, who famously resisted any kind of modernization efforts, and who the Government Accountability Office had to call out multiple times for his leadership failings. Billington was so bad that when he resigned, the Washington Post was able to get people to go on the record celebrating.

      • BitTorrent Launches Live Streaming BitTorrent News Channel

        The company behind the world famous file-sharing client BitTorrent is all set for the birth of their news network titled as BitTorrent News. Streamed on BitTorrent Live, the network will commence its operations at the Republican Party Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18.


Links 13/7/2016: Microsoft Claims Credit for Skype on Linux After Removing or Ruining It

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AT&T to release SDN platform into open source
  • AT&T Releasing Its Network Playbook into Open Source
  • AT&T open sources ECOMP to Linux Foundation, hopes to make it industry’s standard for SDN
  • AT&T Commits Releasing Its Network Playbook Into Open Source
  • UNH-IOL Tackles SDN Interoperability with New Consortium
  • From DevOps to BizDevOps: It’s All About the People
  • DevOps: Chef offers enterprise-wide analytics with Automate tool

    Already know a vendor of software automation tools, Chef software has launched a new tool that combines Chef’s existing software into one, single-interface product.

    Aimed at software development teams the app combines Chef Delivery and Chef Compliance into one tool. According to the company the aim is to speed up the software delivery process.

    Chef Automate includes a new Visibility feature that offers analytics of all the resources managed by Chef through a single interface, the company says, and should help organisations, “safely deploy infrastructure and applications at high velocity and scale”.

  • A survey for developers about application configuration

    Markus Raab, the author of Elektra project, has created a survey to get FLOSS developer’s point of view on the configuration of application.

  • Reduce the cost of virtualization with open source Proxmox

    Thanks to its open source availability and full-featured graphical interface, Proxmox makes for an excellent alternative to more expensive virtualization platforms.

  • Know a rising open source star? Nominate her for a WISE Award

    Christine Flounders, Regional Manager for Engineering at Bloomberg L.P. London tells us about an amazing open (source) opportunity for women – the WISE International Open Source Award.

  • The Merits of the Open Source Philosophy

    Tonight, I sent my fourteen year old daughter a sample from the book “Libertarianism For Beginners.” If she likes it, I’ll gladly buy the full book for her to add to her library. The purchasing process was reasonably painless as there was a clean interface guiding me from product discovery all the way through delivery. As an added bonus, the underlying architecture for the whole thing was Linux. This is what you might call Software As a Service or SAAS. In fact, most of the SAAS systems we rely upon for our most common daily activities utilize the most popular kernel ever created and deployed in the history of computing – Linux.

    So what does the book have to do with SAAS? There’s a reason I shared a book about Libertarian philosophy with Eliza and it wasn’t just because it’s a book with pictures. It’s because she recently stumbled onto watching the Atlas Shrugged movies and was intrigued by the clear way the characters present their thoughts. She could understand how individualism benefits society and how forced charity can lead to destruction. It’s not a philosophy that everyone reading this agrees to, nor should they, but it’s neat to see a young lady become infatuated with ideas instead of boys, fashion, or makeup.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fedora 25 Planning For Proper Rust Support

        There are some new feature proposals to talk about for Fedora 25, which will be officially released around November.

        The latest self-contained change that is proposed for Fedora 25 is Rust compiler support. In particular, the hope is to package up the LLVM-based Rust compiler and its Cargo build system and offer them via the main Fedora repository. The current plan is for packaging Rust 1.10 and Cargo 0.11.

      • Mozilla Will Begin “Rusting” Of Its Firefox Browser On August 2

        Mozilla is all set to launch multi-processing functionality in the new update. The new version–Firefox 48–is scheduled for a release on August 2. Firefox 48 will have some of its components coded in Rust, a programming language developed by Mozilla.

      • Mozilla begins process of letting Firefox rust

        Mozilla has announced it has taken a small step towards replacing much of Firefox’s C++ code with its safer alternative language, Rust.

        When Firefox 48 ships on August 2, it will contain a Rust-built mp4 track metadata parser that will be available on Windows and 32-bit Linux desktops for the first time. Users of Mac OS X and 64-bit Linux have had the new parser available since Firefox 45.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis Embracing Kubernetes and Containers for OpenStack Cloud

      The world of containers and OpenStack clouds are increasingly coming together, as organizations of all sizes look to become more agile. While the idea of running containers inside of OpenStack is one option, a powerful idea that is now taking shape is to run OpenStack itself as a set of containers, which is then managed by the Kubernetes container orchestration system.

      Among the vendors that are working on enabling OpenStack to run as a set of containers is Miranits, which is currently developing a new version of its Fuel platform to make use of Kubernetes. To date, Fuel has heavily relied on Puppet configuration management technology to help enable many functions. Moving forward, Puppet will still be a part of future Fuel releases, though not quite in the same depth as before.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Better networking with open-source EtherCAT [Ed: openwashing as it has nothing to do with OSS]

      Semiconductor manufacturers and their suppliers – both process tool vendors and providers of sub-fab systems – are looking to an open-source industrial networking methodology, EtherCAT, developed by Beckhoff Automation (Verl, Germany; m.beckhoff.com) to address the increasingly stringent control requirements of emerging high-precision processes.

      During SEMICON West, early adopters are promoting EtherCAT as a next-generation real-time Ethernet control solution, with a variety of attributes: it is fast (good for controlling ever-more precise process recipes), open source, and extendable to many more nodes than existing networking protocols. Those attributes make EtherCAT attractive to tool makers such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, and Tokyo Electron Ltd., as well as sub-systems suppliers such as Edwards (Crawley, England).

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU-FOSSA needs your help – A free software community call to action

      The EU-FOSSA project’s mission is to “offer a systematic approach for the EU institutions to ensure that widely used critical software can be trusted”. The project was triggered by recent software security vulnerabilities, especially the Heartbleed issue. An inspired initiative by EU parlamentarians Max Andersson and Julia Reda, the pilot project “Governance and quality of software code – Auditing of free and open source software” became FOSSA. Run under the auspices of DIGIT, the project promised “improved integrity and security of key open source software”. I had been interviewed as a stakeholder by the project during work package 0 (“project charter, stakeholder interviews and business case”), and later worked with the FSFE group that provided input and comments to the project to EC-DIGIT. While I believe that the parliamentary project champions and the people involved in the project at EC-DIGIT are doing great work, I am worried that the deliverables of the project are beginning to fall short of expectations. I also think the free software community needs to get more involved. Here is why.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why I Chose Sterilization at 31

      There are several reasons why I’m getting sterilized. The first one is: I don’t ever want to be pregnant again. The only time I have been pregnant was horrible: all-day nausea, unable to eat anything but crackers and ginger ale, basically stuck in bed for two weeks before my abortion. I was unable to work or to do much more than watch TV and sleep all day.

    • Farmers Rebel After Organic ‘Elites’ Throw Support Behind Sham Label Law

      The Stabenow-Roberts GMO labeling bill, which the House of Representatives is expected to vote on this week, has deepened a rift within the organic industry as farmers and other dedicated opponents of genetically modified (GM or GMO) agriculture are breaking ties with those who support the legislation (pdf), which is backed by both Monsanto and the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

      The farmer-controlled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) announced Wednesday that it has withdrawn its membership from the influential Organic Trade Association (OTA).

      The decision was made by a unanimous vote by the group’s Board of Directors and was prompted by what OSGATA describes as “duplicity towards organic farmers and consumers” when OTA signed off on the bill, despite the fact that it “would immediately preempt existing strong state GMO labeling laws that are widely supported by the Organic community and ninety percent of consumers.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Download This Security Fix Now — All Versions Of Windows Operating System Hackable

      As a part of its monthly update cycle, Microsoft has released security patches for all versions of Windows operating system. This update addresses a critical flaw that lets an attacker launch man-in-the-middle attacks on workstations. This security vulnerability arises as the print spooler service allows a user to install untrusted drivers with elevated privileges.

    • The Truth About Penetration Testing Vs. Vulnerability Assessments

      Vulnerability assessments are often confused with penetration tests. In fact, the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are worlds apart. To strengthen an organization’s cyber risk posture, it is essential to not only test for vulnerabilities, but also assess whether vulnerabilities are actually exploitable and what risks they represent. To increase an organization’s resilience against cyber-attacks, it is essential to understand the inter-relationships between vulnerability assessment, penetration test, and a cyber risk analysis.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why America needs a truth commission

      In the United States, gun deaths over the last three decades far exceed those reported in truth commissions and civil wars around the world in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

    • Between a Rock and a Hard (South China) Place

      What transpired in The Hague certainly won’t solve the riddle, asargued here. Beijing had already made it very clear, even before the ruling, it would fiercely reject all findings.

    • Is Kerry Right? Are Freemen of Syria and Army of Islam Radical Terrorists?

      In his opinion piece, Rogin characterizes what Kerry said as a gaffe that yielded to the Russian position that all rebels against the al-Assad regime in Syria are terrorists. Rogin also defended Ahrar al-Sham (Freemen of Syria) as not an al-Qaeda affiliate or in the line of command of al-Qaeda, though he admitted that it is Salafi and wants a radical Muslim dictatorship.

      I’m not sure why the State Department officials who anonymously blasted Kerry think that Freemen of Syria are good guys just because they aren’t al-Qaeda.

      And the fact is that they are in fact in a formal political and military coalition with al-Qaeda. I.e. they are playing Mulla Omar and the Taliban to al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri (the 9/11 mastermind to whom the Syrian Nusra Front reports).

    • China may dispute South China Sea verdict, but it’s a huge setback
    • China told: World is watching you
    • Beijing warns against ‘cradle of war’ in South China Sea

      China warned rivals Wednesday against turning the South China Sea into a “cradle of war” and threatened an air defence zone there, after its claims to the strategically vital waters were declared invalid.

      The surprisingly strong and sweeping ruling by a UN-backed tribunal in The Hague provided powerful diplomatic ammunition to the Philippines, which filed the challenge, and other claimants in their decades-long disputes with China over the resource-rich waters.

      China reacted furiously to Tuesday’s decision, insisting it had historical rights over the sea while launching a volley of thinly veiled warnings at the United States and other critical nations.

    • Taiwan sends warship to South China Sea after ruling

      A Taiwanese warship set sail for the South China Sea on Wednesday “to defend Taiwan’s maritime territory”, a day after an international tribunal ruled China has no historic rights in the waterway and undermined Taipei’s claims to islands there.

    • South China Sea ruling won’t stop plundering of ecosystem, experts say

      An international tribunal’s ruling that China has caused severe harm to coral reefs and endangered species in the South China Sea will not stop further damage to an already plundered ecosystem, scientists and academics said.

      The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that it had breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich waters.

    • Beijing accuses UN judges of taking bribes from the Philippines after they ruled against national claim to the South China Sea
    • Chinese Official On Tribunal Ruling: ‘It’s Nothing But A Scrap Of Paper’

      After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

    • China Slams the South China Sea Decision as a ‘Political Farce’

      Beijing has made it clear that it has no intention of heeding an international tribunal decision that rejects China’s claims to the contested South China Sea

    • Clinton vetting ex-NATO military chief Stavridis for vice-president – report

      The Clinton camp is reportedly vetting retired four-star Admiral James Stavridis as a potential vice presidential running mate. The former NATO brass served as the DoD’s top adviser during the Iraq War and has speculated on nuclear war with Russia.

      Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, is being considered as a possible running mate by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a source familiar with the matter told the New York Times on Tuesday.

      The source said Clinton would probably have “someone with military experience” on her vice-presidential shortlist, and Admiral Stavridis would “fit the description.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton, Her Email and a Body Blow to the Freedom of Information Act

      Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey announced that his agency is recommending no charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of an unclassified personal email server while secretary of state. Comey offered that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton.

      The implications of these statements, and what happened before and after the announcement, represent what most likely represent the virtual end of the 2016 election cycle. Come November votes will be counted but the single, major, unresolved issue standing in the shadows behind Clinton is now resolved in her favor.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • This Is Why You Could Lose Your Life Protecting Honduras’ Environment

      On Thursday, news broke first in Honduras and then in the international press: Urquía’s family had found the activist leader dead in a municipal landfill. It was a gruesome sight. Urquía, a sympathizer of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and a vocal opponent of hydroelectric development in the La Paz region, was dumped on top of trash bags. According to authorities, her head showed signs of massive trauma done with a blunt object. Police said they suspected it all stemmed from a bike robbery, though COPINH quickly attributed the killing to her activism.

    • A massive heat wave is poised to envelop the U.S. from coast to coast next week

      Following on the heels of the hottest June in the history of the lower 48 states, an extended, intense and widespread heat wave is likely to develop next week.

      The heat wave will start in the Plains states and parts of the intermountain West, eventually spreading to the West Coast, South and Midwest by Thursday, July 21. The heat wave is also likely to seep northward into southern Alberta and Ontario.

      Cities like Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Fargo and eventually New York City and Washington, D.C. may experience sizzling heat and stifling humidity by the end of the week.

    • Why These Parents and Grandparents are ‘Fasting for the Future’

      Upwards of 30 parents and grandparents are fasting outside Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s office this week, calling for a stronger and more ambitious Clean Air Rule ahead of a Thursday evening hearing on the issue.

      A group of 19 people began the fast at 8 am Tuesday morning; they were joined by 15 additional supporters on Wednesday.

      “It is no wonder we are here,” said great-grandparent Judy Bea-Wilson, who joined the action on Wednesday. “There is nothing stronger than a parent’s love for their child and, right now, with this weak draft rule, both our Governor and the Dept. of Ecology are failing our children in an unforgivable manner.”

      The hearing on Thursday concerns the state’s draft Clean Air Rule, which aims to cut carbon emissions from 70 of Washington’s biggest polluters by 1.7 percent a year. Completion and adoption of the rule was court-ordered, thanks to a group of intrepid young people who fought in court for their rights to clean air and a stable climate.

      But environmentalists say the proposal is just business as usual.

  • Finance

    • Abe seeks TPP approval in autumn

      Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that he will seek approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal at an extra session of the Diet this year.

      Abe was speaking to business leaders including Sadayuki Sakakibara, the chair of Japan’s largest business federation, Keidanren.

      Japan and 11 other countries signed the TPP last year but none has completed domestic procedures needed for the deal to take effect.

      Abe suggested that Japan take the initiative to raise momentum for implementing the TPP soon so that it will produce results as early as possible.

    • TPP Opponents Take Aim at Pelosi: Let’s Build a Firewall of Resistance

      Social change network CREDO Action has amplified its call to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling for “an onslaught of grassroots opposition” coupled with a “firewall” of Democratic resistance in the House of Representatives to prevent the trade deal from being rammed through Congress.

      In a video released Wednesday, CREDO combines footage of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaking out against the TPP, and urges viewers to sign a petition that calls on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to help stop a “lame-duck” vote on the TPP.

      The footage of Clinton is from her joint rally with Sanders on Tuesday, when she got his endorsement.

      She says in the video: “And we’re going to say no to attacks on working families and no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

      The footage of Reid shows the senator saying the TPP “puts us at a disadvantage. So the answer is not only no, but hell no,” while Warren—already featured in a separate anti-TPP video released last week by CREDO—says the deal “would tilt the playing field even more in favor of multinational corporations and against working families.”

    • Free Trade and a Textile Fire Tragedy

      So-called “free trade” in textiles has led retailers to seek out the cheapest labor and to neglect safety measures, factors in a devastating Bangladesh fire in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 workers, recalls Dennis J Bernstein.

    • Denmark Seeks EU Fix To ‘Div-Arb’ Deals

      A Danish politician is asking the European Commission to examine stock loan deals that drain the country and many of its neighbors of tens of millions of dollars in forgone tax revenues.

      The request, made by Jeppe Kofod, a Danish member of the European Parliament, could open a new front in lawmakers’ efforts to stamp out the deals, which help large shareholders avoid paying their share of taxes on dividends paid out by corporations in Denmark and elsewhere.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When our watchdog becomes a bloodthirsty attackdog, be wary

      Jeremy Corbyn has been variously described in the British press as unelectable, comic and highly dangerous. How should a healthy democracy respond to politicians pursuing a different kind of democracy?

    • Bernie Sanders Abandons the Revolution

      Bernie Sanders’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton has hugely disappointed millions of his supporters. Many of those inspired by his call for a political revolution had held out hope, even until now, that he would refuse to endorse Wall Street’s favored candidate.

      But those hopes have come crashing down.

      Not only did Sanders endorse his neoliberal opponent, he has begun to campaign for her, even before the Democratic National Convention, where he had previously committed to continue the fight. Appearing at her rally in New Hampshire, he signaled his intention to further accompany her on the campaign trail.


      Instead, Bernie’s endorsement will be used in an attempt to prop up that same rotten establishment, including the corporate-owned leadership of the Democratic Party which has fought against him at every step, and which just booed him in the last week. Further, if Jill Stein were not running, or received little support, polls already show that the two right-wing candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Republican Donald Trump, would be the beneficiaries of the anti-establishment vote – helping to grow the base for right-wing populism.

      Sanders endorsement of Clinton is a fundamental failure of leadership. Sanders has the trust of millions of the most dedicated, committed workers and young people. They are looking to him. He has a responsibility to lead them in the way forward, not into a political dead end.

      While my organization, Socialist Alternative, and I actively supported Sanders’s campaign by launching Movement4Bernie, we always openly disagreed with his decision to run in the Democratic Party primary. But we also said that this mistake could be corrected as experience clarified the deeply hostile character of the Democratic Party to progressive politics. We urged Bernie if he was defeated within the (un)Democratic primary, as we expected, to continue running as an independent or Green, and launched a petition that has been signed now by nearly 125,000 people.

    • The UK’s New Prime Minister Is Walking Onto The Glass Cliff

      On Wednesday, Theresa May will become the next prime minister of the UK, taking over after former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in the wake of his country’s vote to exit the European Union. She will be the country’s second female prime minister in all of its history.

      That this historic turn of events comes at a time of high political turmoil, however, is likely no coincidence.

      The UK’s vote to leave the European Union — which has come to be known as its “Brexit” — immediately roiled financial markets and has continued to leave a big imprint on the British economy. Businesses are saying that the decision to leave the union is making them tighten their purse strings and consider cutting jobs. Credit Suisse is already predicting that the country will fall into a recession next year thanks to the economic impact of the exit.

    • Farewell, David Cameron, It’s Theresa May’s Turn to Mess Things Up Now

      Britain bid farewell to David Cameron on Wednesday as the reign of Prime Minister Theresa May began.

      Over the six years he was installed at 10 Downing Street, Cameron—who resigned in the wake of the Brexit referendum—drew criticism over his support for austerity policies, disregard for the environment, callous approach toward refugees, and hawkishness on the bombing of Syria.

    • Amazing Brexit: Identity and Class Politics

      Metaphorically speaking, in the genetically racist United States, “race” operates a strange alchemy on portions of the liberaliat and the compatible left. When it comes to bombing people in the darker corners of the earth, they are silent or compliant; when, however, it comes to sporting the anti-racist colors in a comfortably conformist context, they sing like parrots. This is liberal imperialism. None other than the by now politically compromised George Orwell confessed the hypocrisy behind the imperialist liberal mindset. In his psychologically penetrating essay, “Shooting an Elephant” (1936), using himself as a representative of the liberal anti-imperialist class, he concedes that theoretically he was all for the “natives” freeing themselves from the yoke of British imperialism. At the same time, he admits that nothing would have given him a greater pleasure than “to stick a bayonet in a [troublesome] Buddhist priest’s guts.” These conflicted feelings, he wrote, were the by-product of imperialism.

    • Bernie Sanders Endorses Hillary Clinton, Candidate of Wall Street and Corporate Power

      Bernie Sanders threw in the towel today in his epic campaign to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, standing on a stage in Portsmouth, New Hampshire beside the woman he had spent the whole primary season denouncing as a tool of the corporate elite and especially of the Wall Street banking cabal, and saying he endorsed her as the party’s candidate for president of the United States.

      The event marked the sad, if widely predicted, end to what for a brief time had electrified millions of young and working class voters: a major party candidate for president openly calling himself a socialist, proudly harking back to his days as a radical civil rights activist instead of trying to hide his past and his arrest record, and unabashedly condemning the greed, corruption and lust for power of the nation’s ruling elite.

      I confess to having been inspired by Sanders’ quixotic campaign myself, and while I’m disappointed that he has ended it in such a dismal and humiliating manner, I’m not sorry he ran. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, the word “socialism” is no longer a pejorative in American politics. It is a political philosophy to which millions of young people are now drawn. That is something that can and will be built upon. For at least two generations it was not possible to call one’s self a socialist and be taken seriously in the United States of Capitalism. Of course, Sanders didn’t achieve this breakthrough by himself. His campaign built directly upon the struggles of the Occupy Movement, which in 2011 gave us “We are the 99%!” and made it clear that it is the 1% of the nation’s wealthiest people who basically own and run the country.

    • 6 Ways The RNC Platform Is Already Shaping Up To Be Crazy

      The Republican National Committee is meeting this week to finalize the document that will lay out the party’s vision for the future — which, if the first day is any indication, includes a lot of “traditional” families, conversation therapy, and Bible study.

    • Et Tu, Bernie?

      What an embarrassment for Bernie Sanders and those, myself included, who thought he would not descend so cravenly into the swamp of political sellout.

      It is one thing to hold one’s nose and vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser evil. It is quite another to suddenly absolve the Clintons and other top Democrats who have, as Sanders repeatedly pointed out during his campaign, contributed so much to the national crisis.

    • Theresa May Is Britain’s New Prime Minister After David Cameron’s Resignation

      Theresa May took office as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, after her predecessor, David Cameron, tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.

      At Buckingham Palace, the queen asked Ms. May, who had been home secretary, to form a government. Ms. May, 59, is the queen’s 13th prime minister; the first was Winston Churchill.

      Ms. May arrived at the palace moments after Mr. Cameron left. In his final remarks as Britain’s leader, Mr. Camerons spoke briefly outside 10 Downing Street in London, joined by his wife, Samantha, and their three children.

      “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve our country as prime minister over these last six years, and to serve as the leader of my party for almost 11 years,” Mr. Cameron said. “My only wish is continued success for this great country that I love so very much.”

    • ‘We will build a better Britain not just for the privileged few’: Prime Minister Theresa May issues statement of intent
    • The Sanders Endorsement and the Political Revolution

      But the sentiment is real. The Sanders insurgency was fueled by a revolt against the big-money politics that Clinton personifies. Clinton delivered one of her most populist speeches in response to the Sanders endorsement, but doubts about her commitments are widespread, even among those intending to vote for her.

    • Impeachment Effort May Fail in Brazilian Senate

      Some press reports on the crisis in Brazil seem to imply that the removal of President Dilma Rousseff, re-elected in 2014 for a four-year term, is a done deal. Of course the interim government is acting as though they are the product of some huge electoral victory, even though the elected president is merely suspended pending her upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. Beginning with a cabinet of all rich, white males, in a country where more than half identify as Afro-Brazilian or mixed race descent, they have tried to create the impression that they are the new government that will rule at least until there are new presidential elections in 2018. But the chances that they will be gone before September are increasing every day.

    • Billionaires in Brazil: Understanding How Extreme Wealth and Political Power Overlap Everywhere

      Alex Cuadros spent years covering the billionaire class of Latin America for Bloomberg. A Portuguese-speaking American journalist who spent years based in Brazil, he has now written a highly entertaining and deeply insightful book about the particularly powerful, flamboyant, assertive, and often-crazed class of Brazilian billionaires. Entitled Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country, his new book was released yesterday.

    • An Interview With Michael T. Flynn, the Ex-Pentagon Spy Who Supports Donald Trump

      Flynn is now taking his message to the biggest stage possible: the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the New York Post reported that Flynn, a registered Democrat, was being considered as a running mate for Donald Trump on the Republican ticket. In the days since, Flynn has been making the media rounds praising the GOP frontrunner.


      For Flynn, the decision to step into public life preceded the rise of Trump and boiled down to two core issues: perceived lies peddled by the Obama administration and his self-imposed duty to confront them. “I watched our own government lie to us about a number of things,” Flynn told The Intercept.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Critics Raise Alarm over Pokémon GO’s Collect-It-All Power

      Sen. Al Franken questioning “extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users’ personal information”

    • FBI Created Child Porno Website Playpen, Defends Its “Good” Malware In Court

      In order to catch child pornography watchers, FBI created a website Playpen and hosted it on the dark web. Later in the case, the judges ruled out evidence due to lack of a proper warrant. FBI has filed a petition that the malware created by them shouldn’t be considered as malicious.

    • Watch out, Theresa May! Max Schrems is coming for your planned spy law

      Max Schrems, the man who brought down Safe Harbour, has told Ars that although he sees huge problems with Privacy Shield, he probably won’t be the one to challenge it. Instead he’s looking towards the UK, following its vote to leave the European Union.

      “Basically it would be a very similar case to the Safe Harbour one and the thrill isn’t there any more,” he joked. “But I really hope someone else will challenge it,” he added. That similarity is at the core of most of the criticism of Privacy Shield.

      Safe Harbour—the deal struck between the EU and the US to facilitate the transfer of European personal data to the US—was necessary because the US otherwise doesn’t meet EU adequacy requirements for data protection. However, following Edward Snowden’s disclosures of National Security Agency spying, Austrian law student Schrems launched a case against Facebook for not sufficiently protecting his data. Last year his case ended up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled that the Safe Harbour framework invalid.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • FBI Greenlights Crackdown on Black Lives Matter Protesters

      The FBI is using the actions of a lone gunman as a pretext to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

    • Police Officers Working WNBA Game Walk Out After Players Wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts

      On Saturday night, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers walked off their jobs working security at a WNBA Lynx game when the players wore T-shirts with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and held a press conference focusing on healing the divide between law enforcement and the black community.

    • Just One Year Ago, Robot That Killed Suspected Dallas Shooter Was Used to Deliver Pizza

      After using a robot to kill armed suspect Micah Johnson early Friday morning, the Dallas police were hesitant to release the robot’s make and model, and justifiably so. Johnson is the first civilian to be killed by a U.S. police robot, which raises some ethical questions.

    • Charge Abu Zubaydah With a Crime or Free Him

      “High-value detainee” Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Husayn—better known as Abu Zubaydah—described to his attorney in a 2009 statement, only recently released to the public, details of the torture he underwent at the hands of the CIA at a secret site overseas.

    • Gestapo America

      FBI Director James Comey got Hillary off the hook but wants to put you on it. He is pushing hard for warrantless access to all of your Internet activity.

      Comey, who would have fit in perfectly with Hitler’s Gestapo, tells Congress that the United States is not safe unless the FBI knows when every American goes online, to whom they are sending emails and from whom they are receiving emails, and knows every website visited by every American.

    • Baton Rouge: “Put Those Damn Weapons Down!”

      “Put those damn weapons down. I’m not going to tell you again, goddamn it. Get those goddamn weapons down.” That was the first command of one of Louisiana’s most revered figures, General Russell Honore, when he arrived in New Orleans in 2005 to direct the military recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The General’s directions have not been followed in Baton Rouge.

      Since the police killing of Alton Sterling, thousands of people in Baton Rouge have been non-violently protesting day and night all over the city. There has been no arson in Baton Rouge, no looting, no burning cars, no windows broken, and no people beaten. Police report that a rock or other material was thrown at them but there is no video of such action nor have there been any arrests for such actions.

    • UN Human Rights Expert to Visit Baton Rouge, Ferguson, and Convention Host Cities

      With the nation in angst about impending protests at the conventions and deadly police shootings, he’ll have his hands full.

      In the first visit of its kind, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association began a 16-day trip across the U.S. to monitor the status and protection of assembly and association rights in our country. With much of the nation in angst about impending protests at political conventions and deadly police shootings, the special rapporteur will undoubtedly have his hands full.

      Maina Kiai, a Kenyan lawyer and renowned international human rights expert, was appointed as the U.N.’s special rapporteur in 2011 following strong advocacy by the United States to create the mandate. His mission to the United States will culminate in a report that will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year and will address gaps in First Amendment protections between U.S. law and policy and international standards.

      The report will be an important test of the United States’ reputation and self-perception as a human rights champion. Ever since protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, the U.S. has been under international scrutiny because of its failure to hold police accountable for the killing of unarmed Black men and the use of excessive police force against protesters. Kiai’s visit comes at a time when local police departments across the country are gearing up for further confrontation with protesters, especially after five Dallas police officers were killed during a nonviolent protest against the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

    • Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas

      A thick strand in the history of U.S. policing is rooted back in the slave patrols of the 19th century. Patty rollers were authorized to stop, question, search, harass and summarily punish any Black person they encountered. The five- and six-pointed badges many of them wore to symbolize their authority were predecessors to those of today’s sheriffs and patrolmen. They regularly entered the plantation living quarters of enslaved people, leaving terror and grief in their wake. Together with the hunters of runaways, these patrols had a crystal clear mandate: to constrain the enslaved population to its role as the embodiment and producer of massive wealth for whites and to forestall the possibility that labor subordinated to the lash might rebel at the cost of white lives.

    • Still Second-Class Citizens

      An infamous Supreme Court ruling once denied African Americans any and all rights as human beings. Has anything changed?

    • A Wake-Up Call for White Progressives

      The night after Alton Sterling was killed by police, I got home from work late. When our three children were asleep, my wife and I finally had a moment together.

      The first thing she said, as if she had been sitting on it all day, was: “I feel like we need to get a Black Lives Matter sign for our yard. I know it would be unusual in our neighborhood.”

      We live in Chevy Chase, D.C., in one of the wealthiest Zip codes in the city. There are about 30 houses on my block, and only one African-American family that I know of. But it didn’t surprise me that my wife wanted a public display of solidarity. In 1990, when she was 16, her classmate Phillip Pannell was shot in the back and killed while fleeing police at the elementary school they had attended in Teaneck, New Jersey. It molded her thinking on race and justice.

    • Assassination by Robot: Denying Due Process in Dallas

      Due process is an integral part of our legal system, and protects US citizens from over-zealous authorities. For that reason, it is especially important to apply due process protections to suspects when it is most difficult to do so.

      Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in Dallas this morning. The Dallas police department violated Micah Johnson’s right to due process under the law in the wake of his rampage through the city.

      Johnson’s attack on downtown Dallas claimed the lives of five police officers and wounded seven more people, including two civilians participating in a protest march for a recent spate of murders perpetrated by the police.

      Police negotiated with Johnson, an Army veteran, for hours as he holed up in a Dallas parking garage. Eventually they sent in a robot armed with a bomb to kill him.

      The Dallas Police Department’s decision to send in an armed robot is understandable from a certain point of view. Johnson said he wanted to kill as many officers as possible. This was unmistakably a life-threatening situation.

    • On The Passing of David Margolis, the DOJ Institution

      Sally Yates is spot on when she says Margolis’ “dedication to our [DOJ] mission knew no bounds”. That is not necessarily in a good way though, and Margolis was far from the the “personification of all that is good about the Department of Justice”. Mr. Margolis may have been such internally at the Department, but it is far less than clear he is really all that to the public and citizenry the Department is designed to serve. Indeed there is a pretty long record Mr. Margolis consistently not only frustrated accountability for DOJ malfeasance, but was the hand which guided and ingrained the craven protection of any and all DOJ attorneys for accountability, no matter how deeply they defiled the arc of justice.

    • Leaked Data Reveals How the U.S. Trains Vast Numbers of Foreign Soldiers and Police With Little Oversight

      At 9:30 a.m. on a gray winter Monday, the State Department officials began certifying the names at a rate of one every two minutes and 23 seconds.

      In rapid succession, they confirmed that 204 police officers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen from 11 countries had committed no gross human rights violations and cleared them to attend one of more than 50 training efforts sponsored by the U.S. government. The programs were taking place at a wide variety of locations, from Italy, Albania, and Jordan to the states of Louisiana and Minnesota.

      Thirty-two Egyptians were approved for instruction in, among other things, Apache helicopter gunship maintenance and flight simulators for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. Azerbaijanis were cleared for a U.S. Army course on identifying bio-warfare agents in Maryland and underwater demolition training with Navy SEALs in San Diego. Thirty-three Iraqis were certified to attend a State Department training session for bodyguards, held in Jordan. Bosnians were bound for Macedonia to prepare for deployment to Afghanistan. Ukrainian police were selected for peacekeeping training in Italy. Romanians would study naval operations in Rhode Island and counterterrorism in Skopje.

      This was only the beginning of one day’s work of vetting security personnel for U.S. training. A joint investigation by The Intercept and 100Reporters reveals the chaotic and largely unknown details of a vast constellation of global training exercises, operations, facilities, and schools — a shadowy network of U.S. programs that every year provides instruction and assistance to approximately 200,000 foreign soldiers, police, and other personnel. The investigation exposes the geographic and political contours of a U.S. training system that has, until now, largely defied thorough description.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Tries To ‘Debunk’ News Reports Pointing Out Its New Wireless Plans Stink

      Last week, we noted how Verizon had unveiled some new wireless data plans intended to be a competitive response to T-Mobile. In very Verizon-esque fashion, the new plans involved first and foremost raising already-industry high data prices another 17%, then scolding media outlets that called it a rate hike. The new plans also involved taking a number of ideas T-Mobile and other carriers had implemented years ago, then somehow making them worse.

      For example, Verizon belatedly introduced a “Carryover” rollover data option. Under most implementations of this idea (as with T-Mobile), you’re allowed to take any unused data at the end of the month and store it in the bank for future use. But under Verizon’s implementation, this data only lasts one month — and you have to burn through your existing allotment of data before it can even be used. This is Verizon’s attempt to give the illusion of offering an innovative and competing service, but saddling it with caveats to make it incredibly less useful.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • France Might Allow NGOs To Sell Public Domain Seeds To Non-Commercial Buyers. Might?

      When Techdirt has written about seeds in the past, it tended to be in the context of patents, and how Big Agribusiness is trying to use multiple layers of intellectual monopolies to prevent patented seeds from entering the public domain. By contrast, seeds that are already in the public domain — that is, owned by no one and thus everyone — ought to be unproblematic.

    • Opposition To Kenyan “Anti-Innovation” ICT Bill Grows

      A bill introduced in Kenya’s parliament intended to streamline, govern and regulate the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been met with opposition from different quarters over fears that it could put ICT technicians out of practice and stifle the country’s innovation capacity if passed into law.

    • New Book On Price-Reducing Strategies For Essential Medicines Under IPRs

      A new book and website released today examine the impact of intellectual property rights on access to new essential medicines and call for measures used to reduce prices of patented HIV medicines to be applied in the case of essential medicines.

    • Gilead’s Use Of Patents For $10B Tax Dodge Could Ignite Move For Policy Change

      Gilead is the US company whose use of patents to charge $1000 per pill for a hepatitis C medicine in the United States helped make high drug prices a developed country household issue and fodder for elected officials seeking change. Now the company has come under further fire after being found to have moved some US$10 billion overseas to avoid US taxes – even after having received US taxpayer support for its activities – which it orchestrated by moving its patent rights overseas. A new report detailing the company’s tax dodge includes a proposal for a way to clamp down on this type of patent activity.


      The company appears to have begun the process by shifting its economic rights to the US patent for Sovaldi over to Ireland in 2013. This “most likely” created a patent licensing arrangement allowing it to report lower US profits and therefore pay much less in taxes, Americans for Tax Fairness said.

      “Gilead claimed that despite booking two-thirds of its revenues here and charging higher drug prices than anywhere else in the world, it made only about one-third of its profits in the United States,” says the report.

      “How could that be possible? The most likely explanation is transfer pricing,” it said. “This accounting trick involves sending valuable assets—such as the license to use prescription drug patents—to a company’s offshore subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries can then impose large licensing fees on the U.S. parent company for the right to sell the patented medications in America. The fee costs reduce the reported U.S. profits and resulting taxes, while the fee income goes offshore where it is taxed lightly or not at all.”

      “In early 2013, Gilead’s chief financial officer announced on a conference call with stock analysts that the formula for Sovaldi had been “domiciled” in Ireland, a well-known tax haven, which she said would allow the company’s tax rate to “decline over time.”

      “This meant that Gilead had transferred the economic rights to its Sovaldi patent to an Irish subsidiary and created a patent licensing arrangement that would enable it to report lower U.S. profits and, therefore, pay much less in federal taxes,” it continued.

      “Of course, the drug was actually developed in the United States with all the attendant, taxpayer-funded benefits: supported with federal research money, studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and granted an American patent, which receives the full protection of the U.S. legal system.”

    • Copyrights

      • Google Issues Its Latest ‘Stop Blaming Us For Piracy’ Report

        Google is big and successful. Some legacy entertainment companies have been struggling. For whatever reason, many of those companies have decided that Google’s success must be the reason for their downfall, and they’ve been blaming Google ever since. It’s pervasive and it’s deeply ingrained. A few years ago, I ended up at a dinner with a recording industry exec (and RIAA board member) who was so absolutely positive that Google was deliberately trying to destroy his business that it was reaching delusional levels. Of course, these legacy players have been banging on this drum for so long that they’ve convinced some others that it must be true, including some content creators and politicians. They all believe that the correlation of Google’s success and their own struggles must be about Google, and not their own failures to innovate. And their number one argument seems to be (ridiculously) that Google “profits” from piracy and therefore Google encourages piracy.

        As this drumbeat has gotten louder and louder, Google has felt the need to respond. The company has, for many years, actually done plenty to try to stop piracy, rather than encourage it, and it’s reached the point where Google is (stupidly, in my opinion, though perhaps politically necessary) actively appeasing the legacy industries, sometimes actively making its own search product worse. And, of course, as you would expect, these efforts are never enough for those industries. So now Google has taken to putting out a semi-regular report on how it fights piracy.

      • American Medical Association Claims False Copyright Over President Obama’s Journal Article

        Whatever you might think of the President’s health care policy, you should absolutely appreciate the willingness to publish data and details like this — and to make it freely available online. But there’s something that’s still problematic here. And it has a lot more to do with the American Medical Association than the President. And it’s that — in typically idiotic closed access medical journal fashion — JAMA is claiming the copyright on the article. There’s a copyright permissions link in the righthand column, and if you click on it, you get taken to a page on Copyright.com, a site run by the Copyright Clearance Center, claiming that the copyright for this document is held by the American Medical Association…

      • Misuse of CC-licensed photo leads to apologies, recovery of legal costs

        A CC-licensed photo that was incorrectly used in an Italian festival’s promotional materials has led to a public apology by the organisers for not respecting the terms of the licence, and the reimbursement of legal costs incurred.

        The picture in question was taken by Niccolò Caranti, who is a professional photographer and an active member of the Wikipedia community—nearly 900 of his images are available on Wikimedia Commons. The photo was used by the Festival delle Resistenze 2016, held in Trentino-Alto Adige, in northern Italy.

Links 13/7/2016: SPI 2015 Annual Report, Rust in Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Comparing the DevOps and Open Source Movements

    DevOps has emerged as one of the next big things in the channel. But in many ways, the DevOps story is a replay of the history of open source software over the past several years. Here’s what the DevOps and open source movements have in common.

    The term DevOps refers to new methods of developing, delivering and deploying software. It prioritizes modularity, collaboration and continuity across all parts of the development process.

  • OnlyOffice: A FOSS Office Suite for the Cloud

    OnlyOffice is a web-based open source productivity suite for document collaboration, sharing, and management, project management, client relations management, and email, events, and tasks.

  • Why open source is a draw for job candidates

    The tech surge that revived the ailing HealthCare.gov website serves as a tool for recruiting top IT professionals from outside — and within — the government.

    Joseph Castle, director of the General Services Administration’s Digital Service, said he looks for talent in the public and private sectors.

    “It can be a struggle to get people to come to GSA,” he said during a July 12 panel discussion on Open Source Market Disruption hosted by FCW sister publication Washington Technology. “My ace in my pocket is to tie myself to the U.S. D

  • SPI 2015 Annual Report

    Software in the Public Interest has announced its 2015 Annual Report (PDF), covering the 2015 calendar year.

  • How ‘The Things Network’ Built IoT Data Network in Amsterdam
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Shipping Rust in Firefox

        It’s hard to believe it’s been almost seven years since Mozilla Research first began sponsoring the development of Rust, at the time little more than an ambitious research experiment with a small but devoted community. Remarkably, despite a long history of inventions and discoveries, Rust’s key principles have remained constant. The Rust core team’s original vision—a safe alternative to C++ to make systems programmers more productive, mission-critical software less prone to memory exploits, and parallel algorithms more tractable—has been central to Mozilla’s interest in backing the Rust project and, ultimately, using Rust in production.

      • Firefox 48 Will Take The First Rust Code Into Production

        Mozilla will be taking their first Rust programming language code into production with Firefox 48.

        Beyond the Servo/Browser.html tech preview that’s now shipping nightly, another goal of Mozilla developers for 2016 has been to ship at least one Servo/Rust component within the Gecko engine / Firefox. With Firefox 48, they are stepping along on that crusade with shipping their first Rust production code.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Thinking about Big Data — Part Three (the final and somewhat scary part)

      There is an irony here that when we tend to believe the wrong Big Data it usually concerns money or some other manifestation of power, but we have an equal tendency to not believe the right Big Data when it involves politics or religion. So Big Scientific Data often struggles to gain acceptance against unbelievers — those who deny climate change, for example, or endorse the teaching of creationism.

    • Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 Targets the Private Cloud

      Mirantis, one of the leaders in the OpenStack arena, is out with Mirantis OpenStack 9.0, which is targeted to make launching and running private clouds much easier. Based on the Mitaka Openstack release, version 9.0 of Mirantis’ platform includes many features aimed to simplify lifecycle management of OpenStack.

      Here is what’s found under the hood.

      “The improvements in Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 are based on real-world production deployments of Mirantis OpenStack, including our collaborations with AT&T and Volkswagen,” said Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO of Mirantis. “The improvements we made — largely in the area of post-deployment operations — integrate Mirantis’ services expertise into the software so that we can deliver better business outcomes. Mirantis OpenStack 9.0 will be a valuable asset to Mirantis as we help customers build and operate private clouds.”

  • Databases

    • Why Open Source Graph Databases Are Catching on

      All of the major social networks use open source graph databases. Twitter created the open source FlockDB for managing wide but shallow network graphs. Google’s Cayley was inspired by the graph database behind Freebase and its Knowledge Graph, the knowledge base behind its search engine. Facebook uses Apache Giraph, which was built for high scalability.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Libocon 2016: travel info

      LibreOffice Conference 2016 is less than two months away and people are starting to look for information how to get to and around Brno. We’ve prepared a page with extensive information how to get to Brno.

  • Chef


    • GIMP 2.10 Development Continues, GIMP 2.9.4 Lands New Features After 8 Months

      A few hours ago, the GIMP development team released a new development version towards GIMP 2.10, the next major update of the popular free and open-source image manipulation software coming later in the year.

    • GIMP 2.9.4 Is Their First Development Release Of 2016 With Many Improvements

      GIMP 2.9.4 was tagged this afternoon as the newest development version of this popular open-source image manipulation program.

      GIMP 2.9.4 succeeds the GIMP 2.9.2 release from last November. The GIMP 2.9.4 release features significant work on color management of images and related to that various color profile additions, improved file magic matching, various core improvements, GUI enhancements, new themes, various tooling improvements, updated screenshot handling for Wayland/X.Org, various plug-in additions, and much more.

    • Lonely Cactus: Pip-Boy like terminal application in Guile, part 4: the terminal

      As a side note, Guile has had a complete set of bindings to the multimedia enving GStreamer, which I wanted to use, but, it appears to be in need of some maintenance. I did look at it so see if I could patch it up, but, the binding is related to the Glib binding, and I didn’t want to take the time to understand all that right now. Pulseaudio is much lower level, but, also much simpler. I had code lying around from some old game engine attempt.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wellcome Trust to Launch Open-Access Platform

        The London-based Wellcome Trust last week (July 6) announced that it will launch a free, open-access publishing platform for work that the organization supports.

        “This really is a potential game changer for a major funder to be taking control of the research output,” Paul Ginsparg, the founder of the preprint server arXiv, told Science.

        In contrast to traditional subscription-based outlets, the publishing platform will be freely accessible. Authors will also be able to submit work often considered less palatable to established publishers: negative results.

        Wellcome Open Research will begin posting as soon as this fall, according to the Wellcome Trust. The initiative aims to expedite the publication process, which can take months or even years. With the new platform, scientists will instead be able to share their results immediately.

        F1000 Research will run the Wellcome Trust venture, which will include transparent peer review. If an article passes, it will be indexed in major bibliographic outlets and deposited in PubMed Central and Europe PMC, according to a statement.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development


  • 8 ways to get your swag on

    Recently, a client of mine asked me if I had any experience in how to optimize how they send swag out to people. The scenario was a common one: the company made T-shirts, stickers, mugs, and other merchandise that they wanted to ship to deserving community members, but actually getting it there was turning out to be a massive pain in the rear-end.

  • Ad blocking: yes, its war now

    idnes.cz: they put moving advertisment on that their web, making browsers unusable — they eat 100% CPU and pages lag when scrolling. They put video ads inside text that appear when you scroll. They have video ads including audio… (Advertisment for olympic games is particulary nasty, Core Duo, it also raises power consumption by like 30W). Then they are surpised of adblock and complain with popup when they detect one. I guess I am either looking for better news source, or for the next step in adblock war…

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New EEOC Rules Allow Employers to Pay for Employees’ Health Information

      The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions for employee wellness programs give employers the power to reward or penalize their employees based on whether they complete health screenings and participate in fitness programs. While wellness programs are often welcomed, they put most employees in a bind: give your employer access to extensive, private health data, or give up potentially thousands of dollars a year.

      Sadly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) new regulations, which go into effect in January 2017, rubber stamp the ACA’s wellness programs with insufficient privacy safeguards. Because of these misguided regulations, employers can still ask for private health information if it is part of a loosely defined wellness program with large incentives for employees.

  • Security

    • New Report Shows Healthy Growth in Open Source Usage, but Security is Not Locked Down
    • Tuesday’s security advisories
    • Security staff should talk to end users more

      IT security departments need to improve their relationships with their users by going out and talking to them, Red Hat’s security strategist Josh Pressers has advised.

      Pressers warned that in order to stop the spread of ‘shadow IT’ within the enterprise, security professionals need to make a bigger effort to understand staff in other departments, warning that “we don’t listen very well”.

      Shadow IT has become an increasing problem for corporate IT managers, as employees use non-approved tools and technologies at work, rather than the systems provided by the in-house team.

    • Every version of Windows hit by “critical” security flaw [Ed: Microsoft Zack (Zack Whittaker, formerly Microsoft UK) on the latest back/bug door in Windows]

      Microsoft has patched a security vulnerability found in every supported version of Windows, which if exploited could allow an attacker to take over a system.

      The software giant said in a bulletin posted Tuesday as part of its monthly release of security fixes that the the “critical” flaw could let an attacker remotely install malware, which can be used to modify or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights.

      The “critical”-rated flaw affects Windows Vista and later — including Windows Server 2008 and later.

      Those who are logged in as an administrator, such as some home accounts and server users, are at the greatest risk.

    • Dependency CI reviews potential vulnerabilities for open-source projects

      Dependency CI can test a project after every commit for deprecated, unavailable, unmaintained and unlicensed dependencies. In the future, it will be able to test for insecure, bus factored, conflicting and outdated dependencies.

      Dependency CI currently supports dependency checks from 21 package managers. Some examples include Julia, Maven, NPM, NuGet, PyPI and RubyGems. It’s free for open-source projects, and there is a 14-day free trial for checking private GitHub repositories.

    • Posing as ransomware, Windows malware just deletes victim’s files

      There has been a lot of ingenuity poured into creating crypto-ransomware, the money-making malware that has become the scourge of hospitals, businesses, and home users over the past year. But none of that ingenuity applies to Ranscam, a new ransom malware reported by Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group.

      Ranscam is a purely amateur attempt to cash in on the cryptoransomware trend that demands payment for “encrypted” files that were actually just plain deleted by a batch command. “Once it executes, it, it pops up a ransom message looking like any other ransomware,” Earl Carter, security research engineer at Cisco Talos, told Ars. “But then what happens is it forces a reboot, and it just deletes all the files. It doesn’t try to encrypt anything—it just deletes them all.”

      Talos discovered the file on the systems of a small number of customers. In every case, the malware presented exactly the same message, including the same Bitcoin wallet address. The victim is instructed:

      “You must pay 0.2 Bitcoins to unlock your computer. Your files have been moved to a hidden partition and crypted. Essential programs in your computer have been locked and your computer will not function properly. Once your Bitcoin payment is received your computer and files will be returned to normal instantly.”

    • Webpages, Word files, print servers menacing Windows PCs, and disk encryption bypasses – yup, it’s Patch Tuesday

      Microsoft will fix critical holes in Internet Explorer, Edge, Office and Windows with this month’s Patch Tuesday security bundle. Meanwhile, Adobe has patched dozens of exploitable vulnerabilities in its Flash player.

      Redmond’s July release includes 11 sets of patches, six rated as “critical” and five classified as “important.” The highlights are: a BitLocker device encryption bypass, evil print servers executing code on vulnerable machines, booby-trapped webpages and Office files injecting malware into PCs, and the usual clutch of privilege elevation flaws.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • French trawler accidentally catches Portuguese submarine

      A French trawler has caught a rather big fish – a Portuguese submarine taking part in a training mission off the British coast, maritime authorities reported.

      This may sound like a silly idea for revenge following France’s loss to Portugal in the Euro finals, but the Portuguese submarine Tridente really did get stuck in the nets of the French trawler Daytona on Tuesday, Portugal’s Armed Forces General Staff said.

      The incident occurred in the British waters, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) southeast of Lizard Point, southwestern England.

    • We Are The Empire

      Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s famed possum, Pogo, first uttered that cry. In light of alien disaster movies like the recent sequel Independence Day: Resurgence and America’s disastrous wars of the twenty-first century, I’d like to suggest a slight change in that classic phrase: we have met the alien and he is us.

      Allow me to explain. I grew up reading and watching science fiction with a fascination that bordered on passion. In my youth, I also felt great admiration for the high-tech, futuristic nature of the U.S. military. When it came time for college, I majored in mechanical engineering and joined the U.S. Air Force. On graduating, I would immediately be assigned to one of the more high-tech, sci-fi-like (not to say apocalyptic) military settings possible: Air Force Space Command’s Cheyenne Mountain.

      For those of you who don’t remember the looming, end-of-everything atmosphere of the Cold War era, Cheyenne Mountain was a nuclear missile command center tunneled out of solid granite inside an actual mountain in Colorado. In those days, I saw myself as one of the good guys, protecting America from “alien” invasions and the potential nuclear obliteration of the country at the hands of godless communists from the Soviet Union. The year was 1985 and back then my idea of an “alien” invasion movie was Red Dawn, a film in which the Soviets and their Cuban allies invade the U.S., only to be turned back by a group of wolverine-like all-American teen rebels. (Think: the Vietcong, American-style, since the Vietnam War was then just a decade past.)

    • Putin’s “Threats” to the Baltics: a Myth to Promote NATO Unity

      Why Latvia? Shirreff is not alone in trying to depict Latvia and the other Baltic states (Estonia and Lithuania) as immanently threatened by Russia. The stoking of Baltic fears of such are a principle justification for NATO expansion.

    • 8,124 Murders by Firearm in US vs. 29 (144 equiv.) in UK

      The United States continues to be peculiar in handing out powerful magazine-fed firearms to almost anyone who wants one and not requiring background checks on private purchases even if these are made at gun shows. 80% of civilian-owned firearms world-wide are in the US, and only Yemen vaguely competes with us for rates of firearm ownership; Yemen is a violent mess with Shiite insurgencies, al-Qaeda taking over cities from time to time, tribal feuding, southern separatism and US drone strikes. And even it has fewer guns per person than the USA.

      It has gotten to the point where the increasing epidemic of mass shootings now threatens law enforcement, with the deaths of 5 policemen in Dallas at the hands of an unhinged Black ultra-nationalist.

    • Is Religion Really Driving Middle East Violence?

      What Pew is actually saying is that in the Middle East and North Africa, people are four times as likely to act out their ethnic violence by attacking religious symbols as in the rest of the world. It isn’t saying they are four times as likely to be religious fanatics.

    • China Rejects Hague’s South China Sea Ruling as “US-Led Conspiracy”

      An international tribunal at the Hague overwhelmingly rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea on Tuesday, in a move that observers say is likely to stoke tensions between the Asian powerhouse and its primary rival, the United States.

    • US Senator: “We Have Never Done Anything More Loathsome or Despicable Than What We’re Doing in Syria.”

      Senator Richard Black and Janice Kortkamp discuss the shameful situation in Syria, where the US government is actively arming and funding Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and “conduits” (“moderates”), blending them together, and then using this model to exterminate the Syrian population.

      It should be noted that the mass media machine is seemingly losing its effect, as more and more prominent and senior figures (e.g Robert Fisk) are calling a spade a spade, or a “moderate” a terrorist. It just goes to show that you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

    • Syria’s Assad Blasts Western-Supported Terrorism, Russia Steps Up Strategic Bombing

      In March, Obama’s naked aggression on Syria entered its sixth year. Endless conflict rages because he wants war, not peace. Claims otherwise are head-fake deception.

      US plans call for forcibly ousting Assad, destroying Syria’s sovereignty, partitioning the country for easier control, looting its resources, exploiting its people and creating dystopian chaos and human misery.

      Assad defends his country and people heroically, his leadership and mission entirely opposite of how he’s portrayed in the West, by Israel and other regional rogue states.

      Conflict can only end when terrorism is defeated, he said. It continues because these groups have foreign backers. Otherwise they wouldn’t exist.

      All armed elements waging war on Syria and its people are terrorists, he stressed. America is infamous for creating geopolitical problems it doesn’t solve.

      Endless violence, chaos and disaster stalk every country where it shows up. None enjoy peace, stability and tranquility. Slow-motion genocide affects millions of Syrians, US imperialism killing a nation.

    • Iraq War, an Unaccountable Crime

      Last week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

      Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program “Yes, Prime Minister,” are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper. And beneath mountains of lies.

    • California Grounds Two Bad Drone Bills

      EFF strongly believes that police should obtain a warrant anytime they want to use a drone (with narrow emergency exceptions), but A.B. 1820 would only have required a warrant when police wanted to use a drone to surveil private property.

    • ‘You Cannot Use Military Force to Wipe Out Terrorism’ – CounterSpin interview with Phyllis Bennis on ISIS attacks

      Early in the morning of Sunday, July 3, a truck bomb exploded in a shopping district in Baghdad. Many of the more than 200 people killed were children shopping for new clothes for Eid Al-Fitr. The group ISIS claimed responsibility.

      That was two days after militants claiming fealty to ISIS killed 22 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after an 11-hour siege on a cafe. It was five days after at least 42 people were killed in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. And it was the day before three separate bomb attacks across Saudi Arabia, including one in the holy city of Medina near a site sacred to Muslims, the mosque where the prophet Mohammed is believed to be buried.

      That Americans will have heard more about some of those attacks than others is meaningful, not just because it’s always disheartening and distorting to see some victims presented as more human than others. It’s especially frustrating when the evident aims of an organization include sowing enmity, division and resentment.

      But the US response to ISIS fails on levels even more fundamental than a resistance to acknowledging that Muslims are its primary victims. It has to do with what is meant by “fighting” ISIS or “fighting” terrorism to begin with.

    • Key Area of Dispute on Drone Numbers: Number of Strikes

      As Micah Zenko pointed out, there is a very big discrepancy between the numbers of total strikes counted by NGOs and the government. Effectively, the Administration doesn’t count 18% of the known air strikes as their own (based off the NGO average).

      It’s easy to see where a disagreement about individual casualties, and of what type, would come from, but not of airstrikes themselves. Unless airstrikes generally assumed to be US airstrikes are being counted as someone else’s.

    • Accused American ISIS Plotter Was “Set Up,” Family Says

      A criminal complaint unsealed last week and widely publicized revealed that Jalloh had been speaking for months with a government informant, who recorded conversations in which Jalloh seemed to support acts of violence. The informant solicited Jalloh’s help in procuring money and weapons that he said would be used in support of ISIS. At one point, Jalloh was provided with a mobile messaging application to help him send $500 to an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS member abroad.

      After Jalloh attempted to purchase a rifle at a local gun store, he was placed under arrest.

    • Behind the Dhaka attack: radical secularisation and Islamist terror in Bangladesh

      The gruesome Dhaka cafe attack earlier this month has been viewed mostly through the lens of ISIS’s perceived increasing footprint in Bangladesh. But this ignores the sliding political legitimacy of a government – Sheikh Hasina’s supposedly secular Awami League – that has assumed the task of stemming terrorism in a country split along religious and secular lines since its very birth in 1971. If you want to understand the Dhaka massacre, you need to trace the ambiguous and contested domain of political legitimacy and religion in Bangladesh, which is largely responsible for the extremist violence the country is witnessing now.

    • Last Year Was ‘Mr. Robot,’ This Year It’s ‘Shooter’: USA Postpones Episode In Wake Of A Shooting

      A new series on USA, Shooter, will premiere a week later than planned. The sniper drama stars Ryan Phillippe as a military veteran attempting to clear his name after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit; it is based on the 2007 film of the same name, which starred Mark Wahlberg. And it reportedly begins, as one might expect a show called Shooter to do, with the sounds of gunfire. Scenes of real incidents of gun violence flash across the screen as the gunshots sound.

      Shooter was slated to premiere on July 19, but USA pulled it, citing sensitivity to the attack at a protest in Dallas at which five police officers were killed. The shooting, which shattered a previously peaceful protest, was an act of senseless violence at a rally against acts of senseless violence that had devastated the country just days before. USA released a statement on Monday explaining the scheduling change: “In light of recent tragic events and out of respect for the victims, their families and our viewers, we have decided to postpone the premiere date for the upcoming USA Network series Shooter to July 26.”

    • China denied: What Tuesday’s ruling means for Beijing’s maritime ambitions

      An international court in The Hague has dealt a major blow to China’s claim of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, ruling on Tuesday that Beijing had “no historical rights” over the resource-rich and hotly disputed waters.

      The decision sparked fears of escalated military tensions in East Asia, as Beijing signalled it would ignore the ruling and China’s Defense Ministry declared that “Chinese armed forces will firmly safeguard national sovereignty” regardless of the verdict. The official Xinhua news wire quoted President Xi Jinping saying “China will not accept any proposition or action based on the decision.”

    • The Antiwar Tradition in American Letters

      President Obama, for his part, has overseen regular bombings throughout the Middle East, including in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Somalia; ordered US military intervention in Libya; increased US troop levels in Afghanistan and escalated US military operations there; and urged Americans to support US military involvement in Syria. These positions are ironic in light of his warning, in his piece in this collection, against traveling “blindly” down “that hellish path” to war.

    • The OAS Needs New Leadership

      Luis Almagro, the current Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) has abused his position and authority more flagrantly and outrageously than any predecessor in recent years. In his lack of judgment and disregard for political and diplomatic norms he resembles Donald Trump. And like Trump, he is increasingly seen as an embarrassment within the organization for which he is the standard bearer.

      The OAS has been manipulated by Washington many times over the years in the service of regime change.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • France aims to set carbon price of at least €50 by 2030

      France has confirmed it will introduce a floor price for carbon emissions from coal power stations, which will increase from around €20 in 2020 to €50 in 2030. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

    • China’s eco-civilization plan calls for 23% forest cover by 2020

      Besides the United States, China has done more than any other country to contribute to climate change. But while China’s greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly warming the planet, the Asian nation is quickly shifting its focus to climate change mitigation to ensure a sustainable biosphere for future generations. According to a new United Nations report, China plans to build an “ecological civilization” that could be a model for the rest of the world. The project includes an initiative to cover nearly one quarter of the country with forests by 2020.

    • The Republican Party’s Platform Says Coal Is ‘Clean’ Energy

      For the Republican Party, internet porn is a “public health crisis.” Coal, however, is perfectly “clean.”

      That’s at least according to the party’s official draft platform, which is being crafted ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. On Monday, the GOP’s platform committee unanimously voted to declare coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”

      Environmentalists reacted swiftly to the decision, essentially calling Republicans delusional.

    • The EIA needs to play its part for the climate

      The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Conference begins today. It’s a two-day Washington energy wonk binge that is dominated by fossil fuel industry heavyweights and technocrats.

      While a few of the conference sessions will deal with climate change and renewable energy, there remains a clear bias towards discussions of a continued status quo of fossil fuel energy dominance. Further, no renewable energy industry representatives will keynote at the conference, while two oil industry executives will address the plenary alongside government representatives. Given the imperative presented by the climate crisis to move away from fossil fuels and the rapid surge underway in renewable energy, this omission is a striking one.

    • In the Aftermath of the Murder of Berta Cáceres: Squashing Indigenous Resistance and Discrediting International Observers in Honduras

      Cáceres saw the conflict over the Agua Zarca and other such projects in the context of the support shown by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2009 coup against the government of Manual Zelaya. The coup is widely blamed for ushering in the current era of rampant resource extraction, violence, and repression in Honduras. In Hard Choices, Clinton writes that she advocated swift recognition of the coup and the post-coup government as an exercise in “clear-eyed pragmatism,” even as most of the hemisphere’s governments withheld recognition and demanded the restoration of the elected Zelaya government.

    • Historic Petition Demands Obama ‘Turn Off the Carbon Pollution Spigot’

      Hundreds of groups filed what they called a “historic” petition to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, urging the administration to end all fossil fuel leases on federal lands.

      More than 250 climate, community, and tribal organizations filed the legal petition to remind Obama of the commitments the U.S. made by signing the landmark Paris agreement calling on nations worldwide to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

      “If there’s any chance of preventing the worst impacts of climate change, we must keep coal, oil and gas in the ground,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, which signed the petition. “But we can’t do that if the Obama administration continues to sell that ground to the highest bidding fossil fuel companies. Now President Obama has a choice to make: expand oil and gas drilling indefinitely, or join us in doing what’s best for communities and the climate.”

    • If Elected, Trump Would be Only Global Leader to Let World Burn

      If Donald Trump were elected president, he would be the only world leader who does not believe in climate change—or even in calling for action on global warming.

      That’s what the Sierra Club found in a comprehensive analysis of verifiable quotes, statements, and actions from global heads of state, released Tuesday, which also warns that the presumptive Republican nominee’s steadfast denial of climate science could threaten relationships between the U.S. and its allies.

    • Climate change killed Europeans in 2003 heat

      British researchers say climate change was responsible for the deaths of more than 60 people in London in 2003, and over 500 in Paris. In a rare instance of direct attribution of human mortality to warming temperatures, they say that year’s European heatwave raised the risk of heat-related death by 20% in London, and in Paris by 70%.

      Using both climate and mortality data, they estimate that 315 deaths in Greater London and 735 in central Paris can be strongly linked to the 2003 heatwave, which broke records across Europe, with about 64 (± 3) deaths attributable to climate change from human causes in London and 506 (± 51) in Paris.

      They say their study is the first to link an estimate of human activity to an estimate of mortality for the 2003 heat wave – and in fact for any heat wave. With potentially lethal heatwaves predicted to become likelier across more of the globe unless greenhouse emissions are soon cut drastically, the research is likely to be relevant far beyond western Europe.

    • On the Precipice: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Lead Fight for Energy Independence

      According to a new study by NASA, rising temperatures and melting ice sheets are responsible for a redistribution of the Earth’s weight, causing a shift in the way the planet wobbles on its axis.

      Warming ocean temperatures, now considered unstoppable, are responsible for unpredictable severe weather patterns, heat waves, drought, floods and reduced food supplies.

  • Finance

    • CEOs At Corporate Powerhouses Got Paid 276 Times The Typical American Worker’s Salary Last Year

      Policymakers have plenty of levers they can pull to combat these macro trends. It will likely take some mix of carrots — tax incentives for companies that commit to profit-sharing with workers and other structures that combat short-termism, for example — and sticks like higher income tax rates and bespoke tariffs on inherently abusive Wall Street schemes.

    • Corporate CEO Pay Was 276 Times the Average Worker’s Income Last Year

      CEO pay is up 46.5 percent since a relative low point in 2009, following the 2008 market crash. “Amid a healthy recovery on Wall Street following the Great Recession, CEOs have enjoyed outsized income gains even relative to other very-high-wage earners,” EPI observes.

    • Factbox: Theresa May’s plans for a Brexit ministry and who might lead it

      Theresa May, who will take over as Britain’s prime minister on Wednesday, has said she plans to set up a new government department to lead the process of withdrawing the country from the European Union.

      Here is what she has said about the department, some information on likely candidates to run it and frontrunners to take over from George Osborne as finance minister.

    • Denmark Is Big Victim Of Wall Street Tax Avoidance Deals

      Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and other international banks have profited for years by arranging short-term loans of stock in Danish companies, a maneuver that has helped shareholders but deprived Denmark of substantial tax revenues.

      With the banks’ help, stock owners avoid paying Danish authorities the dividend taxes they would otherwise owe on their holdings of companies like Maersk, Novo Nordisk, Danske Bank, Tryg and Carlsberg, among others.

      They do so by lending the shares to banks that temporarily transfer them to other investors with low or no tax obligations around the time when the dividend is paid. The terms are hedged and arranged months in advance. After dividend time, the borrowed shares are returned, and the tax savings are shared among the investors and banks that arranged the trades.

    • In Bill, Lawmakers Propose New Limits for Seizing Workers’ Pay Over Old Debts

      For the first time in nearly 50 years, a new federal bill seeks to lower how much lenders and collectors can seize from debtors through the courts, revisiting caps set in 1968 by the landmark Consumer Credit Protection Act.

      The Wage and Garnishment Equity (WAGE) Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would substantially reform protections for debtors by exempting many lower-income workers from garnishment and reducing what collectors can take from the paychecks and bank accounts of others.

      As ProPublica has reported in a series of articles over the past three years, consumer debts such as medical or credit card bills result in millions of garnishments every year. But the scale of the seizures and their consequences for the poor have largely been ignored by lawmakers, in part because no one tracks how often they happen.

    • No country for young men?

      Conversations with people on the street in Wales help clarify why Britain voted for Brexit. Why weren’t MEPs having those conversations all spring?

    • Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned

      Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to bring charges.

      Many critics have long suspected that was bullshit, and that Holder, for a combination of political, self-serving, and craven reasons, held his department back.

      A new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee supports that theory. It recounts how career prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no.

      When asked on June 8 why his Justice Department did not equally apply the criminal laws to financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, Holder told the platform drafting panel of the Democratic National Committee that it was laboring under a “misperception.”

      He told the panel: “The question you need to ask yourself is, if we could have made those cases, do you think we would not have? Do you think that these very aggressive U.S. attorneys I was proud to serve with would have not brought these cases if they had the ability?”

      The report — the result of a three-year investigation — shows that aggressive attorneys did want to prosecute HSBC, but Holder overruled them.

    • GOP Uses Debt They Created As An Excuse For Program Cuts

      Republicans are already ringing the alarm about a supposed debt crisis even though the country’s financials are stable.

    • Greater Manchester ‘to lose out on’ £320m over Brexit

      Greater Manchester is set to miss out on £320m after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), a report leaked to the BBC has warned.

      The report by Manchester City Council’s chief executive said EU funding up to 2020 “would no longer be forthcoming”.

      Sir Howard Bernstein’s briefing note was sent to council leaders on 30 June, a week after the Brexit vote.

    • NYT Lets $27 Million Man Brag About What He’s Doing for Income Inequality

      How nice of the Times to give one of our corporate overlords a chance to let us know he’s doing the right thing!

      Chase is the largest bank in the United States, and in 2015 it made $23.9 billion in after-tax income. You may have gotten the (intended) impression from Dimon’s op-ed that Chase has 18,000 employees; in fact, it has 241,000. That means for each one of its employees, the company is making $99,000 in profit. By comparison, the prospect of a $1.85-an-hour raise for 7 percent of them over three years is rather small potatoes.

      Dimon himself made $27 million in compensation in 2015. Right now, the lowest-paid full-time Chase employee makes 0.08 percent as much as the CEO; for those who get the pay raise, after it goes through, it’ll be 0.09 percent—assuming that Dimon doesn’t get a pay raise of his own in the next three years. So not much of a blow against income inequality—a problem that is in large part driven by the financial industry’s soaring profits.

    • Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy

      Apparently the message of the financial crisis didn’t get across

      Quick: If you take out a $1000 loan that has a 20% rate, how much will you owe a year in interest?

      Answer: $200. But if you got that wrong, you’re not alone. Nearly two thirds of Americans can’t calculate interest payments correctly, according to a new study. About a third said they didn’t even know how.

      One of the silver linings of the financial crisis was that it was supposed to have taught many Americans a lesson, albeit painful, about the dangers of debt, and financial issues in general. Apparently, the message, though, didn’t get across.

      All told, a new study, which was released today, estimated that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test, meaning they got fewer than four answers correct on a five-question quiz. Worse, the percentage of those who can pass the test has fallen consistently since the financial crisis to 37% last year, from 42% in 2009.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ratfucked

      The 2008 election was a big turning point. Obama won big, and “down-ballot” Democrats won big with him. The Republicans lost, and the Republican Party was lost. What to do? Devise a plan and take back control. Redraw the maps to maintain control. In short, ratfuck the Democrats. We’re only few pages into the introduction when the author contradicts his own subtitle. This wasn’t a secret plan. “It’s legal, it’s breathtaking, and much of it happened in plain sight.”

      “The simple truth is this: America is the only major democracy in the world that allows politicians to pick their own voters.”

    • Japan’s Election Results Usher in War . . . and a Glimmer of Hope?

      The recently passed “Security Law” that designates information that might undermine government and corporate efforts to sidestep the law and the constitution as “state secrets”, has mobilized a robust youth movement to counter this encroaching fascism. It’s hard to say if these mostly middle-class university student who formed SEALDS (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) will maintain their activist impulses in the wake of Emperor Abe’s most recent mandate-affirming coronation. It will take a fearless and sustained effort to endure the raised to ’11’ volume blasting from the right wing unarmored tank brigade, particularly now as it has gained steam from yesterday’s electorally foregone conclusion.

    • Is the Real Scandal the Clinton Foundation?

      Well, lo and behold, the military-industrial complex is one of the big contributors the Clinton Foundation, as is Saudi Arabia, and many of the parties who are directly affected by her decisions. Now, my guess is what she didn’t want people to find out, whether on Freedom of Information Act or others, are the lobbying she’s doing for her own foundation, which in a way means her wealth, her husband’s wealth, Bill Clinton’s wealth, and the power that both of them have by getting a quarter billion dollars of grants into the foundation during her secretary of state.

    • The Icelandic Pirate Party and the Search for a New Democracy

      Inside a modernist warehouse alongside the ocean in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, four men sit around a table discussing the country’s drug policies. A skull-and-crossbones flag adorns the wall and a cheap blow-up sword hangs over one door frame. Though they aren’t wearing eyepatches or hunting for treasure, these Icelanders call themselves Pirates, and they are drafting policy for a new, insurgent political party, the Pirate Party.

      Started as a Swedish movement in 2006, the Pirate Party advocated for copyright reform and freedom of access to information. It championed whistleblowers and defended WikiLeaks. After expanding its platform to include civil liberties and direct democracy, the party grew: it now boasts chapters in approximately 60 countries.

    • How the Media Overthrew Party Politics

      Media and politics historically have operated in a kind of uneasy alliance in which the media push and the political system responds. As Harvard historian Jill Lepore wrote in a recent New Yorker essay, almost every innovation or mutation in the media — from the highly partisan press of the nation’s early days to the yellow press of the 1890s to radio and television and now social media — has contributed to new party processes and even realignments.

    • Special interests look to influence political conventions — discreetly

      Protestors will shout. Delegates may revolt. Factions will haggle over rules and platform proposals.

      But come later this month, no amount of friction will stop corporations, unions and special interests from spending tens of millions of dollars to bankroll nonstop partying at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Thank federal campaign finance rules that allow unlimited contributions to support them.

    • One “Dinner with Donald” contest leads to another — and one for Hillary, too

      One PAC offering a dinner with Donald Trump has risen from the dirty dishes of another — and spawned a Hillary Clinton copycat in its wake.

      American Horizons has spent the past month advertising a contest for two individuals to win a dinner with Trump, including a flight and hotel stay. But while the organization, which is a hybrid of a conventional PAC and a super PAC, wasn’t established until mid-June, the contest has roots going back to November. It was originally the brainchild of a separate group, Recover America, that was publicly called out by the Trump campaign for promoting the prize without the knowledge or consent of the candidate. The group’s website, DinnerWithTrump.org, soon went dark as Recover America’s treasurer, Michael Williams, dealt with the fallout.

    • Dem Platform Includes Plank to Close Notorious School of the Americas

      Although the Democratic Party’s latest draft platform has received a mixed reception from progressives, human rights advocates on Tuesday called attention to one long-awaited demand that made it into the manifesto: Closing the controversial military training facility known as the School of the Americas.

      The measure, introduced by committee member Marcos Rubenstein—who was elected by Bernie Sanders delegates—calls for the closure of the school, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) to support the progressive belief that “democracies and civilian governments in the Western Hemisphere…should never be involved in the political process.”

      The SOA/WHINSEC plank was accepted by both Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns in the first time that such a measure has been included in the Democratic party platform.

      SOA Watch, a grassroots group that has organized around the closure of SOA/WHINSEC since 1990, noted Tuesday that “[w]hile the platform is nonbinding, grassroots activists, who have been concerned about the hawkish stands of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton towards Latin America, will push the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign to adhere to the platform’s call.”

      The group’s national organizer Hendrik Voss said, “In order to create real change, we can’t rely on politicians to make it happen for us. We have to organize to build broad-based grassroots power, and hold those who are making decisions that affect our lives accountable.”

      SOA/WHINSEC has become a notorious symbol of U.S.-backed human rights abuses in Latin America. The taxpayer-funded school—which many opponents have nicknamed “School of the Assassins”—educated several dictators from the region, as well as their military officials, and included torture, extortion, and execution in its curriculum.

      The new platform measure is particularly important as questions continue to rise over Clinton’s role in the U.S.-led coup in Honduras in 2009, which led to increased militarization and human rights abuses, the group said.

    • Jeremy Corbyn wins NEC vote over right to stand again for Labour leadership

      Jeremy Corbyn has narrowly survived a row over Labour Party rules that could have seen him ousted from the leadership without party members getting another chance to vote over his future.

      The ruling makes it highly likely that Mr Corbyn will win the leadership contest triggered by Angela Eagle’s announcement that she is standing against him.

      Mr Corbyn’s backers had feared that the executive would force him to find 50 Labour MPs or MEPs – a fifth of the parliamentary party – prepared to sign his nomination papers before his name could go on to the ballot paper. The leader’s support among fellow MPs has hit such a low point that it is unlikely that he would be able to find that many supporters in the Commons.

      But after a six hour meeting, the executive accepted Mr Corbyn’s claim that he had an automatic right to stand again.

    • Victorious Corbyn Survives Another Day as Labour Says He Will Appear on Ballot

      In what was described as “a victory for common sense and democracy,” the UK Labour party has said Jeremy Corbyn’s name must appear on the ballot in the upcoming leadership contest.

      Corbyn, who was the target of what some were calling a post-Brexit coup, said he was “delighted” at the decision by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a key ally of Corbyn, said on Twitter: “Jeremy on the ballot. Democracy prevails. We will use leadership election to sign up even more members and prepare ground for general election.”

    • The GOP Platform Draft: The Stuff Nightmares are Made Of

      Draft platform includes language that disavows the rights of women, same-sex couples, trans people, Palestinians, immigrants, and more.

    • Truthdig Sits Down With the Green Party’s Jill Stein (Video)

      The Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, met with Truthdig staff on Tuesday for a live discussion, broadcast on Facebook, about the 2016 election and American politics.

      Watch the entire discussion below, although the first video is cut off early because of Facebook’s time limit. The second segment, while much shorter, is a sign-off from Stein and the Truthdig staff.

    • Jill Stein: ‘Bernie hearts are breaking’

      Likely Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein lamented Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton Tuesday, tweeting, “many Bernie hearts are breaking right now.”

      “It sounds like the only good thing Bernie can say about Hillary is that she’s not Donald,” Stein tweeted, one of more than a dozen tweets she sent while Sanders and Clinton hosted a joint rally in New Hampshire where he officially endorsed the presumptive nominee. “That’s what most of her supporters like about her.”

    • Brilliant Bernie Burns It Down

      Bernie Endorses Hillary.

      How disgusting is that?

      Not surprising. Predictable in fact. But disgusting nonetheless.

      Not proud to admit that, over the past couple of months, I have preyed on naive liberal friends who actually believed that Bernie was going to act independently, take it to the convention, wreak havoc on the corrupt Democratic Party.

    • Iron Ladies: The False Choices of Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom

      During the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the nomination for Democratic candidate, MSCNBC journalist Irin Carmon wrote, “The conventional wisdom in 2008 was that Clinton ceded the history-making argument to Obama and should have made more of her gender.” The Clinton campaign more than compensated for this in 2015, almost going so far as to suggest that Democrat voters should make their decision solely on the basis of gender. When asked how she would be different from President Obama, Clinton replied: “Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had, including President Obama.”

      During the Labour leadership election last year, Yvette Cooper’s campaign borrowed heavily borrowed from Clinton’s playbook. Nominating Cooper was presented not just as a progressive choice, but one so radical that it outdid Jeremy Corbyn’s three-decade opposition to mainstream politics. Cooper said: “”What is more radical? A Labour party after a century of championing equality and diversity which turns the clock back to be led again by a leader and deputy leader, both white men. Or to smash our own glass ceiling to get Labour’s first elected woman leader and woman prime minister too. Who’s the real radical? Jeremy or me?” (The answer is Jeremy.)

    • Revolution Undermined: On Bernie Sanders’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

      I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy.

      The policies she fought for – along with her husband and political partner, Bill Clinton – have been foundations of the economic disaster most Americans are still struggling with: the abuses of deregulated Wall Street, rigged corporate trade agreements, racist mass incarceration, and the destruction of the social safety net for poor women and children. The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wake up call that we can’t have a revolutionary campaign inside a counter-revolutionary party.

      Sadly, Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party. The eventual suppression of the Sanders campaign was virtually guaranteed from the beginning with super-delegates and super Tuesdays, that were created after George McGovern’s nomination to prevent grassroots campaigns from winning the nomination again.

      Sanders, a life-long independent who has advocated for building an independent democratic socialist party similar to Canada’s New Democratic Party, has said that his decision to run as a Democrat was based on pragmatism, but there is nothing pragmatic about supporting a party that for decades has consistently sold out the progressive majority to the billionaire class. This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.

    • Long Time Progressive Stephen Lendman Blows The Whistle On Bernie Sanders Who Is Part Of Hillary’s Cover

      Fact: Hillary is a Wall Street/war-profiteer’s tool – exclusively supporting monied interests, popular ones be damned.

      Sanders: “(W)e produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic (sic) party.”

      Fact: What rubbish! Democrat New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society programs are disappearing, targeted for elimination.

      Fact: The Democrat party platform is hugely regressive, not progressive – dirty business as usual pretending otherwise.

      Nothing in it about opposing corporate coup d’etat trade deals. Nothing meaningful about reigning in Wall Street or war-profiteering.

      Nothing about ending endless wars of aggression. Nothing about rescinding police state repression, holding killer cops accountable – putting people above privilege and profits.

      Not a dime’s worth of difference separates Democrats from Republicans on issues mattering most.

      Endorsing Clinton shows where Sanders really stands – contemptuous of world peace, rule of law principles and democratic values – equity and justice mere meaningless words.

    • Clinton-Led Democrats Are Now “To the Right of George W. Bush” on Palestinian Rights

      There are countless ways to see that the rhetorical monuments of magnanimity, humanitarianism and equality which Democratic Party leaders and their loyal followers love to erect in honor of themselves are nothing more than manipulative, self-glorifying dreck. But few pathologies illustrate that deceit more potently than their utter indifference, and now – in the Hillary Clinton era – outright contempt for the plight of Palestinians and their steadfast subservience to right-wing Israeli nationalism. As Demos’ Sean McElwee put it: “The Democratic platform is now officially to the right of George W. Bush on Palestine.”

      Hillary Clinton herself has covertly run one of the most anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli-aggression presidential campaigns in modern history – from either party. That’s not surprising given her general militarism and the dominance of American-Israeli billionaire Haim “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel” Saban in funding her campaign and the Democratic Party generally. Surprising or not, though, the Clinton-led Democratic Party’s hostility toward the most basic precepts of equality and dignity for Palestinians, and their willingness – their eagerness – to support and cheer for the most extremist Israeli acts of oppression, racism and decades-long occupation, is nothing short of despicable.

    • Did Rupert Murdoch Choose Britain’s New Prime Minister?

      In the interview, Leadsom, who had frequently used the phrase “as a mum” in speeches calling for Britain to leave the EU, was asked how that was relevant to her politics. She responded: “I don’t really know Theresa very well but I am sure she will be really, really sad she doesn’t have children, so I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has children, Theresa hasn’t,’ do you know wht I mean, because I think that would be really horrible, but genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”

      “She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people,” Leadsom continued, “but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next.”

      Over the weekend, the candidate tried and failed quite spectacularly to spin her way out of the ensuing mess by claiming that she had been misquoted.

    • Snooper for PM

      Despite the zombie IP Bill (Snooper’s Charter) being knocked back to the depths from whence it came repeatedly, Teresa May’s dark magic managed to revive the bill time and time again. Sadly the lack of opposition from Labour helped facilitate this bill and now it’s creator is set to be our next Prime Minister.

      Her coronation to PM is a sad day for privacy advocates. While our ISPs will be keeping hordes of data on us, Teresa May will get to decide as she leads the country into paranoia and a lack of privacy what to use that data for.

    • Clinton Says She Was ‘Unaware’ She Was Sending Classified Material on Email Server

      Now that the FBI has declined prosecution stating Clinton had no “intent” to send and receive all sorts of classified data, marked and unmarked, Hillary has adopted a brand new excuse: why, golly gosh, she just didn’t know it was classified! She is also throwing some of her staff under the bus for good measure.

      On Friday, Clinton said she did not realize she was transmitting highly classified government secrets through her private email server while U.S. secretary of state.

      Instead, Clinton shifted the blame onto her former colleagues at the State Department, saying in television interviews she followed their lead on whether or not information was classified. “They, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified, they were pursuing their responsibilities,” she said in an interview with MSNBC.

      She did not address the findings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she herself sent information on topics classified at the highest levels of classification.

    • GOP’s Last Line of Anti-Trump Defense

      Donald Trump shook up Republican politics with his populist challenge to the party’s economic and foreign policy orthodoxies, but the GOP establishment has one last chance to stop his nomination, reports ex-CIA analyst Peter W. Dickson.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Kashmir boiling: Netizens demand freedom from Facebook censorship

      As fresh reports suggest that the death toll in Kashmir has risen to 33, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has just chaired a high-level meet on the issue has finally broken his silence on the issue and has appealed for peace to return to the valley.

      “Prime Minister has appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain calm and peace so that normalcy returns and no innocent lives are disturbed,” Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office was quoted telling Business Standard after the meeting.

    • A fine line: Social media, ‘hate speech,’ and censorship

      “The problem when you get government involved [is that] almost universally, free speech and freedom loses,” Gainor adds.

      The Hamas page has been taken down, but even today there are scores of others – using the same name – which have risen it its place.

    • Facebook Sued Again For ‘Material Support’ Of Terrorism, Because Hamas Uses Facebook

      This is becoming quite the stupid trend: people who are true victims of terrorist attacks suing internet platforms because terror-associated groups are using those platforms generally. It began back in January, when a woman sued Twitter after her husband was apparently killed in an ISIS attack. The lawsuit made no connection between the use of Twitter and the attack. It’s just “husband died in ISIS attack” and “ISIS people use Twitter.” The judge in that case is not at all impressed and it seems likely to dismiss the case shortly. In the meantime, another similar case was filed against Twitter, Facebook and Google.

      And now… we’ve got a third such case filed against Facebook and asking for a billion dollars. A billion dollars. The lawsuit was filed by the families of some people who were killed in a Hamas attack. And the entire complaint is basically “Hamas killed these guys, Hamas uses Facebook, give us a billion dollars.” It goes through a variety of stories, each involving Hamas or Hamas-affiliated attacks, without any actual connection to Facebook, other than “and they also used Facebook to celebrate.”

    • ‘Tyranny’ of Brown University’s censorship culture is featured in new documentary

      Brown University is plagued by administrators who shelter students from controversial ideas and faculty who are too cowed to publicly defend free speech – a microcosm of higher education in the 21st century, according to a new documentary by a Brown graduate.

    • ANC slams culture of censorship at the SABC

      The ANC backed the party’s communications sub-committee head, Jackson Mthembu, who has criticised the broadcaster for changing its editorial policy and stifling media freedom. This after controversial COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng imposed a ban on the airing of violent public protest footage. Motsoeneng’s decision has been roundly opposed, even by some SABC journalists.

    • SABC Censorship: ANC firmly against any form of censorship at the SABC
    • South Africa: Ruling Bids to Overturn ‘Outrageous Censorship’ At Public Broadcaster

      South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority has recommended on 11 July that the country’s public broadcaster ditch a controversial editorial policy which banned journalists from covering violent protests.

      The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomed the ruling and called on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to reinstate suspended journalists and lift the threat of disciplinary action against those who were alleged to be in breach of the policy, which the IFJ believes amounts to «outrageous censorship » .

    • ‘SABC needs to listen to public’s views on censorship policy’

      African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says if the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) wants to be a better public broadcaster, it needs to listen to the views of the public.

      The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) yesterday recommended the broadcaster reverse its ban on footage which shows state property being destroyed, but Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says no one will tell the SABC what to do.

    • EU Trade Commissioner Criticises Online Censorship in China

      The EU’s Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, raised concerns with Chinese tech policies during this week’s EU-China Summit in Beijing. Malmström warned that China’s “limits to online freedom … get[] in the way of today’s most dramatic innovations.”

      “The power of the Internet is that it connects people in a single global network. Barriers to that, whether by banning certain platforms or by requiring storage of content locally, impede China’s economic progress as much as freedom of expression. And it limits your access to other views and opinions, to the exchange of experiences with other people,” Malmström said. The EU’s top trade official finally called China’s laws on national security, non-governmental organisations and cybersecurity “steps backward.”

    • Guinea: Increasing censorship and pressure on leading musicians

      The 2010 election of longtime opponent Alpha Kondé as president of Guinea brought with it hope that music and other forms of artistic expression would enjoy relatively untrammelled freedom. Such optimism rode on the wave of a burgeoning hip hop scene, an established roster of international stars, a post-independence policy of preserving traditional music and a vocal press acting as watchdogs. Disappointingly, this has not come to be: a spiralling-down of the economy and the growing authoritarianism of the Kondé regime has translated itself into increasing censorship and pressure on the country’s leading musicians. Freemuse reporter Daniel Brown visited the capital Conakry to gauge the current musical climate.

    • USOC Demands That Company Take Down Twitter Posts Of Olympic Athlete It Sponsors

      All I have to do is say that this is a story that involves the Olympics and you probably already know exactly what kind of story this is going to be. That’s because we here at Techdirt have posts going back years that detail how the IOC and the USOC go about bullying, threatening, berating and downright pestering anyone it can over even the slightest of intellectual property concerns. The fact that these international games come around every two years now, instead of four, only means this bullying occurs now in near perpetuity instead of at a pace of a half-a-decade staccato.

      So, with the Rio Olympics right around the zika-infested, super-bacteria-in-the-water corner, it’s time to start relaying the most predictable news possible: the USOC are still bullying people over laughably slight trademark concerns. Though I will credit the USOC this much: they’re finding new and inventive ways to come off as petty and money-grubbing as possible. The link above details the USOC’s demands that Oiselle, an athletic apparel company that sponsors Olympic athlete Kate Grace, take down the following Instagram posts.

    • Silence in the media brings more destruction to Turkey

      The Kurds are now asking world media to inform ‘Superman’ of yet another attack on their homeland in Turkey.

    • China Decrees That All News On Websites Must Funnel Through Government Approval

      Fake news and hoax news stories are annoying, to be sure. I’ve been fooled a few times by hoax stories, as I imagine most other folks who do what we do have been. And, while the strategies taken by folks like Facebook haven’t resulted in ending the scourge of fake news, I can understand the intent. There are probably better strategies out there, though they are harder to achieve. Strategies like educating the public on how to verify internet stories they see. Or instilling in people a healthy amount of skepticism starting at a young age so that they don’t fall victim to every hoax out there. Or just sending around Snopes.com to all of our family members and demanding that they run any outrage through that filter first before bringing it to the dinner table.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • TOS agreements require giving up first born—and users gladly consent

      A recent study concludes what everybody already knows: nobody reads the lengthy terms of service and privacy policies that bombard Internet users every day. Nobody understands them. They’re too long, and they often don’t make sense.

      A study out this month made the point all too clear. Most of the 543 university students involved in the analysis didn’t bother to read the terms of service before signing up for a fake social networking site called “NameDrop” that the students believed was real. Those who did glossed over important clauses. The terms of service required them to give up their first born, and if they don’t yet have one, they get until 2050 to do so. The privacy policy said that their data would be given to the NSA and employers. Of the few participants who read those clauses, they signed up for the service anyway.

      “This brings us to the biggest lie on the Internet, which anecdotally, is known as ‘I agree to these terms and conditions,’” the study found.

      The paper is called “The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy polices and terms of service policies of social networking services.” It was written by Jonathan Obar, who teaches communication technology at York University, and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, a University of Connecticut communications assistant professor.

    • VPN Provider PIA Exits Russia After Server Seizures

      Private Internet Access is informing users that some of its servers in Russia may have been seized by the authorities. The company believes that it may have been targeted due to its strict no-logging policy, something which puts it at odds with Russian data-retention rules.

    • Fight for your Right to Privacy
    • Judge Upholds UPS Employee/Paid Informant’s Search Of An Intercepted Package

      Maybe this is part of UPS’s large settlement with the DOJ. Maybe this is what FedEx won’t do, which is why the DOJ tried to prosecute it for aiding and abetting illicit drug sales, right up until a federal judge called its prosecution “novel” and ushered it out of the court.

      Whatever the case, there’s at least one “inside man” (in this case a woman) at the UPS. A San Bernardino UPS store owner acted as a “citizen informant” for the county sheriff. In exchange for unspecified “compensation,” the store owner would flag suspicious packages and call in the Sheriff’s Department to come in and have a look/sniff at said shipments.

    • Whistle-Blower on NSA Wiretapping Is Set to Keep Law License

      A District of Columbia bar committee has agreed to a deal that would let a former Justice Department lawyer keep his law license even though he said he was one of the sources for a 2005 article in The New York Times…

    • Facebook spyware push and unexpected N900 advantages

      Dear Facebook. I’m aware that your Facebook lite is only 1MB. It is also dangerous spyware. You try to push it to me every time I attempt to use m.facebook.com. Would not it be nice if you avoided pushing your spyware to phones that can not handle it?

    • US House Squashes Yet Another Attempt to Expand Patriot Act Powers

      A bill critics said would expand Patriot Act surveillance went down in the U.S. House Monday night after failing to garner the necessary two-thirds support of the chamber.

      The “Anti-terrorism Information Sharing is Strength Act,” HR 5606, would have amended the USA Patriot Act to allow financial institutions to share information with law enforcement agencies and one another regarding suspected “activities that may involve terrorist acts, money laundering activities, or a specified unlawful activity.”

      Previously, such sharing was allowed regarding only “terrorist acts or money laundering activities.”

      The final vote on the bill, which was considered under a fast-track process that required it to amass a two-thirds majority for passage, was 229-177.

    • Pokemon Go Hysteria Again Highlights How Media Is Happy To Be Gullible And Wrong — If It Means More Ad Eyeballs

      If you spend any time online, you’ve by now noticed that the internet this week belched forth a tidal wave of incessant chatter over Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s new augmented reality game involving scrambling around real-world locations to “catch” collectible, virtual beasts with your phone. The game is by any standard a smashing success, boosting Nintendo’s market cap by an estimated $9 billion in two days with the app rocketing to the top of both major app stores.

    • Senators Wyden And Heinrich Speak Out Against Expanding FBI’s Ability To Warrantlessly Spy On Your Communications

      We’ve been writing for a while now how the FBI has been trying to rewrite a key part of the PATRIOT Act to massively expand its ability to use National Security Letters (NSLs) to get email and browser information with no warrant and no oversight. Despite the fact that the FBI was asking for this just days before the Orlando shooting, right after it, a bunch of Senators, led by John McCain, used the opportunity to fast track that legislative change, cynically pointing to the Orlando shooting as a reason why it’s needed (despite it having nothing whatsoever to do with that). That effort failed, but just barely — and it’s expected to be brought up again shortly for another vote.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • US Shopping Mall Suspends Robot Cops After Small Child Attacked

      The hi-tech security guards are meant to protect shoppers and deter crime, but the incident has raised questions over their use.

      The Stanford Shopping Center in the U.S. state of California temporarily suspended its fleet of robot cops following an incident where one of the robots reportedly knocked over a small child.

    • Philando Castile Should Still Be Alive

      Mr. Phil (as he was known at school) worked at my son’s elementary school in the cafeteria. My son started pre-K this fall at the tender age of four. First thing he did every morning was walk in and get breakfast. He had never eaten in a cafeteria — he didn’t know the routine — and from day one Mr. Phil made him comfortable. I would often walk in with my son and had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Phil many mornings.

      Within a week Mr. Phil knew my son’s name, despite the fact that there are hundreds of kids in the school. He would always make sure he actually took the food he was supposed to take, and he would often let him take an extra item if he was really hungry.

    • Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas Through A Father’s Eyes

      The horrors we witnessed in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas are rooted in racism that has haunted our families for generations, and is perhaps at its deadliest when embodied in law enforcement and embedded in our communities.

      As I took my oldest son to summer camp on Thursday morning, we rode in uneasy silence, listening to the news of Philando Castile’s death by cop in Falcon Heights, Minn., outside of the Twin Cities. I was emotionally wrung out. The night before I’d begun writing a piece about Alton Sterling’s death at the hands of police in Baton Rouge, La., and planned to finish it in the morning. Before I could begin, my news feed overflowed with reports of Castile’s death.

    • Atoning for Washington’s ‘Mass Kidnapping’ in the Indian Ocean

      The U.S. and UK governments forcibly expelled an entire population of islanders to make way for a military base. It’s time to let them come home

    • This Mosque Was Supposed To Be A Polling Location In Florida. Then People Complained.

      A county elections supervisor in Florida has removed a mosque from a list of polling locations after receiving a flood of complaints, frustrating local Muslims who say the move is discriminatory because churches and other houses of worship are still scheduled to host voters on Election Day.

      According to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach County elections supervisor Susan Bucher initially listed the Islamic Center of Boca Raton as a polling location for upcoming elections. But last week Bucher called Bassem Alhalabi, the president of the mosque, to inform him that she would be directing voters to a nearby public library instead.

    • Cop Prop

      White supremacy has always played a part in our heroics, from Last of the Mohicans to Tarzan. But nowhere is it more obvious than in DW Griffith’s 1915 epic, The Birth of A Nation, which was not only the birth of the Hollywood adventure film but also of the superhero. It’s like watching Batman decoded: a rich slave-owner and Confederate officer, dejected by the South’s loss in the Civil War, dons a cape and mask to protect Southern womanhood from the predations of vile African-Americans and white carpetbaggers. Of course nowadays this kind of racism in crime fiction and comics has become passé. It’s only polite to be racist toward Muslims. But sleeping underneath the subtext is a centuries-enduring narrative of white supremacy, patrician self-pity, and vigilante violence. Every citizen is a potential bad guy with a gun who deserves violence as a first response.

    • After Dallas Shootings, Police Arrest People for Criticizing Cops on Facebook and Twitter

      Four men in Detroit were arrested over the past week for posts on social media that the police chief called threatening. One tweet that led to an arrest said that Micah Johnson, the man who shot police officers in Dallas last week, was a hero. None of the men have been named, nor have they been charged.

      “I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,” he said.

      Five police officers were killed in the Dallas shootings, constituting the highest number of police casualties in an attack since September 11. And as a result, law enforcement officials everywhere are suddenly much more sensitive to threats against their lives.

      But one result has been that several police departments across the country have arrested individuals for posts on social media accounts, often from citizen tips — raising concerns among free speech advocates.

      “Arresting people for speech is something we should be very careful about,” Bruce Schneier, security technologist at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, told The Intercept.

      Last weekend in Connecticut, police arrested Kurt Vanzuuk after a tip for posts on Facebook that identified Johnson as a hero and called for police to be killed. He was charged with inciting injury to persons or property.

    • Man who Posted Alton Sterling Shooting Video Arrested 24 Hours Later on Fabricated Charges

      The man who made the video of the Alton Sterling shooting death go viral, one of two brutal videos from two states that sparked a national outrage and led to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers during an anti-police brutality protest Thursday – was arrested 24 hours later.

      Chris LeDay believes it was an act of retaliation.

      Considering police handcuffed and leg-shackled him after accusing him of assault and battery – only to jail him overnight for unpaid traffic fines – it certainly appears that way.

      Especially considering his arrest took place 24 hours after he had posted the video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where it instantly went viral.

      LeDay, 34, lives in Georgia, but was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where the shooting took place early Tuesday morning, so he learned of the video through friends back home but it wasn’t getting much exposure.

      At the time, the story – without the video – was being reported in the local news and was already generating controversy because the store owner was saying the shooting was unjustified and the coroner was saying he was shot several times in the front and back.

      And the cops were saying their body cams had fallen off, so there was no video of the shooting.

    • Claudia Rankine: Because White Men Can’t Police Their Imaginations, Black Men Are Dying (Video)

      Because white men can’t police their imaginations, black men are dying.

    • In New York Gang Sweeps, Prosecutors Use Conspiracy Laws to Score Easy Convictions

      Ana was half-asleep when she walked into her hallway and encountered dozens of police officers with shields and helmets. “Put your hands up! Do you speak Spanish or English? How many boys are in the back?” she said they shouted at her before handcuffing her, her husband, and one of her sons and walking into her young daughter’s room with their guns drawn. “I thought it was an action movie,” said Ana, who asked me not to use her last name. She struggled to describe the scene in her uncertain English. Her daughter Angie jumped in.

      “She’s just sad because of what happened,” she said, trying to explain her mother’s long silences. “They woke me up. Wake up, put your hands up!” she shouted, imitating the officers who broke into her room. “They thought I was a teenager. I’m eight.”

      Police were looking for Rodrigo, Ana’s 19-year-old son. Angie is the only one in the family who wasn’t handcuffed. “I was a little brave, but a little scared,” she said, describing how the rest of the family was lined up in the hallway.

    • From South Africa to Ireland, #BlackLivesMatter Finds Solidarity Worldwide

      As the U.S. reels from multiple shootings that made international headlines last week, the country’s grassroots movement for racial justice and against police brutality has been met with solidarity around the world.

      Denouncing the recent fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, people marched and rallied over the weekend and through Tuesday for the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

    • Chelsea confirms health status with attorneys
    • Chelsea Manning Confirms Suicide Attempt: ‘I Will Get Through This’
    • Housing, Race, And Police Stops: The Backstory To Philando Castile’s Killing

      Last week, the internet watched a Facebook live video of Philando Castile’s death after he was shot by police during a routine traffic stop for a broken taillight. His killing took place in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a St. Paul suburb nestled between the region’s white suburban enclaves and areas where the minority population is quickly rising — a racial and economic border where aggressive police encounters are much more common.

      Castile was pulled over in a place that is rapidly segregating by race, a phenomenon afflicting many American cities but is relatively new to this area.

      “In the Twin Cities, it’s particularly sad, because 20 years ago we were one of the most integrated places in the country,” said Myron Orfield, director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School. “And the last 20 years we’ve segregated really fast.”

    • Store Owner Sues Baton Rouge Police For Seizing His CCTV Recording Of Alton Sterling Shooting

      I don’t get to use the phrase “with alacrity” that often, but Baton Rouge store owner Abdullah Muflahi’s filing of a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge police can only be described as that.

      Following the shooting of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police officers, Muflahi’s store was raided by law enforcement officers who took the hard drive containing the store’s surveillance camera footage of the altercation. So far, everyone involved has refused to discuss the illegal seizure of Muflahi’s recording equipment, deferring to the FBI and its investigation of the shooting — which would be something if the FBI would answer questions about the seizure and current location of the hard drive.. but it won’t talk about it either.

    • ‘On Contact’ With Chris Hedges: Wrongfully Convicted and Living With the Consequences

      In a new episode of “On Contact,” Chris Hedges’ new show on RT, the Truthdig columnist speaks with author Alison Flowers about wrongful convictions and the challenges people face after spending years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

    • Reading Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ after the Dallas shooting

      In his famous 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. strategically situated himself between a black elite that was losing democratic legitimacy as it increasingly divorced itself from the plight of the black masses, and anarchic forces that were flirting with violence but were able to garner democratic legitimacy out of sheer desperation. King was trying to provide a third option between doing too little and too much. Pragmatically speaking, he was providing the lesser of three evils.

    • The Anti-Choice Movement Is Hijacking Black Lives Matter To Push Its Own Agenda

      Around the same time, former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said that BLM should say “all black lives matter” in order to include the black lives “eradicated by abortion.” According to reporting by Vox, clinic escorts have reported protesters targeting black women entering the clinic with phrases such as “black lives matter,” and “hands up, don’t abort.”

    • Historian: “You Can’t Disconnect History of the 2nd Amendment From the History of White Supremacy”

      President Obama is speaking in Dallas, Texas, today at a memorial service for the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper Thursday evening. Dallas authorities said Micah Johnson, the sniper, managed to amass a personal arsenal including a semiautomatic SKS rifle, bomb-making materials, bulletproof vests and ammunition. Over the weekend President Obama warned that the easy access to guns nationwide has exacerbated divisions between the police and local communities. We speak to Gerald Horne, an expert on the Second Amendment from the founding of the Ku Klux Klan to the Black Panthers. Horne is a professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston.

    • Resisting the pro-police backlash after Dallas

      THE POLICE KILLING of two Black men–Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, a suburb of the Twin Cities in Minnesota–last week horrified people around the world and brought protesters into the streets in large numbers across the country to proclaim that Black Lives Matter.

      Yet just as quickly, in Dallas, a man who shot and killed police officers as BLM supporters were demonstrating–killing five officers and wounding several more before being killed himself by police–provided the means for the media and law enforcement to shift the spotlight away from the epidemic of police violence and blame those who have risen up to protest.

    • Professor Poses the One Perfect Question About Race That Stumps Her Audience

      Elliott asks all white people in her audience to stand if they “would be happy to be treated as this society in general treats our black citizens.”


      Elliott comments harshly, “You didn’t understand the directions,” and she repeats the question.

      “Nobody is standing here,” Elliott says. “That says very plainly that you know what’s happening? You know you don’t want it for you. I want to know why you’re so willing to accept it or to allow it to happen to others.”

    • How Many Times Do Black People Have to Be Killed on Video Before We Reassess What We Are Doing on Race and Policing in America?

      With the killings by police of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, the question once again arises: How many times do Black people have to be killed on video before we reassess what we are doing on race and policing in America?

      ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jeff Robinson addresses the issue head on and shows a way forward, as he contrasts video of these needless shootings with raw footage from an incident in Camden, New Jersey, involving a man wielding a butcher knife. Unlike similar incidents, the officers calmly de-escalated a truly dangerous situation without resorting to the use of deadly force.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • European Telcos Threaten To Withhold Next Gen Wireless Upgrades If Net Neutrality Rules Passed

      Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: broadband carriers are once again claiming that if regulators pass net neutrality rules, their ability to invest in next-generation networks will be somehow be severely hindered, causing no limit of damage to consumers, puppies, and the time-space continuum. That’s basically the line U.S. broadband providers tried to feed the FCC in the States. But no matter how many industry-tried, cherry picking think tank studies have tried to claim that net neutrality hurts broadband investment, real world data and ongoing deployment show that just isn’t true.

      As we noted last October, Europe passed net neutrality rules that not only don’t really protect net neutrality, but actually give ISPs across the EU’s 28 member countries the green light to violate net neutrality consistently — just as long as ISPs provide a few flimsy, faux-technical justifications. The rules are so filled with loopholes as to be useless, and while they technically took effect on April 30, the European Union’s Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has been cooking up new guidelines to help European countries interpret and adopt the new rules.

      With BEREC’s public comment period set to end on July 18, European net neutrality advocates are giving it one last shot to toughen up the shoddy rules. Fearing they might succeed, a coalition of twenty European telcos (and the hardware vendors that feed at their collective trough) have taped together something they’re calling their “5G Manifesto,” (pdf) which trots out some pretty familiar fear mongering for those who’ve remotely followed the last fifteen years of net neutrality debate.

    • Major telecoms promise 5G networks if EU cripples net neutrality

      A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 — so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition’s plans are outlined in its “5G Manifesto,” a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom.

    • Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality
    • Researchers Confirm EFF’s Binge On Findings—And Learn How to Get Binge On to Zero-Rate Everything

      EFF’s headline-making research earlier this year showed that T-Mobile’s Binge On program wasn’t exactly working as advertised. Now, researchers at Northeastern University and the University of Southern California have published a paper confirming EFF’s findings in detail—even revealing a major weakness in the program that would allow T-Mobile customers to trick the system.

      Binge On is one of T-Mobile’s zero-rating programs, in which certain types of data—videos, in this case—don’t count toward customers’ data caps. When launching Binge On late last year, T-Mobile loudly proclaimed that it “optimized” data for mobile devices, which certainly sounds like a good thing. Sadly, EFF’s test showed T-Mobile wasn’t being entirely truthful: the “optimization” was actually just throttling, and T-Mobile was also throttling some video it wasn’t zero-rating—which meant that in some cases customers were getting lower quality video and still having to pay for it. Not so good, after all.

      The researchers at Northeastern and USC confirmed that Binge On works by throttling video data to 1.5Mbps without doing any sort of optimization. But the researchers went even further, showing how Binge On can result in worse-quality video (especially for mobile devices with high-resolution screens), and explaining how it could also result in decreased battery lifetime (due to the longer download times Binge On causes).

      And they didn’t stop there. They actually reverse-engineered the classifier T-Mobile uses to decide whether or not data should be zero-rated. In other words, they figured out exactly what parts of a data stream T-Mobile looks at to decide if a flow of packets should count against a customer’s data cap or not, and which values triggered zero-rating. With that knowledge in hand, they also figured how to subvert the classifier into zero-rating any data—not just video streams.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Focus On Medicines Patents & Prices Alone May Do More Harm Than Good [Ed: This article wrongly assumes that higher drug prices would improve innovation. In reality: government subsidies fund R&D]

      Populism is in vogue these days and critics of pharmaceutical patents are trying to ride the wave, claiming that undermining patents will dramatically decrease prices but not reduce innovation. Both sides of that claim are flawed.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom to reboot Megaupload half a decade after FBI shut it down

        Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant Web baron, is planning to relaunch his once popular Megaupload file-sharing website in 2017—five years to the day after the US government shut it down amid accusations of piracy.

        In a series of tweets posted over the weekend, Dotcom hinted that the new Megaupload would involve Bitcoin, while he also promised “big announcements” would be coming regarding partners for the site. Previous users of the site will apparently have their accounts reinstated with premium privileges.

      • CopyCamp 2016 Open Call

        This year we aim at building upon this extraordinary background and facilitate a dialogue particularly focused on the Future of Copyright in Europe. We want to gather the widest possible group of people involved in the discussion about the impact of copyright on social life, education, economy and politics who wish to present their opinions to the international audience. As always, we will be pleased to host all interested parties in the neutral and friendly space, and encourage participants to share thoughts and exchange ideas.

      • The Marrakesh Treaty comes into force – what impact will it have?

        The Marrakesh Treaty, which will improve access to published works for the visually impaired, comes into force on September 30. Natalie Rahhal speaks to people who were involved in the copyright treaty’s negotiation to find out what that means in practice and what impact it will have


Links 12/7/2016: Libinput 1.4, LLVM 3.8.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.6.4 Released with Networking Improvements and Updated Drivers

      Today, July 11, 2016, renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the fourth maintenance update for the Linux 4.6 kernel series.

    • Linux 4.6.4
    • Linux 4.4.15
    • Linux Kernel 4.4.15 LTS Adds Many Updated USB Drivers, It’s Already in Solus

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.6.4, which is now the most advanced stable kernel branch available, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the release of Linux kernel 4.4.15 LTS.

      The Linux 4.4 kernel series is an LTS (Long Term Support) one, which means that it will be supported with security patches and bug fixes for a few more years than the normal Linux kernel branches. Because of this, many popular GNU/Linux operating systems prefer to use it, no matter if they are following a static or rolling release model. Among these, we can mention Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Arch Linux, and Solus.

    • Linux Kernel 4.7 got a delay in release
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Provides A Surprise For Pascal GPU Owners Wanting Open-Source

        After it took NVIDIA until earlier this year to release the signed firmware for the GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell” GPUs, I expected — and based upon what I heard — that it could be months before seeing the firmware for GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” GPUs in order to enable hardware acceleration with these latest-generation GPUs. Thus it’s a huge surprise today to see NVIDIA already making public their Pascal GP100 firmware images!

        Hitting this afternoon in linux-firmware Git are the GP100 firmware files! There are 15 binary-only firmware blobs now part of the linux-firmware tree needed for initializing GP100 hardware. The GP100 blobs are named (for providing some reference) bl, ucode_load, ucode_unload, fecs_bl, fecs_data, fecs_inst, fecs_sig, gpccs_bl, gpccs_data, gpccs_inst, gpccs_sig, sw_bundle_init, sw_ctx, sw_method_init, and sw_nonctx. The largest of these blobs are 20955 bytes.

      • Just About 20 Lines Of Code Got Open-Source 3D Running On NVIDIA Pascal For Mesa

        Just a few hours ago I was writing about NVIDIA making public the GP100 “Pascal” GPU firmware binaries needed for as a requirement for bringing up GeForce GTX 1000 series hardware acceleration on the open-source driver stack. Now the initial support has landed in Nouveau’s NVC0 Gallium3D driver within Mesa for allowing 3D support.

        Ben Skeggs of Red Hat landed an initial support patch that has 16 lines of new code and five lines of deletions that bring this initial GP100 series GPU support. The support mostly comes down to just adding the “0×130″ case and various other relatively simple changes to allow this code to work. The bring-up for Pascal in the Nouveau stack is much more complicated within the Nouveau DRM kernel driver than what was needed for the Gallium3D user-space code. The GP100 Pascal Nouveau kernel changes so far were outlined in Initial Open-Source GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” Nouveau Driver Support — that work is starting to land in Linux 4.8.

      • libinput 1.3.901

        The first RC for libinput 1.4 is now available.

      • Libinput 1.4 Release Candidate

        Peter Hutterer has announced the first release candidate of the upcoming libinput 1.4 release for this input handling library used by X.Org, Wayland, and Mir systems.

    • Benchmarks

      • Blender Cycles Render Engine Benchmarks With NVIDIA CUDA On Linux

        Here is a look at the performance of the Blender 3D modeling/creation software with its Cycles Engine when making use of NVIDIA’s CUDA API for GPU acceleration. Tests for this initial comparison include NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” and GTX 900 “Maxwell” graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 Desktop Users Complain About Multi-Screen Support, Fixes Incoming

        The KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment arrived last week, on July 5, and it already landed in the main software repositories of various GNU/Linux operating systems, including Arch Linux, Gentoo, and KDE Neon.

        KDE Plasma 5.7 brought numerous new features and improvements, along with the usual bug fixes, and it also promised improved multi-screen support. However, it appears that for many users who have already tried the new KDE Plasma desktop on their distributions, multi-screen support fails to work as expected.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi 4.0.0 Time Lines and June 2016 Donation Totals

      Last month I hinted at the first Bodhi 4.0.0 pre-release happening soon, but then June came and went with no more news. One of my goals for the 4.0.0 release is to realign our core Enlightenment Foundation Libraries with the latest upstream release. Their 1.18 release has been pushed back for several weeks due to the number of things it is integrating (namely the Elementary widgets are part of the core toolkit now) and ideally I would like to include this release by default in Bodhi 4.0.0.

    • New Releases

      • Budgie Desktop 10.2.6 Comes with Redesigned Budgie Menu, Spotify Compatibility

        Today, July 12, 2016, Softpedia was informed by Solus project leader Ikey Doherty about the general availability of the Budgie 10.2.6 desktop environment, a major release that introduces lots of new features and improvements.

        Coming three and a half months after the release of Budgie 10.2.5, which most of the Solus users are using on their computers, the Budgie 10.2.6 update promises many goodies. But first, the biggest change is the implementation of a stable, performant API/ABI, which will force those who maintain Budgie extensions to rebuild them based on the new API/ABI.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Steps the Python community and Dropbox are taking to increase diversity

        At the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco last month, DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat, announced the winners of the company’s second annual Women in Open Source Award. Jessica McKellar, director of engineering and chief of staff to the vice president of engineering at Dropbox, and Preeti Murthy, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, won the 2016 Women in Open Source Award.

      • 7 characteristics of open leaders
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Event report: Fedora 24 release party Pune

          Last Saturday we had the Fedora 24 release party in Pune. This was actually done along with our regular Fedora meetup, and in the same location. We had a few new faces this time. But most of the regular attendees attended the meetup.

        • Hosting your own Fedora Test Day

          Many important packages and software are developed for Fedora every day. One of the most important parts of software development is quality assurance, or testing. For important software collections in Fedora, there are sometimes concentrated testing efforts for pulling large groups of people in who might not always help test. Organizing a Fedora Test Day is a great way to help expose your project and bring more testers to trialing a new update before it goes live.

        • Farewell Pharlap

          Korora “was born out of a desire to make Linux easier for new users” and one way of achieving that aim was the development of Pharlap, a tool for the simple installation of third party drivers. However times change and sadly it is time to say goodbye to Pharlap which will not be included in Korora 24.

          This decision was not taken lightly and there are many reasons behind the move.

        • Creating a reproducible build system for Docker images

          As the population of DevOps practitioners grows greater in size, so does the Linux container userbase, as these often go hand in hand. In the world of Linux container implementations, Docker is certainly the most popular for server-side application deployments as of this writing. Docker is a powerful tool that provides a standard build workflow, an imaging format, a distribution mechanism, and a runtime. These attributes have made it a very attractive for developer and operations teams alike as it helps lower the barrier between these groups and establishes common ground.

    • Debian Family

      • Bodhi 4.0.0 Time Line, First Woman Debian TC

        The top story today in Linux news is the controversy following the removal of Nano from the GNU umbrella. Original maintainer Christian Allegretta had to address the resulting rumors that threaten the community. Elsewhere, Jeff Hoogland posted an updated time line for Bodhi 4.0 and the Debian project welcomes its first woman Technical Committee member. Linus is on the hot seat again after losing his patience over commenting style and the Korora project is dropping their driver manager Pharlap.

      • twenty years of free software — part 13 past and future
      • mips64el added to Debian testing
      • DebConf16 closes in Cape Town and DebConf17 dates announced

        Today, Saturday 9 July 2016, the annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference came to a close. With over 280 people attending from all over the world, and 113 hours of talks in 114 events, DebConf16 has been hailed as a success.

        Highlights included the Open Festival, where events of interest to a broader audience were offered (ranging from topics specific to Debian to a wider appreciation of the open and maker movements), the traditional Bits from the DPL, lightning talks and live demos and the announcement of next year’s DebConf (DebConf17 in Montreal).

      • Technical committee appointment
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mini-PC runs Ubuntu on quad-core Bay Trail Atom

            Mele has launched a “Star Cloud PCG03” mini-PC that runs Ubuntu on a quad-core Atom Z3735F with 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, three USB ports, Ethernet, and WiFi.

            Shenzhen Mele Digital Technology Ltd. has released an Ubuntu 14.04 equipped Star Cloud PCG03 mini-PC based on its earlier Windows-based Mini PC PCG09 and Mini PC PCG03. Like these models, as well as Mele’s first Ubuntu-based device, the Star Cloud PCG02 stick PC, the new Star Cloud PCG03 mini-PC runs on a quad-core, 1.33GHz (1.83GHz turbo) Atom Z3735F, a tablet-focused SoC from Intel’s 22nm Bay Trail generation.

          • Star Cloud PCG03U Ubuntu Mini PC Unveiled For $90
          • 32-Bit Ubuntu Alternatives

            Some folks may find the idea of using a 32-bit distribution of Linux to be downright silly. After all, we live in a 64-bit world these days, right? Well, that depends on who you ask. The fact of the matter is there are still a lot of fully functional PCs out there that run 32-bit Linux. Up until recently, this was all well and good. Then the news came down that Ubuntu would no longer be supporting 32-bit systems come the next Ubuntu release. Clearly not everyone is thrilled about his news.

            Rather than throw in the towel and recycle these PCs, I think it’s important to realize there is a world beyond Ubuntu. Yes, many other distros have also stopped support 32-bit distros. However for the time being, there are still options to choose from. In this article, I’m going to share some great non-Ubuntu based 32-bit friendly Linux distros you should check out.

            The first set of distributions I want to share with you are best for those who are already comfortable with Linux.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 to Land Next Wednesday, OTA-13 Brings Libertine Improvements

            The Ubuntu Touch saga continues, and today we would like to inform our readers about some of the latest changes coming in the next major update, the OTA-13, as well as about some good news for the soon-to-be-released OTA-12.

            According to Canonical’s Łukasz Zemczak, the testing of the upcoming Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 software update is almost over and things are looks great. No blockers, and everything works as expected for almost all devices, with a small exception for Meizu PRO 5 and BQ Aquaris M10, which need custom tarball re-spins.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18: The best desktop — period

              You could keep worrying about being forced to upgrade to Windows 10, or you could try the best of all Linux desktops: Mint 18.

            • Linux Mint 18

              During my trial, Mint 18 provided me with a stable, friendly and problem-free experience. The distribution has a installer which is simple to use, a good collection of documentation and an excellent selection of default software. The configuration tools are straight forward to use, the software manager is easy to use and everything generally just worked the way I wanted it to. The one problem I ran into during my whole trial was the video display issue when running from the live disc, and that was quickly solved by switching to the fail-safe graphics mode from the live disc’s boot menu.

              I was curious to try X-Apps and I generally found these to be an improvement. I dislike the mobile-style interfaces GNOME applications tend to use and how they break consistency with other applications. X-Apps provide the same functionality as their GNOME counterparts, but improve the interface to work the same as all the other desktop applications. Most of the changes are small, but make working with the text editor or video player a much less frustrating experience.

            • Linux Mint 18 ” Sarah “
            • Linux Mint 18 reviews roundup

              Hectic Geek’s review is quite thorough and includes some interesting performance comparisons between Ubuntu 16.04 and Linux Mint 18. The site was impressed with Linux Mint 18’s performance.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SiFive brings open-source SoCs
    • Startup SiFive Aims for Open-Source Chips
    • First SoCs based on open source RISC-V run Linux

      SiFive unveiled the first embedded SoCs based on the open source RISC-V platform: A Linux-ready octa-core Freedom U500 and a FreeRTOS-based Freedom E300.

      A VC-backed startup closely associated with the RISC-V project announced the first system-on-chip implementations of the open source RISC-V processor platform. At the RISC-V 4thWorkshop at MIT this week, SiFive announced two embedded SoC families. The Freedom Unleashed family debuts with a 28nm fabricated, Freedom U500 SoC with up to eight 1.6GHz cores that runs Linux, aimed at machine learning, storage, and networking applications. The MCU-like Freedom Everywhere family for Internet of Things starts with a 180nm Freedom E300 model that runs FreeRTOS.

    • Server class COM supports 16-core Xeons, packs dual 10GbE

      Advantech’s server-class SOM-5991 COM Express module runs Linux on up to 16-core Xeon D-1500 processors, and offers dual 10GBase-KR ports and PCIe with NTB.

      We’ve seen a number of embedded boards supporting server-class Xeon E3-1200 SoCs from Intel’s Skylake architecture, such as Seco’s COMe-B09-BT6 COM Express Basic Type 6 module. Yet, Advantech’s SOM-5991, which uses the same 125 x 95mm Basic Type 6 form factor, is the first we’ve seen to run the similarly 14nm “Broadwell” based Xeon D-1500 SoCs, which are available with up to 16-core Xeons. Advantech claims it’s the first COM Express to use the Xeon D-1500, which debuted over a year ago, with more models arriving last fall and earlier this year.

    • Open-source Linux a step closer to automotive use

      Although it may seem like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all the rage for dashboard infotainment systems, open-source Linux proponents haven’t conceded the battle yet. The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project announced the release of its Unified Code Base 2.0, implementing new in-vehicle entertainment support desired by automakers and drivers.

      The new code base adds support for audio routing, rear-seat entertainment systems and apps. It follows the version 1.0 release at CES earlier this year.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Z2 Documentation Image Leak, The Next Tizen Smartphone

          Samsung Z2 Documentation Leak

          We have been talking about the upcoming Samsung Z2 smartphone for a while now and today we have seen some leaked documentation surface that looks like it is part of the official user manual of Samsung’s next Tizen based Smartphone. As we exclusively reported earlier this year the device will carry the model number SM-Z200F.

      • Android

        • Net users duke it out over whether Jia Jia, China’s beautiful android, is the fairest of them all

          Remember Asuna and Junco Chihara, two entries in Japan’s race to create the most hyperreal android ever? Despite their lifelike appearances compared to many other robots out there, some people still aren’t able to get past the “uncanny valley” phenomenon as a result of their unnatural facial movements.

        • The Superbook is a $99 laptop shell for your Android phone

          The dream of turning your smartphone into a laptop will never die. From Motorola’s Atrix to this crazy HP Windows Phone, there have been a number of companies that have tried (and largely failed) to build a smartphone that can be attached to a dock and turned into a laptop.

          In a somewhat new twist, a company wants to sell you just the laptop shell, while letting you use your current Android phone and an app to power it. The Superbook is a 11.6-inch laptop shell built by the team behind Andromium OS, the app that allows your Android smartphone to run a desktop-like operating system.

        • LeapDroid claims to be the fastest Android emulator for your PC

          When it comes to running Android on your PC, short of installing the Android x86 project, you can get by with an emulator. With that, this program called Bluestacks is probably the most popular. Enter LeapDroid, a new emulator which claims to be the “world’s fastest” Android emulator on PC. I guess we have to try it to believe it.

        • Exclusive: These could be Google’s upcoming Android Wear smartwatches

          As we reported last week, Google is in the process of building two Android Wear smartwatches. At the time, we were unable to show you the watches themselves. Today, that changes – what you see in the image above could be codename “Angelfish” and “Swordfish,” Google’s two Assistant-enabled wearables that we believe will be released after the new Nexus phones.

        • Google’s Android Wear ‘Angelfish’, ‘Swordfish’ Smartwatches Leaked in Images
        • Alphabet (GOOGL) Announces Free Android Training In India As It Retakes Smartphone Lead

          Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced that it would begin training 2 million developers in India on Android as the company tries to take market share from the iOS ecosystem. The free Android Skilling program will be introduced across public and private universities, training schools and the government’s National Skills Development Corporation of India. India is expected to have the largest developer population with 4 million people by 2018, overtaking the U.S.

        • Google aims to train two million Indian Android devs by 2018

          Google will train two million Android developers across India over the next three years.

          Mountain View will provide complete training in its Android operating system under a new program that is paired with the Modi Government’s “Skill India” program.

          The course kicks off with Android Developer Fundamentals available in universities and the National Skills Development Corporation of India.

        • Google to train 2 million Indian Android developers

          Google has announced its new “Android Fundamentals” training program, which aims to train and certify up to two million Android developers in India. An Android Fundamentals training course, soon to be available online and at schools country-wide, is focused on training, testing and certifying Android developers to prepare students for careers using Android technology.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 leaks in three new pics

          Earlier today, it was reported that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 might be the most expensive product in the productivity-purposed phablet line so far, starting at roughly $910 in Europe. It seems that was not to be the only leak of the day however, as three images have surfaced via Steve Hemmerstoffer of nowhereelse.fr who has Tweeted no less than three different images of Samsung’s up and coming creation. Here is the first:

        • Android Nougat may contain traces of NOT for users of custom CAs

          Google will sweeten the forthcoming Nougat release of Android by changing the way apps work with certificate authorities (CAs) and simplifying APIs.

          The changes will affect only some apps and users, Android security team software engineer Chad Brubaker says .

          The changes mean Google will not automatically trust user-selected CAs. Instead, all Android devices running Nougat and later versions of Android will run a standard set of Google-trusted AOSP certificate authorities, forcing some developers to change their apps if non-trusted certificate authorities are needed.

        • First Nokia Android Device, P1 Rumoured To Have 3GB RAM, HD Display

          If you have used Nokia, you will remember the rugged Nokia 3310 and other smartphones that could break a wall and still survive. Nokia is back to making smartphones but Android operating system.

        • How to live stream Android games to YouTube and Twitch

          Watching people play live video games from anywhere in the world has become a surprisingly huge phenomenon in recent years. Twitch is now a game-streaming juggernaut while YouTube has embraced gaming and live streaming in a big way, and seemingly everyday people have become well-paid Internet personalities because they play video games and chat.

        • Six Points on The Samsung Galaxy Note 7: AKA The Best Android Phone of 2016

Free Software/Open Source


  • Two in Three Apple Watch Owners Won’t Buy Next Version (Told You So)

    Here we are, those who bought Apple Watches have been playing with their iToys. Some utterly love their iGadgets. But most who were duped into buying the expensive tech jewelry were disappointed or don’t find any reason to upgrade. A fresh survey of Apple Watch owners by Quartz finds that two thirds won’t be buying the new edition. And this turns out pretty much exactly as I predicted. The gadget does not have the appeal of the mobile phone/smartwatch (an Apple Watch is not even technically ‘mobile’ because you have to tether it to an iPhone for its functionality meaning it is ‘only’ an accessory, differing from those smart watches that do their own connectivity like say Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watches). And I said the life of the Apple Watch will be two genations, the second generation will not sell as well as the first, and then Apple will quietly shut down this silly cul-de-sac of tech innovation. We are nearing the half-point of that prediction and the signs say.. those who buy Apple Watches do not on the whole fall in love with the idea of the metal on the wrist. It is a poor technology solution and will not replace the smartphone. Hence, it will fail as a business idea. Apple is on that path now, to ending the Apple Watch after the second edition.

  • Hardware

    • Seagate Fires 6,500, Or 14% Of Workforce, Stock Soars

      Moments ago computer-memory specialist Seagate, in a preliminary financial report, announced that its Q4 revenue would be $2.65 billion, beating expectations of $2.34 billion, and up from the $2.3 billion guidance given previously. The company also reported gross margin of 25% and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 25.8% for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, up from the previous 23% forecast.

      Good news, and the stock is up 12% after hours as a result.

      The only problem is that when companies preannounce good news up front, there is usually some not so good news hidden toward the back. And sure enough, for a company which is guiding higher, the narrative promptly fell apart when we read that for STX management the future is so bright that it just had to lay off 14% of it workforce, or some 6,500 people. This too was a “beat” to expectations: in late June, the company announced it planned to cut “only” 1,600 jobs as a cost-saving measure.

    • Testing the 8-bit computer Puldin

      Puldin is 100% pure Bulgarian development, while the “Pravetz” brand was copy of Apple ][ (Pravetz 8A, 8C, 8M), Oric (Pravets 8D) and IBM-PC (Pravetz 16). The Puldin computers were build from scratch both hardware and software and were produced in Plovdiv in the late 80s and early 90s. 50000 pieces were made, at least 35000 of them have been exported to Russia and paid for. A typical configuration in a Russian class room consisted of several Puldin computers and a single Pravetz 16. According to Russian sources the last usage of these computers was in 2003 serving as Linux terminals and being maintained without any support from the vendor (b/c it ceased to exist).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • What happens when Pokémon Go turns your home into a gym

      In the virtual world of Pokémon Go, a gym is where players (in game parlance, “trainers”) gather to battle against each other. Trainers join one of three teams at an early stage of the game, and those teams fight for control of the gyms. If your team controls a gym, you get perks and bragging rights at that location. In the physical world, battling trainers look a lot like those three strangers standing outside of Sheridan’s home. Soon, a car pulled up and parked in front of the house, too. Another trainer.

  • Security

    • Report: Enterprises more reliant on open source and third-party software components
    • 1 in 16 Java Components Have Security Defects

      A new report from Sonatype analyzes the volume and variety of Java components in the ecosystems of over 25,000 developers and 3,000 organizations.

    • Enterprise software developers continue to use flawed code in apps

      Companies that develop enterprise applications download over 200,000 open-source components on average every year — and one in 16 of those components has security vulnerabilities.

    • Sonatype Releases 2016 State of the Software Supply Chain Report
    • Pokemon Go Is A “Malware” And “Hackers’ Dream”, Security Experts Say
    • New EU directive requires critical infrastructure to improve cyber-security

      Companies which supply essential services – such as energy, transport, banking, health or digital services such as cloud services and search engines – will be required to achieve minimum standards of cyber-security under new EU-wide rules adopted by the EU Parliament today.

    • CISSP certification: Are multiple choice tests the best way to hire infosec pros?

      Want a job in infosec? Your first task: hacking your way through what many call the “HR firewall” by adding a CISSP certification to your resume.

      Job listings for security roles often list the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) or other cybersecurity certifications, such as those offered by SANS, CompTIA, and Cisco, as a requirement. This is especially true in the enterprise space, including banks, insurance companies, and FTSE 100 corporations. But at a time when the demand for good infosec people sees companies outbidding each other to hire top talent, and ominous studies warn of a looming cybersecurity skills shortage, experts are questioning whether certifications based on multiple choice tests are really the best way to recruit the right people.

    • Pokémon Go on iOS gives full access to Google accounts

      Signing into Pokémon Go on iOS with a Google account gives the game full access to that account, according to a systems architect, Adam Reeve.

      The Android version of the game apparently does not have these issues.

      Reeve said that the security situation was not the same for all iOS users.

      Pokémon Go was released last week and has been a huge hit. It is the latest in a series of games from Nintendo but is made by a developer named Niantic, which is part owned by Google.

    • Pokémon Go shouldn’t have full access to your Gmail, Docs and Google account — but it does

      When you use Google to sign into Pokémon Go, as so many of you have already, the popular game for some reason grants itself (for some iOS users, anyway) the highest possible level of access to your Google account, meaning it can read your email, location history… pretty much everything. Why does it need this, and why aren’t users told?

    • Have you given Pokémon Go full access to everything in your Google account?

      Gamers who have downloaded the Pokémon Go augmented reality game were given a scare on Monday, after noticing that the app had apparently been granted “full access” to their Google accounts.

      Taken at face value, the permissions would have represented a major security vulnerability, albeit one that only appeared to affect players who signed up to play the game using their Google account on Apple devices.

    • Pokémon Go Was Never Able To Read Your Email [Updated]

      Here’s even more confirmation that Pokémon Go never had the ability to access your Gmail or Calendar. A product security developer at Slack tested the token provided by Pokémon Go and found that it was never able to get data from services like Gmail or Calendar.

    • HTTPS is not a magic bullet for Web security

      We’re in the midst of a major change sweeping the Web: the familiar HTTP prefix is rapidly being replaced by HTTPS. That extra “S” in an HTTPS URL means your connection is secure and that it’s much harder for anyone else to see what you’re doing. And on today’s Web, everyone wants to see what you’re doing.

      HTTPS has been around nearly as long as the Web, but it has been primarily used by sites that handle money—your bank’s website, shopping carts, social networks, and webmail services like Gmail. But these days Google, Mozilla, the EFF, and others want every website to adopt HTTPS. The push for HTTPS everywhere is about to get a big boost from Mozilla and Google when both companies’ Web browsers begin to actively call out sites that still use HTTP.

    • Now it’s easy to see if leaked passwords work on other sites

      Over the past few months, a cluster of megabreaches has dumped account credentials for a mind-boggling 642 million accounts into the public domain, where they can then be used to compromise other accounts that are protected by the same password. Now, there’s software that can streamline this vicious cycle by testing for reused passcodes on Facebook and other popular sites.

    • What serverless computing really means [iophk: "securityless"]

      Arimura even goes as far as to use the controversial “no-ops,” coined by former Netflix cloud architect Adrain Cockcroft. Again, just as there will always be servers, there will always be ops to run them. Again, no-ops and serverless computing take the developer’s point of view: Someone else has to worry about that stuff, but not me while I create software.

    • An open letter to security researchers and practitioners

      Earlier this month, the World Wide Web Consortium’s Encrypted Media
      Extensions (EME) spec progressed to Draft Recommendation phase. This is
      a controversial standard for transmitting DRM-encumbered videos, and it
      marks the very first time that the W3C has attempted to standardize a
      DRM system.

      This means that for the first time, W3C standards for browsers will fall
      under laws like the DMCA (and its international equivalents, which the
      US Trade Representative has spread all over the world). These laws allow
      companies to threaten security researchers who disclose vulnerabilities
      in DRM systems, on the grounds that these disclosures make it easier to
      figure out how to bypass the DRM.

      Last summer, the Copyright Office heard from security researchers about
      the effect that DRM has on their work; those filings detail showstopper
      bugs in consumer devices, cars, agricultural equipment, medical
      implants, and voting machines that researchers felt they couldn’t
      readily publish about, lest they face punitive lawsuits from the
      companies they embarrassed.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • In Africa, the U.S. Military Sees Enemies Everywhere

      From east to west across Africa, 1,700 Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other military personnel are carrying out 78 distinct “mission sets” in more than 20 nations, according to documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act.

      “The SOCAFRICA operational environment is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous,” says Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, using the acronym of the secretive organization he presides over, Special Operations Command Africa. “It’s a wickedly complex environment tailor-made for the type of nuanced and professional cooperation SOF [special operations forces] is able to provide.”

      Equally complex is figuring out just what America’s most elite troops on the continent are actually doing, and who they are targeting.

      In documents from a closed-door presentation delivered by Bolduc late last year and a recent, little-noticed question and answer with a military publication, the SOCAFRICA commander offered new clues about the shadow war currently being waged by American troops all across the continent.

    • Navy Corrects “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s Military Record, Lowers Medal Count

      The Navy has officially corrected Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s service record, lowering the medal count that he had claimed in his bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, according to a military spokesperson.

      The Navy issued the corrected DD214 form, his official discharge record, on June 14, two weeks after a report by The Intercept found Kyle embellished his military record, despite at least one warning from SEAL commanders that his claims were inaccurate.

      In his autobiography, Kyle claimed he received two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with a “V” device for valor. After investigating the discrepancy, the Navy now says Kyle earned one Silver Star and four Bronze Stars with a “V” device for valor during his 10-year career as a Navy SEAL.

    • Security, Territory and Population Part 1: Introduction

      Security, Territory and Population is a collection of lectures given by the French thinker Michel Foucault at the College of France in 1977-8. Foucault describes the lectures as a work of philosophy, defined as “the politics of truth” (p. 3), a term which itself seems to require a definition. This creates two difficult problems for the reader. First, philosophy is hard. It involves carefully picking things apart, examining each element, putting the pieces back together, and then picking them apart from some other perspective, examining the new set of pieces and reassembling. It’s hard work, and it makes for difficult reading.

      Second, these are lectures, not a polished work prepared for publication with the aid of editors and the time it takes to smooth out analysis. Foucault says that these lectures are part of a long program of study, of which other books and sets of lectures are parts. The earlier books include Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality for certain, and others as well. These are polished works, and they give an idea of the general program.

    • ‘War on Terror’ Blowback Hits Dallas

      The blowback from America’s “war on terror” swept into Dallas last Friday when an Afghan War veteran allegedly killed five police officers and was killed in turn by a remote-controlled robot deploying a bomb, writes retired Col. Ann Wright.

    • NATO Has a Very Peculiar Way of Showing It Doesn’t Want New Cold War

      On first day of NATO summit, critics condemn “new and dangerous plan” to provoke Russia with heightened military presence on its borders

    • NATO Reaffirms Its Bogus Russia Narrative

      President Obama and NATO leaders signed on to the false narrative of a minding-its-own-business West getting sucker-punched by a bunch of Russian meanies, a storyline that suggests insanity or lies, reports Robert Parry.

    • Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has

      Emmott and Siebold report that “Russian aggression” is the reason NATO is deploying 3,000 to 4,000 troops in the Baltic states and Poland. In other words, something that does not exist–Russian aggression toward the Baltics and Poland–is assumed to be a fact that must be countered with military deployments.

    • NATO as an ‘Entangling Alliance’
    • Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: Who Said What When
    • The Real Lesson of Iraq: Nothing Was Learned, No Good Was Done

      Denunciations of Tony Blair as the evil architect of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War often dominate discussions of what happened there and many will look to the Chilcot inquiry to provide further evidence of his guilt. But the demonisation of Mr Blair is excessive and simple-minded and diverts attention from what really happened in Iraq and how such mistakes can be avoided in future.

      He may have unwisely followed the US into the quagmire of Iraq, but British government policy since 1941 has been to position itself as America’s most loyal and effective ally in peace and war.

      There have been significant exceptions to this rule, such as the Suez Crisis and the Vietnam War, but during the last 70 years the UK has generally sought to influence US policy in its formulation and then support it unequivocally once adopted.

      This may on occasions be humiliating and out of keeping with the British self-image of robust independence, but it is not as stupid from the point of view of the British state.

      In going to war in alliance with the US in Iraq, Mr Blair was not doing anything very different from his predecessors or successors, except that he was more successful than them in establishing close relations with the White House.

      Many British politicians, diplomats, academics and journalists have subsequently claimed they were convinced at the time that the invasion would end badly, but they were notably quiet about their forebodings at the time and for most part their wisdom is retrospective. Nor that British opposition to the US venture in Iraq could have done much to stop it happening.

    • Yup, More Mission Creep: US Defense Announces 500 More for Endless War

      Further escalating the United States’ involvement in the campaign against the Islamic State (or ISIS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced Monday the deployment of 560 additional American forces to Iraq.

      The announcement was made two days after the Iraqi military reportedly seized the Qayyarrah Air Base, which lies 40 miles south of Mosul, and the troop deployment was billed as a way to support local forces in retaking that ISIS-held city.

      The airfield is “one of the hubs from which … Iraqi security forces, accompanied and advised by us as needed, will complete the southern-most envelopment of Mosul,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters before arriving in Baghdad on Monday. The U.S. troops will reportedly bolster Iraqi forces, particularly with “infrastructure and logistical capabilities,” according to the Washington Post.

    • Pentagon will send hundreds more troops to Iraq following seizure of key airfield
    • Islamic State Defectors Hold Key to Countering Group’s Recruitment

      While the Islamic State continues to lose territory on the ground in Iraq and Syria, the appeal of its apocalyptic ideas has proven more enduring. Since 2014, the group, also known as ISIS, has managed to attract as many as 30,000 recruits from around the world, including several thousand men and women from Europe and North America.

      A significant number of these individuals are believed to have been recruited online using social media.

      A new project focused on interviews with individuals who joined and later defected from ISIS might offer a way of stifling the appeal of the group. The ISIS Defectors Interview Project, conducted by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, compiles video and written testimony from former members of the group. Between September 2015 and May 2016, Anne Speckhard, a research psychologist at Georgetown University, and Ahmet Yayla, a former counterterrorism head of the Turkish National Police, met with 32 former ISIS members who escaped the group and have since fled to Turkey.

      The reality described by these defectors bears little resemblance to the utopian conditions described by the Islamic State in its propaganda. While their paths to joining the group may have been different, they ultimately rejected the militant organization after seeing firsthand what its practices were like. Instead of finding defenders of besieged Sunni Muslim communities, defectors often found the Islamic State to be merciless with anyone who opposed its rule. Appalled by the cruelty, injustice, and oppression they witnessed, they fled ISIS in disillusionment.

    • Clintonites in Democratic Party Back Settler Colonialism (Not a 1905 Headline)

      The Clinton loyalists debating the Democratic Party platform have defeated an amendment that would have called for an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and condemned Israeli squatter settlements illegal.

      The Democratic Party, in other words, backs the principle of colonialism no less than if it declared that the British should take back over India, that French commandos should storm the presidential palace in Algiers, or that the US army should march through the streets of Manila and reoccupy the Philippines. Maybe, in fact, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party would like to rescind the Declaration of Independence and accede to the United Kingdom? With Scotland talking about leaving, there might be a place opening up, and we could get the redcoats back to harass us.

    • As US Controlled NATO Meets: U.S. War on Russia and China Will Mean Ruin for the Whole of Europe and Asia

      Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s cry of distress is that of a man watching a tidal wave of destruction gathering force, similar to ones that have engulfed his country twice in the 20th Century. His dread is not to be dismissed since it comes from a man who is in a position to know what the U.S. is up to. His words reflect the fears of ever more people across all of Eurasia from France in the West to Japan in the East.

      Under the euphemism of “containment,” the U.S. is relentlessly advancing its new Cold War on Russia and China. Its instrument in the West is NATO and in the East, Japan and whatever other worthies can be sharked up.

      It is a Cold War that grows increasingly hotter, with proxy wars now raging in Eastern Ukraine and Syria and with confrontations in the South China Sea. There is an ever growing likelihood that these points of tension will flare up into an all out military conflict.

      In the West this conflict will begin in Eastern Europe and Russia, but it will not stop there. All the European NATO countries would be on the front lines. In the East the conflict will take place in the Western Pacific in the region of China’s coast and in the peninsulas and island countries in the region, including Japan, the Philippines and Indochina.

    • Hague Tribunal Rejects Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea

      An international tribunal in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China’s behavior in the South China Sea, from the construction of artificial islands to interference with fishing, and ruled that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis.

      The tribunal also said that Beijing had violated international law by causing “severe harm to the coral reef environment” and by failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from harvesting endangered sea turtles and other species “on a substantial scale.”

      The landmark case, brought by the Philippines, was seen as an important crossroads in China’s rise as a global power. It is the first time the Chinese government has been summoned before the international justice system, and neighboring countries have hoped that the outcome will provide a model for negotiating with Beijing or for challenging its assertive tactics in the region.

    • The No-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict

      Needless to say, this is not balanced journalism, but extremely prejudicial to the rights of the Palestinians living under foreign military occupation. When the illegality of the settlements is alluded to by the mainstream media (all too infrequently), they typically obscure it by saying something like: “Most countries do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements.” This leaves readers with the impression that the matter is controversial, that there is debate about it within the international community, that there are two legitimate points of view. It affords validity to Israel’s position when it has none. Translated from newspeak, what that means is that every single government on planet Earth other than Israel itself recognizes the settlements as a violation of international law.

    • The Jordanian Arms Theft Story

      I’m still trying to figure out what to make of this story, so for the moment, I just want to unpack it.

      First, consider the players. The story is sourced to US and Jordanian “officials,” (a term which can sometimes mean contractors or Members of Congress). The CIA and FBI both refused to comment for the story; the State Department and Jordan’s press people both gave fluff statements.

      The story is a joint project — between Qatar’s media outlet, Al-Jazeera (here’s their link to the story), and the “official press” of the US, the NYT. So Americans, Jordanians, and Qataris were involved in this story.

      But no Saudis, in spite of the fact that the story reports that Saudis apparently complained some months ago.

    • Fool’s Errand: NATO Pledges Four More Years of War in Afghanistan

      The longest war in US history just got even longer. As NATO wrapped up its 2016 Warsaw Summit, the organization agreed to continue funding Afghan security forces through the year 2020. Of course with all that funding comes US and NATO troops, and thousands of contractors, trainers, and more.

      President Obama said last week that the US must keep 3,000 more troops than planned in Afghanistan. The real reason is obvious: the mission has failed and Washington cannot bear to admit it. But Obama didn’t put it that way. He said:

      “It is in our national security interest, especially after all the blood and treasure we’ve invested over the years, that we give our partners in Afghanistan the best chance to succeed.”

      This is how irrational Washington’s logic is. Where else but in government would you see it argued that you cannot stop spending on a project because you have already spent so much to no avail? In the real world, people who invest their own hard-earned money in a failed scheme do something called “cut your losses.” Government never does that.

    • Hatred Just Grows and Grows

      A Palestinian youngster breaks into a settlement, enters the nearest house, stabs a 13-year old girl in her sleep and is killed.

      Three Israeli men kidnap a 12-year old Palestinian boy at random, take him to an open field and burn him alive.

      Two Palestinians from a small town near Hebron enter Israel illegally, have coffee in a Tel Aviv amusement quarter and then shoot up everybody around before they are captured. They become national heroes.

      An Israeli soldier sees a severely wounded Palestinian attacker lying on the ground, approaches him and shoots him in the head at point blank range. He is applauded by most Israelis.

      These are not “normal” actions even in a guerrilla war. They are the manifestations of bottomless hatred, a hatred so terrible that it overcomes all norms of humanity.

    • Courthouse Shooting Leaves 3 People Dead, Injures Law Enforcement Officer

      At least two courthouse bailiffs and a jail inmate are dead after a shooting took place at a courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan, according to eyewitness accounts and a local CBS news affiliate WWMT reporter. A law enforcement sheriff’s deputy was also likely injured. The shooting, which took place at the Berrien County Courthouse was brought under control in roughly 30 minutes.

    • The reasons for invading Iraq were more ideological than scientific, more evangelical than rational.

      Britain is in political turmoil, but even prior to that, there was that old problem of why Her Majesty’s government went to war in a disastrous conflict that had no immediate, security related grounds. The reasons for invading Iraq were more ideological than scientific, more evangelical than rational.

  • E-mailgate

    • The Eel of History: Hillary Clinton, Emailgate and the FBI

      Tactics of minimisation have been central to Hillary Clinton’s political career. When stumbling takes place, go for the established book of deflective rules. When violations of the law take place, explain that it was normal at the time. Suggest that others had engaged in a form of conduct only subsequently frowned upon.

      Such tactics should be kept in the dustbin of history. For the Clintons, they have consistently worked, giving that particular not so holy family a particularly nasty sense of political entitlement. They remain the ghouls of the US political establishment, paying (or rather withholding) tribute to the dead ideas of liberalism.

      Evidently, the inappropriate use of a private server to conduct what were classified communications and potentially accessible to third-parties, did not seem grave enough a breach to warrant criminal charges.

      That was the preliminary finding by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is concluding its investigation into Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State. The Bureau had received the referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General seeking answers on whether classified information had been transmitted on that personal system during her time in office.

    • Poll finds majority of Americans disagree with FBI in Clinton e-mail flap

      A poll out Monday concludes that a majority of Americans disapprove of the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presumptive nominee for president who has been embroiled in a scandal involving her treatment of classified e-mail when she was Secretary of State.

      The ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted by Langer Research Associates found that 56 percent of those surveyed said they “disapprove” of FBI Director James Comey’s decision last week. Attorney General Loretta Lynch backed the recommendation. Thirty five percent answered that they “approve” of the decision. About 9 percent of respondents said they had “no opinion” on the issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • #WebOfDenial: Senators to Call Out Big Oil’s Blockade of Climate Action

      Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) on Monday introduced a resolution (pdf) condemning “efforts of corporations and groups to mislead the public about the harmful effects of tobacco, lead, and climate” and urging “fossil fuel corporations and their allies to cooperate with investigations into their climate-related activities.”

      The senators will take to the Senate floor on Monday and Tuesday to call out the influential groups and individuals like the right-wing Koch brothers, ExxonMobil, and Donors Trust, among other entities, for creating what they describe as “a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

    • Latest Leak Shows How TTIP Puts US-EU Clean Energy Goals in ‘Mortal Danger’

      A new leak provides further confirmation that the pro-corporate TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union would result in “a giant leap backward in our fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

    • If Chávez Were Alive Today, Would the Situation in Venezuela be Different?

      US policy since Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela in 1998 has been regime change to return the oil-rich South American nation to the neo-liberal fold. After 17 years of Chávista polices, the US wants nothing more than for poor Venezuelans to suffer as much as possible – to make their economy scream – so that the popular movement will grow dissatisfied with the socialist inclined leadership.

    • Three Ideas for a Fairer and Cleaner Asia

      Community Forest Management Indonesia’s deforestation is chronic.15.8million hectares of forest were lost between 2000 and 2012. The devastation ruins local livelihoods and increases global warming. Big businesses are often responsible, implementing large-scale projects characterized by land grabs, disrespect for farmers, and a lack of understanding of traditional forest management methods.

    • Exxon Is Still Helping Fund The Spread Of Climate Denial

      ExxonMobil — the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company — has had an interesting year. In September, two investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that the company’s own scientists had recognized the dangers posed by climate change as far back as 1977, and yet did nothing about it. Those revelations sparked a cascade of calls from politicians demanding an investigation into whether or not Exxon knowingly mislead shareholders, and the public, about climate change. Currently, 17 attorneys general have subpoenaed Exxon for internal documents.

      The increased public scrutiny, however, does not seem to be stopping Exxon from giving money to groups that actively fund climate misinformation and oppose climate legislation.

    • Disturbing forests damages natural diversity

      Then, having made their counts of specified plants, birds and dung beetles, they made their extrapolations. And their calculation of equivalent biodiversity loss – that is, the area of forest that would have protected the lost creatures – was at least 92,000 sq km, and possibly an area bigger than Greece.

      “Even this lowest estimate is greater than the area deforested across the entire Brazilian Amazon between 2006 and 2015,” they write. “These results demonstrate an urgent need for policy interventions that go beyond the maintenance of forest cover to safeguard the hyper-diversity of tropical forest ecosystems.”

    • Duke Energy ups bond demand from nonprofits challenging fracked gas plant to $240M

      But now Duke Energy is asking for a $240 million bond, arguing that the groups’ appeal of the fast-tracked project would delay construction. The company and NCUC are citing a never-before-used provision of a 1963 state law to justify the bond demand.

      The nonprofits would have to pay the bond only if they lose their case against the plant in court. NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren told The News & Observer that he would “find it hard to believe we’d gamble money in that saloon.”

    • How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change

      The “solution” offered by many experts is to double down on industrial agriculture and genetic modification. But doing so ignores how natural systems function and interact and assumes we can do better. History shows such hubris often leads to unexpected negative results. Others are attempting to understand how to work within nature’s systems, using agroecological methods.

    • TTIP leak rebuts EU pledge to tackle climate change, say green activists

      The European Union’s proposal for a chapter on energy and raw materials in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement was leaked on Monday, just as the fourteenth round of talks between the EU and US got underway in Brussels.

      However, the EU’s plans have been criticised by the European wing of Friends of the Earth. Its economic justice programme coordinator Paul de Clerck said: “The EU’s leaked proposal on TTIP and energy is in complete contradiction with Europe’s commitments to tackle climate change, and the Paris agreement. It will flood the EU market with inefficient appliances, and consumers and the climate will foot the bill. The proposal will also hinder measures to promote renewable electricity production from wind and solar.”

      Green MEP Claude Turmes told the Guardian: “These proposals are completely unacceptable. They would sabotage EU legislators’ ability to privilege renewables and energy efficiency over unsustainable fossil fuels. This is an attempt to undermine democracy in Europe.”

    • Britain must urgently prepare for flooding, heatwaves and food shortages, says Government report

      Urgent action must be taken to protect Britain from flooding, deadly heatwaves, water shortages and an international food crisis that will all become increasing risks as the Earth warms, according to a Government report.

      Writing in the Climate Change Risk Assessment report, leading scientist Lord Krebs stressed there was “no question” that the primary response to climate change should be to reduce greenhouse gases.

      But he added that it was still “crucial to prepare for the inevitable changes” that will occur because of the emissions that have already been pumped into the atmosphere.

  • Finance

    • Seven ways to future-proof your IT contracts post-Brexit

      The UK’s Brexit vote has created a profound level of uncertainty – and IT firms in particular will be worried about how the legal and regulatory environment will change when the government formally gives notice to leave the EU.

      EU laws come in different varieties. There are directives that have been implemented into UK law by the UK Parliament, and the implementing legislation will continue to apply unless and until the laws are amended or replaced. There are also regulations that have direct application on the UK as a member state. These laws will not apply to the UK when it is no longer part of the EU, and so the UK will have to decide how to replace such laws, if it decides to at all.

    • A Tough Time for Conventional Wisdom

      The recent vote in favor of Brexit is only the latest case of failed conventional wisdom.

    • Cavaliers and Roundheads: four thoughts about the Article 50 litigation

      There are three potential cases against the government on Article 50, demanding that the ultimate decision on Brexit be made by parliament and not the prime minister under the royal prerogative.

    • Rethinking recovery: poverty chains and global capitalism

      Global inequality has never been greater. For example, the wealth of the world’s richest 62 people, who between them have more wealth than half of the world’s population, rose by 44% between 2010 and 2015. Over the same period the wealth of the bottom 50% of humanity fell by approximately 38%.

    • How New Jersey Has Embraced ‘State-Sanctioned Loan-Sharking’ to Students

      New Jersey has the country’s largest state-based student loan program. It’s also incredibly unforgiving. For this ProPublica Podcast, I talked with our own Annie Waldman about her story on what one bankruptcy attorney described at New Jersey’s “state-sanctioned loan sharking.” Waldman found one mother who has been required to keep paying off her son’s loans even after he was murdered.

    • EFF Joins Stars to Rock Against the TPP and Finally Defeat It

      One of the hardest pills to swallow about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is that our opinion about it (and yours) really isn’t worth much. When we look at the only three industries that have reportedly been holding up passage of the deal through Congress—big pharma, big tobacco and big finance—we can reach no other conclusion. That’s not the way it should be, but after five years of us constantly battling this undemocratic agreement with very little to show for it, that seems to be the way it is.

      This makes us angry. And when we get angry, we like to rock.

      That’s why we’re supporting Rock Against the TPP, an ambitious free music festival and rally around the country, principally organized by our friends at Fight for the Future, in collaboration with guitarist Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage, and Audioslave) and his new label Firebrand Records. Joining Morello to headline the tour will be hip hop star Talib Kweli, actress Evangeline Lilly (star of Lost and the Hobbit), and a diverse line-up of other big-name acts (check out the full line-up in each city below).

      But Rock Against the TPP is more than just an opportunity for us to rock out and vent our frustrations about this toxic deal—it could also be the key to finally sinking it once and for all. How? Because although big money unfortunately holds great power over our representatives in Congress, there’s one thing that means even more to them—the voice of the people. But only when it’s loud enough—and that’s where the idea of a music festival comes in. If we can get thousands of ordinary music lovers to rise up against the TPP, this may be just the kind of groundswell of public sentiment that politicians can no longer ignore.

    • How the Super-Rich Will Destroy Themselves

      Perhaps they believe that their underground survival bunkers with bullet-resistant doors and geothermal power and anti-chemical air filters and infrared surveillance devices and pepper spray detonators will sustain them for two or three generations.

      Perhaps they feel immune from the killings in the streets, for they rarely venture into the streets anymore. They don’t care about the great masses of ordinary people, nor do they think they need us.

      Or do they? There are a number of ways that the super-rich, because of their greed and lack of empathy for others, may be hastening their own demise, while taking the rest of us with them.

    • Why the Opt Out Movement is Crucial for the Future of Public Education

      Save your child. Save your schools. Stop the corporate takeover of public education. You have the power. Say no. Opt out.

    • Vanishing the People’s Wealth to Make the Bosses Richer

      magine you are a shareholder in a big company and the top executives are sitting on huge amounts of cash and are not interested in putting it to work through productive capital investments, research and development, reducing company debt or paying employees a higher wage. What would you want done about it? Since you and other shareholders are the owners of the company, you’d likely say “give us back our money in cash dividends.”

      “No way,” say your hired hands, the company managers, who have spent a staggering $2.1 trillion of your money in the last five years on stock buybacks allegedly to increase the company’s earnings per share ratio, instead of increasing shareholder dividends. Overall this tactic has not been working over time except to make the corporate bosses richer, which is the real reason for many buybacks.

      What is the incentive for this cash burning frenzy? According to University of Massachusetts scholar, William Lazonick, in 2012 the 500 highest-paid executives received 52% of their remuneration from stock options and another 26% from stock awards.

    • Justice Department Overruled Recommendation to Pursue Charges Against HSBC, Report Says

      U.S. Justice Department officials overruled their prosecutors’ recommendation to pursue criminal charges against HSBC Holdings PLC over money-laundering failings, according to a House committee report prepared by Republicans that sheds new light on the bank’s 2012 settlement.

    • As Part of Confirmation Process, Loretta Lynch Suggested DOJ Didn’t Have Enough Evidence to Prosecute HSBC

      The report blames Eric Holder for the decision, not Loretta Lynch, who oversaw the case as US Attorney. Indeed, her name doesn’t appear in the WSJ story at all.

    • Why TTIP will live on – but not for the EU

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – also known as TTIP – could be the next casualty in the Brexit fallout. But not in the way you might expect. The controversial trade agreement between the EU and United States could well fall apart, only for the UK to pick up the pieces for its own trade deal.

    • How MBA Programs Drive Inequality

      Over the last several decades, American business executives have made decisions that have exacerbated the inequality that chokes prosperity for the country. They have misallocated resources and they have awarded themselves mind-boggling compensation packages while workers have suffered stagnant wages and increasing job insecurity. The stats are shocking: In 1965, a typical CEO took in about 20 times what an average employee earned, while the latest figures from the AFL-CIO put current CEO pay at 373 times what the average worker makes. (Amazingly, according to a forthcoming paper for the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) by Matt Hopkins and William Lazonick, even that ratio is grossly underestimated because it is based on grant-date fair value estimates of what stock options and stock awards might be worth, rather than how much CEOs actually take home when they exercise stock options and when stock awards vest).

    • Right-Sizing the Financial Sector in Post-Brexit Europe

      The vote in the UK to leave the European Union (EU) has set off a race among major European financial centers like Paris, Frankfurt and Milan to capture much of the financial industry that is now located in London. As a result of EU rules, it will be difficult to conduct many of the transactions which now take place in London if the UK is no longer part of the EU. This means that a large part of London’s financial industry will soon be looking for a new home.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Democrats Should Be Cheering For Bernie Sanders

      There’s been truly horrible news the past couple of days: Google Alton Sterling or Philando Castille if you somehow missed it. And there’s been nasty political news: Donald Trump and his ‘sheriff’s star.’ Those events are, sadly, predictable, and all the more troubling because of that predictability.

      Buried in the newsfeed, however, is one event that seems weird — and troubling too, though in a different way. That’s the story that members of the House Democratic caucus booed Bernie Sanders in a meeting on Wednesday.

      Really? Booed the guy that 45 percent of Democrats supported in the primary? Booed the guy that all year long has been the most favorably viewed politician in America? Booed the guy that got more votes from young people in the primaries than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined?

    • Why Black Lives Don’t Matter To The NRA

      Two men were brutally killed by police this week for carrying guns. One told the officer he had a legal license to carry, and the other allegedly had a concealed gun in a state where carrying without a license is legal. But don’t expect outrage from the National Rifle Association.

      The country’s largest gun lobby has fought tirelessly in recent years to expand gun ownership to all Americans, successfully securing the right for people to legally carry both open and concealed firearms virtually anywhere they want. In Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot Tuesday night at a convenience store, a license is not required to openly carry a firearm. And in Minnesota, where Philando Castile was shot on Wednesday during a traffic stop, people with permits can carry weapons, openly or concealed.

    • Despicable Bedfellows: NRA Endorses Trump with $2 Million National Ad Campaign

      Here’s a match made in the fire-pits of hell: Donald Trump just received an endorsement in the form of a $2 million national ad campaign sponsored by the NRA Political Victory Fund.

    • Don’t Stop the Revolution: The Sanders Movement After Orlando

      Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution” scored some impressive wins this weekend at the Democratic Party Platform Committee meeting in Orlando, adding to its victories last month in St. Louis. ABC News called the resulting document “exceptionally progressive.”

      Apparently Sanders had more leverage after the California primary than his critics were willing to admit.

      To be sure, there were also some losses – most notably on getting the party on record opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. But this new movement has already had a major impact on American politics. It’s likely to have even more in the months and years to come.

    • Don’t Endorse Hillary Before the Convention: An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders

      As such, I am alarmed by what I have been reading about your possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow. I am asking that you hold off on an endorsement until after the vote, that you not place her name into nomination using a vote by acclamation and that you exercise your option afforded you by the minority report signed at the platform committee meeting to force a vote on the Hightower amendment opposing the TPP in Philadelphia.

    • Sanders May Endorse Clinton as Dems Adopt ‘Most Progressive Platform’

      Bernie Sanders is reportedly poised to endorse Hillary Clinton for president at their first joint campaign appearance on Tuesday.

      Both teams confirmed Monday that the Vermont senator would join the former secretary of state during a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they would “discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

      Many saw that as an indication he would endorse Clinton. As NPR explains, “The phrasing is significant, in that it references both Clinton’s general-election campaign slogan, ‘Stronger Together,’ and the animating issue and the heart of Sanders primary bid—income inequality.”

    • Theresa May to become new PM after Tory rival Leadsom withdraws

      Theresa May will enter Downing street as Britain’s second female prime minister, a rapid ascent to the premiership that came after her sole remaining challenger withdrew from the leadership race.

      The home secretary’s coronation cuts short what was expected to be a bruising nine-week contest with Andrea Leadsom, and will bring an end to David Cameron’s six-year tenure in No 10, when he will offer his resignation to the Queen after this week’s prime minister’s questions.

      May has just two days to prepare herself for the premiership and address the pressing questions about who will be in her cabinet, how she will unite the party after the battle over Brexit and her preparations for the negotiations to leave the European Union.

      On Monday, May, who had campaigned for remain in the EU referendum, said she was “honoured and humbled” to have been chosen by her party, before offering an olive branch to colleagues who backing leaving the EU by declaring that she would “make a success” of Brexit.

    • ‘Divisive, Illiberal and Calculating’ Theresa May to be Crowned UK Prime Minister

      Conservative Party candidate Theresa May is set to be the new UK prime minister as her intra-party opponent, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race on Monday in another post-Brexit political upheaval.

      May received 199 votes from other Members of Parliament versus Leadsom’s 84 votes. The home office secretary is now expected to be formally confirmed by the Conservative Party board and the chairman of the Tory 1922 committee, clearing the way for her to be appointed prime minister by Tory MPs, who also have a majority in the House of Commons.

    • Theresa May: What the MP set to become Prime Minister believes on human rights

      Theresa May is about to become Prime Minister after a career of opposing legislation that guarantees equality and human rights.

      The MP and home secretary has repeatedly indicated that she would look to repeal laws that guarantee human rights in Britain. She also has a record of voting against equality legislation and measures that prevent climate change.

      Most recently, at the end of May, Theresa May voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act. She has repeatedly criticised human rights legislation for limiting the powers of government – a position that has led to criticism even from fellow cabinet members.

    • Britain: Shakespeare in Action

      It’s a bit like a Shakespeare play – specifically the final scene of Hamlet, when almost all the play’s major characters die violently. And now we’re down to one. Her name is Theresa May.

      It has been barely three weeks since the United Kingdom (or at least, 52 percent of those who voted) chose to leave the European Union, but all the main Brexit leaders have already left the stage. The Conservative Party has always been notable for its ruthlessness, and leaders who threaten to split the party get short shrift.

      The first to go was Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum expecting that a pro-EU outcome would finally make the anti-EU obsessives on the right of his own Conservative Party shut up. It was a needless, fatal blunder.

      Cameron allowed some of his own cabinet members to campaign for “Brexit”, in the belief that they would return to the fold, chastened by defeat, when the country voted for “Remain”. Instead, the “Leave” campaign won, and Cameron announced his resignation the morning after the referendum.

    • Fear Factor: Trump the Boogeyman

      Little did he anticipate that his appeal to white nationalism would mean more to the Republican rank and file than proposals to cut taxes for rich people or defund Planned Parenthood.

    • Labour, Jeremy Corbyn and the search for the party’s Henry VII
    • The Alternative to Fervent Nationalism Isn’t Corporate Liberalism—It’s Social Democracy

      In his 1946 essay reviewing former Trotskyist-turned-reactionary James Burnham’s book The Managerial Revolution, George Orwell made several observations that resonate just as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.

      “The real question,” he wrote, “is not whether the people who wipe their boots on us during the next fifty years are to be called managers, bureaucrats, or politicians: the question is whether capitalism, now obviously doomed, is to give way to oligarchy or to true democracy.”

      Orwell recognized what many today fail to perceive: That free market capitalism is, in the words of Karl Polanyi, a “stark Utopia,” a system that does not exist, and one that would not survive for long if it ever came into existence.

      But for Orwell, the question was not how (or whether) the crises of capitalism that rocked both Europe and the United States in the 20th century would be solved — the question was: what would take the place of an economic order that was clearly on its way out?

    • Donald Trump’s Anti-Establishment Scam

      Early on in his presidential bid, Donald Trump began touting his anti-establishment credentials. When it worked, he ran with it. It was a posture that proved pure gold in the Republican primaries, and was even, in one sense, true. After all, he’d never been part of the political establishment nor held public office, nor had any of his family members or wives.

      His actual relationship to the establishment is, however, complex in an opportunistic way. He’s regularly tweeted his disdain for it. (“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?”) And yet, he clearly considered himself part of it and has, at times, yearned for it. As he said early on in his run for the presidency, “I want the establishment—look, I was part of the establishment. Let me explain. I was the establishment two months ago. I was like the fair-haired boy. I was a giver, a big giver. Once I decided to run, all of a sudden I’m sort of semi-anti-establishment.”

      An outsider looking to shake up the government status quo? An insider looking to leverage that establishment for his own benefit? What was he? He may not himself have known.

      He once rejected the idea of taking establishment (or Super PAC) money, only—more recently—to seek it; he rebuffed certain prominent establishment players, only to hire others to help him (and fire yet more of them). He’s railed against the establishment, then tried to rally it to his side (even as he denounced it yet again). Now, with the general election only four months away, it turns out that he’s going to need that establishment if he is to have a hope in hell of raising the money and organizing the troops effectively enough to be elected. There, however, is the rub: power brokers don’t suffer the slings and arrows of “outsider” scorn lightly.

    • The Huckster Populist

      The tectonic plates of American politics are no longer moving along the old fault lines of “left” versus “right” or even Democrat versus Republican.

      As we’ve seen this bizarre political year, the biggest force welling up is rage against insider elites in both parties, and against the American establishment as a whole – including the denizens of Wall Street, large corporations, and the mainstream media.

      Now, with Bernie Sanders essentially out of the race, Donald Trump wants Americans to believe he’s the remaining anti-establishment candidate.

      It’s smart politics but it’s a hoax.

    • TPP and Democratic Self-Delusion

      There were three issues, however, where Sanders’ delegates lost: opposition to Israeli settlements, a ban on fracking, and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

      The first two make sense: after all, those policy positions match Hillary’s stated position (though the US is supposed to be opposed to illegal settlements), so rejecting Sanders’ amendments equated to backing the nominee instead. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

      But Hillary, of course, claimed to oppose the TPP during the primary, even if that claim was always sketchy coming as it did as she worked so hard to negotiate the crappy deal as Secretary of State. So the mealy-mouthed language in the platform about protecting workers — akin to the same language in the Colombia Trade Deal that did squat to protect workers — is more notable.

      As is the idiotic opinion expressed by this person, described by Robert Reich as an acquaintance from the Clinton White House.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pablo Escobar’s Brother Demands One Billion Dollars From Netflix Over Narcos

      What is it with South American historical figures suddenly thinking they can control everything to do with their family names? You’ll hopefully recall the brief existence of a case of publicity rights violation brought against Activision by Manuel Noriega over the depiction of him in the gamemaker’s Call of Duty series. That case was quickly tossed out by the court because the First Amendment has just an tiny bit more weight when it comes to artistic expression than does any publicity rights for public historical figures from other countries that might, maybe, kinda-sorta exist, possibly. We might have struggled at the time to find a complainant less likely than Noriega to win this sort of long-shot in the American court system, but we need struggle no longer.

      Roberto Escobar, brother and former accountant to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, has sent a letter to Netflix demanding a billion dollars (not a joke) and the right to review all future episodes of the streaming company’s hit show Narcos, to make sure that he and his family are portrayed accurately. The letter, first published by TMZ (which explains the massive TMZ watermark on it) is quite a read.

    • Sony Pictures Legal Affairs VP Files Bogus DMCA Notice Because His Salary Is Listed On Wikileaks

      Yeah, so the Sony Pictures hack is basically old news at this point. People have gone through it for all the juicy details and it’s been out of the news for quite some time. So, apparently, one Sony “legal affairs” exec decided that perhaps he could engage in a little copyfraud to try to hide some info without anyone noticing. As TorrentFreak first noticed, however, Sony Pictures Legal Affairs VP Daniel Yankelevits wasn’t particularly subtle in sending a DMCA notice to Google, asking it to delist the Wikileaks page with a search engine for all of the Sony Hack emails.

    • Standing in solidarity with Turkey’s journalists

      We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey who fiercely continue their job despite facing relentless attacks and attempts to silence them. We also express our support to the 44 journalists and distributors in jail and to those facing arrest as retaliation for their exercise of their right to freedom of expression and freedom to inform.

      I am a journalist!

      Journalism is not a crime.

    • Facebook Sued for $1 Billion for Alleged Use of Medium for Terror

      Lawyers filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc., alleging it allowed the Palestinian militant Hamas group to use the platform to plot attacks that killed four Americans and wounded one in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

      “Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services,” making it liable for the violence against the five Americans, according to the lawsuit sent to Bloomberg by the office of the Israeli lawyer on the case, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

    • Twitter Now Flipflopping On The Issue Of Archiving Deleted Tweets By Public Verified Figures

      Politwoops, meanwhile, remains up and active. So, it seems that notoriety and status as a public figure are not the standard by which Twitter applies its tweet archiving rules. Instead, the space carved out for politicians and public servants appears to be a special one where the likes of celebrities and professional athletes do not operate. But if that is the line Twitter wishes to draw in its cyber-sand, it’s a strange one.

      In areas of law, the status of public figure-hood, as opposed to public servant, is typically the standard by which all kinds of laws are applied (such as the availability to parody, applicability of defamation laws, etc.). And there’s good reason for this: the goal is to foster conversation and knowledge that is in the public interest. The public’s interest need not be confined to politics, thankfully, yet Twitter’s choices appear to reserve separate rules for the political class. I can understand why Twitter might think this makes sense. After all, I find the drunken midnight thoughts of senators far more compelling than those of a UFC fighter. But my interest isn’t the same as the public interest.

      Twitter can engage in this flipflopping, of course. It’s their platform, after all, and they can keep it as arbitrarily closed as they like. The question becomes whether that makes the service more or less useful for the everyday Twitter user. And that’s a question that I think has an obvious answer.

    • Questionable DMCA Takedown Notice Filed Over Post Calling Lawyer Out For Copyright Infringement

      Today’s the day for bogus DMCA takedowns by clueless lawyers trying to hide embarrassing information, I guess. Earlier today we had a story about a legal exec at Sony Pictures issuing a completely bogus DMCA takedown over his salary info being included in the Sony Hacks email dump. And now we turn to Carl David Ceder, a young criminal defense lawyer in Texas. If you recognize that name, it might be because a much more well-known and established criminal defense lawyer, Scott Greenfield, wrote a few blog posts about young Carl a few years ago, when he discovered that Carl had been beefing up the content on his professional website by simply plagiarizing the content of other, more established legal bloggers, and posting it as if it were his own thoughts. To put it mildly, Carl did not respond well to this and sent a few barely comprehensible rants blaming everyone but himself, and never actually apologizing for copying someone else’s content wholesale.

      Now, there are lots of ways to deal with this kind of thing. One could admit it was a mistake, but that doesn’t seem to be in Carl David Ceder’s nature. And, of course, around here, we’re certainly willing to consider fair use arguments for copying material, though Carl presents none, and, indeed, it appears there’s little fair use claim he could make for what he did. There’s a pretty strong argument that he engaged in both plagiarism (claiming someone else’s work as your own) and copyright infringement, and from his response, didn’t appear to understand either issue, or why some people were concerned about it.

    • CUNY Responds To BDS Activism On Campuses With Move To Control Free Expression

      The City University of New York (CUNY), one of the nation’s largest public college systems, has proposed a policy to regulate freedom of expression. A graduate of CUNY’s School of Law and co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild, Suzanne Adely, says Palestinian solidarity activism was partly responsible for the proposal.

      “It’s our belief that the reason why this policy was drafted in 2013 and again reintroduced in 2016 has a lot to do with pressure that has been coming from institutions and politicians that seek to silence any criticism of Israel on campus,” Adely contended.

      This example is one of many—including disinviting commencement speakers and demonstrating against screenings—seen nationwide as college administrators have struggled to find a suitable response to student demonstrations. Even some faculty are worried. For them, it is attack on free speech and expression.

    • NYT’s James Risen & Abby Martin on Fighting Censorship, Endless War
    • Online surveillance: we all have something to hide

      We’ve all got secrets. We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. We’ve all done things we’re worried about. We’ve all done things we’re embarrassed of.

      Yes, we’ve all got something to hide.

      Despite Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of a secret US/UK mass electronic surveillance program worldwide, it’s almost every other day that I still come across otherwise intelligent minds who insist that they do not fear online privacy invasions because they’ve either ‘done nothing wrong’ or have ‘nothing to hide’.

      In order to try and bring closure to these long-iterated arguments, a string of organisations from the likes of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to journalists such as Glenn Greenwald have long made the case as to why, in an era when we’re increasingly connected by machines to a worldwide network, bulk online surveillance is a danger to us all.

    • Reporters Without Borders says Marie Colvin murdered by Assad regime
    • Family of U.S. Journalist Killed in Syria Sues Assad Regime
    • War reporter Marie Colvin’s family sues Syria
    • Family Of Slain US Journalist Wants The Syrian Regime Brought To Justice
    • Slain journalist Marie Colvin’s family files lawsuit alleging she was targeted and killed by the Syrian government
    • ANC reiterates opposition to SABC censorship
    • Mantashe: The ANC stands firmly against censorship at the SABC