Bonum Certa Men Certa

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

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

  • MATE Desktop Brought Over To Solaris / OpenIndiana
    For those using the Illumos-based OpenIndiana operating system originally derived from OpenSolaris, the MATE 1.14 desktop environment is now available.

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


  • Science

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

  • Health/Nutrition

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

      Nestle is simply too big and diversified to be hurt by a well-meaning collective action. It owns Arrowhead and Calistoga and San Pelligrino water, as well as Ice Mountain, and Poland Spring, and Deer Park. How do you mobilize a boycott against a company like this?
    • Men more reluctant to go to the doctor – and it’s putting them at risk
      Men can expect to die approximately five years sooner than women, and men are more likely to die as a result of unintentional injury and suicide relative to women.

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

    • [Old] Internal EPA E-Mail: ‘Not Sure Flint Is the Community We Want to Go Out on a Limb For’
      A Sept. 24, 2015 internal e-mail from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 Water Division Branch Chief Debbie Baltazar suggests that the federal agency might not want to “go out on a limb for” the community of Flint, Mich., which has been suffering from lead-tainted water since 2014 when the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

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

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

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

  • Security

    • Security isn't a feature, it's a part of everything
      Almost every industry goes through a time when new novel features are sold as some sort of add on or extra product. Remember needing a TCP stack? What about having to buy a sound card for your computer, or a CD drive? (Does anyone even know what a CD is anymore?) Did you know that web browsers used to cost money? Times were crazy.

    • Student Tried to Hack His School Network, Police Calls Him An Anonymous Member
      The State police and school district officials in Pennsylvania are investigating a case that involves a school student trying to hack into the school’s Wi-Fi network. The officials have told a local newspaper that they have found some evidence regarding his association with the hacktivist group Anonymous

  • Defence/Aggression

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

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

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

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

      The thought of a kindly, diminutive 83-year old grandmother sneaking through security is amusing, and the president can avoid it by meeting with Shigeko and other Hibakusha to listen to their hard-earned wisdom and passionate desire for peace.

    • Dan Berrigan, 1921 – 2016: “We Haven’t Lost, Because We Haven’t Given Up.”
      About the death of renowned anti-war activist, poet and writer Fr. Dan Berrigan at the age of 94, the Rev. John Dear wrote, in part, that Dan: “inspired religious opposition to the Vietnam war and later the U.S. nuclear weapons industry.”

    • Father Daniel Berrigan, Anti-war Hero With a Huge Blindspot
      Indeed, a person can be the most committed of peace activists and protesters and be firmly on the side of a woman’s right to abortion. One can be firmly opposed to state-sponsored executions and stand in solidarity with women seeking to exercise their human rights and control their own destinies. A leftist can work assiduously for the elimination of nuclear weapons and stand for the right to access medical care without the fear of being harmed by those zealots who wish to maintain that lofty and nonsensical concept of the idealized woman, and not as equals living lives that are meaningful and fulfilling.

    • Price for Witnessing Against War
      Tears welled as I watched Catholic Worker friends drop a large banner with the words from Isaiah, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. Nations shall make war no more,” a charge lived into by all three brothers Berrigan – Jerry, Dan, and Phil.

      And I thought back on what I learned decades ago at retreats led by Dan on the prophets Isaiah and Amos.

      During the eulogy, Liz McAlister, Phil’s widow, quoted from the “apology” Dan wrote for burning draft cards with home-made napalm in Catonsville, Maryland, in May 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War:

      “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house.”

      Liz continued to read from the Statement of the Catonsville 9: “The suppression of truth stops here; this war stops here!” (emphasis added by Liz’s own prophetic voice.) Not stopping was the loud, un-church-like cheering that rattled the rafters.

    • Future Options: From Militarism and Monsanto to Gandhi and Bhaskar Save
      This is because their business models and practices grow out of and drive a political and economic system run by oligarchical interests. These companies are instrumental in pushing for corrupt, anti-democratic trade deals like TTIP and fuel and profit from a model of globalisation that encourages unnecessary massive environmental destruction, the production of bad food, unsustainable farming practices and the use of health-damaging inputs. The system moreover thrives on an urban-centric model of development centred on resource-depletion, over-consumption and an economic neoliberalism underpinned by imperialist wars.

    • Australia-China Relations and the Politics of Canberra’s Submarine Deal
      The shift of the submarine tender from Japan to France can be considered a big win for Chinese foreign policy; if the perception of solidarity with the US consensus in the South China Seas is of any concern. While Beijing is predisposed to view any military upgrade in Australian naval forces, strategically, as a growing appendage of the American 7th Fleet, the threat of 12 new submarines to Beijing’s maritime security is likely not to be taken too seriously. Currently, only half of Australia’s six submarines are manned. The lack of naval personnel for submarine duty is not likely to grow any time soon. What is significant for Beijing rather is the reaffirmation by Canberra that economic instability and political insecurity is likely to continue to drive Australian defence policy, as opposed to security related needs.

    • Al-Qaeda Everywhere: US support for Oppressive Gov’t’s made Bin Laden’s Killing Moot
      The US government has never understood insurgency for the most part. Smart USG officials with whom I’ve interacted have had a firm belief that leadership is a rare quality and that you can attrite an organization by killing its leaders. This theory is patently false. It moreover gives false hope to counter-insurgency officials and fools them into thinking simple tactical steps will be effective.

      When Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on whom the Pentagon rather ridiculously blamed 80% of the violence in Iraq in 2005, was killed from the air in spring of 2006, many observers thought that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, his guerrilla group, was doomed. But his successor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, renamed it the Islamic State of Iraq and decided to experiment with holding territory in Diyala and other provinces under the noses of the US military.

    • Beyond the Wall: an In-Depth Look at U.S. Immigration Policy
      Political instability in Honduras has also raised concerns about U.S. commitment to democracy in the region. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will likely be the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, has been criticized by journalists, international affairs experts and indigenous rights activists for her role in legitimizing the 2009 coup that removed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power. Zelaya clashed with the United States on a number of issues including his drug policy, which directly contradicted the DEA’s regional enforcement strategy. He also proposed a controversial national poll to gauge public interest in modifying the 1982 Honduran Constitution and moved to the left on a number issues, putting him at odds with the country’s media. Despite these controversies, he was democratically elected and assumed office on January 27, 2006, meaning he should have served until January of 2010. Instead, he was kidnapped by the country’s military on June 28, 2009, and taken into exile.

    • U.S. Army Chaplain Resigns In Opposition to Use of Assassin Drones by the United States
      U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Christopher John Antal resigned from the U.S. Army Reserves on April 12, 2016 in opposition to U.S policies regarding militarized drones, nuclear weapons, and preventive war. Antal stated he could not serve as a chaplain for an “empire” and could not “reconcile his duty to protect and defend America and its constitutional democracy and his commitment to the core principles of his religious faith including justice, equity and compassion and the inherent worth and dignity of every person” with policies of the United States.

    • Obama’s drone war is a shameful part of his legacy
      Father Daniel Berrigan died Saturday at 94. The longtime peace activist gained national attention in 1968 when he and eight others, including his brother Philip (also a priest), burned draft records taken from a Selective Service office in Maryland. Decades later, he remains a powerful example of a man who never wavered in his beliefs, standing up time and again for the poor and oppressed. In his last years, Berrigan no longer had the energy to protest as frequently. But if he had been a few generations younger, can there be any doubt that he would have been at forefront of those protesting the expansion of the drone war under President Obama?

    • U.S. forces now on the ground supporting combat operations in Yemen, Pentagon says

    • An Army Captain Takes Obama to Court Over ISIS Fight
      A 28-year-old Army officer on Wednesday sued President Obama over the legality of the war against the Islamic State, setting up a test of Mr. Obama’s disputed claim that he needs no new legal authority from Congress to order the military to wage that deepening mission.

      The plaintiff, Capt. Nathan Michael Smith, an intelligence officer stationed in Kuwait, voiced strong support for fighting the Islamic State but, citing his “conscience” and his vow to uphold the Constitution, he said he believed that the mission lacked proper authorization from Congress.

      “To honor my oath, I am asking the court to tell the president that he must get proper authority from Congress, under the War Powers Resolution, to wage the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” he wrote.

    • Jeremy Scahill: Clinton is Legendary Hawk, But Sanders Shouldn't Get Pass on Role in Regime Change
      Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald weigh in on comments from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her rival, Bernie Sanders, who have both supported the use of drones. Scahill notes that while Clinton is often portrayed as a more hawkish "cruise missile liberal," Sanders also supported regime change in the 1990s. "Bernie Sanders signed onto neocon legislation that made the Iraq invasion possible by codifying into U.S. law that Saddam Hussein’s regime must be overthrown," Scahill says, and "then supported the most brutal regime of economic sanctions in world history, that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."

    • The establishment is lying about the 9/11 report
      As the push to declassify the 28 pages implicating the Saudis in 9/11 intensifies, the Washington establishment is circling the wagons around our Saudi “friends.”

      On Sunday, CIA Director John Brennan pooh-poohed the credibility of the chapter of the 2002 congressional 9/11 inquiry dealing with foreign sponsorship of the attacks that his boss still, despite repeated promises to 9/11 families, refuses to make public.

    • Amy Schumer’s Skit on Just How Easy It Is to Buy Guns in America Is Hilarious and Horrifying (Video)
      When several callers on Amy Schumer’s faux home shopping show say they can’t buy guns because of silly things such as violent convictions or being on the no-fly list, the comedian puts them at ease. “You can absolutely get a gun if you have several felonies as long as you buy it on the internet or at a gun show,” the “Inside Amy Schumer” host explains. “And caller, guess where you are right now? Bam! You’re at a gun show.”

      And it’s no accident the comedian has decided to deal with the topic of gun control on her show—she’s been an outspoken critic of lax gun laws ever since 2 people were shot at a screening of her film “Trainwreck” in Louisiana.

    • The Untold History of US War Crimes
      In this exclusive interview, Prof Peter Kuznick speaks of: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagazaki; US crimes and lies behind the Vietnam war, and what was really behind that inhumane invasion; why the US engaged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and how that war and the mainstream media influences the world today; the interests behind the assassinations of President Kennedy; US imperialism towards Latin America, during the Cold War and today, under the false premise of War on Terror and War on Drugs.

    • American Power Under Challenge
      When we ask “Who rules the world?” we commonly adopt the standard convention that the actors in world affairs are states, primarily the great powers, and we consider their decisions and the relations among them. That is not wrong. But we would do well to keep in mind that this level of abstraction can also be highly misleading.

      States of course have complex internal structures, and the choices and decisions of the political leadership are heavily influenced by internal concentrations of power, while the general population is often marginalized. That is true even for the more democratic societies, and obviously for others. We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while ignoring the “masters of mankind,” as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires, and the like. Still following Smith, it is also wise to attend to the “vile maxim” to which the “masters of mankind” are dedicated: “All for ourselves and nothing for other people” -- a doctrine known otherwise as bitter and incessant class war, often one-sided, much to the detriment of the people of the home country and the world.

    • The Times, They Are a Changin’!
      In short, rebellion is in the air – and, I would even venture to say, the spirit of revolution. Both Sanders and Trump, in their inchoate respective ways, are leading a revolt against the idea that America is and must forever more be the policeman of the world.

    • US Ambassador to Hungary: Overthrow Assad, Let in Refugees, and Fight Russia… or Else!
      If anyone wants a short course on what’s wrong with US diplomacy look no further than US Ambassador to Hungary Coleen Bell’s speech Friday to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament. In typical diplo-speak there was plenty of flowery language about shared values, fish swimming together in the same water (?), sappy poetics like “together, out of that winter, we would force the spring,” and talk of together being “part of the world’s greatest military and political alliance.”

      But make no mistake: Inside Ambassador Bell’s velvet glove is an iron fist, poised to strike should Washington’s annoyingly independent-minded Fidesz-led government step out of line on the big issues. And by “big” issues it should be understood that the US means the issues it considers in the interests of its own foreign policy, not those in Hungary’s interest.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hacker Guccifer Claims He Broke Into Hillary Clinton's Email Server
      The Romanian hacker who first inadvertently revealed the existence of Hillary Clinton’s secret, off-the-books email account back in 2014 now says he directly breached her home server, contradicting claims to the contrary by the Clinton campaign.

    • US Judge: Clinton may be ordered to testify in records case
      A federal judge said Wednesday he may order Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton to testify under oath about whether she used a private email server as secretary of state to evade public records disclosures.

    • Federal judge could order Hillary Clinton to testify about private server
      A federal judge is saying he could order presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to testify under oath about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

    • Whistleblowers Praised for Exposing Alleged Pentagon Contractor Fraud
      Two firms contracting with the Pentagon’s massive Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative agreed to pay the government $13 million to settle allegations of overbilling exposed by two whistleblowers, the Justice Department and private attorneys announced Tuesday.

      The California-based companies Menlo Worldwide Services and Estes Forwarding Worldwide agreed to resolve a lawsuit brought in 2013 under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens bringing forward material information to collect a reward. They were said to have billed the Pentagon the cost of moving freight by air when it was actually shipped by ground, charges that the companies did not admit to.

      The two firms were also alleged to have knowingly submitted inflated charges for air fuel instead of ground fuel, and charges for oversized freight when the freight did not qualify as oversized.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • City at the Heart of the Alberta Tar Sands Burning to the Ground
      The city which serves as the hub of one of the world’s largest climate-wrecking projects, the Alberta tar sands, is burning to the ground due to wildfires sparked by unseasonably dry and hot weather.

      The wildfires began some five days ago in the forests west of the city and then worsened when strong winds carried the fires to the edge and into the city, creating quasi-apocalyptic conditions. The city center is burning, including the city hospital. Flights in and out of the airport were cancelled as of noon on May 4.

    • From Philly to Australia, People Rise Up Against 'Fossil Fuel Dinosaur Economy'
      The climate movement was out in force on Saturday as demonstrators from Australia to Philadelphia laid their bodies down and raised their voices up to demand a just transition to renewable energy.

      In Newcastle, Australia, over 1,000 kayaktivists and other protesters shut down operations at the nation's largest coal export port.

      "For the first time in a very long while, no coal came into or left Newcastle Port today," organizers with climate action group 350 Australia wrote in an end-of-day recap of the dramatic occupation.

      "Kayakers blocked the harbour entrance in the largest flotilla ever seen here. While at the same time over 60 people blocked the only coal transport train line into the port, preventing any coal from getting to port for over six hours," they said. "Other brave folk suspended themselves from coal loaders and mooring lines of major coal assets."

    • Tar Sands Boomtown Blaze Still 'Burning Out of Control'
      The Alberta wildfire that has been dubbed The Beast and described as a post-apocalyptic nightmare is still burning "out of control," according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who gave a briefing Saturday afternoon in Edmonton.

      "In no way is this fire under control," she reiterated.

      Fire officials said Sunday that the fire will soon reach neighboring province Saskatchewan as the blaze is expected to double in size over the course of the weekend due to the high temperatures and gusting winds, growing to an estimated 3,000 square kilometers.

    • People Power Over Corporate Power = Canceled Pipeline Projects
      A long-standing fight for the public’s right to their land and waterways came to an end April 22 when Gov. Cuomo’s New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The pipeline was proposed to run for 124 miles and require the destruction of nearly 700,000 trees.

    • As Climate Deception Investigations Gain Momentum, ExxonMobil Plays the Victim
      With several state attorneys general now investigating whether ExxonMobil misled its shareholders and the public about climate change risks, it was more than a little ironic when the company recently cried foul.

      "Collaboration, collusion, conspiracy," charged ExxonMobil Media Relations Manager Alan Jeffers, "pick a word."

      Pick a word? How about nonsense? If anyone could be accused of collusion and conspiracy, it's ExxonMobil. But more on that later.

      What prompted Jeffers' ludicrous allegation was a meeting that took place on March 29. My colleague Peter Frumhoff, lead climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and environmental attorney Matt Pawa briefed a handful of state attorneys general, including New York's Eric Schneiderman, who launched an investigation of ExxonMobil last November. Later that day, Schneiderman and 16 other attorneys general joined former Vice President Al Gore at a press conference to declare their support for more aggressive government action on climate change. During the event, AGs from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Massachusetts announced that they, too, would initiate investigations of ExxonMobil.

    • The PAWS Act Would Protect Animal Victims of Domestic Violence
      Ample research and horrific statistics document a crystal-clear link between animal abuse and domestic violence – one reason the FBI now tracks animal abuse.

      Despite the fact that we understand this link in painfully intimate detail, pets are still at grave risk because they have fewer protections under the law. Abusers view animals as soft and easy targets — and another tool to use in abusing their partners. While some states have enacted additional protections for pets, there’s nothing on the federal level, yet.

  • Finance

    • Trump's New Finance Chair Led a Bank That Made Millions Off Taxpayer Bailouts
      Donald Trump has slammed Washington insiders, lobbyists, and Wall Street as he has tapped populist anger to snag the Republican presidential nomination. Yet when it came time to pick the top money man for his campaign, he turned to a hedge-funder best known for running a bank that made billions off taxpayer bailouts and, by one account, cost the federal government $13 billion.

    • A 2-Pronged Assault on Women
      The GOP isn't just taking aim at reproductive rights — it's after our very economic survival.

    • Why California’s $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Hike Still Isn’t High Enough
      California's $10 minimum wage will increase to $15 an hour by 2022, but the state's skyrocketing cost of living is already greater than most in the country.

    • How the Kleptocrats’ $12 Trillion Heist Helps Keep Most of the World Impoverished
      For the first time we have a reliable estimate of how much money thieving dictators and others have looted from 150 mostly poor nations and hidden offshore: $12.1 trillion.

      That huge figure equals a nickel on each dollar of global wealth and yet it excludes the wealthiest regions of the planet: America, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

      That so much money is missing from these poorer nations explains why vast numbers of people live in abject poverty even in countries where economic activity per capita is above the world average. In Equatorial Guinea, for example, the national economy’s output per person comes to 60 cents for each dollar Americans enjoy, measured using what economists call purchasing power equivalents, yet living standards remain abysmal.

    • The TTIP and TPP trade deals: enough of the secrecy
      It’s amazing how just a little transparency forced onto the free trade deals the Obama administration been negotiating in secret totally turns the public against them.

      After the contents of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the European Union was leaked and published by Greenpeace a few days ago, the negotiations – already in turmoil – have been thrown into further doubt now that the public has actually gotten to see what is being proposed by both sides.

      As usual with US-negotiated trade deals, the contents were kept completely secret from both ordinary Europeans and Americans, yet was easily accessible if you’re a giant corporation. So naturally, the terms are heavily tilted toward big business at the expense of the environment, health and safety standards.

    • Is Pro-Business Reform Pro-Growth?
      It might at first be puzzling why, given such a robust cross-sectional relationship being the World Bank's index and per-capita output, that I find no meaningful effects of pro-business reforms. To me, the most reasonable explanation is that the raw cross-country differences in the index probably captures a more meaningful measure of institutions than the jumps in the index, which reflect specific, discrete policy reforms. Countries with illiberal policies towards business probably have other problems that restrain economic development, but countries that change those policies in a sharply pro-business direction don't necessarily solve all those deeper problems in the same sweep.

    • Why Don’t Entitlement ‘Reformers’ Ever Talk About Military Spending and Tax Shelters?
      Now that Donald Trump seems to be a sure thing for the Republican nomination, a GOP-led “entitlement reform” movement is all but done—for now. The Republicans put “entitlement reform” front and center as a major issue in 2012, but given Clinton’s ostensible opposition and the meteoric rise of Trump, who says he opposes Social Security cuts, the legendary “Grand Bargain” is now on the political back burner. This, predictably, has left some of the “entitlement reform” holdouts very upset.

      First, resident Washington Post fat-trimmer Charles Lane, in “Entitlement Reform, RIP” (4/27/16), lamented that a Trump/Clinton match-up means “entitlement reform” is all but dead. The Weekly Standard‘s Mark Hemingway (4/28/16) incredulously asked, “Whatever Happened to Entitlement Reform?” And the emerging “Never Trump” crowd, which is rushing to find a third party to help bring back the Romney-Ryan reform magic — including Sen. Ben Sasse, who published a call for an independent candidate, based largely on prioritizing “entitlement reform.”

    • We Were Kidding About Donald Trump Literally Taking the U.S. to Bankruptcy Court, Right?
      GOP presumptive nominee discusses renegotiating federal debt, like struggling economies do.

    • Robert McChesney: Capitalism Is a Bad Fit for a Technological Revolution
      In this interview, Robert McChesney, author with John Nichols of People Get Ready, discusses their new book, its challenge to the idea that technological advances always benefit humans and a framework to envision a digital age that will benefit workers over the super-rich.

    • Stories of Mother Love
      More than 5.8 million children are living in households headed by grandparents. Even when parents also live in the home many grandparents assume the parental role. Nearly half of these children are living with grandparents who say they are responsible for their grandchildren, and close to a million have no parent present in the home. More than a third of the 1.6 million grandmothers who say they are responsible for grandchildren are like Mrs. Dees – over 60 years old. So many children have been diverted from the child welfare system to live with a grandparent and sometimes their grandparents are their foster parents or legal guardians.

    • Capitalist Pig Comes Out For Hillary
      "I start with the premise that the only thing that can save the country is capitalism," writes Capitalist Pig hedge fund manager Jonathan Hoenig in a recent blog post titled "Why Hillary Has My Vote." The problem, according to Hoenig, is that Donald Trump seems to represent capitalism, while being explicitly anti-capitalist on numerous issues.

    • ‘You Never Know’: Trump Doubles Down On Default
      Hours after locking up the Republican presidential nomination this week, Donald Trump suggested that defaulting on the national debt could be a good thing. Economists and financial observers pointed out that his proposal to buy back U.S. debts for less than what America borrowed would send interest rates soaring and cripple the dollar’s vital status as the world’s safest investment.

      Pressed to explain why he thinks a huge national lender like China would accept a loss on their investment in the United States on Sunday, Trump offered only a verbal shrug.

      “You never know,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulous. “At some point, they might want to get out. Maybe they need their money, they might wanna get out.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump diminishes democracy

      How the Americans vote in their presidential election should be only their business. But it cannot be so.
    • They're Still Not Telling the Real Story: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the Analysis You Won't Hear on Cable News
      After every presidential primary, we were treated to a new round of conventional wisdom about what things mean for both parties going forward. Yet, there’s every reason to be deeply skeptical of these discussions among people who never saw either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders coming. They represent a chattering class that both expected and normalized a “war of dynasties” between Bushes and the Clintons, then marveled at the “depth” of the Republican bench, and spent months obsessing over whether Joe Biden would run, as if he were a figure of mythic proportions.

    • Why the 2016 Election Could Be the Start of an Authoritarian Strain in US Politics
      Ignoring rule of law is a classic sign of Totalitarian thinking — and that's exactly Trump's mindset.
    • Trump Advisor's Putin Connections Freaks Out Security Establishment (Video)
      Late last year, the world marveled at the budding bromance between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Putin, who is alleged to have ordered the jailing and murder of political opponents and journalists critical of his regime, heaped praise on the “absolute leader of the presidential race,” calling Trump “bright and talented.”


      In particular, policy experts are concerned about Trump’s newest political operative, Paul Manafort, who was recruited last month to lead the effort to secure delegates for the GOP convention in July. Manafort has significant experience laying the infrastructure for successful political campaigns, both in the United States and abroad. Slate provides extensive detail of Manafort’s dealings with foreign leaders, summarily stating Trump’s latest hire “made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom.”

    • Donald Trump Won’t Self-Fund General-Election Campaign
      Presumptive Republican nominee plans to create ‘world-class finance organization’ to back campaign

    • Trump Dodges on Whether He’s Met With Vladimir Putin: ‘I Don’t Want to Say’
      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he had ever met with or spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

      CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked him about Russian fighter jets buzzing U.S. ships, the latest in a series of military provocations by Russia.

      “Lack of respect,” Trump said quickly.

      “Lack of respect?” Blitzer asked. “If you were president, what would you tell Putin?”

      “I would call him and say, ‘Don’t do it again,’” he said. “I would say, ‘Don’t do it again,’ and I think I’ll have a good relationship with him. So far, we’re off to a good start. He said Trump is a genius, OK? I think I’ll have a good relation—”

    • The Trump Train Chugs Along
      The point of Trump’s current lead is that any move at the convention against him will be seen as disastrous. On the other hand, the GOP machine men and women will be wondering if going with Trump will also come with its own destructive promise, a suicide pact that will banish the party into the wilderness. The chalice is being readied.

    • The Story of How Maine’s Governor Got His Dog Will Make You Angry

      The shelter has since admitted to breaking its own rules by giving LePage a chance to adopt the dog a day earlier than the public.

      It remains to be seen if Veto will soon be moving to Washington, DC, as LePage is reportedly gunning for a position in the Trump administration.

    • Obama official says he pushed a ‘narrative’ to media to sell the Iran nuclear deal
    • Why the Ben Rhodes profile in the New York Times Magazine is just gross
    • The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

    • Millennials’ non-voting habits, explained
      Perhaps more surprisingly, Roberts doesn’t bring up the millennials who’ve already pushed the climate conversation this election into the mainstream, cornering Clinton into a firm rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and prompting a national conversation about the role of fossil fuel money — including hers — in politics. Also absent are the now hundreds of students who’ve been arrested to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and the over 60 of them jailed this spring for fossil fuel divestment.

    • The Media Myth of the Working-Class Reagan Democrats
      Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, we are likely to get all sorts of mainstream media analysis about how his narrow pathway to Election Day victory runs through white working-class America, the way Ronald Reagan’s did, while the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, must corral young people, minorities and the well-educated.

      In case you haven’t noticed, there is an unmistakable media bias in this – one that was framed perfectly in a Newsweek cover story by Evan Thomas eight years ago. It was about Barack Obama’s alleged “Bubba Gap,” and illustrated with a picture of arugula — and beer. Democrats, naturally, were the arugula eaters.

    • An Honest Man at the BBC @KKeaneBBC
      Yorkshireman Mr Keane’s salary is approximately €£170,000 pa less than that of Laura Keunssberg and significantly less than that of Sarah Smith. I am afraid his unfortunate addiction to truth telling is not going to have a positive effect on reducing that disparity. Indeed I fear for his continued employment. But we will ensure he is always welcome in Scotland.

    • This Ain’t the Kentucky Derby, Y’All
      On Sander’s side, as the path to nomination becomes narrower, some of us cry foul with increasing vehemence, blaming Clinton’s success on a rigged contest.

    • Few stand in Trump’s way as he piles up the Four-Pinocchio whoppers
      But the news media now faces the challenge of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Trump makes Four-Pinocchio statements over and over again, even though fact checkers have demonstrated them to be false. He appears to care little about the facts; his staff does not even bother to respond to fact-checking inquiries.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • 'Upfront' Gulshan Grover demands censorship on 'dirty' web series content
      The bad man of Bollywood Gulshan Grover is all set to make his debut in the world of web series. The actor will soon be seen in Viacom18's web-film titled ' Badman' that will be showcased as a four part film.

    • Societies with poor literacy rate prone to censorship
      “You can outsmart censorship with learning English and expanding your reading materials.”

      So said a Singaporean literary writer who has encountered many situations showing that censorship is enabled by a poor literacy rate.

      “We’ve seen that the Singaporean government is very fond of censorship and they use the idea of censorship as a way to shape society,” Stephanie Ye said in a discussion entitled “Being Shut Down” at the 2016 ASEAN Literary Festival in Jakarta on Sunday.

      “One reason why censorship doesn’t really work there is because the country’s population is extremely literate. Most people can read in English, so it’s so easy to access foreign media [to find alternative reading material]. You can’t censor every single thing that is in English out there,” she went on.

    • Akasha is a Censorship Resistant Blogging Network
      Akasha Project was unveiled on may the 3rd, created by one of Ethereum’s cofounder Mihai Alisie the venture seeks to create a social network on top of Ethereum’s Blockchain, using a technological stack comprised of IPFS, Electron, React, and Node.js. The goal is to have a censorship resistant Social Network that also prevents the loss of the user’s data.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Navy ‘Spy’ Edward Lin Spilled No Secrets To Taiwan
      A U.S. Navy sailor charged with espionage didn’t provide military secrets to a foreign government, but rather to an FBI informant who was posing as a Taiwanese official, military officials revealed Thursday.

      The latest twist in the case against Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin, 39, came as military officials allowed reporters to listen to a recording from a military pretrial hearing held on April 8. There, prosecutors alleged that Lin was the target of a sting operation that led to his arrest and two-day interrogation at the Honolulu International Airport last September.
    • FBI Wants to Exempt Its Massive Biometric Database from Some Federal Privacy Rules
      The FBI wants to block individuals from knowing if their information is in a massive repository of biometric records, which includes fingerprints and facial scans, if the release of information would "compromise" a law enforcement investigation.

      The FBI’s biometric database, known as the “Next Generation Identification System,” gathers a wide scope of information, including palm prints, fingerprints, iris scans, facial and tattoo photographs, and biographies for millions of people.

      On Thursday, the Justice Department agency plans to propose the database be exempt from several provisions of the Privacy Act -- legislation that requires federal agencies to share information about the records they collect with the individual subject of those records, allowing them to verify and correct them if needed.

      Aside from criminals, suspects and detainees, the system includes data from people fingerprinted for jobs, licenses, military or volunteer service, background checks, security clearances, and naturalization, among other government processes.

    • NSA Plan to Trash Employee Complaint Files Raises Concerns for Some
      The National Security Agency plans to immediately discard records containing preliminary workplace complaints raised by employees. The files set to be destroyed are created by the NSA Ombudsman program, a low-profile office that resolves conflicts between personnel. It is not the ombudsman's job to handle reported abuses of power, rather inspectors general and diversity offices deal with those issues.

      However, amid a legal battle about the potential improper disposal of whistleblower evidence, there are concerns that informal information reported by informants or victims of retaliation could be thrown out under the ombudsman policy.

      "Destroy immediately after case is closed," state new recordkeeping instructions for working case files produced by the NSA ombudsman.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Dangers from Hating Government
      Even within the private sector, Trump’s background does not extend to the sorts of decision-making situations that would confront, say, the chief executive officer of a large, well-established corporation.

      Instead, Trump’s career, apart from his flings at presidential campaigning, has almost exclusively been about deal-making aimed at personal enrichment and enhancing recognition of the Trump brand name. Against the backdrop of U.S. history and past U.S. presidents, Trump’s personal qualifications are breathtakingly narrow and shallow, and his endeavors inwardly oriented.

    • RISE: New Politics for a Tired Scotland
      The first thing RISE wants you to know is that it isn’t a party, it’s an alliance: formed in August 2015. The second is the acronym; Respect, Independence, Socialism, Environmentalism.

    • No Charges Against Cop Who Got Into a Deadly Struggle After a Door Hit His Foot
      Nicholas Kehagias, a sheriff's deputy in Harnett County, North Carolina, came to John Livingston's house in the middle of the night, looking for two people who weren't there. Ten minutes later, Livingston was lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his porch, mortally wounded by three rounds from the deputy's gun.

      Last month a grand jury declined to indict Kehagias for second-degree murder in connection with the November 15 shooting. But a recent investigation by the Raleigh News & Observer suggests the deputy's behavior that night fits a pattern of excessive force and needless escalation of encounters with local residents.

      Kehagias was responding to an assault complaint. The fight did not happen at Livingston's house, but Kehagias thought two of the people allegedly involved might be there. When Livingston said they weren't, Kehagias did not believe him. He wanted to come in and have a look around. Not unless you have a warrant, Livingston said, shutting the door, which hit Kehagias on his foot and arm. The deputy viewed that as an assault and barged into Livingston's house along with his partner, determined to vindicate the affront by handcuffing Livingston and hauling him off to jail.

    • The End of the Bill of Rights is at Our Fingertips
      Unfortunately, the convenience of “biometric” identification comes with a cost.

    • Black and brown boys don’t need to learn “grit,” they need schools to stop being racist
      Everyone seems to think that a lack of “soft skills” is the reason why students of color aren’t ready for college and careers. More schools and after-school programs are teaching students how to have “grit,” compassion and a “growth mindset.” Under the new federal education law, states are encouraged to use “nonacademic” factors to hold schools accountable.

    • Central America Is As Violent As Ever. What Would it Take to Change?
      Thirty years after covering wars in the "Northern Triangle," a veteran reporter returns to find several reasons for hope amid the violence.

    • A Whistle-Blower Behind Bars
      On January 24, 2013, the Florida Department of Corrections received a grievance letter from an inmate named Harold Hempstead, who had been imprisoned at the Dade Correctional Institution. The letter was brief and its tone was matter-of-fact, but the allegations it contained were shocking, raising troubling questions about the death of a mentally ill inmate named Darren Rainey, who had collapsed in a shower seven months earlier, on June 23, 2012—a case that I wrote about in the magazine this week. According to Hempstead’s letter, the death had been misrepresented to disguise the abuse that preceded it. The reason Rainey collapsed in the shower, Hempstead alleged, was that he had been locked in the stall by guards, who directed scalding water at him. Hempstead’s cell was directly below the shower. That night, he had heard Rainey yelling, “I can’t take it no more,” he recalled. Then he heard a loud thud—which he believed was the sound of Rainey falling to the ground—and the yelling stopped. Hempstead concluded his letter by calling for an investigation.

    • [Last year] The CIA Paid This Contractor $40 Million to Review Torture Documents
      One of the main criticisms leveled by Republicans and CIA supporters about the Senate Intelligence Committee's landmark five-year study into the CIA's torture program has been the cost to taxpayers: $40 million.

      The implication by these critics is that the Senate Democrats who led the investigation were responsible for the expenditures associated with the production of their voluminous report, which concluded that the CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" was not effective and did not produce "unique" and "valuable" intelligence.

    • Archivist Won’t Call “Torture Report” a Permanent Record
      Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero last week rebuffed requests to formally designate the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices a “federal record” that must be preserved.

      Senators Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy had urged the Archivist to exercise his authority to certify that the Senate report is a federal record.

      “We believe that Congress has made it clear that the National Archives has a responsibility — as the nation’s record keeper — to advise other parts of the United States government of their legal duty to preserve documents like the Senate Report under the Federal Records Act, the Presidential Records Act, and other statutes,” Senators Feinstein and Leahy wrote in an April 13 letter.

    • London’s Muslim Mayor is nothing New: 1300 yrs of Muslims who Ran Major European Cities
      Going back into history, parts of Spain, and often quite a lot of it, were under Muslim rule 711 to 1492. So for example, Abd al-Rahman I was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in 756. We’re talking major Western European city here. In the 900s Cordoba was the most populous city in the world.

    • Top US Intelligence Lawyer’s Testimony Shows Obama Encouraged Leak Prosecutions
      Recently released testimony from the former top lawyer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence undermines claims by President Barack Obama’s administration that it has had no desire for leak prosecutions. It also renews concerns about the insider threat program implemented and expanded since U.S. military whistleblower Chelsea Manning disclosed documents to WikiLeaks. And it proves the insider threat program is a roundabout way to identify and go after whistleblowers.

      The testimony was delivered by ODNI General Counsel Robert S. Litt on February 9, 2012, during a closed session held by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It was obtained by Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News through a Freedom of Information Act request.

      “This administration has been historically active in pursuing prosecution of leakers, and the intelligence community fully supports this effort,” Litt declares.

      A few months later, “aides” from the Obama administration told Charlie Savage and Scott Shane of the New York Times that Obama “never ordered investigations.” Unnamed current and former officials asserted the record number of prosecutions was “unplanned” and “resulted from several leftover investigations” from President George W. Bush’s administration. These unnamed officials also attributed the increase to a “proliferation of email and computer audit trails that increasingly can pinpoint reporters’ sources, bipartisan support in Congress for a tougher approach, and a push by the director of national intelligence in 2009 that sharpened the system for tracking disclosures.”

    • The Shooting of Dion Avila Damon: A Case of Extrajudicial Killing by the Police?
      Many questions have surfaced following the police killing of 40-year-old Dion Avila Damon on April 12 in Denver, Colorado. Police technician Jeff Motz fired seven shots through the front windshield of Damon's car, killing him in front of his wife and stepson.

      The Denver Police Department stated that Damon had a warrant for a suspected bank robbery and he was under surveillance. Dawn Aguirre, Damon's wife, explained that the family had driven downtown to pay a parking ticket when a truck came up and hit the car with Damon in it shortly after she and her son exited the vehicle. Aguirre told reporters that she yelled to the police, "Please don't shoot, I'm not armed; my husband's not armed" before the police officer fatally shot Damon multiple times. Aguirre also stated that Damon would have surrendered if the police gave him a chance.
    • Parents of 20-Year-Old Confidential Informant Who Turned Up Dead To Sue Law Enforcement
      Attorney representing Andrew Sadek's family tells Reason they plan to sue the police for fraud and negligence.

    • Cynthia Dewi Oka: A Conversation With My Six-Year-Old About Revolution
    • A response to Norman Finkelstein’s interview
      As a practical matter, the Zionists and Nazis could therefore find a degree of common ground around the emigration/expulsion of Jews to Palestine. It was a paradox that, against the emphatic protestations of liberal Jews, including sections of the Anglo-Jewish establishment, antisemites and Zionists back then effectively shared the same slogan: Jews to Palestine. It was why, for example, the Nazis forbade German Jews to raise the swastika flag, but expressly permitted them to hoist the Zionist flag. It was as if to say, the Zionists are right: Jews can’t be Germans, they belong in Palestine. Hannah Arendt wrote scathingly about this in Eichmann in Jerusalem, which is one of the reasons she caught hell from the Jewish/Zionist establishment.” Zionism was perfectly capable of inspiring resistance to the Nazis as ‘Antek’ Zuckerman, a leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, makes clear in his massive autobiography, A Surplus of Memory.


      This is the context for the truly sinister cat and mouse game the Nazis were playing when they appeared to be supporting the Zionist project in Palestine even if did mean some German Jews, by moving to Palestine with Hitler’s agreement, escaped the death camps. It’s a simple enough proposition but perhaps not as obvious as it should be. If Rommel had won the desert war in the Middle East, Palestine’s Jews would have been deported to those camps.

      Even in its most reactionary form, Zionism, before the second world war, which had no guarantee for its claims on Palestine, was one of the voices of oppressed Jews facing the growth of violent anti Semitism as a mass movement everywhere, though of course in widely differing degrees of intensity. That strand of Zionism which tried to grovel with its tormentor, camouflaged as ‘negotiation’, even to the point of mimicry, remained always at its mercy.

    • The U.S. Government Has Been Outsourcing The Gitmo Trial
      The Defense Department has given a multimillion-dollar contract to one private company — to serve both the defense and the prosecution in the Gitmo terror cases.
    • ‘Suspected Terrorist’ Kicked Off Plane Actually A Professor Working On A Math Equation
      On Thursday evening, Guido Menzio, a successful economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, boarded a flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse. As the 40-year-old professor was waiting for the flight to take off, he began working on a differential equation related to a speech he was slated to give at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. Soon after Menzio got to work, his seatmate, who said she was feeling sick, slipped a note to the flight attendant. Surprisingly, the plane turned around and headed back to the gate. Menzio was then escorted off the plane and questioned by an official, who informed him that he was suspected of terrorism.

    • Europe's day: a reflection

      On Europe Day, let us remember that peace is not achieved simply through an absence of war, but through an end to the very antagonisms and contradictions driving conflict in all its guises.

    • San Francisco Protesters Targeting Police Brutality End Hunger Strike After 17 Days
      Five San Franciscans protesting police brutality and institutional racism against the city’s Black and Brown youths ended their hunger strike after 17 days, despite City Hall rejecting their key demand to fire Police Chief Greg Suhr.

    • Bearing the Cross
      Bearing the cross is not about the pursuit of happiness. It does not embrace the illusion of inevitable human progress. It is not about achieving wealth, celebrity or power. It entails sacrifice. It is about our neighbor. The organs of state security—in Dan’s case, the FBI—monitor and harass you. They amass huge files on your activities. They disrupt your life. And in Friday’s homily, the Rev. Stephen Kelly, evoking laughter, welcomed the FBI agents who had been “assigned here today to validate that it is Daniel Berrigan’s funeral mass so they can complete and perhaps close their files.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Oracle v. Google copyright retrial won't bring clarification on application programming interfaces (APIs)
        Tomorrow, the Oracle v. Google Android-Java copyright retrial is scheduled to begin. Almost six years have passed since the filing of this lawsuit, and about four years since the first trial, which could have been much more useful if not for Judge Alsup's sometimes unfathomable (and bad) decisions.

        There's really no reason to get excited about this retrial with respect to application programming interfaces (APIs). For Oracle it's more important than for Google to make headway, and for the outside world it's of very limited interest what happens now (as opposed to what may happen on appeal). During and after the first trial, the copyrightability of APIs was a key issue. In my opinion, the way this played out was merely consistent with what the law had been all along, but admittedly a lot of people took a different position in the public debate, so this had to be settled--and it has been, in Oracle's (and almost all software developers') favor.

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