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Links 11/5/2016: Docker Security, Cinnamon 3.0.2

Posted in News Roundup at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Milestones in Free and Open Source Software History, 1969-2015

    In the fall of 1983 Richard Stallman, a veteran of MIT’s AI Lab who was unhappy with the increasingly closed nature of software source code, announced the GNU project. His goal was to build a clone of Unix using only code that could be freely shared and would always be publicly available. Many parts of the GNU operating system, which Stallman began building in early 1984, remain central to the free and open source software ecosystem today.

  • I am your user. Why do you hate me?

    Leslie is a developer engagement strategist who works at Red Hat and sits on several key nonprofit boards. In addition to running her own company, Donna also sits on many boards and does much of the thankless work to put on excellent open source events in Australia. They each bring over a decade of experience with open source to their work, and their upcoming talk at OSCON titled, I am your user—why do you hate me?

  • DIY : Open Source Software for your very own IoT
  • Nominations for the 2016 New Zealand Open Source Awards open

    Nominations for the 2016 New Zealand Open Source Awards are now open.

  • Four Ways for Developers To Open Source Their Next Big Idea

    The open source movement is transforming technology in many respects, and its fundamental stance toward collaboration can be used to transform the inspiration process for developers as well.

  • Amazon open-sources its own deep learning software, DSSTNE

    Amazon has suddenly made a remarkable entrance into the world of open-source software for deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence. Yesterday the e-commerce company unceremoniously released a library called DSSTNE on GitHub under an open-source Apache license.

    Deep learning involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data and then getting them to make inferences about new data. Several technology companies are doing it — heck, it even got some air time recently in “Silicon Valley.” And there are already several other deep learning frameworks to choose from, including Google’s TensorFlow.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • You Can Help Build the Future of Firefox with the New Test Pilot Program

        When building features for hundreds of millions of Firefox users worldwide, it’s important to get them right. To help figure out which features should ship and how they should work, we created the new Test Pilot program. Test Pilot is a way for you to try out experimental features and let us know what you think. You can turn them on and off at any time, and you’ll always know what information you’re sharing to help us understand how these features are used. Of course, you can also use Test Pilot to provide feedback and suggestions to the teams behind each new feature.

        As you’re experimenting with new features, you might experience some bugs or lose some of the polish from the general Firefox release, so Test Pilot allows you to easily enable or disable features at any time.

        Feedback and data from Test Pilot will help determine which features ultimately end up in a Firefox release for all to enjoy.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • On the Multi-Cloud Future

      Do you run multiple operating systems? It’s not uncommon for the answer to that question to be yes. You may run Linux on a laptop and Android on a phone, for example. In the same fashion, many experts surveying the cloud computing scene predict that the growing trend toward hybrid cloud deployments will make it extremely popular for enterprises to run many cloud platforms and tools concurrently.

    • The Open Cloud, Demystified

      In this post, you’ll find several of the best free guides to popular cloud-centric tools, ranging from ownCloud to OpenStack, that can help boost your efficiency. We have updated this collection of documentation with a valuable overall guide to the open cloud platforms that you can choose from, and some brand new guides.

    • Bexar, Mitaka, Newton: Behind OpenStack release names

      Mitaka is not only the latest release of the OpenStack cloud infrastructure service, it’s also a city in Japan.

    • OpenStack Mitaka aims to make open source easy-peasy

      The newest release of the OpenStack cloud infrastructure is designed to be easier to install, easier to use and easier to manage.

      That could be big news for CIOs. The cloud platform is delivering flexibility and processing power at lower cost to big-name companies such as AT&T and eBay. But calling for lots of installation, maintenance and development support, OpenStack has come to be known almost as much for its DIY-style complexity as it has for its innovative potential.

    • OpenStack, SDN, and Container Networking Power Enterprise Cloud at PayPal

      This architecture has four layers. The Infrastructure & Operations layer at the bottom provides computer, storage, and network and is powered by OpenStack. On top of that is the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) layer — the core technology and analytics platform that provides services like messaging, logging, monitoring, analytics, etc. to be leveraged across all PayPal applications. On top of that is the Payments Operating System (POS), which is the foundation for all payments-related microservices and which serves all customer-facing experience through mobile and web apps. Finally, the top layer comprises customer-facing applications.

    • Lenovo’s Highly-Available OpenStack Enterprise Cloud Platform Practice with EasyStack

      In 2015, the Chinese IT superpower Lenovo chose EasyStack to build an OpenStack-based enterprise cloud platform to carry out their “Internet Strategy”. In six months, this platform has evolved into an enterprise-level OpenStack production environment of over 3000 cores with data growth peaking at 10TB/day. It is expected that by the end of 2016, 20% of the IT system will be migrated onto the Cloud.

    • SDN, NFV Can Make You Money
    • NEC/NetCracker’s NFV Platform Dives Into DevOps

      In a world of plentiful OpenStack offerings and NFV orchestrators, NEC/Netcracker looks to differentiate by “filling the gaps” in NFV, for example by providing integration with operations support systems (OSSs) and business support systems (BSSs). The platform also promises to deliver tools that enable technology vendors and service providers to collaborate on application and service design using a DevOps model.

    • Intel Debuts CIAO for OpenStack Cloud Orchestration [VIDEO]

      The new Go based project is s called CIAO, Cloud Integrated Advanced Orchestrator and is a potential replacement or optional component for existing orchestration in OpenStack

    • Tech spending priorities to shift with DevOps transition

      IT organizations should get ready to cede some budgetary control to business units, as software — and software developers — become key agents of commerce.

    • On the Rise: Six Unsung Apache Big Data Projects

      Countless organizations around the world are now working with data sets so large and complex that traditional data processing applications can no longer drive optimized analytics and insights. That’s the problem that the new wave of Big Data applications aims to solve, and the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has recently graduated a slew of interesting open source Big Data projects to Top-Level status. That means that they will get active development and strong community support.

    • An introduction to data processing with Cassandra and Spark

      So, what is Apache Cassandra? A distributed OLTP database built for high availability and linear scalability. When people ask what Cassandra is used for, think about the type of system you want close to the customer. This is ultimately the system that our users interact with. Applications that must always be available: product catalogs, IoT, medical systems, and mobile applications. In these categories downtime can mean loss of revenue or even more dire outcomes depending on your specific use case. Netflix was one of the earliest adopters of this project, which was open sourced in 2008, and their contributions, along with successes, put it on the radar of the masses.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • How BSD was built, and how it lost the lead to Linux

      BSD has been eclipsed by the popularity of Linux over the years. But how did BSD get started? And why did Linux overtake and surpass it? Salon has a detailed article that charts the creation of BSD, and why it eventually lost out to Linux.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Estonian finance ministry seeks OSS service provider

      The Estonian Ministry of Finance is looking for a service provider to host, maintain and support its open-source-based portal infrastructure. The framework contract runs for three years and has an estimated value of 300,000 Euro.

  • Programming/Development


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Happiness and children

      Depression and anxiety are rising rapidly among young people: what’s going on?

    • All Angles Covered: Is the EU Completely in the Pocket of the Biotech Industry?

      On 9 May, Corporate Europe Observatory posted an article on its website that described how Genius, a lobby consultancy firm based in Germany, has been employed to distort the debate on glyphosate in favour the biotech industry.

      Research linking the use of glyphosate to various diseases is well documented, and the World Health Organisation has declared the substance as “probably causing cancer to humans.” Despite this, the European Commission is seeking to grant glyphosate re-approval for another ten years. The re-authorisation is being sought by the Glyphosate Task Force (GTF), an industry platform uniting producers of glyphosate-based herbicides, whose members include Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta, and Barclay Chemicals. Genius was used to run its website.

    • The EPA’s Ties to Monsanto Could Be Disastrous for the US

      Conservative politicians love to talk about how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only issues “job-killing regulations,” especially if they’re taking campaign contributions from fossil fuel billionaires like the Koch brothers or from agrochemical giants like Monsanto.

      Republican Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, for example, has spent years trying to stop the EPA from conducting any real research about climate change or passing any real regulations in general. But apparently it’s true that every once in a while, even a blind mouse finds cheese; it seems like Lamar Smith might actually have a legitimate complaint about an EPA report.

    • Doctors Agree With Sanders on Universal Health Care

      Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks it should be replaced with a single-payer health plan of the kind Europe and Canada have. This federally administered universal health care program would eliminate copays and deductibles. There’s currently a move afoot in Colorado to have such a plan.

    • Targeting Big Pharma Price Gouging, Sanders Backs California Ballot Fight

      Backing a citizen-led initiative to combat soaring drugs prices in California, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Tuesday endorsed a ballot proposal designed to curb what he described as a corporate “rip-off” of the state’s sick and vulnerable.

  • Security

    • IE and Graphics head Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday critical list

      There’s 15 flaw fixes covering 36 vulnerabilities in this month’s patch bundle from Microsoft.

      Microsoft’s browsers need a lot of work – Internet Explorer gets five fixes and the new Edge code has four. Both applications’ patches have been named as critical by Redmond. There’s also a five-fix bundle for Microsoft’s graphics component and seven flaws found in Windows kernel drivers, mainly for 32-bit versions of the operating system.

    • Exploits gone wild: Hackers target critical image-processing bug
    • ImageMagick’s ImageTragick: Exploits Not Yet Widespread

      Part of the reason for this may well be because of the nature of the vulnerability, which requires upload permissions. “These are generally restricted to subscribers and administrators,” Cid notes, “which by design negatively impacts the ability to perform a mass exploit across the web. Additionally, there aren’t that many open-source and public Content Management Systems (CMS) that use ImageMagick by default, which drastically reduces the potential attack surface – something required to see mass attacks.”

    • GnuTLS 3.5.0
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The (Il)legality of UK Drone Strikes

      It was reported in The Guardian newspaper today that the UK parliamentary joint committee on human rights was questioning the legal framework underpinning the use of British drone strikes against terrorist suspects.

    • CIA-NSA Supported Brazilian Coup Back On, Rousseff Ousted Wednesday?

      One day after the Brazilian people breathed a sigh of relief after the lower house impeachment vote was annulled, that decision was unheroically walked back, creating what may become a gory constitutional crisis.

    • Brazilian Senate set to launch Rousseff impeachment

      Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was only hours from possibly being suspended at the start of an impeachment trial Wednesday in a political crisis paralysing Latin America’s largest country.

    • Brazil Impeachment: Rousseff Appeals To Supreme Court

      Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff, has made a last-ditch appeal to stop the impeachment process against her by asking the supreme court to block the proceedings, hours before a crucial Senate vote.

      Ms Rousseff’s lawyers alleged the process is fraught with bias and irregularities but similar attempts have been rejected by the court.

      Ms Rousseff could be suspended for up to 180 days if the Senators vote for a full trial today.


      The President is accused of illegally manipulating finances to hide a growing public deficit ahead of her re-election in 2014.
      She denies all the charges.

    • Daniel Berrigan’s Enduring Fight for Peace

      As Campaign 2016 almost ignores the vital issues of war and peace – despite the reality of perpetual war – Daniel Berrigan, one of America’s great voices for peace, has gone silent, writes Michael Winship.

    • President Obama Should Meet A-Bomb Survivors, and Heed Their Call To Ban the Bomb

      President Obama is considering a visit to Hiroshima during the G-7 economic summit in Japan later this month. Hiroshima is an impressively rebuilt, thriving city of a million people. The city was obliterated by the first atomic bomb, dropped by the United States on August 6, 1945, followed by the second bomb that devastated Nagasaki three days later, killing a total of more than 200,000 people.

      Remarkably, many Hibakusha, atomic bomb survivors, are still alive today, though they often suffer from various radiation-caused illnesses or other physical ailments 71 years after the bombs were dropped.

    • Masters of Mankind: the Costs of Violence

      Obama’s global drone assassination campaign, a remarkable innovation in global terrorism, exhibits the same patterns. By most accounts, it is generating terrorists more rapidly than it is murdering those suspected of someday intending to harm us — an impressive contribution by a constitutional lawyer on the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which established the basis for the principle of presumption of innocence that is the foundation of civilized law.

    • Exploiting Global Warming for Geo-Politics

      When a severe drought hit Syria a decade ago, the U.S. government chose not to help but rather exploit the environmental crisis to force a “regime change,” a decision that contributed to a humanitarian crisis, writes Jonathan Marshall.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • After Only Nine Months On The Job, Administration’s New FOIA Boss Calls It Quits

      Depending on where you sit, Holzer was either the perfect pick for FOIA work or the worst.

      For FOIA requesters, Holzer was anything but. His former (and now current) agency has a terrible FOIA track record. That this background would somehow result in his promotion to a position meant to facilitate FOIA requests was inexplicable.

      Unless you’re the White House, in which case, he was the best man for the job.

      This administration doesn’t care much for transparency. Elevating someone from an agency with a history of ineptness and recalcitrance only makes sense — if what you want is for “facilitation” to mean little more than looking busy while status remains quo.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Dangerous New Normal as 400 ppm Carbon Baseline Expected Within Days

      Australian Greens deputy leader Larissa Waters said the landmark ‘should act as a global wake-up call’

    • The Oil Industry Just Backed Out Of A Multi-Billion Dollar Investment

      ConocoPhillips, ENI, and Iona have relinquished all their leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the coast of Alaska, according to new documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request filed by advocacy group Oceana.

    • Network Newscasts Ignore Global Warming’s Role in Canada’s Wildfires

      As fast and furious as trailers for a Hollywood disaster movie, network news coverage of the massive fires ripping through Canada’s tar sands hub has missed opportunities to provide real information about the heavily polluting tar sands industry and global warming’s role in adding fuel to the flames.

    • GPS Tracking Devices Catch Major U.S. Recyclers Exporting Toxic E-Waste

      A two year investigation of electronics recycling using GPS tracking devices has revealed that policies aimed at curtailing the trade in toxic e-waste have been unsuccessful, with nearly one third of the devices being exported to developing countries, where equipment is often dismantled in low-tech workshops — often by children — endangering workers, their families, and contaminating the surrounding environment.

    • Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated, Part 1

      Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is outdated, for several reasons.

      First, climate science and climate politics have been moving unexpectedly quickly toward a broad consensus that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. This has truly revolutionary implications for climate solutions policy.

    • Nigeria Oil Well Protest Spotlights ‘Destroyed Livelihoods and Betrayed Hopes’

      Activists in Nigeria gathered at the site of the country’s first oil well on Tuesday as part of the global Break Free movement, to show what happens “when the oil goes dry, and the community is left with the pollution and none of the wealth.”

      Black gold, or oil, was discovered in Oloibiri in 1956 by what was then known as the Shell Darcy corporation—Nigeria’s first commercial oil discovery. The site has since been declared a national monument.

    • The U.S. Can’t Afford To Keep Losing Honeybees Like This

      On Tuesday, the Bee Informed Partnership released its annual report on total losses of managed honeybees — those kept by beekeepers — across the country. The survey, which asked beekeepers about bee losses between April 2015 and April 2016, showed that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies in that timeframe. That means that total losses worsened compared to last year’s survey, which reported losses of 42.1 percent.

    • First Nation Wins Historic Victory Over Mammoth Coal Export Terminal

      In a move being hailed as a landmark victory for the climate movement, Pacific Northwest communities, and tribal members alike, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday denied federal permits for the largest proposed coal export terminal in North America.

      “This is big—for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future,” declared Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

    • Army Corps Denies Permits for Biggest Proposed Coal Export Terminal in North America

      This is big—for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future. It’s also big because the U.S. government is honoring its treaty obligations. After a five-year struggle that engaged hundreds of thousands of people, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision Monday to deny federal permits for the biggest proposed coal export terminal in North America—the SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen (also known as Cherry Point), Washington.

    • National Parks to Seek Out, Recognize Corporate Funding Under New Plan

      The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing a relaxation on rules governing corporate partnerships in a move that could see parks increasingly commercialized and dependent on the whims of private donors.

      Some park superintendents will be asked to help raise up to $5 million in individual gifts, according to the NPS proposal.

  • Finance

    • Panama Papers Source Offers Documents To Governments, Hints At More To Come

      The anonymous whistleblower behind the Panama Papers has conditionally offered to make the documents available to government authorities.

      In a statement issued to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the so-called “John Doe” behind the biggest information leak in history cites the need for better whistleblower protection and has hinted at even more revelations to come.

      Titled “The Revolution Will Be Digitized” the 1800-word statement gives justification for the leak, saying that “income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time” and says that government authorities need to do more to address it.

      Süddeutsche Zeitung has authenticated that the statement came from the Panama Papers source.

    • ‘The Revolution Will Be Digitized’: Panama Papers Leaker Speaks Out

      No surprise, then, that the Panama Papers whistleblower would really like more legal protection for those who leak information in the public interest. What is more surprising is the anger that permeates this statement, and how well it is articulated. A striking recent development in the world of whistleblowing is the way in which Edward Snowden has become one of the most acute commentators on the digital sphere, as his extended essay “Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance” underlines. What’s most remarkable — and encouraging — about the Panama Papers whistleblower’s essay is that it indicates we may be about to gain another valuable voice in the same way.

    • Clinton Commits: No TPP, Fundamentally Rethink Trade Policies

      As reported in The Hill, in “Clinton opposes TPP vote in the lame-duck session,” Clinton replied to a questionnaire from the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, which consists of more than 25 labor, environmental and human rights organizations. When asked, “If elected President, would you oppose holding a vote on the TPP during the ‘lame duck’ session before you take office?” she replied, “I have said I oppose the TPP agreement — and that means before and after the election.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Government called to answer urgent question on the future of the BBC

      Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs and George Osborne’s evidence to the Treasury committee about the EU referendum

    • Safe States, Inside-Outside, and Other Liberal Illusions

      Faced with that demoralizing prospect, some Sanders supporters are recycling failed old strategies in an attempt to salvage Sanders’ “political revolution” without opposing the Democratic Party.

    • The Establishment Rallies Around Kuenssberg

      The petition to sack Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg from her role as BBC Political Editor has been scrapped by 38 Degrees after it gained over 35,000 signatures. The reason given is sexist comments and tweets.

    • Member of BBC Election Night Team Writes Crude Anti-Sturgeon Slogan

      “Professor” Rob Ford of the University of Manchester was a member of Professor John Curtice’s election night results team at the BBC. But he is also a very active anti-Corbyn and anti-SNP propagandist.

      Indeed just the day before the election, which he was covering for the BBC as a “neutral and independent psephological expert”, Ford posted this nasty attack on Nicola Sturgeon. Please note that this is not a retweet – the slogan “All Hail Supreme Dear Leader, Daughter of Great Helmsman Sal-Mon” is all Ford’s own brilliant witticism.

    • Trump Gave $150,000 To Charity That CNN Head’s Wife Helped Lead

      The donations were for the private school that Trump’s son attends. The candidate and the media mogul have not publicly disclosed the connection.

    • Sanders Wins West Virginia Primary (And No, It’s Not Inconsequential)

      ‘Regardless of what the mainstream media would like you to believe, these victories matter.’


      Though the mainstream and corporate media continue to push a narrative suggesting the race for Democratic nomination is essentially over, polling released in the last twenty-four hours shows that Sanders continues to do better nationally in a hypothetical general-election matchup against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

      Karli Wallace Thompson, a campaign manager for Democracy for America, an advocacy group backing Sanders’ campaign, said Tuesday’s win in West Virginia should not be downplayed.

      “Regardless of what the mainstream media would like you to believe, these victories matter,” said Thompson, “and not just because each win gets us closer to overtaking Hillary Clinton in the delegate count.”

      Sanders’ latest victories matter, argues Thompson, “because they send a clear message to the Democratic Party that we refuse to give up on our values. Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, some pro-corporate Democrats are sensing an opportunity to move the party even further to the right in order to win the votes of ‘Never Trump’ voters. They’re ignoring the fact that modern presidential elections are always won by candidates who motivate their base and speak to their values.”

    • Ralph Nader: Sanders Should Stay in Democratic Race, Is Only Losing Due to Anti-Democratic System

      Polls have opened in West Virginia, where Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are vying for the 29 delegates up for grabs. Eight years ago, Clinton won West Virginia in a landslide, beating Barack Obama by 40 percentage points—but many polls project Sanders will win today. We speak to longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who argues that Sanders would be winning the primary race if every state had open primaries.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Hackers Attempt to Hold Capitol Hill Data for Ransom

      The House is under attack by hackers hoping to infiltrate congressional computers, encrypt their contents, and then force users to pay a ransom to get their access back.

      “In the past 48 hours, the House Information Security Office has seen an increase of attacks on the House Network using third party, web-based mail applications such as YahooMail, Gmail,” the House’s Technology Service Desk wrote in an email to House staffers on April 30.

      According to the email obtained by The Intercept, the hacked emails impersonate familiar people and invite staffers to download an attachment laced with malware—what’s known as a “phishing” attack.

    • Lauri Love and the potential civil law “backdoor” for obtaining encryption keys

      Today’s decision: Today the presiding judge District Judge Tempia will make a decision on whether Lauri Love be “directed” at this stage to provide an encryption key as part of the civil claim, and before the trial.

      This is because the National Crime Agency, the “defendant” in this claim, is insisting that the key be handed over before the application be tried and a decision made to return the equipment.

    • British Hacker Wins Court Battle Over Encryption Keys

      A British court on Tuesday rejected an attempt by security agents to force an alleged hacker to hand over his encryption keys.

      Thirty-one-year-old Lauri Love has been accused by U.S. authorities of hacking into U.S. government networks between 2012 and 2013, including those of the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and NASA.

    • The US Person Back Door Search Number DOJ Could Publish Immediately

      The Senate Judiciary Committee had a first public hearing on Section 702 today, about which I’ll have several posts.

      One piece of good news, however, is that both some of the witnesses (Liza Goitein and David Medine; Ken Wainstein, Matt Olsen, and Rachel Brand were the other witnesses) and some of the Senators supported more transparency, including requiring the FBI to provide a count of how many US person queries of 702-collected data it does, as well as a count of how many US persons get sucked up by Section 702 more generally.

    • Next NSA Fight Begins With Semantics: ‘Backdoor Search’ or ‘U.S. Person Query’?

      The practice is on the chopping block as lawmakers consider reauthorization of a pre-Snowden surveillance law.

    • The Next Big Surveillance Debate Has Arrived
    • Madison at Fort Meade: Checks, Balances, and the NSA
    • Privacy Advocate Tells Lawmakers Surveillance of Americans ‘Has Exploded’ Under Expiring FISA Law

      Lawmakers, privacy advocates and members of the intelligence community convened on Capitol Hill Tuesday to debate the renewal of the most divisive surveillance authority since the National Security Agency’s phone metadata program, potentially capable of sweeping up the communications of millions of Americans.

    • Edward Snowden says this one thing would save more lives than any NSA surveillance program

      On May 10, experts are gathering before the US Senate to debate a few of the NSA’s most robust internet surveillance programs.

    • Snowden: I had a ‘minor’ role in the NSA leak

      Edward Snowden said he is “staggered” by the reaction to his 2013 leak of National Security Agency documents detailing the extent of American government surveillance, and sees himself as having played a minor role in the revelation which shocked the defense community and continues to reverberate in Washington.

      “I’m really optimistic about how things have gone, and I’m staggered by how much more impact there’s been as a result of these revelations than I initially presumed,” Snowden told the Columbia Journalism Review. “I’m famous for telling [former Guardian editor-in-chief] Alan Rusbridger that it would be a three-day story. You’re sort of alluding to this idea that people don’t really care, or that nothing has really changed. We’ve heard this in a number of different ways, but I think it actually has changed in a substantial way.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security researcher arrested for disclosing US election website vulnerabilities

      David Levin was later released on a $15,000 bond after reporting the SQL vulnerabilities.

    • David Cameron Is Absolutely Right!

      Of course when the Tories describe somewhere as “fantastically corrupt”, they mean “brilliant personal enrichment opportunity for me.” And not just the Tories. Tony Blair will be in there like a shot.

    • Airline Pilots Should Not Have to Choose Between Their Jobs and Breastfeeding Their Babies

      I’m a commercial airline pilot, and I love my job. As a kid, I was obsessed with airplanes. My parents encouraged my passion for flying, and in spite of the odds — women currently make up only six percent of commercial pilots — I became a pilot.

    • Striking Prisoners in Alabama Accuse Officials of Using Food as Weapon

      Alabama prisoners who have been on strike for 10 days over unpaid labor and prison conditions are accusing officials of retaliating against their protest by starving them. The coordinated strike started on May 1, International Workers’ Day, when prisoners at the Holman and Elmore facilities refused to report to their prison jobs and has since expanded to Staton, St. Clair, and Donaldson’s facilities, according to organizers with the Free Alabama Movement, a network of prison activists.

    • From a non-Jewish Left-Zionist: an open letter to Ken Livingstone

      It is, also, intellectually offensive to suggest that because they advocated transfer before ‘going mad’ and opting instead for genocide, the Nazis were Zionists. Peter Beaumont has already amply illustrated the crassness of this fallacious equation of agency and intention so I will let the case rest with him. Suffice it to say that a more ludicrous reading of Nazi anti-Semitism it is hard to imagine. But then, your piece of radio sophistry was not meant to illuminate history, rather to damn Zionism by innuendo.

    • Farm Workers Sue Over Labor Rights in Landmark Case for ‘Dignity and Humanity’

      Farm workers have sued New York for the right to organize in a groundbreaking lawsuit that demands they receive the same rights as “virtually every other worker,” the New York chapter of the ACLU said on Tuesday.

      The lawsuit claims that laborers are being forced to work in “life-threatening, sweatshop-like conditions” and are prevented from organizing under threat of retaliation.

      It also charges that the State Employment Relations Act is part of a Depression-era measure meant to enact protections for workers but which excluded farm workers, who were majority black at the time, to accommodate segregationist policies of racist Congress members. That exclusion has held, impacting laborers who are now largely Central American and Mexican immigrants, the lawsuit states.

    • ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Israeli Peace Activist Miko Peled Discuss the Devolution of Israel

      On this week’s episode of “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig’s own Chris Hedges sits down with Miko Peled, a Israeli peace activist and author of “The General’s Son: The Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” The two discuss current events in Israel and Palestine, looking back on decades of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

      Peled, who was born in Jerusalem, notes that while past generations of Israeli politicians presented a civil facade while committing atrocities, current figures like Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett “don’t understand why they have to pretend, because they’re getting all the money and all the support they need from America and from the Europeans.”

    • Detroit Teachers Are Determined To Stop This Legislation. Here’s Why.

      Detroit teachers are organizing to prevent a bill from passing the state legislature that they say would underfund schools and limit teachers’ rights.

      There are two competing bills in the legislature aimed at resolving Detroit Public Schools’ current financial mess. The school system was at risk of going bankrupt because school officials said the district was “running out of money” in April, but the state provided $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep the district running. Now, as the end of the school year approaches, there are questions about long-term solutions.

    • Why Teachers Matter in Dark Times

      Americans live in a historical moment that annihilates thought. Ignorance now provides a sense of community; the brain has migrated to the dark pit of the spectacle; the only discourse that matters is about business; poverty is now viewed as a technical problem; thought chases after an emotion that can obliterate it. The presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, Donald Trump, declares he likes “the uneducated” — implying that it is better that they stay ignorant than be critically engaged agents — and boasts that he doesn’t read books. Fox News offers no apologies for suggesting that thinking is an act of stupidity.

    • Louisiana is Number One… in Incarceration

      Louisiana first became number 1 in the nation in 2005 when it was imprisoning 36,083 people. Louisiana remained number 1, in 2010 with 35,207 in prison, an incarceration rate of 867 per 100,000 people, over 200 points head of the next highest state Mississippi.

    • Interview: Singapore blogger Amos Yee on press freedom, feminism, and protest

      If he arrests me, the entire world, the press and all that [would] know, it’ll highlight a lot of flaws like what happened with the Lee Kuan Yew video. If they don’t arrest me, then I make even more videos that criticise them and break even more laws. It’s a pretty good position I’m in.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Budweiser Is Making a Truly Ridiculous Name Change

        According to AdAge, which has confirmed with company officials, 12-ounce cans and bottles of Budweiser—owned by a company based in Belgium—will now bear the brand name America. You can look for the change as of May 23, and expect it to last straight through summer, aka “the high beer season.” But it won’t end there! The new look will stretch onward through the election season, because why not make your rebranding as ridiculous as our presidential campaign has been.

      • ‘Make Amerikkka Great Again’ trademark application filed

        A trademark application has been filed for the term ‘Make Amerikkka Great Again’, in what appears to be a dig at US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

        The trademark was applied for on March 30 at the US Patent and Trademark Office by a company based in Los Angeles called 47 / 72 Inc.

        The slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ has been used in Trump’s campaign. The term is also a registered trademark owned by Trump and covers political campaigns as well as hats and t-shirts.

      • Facebook wins trademark dispute in China

        A Chinese court has ruled in favour of Facebook in a trademark dispute centring on the transliteration of the term ‘face book’.

        The Beijing Higher People’s Court backed the social media website in its dispute with Zhujiang Beverage, based in Zhongshan.

        Zhujiang sells products including milk-flavoured drinks and porridge.

      • Minnesota’s Broad Publicity Rights Law, The PRINCE Act, So Broad That It May Violate Itself

        We’ve written many posts on the area of so-called “publicity rights” laws. These are state laws that try to create a newish form of intellectual property around someone’s “likeness” or other identifying features. A few years ago, Eriq Gardner wrote the definitive piece detailing the rise of publicity rights as a new way to try to lock down “protections” for things that don’t really need to be protected. The initial intent behind many of these laws was to avoid a situation where there was a false endorsement — basically to stop someone from putting an image or likeness of a famous person in an ad to imply support. But the law has (not surprisingly) expanded over time, and there have been many, many crazy battles over publicity rights — including ones concerning Marilyn Monroe, Manuel Noriega, Katherine Heigl, Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan.

      • Minnesota Legislators Go Crazy, Pushing Dangerous PRINCE Act

        Just a few weeks after his death, some Minnesota legislators are using Prince’s name to ram through a dangerous publicity rights law that will give his heirs – and the heirs of any other Minnesotan – broad and indefinite rights to shut down all kind of legitimate speech and activities in perpetuity.

    • Copyrights

      • EFF at Copyright Office Roundtable Thursday and Friday in San Francisco

        On Thursday and Friday, May 12-13, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Legal Director Corynne McSherry will participate in public roundtable discussions about the effectiveness of safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) at the United States Ninth Circuit James R. Browning Courthouse in San Francisco. The discussions are hosted by the U.S. Copyright Office, which is studying how the provisions impact copyright owners, internet service providers (ISPs) and users—including the ongoing problem of takedown abuse.

      • Judge Says Copyright Case Against Star Trek Fan Film Can ‘Live Long’ And Possibly ‘Prosper’

        Just yesterday we filled you in on the latest in the copyright fight over a professional-level “fan film” in the Star Trek universe, dubbed “Axanar” (along with a short film “Prelude to Axanar.”) The makers of that film tried to get the case dismissed, arguing that Paramount Pictures and CBS failed to state an actual claim of copyright infringement. Specifically, they were arguing that Paramount/CBS highlighted a bunch of things related to Star Trek, some of which they may hold a joint copyright over, but failed to state what specific copyright-covered work the Axanar productions were infringing. And, of course, there was a side note in all of this that one of the many things that Paramount and CBS tossed against the wall claiming copyright was the Klingon language itself.

        This morning, the court released two short rulings, with the first one dumping the amicus filing over whether or not there was a copyright in the Klingon language. That one was short and sweet and just said that at this stage of the game the court has no reason to explore whether or not languages can be covered by copyright and “therefore, none of the information provided by Amicus is necessary to dispose of the Motion to dismiss.”


Links 10/5/2016: New RHEL and Fedora Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source skills in high demand but finding talented staff not easy

    Demand for open source skills is growing, according to the 2016 Open Source Jobs Report based on research conducted by the Linux Foundation and tech career recruiter Dice.

    Hiring managers at various companies revealed that 59 per cent will recruit people with open source skills in the next six months as demand increases for those with the technical know-how to get digital projects up and running.

  • Zillow Eschews Open Source for Proprietary Splunk

    As homeowners and realtors track the dynamic U.S. housing market, platforms like the online real estate database Zillow are seeing surges in traffic as buyers and sellers keep tabs on which properties are moving and when a seller might be ready to drop the asking price.

    To keep up with demand for its services and gauge customer preferences, Zillow Group Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) said this week it is standardizing on Splunk Inc.’s real-time “operational intelligence” platform. Seattle-based Zillow said the ongoing shift to Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK) includes its mobile as well as web-based real-estate services.

  • Goldman Sachs Talks Open Source

    As you might expect for someone who is constantly surrounded by bankers, Don Duet uses the term “intellectual property” a lot — but it’s good to know that Wall Street is investing in sharing.

    Goldman Sachs doesn’t get a lot of positive press these days (for good reason), but check out what Don Duet, co-head of the Technology Division there, had to say about open source in this video that was posted last June.

  • Databases

    • Redis launches modules to add extensibility to the open source database

      Redis, a type of open source NoSQL database known as a key-value store, is getting an important but long delayed addition. Today at the 2016 RedisConf conference in San Francisco, Redis creator Salvatore Sanfilippo is announcing the launch of modules, a way to extend the functionality of the software.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Italian military to save 26-29 million Euro by migrating to LibreOffice

      The Italian Ministry of Defence expects to save 26-29 million Euro over the coming years by using LibreOffice. The LibreDifesa project aims to eventually migrate all of the organisation’s well over 100,000 desktops to the open-source office productivity suite. “Taking into account the deadlines set by our current Microsoft Office licences, we will have 75,000 (70%) LibreOffice users by 2017, and an additional 25,000 by 2020,” says General Camillo Sileo, Deputy Chief of Department VI, Systems Department C4I, for the Transformation of Defence and General Staff. That will make this deployment of LibreOffice the largest in Europe.

    • Another Big Rollout of LibreOffice Saves Money
  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GCC 6.1 vs. LLVM Clang 3.9 Compiler Performance

      After carrying out the recent GCC 4.9 vs. 5.3 vs. 6.1 compiler benchmarks for looking at the GNU Compiler Collection performance over the past three years on the same Linux x86_64 system, I then loaded up a development snapshot of the LLVM 3.9 SVN compiler to see how these two dominant compilers are competing on the performance front for C/C++ programs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Rise of Open Source Hardware

        “You’ve heard of open source software,” said Templeton, who in 1998 founded ClariNet Communications Corp. — an early dot-com success. “The software that’s running in your phone, in most of your laptops, except for Windows, [and] the Web service you’re going to, where everyone builds software and contributes it back to the world. This idea is actually spreading now into hardware.”


  • The Leicester City Miracle: Playing Against the Statistics

    In that particular erroneous equation, one person’s celebrated Christiano Rinaldo is as good as any other Lionel Messi, both being the grand figures in a broader game of power, capital and statistics. They represent huge clubs that take centre stage and strangle the game as a grand corporate venture rather than an emotional team experience.f

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Latest Strategy To Prevent Women From Getting A Safe Abortion

      Called Dilation and Evacuation (D&E), this type of surgical abortion has become the only legal option left for abortions that take place after 14 weeks that doctors consider safe. But, using inflammatory language describing the D&E procedure as “dismemberment” abortion, state lawmakers are moving to block doctors from using it.

    • 5 Reasons Why You Should Think Twice Before Jumping Into Your Local River

      Is that stream that runs through your backyard safe? What about the river that flows through your local park? Is it polluted? Americans should know that the waterways they swim, play or fish in don’t present a health hazard. But a shocking new report on the nation’s streams and rivers paints a bleak picture: The vast majority are not effectively studied for water quality.

    • Woman killed by ambulance billed $25K for ambulance ride she didn’t live long enough to take

      An ambulance company added insult to injury after billing an Indiana woman’s family for an emergency transport she didn’t live long enough to take.

      Sheila Breck was killed Sept. 23 when an ambulance slammed into her SUV at 85 mph as she was going to pick up her daughter from work, reported WRTV-TV.

      The emergency crew that responded to the Hancock County crash, which also injured two ambulance crew members and a pickup truck driver, called for a medical helicopter for the 64-year-old Breck—who died before it arrived.

    • From Cancer Patient to Medicines Activist

      But, Lyon points out to the crowd, most cancer patients are not this lucky. New cancer treatments average a whopping $10,000 per month. Many patients can’t afford that, even though it is likely their taxpayer dollars paid to develop the medicines. “In fact, much of cancer research happens in publicly funded research hospitals and universities,” Lyon explains. “But the publicly funded research often turns into privately held patents on these new therapies.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • This Botnet, Called Jaku, Only Targets Scientists, Engineers, And Academics

      Jaku Botnet discriminates while targeting its victims in the wild. It is easier to download from the famous sources like images or Torrents — thanks to the unforced human errors — and once installed, it grips that computer and makes that a part of the Botnet network.

    • Reproducible builds: week 54 in Stretch cycle

      There has been a surprising tweet last week: “Props to @FiloSottile for his nifty gvt golang tool. We’re using it to get reproducible builds for a Zika & West Nile monitoring project.” and to our surprise Kenn confirmed privately that he indeed meant “reproducible builds” as in “bit by bit identical builds”. Wow. We’re looking forward to learn more details about this; for now we just know that they are doing this for software quality reasons basically.

    • Security Analyst Arrested For Disclosing Security Flaw In Florida County’s Election Systems

      A Florida man has been charged with felony criminal hacking charges after disclosing vulnerabilities in the voting systems used in Lee County, Florida. Security analyst David Levin was arrested 3 months after reporting un-patched SQL injection vulnerabilities in the county’s election systems. Levin was charged with three counts of unauthorized access to a computer, network, or electronic device and released on $15,000 bond. Levin’s first and biggest mistake was to post a video of himself on YouTube logging into the Lee County Elections Office network using the credentials of Sharon Harrington, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • No More Fig Leafs: Doctors Without Borders Rejects World Aid Summit, Rips U.N. For Ongoing War Crimes

      Having watched in aggrieved horror the last year as over 75 of its hospitals were bombed and hundreds of its patients and health workers were killed “in violation of the most fundamental rules of war,” Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières, has withdrawn from the World Humanitarian Summit slated for later this month in Turkey. The action comes just days after an MSF-supported hospital in Aleppo, Syria was attacked, killing at least 50 people, including one of the city’s last pediatricians. It also follows last week’s almost entirely redacted, predictably egregious Pentagon report finding that 16 U.S. military personnel involved in the grisly bombing of a MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in October 2015 – killing 42 and injuring many more – committed “errors” worthy of “disciplinary measures,” but no war or any other kind of crime. The bombings have led many to charge that U.S. so-called policy in those countries is a murky “recipe leading to disaster” born of massive political confusion, and that in the wake of its inevitable disasters, “the Pentagon shouldn’t get to absolve itself for bombing a hospital.”

    • Police chief apologises after ‘suicide bomber’ shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ during Trafford Centre training exercise

      Greater Manchester Police came under fire on social media following the staged training exercise with people demanding to know why it had been linked to Islam

    • CIA-NSA Coup in Brazil loses steam [Ed: assuming that’s what it was in the first place]

      The impeachment proceedings against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, instigated by NSA surveillance and led by a corrupt legislator who bribed colleagues to vote against the country’s leader, faces a major setback.

    • Obama to visit Hiroshima, won’t apologize for World War II bombing

      Barack Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima in Japan later this month, but he will not apologize for the United States’ dropping of an atomic bomb on the city in World War Two, the White House said on Tuesday.

      Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize early in his presidency in 2009 in part for his commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, Obama on May 27 will visit the site of the world’s first nuclear bomb attack with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

      With the end of his last term in office approaching in January 2017, Obama will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the White House said in a statement.

    • Still at War with Iran-Nuke Deal

      As neocons look forward to dominant roles in a Clinton-45 administration, they are continuing their attacks on the Iran nuclear deal, thus keeping hope alive to eventually bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar describes.

    • U.S. Can’t Say Whether or Not $759 Million Spent on Education in Afghanistan Helped Anything

      If at where you work you spent $759 million on something, and then told your boss you have no idea if anything was accomplished, and that the little data you do have is probably fraudulent, how might that work out for you?

      If you are the U.S. government in Afghanistan, you would actually have no problem at all. Just another day at the tip of freedom’s spear, pouring taxpayer cash-a-roni down freedom’s money hole.

    • A Longwinded and Winding Rhodes

      Official Washington is abuzz about the boasts of President Obama’s foreign policy speechwriter Ben Rhodes regarding his selling the Iran nuclear deal, a new club being wielded by the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran neocons, explains James W Carden.


      Rhodes, through the help of some well-connected family friends, quickly found his true calling: climbing the greasy pole of the Washington foreign policy establishment.

    • Top 4 Reasons Iran will stand by Syrian gov’t despite High Casualties

      On Saturday, Iran announced that 13 members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps had been killed and 21 wounded when the al-Qaeda-led Army of Islam fundamentalist Sunni coalition took the village of Khan Touman near Aleppo.

      Iran will nevertheless continue to back the regime of Bashar al-Assad against rebels. An envoy of Iran’s clerical leader, Ali Khamenei, was in Damascus on Saturday. Ali Akbar Velayati said he wanted actually to strengthen Iranian ties with Syria.

    • Christians among the victims in an unstable Yemen

      Christians and Yemen’s other dwindling minorities are now being targeted with little hope of protection from a divided, dysfunctional, and deteriorating state.

    • Which Country Will Vladimir Putin Go After Next?

      The most compelling aspect of The Master Plan is in how it surveys Russia’s relentless propaganda war in the Baltic States. The Russian-state media channels are freely accessible in the Baltics, and are the main news source for 70 percent of their Russian-speaking communities. They have gone to great lengths to “create a fog around the truth,” as Inga Springe, another Re:Baltica journalist, puts it. Much of the rest of the local population feels that they can’t trust any version of the information they receive. Meanwhile, the few Russian journalists who strive to report real news are often fired, and at times forced into exile. Galina Timchenko, the former Editor-in-Chief of lenta.ru, previously one of the most popular news sites in Russia, was fired by the Kremlin-linked owner at the lead up to the Crimean takeover. “They needed to clear the information channels before the Crimean operation,” Timchenko says in the film, speaking from the office of her new media outlet, Meduza, based in Latvia.

    • ISIS Under Bombs: Battered But Not Defeated

      It may not come to this. Not all the news is bad. The most hopeful sign in Syria is that Russia and the US are on occasion acting in unison and have been able for the first time in five years to prod their allies into agreeing ceasefires however shaky and short term. The lesson of the last five years in Syria and the last 13 years in Iraq is that it is very difficult for any single army, government, militia, party, sect or ethnic group to fight successfully for a long period without the support of a foreign power or powers. They may not want to compromise but they may be forced to do so if the alternative is the loss of this essential outside backing. Given that the Assad and anti-Assad forces hate each other, want to kill each other and have no intention of sharing power in future, such compromises are likely to be grudging and short term.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Lost in Bonkers: the Latest Episode in Pro-Nuclear Quackery

      In the old country, where I come from, you call a rubbish article like this one by Professor Steven Hayward, “bollocks.” And if it’s bollocks, then it needs a bollocking. Contrary to popular belief, we Brits are not very polite. So sorry about that, and here goes.

      Firstly, the article is barely by Hayward at all. Twelve of its 18 paragraphs were actually written by — and are attributed to — Hayward’s undeclared Breakthrough Institute crony; Twelve of its 18 paragraphs were actually written by — and are attributed to — Hayward’s undeclared Breakthrough Institute crony; its recently departed president, Michael Shellenberger (who–beware–now runs some outfit called Environmental Progress).

    • ‘Warning for the World’: Five Pacific Islands Officially Lost to Rising Seas

      Five Pacific Islands have been swallowed by rising seas and coastal erosion, in what Australian researchers say is the first confirmation of what climate change will bring.

      The submerged region, which was part of the Solomon Islands archipelago and was above water as recently as 2014, was not inhabited by humans.

      However, a further six islands are also experiencing “severe shoreline recession,” which is forcing the populations in those settlements—some of which have existed since at least 1935—to flee, according to a study published last week in Environmental Research Letters.

    • Climate change is corroding our values, says Naomi Klein

      The need for fossil fuels is destroying regions and communities, causing war and famine in the process, argues the activist and author

    • Why Used Electric Car Batteries Could Be Crucial To A Clean Energy Future

      Battery costs are plummeting to levels that make EVs a truly disruptive technology, as we’ve explained. That’s why electric vehicle (EV) sales are exploding world-wide, and why Tesla broke every record for pre-sales with its affordable ($35,000), 200+ mile range Model 3 last month.

    • Duke Study Finds A “Legacy of Radioactivity,” Contamination from Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills

      Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study.

    • Coal Power Plant Accused Of Contaminating Neighbors’ Well Water With Carcinogens

      So Kerr — who a week ago moved out of a property that state documents say is worth more than $100,000 — won’t discuss how Pat Calvert, an activist with James Riverkeeper, knocked on her door last year and offered to test her well water. She won’t discuss that, as state documents obtained by ThinkProgress show, small levels of various potentially toxic substances not normally found in nature, including hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen that is often detected in coal ash, were found in her well. She even avoids saying that the Southern Environmental Law Center, which only represents organizations, put her in contact with a lawyer that helped her and her husband navigate the process of negotiating with Dominion.

    • N.C. produces flawed study to dismiss cancer-cluster fears near Duke Energy coal plants

      The spill of tens of thousands of tons of coal ash into the Dan River from an impoundment at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina back in February 2014 triggered a long-overdue public discussion in the state about the dangers of toxic coal plant waste and how it might be better handled.

      Some of the most alarming stories came from communities near Duke’s plants, where residents fear the pollution is affecting their health. For example, people living near the Buck plant in Rowan County have reported unusual patterns of cancers and birth defects. Residents near the Belews Creek plant in Stokes County have also complained about high cancer rates, while those living close to the Asheville plant have pointed to unusual numbers of cancers in both people and their pets.

    • The Self-Indulgence of Prioritizing Income Equality While Ignoring US Militarism in the Era of Climate Change

      Income inequality has been rising in the United States for the last forty years and has become especially drastic since 2008. This state of affairs is no accident. Since the late 1970’s, regardless of which party holds the White House, public policy has favored redistribution of wealth upwards through a variety of means including tax cuts, deregulation and, starting in 2008, simply handing out cash, in the case of the bank bail-outs.


      The economic might of the US was historically attained and is currently maintained by the power of its military. Our wealth is literally the spoils of war. It started with the theft of land from the Indians, was built on the backs of black slavery, and became a global imperial force through two world wars, the second of which ended with the only use (so far) of nuclear bombs on civilian populations. The slaughter continues to the present, with “peace candidate” Obama carrying on open warfare against at least seven countries, having not ended a single conflict begun by his predecessors. If one wants to see a graphic example of the price paid by some people to support US privilege, Google “Fallujah birth defects.”

      Making the world safe for US corporate resource extraction has been the driving force of American foreign policy. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler revealed that this business was going on a century ago: “I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.” Nothing has changed. The nation’s pie of wealth is still the product of global exploitation.

    • It’s Time for Turkey to Break Free from Coal

      Turkey is emerging as one of the biggest coal battlegrounds in the world, currently there are 71 coal projects at various stages of planning and permission. The Turkish government is pursuing an energy strategy that involves a rapid expansion of coal-fired generation, to meet the needs of a growing economy and reduce the country’s dependence on imported gas. But this rush to exploit coal will cost our country dearly in terms of our population’s health, our environment and also our financial well-being.

      Turkey currently relies heavily on gas-fired generation and has enormous potential for solar and wind power, despite this the government is looking to diversify towards coal justifying this choice by citing security of energy supply. This official plan would involve a 145% increase in coal-fired generation and a 94% jump in power sector emissions.

    • ‘On Borrowed Time’: Human Activity Puts One in Five Plant Species at Risk of Extinction

      Human activity, from the razing of forests to the spewing of carbon, has imperiled large swaths of the plant kingdom, according to a landmark survey of the world’s flora published Tuesday.

    • France studying possible ban on import of U.S. Shale gas – minister

      French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday she is investigating legal means to ban the import of shale gas from the United States because France has banned shale gas exploration using hydraulic fracking for environmental reasons.

      Royal, answering a question in parliament, said contracts signed by French gas utility Engie and power utility EDF with a U.S. producer have led to the import of LNG which contained about 40 percent shale gas.

      “I have asked the two companies why they weren’t vigilant and I have also asked for an examination of a legal means for us to ban the import of shale gas,” Royal said in parliament.

  • Finance

    • A few weeks after the Panama Papers’ release, The New York Times and Washington Post start digging in

      The Washington Post and The New York Times, initially not invited to participate in the worldwide Panama Papers investigation, have now signed collaboration agreements with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists leading the project.

    • Trump’s Dangerous National Debt Plan Is Also Unconstitutional

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an unusual plan for our nation’s finances: intentionally refuse to pay back America’s debt.

      Trump offered this idea during an interview with CNBC last Thursday. “I would borrow,” Trump said. “knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.” The “deal” Trump envisioned was an arrangement that would allow America to effectively repudiate some of its debt by not paying its creditors in full.

    • Trapped in ‘Vicious Circle,’ Greece Passes Crushing New Austerity Package

      Amid protests and strikes, Greek lawmakers passed a crushing new austerity package early on Monday.

      The reform package, which passed by a razor-thin margin, was described as “the toughest…the thrice bailed-out nation has been forced to enact since its debt crisis began,” according to the Guardian.

      The austerity measures represent €5.4 billion ($6.2 billion) in savings and would reduce Greece’s pension payouts while raising taxes. The so-called “Troika” of international creditors—the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank—are demanding such painful reforms in return for an €86 billion bailout agreed to last July in a bid to pull Greece out of its debt crisis.

    • The Ugly Truth Behind the Greek Bailout

      Meantime in Greece, transportation and civic services throughout the country grind to a screeching halt, full stop, as the people hit the streets.

      Queen Christine’s backroom stratagem, described in a Wikileaks’ leaked confidential letter exclusive to Troika members, preceded the three-day nationwide strike in very strong protest against more and more, infinitely more, austerity measures burying the Greek people as quid pro quo for bailout money, which almost exclusively (95%) serves to service creditors. This is insanity of the highest order. How can Greeks at all accede to a measly 5%?

    • 3 Oligarchs-Turned-GOP Governors Who Are Laying Ruin to Their States

      Bevin, Rauner and Scott are only too happy to attack the poor at every turn while their own fortunes continue to grow.

    • Sanders’ Tax Plan Will Reduce Inequality, But Could Go Much Further

      Perhaps, the biggest hole in his proposals is a greater focus on the taxation of income and not on the taxation of wealth—where one finds the greatest disparity.

    • Why the Economy Should Stop Growing—And Just Grow Up

      Listen to the political candidates as they put forward their economic solutions. You will hear a well-established and rarely challenged narrative. “We must grow the economy to produce jobs so people will have the money to grow their consumption, which will grow more jobs…” Grow. Grow. Grow.

    • Calling for New Global Rules, Economists Decry Financially Useless Tax Havens

      Hundreds of top economists on Monday released a letter stating that tax havens hurt the global poor and have no economic justification, urging world leaders to abolish offshore secrecy.

      “The existence of tax havens does not add to overall global wealth or well-being; they serve no useful economic purpose,” the letter reads. “Whilst these jurisdictions undoubtedly benefit some rich individuals and multinational corporations, this benefit is at the expense of others, and they therefore serve to increase inequality.”

      Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, which helped organize the letter, warned that “millions of the world’s poorest people will continue to be the biggest victims of tax dodging until governments act together to tackle tax havens.”

    • Higher education and neoliberal temptation

      The neoliberal agenda that came into being a few decades ago in the northern hemisphere, and was eventually globalized, now seems to threaten systems of higher education worldwide. The persistence of this phenomenon has become alarming to many who care about its social consequences. As you have correctly and insightfully observed in your 2014 book Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education, “a full-fledged assault is also being waged on higher education in North America, the United Kingdom and various European countries. While the nature of the assault varies across countries, there is a common set of assumptions and practices driving the transformation of higher education into an adjunct of corporate power and values”. Why is this agenda taking over societies that are so different from each other? What makes neoliberalism so overwhelmingly powerful and resistant to criticism as well as to social action? Why do governments give themselves up to neoliberal ideology, even if they claim to represent quite different ideological positions?

    • Middle classes in Latin America (7). Impoverishment in Venezuela
    • Middle classes in Latin America (6). Between political instability and authoritarianism in Bolivia

      Understanding the emerging groups is a key ingredient for understanding the risks and challenges that Bolivia and other Latin American nations face. A context of economic crisis could force many of these new non-poor back into poverty, producing a sense of malaise and dissatisfaction that could fuel political instability and turmoil. On the other side, the unconditional support for an already strong government could consolidate an authoritarian project that ignores the constitution and the mechanisms that guarantee the division of powers that are basic for a republican government. A combination of responsible management of the economic and prudent democratic leadership could lead these emerging groups to consolidate themselves as the majoritarian middle class the country never had. But a combination of economic crisis and abusive leadership could imply the return to a past of instability that many think is gone forever.

    • TPP Critics to Make Case Against the Controversial Deal at Montreal Consultations
    • Why Millennials Have the Greatest Stake in Social Security Expansion

      Discussions about Social Security in politics and the media often focus on its role as a retirement program that provides vital protections to seniors. But the fact is that Social Security provides vital retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance for all generations of Americans. In addition to significantly reducing senior poverty, Social Security is the nation’s largest children’s program and lifted 6.9 million Americans under age 65 out of poverty in 2014. And no generation has a greater stake in the fight to protect and expand Social Security benefits than today’s young workers, the millennial generation.

    • Hedge Funds Faced Choppy Waters in 2015, but Chiefs Cashed In

      He recently made headlines when he paid $500 million for two pieces of art. In September, Mr. Griffin, 47, reportedly paid $200 million to buy several floors in a new luxury condo tower that is being built at 220 Central Park South, in Manhattan.

    • Meet the Ayn Rand Enthusiast Whose Private College Empire Reaps a Fortune From the Govt.

      Yet, according to a New York Times profile by Patricia Cohen, Barney sees himself as a principled ideologue, contributing millions of his own dollars to the Ayn Rand institute and forcing employees who seek to advance in the ranks to read Atlas Shrugged, as well as his own manifesto.

      “This is what Rand taught me,” Barney told the Times, “identify that values are important to you and practices the virtues to achieve that.”

      In fact, Barney—who immigrated from Britain to the United States in the 1960s, told Cohen that the “central purpose” Rand infused him with inspired him to go into education in the first place. He described thinking, “Wow…you could actually buy a college? That’s what I want to do.”

      Barney did not buy just one college, purchasing or establishing CollegeAmerica, Stevens-Henager and California College, as well as the online Independence University. These schools in 2012 merged with the free market, non-profit “Center for Excellence in Higher Education,” whose organizational structure allowed Barney’s education empire to attain nonprofit status.

    • Big Banks Want To Take The Sting Out Of Payday Loans. Predatory Lenders Are Not Happy About It.
    • Donald Trump Still Loves Tax Cuts for the Rich

      TPC figures the average gazillionaire will save $1.3 million per year under Trump’s tax plan. So what Trump is saying is that he’s willing to consider a plan in which the gazillionaires will only get a tax cut of, say, a million dollars per year.

      Do you want percentages instead? Of course you do! Under Trump’s plan—like all Republican tax plans—a middle-class worker gets a tax reduction of only 4.3 percentage points. The gazillionaires get a whopping reduction of 12.5 percentage points.

      Quite the man of the people, no?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Neoconservatism and the Trump Effect

      However, Trump’s ascendance is and will remain a particular cause for concern when it comes to the neoconservative wing of the Republican coalition, for whom Trump’s apparent foreign policy propensities are a much bigger issue than they are for the average Republican voter. Trump has hinted at holding philosophies that would be anathema to the neoconservative movement. For example, his promise to make “America first…the overriding theme of my administration,” and to “never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary,” suggests an isolationism that obviously clashes with the aggressively interventionist streak that defines neoconservatism. Trump has also talked about positioning himself as “neutral” on Israel-Palestine, and although it’s not clear exactly what he means by that it is a position that couldn’t be much more at odds with the neoconservative right’s unabashedly pro-Israel fervor. He’s also challenged core neocon precepts by heavily criticizing (and lying about his own record in opposing) the Iraq War, and famously mocking Jeb Bush’s contention that his brother George W. “kept us safe.”

    • Ralph Nader and Chris Hedges Breaking Through Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

      “Kshama Sawant and I spoke with Bernie Sanders at an event we did together the night before the climate march,” Hedges said. “We had urged Sanders not to run as a Democrat for precisely the reasons that are now evident. The Democratic Party establishment had fixed the system against him. He did surprisingly well given that they lock out independents, they have superdelegates, Clinton has super PACs.”

    • Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders: Debunking Some Election Fraud Allegations

      But looking at our criteria or factors that may indicate election fraud, there isn’t just a question of substantial-ness. Bernie actually outperformed his expectations from the initial entrance polling by around 6% and by 3% from the pre-election polling. There are mutual allegations of “cheating” coming out of the Polk County convention. You can read an exhaustive blow by blow of it here from a local blogger who has Bernie sympathies but strives to be fair to all. At the end of the day, it seems to me like Americans passionate about politics going a bit overboard.

    • Clinton and the DNC Are Not Just Colluding — They’re Changing the Rules for Superdelegates

      The award for most deliberate and egregious burying of a lead has just been handed out.

      It goes to NBC News, for a story entitled, “Bernie Sanders Makes Things Awkward for Hillary Clinton’s DNC Takeover.”

      Put aside for a moment that the story’s central premise is the uncritical repetition of a nonsense: the idea that a major-party convention can’t — as in literally cannot be — planned without a nominee being declared at least a month and a half in advance. We know that’s untrue because, up until a week ago, that’s exactly what the GOP was (with minimal public grousing by RNC Chair Reince Priebus) planning to do.

    • This Attack on Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Plan is Ridiculous

      The Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center today released analyses of the costs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ domestic policy proposals, including single-payer national health insurance. They claim that Sanders’ proposals would raise the federal deficit by $18 trillion over the next decade.

      We won’t address all of the issues covered in these analyses, just single-payer Medicare for all. To put it bluntly, the estimates (which were prepared by John Holahan and colleagues) are ridiculous. They project outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignore vast savings under single-payer reform, and ignore the extensive and well-documented experience with single-payer systems in other nations – which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.

    • New Polling Shows Sanders, Not Clinton, Most Formidable Against Trump

      As forces in both major parties have begun to mobilize against a Trump presidency, a new national poll out Tuesday reveals the most surefire way to derail the GOP frontrunner: Nominate Bernie Sanders.

      The NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll found that if the 2016 presidential election were held today, 53 to 40 percent of voters would elect Sanders over Donald Trump—which is more than double the margin that Hillary Clinton holds over the presumptive Republican nominee.

      According to the survey, which was conducted online from May 2 through May 8, the former secretary of state also leads Trump, but with a far smaller margin: 49 to 44 percent, with an error estimate of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

      Meanwhile, a separate poll found that in key presidential swing states the anointed nominees are running neck and neck.

      The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday shows Clinton beating Trump by just one point—43 to 42 percent—in both Florida and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, the real estate mogul holds a four-point lead over Clinton, with 43 to 39 percent.

    • Automatic Motor-Voter Registration Now Law in Four States

      In a year when many states are making it harder to vote, some are pushing in the opposite direction.

    • Bernie Sanders Explains to Stephen Colbert How He Can Still Take Out Hillary Clinton

      Bernie Sanders has a response for anyone wondering why he hasn’t dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination: “It is not a lost cause.”

      The Vermont senator shared that message with Stephen Colbert on Monday night, as the Late Show host struggled to get his hands on a much-desired candy bar that got lodged inside a broken vending machine.

      “You can’t give up on that contested confection,” Sanders said, swaying the machine to successfully release the candy bar. “You’ve got to rock the system!”

    • Watch: Bernie Sanders Makes His Case to Colbert in Most Charming Way Possible

      “You’ve got to believe, Stephen. You’ve got to rock the system.”

    • Hillary Clinton Protesters in East L.A. Would Rather ‘Deport Her’ Than Support Her (Multimedia)

      Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in East Los Angeles on Cinco de Mayo, but not everyone in the Mexican-American community welcomed the Democratic presidential candidate.

      Hundreds of protesters (some estimated the count to be as high as 1,000) gathered at Belvedere Park and then marched to East Los Angeles College, two blocks away, where Clinton spoke to supporters at a rally that included an eight-piece mariachi band.

      According to KPCC radio, the demonstration was organized by members of Unión del Barrio, an independent political group that also went to a recent rally for Donald Trump in Costa Mesa, Calif.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Father of Scientology Leader Goes After Inhumanity of the ‘Church’ as Controversy Builds Around His Tell-All Book

      The book’s publication has been met with protest from Scientology and David Miscavige — lawyers have sent letters to the book’s British and American publisher warning of a lawsuit for defamation. A statement from the Church calls the book “a sad exercise in betrayal” and claims that “Ronald Miscavige was nowhere around when David Miscavige ascended to the leadership of the Church of Scientology, mentored by and working directly with the religion’s founder L. Ron Hubbard, and entrusted by him with the future of the Church.”

    • Whistle-Blowers Accuse Facebook of Censorship, Bias

      But it might surprise you to know that Facebook may be deliberately filtering out some kind of stories and boosting others. This week, five former Facebook employees revealed to Gizmodo that they routinely suppressed conservative news. All of the former news curators declined to be named in the report for fear of violating their non-disclosure agreements with the company.


      Though the idea of censorship might rub you the wrong way, many argue that Facebook is a private company that can promote the kind of content it wants. New York University Professor Jay Rosen, the author of PressThink, a blog about journalism in the digital age, weighs in on the debate.

    • Facebook disputes political censorship reports

      Facebook is pushing back on a Gizmodo report Monday that employees in charge of its “trending” bar avoided stories popular among conservatives. The social network didn’t reject the report outright, but said it has guidelines to ensure fairness. “There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or on news outlet over another,” the company said in a statement.

    • Facebook denies censoring conservative stories from trending topics
    • Does Facebook Suppress Conservative News Outlets and Topics?

      Ex-staffers of the social media behemoth claim stories written by and about conservatives are deliberately kept from “Trending.”

    • ‘Blacklisting’ of Right-Wing Stories More Proof that Facebook ‘Rules the News’

      Revelations that Facebook may have regularly “blacklisted” conservative stories from the platform’s “trending” news section was met with outrage on Monday from journalists across the political spectrum who found the company’s alleged abuse of power “disturbing” and potentially dangerous.

      After speaking with several former “news curators,” Gizmodo technology editor Michael Nunez reported Monday that the social media platform routinely censored stories “about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.”

    • New unlimited VPN app for iPhone is designed to bypass censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Korea’s Next Generation

      Street protests throughout the southern tier of Europe – in Greece, in Spain – were also fueled by unemployed youth. In Greece, the unemployment rate for young people peaked at 60 percent in 2013, a time of huge popular unrest. The Spanish rate hit a high of 55 percent in July 2013, also a time of mass protests.

    • What It’s Like To Be A Principal Of Color Dealing With White Parents

      In a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in northwest D.C., a parent attending a school meeting is angry that her child doesn’t have enough time to play at recess. She berates the school principal — a black woman nearly a foot shorter than she is — in front of the other parents, pointing a finger no more than two inches away from her face and shouting, “How do you expect to keep your job?”

    • This Guide Challenges Colleges’ Tendency To Ask Students About Criminal Record

      On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education released a guide for colleges that will help them decide how to ask questions about someone’s criminal justice record — and that raises the issue of whether colleges should be asking for that information at all.

    • #StopTrump Protesters Lock Themselves to Ladders to Block Traffic Outside Trump Rally in Washington

      On Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made his first campaign visit to Washington state, where he addressed thousands of supporters in Spokane and later in Lynden. He decried the loss of manufacturing jobs, and vowed to win Washington state in November. He also warned of the threat posed by Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, outside the rally, dozens of #StopTrump activists blockaded a highway in Lynden as Trump held a rally in the rural community near the Canadian border. Three activists were arrested after they used chains and PVC pipe “lockboxes” to form a human chain across two lanes of traffic. They said their action was a protest against what they described as a campaign rooted in fear and hatred. The protest held up traffic for more than a half-hour, delaying many Trump supporters. Democracy Now! was at the protest.

    • The curse of Brexit: the referendum claims its first scalp, Scottish Labour

      The UK’s 23 June referendum on membership of the EU is a European event and will have ramifications across the continent. Already it has had one clear consequence. The Labour party in Scotland has become the first victim of the Brexit referendum.

    • Brexit bunkum II – the professors and their pamphlet

      The “Economists for Brexit” pamphlet is riddled with nonsense.

    • The Anti-Semite’s Best Friend

      What Montagu and most other Jews feared was that the creation of a Jewish state in a far-flung territory dovetailed a little too neatly with the aspirations of Europe’s anti-Semites, then much in evidence, including in the British government.

      According to the dominant assumptions of Europe’s ethnic nationalisms of the time, the region should be divided into peoples or biological “races”, and each should control a territory in which it could flourish.

      The Jews were viewed as a “problem” because – in addition to lingering Christian anti-semitism – they were considered subversive of this national model.

      Jews were seen as a race apart, one that could not – or should not – be allowed to assimilate. Better, on this view, to encourage their emigration from Europe. For British elites, the Balfour Declaration was a means to achieve that end.

    • Gideon v. Wainwright in the Age of a Public Defense Crisis

      In my recent article in the Columbia Law Review, “What Gideon Did,” I examined the grassroots effects of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark 1963 Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to state-provided counsel in criminal cases. For a number of structural reasons, state-level funding for Gideon’s implementation has proven unpredictable in the best of times, and susceptible to collapse in the worst of times, as defendants in Louisiana can attest. Given this history, Congress should step in to secure the Gideon guarantee with federal funding, so that defenders like Natasha George—and the poor people they serve—are not so vulnerable to the politics of state budgets.

    • This 27-Year-Old Is Going to Prison for Life Because His Fiancée OD’d

      At every level of the criminal justice system, from patrol cops to judges, there’s an increased push for a more humane approach to drug use—treating addiction where it exists instead of shoveling drug users into America’s overcrowded jails and prisons.

      But you can always count on U.S. prosecutors to find some way to exact inhumanely long prison sentences. In several states, prosecutors have begun to charge people who sell or give someone drugs with murder if that person dies.

    • Prosecutor wants jail for Luxleaks whistleblowers

      Luxembourg prosecutors Tuesday asked for 18-month prison sentences for two whistleblowers accused of stealing private financial information in connection with the so-called Luxleaks scandal.

      Concluding a two-week trial, the prosecutors said that whistleblower protections should not apply to two French defendants, Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, both former employees of the audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The prosecutors also recommended a fine for another defendant in the case, French journalist Edouard Perrin.

      The three are on trial over actions that led to the November 2014 Luxleaks media revelations of favorable tax deals that Luxembourg gave to 350 multinational companies, including Amazon, Apple, Ikea and Disney. They are charged with theft and violation of trade secrets.

    • Private Prison CEOs ‘Pleased’ Their Earnings Soared From Keeping Immigrant Kids In Detention

      During separate conference calls to talk about earnings reports, two of the country’s largest for-profit private prisons indicated that they saw their profits soar from holding immigrant mothers and children in detention centers across the country.

      Revenues increased during the first quarter of 2016 for both the Corrections Corp. of America and GEO Group, executives told shareholders on conference calls.

      CCA saw a revenue of $447.4 million, a 5 percent increase from last year’s first quarter. The company’s press release attributed much of that increase to a federal contract with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

    • Student Hit With 70 Criminal Charges After Exposing Himself During Yearbook Photo Shoot

      When will schools tire of involving law enforcement in routine disciplinary matters? Not soon enough, apparently.

      Hunter Osborn, a senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ, did a “teen” thing. Prompted by other teens who enjoy a good bit of teen lowbrow comedy, Osborn slipped the tip of his penis over his waistband during the football team’s photo shoot. Osborn and his crotch-level co-star went unnoticed as yearbooks and game programs containing his exposed penis were published and handed out.

      The school, of course, was furious. Instead of handling its own problems, it decided to turn it over to law enforcement — for reasons only completely understood by school administrators who believe “school discipline” is pronounced “police matter.” Perhaps this overreaction was fueled by the school’s own editorial lapse, as it only noticed the exposed penis in the photograph after Osborn bragged about it on “social media.”

    • Sadiq Khan and Trump: Why KKK Donald’s values are Unacceptable

      The charismatic young mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling out Donald Trump for his bigotry toward Muslims. He says he plans to visit the United States this fall before the presidential election, because in case Trump wins, he won’t be able to.

    • Local funding is not just an option anymore—it’s an imperative

      Most importantly of all, this small but growing field, which emphasizes multi-stakeholder governance and local asset development, and local philanthropy as key to constituency building, has a particular relevance for civil society sectors more generally in the context of shrinking spaces for civil society, the criminalization of activism and the overall reduction of resources in many parts of the world.

    • Somali Reporter Blocked From Entering Courtroom Is The Latest In String Of Incidents In Minneapolis

      Shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, Mukhtar Ibrahim tried to make his way through a security checkpoint and into a federal courtroom in Minneapolis.

      Ibrahim, a Minnesota Public Radio journalist covering the first day of the trial of three Minnesota men accused of plotting to join ISIS, looked on as a white reporter and others make it through the checkpoint without incident. But when he reached the front of the line, a marshal stopped him.

    • Republicans Only Care About Children Before They’re Born

      When it comes to children, Republicans are hypocrites.

      They go on and on about how “pro-life” they are, but they really only care about “humans” before they’re born. After that, they couldn’t care less.

      Case in point: the so-called “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016,” the brainchild of Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita that would decimate a key part of the federal free lunch program.

    • Filipinos Just Elected Rodrigo Duterte, Their Version of Trump, as President

      Despite his fondness for peppering campaign speeches with crude jokes about rape victims and his use of Viagra, the next president of the Philippines will be Rodrigo Duterte, a 71-year-old mayor whose signature policy proposal is a promise to eliminate crime within six months by licensing the police to murder suspects.

    • An Indian teen was raped by her father. Village elders had her whipped.

      The teenage girl, dressed in pink, sits in the dirt before six community elders.

      In a scene captured on a cellphone video, one of the men wags his finger angrily at her. He rages: This girl must be punished.

      A villager ties her waist with rope, holding the other end, and lifts a tree branch into the air. She bows her head. The first lash comes, then another, then another. Ten in all. She lets out a wail.

      Eventually the crowd starts murmuring, “Enough, enough,” although nobody moves to stop the beating. Finally, the man throws down his stick. It’s over.

    • Judge Rejects Attempt To Force Lauri Love To Decrypt His Computers, Despite Never Charging Him With A Crime

      Back in March, we wrote about the troubling situation in the UK, in which the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was trying to force hacker/activist Lauri Love to decrypt his computers, despite never actually charging him with a crime. Back in 2014, US authorities sought to extradite Love for supposedly hacking into government computers. As part of that process, the government took all of his electronics and demanded he turn over his encryption keys. He refused. Under the RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) law in the UK, prosecutors could then charge him for failing to disclose his passwords… but, importantly, they did not do so.

      Last year, the NCA actually returned most of Love’s stuff, but held onto six items: three computers, two hard drives and an SD card. Love sought to get them back, using a civil legal action against the NCA. The NCA then, somewhat ridiculously, sought to use that civil action to again force Love to decrypt the devices it held, in particular asking that he decrypt some TrueCrypt files on the SD card and hard drives. Thankfully, the court has flatly rejected the NCA’s demand, noting that it appeared to be a clear attempt to do an endrun around RIPA, which has a variety of protections.

    • Judge refuses attempt to force alleged hacker Lauri Love to hand over passwords

      The National Crime Agency has lost its attempt to force alleged hacker Lauri Love to hand over the passwords and encryption keys to his seized computers and hard drives.

      In a landmark case, the security service failed to convince the court that it required access to all of the contents on Love’s seized devices. Had the NCA won, it would have created a backdoor into personal encrypted devices for law enforcement.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Immediate action for Human Resource Departments on the Defend Trade Secrets Act [Ed: The government of the corporate empire has new weapon against whistleblowers.]

      Whistle Blower Immunity: The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) amends 18 U.S.C. 1832 to provide limited whistle blower immunity. The headline for the provision is “immunity from liability for confidential disclosure of a trade secret to the government or in a court filing.” Thus, an action that would otherwise count as trade secret misappropriation will be immunized if the disclosure:

      (A) is made (i) in confidence to a Federal, State, or local government official, either directly or indirectly, or to an attorney; and (ii) solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law; or (B) is made in a complaint or other document filed in a lawsuit or other proceeding, if such filing is made under seal.

      The statute is clear that the immunity extends to protect against both state and federal law; both civil and criminal allegations. A statute also (unnecessarily in my view) includes a provision that allows someone “who files a lawsuit for retaliation by an employer for reporting a suspected violation of law” to disclose trade secrets to his attorney and “use the trade secret information in the court proceeding” so long as documents containing the trade secrets are filed under seal and are not disclosed except by court order.

    • Trademarks

      • Wines, spirits, cheese – and less GI infringement please!

        I enjoyed reading the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s report, “Infringement of Protected Geographical Indications for Wine, Spirits, Agricultural Products and Foodstuff in the European Union” last week—in no small part because it addressed some of my favourite things: wine, spirits, and cheese! Of course, not all things are created, or sold, equal. Some of my favourite things (like Scotch Whisky and Parmigiano Reggiano) are protected by Geographical Indications (GIs), a sui generis intellectual property right under EU law, and others are not.

    • Copyrights

      • UK Gov’t Pushing For 10-Year Jail Sentences For Copyright Infringement Based On ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        For many years, we’ve pointed out that so much policymaking around copyright law is what we’d argue to be purely “faith-based.” The fact that there is little to no actual evidence that stronger copyright protections lead to better outcomes for the public, the economy or for society is ignored by people who just know it must be true. And the constant assertions about extending and expanding copyright always seem to come from this same faith-based positioning. An exploration into the empirical basis for copyright law finds that there basically is none and the reason we have copyright is because a couple of centuries ago some people thought it was a good idea, and no one’s really bothered to check since then.

        One of the most ridiculous examples of this “faith-based” reasoning is the belief, among many, that the way to stop widespread copyright infringement is just to increase the punishment for those who are caught. Sure, you can understand the armchair economists’ reasoning here: if you increase the punishment, you’re increasing the “cost,” which should decrease the activity. But, that’s just wrong on many, many levels. First, let’s take a step out of the copyright realm and into the criminal justice realm. After vastly expanding punishment (via things like “three strikes” laws), many, many people (even those who supported such programs) are now admitting that long sentences don’t actually do much to deter crime. While there were some studies in the 80s and 90s suggesting long sentences reduce crime, more recent (and much more thorough) studies have basically rejected that view. A recent survey of many studies in the area found little support for the idea that longer sentences deter criminal activity.

Links 10/5/2016: Zorin OS in Italy, CoreOS Funding

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Ones to watch: Influential women in open source

    Don’t let the technology gender gap fool you; there are many outstanding women in open source. Some founded companies, some are leading major projects and many are among the most interesting and influential figures in the open source world.

    Here, in alphabetical order, are the ones to watch. (This list is ever growing so if you know someone who should be on it, let me know.)

  • What’s New in the First Open Source CUBA Platform Release?

    The major update is the new licensing policy: the main part of the platform is now open source under the Apache 2.0 license, the optional components such as BPM, Charts and Maps, Reporting and Full-Text Search are available by per-developer subscription. The CUBA Studio is free for small projects with up to 10 entities and requires the subscription for bigger projects.

  • Demand for open source talent on the rise

    According to the latest 2016 Open Source Jobs Report, 59 percent of hiring managers will increase the number of open source talent in their organization within the next six months.

  • Announcing The Journal of Open Source Software

    The Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) is a new take on an idea that’s been gaining some traction over the last few years, that is, to publish papers about software.

    On the face of it, writing papers about software is a weird thing to do, especially if there’s a public software repository, documentation and perhaps even a website for users of the software. But writing a papers about software is currently the only sure way for authors to gain career credit as it creates a citable entity1 (a paper) that can be referenced by other authors.

    If an author of research software is interested in writing a paper describing their work then there are a number of journals such as Journal of Open Research Software and SoftwareX dedicated to reviewing such papers. In addition, professional societies such as the American Astronomical Society have explicitly stated that software papers are welcome in their journals. In most cases though, submissions to these journals are full-length papers that conflate two things: 1) A description of the software and 2) Some novel research results generated using the software.

  • Journal of Open Source Software helps researchers write and publish papers on software

    With so many public software repositories and places for documentation, it can be difficult for developers to write and publish credible papers that others can reference. The newly announced Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS) wants to tackle this problem of software papers and help authors gain the credibility they deserve.

  • On Open Source Laws and Licensing
  • Talk about contributing to FLOSS
  • Google Pushes A Ton More Chromebook Device Code Into Coreboot

    Over night Google engineers landed a bunch more code in Coreboot for supporting new Chromebook devices.

    Elm was added as a derivative of Oak. This family is for devices with a MediaTek SoC.

  • The Cloud Foundry Way: Open Source, Pair Programming and Well Defined Processes

    Cloud Foundry is a unique open source software project. Actually, it’s a collection of projects that all together make a product that helps organizations run applications on an industry standard, multi-cloud infrastructure. A whole bunch of developers and product managers, who believe it should be easier to develop, deploy and maintain apps in the enterprise, have gotten together to make this possible. Cloud Foundry helps organizations run applications across languages and clouds.

  • Opening up networks to choice, at last

    To wit, Networks Function Virtualization (NFV) was merely a concept just three years ago. But in those three years, the networking world has seen a remarkable evolution, and choice has never been more available. Software is now king, and its first order of business is to open up the networks and break down the limitations of proprietary and box-centric software to give network operators the opportunity to make the network more flexible through programmability.

  • SDN and NFV for Network Automation – Promises of Network Transformation
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Want the best employees? Let them hire themselves

      Drupal is a mature open source project that a non-profit organization, called the Drupal Association, steers. The project’s use of Gratipay was a skunkworks initiative by two core contributors, who intended to eventually hand the reins to the Association. These two contributors defined criteria for adding and removing others from revenue sharing on Gratipay, and then they recruited fellow Drupal community members to the pilot program. Roughly 200 people were eligible to participate.

      Like most successful open source projects, Drupal already has clearly documented onboarding procedures. Anyone may start contributing to the project, without asking permission or going through a hiring process first. From there, establishing criteria for someone’s work to grant them revenue-sharing privileges is a natural step.


      With Drupal, we caught a glimpse of open source evolving into open hiring. To truly see take-what-you-want compensation in action, we will have to look elsewhere: to Gratipay itself.

  • Microsoft and its proxies

  • Funding


    • Intel’s Clear Linux Distribution Switches Over To GCC 6.1 By Default

      Intel’s Clear Linux operating system is now one of the first to be re-built under GCC 6 with using GCC 6.1 as its default compiler.

      Most distributions won’t be migrating from GCC 5 to GCC 6 until later in the year, but this daily-updating Linux distribution out of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center that continues to be focused on delivering optimized performance has already re-based from GCC 5.3 to GCC 6.1.0.

    • gNewSense 4.0 Promises a Solid Debian-Based Linux OS with 100% Free Software

      The gNewSense 4.0 GNU/Linux operating system has been released at the beginning of the month, and today we take a closer look at its new features and technologies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • What is an open source program office? And why do you need one?

      The open source program office is an essential part of any modern company with a reasonably ambitious plan to influence various sectors of software ecosystems. If a company wants to increase its influence, clarify its open source messaging, maximize the clout of its projects, or increase the efficiency of its product development, a multifaceted approach to open source programs is essential. Having viewed the operations of many such teams, I have summarized six common characteristics of successful open source programs….


      As engineering efforts go, these were smashing successes. Intel’s contributions to Linux and other open source ecosystems are well-known. IBM is still famous for its “$1 Billion investment in Linux” and the “Peace, Love and Linux” marketing campaign, not to mention its own efforts around establishing the Eclipse Foundation and significant contributions to the Apache Software Foundation. Both companies also armed themselves quite well with attorneys who were well-versed in intellectual property law, especially as it pertains to copyright and trademark laws that affect open source software. These efforts paved the way for a wider understanding of IP law in an open source context.

    • Open Data

      • Why open data matters today

        The main factor in any change first begins with observation. The data we collect allows us to analyze complex human patterns and behavior. Without data, there’s nothing to be observed.

        For some time, the government has been gathering large amounts of data. But now, they’re officially making that data accessible to the citizen. When President Obama recently announced the launch of The Opportunity Project, it set off a new initiative that seeks to improve economic mobility for all citizens with the use of digital tools and data sets.

      • What can you do with open data?

        Play a word association game and the word “open” will almost surely be followed by “source.” And open source is certainly an important force for preserving user freedoms and access to computing. However, code isn’t the only form of openness that’s important.

  • Programming/Development

    • What Are Microservices and Why Should You Use Them?

      Traditionally, software developers created large, monolithic applications. The single monolith would encompass all the business activities for a single application. As the requirements of the application grew, so did the monolith.

      In this model, implementing an improved piece of business functionality required developers to make changes within the single application, often with many other developers attempting to make changes to the same single application at the same time. In that environment, developers could easily step on each other’s toes and make conflicting changes that resulted in problems and outages.

    • Progress announces NativeScript 2.0 for native mobile app dev with Angular 2

      Progress announces the latest releast of NativeScript enabling developers to build native mobile apps in JavaScript running on all major mobile platforms.


  • Greece looks to international justice to regain Parthenon marbles from UK

    Greece has not abandoned the idea of resorting to international justice to repatriate the Parthenon marbles and is investigating new ways in which it might bring a claim against the British Museum.

    As campaigners prepare to mark the 200th anniversary of the antiquities’ “captivity” in London, Athens is working at forging alliances that would further empower its longstanding battle to retrieve the sculptures.

    “We are trying to develop alliances which we hope would eventually lead to an international body like the United Nations to come with us against the British Museum,” the country’s culture minister, Aristides Baltas, revealed in an interview.

  • Revenge Porn Creep Kevin Bollaert’s Appeal Underway… And Actually Raises Some Important Issues

    Let’s start with the basics: Kevin Bollaert is a creep who did some really horrible and shady stuff. He was something of a latecomer to the revenge porn space, basically copying a few of the more popular revenge porn sites that came before him in creating “YouGotPosted.” He also copied at least some of the “business model” of Craig Brittain’s “IsAnybodyDown” website, which purported to work with a third party (the fictitious “lawyer” “David Blade III”) who you could pay to take down those naked pictures someone leaked to the site. In the case of YouGotPosted, Bollaert set up a companion website, called ChangeMyReputation, where you could pay and that site would magically get images taken down off YouGotPosted (there is some dispute over how clear it was that the two sites were connected).


    Not surprisingly, California relies heavily on the infamous Rommates.com ruling, a rare case where a service provider lost its safe harbors by having a drop down menu that was seen as asking a discriminatory question about roommate preferences, violating fair housing laws. California is arguing that, by requiring uploaders to post user information, YouGotPosted is similar to Roommates.

  • Science

    • Why It’s Not Academia’s Job to Produce Code That Ships

      At the heart of the frustration is a legitimate accusation*: that academics care more about producing papers than about producing anything immediately (or close to immediately) useful for the real world. I have been hearing some variation of this criticism, from academics as well as industry people, for longer than I have been doing research. But these criticisms are equivalent to saying that TV writers care more about making a good show than being technically realistic. While both are correct observations, they should not be complaints. The real problem here is not that academics don’t care about relevance or that industry does not care about principles, but that there is a mismatch in expectations.

      It makes sense that people expect academic research results to work in companies right away. Research that makes tangible, measurable contributions is often what ends up being most popular with funding sources (including industry), media outlets, and other academics reviewing papers, faculty applications, and promotion cases. As a result, academic researchers are increasingly under pressure to do research that can be described as “realistic” and “practical,” to explicitly make connections between academic work and the real, practical work that goes on in industry.

      In reality, most research–and much of the research worth doing–is far from being immediately practical. For very applied research, the connections are natural and the claims of practicality may be a summer internship or startup away from being true. Everything else is a career bet. Academics bet years, sometimes the entirety, of their careers on visions of what the world will be like in five, ten, twenty years. Many, many academics spend many years doing what others consider “irrelevant,” “crazy,” or “impossible” so that the ideas are ready by the time the time the other factors–physical hardware, society–are in place.

    • China Closes the Innovation Gap

      While the U.S. expands spending on wars and “regime changes” – and slashes its budget for science and infrastructure – China is making different choices, now rapidly closing the gap on scientific innovation, writes John V. Walsh.

    • Watch John Oliver Dismantle the Stupid Way the Media Covers Every Scientific Study

      Does coffee cause cancer—or help prevent it? What about red wine? These are some of the vital questions that scientists have long struggled to answer, with journalists by their side to misreport the findings.

      For the media, scientific studies can be a great source of stories: Someone else does all the work on reaching a conclusion that appears to directly affect something your audience cares about (often their health). What’s more, that conclusion comes with a shiny gloss of indisputable factuality: “This isn’t just some made-up nonsense—it’s science! It must be true.” We’ve all seen how scientific conclusions that were carefully vetted by other scientists can be reduced or distorted beyond recognition for the sake of TV ratings or story clicks. I’m sure I’ve done it myself.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • There Could Be Lead in Your Water at Home. Here’s What You Can Do About It.

      Since news broke of the Flint crisis, lots of readers have asked for tips on how to avoid lead contamination in their own water. And for good reason: Lead pipes and plumbing are still relatively common in America, and water testing for the contaminant is notoriously spotty.

      Until the mid-1900s, lead was a go-to material for plumbing and service lines—the pipes that connect the city’s main pipes to each home. It wasn’t until 1986 that the US Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing the element’s disastrous effects on kids’ brains, mandated that all new lead solder, plumbing, and service lines be “lead-free.” The catch is that the rule didn’t apply to buildings constructed before 1986, and “lead-free” was defined as 8 percent lead until 2014, when a new policy kicked in that lowered that number to 0.25 percent.

      Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, utilities are supposed to test water for lead each year—and if more than 10 percent of homes have higher levels than the federal standard of 15 parts per billion, utilities have to notify customers and take action. But until this February, when the EPA clarified its policy, many utilities had protocols in place that misrepresented the results, says Erik Olson, a senior director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some avoided testing older homes that likely had lead plumbing or discounted high results that skewed the average. Some would tell customers to flush out the water, releasing particulate contamination before the sample was taken. Some collected water in sample bottles with narrow tops; when the sample is collected at a trickle, it is less likely to carry particulates with it. In response to the crisis in Flint, the EPA clarified its water testing protocols in February, though the guidance is not legally binding.

    • People may be breathing in microplastics, health expert warns

      Environmental health professor says microparticles of plastic, known to damage marine life, could be entering the air

    • White Americans Are Dying Younger as Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rises [Ed: older]

      Life expectancy declined slightly for white Americans in 2014, according to new federal data, a troubling sign that distress among younger and middle-age whites who are dying at ever-higher rates from drug overdoses is lowering average life spans for the white population as a whole.

      The new federal data, drawn from all deaths recorded in the country in 2014, showed that life expectancy for whites dropped to 78.8 years in 2014 from 78.9 in 2013. Men and women had declines, but because of statistical rounding, the decline did not appear as sharp among men.

      Life expectancy for women fell to 81.1 in 2014 from 81.2 in 2013. The average life span for men also fell, but not enough to sink below 76.5 years, their life expectancy in 2013.

      “The increase in death in this segment of the population was great enough to affect life expectancy at birth for the whole group,” said Elizabeth Arias, the statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics who analyzed the data, referring to whites from their mid-20s to their mid-50s. “That is very unusual.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why study the ‘bad guys’?

      Researchers have historically avoided getting up close and personal with ‘bad guys’ such as warlords or criminals. This aversion is not particularly surprising. Fieldwork in difficult and dangerous locations is challenging from both methodological and ethical perspectives. Yet face-to-face research with ‘bad guys’ is important if we want to understand the root causes of major social and political problems. In order to understand how injustice is produced and experienced by individuals, we have to take seriously the perpetrators of violence from a methodological standpoint.

    • Toddlers Have Already Shot 23 People This Year And It’s Only May

      According to a report via the Washington Post, American children aged three and under have shot at least 23 people in 2016 which is a five person increase since last year. In an analysis from October 2015 conducted by reporter Christopher Ingraham, the nation’s toddlers were shooting people at an average rate of one per week. These numbers are most likely on the low side, too. While sometimes it certainly feels like every week brings another story of a child stumbling upon a gun and shooting another person, consider the fact that the stories that get the press are the ones in which the victims suffer grievous harm. That means that toddlers have shot 23 people this year…that we know about.

    • Toddlers have shot at least 23 people this year

      This past week, a Milwaukee toddler fatally shot his mother after finding a handgun in the back seat of the car they were riding in. The case drew a lot of national attention given the unusual circumstances: Little kids rarely kill people, intentionally or not.

    • Cuba Will not Fall!

      I am not sure who has invented those rumors that Cuba is now facing a mortal danger, that it has lost its bearings, and that it could collapse at any moment, after just one lethal visit by US President Barack Obama. The rumors and speculations are snowballing, and in some circles of the North American and European Left, they are already being confused with reality.

    • How war trauma is passed down through families

      After VE Day, a look at how trauma can transcend generations, and the need for peacebuilding work to overcome the consequences of conflict.

    • Neo-fascists, racists, and misogynistic people are finding new voice with Donald Trump’s presidential bid
    • Voting for Empire is the Sole Option for Democrats and Republicans

      The presidential primaries offer a single choice for both Democrats and Republicans to vote for empire and permanent war. This year’s entertainment spectacle, what we call democratic elections, is a particularly gross circus of meaninglessness, misinformation, sound bites, and lies. Both parties are in support in the continuation of the US/NATO global empire of permanent war and the protection of the capital of the global 1%. Even Bernie Sanders calls for drone strikes and continued war on Isis and other evil terrorists.

      Neo-fascists, racists, and misogynistic people are finding new voice with Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Neo-conservatives and fundamentalists found hope with Ted Cruz. Moderates, liberals and women see Hillary Clinton as a chance for Supreme Court balance and gender equality, and left-leaning liberals are cheering for democratic socialist Sanders to save our economy by breaking up big banks and restoring trust in government.

    • Sufi preacher latest victim of Bangladesh killing spree

      A 65-year-old Muslim Sufi preacher was hacked to death by unidentified machete-wielding assailants in northwest Bangladesh, two weeks after a liberal university professor was killed in a similar attack claimed by the dreaded ISIS.

      Shahidullah was found dead with gashes on the right shoulder and a slit throat in a mango orchard in Rajshahi city’s Tanor upazila, in an attack that bears the hallmark of previous murders of intellectuals, bloggers and minorities by Islamists in the country.

    • Pakistani activist murdered after praising London for electing first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan

      A Pakistani activist has been murdered by gunmen hours after hailing Londoners for electing Sadiq Khan as the new mayor of the city.

      Khurram Zaki, a former journalist and activist, was shot and killed by gunmen riding motorcycles in the southern port city of Karachi, according to Pakistani police officer Muqaddas Haider.

    • Seven people shot dead as polls open in the Philippines

      Seven people were shot dead and another was wounded when a convoy of vehicles was ambushed in the Philippines Monday just hours before polls opened for national elections, police said.

    • The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Prison

      Having returned from his cherry picking expedition with a basket full of rocks, Ferguson told us of the structural violence to which Kissinger has been subject at the hands of “the conspiracy theorists of the left.” “In his People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn argues that Kissinger’s policies in Chile were intended at least in part to serve the economic interests of International Telephone and Telegraph,” Ferguson writes. As we saw last time, Zinn argued nothing of the sort — and neither did the section of the Senate committee report that Zinn had actually been closely paraphrasing, which merely provides examples of ITT’s involvement without making any suppositions about anyone’s motivations whatsoever. This didn’t stop Ferguson from rather weirdly going on to denounce Zinn’s dry restatement of the Church Committee’s findings as numbering among the “diatribes” in which Zinn and his ilk provide “gratuitous insults” against Kissinger “in place of evidence;” the “insult” in question turned out to have been made years later, in another book. Then he did some other odd and dishonest things as well, all in the space of a single paragraph. Go back and read the full account if you haven’t already; I’ll be sitting here worrying about the New Republic, for without TNR, where will our nation’s center-left hawks hammer out dynamic new solutions to the Arab Question?

    • Kenya To Close Refugee Camps Citing Economic Issues And Fear Of Terrorism

      The Kenyan government announced plans last week to shut down all its refugee camps — including the world’s largest camp — in a decision that will affect more than 600,000 people already displaced by famine and war.

      The move will affect two major camps in Kakuma and Dadaab. The Kakuma camp holds about 190,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan. The camps in Dadaab hold around 300,000 people, primarily Somali refugees fleeing from Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents in their war-torn country.

    • Turkey: Border Guards Kill and Injure Asylum Seekers

      Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Turkish authorities should stop pushing Syrian asylum seekers back at the border and should investigate all use of excessive force by border guards.

    • German kills one in ‘Islamist motivated’ knife attack

      A man killed one person and wounded three others in a knife attack at a German railway station Tuesday that prosecutors said had “an apparent Islamist motive”.

      It is Germany’s third knife attack with an apparent Islamist motivation since September.

      Police said they had arrested a 27-year-old German man who had slashed four people around 5 am (0300 GMT) at the station in the small town of Grafing, east of Munich.

      One of the victims, a 50-year-old man, later died of his wounds in hospital, said Ken Heidenreich, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

      The others wounded were men aged 43, 55 and 58, Heidenreich said.

      “Around 5 am this morning a 27-year-old German attacked four people with a knife,” Heidenreich told AFP.

    • Man held after Germany knife attacks

      A knife man’s been arrested after a rampage at a train station in Germany that’s left at least one dead and wounded others. Paul Chapman reports.

    • Mock terror attack: ‘Suicide bomb’ at Trafford Centre

      A mock terror attack, featuring a bomber simulating killing and injuring shoppers, has been staged at one of England’s largest shopping centres.

      It was part of a terrorism training exercise at the Trafford Centre, Greater Manchester overnight to test the emergency response to an attack.

    • Dramatic pictures of anti-terror exercise at Trafford Centre

      Emergency services have been taking part in a major anti-terror exercise overnight at the Trafford Centre.

      Armed with machine guns, officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit are testing their response to a potential attack.

      Around 800 people will take part in the exercise which continues tonight and ends at a disused community home in Newton le Willows.

    • How Schooling Leads to War

      How did we become so manipulable and herd-like? So easily spooked into hysterical stampedes? So docile and ready to be driven by our government herders over the precipice of war?

    • America’s Two-Faced Policy on Iran

      The Obama administration seeks to demonize Iran — along with Russia and China — while also demanding their help in areas of U.S. interest, an approach that is both disingenuous and dangerous, as British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

    • A Gift of Culture to Battered Palmyra

      Even those with a limited knowledge of Russia may be credited with having heard of St. Petersburg being called the Venice of the North. This is a title it must share with a variety of other claimants famed for their canals, such as Bruges in Belgium, although St. Petersburg has more justification than competing cities given its common architectural roots with the Venice of the South, namely the leading Eighteenth Century Italian architects who contributed greatly to forming its appearance.

    • The World Through Trump’s Eyes

      With his proposals for a registry of Muslims, a ban on their entry into the country, building a wall to prevent illegal immigration, and the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, Donald Trump, if he were elected president, might trend the country domestically toward fascism. (His election is possible but still unlikely, because the Democrats have an intrinsic advantage on the electoral college map, and President Obama’s approval rating has begun to exceed fifty percent, traditionally a key determiner for the outcome of the election of a president’s successor.) But what would the world look like if Donald Trump actually became president?

    • Trump’s empty administration

      As presumptive nominee takes first steps on transition, GOP policy veterans say they’re not interested.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Top palm oil producer sues green group over deforestation allegations

      One of the world’s largest palm oil producers is suing the green body that suspended its sustainability certification last month because of allegations it had deforested Indonesian rainforests.

      The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a body set up by industry and NGOs to address environmental concerns about the commodity’s production, confirmed it had been served with a lawsuit by the Malaysian palm giant, IOI.

    • In Wake of Cáceres Murder, Dam Funders Pull Out—But Repression Continues

      One day after a Honduran judge charged four suspects in the murder of renowned activist Berta Cáceres—including one executive of the Honduran company DESA, a developer of the Agua Zarca dam Cáceres opposed so passionately—European financiers said they “seek to exit” the controversial project that likely got her killed.

      According to Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), the European development banks FMO and FinnFund said Monday that they “will organize a mission to Honduras, to take place as soon as possible, comprised of independent experts, to develop a strategy for exiting the project.”

      In the wake of Cáceres’ March 3rd assassination, both FMO and FinnFund temporarily suspended all disbursements towards the Agua Zarca project, located in Western Honduras. Prior to the killing, COPINH, the Indigenous rights group Cáceres co-founded, had “repeatedly contacted” both institutions, “insisting that they should not fund the Agua Zarca project, as the project sponsor had not obtained the required free, prior, informed consent of the indigenous Lenca people, and because land titles had not been properly obtained,” FOEI notes.

    • The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables

      On Sunday, for a brief, shining moment, renewable power output in Germany reached 90 percent of the country’s total electricity demand.

      That’s a big deal. On May 8th, at 11 a.m. local time, the total output of German solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass reached 55 gigawatts (GW), just short of the 58 GW consumed by every light bulb, washing machine, water heater and personal computer humming away on Sunday morning. See the graph below, courtesy Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank. (It’s important to note that most likely, not all of that 55 GW could be used at the time it was generated due to system and grid limitations, but it’s still noteworthy that this quantity of power was produced.)

    • India Seeks to Shut 12% of Power Capacity in Anti-Pollution Move

      India plans to shut aging coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 37 gigawatts to cut emissions and reduce the use of fuel and water.

      The plants are more than 25 years old and have turned uneconomical, said S.D. Dubey, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority, the planning wing of the country’s power ministry. They will be replaced by super-critical units, which are more efficient, at the same sites, he said, without giving a timeline.

    • India Wants To Kick Its Dirty Coal Habit
    • Exclusive: Emails Reveal Navy’s Intent to Break Law, Threatening Endangered Wildlife

      When it comes to getting its way with war-gaming in the Pacific Northwest, nobody is better at the concept of “distributed lethality” than the US Navy. In 2015, the Navy introduced this concept “that promised to add more fire power to all manner of Navy vessels and operate them in a way that would spread thin enemy defenses.” The Navy seems determined to move forward with planned military activities like increasing jet dogfighting, electromagnetic warfare training and other actions, regardless of how many animals it kills. Internal emails show how the Navy has been working to manipulate the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologists into bending the law, then proceeded to break the law, whilst the consultations between the two entities are ongoing.

    • Why Predator-Friendly Beef Isn’t So Friendly, After All

      While non-lethal means of protecting livestock are desirable, one should never conclude that this makes livestock production “predator friendly.” It’s like suggesting that electronic cigarettes are “safer” than smoking a regular cigarette. The best thing that anyone can do who wants to help predators, the environment ,as well as their personal health, is to eat less meat.

    • Break Free or Burn in Hell: a Message From the Canadian Tar Sands

      Some time ago, the environmentalist “Break Free” movement planned a number of protest actions around the world during the first two weeks of May. The protests have a simple and basic message: burning fossil fuels is unsafe and those resources must be left in the ground.

    • Tar-ma is a Bitch!: the Real Tragedy of Fort McMurray

      The myth then perpetuated by the government was that the Tar Sands could undergo “reclamation” whereby the land is dug up after the oil is extracted and then to be returned to its original state. No mention was made of the strip mines and tailings ponds that are, in reality, left behind. No mention is made of the damage caused in detail by these tar sands which is a constant toxic pollution which functions as a very slow-motion oil spill affecting the region’s rivers and ground water (experts estimate that this could be far worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill); those people living downstream (notably First Nations) have already chronicled the deformations of pickerel and walleye in Lake Athabasca, game animals and fish have being found covered with tumours and mutations and since the early naughts, there has been observed in humans cancers and autoimmune diseases in Fort Chipewyan.

    • Wildfire: Syrian Refugees in Canada Donating to help climate Refugees

      Syrian refugees in Canada are using Facebook and web sites to raise donations for climate refugees from the massive tar sands fire that has destroyed much of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people living in the city and its surroundings.

      The worst fire disaster in the North American west coast in a century is expected to become even bigger in coming days, fanned by heavy winds. It will threaten further communities.

    • Will Climate Change make the Mideast Uninhabitable & trigger mass exodus?

      Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute and their scientific partners have found that even with just a 3.6 degree average rise in global temperatures, parts of the Middle East could become too hot to live in.

      Warming won’t be even around the world. Some places will warm more and faster than others. The Middle East is such a place. Summer temperatures are expected to increase twice as fast as the world average.

    • Rural Paraguayans fight for land amid corruption, poverty and violence

      This fight centres on land ownership. According to a 2008 census, 1.6% of Paraguay’s population controls 80% of its agricultural land. At the same time, 300,000 family ‘farmers’ live without access to any land at all. This shapes a situation in which a third of the rural population lives in extreme poverty.

      Such inequity is a legacy of the country’s long years of dictatorship. During his 35-year rule, General Stroessner tortured his opponents in bathtubs, threw them out of planes, or parcelled them in barbed wire before dumping their bodies in the River Paraguay.

      As part of the clientilist networks through which he maintained power, Stroessner divided public land among the country’s military and political elite. 10 million hectares – 25% of all the land in Paraguay – were given away or sold at negligible price

    • These States Don’t Want You to Get Solar Power

      A lot has been said already about the success of the states that are leading the adoption of solar energy. There’s plenty to celebrate, as solar installations smash records and as the industry grows 12 times faster than the U.S. economy. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that many people live in places where the government is either not facilitating a solar market or is actively smothering it.

    • Indigenous leaders from three continents are touring Europe begging people to boycott palm oil

      Willian Aljure bangs his hand on the table. He’s speaking in Spanish, trying desperately to make a roomful of quiet, laptop-focused London journalists absorb his point:

      “It cannot be a coincidence,” he says, anger rising in his voice, “that four countries are talking about the same damage.”

      Aljure represents indigenous communities in Colombia that he says have been decimated, their lands grabbed and their forests cut down, by large agribusiness operations planting biofuels and palm oil. Nine members of his family have died as a result of the companies’ aggression and destruction, Aljure says, and the last was his mother. His voice cracks. He passes the mic, drinks from a glass of water, and covers his eyes.

      On his right are community leaders from Indonesia. On his left, representatives from Peru and Liberia. All have similar stories.

      So far, so painfully familiar.

    • WWF seal cam draws 225K watchers

      The World Wide Fund for Nature began streaming live video of a rock in Saimaa lake known to be a favourite spot for the ultra-rare Saimaa ringed seal. More than 200,000 viewers have tuned into the new service and been treated to live footage of the animal.

    • Sea Level Rise Is Here, And Is Gobbling Up Islands

      Sea level rise isn’t a distant threat: It’s already swallowing islands, according to a recent study.

      The study, published Friday, found that sea level rise and coastal erosion has caused five low-lying coral atolls in the Solomon Islands to disappear into the ocean. These islands were vegetated — once densely-so, the Washington Post reports, with palms, oaks, mangroves, and other trees — but weren’t populated.

  • Finance

    • Newspaper chain sending IT jobs overseas

      The McClatchy Company, which operates a major chain of newspapers in the U.S., is moving IT work overseas.

      The number of affected jobs, based on employee estimates, range from 120 to 150.

      The chain owns about 30 newspapers, including The Sacramento Bee, where McClatchy is based; The Fresno Bee, The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., The State in Columbia, S.C. and the Miami Herald.

      In March, McClatchy IT employees were told that the company had signed a contract with Wipro, an India-based IT services provider.

    • Microsoft Revenue Quietly Surpasses $1 Trillion [Ed: while evading tax]

      As Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat expressed shock that Boeing’s tax breaks saved it $304 million last year, I noted that the legislature’s actions here are saving Microsoft approximately $776 million in 2016 (I’ve been reporting on Microsoft’s Nevada-based tax dodge since 2004.)

      According to my data, Apple surpassed $1 trillion in revenue 2015 but selling pricier hardware has given it a historical advantage. Still, Apple’s cumulatively earned only $261.6 billion in profit to Microsoft’s $265.2 billion. Google’s earned $96.3 billion cumulatively.

    • Trump Completely Contradicts Himself On Taxes For The Wealthy In Two Interviews Hours Apart

      Within hours, Republican presidential candidate and presumptive nominee Donald Trump took two very different stances on taxes for the wealthy.

      On Sunday, speaking with ABC’s “This Week,” Trump insisted that although analyses show that the detailed tax plan he released earlier in the campaign cycle would give the wealthy an enormous tax break, overwhelming the relief he would give to the poor and middle class, that that’s not what the final outcome will be. Instead, he insisted, the rich will pay more in taxes under President Trump.

      “They will go up a little bit,” he said of the taxes paid by the wealthy. “In my plan they’re going down, but by the time it’s negotiated they’ll go up.”

      When host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that is a different position than outlined in his plan, he responded, “It’s not a change, George. It’s a negotiation,” adding, “If I could get my plan approved the way it is now I’d be very happy. But it’s not going to happen… By the time it gets negotiated it’s going to be a different plan.” His plan is “just a concept,” he said. “We’re putting in policy. We’re putting in a statement. It’s just a concept.”

    • Yes, Voters Really Are Angry and Anxious About the Unfairness of the Economy

      There is a growing amount of contrarian analysis these days suggesting that Americans really aren’t so angry about the economy after all, that what appears to be economic populism is really just a cover for racism, sexism or other cultural issues, and that ultimately the only thing the majority of voters really want is a stable technocrat who will keep the good times rolling while fixing some social issues. Some of my colleagues have written pieces in this vein, including Nancy LeTourneau yesterday, and Harold Pollack in March. Washington Monthly alum Kevin Drum hammers away at this theme again and again. John Sides at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage uses consumer index statistics to argue that Americans are really happier about the economy than they’ve been since “Morning in America,” which in turn was picked up by Matt Yglesias at Vox.

    • Scientology leader’s father slams son as ‘military strongman’ living large while followers slave away [Ed: Ponzi scheme dressed up as "religion" to dodge law]

      The father of the leader of the Church of Scientology ripped into his own son for living high on the hog while followers of the cult-like religion eke out a meager existence, often giving back their earnings to buy presents for the church leader.

    • So Sue Them: What We’ve Learned About the Debt Collection Lawsuit Machine

      ProPublica spent years gathering data to shed light on how debt collectors use the courts. Today, we run through the most important lessons we learned about a tactic that affects millions.

    • Puerto Rico Has Become America’s Version of Greece

      Puerto Rico has now firmly established itself as America’s analogue to Greece. To get back to fiscal sanity, Puerto Rico is going to need some combination of debt forgiveness, political reform, and privatization. Congress may be in a position to help, but it will have to face down powerful special interests to do so.

      After missing relatively small bond payments last August and this January, Puerto Rico’s public sector defaulted on at least $367 million of principal due May 1. As a consolation, investors did receive $9 million in interest from the defaulting entity, Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank.

      The fact that Puerto Rico even has a Government Development Bank should raise an eyebrow. State-owned banks are not a major feature of the mainland US economy, perhaps because failures of state banks contributed to a number of state bond defaults in the 1840s. Since the US didn’t take over Puerto Rico until 1898, the island was not around to learn that lesson. The GDB is one of over fifty public corporations dominating Puerto Rico’s economy. Others control the island’s electricity, water, and sewer services.

    • Protests Threaten Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal

      An unprecedented protest movement of a scope not seen since the Iraq war in Germany has pushed negotiations over the TTIP trans-Atlantic free trade agreement to the brink of collapse. The demonstrations are characterized by a level of professionalism not previously seen.

    • Ireland’s tax arrangements are as clear as a pint of Guinness

      Ireland has repeatedly been in the spotlight for its favourable and controversial tax incentives – which have attracted numerous large tech companies to its shores.

      However, the country has also been accused of being less than transparent in some of its tax arrangements.

      The European Commission is currently investigating the emerald isle over allegations it cut a sweetheart deal with Apple, claiming the arrangement amounts to “state aid”. The investigation, which began in June 2014, was expected to conclude earlier this year. The commission said it is waiting for Ireland to submit further information.

    • The Collapse of the Middle-Class Job

      Our middle-income jobs are disappearing. That fact may be disputed by free-market advocates, who want to believe Barack Obama when he gushes, “We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history.”

      But the evidence shows that living-wage, family-sustaining positions are quickly being replaced by lower-wage and less secure forms of employment. These plentiful low-level jobs have padded the unemployment figures, leaving much of America believing in an overhyped recovery.

    • Wall Street Donors Flocking to Clinton

      Now that Donald Trump has secured his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, Wall Street donors are fleeing the party and throwing their support behind Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

      A Wall Street Journal analysis published late Sunday found that the former secretary of state “has raised $4.2 million in total from Wall Street, $344,000 of which was contributed in March alone.”

      In fact, Clinton has seen a surge in financial sector donations since business-friendly Republican candidates—namely former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—dropped out of the race. According to the newspaper’s reporting on fundraising data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics, “the former secretary of state received 53 percent of the donations from Wall Street in March, up from 32 percent last year and 33 percent in January through February, as the nominating contests began.”

      WSJ notes that “Trump, by contrast, hasn’t garnered more than 1 percent of Wall Street contributions in any month through March,” although the New York billionaire is expected to be much more active in soliciting donations for the general election.

      The report further cites an analysis by the nonpartisan crowdfunding resource Crowdpac, which found that “more than 500 donors, including many Wall Street executives, who gave more than $200 to a Republican who later dropped out, including Messrs. Bush and Rubio, have since given to Mrs. Clinton,” WSJ wrote.

    • Sue your bank! Why it’s better to go to court than to arbitrate in the long run

      In plain English, that means you’re losing your right to join together with other bank customers who have been hit by the same kind of fees and push back against the policy in a class-action lawsuit. A lawyer isn’t likely to represent just you – unless you’re really wealthy, in which case, the bank probably would be waiving all those fees anyway, right?

    • Clinton Campaign to Republican Donors: Hillary Shares Your Values

      Late last week, Politico reported that Clinton operatives have initiated efforts to “peel off establishment Republicans who might otherwise grudgingly support Trump,” demonstrating their eagerness to win over big money donors previously wedded to the conservative establishment.

      Specifically, Clinton supporters have been targeting the donor base of Jeb Bush, whose main super PAC raised a striking $121 million, much of it before the race for the Republican nomination began to heat up. We know how that ended.

      But the Clinton camp sees opportunity lying in the rubble of the former Florida governor’s failed campaign.

    • Trump Picks Former Goldman Partner And Soros Employee As Finance Chairman

      In an oddly ironic twist, today Donald Trump announced that he has picked as chairman of his newly launched fundraising operation none other than a former employee of the bank he has repeatedly criticized in the past, and which he used as a foil to criticize Ted Cruz: Goldman Sachs.

    • Trump Sells Out

      Jameson’s thesis and the antithesis in Trump demonstrate hypotheticals that can give one a moment for contemplation. Our political discourse has moved in a phenomenal direction over the past eight years. When Obama came around, calling him a socialist was a slur, now most mainstream voters born after the end of the Vietnam War who remember the end of the USSR as a childhood news item are willing to describe their politics as social democratic. Mainstream Republicans like Matalin are now embracing an isolationist platform. The collapse of these insurgent populist candidacies could give the opening for a midterm election wherein Greens and Libertarians would have an honest shot at Congress, though I think the Libertarians are for too trusting of Gary Johnson. Nevertheless, the Vote Pact Sam Husseini advocates for is a step towards a true parliamentary order.

    • LuxLeaks court case against two whistleblowers and a journalist

      As Luxembourg strives to mend its tarnished image with a ‘Nation Branding’ scheme, a lawsuit against two whistleblowers and a journalist puts the small country back into the international spotlight.

    • Panama Papers Goes Live with Searchable Database of Tax Evaders

      It also follows the publication of a manifesto last week written by the whistleblower, who still goes by the anonymous name John Doe, which slammed “America’s broken campaign finance system” and denounced capitalism as “financial slavery.”

    • Panama Papers database dump reveals 200,000 secret offshore account details

      The “Panama Papers” database went live on Monday – the largest ever release of secret offshore companies and the people behind them.

      The data, collated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States.

    • Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership Turn Silicon Valley Into Detroit?

      The proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) like to describe it as a free-trade deal for the 21st century. That might be a good sales pitch, but it’s not accurate. The TPP has little to with reducing trade barriers, which in most cases were already low. The TPP can more accurately be described as a piñata that is chock full of special deals for the corporate interests who negotiated it. It will likely do more to impede trade than promote it, and in the process it creates rules that potentially override democratic decision-making at all levels of government.

    • A Reality Check for ‘Charter School Week’

      For education observers in the U.S., every week seems like Charter School Week. As billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and others put millions of dollars per year into a “reform” movement that undermines and supplants truly public education, the government diverts more and more of taxpayer money to charters and other variations of “choice.”

    • Putinism won’t end with a bang, but a warrant

      New charges concerning several leading Russian officials reveal the greatest threat to the Kremlin’s hold on power — elite corruption.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary is Trump’s dream opponent: Clinton is exactly the “limousine liberal” his coalition distrusts the most

      Two images have electrified American politics for the last half century. One is quintessentially sophisticated, goes about in bespoke clothing, and comes equipped with the most imposing social credentials of fame, fortune, higher learning and prestige. The other is lacking in all that, dresses in non-designer jeans and polyester, is of modest means, employment, and education, and flies well beneath the radars of social visibility. Both images were invented at more or less the same moment. Both were strategically deployed by political elites running the Republican Party to vanquish their Democratic Party foes. However, those creatures have now turned on their creators. The Grand Old Party is in shambles as a result.

    • Hillary Clinton Versus Bernie Sanders: Taking Election Fraud Allegations Seriously (Part 1)

      Joshua Holland’s editor at The Nation apparently did not think much of his work to debunk election fraud allegations in the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Instead, Holland put the half-baked column out at Raw Story after giving a softball interview, replete with a textbook example of circular reasoning, to the sole exit pollster for this election cycle. As with his since debunked debunking of a federally coordinated crackdown on the Occupy movement, Holland afterward went on his merry mocking way. Here, even though he acknowledged that he’d been alerted by dozens, if not hundreds of people, that a citizens group gave sworn testimony to irregularities in Chicago’s audit of electronically cast ballots between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Holland did not bother with so much as a phone call to Chicago’s Board of Elections to ask about those allegations.

    • Why I’m out at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

      In the five months since the Las Vegas Review-Journal was sold to the family of Sheldon Adelson for an obscene amount of money, I’ve watched my colleagues put their jobs on the line time and again in the name of journalistic integrity.

    • Trump Says He Likes Bernie’s Ideas, but Hillary Appears to be Running Away From Them

      Donald Trump has made it clear that he’s paying attention to Bernie Sanders’ sharpest critiques of Hillary Clinton and plans to use them if she’s the nominee—just as he has mimicked other Sanders stances. So why isn’t Hillary embracing Bernie’s best ideas?

      That question came into sharper relief in this past week, after Trump secured the GOP nomination after Indiana’s primary and Sanders upset Clinton and pledged to keep running despite her large lead in delegates. With the prospect that Clinton will be attacked by both Trump and Sanders as the primary season continues, one wonders why she is not doing more to embrace his best ideas.

    • On World Stage, Clinton and Trump Present Different, but Serious, Dangers

      The best that can be said of this political season is that the fixed framework of American politics appears to be fracturing. This will be a fine thing if it proves to be so, and I view this development as especially important in its medium-term potential on the foreign policy side. The question is whether things will truly fall apart, or at least begin to do so. Two policies hang in the balance above all others—the relationship with Israel and our fomented confrontation with Russia—and I will return to them.

    • The Left Is Winning the Debate Around the World: So Now What?

      Nobody—least of all Corbyn—assumed that he would win the debate, let alone the election, with one of the largest majorities of any Labour leader.

    • Donald Trump is Destroying My Mind

      The thugs with whom Trump has increasingly surrounded himself ought to be the cause of major concern and investigation. Forget Cory Lewandowski, whose lashing out at people (physically, not only rhetorically) is a concrete extension of Trump’s statements at that protestors at his rallies ought to be thrown out or roughed up, rather than escorted out of these events without bodily harm. Since Trump has proposed the hit-them-back method numerous times, is that how he will treat people who oppose his agenda should he become President? That used to be known as “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” which is frightening as hell. Yet Lewandowski pales in the face of Paul Manafort, who has propped up some of the vilest Eastern European dictators of our time with dirty tricks and false information. Shouldn’t we all cringe now that Trump has been provided with Secret Service information and that highly secure information may be shared with Manafort?

    • The Distortion of American Politics

      Consequently, it must have come as an unpleasant shock to the Times Union’s editors when, in the April 19 New York State Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders emerged victorious not only in the city of Albany, but in the entire capital region. Indeed, Sanders garnered 53.3 percent of the Democratic vote in New York’s 20th Congressional district (an area comprising all of Albany and Schenectady Counties, as well as portions of Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Montgomery Counties). Having defeated Hillary Clinton by a healthy margin of almost seven percent, Sanders won four out of the seven delegates allocated to the district by the New York State Democratic Party. The outcome of the race was a reversal of the results in the 2008 Democratic primary, when Clinton handily defeated Barack Obama in the capital region.

    • Ian Warren, the Nuneaton Charlatan, or How to Fabricate Front Page News

      Firstly, the whole sample is 16 people. That is right, 16 people. They are supposed all to be ex-Labour, though there is little evidence of that in the transcripts. What is not in dispute is that they are all Tory voters.

      So you have 16 Tory voters, in two groups male and female. But out of 16 people there is not one retired person. Not one young voter. Not one person unemployed. And every single one is in a nuclear heterosexual relationship with children. Every single one is a homeowner.

      Furthermore their sources of information are (by order most mentioned) the Daily Mail, Sky, the BBC and the Sun. Only one out of 16 mentions the internet as a source of political information.

      People who voted Tory constitute already just 24% of the general population. Exclude retired, tenants, single, childless, gay, young and internet savvy people as well, and you get down to a deliberately chosen 5% of the population from which to choose your sample. You then get these 16 carefully chosen, blinkered right wing bigots into a room. Nevertheless something still goes wrong for your research. Two of the 16 (in the female group) state a firm intention to vote Labour next time (while a larger number state they would consider it).

    • The Need for Progressive Voices

      Changing the corporate media for the better is easier than you think.

    • Why are Russia’s journalists so prone to conspiracy theory?

      “A coincidence? I don’t think so!” – the calling-card response of Dmitry Kiselyov, host of Russia’s prime-time news show and director of Russia Today, has long become a conspiracy meme on the Russian internet. It also reflects the rise of conspiracy theory in Russian media.

      Nowadays, Russian state television channels frequently expose the “criminal” activities of domestic NGOs, the “foreign agents” working to subvert the Russian state. Prominent anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny is declared to be agent of all western security services. Russia, it seems, is being forced to defend itself from the “information war” unleashed by Washington and Brussels. Talk shows and news bulletins constantly rotate a cast of experts who explain, their voices faltering with emotion, how the US is secretly controlling the world.

    • This Election Inspired a John Grisham Novel. Now It Just Got Even Weirder.

      “If Don Blankenship drops $3 million into an election years ago with a shadow group called And for the Sake of the Kids,” says Bailey, the plaintiff’s attorney, “and [now] the Chamber and the Republican Party drop in $2 million on a nonpartisan, one-shot primary type deal, you tell me what improvement we’ve had.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In Syria’s rebel areas, journalists complain of new censorship

      Journalists in Syria’s opposition or rebel-held areas say they are being censored and violently intimidated, sometimes as badly as under the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

      Many Syrians in these areas where the government has been cast out had hoped the Syrian uprising would bring all sorts of freedoms, including press freedoms. However, those hopes have been dealt a severe blow over the past several years.

    • European Parliament Orders MEP To Take Down A Video About His Attempt To Visit The ‘Reading Room’ For Trade Documents

      We’ve written many times about the insane levels of secrecy around various trade agreements, including the TTIP agreement that is being worked on between the EU and the US. Basically, everything gets negotiated behind closed doors — though certain lobbyists get full access — and then it will be presented as a final document when it’s too late for the public to actually weigh in. It’s the ultimate in corrupt processes. In the past the USTR has admitted that it demands such secrecy because if it had to reveal its positions publicly, the public wouldn’t support the agreement. In the US this has led to ridiculous situations like such as when Senator Ron Wyden, who at the time was the chair of the Senate’s subcommittee on international trade, was not allowed to bring a staffer of his, who is an expert in international trade, with him to read the latest text of a trade negotiation. Because that went against the rules.

      And it’s been standard practice in the US that if a politician does want to see the documents, they can’t bring anything with them (not just no staff, but no electronics, no way to write anything down). They can just “read and retain.” The EU has been following the US’s lead on this, with special “reading rooms” for elected officials where someone watches over their every move. Again, they’re not allowed any electronics. They are allowed a pen and are given paper to write on, which is a modest improvement on the USTR’s system, but still ridiculous.

    • The Long Arm of Chinese Censorship Reaches South Korea

      In recent months, incidents of Communist Party restrictions on free expression extending beyond China’s borders have occurred across Asia. Now South Korea, a leading democracy in the region, has joined this disturbing trend.

      On May 4, a court in Seoul issued a last-minute ruling canceling a series of classical Chinese dance and music shows by Shen Yun Performing Arts, scheduled to take place at KBS Hall over the weekend. The ruling explicitly cites threats by the Chinese embassy aimed at the theater owner, including implicit references to financial reprisals if the shows go on as planned.

    • Erdogan, Turkish President, Seeks to Gag German Media Boss
    • Turkish Government Censors Video Projection and Youth Biennial Artworks

      This year hasn’t been particularly easy for members of the arts community in Turkey, as they have come increasingly under fire, facing growing censorship and cancellations of exhibitions. It’s an uncertain, tense environment in which there is little tolerance for artistic dissent. This past New Year’s Eve, members of the arts community were arrested during the peaceful demonstration “Barış İçin Yürüyorum (I Am Walking for Peace)” in Diyarbakır, and while they have been subsequently released they might be eventually charged like hundreds of others have been in the aftermath of the Gezi Park protests, including minors and the elderly. In February, the exhibition Post-Peace, curated by Russian curator Katia Krupennikova, to be held at the cultural nonprofit Akbank Sanat, was cancelled a week before the opening because of the delicate situation in Turkey in the aftermath of the Ankara bombings. In March, ARTER, one of the city’s leading institutions, cancelled the opening reception for its major exhibitions of the season, also in response to recent bombings.

    • Censorship Never Works

      Initially the campaign against the Jews involved burning its books. Almost three quarters of all Hebrew books written and printed in Europe were either destroyed or confiscated. The Jews responded by having more copies of its core books printed beyond the reach of the Inquisition. Yet the Church also initiated a formidable campaign of censoring and altering Jewish texts, whether the Talmud, commentaries on the Bible, polemics, or prayerbooks it considered offensive to Christianity or heretical. A specific publication was issued, called Sefer Hazikkuk, which gave detailed instructions on what to look out for and how alterations had to be made in order to satisfy the censors before a text could be released.

    • Comment: ‘Jew’ is right word, but sounds wrong

      I tried to explain that to say one is a Jew is not offensive in the slightest, but she was adamant.

    • Unfair Attack on UK’s Labour Party

      The British Labour Party is under attack for “anti-Semitism” because a few of its members have made remarks critical of Israel and Zionism, but this assault is an abuse of a very serious accusation, says Lawrence Davidson.

    • South Africa’s new Internet censorship law – FPB will force ISPs to block online content

      Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions has provided an overview of the Film and Publication Board’s new Online Regulation Policy.

    • Africa’s “worst internet censorship law” gets updated, and it’s not that bad

      South African online users received a bit of a shock last year, when the Film and Publications Board (FPB) released its Draft Online Regulation Policy, a document designed to bring the FPB’s powers up-to-date for an age of digital distribution.

      The organisation maintained its primary purpose was to protect children by regulating the availability of inappropriate content online, but because the language of the original document was so broad reaching the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called it “Africa’s worst new internet censorship law.”

    • Reddit’s Technology Subreddit Ponders Banning Wired & Forbes For Blocking Adblock Users

      Over the last year there has been a growing number of websites that have decided to “deal” with the rise of ad blockers by blocking ad blocking users entirely. Blocking the blockers was the recently recommended course of action by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which suggested the best way to have a “conversation” about ad blockers was to try and prevent them from being used. And while sites like the New York Times, GQ, Forbes and Wired have all happily pursued this course of action, their actual implementation has ranged from frustrating to downright comical.

    • Adelaide censorship film vies for awards

      Young Adelaide filmmaker Henry Thong’s mission to create a short film exploring free speech and censorship was prompted by two international events: the terrorist attack on French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo and the hacking of Sony Pictures data.

    • New artists emerge as religious censorship eases: Iran

      Iran is open for business.

      Nuclear sanctions are being lifted.

      Its leaders are hoping for tens of billions of dollars in investment.

      And behind the scenes in the back streets and cafes… a different sort of opening is under way.

      Musicians have found religious censorship is also easing.

      That’s led to a new wave of artists coming to light.

      But how far will they be allowed to go?

      Middle East correspondent, Matt Brown, has been speaking to musicians in Tehran.

    • Obama slams campus censorship (and calls out anti-Trump protestors?) [VIDEO]
    • Obama Advises Students Against Disrupting Political Campaign Rallies
    • Japanese vagina kayak artist found guilty of obscenity
    • After Apple and Disney, China’s Censorship Crackdown Goes After More Than 7,000 Foreign NGOs

      The recent shutdowns of iTunes, iBooks and DisneyLife are keeping foreign companies on the edge of their seats.

      The censorship ruckus had CNN asking: After heavyweight firms Apple and Disney felt the wrath of China’s online media crackdown, who’s next?

    • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus demands that Facebook answer censorship allegations

      Republicans are reacting to a Gizmodo story that Facebook routinely suppressed conservative news.

    • The RNC Pounces, Rails Against Facebook for ‘Conservative Censorship’
    • Facebook says it doesn’t permit censorship in Trending Topics
    • Liberal lies feed Facebook’s censorship of conservative content
    • Facebook Responds To Allegations Of Conservative Censorship
    • All 3 Networks Ignore Report Revealing Censorship of Conservatives on Facebook
    • Limbaugh blows lid off ‘Fakebook’ censorship ‘surprise’
    • Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says
    • The Algorithm Is Gonna Get You
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DOJ Confirms One or More Agencies Acted Consistent with John Yoo’s Crummy Opinion

      There’s a whiff of panic in DOJ’s response to ACLU’s latest brief in the common commercial services OLC memo, which was submitted last Thursday. They really don’t want to release this memo.

      As you recall, this is a memo Ron Wyden has been hinting about forever, stating that it interprets the law other than most people understand it to be. After I wrote about it a bunch of times and pointed out it was apparently closely related to cybersecurity, ACLU finally showed some interest and FOIAed, then sued, for it. In March, DOJ made some silly (but typical) claims about it, including that ACLU had already tried but failed to get the memo as part of their suit for Stellar Wind documents (which got combined with EPIC’s suit for electronic surveillance documents). In response, Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, noting a lie DOJ made in DOJ’s filings in the case, followed by an amicus brief asking the judge in the case to read the secret appendix to the letter he wrote to Lynch. In it, Wyden complained that DOJ wouldn’t let him read his secret declaration submitted in the case (making it clear they’re being kept secret for strategic reasons more than sources and methods), but asking that the court read his own appendix without saying what was in it.

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Begins Review of Mass Surveillance Statute

      The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act Tuesday May 10. The Act, passed in 2008, created what is now known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

      Section 702 is used for mass spying, and government surveillance conducted under the law unconstitutionally searches and seizes Fourth Amendment-protected communications. Indeed, in 2011, a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) acknowledged the programs store more than 250 million communications annually in NSA repositories and that tens of thousands of wholly domestic emails were being collected under the statute. A report by the Washington Post revealed more: hundreds of thousands of Americans’ emails were being collected and nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations were not the intended surveillance targets. The section is one of the core statutes at issue in our lawsuit against the NSA.

    • Petition Calls For James Comey To Hang Up His Anti-Encryption Hat And Resign As Head Of The FBI

      James Comey continues to cut himself adrift from the encryption debate, taking a hardline stance not reflected by others in the intelligence community. While he has a few voices in his echo chamber (mainly Manhattan DA Cy Vance and… well, that’s really about it), for the most part, Comey has become a street corner doomsayer, alternately crying out against the going-darkness and mumbling about “smart people” at “tech companies” and their unwillingness to carve government-sized doors in their encryption.

      His testimony before Congress– during the heated battle with Apple over the unlocking of a dead terrorist’s iPhone — was mostly composed of things he couldn’t talk about and things he didn’t know. At times, it was difficult to distinguish between the two.

    • Facebook—More Dangerous than the NSA

      A while back, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on our National Security Agency. They’re spying on all our digital devices, have been for years. Our privacy has vanished.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden featured on techno song

      Nearly three years after rocking the world with his unprecedented leak of documents about classified, top-secret government surveillance programs, Edward Snowden is finally making his dance music debut.

      Hey, weirder-sounding things have happened on the musical front.

      But before you start calling the NSA whistleblower an EDM beat-dropper, it’s important to note that Snowden isn’t just up and abandoning his information privacy work to become a recording artist.

    • Privacy and the New Math

      Among the countless essays and posts I’ve read on the fight over crypto that’s been going on between Apple and the FBI, one by the title above by T.Rob Wyatt in Medium stood out so well that I asked if he’d like to help me adapt it into an article for Linux Journal. He said yes, and here it is.—Doc

      In the Apple vs. FBI case, the real disputes are between math and architecture, and between open and closed. Linux can play an important role in settling those disputes, because it is on the right side of both.

    • India claims to have tool to defeat iPhone encryption

      Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s communications and IT minister, said Friday that a tool for mobile forensics has been developed that can handle smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, according to the New Indian Express. Prasad didn’t reveal details about how the tool works.

    • SEC And Chuck Grassley Still Trying To Stop Email Privacy Act That Got UNANIMOUS Support In The House

      Hey, remember last week, when lots of folks were super excited about the US House of Representatives unanimously voting in favor of the Email Privacy Act? They voted 419 to 0. That kinda thing doesn’t happen all that often. I mean, sure it happens when condemning ISIS, but they couldn’t even make it when trying to put sanctions on North Korea. Basically, something needs to be really, really screwed up to get a unanimous vote in the House. And the Email Privacy Act, which goes a long way (though not far enough) towards fixing ECPA (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986) that makes it way too easy for the government to snoop on your electronic communications, actually got that unanimous vote.

      So it should be moving forward and well on its path to becoming law, right? Right?!? Well… about that. You see, as we’d mentioned in the past, the SEC has been the main voice of opposition to the Email Privacy Act, since it (along with the IRS), kinda like the fact that they can snoop through emails without a warrant. Never mind that it’s probably unconstitutional, it makes their jobs so much easier. And, really, isn’t that the important thing?

    • New cyber security qualification on offer at HoW College [Ed: making espionage sound academic]

      HEART of Worcestershire (HoW) College has teamed up with a cyber security organisation to start offering a recognised qualification in the subject.

      HoW College is working with Cyber Security Challenge UK and City & Guilds to offer the qualification through an e-learning platform, offering students a three month long course on the basics of cyber security.

      The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is equivalent to an AS Level, and can be worth as much as 70 UCAS points. It’s aimed at giving students an understanding of the entire cyber domain, covering everything from risk management to digital forensics.

    • Scottish teens recruited by government spy agency GCHQ [Ed: another timely puff piece]

      SCOTTISH teenagers are being encouraged to take part in a summer camp – run by the government’s secretive spy agency GCHQ.

      Dozens of 16 and 17-year-olds are expected to sign up to the four-day course, which hopes to produce the country’s next generation of online crime fighters.

    • EU proposes Minority Report-style facial recognition for refugees

      In its attempts to bring the refugee crisis to heel, the European Commission wants to expand its fingerprint database, introduce facial recognition software, store the information for even longer than before and include minors in the process. EurActiv Germany reports.

      The EU is planning wholesale changes to the bloc’s asylum law. In addition to a “fairer” distribution system for refugees and an extension of border controls within the Schengen area, the Eurodac fingerprint database, which is currently used to identify asylum seekers and irregular migrants, is to be enlarged.

      The system is set to be supplemented with facial recognition software and personal data will be stored for a longer period of time, with the aim of ensuring that irregular migrants stay on the authorities’ radar; the information of underage refugees will also be kept. The upgrade will cost some €30 million.

    • Stingray Memo From FBI To Oklahoma Law Enforcement Tells PD To Engage In Parallel Construction

      The concept of “checks and balances” kind of takes a beating when one branch of the government says it’s ok to lie to another branch. We’ve already seen the FBI tell law enforcement agencies — through extensive NDAs it makes them sign before they can deploy cell site simulators — that it’s better to let suspected criminals walk away from charges than risk allowing details on Stingray devices to make their way into the public domain via submitted evidence.

      Many law enforcement agencies appear to be doing exactly that. More than one agency has misled judges with applications for pen register orders and requests for cell site location data — neither of which provide details on the technology actually being used.

    • David Patraeus, Who Leaked Classified Info To His Mistress, Says Snowden Should Be Prosecuted

      That’s a pretty good summary of the “high court” situation that lets powerful people like Petraeus get away with passing on such information that could have legitimately put people at risk.

      So, it was interesting, just days later, to see a long interview in the Financial Times with David Petraeus, in which he’s asked about Snowden (warning: the link may be paywalled).


      First, it’s bullshit because Petreaus himself got off with barely a wrist slap for his own activity, which had nothing to do with whistleblowing and appeared to be much more dangerous than what Snowden did. Second, as Petreaus absolutely knows, the intelligence community does not treat whistleblowers well. Previous whistleblowers, including Thomas Drake, basically had their lives destroyed as punishment for using the “appropriate” channels for whistleblowing. Hell, just last week, we wrote about yet another case of an intelligence community whistleblower, who used the “appropriate” channels, suddenly having her home raided and her career in shambles.

      Third, it’s bullshit because even in using the “appropriate” channels, as an NSA contractor, Snowden was not protected from direct retaliation for whistleblowing. Fourth, it’s bullshit because the “proper channels” would just be to run it up the line of people who thought it was hunky dory to lie to the American public to reinterpret the PATRIOT Act to enable them to spy on everyone’s communications data. That wouldn’t have done anything. Fifth, it’s bullshit because once the information actually did get out through the press — which never would have happened through “appropriate channels,” it has set in motion a number of changes, among companies, individuals, Congress and the intelligence community. That’s the point of whistleblowing, to actually change the behavior through alerting more people to what’s going on.

    • Facebook to sponsor GOP convention despite Zuckerberg’s veiled dig at Trump

      In April, Zuckerberg talked of ‘fearful voices building walls’ – but Facebook insists that sponsorship of Republican convention is not an endorsement

    • One Swede Will Kill Cash Forever—Unless His Foe Saves It From Extinction [iophk: "continuing to leverage the long, ongoing Swedish crime wave to eliminate cash and anonymity"]

      Nothing is more ordinary than a Monday morning at a Swedish bank.

      People go about their business quietly, with Scandinavian efficiency. The weather outside is, more likely than not, cold and gray. But on April 22, 2013, the scene at Stockholm’s Östermalmstorg branch of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken got a jolt of color. At 10:30 am, a man in a black cap burst into the building. “This is a robbery!” he announced, using one arm to point a gun at the bankers and the other to hold out a cloth bag. “I want cash!”

    • NSA employees watching an ‘unbelievable’ amount of child porn

      Some of the same folks who have access to all of our digital communications data are using equipment at the National Security Agency to view child porn— and the agency can’t even explain how widespread the sickening behavior is among its employees.

      That’s according to remarks made by Daniel Payne, director of the Defense Security Service, and Kemp Ensor, NSA security director, at a conference last week in Virginia.

      “The amount of child porn I see is just unbelievable,” Payne said.

    • Illinois residents can sue Facebook for photo tagging, judge says

      Last week, a Northern California District Judge ruled that Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit (PDF) from Illinois Facebook users who are unnerved by the site’s photo-tagging feature that relies on facial recognition to suggest people to tag.

      The plaintiffs argue that the feature runs afoul of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which was passed in 2008 and restricts how private companies are allowed to collect biometric data.

      The lawsuit had been transferred from an Illinois court to one in California at Facebook’s request. The social media company then asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying that the plaintiffs had no grounds to sue given that Facebook’s Terms and Conditions have stipulated since 2015 that claims against the company must be litigated according to California law, where no such provision against biometric tagging exists.

      The judge denied the request to dismiss the case, ruling that dismissing the case because California has no such prohibition against the collection of biometric data is “contrary to a fundamental policy of Illinois.”

      The ruling notes that Illinois’ lawmakers were concerned because “Biometrics are unlike other unique identifiers . . . [and] are biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions.”

    • Judge OKs suit accusing Facebook of violating Illinois privacy law with its photo-tag technology

      A federal judge has given a green light to a class action lawsuit contending that deployment of a Facebook feature using facial-recognition technology to tag photographs violates an Illinois privacy statute.

      Initially filed in Illinois and since transferred to California, the suit alleges that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by failing to inform the plaintiffs about the collection of biometric information, as BIPA requires.

    • The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies

      Tim Foley turned 20 on 27 June 2010. To celebrate, his parents took him and his younger brother Alex out for lunch at an Indian restaurant not far from their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both brothers were born in Canada, but for the past decade the family had lived in the US. The boys’ father, Donald Heathfield, had studied in Paris and at Harvard, and now had a senior role at a consultancy firm based in Boston. Their mother, Tracey Foley, had spent many years focused on raising her children, before taking a job as a real estate agent. To those who knew them, they seemed a very ordinary American family, albeit with Canadian roots and a penchant for foreign travel. Both brothers were fascinated by Asia, a favoured holiday destination, and the parents encouraged their sons to be inquisitive about the world: Alex was only 16, but had just returned from a six-month student exchange in Singapore.

    • Why the NSA’s Incidental Collection under Its Section 702 Upstream Internet Program May Well Be Bulk Collection, Even If The Program Engages In Targeted Surveillance

      Section 702 surveillance, which comprises the Prism and Upstream 702 programs, is still shrouded in mystery, despite the Intelligence Community’s post-Snowden pledge to provide more and better transparency.i A lengthy 2014 study by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), declassified legal documents and three DNI transparency reports reveal nothing about the total number of communications the NSA acquires through the Section 702 program, nor about how many American and foreign bystanders might get swept up in the 702 surveillance net. The government consistently has presented Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which targets selected foreigners outside the United States, as a model of targeted, discriminate, selector-based surveillance, the exact opposite of indiscriminate bulk collection. The relatively small “estimated number of targets” affected by Section 702, listed on the DNI’s annual transparency reports (89,138 targets in 2013; 92,707 in 2014, 94,368 in 2015), are cited as proof that the NSA doesn’t broadly access customers’ data, but only collects “a minuscule fraction of the over 3 billion Internet users worldwide.” Over-collection of domestic communications happens rarely, is merely incidental, and hence lawful, as ODNI General Counsel Robert Litt has argued.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Super Manly Book Clubs Are The Latest In Fragile Masculinity

      There’s nothing innately wrong with having a book club focused on manliness—and certainly nothing wrong, of course, with men joining book clubs. But there maybe is something wrong with framing the idea of men reading, or joining book clubs, as some sort of exercise in outré anthropology or goofy cultural excavation. Okay, you’ve got a book club with a bunch of guy friends; that’s nice, more power to you. The NYC Gay Guys’ Book Club sounds lovely, and they’re reading James Baldwin—can’t fault that.

    • Compared to Rest of World Americans are Delusional, Prudish, Selfish Religious Nuts: Study

      That said, if all the world’s a stage, America is a prime player: a rich, loud, attention-seeking celebrity not fully deserving of its starring role, often putting in a critically reviled performance and tending toward histrionics that threaten to ruin the show for everybody else. (Also, embarrassingly, possibly the last to know that its career as top biller is in rapid decline.) To the outside onlooker, American culture—I’m consolidating an infinitely layered thing to save time and space—is contradictory and bizarre, hypocritical and self-congratulatory. Its national character is a textbook study in narcissistic tendencies coupled with crushing insecurity issues.

    • Breaking News: ‘There Is No Migrant Crisis’

      In fact, the world is facing ‘a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality,’ says Global Justice Now

    • Ivy League Professor Doing Math Equation on Flight Mistaken for Terrorist

      An Ivy League professor said his flight was delayed because a fellow passenger thought the math equations he was writing might be a sign he was a terrorist.

      American Airlines confirms that the woman expressed suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio. She said she was too ill to take the Air Wisconsin-operated flight.

    • South Yorkshire Chief Constable steps down after one day

      Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley, who was appointed acting chief constable of South Yorkshire Police after the suspension of David Crompton following the Hillsborough inquest findings, has “offered to step back to her substantive role” while another temporary chief constable is sought, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said.

    • David Miliband exposed as being behind cover-up of Britain’s secret involvement in torture of terror suspects

      Nothing could be clearer. David Miliband, then Labour’s Foreign Secretary, laying claim to the moral high ground, proclaiming: ‘I abhor anything that constitutes torture. Water-boarding, it’s perfectly clear to me it is torture.

      ‘I never supported extraordinary rendition to torture, always said that Guantanamo should be closed. There is no clash of ideals and pragmatism there.’

      His uncompromising comments came in an interview in the New Statesman magazine in 2009.

    • A whistleblower directive for Europe!

      Tomorrow, together with my group in the European Parliament, I will present a draft for a new EU directive on whistleblower protection. The draft directive, which has been launched coinciding with the trial of LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour, aims to provide the basis and further impetus for a proposal to this end from the European Commission.

      The protection of trade secrets may not take precedence over the protection of whistleblowers. People who reveal questionable business practices and tax evasion should not be criminalised but encouraged.

    • Thai Activist’s Mother Faces Prison Term for One-Word Facebook Reply

      The mother of a pro-democracy activist faces up to 15 years in prison after acknowledging that she had received a private message on Facebook that the police say insulted Thailand’s monarchy.

      The activist’s mother, Patnaree Chankij, 40, who works as a maid, will be tried by a military court under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which makes it a crime to insult the long-reigning King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the queen or the crown prince.

      On Saturday, human rights activists called Ms. Patnaree’s arrest a day earlier a “new low” for Thailand, which has increased prosecutions under the lèse-majesté law since the military took power in 2014.

      Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen, a lawyer advising Ms. Patnaree, said Ms. Patnaree had sent only a one-word reply, “Ja,” acknowledging receipt of the Facebook message, similar to saying “Yeah,” but had not expressed agreement with it or commented on its content. The message was not made public, so as not to repeat the alleged insult, as is typical in such cases. The sender of the message, Burin Intin, 28, was arrested last month.

    • Israel’s General Golan Compares Modern Israel to 1930s Germany

      Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center says Golan is an elite member of the military and his statements on Holocaust Remembrance Day is sparking a national debate

    • Judaism and Racism

      In its recent responsum concerning the status of non-Jews in Jewish law and lore, the Rabbinical Assembly, representing Masorti/Conservative rabbis throughout the world, has made an attempt not only to counter the racist pronouncements of extremist rabbis that echo the doctrines of Meir Kahana and have led to violence and hatred against non-Jews, but also to rectify those laws within rabbinic literature that are discriminatory in nature.

    • Secret Service Handcuffs The First Amendment

      Thomas Jefferson said that an informed citizenry is critical to a democracy, and with that as a cornerstone the Founders wrote freedom of the press into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

      The most basic of ideas at play is that the government should in no way be allowed to control what information the press can report to the people, and cannot place restrictions on journalists. One of the principal characteristics of any fascist state is the control of information, and thus the press is always seen as a check on government power that needs to be stomped on. Ask any surviving journalist in North Korea, or Saudi Arabia.

    • Civil Rights Activists Seek Justice for Racial Violence in the Name of Emmett Till

      On the day of her death, Mamie Till Mobley was scheduled for a call with Mississippi assistant attorney general Jonathan Compretta, civil rights activist Alvin Sykes, and Keith Beauchamp, a filmmaker working on a documentary about the August 1955 lynching of her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till. The two white men who kidnapped and murdered Till were acquitted within weeks of the killing, and Mobley spent the rest of her life fighting to have the case reopened. On that day, almost 48 years later, it seemed that events might finally bend towards some form of belated justice.

    • Laurel Krause

      The guests are Laurel Krause, sister of shooting victim Allison Krause, and founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, and activist-attorney Michael Kuzma. They discuss recently-discovered evidence, as well as Kuzma’s FOIA lawsuit to obtain documents which could illuminate the FBI’s involvement.

    • Long-Serving Intelligence Executive: Sure, Government Has Been Thoroughly Pawned But What about Ordinary Citizens?

      Now, if the government is a cybersecurity sieve, then why is Shedd bitching that there’s nothing in Obama’s policy for “ordinary citizens” or the private industry companies that aren’t getting pawned? Shouldn’t locking down the nation’s nuclear secrets — a point I’ve emphasized — be a higher priority than saving Target from liability when its customers get their credit card data stolen (besides the fact, for customers who can afford an iPhone, as Shedd pointed out, Apple is already doing something)? In a purportedly capitalist society, should the government free private industry of all responsibility for its own security?

      Crazier still, Shedd — who worked in Bush’s National Security Council until 2005, then moved to Director of National Intelligence, then in 2010 moved to DIA — is bitching that no one (aside from Katherine Archuleta) got fired for the OPM hack. In several of those positions, Shedd was in a place where he should have been one of the people asking why the security clearance data for 21 million people was readily available to be hacked — though no one in his immediate vicinity thought to ask those questions until 2013 and even then not including the non-intelligence agencies that might be CI problems. He was in a position when he may have — probably should have — reviewed some of the underlying database consolidation of clearance databases, including (at ODNI) identifying them as a counterintelligence threat.

    • Mining a Heart of Gold? Slave Wages and Humanitarianism in Africa

      What do you call people who try to make people believe what they say but ignore the results of what they do? How about spin-sploiters?

      After a few years of research I have come to realize that there is a long and ignoble history of Westerners exploiting Africans while touting humanitarian objectives. Unfortunately, this practice is not confined to the distant past.

      A leading Canadian NGO official, who then founded Québec’s largest mining company, provides a recent example.

    • France to set up a dozen deradicalisation centres

      Plan to combat home-grown terrorism aims to establish early warning system to pick up would-be extremists

    • Pushing the envelope through intentional provocation and factual presentation

      Political apathy among the youths in Singapore is prevalent, and I must admit, after the dismal GE2015 results, I have almost lost faith that things will ever change in our small little island. But with a young teen like Lhu silently creating works of this level on the sidelines, maybe there is this tiny, tiny glimmer of hope after all.

    • ‘Forget The Laws On Human Rights’ Says Likely Winner In Philippines Presidential Elections

      Populist demagoguery isn’t unique to the U.S. presidential elections, as 71-year-old Rodrigo Duterte, a man known as the ‘Punisher’ for his propensity to advocate lethal extrajudicial solutions to crime problems, leads the polls in the Philippines.

    • Duterte rival concedes in Philippines presidential election

      Rodrigo Duterte, whose outspoken commentary — including joking about the rape of a missionary — drew international attention to the Philippines’ national elections, appeared poised to win his country’s presidency Monday after a top rival conceded.


      Sen. Ferdinand Romualdez “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is running for vice president.


      Dubbed “Duterte Harry” and “the Punisher” by the local press for his exploits, Duterte is a colorful and controversial figure known for his inflammatory comments on a gang rape, his sexual conquests and tough stance on crime.

      In Davao City, where Duterte has held office for decades, he has long been dogged by allegations of ties to death squads and extrajudicial killings.

      He has vowed to execute 100,000 criminals and dump them into Manila Bay. He’s also suggested that he has killed people before.

      In April, a YouTube video surfaced appearing to show him joking about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City. He later described it as “gutter language” but refused to apologize.

      In his last campaign stump Saturday, Duterte played his role to the hilt and again vowed to butcher criminals as he told thousands in central Manila: “Forget the laws of human rights.”

    • Ferguson’s New Police Chief Is Inheriting A Mess

      Before joining the Ferguson Police Department, Moss worked for the Miami Police Department for 32 years. A black officer, Moss told the New York Times that he is acutely aware of historical tensions between police and African Americans, as well as racism within law enforcement itself. To better reflect the municipality, one of the major reforms he wants to make is diversifying the department with more women and black officers. He also wants to build trust between officers and youth through a mentor program.

    • Are US Courts Going Dark?

      Now that the cell phones in San Bernardino and Brooklyn have been unlocked (no thanks to Apple), FBI warnings about “going dark” in the face of advancing digital encryption seem less urgent than before. Perhaps there are other ways — buying exploits in the zero-day market, plea bargaining pressure — to skin the encryption cat, after all. Are privacy advocates correct that a “Golden Age of Surveillance” has arrived, and the real question is whether law enforcement has too many tools, rather than too few? Or will unchecked encryption enable criminals and terrorists to wreak havoc via the Dark Web, as Director Comey fears? Although an interested spectator, I am in no position to judge that technical debate.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Crunch time for net neutrality rules, says EU digital rights warrior

      The next few months will be a critical time for net neutrality in the EU, according to the chief of Europe’s digital rights’ lobby group.

      Joe McNamee, executive director of EDRi, told Ars that it was crucial to engage people about the issue over the course of the next few months. Draft net neutrality guidelines are due to be presented by the European Commission on June 6, followed by a consultation for 20 working days on those proposed rules.

      “The next four months are equivalent to the moment when the big successes were achieved in the US and India,” he said.

    • Netflix Settles Throttling ‘Controversy’ By Letting Mobile Users Throttle Themselves (Or Not)

      Last month, you might recall that Netflix found itself at the center of some “controversy” after it admitted it was throttling AT&T and Verizon customer Netflix streams to 600 kbps. At the time, the company stated it was only doing so to help out customers on metered usage plans. Netflix also stated that it wasn’t throttling the streams of Sprint and T-Mobile users, since “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies” (read: still offer unlimited data plans).

      The cable industry and net neutrality opponents quickly tried to claim Netflix’s admission meant the company was a hypocrite on net neutrality, with some even calling for an “investigation.” The telecom industry’s PR push was short lived however, given most people realized that Netflix was actually trying to help consumers out, and it’s kind of odd to punish a company for technically throttling its own service. At the end of the day, the consensus was that the only real thing Netflix did wrong was not being fully transparent about what it was doing, and why.


      Net neutrality rules are only necessary in telecom due to the lack of competition.

  • DRM

    • Save iTunes!

      I remember the launch of iTunes in 2001. Hurrying home from the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, downloading the app, making a stack of CDs next to my Powerbook, ripping them as fast as my machine would go. Rip, Mix, Burn, baby!

      The other thing I remember is how the media industry viewed iTunes: they hated it. They hated people using iTunes to rip CDs, they hated mixing and burning. The only reason they let the iPod/iTunes ecosystem live was because when they sued the company that made the first MP3 players, they lost.

      The record companies thought that anything that let listeners do more with their music had to be illegal. After all, they had big plans for the future of music and those plans hinged on being able to control how you and I used our music. They’d made big money selling cassettes to LP owners, and CDs to cassette owners, and they viewed selling digital versions of those same songs to us as their inalienable right. If we could rip our own CDs, how would they sell us that music again?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • White House on Non-Competes and Trade Secrets

      While still apparently fully on-board with ramping-up US trade secrecy law through the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), the White House has also released a new report that criticizes non-compete agreements and state laws that over-zealously enforce those agreements. Although the report recognizes that non-compete agreements are wrapped-up with trade secrecy enforcement, but suggests that a large number of non-competes are not used for that purpose.

    • As Patients Wait, WHO Members Chip Away At Decision On Medical R&D Funding

      A number of World Health Organization member states attended a meeting last week aimed finding ways to sustainably finance research and development for medical products, especially those for poor populations lacking means to pay high prices. According to the outcome document and a WHO official, they heard many viewpoints from experts and made progress but much was left for the World Health Assembly later this month.

    • Trademarks

      • The Saratoga Conundrum: Is It Water, Or Is It Juice

        So many of the trademark disputes we talk about here involve stories centered around the questions of customer confusion and like-market competition. These are two tests central to the question of whether trademark infringement has actually occurred: are the two entities competing with one another for the same customers and are those customers, or could those customers be, confused by the alleged trademark violation. Quite often, the markets and products in question aren’t of the basic-needs variety, perhaps creating some wiggle room in the minds of some as to whether there is a like-market issue to consider.

        But to create a truly absurd trademark accusation, the accusing side should really be a producer of one of the basic necessities of life, while the accused does not. Take, say, water. In Saratoga, for example, a large bottled water company is going after a chain of juice bars because both include the word “Saratoga” in their respective trademarks.

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay And KickassTorrents Uploader Slapped With €7,500 Fine

        You might have heard and read the news of big piracy fish like The Pirate Bay facing bans. However, this doesn’t mean that the individual uploader and users of these websites don’t face any consequences. Along the same lines, an illegal torrent uploader has been hit with a fine of €7,500.

      • The Fight Over Copyrighting Klingon Heats Up, And Gets More Ridiculous

        Last year, we wrote about a somewhat speculative article by Charles Duan from Public Knowledge, connecting the ridiculous result of the Oracle/Google fight on the copyrightability of software APIs, to the idea of trying to claim copyright in a language, with a particular focus on Klingon, the made up language from the Star Trek universe. And, then, of course, back in March, that speculative hypothetical became much more real, when Paramount’s lawsuit against a Star Trek fan film did, in fact, argue that Klingon was covered by copyright, and that the fan film violated that copyright.

        A bunch of things have happened since then, as this mess careens towards trial, and we wanted to catch you up. First, the lawyers for the fan film, put together by Axanar Productions, challenged many of the claims made by Paramount in its amended complaint, noting that many of the things listed as copyright infringing, clearly were not — including the language of Klingon.

      • Why Your Browser Is Warning You About Pirate Bay

        Access to torrent site The Pirate Bay appears to be blocked by most major browsers, users noticed on Saturday.

        Typing in the web address brings up phishing warnings blocking The Pirate Bay on mobile and desktop versions of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. The Chrome warning tells users, “Deceptive site ahead: Attackers on Thepiratebay.se may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information.” It elaborated in the details: “Google Safe Browsing recently detected phishing on thepiratebay.se. Phishing sites pretend to be other websites to trick you.”

        Similarly, Firefox warned: “Web forgeries are designed to trick you into revealing personal or financial information by imitating sources you may trust. Entering any information on this web page may result in identity theft or other fraud.”

      • Italian court says that rightholders do NOT have to indicate URLs when submitting takedown requests

        When does a hosting provider become liable for third-party infringements? Does an internet service provider (ISP) have an obligation to monitor the information it stores at the request of third parties? Do rightholders need to indicate the precise location of allegedly infringing works by means of URLs? Where can one sue for alleged online copyright infringement?

        These are questions which both the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and national courts have addressed over the past few years (although not always answered clearly).


Links 9/5/2016: Linux 4.6 RC7 and Many Distro Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • EverestIMS Shifts to Open Source Platform

    DMX India, a provider IT enabler, recently shifted their EverestIMS (Everest), an integrated management framework/end-to-end network management system, to open source platform.

  • MATE Desktop Brought Over To Solaris / OpenIndiana

    For those using the Illumos-based OpenIndiana operating system originally derived from OpenSolaris, the MATE 1.14 desktop environment is now available.

    The MATE 1.14 Software Compilation is now available to users of OpenIndiana with three of the OI developers having been working on porting and packaging all of the desktop components for this non-Linux platform. They’ve accomplished their mission, including bringing PulseAudio 8.0.


  • Science

    • A Look Inside Hitler’s Doomed, Failed ‘Supergun’

      The greatest unsolved mystery about World War II is what else television could possibly have to say about it. From the old CBS documentary series The Twentieth Century (11 of the 18 episodes of the inaugural 1957-58 season were devoted to the conflict) to Ken Burns’ 14-hour 2007 opus The War, it sometimes seems that every bullet fired has had its 15 minutes of fame.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Our Best Weapon Is Being Systematically Eliminated

      One of the targets of the Nestle boycott was Perrier water, which Nestle owns. But Nestle also owns over 70 other brands of “designer” water, all over the world, so targeting Perrier is going to do little more than some “public relations” damage, if that.

      Nestle is simply too big and diversified to be hurt by a well-meaning collective action. It owns Arrowhead and Calistoga and San Pelligrino water, as well as Ice Mountain, and Poland Spring, and Deer Park. How do you mobilize a boycott against a company like this?

    • Men more reluctant to go to the doctor – and it’s putting them at risk

      Men can expect to die approximately five years sooner than women, and men are more likely to die as a result of unintentional injury and suicide relative to women.

      These differences are not well explained by physiological differences between men and women. One possible explanation is that men are more reluctant to go to the doctor – and less likely to be honest once they get there.

    • [Old] Internal EPA E-Mail: ‘Not Sure Flint Is the Community We Want to Go Out on a Limb For’

      A Sept. 24, 2015 internal e-mail from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 Water Division Branch Chief Debbie Baltazar suggests that the federal agency might not want to “go out on a limb for” the community of Flint, Mich., which has been suffering from lead-tainted water since 2014 when the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

    • Was Prince the Latest Opioid Casualty?

      The autopsy results from Prince’s unexpected death are not in yet, but it has been reported that the musical star had the prescription opioid painkiller Percocet in his possession when he died. Unconfirmed reports suggest Prince not only used prescription opioids for pain but may have had an addiction.

    • Racial Life Expectancy Gap Shrinks To Smallest In American History

      The longstanding life expectancy gap between black and white Americans is steadily decreasing, the New York Times reports. Although middle-aged black Americans still have a higher mortality rate than white Americans, the gap in life expectancy between the two groups is at a historic low. In 1990, the difference in life expectancy between blacks and whites was seven years; by 2014, it dropped to 3.4 years.

      According to a new collection of federal data, the rate of suicide for black men decreased between 1999 and 2014, infant mortality rates have been reduced by more than 20 percent since the 1990s, and teenage births have decreased by more than 60 percent since the mid-1990s.

  • Security

    • Security isn’t a feature, it’s a part of everything

      Almost every industry goes through a time when new novel features are sold as some sort of add on or extra product. Remember needing a TCP stack? What about having to buy a sound card for your computer, or a CD drive? (Does anyone even know what a CD is anymore?) Did you know that web browsers used to cost money? Times were crazy.

    • Student Tried to Hack His School Network, Police Calls Him An Anonymous Member

      The State police and school district officials in Pennsylvania are investigating a case that involves a school student trying to hack into the school’s Wi-Fi network. The officials have told a local newspaper that they have found some evidence regarding his association with the hacktivist group Anonymous

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Bashar Assad’s Brutality in Syria Is Matched by U.S. Devastation Across the Region

      Growing numbers of people worldwide are turning their Facebook profile pictures into solid red squares in an attempt to call attention to a new, deadly phase of the Syria war. The latest round of violence was marked by the bombing of a refugee camp near the Syrian border with Turkey, which resulted in 28 deaths. That attack was probably the work of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad or its ally Russia.

      Only days earlier, a horrific bombing took place in the rebel-controlled city of Aleppo, targeting Al-Quds Hospital, which was supported by the Nobel Prize-winning organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. That airstrike, which came in the form of multiple barrel bombs (the Assad government’s signature bomb), killed dozens of civilians, including one of the city’s last remaining pediatricians.

    • North Korea’s New Weapons: Full Speed Ahead?

      North Korea has a long history of militant nationalism in response to external threats, reflected in Kim Jong-un’s quoted remark above and concretely in the speed with which it is developing a sophisticated nuclear and missile capability. Like the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, the DPRK is not going to take orders from foreign powers, friends and adversaries alike, least of all when its leaders believe US military exercises and nuclear weapons pose a threat. Predictably, therefore, Pyongyang treats international sanctions, intended to punish it, as incentives to push ahead with development and production of new weapons for deterrence. It may only be a matter of time before a North Korean missile will be able to reach the US mainland, but Kim Jong-un, like his father and grandfather, is ever mindful of the fact that North Korea is surrounded by the overwhelming strategic power of the US and its South Korean and Japanese partners. The DPRK also faces a US president who once upon a time called for eliminating nuclear weapons but now is presiding over their significant upgrading, in competition with Russia and China. That upgrading includes miniaturization, which from one angle—the one most likely to have the North Korean military’s attention—increases the possible use of a nuclear weapon in warfare. North Korea’s evident work on miniaturization may hardly be coincidental.

    • President Obama Should Meet A-Bomb Survivors

      Further, Shigeko stated, “I wish President Obama would come to Hiroshima. If he does, I would like to sneak through security and shake his hand, holding on until he says he will eliminate all nuclear weapons.”

      The thought of a kindly, diminutive 83-year old grandmother sneaking through security is amusing, and the president can avoid it by meeting with Shigeko and other Hibakusha to listen to their hard-earned wisdom and passionate desire for peace.

    • Dan Berrigan, 1921 – 2016: “We Haven’t Lost, Because We Haven’t Given Up.”

      About the death of renowned anti-war activist, poet and writer Fr. Dan Berrigan at the age of 94, the Rev. John Dear wrote, in part, that Dan: “inspired religious opposition to the Vietnam war and later the U.S. nuclear weapons industry.”

    • Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-war Hero With a Huge Blindspot

      Indeed, a person can be the most committed of peace activists and protesters and be firmly on the side of a woman’s right to abortion. One can be firmly opposed to state-sponsored executions and stand in solidarity with women seeking to exercise their human rights and control their own destinies. A leftist can work assiduously for the elimination of nuclear weapons and stand for the right to access medical care without the fear of being harmed by those zealots who wish to maintain that lofty and nonsensical concept of the idealized woman, and not as equals living lives that are meaningful and fulfilling.

    • Price for Witnessing Against War

      Tears welled as I watched Catholic Worker friends drop a large banner with the words from Isaiah, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. Nations shall make war no more,” a charge lived into by all three brothers Berrigan – Jerry, Dan, and Phil.

      And I thought back on what I learned decades ago at retreats led by Dan on the prophets Isaiah and Amos.

      During the eulogy, Liz McAlister, Phil’s widow, quoted from the “apology” Dan wrote for burning draft cards with home-made napalm in Catonsville, Maryland, in May 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War:

      “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house.”

      Liz continued to read from the Statement of the Catonsville 9: “The suppression of truth stops here; this war stops here!” (emphasis added by Liz’s own prophetic voice.) Not stopping was the loud, un-church-like cheering that rattled the rafters.

    • Future Options: From Militarism and Monsanto to Gandhi and Bhaskar Save

      This is because their business models and practices grow out of and drive a political and economic system run by oligarchical interests. These companies are instrumental in pushing for corrupt, anti-democratic trade deals like TTIP and fuel and profit from a model of globalisation that encourages unnecessary massive environmental destruction, the production of bad food, unsustainable farming practices and the use of health-damaging inputs. The system moreover thrives on an urban-centric model of development centred on resource-depletion, over-consumption and an economic neoliberalism underpinned by imperialist wars.

    • Australia-China Relations and the Politics of Canberra’s Submarine Deal

      The shift of the submarine tender from Japan to France can be considered a big win for Chinese foreign policy; if the perception of solidarity with the US consensus in the South China Seas is of any concern. While Beijing is predisposed to view any military upgrade in Australian naval forces, strategically, as a growing appendage of the American 7th Fleet, the threat of 12 new submarines to Beijing’s maritime security is likely not to be taken too seriously. Currently, only half of Australia’s six submarines are manned. The lack of naval personnel for submarine duty is not likely to grow any time soon. What is significant for Beijing rather is the reaffirmation by Canberra that economic instability and political insecurity is likely to continue to drive Australian defence policy, as opposed to security related needs.

    • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov’t’s made Bin Laden’s Killing Moot

      The US government has never understood insurgency for the most part. Smart USG officials with whom I’ve interacted have had a firm belief that leadership is a rare quality and that you can attrite an organization by killing its leaders. This theory is patently false. It moreover gives false hope to counter-insurgency officials and fools them into thinking simple tactical steps will be effective.

      When Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on whom the Pentagon rather ridiculously blamed 80% of the violence in Iraq in 2005, was killed from the air in spring of 2006, many observers thought that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, his guerrilla group, was doomed. But his successor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, renamed it the Islamic State of Iraq and decided to experiment with holding territory in Diyala and other provinces under the noses of the US military.

    • Beyond the Wall: an In-Depth Look at U.S. Immigration Policy

      Political instability in Honduras has also raised concerns about U.S. commitment to democracy in the region. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will likely be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, has been criticized by journalists, international affairs experts and indigenous rights activists for her role in legitimizing the 2009 coup that removed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power. Zelaya clashed with the United States on a number of issues including his drug policy, which directly contradicted the DEA’s regional enforcement strategy. He also proposed a controversial national poll to gauge public interest in modifying the 1982 Honduran Constitution and moved to the left on a number issues, putting him at odds with the country’s media. Despite these controversies, he was democratically elected and assumed office on January 27, 2006, meaning he should have served until January of 2010. Instead, he was kidnapped by the country’s military on June 28, 2009, and taken into exile.

    • U.S. Army Chaplain Resigns In Opposition to Use of Assassin Drones by the United States

      U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Christopher John Antal resigned from the U.S. Army Reserves on April 12, 2016 in opposition to U.S policies regarding militarized drones, nuclear weapons, and preventive war. Antal stated he could not serve as a chaplain for an “empire” and could not “reconcile his duty to protect and defend America and its constitutional democracy and his commitment to the core principles of his religious faith including justice, equity and compassion and the inherent worth and dignity of every person” with policies of the United States.

    • Obama’s drone war is a shameful part of his legacy

      Father Daniel Berrigan died Saturday at 94. The longtime peace activist gained national attention in 1968 when he and eight others, including his brother Philip (also a priest), burned draft records taken from a Selective Service office in Maryland. Decades later, he remains a powerful example of a man who never wavered in his beliefs, standing up time and again for the poor and oppressed. In his last years, Berrigan no longer had the energy to protest as frequently. But if he had been a few generations younger, can there be any doubt that he would have been at forefront of those protesting the expansion of the drone war under President Obama?

    • U.S. forces now on the ground supporting combat operations in Yemen, Pentagon says
    • An Army Captain Takes Obama to Court Over ISIS Fight

      A 28-year-old Army officer on Wednesday sued President Obama over the legality of the war against the Islamic State, setting up a test of Mr. Obama’s disputed claim that he needs no new legal authority from Congress to order the military to wage that deepening mission.

      The plaintiff, Capt. Nathan Michael Smith, an intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, voiced strong support for fighting the Islamic State but, citing his “conscience” and his vow to uphold the Constitution, he said he believed that the mission lacked proper authorization from Congress.

      “To honor my oath, I am asking the court to tell the president that he must get proper authority from Congress, under the War Powers Resolution, to wage the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” he wrote.

    • Jeremy Scahill: Clinton is Legendary Hawk, But Sanders Shouldn’t Get Pass on Role in Regime Change

      Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald weigh in on comments from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her rival, Bernie Sanders, who have both supported the use of drones. Scahill notes that while Clinton is often portrayed as a more hawkish “cruise missile liberal,” Sanders also supported regime change in the 1990s. “Bernie Sanders signed onto neocon legislation that made the Iraq invasion possible by codifying into U.S. law that Saddam Hussein’s regime must be overthrown,” Scahill says, and “then supported the most brutal regime of economic sanctions in world history, that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.”

    • The establishment is lying about the 9/11 report

      As the push to declassify the 28 pages implicating the Saudis in 9/11 intensifies, the Washington establishment is circling the wagons around our Saudi “friends.”

      On Sunday, CIA Director John Brennan pooh-poohed the credibility of the chapter of the 2002 congressional 9/11 inquiry dealing with foreign sponsorship of the attacks that his boss still, despite repeated promises to 9/11 families, refuses to make public.

    • Amy Schumer’s Skit on Just How Easy It Is to Buy Guns in America Is Hilarious and Horrifying (Video)

      When several callers on Amy Schumer’s faux home shopping show say they can’t buy guns because of silly things such as violent convictions or being on the no-fly list, the comedian puts them at ease. “You can absolutely get a gun if you have several felonies as long as you buy it on the internet or at a gun show,” the “Inside Amy Schumer” host explains. “And caller, guess where you are right now? Bam! You’re at a gun show.”

      And it’s no accident the comedian has decided to deal with the topic of gun control on her show—she’s been an outspoken critic of lax gun laws ever since 2 people were shot at a screening of her film “Trainwreck” in Louisiana.

    • The Untold History of US War Crimes

      In this exclusive interview, Prof Peter Kuznick speaks of: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagazaki; US crimes and lies behind the Vietnam war, and what was really behind that inhumane invasion; why the US engaged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and how that war and the mainstream media influences the world today; the interests behind the assassinations of President Kennedy; US imperialism towards Latin America, during the Cold War and today, under the false premise of War on Terror and War on Drugs.

    • American Power Under Challenge

      When we ask “Who rules the world?” we commonly adopt the standard convention that the actors in world affairs are states, primarily the great powers, and we consider their decisions and the relations among them. That is not wrong. But we would do well to keep in mind that this level of abstraction can also be highly misleading.

      States of course have complex internal structures, and the choices and decisions of the political leadership are heavily influenced by internal concentrations of power, while the general population is often marginalized. That is true even for the more democratic societies, and obviously for others. We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while ignoring the “masters of mankind,” as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires, and the like. Still following Smith, it is also wise to attend to the “vile maxim” to which the “masters of mankind” are dedicated: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people” — a doctrine known otherwise as bitter and incessant class war, often one-sided, much to the detriment of the people of the home country and the world.

    • The Times, They Are a Changin’!

      In short, rebellion is in the air – and, I would even venture to say, the spirit of revolution. Both Sanders and Trump, in their inchoate respective ways, are leading a revolt against the idea that America is and must forever more be the policeman of the world.

    • US Ambassador to Hungary: Overthrow Assad, Let in Refugees, and Fight Russia… or Else!

      If anyone wants a short course on what’s wrong with US diplomacy look no further than US Ambassador to Hungary Coleen Bell’s speech Friday to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament. In typical diplo-speak there was plenty of flowery language about shared values, fish swimming together in the same water (?), sappy poetics like “together, out of that winter, we would force the spring,” and talk of together being “part of the world’s greatest military and political alliance.”

      But make no mistake: Inside Ambassador Bell’s velvet glove is an iron fist, poised to strike should Washington’s annoyingly independent-minded Fidesz-led government step out of line on the big issues. And by “big” issues it should be understood that the US means the issues it considers in the interests of its own foreign policy, not those in Hungary’s interest.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hacker Guccifer Claims He Broke Into Hillary Clinton’s Email Server

      The Romanian hacker who first inadvertently revealed the existence of Hillary Clinton’s secret, off-the-books email account back in 2014 now says he directly breached her home server, contradicting claims to the contrary by the Clinton campaign.

    • US Judge: Clinton may be ordered to testify in records case

      A federal judge said Wednesday he may order Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton to testify under oath about whether she used a private email server as secretary of state to evade public records disclosures.

    • Federal judge could order Hillary Clinton to testify about private server

      A federal judge is saying he could order presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to testify under oath about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

    • Whistleblowers Praised for Exposing Alleged Pentagon Contractor Fraud

      Two firms contracting with the Pentagon’s massive Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative agreed to pay the government $13 million to settle allegations of overbilling exposed by two whistleblowers, the Justice Department and private attorneys announced Tuesday.

      The California-based companies Menlo Worldwide Services and Estes Forwarding Worldwide agreed to resolve a lawsuit brought in 2013 under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens bringing forward material information to collect a reward. They were said to have billed the Pentagon the cost of moving freight by air when it was actually shipped by ground, charges that the companies did not admit to.

      The two firms were also alleged to have knowingly submitted inflated charges for air fuel instead of ground fuel, and charges for oversized freight when the freight did not qualify as oversized.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands Burning to the Ground

      The city which serves as the hub of one of the world’s largest climate-wrecking projects, the Alberta tar sands, is burning to the ground due to wildfires sparked by unseasonably dry and hot weather.

      The wildfires began some five days ago in the forests west of the city and then worsened when strong winds carried the fires to the edge and into the city, creating quasi-apocalyptic conditions. The city center is burning, including the city hospital. Flights in and out of the airport were cancelled as of noon on May 4.

    • From Philly to Australia, People Rise Up Against ‘Fossil Fuel Dinosaur Economy’

      The climate movement was out in force on Saturday as demonstrators from Australia to Philadelphia laid their bodies down and raised their voices up to demand a just transition to renewable energy.

      In Newcastle, Australia, over 1,000 kayaktivists and other protesters shut down operations at the nation’s largest coal export port.

      “For the first time in a very long while, no coal came into or left Newcastle Port today,” organizers with climate action group 350 Australia wrote in an end-of-day recap of the dramatic occupation.

      “Kayakers blocked the harbour entrance in the largest flotilla ever seen here. While at the same time over 60 people blocked the only coal transport train line into the port, preventing any coal from getting to port for over six hours,” they said. “Other brave folk suspended themselves from coal loaders and mooring lines of major coal assets.”

    • Tar Sands Boomtown Blaze Still ‘Burning Out of Control’

      The Alberta wildfire that has been dubbed The Beast and described as a post-apocalyptic nightmare is still burning “out of control,” according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who gave a briefing Saturday afternoon in Edmonton.

      “In no way is this fire under control,” she reiterated.

      Fire officials said Sunday that the fire will soon reach neighboring province Saskatchewan as the blaze is expected to double in size over the course of the weekend due to the high temperatures and gusting winds, growing to an estimated 3,000 square kilometers.

    • People Power Over Corporate Power = Canceled Pipeline Projects

      A long-standing fight for the public’s right to their land and waterways came to an end April 22 when Gov. Cuomo’s New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The pipeline was proposed to run for 124 miles and require the destruction of nearly 700,000 trees.

    • As Climate Deception Investigations Gain Momentum, ExxonMobil Plays the Victim

      With several state attorneys general now investigating whether ExxonMobil misled its shareholders and the public about climate change risks, it was more than a little ironic when the company recently cried foul.

      “Collaboration, collusion, conspiracy,” charged ExxonMobil Media Relations Manager Alan Jeffers, “pick a word.”

      Pick a word? How about nonsense? If anyone could be accused of collusion and conspiracy, it’s ExxonMobil. But more on that later.

      What prompted Jeffers’ ludicrous allegation was a meeting that took place on March 29. My colleague Peter Frumhoff, lead climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and environmental attorney Matt Pawa briefed a handful of state attorneys general, including New York’s Eric Schneiderman, who launched an investigation of ExxonMobil last November. Later that day, Schneiderman and 16 other attorneys general joined former Vice President Al Gore at a press conference to declare their support for more aggressive government action on climate change. During the event, AGs from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Massachusetts announced that they, too, would initiate investigations of ExxonMobil.

    • The PAWS Act Would Protect Animal Victims of Domestic Violence

      Ample research and horrific statistics document a crystal-clear link between animal abuse and domestic violence – one reason the FBI now tracks animal abuse.

      Despite the fact that we understand this link in painfully intimate detail, pets are still at grave risk because they have fewer protections under the law. Abusers view animals as soft and easy targets — and another tool to use in abusing their partners. While some states have enacted additional protections for pets, there’s nothing on the federal level, yet.

  • Finance

    • Trump’s New Finance Chair Led a Bank That Made Millions Off Taxpayer Bailouts

      Donald Trump has slammed Washington insiders, lobbyists, and Wall Street as he has tapped populist anger to snag the Republican presidential nomination. Yet when it came time to pick the top money man for his campaign, he turned to a hedge-funder best known for running a bank that made billions off taxpayer bailouts and, by one account, cost the federal government $13 billion.

    • A 2-Pronged Assault on Women

      The GOP isn’t just taking aim at reproductive rights — it’s after our very economic survival.

    • Why California’s $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Hike Still Isn’t High Enough

      California’s $10 minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour by 2022, but the state’s skyrocketing cost of living is already greater than most in the country.

    • How the Kleptocrats’ $12 Trillion Heist Helps Keep Most of the World Impoverished

      For the first time we have a reliable estimate of how much money thieving dictators and others have looted from 150 mostly poor nations and hidden offshore: $12.1 trillion.

      That huge figure equals a nickel on each dollar of global wealth and yet it excludes the wealthiest regions of the planet: America, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

      That so much money is missing from these poorer nations explains why vast numbers of people live in abject poverty even in countries where economic activity per capita is above the world average. In Equatorial Guinea, for example, the national economy’s output per person comes to 60 cents for each dollar Americans enjoy, measured using what economists call purchasing power equivalents, yet living standards remain abysmal.

    • The TTIP and TPP trade deals: enough of the secrecy

      It’s amazing how just a little transparency forced onto the free trade deals the Obama administration been negotiating in secret totally turns the public against them.

      After the contents of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the European Union was leaked and published by Greenpeace a few days ago, the negotiations – already in turmoil – have been thrown into further doubt now that the public has actually gotten to see what is being proposed by both sides.

      As usual with US-negotiated trade deals, the contents were kept completely secret from both ordinary Europeans and Americans, yet was easily accessible if you’re a giant corporation. So naturally, the terms are heavily tilted toward big business at the expense of the environment, health and safety standards.

    • Is Pro-Business Reform Pro-Growth?

      It might at first be puzzling why, given such a robust cross-sectional relationship being the World Bank’s index and per-capita output, that I find no meaningful effects of pro-business reforms. To me, the most reasonable explanation is that the raw cross-country differences in the index probably captures a more meaningful measure of institutions than the jumps in the index, which reflect specific, discrete policy reforms. Countries with illiberal policies towards business probably have other problems that restrain economic development, but countries that change those policies in a sharply pro-business direction don’t necessarily solve all those deeper problems in the same sweep.

    • Why Don’t Entitlement ‘Reformers’ Ever Talk About Military Spending and Tax Shelters?

      Now that Donald Trump seems to be a sure thing for the Republican nomination, a GOP-led “entitlement reform” movement is all but done—for now. The Republicans put “entitlement reform” front and center as a major issue in 2012, but given Clinton’s ostensible opposition and the meteoric rise of Trump, who says he opposes Social Security cuts, the legendary “Grand Bargain” is now on the political back burner. This, predictably, has left some of the “entitlement reform” holdouts very upset.

      First, resident Washington Post fat-trimmer Charles Lane, in “Entitlement Reform, RIP” (4/27/16), lamented that a Trump/Clinton match-up means “entitlement reform” is all but dead. The Weekly Standard‘s Mark Hemingway (4/28/16) incredulously asked, “Whatever Happened to Entitlement Reform?” And the emerging “Never Trump” crowd, which is rushing to find a third party to help bring back the Romney-Ryan reform magic — including Sen. Ben Sasse, who published a call for an independent candidate, based largely on prioritizing “entitlement reform.”

    • We Were Kidding About Donald Trump Literally Taking the U.S. to Bankruptcy Court, Right?

      GOP presumptive nominee discusses renegotiating federal debt, like struggling economies do.

    • Robert McChesney: Capitalism Is a Bad Fit for a Technological Revolution

      In this interview, Robert McChesney, author with John Nichols of People Get Ready, discusses their new book, its challenge to the idea that technological advances always benefit humans and a framework to envision a digital age that will benefit workers over the super-rich.

    • Stories of Mother Love

      More than 5.8 million children are living in households headed by grandparents. Even when parents also live in the home many grandparents assume the parental role. Nearly half of these children are living with grandparents who say they are responsible for their grandchildren, and close to a million have no parent present in the home. More than a third of the 1.6 million grandmothers who say they are responsible for grandchildren are like Mrs. Dees – over 60 years old. So many children have been diverted from the child welfare system to live with a grandparent and sometimes their grandparents are their foster parents or legal guardians.

    • Capitalist Pig Comes Out For Hillary

      “I start with the premise that the only thing that can save the country is capitalism,” writes Capitalist Pig hedge fund manager Jonathan Hoenig in a recent blog post titled “Why Hillary Has My Vote.” The problem, according to Hoenig, is that Donald Trump seems to represent capitalism, while being explicitly anti-capitalist on numerous issues.

    • ‘You Never Know’: Trump Doubles Down On Default

      Hours after locking up the Republican presidential nomination this week, Donald Trump suggested that defaulting on the national debt could be a good thing. Economists and financial observers pointed out that his proposal to buy back U.S. debts for less than what America borrowed would send interest rates soaring and cripple the dollar’s vital status as the world’s safest investment.

      Pressed to explain why he thinks a huge national lender like China would accept a loss on their investment in the United States on Sunday, Trump offered only a verbal shrug.

      “You never know,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulous. “At some point, they might want to get out. Maybe they need their money, they might wanna get out.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump diminishes democracy

      How the Americans vote in their presidential election should be only their business. But it cannot be so.

    • They’re Still Not Telling the Real Story: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the Analysis You Won’t Hear on Cable News

      After every presidential primary, we were treated to a new round of conventional wisdom about what things mean for both parties going forward. Yet, there’s every reason to be deeply skeptical of these discussions among people who never saw either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders coming. They represent a chattering class that both expected and normalized a “war of dynasties” between Bushes and the Clintons, then marveled at the “depth” of the Republican bench, and spent months obsessing over whether Joe Biden would run, as if he were a figure of mythic proportions.

    • Why the 2016 Election Could Be the Start of an Authoritarian Strain in US Politics

      Ignoring rule of law is a classic sign of Totalitarian thinking — and that’s exactly Trump’s mindset.

    • Trump Advisor’s Putin Connections Freaks Out Security Establishment (Video)

      Late last year, the world marveled at the budding bromance between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Putin, who is alleged to have ordered the jailing and murder of political opponents and journalists critical of his regime, heaped praise on the “absolute leader of the presidential race,” calling Trump “bright and talented.”


      In particular, policy experts are concerned about Trump’s newest political operative, Paul Manafort, who was recruited last month to lead the effort to secure delegates for the GOP convention in July. Manafort has significant experience laying the infrastructure for successful political campaigns, both in the United States and abroad. Slate provides extensive detail of Manafort’s dealings with foreign leaders, summarily stating Trump’s latest hire “made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom.”

    • Donald Trump Won’t Self-Fund General-Election Campaign

      Presumptive Republican nominee plans to create ‘world-class finance organization’ to back campaign

    • Trump Dodges on Whether He’s Met With Vladimir Putin: ‘I Don’t Want to Say’

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he had ever met with or spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

      CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked him about Russian fighter jets buzzing U.S. ships, the latest in a series of military provocations by Russia.

      “Lack of respect,” Trump said quickly.

      “Lack of respect?” Blitzer asked. “If you were president, what would you tell Putin?”

      “I would call him and say, ‘Don’t do it again,’” he said. “I would say, ‘Don’t do it again,’ and I think I’ll have a good relationship with him. So far, we’re off to a good start. He said Trump is a genius, OK? I think I’ll have a good relation—”

    • The Trump Train Chugs Along

      The point of Trump’s current lead is that any move at the convention against him will be seen as disastrous. On the other hand, the GOP machine men and women will be wondering if going with Trump will also come with its own destructive promise, a suicide pact that will banish the party into the wilderness. The chalice is being readied.

    • The Story of How Maine’s Governor Got His Dog Will Make You Angry

      The shelter has since admitted to breaking its own rules by giving LePage a chance to adopt the dog a day earlier than the public.

      It remains to be seen if Veto will soon be moving to Washington, DC, as LePage is reportedly gunning for a position in the Trump administration.

    • Obama official says he pushed a ‘narrative’ to media to sell the Iran nuclear deal
    • Why the Ben Rhodes profile in the New York Times Magazine is just gross
    • The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru
    • Millennials’ non-voting habits, explained

      Perhaps more surprisingly, Roberts doesn’t bring up the millennials who’ve already pushed the climate conversation this election into the mainstream, cornering Clinton into a firm rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and prompting a national conversation about the role of fossil fuel money — including hers — in politics. Also absent are the now hundreds of students who’ve been arrested to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and the over 60 of them jailed this spring for fossil fuel divestment.

    • The Media Myth of the Working-Class Reagan Democrats

      Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, we are likely to get all sorts of mainstream media analysis about how his narrow pathway to Election Day victory runs through white working-class America, the way Ronald Reagan’s did, while the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, must corral young people, minorities and the well-educated.

      In case you haven’t noticed, there is an unmistakable media bias in this – one that was framed perfectly in a Newsweek cover story by Evan Thomas eight years ago. It was about Barack Obama’s alleged “Bubba Gap,” and illustrated with a picture of arugula — and beer. Democrats, naturally, were the arugula eaters.

    • An Honest Man at the BBC @KKeaneBBC

      Yorkshireman Mr Keane’s salary is approximately £170,000 pa less than that of Laura Keunssberg and significantly less than that of Sarah Smith. I am afraid his unfortunate addiction to truth telling is not going to have a positive effect on reducing that disparity. Indeed I fear for his continued employment. But we will ensure he is always welcome in Scotland.

    • This Ain’t the Kentucky Derby, Y’All

      On Sander’s side, as the path to nomination becomes narrower, some of us cry foul with increasing vehemence, blaming Clinton’s success on a rigged contest.

    • Few stand in Trump’s way as he piles up the Four-Pinocchio whoppers

      But the news media now faces the challenge of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ‘Upfront’ Gulshan Grover demands censorship on ‘dirty’ web series content

      The bad man of Bollywood Gulshan Grover is all set to make his debut in the world of web series. The actor will soon be seen in Viacom18′s web-film titled ‘ Badman’ that will be showcased as a four part film.

    • Societies with poor literacy rate prone to censorship

      “You can outsmart censorship with learning English and expanding your reading materials.”

      So said a Singaporean literary writer who has encountered many situations showing that censorship is enabled by a poor literacy rate.

      “We’ve seen that the Singaporean government is very fond of censorship and they use the idea of censorship as a way to shape society,” Stephanie Ye said in a discussion entitled “Being Shut Down” at the 2016 ASEAN Literary Festival in Jakarta on Sunday.

      “One reason why censorship doesn’t really work there is because the country’s population is extremely literate. Most people can read in English, so it’s so easy to access foreign media [to find alternative reading material]. You can’t censor every single thing that is in English out there,” she went on.

    • Akasha is a Censorship Resistant Blogging Network

      Akasha Project was unveiled on may the 3rd, created by one of Ethereum’s cofounder Mihai Alisie the venture seeks to create a social network on top of Ethereum’s Blockchain, using a technological stack comprised of IPFS, Electron, React, and Node.js. The goal is to have a censorship resistant Social Network that also prevents the loss of the user’s data.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Navy ‘Spy’ Edward Lin Spilled No Secrets To Taiwan

      A U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage didn’t provide military secrets to a foreign government, but rather to an FBI informant who was posing as a Taiwanese official, military officials revealed Thursday.

      The latest twist in the case against Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, came as military officials allowed reporters to listen to a recording from a military pretrial hearing held on April 8. There, prosecutors alleged that Lin was the target of a sting operation that led to his arrest and two-day interrogation at the Honolulu International Airport last September.

    • FBI Wants to Exempt Its Massive Biometric Database from Some Federal Privacy Rules

      The FBI wants to block individuals from knowing if their information is in a massive repository of biometric records, which includes fingerprints and facial scans, if the release of information would “compromise” a law enforcement investigation.

      The FBI’s biometric database, known as the “Next Generation Identification System,” gathers a wide scope of information, including palm prints, fingerprints, iris scans, facial and tattoo photographs, and biographies for millions of people.

      On Thursday, the Justice Department agency plans to propose the database be exempt from several provisions of the Privacy Act — legislation that requires federal agencies to share information about the records they collect with the individual subject of those records, allowing them to verify and correct them if needed.

      Aside from criminals, suspects and detainees, the system includes data from people fingerprinted for jobs, licenses, military or volunteer service, background checks, security clearances, and naturalization, among other government processes.

    • NSA Plan to Trash Employee Complaint Files Raises Concerns for Some

      The National Security Agency plans to immediately discard records containing preliminary workplace complaints raised by employees. The files set to be destroyed are created by the NSA Ombudsman program, a low-profile office that resolves conflicts between personnel. It is not the ombudsman’s job to handle reported abuses of power, rather inspectors general and diversity offices deal with those issues.

      However, amid a legal battle about the potential improper disposal of whistleblower evidence, there are concerns that informal information reported by informants or victims of retaliation could be thrown out under the ombudsman policy.

      “Destroy immediately after case is closed,” state new recordkeeping instructions for working case files produced by the NSA ombudsman.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dangers from Hating Government

      Even within the private sector, Trump’s background does not extend to the sorts of decision-making situations that would confront, say, the chief executive officer of a large, well-established corporation.

      Instead, Trump’s career, apart from his flings at presidential campaigning, has almost exclusively been about deal-making aimed at personal enrichment and enhancing recognition of the Trump brand name. Against the backdrop of U.S. history and past U.S. presidents, Trump’s personal qualifications are breathtakingly narrow and shallow, and his endeavors inwardly oriented.

    • RISE: New Politics for a Tired Scotland

      The first thing RISE wants you to know is that it isn’t a party, it’s an alliance: formed in August 2015. The second is the acronym; Respect, Independence, Socialism, Environmentalism.

    • No Charges Against Cop Who Got Into a Deadly Struggle After a Door Hit His Foot

      Nicholas Kehagias, a sheriff’s deputy in Harnett County, North Carolina, came to John Livingston’s house in the middle of the night, looking for two people who weren’t there. Ten minutes later, Livingston was lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his porch, mortally wounded by three rounds from the deputy’s gun.

      Last month a grand jury declined to indict Kehagias for second-degree murder in connection with the November 15 shooting. But a recent investigation by the Raleigh News & Observer suggests the deputy’s behavior that night fits a pattern of excessive force and needless escalation of encounters with local residents.

      Kehagias was responding to an assault complaint. The fight did not happen at Livingston’s house, but Kehagias thought two of the people allegedly involved might be there. When Livingston said they weren’t, Kehagias did not believe him. He wanted to come in and have a look around. Not unless you have a warrant, Livingston said, shutting the door, which hit Kehagias on his foot and arm. The deputy viewed that as an assault and barged into Livingston’s house along with his partner, determined to vindicate the affront by handcuffing Livingston and hauling him off to jail.

    • The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips

      Unfortunately, the convenience of “biometric” identification comes with a cost.

    • Black and brown boys don’t need to learn “grit,” they need schools to stop being racist

      Everyone seems to think that a lack of “soft skills” is the reason why students of color aren’t ready for college and careers. More schools and after-school programs are teaching students how to have “grit,” compassion and a “growth mindset.” Under the new federal education law, states are encouraged to use “nonacademic” factors to hold schools accountable.

    • Central America Is As Violent As Ever. What Would it Take to Change?

      Thirty years after covering wars in the “Northern Triangle,” a veteran reporter returns to find several reasons for hope amid the violence.

    • A Whistle-Blower Behind Bars

      On January 24, 2013, the Florida Department of Corrections received a grievance letter from an inmate named Harold Hempstead, who had been imprisoned at the Dade Correctional Institution. The letter was brief and its tone was matter-of-fact, but the allegations it contained were shocking, raising troubling questions about the death of a mentally ill inmate named Darren Rainey, who had collapsed in a shower seven months earlier, on June 23, 2012—a case that I wrote about in the magazine this week. According to Hempstead’s letter, the death had been misrepresented to disguise the abuse that preceded it. The reason Rainey collapsed in the shower, Hempstead alleged, was that he had been locked in the stall by guards, who directed scalding water at him. Hempstead’s cell was directly below the shower. That night, he had heard Rainey yelling, “I can’t take it no more,” he recalled. Then he heard a loud thud—which he believed was the sound of Rainey falling to the ground—and the yelling stopped. Hempstead concluded his letter by calling for an investigation.

    • [Last year] The CIA Paid This Contractor $40 Million to Review Torture Documents

      One of the main criticisms leveled by Republicans and CIA supporters about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark five-year study into the CIA’s torture program has been the cost to taxpayers: $40 million.

      The implication by these critics is that the Senate Democrats who led the investigation were responsible for the expenditures associated with the production of their voluminous report, which concluded that the CIA’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” was not effective and did not produce “unique” and “valuable” intelligence.

    • Archivist Won’t Call “Torture Report” a Permanent Record

      Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero last week rebuffed requests to formally designate the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices a “federal record” that must be preserved.

      Senators Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy had urged the Archivist to exercise his authority to certify that the Senate report is a federal record.

      “We believe that Congress has made it clear that the National Archives has a responsibility — as the nation’s record keeper — to advise other parts of the United States government of their legal duty to preserve documents like the Senate Report under the Federal Records Act, the Presidential Records Act, and other statutes,” Senators Feinstein and Leahy wrote in an April 13 letter.

    • London’s Muslim Mayor is nothing New: 1300 yrs of Muslims who Ran Major European Cities

      Going back into history, parts of Spain, and often quite a lot of it, were under Muslim rule 711 to 1492. So for example, Abd al-Rahman I was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in 756. We’re talking major Western European city here. In the 900s Cordoba was the most populous city in the world.

    • Top US Intelligence Lawyer’s Testimony Shows Obama Encouraged Leak Prosecutions

      Recently released testimony from the former top lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence undermines claims by President Barack Obama’s administration that it has had no desire for leak prosecutions. It also renews concerns about the insider threat program implemented and expanded since U.S. military whistleblower Chelsea Manning disclosed documents to WikiLeaks. And it proves the insider threat program is a roundabout way to identify and go after whistleblowers.

      The testimony was delivered by ODNI General Counsel Robert S. Litt on February 9, 2012, during a closed session held by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It was obtained by Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News through a Freedom of Information Act request.

      “This administration has been historically active in pursuing prosecution of leakers, and the intelligence community fully supports this effort,” Litt declares.

      A few months later, “aides” from the Obama administration told Charlie Savage and Scott Shane of the New York Times that Obama “never ordered investigations.” Unnamed current and former officials asserted the record number of prosecutions was “unplanned” and “resulted from several leftover investigations” from President George W. Bush’s administration. These unnamed officials also attributed the increase to a “proliferation of email and computer audit trails that increasingly can pinpoint reporters’ sources, bipartisan support in Congress for a tougher approach, and a push by the director of national intelligence in 2009 that sharpened the system for tracking disclosures.”

    • The Shooting of Dion Avila Damon: A Case of Extrajudicial Killing by the Police?

      Many questions have surfaced following the police killing of 40-year-old Dion Avila Damon on April 12 in Denver, Colorado. Police technician Jeff Motz fired seven shots through the front windshield of Damon’s car, killing him in front of his wife and stepson.

      The Denver Police Department stated that Damon had a warrant for a suspected bank robbery and he was under surveillance. Dawn Aguirre, Damon’s wife, explained that the family had driven downtown to pay a parking ticket when a truck came up and hit the car with Damon in it shortly after she and her son exited the vehicle. Aguirre told reporters that she yelled to the police, “Please don’t shoot, I’m not armed; my husband’s not armed” before the police officer fatally shot Damon multiple times. Aguirre also stated that Damon would have surrendered if the police gave him a chance.

    • Parents of 20-Year-Old Confidential Informant Who Turned Up Dead To Sue Law Enforcement

      Attorney representing Andrew Sadek’s family tells Reason they plan to sue the police for fraud and negligence.

    • Cynthia Dewi Oka: A Conversation With My Six-Year-Old About Revolution
    • A response to Norman Finkelstein’s interview

      As a practical matter, the Zionists and Nazis could therefore find a degree of common ground around the emigration/expulsion of Jews to Palestine. It was a paradox that, against the emphatic protestations of liberal Jews, including sections of the Anglo-Jewish establishment, antisemites and Zionists back then effectively shared the same slogan: Jews to Palestine. It was why, for example, the Nazis forbade German Jews to raise the swastika flag, but expressly permitted them to hoist the Zionist flag. It was as if to say, the Zionists are right: Jews can’t be Germans, they belong in Palestine. Hannah Arendt wrote scathingly about this in Eichmann in Jerusalem, which is one of the reasons she caught hell from the Jewish/Zionist establishment.” Zionism was perfectly capable of inspiring resistance to the Nazis as ‘Antek’ Zuckerman, a leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, makes clear in his massive autobiography, A Surplus of Memory.


      This is the context for the truly sinister cat and mouse game the Nazis were playing when they appeared to be supporting the Zionist project in Palestine even if did mean some German Jews, by moving to Palestine with Hitler’s agreement, escaped the death camps. It’s a simple enough proposition but perhaps not as obvious as it should be. If Rommel had won the desert war in the Middle East, Palestine’s Jews would have been deported to those camps.

      Even in its most reactionary form, Zionism, before the second world war, which had no guarantee for its claims on Palestine, was one of the voices of oppressed Jews facing the growth of violent anti Semitism as a mass movement everywhere, though of course in widely differing degrees of intensity. That strand of Zionism which tried to grovel with its tormentor, camouflaged as ‘negotiation’, even to the point of mimicry, remained always at its mercy.

    • The U.S. Government Has Been Outsourcing The Gitmo Trial

      The Defense Department has given a multimillion-dollar contract to one private company — to serve both the defense and the prosecution in the Gitmo terror cases.

    • ‘Suspected Terrorist’ Kicked Off Plane Actually A Professor Working On A Math Equation

      On Thursday evening, Guido Menzio, a successful economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, boarded a flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse. As the 40-year-old professor was waiting for the flight to take off, he began working on a differential equation related to a speech he was slated to give at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. Soon after Menzio got to work, his seatmate, who said she was feeling sick, slipped a note to the flight attendant. Surprisingly, the plane turned around and headed back to the gate. Menzio was then escorted off the plane and questioned by an official, who informed him that he was suspected of terrorism.

    • Europe’s day: a reflection

      On Europe Day, let us remember that peace is not achieved simply through an absence of war, but through an end to the very antagonisms and contradictions driving conflict in all its guises.

    • San Francisco Protesters Targeting Police Brutality End Hunger Strike After 17 Days

      Five San Franciscans protesting police brutality and institutional racism against the city’s Black and Brown youths ended their hunger strike after 17 days, despite City Hall rejecting their key demand to fire Police Chief Greg Suhr.

    • Bearing the Cross

      Bearing the cross is not about the pursuit of happiness. It does not embrace the illusion of inevitable human progress. It is not about achieving wealth, celebrity or power. It entails sacrifice. It is about our neighbor. The organs of state security—in Dan’s case, the FBI—monitor and harass you. They amass huge files on your activities. They disrupt your life. And in Friday’s homily, the Rev. Stephen Kelly, evoking laughter, welcomed the FBI agents who had been “assigned here today to validate that it is Daniel Berrigan’s funeral mass so they can complete and perhaps close their files.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Oracle v. Google copyright retrial won’t bring clarification on application programming interfaces (APIs)

        Tomorrow, the Oracle v. Google Android-Java copyright retrial is scheduled to begin. Almost six years have passed since the filing of this lawsuit, and about four years since the first trial, which could have been much more useful if not for Judge Alsup’s sometimes unfathomable (and bad) decisions.

        There’s really no reason to get excited about this retrial with respect to application programming interfaces (APIs). For Oracle it’s more important than for Google to make headway, and for the outside world it’s of very limited interest what happens now (as opposed to what may happen on appeal). During and after the first trial, the copyrightability of APIs was a key issue. In my opinion, the way this played out was merely consistent with what the law had been all along, but admittedly a lot of people took a different position in the public debate, so this had to be settled–and it has been, in Oracle’s (and almost all software developers’) favor.


Links 8/5/2016: Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r1, Slackware Live Edition

Posted in News Roundup at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Why It’s The Best Time To Learn Linux And Open Source Programming — Tons Of New Jobs

    The results of a recent survey conducted by the Linux Foundation and Dice.com are out. The survey indicates that the open source professionals are now in high demand and companies are ready to pay fat packages to hire them. This growth in demand is likey to be easily seen in the next six months and developers are advised to brush up their Linux and open source skills.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Q&A, With a Grain of Salt

      Without rambling on about the advantages and disadvantages of the many different kinds of Linux distributions, I will summarize this section as “use what works best for you.” You will have people arguing that their version of Linux is the best because it is the most stable (Debian), or the most user friendly (Ubuntu), or has the most up to date packages and customizability (Arch), or because theirs is backed by a large corporation (Redhat/SUSE). Because of how many different variations of Linux there are, each with their own philosophy of what a Linux distribution should be, you will have people who have settled into their distribution of choice, and tend to think their version is the best version. And in some cases, it absolutely is… but for them, not necessarily for everyone. However, you will hopefully be using the version of Linux you pick for a long time, and you will pick your version of Linux based on how completely it meets your needs for a computer.

    • 11 Reason Why To Migrate From Windows Desktop To Linux Desktop

      We have always felt that Windows is one of the most user-friendly interfaces among the Operation Systems that have been developed and upgraded in this technological era. However, this has become a myth with the release of the Linux Desktops as they have proved to be more user-friendly and safe compared to that of the Windows Desktops.

    • Microsoft half-bricks Asus Windows 7 PCs with UEFI boot glitch

      A recent Windows 7 update partially bricks computers that have an Asus motherboard fitted, it emerged this week.

      Windows 7 machines that have installed Microsoft’s KB3133977 update may trigger a “secure boot violation” during startup, preventing the PC from loading the operating system, Asus said.

      Though the KB3133977 patch has been out for a while, Microsoft has only this week changed its classification from “optional” to “recommended”, meaning for many users it now automatically installs through Windows Update – and then borks the PC.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Bacon and Linux

      Now the conversation isn’t about bacon or no bacon. It’s about how much bacon. Linux is still built on the idea of “do one thing and do it well.” The fact that there’s proprietary software out there is fine. No one says we had to do #AllTheThings perfectly right out the gate. You can’t cook or eat all the bacon at once.

    • PulseAudio is a Toilet Full of Roses

      I can honestly say with a straight face that I’ve never, ever had any real show-stopping issues with PulseAudio. Yeah, I know – you have. And so have many others. I guess this means I’m blessed by the Linux audio gods, as my PulseAudio experience has never been anything other than mundane and functional.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • gNewSense 5 Hopes To Be A Speedier Release Of The FSF-Approved Linux OS

      GNewSense 4 was released yesterday as the successor to gNewSense 3, which had been around since 2013. GNewSense 4 was also their first release being based off the current Debian stable 7. GNewSense releases have been far and few between, but the developers involved are looking at possibility expediting gNewSense 5 and beyond.

      With gNewSense 4 “Ucclia” out the door, developers have already turned the discussion to gNewSense 5. Developer Sam Geeraerts started a mailing list thread about speeding up the development for this next major release. He’s also started this planning Wiki page with brainstorming ways to improve their build processes to be able to push out new releases in a faster manner.

    • New Releases

      • Welcome to Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5r1 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux is a live and installation DVD based on Debian. Our goal is to provide a ready to use and easy to install desktop and laptop optimized operating system based on Debian’s stable branch and the latest stable release of GNOME desktop environment. Users can easily install extra software packages from Parsix APT repositories. Our annual release cycle consists of two major and four minor versions. We have our own software repositories and build servers to build and provide all the necessary updates and missing features in Debian stable branch.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Installing OpenSUSE on Thinkpad P50

        The Lenovo Thinkpad P50 is quite a nifty laptop. However installing Linux required some digging around, so I’m writing this up for others to stumble upon it when looking for answers to similar issues.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware Live Edition – final testing please

        My gut feeling tells me that I should announce a stable release of my “liveslak” project soon. I have implemented much more than I set out to do from the beginning, and no bugs have surfaced for a while.

        So it was time to stamp a final beta number on the liveslak sources and generate new Slackware Live ISO images. I want you to give them a spin and report any bugs that you find. Otherwise there may well be an 1.0.0 release after the weekend.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Final Testing Slackware Live, Mint Removes Codecs

          Closing out the week Eric Hameleers today announced the final testing release of Slackware Live dubbed 0.9.0. In other news, Clement Lefebvre said today he was reducing the workload over there and axing OEM and NoCodec images, instead shipping no codecs for anyone. gNewSense 4 was recently released based on “a solid Debian” and the Hectic Geek compares and contrasts several flavors of Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian’s i386 Builds Now Require 686-Class CPUs

        Those running any old VIA C3, AMD K5/K6, or original Intel Pentium CPUs, you’ll be losing your Debian support past the current stable (Jessie) series.

        The Debian i386 architecture builds now require an i686 class processor for Debian testing (affecting Debian Stretch) and future builds. Support for 586 class and 586/686 class processors has been dropped, similar to the 486 CPUs being dropped previously. This i686 CPU requirement means the end of the line for hardware like the AMD K5 and K6, Intel Pentium / Pentium MMX, and VIA C3 Ezra hardware.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mark Shuttleworth: We Won’t Make the Same Mistake Again with Unity 8

            The Ubuntu Online Summit 2016 for Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) has ended, and we told you already that Unity 8 and Snaps are the future for the popular operating system.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak Release Schedule

            Ubuntu 16.10, which is codenamed the Yakkety Yak, is currently penciled in to ship on 20nd October, 2016. The release date Ubuntu 16.10 has now been firmed up as are the other development milestones leading up to the mid-October, currently we don’t know what new features and technologies will ship in 16.10.

          • LXD, ZFS and bridged networking on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            LXD works perfectly fine with a directory-based storage backend, but both speed and reliability are greatly improved when ZFS is used instead. 16.04 LTS saw the first officially supported release of ZFS for Ubuntu and having just set up a fresh LXD host on Elastichosts utilising both ZFS and bridged networking, I figured it’d be a good time to document it.

          • Customize NotifyOSD Notification Bubbles In Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus)

            Sukochev Roman’s (Leolik) patched NotifyOSD PPA adds extra features on top of the Ubuntu NotifyOSD notifications, like closing the notifications on click, option to move the notifications to a different screen corner, configurable colors for both the notification background and text, and much more.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus – Oh Shucks … it’s Schuster!

            Dafuq? What is this? Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus is supposed to be an LTS. A pillar of stability! It’s buggier than Werewolf. And it sure comes with a dozen new issues and/or regressions that Trust did not have. Horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible. Why? WHYYYYYY? Why oh why?

            Why can’t I have my peace and quiet and sanity? Why do you have to dash my hopes? Why do you have to ruin my day? Why can’t I use this new LTS with a big and happy smile on my face? Why did you have to rush this release? Why release the tablet without the newest LTS on it? Why all of it?

            I am really displeased. But I also believe I must keep on testing Xerus, so that you know where you stand, and hopefully, with enough pressure, we will see some positive results. Much like openSUSE, I presume the issues will be ironed out a few months after the initial offering. Which reminds me, I need to test Leap again. On the Xenial side of things, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Network support first and foremost, Bluetooth, battery life, memory consumption, codecs, package management. All of it really.

            At the moment, Ubuntu 16.04 is not ready for mass consumption. It pains me, really deeply pains me, because I know there will be a ripple effect on Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Mint, and for months ahead, we will struggle with silly problems and regressions, and hardware support will just suck. For now, Xerus gets 3/10. Let’s hope things improve, for everyone’s sake. More than just pride and silly release names are at stake. The whole of Linux, even if you don’t believe that. See ya.

          • Top 10 Task to do after installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
          • Software Defined Radio App Store

            LimeSDR is an open source SDR with a crowdfunding campaign. By itself, that’s not anything special. There are plenty of SDR devices available. What makes LimeSDR interesting is that it is using Snappy Ubuntu Core as a sort of app store. Developers can make code available, and end-users can easily download and install that code.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu LTS Flavors Comparison: Ubuntu 16.04 vs Kubuntu 16.04 vs Ubuntu GNOME 16.04

              After reviewing Ubuntu 15.10 a few months ago, I came up with an Ubuntu (15.10) flavor comparison as well. So after reviewing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and especially since this is a LTS (Long Term Support) release, I decided to come up with yet another Ubuntu 16.04 LTS flavors comparison that involves Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME because they come with the 3 main desktop environments of GNU/Linux: Unity, KDE Plasma and GNOME.

              But just like the previous one of its kind, this too will be based on the performance aspect and the stability of the each operating system, and I won’t talk about the new features of the desktop or the applications. But as a general introduction, all three flavors use the Kernel 4.4 & Xorg 1.18.3. Ubuntu’s Unity desktop features the version 7.4.0, Kubuntu features the KDE Plasma 5.5.5 (and KDE Applications 15.12), and Ubuntu GNOME features GNOME 3.18 release.

            • Voyager 16.04 LTS
            • Lubuntu 16.04 LTS – See What’s New

              Lubuntu 16.04 LTS was officially released as part of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Official Flavors. This release ships with the latest build of LXDE Desktop Environment and powered by long-term suported of Linux kernel Series 4.4.

            • Monthly News – April 2016

              April saw the releases of Cinnamon 3.0 and MATE 1.14 which will be featured in the upcoming Linux Mint 18.

            • Linux Mint 18 Will Be Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Offers Better Hardware Support

              The announcement posted by Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre on May 6, 2016, was a pretty big one, revealing a lot of information about the upcoming Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” operating system.

            • Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS – Video Review and Screenhsot Tours

              Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS as part of Ubuntu 16.04 Offical Flavors has been released and announced by Ubuntu MATE Developer. This release include mate desktop 1.12 as default desktop environment and powered by long-term support Linux Kernel series 4.4.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Brazil: Free and Open Source Culture Is Economics, Not Politics

    Over the years people have accused Free and Open Source Culture (FOSC) as being a “religion”. Other people have used FOSC as a political tool, assigning the advocacy of FOSC to one political party; usually the “left”, “liberal” or (as some people call them) “progressive” party.

    FOSC is none of these. It is an economic model just like “Communism”, “Socialism” (yes, those are two different things) or “Capitalism”.

    People also tend to forget that economic models are usually never “pure”. One of my favorite sayings is that “unbridled capitalism is almost as bad as unbridled communism”, and that typically a good mix of economic models is better than “purity”.

  • Events

    • First Linux Desktop Meetup in Brno, CZ

      Last Thursday, the 5th of May, we had our first Linux Desktop Meetup in Brno. It was an exciting start, with informal talks from fellow members of our community. In this first edition, we had talks focused on IDE and development environments.

    • #self2016 Update: Schedule released, registration open, and rooms nearly gone!

      Our rooms at the hotel are nearly completely booked out. We have already had to add rooms twice. So if you haven’t already, book immediately! If it says no availability, please contact us immediately and we’ll work to get more rooms added. Even if we cannot, we can get you a discounted rate at a nearby hotel that will shuttle you to the event hotel for free.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is Web Mail Killing Thunderbird?

        I have used Thunderbird off and on since about 2003. I started using it on Windows and then installed it onto my Linux PCs later on. The point is: Thunderbird is near and dear to my heart.

        Unfortunately over the past few years Thunderbird’s importance with Mozilla has faltered. Not because of anything negative, rather because Mozilla is trying to refocus their efforts with Firefox. Most recently, the news that Mozilla is finally letting Thunderbird go took a lot of folks by complete surprise. What was once loved by legions of users has now been placed onto the market for others to adopt it.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Log analytics talk at Apache: Big Data

      As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be talking about feature engineering and outlier detection for infrastructure log data at Apache: Big Data next week. Consider this post a virtual handout for that talk. (I’ll also be presenting another talk on scalable log data analysis later this summer. That talk is also inspired by my recent work with logs but will focus on different parts of the problem, so stay tuned if you’re interested in the domain!)As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be talking about feature engineering and outlier detection for infrastructure log data at Apache: Big Data next week. Consider this post a virtual handout for that talk. (I’ll also be presenting another talk on scalable log data analysis later this summer. That talk is also inspired by my recent work with logs but will focus on different parts of the problem, so stay tuned if you’re interested in the domain!)

    • Hadoop: Can the Tortoise be a Hare?

      As early as 2012, writers, industry critics, and big data companies such as Cloudera predicted Hadoop’s demise as the de facto standard for big data analytics. Hadoop’s future as a viable real-time big data analytics platform seemed questioned at the height of its hype and adoption.

      And indeed, many businesses that manage large data sets have looked elsewhere to find something better to use. In the view of some, Hadoop’s complexity and management requirements make it a technology that cannot survive long-term in business.

  • Databases

    • An Early Look At The Features Of PostgreSQL 9.6

      PostgreSQL 9.6 isn’t being released until later this year, but with it moving along, the release notes are starting to be assembled for this next major update to this open-source SQL server implementation.

      This week added to PostgreSQL Git was the start of the 9.6 release notes. Among the prominent items to mention are the parallel query support, synchronous replication now supports multiple standby servers, full-text search for phrases, support for remote joins/sorts/updates, “substantial” performance improvements (especially for many-core servers), no more repetitive scans of old data by auto vacuum, and much more.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • International Drone Day in Campinas

      On May 7 there will be the first International Drone Day in campinas, and I’m working with qgroundcontrol for a while, it’s a very nice drone control station build entirely on C++/Qt/QML and it runs on everything you may think of (not bricks, however),and I’ll be using it to showcase on the International Drone Day in campinas. There’s a facebook event for those that may like to go, and live in São Paulo state.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Not so fast, open standards!

      There are however some hiccups with vendor lock-in, in cloud computing or elsewhere. It just hasn’t disappeared. The lock-in still exists through proprietary or otherwise unimplementable file formats; through undocumented protocols and weak or non existent reversibility clauses. Vendor lock-in has not gone away, it has become more subtle by moving up the ladder. If your entire business processes are hosted and run by a cloud service provider there may be some good reasons for you to have made that choice; but the day the need for another provider or another platform is felt the real test will be to know if it is possible to back up your data and processes and rebuild them elsewhere and in a different way. That’s an area where open standards could really help and will play an increasing role. Another area where open standards are still contentious is multimedia: remember what happened to Mozilla in 2015 when they chose to embed proprietary, DRM-riddled codecs because of industry pressure.


  • Science

    • GM, Lyft to Test Self-Driving Electric Taxis

      General Motors Co. and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies’ joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • White House Joins CIA in Discrediting 9/11 Commission’s Allegations of Saudi Involvement

      The diplomatic crisis on these infamous 28 pages regarding the terrorist attacks keeps growing.

    • A Lesson of Auschwitz

      Auschwitz survivor Leon Schwarzbaum, who had lost 35 members of his family in that camp gave evidence in the trial against Hanning. He said that he remained haunted by his experiences in the camp and described Hanning as “cruel and sadistic”. Schwarzbaum said, “The older I get, the more time I have to think about what happened. I am nearly 95 years old and I still often have nightmares about this.”

      But the most remarkable part of Schwarzbaum’s testimony is when he declared before entering the court, “I’ll look into his eyes and see if he is honest, because the truth is what is most important. I don’t want revenge; I don’t want him tormented in prison. He is just an old man like me.”

    • The Secret Behind the Yemen War

      A recent PBS report about the war in Yemen exposed the secret connection between the U.S.-Saudi alliance and Al Qaeda, a reality that also underscores the jihadist violence in Syria, writes Dan Lazare.

    • Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines agree to boost sea security

      YOGYAKARTA: Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines agreed on Thursday to run coordinated patrols to boost maritime security following the kidnappings at sea of Indonesians by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Hightower: Money Grubbing Banks Show That Crime Does Pay

      Sure, they went belly-up and crashed our economy with their frauds, rigged casino games and raw greed. And yes, the Bush and Obama regimes rushed to bail them out with trillions of dollars in our public funds, while ignoring the plight of workaday people who lost jobs, homes, businesses, wealth, and hope. But come on, byu7uckos, have you not noticed that the feds are now socking the bankers with huuuuuge penalties for their wrongdoings?

    • NATO on trade, in Europe and Asia, is doomed

      The President of the United States (POTUS) is desperate. Exhibit A: His Op-Ed defending the Asian face – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – of a wide-ranging, twin-headed NATO-on-trade “pivoting”.

      The European face is of course the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      POTUS frames TPP – as well as TTIP – in terms of a benign expansion of US exports, and private (US) firms having “a fair shot at competing against state-owned enterprises.” “Fair”? Not really. Let’s see how the mechanism works, focusing on TPP’s European twin.

    • Another Goodbye to Democracy if Transatlantic Partnership is Passed

      Corporate control on both sides of the Atlantic will be solidified should the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership be passed. Any doubt about that was removed when Greenpeace Netherlands released 13 chapters of the TTIP text, although the secrecy of the text and that only corporate representatives have regular access to negotiators had already made intentions clear.

    • Poverty in America: the Deepening Crisis

      Bernie Sanders has put inequality at the center of the 2016 presidential elections. However much the corporate media attempt to turn the election into a personality contest between Clinton and Trump, inequality will not go away as the defining domestic election issue. Whoever are the two major party presidential candidates, they will have to address the deepening problem of inequality.

      The Occupy insurgency of 2011 put inequality onto the American political agenda, redefining class struggle in terms everyone could understand – the 1% versus the rest of us. Sadly, only one major political campaign has followed — the push for a $15 minimum wage – and it has been fought by grassroots campaigns at the local and state levels by labor unions, NGOs, community groups and ordinary workers.

      The concept of inequality, of the 1% vs the 99%, is a powerful metaphor that makes clear the structure of wealth and power defining American life today. Sadly, while framing the problem confronting the nation, the concept of inequality doesn’t delineate the forms of economic, political and moral tyranny impacting the lives of an increasing number of Americans. To illuminate the deepening crisis the U.S. is undergoing as capitalism restructures its useful to reframe the notion of inequality in terms of poverty.

    • Republicans In Congress Want To Cut Free Lunches For Poor Kids; Don’t Let Them

      Conservative lawmakers are well known for wanting to cut funding to public education. But just remember, every time they take a swing at public school budgets, they hit poor kids.

      The newest blow aimed at public schools will hit low-income students in the stomach, literally.

      A bill introduced by a Republican in Congress called The Improving Child Nutrition And Education Act does the exact opposite of what it claims to do.

      In this case, “improving” children’s nutrition means cutting the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.

    • Our Awful Elites Gutted America. Now They Dare Ring Alarms About Trump, Sanders—And Cast Themselves as Saviors

      Now this panic alert, designed to get us in line behind Hillary, is raised by the man who ended The New Republic as we knew it (which then went on to end and then end again), promoting racist and imperialist dogma during his reign at the magazine in the 1990s, and then, with his finger in the wind (which to him and that other arch-hypocrite Hitchens meant being like George Orwell), turned into one of the biggest shills for the war on terror, the Iraq war, the whole works, all the while denouncing the fifth column within our ranks. This so-called journalist, who has no record of liberal consistency, who keeps shifting to whoever holds moral power at any given moment, is scaring us about the mortal threat that is Trump.

    • Could Knowing How Much Your Coworker Earns Help Close the Gender Pay Gap?

      President Obama has taken action to increase pay transparency among federal contractors. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination, recently issued a regulation requiring large companies to disclose aggregate salary information in their annual informational filing. And states have been taking action as well, with California and New York enacting legislation to support pay transparency efforts.

    • Blessed are the Poor

      During his last 1 ½ years at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Sparks was involved in creating something called a “synthetic collateralized debt obligation.” Unlike the securities Goldman Sachs sold to unsuspecting investors, the debt obligations Mr. Sparks helped create did not include actual bonds but, instead, instruments whose value was based on the the performance of sets of junk bonds. Those instruments were sold to unsuspecting investors by Goldman Sachs knowing they were worthless. (For those who would like more detail than is provided by the foregoing, that practice is described in some detail in a report on Mr. Sparks’ testimony before Congress) What both activities had in common, however, was that both were part and parcel of the financial collapse that took place in 2007-2008. As a result, in hundreds of thousands of cases, buyers defaulted on their mortgages and lost their homes. And that brings us to the present.

    • Economy passengers may rage after being marched through first class

      Research on inequality usually looks at fairly static social structures like schools, transport, healthcare, or jobs. But sometimes glaring inequality can be quite fleeting, as researchers Katherine DeCelles and Michael Norton argue in a recent PNAS article. Their example? Coming face to face with just how awful airplane economy class is in comparison to first class.

      DeCelles and Norton wanted to study whether exposure to this kind of inequality could prompt people to behave badly. They looked at records of “air rage” incidents, where “abusive or unruly” passengers threaten staff or fellow travelers. “Popular explanations for air rage include crowded planes, frustrating delays, and shrinking seats,” they write—but they suspected these explanations are missing something.

    • Our Childhood Poverty Is a Global Embarrassment

      If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States just received an incredibly unflattering judgment.

      A new study published by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, ranked the wealthiest countries of the world by the well-being of their most disadvantaged children. Out of 41 countries, the U.S. ranked No. 18 overall.

      For context, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in total wealth.

      The study took a comprehensive approach, comparing the gap between children at the very bottom to those in the middle across a range of criteria – including household income, educational achievement and self-reported health and life satisfaction. The central question was this: How far do countries let those at the very bottom fall?

      In the United States, the answer seems to be distressingly far.

    • Welcome to the Machine World: the Perfect Technological Storm

      A perfect technological storm: the awesome threat you won’t hear about in America’s presidential campaign.

      For a huge number of Americans the key emotion driving the tortured primary campaigns has, arguably, been fear.

      It’s fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants; but above all, it’s a fear—panic for some—of Americans whose standard of living has declined or stagnated, and who apprehend an even bleaker future for their children.

      But the candidates—and most of the media—are ignoring the real cause of that angst.

      We are, in fact swept up in a vast technological tsunami. It’s a tsunami bearing challenges as great as anything our species has ever known.

      It has already swept away millions of jobs and will wipe out tens of millions more. It will totally transform the economic landscape, and—like climate change—could conceivably threaten our very existence.

      But, if you tune in to the cacophony that currently passes for political debate in the U.S. –and much of Europe—you hear precious little about that massive, relentless threat.

      Instead, there are tirades against immigrants, against supposedly disastrous international trade deals and ruthless businessmen who close domestic factories to exploit labor in sweatshops abroad; against a political and economic system crafted to make the top .1 % even more obscenely rich.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Obama on Trump: ‘This is not a reality show’

      President Obama on Friday urged the news media to closely scrutinize Donald Trump’s record and past comments, and avoid coverage that highlights “the spectacle and the circus” of the campaign trail.

      Obama previewed his role as an anti-Trump spokesman and pressed the media to follow suit.

      “He has a long record that needs to be examined. And I think it’s important to take seriously the statements he’s made in the past,” the president told reporters at the White House. “I just want to emphasize that we are in serious times and this is a serious job.”

    • BBC Lies and Statistics #SackKuenssberg

      And yet the BBC ran a claim all day that the “projected” national vote share was Labour 31%, Conservative 30%.

      This simply cannot be true. Labour won the London mayoral election by over 200,000 votes. They were 130,000 ahead in Wales. Taking all the elections except the English local council seat elections, Labour were 360,000 votes and approximately 6% ahead of the Tories. To balance this plus the majorities of the 1,291 Labour English councillors elected, each of just 828 Conservative English councillors elected would have to have an average majority of approximately 1,000. Random sampling shows this is absolutely not the case.

      My own calculations, based on knowing all the other results and extrapolations from samples of the English local council results, is that the national vote count was Labour 34% Conservative 29%. It might not be precisely correct, but is not far out.

      But I can say for certain is that the BBC 31/30 figure is a despicable and quite deliberate lie. The BBC has become a caricature of a state propaganda machine.

    • Strategist for Pro-Trump Super-PAC Convicted in Ron Paul Pay-for-Endorsement Scheme

      An Iowa jury found three political operatives with deep ties to Ron and Rand Paul guilty on Thursday of a scheme to pay an Iowa state senator for his endorsement of Ron Paul in the 2012 campaign.

      All three men were key Ron Paul lieutenants in that campaign, and two, Jesse Benton and John Tate, went on to run a pro-Rand Paul super-PAC during his 2016 candidacy. After the younger Paul dropped out of the race, Benton began working last month with a pro-Donald Trump super-PAC. Along with Benton and Tate, operative Dimitri Kesari was also convicted.

    • Donald Trump Will Soon Get Classified Briefings. How Worried Should We Be?

      Donald Trump may not have the keys to the nuclear arsenal quite yet, but his all-but-guaranteed nomination, sealed with a landslide victory in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday, means the intelligence community must soon start briefing the presumptive GOP nominee and giving him access to classified security information.

    • Strange Bedfellows: the Bizarre Coalition of Kochs, Neocons and Democrats Allied Against Trump and His #FUvoters

      Politics makes for strange bedfellows they say, but often political differences that appear deep and fundamental are not so much that way, especially given a threat to the bipartisan political establishment. Take the strange case of Mr. Donald Trump. Today the same pundits of all stripes who predicted he could never win even one primary, then that he could never win the nomination, now are saying “have no fear, he could never be President of the United States.” Who you gonna believe, them or your own lying eyes?

    • A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs

      Bernie Sanders will go to Philadelphia with more pledged delegates than any insurgent in modern history. Here’s what he could do with them.

    • The Legend Of The Miami Cannibal Provides Lessons In Shoddy Drug Journalism

      No one knows why Rudy Eugene, a 31-year-old car wash employee, suddenly launched himself at Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man he encountered on Miami’s McArthur Causeway, chewing off most of his victim’s face in an 18-minute assault that ended only after a police officer shot him dead. But one thing is certain: “Bath salts” did not make him do it.

    • After Indiana: Sanders Wins another Purple State, But Remains Lost in a Haze of Bad Strategy and Rigged Delegate Math

      Sanders’ fairly narrow victory in another purple state, Indiana, continued the pattern that was established in Nevada and Iowa. Clinton’s lead in delegates is based on a combination of closed primary states and southern red and purple states. Unfortunately neither of these results have much relevance to the winning map for the electoral college. Clinton’s identity politics appeals to the Democratic party faithful who dominate the closed primaries held at public expense for the Party’s 29% of the electorate. Those who see all politics as identity politics remain loyal to a corrupt party which provides in exchange the surface image of empty symbols. You can buy a faux “Woman Card” from Clinton. But you will not get from her a restored democracy in which 99% of women’s votes, or of anyone else’s votes, can achieve policy reforms.

    • The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

      It is hard for many to absorb the true magnitude of the change in the news business — 40 percent of newspaper-industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past decade….Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”a

    • Christians Can’t Wait for God to Punish ‘Wicked’ America With Trump—and Usher in the Apocalypse

      Christians who claimed months ago that Donald Trump was foretold in Biblical prophecy must be feeling prescient today. Worrying in 2015 that Trump would be a major party nominee was treated as being about as likely as the 5000-1 odds that bookies gave Leicester City at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. But this week, as both unlikely predictions came to pass, it seems prudent to take a look at just what it is that those eschatologists claim to see.

    • Bringing the Sanders ‘Revolution’ to Philly’s Streets

      Sanders has won nearly ten million votes in the primaries so far including his latest strong come-from-behind win in Indiana, and that is only a fraction of his national base of support, given that many states have closed primaries where independents — his strongest backers — have been barred from voting.

    • Sanders Vows to Fight DNC for Progressive Agenda that Voters Want

      The Vermont Senator said he will ‘mobilize’ his delegates if party platform does not reflect the bold progressive vision demanded by Democratic grassroots

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The Labour Party, Israel, and antisemitism

      Two individuals were involved in the escalation of this row to new and explosive heights. Naz Shah, in 2014, before she became Labour MP for Bradford, tweeted that Israel should be transported to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Shah issued a dignified apology, explaining that feelings were running high during the Israeli assault on Gaza. Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, rushed to Shah’s defence but compounded the crisis with his bizarre claim that Hitler supported Zionism in 1932 “before he went mad and killed six million Jews”. Jeremy Corbyn was pilloried in much of the press for not dealing quickly enough with the antisemitism that was said to be endemic in the left of the party. One result of this furore has been to shift the focus of debate from any criticism of Israel to condemnation of the critics of Israel and to bypass discussion of Palestine altogether.

    • American Academic Freedom in Jeopardy

      American academics will soon realize that their jobs are in jeopardy, if they don’t know it already. Not only their jobs, but their right to think, say, and write what they wish – and to engage in the pursuit of truth, wherever it may lead them.

    • Film censorship and the courts

      The censor board, the guidelines it operates under and the law that created it were all sanctified by the highest court in the land

    • Leaked EU Communication – Part 1: Privatised censorship and surveillance

      A draft European Commission Communication on Platforms has been leaked. The proposals with regard to the regulation of “illegal” “or harmful” content are hugely disturbing. In summary, the European Commission seems willing to completely give up on the notion of law. Instead, regulation of free speech is pushed into the hands of Google, Facebook and others.

    • Chrome, Firefox and Safari Block Pirate Bay as “Phishing” Site

      Chrome, Firefox and Safari are actively blocking direct access to The Pirate Bay. According to the browsers, Thepiratebay.se is a “deceptive site” or “web forgery,” that may steal user information. The TPB crew has been alerted to the issue, and hope it will be resolved soon.

    • Pirate Bay Blocked in Chrome, Firefox & Safari Due to Phishing Site Error

      Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari are blocking access to The Pirate Bay torrent portal showing the classical “Deceptive site ahead” error usually seen on dangerous sites that may attempt to collect user credentials with fake login pages, show deceptive ads, or push unwanted downloads.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Return of the 691st ISR Group, aiding NSA and Air Force Cryptologic Enterprise

      Prior to assuming command of the 691st ISRG, James held the position of Director of Cyberspace Policy, Resources and Capabilities for the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington D.C. position. An Air Force academy graduate, James has served in all three levels of leadership roles to include commanding ISR and Cyberspace units.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mexico Already Has a Giant Wall, and a Mining Company Helped to Build It

      Some walls are made of concrete and razor wire. Others are made of soldiers, violence, bureaucracy and misinformation. While Grupo Mexico has built a long wall to stop migrants from getting on or off its long distance train, “The Beast,” the Mexican government’s Southern Border Plan is also making it much harder for Central American migrants desperately fleeing violence and poverty to travel through the country.

      It was a bright, sunny day, though nowhere near as hot as Honduras. Migrants knocked on the door of the refuge in Tlaxcala, central Mexico, exhausted. Eyes dark and half closed, and their feet shredded after having walked for 15 days, they handed their one small bag each over to the volunteers, changed into donated clothing, and threw out their old clothes. The two barrels near the entrance were full to the brim with such clothing.

    • The FBI Is Ramping Up Use of Informants to Snoop on Muslims

      Can the FBI recruit your child’s college sport shooting coach to be on the look out for vague signs that your teenage son—an avid shooter, a great coder, and not a fan of certain federal government policies—is becoming a “violent extremist”? Apparently, yes.

    • Prison Labor Strike in Alabama: “We Will No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression”

      Despite being held in solitary confinement for years, men known as Kinetik, Dhati, and Brother M, primary leaders of the Free Alabama Movement, have been instrumental in organizing a statewide prison work stoppage in Alabama that began on Sunday, May 1. Currently, the prison labor strike has begun at Alabama’s Holman, Staton, and Elmore Correctional Facilities. St. Clair’s stoppage will begin on May 9, with Donaldson and other correctional facilities to follow soon after. The current plan is for the work stoppage to last 30 days, although the Movement’s leaders said the length of the strike is contingent on the cooperation of legislators in regard to reforming the prison labor system and the conditions of the prisons. The Free Alabama Movement is an activist network of incarcerated men, spanning numerous state prisons across Alabama.

    • When Liberals Run Out of Patience: the Impolite Exile of Seymour Hersh

      Hersh synthesized the information from the dissenting Seals, combined it with the account of events in the email from Pakistani nuclear security, and presented the result to the SOC consultants to help sort things out. After getting their views, he was sufficiently prepared to take what was by then an internally consistent alternative narrative to the unnamed “retired senior intelligence officer.” He, too, confirmed the new outline of events and contributed his own details. All that was missing was a candid assessment of events from the Pakistani high command. He interviewed Gen. Asad Durrani, a former chief of ISI and one of the most powerful men in the country, who was eager to cooperate.

    • Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight

      On Thursday evening, a 40-year-old man — with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent — boarded a plane. It was a regional jet making a short, uneventful hop from Philadelphia to nearby Syracuse.

      Or so dozens of unsuspecting passengers thought.

      The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently if inscrutably scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate, a blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and a red tote bag, looked him over. He was wearing navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater – a look he would later describe as “simple elegance” – but something about him didn’t seem right to her.


      He laughed because those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or another foreign language, or even some special secret terrorist code. They were math.

    • Sesame Street: Video Tells Kids How to Deal with a Parent in Prison

      Maybe one day they can do one about living under constant government surveillance, or being denied healthcare. What are a world we are making for our children to deal with.

    • May’s the Month for Protest. Daniel Berrigan Would Agree.

      The Jesuit writer and activist’s death is a reminder of the necessity and power of protest in America.

    • The backlash against expanded voting rights in Virginia

      Estimated number of people directly affected by the order: 200,000

    • Egyptian Court Recommends Death Sentence for Two Al Jazeera Employees

      An Egyptian court on Saturday recommended the death sentence against six people, including two Al Jazeera employees, for allegedly passing documents related to national security to Qatar and the Doha-based TV network during the rule of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

    • The End of Prison Visitation

      It’s inhumane, dystopian and actually increases in-prison violence — but god, it makes money.

    • Sadiq Khan says he ‘never dreamt’ he could become Mayor of London at inauguration at Southwark Cathedral
    • London’s New Mayor, Sadiq Khan, Hailed in UK and Pakistan

      Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants who won a landslide victory in this week’s London mayoral election, was sworn in on Saturday in a multifaith service at Southwark Cathedral, becoming the British capital’s first Muslim mayor.

    • Airbnb Has An Unsurprising Race Problem

      Airbnb is facing a storm of criticism after several consumers complained of racial discrimination from some of the home-sharing service app’s hosts.

    • After a Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

      A few years ago, while clearing dried broccoli stalks from the tired soil of our land at Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York, I received a cold call from Boston. On the other end was a Black woman, unknown to me, who wanted to share her story of trying to make it as a farmer.

    • How One State Ended its ‘Rigged’ Superdelegate System Once and For All

      Frustrated by what they describe as a “rigged” electoral system in the face of Bernie Sanders’ overwhelming majority win, Democrats in Maine on Saturday voted to adopt a rule change that will essentially eliminate the power of superdelegates to pick a candidate of their choosing.

      Though Sanders won 64 percent of the Maine vote, he has only received one of the state’s five superdelegates. Three have endorsed Hillary Clinton, who only secured 35 percent of the popular vote, while one remains undeclared.

    • Sheldon Silver set to be sentenced Tuesday [Ed: Clinton 'super' delegate]

      Silver was found to have engaged in a two-track corruption scheme that netted him an estimated $4 million in bribes and kickbacks disguised as legal fees.

    • It’s Official — the First Democratic Convention Just Abolished Superdelegates

      An amendment to eliminate the influence of superdelegates just passed overwhelmingly at the Maine Democratic Party’s statewide convention.

      Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), who introduced the amendment, told US Uncut that the measure was passed by a single voice vote, followed by chants of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!”

      “I never expected this kind of response from the amendment,” Russell said in a phone interview. “I’m suddenly seen as the hero of the convention.”

    • Homeland Security wants to subpoena Techdirt over the identity of a hyperbolic commenter

      This week, Techdirt’s Tim Cushing published a story about the Hancock County, IN Sheriff’s Department officers who stole $240,000 under color of asset forfeiture.

      Digger, a Techdirt commenter, remarked, “The only ‘bonus’ these criminals [the Sheriff's Department officers] are likely to see could be a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.”

      This prompted the Department of Homeland Security to contact Techdirt and ask whom they should send a subpoena to in order to get at the identity of Digger. Masnick is worried that the subpoena, when and if it arrives, could come with a gag order…

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Boss Criticizes Calls to Criminalize File-Sharers

        The boss of a prominent ISP in Sweden has criticized moves by the government which could criminalize hundreds of thousands of Internet users. Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung says the country is stuck in the past when it calls for harsher punishments for file-sharing and should instead concentrate on developing better legal options.


Links 7/5/2016: LibreOffice 5.0.6, gNewSense 4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • “Captain America: Civil War” Is a Big Dumb Movie You Will Enjoy

    My main problem with this movie: Captain America is sort of just a selfish hypocrite. Also, boring. And he isn’t even super. (He is strong, though.) And he could just be shot with a bullet. (There are a bunch of times in this movie when he loses his shield.) His whole team, in fact, save the Olsen twin who is a Witch, could just be shot to death by any old infantry unit.

  • Science

    • Junk Science on Trial in Bill Richards Bite-Mark Appeal

      This week, in an airy courtroom in San Francisco, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the notorious case of Bill Richards, who in 1997 was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal beating death of his wife, Pamela. The Richards case has long been viewed as a clear case of wrongful conviction that was based on the discredited forensic science of bite-mark analysis. The court’s eventual decision, due within 90 days, could finally vacate Richards’s conviction and clear a path toward his ultimate exoneration.

      Junk science and the fallibility of expert opinion are key to Richards’s case. After two hung juries failed to convict him of his wife’s grisly murder, in a third trial San Bernardino County prosecutors introduced new evidence that Richards had supposedly bitten Pamela’s hand while murdering her. If the mark on her hand was in fact a human bite mark that matched Richards’s teeth, that would prove Richards was present when Pamela died, a circumstance Richards has consistently and vehemently denied.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘We need fundamental changes’: US doctors call for universal healthcare

      A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.

      According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare.

    • Should you be worried about PFOA in drinking water? Here’s what we know

      Over the past few months, several communities in upstate New York and New England have detected PFOA – perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, a chemical linked to a range of health issues from cancer to thyroid disease – in their drinking water.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • OpenSSL Patches Six Vulnerabilities

      Only two of the flaws patched are rated as high impact, and none is getting the Heartbleed treatment.
      The open-source OpenSSL cryptographic library project issued a security update this week that patched six issues, though only two of them are rated “critical.”

    • Critical Linux Kernel Update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Patches 15 Vulnerabilities

      Canonical published a new security notice to inform the community about the availability of an important kernel update for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system.

    • Linus Torvalds Talks IoT, Smart Devices, Security Concerns, and More [Video]

      Torvalds remained customarily philosophical when Hohndel asked about the gaping security holes in IoT. “I don’t worry about security because there’s not a lot we can do,” he said. “IoT is unpatchable — it’s a fact of life.”

      The Linux creator seemed more concerned about the lack of timely upstream contributions from one-off embedded projects, although he noted there have been significant improvements in recent years, partially due to consolidation on hardware.

      “The embedded world has traditionally been hard to interact with as an open source developer, but I think that’s improving,” Torvalds said. “The ARM community has become so much better. Kernel people can now actually keep up with some of the hardware improvements. It’s improving, but we’re not nearly there yet.”

      Torvalds admitted to being more at home on the desktop than in embedded and to having “two left hands” when it comes to hardware.

      “I’ve destroyed things with a soldering iron many times,” he said. “I’m not really set up to do hardware.” On the other hand, Torvalds guessed that if he were a teenager today, he would be fiddling around with a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone. “The great part is if you’re not great at soldering, you can just buy a new one.”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Troubling Hidden Camera Video Reveals Why Children Should Never Be Left Around Guns

      Toddlers have shot a total of 23 people this year, and the issue of accidental shootings involving small children getting hold of guns has been making headlines.

    • Report: Toddlers have shot 23 people so far this year

      Toddlers ages three and younger have shot at least 23 people in the United States this year, according to an analysis by The Washington Post, with 18 of those incidents involving children shooting themselves.

    • Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism

      …Obama shows no signs of giving up his role as the most aggressively imperialist American president in modern history.

    • Film Review: National Bird Looks Deeply in the Drone War’s Abyss

      National Bird, a new documentary by filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck, co-produced with Errol Morris and Wim Wenders, is a deep, multilayered, look into America’s drone wars, a tactic which became a strategy which became a post-9/11 policy. To many in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world, America’s new national symbol is not the bald eagle, but a gray shadow overhead armed with Hellfire missiles.


      The anonymity of that violence comes at a price, in this case in the minds of the Americans who decide who lives and dies. National Bird presents three brave whistleblowers, two former uniformed Air Force veterans (Lisa Ling, Heather Linebaugh) and a former civilian intelligence analyst (Dan), people who have broken cover to tell the world what happens behind the scenes of the drone war. There are elements of “old hat” here, chilling in that we have grown used to hearing that drone strikes kill more innocents than terrorists, that the people who make war justify their actions by calling their victims hajjis and ragheads, that America draws often naive young people into its national security state on the false promises of hollow patriotism and turns them into assassins.

    • Remembering Father Dan Berrigan, a prophet of peace

      A prophet of peace has passed. Daniel Berrigan, a Catholic Jesuit priest, a protester, a poet, a dedicated uncle and brother, died last weekend at the age of 94. His near-century on Earth was marked by compassion and love for humanity, and an unflinching commitment to justice and peace. He spent years in prison for his courageous, peaceful actions against war, living and practising the gospel that he preached. He launched movements, inspired millions, wrote beautifully and, with a wry smile, shared his love of life with family, friends and those with whom he prayed and fought for peace.

    • Human rights violations in south-east Turkey: failed peace talks followed by increasing violence
    • Does the Erdoğan-Davutoğlu split provide an opening for Turkish democracy?
    • 15 Steps for Turkish-Kurdish peace
    • Former U.S. Diplomats Decry the U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen

      Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been brutally bombing Yemen for more than a year, hoping to drive Houthi rebels out of the capital they overran in 2014 and restore Saudi-backed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

      The United States has forcefully backed the Saudi-led war. In addition to sharing intelligence, the U.S. has sold tens of billions of dollars in munitions to the Saudis since the war began. The kingdom has used U.S.-produced aircraft, laser-guided bombs, and internationally-banned cluster bombs to target and destroy schools, markets, power plants, and a hospital, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.

      Despite all that, U.S. officials have done little to explain this support, have failed to explain the U.S. interests in the campaign, and have made scant mention of the humanitarian toll. In the absence of an official response, The Intercept raised those concerns with half a dozen former senior diplomatic officials, including U.S. ambassadors to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

    • One Last Chance for Peace in Yemen

      Absent much stronger U.S. and European pressure on their Saudi allies, Yemen’s latest ceasefire threatens to collapse — which could mean a return to massive civilian bombardments.

    • US Military Medical Ethics Guidelines in Limbo

      Health care professionals should have the freedom to follow their conscience and their professional association’s code of ethics during their service in the military. The DHB report will not only ensure the moral comfort of our medical service personnel, it also stands as a moral document that can frame our moral intent as we go forward into turbulent times.

    • How friends and family remember Daniel Berrigan

      One special memory I have is from 1972 when I was 13 and opened the door of the Danbury State Prison to free my uncle Dan after he had completed his prison sentence from Catonsville. As the door opened, we were mobbed by friends and reporters, and I remember feeling overwhelmed. I was always in awe of how Dan would keep calm and stoic with the media frenzy that tended to follow him. We ended the night having dinner, and sleeping in wicker ‘cat beds’ at Leonard Bernstein’s house in New York City.

    • Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz

      “The people are being reduced to blood and dust. They are in pieces.”

      The doctor who uttered these words still thought the hospital itself was a safe zone. He was with Doctors Without Borders, working in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where the Taliban and government forces were engaged in hellish fighting and civilians, as always, were caught in the middle. The wounded, including children, had been flowing in all week, and the staff were unrelieved in their duties, working an unending shift.

    • How Obama ‘Legalized’ the War on Terror

      Among the troubling legacies of Barack Obama’s presidency is his consolidation of the dubious legal principles that George W. Bush cobbled together to justify the Global War on Terror, explains Michael Brenner.

    • Obama’s Drone War is a Shameful Part of His Legacy

      Father Daniel Berrigan died Saturday at 94. The longtime peace activist gained national attention in 1968 when he and eight others, including his brother Philip (also a priest), burned draft records taken from a Selective Service office in Maryland. Decades later, he remains a powerful example of a man who never wavered in his beliefs, standing up time and again for the poor and oppressed. In his last years, Berrigan no longer had the energy to protest as frequently. But if he had been a few generations younger, can there be any doubt that he would have been at forefront of those protesting the expansion of the drone war under President Obama?

    • Afghanistan: Bombing the Land of the Snow Leopard

      News alert! Despite what you may have heard, the war in Afghanistan is still raging. Nearly 10,000 US troops remain, and since 2014 the Obama administration has carried out almost 2,000 airstrikes on whatever they damn well please in the country. No question the mounting Afghan death toll and the bombing of hospitals and civilian infrastructure ought to infuriate the few remaining antiwar activists out there; but the toll the Afghanistan war is having on the environment should also force nature lovers into the streets in protest.

    • Daniel Berrigan, a Leader of Peaceful Opposition to Vietnam War, Inspired a Generation of Activists

      In 1970, Spellman’s friend and ally inside the government in matters of protest and war, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, took the extraordinary step of publicly and falsely accusing Daniel and Philip Berrigan of conspiring to blow up tunnels under federal buildings in Washington, D.C. and to kidnap President Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Hoover did this despite knowing that FBI investigators and Department of Justice officials had officially concluded there was no such conspiracy. But to save Hoover’s reputation after his public comments, Justice officials convinced a grand jury to bring charges against Philip Berrigan and others; Daniel Berrigan was named an unindicted co-conspirator. The 1972 trial ended in a hung jury.

    • Court victory gives momentum to long struggle against London arms fair

      After a week-long trial that ended on April 15, a judge from the Stratford Magistrate Court in London found me and seven co-defendants not guilty for our actions last September to shut down the Defence Security and Equipment International arms fair, or DSEI, on the basis that we were preventing a greater crime. This is a huge victory in the long struggle to shut down one of the largest arms fairs in the world, which takes place in east London every other year.

      The last fair was in September 2015, and it saw more than 1,500 exhibitors from around the world displaying the latest technology of the war industry. DSEI is an invitation-only event, where invites go to governments, industry representatives and specialized press. Delegations from repressive regimes and countries violating human rights — such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel — walk through its corridors every other year browsing the latest weaponry. This huge event is not just to showcase the latest technology, but also to facilitate new sales.

    • The Wall Street Journal is Playing Dirty in El Salvador, Again

      As usual, Wall Street Journal columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady has raked up such a scandalous mountain of defamation, fabrication and redbaiting in her most recent piece on the power struggles within El Salvador’s oligarchic private sector that it’s hard to know where to start. The task of refuting Ms. O’Grady is daunting to the point of exhaustion. That is, of course, a hallmark of this kind of Reaganite Cold War propaganda: overwhelm the public with so much misinformation that those seeking the truth are left far behind as they scramble to disprove, fact-by-fact, the long-cold trail of lies.

    • Top Gun Lobbyist Calls Hundreds of Child Gun Deaths “Occasional Mishaps”

      In an in-depth investigation in 2013, Mother Jones found that guns kill hundreds of children per year in the United States. Many die in homicides, and many others die in accidents—mostly when children themselves pull the trigger. The kids shooting themselves or others have often been as young as two or three years old. Invariably these “tragedies” result from adults leaving unsecured firearms lying around in their homes or, in some cases, in their cars.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Contamination at Largest US Air Force Base in Asia: Kadena, Okinawa

      Located in the center of Okinawa Island, Kadena Air Base is the largest United States Air Force installation in Asia.

      Equipped with two 3.7 kilometer runways and thousands of hangars, homes and workshops, the base and its adjoining arsenal at Chibana sprawl across 46 square kilometers of Okinawa’s main island. Approximately 20,000 American service members, contractors and their families live or work here alongside 3,000 Japanese employees. More than 16,000 Okinawans own the land upon which the installation sits.


      In January, the USAF released 8725 pages of accident reports, environmental investigations and emails related to contamination at Kadena Air Base. Dated from the mid-1990s to August 2015, the documents are believed to be the first time such recent information detailing pollution on an active U.S. base in Japan has been made public.

    • Organizers Say Peabody Coal Will Not Escape Justice Through Bankruptcy

      Missouri activists have long struggled against the environmental devastation, residential displacement and unsafe labor practices of Peabody Coal, the world’s second-largest coal producer, which is based in St. Louis. Peabody’s acts of destruction have been vast and numerous, from contaminating aquifers with toxic coal sludge to its disregard of labor safety standards, and even the looting of sacred Native artifacts. But the company’s recent bankruptcy filing has brought little comfort to those most affected by Peabody’s conquest and avarice.

    • Florida Mayors Rush To Prepare For Rising Seas

      Cindy Lerner and Carlos Gimenez are, in many ways, typical local politicians. Both are mayors, and both are intimately familiar with the trials and tribulations that their constituents face on a daily basis, from trash pickup to traffic. Both serve communities along the southeastern Florida coast — Gimenez is mayor of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the seventh-most populous county in the United States, while Lerner is mayor of the village of Pinecrest, a suburban village of about 18,000 residents located within Miami-Dade County.

    • Polluters In South Carolina Are About To Get A Huge Boost From The State House

      Coal ash is a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. For decades, plant operators have dumped the toxic waste — which can contain heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals — in unlined pits near waterways. ​That, in and of itself, is not illegal. But the pits have been tied to groundwater contamination and, in some cases, the companies have been found to dump the waste directly into the waterway, which is illegal. Coal ash is an ongoing environmental issue across much of the southeast.

    • Fort McMurray Wildfire Grows Tenfold as Mass Evacuations Continue

      The devastating wildfire in the Canadian province of Alberta has grown tenfold, destroying more than 100,000 hectares (roughly 247,000 acres) by Friday morning as convoys of trucks and helicopter airlifts continued evacuating the town of Fort McMurray.

      Between 80,000 and 90,000 people have already been forced to flee from their homes as Alberta declared a state of emergency. Officials said about 25,000 people have taken refuge in nearby tar sands work camps, and the trucks will escort them further south.

    • There’s more to Fort McMurray than oil sands – it’s a real community

      Fort McMurray is a real place, not a Dante-esque metaphor for hell, despite the wildfires currently raging, which has forced its entire evacuation.

      An urban service area at the heart of the municipality of Wood Buffalo in north-eastern Alberta, one of Canada’s western provinces and currently in a state of emergency, it is not some frontier gold rush town huddled under a blanket of perpetual snow. It is not a work camp, although different work and service camps located at the mining sites, from 20 to 100 miles away, circle it. And it is not actually very far north in Canadian terms: the boreal forest just nudges the edge of the near north, and the far and the extreme north (yes, Canada has a near, far, and extreme north) are much farther beyond. It lies roughly between the longitudes of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and no one would dare to call either Edinburgh or Aberdeen remote.

    • Donald Trump’s Hairspray Woes Inspire Climate Denial Riff

      Donald Trump launched into a bizarre riff on Thursday night, denying climate science in remarks to West Virginia coal miners by comparing the regulation of their industry to the ban on something closer to his personal experience: aerosol hairspray.

    • These Activists Are Building A Sanctuary For SeaWorld’s Remaining Orcas

      The nonprofit is using an initial donation of $200,000 from Munchkin, Inc. — better known for making sippy cups and other baby products and toys — out of a pledge of a million, to fund a team of 35 experts. This team includes experts in marine mammal science and behavior, veterinary medicine, husbandry, engineering, and law. They are now laying the groundwork for a sanctuary that would ideally have a budget in the tens of millions. “It’s not going to be cheap, but when you think about it, it is certainly doable,” Marino said.

    • Alberta Declares State Of Emergency As Thousands Flee Massive Wildfire

      The Canadian province of Alberta declared a state of emergency Wednesday as 88,000 people in the city of Fort McMurray were forced to flee a fast-moving, immense wildfire. The blaze has already destroyed 1,600 buildings, including a school.

    • Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change

      The town of Fort McMurray, some four hundred miles north of Calgary, in Canada, grew up very quickly on both sides of the Athabasca River. During the nineteen-seventies, the population of the town tripled, and since then it has nearly tripled again. All this growth has been fuelled by a single activity: extracting oil from a Florida-sized formation known as the tar sands. When the price of oil was high, there was so much currency coursing through Fort McMurray’s check-cashing joints that the town was dubbed “Fort McMoney.”

    • ALEC Appoints New Chair To Climate Denial Task Force

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has named a new corporate chair for its task force that works to oppose action to tackle climate change: Jennifer Jura of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

      NRECA is a powerful trade association that represents more than 900 independent electric utilities. Its annual spending lobbying Congress regularly exceeds $2 million each year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This has included lobbying in support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It’s Political Action Committee gives nearly $3 million per electoral cycle, with the majority going to Republicans.

    • Climate confusion creeps into Trump camp

      Despite the Republican US presidential candidate’s claim that climate change is a hoax, a new survey has found that more than half of his supporters believe global warming is happening.

  • Finance

    • Economic Update: What Inequality Does

      This episode addresses wealthy tax evaders, Takata airbags, equalized wealth data and the money in Chicago’s politics. We also discuss corporate food scandals, government fiscal “crises” and why we should build worker co-op sectors.

    • Ready for the Coming Assault on Social Security? Five Things Paul Ryan and Friends Don’t Want You to Think About

      It’s disturbing to hear young people say that Social Security won’t be around when they retire. But it’s not just young people. I’ve heard older Americans–some of them receiving SS benefits–claim that SS is dying. I think that if young and old knew the facts, they would be armed to support SS against the Party of Bads and Stupids that wants to tear it down. Here are common views and my responses.

    • American Tax Havens: Elites Don’t Have to go to Panama to Hide Their Money–They’ve Got Delaware

      The first thing you notice on the cab ride from the airport to downtown Panama City is the skyscrapers. They’re architecturally beautiful, but jumbled together as if there was no plan or consideration for how they might look next to one another.

      What you might not notice is that they’re nearly all empty.

      Panama, a small Central American country with just 4 million people, has dominated the news in recent weeks.

      For that you can thank the Panama Papers — a massive leak of private documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which serves well-heeled companies and individuals all over the world. The leaks exposed a vast global system of shady offshore tax shelters and the global elites that benefit from them.

      A few months before Panama landed on the front pages of nearly every newspaper in the world, I visited the country and got a look at those empty buildings firsthand.

    • This Town Ran An Illegal Debtor’s Prison For Years. Now It Has To Pay Back The People It Jailed.

      Colorado Springs will pay back destitute people it illegally jailed because they couldn’t pay court fines, the city announced Thursday.

      The city will also discontinue its debtor’s prison policy, which violated both the U.S. Constitution and a 2014 state law in Colorado. The system usually targeted non-jailable offenses like jaywalking, violating park curfews, or drinking in public.

      More than 60 victims of the city’s debtor’s prison policy are getting repaid with interest under the $103,000 settlement with the state’s American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) chapter. Under the city’s previous “pay or serve” sentencing policy, people who couldn’t afford fines for non-criminal violations like panhandling near highways were forced to spend one day behind bars for every $50 the court said they owed. The settlement sets compensation for 66 pay-or-serve victims at the rate of $125 per day they were jailed.

    • ‘Why? And Why Now?’ Panama Papers ‘John Doe’ Steps Out of Shadows

      The anonymous source behind the Panama Papers stepped out of the shadows on Friday to offer justification for what has been called the biggest leak in history.

      The whistleblower’s gender and name remain secret, as does their occupation. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the leaker’s initial contact, has authenticated that the statement came from the Panama Papers source.

    • C.F.P.B. Proposes Class Action Boost for Bank Victims

      The rule would prohibit so-called “forced arbitration” clauses, which firms have used to deny customers an opportunity to file class action lawsuits. Forced into one-on-one proceedings, cheated Americans are often over-matched by their corporate abuser’s legal resources, and unlikely to recoup any damages.

    • Job Growth Slows in April

      Some of the news in the household survey was positive. Most of the duration measures of unemployment fell and the share of unemployment due to voluntary quits rose to 10.8 percent, the highest level of the recovery to date.

      Also, the number of workers involuntarily working part-time fell by 161,000 more than reversing a jump in March.

      On the whole this report suggests that job growth may be coming in line with the slow pace of economic growth.

    • Americans Finally Get A Raise, But Fewer People Get Jobs

      The economy added 160,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 202,000 jobs to be added. That’s the weakest job creation since September 2015.

    • The chart that shows the UK economic recovery is ‘on its knees’

      The latest survey of the UK’s dominant services sector has today rounded off a dismal hat-trick of disappointment for the British economy.

      The Markit/CIPs PMI Index for April came in at 52.3. That’s above the 50 point that separates contraction from growth. But it’s also the weakest reading since February 2013, when the economy’s recovery was just starting.

    • Mayor of Cupertino Clashes with Tax-Dodging Apple: Company ‘Abuses Us’
    • Germans increasingly doubtful of TTIP

      Germans are growing increasingly wary of a vast EU-US trade pact currently under negotiation, an opinion poll showed on 5 May, as Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped for a deal by December.

      Some 70% of Germans polled by the dimap institute for broadcaster ARD said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal would bring “mostly disadvantages”, up from 55% in a similar poll in June 2014.

    • Scott Walker Implements Backdoor Way To Drug Test People For Unemployment Benefits

      Under current law, states aren’t allowed to institute drug tests for unemployment benefits. But that hasn’t kept Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) from trying.

      In July, Walker approved legislation that would implement drug tests for both unemployment benefits and food stamps, neither of which are currently permissible. To get his way, he’s suing the government to allow him to move forward with implementation, arguing that these programs are “welfare” just the same as the welfare cash assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, that does in fact allow states to implement drug tests.

    • Irish beef farmers protest over ‘sell-out’ trade talks

      Dozens of Irish farmers staged a demonstration outside the offices of the EU Commission in Dublin, claiming that plans being discussed as part of European trade talks will “sell out” the EU’s beef sector.

      The protest was staged by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and was focused on the Mercosur deal being negotiated with South America and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out with the US.

    • Panama Papers source breaks silence over ‘scale of injustices’

      The whistleblower behind the Panama Papers broke their silence on Friday to explain in detail how the injustices of offshore tax havens drove them to the biggest data leak in history.

      The source, whose identity and gender remain a secret, denied being a spy.

      “For the record, I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have. My viewpoint is entirely my own.”

      The whistleblower said the leak of 11.5m documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had triggered a “new, encouraging global debate”, thanks to the publication last month of stories by an international consortium of newspapers, including the Guardian.

    • Karen Hansen-Kuhn on TTIP Leak, Josmar Trujillo on Bronx Police Raid

      This week on CounterSpin: Despite the impact it would have on millions of people and the planet, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), like all such agreements, was being negotiated in secret. That is, until Greenpeace Netherlands released classified documents revealing elements of the deal the EU and the US were moving merrily toward — now some say the pact may be scuttled. What’s in those documents? We’ll hear from Karen Hansen-Kuhn of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

    • Inequality Soars as Retirement Benefits Dwindle for All But the Rich

      A report released Thursday from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) offers more evidence that the shift away from traditional pensions to 401(k)-like plans contributes to inequality.

      As Bloomberg reported Friday, “The U.S. retirement landscape is starting to look like a Charles Dickens novel.”

    • Retired Truckers Duck Pension Cuts – For Now

      The Treasury Department on Friday rejected a bid by the Central States Pension Fund to cut current retiree benefits for 270,000 Teamster truckers by as much as 50 percent.

      Kenneth Feinberg, the special master to the Treasury tasked with handling proposals by pension funds to cut benefits, said he was not persuaded that the plan would solve Central States’s solvency problems because of faulty assumptions.

    • Panama Papers Source Wants Whistleblower Immunity to Aid Law Enforcement

      The anonymous source responsible for leaking the vast document trove known as the Panama Papers said in a manifesto published on Friday that she or he “would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement” to ensure the prosecution of wrongdoing revealed by the paper trail — but only once “governments codify legal protections for whistleblowers into law.”

      The source wrote that the leaked files on offshore business dealings and shell companies organized by Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, revealed “the scandal of what is legal and allowed.”

      But the source, who took the name “John Doe,” argued that since “the law firm, its founders, and employees actually did knowingly violate myriad laws worldwide, repeatedly,” the wrongdoers there should now be prosecuted.

      Doe added that prosecutors require access to the original documents, noting that media outlets “have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

    • Quote of the Day: Debt? What Debt?

      There you have it. If Trump crashes the economy, he’ll just default on our sovereign debt. Easy peasy. Why is everyone so worried?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Rick Perry Endorses Cancer for President, Would Be Willing to Accept Position as Cancer’s Running Mate

      During his brief, run for the GOP presidential nomination last year, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry emerged as one of the loudest and harshest voices of criticism against Donald Trump. Last July, shortly after Trump entered the race, Perry devoted an entire speech to blasting Trump as a form of “cancer” on the conservative movement.

    • The Need for Progressive Voices

      The media industry reshaped our precious public commons into a fortress of exclusion that blocks dissenting, innovative and majoritarian viewpoints on matters that address society’s most basic needs,” writes Nader. “One thing is clear―something’s gotta give.”

    • This Teen Went to Prom With a Cardboard Cutout of Bernie Sanders

      Prom is a big deal for most teenagers. For high school social events in general, the less you take it seriously, the more fun you’re likely to have. Teen hero Chloe Raynaud didn’t have a date for prom and so she went to prom with a cutout of Bernie Sanders. Her pictures have since gone viral and this is the best kind of way to go viral in my opinion.

    • Hey, Bernie, Leave Them Kids Alone

      Many of Sanders’ older fans are disappointed that Sanders will clearly end up as another episode in the bigger stories told by Stauber, Yates, Shoup and other veteran radical intellectuals (myself included). But I doubt that the nation’s leading left intellectual Noam Chomsky (87 years old) is losing much sleep about the Sanders fade.

    • May Looking Bright for Sanders as Political Revolution Marches On

      Coming off a big win in Indiana and with the Democratic Party holding four more primaries this month, May could end up showing a resilient Bernie Sanders campaign despite the concerted effort of the mainstream press to count him out.

    • NYC Board of Elections Suspends 2nd Official, Delays Hillary Clinton v. Bernie Sanders Results Certification

      New York City’s Board of Elections (BOE) was expected to certify results of the primary contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at 3:30pm Thursday. Instead, around 5:30pm BOE Director Michael Ryan officially announced the suspension-without-pay of a second high-ranking Board employee from Brooklyn and delayed certification of the results at least until 1:30pm on Friday, according to reporting from Gothamist journalist Nathan Tempey.

    • Sheldon Adelson Pledges to Support Donald Trump

      As for Trump, he appeared to have sought Adelson’s approval from the outset: Last summer, Trump sent Adelson a book of photographs of himself receiving an award for promoting US-Israel relations with the note, “Sheldon, no one will be a bigger friend to Israel than me” on the cover.

    • KING: Bernie Sanders would be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare; Hillary, not so much

      You may not like Donald Trump. Hell, you may hate his guts and think he is the worst thing to ever happen to American politics in modern history.

      If you called him an offensive, sexist, xenophobic bigot, I’d be first in line to agree with you.

      Yes, his skin is orange and his hair is ridiculous. He’s also an incredibly formidable politician who just beat the dog crap out of more than a dozen different Republicans including the current governors from Ohio, Wisconsin and New Jersey, two widely-known multi-term governors from Florida and Texas, four current U.S. senators from Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida and Texas, a doctor and a former tech CEO.

    • Donald Trump’s Sacking of GOP Forces Elected Officials and Party Leaders to Make a Decision
    • Across Los Angeles, Hope Remains for a Big Upset in the California Primary

      If Sanders wins California, it would be a big upset. Yet even if he does, he probably wouldn’t get enough delegates to force the convention into a second ballot and to stop a Clinton nomination. But what happens after the convention is important, too. Will the Sanders movement remain intact? Will Lauren Steiner, Julie Tyler, Nasim Thompson and Ismael Parra get behind Clinton for the fall campaign against Donald Trump?

    • BBC Spread the Hatred

      No matter how terrible the BBC is, it constantly manages to get worse. The BBC News this evening appears like an especially rabid Tory Party broadcast. Sarah Smith was just breathtaking, while I thought Laura Kuenssberg must be the Chairman of the Conservative Party.

      Sarah Smith’s report from Holyrood was so astonishingly biased that a rather bemused BBC correspondent named Keane followed it with “But after Sarah Smith’s report let’s not forget that the SNP have won an historic third election”. Sarah Smith’s contribution was a voiceover of a photo montage of Ruth Davidson. Smith told us the election was all about Independence and the “stunning” Tory result was evidence that voters were firmly rejecting the idea of any second referendum. Cut to Ruth Davidson saying the Tories were firmly rejecting any second referendum.

      Let us for a moment accept Sarah Smith’s contention that the Tories attracted those voters who do not want a second referendum. The truth of the matter is that just 1 in 9 of eligible Scottish voters, voted Tory. 21% of those who voted. So the proper conclusion should be that the Tories came a distant second and most people rather fancy a second referendum. Sarah Smith’s anti-independence tirade was gobsmacking, but then it was topped by some BBC pundit comparing Ruth Davidson’s Tories to Leicester City.

    • Pundits Will Pay No Price for Being Arrogantly Wrong About Trump

      These experts, it would seem, were wrong—and confidently, arrogantly, condescendingly so. But as noted by Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani, who corralled many examples for The Intercept (5/4/16), they will pay absolutely no price for it. And that’s a problem. It isn’t that journalists should never make predictions; or that they’re expected to always be right. But you do have to wonder why so much energy is devoted to crystal-ball gazing when nothing seems to be learned when pundits are way off target.

    • Robert Scheer Discusses What a Clinton Versus Trump Election Would Mean for Progressives

      Truthdig went live with Editor in Chief Robert Scheer as he examined the potential impact of a Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump election and how it would affect progressives.

    • This Taco Bowl Is What Donald Trump Is Offering As Hispanic Outreach

      If a taco bowl is presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s way of reaching out to the Hispanic community, he might want to rethink his strategy.

      Trump, who has focused much of this election cycle on making inflammatory remarks about Latino immigrants, declared his love for Cinco de Mayo with a taco bowl at his namesake building in New York City on Thursday.

    • Sometimes There Is No Lesser of Two Evils

      The Republic will survive an election cycle but the Republican party may not

    • The General Strike to Corbyn: 90 years of BBC establishment bias

      On the anniversary of the 1926 General Strike, looking back to the early BBC helps us understand the latest bias scandal, over coverage of Labour’s anti-semitism scandal vs Tory election fraud.

    • Here Is the Wrong Way to Go About Defeating Trump

      Democrats are as much to blame as Republicans for the conditions that produced Trumpism.

    • Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Astroturfing on Social Media, Op-Ed Pages

      An anti-Bernie Sanders column allegedly penned by Atlanta’s “influential” Democratic Mayor Kasim Reed ahead of Georgia’s Super Tuesday primary appears to have been “primarily written by a corporate lobbyist” and “edited by Correct the Record, one of several pro-Clinton Super PACs,” according to The Intercept on Friday.

      “Sanders’ record is simply not strong when compared to Obama and Clinton,” Reed’s op-ed read, “both of whom have prioritized reducing gun violence in our cities and across our country.”

    • Atlanta Mayor’s Column Ripping Bernie Sanders Drafted by Lobbyist, Emails Show

      A few days before the Georgia primary, influential Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed published a column on CNN.com praising Hillary Clinton and ripping her opponent, Bernie Sanders. Reed attacked Sanders as being out of step with Democrats on gun policy, and accused him of elevating a “one-issue platform” that ignores the plight of the “single mother riding two buses to her second job.”

      But emails released from Reed’s office indicate that the column, which pilloried Sanders as out of touch with the poor, was primarily written by a corporate lobbyist, and was edited by Correct the Record, one of several pro-Clinton Super PACs.

      Anne Torres, the mayor’s director of communications, told The Intercept this week that the column was not written by the mayor, but by Tharon Johnson, a former Reed adviser who now works as a lobbyist for UnitedHealth, Honda, and MGM Resorts, among other clients. The column’s revisions by staffers from Correct the Record are documented in the emails.

    • The Intelligence Community Casts Its Vote for Hillary Clinton

      Since Donald Trump all-but sealed the nomination the other day, there has been a bit of a tizzy because he’ll receive intelligence briefing(s). Several spooks and former spooks complained to the Daily Beast that Trump might run his mouth and let something slip.

    • Election 2016: Not Donald Trump vs Not Hillary Clinton

      The candidates likely voters are backing in the upcoming presidential election appear to be Not Donald Trump and Not Hillary Clinton.

      That’s according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday, which looks at a general election hypothetical matchup between Clinton and Trump, and found the Democrat leading the Republican 45 to 36 percent.

    • Hillary Clinton and the End of the Democratic Party

      Liberal incredulity at Charles Koch’s (Koch Bros.) recent (soft) endorsement of Hillary Clinton — assertions that is was either a non-sequitur or a ploy to discredit her, was to dismiss the endorsement without answering the question: what about Mrs. Clinton’s policies, or those of any other establishment Democrat for that matter, could inheritance babies, oil and gas industry magnates and long-term supporters of the radical Right like Mr. Koch possibly object to? Mr. Koch was simply saying out loud what anyone paying attention to American politics in recent decades already knows: the Democratic Party is the Party of Wall Street and of corporate America.

    • Global press reaction to Sadiq Khan a mix of curiosity and ignorance

      Labour candidate for London mayor judged by his faith, rather than actions or politics, in several European and US media outlets

    • London’s FIRST Muslim Mayor: Sadiq Khan ahead as Goldsmith slammed for anti-Islam campaign

      The fight to run the British capital has pitted the Labour Party’s Khan, 45, the son of a bus driver who grew up in public housing, against Conservative Zac Goldsmith, 41, the elite-educated son of a billionaire financier.

      But rather than their social backgrounds, it has been accusations of smears over Khan’s Muslim faith and anti-Semitism in the Labour Party that have dominated the campaign to replace Conservative Boris Johnson as mayor of the city of 8.6 million people which is usually known for its tolerance.


      Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in turn accused the Conservatives of “smearing” Khan. He said one of the men Cameron had accused Khan of sharing a platform with had also been close to Goldsmith.

    • Uber picks up ex-EU digital chief Neelie Kroes—after cooling-off period

      Europe’s former digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has landed a senior role with ride sharing app, Uber.

      The appointment is significant, given that the company faces a legal backlash in several countries across the EU.

      Uber has had difficulty retaining higher-ups in recent years. Last year, French authorities arrested two executives after Uber failed to comply with draconian new taxi laws that were widely viewed as targeting Uber and its ilk.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Media Censorship: The News That Didn’t Make the News

      The presidential primaries offer a single choice for both Democrats and Republicans to vote for empire and permanent war. This year’s entertainment spectacle, what we call democratic elections, is a particularly gross circus of meaninglessness, misinformation, sound bites, and lies. Both parties are in support in the continuation of the US/NATO global empire of permanent war and the protection of the capital of the global 1%. Even Bernie Sanders calls for drone strikes and continued war on Isis and other evil terrorists.

    • Censorship or lack of confidence

      Pakistan Censor Board has banned this year’s much anticipated movie “Maalik” after three weeks of its release for being “biased”, inciting violence and promoting vigilantism. The Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, and National Heritage issued a notification declaring the Urdu feature film “uncertified” according to Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979. According to government officials the film had generated complaints regarding its controversial depiction of the some politicians, Sindhi people and the assassination of a prominent government official by his personal security guard.

    • Baidu Pushes Back On Chinese Gov’t Investigation By Freeing Up Images Related To Tiananmen Square

      So we’ve talked a lot about the Great Firewall of China and how it works. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not just a giant government bureaucracy blacklisting content, but a huge ecosystem that partially relies on unpredictability and the lack of intermediary liability protections online. That is, rather than directly say “this and that are blocked,” the Chinese government will often just let companies know when they’ve failed to properly block content and threaten them with serious consequences. Because of this, you get a culture of overblocking, to avoid running afoul of the demands. This is one of the reasons why we believe that strong intermediary liability protections are so important. Without them, you’re basically begging for widespread censorship to avoid legal consequences.

    • Elsevier Keeps Whac’ing Moles In Trying To Take Down Repository Of Academic Papers

      We’ve written a few times now about Sci-Hub — the website put together by Alexandra Elbakyan, an academic from Kazakhstan. It’s a somewhat creative hack on the idea that many academics are more than willing to share PDFs of useful research with each other, basically building a search engine of such research, which is actually stored in a different repository (called LibGen). But the really clever part of Sci-Hub was that it also had some people sharing their login tokens to various research databases, so that if the LibGen doesn’t have the document, Sci-Hub uses a login to retrieve the document, deliver it to the user who requested it and then uploads it to LibGen to make it available for anyone else. Publishing giant Elsevier has been particularly upset by all of this — despite the fact that its argument appears to go 100% against the stated purpose of copyright law.

      Remember, this isn’t about sharing some sort of commercial music or video or anything. This is about academic research, much of which has been paid for with public tax dollars, and which Elsevier paid no money to create. Elsevier not only gets academics to submit papers for publishing, but to also hand over their copyrights to Elsevier. In some subject areas, it even makes the academics pay to submit their papers for publishing. Then Elsevier gets free editing help from other academics who do peer review for free. Some publications even have unpaid editors as well. And then Elsevier goes out and charges hundreds of thousands of dollars for subscriptions to universities for research it had no hand in creating, for which it paid no money, but where it gets the copyright.

    • UK Sports Star Threatens American Newspaper For Posting Public Information About His New Home

      People don’t always like it, but home ownership records are public information in the US, and they often get reported on. There are all sorts of things that people do to deal with this, including using shell companies to buy homes or, like most people, just sucking it up and recognizing that such information is public. But, sometimes that message is hard to get across, and then you have a lawyer come and do something stupid. As you may know (or as you absolutely know if you even remotely follow football — the non-American kind), in the world of UK Premier League football, there was just quite an insane and unexpected victory by Leicester City (beating 5000 to 1 odds).

      At about the very same time, reporters at the NY-based Observer noted that one of the team’s players, Christian Fuchs, not only won the title, but also had purchased a nice new townhome in Manhattan. Again, this is a public record, and it is not uncommon for the news to report home purchases of celebrities.

    • Media Blackout on Nuit Debout

      One of the fastest growing social and political movements in recent history has been sweeping across France, spreading through Europe and now developing in North America and elsewhere. In the space of just over a month, it has transformed countless public and private spaces, in nearly 300 cities, by making them into dynamic centers of non-violent protest and political experimentation. Although the future is unpredictable, it has the potential to significantly transform the horizons of social and political possibility.

    • Funnyman Cyrus Broacha bristles at the idea of censorship as he describes how comedy in India has become a tough business

      Cyrus Broacha is staying away from risks.

      “From now on I will write a letter to the PM every month, with a list of mistakes I have made over the past 30 days, and with due apologies,” he says.

      The mock resolution is meant to highlight the current state of affairs all around, for comedy seems to have has become tough business in India right now.

      “India is a funny democracy. Our laws are never clear and there is confusion all around. Comedy is a natural outcome of confusion but we as a nation are happy only when the joke is on someone else. People are too quick to take offence if they are the butt of a joke,” he says.

    • Censorship is an outdated concept: Kunaal Roy Kapur
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mexico’s Supreme Court Won’t Halt Data Retention: Activists Plan to Take Case to International Court

      In a disappointing decision, Mexico’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Mexico’s Ley Telecom data retention mandates and its lack of legal safeguards. The challenge, or writ of amparo—a remedy available to any person whose rights have been violated—was filed by R3D.mx on behalf of a coalition of journalists, human rights NGOs, students arguing that Articles 189 and 190 of Ley Telcom violate the privacy rights of Mexican citizens. The articles compel the country’s telephone operators and ISPs, to retain a massive amount of metadata — including the precise location of its users — for 24 months.

      In a statement, our colleagues at Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D.mx), who filed the case, declared that the court “missed an historic opportunity to establish a precedent for the privacy and safety of all users of telecommunications services.”

    • Why Government Use of Social Media Monitoring Software Is a Direct Threat to Our Liberty and Privacy

      Rather than accepting SMMS’s use by police as inevitable, we should consider the serious implications for our society.

      A version of this post originally appeared at the ACLU of Oregon.

      As we’ve previously written about, analysts at the Oregon Department of Justice used a tool called Digital Stakeout to surveil people — including the department’s very own director of civil rights — who used over 30 hashtags on social media, such as #BlackLivesMatter and #fuckthepolice. While an internal investigation confirmed the illegal surveillance and made recommendations to ensure it doesn’t happen again, much less attention has been paid to the tool itself.

      Digital Stakeout is social media monitoring software (SMMS) that can be used to covertly monitor, collect, and analyze our social media data from platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It is part of a rapidly expanding industry that the public knows little about. Our goal here is to answer a few basic questions about SMMS: What can the technology do? How widespread is the use of SMMS by law enforcement in Oregon? What privacy concerns does it raise? And how we can protect free speech and privacy moving forward?

    • Oregon DOJ Encourages Surveillance Of First Amendment Activities; Acts Surprised When Agents Do Exactly That

      According to documents released to the ACLU, the Oregon DOJ has problems complying with both state and federal laws. Law enforcement agencies are forbidden from conducting surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities unless they can demonstrate beforehand that there is evidence of criminal activity tied to it.

      But the DOJ’s own presentations suggest agents should perform surveillance first and fix it in post. According to its instructions, agents should be “creative” when looking for justification for surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities. Literally, “any crime will do.”

    • Homeland Security Wants To Subpoena Us Over A Clearly Hyperbolic Techdirt Comment

      Earlier this week, one of our writers, Tim Cushing, had a story about yet another abuse of the civil asset forfeiture procedure. You can read that whole story for the details, but the short version is that US Customs & Border Patrol, along with Hancock County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Dept. officers, decided to seize $240,000 in cash from a guy named Najeh Muhana. Muhana sought to get that cash back, but after a series of ridiculous communications, his lawyer was told that Customs and Border Patrol in Ohio was keeping the money, and that Muhana had “waived his rights to the currency.” This was not true, and certainly appeared to be pretty sketchy. Because of all of this, Muhana filed a lawsuit against US Customs & Border Patrol asking for his money back.

      Not surprisingly, this story of what many would argue is just blatant theft by law enforcement (the people who are supposed to be protecting us from theft) upset a number of folks who expressed their frustrations in the comments — some using colorful language. That kind of language might not necessarily be considered appropriate in polite company, but isn’t entirely out of place in internet forums and discussions where rhetorical hyperbole is not uncommon.

      So I have to admit that I was rather surprised yesterday afternoon when we received a phone call from an agent with Homeland Security Investigations (the organization formerly known as ICE for Immigration and Customs Enforcement), asking where they could send a subpoena to identify a commenter on our site.

    • NSA Spying: Another Foreign Intervention Come Home

      The Washington Post recently ran an article titled, “Surprise! NSA data will soon routinely be used for domestic policing that has nothing to do with terrorism.” In the article, journalist Radley Balko explains that provisions in the Patriot Act have allowed the NSA to share information with a variety of other agencies, including the FBI and state and local law enforcement. The issue has received additional attention from the ACLU, but it’s made practically zero difference.

      He goes on to say that now the NSA will be able to share data with agencies like the FBI and others “without first applying any screens for privacy.” This means that a variety of agencies will now have access to incredible amounts of data obtained without warrants. In the event one of these agencies looks through the data in the course of another investigation, they can use the data uncovered to put people in prison. Balko notes that, while shocking, this new revelation is simply the formalization of what we’ve seen for the past several years—the NSA sending data to the DEA and IRS to be used for purposes other than counterterrorism.

    • US Intelligence Agencies Expand Electronic Surveillance Worldwide

      The US National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency approximately doubled their surveillance of telephone and electronic communications in 2015, according to documents released in a US government “transparency report” this week.

      US intelligence analysts carried out some 25,000 analytical searches of archived communications data derived from the NSA’s sweeping data collection programs last year, including nearly 5,000 searches of data collected from communications by US citizens.

      The figure represents a more than twofold increase over 2013, which saw the agencies conduct 9,500 searches of the surveillance database.

    • ‘Too Much Data’: Why US Intelligence Unable to Prevent Terrorism

      US intelligence agencies can’t cope with the vast amount of information they receive, former US National Security Agency employee William Binney said in an interview with RT. He explained that due to their inability to process the huge inflow of personal data the work of intelligence agencies is becoming inefficient.

    • NSA Discloses Hundreds of Hardware, Software Bugs Per Year [Ed: NSA as the ‘good guys’. Puff pieces nearly outnumber the signal now.]
    • NSA recognizes Embry Riddle as a top school for cyber defense
    • Embry-Riddle Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education [Ed: NSA is thinking about the children. More puff pieces.]
    • UK’s Spy Agency Wants Users to Stop Resetting Their Passwords – No Joke [Ed: cui bono? We already know, based on leaked documents, that they 'hunt' sysadmins for passwords.]
    • Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt’s spy network
    • You Can’t Handle It: UK Spy Agency Tells Public to Stop Resetting Passwords
    • Stop resetting passwords often says British intelligence agency
    • Why Changing Passwords Often Could Make Them Weaker
    • Companies should NOT force customers to keep changing their passwords – GCHQ
    • FBI Harassing TOR Software Developer, Refusing To Explain Why They Want To Meet Her

      Little did Isis Agora know that working for the Tor would land her into a land of troubles. This account of a series of events that happened between her and the FBI is sufficient to explain the intention of the FBI and what traumatic and post-traumatic behavioural changes a normal citizen has to go through after such incidents.

    • Court Upholds Sentence For Ex-Cop Who Abused Law Enforcement Database Access

      The defendant, Taylor (MI) police officer Michael Calabrese, was originally charged with 11 counts of misusing the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). This makes Calabrese somewhat of an anomaly. While every user of the LEIN is warned that improper access could result in criminal charges, this almost never actually happens. Suspensions may be handed out, but they tend to be minimal (three days at most). Others just receive written reprimands. Someone actually convicted of abusive access is a rarity.

    • What you’re asked when interviewing with the NSA, according to GlassDoor [Ed: back to puff pieces]
    • NSA Silent on Spies’ Child Porn Problem

      Two senior U.S. intelligence officials said recently that defense and intelligence employees have an “unbelievable” amount of child pornography on their work computers and devices, and that child porn has been found on the systems of the National Security Agency, the country’s biggest intelligence organization.

      But the NSA, which is responsible for keeping tabs on its own computers as well as military and intelligence agency networks, cannot say just how many times employees have been found to posesses or share child pornography, or how many times such cases have been referred to law enforcement for investigation and potential criminal prosecution.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How Connecticut Plans To Break The School-To-Prison Pipeline

      Months after Connecticut’s governor announced he would shut down the state’s abusive juvenile jail, lawmakers hope to divert young people from the juvenile justice system.

      On Wednesday, Connecticut’s Senate approved an omnibus bill that cracks down on the school-to-prison pipeline by forcing school officials to handle disciplinary matters in-house. And in order to reduce the likelihood of ending up in the juvenile justice system, school administrators will be required to ensure educational alternatives for kids who are expelled.

      On average, the state has 1,000 expulsions a year, and students fall far behind in school as a result.

    • Conservative Christian Tow Truck Driver Abandons Disabled Woman Because of Her Bernie Bumper Sticker

      North Carolina tow truck driver and self-proclaimed “conservative Christian” Ken Shupe followed the example of Jesus on Monday by providing roadside assistance to disabled Bernie Sanders supporter Cassandra McWade even though Shupe himself professes loyalty to God’s Own Party. Oh. Wait. I got that backward. Shupe saw the Sanders sign in McWade’s car and drove off, leaving her stranded on the roadside—the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches in the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan.

    • Support Diego Garcia Football

      This blog makes a point of never asking for money or taking advertising, yet has asked for donations for good causes twice in a fortnight. I apologise but I love this idea, both for the spirit of football and to support the islanders in affirming their right to be considered a nation and to return to their homeland. I have carefully checked it out and this football team – based in Croydon – really does consist of the Chagos community, and it is important to them in helping the young people preserve their identity.

    • Lawmakers In Missouri Just Passed A Voter ID Bill That Could Disenfranchise 220,000 People

      Republicans in Missouri have been trying to pass a voter ID bill for more than a decade, and they may soon claim victory.

      This week, a supermajority of lawmakers sent a bill to the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon (D). Even if the governor vetoes, as he did to a similar one in 2011, lawmakers may have the votes to override it.

      Democrats in the state Senate staged an all-night filibuster last week to stop the ID bill, but backed down after striking a compromise deal with Republicans.

    • The limits of borders

      Borders are constructed to separate people, but they become a permanent point of contact and violence between the two sides.

    • Gangbusters: Law Enforcement’s Dubious Means to Police Public Housing Residents

      Taylonn Murphy Jr. was 14 years old when law enforcement began to monitor him. He is to be sentenced next month, two years after a raid that forever changed the lives of dozens of families in West Harlem.

    • Rep. Issa Calls Out Civil Asset Forfeiture As Letting ‘Cops Go Treasure Hunting’

      We’ve been writing an awful lot about civil asset forfeiture over the past few years, and how it’s basically a program that lets law enforcement steal money (and goods) from people and businesses without ever charging them with a crime. Instead, they just charge the thing with being part of a crime and then keep the proceeds. Just recently, the federal government reopened its asset forfeiture “sharing” program that basically makes it even more lucrative for police to just take people’s money and things. Most people don’t even realize this is happening, but when they find out the details, they are almost all opposed to the program, that looks like little more than supporting legalized theft for law enforcement, with basically no recourse. In that last link, we noted that most lawmakers don’t seem to care about this issue at all, perhaps because of the fear of being branded as “anti-cop” or something silly like that.

    • European Greens Present Draft Law On Protecting Whistleblowers

      It’s a sad commentary on the state of transparency these days that whistleblowers have come to play such an important role in revealing wrongdoing and abuse, as numerous stories on Techdirt attest. At the same time, whistleblowers enjoy very little protection around the world. Indeed, a countervailing trend to strengthen protection for so-called “trade secrets” makes it increasingly risky to be a whistleblower today. A case in point is the European Union’s new law on trade secrets, which completed its passage through the EU legislative process last month. Although it contains some protections for whistleblowers, many feel they are insufficient.

    • Report Shows There Aren’t Enough Teachers Of Color Coming Through Traditional Teacher Pipelines

      The U.S. teaching workforce is still very white, according to a new report on diversity in the teaching workforce released Friday from the U.S. Department of Education. In public schools, 82 percent of teachers are white, compared to 51 percent of students.

    • After Arresting Driver for Silence, Cops Tell Her She Has a Right to Remain Silent

      After New Jersey state troopers arrested Rebecca Musarra for remaining silent, they informed her, “You have the right to remain silent.” That should have been a clue that something was amiss with their legal justification for hauling her off to jail.

      According to a federal lawsuit filed by Musarra, a Philadelphia attorney, and dashcam footage recently obtained by NJ Advance Media, Trooper Matthew Stazzone pulled her over for speeding on October 16 and asked for her license, registration, and proof of insurance. She handed over the documents but did not respond when Stazzone asked her a question. He repeated the question several times, becoming increasingly agitated and warning her that she would be arrested if she did not answer. Here is the vitally important question that Stazzone kept asking: “Do you know why you’re being pulled over tonight?”

      In other words, Stazzone was trying to get Musarra to incriminate herself. She declined to do so. Mind you, she did not say, “I decline to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me,” or “I am asserting my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.” But she did eventually identify herself as an attorney, saying she was not legally required to answer Stazzone’s question. Unimpressed, he proceeded to handcuff and arrest her with the assistance of another trooper, Demetric Gosa.

    • What does an anti-Semitic party look like in Europe today?

      While people are distracted by the debate over anti-Semitism and the left in Britain, genuinely anti-Semitic and racist parties are on the rise across Europe.

    • Sadiq Khan Overcomes Nasty Attacks From Conservatives, Becomes London’s First Muslim Mayor

      Londoners elected the city’s first Muslim mayor in a historic victory Friday, against the backdrop of rising xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment throughout Europe.

      The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, 45, an MP and son of working class Pakistani immigrants, defeated the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, who is the son of a billionaire. London’s 8.6 million overwhelmingly elected Khan, despite attacks that portrayed him as a “radical” and linked him to “extremist” figures.

    • How London’s Sadiq Khan Triumphed Over Race-Baiting

      This year’s London mayoral election, only the fifth time citizens of Great Britain’s capital have directly elected a mayor for the whole of the metropolis, initially promised to be the boring one. Previous polls had been dominated by two big beasts: Ken Livingstone, the ultimate left-wing machine politician and scourge of Margaret Thatcher when he led the Greater London Council in the 1980s, and Conservative Boris Johnson, the charismatic, floppy-haired, classics-quoting, New York-born buffoon whose reign as leader of the city has largely been characterized by vanity projects (a pointless new design for the city’s famous red buses, a bizarre “garden bridge” that no one apart from the mayor seems to want or understand, a cable car over the river that goes from nowhere to nowhere else).

    • Transcending Ugly Campaign, London Elects First-Ever Muslim Mayor
    • How Opponents of UK Labour Leader Corbyn Advanced a Political Coup with Antisemitism Smears

      Chris Mullins’ 1982 political thriller, A Very British Coup, introduced British readers to a Marxist former steelworker named Harry Perkins who sends his country’s political elite into a frenzy by winning a dramatic election for prime minister. Desperate to foil his plans to remove American military bases from British soil, nationalize the country’s industries and abolish the aristocratic House of Lords, a convergence of powerful forces led by MI5 security forces initiate a plot to undermine Perkins through surveillance and subterfuge. When their machinations fail against a resolute and surprisingly wily politician, the security forces resort to fabricating a scandal, hoping to force him to abdicate power to a more pliable member of his own party.

    • The Enduring Racism of Wonder Woman

      The superhero’s creator, William Marston, linked her superpowers to her whiteness.

    • The New Wave of Repression in Puerto Rico

      On April 20 the FBI detained Puerto Rican pro-independence activist Orlando González-Claudio. He was driving his car along the Caribbean island nation’s Route 2 when several US government vehicles intercepted him and forced him to stop. They told him they would take DNA samples from his body and that they were fully authorized to force him to comply. If he did not cooperate they would sedate him, they said. They would sample his DNA the easy way or the hard way. González-Claudio voluntarily got off his car and entered the FBI vehicle he was led to. He was then handcuffed and driven to the San Juan Medical Center, where the samples were taken. Afterwards he was released and taken back to his car. The agents would not tell him what were they investigating, and he was not charged with anything.

    • White Power Meets Business Casual

      “Thank God for Donald J. Trump,” cried National Policy Institute director Richard Spencer into the microphone.

      Spencer, 37, has a boyish, straitlaced look about him. With his well-tailored suit and a nicely kempt undercut, he’d meld perfectly into the swarms of youthful think tank employees trotting down Massachusetts Avenue. But NPI is no ordinary Washington think tank. Founded by an heir to a conservative publishing fortune, it drew white nationalists and sympathizers from around the country—and at least one from Canada—to its innocuously named “Identity Politics” conference a couple of days after Donald Trump dominated the field on Super Tuesday. For $45, I snagged the last ticket designated for millennials.

      It is the rise of the bombastic Republican frontrunner that brought this amalgam of aggrieved crusaders together for an evening of cocktails, appetizers, and songs of praise to the candidate who’s inspired them to dip a toe into the stream of establishment politics.

      To get in, I waded through a throng of protesters gathered around the entrance of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, yelling “Nazi,” “racist,” and “KKK” at attendees. A few protestors got close enough to snap pictures.

    • Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?

      Do police in the United States keep anyone safe and secure other than the very wealthy? How do history and global context explain recent police killings of young Black people in the US?

    • Will Our Love of Cheap Clothing Doom the Sustainable Fashion Movement?

      An Associated Press–GFK poll released late last week found that when it comes to purchasing clothes, the majority of Americans prefer cheap prices over a “Made in the USA” label. The poll, inspired by campaign trail promises by presidential candidates to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., asked respondents to choose between two pairs of pants of the same fabric and design. The pair manufactured in the United States would set the shopper back $85, while the one sewn overseas would cost $50. A full 67 percent of respondents, regardless of household income, said they’d choose the cheaper pair of pants.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Congress Scolds The FCC For Making The Cable Set Top Box Market More Competitive

      Congress is simply fed up with the FCC’s pesky new habit of standing up to giant cable and broadband companies. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to stop states from letting large ISPs write horrible, protectionist state laws. Congress was outraged when the FCC announced it wanted to pass actual, functioning net neutrality rules. Congress was even outraged when the FCC decided to raise the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps, since it only served to highlight a lack of competition for next-generation broadband service.

      Now, not too surprisingly, Congress is just pissed that the FCC wants to try and bring some competition to the cable set top box space.

    • FCC Officially Approves Merger to Create ‘Price-Gouging Cable Giant’

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $90 billion merger between three telecom corporations, a move that consumer advocates warn will create a “price-gouging cable giant.”

      According to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the conditions of Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner and Bright House Networks will include data caps for broadband customers and fees for online services, including for video providers.

    • FCC Approves Horrible Merger, Hurting Consumers Nationwide

      Instead of standing with the people who use the Internet, he sided with the companies that want to control it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Game Developer Forced To Change Game’s Name Because ‘Wasteland’ Is A Trademark, Apparently

        Several years ago, we wrote about InXile, a game studio that rode Kickstarter success to producing Wasteland 2. The theme of the post was about how open and awesome InXile had been to its backers and other Kickstarter projects, bringing a gracious attitude to the former and promising to use some of the game’s proceeds to pay it forward to the latter. These actions built a nice reputation for InXile, somewhat unique in gaming circles, by engaging with fans and customers alike, while also acknowledging the rest of the industry. In short, InXile was human and awesome.

        Yet, since then, InXile has occasionally acted aggressively in enforcing the trademark it has on the term “Wasteland” for the gaming industry. First, in 2013, it forced a smalll gaming studio to change the name of a game it had originally called Wasteland Kings to Nuclear Throne after InXile contacted them. And, now, InXile has gone a step further and fired off a cease and desist letter to a single developer attempting to produce his own shooter game, which he had entitled Alien Wasteland.

      • Advice To Immediately Trademark Kickstarter Projects Rests On Crowdfunding Not Being Commerce

        Because we talk a great deal about trademark law here at Techdirt, it occasionally leads us writers down interesting reading paths. One such path I recently traveled led me to a Gamasutra community post written by attorney Stephen McArthur, a lawyer who has built something of a specialty in video game industry law. The theme of the post is that anyone crowdfunding the production of a video game, via Kickstarter for example, should be registering the trademarks for their game during or before the crowdfunding process, rather than waiting until the production is funded successfully. Putting aside the heavy importance McArthur places on trademark registration, his argument is more of a PSA on the procedural timelines and what he considers to be a misunderstanding about both when common law trademark kicks in and when certain aspects of the trademark-ability of a product or service are initiated.

    • Copyrights

      • Do You Own What You Own? Not So Much Anymore, Thanks To Copyright

        Do you own the things you own? No, that is not a riddle being served up by the Cat in the Hat. Nor is it a rhyme spoken by the Lorax — after all, he speaks for the trees, not for copyright laws.

        It seems like every week there is a debate about a new topic involving ownership rights. Consumers are engaged in a constant tug of war with rights holders over what they can do with the products that they already purchased from them. A wide array of questions has confused the understanding of fundamental issues such as when people can resell or repair the things that they bought. The First Sale Doctrine stipulates that a rights holder is no longer entitled to control the distribution of a good once it has gone through a legitimate first sale. However, recent technological developments have created a new disagreement to this long-standing law — do people ever actually own the things that they purchased? Were the products ever truly sold to them, or is everything instead just a temporary lease?

        Take the recent debate over Nest products. Nest is one of the leading companies in “smart” thermostats for personal use. These products utilize a variety of light, sound, and heating sensors to automatically regulate the climate in a home and increase energy efficiency. Back in 2014, Nest purchased a company named Revolv that also made “smart” thermostats and proceeded to continue selling them for $300 each.


Links 6/5/2016: Neptune 4.5.1, Parts of Basho DB Liberated

Posted in News Roundup at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open the curtains on network function virtualization with open source

    The Open Platform for NFV can accelerate NFV deployment while unlocking the door to multiple processing architecture.

  • Open Source Projects Are Transforming Machine Learning and AI

    Machine learning and artificial intelligence have quickly gained traction with the public through applications such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The true promise of these disciplines, though, extends far beyond simple speech recognition performed on our smartphones. New, open source tools are arriving that can run on affordable hardware and allow individuals and small organizations to perform prodigious data crunching and predictive tasks.

  • Open Source Projects Are Transforming Machine Learning and AI

    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a decision to create a new subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence to look for ways to use the technology as American citizens interact with the federal government.

    “The Federal Government also is working to leverage AI for public good and toward a more effective government,” Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Ed Felten in a statement.

  • ReactOS 0.4.1 Is En Route For Open-Source Windows

    For fans of ReactOS as a project long working on providing an open-source, drop-in-replacement for Windows, a new release is being prepared.

    Building off the recent ReactOS 0.4 release is the v0.4.1 point release in development. A few hours ago, ReactOS 0.4.1 RC1 was released for those wishing to test this open-source OS implementation of Windows.

  • PBS Digital Studios Asks ‘Should Everything Be Open Source?’

    The DMCA doesn’t just make it illegal for you to circumvent DRM to rip and burn a DVD of ‘War Games’ or to install a pirated copy of Windows. It also can make it illegal for you to repair or modify things you own.

    Public television and radio in the United States have been surprisingly shy about covering the open source movement, but this video by Mike Rugnetta at PBS Digital Studios shows that they may be waking up.

  • Langpacks Support added to Pulp 2.9.0

    Pulp 2.9.0 is still in development, but since langpacks support has been merged, here is a video highlighting this up-and-coming feature.

  • Events

    • Tracing Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      After taking a break in 2015, Tracing is back at Plumbers this year! Tracing is heavily used throughout the Linux ecosystem, and provides an essential method for extracting information about the underlying code that is running on the system. Although tracing is simple in concept, effective usage and implementation can be quite involved.

    • Ubuntu Online Summit

      There’s a fundamental difference between conferences for community-driven projects and closed-source commercial software. While Microsoft, Apple and other large companies hold regular meetings to keep developers updated, the information almost always flows in one direction. They (the software owners) tell us (the software users) what they are working on and what they are about to release. These releases almost always come out of the blue often leave the developer community scrabbling to catch up.

    • Libocon 2016: accommodation

      We’re progressing with the organization of LibreOffice Conference 2016 in Brno. Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation visited Brno last month, we showed him the venue and also places where we could hold a party, have a hacknight etc.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mashing Up OpenStack With Hyperconverged Storage

      While innovators in the HPC and hyperscale arenas usually have the talent and often have the desire to get into the code for the tools that they use to create their infrastructure, most enterprises want their software with a bit more fit and finish, and if they can get it so it is easy to operate and yet still in some ways open, they are willing to pay a decent amount of cash to get commercial-grade support.

    • Calculating NPV for Open Source Big Data Projects

      Mention the words “open source” and all kinds ideas probably come to mind such as “free”, “agility”, and “speed”. However, with any IT project, it is important to look at business benefits vs. costs in a manner that goes beyond generalizations. One method for benefit-cost analysis for open source big data projects is Net Present Value (NPV).

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Global competition to develop open-source educational software launched

      The Global Learning XPRIZE was first announced during the UN General Assembly week in 2014: as the Closing Keynote session of the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting with XPRIZE founder and executive chairman Peter Diamandis and President Clinton, and at a special ceremony with Keller and the UN’s Special Envoy for Global Education, former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD’s Lumina Desktop 0.9.0 Environment Launches with Compositing Effects

      PC-BSD’s Ken Moore today, May 5, 2016, announced the release of the Lumina Desktop 0.9.0 environment for his FreeBSD-based, desktop-oriented PC-BSD operating system.

    • Lumina Desktop 0.9 Adds Window Compositing Support, New Text Editor

      The BSD-focused Lumina Desktop Environment has released version 0.9 of their open-source, Qt-powered desktop while version 1.0 is expected later this year in step with PC-BSD/FreeBSD 11.0.

      Lumina 0.9 still lacks its own window manager, but they have added compositing window manager support via xcompmgr. For systems without xcompmgr or not being able to run a composited desktop, Lumina will still fall back to not using any compositing effects with the Fluxbox window manager. Lumina’s own window manager is now delayed until after their 1.0 desktop release.


    • GCC 4.8 To GCC 6.1 Benchmarks For A Complex Program

      Here are some more compiler performance metrics to share of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) for a complex program.

      The latest GCC benchmarks I have to share are of Open Porous Media, the initiative providing software for modeling and simulations around porous media processes. Long story short, software for areas like enhanced oil recovery along with other scientific and industrial fields. With the particular OPM benchmark component being used today, a reservoir simulator for three-phase black-oil problems.

    • GNU LibreJS 6.0.13 released

      There’s a new version of LibreJS – version 6.0.13.

      LibreJS is a Mozilla add-on that prevents nonfree JavaScript programs from running in your web browser.

      Originally this release was going to be 6.0.11, but I had some trouble registering this add-on with Mozilla which required me to increment the version to 6.0.13.

    • How to campaign for the cause of software freedom

      Free Software communities produce tons of great software. This software drives innovation and enables everybody to access and use computers, whether or not they can afford new hardware or commercial software. So that’s that, the benefit to society is obvious. Everybody should just get behind it and support it. Right? Well, it is not that easy. Especially when it comes to principles of individual freedom or trade-offs between self-determination and convenience, it is difficult to communicate the message in a way that it reaches and activates a wider audience. How can we explain the difference between Free Software and services available at no cost (except them spying at you) best? Campaigning for software freedom is not easy. However, it is part of the Free Software Foundation Europe’s mission. The FSFE teamed up with Peng! Collective to learn how to run influential campaigns to promote the cause of Free Software. The Peng Collective is a Berlin based group of activists who are known for their successful and quite subversive campaigns for political causes. And Endocode? Endocode is a sponsor of the Free Software Foundation Europe. We are a sponsor because free software is essential to us, both as a company and as members of society. And so here we are.

    • Special Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup and LIVE STREAM: May 6th
    • GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: Twenty new GNU releases in the last month
  • Public Services/Government

    • European Unified Patent Court goes Open Source

      Using Private Cloud and Drupal as a starting point together with small expert partners and agile management the new platform for the European UPC has been shaped to the exact requirements and quickly adapted while more needs surfaced. The only ready to use Open Source tool used has been Zarafa Collaboration Platform which integrated with the Case Management System will provide secure email, instant messaging, file sharing and video conferencing to the platform’s users.

      The result is that, thanks to Open Source based platform and by working with SMEs, the UK IPO team has been able to deliver to the Unified Patent Court team the project earlier than planned and under budget.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • BNP Paribas Works With Blockchain Startup to Open Source Law

      The complex and fragmented legal arena could use some standardization, at least according to 35-year veteran lawyer, Jim Hazard, the founder of blockchain smart contracts startup, CommonAccord.

      CommonAccord, which was recently selected by BNP Paribas’ new FinTech accelerator, L’Atelier, is developing global text codes for transferring legal documents via distributed ledgers.


  • No, Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day — Here’s What It Is

    Today marks the 154th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo, a bicultural celebration that has become synonymous with margaritas, cervezas (beer) and the occasional controversy. But we found most people don’t know the real story behind this holiday.

  • Forbes Is Confused: You Can View Content Using An Adblocker By Promising Not To Use An Adblocker

    Forbes, an organization with a website presumably built on the value of its content, also has made the unfortunate decision recently to try to block off access to anyone using adblocker software, apparently so that it could successfully allow malicious “ads” to infect its readers’ machines. This set of circumstances would seem to be one that would have Forbes re-thinking its adblocker policy, assuming it wishes to retain the trust of its readership. And it turns out that Forbes is doing so. And then not! Or maybe? Allow me to explain.

    Rob Leathern recently noticed that going to Forbes.com and refreshing the screen after being told that he should disable his adblocker suddenly offered up a new option: becoming a member. That membership would allow the viewing of the content for free. And, hey, all it wanted in return was the ability to manage his social media contacts for him.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Not Just For Corn and Soy; A Look at Glyphosate Use in Food Crops

      As the active ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup weed killer, along with hundreds of other weed-killing products, the chemical called glyphosate spells billions of dollars in sales for Monsanto and other companies each year as farmers around the world use it in their fields and orchards. Ubiquitous in food production, glyphosate is used not just with row crops like corn, soybeans and wheat but also a range of fruits, nuts and veggies. Even spinach growers use glyphosate.

    • 2000+ Doctors Declare: “It’s Time for Single Payer to be Back on the Table”

      Despite limited advances provided by the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. healthcare system remains “uniquely wasteful” and profit-driven, leaving tens of millions without any insurance and even more underinsured.

      As a result, say leading physicians, “the right to medical care remains a dream deferred.”

    • Bernie Sanders Misses Chance to Explain Government’s Role in Life Expectancy Gap

      What Sanders didn’t explain is why that a drive would take you from one of the poorest locales in America to one of the richest.

      McDowell County has long been one of the epicenters of America’s failure to end intergenerational poverty. John Kennedy campaigned there in the ’60s, citing the region’s poverty as an affront in the face of the country’s wealth. Its coal-dependent economy remained stagnant and between 1980 and 1990 it had a net population loss of 42 percent. The decline of American steel and coal has left the county with few economic engines; the New York Times reported in 2014 that almost 47 percent of the income in the county was generated by federal safety net programs like Social Security and food stamps.

      Fairfax, Virginia, too, is reliant on federal aid to generate income — but a far more lucrative kind. Last year, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission conducted a comprehensive study to examine the impact of federal contracting — both defense-related and non-defense related — on the economy of the region.

    • Toxic Phthalates Are Everywhere: Report Reveals Ubiquity of ‘Hormone-Assaulting Chemicals’

      A new report puts the spotlight on the widespread use of toxic chemicals known as phthalates, finding them in products from paints to shoelaces to greeting cards.

      The report, What Stinks? Toxic Phthalates in Your Home (pdf), used data submitted to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, as the New England state requires manufacturers to disclose their use of four kinds phthalates.

      “This data provides new examples of products that are letting these hormone-assaulting chemicals infiltrate our bathrooms, kitchens, schools–and, ultimately, our bodies,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center and Prevent Harm, lead sponsors of the new report.

      “Because of the breadth of reporting that Maine requires,” according to the report, “the data reported includes never- before available information.”

      The reports lays out what’s at stake from exposure thusly: “Strong science shows that even at very low levels of exposure, phthalates—a class of more than 40 closely related chemicals–are linked to reproductive harm, learning disabilities, and asthma and allergies.”

      Fourteen manufacturers reported the use of the four phthalates in 130 products, the report states. The chemicals are often used to soften vinyl plastic–that was the case in over one-third of the products reported—but for over half of the products, phthalates were used as fragrance.

    • It Costs $84,000 to Cure Hepatitis C Through U.S. Insurance: I Did It for $1,500 Ordering the Same Drug From India

      When I went in for my annual physical in 2011, I knew something was up when the physician’s assistant who usually dealt with me deferred to the actual doctor. It was up to him to take on more serious issues, and as he soon explained, I had one. My blood work had come back showing I was infected with the hepatitis C virus. Hep C is a serious, life-threatening illness that attacks the liver and can result in fatty liver, cirrhotic liver and liver cancer. One out of five people carrying the hep C virus will die of liver disease within 20 years. And a lot of people have it—at least 3 million, and perhaps as many as 7 million, in the United States alone.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • OpenSSL patches two high-severity flaws

      OpenSSL has released versions 1.0.2h and 1.0.1t of its open source cryptographic library, fixing multiple security vulnerabilities that can lead to traffic being decrypted, denial-of-service attacks, and arbitrary code execution. One of the high-severity vulnerabilities is actually a hybrid of two low-risk bugs and can cause OpenSSL to crash.

    • Linux Foundation Advances Security Efforts via Badging Program

      The Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative’s badging program matures, as the first projects to achieve security badges are announced.

    • Linux Foundation tackles open source security with new badge program
    • WordPress Plugin ‘Ninja Forms’ Security Vulnerability

      FOSS Force has just learned from Wordfence, a security company that focuses on the open source WordPress content management platform, that a popular plugin used by over 500,000 sites, Ninja Forms, contains serious security vulnerabilities.

    • Preparing Your Network for the IoT Revolution

      While there is no denying that IP-based connectivity continues to become more and more pervasive, this is not a fundamentally new thing. What is new is the target audience is changing and connectivity is becoming much more personal. It’s no longer limited to high end technology consumers (watches and drones) but rather, it is showing up in nearly everything from children’s toys to kitchen appliances (yes again) and media devices. The purchasers of these new technology-enabled products are far from security experts, or even security aware. Their primary purchasing requirements are ease of use.

    • regarding embargoes

      Yesterday I jumped the gun committing some patches to LibreSSL. We receive advance copies of the advisory and patches so that when the new OpenSSL ships, we’re ready to ship as well. Between the time we receive advance notice and the public release, we’re supposed to keep this information confidential. This is the embargo. During the embargo time we get patches lined up and a source tree for each cvs branch in a precommit state. Then we wait with our fingers on the trigger.

      What happened yesterday was I woke up to a couple OpenBSD developers talking about the EBCDIC CVE. Oh, it’s public already? Check the OpenSSL git repo and sure enough, there are a bunch of commits for embargoed issues. Pull the trigger! Pull the trigger! Launch the missiles! Alas, we didn’t look closely enough at the exact issues fixed and had missed the fact that only low severity issues had been made public. The high severity issues were still secret. We were too hasty.

    • Medical Equipment Crashes During Heart Procedure Because of Antivirus Scan [Ed: Windows]

      A critical medical equipment crashed during a heart procedure due to a timely scan triggered by the antivirus software installed on the PC to which the said device was sending data for logging and monitoring.

    • Hotel sector faces cybercrime surge as data breaches start to bite

      Since 2014, things have become a lot more serious with a cross section of mostly US hotels suffering major breaches during Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals. Panda Security lists a string of attacks on big brands including on Trump Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt, Starwood, Rosen Hotels & Resorts as well two separate attacks on hotel management outfit White Lodging and another on non-US hotel Mandarin Oriental.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Cowardice and Exoneration in Kunduz
    • Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out Of Humanitarian Summit, Calls It ‘Fig-Leaf Of Good Intentions’

      75 Doctors Without Borders hospitals around the world were bombed last year.

    • Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes

      The Pentagon just made it official: No war crime was committed when a U.S. plane attacked the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last year, killing 42 patients and health workers and injuring many more.

      At least, that’s the conclusion of its own investigation — nearly all of which remains classified.

      No war crime, despite the U.S. military having full knowledge of the hospital’s location before the bombing. No war crime, despite desperate hospital staffers calling military liaison officers while the rampage was underway. No war crime, despite their calls being routed without response through layers of lethal bureaucracy for an hour or more as the deadly bombing continued.

      No war crime, says the Pentagon.

    • Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders

      It’s late in the afternoon and we are stuck behind a school bus in Northern Croatia as we drive through the what the GPS says is the miserable little town of Apatija, which my Croatian friend Juraj says literally translates to “apathy” in Croatian.

      We are following Balkan Route in the footsteps of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa who are fleeing the Syrian Civil War, ISIS, Al-Shabbab, the Taliban, African despots and America’s drone war.

      I’m impressed with how the school bus can navigate the dirt and gravel roads that crisscross this Croatian nowhere. Before the Croatian government set up transit camps to provide people with food, shelter, medical care bus and train rides to Western Europe, refugees without the money to pay for their own transportation had to walk these roads.

    • If Russia Had ‘Freed’ Canada

      The U.S. government defined events in Ukraine as a “pro-democracy” revolution battling “Russian aggression” — at least as far as the world’s mainstream media was concerned. But what if the script were flipped, asks Joe Lauria.

    • The Media Is Spreading A Myth of ‘Donald The Dove.’ It’s Wrong.

      There’s just one problem with this narrative: none of it actually happened. Today, Trump may indeed hold all of these views, but at the time, he held none of them, at least as far as the public record shows. And by obscuring the difference between judgments in real-time and in retrospect, we risk allowing unaccountable Monday-morning quarterbacking to pass for an ability to make tough calls from inside the huddle.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Clinton’s Email Security Procedures Won’t Be Released Until After the Election

      The State Department says it won’t release any documents relating to Hillary Clinton’s email security procedures and protocol until after the November presidential election.

      In March 2015, soon after Clinton’s secret personal email account was reported by the New York Times, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the State Department asking for “communications, presentations, and procedures created by the State Department to secure Hillary Clinton’s email from electronic threats.” I filed a separate FOIA asking for emails sent to her personal @clintonemail.com account.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Wildfire Researchers Tell Us Why Our Future Is Flames

      The images emerging out of forest-fire ravaged Fort McMurray are devastating. The skeletons of smoldering homes and charred metal truck carcasses conjure the image of some post-apocalyptic wasteland in what was, just the day before, a residential neighbourhood. As of Thursday, more than 80,000 people had been evacuated from the burning town. A province-wide state of emergency has been declared, and neighbouring communities are now under threat.

    • Why today’s global warming has roots in Indonesia’s genocidal past

      There has been tremendous concern over the ways climate change will affect human rights, but little attention to how human rights abuse affects our global climate.

      Fifty years ago, Indonesia went through a genocide. The massacres may be relatively unknown, but in a terrible way the destruction continues, and threatens us all. In 1965, the Indonesian army organised paramilitary death squads and exterminated between 500,000 and 1 million people who had hastily been identified as enemies of General Suharto’s new military dictatorship. Today, the killers and their protégés are comfortable establishment figures whose impunity, political power and capacity for intimidation endure.

    • The EPA Hasn’t Updated Fracking Rules In Nearly 3 Decades. Now, Environmental Groups Are Suing.

      A coalition of environmental organizations is suing the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming federal regulators have for three decades failed to update rules for disposing of fracking and drilling wastes that may threaten public health and the environment.

      The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks the court to set deadlines for the EPA to update its disposal rules.

    • Fossil Fuel Billionaires Kill Children

      Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, Prince may have had a drug problem and a record-breaking 88,000 people have been evacuated from Fort McMurray, Canada.

      If you’ve turned on a corporate 24-hour news network in the last couple of days, those are three things that you have definitely heard about.

      But what you didn’t hear from the mainstream media is that the wildfires in Alberta, and in Alaska, are directly related to climate change.

    • The time has come to turn up the heat on those who are wrecking planet Earth

      Global warming is the biggest problem we’ve ever faced as a civilisation — certainly you want to act to slow it down, but perhaps you’ve been waiting for just the right moment.

      The moment when, oh, marine biologists across the Pacific begin weeping in their scuba masks as they dive on reefs bleached of life in a matter of days. The moment when drought in India gets deep enough that there are armed guards on dams to prevent the theft of water. The moment when we record the hottest month ever measured on the planet, and then smash that record the next month, and then smash that record the next month? The moment when scientists reassessing the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet have what one calls an ‘OMG moment’ and start talking about massive sea level rise in the next 30 years?

    • When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World

      Buddenberg will soon begin a two year prison sentence after accepting a plea deal, rather than face trial, over conspiracy charges brought under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Kissane also accepted a plea deal, and will be sentenced in June. It should be noted that, as with most AETA cases, defendants are offered opportunities to rat out fellow activists or become informants in exchange for lighter sentences. Buddenberg and Kissane declined to do so, and they deserve praise for this. Their non-cooperation will allow others like them to continue saving lives, while risking their own.

    • American forests face major changes

      North America’s great forests could change in dramatic ways by the end of the century, according to new research.

      Subtropical species may colonise the forests of the Cascade mountain range straddling the US-Canada border, the woodlands of the US Gulf Coast may end up looking more like Cuba, and parts of Texas might become home to the hot, dry forests now found in Mexico.

      Scientists from Washington State University in Vancouver, Canada, have made a mathematical model of how forests might respond to climate change.

    • Zimbabwe’s Extreme Response To Extreme Drought: Sell The Animals

      The dentist who shot Cecil the Lion can rest easy. Animal lovers have a new villain in Zimbabwe — climate change.

      This week, Zimbabwe put its wildlife up for sale in an effort save the animals from a devastating drought, Reuters reports. The state Parks and Wildlife Management Authority reached out to buyers “with the capacity to acquire and manage wildlife” and enough land to house the beasts. The agency did not specify exactly which animals would be sold, their cost, or whether they could be exported to foreign countries. Large mammals, including elephants, rhinos, and lions, are plentiful in Zimbabwe’s parks.

      The drought has strained the resources of the parks authority, which receives meager government funding and limited income from hunting and tourism. Facing water shortages and financial hardship, Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has turned to donors to pay the cost of pumping underground wells to provide water for wildlife, including elephants.

    • ‘All You See is Red Flames’: State of Emergency as Wildfire Rages in Alberta

      A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian province of Alberta, where a massive wildfire has grown to five times its initial size and continues to rage.

      An estimated 1,600 destroyed homes and businesses had been destroyed, and a mandatory evacuation order was expanded late Wednesday to encompass additional communities in and around the tar sands capital of Fort McMurray. Between 80,000 and 90,000 people have fled since the fire intensified on Tuesday.

    • Fort McMurray exodus widens as fires rage: A lot of people are ‘working to get you out’

      Officials ordered people to leave Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Fort McMurray First Nation late Wednesday. Anzac’s recreational centre, which is nearly 50 kilometres southeast of Fort Mac, was housing hundreds of evacuees from the embattled city prior to the most recent evacuation order.

    • Native Communities Stand Up To Proposed Oil Pipeline: ‘This Is Keystone 3’

      By some accounts, the Dakota Access oil pipeline seems like done deal. Iowa, the last state out of the four the pipeline would cut through to grant a permit, approved the pipeline in March, leaving the project with just one federal approval to gain. And the company in charge of the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, appears to not be waiting until that federal permit is granted: It’s already started construction on the 1,154-mile pipeline.

    • Honduran Authorities Arrest Four in Connection to Murder of Activist Berta Cáceres

      Authorities in Honduras have arrested four men allegedly connected to the murder of Berta Cáceres, the country’s most recognized activist. While the president celebrated the arrests as evidence of progress on the case, Cáceres’ family continues to demand an independent investigation by international experts. Shannon Young has more.

    • Colorado Supreme Court Rules Against Cities’ Fracking Bans

      This week the Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously against two cities’ bans on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as it’s also known. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the group which brought the original lawsuits against the cities of Fort Collins and Longmont, is hailing the decisions as “a win for the energy industry.”

      The Colorado Supreme Court framed its rulings not as a decision on the safety of fracking but as an assertion of state law’s authority over local legislation — even if that legislation was formed following successful ballot initiatives.

    • Groups to TransCanada: Take This $15 Billion Voided Check and Shove It

      Environmental advocates on Thursday delivered a giant voided check for $15 billion to TransCanada’s office in Washington, D.C., in a symbolic rejection of the “frivolous investment lawsuits authorized by trade agreements” like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and NAFTA.

      TransCanada announced earlier this year its plans to sue the United States under NAFTA provisions for $15 billion in damages over the Obama administration’s rejection of the company’s Keystone XL pipeline project.

  • Finance

    • Consumer Protection Agency Moves To Ban Fine Print That Cuts Americans Off From Their Courts
    • Finally, Justice For Consumers Wronged By Banks Is Within Reach

      The big win for financial institutions and other businesses in requiring binding arbitration is that consumers who have the same problem can’t come together to file a class action suit. It means that companies can commit the same injustice millions of times, but can proceed with impunity knowing that only a handful of people will challenge it – and not under the purview of a judge with the power to order the company to stop the unjust practice.

    • Verizon Strike Surges as Workers Demand Right to ‘Make a Decent Living’

      Arrests in Albuquerque as protesters converge on Verizon shareholder meeting to deliver petition asking for reforms to corporate governance

    • Cupertino’s mayor urges Apple to pay more tax: ‘where’s the fairness?’

      The last time the mayor of Cupertino walked into Apple – the largest company in his small Californian town and, it so happens, the most valuable company in the world – he hoped to have a meeting to talk about traffic congestion.

      Barry Chang barely made it into the lobby when Apple’s security team asked him to leave, he said.

      “They said ‘you cannot come in, you’re not invited’. After that I left and have not gone back,” said an exasperated Chang, who’s been mayor since December 2015 and had approached the computing firm when he was serving on the city council three years ago.

    • Cupertino Mayor Calls Out Apple: ‘They Abuse Us’

      Speaking to The Guardian in a wide-ranging interview published on Thursday, Cupertino mayor Barry Chang argued that Apple isn’t doing enough for the city where its headquarters lives, adding that he believes the company is abusing its hometown.

    • The Threat of Evangelical Clintons

      After being proclaimed close to politically dead, Bernie Sanders resurrected his campaign with an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. Despite this win – many in the mainstream continue to portray Sanders and his allies as bordering on delusional. “Sanders declares war on reality” blared the headline of at least one major newspaper.

    • Onshore Tax Havens

      American elites don’t have to go to Panama to hide their money — they can go to Delaware.

    • Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?

      The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is in financial dire straits. Since the plunge in oil prices, the kingdom has been hemorrhaging money left, right and center. It has provided billions of dollars to shore up counter-revolutionary governments around the Middle East, especially Egypt, it is heavily involved in the Syrian conflict, and is burning through some $6 billion a month waging war on impoverished Yemen. The country needs oil to be $104.6 a barrel, according to the Institute of International Finance, for its budget to break-even; the current price is around $45.

    • At Conference of Elites, the Distress of Others Is an Investment Opportunity

      At the root, the Milken conference is an investor conference. Attendees want to know about national politics and global military campaigns, but only insofar as that intelligence produces new opportunities to make money. A panel called “Value in Turmoil” was as packed as any that I attended. “Opportunities in distress” was a recurring theme.

      “There’s a lot more hope in emerging markets,” said Steve Tananbaum, a vulture fund investor with GoldenTree Asset Management during a panel in the International Ballroom, the same place where they hold the Golden Globes. “Argentina and Brazil, there’s a reaction that’s a positive, pro-market reaction,” he added, referring to the attempted coup on Dilma Roussef. Discussion of the effect on people living in these countries was outside the frame of reference.

      At a different panel, Jim McCaughan of Principal Global Investors pronounced himself “a heretic on infrastructure,” because Uber and driverless cars were so efficient that we didn’t need to spend as much on building roads anymore.

      Even former Vice President Al Gore, who gave a version of his famed climate change PowerPoint, pitched it as an investment opportunity. “We are facing not just a moral imperative, but a financial imperative,” Gore said, noting that investors have a unique ability to drive change.

    • On His First Day As Presumptive GOP Nominee, Trump Completely Reverses His Position On Minimum Wage

      Becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee seems to have changed Donald Trump.

      Shortly after his opponents Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich dropped out of the race, Trump revealed that he has flipped on one of his key policy positions: the minimum wage.

      In November, Trump said unequivocally that he “would not” raise wages if elected president. But he told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that he is now “open to doing something with it.”

      “I’m actually looking at that because I am very different from most Republicans,” Trump said. “You have to have something that you can live on.”

    • Here’s How Much Trump’s Mass Deportation Policy Would Cost Everyone
    • Disappearing Money and Opportunistic Candidates

      There’s a pile of money hiding offshore. It’s true that jobs are also leaving the United States because American companies find it convenient to cut labor costs by moving manufacturing abroad, the economic issue you’re hearing most about in this election season. But the stunning amount of money that continues to flow across American borders (and those of other countries), and eventually disappears into the pockets of the corporate and political elite, ultimately causes even more damage to our finances and our lives.

    • Which Democratic Party? Bernie Sanders and FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

      To become relevant to my students, to the millions of Americans who are swimming in debt and decimated by low wages, unaffordable health care, and rising housing costs the Democratic Party must unequivocally reclaim the mantle of the Second Bill of Rights.

    • In Cowboy Capitalism, High Technology Worsens Economic Inequities

      The growth in the economy’s capacity to produce since the 1930s, or even the 1960s, has been extraordinary, much as these economists anticipated. If the experts we used as counsel for this chapter are anywhere near accurate, the next four or five decades could make the twentieth century look like the twelfth century.

      In popular economic theory, such revolutionary increases in productive capacity are supposed to translate into higher living standards, much shorter workweeks, richer public infrastructure, and a greater overall social security. Society should have the resources to tackle vexing environmental problems with the least amount of pain possible. In fact, however, nothing on the horizon suggests that this is in the offing. As automation and computerization take productive capacity to undreamed-of heights, jobs grow more scarce and are de-skilled, many people are poorer, and all the talk is of austerity and seemingly endless cutbacks in social services. There is growing wealth for the few combined with greater insecurity for the many. Washington, we’ve got a problem.

    • Economic policy could determine the political results in Venezuela

      The opposition in Venezuela has stepped up its campaign to remove President Nicolás Maduro from office, having announced — in accordance with its numerous divisions — that it would pursue a three-pronged strategy: a constitutional amendment to shorten the president’s term of office; a recall referendum, as permitted under the constitution; and “protests.” The first tactic was struck down by Venezuela’s Supreme Court, as it would be in any country — you can’t change the legal term of a president who was already elected for a certain number of years. For the recall referendum, the process of gathering signatures is under way.

      The government, meanwhile, clearly needs to fix the economy if it is to regain popularity. The opposition, which has a large majority in the national legislature, has made it clear that it will not cooperate in any such efforts. On the contrary, it has acted to block the government from spending money.

    • This strike needs to be a line in the sand

      THE BIGGEST U.S. strike in years has entered its third week, with 39,000 Verizon workers walking the picket lines and holding fiery protests across the Northeast U.S.

      Involving the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Verizon strike is the nation’s largest since the last walkout at Verizon almost five years ago. And the stakes couldn’t be higher–not only for Verizon employees, but all workers.

    • Protest never changes anything? Look at how TTIP has been derailed

      For those of us who want societies run in the interests of the majority rather than unaccountable corporate interests, this era can be best defined as an uphill struggle. So when victories occur, they should be loudly trumpeted to encourage us in a wider fight against a powerful elite of big businesses, media organisations, politicians, bureaucrats and corporate-funded thinktanks.

      Today is one such moment. The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) – that notorious proposed trade agreement that hands even more sweeping powers to corporate titans – lies wounded, perhaps fatally. It isn’t dead yet, but TTIP is a tangled wreckage that will be difficult to reassemble.

    • TTIP: we were right all along

      Attacked and ridiculued, the leak of 243 pages of TTIP negotiations concerning climate, environment and public health prove that civil society organisations were right all along.

    • ‘Free Trade’ vs. Actual Free Trade

      “Free trade” is nowadays used to further the globalist agenda, which seeks to substitute supra-national “standards” enforced by international “commissions” for the rule of law at home. NAFTA’s numerous “side agreements” set up a whole raft of rules, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms to “harmonize” environmental and labor regulations, taking them out of our hands and giving ultimate authority to unaccountable international bureaucracies. TPP follows the same centralizing, supranational statist pattern.

    • Politicians across the EU back away from TTIP after leak—but Cameron ploughs on

      As expected, in the wake of this week’s important leak of the US negotiating position for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, many European politicians are starting to distance themselves from the deal.

      The UK prime minister, David Cameron, however, told the House of Commons that TTIP was not dead, but admitted it would take “political courage to get it over the line.”

      As Ars reported earlier in the week, the chairman of the European Parliament’s important trade committee, Bernd Lange, indicated that he thought the negotiations would probably fail. Although the official European Commission line is that everything is fine, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that there are doubts at the highest levels of the Commission that TTIP will ever be agreed.

    • Somnolent Europe, Russia, and China

      As I have previously written, Washington believes that it is easier to control one government, the EU, than to control many separate European governments. As Washington has a long term investment in orchestrating the European Union, Washington is totally opposed to any country exiting the arrangement. That is why President Obama recently went to London to tell his lapdog, the British Prime Minister, that there could be no British exit.

    • Taking on ‘Rip-Off Clauses,’ New Proposal Allows Consumers to Join Together to Sue Big Banks

      A new proposal from the U.S. financial watchdog for consumers has been applauded for its ability to help prevent big banks from evading liability for wrongdoing.

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposal, unveiled Thursday, curtails mandatory arbitration clauses in financial products like credit cards, bank accounts, and student loans, thereby affording consumers the power to join together in class action lawsuits to sue a financial company.

    • The Bailouts Were for the Banks: Study Confirms Rescue Loans Didn’t Serve Greeks

      A new study offers more confirmation that the so-called bailout packages the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delivered to Greece primarily served European banks rather than the Greek people.

      The study released Wednesday by the Berlin-based European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) analyzed where funds from the two aid bailout deals—received on the condition of imposing harsh austerity measures—since 2010 went.

      “Contrary to widely held beliefs,” ESMT states, of the €215.9 billion (roughly $246 billion), less than 5 percent went to the Greek fiscal budget. The other 95 percent of the funds “disbursed to Greece since the start of the financial crisis as loans from the bailout mechanism has been directed toward saving the European banks,” Ekathimerini reports.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism

      They can quickly get behind the Jill Stein campaign for the Green Party nomination while she fights to not only eliminate college tuition but has called for eliminating all current college debt. She has been a leader in the fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage, and she loudly supports universal healthcare.

    • Noam Chomsky Predicted the Rise of Trump Six Years Ago

      “It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky said. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”

    • 6 Artists Who Told Donald Trump, ‘Hey, Stop Using Our Music!’ (Video)

      Choosing the playlist for political campaign rallies is a tricky business. First and foremost, candidates need to make sure their musical picks inspire feelings of patriotism, optimism and positivity. They also need to make sure the artist behind the song doesn’t disavow their campaign entirely.

    • TV Is Donald’s Free Trump Card to Stoke Racism

      Trump has used corporate TV news networks to stoke right-wing voters’ fears, anger and racism.

    • WATCH: Seth Meyers Definitively Proves Trump Is ‘No Fluke’ Given Recent GOP History
    • Watch: Colbert Asks God Why He Let Trump Be the Republican Nominee
    • Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties

      The Democratic front-runner says she’s raising big checks to help state committees, but they’ve gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.

    • Why Are Democrats “With” Hillary Clinton
    • A Need to Clear Up Clinton Questions

      “Some people think they can lie and get away with it,” said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with feigned outrage. And, of course, he has never been held accountable for his lies, proving his dictum true.

      The question today is: Will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Teflon coat be as impermeable to deep scratches as Rumsfeld’s has proven to be?

    • Republicans and Democrats Must Work Together to Not Mainstream Donald Trump

      Donald Trump’s Republican primary triumph means that this cannot be a normal election. Americans who see our country as a model of tolerance, inclusion, rationality and liberty must come together across party lines to defeat him decisively.

      Many forces will be at work in the coming weeks to normalize Trump—and, yes, the media will play a big role in this. On both the right and the left, there will be strong temptations to go along.

      Refusing to fall into line behind Trump will ask more of conservatives. Beating Trump means electing Hillary Clinton, the last thing most conservatives want to do. It would likely lead to a liberal majority on the Supreme Court and the ratification of the achievements of President Obama’s administration, including the Affordable Care Act. Conservative opposition could deepen a popular revulsion against Trump that in turn could help Democrats take over the Senate and gain House seats.

    • Foreign Intelligence Services Targeted 2008 Campaign, Officials Were Warned

      The Intelligence Community evidently gave some incoming members of the Obama administration a star-spangled welcome briefing — complete with a stern warning.

      In a newly disclosed document titled “Unlocking the Secrets: How to Use The Intelligence Community,” intelligence officials told incoming officials that foreign intelligence services had been extensively spying on the 2008 political campaigns.

      “Foreign intelligence services have been tracking this election cycle like no other,” the authors from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence wrote.

    • The Highest Ranking Republican Will Not Support Donald Trump
    • Hillary’s Big Dilemma

      Even against Trump, attracting both moderate Republicans and Sanders supporters will not be easy for Clinton.

    • Let’s Stop the ‘Hispandering’ by Politicians This Cinco de Mayo

      Many people in the U.S. are confused regarding the Mexican Cinco de Mayo celebration. They believe it’s Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually Sept. 15 and 16.

      Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla when the Mexican army defeated the better-equipped French army in 1862. While it isn’t a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico, in the U.S. Cinco de Mayo has grown in popularity in the period after the height of the Chicano movement in the 60s and 70s. For the past thirty years, marketers have latched onto the holiday to promote alcohol, Mexican food products, and pretty much anything that can be marketed to the masses. Cinco de Mayo has also given politicians in the U.S. an opportunity to pander to Mexican American voters.

    • Are Hillary Clinton and Neoconservatives Ready to Join Forces?

      As Donald Trump is declared the presumptive Republican nominee for president, members of the neoconservative establishment, disgusted by the prospect of Trump in the White House, appear to be heading into the welcoming arms of someone more sympathetic to their imperial worldview: Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    • One Stalwart Woman Vs. 300 Stone-Faced Nazis

      Bravo to fearless Afro-Swedish activist Tess Asplund, 42, and the photographer who caught the moment Asplund ferociously, instinctively charged a march of over 300 anti-immigrant neo-Nazis with her head and fist held high, and Nelson Mandela in her mind. Asplund, a longtime anti-racism activist, was returning from another protest when she came upon an International Workers’ Day rally in Borlange, Dalarna, in central Sweden, by the violent white supremacist Nordic Resistance Movement. Marching stiffly in homemade uniforms of white shirts and dark green ties, their members are part of an alarming resurgence in Sweden and across Europe of right-wing racist groups fuelled by an influx of refugees. In an odd twist of fate and timing, the rally came days before a top Israeli military official caused an uproar when, during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, he seemed to compare Israel’s similar rising nationalism to the “abhorrent processes” in Germany that led to the Holocaust, warning, “Nothing could be easier than hating the other.”

    • Researcher: Communist teaching experiment much broader than thought

      New research has shown that a controversial 1970s experiment aimed at inserting communist propaganda into Finnish teaching syllabuses was much more widespread than originally thought. The researcher says that this experiment in Pirkkala was the result of systematic attempts by left social democrats to get Marxist material into Finnish school books.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Do you have a secret? The way you write emails may give it away

      The woman has a big secret: unknown to her family, she’s running a phone-sex business from home. Only her best friend knows the truth.

      It sounds like the plot of a good soap. But this woman is one of 61 participants in a study looking at the way we cover up secrets in our emails. The results suggest we’re not as good at hiding them as we think.

      Yla Tausczik at the University of Maryland in College Park and her colleagues recruited people who admitted to having had an “enormous secret” in the last seven years. They posted flyers in major cities, sent out emails and posted ads on Amazon Mechanical Turk and Craig’s List. The response was pretty high: 1133 people completed an initial questionnaire. Of these, 179 met the researchers’ requirements and 61 ultimately took part.

      Studying secrets is tough, says Tausczik. “You can’t bring people with secrets into the lab, you can’t bring in their friends without raising suspicion.” To get round this, the team decided to look at people’s emails.

    • FBI Told Cops to Recreate Evidence From Secret Cell-Phone Trackers

      A recently disclosed document shows the FBI telling a local police department that the bureau’s covert cell-phone tracking equipment is so secret that any evidence acquired through its use needs to be recreated in some other way before being introduced at trial.

      “Information obtained through the use of the equipment is FOR LEAD PURPOSES ONLY,” FBI special agent James E. Finch wrote to Chief Bill Citty of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

      The official notice, dated September 2014, said such information “may not be used as primary evidence in any affidavits, hearings or trials. This equipment provides general location information about a cellular device, and your agency understands it is required to use additional and independent investigative means and methods, such as historical cellular analysis, that would be admissible at trial to corroborate information concerning the location of the target obtained through the use of this equipment.”

    • Key evidence in city murder case tossed due to stingray use
    • Judge Tosses Evidence In Murder Case Where Suspect Was Located With A Stingray Device

      This will likely be the most spectacular flame out of the Baltimore Police Department’s long history of warrantless Stingray use. The Maryland Special Appeals Court recently found that tracking people’s location using Stingrays is a search under the Fourth Amendment, meaning law enforcement will need to obtain warrants before using the devices. The fact that this finding doesn’t affect use previous to this decision (and there was a LOT of it) doesn’t mean other judges won’t arrive at the same conclusion independently.

      The Baltimore Sun reports a suspected murder will likely walk away from charges after the suppression of “key evidence” obtained with Stingray.

    • NSA Heats Up Controversy Amid Decision to Destroy Complaint Files

      The National Security Agency announced it would destroy internal records concerning issues surrounding workplace conflicts, causing a stir that the agency may be suppressing information about retaliation against whistleblowers within the organization.

    • NSA reveals hundreds of bugs a year, says former official [Ed: puff piece frames NSA as bug fixer (same PR now used in British media for GCHQ)]
    • Unsealed Yahoo/FISA Documents Show NSA Expected Company, FISC Judge To Operate On Zero Information

      Late last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a stack of documents from Yahoo’s challenge of the NSA’s internet dragnet. The new declassified and unsealed documents have been dumped into one, 309-page PDF along with everything the ODNI has already released — one of the small things the office routinely does to slow the dissemination of previously-unseen information.

    • FBI Harassing Core Tor Developer, Demanding She Meet With Them, But Refusing To Explain Why

      She’s (reasonably) worried that whatever the FBI is planning to ask her about or serve her with comes with a gag order and she won’t be able to speak about it. She also notes that she’s got a personal warrant canary, which might be worth watching for obvious reasons.

      But, honestly, the part that struck me as most interesting about all of this is the incredible amount of stress that this obviously caused for her. It doesn’t matter if the FBI says she’s “not a target,” having the FBI come looking for you can really shake you up.


      That, right there, is a clear description of the chilling effects that this kind of thing can cause. And that’s a shame. As she later notes, her paychecks for working on Tor come from the US government. She’s not a spy or a criminal. She’s working on software that makes everyone safer. And no matter what the reason for the FBI’s interest, it’s ridiculous that someone should have to go through this kind of process.

    • How Safe Is Your Data in the Gig Economy?

      San Francisco – The “sharing” or “gig” economy is booming—you can get rides with companies like Uber, hire people to run errands with services like Taskrabbit, or find a places to stay on websites like Airbnb. These companies connect people offering services to people purchasing them, and in the process they have access to vast amounts of personal data. But how well do these companies protect your information from the government? The sixth annual “Who Has Your Back” report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) surveyed the biggest providers in the gig economy to find out.

      “These companies collect information on what you buy, where you sleep, and where you travel—whether you are offering services, or purchasing them,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. “Often they go even further, collecting contents of communications and geolocation information from your cell phone. But are these companies respecting their users’ rights when the government comes knocking? For much of the gig economy, the answer is no.”

    • Tor Developer Created Malware for FBI to Hack Tor Users

      Espionage works like this: identify a target who has the info you need. Determine what he wants to cooperate (usually money.) Be sure to appeal to his vanity and/or patriotism. Create a situation where he can never go back to his old life, and give him a path forward where it favors his ongoing cooperation in a new life. Recruit him, because you own him.

      The FBI appears to have run a very successful, very classic, textbook recruitment on the guy above, Matt Edman, to use his insider-knowledge to defeat one of the best encryption/privacy software tools available. Aloha, privacy, and f*ck you, Fourth Amendment rights against unwarranted search and seizure.

      Edman is a former Tor Project developer who created malware for the FBI that allows agents to unmask users of the anonymity software.

    • ‘NSA totally dysfunctional – too much data to detect threats’ – whistleblower

      By collecting all the data on everybody on the planet the NSA is just buried; they have too much data to be able to sort out and detect threats in advance, NSA veteran and whistleblower William Binney told RT.

    • Feds Ramp Up Searches of U.S. Citizens’ Data without a Warrant

      The report says 4,672 surveillance queries were made on citizens, a two-fold increase since the 2013 report.

    • NSA, CIA Double Warrantless Searches In Two Years

      The estimated number of search terms “concerning a known U.S. person” to get contents of communications within what is known as the 702 database was 4,672 — more than double the 2013 figure.

    • NSA and CIA doubled warrantless searches in recent years

      “The number of backdoor searches doubling since last reported shows that warrantless Section 702 surveillance is a significant and growing problem for Americans,” Jake Laperruque, privacy fellow at The Constitution Project, recently told The Intercept in an interview.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • As the old parties offer dull prospects for London, what can they learn from Take Back the City?

      What a boring contest the local elections in London have produced. Like many loyal Labour party members, I will be voting for Sadiq Khan for mayor. He seems like a decent enough candidate. But I wish he had stood on a platform which came close to addressing London’s fundamental problems.

    • Glenn Ford Spent 30 Years on Death Row, Was Exonerated, Died, Yet is Still on Trial

      Glenn Ford spent 30 years on Louisiana’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit, only to die of cancer a year after being exonerated and released from prison in 2014.

      The prosecutor who put him there, A.M. “Marty” Stroud III, has apologized for relying on “junk science” during the trial and for pursuing a court victory at all costs, at the expense of justice. Stroud even went so far as to admit that knowing what he knows now, Ford should never have even been arrested, since the hardest evidence against him was a statement from a witness who later recanted.

      Yet, somehow, members of the Louisiana legal establishment still insist on questioning Ford’s innocence and even accuse him of things which were either never proven or proven to be false, all to protect the state from having to bear the modest financial cost of paying for the life they stole.

    • My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail

      “The degree of civilization in a society,” wrote the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, “can be judged by entering its prisons.” As a frequent visitor to Nevada in recent years, I have often been surprised by the cultural diversity and spiritual richness that can be found in Las Vegas. Still, I think that Dostoyevsky was right. A more accurate assessment of the degree of civilization in Las Vegas and for the broader society that the city claims to be “The Entertainment Capital” of can be made by entering the cells of the Clark County Correctional Center than by going to the top of the Stratosphere, cruising the Strip or even by taking in a Cirque du Soleil show.

    • Former Death Row Prisoner Moreese Bickham Dies at 98: He Served 37 Years for Killing Klansmen Cops

      We spend the hour with Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, the award-winning national oral history project. In a 1989 radio documentary, Tossing Away the Keys, he chronicled the case of Moreese Bickham, a former death row prisoner who recently died at the age of 98. In 1958, Bickham, an African American, was sentenced to death for shooting and killing two police officers in Mandeville, Louisiana, even though Bickham said the officers were Klansmen who had come to kill him and shot him on the front porch of his own home. Many other people in the community also said the officers worked with the Ku Klux Klan, which was a common practice in small Southern towns. Moreese Bickham served 37 years at Angola State Penitentiary, in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. He won seven stays of execution, but Louisiana’s governors repeatedly denied him clemency until, under enormous pressure, he was finally released in 1996. Days after he was released, he traveled to New York, where he was interviewed on WBAI’s “Wake-Up Call” by Amy Goodman, Bernard White and others. “Wake-Up Call” had closely followed Bickham’s case and helped give it national attention. We play an excerpt from the interview for Isay and discuss Bickham’s life and legacy.

    • When A Fingerprint IS The Password, Where Does The Fifth Amendment Come Into Play?

      FBI Director James Comey is still complaining about encryption but it doesn’t seem to be preventing law enforcement from accessing devices. To date, law enforcement has paid hackers to break into a phone, had an iPhone owner suddenly “remember” his password, seen a person jailed for 7 months (so far) for refusing to provide a password and, now, a law enforcement agency has used a warrant to force a suspect to unlock an iPhone using a fingerprint.

    • Amtrak Officer Misleads Traveler About Drug Dog Behavior In Order To Perform An Illegal Search

      Drug dogs are permission slips for warrantless searches. That’s it. They may have been legitimate when they first became part of law enforcement work, but they’ve devolved into malleable props in the ongoing farce that is the the Drug War. Despite these failures, they’re heralded by law enforcement as superpowered miracle workers who can do things like sniff out hidden people in moving vehicles full of other (non-hidden) people.

    • On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel Army Deputy Chief Warns Israeli Society Exhibiting Similarities to 1930s Germany

      Across the world and especially in the West, it is widely considered to be highly offensive to suggest that there are similarities between the State of Israel and Nazi Germany, the racist regime responsible for the murder of millions of Jews. But after seven years of a succession of arguably the most right-wing governments in the country’s history, Israelis themselves are beginning to make the shocking comparison with ever-increasing frequency.

      On Wednesday night, as Israelis marked Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day – the country’s second-highest-ranking military officer courted controversy when he publicly compared contemporary Israeli racists with anti-semitic attackers in Germany on the eve of the Holocaust.

    • Edward Snowden Explains What Makes Whistleblowing Permissible

      “Unrestrained power may be many things, but it’s not American,” writes Edward Snowden. “It is in this sense that the act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance.”

      Who better to explain these moral and legal intricacies than Snowden? The ex-CIA whistleblower, who exposed the secret surveillance programs of the NSA in 2013, recently published an opinion piece at The Intercept in which he delves into the political and moral responsibilities of whistleblowers.

    • Hate Crimes Rise Along With Donald Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

      A new report published by Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding has documented an upsurge in violence against Muslims in the United States coinciding with the 2016 election campaign.

    • Girl, 16, is burned alive on the orders of a Pakistani village council after she helped her friend to elope – and her mother is arrested for BACKING the death sentence

      A 16-year-old girl in rural Pakistan was drugged, strangled and burned alive on the orders of village elders for helping a couple elope.

      Pakistani police arrested 15 members of a tribal council in in Makol in northwest Pakistan accused ofordering the killing of the teenager – including her mother and brother.

      The murder of the girl has been labelled an ‘honour killing’, with her family members present at her ‘trial’ and allegedly supporting her death sentence.

    • Donald Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban Still “Stupid and Wrong,” David Cameron Says

      British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday that Donald Trump “certainly deserves our respect” for winning the Republican presidential nomination, but refused to apologize for calling the billionaire showman’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States “divisive, stupid and wrong.”

    • Doing business at the border: abuse, complicity and legality

      As abuses in Australia’s detention centres become increasingly stark, there are growing calls for the boycott of a global system of inhumane, but profitable, mistreatment of refugees.

    • On the Dangers of Travelling, and on Elections

      In England, for the first time in my entire life I find myself wishing well to the Labour Party. This is because the Blairites are self-evidently hoping their own party crashes and burns so they can launch a coup. I hope Labour does well in England because the media campaign against Corbyn has been absolutely disgusting – and because I hate the blue Tories. But even in England, I could never actually vote Labour myself until they expel all the Blairite and Brownite war criminals.

    • Separating Super PACs From ‘Campaign Spending,’ Media Embrace Core Myth of Citizens United

      Correct the Record, headed by Media Matters’ David Brock, has posted dozens of videos targeting Sanders online, and spent upwards of a million dollars to run a network of Twitter and Reddit personas saying negative things about the Vermont senator on social media. They issue negative press releases, graphics and talking points—some of which the Clinton campaign’s Twitter account tweets out.

    • Women should not travel more than 48 miles without a male escort – Muslim group

      Women should not be allowed to go on long journeys without a male chaperone a British Muslim group has advised followers.

      Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, condemned the advice from Blackburn Muslim Association as “disgraceful” and said such views had “no place” in modern Britain.

      Instructions from the association’s “Department of Theology” insist that it is “not permissible” for a woman to go more than 48 miles – deemed to be the equivalent of three days walk – without her husband or a close male relative.

    • Israeli Justice Minister: It’s Anti-Semitic To Ever Criticize Israel

      Israel’s notoriously militant Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, equated criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism on Wednesday, in light of rising European support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Europe’s Flimsy Net Neutrality Rules Go Live, Are Actually Worse Than No Rules At All

      While the date didn’t receive much fanfare in the media, net neutrality rules formally took effect in the European Union as of April 30. The full rules were approved after a vote last October (pdf), though as we noted at the time, the rules don’t actually do much of anything. That’s quite by design; European ISP lobbyists spent years ensuring that while the rules sound great in a press release, they’re so filled with loopholes as to be largely useless. In that sense they’re much like the awful rules the U.S. (with help from AT&T, Verizon and Google) crafted in 2010, ultimately forcing the States to revisit the ugly political skirmish down the line.

    • AT&T Buries Language In Missouri Traffic Bill To Hinder Broadband Competition

      Prompted by AT&T, Missouri passed a state law in 1997 that hamstrings towns and cities looking to build local networks to shore up broadband coverage gaps. Since then, AT&T has made repeated attempts to expand those restrictions further, fearing a growing rise in public/private partnerships from the likes of Google Fiber, Ting, or the countless towns and cities tired of AT&T’s pricey, slow broadband service. After a failed attempt last year, AT&T this year introduced protectionist bill HB 2078, shortly after shoveling $62,000 in campaign contributions to state leaders.

    • Over 70 Groups Urge EU Telecom Regulators To Uphold Net Neutrality

      Dozens of civil society organisations this week sent a letter urging European telecommunications regulators to preserve internet neutrality in their current negotiations about the future of the internet in Europe.

  • DRM

    • Standardized DRM Will Make Us Less Safe

      The vulnerability is a grave one. These DVRs are designed to be connected to whole networks of security cameras. By compromising them, thieves can spy on their targets using the targets’ own cameras. In fact, Kerner was part of a team at RSA who published a report in 2014 that showed that thieves were using these vulnerable system to locate and target cash-registers for robberies.

      In the two years since the initial report, Kerner tracked down the original manufacturer, a Chinese company called TVT, and repeatedly notified them about the problems with their system. Not receiving any reply, and alarmed that the vulnerable system was showing up in the product offerings of companies all over the world–more than 70 of them!–Kerner came forward, hoping to at least warn the owners of these systems that they were relying on defective products for their security.

    • Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously.

      I had just explained to Amber that 122 GB of music files were missing from my laptop. I’d already visited the online forum, I said, and they were no help. Although several people had described problems similar to mine, they were all dismissed by condescending “gurus” who simply said that we had mislocated our files (I had the free drive space to prove that wasn’t the case) or that we must have accidentally deleted the files ourselves (we hadn’t). Amber explained that I should blow off these dismissive “solutions” offered online because Apple employees don’t officially use the forums—evidently, that honor is reserved for lost, frustrated people like me, and (at least in this case) know-it-alls who would rather believe we were incompetent, or lying, than face the ugly truth that Apple has vastly overstepped its boundaries.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What the Defend Trade Secrets Act Means for Trade Secret Defendants

      The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA)—arguably the most sweeping change to the nation’s intellectual property laws in a generation or more—is about to become law. The bill recently passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support. President Obama is certain to sign the bill into law.

    • Africa Should Speed Formation Of Pan-African IP Body, UN Report Says

      A recent report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is calling for faster establishment of a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) to bring about what it sees as badly needed IP policy coherence on the continent.

      The report, Innovation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration [pdf], was authored in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It found that two regional IP bodies in Africa, the anglophone Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the francophone Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI), do not help countries to exercise their patent rights and counter intellectual property “mercantilism,” nor do they have links to free trade and bilateral investment agreements with external partners.

    • No Law: Intellectual Property In The Image Of An Absolute First Amendment

      With copyright reform a big topic again these days, we’ve been talking about some worthwhile books to read in thinking about the topic. The last couple weeks we wrote about some important books by Bill Patry in thinking about how to reform copyright, and this week I’m going to recommend No Law: Intellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment by David Lange and H. Jefferson Powell. I had actually just mentioned this book a few weeks ago in discussing copyright’s free speech problem, and I’ll recommend it again. I’m not sure why the book never seemed to get that much attention, even in copyright circles, because it’s really worth reading.

    • Trademarks

      • ITMA opens the lid on Trunki

        The IPKat never likes to miss a gathering of IP experts, particularly when the experts are as renowned as the group who congregated together last week to talk about design law following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Trunki case (reported here).

        The event was a seminar held by ITMA (the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys) on 27 April at the offices of Gowling WLG. The IPKat was delighted to receive the following report from Lydia Birch and John Coldham (who chaired the seminar), both of Gowlings, who write as follows.

    • Copyrights

      • Flood of Abusive Piracy Notices Crashed Verizon’s Mail Server

        Verizon is taking a stand against the millions of invalid DMCA notices it receives for allegedly pirating subscribers. At one point the ISP received two million piracy warnings in one day from anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp, which effectively crashed one of Verizon’s mail servers.

      • The Bipolar Nature Of Academic Publishing

        The outcome, well-documented around the world, is distress for all except celebrity academics. In terms of publications, the distress is engendered by a fundamental narrowing of author rights. While Open Access is one answer, it nonetheless fails to address the issues of copyright and the overriding concern of Moral Rights – irreducibly the right to determine how one’s work is exploited. While it is all but impossible to return to Common Law, that does not preclude the fortification of Moral Rights on behalf of authors on the brink of losing all rights – including long-standing economic rights – through a change in statutory law. The alternative is further atomization in the Knowledge Commons with individual authors fighting to protect their own works from abject exploitation.

      • Geo-blocking could be banned in Australia
      • Copyright law in Australia – major changes recommended by the Productivity Commission
      • It’s Time To Future-Proof Australia’s Copyright Laws For The 21st Century

        The award-winning Australian author Jackie French is wrong. In her open letter, she blasts the Productivity Commission’s report on intellectual property, released last month.

      • Fair use does not mean free: Copyright recommendations would crush Australian content [Ed: Corporate media/copyright monopoly bemoans Fair Use]
      • Knowing Or Distributing This Illegal Prime Number Could Get You Arrested

        What if I told you that there exist few numbers that will get you arrested in America if your write them down or publish them on some website? Well, this isn’t some kind of April Fools’ Day joke and even some casual affair with these number could get you in trouble in States.

        If your knowledge extends deep into the waters of security and cryptography, you might be knowing that prime numbers are really important in the field of encryption. Earlier this year in January, cryptographers were elated when a new world’s largest prime number was discovered.

        Coming back to our illegal prime numbers, this weirdness deals with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act that prohibits people from circumventing copyright protected measures and dissemination of tools.

        In a video, YouTube channel Wendoverproductions has told these complex things in a simpler manner and told about the intricate relation between the prime numbers and cryptography. “There are an infinite number of primes as there is an infinite number of numbers, but it just takes an enormous amount of computing power to find these primes,” the video explains.

      • Paramount Objects to Klingon Language Amicus Brief by Language Creation Society

        Paramount Pictures, which is embroiled in an expansive copyright lawsuit against Axanar Productions over the latter’s Star Trek fan film, has filed an objection to the Language Creation Society (LCS) filing an amicus brief regarding the copyrightability of the Klingon language.

      • To boldly go where no copyright holder has gone before

        Unsurprisingly, there is a wide range of copyright matter defined in Paramount’s complaint. Faced with an enterprise seen to be profiting from its own famous franchise, they did not hold back: as amended, the brief claims more than 50 copyright infringements, pleaded in full Technicolor®. That’s one infringement for every 20 seconds that Prelude to Axanar runs.


Links 5/5/2016: gNewSense 4.0 released, IPFire 2.19

Posted in News Roundup at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The New Kingmakers and the Next Step for Open Source
  • Puppet Rebrands, Launches Numerous New Projects

    Folks who are focused on container technology and virtual machines as they are implemented today might want to give a hat tip to some of the early technologies and platforms that arrived in the same arena. Among those, Puppet, which was built on the legacy of the venerable Cfengine system, was an early platform that helped automate lots of virtual machine implementations. We covered it in depth all the way back in 2008.

    Fast-forward to today, and Puppet Labs is changing its name to mark a new era, and is out with several new product initiatives. The organization, now known as just Puppet, has also named its first president and COO, Sanjay Mirchandani, who comes to the company from VMware, where he was a senior vice-president.

  • Events

    • Tracing Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference

      After taking a break in 2015, Tracing is back at Plumbers this year! Tracing is heavily used throughout the Linux ecosystem, and provides an essential method for extracting information about the underlying code that is running on the system. Although tracing is simple in concept, effective usage and implementation can be quite involved.

    • Jeremy Sands: Southern Fried College Football and Down-Home Linux

      This is a “Meet the Man Behind the Curtain” interview. It’s more about Sands than about either csnbbs.com or the LinuxFest he spends so much of his time organizing. But at the end of the interview, he talks about how the LinuxFest can always use more volunteers, even if all you can do is woman or man the registration desk for an hour. And sponsors? It’s a pretty healthy operation financially, but more sponsors are always welcome — especially ones from the Southeast, because this conference is proudly regional, not something identical to what you might find in, say, Los Angeles or Washington State.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A daughter of Silicon Valley shares her ‘nerd’ story

        In the end, I had to leave my job at ISC. Luckily, my work and my values brought me to Mozilla, where I’ve been both perseverant and lucky enough to have several meaningful roles. Today, I’m the senior program manager of diversity and inclusion. I work full-time on building a more diverse and inclusive Mozilla, standing on the shoulders of giants who did the same before me and in partnership with many of the smartest and kindest people I know. I’ve followed my passion for empowering people to find meaningful ways to contribute to the Internet I believe the world needs: an expansion of the one that excited me so long ago. And I get to see a lot of the world while I do it!

      • Waiting for Plugins: The Nylas N1 Email Client

        I wish the Nylas N1 team the best. I love that they took the time to build a Linux client. I love the idea of a hackable email client. But Nylas N1, as it stands now, is very limited. If you happen to like the defaults, you’re in for a treat. But if you’re looking for an email client that bends to your will and that you can easily customize as a non-developer, you’re probably better off with Thunderbird (especially now that people are thinking about its future). Thunderbird isn’t pretty—certainly not as pretty as Nylas N1—but it lets you build it into whatever email client you want it to be.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • CMS

    • Drupal developer on how to make your website more accessible

      For open source developer Mike Gifford, founder and president of OpenConcept Consulting Inc., any mention of Drupal accessibility after his name is redundant. He has spent the better part of 10 years improving and cementing accessibility in Drupal, enough to earn the role of official core accessibility maintainer for the project.

      Accessibility awareness has grown considerably in the Drupal community, but the Internet changes rapidly and the software needs to keep up to remain relevant. Recent press on the trend of decoupling Drupal—including the milestone post by project founder Dries Buytaert himself—tends to skirt the issue that so-called headless configurations can blot out accessibility functions designed for the theme layer.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DuckDuckGo Gives $225,000 to Open Source Projects

      It appears as if people have been using DuckDuckGo’s privacy centered search enough to make the company successful. Certainly not we-control-the-world successful like Google, but successful enough to give it some cash-on-hand breathing room. Also successful enough for the company to give back to the community by handing out $225,000 to some free and open source projects.

    • DuckDuckGo’s 2016 open source donations

    • No one should have to use proprietary software to communicate with their government

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office calling for a method to submit comments that do not require the use of proprietary JavaScript.

      Proprietary JavaScript is a threat to all users on the Web. When minified, the code can hide all sorts of nasty items, like spyware and other security risks. Savvy users can protect themselves by blocking scripts in their browser, or by installing the LibreJS browser extension and avoiding sites that require proprietary JavaScript in order to function. But some sites are harder to avoid than others. This is particularly the case when the site is required for citizens to communicate or interact with their own government. If no free alternative means are provided, then users can be blocked from participating in the democratic process.

    • H2020 submission is rather ‘anti-open’

      So what’s the EC’s current stand with forcing citizens to use Adobe’s proprietary, closed technology and only Windows or Mac for submission of H2020 projects?

      With Adobe retiring Linux versions of Acrobat a couple of years ago (yes you can still download an obsolete version for Linux from Adobe’s FTP but it won’t work with ECAS “A forms”), this is a very “anti-open” situation.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • It’s Time to Open Source Moving Vehicles

      Open source software has made its mark on desktop computing, mobile phones, and the internet of things. But one area yet to be cracked wide open with freely distributed software is mobility: from autonomous cars, software-assisted driving, to connecting vehicles to other devices.

      On Wednesday, Arthur Taylor, chief technology officer at Advanced Telematic Systems, presented an open-source platform that he hopes will be the start of more innovation in software development for mobility technologies. But he also argued for the merits of open source software in a space pretty much dominated by the closed-off products of large corporates, such as Google and Uber.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Next Phase of Development Begins for The Hovalin, An Open Source 3D Printed Violin

        The Hovalin, developed by Matt and Kaitlyn Hova, is a open source 3D printed violin that has received much attention since the first version was released. Now the next phase of development has begun for the Hovalin 3.0, and Matt Hova has posted a blog entry and started a Reddit thread about the project that always keeps improving in a collaborative effort by many Hovalin fans.

        In the Hovalin website blog post, Hova explains what the most recent plans are for the latest version. First, version 3.0 will “move away from the current carbon fiber rectangle to an 8 mm rod.” Also, a lock will be created that will be used to keep the top and bottom pieces together. Custom brims to prevent warping will be added, as well as possible chin and shoulder rests. Finally, Hova wants to “work out a new system for distributing multiple options for the .stls including files with brim, files without brim, pre-sliced files with supports for the middle piece.” There are many changes in the works here, as you can see from just this list alone.


  • Science

    • The Department Of Education Wants States To Dispel The Model Minority Myth With Better Data

      Asian students often face major barriers to a good quality of education. But the so-called “model minority myth,” which assumes Asian students always excel academically, can prevent them from getting the attention and support they need.

      Asian American Pacific Islander students are a very diverse group — including Chinese, Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Guamanian, Chamorro, and Samoan Americans, to name a few — but they are all placed under the umbrella of “Asian,” making it difficult to see how different groups’ graduation rates and academic performance differ.

    • Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery

      Cold War envy and fears did not make the announcement a pleasant one in the United States. First SPUTNIK, now this. “Just tell me how to catch up,” pleaded US President John F. Kennedy. “Let’s find somebody. Anybody. I don’t care if the janitor over there has the answer, if he knows how.” Knowledge moves in baffling ways indeed.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Weed Killer Glyphosate Is Being Found Everywhere—but Will It Hurt Us?

      The herbicide used in Roundup is a probable carcinogen, but it’s uncertain what health risks it presents.

    • Here’s How Flint’s Lead Disaster Is Likely to Affect Its Children
    • Obama fosters hope in Flint, but fears remain
    • Obama drinks to his first Flint visit since lead poisoning crisis

      President Obama’s first visit to Flint, Michigan since declaring a state of emergency was heavy on the optics from the start. Flanked by Flint residents and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Obama worked to restore faith in a city that’s been totally betrayed by local, state, and federal levels of government over its water crisis.

    • Time for Obama to bring Flint water crisis mess to an end

      That is the single word we have for the President when he arrives in Flint.

      President Obama deserves recognition for acknowledging the Flint water crisis before other decision makers would. His words helped push City, State and EPA officials to finally move on the issue. His trip to Flint this week will help keep the issue in the public eye. For that, we thank him.

      But the Flint Water Crisis has been allowed to fester for two years. Enough.

    • What President Obama Needs To Do in Flint

      If the crisis engulfing Flint, Michigan, had occurred in one tragic swoop, had the hard-bitten city been hit with a Superstorm Sandy or a Hurricane Katrina, the president of the United States would not have taken two years to come and personally inspect the damage. He would not have taken two years to hear directly from the victims about their needs, their losses.

      But this was no act of nature wreaking mass destruction. Flint is a different kind of disaster – a totally avoidable, man-made catastrophe created by a state government hell-bent on imposing austerity at any cost.

    • In Flint, Obama Sips the Water that “Corrosive” Austerity Poisoned

      Months after news of the lead crisis broke and years after the water poisoning began, U.S. President Barack Obama visited the embattled city of Flint, Michigan on Wednesday.

      After meeting with state and local officials, hearing from residents, and sipping the (filtered) water, Obama blasted the austerity government that brought about the “man-made disaster” and promised to city residents that he “will not rest until every drop of water that flows to your home is safe to drink.”

    • Obama sips Flint water, urges children be tested for lead

      President Barack Obama sipped filtered water in Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday and assured angry residents that their children would be fine in the long term despite the “complete screw-up” that contaminated their drinking water with lead.

      Obama made the trip to the mostly African-American community to demonstrate that the water there was safe even as he predicted it would take more than two years to replace the city’s aging pipes.

    • Johnson & Johnson hit with $55m damages in talc cancer case

      Pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered to pay more than $55m (£40m) in compensation to an American woman who says its talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer.

      Gloria Ristesund, 62, said she used J&J talc-based powder products on her genitals for decades.

      The company – which faces about 1,200 similar claims – insists its products are safe and says it will appeal.

      Researchers say links with ovarian cancer are unproven.

      In February, Johnson & Johnson paid $72m (£51m) in a similar case.

    • Amid Superbug Scourge, Study Finds 1 in 3 Antibiotic Prescriptions Unnecessary

      New findings published Tuesday shed more light on the rising problem of “superbugs,” or antibiotic-resistant microbes, showing that at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary.

    • Say It, Don’t Spray It

      A cultural divide in farming communities squelches conversation about hot-button issues like pesticides.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary’s Secret Weapon

      Last weekend, Hillary Clinton dispatched her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to offer a defense of her alleged espionage. The espionage allegations against her are that in order to escape public and Obama administration scrutiny, she had all of her emails as secretary of state diverted from a secure government server to a non-secure server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, and, in so doing, failed to protect state secrets in at least 2,200 instances during her four-year tenure.

    • Defense Department Screws Over FOIA Requester Repeatedly, Blames Him For ‘Breaking’ The FOIA Process

      The FOIA system is broken. The administration pays lip service to transparency while aggressively deploying exemptions. Agencies routinely complain about FOIA response budgets and staffing levels, yet no one seems motivated to fix this perennial issue. FOIA reform efforts moving forward with bipartisan support are repeatedly killed after receiving pushback from the White House.

      Then there’s this: a single requester is being blamed for a backlog of FOIA requests at an agency that’s never underfunded — the Department of Defense.

    • How a FOIA Request into Hillary Clinton’s Emails Revealed a Criminal Investigation

      Last weekend, Hillary Clinton dispatched her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to offer a defense of her alleged espionage. The espionage allegations against her are that in order to escape public and Obama administration scrutiny, she had all of her emails as secretary of state diverted from a secure government server to a non-secure server in her home in Chappaqua, New York, and, in so doing, failed to protect state secrets in at least 2,200 instances during her four-year tenure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In This Passionate Anti-Fracking Town, Civil Disobedience Just Became Protected Civic Duty

      For one community attempting to stop fracking wastewater injection wells, civil disobedience just became a sanctioned civic right.

      The community is Grant Township, Pa., which, in November 2015, had fought off the Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA), assertion that fossil fuel companies had a ‘right’ to inject wastewater by adopting the country’s first municipal charter establishing a local bill of rights codifying environmental and democratic rights.

    • The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change

      Overall, environmentalists pay little attention to the military, and the anti-war movement does not address the climate. Both squander precious time. At a slow pace, industrialized countries have been “transitioning” to clean energy since the 1960s, without any specified and enforceable time frame. Renewables remain a very small part of the energy mix and will not remedy the carbon-intensive military or industrial agriculture. Transition fuels like natural gas and biofuels have proven to be disastrous to human communities and to the climate. By contrast is the fast pace rapidly rising temperature, accelerating greenhouse gas concentration (due to amplifying feedbacks), increased military spending including nuclear weapons, and new weapons/surveillance/pacification technology.[1] At some point recently, the climate goal shifted from elimination of greenhouse gases to mitigation. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mitigation means to render more gentle, milder, to appease, mollify, to lessen the stringency of an obligation. Naomi Oreskes identifies a strategy of distraction and delay. The option of enforceable regulation, of steep reduction or elimination of high-emitting economic sectors, remains off the table.

    • 10,000 Filipinos Demand Government ‘Break Free’ from Coal

      An estimated 10,000 people converged in Batangas City, Philippines on Wednesday to demand that the government halt the poisoning of “our land, water, and air” and cancel plans to build as many as 27 coal-fired power plants across the island nation.

    • Oil Industry Facing Collapse that Rivals Tech Bubble Burst

      The bankruptcy wave hitting U.S. fossil fuel companies is evoking comparisons with the dot-com burst more than a decade ago, as the number of oil companies filing for creditor protection hit 59 this week, Reuters reports—a number that’s “closing in on the staggering 68 filings seen during the depths of the telecom bust of 2002 and 2003.”

      As the filings pile up, experts say the industry collapse has not even hit its midway point. Charles Gibbs, a restructuring partner at the Texas-based firm Akin Gump, told Reuters reporters Ernest Scheyder and Terry Wade that he expects to see more bankruptcies in the second fiscal quarter of the year.

    • Exxon ‘Knew Earlier, They Knew With Certainty and They Knew Globally’

      At the same time, David Powell of the New Economics Foundation notes that BP’s annual energy outlook confidently predicts fossil fuels will account for 80 percent of global energy usage in 2035. Powell’s conclusion is that given the speed and depth of the shift required, political will on climate is a prerequisite, and the fossil-fuel industry is banking on politicians not having the chutzpah to do what it takes to keep it in the ground.

    • Donald Trump Thinks Global Warming Is “Bullshit”

      Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday, making it almost certain that Donald Trump will win the GOP nomination and face Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in November. For those who’ve been in denial that this day could ever come, we figured a refresher course on the real estate developer’s musings about climate and energy might be in order.

      On the basic science: “I am not a great believer in man-made climate change,” Trump told the Washington Post editorial board in March. “If you look, they had global cooling in the 1920s and now they have global warming, although now they don’t know if they have global warming.”

    • Mass Evacuation as ‘Apocalyptic’ Inferno Engulfs Canadian Tar Sands City

      A raging wildfire in a Canadian tar sands town has forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed several residential neighborhoods, offering a bleak vision of a fiery future if the fossil fuel era is not brought to an end.

      The blaze in Fort McMurray, Alberta, started over the weekend, doubled in size on Monday, and grew into an inferno on Tuesday. It is expected to worsen on Wednesday as strong wind gusts and record high temperatures persist.

    • Exclusive: Release of Inspection Reports From TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline Expose Risk of Future Spills

      The US government agency responsible for interstate pipelines recorded a catalog of problems with the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline and the Cushing Extension, a DeSmog investigation has found.

      Inspectors at the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) observed TransCanada’s contractors violating construction design codes established to ensure a pipeline’s safety, according to inspection reports released to DeSmog under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    • Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

      The world made history last Friday when 175 countries signed the Paris agreement on climate change, the largest number of countries to initial an international agreement on its first day. The next step is for member states to officially join the agreement through their own ratification processes (15 countries did so on that first day). The treaty comes into force when its signatories add up to 55 percent of global carbon emissions. So far, in terms of countries that have pledged to join the agreement, supporters have counted up about 50 percent and expect the threshold to be reached later this year.

      “We are breaking records in this chamber. But records have also been broken outside,” UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said at the gathering on Friday. “Record global temperatures, record ice loss, record carbon levels in the atmosphere. We are in a race against time. I urge all countries to move quickly to join the agreement at the national level so the Paris Agreement can enter into force as early as possible.”

      Any agreement that attracts nearly universal support will be either watered-down, unwieldy, or both. What insured the Paris agreement’s success is its lack of binding provisions.

    • Donald Trump Says He’ll Bring Back Jobs For Coal Miners But He’s Just Blowing Smoke

      Donald Trump markets himself as a business-savvy billionaire who will get American jobs back from countries like China. In the case of the coal industry, however, he appears to be just a very clueless politician making pro-pollution promises he can’t keep.

      “I’m a free-market guy, but not when you’re getting killed,” he said recently at a rally in Carmel, Indiana. “Look at steel, it’s being wiped out. Your coal industry is wiped out, and China is taking our coal.”

      Huh? “China is taking our coal”? If China were taking much of our coal (in the form of U.S. exports) that would be great for coal jobs.

    • The Energy Revolution Is Actually Happening Right Now

      The solar boom has been driven largely by individuals and companies (we’re looking at you, Apple and Google) who want to use clean, renewable energy. They are getting the message that solar is better for the planet — but it’s also proven to be a savvy investment. Through policies that pay customers back for the electricity they put on the grid, paired with an investment tax credit designed to help level the playing field, many Americans have seen significant returns on their investment in solar.

    • Scientists May Have Found The Key To Motivating People To Act On Climate Change

      In a study published in Climatic Change Wednesday, researchers found people may donate up to 50 percent more money to a cause when encouraged to think about a problem in collective terms, instead of appealing to personal responsibility. In other words, climate action campaigns like the ones Canada and the European Union have launched may do better when they call for us to act, instead of asking you to act.

  • Finance

    • Who will take the lead on economic inequality, and who should?

      Extreme inequality is not in and of itself a human rights violation, but it is a profoundly important human rights problem.

    • Another Secret ‘Trade’ Deal Leaks, Shows Corporations Still In Control

      TPP, TTIP, What?

      First, some explanation. If you are reading this you’ve been hearing a lot about the TPP, which is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There’s another “trade” agreement being negotiated called the TTIP, which is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. So for shorthand on the shorthand: TPP = Pacific, TTIP = Atlantic.

      The TPP (Pacific) negotiations have been completed. The TPP negotiations took place in a secret process dominated by the giant multinational corporations, and the final agreement is waiting to be approved or rejected by Congress – probably during the “lame duck” session, because that is when members are least likely to be held accountable for their votes.

      The TTIP (Atlantic; you may hear it referred to as “tee-tip”), on the other hand, is still being negotiated, also in a secret process dominated by the giant multinational corporations.

    • Is the Digital Revolution Turning Education Into a Ponzi Scheme?

      Is the digital revolution turning education into a Ponzi scheme? As Ponzi schemes are based on multiple deceptions, the answer is “yes!” Since the beginning of automation, there have been gains in paid work opportunities (along with immense suffering) and losses in different forms of craft knowledge and community patterns of mutual support. The digital revolution we are now undergoing involves a radical change from this centuries-old tradition.

    • Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation

      Americans are deeply dissatisfied with their jobs. A 2015 Conference Board report stated, “for the eighth straight year, less than half of US workers are satisfied with their jobs.” It found that only 48.3 percent were satisfied, really happy, at work. In 2013, it reported that 47.7 percent of workers were satisfied with their jobs – a minuscule increase of 0.6 percentage points. The Conference Board has been conducting annual job satisfaction surveys since decades. It found that the country hit bottom in 2010 when only 42.6 percent reported satisfaction and, in the report’s words, “well below the historical level of 61.1 percent in 1987.”

    • Why Millennials Love Bernie Sanders

      Why do millennials like Bernie Sanders so much? I love that this is a mystery to Washington. It’s the authenticity, stupid. You can’t fake a 40 year record. This is a generation that grew up in a time when entertainment and media is based on authenticity and not the fakeness of television. Like Diogenes, when millennials went on their pursuit to find the one honest man in politics, it was obvious that man was Bernie Sanders.

    • Students Take Lead to Reclaim US Public Education from Corporate Assault

      Parents, teachers, and students took part in rallies and “walk-ins” across the country on Wednesday, seeking to “reclaim” U.S. public schools from the grips of corporate reformers and privatization schemes.

      The coordinated actions are the second national event organized by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), a coalition that includes the American Federation of Teachers, the Journey for Justice Alliance, and the Center for Popular Democracy, among other organizations and unions.

    • Pro-Corporate TTIP on the Ropes as Top French Officials Lambaste ‘Bad Deal’

      The corporate-influenced TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), exposed earlier this week as “an enormous corporate power grab,” looks increasingly precarious.

      French President François Hollande reportedly said Tuesday that he would “never accept” the current agreement, citing its negative implications for “the essential principles of our agriculture, our culture, of mutual access to public markets.”

      “At this stage [of talks] France says ‘No,’” Agence France-Presse quoted Hollande as saying at a meeting of left-wing politicians in Paris.

      Subsequently, French trade minister Matthias Fekl said a freeze in TTIP talks was the “most likely option” without concessions from the United States.

    • President Obama Calls for Support of TPP; Sanders Calls TPP a ‘Disaster’

      Amid all the hubbub about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), it’s easy to lose sight of that other international trade deal that’s caused a worldwide backlash in recent months.

    • Thomas Friedman’s Bargain-Basement Punditry
    • Watch: Seth Meyers Shreds Detroit’s Shady School System: You Have to Pay Your Teachers for Teaching

      Detroit teachers are getting royally screwed, and Seth Meyers won’t stand for it. Like the Flint water crisis, Detroit’s schools have come under the rule of Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency manager that was appointed by the state. Not long after that, $30 million disappeared.

    • Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade

      In the US, all the main presidential candidates have now come out against TPP (the Trans-Pacific Partnership). Since the end of the second world war, the US empire has been the engine of trade liberalisation, and the consistency of views has been absolute among successive presidents, Democrat or Republican, from John F Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, George W Bush to Barack Obama. But suddenly, the neoliberal engine has stalled.

    • Detroit Teachers Shut Down Schools for Second Day Over Lack of Pay

      Detroit faces dual crises: The cash-strapped city doesn’t have enough money to pay its teachers and has begun shutting off water to up to 20,000 residents who are behind on their water bill

    • Verizon Workers to Hold 400 Protest Events Across the US, Plan to Crash Company’s Shareholder Meeting

      Striking Verizon workers and their supporters are holding a day of protest on Thursday, May 5. There will be over 400 actions throughout the country as the work stoppage enters its third week. Workers will also descend on the company’s shareholder meeting in New Mexico.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party

      But what excuse do left liberals have? Most left liberals are upper middle class. They have the resources to build a party. Why don’t they? What keeps left liberals from pouring resources into the Green Party, which has always been at least truly left liberal? Clearly the number of people in the United States who are for Bernie Sanders convinces me that the population would welcome such as party. For decades surveys have shown that Americans say there should be more than two parties. What is the hold-up? It’s past time.

    • Voters head to polls across UK for ‘Super Thursday’ elections

      Voters are heading to the polls in a series of elections across the UK on what has been dubbed “Super Thursday”.

      Elections are taking place for the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly of Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and for 124 councils in England.

      New mayors will be elected in London, Bristol, Liverpool and Salford, with UK parliamentary by-elections held in Ogmore and Sheffield Brightside.

      Police and crime commissioners are also being elected in England and Wales.

    • Election 2016: Let’s Drop Acid and Have a Presidential Race

      On planet Earth, where I thought I was until yesterday, accusing someone’s father of helping to assassinate a president would be grounds for immediate disqualification, not fodder for double-digit domination that all but seals the Republican nomination.

    • Cruz’s Ex-College Roommate Celebrates His Campaign’s End: ‘Either There Is No God or He Reeeeally Doesn’t Like Ted’

      Craig Mazin garnered national attention during the 2016 presidential campaign after revealing himself to be Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) college roommate, and taking to Twitter to both mock the senator and his primary opponents and share intimate details about him.

    • Republicans Have Rejected the Republican Party

      Now that John Kasich and Ted Cruz have dropped out, it’s pretty much official: Donald Trump is the 2016 Republican nominee for president.

      The pundits never saw this coming, but they should have. The Republican Party has been running a scam on its base for decades now, and voters were bound to discover this scam sooner or later.

    • Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?

      The Greens now need to only do two things now to make their goal even more successful. First, Jill Stein and the Greens need to seriously consider branding themselves in a way that evokes Scandinavian democratic socialism, if not calling themselves Green Democratic Socialists outright. That is a perilous decision because it could alienate potential Green voters who are more moderate. I personally have seen and written in my own work about how the Greens are the actual democratic socialists of America as opposed to the Michael Harrington-Cornel West-Bayard Rustin Democratic Party kinda-sorta socialists. But there are an awful lot of Trump voters who call themselves “fiscal conservatives and social liberals” that have rejected neoclassical economic policies this election cycle that could be alienated.

    • Foreign-Born Citizens in Louisiana Need Extra Paperwork to Vote

      The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against Louisiana’s top elections officials Wednesday, accusing the state of violating the rights of naturalized citizens by requiring proof of citizenship before they can fully register to vote.

      The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana along with the Fair Elections Legal Network, asks the court to rule the practice, which was established in an 1874 state law, unconstitutional and issue a preliminary injunction against state and local officials from enforcing the provision while the suit moves forward.

    • Sanders Momentum Evidence of Dems’ Need to Embrace “Bold Agenda for Change”

      Armed with a fresh win in Indiana and a platform that reflects a “bold agenda for change,” Bernie Sanders is providing key lessons that the Democratic party would do well to heed, some analysts say.

      It was “a remarkable victory, a statement of the extent and scope of the Sanders surge,” Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future, wrote of the Vermont senator’s win in the Hoosier state.

      Speaking to press Tuesday evening, Sanders said, “I sense some great victories coming, and I think while the path is narrow — and I do not deny that for a moment — I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States and, in fact, become the nominee for the Democratic Party,” he continued. “And once we secure that position, I have absolute confidence that we are going to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.”

    • Pundits Sold Kasich As A Moderate Alternative. Here’s The Truth.

      As governor of Ohio, Kasich drastically slashed income taxes on the wealthy and entirely eliminated the estate tax, while increasing the tax burden for the poorest 20 percent of the state. To balance his state’s budget, he pushed through deeply unpopular cuts to city budgets, which led to tens of thousands of workers getting laid off. The only other Republican governor in the nation to push such extreme tax and spending cuts was Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who signed a budget that left the state with a massive deficit, shuttered schools, and kicked 15,000 people off of food stamps.

    • Why Bernie Sanders is lobbying superdelegates — even though they won’t save his campaign
    • Ordinary Voters Can Now Lobby Superdelegates for Bernie Sanders

      It’s no secret that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is behind rival Hillary Clinton in superdelegates. The conversation is inevitably turning to the math of their contest—and the acknowledgement that, although the superdelegates haven’t officially voted yet, they are on Clinton’s side.

    • John Kasich quits Republican race, leaving Trump last man standing

      John Kasich formally suspended his presidential campaign on Wednesday, paving the way for Donald Trump to clinch the Republican nomination with a personal concession speech that barely touched on the political maelstrom his decision unleashes.

      The Ohio governor was the last of 16 candidates to see their ambitions blown away by Trump’s unconventional entry into the presidential race, but he went quietly and with little of the drama that has marked earlier exits by other rivals.

    • Progressive Independent Party Launches a Petition to Unify Support Behind Bernie Sanders

      The American two-party system is being scrutinized and criticized more than ever during this election campaign, and many say the reason is Bernie Sanders—an independent senator now running for president as a Democrat but whose chances at snagging the party’s nomination are increasingly slim.

      But as the Democratic-Republican binary continues to dominate U.S. elections, how can truly independent voices break through? That’s the problem that the Progressive Independent Party, or PIP, is trying to solve. The new party, also listed as the “Honorary Bernie Sanders Party” on Facebook, is trying to bypass the delegate math and unfair campaign spending that so often determines the next American president. The founder, Araquel Bloss, writes on the party’s website that it is time to create a “long-term, truly viable third party.”

    • These Are Not Sweet, Nice Little People: Argentinians and Pretty Much Everyone Else Troll Drumpf

      Now that – yes, Virginia – Drumpf is the presumptive if inconceivable GOP nominee following the inglorious and alas wife-punching surrender of Cruz, Argentina’s merciless hordes of brown-skinned, Trump-trashed barbarians are making the most of it. With a new soccer-themed ad, they now join enthusiastic trollers like the defiant Hispanic kids in California wearing “Dump Trump” t-shirts, the Mexican filmmakers using his racist rhetoric against him, and the clueless wingnuts in this country freaking out at having suddenly become the moral equivalent of the KKK; notes Stephen King, “Conservatives who for 8 years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”

    • By Picking Donald Trump As the GOP Nominee, Republicans May Have Handed the Presidency to Hillary Clinton

      Last night, the Republican party effectively handed its presidential nomination to Donald Trump. And in doing so, they may have handed an easy general election victory to Hillary Clinton. What in the world were Republican voters thinking?

    • Here’s What President Donald Trump Would Do To The Economy

      So if he were to win the presidency, what would Trump do to the economy? In short, the outlook is bleak.

    • The GOP Said They Needed To Woo Latino Voters To Win. Then They Nominated Trump For President.
    • Donald Trump Won Because Republicans Have Bad Ideas And People Hate Those Ideas
    • The Trump Test Before Us

      Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There’s more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

    • Warren: I’ll ‘Fight My Heart Out’ to Ensure Trump ‘Never Reaches the White House’

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is preparing to wage war to make sure that Donald Trump, the now-presumptive Republican nominee, “never reaches the White House.”

    • Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”

      Other responses to Trump’s comments bothered me, though. Elizabeth Warren said that Trump “wears the sexism out front for everyone to see,” which is undeniably true. More than just one man’s sexism, though, the whole affair is a stark reminder that we really need to change the conversation when it comes to gender. And, doing so has to go beyond attacking people for the same things women abhor—emphasizing our looks more than our words. For instance, Warren made fun of Trump’s hair in her response to his comments. There’s no need to play that same game; his remarks would be no more palatable were he to shave his head or sport a mullet. Likewise, Clinton’s recognition of the importance of equal pay would mean no less were she a supermodel.

    • Donald Trump Set to Be GOP Nominee Despite Links to Organized Crime

      As Donald Trump virtually clinches the Republican presidential nomination after Senator Ted Cruz suspends his campaign following a devastating defeat in the Indiana primary, we are joined by Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, who has reported on Trump’s history of close relationships with organized crime figures in the United States. We examine some of the characters and connections Robbins helped expose as a reporter who covered politics, labor and organized crime for the Daily News and The Village Voice from 1985 to 2011. His recent article for The Marshall Project is “Trump and the Mob.” Robbins also critiques the media’s coverage of Trump on the campaign trail.

    • Beyond Schadenfreude, the Spectacular Pundit Failure on Trump Is Worth Remembering

      Trying to predict the future can be fun, which is why — from office sports pools to stock market speculation — many do it. Generally, though, people make such predictions with at least some humility: with the knowledge that they do not actually know what the future holds.

      But not America’s beloved political pundits. When they pronounce what the future has in store for us, it comes in the form of definitive decrees, shaped with the tone of authoritative certainty. With a few exceptions, those who purported to see the future of the 2016 GOP nomination process spent many months categorically assuring everyone that, polls notwithstanding, Donald Trump simply could not, would not, become the GOP nominee; one could spend all day posting humiliating examples, so a representative sampling will have to suffice…

    • Empirical Test of Piketty’s r > g Theory Coming

      Bernie Sanders forced the issue of wealth inequality into the presidential campaign, which presented a real problem for neoliberals of the Democratic persuasion. They want us to believe that the market rewards people in accordance with their merit and hard work. It doesn’t. They want us to believe everyone can get ahead if they get a good education and work hard. Not so. So the neoliberal dems fall back on their version of trickle-down: economic growth is the cure. So what is the future of economic growth?

    • The Inside Story of How Bill Clinton Sacrificed Prisoners’ Rights for Political Gain

      On the eve of the New York state primary last month, as Hillary Clinton came closer to the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden went on TV and defended her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Asked in an interview if he felt shame for his role passing a law that has been the subject of so much recent criticism, Biden answered, “Not at all,” and boasted of its successes — among them putting “100,000 cops on the street.” His remarks sparked a new round of debate over the legacy of the crime bill, which has haunted Clinton ever since she hit the campaign trail with a vow to “end the era of mass incarceration.”

      A few days later, on April 24, a lesser-known crime law quietly turned 20. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 — or AEDPA — was signed by Bill Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. While it has been mostly absent from the recent debates over the crime policies of the ’90s, its impact has been no less profound, particularly when it comes to a bedrock constitutional principle: habeas corpus, or the right of people in prison to challenge their detention. For 20 years, AEDPA has shut the courthouse door on prisoners trying to prove they were wrongfully convicted. Americans are mostly unaware of this legacy, even as we know more than ever about wrongful convictions. Barry Scheck, co-founder and head of the Innocence Project, calls AEDPA “a disaster” and “a major roadblock since its passage.” Many would like to see it repealed.

    • Democratic Senator Urges Business Elites to Get More Involved in Politics

      Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., called on an audience of business and political elites earlier this week to respond to populist anger by lobbying harder for a deficit-reduction package that would reduce corporate tax rates and cut public retirement programs such as Social Security.

      Although a dominant populist sentiment is that the system is already rigged in favor of the rich, Warner suggested that the “business community” needs to get more involved in politics or face unpleasant repercussions.

    • DNC Chairwoman Alienates Independents With Defense Of Closed Primaries

      The chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee said she “absolutely” believes the “party’s nominee should be chosen by someone registered with that party,” a statement which could further alienate independents who have tried to participate in the 2016 presidential election.

      On the Bloomberg Politics show, “With All Due Respect,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz declared, “We should not have independents or Republicans playing games.”

      When asked if that means she is opposed to the concept of open primaries, which allow citizens to vote in primaries regardless of their party affiliation, the chairwoman asserted the Party’s nominees “should be chosen by members of that party.” She claimed she did not want to do away with open primaries, but she does not want to see states with closed primaries move to open primary systems.

    • Sanders, DWS Clash Over Dem Party Inclusivity

      The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) chairwoman and the party’s left-wing presidential contender are sparring in the media over how welcoming the party should be toward independent voters.

      Heading into the Indiana primary on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is making the case that all party elections should be held as open contests. Primaries in the Hoosier state and nineteen others allow voters who identify as independents to participate in the Democrats’ nominating process.

      Sanders once again finds himself pitted against DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), who on Monday called for an entirely closed primary system.

    • Watch: After Bernie Wins Indiana, CNN Immediately Badgers Him to Quit

      Bernie Sanders won the Indiana primary by a slim margin last night, just 52 percent of the vote, yet immediately after announcing his victory, CNN was already hounding the Democratic candidate to drop out of the race.

      “Tonight we have a new political reality … where we have a presumptive Republican nominee [Trump], and the general election for him is very much beginning. … So, staying in this race, aren’t you effectively making it harder for the Democrats to beat the man who you say would be so bad?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Bernie Sanders.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Chinese censorship: arbitrary rule changes are a form of powerful intermittent reinforcement

      China’s Internet censors are capricious and impossible to predict — but this isn’t because China’s censors are incompetent, rather, they’re tapping into one of the most powerful forms of conditioning, the uncertainty born of intermittent reinforcement.

      Some examples of China’s odd rule-changes: a viral video by comedian Papi Jiang has been expunged because it used the terms “wocao” (“fuck”) and “xiaobiaozi” (“little whore”), though thousands of other videos that prominently feature the terms were left untouched. Apple’s ebook and video platforms were also suddenly taken offline.

      As C Custer writes at Tech in Asia, this caprice is by design: by not specifying a set of hard and fast rules, but rather the constant risk of being taken down for crossing some invisible line, China’s censors inspire risk-aversion in people who rely on the net to be heard or earn their livings. It’s what Singaporeans call “out of bounds,” the unspecified realm of things you musn’t, shouldn’t or won’t want to enter.

    • Policing My Mouth: On the Art of Self-Censorship

      My second grade teacher, the truculent Mrs. Dunham, masking-taped my mouth shut. She pulled the shrieking roll of tape all the way around my head thrice in front of the entire class. My crime? Announcing in the middle of math drills that the Bookmobile was circling and circling the parking lot because its regular spot was blocked and it had nowhere to park.

      My classmates’ faces silently told me they were on my side and that I had shared news they needed immediately. What would the driver do? Why was that truck in the Bookmobile spot? It was almost Bookmobile time, so time was of the essence! Someone needed to go do something before the Bookmobile drove away!

    • Canadian Scientists Are Speaking Out After 9 Years of Censorship

      For nine years, federal scientists in Canada couldn’t talk to the press. Well, they could, but only after going through a dizzying amount of federal bureaucracy, a situation that turned into functional censorship.

      Why? You can thank former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who instituted the policy shortly after his ascendancy in 2006. A huge proponent of exploiting the country’s natural resources like oil and gas, Harper apparently feared that some of his own scientists would give reporters negative assessments of the environmental impacts of the country’s energy work, according to Nature.

    • New Ambassador Hotel’s new ahistorical and undemocratic corporate censorship role

      One can only hope that this recent undemocratic act by the New Ambassador Hotel management and its parent company, Rainbow Tourism Group shall not be repeated. Whatever their fears for the profit or relationship with the state, there is always a better way of addressing their challenges.

      What they cannot do is to play a direct part in diminishing the independence of the press club, media freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

    • Michael Bloomberg blasts safe spaces, social justice warriors and campus censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI Harassment

      In the final week of November 2015, a Special Agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Mark Burnett, knocked on the door of my family’s home and left his card, with an additional phone number penciled in. All my family members residing in America had planned a week-long vacation and were all on a remote island. When the FBI receives DHS flight records as if they’re the morning paper, I must admit that whatever reasons for why the Bureau didn’t know that I or my family were absent escape me entirely.

    • NIST readies ‘post-quantum’ crypto competition

      Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defend cryptography against the onslaught of quantum computers.

      It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s pretty widely agreed that quantum computers pose a significant risk to cryptography. All that’s needed is either a quantum computer specifically built to implement Shor’s algorithm (which sets out how to factor integers using quantum computers); or a truly quantum Turing machine that can be programmed to run whatever program it’s asked to run.

    • Geotargeted Facebook Ads Used By Senator To Target The Dept. Of Interior

      By now, most people are aware that Facebook advertisements can be quite targeted in nature, whether by age, gender, or location. Most people also are aware of the level of spending by politicians and government for Facebook ads to get their messages out to their targeted audience. But just how targeted can Facebook ads be in the service of politicians? Well, for that we turn to the story of Lisa Murkowski, Senator from Alaska, and her attempt to get a road built between two towns in her state.

    • DOJ Deploys Highly-Questionable Legal Arguments In Attempt To Save FBI’s Hacking Warrants

      The proposed Rule 41 changes recently adopted by the US Supreme Court can’t go into force fast enough for the FBI. The changes — if approved by Congress (which needs to do nothing more than literally nothing for this to happen) — would allow it to hack computers anywhere in the nation by removing jurisdictional restrictions.

      Its decision to keep a child porn site up and running in order to deploy a hacking tool to sniff out obscured user information now appears to have been a colossal mistake. The warrant for the search performed by the FBI’s NIT was issued in Virginia, but the actual searches took place all over the nation. While the seized server may have been located in the state, the users identified by the NIT were located as far away as the opposite coast. The FBI’s decision to ignore jurisdiction limits under Rule 41 is now costing it loads of evidence.

    • How to evade the NSA: OpSec guide for journalists also used by terrorists
    • Trend Micro Uncovers Homegrown Terrorist Apps [Ed: Trend Micro helps associate journalism with terrorism]