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Links 1/6/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.11, Unreal Engine 4.12

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Now, draw sketches to search for images, videos!
    Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have developed a system known as vitrivr, which allows a search for images and videos by means of a sketch.

  • Vitrivr is an open source engine that lets you search for videos with a sketch

    The vitrivr system is open source and freely available on GitHub.

  • This open source software dominates the web, but what is Apache?
    The importance of the web shouldn't be underestimated, it has helped to open up the world, democratise information and is one of the greatest ever inventions.

    While it has had a profound influence on the world, the web is made up of numerous different elements, such as web server software.

    Apache, an open source software that is available for free, is the most widely used web server software and is developed and maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.

  • ownCloud Gets Its' Own Foundation
    Contrary to the common trend of bringing an open-source project like ownCloud into an established model, like the Linux Foundation's Collaborative Project approach, where the Cloud Foundry Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, node js foundation, OpenDayLight and so many other now live, ownCloud is building its own Foundation.

  • Hyperledger Work on Its Open-Source Footing
    Taking a bootstrapped initiative to a healthy open-source project is difficult. But when there’s only approximately 100 developers in the world that have a deep understanding of the technology, such as blockchain, the difficulty increases dramatically.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet forever! Watch sessions from 2016 online
      That's right, you can now watch the keynote conversation with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and 32 more sessions from LibrePlanet 2016: Fork the System on the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) GNU MediaGoblin instance, including:

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open Source Speech Recognition
        I’m currently working on the Vaani project at Mozilla, and part of my work on that allows me to do some exploration around the topic of speech recognition and speech assistants. After looking at some of the commercial offerings available, I thought that if we were going to do some kind of add-on API, we’d be best off aping the Amazon Alexa skills JS API. Amazon Echo appears to be doing quite well and people have written a number of skills with their API. There isn’t really any alternative right now, but I actually happen to think their API is quite well thought out and concise, and maps well to the sort of data structures you need to do reliable speech recognition.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Why open source will be critical to the future of SDDC
      OpenStack, the leading solution for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is currently being used by various organizations for their own on-premises private cloud, for hybrid cloud deployments, or for offering public cloud services to their clients. Through Nova, the compute module of OpenStack, various other components can be controlled, such as networking, block and object storage, disk imaging, identity management, key management, DNS, and search, among others. The entire deployment can be managed using the Horizon dashboard software.

      While OpenStack, itself, does not attempt to emulate the API design of popular public cloud providers, compatibility layers are being developed that provide compatibility with Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and Google Compute Engine.

    • The Rise of Deep Learning in the Tech Industry
      Tech analysts love trending topics. In fact, that’s their job: forecast and analyze trends. Some years ago we had “Big Data”, more recently “Machine Learning”, and now it s the time of “Deep Learning”. So let’s dive in and try to understand what‘s behind it and what impact it can have on our society.

  • Databases

    • The Limitations of NoSQL Database Storage: Why NoSQL's Not Perfect

      NoSQL databases have emerged as a leading new data storage technology. But they're not perfect. Here's a look at the limitations and drawbacks of NoSQL storage.

      To be sure, NoSQL offers a lot of advantages over traditional data storage techniques. But NoSQL is not a uniformly better storage solution.

      SQL-style storage systems, like MySQL, come out ahead in some contexts. In others, there's not yet any ideal storage platform.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • How to get started with LibreOffice
      If you use your Mac or PC for word processing, creating and editing spreadsheets or putting the finishing touches on a slideshow presentation, you need a suite of office applications that come with all the tools you need to create some impressive documents, and LibreOffice is one of the best options.

      The Microsoft Office suite is near ubiquitous, but even though Mac version of Office 2016 released last year, it's still relatively expensive.

      While iWork has become free, it lacks some of the features that come with other office suites. LibreOffice, however, is not only completely free, but it's constantly updated with improvements and new features, and contains a host of tools that you'd expect in an expensive software collection.

  • CMS

    • How to Select the Best Open Source CMS
      In this article, I’m going to get into minute detail with you on all of the major aspects of open source CMS and the things you should consider to make an informed decision. This is my “how to select the best open source CMS” guide.

      When it comes to selecting a CMS, there’s no doubt that the process of doing so is overwhelming (hey, it’s why this site exists!) but it doesn’t have to be.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Gnuisance 4.0, Plasma Features, Augmented Reality
      gNewSense 4.0 was released at the beginning of May and today blogger DarkDuck said it's still a gnuisance due to the lack of drivers. Elsewhere, looked at the features of KDE Plasma and Linux Laptop leader System 76 CEO Carl Richell used Linux to augment reality. The Linux Setup interviewed Korora contributor Jim Dean and Matt Hartley sent another love-letter to Ubuntu.

    • gNewSense: past 5 years, same nuisance
      The documentation says the distribution name gNewSense came from Gnuisance, the RMS's GPG key. Is it true? Or the whole system is just a g-nuisance? Let's check.

  • Public Services/Government

    • North American Cities Slow to Adopt Open Source Software
      The move to open source is inevitable as open source communities of developers continue to work on 1000's of applications & as more software development companies invest in open source models to allow for greater flexibility & lower end user prices than existing proprietary competitors. Europe has more than a decade head start on North American cities. The quality of available open source software has improved so much in that decade that the transition can be far easier for cities starting now.

    • Cities And FLOSS
      Obviously there are huge savings in licensing fees to be had by cities migrating to FLOSS solutions from the desktop OS to the servers. On the other hand there is time/money/effort required to make changes happen but these are mostly one-time costs. Cities in Europe have been adopting GNU/Linux and FLOSS steadily for more than a decade. It’s about time North American cities did the same.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Announcing the Open Source License API
      Over the last 19 years, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an Open Source license [1], and a list of licenses which are known to be compatible with the OSD.

    • New API helps open-source developers 'become license-aware'
      The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

      According to the organization, the API will allow third parties to "become license-aware", giving businesses everywhere the means to determine if a license is open source or not.

      The Open Source Initiative considers this the next "logical step" and quite important, knowing all the copyright and license legal battles going on nowadays, and how expensive they can be.

      Open Source Lead at GitHub, Brandon Keepers offered, "A canonical, machine-readable source of license metadata is a great step towards enabling developers to build tools around open source licensing and compliance. We can’t wait to see what the community does with it".

    • Oracle's Lead Lawyer Against Google Vents That The Ruling 'Killed' The GPL
      Except, of course, tons of copyright experts predicted exactly this result (and many more argued that APIs should not be subject to copyright at all). Famed copyright scholar Pam Samuelson has been writing extensively about the case, focusing both on why APIs should not be covered by copyright (and, why basically every other court has agreed) as well as why, even if it is covered, it's fair use. Hell, she even wrote a response to the Hurst piece, explaining why Hurst was wrong. It's weird for Hurst to take a position that actually seems at odds with a huge number of copyright experts, and then state that none would take the position that many did.


      Once again, this shows a rather unfortunate ignorance of how coding works. It's not about a desire to "copy freely." It's about building amazing and innovative services, and making use of APIs to increase interoperability, which increases value. Copying an API structure is also just much more about making developers comfortable in using new environments. You know, like how Oracle copied SQL from IBM. Because lots of people understood SELECT-FROM-WHERE and it made little sense to create a relational database that didn't use that structure. It's not about copying freely. It's about interoperability.

      And, really, the idea that an Oracle lawyer is "concerned" about the future of the GPL is fairly laughable. Thankfully, many people have weighed in in the comments -- including plenty who are quite familiar with the GPL and software development to explain to Hurst why she's wrong. Somehow, I think she has some fairly strong reasons to ignore those responses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Munich Open Government Day, 27 October 2016
      On 27 October, the German City of Munich is organising the fourth edition of its annual Open Government Day. This year's theme is 'openness, participation and digitisation — impulses for a modern community'. The day provides an opportunity for discussion and exchange of experiences with Open Government.

    • Open Access/Content

      • New open source science journal launched by Consumer Wellness Center: the Natural Science Journal
        A new science journal that focuses on food and environmental science has just been launched by the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center. Called the "Natural Science Journal," the new peer-reviewed journal focuses on independent science pursued by laboratories and scientists who have no financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness giants or government funding sources.

      • Open access should be the norm for EU by 2020, say research ministers
        EU research ministers have published a commitment to make “open access to scientific publications as the option by default by 2020.” The decision was taken during a meeting of the Competitiveness Council, which is made up of ministers from the EU’s member states. In addition, ministers agreed “to the best possible reuse of research data as a way to accelerate the transition towards an open science system.”

        The formal “conclusions” of the meeting define open access to publications as “free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers.” This is taken from the key Budapest Open Access Initiative that helped to define open access back in 2002—an indication of how slow progress has been so far.

      • Harvard and MIT teamed up for this open-source online education platform
        It’s often said that the internet makes it possible for anyone to get educated on any subject. But just as in offline modes of education, the many models of online teaching and learning are far from perfect, with plenty of room for improvement and innovation.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The story of Ultimaker: 3D printers with open source DNA
        For those who have been immersed in a capitalist society, open source thinking can seem counterintuitive. For the last three decades wealth has been determined through ownership and property rights. Businesses have been valued and financed based on the patents they own and the applications of their intellectual property. But open source, a term originating from software code being open for other developers to use, has started to change the prevailing capitalist mentality. Innovation is essential to their survival, and companies are seeing open source thinking, like sharing and collaborating, as a methods towards that goal.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP 5.3 Through PHP 7.1-dev Tests Along With HHVM On Ubuntu 16.04
      With preparing for the upcoming release of Phoronix Test Suite 6.4-Hasvik I've been running through my validation tests on all supported versions of PHP going back to PHP 5.3 as well as HHVM. As part of that testing, I've been running my self-hosted tests of the major PHP release series once again up through PHP 7.1-dev. Here are those results if you are curious about some fresh PHP CLI benchmarks.

      The results in this article are of PHP 5.3 through PHP 7.0.7 and PHP 7.1-dev (as of this morning in php-src Git) plus Facebook's HHVM PHP implementation via the Ubuntu 16.04 package repository. I also tested PHP 7.0.4 as currently packaged in Ubuntu 16.04 compared to my freshly built 5.3.29 / 5.4.45 / 5.5.36 / 5.6.22 / 7.0.7 / 7.1.0-dev that are basically stock builds with ensuring ZIP / XML / JSON / PCNTL support is enabled. (Basically, part of what I do for each quarterly Phoronix Test Suite release to ensure compatibility and a good out-of-the-box experience going back still to PHP 5.3.)

    • HPE targets DevOps and agile with new application lifecycle management software
      The platform makes use of common toolsets and frameworks, such as Jenkins, GIT, and Gherkin, while also providing insights to developers and application testers. This could potentially help enterprises deliver those applications more quickly, without having to cut corners in the vetting process.

    • US computer-science classes churn out cut-n-paste slackers – and yes, that's a bad thing
      Computer science (CS) students in the US aren't being taught properly, and their classes are too limited in scope, says one IT think-tank.

      The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) says that its most recent study [PDF] of curriculum in the US has found that not enough schools are offering computer science classes, and those that do aren't going in-depth enough.

      As a result, the ITIF says, many universities are failing to produce the diverse, well-trained graduates that companies seek to hire.

      "There is the possibility that interest in the field could again wane like it did in 2003 following the burst of the tech bubble," ITIF warns.

      "To maintain the field's current momentum, the perception of computer science needs to shift from its being considered a fringe, elective offering or a skills-based course designed to teach basic computer literacy or coding alone."

      The report found that at the high school level, dedicated computer science classes are mostly limited to affluent schools, and when the courses are taught, girls and minority students are rarely enrolled.

    • LLVM Looks At Moving From SVN To Git Via GitHub
      While there have been Git mirrors available of LLVM and its sub-projects (including Clang) for some time, this open-source compiler infrastructure project has relied upon SVN as its cental development repository. The LLVM project is now looking at finally transitioning to Git for development and quite likely utilizing GitHub for hosting.

      GitHub anyone? was spawned today on the LLVM developer mailing list about shifting their development practices from SVN to Git. In particular, utilizing GitHub for hosting and potentially using other GitHub services for managing bug reports, pull requests, etc.

    • "Stop Designing Languages. Write Libraries Instead."
      I had a friend tell me recently that all programming languages seem very similar to each other. They all have variables, and arrays, a few loop constructs, functions, and some arithmetic constructs. Sure, some languages have fancier features like first-class functions or coroutines, but he doesn't consider himself an expert programmer anyway and doesn't use those features.

      What really makes a programming language productive for him, he says, are the libraries it comes with. For example, he got into programming by using the popular Ruby on Rails web framework. There is no way that he could have written a full database-driven web stack by himself, nor is he interested in doing so. But thanks to Ruby on Rails, he doesn't have to! So he said that he has no particular opinion about the Ruby programming language, but he absolutely loves Rails. The vast majority of programmers are non-experts, like himself, and the largest gains in productivity for non-experts come from having a wide spectrum of easy-to-use libraries. Subtle language features like first-class functions, and object systems, are lost on them because they don't really use them anyway. Computer scientists should really be spending their time developing new libraries rather than inventing new programming languages.

    • Open Source Is the Secret Sauce of DevOps

    • The Symbiotic Relationship of DevOps and Open Source
      DevOps depends heavily on open source software, and–to a lesser extent–open source projects leverage DevOps as well.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • European Commission Eyes Update Of EU Standards-Setting Policy
      As standardisation increasingly takes place at the global level, Europe needs a speedier, more streamlined way to set the technical specifications that define requirements for products, production processes, services and test methods, the European Commission said today. As part of its single market strategy, the EC announced plans for a joint initiative on standardisation (JIS), guidance to boost the development of European standards, and an annual reporting system among EU institutions on how the standardisation policy is working and contributing to competitiveness, jobs and growth.

    • HSA 1.1 Brings Multi-Vendor Support & More
      The HSA Foundation today announced version 1.1 of the Heterogeneous System Architecture.

      Heterogeneous System Architecture 1.1 most notably brings multi-vendor architecture support for allowing IP blocks from different vendors to "communicate, interoperate and collectively compose an HSA system."


  • Brexit referendum folly

    The consequences of the Brexit referendum are bad for both Europe and Britain, regardless of the result.

  • Science

    • Organic Farmers Are Not Anti-Science but Genetic Engineers Often Are
      At one of the public brainstorming sessions for the New York Organic Action Plan, an organic farmer made an impassioned plea for support for “independent science” and told us that with 8.5 billion mouths to feed by 2050, we will need genetic engineering to prevent starvation.

      I would like to examine these words carefully to decipher what they mean, how those words are used by this farmer and by others, and suggest how the movement for locally grown organic food in this country should respond.

  • Microsoft

    • Windows 10 Surface Book: Microsoft Keeps ‘Sleep of Death’ bug
      It seems like Microsoft will not be fixing the ‘Sleep of Death’ bug, even though most of the Surface Book users face the problem.

      During the recent quarterly earnings report, Microsoft pointed out that the Surface line is getting popularity in the market. Microsoft also said that it has turned out to be the growth leader in its More Personal Computing line of business.

      At the event, the company said that the device has brought 61 percent growth.

    • How The World Of IT Has Turned
      Now Samsung is telling owners not to install “10” because drivers don’t work. Samsung should suggest Debian GNU/Linux instead.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO-Led Study: Hepatitis C Treatment Unaffordable Globally, Threatens Health Systems
      According to a new study by experts at the World Health Organization, prices of hepatitis C treatments are unaffordable globally and put a major strain on national health systems. Hepatitis C can cause liver cirrhosis and cancer, and with an estimated 80 million people affected in the world, if untreated, the sickness could lead to 700,000 deaths per year worldwide, the study said, suggesting that governments and industry stakeholders should develop and implement fair pricing frameworks.
    • The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
      The purpose of this piece is to draw readers’ attention to an important chapter from a document by Aruna Rodrigues that discusses the unique risks associated with GM crops. Contrary to what supporters of GM often claim, it shows that criticisms of this technology are based on credible concerns, sound logic and solid science.

      However, some background information and context might first be useful to indicate that, while critics rely on science, the pro-GMO lobby is mired in duplicity and engages in the debasement of science.

    • New and Old Vaccines Still Out of Reach for Many
      While long-awaited new vaccines for malaria and dengue may finally be within reach, many of the world’s existing vaccines have remained unreachable for many of the people who need them most.

      The recent outbreak of yellow fever in Angola shows how deadly infectious diseases can return when gaps in vaccination programs grow.

    • Big Pharma Hobbling Federal Efforts to Rein In Dangerous Opioids
      Even as a new study suggests opioid painkillers may in fact make chronic pain worse, Big Pharma continues to work against efforts to stem the national opioid crisis, according to reporting at The Intercept on Tuesday.

      The study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed that addictive opioids like morphine appear to paradoxically cause an increase in chronic pain in lab rats.

      Led by Colorado University-Boulder professors Peter Grace and Linda Watkins, the study showed that "just a few days of morphine treatment caused chronic pain that went on for several months by exacerbating the release of pain signals from specific immune cells in the spinal cord," according to a news release. The results suggest that the recent escalation of opioid prescriptions in humans may be a contributor to chronic pain, as Grace noted.

    • Big Pharma in the Crosshairs: Senator Seeks Fed Investigation of OxyContin Long-Term Pain Relief Claims
      A U.S. senator has called for a federal investigation of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, in the wake of reports that the money-making pain reliever wears off early in many patients, leaving them exposed to pain and increased risk of addiction.

    • ‘GMO Crops Are Tools of a Chemical Agriculture System’
      Anti-Monsanto rallies in 400 cities in 48 countries around the world failed to draw much US media attention, despite hundreds of thousands of people, from Dhaka to Paris to Cape Town, literally yelling out their opposition to the biotech giant’s products and practices, and the disturbing impact of their increasing control over the food supply.

    • Industry Influence Clouds New GMO Report
      New National Research Council study trumpets the safety of GMOs, but how much confidence can we have in these findings given the many conflicts of interest involved?

    • Nonprofit Hospital Stops Suing So Many Poor Patients: Will Others Follow?
      A story by ProPublica and NPR and a Senate investigation prompt a Missouri nonprofit hospital to change its policies and forgive thousands of patients’ debts. But without similar scrutiny, it’s unclear if other hospitals that sue the poor will change.

  • Security

    • Doing a 'full scan' of the Internet right now
      I'm scanning at only 125kpps from 4 source IP addresses, or roughly 30kpps from each source address. This is so that I'll get below many thresholds for IDSs, which trigger when they see fast scans from a single address. The issue isn't to avoid detection, but to avoid generating work for people who get unnecessarily paranoid about the noise they see in their IDS logs.

    • A Hacker Is Selling Dangerous Windows Exploit, Making All Versions Of OS Hackable
      A hacker is selling a dangerous zero day vulnerability on a Russian cybercrime website. This exploit is said to be affecting more than 1.5 billion Windows users as it works on all version of Windows. The hacker wishes to sell the complete source code and demo of the exploit to any person who pays him $90,000 in bitcoin.

    • Microsoft warns of self-propagating ransomware
      The new ransomware, which Microsoft has dubbed Ransom:Win32/ZCryptor.A, is distributed through spam emails. It can also infect a machine running Windows through a malware installer or fake installers like a Flash player setup file.

      The ransomware would run at boot and drop a file autorun.inf in removable drives, a zycrypt.lnk in the start-up folder and a copy of itself as {Drive}:\system.exe and %APPDATA%\zcrypt.exe.

      It would then change the file attributes to hide itself from the user in file explorer.

    • Allwinner Leaves Root Exploit in Linux Kernel, Putting ARM Devices at Risk
      Running a Bitcoin node on your ARM single board computer? Fan of cheap Chinese tablets and smartphones? Maybe you contributed to the recent CHIP computer Kickstarter, or host a wallet on one of these devices. Well, if any of these applies to you, and your device is powered by an Allwinner SoC, you should probably wipe it and put an OS on it with the most recent kernel release. Why? Allwinner left a development “tool” on their ARM Linux kernel that allows anyone to root their devices with a single command. This oversight has serious security implications for any Allwinner powered device, especially so for those of us hosting sensitive data on them.

    • 5 steps to reduce cyber vulnerabilities
      The National Vulnerability Database (NVD) — the U.S. government’s repository of standards-based vulnerability management data — says 2015 was another blockbuster year for security vulnerabilities with an average of 17 new vulnerabilities added per day.

      While IT managers can somewhat breathe a collective sigh of relief that the total number of vulnerabilities actually decreased from 7,937 in 2014 to 6,270 in 2015, there’s no time to relax. According to NVD data, 37 percent of vulnerabilities reported in 2015 were classified as highly severe, up from 24 percent in 2014.

    • How to Get an Open Source Security Badge from CII
      Everybody loves getting badges. Fitbit badges, Stack Overflow badges, Boy Scout merit badges, and even LEED certification are just a few examples that come to mind. A recent 538 article "Even psychologists love badges" publicized the value of a badge.

    • 4 Steps To Secure Serverless Applications
      Serverless applications remove a lot of the operational burdens from your team. No more managing operating systems or running low level infrastructure.

      This lets you and your team focus on building…and that’s a wonderful thing.

    • How the Top 5 PC Makers Open Your Laptop to Hackers [iophk: "Windows again"]

    • Google plans to replace smartphone passwords with trust scores [iophk: "if you have to travel unexpectedly, you'll probably get locked out."]
      Goodbye, Password1. Goodbye, 12345. You’ve been hearing about it for years but now it might really be happening: the password is almost dead.

      At Google’s I/O developer conference, Daniel Kaufman, head of Google’s advanced technology projects, announced that the company plans to phase out password access to its Android mobile platform in favour of a trust score by 2017. This would be based on a suite of identifiers: what Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth devices you’re connected to and your location, along with biometrics, including your typing speed, voice and face.

      The phone’s sensors will harvest this data continuously to keep a running tally on how much it trusts that the user is you. A low score will suffice for opening a gaming app. But a banking app will require more trust.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder
      With the beginning of separate offensives against the Islamic State (IS) in Fallujah and Raqqa, many analysts are highlighting that this is the beginning of the end of IS, with Mosul next in sight. However, there is one key issue with this analysis; these offensives do nothing to address the structural failures in both Iraq and Syria that led to IS’ rise. Moreover, there is no valid plan for the governance of the people being ‘liberated’ from IS. Without addressing these issues, history will repeat itself and IS will either return or morph into another radicalised entity looking to represent marginalised Sunnis.

      The offensive in Fallujah happens as the prime minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, is under pressure to show action against IS, due to scores of suicide bombs in Baghdad and his failure to implement reforms. The position of Abadi – and the central government of Iraq in general – optimises the chaos in Iraq, further highlighting the difficulty of implementing a successful post-IS solution.

    • The Only Way to Honor Veterans is to Stop Producing Them
      I also deplore focus on America’s war dead rather than the far, far greater numbers America has killed in our nearly continuous wars of choice. The aggregate death toll in Southeast Asia in the 1970s inflicted by direct, indirect and proxy US aggression and political destabilization in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia was approximately 7,650,000. The US death toll was 58,220, a ratio in our favor of 132/1. In our gratuitously justified “War on Terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Physicians for Social Responsibility estimated 1.3 million Muslims killed while some 6,800 Americans have died, a ratio of 191/1. And that estimate excluded our destruction of Libya and ongoing proxy war on Syria with an American death toll limited to four in Benghazi and probably a few Special Forces “advisers” in Syria. Our victims deserve at least six to ten months of continuous memorial days to one day of ours, and our appropriate national mood should be not grief but remorse.

    • MSF Excoriates US, Russia, UK Over Complicity in Hospital Bombings
      On the heels of a World Health Organization report documenting pervasive—and often deliberate—attacks on medical facilities in conflicts, a humanitarian specialist with Doctors Without Borders is stressing that the world's major powers are themselves complicit in such attacks.

      Speaking to the Guardian, Michiel Hofman directed his sharp criticism at four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—which provide arms, intelligence, and logistical support to forces which have conducted these often deadly attacks.

    • Building Trust in Afghanistan
      Glancing upward at one of the six U.S. manufactured aerostat blimps performing constant surveillance over Kabul, I wonder if the expensively high-tech giant’s-eye view encourages a primitive notion that the best way to solve a problem here is to target a “bad guy” and then kill him. If the bad guys appear to be scurrying dots on the ground below, stomp them out.

    • What Happened to Netanyahu?
      Instead of the comfortable and pleasant partner, Netanyahu chose a devious bully who does not even bother to hide his deep contempt for him. Avigdor Lieberman does not hide his hopes to succeed Netanyahu at the first opportunity either. A partner who the entire world views as a dangerous man. Why? There is no explanation. No logical reason. To bring Lieberman into the government is a suicidal act. To hand the Defense Ministry to him is an insane act.

    • Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
      French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s eagerness to support a military intervention with the purported aim of protecting the civilian population contrasts with the reception offered to the Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi, when he visited Paris in December 2007 and signed major military agreements worth some 4.5 billion euros along with cooperation agreements for the development of nuclear energy for peacetime uses. The contracts that Libya seemed no longer willing to pursue focused on 14 Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets and their armament (the same model that France sold or is trying to sold to Egypt€´s General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the self-proclaimed marshal), 35 Eurocopter helicopters, six patrol boats, a hundred armored vehicles, and the overhaul of 17 Mirage F1 fighters sold by Dassault Aviation in the 1970s[2].

    • Turkey marks Constantinople 'conquest'
      Turkey on Sunday marked the 563rd anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul with huge parties and a fireworks show in the former Byzantine imperial capital once known as Constantinople.

      Around a million people were expected for a giant party in the city to mark its capture in 1453 by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, nicknamed "the Conqueror".

      The Air Force aerobatics team was to perform a fly past prior to an evening fireworks display with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım due at the festivities in the Yenikapi district in the European half of the city.

    • 5 Things You See Notifying The Families Of Dead Soldiers
      In many military movies, the arrival of a green-clad soldier at a family home with a folded flag in hand often signifies both the fall of a hero and motivation for the rest of the characters. You don't stop to think about the guy whose job it is to deliver the worst news possible to family after family. If you're trying to find a candidate for Worst Fucking Job in the World, that definitely has to be in the top three.

      Those guys are known as Casualty Notification Officers, and we interviewed one who served during the Iraq War, when he unfortunately got plenty of on-the-job experience. He says ...

    • Imperial Exceptionalism: a Cause Worthy of Defeat
      Rather than accept the onset of multipolarity demanded by the emergence of Russia and China as major strategic, military and/or economic powers, Washington and its proxies are determined to increase military, economic, and geopolitical pressure on both with the objective of returning them to their ‘rightful place’ in service to US hegemony.

    • Hillary’s Role in Honduran Coup Sunk US Relations With Latin America to a New Low
      When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with the New York Daily News editorial board in April, she was asked what must have been a surprising and unwelcome question. In the years since the 2009 coup in Honduras, there has been remarkably little scrutiny in the major media of how Clinton’s State Department handled it, and she has had to answer few questions about it.

      But Juan González asked why she resisted cutting off aid to the coup regime and instead brokered a deal for new elections. Clinton controversially doubled down on defending the coup, outrageously suggesting that the oligarchs and generals who had forced President Manuel Zelaya out had a legal justification. Worse, she suggested that Honduras emulate Plan Colombia: the U.S.-funded war on drugs and guerrillas that sparked the biggest internal refugee crisis in the world outside of Syria, involved the deliberate killing of thousands of innocent civilians by Colombian armed forces, and fostered death squads now poised to stick around even as the country nears an end to its civil war.

    • The Ongoing Rape of Japan
      When President Obama went to Hiroshima, the American media focused on what he would – or wouldn’t – say about Harry Truman’s horrendous war crime against the Japanese people. Would he apologize? Leaving aside how one apologizes for such a monstrous act – short of committing seppuku – as it turned out he just spoke in harmless generalities about the dangers of nuclear weapons, expressing a commendable albeit vague wish to rid the world of them. What the pundits mostly ignored, however, was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s outrage at the latest murderous sex crime committed by an American soldier stationed on Okinawa; the brutal murder of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by a US military contractor.

    • ISIL counter-attack in Fallujah: can Iraqi Forces maintain momentum?

    • Isis faces likely defeat in battles across Iraq and Syria – but what happens next?

      In the second of a four-part series examining Isis, Patrick Cockburn says the terror group may be under threat, but regaining the terrority it captured would not necessarily stabilise the region
    • At Least 4,164 People, Including Americans, Killed in Iraq During May
      During May, at least 4,164 people were killed and 2,396 were wounded in Iraq. These figures should be considered very low estimates. Heavy fighting at the Fallujah and Mosul frontlines prevents independent verification of any reports, but we do know there is heaving fighting going on. In April, 4,609 were killed and 1,772 were injured.

    • Turning Blind Eye to Brazilian Coup, OAS Targets Venezuela's Maduro
      Secretary General invokes Democratic Charter at the behest of Venezuela's right-wing opposition at the same time Brazil faces an overt crisis of democracy

    • Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
      Hillary Clinton’s support for the “Promesa” bill should not be at all surprising. Clinton has time and again trampled on Puerto Rico. The Democratic Party’s Clintonista wing’s preferred scare-tactic revolves around a Donald Trump presidency, but Trump is a symptom of current political indolence, the product of McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and Fox News. Clinton is a vector of transmission of this disease. She is against the release of our political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera. She represents the most reactionary conservative elements of her party and is inexcusably tied to the neoliberal agenda of Wall Street. Is it at all surprising that she would support a bill that seeks to impose a neocolonial Congressional dictatorship on Puerto Rico?

    • Preparing for the Next Memorial Day
      Memorial Day weekend was replete with parades, American flags, and tributes to our war dead, but little reflection on war, particularly the tragic fact that the United States has fallen into the death trap that President Eisenhower warned us about: the military-industrial complex.

      Instead of defending our nation as the Constitution stipulates, since the 9/11 attacks the U.S. military, CIA, and military contractors have been waging aggressive wars or interfering by proxy in other nations’ internal affairs.

    • Senate Looks To Cut Defense Spending By Taking Money Out Of Troops’ Pockets
      The Senate Armed Services Committee wants to save money by cutting back on housing benefits for armed service members, potentially costing individual military members hundreds of dollars a month.

      Currently, armed service members who live off-base in the United States receive a flat-rate stipend called the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which is calculated based on their family status, rank, and cost of living by zip code. If they find housing for less than the allotted benefit or live with a working spouse or roommate, how they use the extra money is up to them.

    • Don’t Trip on Those Milestones Strewn Across America’s Wars
      Barack Obama called the drone assassination on May 21 of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, “an important milestone.”

      It might turn out to be. But I doubt it. My advice is every time you hear an American official use the term “milestone,” run the other way.

      For example, back in September 2014 Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the formation of a new Iraqi government then was “a major milestone” for the country. But on the same day that Obama was proclaiming his own milestone, protesters stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad seeking the end of that previous milestone government.

    • Trump Threatens Neocon Policies

    • Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force
      An internal Defense Department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act. In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.

    • How Teenagers Got Police to Back Down and Remove Military-Grade Weaponry From Their High Schools
      Los Angeles high school students and organizers forced police to remove grenade launchers and M-16s from their arsenals.

    • Part 2: In Wake of Coup, Should Brazil's Olympics Be Moved or Become a Site of Protest?
      We continue our conversation with Dave Zirin, author of the book "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy," and Jules Boykoff, author of "Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics." In early August, more than 10,000 athletes across the world will convene in Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic City for one of the most widely watched sporting events of the year. This comes as Brazil is battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and its worst political crisis in over two decades.

    • A US Hand in Brazil’s Coup?
      The ouster of Brazil’s left-of-center president was the latest right-wing victory in Latin America, but was this “quiet coup” driven by local politics or part of a broader U.S. strategy to reclaim dominance over its “backyard,” asks Ted Snider.
    • Inside the Perilous Journey Out of Syria
      Matthew Cassel has reported on the Middle East for over a decade, including a five-year stint covering the Arab world for Al Jazeera. Living and working in Istanbul, he saw the rising tide of refugees making their way to Europe in 2014. But as he noted in an interview with Field Notes, traditional news outlets were slow to recognize the gravity of the crisis. While coverage existed, media attention didn’t intensify “until Alan Kurdi, who was the young poor kid from Kobaní, inside Syria, washed up on the shore in Turkey — if you remember that iconic image from September of 2015,” he said. “But there were people who were dying, people who were struggling to get to Europe before that.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Waiting for California and the FBI
      Some Democratic leaders are privately scouting around for someone to replace Hillary Clinton if she stumbles again in California and/or the FBI detects a crime in her email scandal, reports Robert Parry.
    • Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
      The IG report does not make pretty reading for the avid Clintonite. It dismisses a core claim that using government servers was not standard practice during her tenure, pointing to departmental protocols dating back to 2005.

    • Just How Unprofessional IS the Trump Campaign - When Hillary In Trouble, Trump Hogs Limelight?
      So we get to see some remarkable insights into the two campaigns. (obviously this is again a blog article about the US election, not about digital/mobile/tech). Hillary had her worst days this year, from the middle of last week when the Inspector General of the State Department found she had broken rules about emails and was at fault. For a pro campaign and very seasoned veteran politician, Hillary's campaign had a disastrous moment (every campaign has some of those) and it was clearly her worst moment of the year so far (don't fall for any of the Bernie 'moments' her victory was never in doubt so they were never that bad for her). And like a pro in a pro campaign, she went immediately onto the talk shows, put out as much of the fires as possible, then went to lay down low, riding out the rest of the news cycle. Her best hope is for other news stories to overtake this bad news email story, and that it won't grow to be any bigger than it now is.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Cleaning up mercury a must in Grassy Narrows
      The federal and provincial governments cleaning up the Wabigoon River will show a new era has dawned in our relationship with indigenous peoples

    • Passing Ban, Scottish Parliament Declares: 'No Ifs, No Buts, No Fracking'
    • Federal Agencies Find That Fracking In The Pacific Would Have No ‘Significant’ Environmental Impacts
      A Center for Biological Diversity investigation into chemicals used in California’s offshore fracking operations found that at least 10 of the chemicals routinely used in fracking could be lethal to marine animals. Some of the chemicals have also been shown to break down into nonylphenol, a toxic substance that can lead to intersex fish species and bioaccumulate in animals further up the food chain, like in already-threatened sea otters.

    • Amazon Tribes Resist US Anthropologists' Attempt to Forcibly Contact the Uncontacted
      Fighting back against the notion, put forth by American academics, that isolated tribes must be forced into contact with the modern world, Amazonian Indians are warning of another potential Indigenous "genocide" if such ideas come to pass.

      U.S. anthropologists Kim Hill, a professor at Arizona State University, and University of Missouri associate professor Robert Walker, have argued that in order to ensure the survival of the most remote tribal people they must be "contacted in a controlled way."

    • North America Failing Dismally on Ocean Protection, Groups Warn
      North America is falling woefully behind on public promises to protect surrounding oceans from fishing, oil and gas development, and other harmful human activities—and those promises are paltry, found a joint report from Canadian and American conservation groups.

      The cooperative venture from the Marine Conservation Institute (MCI) and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) discovered that while Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have promised to protect 10 percent of the continental ocean estate—"defined as the territorial sea plus exclusive economic zone, which together extend 200 nmi from each country's shoreline"—by 2020, currently only .89 percent is protected.
    • EU never used power to scrutinise emissions labs
      The European Commission wants new powers to oversee the way new cars are approved before they are sold, but it has never used a key scrutinising power it has had for more than eight years, the EUobserver has learned.

      Under current rules, the commission can ask a member state to submit assessments of the test facilities that carry out certification tasks including emissions testing.
    • All the World’s a Stage: Thoughts on the Death of Harambe, the Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla
      As I write, the zoo’s Gorilla World page still shows a bio of Harambe, along with the bios of several remaining gorillas. They, captive and unable to safely return to their lands, should not be exhibited, but should instead be offered private refuge. No captive breeding. No public viewing or cognitive research.

    • Dear Internet Experts on Gorillas and Parenting: Save Your Outrage—There's No 'Justice for Harambe'

    • A Zoo Story: From Harambe to Human Bondage
      Every so often, our society -- which proves daily how little it values animal life -- erupts in an uproar about the tragic death of an individual animal. Whether it's a case of lethal cruelty to a domestic animal, the high-profile shooting of a majestic lion, or more recently, the shooting of a gorilla named Harambe at the Cincinnati Zoo, public outrage typically isolates a human target and flares until a particular hashtag has exhausted itself on Twitter.

    • 2015 Saw Renewable Energy Boom, Led by Developing Nations
      Renewable energy boomed in 2015, a year that saw fossil fuel prices plummet and ended with a historic climate agreement hammered out in Paris.

      In fact, investments in renewables such as wind and solar were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants in 2015, according to the Renewables Global Status Report (pdf) from REN21, an international non-profit association based at the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris, France.

      An estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity was added in 2015—the largest annual increase ever—while renewable heat capacity and biofuels production also increased. Indeed, the world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds (net) capacity from all fossil fuels combined, the report states. Furthermore, employment in the renewable energy sector rose in 2015 to an estimated 8.1 million direct and indirect jobs.
    • Dam backup plan for glacier ice loss
      Summer water shortages caused by the reduction of glacier ice mass could be alleviated by dams being constructed to contain springtime runoff from melting snow.

    • Here’s What Actual Climate Scientists Think Of Trump’s New Energy Plan
      If Donald Trump is elected president, America’s approach to energy and the environment will be drastically different than it is today.

      Trump made that clear last week, when he laid out his full energy policy proposal for the first time in Bismarck, North Dakota. In that speech, Trump said he would roll back president Obama’s climate change regulations, build the Keystone XL pipeline, and “cancel” the landmark Paris climate agreement. In a nutshell, Trump promised to undo almost every major policy developed in the last decade intended to slow human-caused global warming.

      What Trump did not do in his speech, however, was mention the words “climate change.” He did not say whether he believed the phenomenon was occurring, and he didn’t speculate on how his policies would solve or worsen the problem.

    • The Nuts And Bolts Behind How The World Will Deploy A Massive Amount of Clean Energy
      Energy ministers from 23 countries and the European Commission, representing 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of worldwide renewable power investments, will convene June 1-2 in San Francisco to encourage a new drive toward clean energy deployment, and further hasten the growing movement away from coal to the increasing use of green power.

    • Job Losses Expected As Maryland Governor Stuns Solar Industry With Clean Energy Veto
      For the past 12 years, Maryland has had a highly successful program requiring utilities to use more renewable energy. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s own Dept. of Environment last fall said the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was creating thousands of jobs and would create billions in economic activity by 2020. In April, the governor signaled his own commitment to clean energy, signing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.

    • Climate activists and blacklisted workers face the same struggle against surveillance

      The climate movement and trades union movement need to come together to stop repressive corporate/state spying.

    • An American Fukushima May Be Closer Than You Think
      The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was horrific to watch unfold. It will take decades — and billions of dollars — to clean up, as more problems seem to emerge by the minute.

      Most recently, Tepco announced that it’s still missing a large amount of spent fuel — in part because radiation remains so high that robots and other devices cannot function inside the plant to give workers a better picture of what’s going on.

    • Justice For the Gorilla, And Never Mind the Humans
      We mourn the loss last weekend of Harambe, the 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla killed while either entertaining and/or threatening a four-year-old who somehow slipped away from his mother and fell into the gorilla's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo as onlookers screamed, which likely didn't help. Zoo officials, determining a tranquilizer gun might further agitate Harambe and endanger the boy, made the controversial and difficult decision to shoot Harambe. Defending the move, Zoo director Thane Maynard declared it "a sad day all the way around,” but insisted, “The right choice was made."

      Hah, said a furious, sanctimonious, all-knowing and - once it was determined the family was black - racist Internet mob of animal lovers, mom shamers, dad blamers, parenting and/or gorilla experts, and thousands more with axes to grind. Quick as you can say "Get a life," the outrage had fueled "Prayers for Harambe" and "Justice For Harambe" Facebook pages (130,000 likes) to "raise awareness of Harambe’s murder,” a petition (400,000 names) urging city officials to investigate the child's "home environment," another petition (140,000) calling for passage of a new Harambe's Law to punish anyone harming or killing an animal, a charge by PETA that “Harambe paid with his life for others’ negligence,” a memorial, a protest, a call for a boycott, and a hit piece on the child's father, who wasn't even there but it turns out had a criminal history before turning his life around.

    • Did Donald Trump Deny The California Drought Because He’s Lost Touch With Reality?
      Many credible sources have said that Donald Trump has lost touch with reality. Even so, I won’t say it.

      We all have a responsibility to be judicious with words — as Trump himself explained in January, “I was going to say ‘dummy’ Bush; I won’t say it.”

      Yes, it’s true that an actual headline Friday from CBS in Sacramento was, “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.” And yes, it’s true that scientists report that 86 percent of California is still in a “moderate drought,” 61 percent in a “severe drought,” 43 percent in an “extreme drought,” and over one-fifth of the state (21 percent) is in an “exceptional drought.”

    • Celebrate the Ocean
      Join us as we celebrate and learn about our world ocean during National Ocean Month.

  • Finance

    • Trump Has a $100 Million Conflict of Interest
      This candidacy brought to you by Deutsche Bank.

    • Guess Which Presidential Candidate Top CEOs Prefer? Hint: It's Not Trump.
      A majority of chief executives of the world's biggest companies say they would support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for president, according to a new survey that upends the usual Republican leanings of corporate CEOs.

      Fortune magazine in May sent a poll to all of the executives on its 500 list asking them to rank their preference between the two candidates. (No other options were given.)

      Of those who responded, 58 percent said they would choose Clinton, while 42 percent said they favored Trump.
    • The Big Banks Can Be Beaten
      Working families are turning their anger at Wall Street into action.

    • 'We need to be in the EU in order to beat TTIP'

    • Authoritarian Britain is made freer by the EU

      The idea that the EU undermines English liberty is nonsense: it has helped curtail the British state's repressive surveillance.

    • It’s not just Brexit — Greece, Spain, France are also on the brink
      Last week, a research wing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came out with a report admitting that neoliberalism has been a failure. The report, entitled "Neoliberalism: Oversold?" is hopefully a sign of the ideology's death. They were only about 40 years late. As Naomi Klein tweeted about the report, "So all the billionaires it created are going to give back their money, right?"

    • Our Poverty Myth
      The illusion that people are to blame for their own poverty goes back centuries in our culture.

    • University of Helsinki to introduce tuition fees of €13,000–18,000 for non-EU/EEA students
      The University of Helsinki has announced its decision to impose tuition fees of 13,000–18,000 euros on its postgraduate degree students from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).

    • Once Homeless Student Who Worked 4 Jobs To Support Family Graduates College
      After persevering through trying times, one college student wore her cap and gown with pride.

      Bianca Jeannot, a 22-year-old who attended the College of New Rochelle in New York, has been through a lot. She has experienced homelessness and also had to work multiple jobs to support and care for her brothers while attending college, ABC News reported.

      Recently, the student saw her hard work come to fruition as she graduated from the school with honors, WABC reported.

    • Cuts blamed as London fire deaths rise by 20 per cent
      Fire deaths across the capital have gone up by 20 per cent in the last year, according to figures released by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

      A total of 36 people died from fires in London in 2015/16, compared with 30 in the previous year.

    • ‘Employers Have an Incentive to Work People Long Hours’
      It’s no secret that those Americans who are working are working more hours for less pay than in decades–and suffering for it. And while it’s true wealthy people may be finding new clandestine ways to tuck money away, some of the core causes of working people’s problems are more out in the open, in the demonstrable erosion of worker wage protections.

      This, our next guest’s group says, is a fixable problem. And one step in that direction came recently with the Labor Department’s issuance of a new rule raising the salary threshold below which salaried workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

      Here to talk about the overtime rule, the pushback against it and where it fits in broader efforts to fight inequality is Ross Eisenbrey. He’s vice president of the Economic Policy Institute. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Ross Eisenbrey.

    • A Legal System That Supports Businessmen

    • ‘Days of Revolt’: Chris Hedges, Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter on the Evolution of Radicalism
      In this week’s episode of teleSUR’s “Days of Revolt,” Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges sits down with guests Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter, both veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement. Stewart, a former civil rights attorney, and Poynter, a human rights activist and Stewart’s husband, have a long history of community organizing.

      The two met while working at a school in Harlem in the early 1960s—she as a librarian and he as a teacher. Hedges interviews them about their role in the civil rights and anti-war movements, before moving on to ask them whether our society has lost the political consciousness it had in the 60s and 70s.

    • OECD is Latest Economic Bigwig to Question Austerity's "Loop of Doom"
      Less than a week after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed reservations about neoliberal policies like austerity, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is urging governments to increase spending in order to "make good on promises to current and future generations."

      Not doing so, OECD chief economist Catherine Mann told Reuters, deprives youths of job opportunities and means the elderly will not get the healthcare and pension benefits they expect. "We are breaking promises to young people and old people," she said.

      In its twice-yearly Global Economic Outlook, the 24-nation body said the world is stuck in a "low-growth trap" that will only get worse under status quo policies like quantitative easing.

      Indeed, the OECD said "almost all countries have room to reallocate spending and taxation towards items that offer more support to growth" like investments in infrastucture as well as education.
    • After Empowering the 1% and Impoverishing Millions, IMF Admits Neoliberalism a Failure
      Last week a research wing of the International Monetary Fund came out with a report admitting that neoliberalism has been a failure. The report, entitled, “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” is hopefully a sign of the ideology's death. They were only about 40 years late. As Naomi Klein tweeted about the report, "So all the billionaires it created are going to give back their money, right?"

      Many of the report’s findings which strike to the core of the ideology echo what critics and victims of neoliberalism have been saying for decades.

      “Instead of delivering growth,” the report explains that neoliberal policies of austerity and lowered regulation for capital movement have in fact “increased inequality.” This inequality "might itself undercut growth…" As a result, the report states that “policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are."

    • Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe Took $120K From a Chinese Billionaire—But the Crime Is That It Was Legal
      When news broke that Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was under investigation by the Justice Department and that his campaign had taken $120,000 directly from a Chinese-owned business, it may have seemed liked an open-and-shut case.

      But federal law doesn’t preclude foreign-owned businesses from making political donations, and Virginia law doesn’t limit their size. So amazingly enough, if there was something illegal here, that wasn’t it.

    • Wednesday’s papers: Plan to scrap health centres, police speed camera claims challenged, and what to do with a six-minute longer workday?
      Negotiations over a plan to lengthen the working day by six minutes – as well as cut holiday benefits and freeze pay net year – are wavering at the last hurdle, but there’s still chance of a deal this week, the papers report. Elsewhere, there’s a proposal to replace Finland’s health centres with bigger clinics offering more under one roof, and police claims that speed cameras have made a Helsinki highway safer come under scrutiny.

    • Walmart, Gap, H&M Called Out for Global Worker Exploitation and Abuse
      Some of the world's biggest retailers, including Walmart, Gap, and H&M, have failed to improve workplace safety three years after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100 people and turned a spotlight on dangerous labor conditions faced by some of the world's poorest workers.

      A series of new reports released Tuesday by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance, a coalition of rights groups and trade unions, finds that tens of thousands of laborers in Bangladesh are still making garments in buildings without proper fire exits, while pregnant workers in Indonesia and India face discrimination and wage theft.

    • Why the Verizon Worker's Victory is A Big Deal
      On Friday, May 27, the six-and-a-half-week Verizon strike came to an end with a tentative contract agreement.

      The Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the unions that represent the Verizon workers, hailed the contract as a victory, citing its creation of 1300 new call center jobs along the East Coast, first-ever contracts for Verizon wireless store employees in Brooklyn and Everett, Massachusetts, and raises of nearly 11 percent over the life of the contract. The workers beat back demands from the company to cut pensions, transfer workers out of state for up to two months, and proposed cuts in disability and accident benefits.

    • France's Nuit Debout Movement's White, Middle Class Problem
      When the Nuit Debout youth movement erupted in Paris to protest the most significant reform to the country's labor code in decades, it made headlines both nationally and globally as it was immediately compared to other upsrisings such as Spain's Indignados and Occupy Wall Street. However, as the movement occupying Paris' Republic Square approaches its two-month anniversary on Tuesday, it is still struggling to evolve into a more diverse and inclusive movement, as activists say it must do more to involve France's marginalized communities, especially from the suburbs, who have been struggling against unemployment, police violence and state racism for decades.

    • Treasury’s New So-Called Transparency about Saudi-Held US Debt
      More likely, the vehicle of exchange and secrecy set up in 1974 were renewed when the US and Saudis signed the similar Technical Cooperation Agreement in 2008, which got extended in 2013 until 2023. Which would suggest Treasury has a reason to show us the old-style debt holdings, but not whatever they have going on now.So in the interest of “transparency” (that is, in the interest of avoiding any panic as the Saudis threaten to dump US debt if we start releasing information the Kingdom’s role in sowing terrorism) Treasury has revealed the old-style arrangement, but not whatever is the core of what we’ve got going on now.

      In other words, what Treasury’s so-called transparency actually tells us is the larger part of Saudi holdings (they threatened to dump $750 billion in US debt) are stashed somewhere even more secret than the original holdings. And they likely rolled out that even-more-secret stash in 2008, long after we knew they were sponsoring terrorism around the world.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Common Sense on the Democratic Presidential Race
      Clinton surrogates and operatives are pounding on Bernie Sanders to get out of the race, claiming they want to unify the party even as they excoriate Sanders and scorn his supporters. Perhaps it is time for a little common sense about the campaign.

    • How the Internet Is Empowering the Grass Roots and Transforming Democracy
      In the next week alone—the last before the June 7 primary in California—Sanders supporters in Los Angeles will host nearly 200 small-scale events in homes, businesses, and public parks from Burbank to Compton.

    • Write-In Voting and Political Protest
      With the increasingly likelihood of a presidential contest between the generally despised Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, millions of angry voters are considering protesting the lineup by either sitting out the election or writing in alternatives. With almost one-third of all eligible voters already failing to participate in elections, a greater abdication of voting responsibility in an election between the lesser of two evils could lead to a tyranny of the minority. On the other hand, by carefully writing in the names of their true choices, voters can exercise the only power available to them. If sufficiently widespread, such a protest could have a lasting effect on the course of the Nation, including the abandonment of the two major political parties and the emergence of new—more relevant—alignments.
    • Thanks for the Memories, Stephen Harper
      As former PM Stephen Harper quits parliament, his legacy is more of a gift to Conservatives than to Canadians.

      There's no question that Stephen Harper, Canada's former prime minister, will be leaving a legacy when he quits parliament this summer.

      A political mastermind, he united the country's fractious right in 2003 when his Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was born. In 2006, he led it to the first of its three successive electoral victories. Canada was his for nine years - at least until Justin Trudeau's Liberals trounced his government last October.

      The party is still holding together seven months after he stepped down from the party leadership. Canadians are united as well - in celebrating his departure.

      So Harper's legacy is more of a gift to Conservatives than to Canadians.

    • DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Faces Criticism for Bias & Opening Up DNC to Lobbyists
      As the Democratic National Convention approaches, some Democrats are considering pressuring DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has long accused Wasserman Schultz of being biased toward Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has also quietly repealed ethics rules implemented in 2008 by President Obama preventing federal lobbyists from donating to the DNC. The opposition from Capitol Hill Democrats comes as Wasserman Schultz is also in a tight race against progressive challenger Tim Canova for her own congressional seat in Florida. In an unusual move, Sanders has backed Canova. For more, we’re joined by Lee Fang, investigative reporter for The Intercept.

    • It's Not Just the Speeches: Hillary Clinton Questioned over Son-in-Law’s Ties to Goldman Sachs
      The California primary is just over one week away, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a dead heat. Hillary Clinton has changed this week’s campaign schedule to add more California stops in order to try to reverse Sanders’ growing momentum. Yet multiple issues have continued to dog Clinton’s campaign, including the question of her connection to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. And now new questions are being raised about the ties between Goldman Sachs and Hillary’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. Mezvinsky worked at Goldman for eight years and then formed a hedge fund in part with help from Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. For more, we’re joined by Intercept investigative reporter Lee Fang. His recent piece is headlined "Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law."

    • Hillary Clinton’s Memoir Deletions, in Detail
      As was reported following the assassination of prominent Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres in March, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erased all references to the 2009 coup in Honduras in the paperback edition of her memoirs, “Hard Choices.” Her three-page account of the coup in the original hardcover edition, where she admitted to having sanctioned it, was one of several lengthy sections cut from the paperback, published in April 2015 shortly after she had launched her presidential campaign.

      A short, inconspicuous statement on the copyright page is the only indication that “a limited number of sections” — amounting to roughly 96 pages — had been cut “to accommodate a shorter length for this edition.” Many of the abridgements consist of narrative and description and are largely trivial, but there are a number of sections that were deleted from the original that also deserve attention.

    • Trump: A Fool and a Fraud
      As Trump showed the world, it is relatively easy to run for president if you are willing to say or do anything to get attention and you believe in nothing except your own self-inflated myth. His reality-television-style campaign overwhelmed a badly fractured Republican Party. But the act is getting harder to pull off because now his words, often chosen for their shock value, have real consequences.
    • Trump University Documents Expose Presumptive Con-Man-in-Chief
    • Trump Self-destructing
      He’s also had a feud with the judge of Art Cohen v. Donald J. Trump, about Trump University fraud. He criticized the judge publicly, accusing him of being “Mexican” etc. Rather than finding Trump in contempt, the judge just decided to release Trump’s “playbooks”, recipes for roping in “students”, actually high-pressure sales tactics. It seems rather than teaching dealing in real estate, TU was applying such tactics to students and not delivering much of value, certainly not hand-picked-by-Trump instructors. The “playbooks” also showed an intense interest in the wealth of students rather than their aptitude for success…

    • Inside the Trump University 'playbooks'
      And some of the material offers a potential counterweight to claims that Trump University's aim was just to sell someone on the highest-priced course. For example, the 2007 sales playbook tells staffers, "you are here to meet the needs of your client, not to push product." And the 2010 version advises that one should "sell for a relationship, not a commission."

    • Opportunist Trump Meets Fanatical NRA
      By accepting the NRA’s presidential endorsement, Donald Trump bought into the gun lobby’s paranoid view of government and its distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment, writes Lawrence Davidson.

    • 4 Shady Business Practices That Trump University Used To Target Students
      Documents detailing exactly how Trump University convinced students to enroll in its real estate classes were made public on Tuesday after a federal court ordered their release.

      The business, which began operating in 2005 and is now defunct, was actually never an accredited university. Instead, students paid thousands of dollars for advice from professors whom they believed were handpicked by Trump. In reality, the professors were not chosen by Trump, something the real estate mogul has admitted in depositions.
    • WATCH: A retired veteran tells CNN how Trump University scammed him out of $26,000
      We’re going to be hearing a lot more about Trump University in the coming days, especially after a judge whom Trump had bashed for being a “Mexican” recently ordered the release of several internal Trump U. documents that will be out by the end of the week. CNN spent some time talking with some former Trump University students who described how the “university” took $26,000 of his money and gave him almost nothing in return.
    • Another Kind of Warrior—Bernie Sanders—Fires Up the Golden State Faithful
      There was a palpable thrill in the air as some 20,000 supporters stood in lines that stretched for blocks to hear Bernie Sanders speak Monday in Oakland, Calif. Hundreds of supporters were turned away in the name of security at the event, which marked one of Sanders’ campaign stops before the state’s crucial primary election on June 7.
    • [Column] Donald Trump: Joker’s Wild
      Since Trump has never been a politician – and presents himself as an anti-politician -- his campaign has been nothing but a series of gestures. To have a platform and well thought-out positions would bring him too much into the realm of real politics. Trump rolls out proposals – building a wall in the southwest and getting Mexico to pay for it, banning all Muslim immigrants, bringing back waterboarding – as a network executive might introduce a new season of TV shows. They’re meant to generate headlines, capture attention, and create a loyal following. They’re not meant to add up to anything larger.

    • Ahead of Election, Native Americans Rise Up Against Repressive Voting Laws
      Refusing to be silenced by restrictive new voting laws, Native Americans across the western U.S. are taking their fight to the courts, arguing that tribal communities have become even further disenfranchised by rules passed in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark voting rights ruling.

      An in-depth report published by Reuters on Tuesday highlights revisions to a North Dakota law that "eliminated a provision that had allowed people without proper vote if they were recognized by a poll worker or if they signed an affidavit swearing to their identity."

    • Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
      Looking back at the 1932 U.S. presidential election is instructive. Herbert Hoover, the Republican incumbent, bore the blame for the Great Depression. It had happened on his watch. Armies of the unemployed moved into shantytowns, which they named Hoovervilles. Hoover’s main Democratic opponent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, came from establishment stock. Roosevelt’s main plank was to shrink the government and expand U.S. trade with the world. These were policy positions much favored by the elite. During the election, there was little sign that Roosevelt would expand the U.S. government and use state spending to enhance economic activity. The tone of the campaign was ugly, with Hoover calling Roosevelt (correctly as it turned out) a “chameleon in plaid” and Roosevelt responding that Hoover was a “fat, timid capon” (a capon being a rooster). Hoover felt that Roosevelt was “very badly informed and of comparably little vision”. Roosevelt was elected to three consecutive terms. He died in office.

    • Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
      Bernie Sanders, in a way, is the perfect opposite of Trump and both embody the exhaustion of the American people.

    • Cenk Uygur Warns Mainstream Media: Don't Underestimate Impact of Libertarian Candidate
      44 percent of voters want a third-party option come November.

    • Troubles of Anti-Trump/Clinton Write-ins
      Distraught over the likely choice of Trump or Clinton, many Americans are thinking about third parties or write-ins, but the process is harder than one might expect, like much else about the U.S. electoral system, notes William John Cox.


      Under state laws, political parties must “qualify” for their candidates to be listed on the ballots and counted. The two major parties are qualified in every state, but the Libertarian Party candidates will appear on the ballots in only 33 states, the Green Party in 21, and the Constitution Party in 13.

    • Clinton, media still counting superdelegates despite DNC pleas
      On April 28, Luis Miranda, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, did an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper to formally clarify the official position of the Democratic Party on when superdelegates are, and are not, supposed to actually count in public vote tallies.

      What he said shocked the hell out of me and should shock the hell out of you — in part because not a single media outlet or the Hillary Clinton campaign has paid one bit of attention to it before or since. Since election season began, networks, newspapers and pundits have included superdelegates in their tallies, but the DNC emphatically said that was wrong over a month ago.

    • Trump Rejects Hitler Comparison But Has A Few Alternatives
      On MSNBC and in the New York Times, he’s been likened to segregationist George Wallace. Louis CK and Glenn Beck have compared him to Adolf Hitler.

    • Bernie Sanders Fights On: The Rolling Stone Interview
      Even at this late date, with the threat of a Donald Trump presidency looming, Sanders pulls no punches against Hillary Clinton. His stump speech links her to a "rigged economy" – highlighting "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in contributions to the Clinton campaign by a member of the Walton family, whose Wal-Mart fortune, Sanders says, is richer than the combined wealth of the "bottom 40 percent" of the American people. Transforming jeers into cheers, Sanders demands of the billionaire clan, "Instead of making large campaign contributions to Secretary Clinton, pay your workers a living wage!"

    • Make Presidential Race About Issues, Not a Spitball Fight
      Donald Trump has now won the delegates needed to give him the Republican presidential nomination. The Bernie Sanders surge continues — he may even win California — but Hillary Clinton apparently has the superdelegate support needed to give her the nomination. We’re headed to a presidential race with two candidates burdened with record levels of disfavor.

    • Vast Majority of Democrats Want Sanders to Stay in Race: Poll
      A new poll released Wednesday found that a majority of registered Democrats want presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to stay in the race.

      The national survey of 2,001 voters by Morning Consult found that 57 percent of all Democrats polled want Sanders to keep running, while 33 percent want him to drop out. Ten percent have no opinion.

      The findings contradict the pressure from prominent Democratic politicians and centrist pundits on Sanders to drop out of the presidential race—some of whom even argue that he's already lost—despite the fact that several states (including delegate-rich California) and U.S. territories have yet to hold their primaries. (Polls also show Sanders and Clinton in a dead heat in California, which votes on June 7.)

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Stung By Yelp Reviews, Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets
      Burned by negative reviews, some health providers are casting their patients' privacy aside and sharing intimate details online as they try to rebut criticism.

      In the course of these arguments -- which have spilled out publicly on ratings sites like Yelp -- doctors, dentists, chiropractors and massage therapists, among others, have divulged details of patients' diagnoses, treatments and idiosyncrasies.

      One Washington state dentist turned the tables on a patient who blamed him for the loss of a molar: "Due to your clenching and grinding habit, this is not the first molar tooth you have lost due to a fractured root," he wrote. "This tooth is no different."

      In California, a chiropractor pushed back against a mother's claims that he misdiagnosed her daughter with scoliosis. "You brought your daughter in for the exam in early March 2014," he wrote. "The exam identified one or more of the signs I mentioned above for scoliosis. I absolutely recommended an x-ray to determine if this condition existed; this x-ray was at no additional cost to you."

    • Google voice search records and keeps conversations people have around their phones – but the files can be deleted
      Google could have a record of everything you have said around it for years, and you can listen to it yourself.

      The company quietly records many of the conversations that people have around its products.

      The feature works as a way of letting people search with their voice, and storing those recordings presumably lets Google improve its language recognition tools as well as the results that it gives to people.

    • Thailand Government Wants To Undermine Website Encryption, Hold ISPs Responsible For Third-Party Content
      Thailand's government has never been considered a friend of internet services or users, thanks to its interest in suppressing dissent/ensuring its king remain unoffended. It has often claimed it has no interest in censoring the internet -- sometimes in statements delivered while shutting down livestreams of discussions with ISPs on how to better censor the internet.

      Unsurprisingly, it's not a fan of encryption. The Thai government is currently amending its Computer Crimes Act in hopes of updating its censorship abilities. In addition to codifying ISP compliance with government demands, it's also looking to destroy anything standing between it and full control of internet activity.

    • MPs’ private emails are routinely accessed by GCHQ
      Computer Weekly investigation reveals the extent of interception of MPs’ and peers’ email communications and data

      GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA) have access to intercepted emails sent and received by all members of the UK Parliament and peers, including with their constituents, a Computer Weekly investigation has established.
    • Guardian of the GPL: Online advertising is becoming “a perfect despotism”
      Time is running out to prevent complete totalitarian dictatorship until the end of human civilisation, Eben Moglen, the guardian of the GPL, told Ars in an interview.

      But let's rewind a bit. Earlier this month, Moglen and Mishi Choudhary, both of the Software Freedom Law Center, told a packed crowd at the Re:publica conference in Germany about the worrying outlook for Homo sapiens.

      "This is the last generation in which the human race gets a choice," Moglen said during the duo's opening keynote for the media and technology conference. "Most of the human race doesn't know what the choice is, and if we here, who do know, do not help them understand," he said, "if we don't give them proof of concept plus running code, the revolution becomes impossible."

      Moglen is a Columbia law professor and a well-known stalwart of the free software movement. As general counsel to the Free Software Foundation for many years, he helped Richard M. Stallman draft the GPLv3. He received the EFF's Pioneer Award in 2003, and is the author of The dotCommunist Manifesto, among many other works. Choudhary is the SFLC’s legal director and previously practised as litigator before the High Court and Supreme Court in India.

    • 4th Circuit Appeals Court Rolls Back Its Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info
      The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was one of the few appeals courts to rule on the constitutionality of obtaining cell site location info without a warrant. And it was -- was -- the only appeals court to find warrantless access violated the Fourth Amendment. The decision was limited to the collection of historical cell site data for extended periods of time (the court appeared to believe anything beyond two weeks was questionable), mainly because there was a good chance the records would contain considerable detail about a person's movements in private places.
    • Cops can easily get months of location data, appeals court rules
      A full panel of judges at the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has now overturned last summer’s notable decision by the standard trio of appellate judges, which had found that police needed a warrant to obtain more than 200 days' worth of cell-site location information (CSLI) for two criminal suspects.

      In the Tuesday en banc decision, the Fourth Circuit relied heavily upon the third-party doctrine, the 1970s-era Supreme Court case holding that there is no privacy interest in data voluntarily given up to a third party like a cell phone provider. That case, known as Smith v. Maryland, is what has provided the legal underpinning for lots of surveillance programs, ranging from local police all the way up to the National Security Agency.
    • Federal Appellate Court Strikes Potential Death Blow to Privacy in New Cell Site Location Information Case

    • Privacy Takes Major Hit as Court Rules No Warrant Needed for Cell Location Data
      In a major setback for privacy advocates, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that cellphone location data is not protected by the Fourth Amendment and can be collected without a warrant.

      By a 12-3 vote, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia upheld what is known as a third-party doctrine, which states that consumers who willingly give information to outside parties—like telecommunications companies—have "no reasonable expectation of privacy" for that data, regardless of what it reveals. The case is United States v. Graham, in which two defendants were tracked by police without warrants for several months in 2010 and 2011 as part of an armed robbery investigation.

      The ACLU discovered in 2015 that the collected data revealed information that went beyond the scope of the case—including that the wife of defendant Aaron Graham was pregnant.

    • The FBI Wants to Exempt Massive Biometric Database From the Privacy Act
      A broad coalition of 45 signatories, including civil liberties, racial justice, human rights, and privacy organizations, published a letter Tuesday strongly condemning a proposal by the FBI to exempt its massive biometric database from certain provisions of the Privacy Act. Known as the Next Generation Identification system, or NGI, the FBI database houses the world’s largest collection of fingerprints, DNA profiles, palm prints, face images, and other biometric identifiers. The letter, signed by groups such as La Raza, Color of Change, Amnesty International, National LGBTQ Task Force, as well as the companies Uber and Lyft, criticized the agency’s May 5 proposal on the grounds that the “system uses some of the most advanced surveillance technologies known to humankind, including facial recognition, iris scans, and fingerprint recognition.”

    • FBI Wants to Remove Privacy Protections from its Massive Biometrics Database
      Since 2008, the FBI has been assembling a massive database of biometric information on Americans. This database, called Next Generation Identification (NGI), includes fingerprints, face recognition, iris scans and palm prints—collected not just during arrests, but also from millions of Americans for non-criminal reasons like immigration, background checks, and state licensing requirements. Now the FBI wants to exempt this vast collection of data from basic requirements guaranteed under the federal Privacy Act—and it’s giving you only 21 business days to object.
    • Appeals Court Delivers Devastating Blow to Cellphone-Privacy Advocates
      Courts across the country are grappling with a key question for the information age: When law enforcement asks a company for cellphone records to track location data in an investigation, is that a search under the Fourth Amendment?

      By a 12-3 vote, appellate court judges in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday ruled that it is not — and therefore does not require a warrant.

      The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld what is known as the third-party doctrine: a legal theory suggesting that consumers who knowingly and willingly surrender information to third parties therefore have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in that information — regardless of how much information there is, or how revealing it is.

      Research clearly shows that cell-site location data collected over time can reveal a tremendous amount of personal information — like where you live, where you work, when you travel, who you meet with, and who you sleep with. And it’s impossible to make a call without giving up your location to the cellphone company.

    • Anonymized Data Really Isn't Anonymous: Vehicle Data Can Easily Be Used To Identify You
      Companies increasingly hoover up larger and larger oceans of consumer data, promising that security and privacy aren't much of a worry because data is "anonymized." But as research has shown time and time again, anonymous data isn't all that anonymous -- since it takes only a modicum of effort to either analyze the data -- or cross reference it with other data -- to ferret out personal identities. It doesn't really matter whether we're talking about NSA surveillance troves or social networking data: anonymous data just isn't anonymous.
    • William Binney: NSA Surveillance Takes a Page From Nazi Germany
      With the Obama Administration’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower William Binney about the growing American police state.

      "They [the NSA] don’t care what they do, they feel that they have the right to do anything that they feel necessary, and they will cover up crimes and procedures and violations of regulations that they’ve done to achieve whatever their ends are," Binney tells Loud & Clear host Brian Becker.

    • Facebook using people’s phones to listen in on what they’re saying, suggests professor
      Facebook could be listening in on people’s conversations all of the time, an expert has claimed.

      The app might be using people’s phones to gather data on what they are talking about, it has been claimed.

      Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it.

      The feature has been available for a couple of years, but recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, have drawn attention to it.
    • Advertisers Might Already Be Using Your Phone’s Hardware to Track You
      Your phone is like your best friend. It holds all of your secrets, and there’s a bond of trust—at least, you hope that there is. Advertisers may already be exploiting this trust and turning your phone against you, by using its tiny quirks to track you across the web.

      Because people are becoming savvy to advertisers’ bag of tricks, the usual methods of following folks around online just aren’t paying off like they used to. Now and in the future, advertisers may track you with “fingerprinting”—identifying a particular device by, say, tracking its screen dimensions and plugins, alongside lots of other personalized information which is then communicated and collected through a browser before being sent to advertisers.

      Recent research has pointed to a method of device fingerprinting that uses the miniscule, unique imperfections in each phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope—basically, its hardware—to create a profile of that phone that can be used to track its user’s activities across the web, without her knowledge. Unlike location data, most sites don’t ask for permission to access a phone’s motion sensors.

    • Iran orders foreign messaging apps to store data within its borders
      Iran has ordered foreign messaging apps to store all data on its citizens within the country's borders, Reuters reports, giving the companies one year to comply. Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace announced the measures on Sunday, saying they are based on the "guidelines and concerns of the supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the local IRNA news agency.

      "Foreign messaging companies active in the country are required to transfer all data and activity linked to Iranian citizens into the country in order to ensure their continued activity," the council said.

    • Snowden slams Clinton and Trump, but leaves Sanders unscathed
    • Edward Snowden Criticizes Hillary Over Violation of Classified Laws
    • Snowden Slams US for Ignoring Hillary Clinton's Email Controversy
    • Should Consideration be Given When Sentencing a Criminal if the Crime Led to Positive Changes?
    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden performed a 'public service': Editorial
    • President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning
    • Why Obama Is Wrong About Snowden

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • New Jersey Officer Leaked Mugshots Of 14-Year-Old Gunned Down By Police
      Shortly after 14-year-old Radazz Hearns was shot seven times in the legs and buttocks by Trenton, New Jersey police, an officer used a juvenile court database to find and leak the teenager’s mugshots.

      Last August, a state trooper and an officer from Mercer County were responding to gunfire near an apartment complex in Trenton when they saw a group of three teenagers, including Hearns, in the area of the reported shots. When they exited their unmarked patrol car and ordered the teenagers to put their hands up, Hearns tried to flee. According to the police, the teenager pointed a gun in their direction, so they gunned him down in self-defense. But one eyewitness claimed Hearns was trying to pull up his pants, and findings by the state attorney general’s office differed from the officers’ account of what happened.

    • The U.S. Senator Who Thinks We Need More Incarceration
      Freshman U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a firebrand darling of the extreme right, thinks the United States has a problem with incarceration—underincarceration, that is. That’s right.

      Cotton criticized congressional efforts to reform the country’s broken prison system, arguing instead that federal and state governments ought to be building more prisons and jailing even more Americans, rather than fewer.

      According to The Sentencing Project, the U.S. leads the world in incarceration, with 2.2 million people in prison or jail, a 500 percent increase over the last 40 years.

    • Hearing Thursday Could Clear Path to Freedom for ‘Guantánamo Diary’ Author
      Mohamedou Slahi has been unlawfully detained for 14 years at Guantánamo Bay and is the author of a best-selling book about the ordeal he suffered there. A hearing Thursday could result in his freedom.

      After years of waiting and litigation, Slahi will finally receive a Periodic Review Board hearing. President Obama ordered PRB hearings for the men at Guantánamo five years ago. The board is made up of senior officials from military and intelligence agencies who are tasked with determining whether a detainee poses a “significant threat” to the United States or can be cleared for release. A PRB does not determine whether the initial detention was justified — that is a task for the federal courts deciding habeas corpus challenges. In Slahi’s habeas case, a federal court judge — still the only neutral person to have reviewed all the evidence — found in 2010 that Slahi’s detention was unlawful and ordered him released. But the Obama administration appealed, and the federal habeas case languishes still.
    • Singaporean Activists Harassed by Police for 'Breaching' Election Rules
      It’s a worrying state of affairs when expressing your political opinions on Facebook on a particular day is all it takes for police to gain access to all your data without a warrant or court order.

      Last Friday Singapore’s Elections Department announced that its Assistant Returning Officer had lodged police reports against news website The Independent Singapore and two individuals, Roy Ngerng and Teo Soh Lung, for breaching election rules relating to Cooling-Off Day during the Bukit Batok by-election held earlier this month.

    • Dalai Lama says 'too many' refugees in Europe
      The Dalai Lama said in an interview published Thursday that Europe has accepted "too many" refugees, and that they should eventually return to help rebuild their home countries.

      "When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering," said the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has himself lived in exile for over half a century.
    • Freedom From Violence: Lessons From Black Prisoner Organizing
      Collective rebellions are episodic. Expanded technologies of control and limited leftist movements on the outside have made such rebellions even rarer in prisons. But the long-standing black critique of the American criminal justice as a system of racial dominance continues, aided and abetted by the existence of resurgent opposition to prisons beginning in the late 1990s and with added ferocity since the economic collapse of 2008. In 1998, two organizations formed with direct connections to the previous generation of prison protest. Bo Brown, who spent seven years in prison for her involvement with the Seattle-based clandestine George Jackson Brigade, and Angela Davis were part of the intergenerational founding collective of Critical Resistance (CR). CR helped popularize a systemic analysis of prisons as part of a wider organization of the political economy -- a prison-industrial complex. Alongside feminist antiviolence organizations such as Incite!: Women of Color against Violence, CR has worked to reengage a politics of (prison) abolition that updates 1970s innovations.

    • Man allegedly pooped on Kroger U-Scan machine
      A Cincinnati man was jailed after he allegedly stripped naked in front of an employee at the Kroger store in Hyde Park and defecated on a U-Scan machine.

      Colin Murphy, 23, was charged with public indecency and disorderly conduct for his actions, which took place on Sunday, according to police.

      According to a court affidavit, Murphy smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and staggered walk.

    • Russian cyber-espionage group hits Sanoma
      Yle has obtained new evidence of cyber-attacks on Finnish targets by a cyber-espionage group linked to Russian state intelligence. The group, known as Sofacy or Pawn Storm, has attempted to hack into data communications of Finland's largest group, Sanoma, as well as of a Finnish member of Bellingcat, an international group investigating the Ukraine conflict.

    • Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation
      Seeking to shine some light into the dark world of Internet trolls, a journalist with Finland’s national broadcaster asked members of her audience to share their experience of encounters with Russia’s “troll army,” a raucous and often venomous force of online agitators.

      The response was overwhelming, though not in the direction that the journalist, Jessikka Aro, had hoped.

      As she expected, she received some feedback from people who had clashed with aggressively pro-Russian voices online. But she was taken aback, and shaken, by a vicious retaliatory campaign of harassment and insults against her and her work by those same pro-Russian voices.

      “Everything in my life went to hell thanks to the trolls,” said Ms. Aro, a 35-year-old investigative reporter with the social media division of Finland’s state broadcaster, Yle Kioski.

      Abusive online harassment is hardly limited to pro-Russian Internet trolls. Ukraine and other countries at odds with the Kremlin also have legions of aggressive avengers on social media.

    • Smugglers Made $6 Billion From Refugee Crisis in 2015: Interpol
      People smugglers capitalizing on the refugee crisis created by the Syrian conflict gleaned some $6 billion from those attempting to reach the European mainland in 2015, according to a report released by world policing bodies Tuesday.

      Interpol and Europol, the international and European cross-border crime agencies, issued a report on “Migrant Smuggling Networks” that showed that 90 percent of the influx of refugees into the European Union is facilitated by smuggling networks in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

    • EU naval mission is 'MIGRANT MAGNET': Damning verdict on Brussels plan 'helping smugglers'
      THE European Union’s flagship naval mission to crack down on migrant crossings has today been branded a spectacular failure which has HELPED the people smugglers.
    • Muslim in Eastern Uganda Kills Christian Wife for Leaving Islam, Relatives Say
      A Muslim in eastern Uganda strangled his wife to death this month for leaving Islam, relatives and neighbors said.

      Awali Kakaire, 34, early in the morning on May 8 killed Mariam Nakirya for embracing Christianity in Mbaale village, Imanyiro Sub-County, Mayuge District, the area residents told Morning Star News. She was 30.

    • Florida Prosecutors Drop Charges Against PINAC Reporter Jeff Gray – Again

      For the fifth time since 2010, Florida prosecutors were forced to dismiss criminal charges against PINAC reporter Jeff Gray before even going to trial, proving once again what we have known all along.

      That his arrests are always unlawful and unconstitutional; nothing but an attempt to keep him from doing his job.

    • Vietnam vet claims guards at El Paso VA clinic used "excessive force" against him
      Jose Oliva, 71, went to the El Paso Veterans Affairs Clinic for a check up. But what happened that afternoon still has him shaken up three months later.

      Oliva says he was attempting to enter the VA clinic. But his interaction with the guards went horribly wrong leaving him in cuffs and, he says, with injuries.

      "You know, they could have killed me," Oliva said.

      Oliva, a Vietnam vet, said he's had shoulder and throat surgery after what happened at the VA clinic on Feb. 16.

    • Former Miss Turkey gets suspended sentence for insulting Erdogan

      Turkey sentenced a former beauty queen to 14 months in prison on Tuesday, deepening concerns that the country is swaying toward an increasingly authoritarian form of rule.

      An Istanbul court found Merve Buyuksarac, 27, guilty of insulting a public official, after she shared a poem on her Instagram account in 2014 that was deemed insulting to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s president.

    • Fresh third party video of Amos Yee being assaulted in Jurong Point emerges
      Youtube user Jhan DABOMB who witnessed the recent assault of Amos Yee in Jurong Point and has released his video footage of the incident. He said that when he saw one youth chasing another in Jurong Point, with a girl in tow, it looked to him like a case of molestation. Only when Amos was dragged out of NTUC Fairprice did the Youtube user realise that it was Amos Yee.

    • Israeli Company Claims Its Software Can Look At Your Face And Determine If You're A Terrorist Or Murderer
      There is a regular experience I have that I assume is common for anyone that operates within the technology industry: I will often hear non-technical people make claims about a specific kind of technology that are wildly overstated. To clarify, I am technically proficient in the barest sense, mostly meaning that I have enough of an understanding of the underlying process by which things work that I can explain them, but not implement them. To those without even that barest understanding, I can understand how technology can simply seem like magic. That can open the doors for others who know better to try to take advantage of this.

      Enter into the conversation Israeli startup company Faception, which claims its facial recognition software can look at your features and then determine if you're a terrorist, pedophile, or criminal.

    • Fired for Speaking Out on Guantánamo, Former Prosecutor Settles With Library of Congress
      In a small but significant victory for free speech, Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay, announced a $100,000 settlement Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service.

      Davis was fired from the CRS in 2009 for authoring two opinion pieces (one in the Wall Street Journal, the other in the Washington Post) that criticized President Obama for prosecuting some terror suspects in federal courts and others in military commissions — what Davis called a “dangerous legal double standard.”

      Davis became an assistant director at CRS after retiring from a 25-year career as an Air Force lawyer in 2008.

      The ACLU sent a letter to CRS in 2009 asking for Davis’s reinstatement, noting that his work at CRS had nothing to do with Guantánamo Bay. When CRS refused, the ACLU sued on Davis’s behalf.

    • 9/11 Suspect Calls for U.S. Judge to Step Down, Citing Evidence Destruction
      The U.S. military judge overseeing the trial of the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks should step down and the case should be scrapped because he effectively conspired with prosecutors to destroy evidence, defense lawyers said in a court filing.

      The motion said Judge James Pohl, an Army colonel, and prosecutors had tainted the case against Pakistan-born Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by keeping defense lawyers from learning that the evidence had been destroyed.
    • Judge 'manipulated' 9/11 attacks case, court document alleges
    • Gitmo Judge Allowed Destruction of Evidence in 9/11 Case: Report
      The judge in charge of military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay allegedly colluded with prosecutors to hide evidence that supported the defense of suspected 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "irreparably" harming his case, according to a court document obtained by the Guardian on Tuesday.

      The accusation could be the impetus to reform the highly controversial tribunals at the U.S. military prison in Cuba altogether, according to Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham University Law School's Center on National Security.

      "This may well be the straw that breaks the camel's back in underscoring the unviability of the military commissions," Greenberg told the Guardian.

      According to the recently unsealed defense filing, Army Colonel James Pohl "in concert with the prosecution, manipulated secret proceedings and the use of secret orders."

    • Europe’s War on Refugees is Repeating the Mistakes of the War on Drugs
      On 19th April 2015, the sinking of a single refugee boat off the coast of Lampedusa led to the drowning of over 700 people. By the end of the month, an estimated 1300 had drowned in the same way, making it the deadliest month on record in the Mediterranean refugee crisis. The tragedy was the direct result of a successful British-led campaign to end the Italian search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which had prevented such mass drownings before its closure in October 2014. Those events led to a public outcry and pressure to restart search-and-rescue operations; but resisting such pressure, on 23rd April 2015 the European Council instead adopted a British-drafted resolution vowing to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy [refugee] vessels”. The EU was giving notice that its response to the refugee crisis would no longer be based on humanitarian commitments, but on military force. It was, not coincidentally, a proposal originally made by the British fascist Nick Griffin five years earlier.
    • Chile’s Robocops
      Robocop is not only a movie. It’s real life in Chile where grown men, disturbingly silly, dress up in armored uniforms, similar to the movie Robocop (Orion Pictures, 1987) bashing peaceful demonstrations of students wearing blue jeans.

      Yes, they beat up and intimidate kids, which is a glaring example of a world gone mad! Ruled by horrifying neoliberal principles of financial domination, controlled by elitist, kicking the daylights out of teenagers. The whole affaire is simply one more example of the spirit of meanness from which neoliberal principles pit the elite class against all others.

    • Democrats Targeted for Creating, and Now Ignoring, Mass Incarceration Disaster
      A new petition released Tuesday calls on Democratic Party leadership to make ending mass incarceration a core part of the party platform.

      "So far, both [parties] have fallen short," reads the petition created by non-partisan public policy institute the Brennan Center for Justice. "Even Democratic Party platforms haven't merely been silent; they have actually called for policies creating more imprisonment.""

    • Why is Obama Ignoring Pleas to Release Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera?
      Two and a half months ago, asked by award-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Mirandaabout imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera – whose only crime, according to Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is “conspiracy to free his people from the shackles of imperial justice” – President Barack Obama told the Hamilton creator that he “had [the case] on his desk.” Miranda, whose parents hail from Puerto Rico, used his invitation to the White House to bring up the issue of López Rivera’s continued incarceration, which is of tremendous importance to Puerto Ricans. Both on the island and in the diaspora, freedom for the 73-year-old political prisoner enjoys overwhelming popular support and has united people across the political spectrum.
    • Samantha Power, Former Human Rights Journalist, to Receive Award From Henry Kissinger
      In her 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,” Samantha Power lambasted former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for his role in genocidal foreign policy. “[T]he [Ford] administration had very little credibility,” she wrote. “Kissinger had bloodied Cambodia and blackened his own reputation with past U.S. policy.”

      Now, in an ironic twist, Power is set to receive The American Academy of Berlin’s Henry A. Kissinger Prize—and it will be presented to her from Kissinger himself. The award is given “annually to a renowned figure in the field of international diplomacy.” Power, a “human rights celebrity,” began her career as a journalist reporting from war-torn regions such as “Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.” She eventually became a member of President Obama’s administration when he made her the United States’ youngest U.N. ambassador.

    • Samantha Power, Obama’s Atrocity Enabler
      A new documentary called “Watchers of the Sky” tells the moving story of Raphael Lemkin, Polish lawyer and resistance fighter who spent his final years seeking to secure legislation against the crime of genocide at the United Nations. Lemkin’s struggle to guarantee a legal order capable of preventing the slaughter of civilians is brought to life through the narration of Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and famed diplomat who earned renown with her 2002 book, “A Problem From Hell,” documenting the international community’s failure to stop genocide in Rwanda.
    • Boston to Protestings Students: You’re Not Worth it.
      The student protest outside of Boston City Hall was winding down. Of the 1,000 students who’d walked out of their schools for the second time this spring, about 100 were left, waiting to get inside in hopes of testifying before a City Council committee against proposed school budget cuts. First, though, the students had to pass through a metal detector, a process as inefficient as an airport TSA line. “This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted, a protest staple that for once felt almost true. “The whole world is watching,” they shouted, amplified by the hulking architecture of City Hall.

    • Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
      Oscar Salinas, from the Amor for Alex coalition [formed after police fired 59 shots killing Alex Nieto while he was eating a burrito], gave a strong message of solidarity from the Black and Brown alliance that is fighting police impunity.
    • Happy Sunday, Welcome to Rikers
      Anna has made the trip to Rikers hundreds of times in the nearly six years her son has been awaiting trial. Each time, a friend picks her up early in the morning near her apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and drives her out through the city, past the brick houses and manicured lawns of northwestern Queens. They park near the Q100 bus stop and sit silently in the car until the bus pulls up.

    • Blair government's rendition policy led to rift between UK spy agencies
      British involvement in controversial and clandestine rendition operations provoked an unprecedented row between the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, at the height of the “war on terror”, the Guardian can reveal.

      The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, was so incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured, she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters, Thames House.

      According to Whitehall sources, she also wrote to the then prime minister, Tony Blair, to complain about the conduct of MI6 officers, saying their actions had threatened Britain’s intelligence gathering and may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants.

    • MI5 Chief 'Right to Be Disgusted' over MI6 Involvement in CIA Rendition & Torture

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Factually Challenged Op-ed Insists Google Greed Is Behind FCC's Desire For More Set Top Box Competition
      So wait, just so we're clear, your ingenious solution for the cable industry's aggressive walled garden anti-competitive stranglehold over set top box hardware is -- to regulate Google? And for years we've pointed out that the idea of "search neutrality" is bullshit. Throughout the net neutrality debate it was the cry of a telecom sector and its various policy tendrils, all pretending to be willfully oblivious to why physical, last mile services without competition (broadband) aren't regulated exactly the same as Internet services that users can choose not to use.

      And buried under the Op-ed's conflations and bizarre omissions, that's just the thing the editorial intentionally misses -- quite painfully. Increasing set top box competition means that consumers would have a choice of set top boxes. As such, they could choose one that doesn't rely on Google technology if this is really such a concern for them. Of course it isn't -- the great Google set top antitrust albatross is a giant red herring being pushed by cable operators via an endless number of similar editorials. All of them carry the same message: don't open up the stagnant cable set top box market to competition or Google will run away with your daughter and pee on your azaleas.

      Again it's a bunch of nonsense intended to misdirect the public from a central truth of the set top box debate: the cable industry is absolutely terrified of losing a central pillar in its quest to ensure cable remains a closed, walled garden ecosystem. Opening the set top box market to competition not only kills $21 billion in captive annual revenues, it suddenly opens the door to cheaper, better, more open hardware platforms -- built by companies with no qualms about pushing traditional cable customers toward alternative streaming options.

  • DRM

    • Author Sues Publisher For Portraying eBook Licenses As 'Sales' To Pay Out Fewer Royalties
      If you're a consumer, that piece of digital wordsmithery you purchased probably isn't worth the paper it isn't printed on. Like most digital media available for "purchase," ebooks are often "sold" as licenses that allow the publisher to control use of the product indefinitely, whether through DRM or by simply attaching EULAs no one will ever read to every download.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • PDF Poland 2016: Is civic tech a good solution?
      “Civic tech is a great potential solution, but it is a solution that is vulnerable to being monopolised by elites if we don’t try to push the service beyond its traditional user base.”


      Should be accessible to all citizens

    • Trademarks

      • Series trade marks are a bundle of separate trade marks, Court of Appeal declares in Fox's latest Glee challenge
        The long running dispute between Twentieth Century Fox Corporation (Fox) and Comic Enterprises Limited (CEL) finally came to a head in February when the Court of Appeal upheld a decision from the High Court that Fox had infringed a series of trade marks registered by CEL. As reported in a guest post by Eibhlin Vardy (A&O) here, Fox’s appeal was dismissed save for one outstanding point which concerned the validity of the series registration.

    • Copyrights

      • 10 Years Ago Hollywood Awoke The Pirate Bay ‘Beast’

        Ten years ago today The Pirate Bay was raided by the Swedish police. While the entertainment industries hoped that this would shut the site down once and for all, they inadvertently helped to create one of the most resilient websites on the Internet.

      • MPAA Lobbyist / SOPA Sponsor to Draft Democratic Party Platform

        The Democratic Party has appointed a committee tasked with drafting the party’s platform. The 15-member panel includes MPAA lobbyist Howard L Berman, an attorney and former U.S. Representative who not only co-sponsored SOPA and tried to enshrine P2P network sabotage in law, but has also been funded by Hollywood throughout his career.
      • Re-Mixing Protected By Freedom Of Arts Fundamental Right, German Court Rules
        The German Constitutional Court today ruled in favour of the “freedom to sample” – or freedom to remix – in a case between the singer/songwriter Sabrina Setlur and the band Kraftwerk.

        The latter had filed complaints against the sampling of two seconds of rhythm from its 1977 song “Metall auf Metall” in Setlur’s 1997 “Nur mir”. The Federal High Court and several lower courts ruled in favour of Kraftwerk, pointing to German copyright legislation underlining the difference between re-using snippets from the original recording medium to re-performing them.

      • Police Target 50 Streaming Sites, Detain Five Suspects

        Police in Italy are reporting the execution of a large operation against a network offering live sports, movies and TV shows online without permission. The Guardia di Finanza say they targeted 50 sites running on 41 servers located on three continents. Five suspects were detained in what police estimate to be a 40 million euro business.

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