Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 4/1/2016: DNF 1.1.5, *ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 1

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • What We Can Do with Ad Blocking's Leverage
    The titles of ad blocking research studies also tell a story (see Resources for links). First came Ad-Blocking Measured, published by ClarityRay (later acquired by Yahoo) in 2012. Then PageFair brought us The Rise of Adblocking, Adblocking goes mainstream and The Cost of Adblocking, in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

    The catch-all term for tracking-based advertising is adtech, and nobody has studied or written more wisely about it than Don Marti, former Editor-in-Chief of Linux Journal.

  • The Technology That Made Nathalie Cole So Unforgettable
    For the album Unforgettable...With Love, Cole recorded versions of songs that had been made famous by her father, Nat "King" Cole, a huge figure in mid-20th-century popular music and culture. Among other things, he became the first black to host a TV show in 1956 and his versions of "The Christmas Song," "Route 66," and "Mona Lisa" and other songs are still standards. On that 1991 album, which ultimately sold around 7 million copies worldwide, Nathalie Cole used various types of overdubbings on the title track to sing a "duet" with her father, who had died in 1965.

  • There's one great reason to see Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight in theaters

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Richard Sapper, Designer Of IBM's ThinkPad, Has Died
      Richard Sapper died New Year's eve at the age of 83, his daughter Carola Sapper confirmed in an email to Co.Design. The German-born, Italy-based industrial designer created all manner of products, from household goods to cars, but is arguably best known for being the chief industrial design consultant for IBM and masterminding the first ThinkPad in 1992.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Denmark Dumped Medical Malpractice and Improved Patient Safety
      It was a distressingly close call. A patient had been sent home from the hospital with instructions to take a common medication at a dose that would have poisoned her.

      When Dr. Ole Hamberg heard about the mistake, he decided to investigate.

      Hamberg, the head liver specialist at Rigshospitalet, the Danish national hospital, soon found something troubling. The hospital’s electronic prescribing system was mistakenly prompting doctors to give the drug, methotrexate, for daily use when it is safely taken only once or twice a week.

    • Jeremy Hunt has torn up social contract between junior doctors and the state
      As doctors, we embark on a 40-year-plus career in the NHS knowing full well that work life is going to be tough. Long hours, a low starting salary compared to other professions (earning €£23,000 a year, compared with the national average salary of €£27,000), high levels of stress, regularly doing extra work for no extra pay, and emotionally difficult experiences with sick and dying patients await us.

      Although it is also extremely rewarding and a privilege to serve and be trusted by the public, a medical career takes its toll on work-life balance. Doctors have high rates of mental health problems and alcohol dependency. Family breakdown is common.

    • New junior doctors' strike WILL go ahead after crunch talks with NHS break down
      Tens of thousands of junior doctors will stage their first strike in 40 years after crunch talks broke down.

      Medics confirmed today they will walk out three times including next Tuesday, January 12, over new contracts for Jeremy Hunt's 7-day NHS.

      Striking doctors will provide emergency care only for 24 hours from 8am, followed by another 48-hour period of emergency care only from 8am on Tuesday, January 26.

      A full strike involving all doctors will then take place from 8am to 5pm on Wednesday, February 10 unless the crisis is resolved.

    • Enough With the Middle-Age Whites, Already
      These cohorts might change if you examine the data using different age buckets, different diseases, and a different timeframe. Who knows? Regardless, if you're going to put forward an explanation about why this is happening, it better account for all three age groups. You can't just pretend the data points only to "middle-age" whites and then spin your theories from that.

    • For More Than 50 Years, DuPont Concealed the Cancer-Causing Properties of Teflon
      Internal company reports have revealed that DuPont had for many years either known or suspected that Teflon contained a harmful ingredient.


      On October 7, after less than a day of deliberations, the jury found DuPont liable for Bartlett’s cancer, agreeing with the defendant that the company had for years negligently contaminated her drinking water supply in Tuppers Plain, Ohio with a toxic chemical formerly used to make its signature brand of nonstick coating: Teflon.

  • Security

    • Microsoft Got Hacked And Didn't Tell Anyone
      Microsoft knew that Chinese spies hacked people using Hotmail accounts for years — and didn’t tell any of the people who were hacked.

    • Are You Ready For Linux Ransomware? [Ed: Are you ready for Linux FUD? Here you go… ]

    • Secure Boot — Fedora, RHEL, and Shim Upstream Maintenance: Government Involvement or Lack Thereof
      Note that there are parts of this chain I’m not a part of, and obviously linux distributions I’m not involved in that support Secure Boot. I encourage other maintainers to offer similar statements for their respective involvement.

    • Security advisories for Monday

    • I am Using Let’s Encrypt on my server now
      I just moved my web server’s SSL/TLS certificates to Let’s Encrypt and I am positively surprised how relatively easy it was.

      In all honesty, it started as a simple “Hullo! What’s this all about?” and after toying with it a bit, I decided to simply use it to replace all my and StartSSL certificates.

    • Dutch govt says no to backdoors, slides $540k into OpenSSL without breaking eye contact
      The Dutch government has formally opposed the introduction of backdoors in encryption products.

      A government position paper, published by the Ministry of Security and Justice on Monday and signed by the security and business ministers, concludes that "the government believes that it is currently not appropriate to adopt restrictive legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands."

      The conclusion comes at the end of a five-page run-through of the arguments for greater encryption and the counter-arguments for allowing the authorities access to the information.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Militants Attack Several Towns in Anbar; 198 Killed in Iraq
      Eight suicide bombers attacked a base outside Camp Speicher, where they killed 19 security members and wounded at least 18 more. Many of the casualties were police recruits in training.

    • About That ISIS Plan to Attack Munich…
      Now, in the clearer light of morning, we learn more about that “very concrete” tip that set all this off.

      According to Reuters, a German policespokesperson said “We received names. We can’t say if they were in Munich or in fact in Germany. At this point we don’t know if these names are correct, if these people even exist, or where they might be. We have no information that these people are in Munich or in Germany.”

      Germany’s interior minister added “Security forces anticipate the high threat of international terrorism to persist.” Who knew?

      The train stations were reopened by morning and the police presence significantly reduced, apparently because the vague tip from the night before was seen as even more vague a little while later. I guess “very concrete” tips have limited life spans, or Germany is really sure terrorists are always right on time with their suicide bombs. Heck, maybe they missed their bus or something, or their watches were still set to Syrian time.


      Time to get a new catchphrase Mr. War of Terror — “out of an abundance of caution” has worn out its welcome and means little more than over reaction. Yes, yes, of course something could always happen somewhere. But that’s the point, and panic, overreacting and crying wolf does nothing to protect against that.

    • Hans Blix – a diplomatic life
      Hans Blix ponders his long career in international politics and diplomacy, the state of the Middle East...

    • Assassins Were Paid Less Than $30,000 to Kill Mexican Mayor
      GISELA RAQUEL MOTA OCAMPO, the first woman elected mayor of Temixco, a city in the central Mexican state of Morelos, was expected to take on organized crime directly. She never got the chance. The 33-year-old assumed office on New Year’s Day. Less than 24 hours later she was dead, murdered in her own home by an alleged crew of paid assassins.

    • Saudi Arabia was omitted from UK's death penalty strategy 'to safeguard defence contracts'
      The British Government left Saudi Arabia off a list of thirty countries to be challenged by diplomats over their continued use of the death penalty - despite executing over 90 people a year.

      The Kingdom is the only major death penalty state to be omitted from a 20-page Foreign Office document setting out the UK’s five-year strategy to reduce the use of executions around the world.

    • The Execution of Nimr Al-Nimr: One More Reason to Re-evaluate the Toxic US-Saudi Alliance
      The brutal Saudi execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr has led to protests around the globe, as well as the burning of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, followed by the Saudi severing of relations with Iran. This exacerbation of Sunni-Shia tensions is the result of the reckless Saudi action against a popular, nonviolent Shia leader. Also reckless is the US government’s response, which has failed to condemn the Saudi government and distance itself from the abusive regime.

      On January 2, the Saudi government executed 47 people, most of them by beheading. Those executed included Sunnis convicted of Al Qaeda-affiliated attacks, as well as Shia opponents—Sheik Nimr Al-Nimr and three others arrested when they were still juveniles. The killing of Al-Nimr has sparked a massive reaction because he was a prominent religious leader who defended the Shia minority and criticized the abuses—both domestic and foreign—of the Saudi regime. He supported the 2011 anti-government protests in the Eastern Province, protests that erupted in the wake of the Arab Spring. The oil-rich Eastern Province is home to some 2 million Shiites, who have long complained of discrimination by the Sunni government.

    • After Executing Regime Critic, Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine
      Saudi Arabia’s well-funded public relations apparatus moved quickly after Saturday’s explosive execution of Shiite political dissident Nimr al-Nimr to shape how the news is covered in the United States.

      The execution led protestors in Shiite-run Iran to set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, precipitating a major diplomatic crisis between the two major powers already fighting proxy wars across the Middle East.

      The Saudi side of the story is getting a particularly effective boost in the American media through pundits who are quoted justifying the execution, in many cases without mention of their funding or close affiliation with the Saudi Arabian government.

      Meanwhile, social media accounts affiliated with Saudi Arabia’s American lobbyists have pushed English-language infographics, tweets, and online videos to promote a narrative that reflects the interests of the Saudi regime.
    • Saudi Arabia Has Little to Worry About – No State Has the Moral Authority or Will to Attack This Butchery
      When Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013 – with Dave Cameron’s help – we all regarded it as farce. Now, only hours after the Sunni Muslim Saudis chopped off the heads of 47 of their enemies – including a prominent Shia Muslim cleric – the Saudi appointment is grotesque. Of course, the world of human rights is appalled – and Shia Iran is talking of the “divine punishment” that will destroy the House of Saud. Crowds attack the Saudi embassy in Tehran. So what’s new?

    • Britain Has Sold €£5.6 Billion Of Arms To Saudi Arabia Since David Cameron Came To Power
      David Cameron’s governments have overseen the sale of over €£5.6 billion of military licences to Saudi Arabia since 2010, according to new research published by Campaign Against Arms Trade.

      The kingdom is by far the largest buyer of arms from the UK, and the UK is the largest military supplier in the world to the Saudis, selling them equipment including night sights, fighter jets, bomb components, machine guns, and tear gas. Some of these weapons have been used by the Saudi-led coalition in bombing raids in Yemen that have raised war crime concerns.

    • Riyadh’s Sectarian Move: Executing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

    • The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that's tearing apart the Middle East, explained
      Only a few days into the new year, the Middle East has already taken a significant turn for the worse. The region's greatest rivalry, between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has become rapidly and significantly more toxic in the past few days, and it could have repercussions across the Middle East.

      On Saturday, protesters in Tehran attacked the Saudi embassy, ransacking and burning it as Iran ignored or refused Saudi requests to protect the building. Saudi Arabia formally broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday, on Monday saying it would cut commercial ties and ban Saudi travel to Iran as well. Sudan and Bahrain, both Saudi allies, severed ties as well.

    • Fresh Concerns for Saudi Juveniles After Mass Execution
      Three Saudi juveniles remain at grave risk of execution, international human rights NGO Reprieve has warned, as fresh details emerged of the cases of several young protestors who were executed on Saturday.

      Ali Saeed al-Rebh and Mohammad Faisal al-Shioukh, two protestors who were teenagers when they were arrested in 2012, were among 47 prisoners executed across Saudi Arabia on Saturday (2nd). They were killed alongside a third young man, Mohammad Suweimal, and the prominent activist Sheikh Nimr.

    • Saudi Executions, Weapons and Influence
      He criticized U.S. political figures across the political spectrum for not meaningfully challenging Saudi Arabia and argued that money from Saudi Arabia and wealthy individuals from there had purchased influence in U.S. institutions including the Clinton Foundation. In contrast, the new leader of Labor in the UK has seriously challenged that country’s support for the Saudi regime, see: “Corbyn’s honourable record on Saudi Arabia puts Cameron to shame.” Also, see from the British Independent: Exclusive: UK Government urged to reveal its role in getting Saudi Arabia onto UN Human Rights Council.”

    • US ‘Regime Change’ Madness in the Middle East
      Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

      That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the US military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of US policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funnelling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.

    • FBI Closes Out 2015 With Another Questionable Terrorism Bust

      The mental hygiene arrests suggest Lutchman could be a dangerous person -- not because of his allegiance to ISIL -- but in general. Mental hygiene arrests occur when a person is considered to be a danger to themselves or others. He may have been a threat, thanks to his mental issues, but a terrorist? Certainly, the mental instability could have made Lutchman much more susceptible to outside suggestions that he commit violence, but his arrest record suggests Lutchman didn't have the mental (and, apparently, financial) capacity to provide much "support" for the Islamic State's violent aims.

    • Saudi Arabia Mass Executions Include Shiite Cleric, Iranian Protesters Attack Saudi Embassy, Sparking Regional Dispute

    • Saudi Mass Executions Provoke Region-Wide Escalation

    • Everything You Need to Know About the Iran-Saudi Arabia Crisis

    • Israeli Youth Lightly Wounded by Police Bullet in Aborted Jerusalem Stabbing Attempt
      One of the policemen shoved the would-be assailant. Another shot him, hitting him in the leg. The police chased him, shooting him in the legs again.

      None of the police officers were hurt in the incident, but the teenage girl was hit by what the police believe to be ricocheting bullet fragments.

    • Ecological Meltdown And Nuclear Conflict: The Relevance Of Gandhi In The Modern World
      A few months ago, entrepreneur Charles Devenish contacted me to tell me about his plans to develop various mining enterprises across India. He spoke about the massive amounts of untapped mineral resources lying beneath India that is just lying there and has been for a long time. What he thought I might find appealing were his plans for how small-scale mining could dovetail with a model of agriculture aimed at restoring Indian soils, which have been seriously degraded by decades of ‘green revolution’ chemical poisoning, and a rolling back of the increasing and harmful corporate control of farming.

      Devenish wants to set up co-operative mining enterprises in rural areas that would involve local farmers, who would then have a say and a stake in these local mines (see this report). The farmers would also benefit from the profits that would supplement their farming income and also be funnelled into investment in research and knowledge, which would enable them to restore their soils and move towards organic agriculture that would be in harmony with the local ecology.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Singaporean smog and Indonesian fires

    • Thinking beyond the Age of Fire
      In December, in an unprecedented demonstration of international unity, 195 countries adopted the first-ever, universal, legally-binding agreement to take action on climate change.


      Humans cannot go back to the beginning and start again, but if they had to, Walt Patterson’s new book would be as fundamental a guide to the challenges as any.

    • The Question isn’t of Saving the World via Renewables but of how Much can be Saved
      Humanity is not abandoning fossil fuels fast enough to avoid some massive changes to our world’s climate, with all the implications that change has for sea level, coastal erosion, extreme weather, and desertification and drought. There have been impressive advances in adoption of solar and wind technology in 2015, but compared to the crisis, it is not nearly enough. I say this not to provoke despair but simply to underline that the crisis can be bad, or worse, or the absolute worst. We get to decide for future generations the kind of world they will live in.

    • The Feds Just Sued Volkswagen Over Its Emissions Scandal

    • 'Unlawful Pollution': Volkswagen Charged With Crimes Against Climate

    • United States Files Complaint Against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations
      The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, today filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations, LLC, Porsche AG, and Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as Volkswagen). The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States motor vehicles that are designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    • Volkswagen Cheated On Its Emissions Tests. Now, It’s Getting Sued.
      The lawsuit, filed Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice, alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by finding ways to evade emissions standards on hundreds of thousands of its vehicles. It comes about four months after news of the emissions cheating scandal first broke in September.

    • Climate Change Is Taking A Toll On Farmers’ Mental Health
      The success or failure of a farming operation depends hugely on the vagaries of weather and climate. For a farmer, a single intense rain event or prolonged dry period can mean a year of lost crops and income.
    • China Isn’t Approving Any New Coal Mines For The Next 3 Years
      China, the largest coal producer in the world, won’t be approving new mines for the next three years as it grapples with alarming pollution and pursues other energy sources, including nuclear plants.

      The country announced the move last week, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. This ban on new mines is unprecedented, published reports note, though mines have been closed in the past and will continue to be shut down in the coming year.

    • Outdoor Burn Ban Lifted for Western Washington Tribal Reservations on January 4th (WA)
      EPA requests that reservation residents reduce all sources of air pollution as much as possible, including excess driving and idling of vehicles, and the use of woodstoves and fireplaces, unless they are the only adequate source of heat.

  • Finance

    • US Department Of Agriculture TAFTA/TTIP Study: Small Gains For US, Losses For EU
      As we are constantly reminded by its supporters, the TAFTA/TTIP agreement currently being negotiated between the US and the EU is huge: together, the two regions account for around half of global GDP. Given that scale, and the impact that TTIP is likely to have on both the US and EU, you might expect there would be dozens of detailed studies looking at the likely effects -- and whether, on balance, it would be a good idea. And yet such studies are very thin on the ground.

    • Even in expensive cities, the sharing economy may just have its limits
      I’ve never been a fan of the “sharing economy”. Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with Uber, Airbnb and their peers, it’s just that there doesn’t really seem to be much “sharing” going on. It’s more like adding a technological middleman to a rental market.

      Now having shaken up the taxi and hotel market, the sharing economy has its eyes on a new market: housing for the digital workforce. This time it may have gone too far.

      Leading the charge is WeWork, a company that has turned the yawn-inducing business of leasing office space into a $10bn valuation by trendifying the office experience and attracting like-minded businesses to “share” its spaces. Sounds so much better than a lease, right? (Full disclosure: the Guardian’s New York office is in a WeWork building).

      The strategy has paid off for the startup real estate company. It is now bigger than all but the three largest publicly traded office management firms, if only in terms of the value its investors place on it: it manages only a fraction of the number of square feet of office space.

    • Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives
      If you are black, you’re far more likely to see your electricity cut, more likely to be sued over a debt, and more likely to land in jail because of a parking ticket.

      It is not unreasonable to attribute these perils to discrimination. But there’s no question that the main reason small financial problems can have such a disproportionate effect on black families is that, for largely historical reasons rooted in racism, they have far smaller financial reserves to fall back on than white families.

    • University President Explains Why His School Doesn’t Have Football
      “At Drexel we recognize the benefits of sports but are not burdened by the distractions that come with maintaining a football program,” Fry wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “Drexel hasn’t fielded a team since 1973 when administrators realized its budget burden.”

    • Bernie Sanders vs. the Corporatocracy
      We are no longer a nation of self-governing people. Our democracy has been captured by American corporate enterprise, and now we confront a documented plutocracy in its place. If we intend to challenge this and contest it, we will need a President Sanders in the White House.

    • Sanders Breaks Fundraising Records as His Contest with Clinton Heats Up
      Sanders raised more than $33 million in the last three months of the year, bringing his 2015 total to $73 million “from more than 1 million individuals who made a record 2.5 million donations,” the campaign said in a release. “The 2,513,665 donations to Sanders’ campaign broke the record set four years ago by President Barack Obama’s re-election committee. Through Dec. 31, 2011, Obama chalked up 2,209,636 donations.”
    • The GOP and the Myth of Capitalism
      However, along with the other pretty banners behind which political candidates hide their true nefarious intentions, the word capitalism bears no relation to reality in how it governs the behavior of those who claim allegiance to it. The billionaire bankers certainly were not restrained by sacred free market principles when they accepted billions in government bailout money, and allegiance to capitalism doesn’t deter fat cat sports team owners from accepting public welfare to build new stadiums. Furthermore, adherence to laissez-faire philosophy never has amounted to much with the elected advocates of big business. From its inception that Grand Old Party that serves as the sword and shield of the rich has incorporated policies based upon those same insidious, destructive socialist ideas they decry in Bernie Sanders. Strangely enough, when and where they have done this the result has been prosperity for millions; not necessarily for billionaires but for the masses.

    • Did Minimum Wage Increases Hurt Employment During the Great Recession?
      Here's the problem: as near as I can tell, the world is awash in minimum wage studies. With no disrespect intended toward Clemens—whose conclusions sound reasonable—a single study just isn't that meaningful these days.

    • Paul Krugman: How Bad America Could Get If a 1%-Loving Republican Won in 2016
      Paul Krugman now has some official numbers on his side to make the case that having Obama in the White House instead of Mitt Romney has made a serious difference to the country. In Monday's column, Krugman looks at the IRS’s tax tables for 2013, which were released last week, and concludes that elections have real consequences. His argument is directed to people on the left, who are disappointed with Obama and argue that there is no major difference between the two parties (except Bernie Sanders) and that the wealthy will always dominate.

    • Glenn Reynolds: Chicago sings blue-model blues
      For starters, look at Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago. Rahm Emanuel, a major inner-circle supporter of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, is not a stupid man. Nonetheless, he’s finding it harder and harder to hold things together.

    • Three Middle-Class-Killing Industries for 2016
      Capitalist enterprises have little incentive to work for ordinary people, and instead they do whatever is necessary to enrich the owners of their corporate stock. Choosing the leading job-killing industry is a difficult task with so many candidates. But technology, pharmaceuticals, and the "sharing economy" are clearly in the running.

      The companies in the spotlight are specialists in the disdainful business practices that permeate their industries.

    • IRS Identity Fraud Prevention Specialist Arrested For Identity Fraud, Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns
      In late spring of last year, more than 100,000 taxpayers had their personally-identifiable information accessed by criminals. It wasn't a security breach, nor was it accomplished by "hacking." Instead, it was the result of the IRS using common static identifiers to verify accounts -- information that could easily be found elsewhere. These were deployed to access transcripts of taxpayers' filing histories. The transcripts gave criminals the information they were actually seeking: Social Security numbers, birth dates and current addresses.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • WaPo: GOP Presidential Candidates Who Are Silent Over Oregon Standoff Previously Praised Cliven Bundy's Cause
      The Washington Post highlighted how Republican presidential candidates "are staying mum as an armed group has taken over part" of the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters in Oregon, even those candidates who previously championed the same cause as the protesters by criticizing federal land ownership.

    • Trump's First TV Ad Embraces His Most Controversial Ideas
    • Donald Trump’s Border Ad Shows Chaotic Morocco, Not Boring America
    • MSNBC Points Out That Trump's Misleading TV Ad Uses Morocco Border Images Instead Of US Southern Border

    • This Anti-Immigrant TV Ad Is Hitting The Airwaves This Week, Courtesy Of Donald Trump
      Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s first television ad relies on the same anti-immigrant sentiment that has characterized his positions on the campaign trail. In the ad, Trump promises to “make America great again” by banning Muslim immigration and building a southern U.S. border wall that he assures that Mexico will pay for.

      “He’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on,” a narrator states in the television spot. “He’ll quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil. And he’ll stop illegal immigration by building a wall on the southern border that Mexico will pay for.”

    • Donald Trump Puts His Ridiculous Campaign Promises in TV Ad Form
      Donald Trump, who is currently leading the GOP primary field by an average of a little more than 15 points,* released his first TV ad this morning, after previewing it to The Washington Post yesterday. The tone of the ad is aggressively doomy and gloomy, with darkened images of masked men carrying the ISIS flag and grainy shots of what are supposed to look like crowds of immigrants, presumably streaking across the U.S. border. At the end, there’s a shot of Trump himself, standing at a rally, declaring his intention to “make America great again.”

    • Why Sanders Will Not be the Democratic Nominee, No Matter What Happens in the Primaries
      If you think Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, you’re out of your mind.

      There is no way the Democratic Party will allow that to happen, for two main reasons.

      First, this is Hillary’s turn to be the nominee. And although that’s pretty distasteful for many of Bernie’ supporters, it’s the truth and has been decided by people who actually matter in the party’s hierarchy (read: not you).

      Second, it is simply impossible that a neoliberal, right-wing political party like the Democrats in a country with a nominally right-leaning electorate will allow their standard bearer to be a self-described socialist.

    • All they want to do is screw over the president: Ryan, McConnell confirm they have no real agenda in ’16 besides blocking Obama
      Since President Obama took office, Congressional Republicans have made it their business to obstruct everything he does. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it best in 2012: “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.”

      And that’s how they’ve governed in the Obama era. Like political arsonists, they’ve pursued no real positive agenda, choosing instead to undermine the president and stage symbolic protest votes to appease a disillusioned base. This is a big reason why something like 13 percent of the country approves of the job Congress is doing.

      For a brief moment, when Paul Ryan was elected Speaker of the House, there was hope that things might change, if only a little. Although Ryan is hardly a moderate, he is nonetheless a serious legislator. His victory, one hoped, was a sign that House Republicans finally saw the light, finally realized that obstructionism wasn’t a viable governing philosophy.

  • Censorship

    • Denmark: Facebook blocks Little Mermaid over 'bare skin'

    • Facebook censors Little Mermaid photo for nakedness and sexual suggestiveness
    • Facebook reverses Little Mermaid censorship

    • Unless a film can cause a riot, there should be no censorship: Shyam Benegal
      Artistic and cultural freedom was at the centre of a heated political debate throughout 2015. And the Censor Board was under the scanner in many controversies, thanks to a chairman with clear political leanings enforcing a range of arbitrary bans.

    • Pakistani Censorship 'Runs Counter' to Times Values

    • 14 Years of Censored News Coverage Denies Americans Context to Understand ISIL Attacks
      Fourteen years ago, after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the United States government initiated its “war on terror,” with the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001, which expanded into Pakistan, and of Iraq in 2003. The conventional methodology of American politics emphasizes American financial, strategic, and human costs. Since then, the corporate media has occasionally acknowledged the 6,800 American soldiers, and the 7,000 contractors who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, corporate media and the American government have consistently ignored Iraqi and Afghani deaths, which exceed one million. Without acknowledging this modern “reign of terror,” the western public has no context to understand the current attacks lead by the Islamic State in Syria and Levant (ISIL).

    • The Significance of Miscegenation: Israel Bans Arab-Jewish Romance Novel Because We Can't Have Both Sides Loving Each Other Now Can We?
      The Education Ministry of Israel - you know, the People of the Book - has banned an award-winning young adult novel of love between an Israeli translator and a Palestinian artist because it "threatens the separate identity” of Jews. Explaining their disqualification of Dorit Rabinyan’s “Gader Haya” (published in Hebrew as “Hedgerow,” but "Borderlife” in English), officials cited the need to maintain "the identity and the heritage of students in every sector,” worrying that "young people of adolescent age don’t have the systemic view that includes considerations involving maintaining the national-ethnic identity of the people and the significance of miscegenation.” Ministry officials, including one who's boasted he's "killed lots of Arabs in my life and (has) no problem with it,” argued that young readers don't have "the full tools to weigh the decisions" of inter-racial love - Translation: "They're not quite sure yet who to hate" - and that "many parents... would strongly object to having their children study the novel" - Translation: "They're racist, too, so let's go with it." The book was recommended for advanced curricula by the literature head of secular state schools and a committee of academics, and had been requested by multiple teachers.

    • 'Censorship is nonsensical'
      Singaporean film director Tan Pin Pin withdrew her film from a festival celebrating Singapore-Malaysia ties this month after Malaysia's Film Censorship Board insisted that a scene be amended as it was a "security threat".

      The director of Singapore GaGa said the board wanted a scene where a character says "binatang-binatang" (Malay for animals) to be removed from the film, liberal news portal Malaysian Insider reported.

    • Tan Pin Pin pulls documentary Singapore GaGa from Malaysia festival after censors demand cut
      It was the first made-in-Singapore documentary to get a theatrical release here and has been shown in festivals around the world.

    • Where Has the Media Been? How Campus Censorship Never Went Away

  • Privacy

    • WeeChat – WeeChat Relay and Let’s Encrypt
      I decided to enable the WeeChat Relay plugin. Until now, I only used the ZNC IRC bouncer because it allows me to use any standalone IRC client. Now, I also want to have acces to weechat-android and Glowing-bear so I enabled the Relay plugin.

    • A Redaction Re-Visited: NSA Targeted “The Two Leading” Encryption Chips
      On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported – based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden – that the National Security Agency (NSA) had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. The NYT explained that NSA “has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world.” One 2010 memo described that “for the past decade, NSA has led an aggressive, multipronged effort to break widely used Internet encryption technologies.”

      In support of the reporting, all three papers published redacted portions of documents from the NSA along with its British counterpart, GCHQ. Prior to publication of the story, the NSA vehemently argued that any reporting of any kind on this program would jeopardize national security by alerting terrorists to the fact that encryption products had been successfully compromised. After the stories were published, U.S. officials aggressively attacked the newspapers for endangering national security and helping terrorists with these revelations.

      All three newspapers reporting this story rejected those arguments prior to publication and decided to report the encryption-cracking successes. Then-NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson described the decision to publish as “not a particularly anguished one” in light of the public interest in knowing about this program, and ProPublica editors published a lengthy explanation along with the story justifying their decision.

    • House Intelligence Committee Orders Investigation Into Surveillance Of Congress That It Authorized
      So, yes, it was just revealed that, of course, the NSA spied on Congress as it was intercepting phone calls of foreign leaders, leading to hypocritical bloviating from folks in Congress who regularly support the NSA.

    • Government Officials Think NSA Spying That 'Incidentally' Swept Up Congressional Phone Calls Still Not Enough Spying
      The Wall Street Journal's recent revelation that the NSA swept up Congress members' communications in a dragnet, which had been assumed to have shut down, has provoked a variety of reactions from Capitol Hill. Some Congress members have angrily expressed their displeasure at being spied on like so many citizens of so many nations (including ours).

  • Civil Rights

    • Migrant crisis: Sweden border checks come into force
      Sweden has introduced identity checks for travellers from Denmark in an attempt to reduce the number of migrants arriving in the country.

      All travellers wanting to cross the Oresund bridge by train or bus, or use ferry services, will be refused entry without the necessary documents.

    • The Latest: Sudanese man who walked the Channel Tunnel to England granted asylum
      A Sudanese man who was arrested after walking through the 31-mile (50-kilometer) Channel Tunnel from France to England has been granted asylum in Britain.

      Police detained Abdul Rahman Haroun in August near the British end of the tunnel at Folkestone in southeastern England. He was charged with "obstructing a railway carriage or engine" under the Malicious Damage Act.

    • When He Was 16, This Man Threw One Punch—and Went to Jail for Life
      One was Louisiana, where Taurus exemplified how mandatory sentencing could render a defendant's youth meaningless. Once he was charged with second-degree murder, Taurus was automatically tried as an adult because he was over the age of 14. If convicted, he would automatically be sentenced to life without parole.

    • Undercover Cop Disgracefully Tricks Autistic Student into Selling Weed, Court Denies Family Justice
      Riverside County, CA — Simply put, the War on Drugs is a war on people. One of the more despicable ways in which it manifests is the manipulation of vulnerable school kids by undercover cops. These “drug stings,” better known as entrapment, typically prey on special needs students who have a hard time making friends.

    • How We Found the People Who Were Sent to Prison for Life as Kids
      From May to October of 2015, the Phillips Black Project collected information about people sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. Using this data, we recently issued a report concluding that juvenile life-without-parole sentences are clustered in a handful of counties, and that these sentences are disproportionately handed to people of color.

    • 3 Anger-Inducing Charts About Kids and Prison

    • A Man Slaughtered And Burned 3 Of His Neighbor’s Dogs. Now The Police Are Coming To His Defense.
      The release references the Indiana criminal code regarding the killing of domestic animals. Under Indiana law, it is legal to kill a domestic animal if someone “reasonably believes” that killing the animal is necessary to “protect the property of the accused person from destruction or substantial damage.”

    • Edward Herman and Willy Nyamitwe
      Edward Herman is professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania; he writes about politics and media, and is best known as the co-author (with Noam Chomsky) of “Manufacturing Consent.”

    • It’s official: There never was a ‘war on cops’
      This year will go down in the record books as one of the safest for police officers in recorded history, according to data released this week from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 42 fatal shootings of police officers in 2015, down 14 percent from 2014, according to the organization.
    • Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham: 2015 Data Contradicts Right-Wing Media's "War On Cops" Myth

    • ErdoÄŸan loses the game show

    • Turkish Pres. Erdogan cites Hitler in case for Presidential System
      Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday cited Hitler in support of his contention that a presidential system can coexist with a “unitary state,” i.e., with a non-federal government. The United States has a presidential system, but the presidency’s powers are limited because it is a federal system with enormous rights and prerogatives retained by the state. I suppose the context is that people are arguing to Erdogan that if he takes Turkey into a presidential system, it could break up the country because there would be regionalist responses to this concentration of power. He was trying to deflect this critique, and what his mind happened on was the example of fascist Germany!

    • Erdogan and Hitler
    • Saudi Arabia’s Mad Head-Choppers
      Saudi Arabia’s binge of head-choppings – 47 in all, including the learned Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by a Koranic justification for the executions – was worthy of Isis. Perhaps that was the point. For this extraordinary bloodbath in the land of the Sunni Muslim al-Saud monarchy – clearly intended to infuriate the Iranians and the entire Shia world – re-sectarianised a religious conflict which Isis has itself done so much to promote.

    • Beheadings
    • Chicago Needs More Tasing
      The impetus for the change is a series of fatal shootings by cops. One of the most infamous involved 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was carrying a pocketknife and walking away from police when Officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times. The other officers at the scene had called for a Taser and were waiting for it to arrive.

    • The War on Women Is About to Get a Whole Lot Worse
      Between the shooting deaths of three people at a Colorado Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court's decision to hear its first abortion-related case in nine years, and the more than 50 new abortion restriction laws enacted by state governments, abortion access was one of the most important issues of 2015. With presidential politics and ongoing legal challenges in the states, abortion rights will continue to be under fire in 2016.

      "Last year's big events, like the Planned Parenthood videos and the Supreme Court case, have actually ginned up even more interest in restricting abortion," Elizabeth Nash, a senior state issues associate at the Guttmacher Institute, tells Mother Jones. "If it was possible, they've actually added more energy to decreasing abortion access."

      And that is despite the fact that even-numbered years are generally slow when it comes to legislative pushes—elections cut off the legislature calendars, and general assemblies in many states don't even meet. But Nash says next year will be different.
    • Saudi Arabia’s reckless regime

      SAUDI ARABIA’S King Salman has dedicated his first year on the throne to bold and sometimes reckless moves to shore up the royal family’s power both at home and abroad. Now he has taken a step that was as risky and ruthless as it was unjustified: the execution of a leading Shiite cleric who had spoken out for the kingdom’s repressed minority sect. It was an act that appears bound — and maybe was intended — to further inflame conflict between Shiites and Sunnis across the Middle East.

    • Fox Promotes Conspiracy Theorist Who Threatened Sexual Violence Against Hillary Clinton As Militia Spokesperson
    • Fox News Contributor Defends Armed Occupation Of Government Building By Militants
      On Saturday, a group of heavily armed anti-government militia members, including three members of the notorious Bundy family, seized a government building in Oregon. They are still occupying the building and say they are prepared to stay “for years.”

      But according to Fox News Contributor Deneen Borelli, any criticism of these actions is the result of dishonesty by the “the left-wing media.” During the segment, which aired Monday morning, the chyron on Fox News was “DEBATE SPARKED OVER WHETHER MILITIA IS TERRORIST GROUP OR PATRIOTIC.”

    • Ballots Not Bullets Coalition Calls for Laws to Be Enforced in Oregon Standoff
      The Ballots Not Bullets Coalition, a group of organizations from across the country concerned by the increasing use of violence—and threats of violence—to affect public policy in the United States, is deeply concerned about the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and other heavily armed anti-government radicals. In response, the Coalition is calling on federal authorities to enforce the laws and hold the occupiers accountable for their criminal actions.

    • What's Happening in Oregon Is Nothing Less Than Armed Sedition
      And, in related news, of course, Tamir Rice is still dead.
    • How the Leader of the Oregon Armed Protest Benefited From a Federal Loan Program

    • Meet The Child-Abusing Arsonists That Inspired The Oregon Militia Standoff
    • The Absurdly Harsh Penalties That Sparked the Oregon Rancher Protest
      As Ed Krayewski noted yesterday, the armed men who are occupying an office building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon broke off from a demonstration protesting the sentences received by two ranchers, 73-year-old Dwight Hammond and his 46-year-old son Steven, who in 2001 and 2006 set fires on their own property that spread to public land. In addition to the long-running conflict between ranchers and the federal government over control of land in the West, the case illustrates the practical impossibility of challenging harsh mandatory minimum sentences as violations of the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishments."

    • Militants continue occupation of Oregon refuge, police keep low profile
      Law enforcement agencies are remaining mum about plans to end militiamen's occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

      A splinter group of militia in town to support a local ranching family took over the federal office Saturday afternoon in a development that stunned the community and visiting militia.

    • Tennessee Lawmaker Wants To Support Armed Militia Occupying Federal Building
      Tennessee state Rep. Andy Holt (R) tweeted on Sunday evening asking how to “send support” for an armed militia occupying a federal facility in Oregon.
    • D.M. officer fires gun while practicing 'quick draw'
      Officer Brady Pratt, 23, was inside an office at the airport Wednesday around 4 p.m. when he drew his gun from his holster to practice "his quick draw skills," according to a police report. Pratt, who joined the force in 2013, "unknowingly" had his finger on the trigger and fired a round from the gun, the report states.

    • Rightwing Terrorism on Display as Militants in Oregon Beckon Reinforcements
      Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the FBI has been monitoring the situation and is in "close coordination" with the state police and the Harney County Sheriff’s Office.

    • Why Aren’t We Calling the Oregon Occupiers 'Terrorists'?
      The sometimes-coded but increasingly overt ways that some Americans are presumed guilty and violence-prone while others are assumed to be principled and peaceable unless and until provoked — even when actually armed — is remarkable.
    • Inside The Backwards Ideology Driving The Right-Wing Militiamen Who Captured A Federal Building
      Two interlocking issues drove what appears to be slightly more than a dozen armed men to seize control of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service building in Oregon on Saturday evening. The first was the incarceration, release and eventual reincarceration of two men convicted of arson by a federal court. The second is a much broader dispute over whether ranchers are free to encroach upon federal lands without interference by the federal government itself.
    • Cops: Too Crazy to be Trusted With Guns

      We’re not supposed to question juries. They’re our peers. They put in long hours, working hard essentially for free. Most of all, they see all the evidence. We don’t. We have to assume that they know what they’re doing.

      Sometimes, however, a jury verdict relies on so many false assumptions, baseless assignments of privilege and twisted logic that you have to call it out. The decision of a Cleveland grand jury not to indict the cop who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice to death is one such time.

    • Should Used Tea Leaves Give Probable Cause for Drug Raids?
      Former CIA employees Robert and Adlynn Harte, along with their 7- and 13-year-old children, were held at gunpoint by sheriff's deputies for several hours as a search for drugs was conducted in their home. The probable cause that led to the raid? A visit to a hydroponics store for a horticultural project and wet tea leaves in the family's garbage bin.
    • Venice tenants complained to the city, then wished they hadn't
      Worried that their new landlord was trying to turn their Venice apartment building into a kind of illegal hotel, Phyllis Murphy and her neighbors wrote a letter to city officials.

      The residents complained that some of the units were being rented out to tourists for short stays, bringing a revolving door of strangers into the complex on a tranquil stretch of Third Avenue. Murphy said her landlord once asked her, not-so-subtly, what it would take to get her out of the building.

      The landlord denies saying that. He also said that a tenant, not he, was responsible for the rentals. But the city housing department nonetheless ordered him to make sure they came to a halt.

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism Part 3: Superfluous Capital and Superfluous People
      The driving force of imperialism the search for profits, The people pushing it were the bourgeoisie, the principal capitalists. Until the 1870s, the bourgeoisie were content to leave politics to others, and focus on manufacturing and infrastructure in the home country. Politicians were generally wary of the push into foreign countries.

      Beginning in the 1870s as the money invested in foreign lands increased, the risks to the bourgeoisie and their money increased, as nations expropriated their assets or refused to cooperate, or threw them out. The bourgeoisie liked the enormous profits of these investments, but were not interested in taking the risks. They demanded that the nation-state provide the armed forces necessary to protect their profits, and the nation-states complied. Arendt says that this demand for intervention was its assertion of control of the government. She dates the Imperialist period to 1889-1914.

      The goal of imperialism was neither assimilation nor integration.
    • Welcome to Cop Land
      Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people have been killed by the police this year nationwide. In just the past few weeks, videos have been released of problematic fatal police shootings in San Francisco and Chicago.

    • FBI data show assaults on police officers dropped sharply in 2014
      The FBI recently released its data on assaults on police officers in 2014. The good news is that reported assaults are down sharply. Unarmed and assaults with guns both dropped, while assaults with knives and edged weapons went up slightly. But overall, as this chart tweeted by University of South Carolina law professor Seth Stoughton shows, assaults on cops are at their lowest point since 1996 and have been dropping consistently since 2008.

    • The Dividing Lines of Race, Ethnicity and Religion
      What do you think the response would be if a bunch of black people, filled with rage and armed to the teeth, took over a federal government installation and defied officials to kick them out? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be wait-and-see.

      Probably more like point-and-shoot.

      Or what if the occupiers were Mexican-American? They wouldn’t be described with the semi-legitimizing term “militia,” harking to the days of the patriots. And if the gun-toting citizens happened to be Muslim, heaven forbid, there would be wall-to-wall cable news coverage of the “terrorist assault.” I can hear Donald Trump braying for blood.

    • America’s Real Racial Double Standard: How the Law (and White People) Turn “Race-Neutral” Into “Pro-White”
      In 2011, high school senior Taylor Bell, a local rapper in Itawamba County, Mississippi, made a song in support of several female classmates who claimed they had been inappropriately touched and subjected to harassing comments by two male coaches. In Bell’s song, he rapped: “Looking down girls’ shirts / drool running down your mouth / Going to get a pistol down your mouth.” For these remarks, school officials accused Bell of harassment and intimidation. He was suspended and sent to another school. In the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case of Bell v. Itawamba County School Board.

    • If the Oregon Militiamen Were Muslim or Black, They'd Probably Be Dead By Now
      Extremism comes in different colors, ethnicities, beards and head coverings – which is why racial profiling cannot protect us from all extremist violence.

    • How Media Turned Right-Wing ‘Willing to Kill’ Extremists Into Peaceful ‘Rancher’s Rights Protesters’
      AP published a more detailed follow-up piece on the night of January 3 with the ambiguous, contextless headline, “Oregon Standoff Latest in Dispute Over Western Lands.” This article did point out in the opening line that the right-wing occupiers are armed and motivated by “anti-government sentiment.”


      NBC (1/3/16) characterized the militants as “rancher’s rights protesters.” It headlined its report on the story “Ammon Bundy, Rancher’s Rights Protesters Occupy Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.”


      The infamous “terrorism” double standard was sometimes remarked upon in corporate media itself. The Washington Post (1/3/16) published an op-ed asking “Why Aren’t We calling the Oregon Occupiers ‘Terrorists?'” CNN (1/3/16) ran a more forceful opinion piece, “Face it, Oregon Building Takeover Is Terrorism.”

      Media double standards vis-à-vis far-right extremism are a commonplace by this point. The hands-off response of the government—which said it had no plans to deal with the armed occupation—is striking, if not unexpected; the response of the media even more so.

      As much as the right complains about the US media’s supposed “liberal bias,” news outlets were enormously euphemistic and gracious in their portrayal of the Oregon occupation. Such graciousness is not extended to other extremist groups.

    • Police Should Be Able to Accept Constructive Criticism
      Did last month's mistrial of an officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died of a severed spine while in police custody, reveal a paradox that limits the potential of achieving serious police reform through the legal process?

    • Here’s What Happened When Black People Tried Armed Occupation
      And 30 years ago, a similar standoff between police and a black anti-government group in Philadelphia played out very differently. Armed members of a fringe liberation group called MOVE were bombed and burned alive for directing their weapons at police. The bombing highlighted the stark contrast in the way cops treat black and white radicals.

    • The Bundy Militia Raid on Burns: What the Media Left Out
    • The Bundy Family’s Odd Mormon Connection, Explained
      Bundy’s family reportedly fasted and prayed for the “spirit of their forefathers to be with them” during the 2014 incident, and Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, articulated a similar vision to explain his involvement in the recent takeover in Oregon. In a video posted on January 1, Ammon — whose name is the same as a famous figure from the Book of Mormon — explained that it was God who called him to leave his home and campaign on behalf of the Hammond family in Oregon.

    • More Than 200,000 Petition for Release of Making a Murderer Star Steven Avery
      This wrongful rape conviction wasn't the result of some vengeful ex or whatever else stereotypes might conjure. A wealth of evidence suggests Avery was failed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office's single-minded commitment to proving and maintaining his guilt. By fall 2005, Avery was in the midst of a major lawsuit against Manitowoc County, with individual liability at stake for various local officials.

    • Cops getting away with murder: It’s a warped legal system and law enforcement culture that lets them do it
      It seems fitting that 2015 would end with yet another example of our justice system failing to hold police accountable for killing an unarmed African-American. The Tamir Rice case was especially poignant because the victim was only 12 years old. He was playing in the park with a toy gun — like millions of kids do all over the country. And the video that everyone saw with their own eyes showed that police rolled up and within seconds shot him dead. The prosecution and a grand jury decided they were justified in doing that for reasons that make little sense to rational people.

    • Death of man who was put in restraints at a D.C. hospital ruled a homicide
      The D.C. medical examiner’s office said Monday that McBride’s cause of death was “blunt force injuries” of the neck. It also said the injuries involved “cervical spinal cord transection” and “vertebral artery compression.” They did not offer a further explanation.

    • Preventing the return of Europe's authoritarian right
      So now it’s Poland. For the last five years Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has dismantled democratic checks and balances and declared the end of the liberal aspect of liberal democracy.

      The other EU member states and Brussels huffed and puffed, but did not want to take any serious action against the erosion of democracy.

    • Turkey’s religious body says engaged couples should not hold hands
      The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Turkey’s top religious body, has stated that engaged couples should not hold hands or spend time alone together during their engagement period.

      “In this period, it is not inconvenient for couples to meet and talk to get to know each other, if their privacy is considered. However, there could be undesired incidents with or without their families’ knowledge … such as flirting, cohabitating or being alone [with one another]. This encourages gossip and holding hands, which Islam does not allow,” the Diyanet said, responding to a public question.

      It urged couples to fulfil their engagement period “in line with Islamic norms,” encouraging couples not to have a religious marriage unless a civil marriage had been decided upon.

      The Diyanet - which is one of Turkey’s best funded state institutions, largely provided for by public taxation - has previously made headlines with controversial rulings on the usage of toilet paper and cleaning products containing alcohol.

    • The Good, the Sad and the Ugly
      The use of cattle chutes has been developed by our police since 9/11 and it now is a weapon in their arsenal used unabashedly to divide and control the population when there is some volatility in the air. Interestingly, the city of Philadelphia virtually shut the city down when Pope Francis was here recently. Many felt the control was way over the top. The most absurd use of metal cattle chutes is to create “first amendment zones” in an out of the way place where those in power won’t be bothered by discordant voices. But their use in something so humanly joyful as the Two Street Mummers Parade — something that’s about the interaction between performers and citizens — seems a particularly distasteful omen for Philadelphia’s future.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • IPv6 celebrates its 20th birthday by reaching 10 percent deployment
      Twenty years ago this month, RFC 1883 was published: Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification. So what's an Internet Protocol, and what's wrong with the previous five versions? And if version 6 is so great, why has it only been adopted by half a percent of the Internet's users each year over the past two decades?

    • EFF Confirms: T-Mobile’s Binge On Optimization is Just Throttling, Applies Indiscriminately to All Video
      The first result of our test confirms that when Binge On is enabled, T-Mobile throttles all HTML5 video streams to around 1.5Mps, even when the phone is capable of downloading at higher speeds, and regardless of whether or not the video provider enrolled in Binge On. This is the case whether the video is being streamed or being downloaded—which means that T-Mobile is artificially reducing the download speeds of customers with Binge On enabled, even if they’re downloading the video to watch later. It also means that videos are being throttled even if they’re being watched or downloaded to another device via a tethered connection.

    • T-Mobile Is Flat Out Lying: It's Throttling Video Even Though It Says It's Not
      Big companies often have a way of tap dancing around the truth. It's rarely lying, because they will choose their words carefully, in a manner that clearly misleads or distorts, but is not necessarily outright lying. T-Mobile, however, appears to be flat out lying. We recently wrote about the charges from YouTube that T-Mobile was throttling YouTube videos as part of its Binge On program that zero rates video on mobile phones so it doesn't count against data caps. We noted the problems with this program when it launched, but YouTube's claims take it even further.

    • Facebook's ‘Free’ Internet Program Had a Rough Week
      Up to 3 million Egyptians lost their connection to the internet last week when Facebook’s Free Basics program was shut down on Wednesday. The reason for the shutdown of Facebook’s controversial Free Basics program, which launched in Egypt in October, is still not clear.

    • T-Mobile’s Binge On Indiscriminately Throttles All Video Content
      The more we learn about T-Mobile’s “Binge On” video streaming program, the more it seems to violate one of the basic tenets of the open internet: the idea that service providers shouldn’t have any control over what their connections are used to access.

      A new investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation has found that T-Mobile is throttling data speeds for videos from services that are not Binge On participants.

    • Everything You Need To Know About New Wi-Fi for the Internet of Things
      So far, the Wi-Fi Alliance is being pretty vague on the details about the new standard in terms of how much power it will consume, how far it will travel, and how much data it will be able to transfer (and how quickly). It does say that the new standard will use the 900 megahertz spectrum, which is currently unlicensed and used by microwave ovens, baby monitors and all sorts of other wireless devices. This means Wi-Fi will now work in three bands; the 2.4 GHz band, the 5 GHz band and the 900 MHz band.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • University Students Energise Global Campaign For Medical R&D Agreement
      UAEM, the international student organisation, has turned its attention to narrowing the gap in access to affordable medicines, especially those affecting developing countries, by calling for a new model for delinking the cost of R&D from prices of medical products.

    • Trademarks

      • ‘Le Journal d’Anne Frank’: sufficiently distinctive to be a trade mark, says OHIM Fourth Board of Appeal
        In a decision issued last summer that has so far escaped the IPKat's attention, the Board overturned the earlier decision of the examiner and allowed designation of the European Union (EU) in respect of the international registration of the word mark ‘Le Journal d’Anne Frank’.

        The following analysis provided by IP enthusiast Nedim Malovic (Stockholm University) - also to be published as a Current Intelligence note for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (Oxford University Press) - explains what happened.

    • Copyrights

      • And Of Course: Authors Guild Asks Supreme Court To Overturn Fair Use Ruling On Google Books

      • The Authors Guild files to take Google to the Supreme Court
        The Authors Guild has officially asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against Google — a long-running dispute over whether copyright law allows for Google to scan and post excerpts from books for its Google Books service. The group filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court Thursday.

      • Homeland Security Admits It Seized A Hip Hop Blog For Five Years Despite No Evidence Of Infringement; RIAA Celebrates
        Last month, we were actually the first publication to report that Homeland Security had very quietly "returned" two domains that it had "seized" five years ago based entirely on totally bullshit claims from the RIAA. We focused our story on the search engine torrent-finder, but also mentioned that it appeared that DHS had returned as well. As we had noted, back when the domain was first seized, OnSmash was a popular hip hop blog that many in the industry purposely sent their music to, because it was great for marketing and publicity. In fact, Kanye West had been known to promote OnSmash himself. That doesn't sound like a site "dedicated to infringement" as Homeland Security's ICE division claimed in the affidavit used to seize the website.

      • Here We Go Again: All The Works That Should Now Be In The Public Domain, But Aren't
        Each year, for the past few years, the wonderful Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University publishes a blog post highlighting key works that should have entered the public domain on January first, but did not. And each year, we write about it again. Here is the list for 2016. These are mostly works that were published in 1959. Under the law at the time they were created, the maximum copyright term was 56 years, and that apparently was more than enough of a bargain for the work to be created. That we retroactively extended those works, taking away the public domain for no actual benefit, remains a travesty. The list includes books like Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, William Burroughs' The Naked Lunch, Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, and Strunk and White's famed The Elements of Style. Films that should be in the public domain today include Ben-Hur, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot. The original season of the seminal Rocky and Bullwinkle show would also be in the public domain.

      • 'Mein Kampf’ copyright expires
        “Mein Kampf”, the manifesto of Adolf Hitler, will be available to buy in Germany for the first time in 70 years after the book’s copyright expired.

      • Anne Frank's Diary... And Hitler's Mein Kampf Hit The Public Domain In Europe - Despite Concerns About Both
        Anne Frank and Adolf Hitler both died in 1945 -- with Frank's death being caused by Hitler. European law (for now) says that copyright lasts 70 years "after death" of an author, and that means that the published writings of each of those individuals are now in the public domain in Europe -- though there's serious controversy about both. Even though we won't see any new public domain works here in the US for quite some time, over in Europe, at least some works are able to enter the public domain each January 1st.
      • Dropbox Scores Patent for Peer-to-Peer Syncing

        Dropbox has obtained a patent for peer-to-peer synchronization. The technology allows users to securely share files across different devices without uploading these to Dropbox's centralized servers. According to the company this should improve download speeds while cryptographic keys ensure that there are no sync conflicts.

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[Meme] Money In, No Money Out (Granting Loads of Invalid European Patents)
EPO production?
Staff Representation at the EPO Has Just Explained to Heads of Delegations (National Delegates) Why the EPO's Financial Study is Another Hoax
Here we are again 5 years later
Canonical and Red Hat Are Not Competing With Microsoft Anymore
What a shame they hired so many people from Microsoft...
Links 21/05/2024: "Hating Apple Goes Mainstream", Lots of Coverage About Julian Assange Ruling
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: Losing Fats and Modern XMPP
Links for the day
Microsoft Windows Used to Have Nearly 100% in China and Now Google Has 50% (With Android)
Will China bring about a faster "fall" for Microsoft?
Pursuing a Case With No Prospects (Because It's "Funny")
the perpetrators are taking a firm that's considered notorious
GNU/Linux Growing Worldwide (the Story So Far!)
Microsoft is unable to stop GNU/Linux
GNU/Linux in Honduras: From 0.28% to 6%
Honduras remains somewhat of a hotspot
Good News From Manchester and London, Plus High Productivity in Techrights
what has happened and what's coming
[Video] The 'Linux' Foundation Cannot be Repaired Anymore (It Sold Out)
We might need to accept that the Linux Foundation lost its way
Links 21/05/2024: Tesla Layoffs and Further Free Speech Perils Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: New Gemini Reader and Gemini Games
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 20, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 20, 2024
Red Hat Loves Microsoft Monopoly (and Proprietary Surveillance With Back Doors)
full posting history in
[Video] Just Let Julian Assange Go Back to Australia
Assange needs to be freed
The WWW declares the end of Google
Reprinted with permission from Cyber|Show
Gemini Links 20/05/2024: CMSs and Lua "Post to" Script Alternative
Links for the day
Windows Has Fallen Below 5% in Iraq, GNU/Linux Surged Beyond 7% Based on statCounter's Stats
Must be something going on!
Brodie Robertson - Never Criticise The Linux Foundation Expenses (With Transcript)
Transcript included
Links 20/05/2024: Protests and Aggression by Beijing
Links for the day
Can an election campaign succeed without social media accounts?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Read "Google Is Not What It Seems" by Julian Assange
In this extract from his new book When Google Met Wikileaks, WikiLeaks' publisher Julian Assange describes the special relationship between Google, Hillary Clinton and the State Department -- and what that means for the future of the internet
Fact check: relation to Julian Assange, founded Wikileaks at University of Melbourne and Arjen Kamphuis
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Julian Assange: Factual Timeline From an Online Friend
a friend's account
Breaking News: Assange Wins Right to Challenge Extradition to the US
This is great news, but maybe the full legal text will reveal some caveat
Gambia: Windows Down to 5% Overall, 50% on Desktops/Laptops
Windows was measured at 94% in 2015
Links 20/05/2024: Microsoft Layoffs and Shutdowns, RTO as Silent Layoffs
Links for the day
The Issue With Junk Traffic in Geminispace (Gemini Protocol)
Some people have openly complained that their capsule was getting hammered by bot
Peter Eckersley, Laura Smyth & the rushed closure of dial-up Internet in Australian universities
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Brittany Day, Plagiarist in Chief (Chatbot Slinger)
3 articles in the front page of right now are chatbot spew
Guardian Digital, Inc ( Has Resorted to Plagiarism by Chatbots, Flooding the World Wide Web With Fake 'Articles' Wrongly Attributed to Brittany Day
[Meme] Bullying the Victims
IBM: crybully of the year 2024
Ian.Community Should be Safer From Trademark Censorship
We wish to discuss this matter very quickly
Microsoft and Its Vicious Attack Dogs (Attacking Women or Wives in Particular)
Sad, pathetic, destructive people
Upcoming Series About the Campaign to 'Disappear' the Father of GNU/Linux
Today we have Julian Assange's fate to focus on
A Month From Now Gemini Protocol Turns 5
June 20
Colombia: From Less Than 0.5% to Nearly 4% for GNU/Linux
it's not limited to this one country
Rumour: Well Overdue Red Hat Layoffs to be Announced in About 3 Days
we know they've planned the layoffs for a while
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 19, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 19, 2024
Gemini Links 20/05/2024: Updated Noto Fontpacks and gemfeed2atom
Links for the day