Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 6/5/2016: Neptune 4.5.1, Parts of Basho DB Liberated

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 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 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.

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